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Aero India 2017: India steps up AEW&C procurement

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has delivered its first indigenously made airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft – designated Netra – to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

As per India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Netra is a complete system centered on an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar developed by DRDO’s Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS). IHS Jane’s reports that the Netra has a range of 250-375 km with 240-degree coverage.

The AEW&C system also comprises of communications systems enabling for line-of-sight (LOS), beyond LOS communication, and voice communication. It has a secondary surveillance radar and “electronic and communication countermeasures.”

The Netra uses a software engine fusing information gleaned from sensors, providing the user with a comprehensive understanding of the combat environment.

The Netra system is mounted the Embraer ERJ-145 business jet, which DRDO equipped with a standard self-protection suite and in-flight refuelling probe.

At a press conference at Aero India, DRDO’s Chairman, Dr. S. Christopher, told media that each AEW&C would cost US $400 million a unit (via Defense World).

In tandem to procuring the ERJ-145-based Netra, the IAF is also setting in motion its plans for a next-generation AEW&C, with Airbus Defence & Space (DS) expected to supply the platform.

According to the Economic Times, the next-generation AEW&C will have a higher detection range than the Netra and will demonstrate true 360-degree coverage and longer flight endurance. It will be based on the Airbus A330. The expected cost of the next-generation AEW&C program (for up to six aircraft) is US $3 billion.

Notes & Comments:

The completion and delivery of the CABS AEW&C is a significant step for the Indian defence industry and the Indian armed forces. Localization of sensitive technologies, such as AESA TRMs, has enabled India to absorb the bulk of defence expenditure within its own economy, enabling it to save substantially by using its own currency and cost dynamics. It is possible that with additional procurement, not just of the AEW&C but the underlying technology as well, will enable India to reduce the cost of the system. It should not be long before an export variant of the Netra becomes plausible, which will enable India to compete against Saab and Israel Aerospace Industries in many prospective markets.

Edit (15/02/16): Adjusted for range and official designation/name. 

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  • by Steve
    Posted February 14, 2017 9:34 am 0Likes

    This is strange. On the one hand we hear about all these Indian tech achievements in every possible field. On the other hand India is buying weapons from every possible vendor like crazy. Why is the reason for this dichotomy? Either Indian defence solutions are poor quality and there is a lot of propoganda involved, or Indian armed forces for some reason dislike local products and buy foreign. There are some local products though and Pakistan should not dismiss them out of hand as eventually quality could improve.

  • by Saptarshi Dasgupta
    Posted February 14, 2017 10:15 am 0Likes

    Indian requirement is huge. Fighters of all class. While India is going for 123 Tejas Mk1-a it still needs 200 single engine medium weight fighter (f-16 block 70/Gripen E) to replace Mig-21 and Mig-27. India is already getting 36 Rafale and 272 Su-30mki to be upgraded to super 30 standard similar to Su-35+. India needs 42 squadrons of 20 aircraft each so it is virtually impossible to fulfill complete requirement through indigenous technology. India needs 16-20 Awacs. 5 IL-76 EL-M 2090 Phalcon is already contracted. 3 EMB-145 baseD Netra will join in 3 years . Plus there is a requirement for more awacs which india will get Airbus 330 with indigenous radar built with Israel’s help. Requirements are stringent to take on Quality forces like Pakistan and China and the requirement is huge along with different geographical locations for which these weapons are required. So we procure a mix of indigenous, Frech,russian, american,israeli and european weapons. Apart from this there is a requirement of 57 double engine carrier based fighters for which Rafale, Advanced super hornet and MIG-35K will be running.This requirement Tejas cant fulfill since it is single engined. So considering these factors our procurement is like this.

  • by Halz
    Posted February 14, 2017 10:46 am 0Likes

    Let’s wait and see if the IAF is satisfied with this product. Far too often, I hear how DRDO and other Indian companies deliver products to the Indian military, only to have it rejected months or even years later.

