Why India prefer Israeli AWACS radar system?

According to the Times of India, after extensive ministerial consultations, the Indian Cabinet Security Committee finally approved the Indian Air Force to purchase two “Falcon” Airborne Early Warning Systems (AWACS) from Israel at a cost of approximately US$1 billion. The airborne early warning system will be secured to two Russian-supplied Il-76 large transport aircraft. The purchase of the “Falcon” airborne early warning system from Israel has been put on hold many times in the past few years because of the high cost. This year, The MOD finally approved the deal.

A-50EI 0f IAF escort by two su-30mki

Three are already in services. These will join two Netras. Later upgraded Netras too will be acquired. But game changer will be DRDO 360° AWACS based on A-330 initially two will be ordered.

The ELW-2090 is ELTA’s third-generation Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) system installed on an IL-76 heavy military transport aircraft. The system excels in wide-area persistent air and ground surveillance. The system employs a powerful command, control & communication system to integrate the data of the onboard sensors: Radar, IFF, ESM/ELINT, CSM/COMINT together with multiple broadband data links.


  • IL-76 Aircraft
    Long range, large cabin, 4-engine turbojet air-lifter. Extensive cabin space for the operator crew and a comfortable crew rest area for long endurance missions.
    Air-refueled for extending mission endurance.
  • Radar
    Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA), L-Band radar with 360° coverage. Accurate 3-D tracks, low false alarm rate, flexible revisit time, ECCM and programmable search and track regimes.
  • IFF
    Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA) embedded in the radar array, 360° coverage, long range, high accuracy.
    Sophisticated signal intelligence capabilities, high probability of signal interception and high bearing accuracy.
  • Self-Protection Suite
    360° coverage of passive radar warning receiver and active missile approach warning system. Programmable chaff & flares countermeasures.
  • Operator stations
    11 flexible, interchangeable multipurpose, 24″ Windows-based workstations, efficient control of all sensors, comprehensive Command & Control capabilities.
  • Communication Suite
    Interoperability with Air Force, Navy and Ground Forces. HF and V/UHF Radios, SATCOM, VOIP, Secure Voice, Integrated Intercom and Secure LOS datalink.

Phalcon AEWR

Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 648.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.4 km Generation: Early 2000s
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Non-Coperative Target Recognition (NCTR) – Jet Engine Modulation [Class Info], Track While Scan (TWS), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)
Phalcon AEWR – Radar
Role: Radar, Air & Surface Search, 3D Long-Range
Max Range: 648.2 km

Indian airforce use A-50E/I – With Aviadvigatel PS-90 A-76 engines which is much better than the Chinese one

Advantages of the PS-90A-76 turbofan engine compared to D-30KP

  • Conformity of ecological parameters on emission and noise to ICAO  regulations
  • Increase of reliability and life
  • Improvement of efficiency
  • Availability of thrust augmentation up to 16000 kg

In March 2004, Israel and India signed a US$1.1 billion deal according to which IAI would deliver the Indian Air Force three AEW&C radar systems. India signed a separate deal with the Ilyushin Corporation of Russia for the supply of three Il-76 A-50 heavy air-lifters, which were to be used as platforms for these radar systems, for the additional US $500 million. In 2008, media reports suggested that India and Israel were about to sign a deal for three additional radars. India received its first AWACS on 25 May 2009. It landed in Jamnagar AFB in Gujarat completing its 8 hour long journey from Israel.

This radar consists of an array transmit/receive (T/R) modules that allow a beam to be electronically steered, making a physically rotating rotodome unnecessary. AESA radars operate on a pseudorandom set of frequencies and also have very short scanning rates, which makes them difficult to detect and jam.

Most important part of IAF AWAC is that can use it to track missile launches and to be part of BMD system. Range is classified, but i suspect it is more the 500 km in tracking mode.


The A-50 is fitted with a self-defence system when flying en-route and over patrol zones. The self-defence system ensures protection from guided and unguided weapons of the enemy’s fighters attacking the aircraft from its front and rear hemispheres. The self-defence system includes an electronic countermeasures system.

The aircraft can also be protected from the enemy’s fighter aircraft via guidance of friendly fighters.

The aircraft radio and electronics systems are robust against hostile jamming and provide good combat performance in dense electronic countermeasures environments.

Flight control and navigation

The aircraft is fitted with the NPK-T flight control and navigation system used to ensure air navigation during all flight stages in all-weather day and night and all-year operations performed at all geographical latitudes. The system also provides flight control and navigation data intended for mission specific systems and equipment.

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