New Delhi: India and Brazil have entered into a deal to jointly integrate indigenously developed airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems onto a Brazilian airborne platform. The deal envisages the supply of three Brazilian Embraer-145 aircraft, which will carry Indian Active Array Antenna Units (AAAU), developed by the DRDO, atop the aircraft's fuselage.
The $210 million (Rs906 crore) deal was signed by Dr S Christopher, director, Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), DRDO, and Luis Carlos Aguiar, executive vice president (defence and govt. market), Embraer, in the presence of Marco Brandao, Brazilian ambassador to India and M Natarajan, scientific advisor to the defence minister.
The AEW&C system is being developed by the Bangalore-based CABS for the Indian Air Force. (See: DRDO's AWACS project to be complete by 2011)
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 first one to be delivered in three years.
The AEW&C project is worth Rs1,800 crore, said an official. The full-fledged Embraer-145 based AEW&C will be flight-tested for mission systems in India by DRDO and IAF in 2012, he added.
The AEW&C system comprises many sub-systems like radar and communication links, which are being designed and developed by DRDO.
A few EMB-145 based AEW&C/AWACS versions are already in operation with Air Forces of Brazil, Mexico and Greece.
Under an existing $1.1-billion Phalcon AWACS deal, signed in March 2004, three Israeli early-warning radar and communication systems are being integrated with Russian IL-76 heavy transport military aircraft in order to provide India its first advanced AWACS.
As with all Russian-linked defence programmes, deliveries of the aircraft, scheduled to commence from November 2007, will now begin only from September 2008 onwards due to "technical difficulties."