NEW DELHI --- Providing a major boost to surveillance capability along the western border, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the second Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft into its inventory.
Called the Netra (Eye), AEW&C system is a domestically-produced spy plane that played a role during the Balakot operation.
The system is mounted on an Embraer-145 aircraft and has been specifically designed to suit the operational requirements of the IAF.
"The AEW&C aircraft is a proverbial 'Eye in the Sky' and derives its combat capability from a state-of-the-art integrated system comprising of multiple sensors, giving it an ability to pick up low-level targets deep inside the enemy’s airspace", the IAF said in a statement.
The aircraft is also capable of air-to-air refuelling, which significantly enhances its on-station operational endurance from five hours to nine hours. Developers claimed that the plane equipped with infrared detection capability can alert pilots of incoming missiles at a distance of up to 450 kilometres.
The first AEW&C aircraft was inducted into the IAF in 2017, which has been providing air defence surveillance and control from the mountainous terrain of Jammu and Kashmir, and through the deserts of Rajasthan.
"This potent force multiplier also holds the distinction of undertaking the first-ever Air-to-Air refuelling by any transport aircraft in the IAF inventory", the force further added.
The AEW&C aircraft had participated in Ex-Cope India 2018, where it controlled both Indian and US fighters.