Published 7 days ago on August 30, 2020
By EurAsian Times Desk
With an aggressive China overlooking on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, India’s latest acquisition are two more Phalcon’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft from Israel.
On one hand, while the push from Israel expediated the long-stalled deal to sell AWACS to India, Israel had earlier refused to sell the AWACS system to China.
However, the deal on AWACS and a few other strategic systems with India… it is a Billion-Dollar Deal between India and Israel.
According to Harinder Mishra, a journalist living in Jerusalem, the long-stalled deal is a part of a $2 billion worth purchase agreement between India and Israel which includes plans to jointly manufacture arms supplies and airborne defence systems.
While talking to BBC, he said that Israel has been pushing New Delhi to finalize the deal because the delay leads to a further increase in its price.
INDIA’S NEED FOR AWACS
According to S. Alex Philip, India first felt the need for AWACS during the air battle with Pakistan on February 27, 2019.
Following the Balakot strike last year when Indian warplanes crossed the border and dropped bombs in the vicinity of the town of Balakot in Pakistan, the very next day, Pakistan tried to target military installations but was repulsed.
Pakistan, which operates about 10 AWACS, took advantage of the system and succeeded in downing the Indian MiG-21 Bison in aerial combat besides capturing Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on March 1, 2019.
Now the Israel-India deal has finally received a green signal from India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The AWACS (file photo)
Also termed as the Airborne Early-Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft, the AWACS are key systems of modern warfare as they can detect and track incoming fighters, cruise missiles, and drones much before ground-based radars, direct friendly fighters during air combat with enemy jets.
They also keep tabs on enemy troop build-ups and movement of warships. India’s current possession of AWACS consists of three Phalcon AWACS, with a 400-km range and 360-degree coverage, and two indigenous “Netra” AEW&C aircraft, with indigenous 240-degree coverage radars with a 250-km range fitted on smaller Brazilian Embraer-145 jets.
The acquisition of the AWACS is well-timed with the Indian Army preparing for a long haul at the LAC with China in Eastern Ladakh. The two nations have been at loggerheads ever since the deadly Galwan valley clash which resulted in the killing of 20 Indian soldiers and unconfirmed numbers on the Chinese side.
HOWEVER, both the Chinese (btw, China has AWACS like early warning and control aircraft too… ) & Indian AWACS will suffer performance limitations in the mountains since undulations in the terrain will create detection problems for aircraft masked behind the hills.
- “The laws of physics are universally applicable and requirement of Line of Sight condition has to be met for radar pick up.”
- Another limitation in the mountainous terrain at the LAC will be due to terrain masking, AWACS may not be able to pick up any attackers heading towards it and the attackers can easily launch sneak attacks taking advantage of hill shadows in the area.
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