Model of Indian Airbus A320-based AWACS. Image @VayuAerospace on Twitter

Indian new Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AWACS) project to be based on a modified Airbus A320 aircraft with a 240 degree coverage antenna has broken cover with a model of the aircraft on display at Aero India 2021.

Images of the upcoming AWACS being developed by the Center of Airborne Systems (CABS) a wing of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory have appeared on Twitter a couple of days ahead of the official opening of the show.

The model of the new AWACS has a 240 degree radar similar to the ‘Netra’ early warning system developed by the CABS-DRDO and mounted on an Embraer platform. It will also have a nose mounted active electronically scanning array (AESA) radar, the chopped off nose in the model seems to suggest.

Last December, India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) okayed the development of six new AWACS planes to be built by the DRDO and based on modified Airbus A320 jets sourced from Air India.

The Netra early warning system was inducted only in 2017 and since then indigenous AWACS systems developments have been quite rapid. Besides the Netra, the Indian air force (IAF) has the Israeli Phalcon system mounted on an Russian Il-76 platform.

A future development planned is a 360 degree radar mounted on brand new Airbus A330 aircraft.

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