Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Speaking after reviewing the Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal in Hyderabad, said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to procure more ERJ145 based Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control System developed by DRDO to beef up its Indigenous AWACS fleet capabilities which are grossly inadequate to fight a two-front war with Pakistan and China.
He confirmed that this will be over 6 Ex-Air India Airbus A320 that are being planned to be converted into Netra 2.0 AWACS platform using new upgraded Desi AESA Radar developed in India by DRDO. Three ERJ145 based Netra AEW&CS were procured by India and two are flying with IAF and one is still retained by DRDO to be used as Test Bed for the future program, which eventually might join IAF at a later stage.
Brazilian Embraer company previously faced corruption charges in India, related to alleged kickbacks involved in the original EMB-145 AEW&C deal, but IAF still has been procuring directly from the company all the spares required the maintain the present fleet, it’s still not clear if IAF will be procuring additional EMB-145 platforms directly from the Embraer or from the commercial market. IAF also has plans for Six Airbus A330 based AWACS post-2030 with mast-mounted rotodome based on the indigenous radar for 360-degree coverage will also be pursued at a later stage.