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India: more AWACS and BrahMos missiles
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (UPI) Nov 17, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

India is in final negotiations for buying two more Israeli-made EL/M-2075 Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems, the Times of India reported.

The $800 million contract is in addition to another $1.1 billion deal for three Phalcons signed in 2004 with Israel and Russia, the Times report said. In that deal, Russia supplied the AWACS aircraft -- Ilyushin-76 military transport plane. The three planes were delivered in 2009 and 2010.

The Phalcon is developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elta Electronics Industries of Israel. Apart from India and Israel, the Phalcon is used by Chile and Singapore.

India also is on schedule for developing its own AWACS, a smaller system than the Phalcon and for use on smaller planes.

The mini-AWACS program is a $400 million project to mount the radars on three Embraer-145 jets bought from Brazil.

Delivery date for the first plane is 2015, according to a Ministry of Defense statement in November 2010. The Ministry also plans another three mini-AWACS, but has not decided on an aircraft.

Dr. Prahlada, Chief Controller of Research and Development at the Defense Research and Development Organization, which is leading the mini-AWACS program, said the systems will be "85 percent indigenous."

The first three mini-AWACS will have a radar range between 150 and 225 miles and stay airborne for up to 5 hours.

Early last year, Boeing was in talks with the Ministry of Defense about using its 737-700 as a platform for the mini-AWACS.

The AWACS will be especially useful for detecting troop movements as well as cruise missiles.

The Time of India also reported that the Indian army has inducted another regiment of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a precision-strike weapon with a range of around 200 miles.

The missiles likely will be deployed in the state of Arunachal Pradesh state in the northeast along the remote and contested border with China, the report said.

BrahMos missiles will "counter China's huge buildup of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-kilometer (2,500-mile) Line of Actual Control following a similar nod for the western sector facing Pakistan." the Times said.

The BrahMos is a based on Russian technology and is developed by BrahMos Aerospace -- a joint venture company created in 1998. BMA is 50.5 percent Indian-government owned and 49.5 percent by the Russian government. The name BrahMos is derived from two rivers, India's Brahmaputra and Russia's Moskva.

Last year the Indian government announced plans to have a reduced-weight air-launched version of the BrahMos on the air force's Sukhoi SU-30 MK-1 fighter aircraft by 2012.

The two-stage supersonic version, with its solid propellant engine, reaches Mach 3. But a hypersonic version is under development, BrahMos Aerospace said. It will use scram-jet engines, in place of ramjet, and reach Mach 6.

India has hopes for exporting the missiles, but only after all Ministry of Defense orders have been met.

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