The state-run Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) have received sanctions to pursue the second phase of AEW&CS (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) programme. In a recent report, DRDO Chief Dr.VK Saraswat has stated that the project will be called AEW&CS India and the requisite sanctions have been granted for the same. Besides, the homegrown AESA radar will also be integrated into the Tejas Mark II LCA.
According to DRDO Chief Dr.VK Saraswat, the AEW&CS project will be developed like the three Phalcon AEW&C systems acquired from Israel. Once the full clearance is acquired, DRDO will be selecting a platform based upon the radar configuration. DRDO indicated that the full clearance from the government is imminent since sanctions have been given.
Regarding the DRDO strategy, the indigenous Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) capabilities will be developed through a two pronged approach. The first phase will involve the mounting of the already developed radar system onto the Embraer aircraft from Brazil. The first of the three Embraer aircraft will be in India by this month end.
DRDO Chief Saraswat stated that the first phase is going smoothly the radar system will be integrated on the first Embraer aircraft this month. He added that dummy radar has already been integrated in Brazil on the platform and DRDO is satisfied with all parameters and integration activities of aircraft. Basically, the first phase of the AWACS will have surveillance capabilities in limited sectors with limited endurance capabilities.
Since two more Embraer aircraft will come to India next year, the indigenous radars are also getting ready for integration on them. DRDO has indicated that the AWACS project is its priority and that the three Embraer aircraft with the AWACS systems will be completely operational by 2014-15, according to DRDO.
Regarding the AEW&CS India project, DRDO indicated that it will be developing a complete 360 degree surveillance system. The technology which has been realized for the AWACS programme will be directly applicable in the second phase of the project. However, the configuration will be to ensure that there is 360 degree coverage. Unlike the phase one system with limited endurance, this will have larger power and reach in terms of the surveillance capability.
DRDO Chief VK Saraswat has also divulged into the details of the indigenously developed Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar in the AEW&CS project. Hailing the radar as the one the best in the world, DRDO chief said that it can capture images and send to the ground control centers besides incorporating all the features of an airborne surveillance system. It has unmatchable resolution, performance and electronic warfare capability.
The AESA radar is also expected to be integrated with the Tejas Mark II LCA besides other programmes. DRDO Chief added that the work is already on and the Tejas Mark-2 will have nothing but the AESA radar. The DRDO lab LRDE is working on the TR (Transmitter & Receiver) modules for the same. Apparently, it is now possible to configure small as well as large AESA radar. The advantage of AESA is that more power can be derived if you increase the numbers of TR modules. DRDO’s AESA radar will be of same size and volume of the present radar integrated on Tejas Mark-1. Once the work starts for the Mark-2 of Tejas aircraft, the old radar will be simply replaced by the indigenous AESA radar.