  • by Steve
    Posted February 14, 2017 11:01 am 0Likes

    Who are you planning to fight. The whole world or only to pressurise Pakistan to let go of its Kashmir issue. You can’t fight China with even 60 squadrons. All this while 300 million your people are surviving on less than $1 a day. This huge expense would be better spent on improving their lot rather than megalomaniac dreams of being a superpower by nationalistic and some would say fascist leaders. You can’t buy your way to superpower status. Historically all previous superpowers have built their own weapons. Why don’t you enter a forces rationisation agreement with neighbors, and let the people progress. India needs to reduce poverty before it can claim to be a superpower

  • by Superior Shakeel
    Posted February 14, 2017 2:41 pm 0Likes

    Really like this embraer jet it’s classy and sexy AF. XD
    For some reasons I like small business jets more than any other plane except maybe super cool spy plane like SR 72 but this is a one edgy looking jet.

  • by fapple fapple
    Posted February 14, 2017 2:48 pm 0Likes

    I believe you’re at the wrong article Steve this is about the DRDO AEW&C system that was developed and built indigenously in India with home made TIMM modules then the articles talks about the next phase of the project with phalcon level AWACS that will be mounted on much larger Airbus A330 the same platform which will be our next gen refueller too you need to start reading before commenting nonsense.

    PS Indonesia might just buy these bad boys keep yourself updated on news from AERO INDIA 2017.
    And keep your AWACS safe, Steve.

  • by Steve
    Posted February 14, 2017 7:04 pm 0Likes

    Usual Indian nonsense propoganda about how great the military industry is. You’re buying from all over the world and your own forces are rejecting your products yet fanboys like you can’t help but praise India. Please tell me which country in the world has bought any of your magnificent products. No one in the whole world listens to you. If they did they would mistake you for the USA lol

  • by Saptarshi Dasgupta
    Posted February 14, 2017 8:42 pm 0Likes

    Sir with due respects to your opinion I would like to reiterate that India does not intend to fight anyone. We are defending our nation that’s it. Let’s just limit it to defense discussions. I am a big fan of Bilal’s post so I follow this site regularly. I do not bring India Pakistan enmity or issues between. Yes we have issues. But this is a defense blog and defense enthusiasts are such that they are impressed by modern weapons be it from their country or their enemy country. As far as poverty eradication is concerned just compare India’s standing and statistics and what steps this government has taken for that. Electricity and Gas for all,cleanliness drive ,infrastructure development and make in India infrastructure drive and indigenous space applications and projects and many other healthcare sector improvements this government has brought about and is being praised globally. There are many things India and Pakistan can learn from each other. Pakistan can learn about india’s democracy and secularism which manages to keep it united despite so many religions,regions and caste,India’s industrialization and India’s infrastructure development and India can learn about Pakistan’s great defense planning, military discipline and devotion to God (Allah) and many other things. As far as China is concerned we do not intend to fight with them .So much trade with them,it will be China’s and India’s loss. But a strong armed force has respect in opposition. During earlier governments China did incursions along border or spied through submarines.With modern fighter and ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines that has stopped and India figures in Chinese tabloids.
    So let us limit this to discussion on defence and not political issues. Peace.Love you neighbours.

  • by amar
    Posted February 14, 2017 11:34 pm 0Likes

    Hi bilal the range is 260kms against 2m^2 target which can be extended to 300kms depending on the threat environment.
    In extended mode it can very easily do 300kms against a 2m^2 target.However a fully loaded f-16 has at least 5m^2 RCS(and I am being generous here). So it should have no difficulty detecting a combat loaded F-16 from at least 300-400kms–which is not at all a bad figure!

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted February 14, 2017 11:56 pm 0Likes


  • by amar
    Posted February 15, 2017 5:46 am 0Likes

    Hi bilal here is the official poster from LRDE(the lab that designed this radar)

  • by SS_IND
    Posted February 15, 2017 6:24 am 0Likes

    Good job now lets sign the deal for the AWACs on A330.

  • by MT
    Posted February 15, 2017 12:02 pm 0Likes

    The product was tested by IAF for last 36months. so it took 3 yrs to change/alter behaviour of the product. Hence the delay.

    DRDO products are ofcourse not at par with west but indian defence cant be blind to compare Akash, Command guidance system/CLOS with SPYDER, one of the most advanced 5th gen QSRAM with seeker, TVC

    Inability of Akash to hit target on run is obvious since it needs to adjust parameters as the radar & launcher are not placed on same platform

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