The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to lease airborne early warning aircraft to plug capability gaps. The leased aircraft are to be used until the IAF gets new planes from indigenous sources. The Indian Air Force plans to lease airborne early warning aircraft
Amid delays in the procurement of airborne early warning systems, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to lease such aircraft to bridge its capability gap.
The IAF has five airborne warning aircraft, three Israeli-origin Phalcon airborne early warning and control systems and two homegrown Netra AEW&C planes.
“The adversaries, including China and Pakistan, have several such aircraft. Pakistan alone has 12 of these planes acquired from Sweden and China. The Chinese Air Force has a large number of similar planes and can cover their borders with India conveniently,” government sources told India Today.
Though India has five systems and other surveillance planes of the Indian Navy, the task of 24×7 surveillance on both fronts is becoming a bit challenging, they said.
The sources said the IAF might try to lease these planes from global manufacturers if someone is willing to, as only a few countries can produce such systems.
The Indian Air Force has got a program with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is turning six Airbus 320 planes into AWACS, but the project would take some time to get completed.
Meanwhile, the leased aircraft are planned to be used until the IAF gets new planes and aircraft from indigenous sources.