Airbus is said to be aiming to provide the Indian Air Force with two A330 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft, according to sources within the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the large Asian nation.
On guidance by the DRDO the Indian Ministry of Defence seems to be willing to go ahead with the development of an semi-indigenous AWACS together with an international partner. Many experts believed Russia’s new Beriev/Ilyushin A-100 Premier would’ve stand a good change, while the Indian Air Force already ordered five somewhat similar Beriev/Ilyushin A-50E/I Phalcon AWACS planes with at least three operational. But, according to the The Economic Times of India only Airbus has shown serious interest and that India will go ahead with Airbus.
The bid by Airbus is remarkable, since the European consortium has not developed an AWACS plane before. This could mean a long developing time and possibly many issues – especially with the expected Indian requirements and integration of Indian made and developed systems. However, Airbus also hadn’t developed a tanker aircraft before but the current A330 MRTT / KC-30 is now an established military asset with several air forces – including the RAF as the Voyager flown by AirTanker – and a tough competitor for Boeing’s new KC-46 still in its development phase.
ERJ 145 AEWACS
The DRDO is a serious player when it comes to the Indian military requirements. The organisation has been the engine behind the Indian Air Force’s smaller Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWACS), based on the Embraer ERJ 145 business jet with an adapted EL/W-2090 AWACS systems in a boom antenna on the back of the aircraft provided by Israel. Three of these DRDO/ERJ AEWACS are set to be operational in 2015, with an requirement for six to fourteen more.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): After the tanker version, will the A330 also surface as a AWACS? (Image © Airbus)