New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has cleared proposals to acquire three more Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft from Israel, in addition to the three already contracted in 2004 for $370 million each. The follow-on orders will be placed even as the IAF prepares to receive the first platform from the earlier order sometime in September of this year.
The IAF AWACS system being delivered by Israel is a mated platform that combines a Russian designed Ilyushin-76 airframe with an Israeli radar and electronics. The three Il-76's that will perform service as the AWACS platform for the IAF have been sourced from Uzbekistan.
The follow-on orders for the Phalcon IL-76TD are estimated to be worth $2 billion, according to government officials, with the price ranging between $300-$400 million per aircraft.
Deliveries of all orders, new and old, are expected to be made in a phased manner between 2009-2012. with the second and third platforms from the earlier order being delivered in April 2009 and August 2010 respectively.
The first AWACS is currently undergoing flight tests in Russia.
Meanwhile Israeli media are reporting that the orders to be placed with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) could turn out to be the biggest defence contract in Israel's history. Reports suggest that the new order would involve the same configuration as the earlier one in 2004 with the radar and electronic intelligence systems designed and manufactured by IAI subsidiary, Elta Systems Group.
The Phalcon (phased array L-band conformal radar) is designed and manufactured by Elta and includes radar, electronic intelligence systems and communications equipment.
The Phalcon is a force multiplier, able to detect aerial threats and also serve as a command and control platform to direct combat jets on missions. The Phalcon is an all-weather system capable of logging 60 targets simultaneously and has a detection range of up to 400 km.