New Delhi: India is likely to approve a deal worth over Rs 5,700 crore for acquiring two more ‘Phalcon’ Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft from Israel. This is the second deal with Israel after India agreed to the Rs 4,577 crore contract with the Israeli Aerospace Industries for acquiring 66 fire control radars, stated a report by The Times of India.

Since Israel is one of the leading suppliers of arms to the country, India is planning to induct more ‘Heron’ surveillance and armed drones including 15 more ‘Harop’ attack drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, which act as cruise missiles that target enemy radars from the country.  The new 3-D surveillance and tracking radars are inducted to replace the Flycatcher radar systems used by the Indian Air Defence Corps.

The Indian Air Force is planning to induct two more AWACS, stated the report. The Phalcon AWACS, that is mounted on the Russian Ilyushin-76 heavy-lift aircraft, is currently under examination by the Finance ministry after receiving approval from the Defence ministry. The final approval will be granted by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

The first three Phalcon AWACS was inducted by IAF in 2009-2011. The deal inked by India, Israel and Russia in 2004 was worth a $1.1 billion. Considering the high costs incurred in acquiring the AWACS, the two more deals have been ‘brought down’ by the finance ministry after thorough negotiations, stated sources in the know of the matter.

India is also discussing the Project Cheetah with the Israelis under which almost all the drones of the three services would be turned into high-quality attack drones and their surveillance capabilities would also be enhanced.

AWACS are advanced than the ground-based radars when it comes to tracking incoming fighters, cruise missiles and drones. They are also much better than the direct friendly fighters that combat with enemy jets in the air.

(With Agency inputs)