First of IAF AWACS Arrives in India
(Source: Indian Press Information Bureau; issued May 25, 2009)
India today received the first of three Il-76 Phalcon airborne early warning and control aircraft it ordered in 2004 from Israel’s IAI. (photo by Rami Mizrahi)
The first of the three Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform arrived in India from Israel today. The giant IL-76 configured in its new avatar was escorted by three Mig-29 and Jaguar aircraft each that took off from an advance fighter airbase of South Western Air Command (SWAC).

The fighter formations caught up with the AWACS mid-air and escorted it as it entered the Indian FIR (Flight Information Region), till safe touchdown at the Jamnagar airbase, close to midday, today.

Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, SWAC, Air Marshal KD Singh, Air Defence Commander Air Vice Marshal P Singh and the AOC Jamnagar, Air Commodore C Hari Kumar and air warriors of the airbase welcomed the crew of the AWACS aircraft that included the Commanding Officer of the first AWACS squadron, Group Captain B Saju. Their maiden touchdown on Indian soil also marks the first landing of the AWACS in an IAF airbase.

“It was a great feeling to be escorted by our fighters and it feels really good to be back”, said Group Captain B Saju upon arrival. Flown by a full complement of IAF pilots belonging to the newly formed squadron from Ovda International airport, located in southern Israel, the aircraft undertook an eight-and-a-half hour’s flight skirting around several countries taking the aerial route over the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea before landing at Jamnagar.

The aircraft is slated to arrive at Palam airport tomorrow where an induction ceremony is scheduled on May 28. The AWACS are slated to operate from the Agra airbase under Central Air Command and frenetic preparations ahead of its first arrival to join the extended fleet of the IL-76 family are complete. (ends)

IAF AWACS to Arrive on May 25
(Source: Press Information Bureau India; issued May 22, 2009)
Heralding a new chapter, the first Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform that altogether sets to alter the dimension of the see-through capability of the IAF beyond conventional visions of ground-based and tethered electromagnetic sensors, will arrive in India on May 25.

On its maiden flight from Israel to India, the veritable flying-giant with an all-pervasive electromagnetic vision will land first at Jamnagar in western Gujarat and arrive at Palam airport the following day. Although slated to operate from Agra, home to the mammoth Ilyushin family in India, an induction ceremony awaits the first AWACS in the National Capital.

The ceremony will be attended by among others the Chief of the Air Staff, Vice Chief of the Air Staff, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chiefs of the Western and Central Air Command and other senior dignitaries from the Ministry of Defence, Air HQs besides air warriors from the squadron itself.

The AWACS is an airborne mission support system fitted on an IL-76 aircraft with improved engines. With radar that can help detect even a cruise missile or an aircraft at ranges far more than the ranges detected through the present ground-based radars, the AWACS radar, most sophisticated to date, can collate surface information about troop movements and missile launches even while listening to highly confidential communications between enemy frontline units.

Air combats the world over are now envisaged in an ever-increasing electronic surveillance environment where pilots have little liberties for individual manouevring without endangering their own lives or safety of their aircraft. The IAF AWACS will help pilots find hitherto unconceivable space and room for tactical manouevres in the air under controlled directions that will give them an edge over their adversaries at all times.

AWACS, a potent force-multiplier, will 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. The swift mobility that the AWACS platform provides will help neutralize any threat as it can be moved anywhere at a very short notice.


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