Air Strikes: ‘Netra’ Indigenous Early Warning System Proves Mettle
The DRDO-made AEW&C played a big role in the IAF strikes in Pakistan.
India’s indigenous ‘eye in the sky’, the all-weather Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system, proved its mettle during the IAF air strikes across the border, on 26 February.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Netra AEW&C is capable of detecting incoming cruise missiles, fighter jets or even drones. This was handed over to the Indian Air Force by DRDO in 2017.
When Indian Mirage 2000s were targeting JeM training camp in Pakistan, the AEW&C were in the air searching for incoming enemy fighter jets.
While the exact details of the operation are still unknown, according to government sources, the homemade AEW&C played a big role in guiding the fighter jets attacking the targets, as these fighters had turned off their radars to avoid detection.
The technology for the Early Warning system was developed by the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) in Bengaluru and it was mounted on a Brazilian-made Embraer-145 aircraft, for field operations by the IAF.
Developed at a cost of Rs 2,400 crore, Netra was to be an addition to the existing Phalcon airborne warning and control system (AEW&C), which is fitted with Israeli early-warning radars. However, within a few years of their induction to the air force, the DRDO product has become the IAF’s go-to early warning system.
The DRDO-made AEW&C have 240-degree coverage radars which can identify and classify threats and provide Recognizable Air Surveillance Picture (RASP) to commanders controlling the air operations, said senior DRDO officials.
According to the DRDO, the recent air strikes proved the system’s capability as a force multiplier for IAF’s offensive operations.
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