Strengthening Strategic Surveillance System
India’s efforts to build its own Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system crossed a milestone when a fully modified, Brazilian Embraer-145 aircraft, on which the system will be installed, arrived at the HAL, Bangalore.
The aircraft was given an enthusiastic welcome by engineers of the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), nodal agency for building the AEW&C system. The CABS is a DRDO facility.
The aircraft, with the indigenous Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar, will be an “eye in the sky.” The radar can look NO degrees within a short time and has a range of 350 km. It can track than 500 targets simultaneously. The most critical of these is the AESA radar, which is developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bangalore, and the antenna called Active Antenna Array Unit (AAAU), made by the CABS. The radar is the processor part of the AAAU.
According to the CABS engineers, it was a challenge for them to integrate the AEW&C system components with the aircraft, which had to be modified. The AAAU weighed 1.5 tonnes and it had to be mounted on the fuselage without affecting the aircraft’s stability. While the primary radar mounted on the aircraft is the AESA, the secondary surveillance sensor is the Identification of the Friend or Foe (IFF) system. The important modes of operation of the system are surface surveillance and air surveillance. The IR; system was developed by the CABS. The IFF determincs whether the target, determined by the primary radar, is a friend or foe.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with its various laboratories, is spearheading the (AEW&C) system programm