India To Buy 2 More Russian AWACS Aircraft

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New Delhi: Russia and India have signed a contract for the supply of A-50EI early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft, President of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Yuri Slyusar told TASS on the sidelines of the Aero India 2017 air show.

The Beriev A-50 is an airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft based on the Il-76 transport jet.

A-50 is used for detection and tracking of air targets and surface ships and alerting military command of air and surface threats. The plane can also serve as an airborne command post controlling up to 10 fighter aircraft.  The Indian Air Force (IAF) operates 3 A-50 planes.

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At the Aero India-2017 air show in February 2017, Russia and India signed a contract for the supply of two more A-50EI (an upgraded version of the A-50) aircraft.

In 2003, India bought three A-50 aircraft. A-50EI is an upgraded version of the plane with Israeli-made EL/W-2090 radar designed especially for the Indian Air Force.

The A-50 is equipped with the large Liana surveillance radar with its antenna in an over-fuselage rotodome and can control up to ten fighter aircraft for either air-to-air intercept or air-to-ground attack missions. In many aspects, the A-50 is comparable to the E-3 Sentry of the U.S. Air Force. It is fitted with an aerial refueling system and electronic warfare equipment and can detect targets up to 400 km (250 miles) away.

In addition to the Russian A-50 aircraft, India has purchased the Boeing P-81 long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft from the United States and signed a deal with Brazil to jointly integrate domestically developed AWACS systems onto three Brazilian-made Embraer-145 aircraft which was commissioned at the recently concluded Aero India 2017 by IAF.