In what would be a major fillip to India’s air defences, an $800 million (Rs 5,700 crore approximately) contract for the purchase of two additional ‘Phalcon’ airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft from Israel is close to getting the green light, coming on the heels of a previous Rs 4,577 crore contract with the middle-eastern nation for air defence radars, reports Times of India.
The new deal would cement Israel’s position as one of India’s biggest arms suppliers. The Indian military is also looking to acquire more ‘Heron’ surveillance and armed drones from the country, while also expressing interest in ‘Harop’ unmanned aerial vehicles which themselves play the role of missiles by homing into enemy targets.
In light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s interest in visiting India sometime in February, the country is also looking to get back on track a shelved deal to sell ‘Spike’ anti-tank guided missiles to India.
Another large contract with a prime Israeli contender is the Rs 12,640 deal for the acquisition of 400 towed 155 mm artillery gun systems and the indigenous manufacture of another 1,180 such weapons; Israeli manufacturer Elbit Systems is in a race with Nexter Systems to clinch the contract.
As for the present AWACS under consideration, the system enables the early detection and tracking of enemy fighter aircraft, cruise missiles as well as drones intruding into a country’s airspace; the foreign objects are identified much earlier than would be possible with traditional ground-based radars.
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