India to develop an airborne electronic warfare aircraft on the Su-30MKI platform

The Defence Research And Development Organization has started to carry out studies, for the integration of an advanced electronic warfare suite on the Su-30MKI aircraft that is considered the first step towards the development of the Airborne Electronic Aircraft.

According to recent reports published by the Indian Defense Research Wing, the Combat Aircraft Systems Development and Integration Centre, which is one of the Research & Development Centres set up under DRDO is carrying out feasibility studies for the integration of and electronic warfare suite on the Su-30MKI aircraft.

Airborne Electronic Aircraft platforms are capable of disrupting, deceiving, or denying a wide range of military electronic systems including radars and communications. The Su-30MKI aircraft will retain all the multi-mission capabilities with its validated design and the capability to perform a wide range of enemy defence suppression missions.

Su-30 Airborne Electronic Aircraft will be carrying tactical jamming pods, communication countermeasures set, electronic warfare receiver suite, satellite communications, and a high-performance SIGINT sensor system. IAF and DRDO from 2021 have been working on the technical requirements of the AEA platform and now it has moved feasibility study stage.

What actually is Electronic Warfare?

Electronic warfare is a type of advanced warfare which is used to destroy or damage the enemy command, control, and communication systems. To be precise, electronic warfare is used for the destruction of enemy electronic systems. Electronic warfare uses electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to attack and weaken enemy systems. Many types of advanced jamming systems, jammers, Anti-Radiation Missiles, pods have been developed for the successful implementation of the EW by countries like the United States, Russia and China.

Electronic Warfare Aircrafts

An Electronic Warfare aircraft is a advanced military aircraft that is used for degrading the effectiveness of enemy radar and radio systems by using radar jamming and deception methods. There are several different types of EW aircrafts available today. Currently only few countries are capable of designing and developing these advanced aircrafts.

In 1943, British Avro Lancaster aircraft were equipped with chaff in order to blind enemy air defence radars. They were supplemented by specially-equipped aircraft flown by No. 100 Group RAF, which operated modified Halifaxes, Liberators and Fortresses carrying various jammers such as Carpet, Airborne Cigar, Mandrel, etc.

US Navy EA-18G Growler and PLAAF J-16D are electronic-warfare versions of the F-18 E/F and J-16 (Sukhoi Su-27) multi-role strike fighters developed by Boeing and Shenyang Aircraft Corp that can be used to jam the enemy air-defense radars and deceive radars into detecting a large number of incoming warplanes or masking a large airborne fleet.

Electronic Warfare Aircrafts are very much helpful in conducting SEAD missions. SEAD simply means the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses by using advanced technology. In modern warfare, SEAD missions can make as much as 30% of all sorties launched in the first week of combat and continue at a reduced rate through the rest of a campaign.

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