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Friday, April 6, 2012

CABS-Embraer in talks to advance prying plane's test flight schedules, post-June

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: India’s dream of owning a prying plane with indigenous mission systems entered the next lap on April 4, with the successful first flight of the second aircraft at the San Jose dos Campos in Brazil. The Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) being built on a modified Embraer EMB 145I aircraft flew for 45 minutes signaling that project is now right on track, after the initial 10-month delay.
Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Bangalore-based Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS) is being entrusted with the job of integrating the missions systems soon after the first EMB-145 touches down in June. “The first aircraft will arrive in Bangalore this June and we would begin the integration work immediately. Today’s aircraft which flew would be the first to arrive in India and hence the flight was very significant,” DRDO Chief Controller (Avionics) G Elangovan tells Express from San Jose dos Campos.
During Wednesday’s maiden flight, the aircraft was fitted with dummy units including an Active Antenna Array Unit (AAAU), mission systems and components. “During the first EMB-145I aircraft’s maiden flight on December 6, 2011 there were lots of instrumentation systems onboard. In today’s flight, the new aircraft flew in the full final configuration. The chase aircraft was co-piloted by an Indian Air Force pilot,” Elangovan said.
DRDO hopes to have the fully-loaded plane to begin its test-flying in October this year. “We are in talks to advance this  flight test schedules in India. The second aircraft needs to undergo another 20-30 flights before it arrives in Bangalore. The detail data analysis of its first flight is currently underway. The initial reports are encouraging and the performance of the aircraft matching all mission modes,” said CABS Director S Chrishtopher.
As reported in these columns earlier, the IAF will receive three EMB-145Is in the next three years and once operational, India will join an exclusive club of nations owning home-grown eye-in-the-sky systems.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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