The Defense Research Development Organization’s (DRDO) Center for Airborne Systems (CABS) has begun integrating the indigenous mission systems for India’s modified EMB-145 Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft. DRDO is exploring ways to finish the integration of subsystems on ground rigs to the extent possible. “With this development approach, we expect overall delay is minimized and systems are ready for user trials,” a CABS official says.
Prior to the arrival of the aircraft, the primary radar, identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) interrogator, communications and electronic intelligence receivers and data-processing systems are being integrated. Embraer will modify the aircraft for Indian requirements and it will be certified for airworthiness, including under icing conditions, according to the FAR Part 25 Standard. The radar’s active array unit is undergoing rooftop testing, while the IFF interrogator system will undergo standalone flight trials on an HS 748 Avro.
When asked whether program will further run into delays, sources said that in all complex programs like these, certain delays were inevitable. “Even the American Wedge tail Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) program got delayed by 48 months and Israel’s Conformal Airborne Early Warning Aircraft got delayed by more than 24 months. In the case of India’s AWACS (being bought from Elta, Israel), there was a delay of 20 months. In this case, the program was sanctioned in October 2004, but the IAF only finalized the operational requirement only in 2007, after which the aircraft procurement was initiated. The contract with Embraer was signed only in 2008 (August),” sources said.
(Full report in AW)