India is eyeing to purchase 2 Phalcon airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) in a deal that is valued at $800 million (INR 5,600 crore) from Israel.
The AWACS will be mounted on Russian Ilyushin-76 heavy-lift aircraft. The deal has been cleared by the defence ministry and the finance ministry is now considering it, Times of India reported Thursday.
“The Cabinet Committee on Security will have to give the final nod,” a source revealed.
The Indian Air Force had inducted the first three Phalcon AWACS between 2009-2011 under a $1.1 billion deal inked by India, Israel and Russia in 2004.
"The finance ministry objected to the high costs involved in the new deal for two more AWACS which was proposed. The costs have now been brought down through extensive negotiations," the report quoted sources as saying.
Considered potent “eyes in the sky”, AWACS can detect and track incoming fighters, cruise missiles and drones much before ground-based radars as well as direct friendly fighters during air combat with enemy jets.
India has three Phalcon AWACS and two indigenous “Netra” mini-AWACS in its roster in comparison to neighboring China has around 30 such systems; including Kong Jing-2000 “Mainring”, KJ-200 “Moth” and KJ-500 aircraft. Pakistan has eight Chinese-made Karakoram Eagle ZDK-03 AWACS and Swedish Saab-2000 AEW&C, and is on course to get more from China.