Ku-band antenna and RF system for AEW&C. Photo: DRDO
Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System is a force multiplier being designed and developed by DRDO, with the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Bangalore, as the nodal agency for the program. Airborne Early Warning and Control System is a system of systems consisting of multiple sensors for surveillance, and signal intelligence and electronic warfare and is based on a modified EMB-145 executive jet.
The data from all the sensors are integrated at the Mission System Controller and presented to the onboard operators for situational awareness on multiple reconfigurable Operator Workstations. The AEW&C system aids the operator in fighter control missions for support in air defense operations and has the capability to communicate with the fighters over V/UHF data-links. The recognizable air surveillance picture is communicated to the ground command and control network of IAF using line-of-sight (LOS) data-link in C-band and beyond LOS Satellite Communication (SATCOM) link in Ku-band.
An airborne SATCOM datalink has been designed and developed for the first time in the country as part of the AEW&C Programme by Defence Electronics Application Laboratory (DEAL), Dehradun, a constituent laboratory of DRDO, based on the requirements provided by CABS. The hardware for the Base Band Unit (BBU) has been configured based on the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution evolved by CABS. The solution meets the requirement of providing commonality in hardware between various sub-systems of AEW&C providing better inventory management facility to the user. CABS has also evolved the most suitable form factor for all LRUs taking into account the space constraints of the aircraft. Packaging of the sub-system units has also been done accordingly. The design is based on the Ku-band transponder of geostationary satellite (GSAT-2), which has a footprint covering the main-land of the Indian subcontinent. The operational requirements include capability of air-to-ground communication with a data-rate of 64 kbps in full duplex mode including two voice channels. Copyright@DRDO Technology Focus.
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