The Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer has unveiled the first of the three EMB-145 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) platforms recently to Indian government representatives at a ceremony in San Jose dos Campos in Brazil. India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had ordered three EMB-145 AEW&C as testbeds for an indigenously developed AEW&C system.According to sources, the first aircraft will be flight tested at Embraer before its scheduled delivery to India in August.
This aircraft will be equipped with the antenna structure for the phased-array radar under development by DRDO’s Bangalore-based Center for Air Borne Systems (CABS). Once the aircraft is received by India, the integration of the AEW&C mission system involving the active, electronically scanned array radar, electronic support measures, satellite communications, datalinks and operator workstations will begin. The integration will be done by CABS and by 2012, the aircraft with complete integration can take to the skies.
The EMB-145 is based on Brazil’s regional jet called ERJ 145 and it contains varied features including an in-flight refueling system, SATCOM capability, a significant increase in electrical and cooling capacities, and a comprehensive set of aerodynamic and structural changes. The Indian aircraft will be modified and besides the above-mentioned features, there will be a new electrical generation system with a second auxiliary power unit for the mission suite and a new cooling system. These additional features would compliment the electronic systems created by DRDO and help the overall integration of the aircraft.
India and Brazil had entered into a deal to jointly develop an Early Warning System for the Indian Air Force in 2008. Under the deal, Brazil’s Embraer aircraft manufacturer will modify its regional jet aircraft, EMB-145 to carry the Active Array Antenna Unit (AAAU), developed by the DRDO, on the aircraft’s fuselage. Three modified EMB-145 aircraft will be developed under this agreement. The various sub-systems of the AEW&C Mission system will be integrated into the ‘modified green’ aircraft by DRDO and the full-fledged EMB-145 based AEW&C will be flight tested for Mission system in India by DRDO along with Indian Air Force from 2012. The AEW&C system comprises many sub-systems like Radar and communication links that are being designed and developed by DRDO.
Last month, Dr. Prahlada, Chief Controller of Research and Development, DRDO, confirmed that DRDO-developed AWACS integrated on Brazilian Embraer EMB 145 aircrafts will be tested by the end of 2011. He added that India is in the process of developing nine home-grown, state-of-the-art versions and the first of them is expected to be flight-tested by the end of next year. Three of these will be integrated on board the Brazilian Embraer EMB 145 jet and delivered by 2014-15 and the base aircraft for the remaining six indigenous AWACS has not been decided.