ISRAEL AIRCRAFT Industries (IAI) subsidiary Elta is to supply electronic-warfare (EW) systems to the Indian air force for the Mikoyan MiG-21 upgrade being undertaken by the Russian and Indian aerospace industries.

The $80 million IAI contract was signed as part of a wider agreement, finally sealed earlier this month by the Russian and Indian authorities, to upgrade 125 aircraft at a cost of around $300 million.

The Indians selected the Elta equipment after rejecting Russian systems as inadequate. The Israeli company will, supply integral and pod-configured passive and active EW systems. It refuses to give details about the systems, but they are believed to be based on the EL/L- 8202 self-protection pod - versions of which have already been exported.

The Sokol plant of Nizhniy Novgorod is the prime contractor, with MAPO MiG and radar producer Phazotron as major participants. The core of the upgrade is installation of the Phazotron Kopyo radar, a modern weapon-control system, and the IAI EW system.

The first two MiG-21s are to be completed and tested in 27 months from contract signature. Following that, Sokol will produce the modernisation kits and ship them to Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for incorporation in the airframe. The programme will run until 2001. HAL manufactured the MiG-21 under licence.

India is about to make an advance payment of $60 million to Sokol. A further contract worth around $100 million is expected to be signed soon for new-generation air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. Also under discussion is a plan to upgrade a further 50 MiG-21s.

Victor Andryunin, Sokol's deputy general-director for foreign economical relations, hopes that the contract will open the door to business elsewhere. Egypt, Vietnam and Bulgaria figure among the most likely candidates.

Source: Flight International