India is likely to place an order for six Airbus A330 aircraft worth 20,000 crore ($3 billion) as a platform to mount indigenously-built Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).
“Presently, our estimate is for the first two AEW&Cs will be about 9200 crores (USD 1.3 billion) followed by four numbers will be about similar number. So on an average, the production cost of an AEW&Cs will be about 2.6-2.7 thousand crores (USD 404 million),” S. Christopher, Chairman, DRDO said during a press conference on Aero-India international seminar-2017 Saturday.
“We are in the process of clearance from the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) this month, negotiations are over, and CCS will have a final approval for Airbus aircraft. With that we shall be able to proceed,” he said.
“We are hopeful that within six months we will get the clearances and the first aircraft will be ready for handing over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in less than 84 months after signing the contract.”
“The present one developed on Embraer-145 aircraft has 240 degree surveillance and a coverage area of 240 km but when mounted on Airbus it will have 360 degree surveillance with a coverage area of 300 km. Smaller AEW&Cs (Embraer) can be exported to other countries and can develop it exclusively for somebody,” he said.
This Indian spy-in-the-sky will be protected by a comprehensive self-defense system. The plane can act as a command-and-control center to support air defense operations like the AWACS aircraft India got from Israel, and can monitor multiple target aircraft and areas.