New Delhi: India has ordered another two advanced versions of the Israeli Phalcon AWACS or airborne warning and control systems at a cost of over $800 million. These are in addition to the three Phalcon AWACS procured earlier.
The IAF currently operates the IAI EL/M-2075 Phalcon AWACS radar on an Ilyushin Il-76 platform.
First reports of the IAF's intention to purchase two more of these aircraft first emerged last year in September, just before delivery of the third AWACS.
Top defence ministry sources are being quoted as saying the "draft contract'' for the two new AWACS "is now finally in the final stages of being examined''.
The follow-on order to the $1.1-billion tripartite deal between India, Israel and Russia in 2004, comes even as Pakistan and China boost military capabilities at an incredible pace.
The AWCS has detection capability that extends to a range of 400 kms into enemy territory. It can operate in all-weather conditions and direct air defence fighters during combat operations.