India to finally receive Phalcon AWACS

In 2004, Israel signed $1.1 billion deal with India for sale of airborne warning and control systems.

phalcon awacs boeing 707 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
phalcon awacs boeing 707 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Five years after placing an order, the Indian Air Force will finally receive the first of three Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) developed from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) later this month. Commander of the Indian Air Force Chief Marshall F H Major said last week that the first AWACS would arrive by the end of the month. In 2004, Israel signed a $1.1 billion deal with India for the supply of three AWACS, built on Russian Ilyushin-76 airplanes. The Phalcon (phased array L-band conformal radar) was designed and manufactured by Elta, a subsidiary of IAI. It includes radar, electronic intelligence systems, and communication equipment. It has already sold a similar system to the Chilean air force. The Phalcon will give India the ability to detect aerial threats and serve as a platform to direct combat jets to targets. It is an all-weather system capable of logging 60 targets simultaneously and can operate to a range of up to 400 km. Israel is in talks with India regarding the possible sale of another three AWACS, a deal that could reach close to $1.5b. Under the 2004 deal, the first AWACS was supposed to be supplied in December 2007 and the rest by March 2009. The program encountered delays, though, due to difficulty in installing the Elta early-warning radar suite on the Russian aircraft. The remaining two planes are scheduled to reach India in 2010. In related news, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported last week that the German Air Force has decided to lease IAI's Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicle. IAI beat out a US and European offer when winning the deal. Israeli defense officials confirmed the report and said that IAI and the German Air Force had agreed on the terms of the deal under which the Heron 1 would be deployed in Afghanistan to assist German forces. The Heron 1 has been in IDF use since 2007 and is capable of remaining two days straight in the air without refueling. The Heron can also fly at altitudes of 30,000 feet, making it a difficult target for standard anti-aircraft weapons. It has the ability to carry a 250 kg. payload and with a wingspan of 16.6 meters, it can fly to targets hundreds of kilometers away in all weather conditions.