Tel Aviv: Reports now emanating from Israel say the first of the three IAI-manufactured Phalcon AWACS aircraft systems, contracted for by the Indian Air Force, may be delivered sometime over the next few weeks. An Indian defence delegation currently in Israel may also be negotiating a $1.5 billion purchase of four similar early warning systems, Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported Monday.
Negotiations over the new deal is said to have begun a few months ago.
An Indian defence delegation, headed by defence secretary, Vijay Singh, arrived in Israel this week to discuss purchase of planes and missiles from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The report, quoting unnamed Israeli defense industry sources, said discussions will also take place with Israel on intelligence sharing and combating of terror. The Indian delegation includes senior officials from the ministry of defence, high ranking officers from the army and air force, as well as officials involved in military research and development, the report said.
India has struck a number of big deals with Israel recently, including a $640 million sea-to-sea missile (Barak II) project and a $260 million purchase of anti-aircraft missiles (SpyDer).
Earlier, in a $1.1 billion deal India had bought three Phalcon AWACS systems from the IAI for $1.1 billion, which were to be mounted on Uzbekistan-supplied Ilyushin-76 aircraft. With deliveries of the Uzbeki airframes pushed back, scheduled deliveries of the completed AWACS aircraft were also pushed back.
IAI sources said current delays stemmed from problems discovered during test flights, which have since been corrected.
All deliveries will now be completed by 2010.
Israel is now the second largest defence equipment supplier to India, after Russia.