The Indian Air force (IAF) has been handed over the First Indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) on the opening day of Aero India.
In a small ceremony on the tarmac at Yelahanka Air Force base outside Bengaluru, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar handed over the symbolic keys of the aircraft to the new IAF squadron which will fly the aircraft from its base in Bhatinda in Punjab.
The Surveillance system is named as ‘Netra’ and is supposed to be a game changer in air warfare. It is designed to control the battle space by detecting enemy aircraft more than 300 kilometres away. Using this data, operators on board the jet can vector Indian Air Force fighters to intercept these hostile targets. It is equipped with an indigenously built Active Electronically Scanned Radar, Secondary Surveillance Radar, Electronic and Communication Counter Measures, LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond LOS data link, a voice communication system and self-protection suite.
It is also equipped with home-grown tactical software that uses information from the sensors to provide operators with a coherent picture of airborne threats in the region.
Mr Parrikar said, “This was the first technical initiation so that we could achieve the basic objective. Now they will go for 360 degrees [surveillance] with this experience.”