23 May : After a delay of over eight months, the first of the three Indian Air Force (IAF) Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) will finally arrive in India on 25th May."The Israeli-built AWACS system is arriving in India on May 25 and will be inducted in the IAF on May 27," an IAF officer said in New Delhi.
On its maiden flight from Israel to India, the AWACS, fitted on to a IL-76 airframe, would land first at Jamnagar air base in Gujarat and arrive at Palam airport the following day.
Although slated to operate from Agra, the aircraft would be inducted in to the IAF in the national capital, officers said.
The AWACS, known as an eye in the sky, has a radar that could help in detecting even cruise missiles or aircraft at ranges much beyond the capabilities of present systems.
It could also collate information about troop movements and missile launches on ground and even intercept highly secured communication networks of the enemy.
Induction of the AWACS in the IAF will launch the force into the league of a selected group of nations with this capability, officers said."Air combats the world over are now envisaged in an ever-increasing electronic surveillance environment, where pilots have little liberties for individual manouevering without endangering their own lives or safety of their aircraft," an IAF officer said.
The IAF AWACS would help pilots find hitherto unconceivable space and room for tactical manouevres in the air under controlled directions that would give them an edge over their adversaries at all times, officers said.
AWACS, a potent force-multiplier, would significantly enhance the effectiveness of both offensive and defensive operations.
"The intensity and pace of modern air battle need AWACS for a successful air defence umbrella to be maintained," an official said.
The swift mobility that the AWACS platform provided would help neutralise any threat, as it could be moved anywhere at a very short notice.