Rafael will bid for India's follow-on requirement for additional aerostat-carried radar systems, after the nation's defence ministry decided to issue an international tender, rather than give a contract directly to the Israeli company.

The defence ministry will issue the tender by mid-2013, according to Indian sources. Other bidders expected to pursue the deal include BAE Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Thales and Russia's Rosoboronexport arms agency.

Indian sources say the air force has not been satisfied with the maintenance of two aerostat radars supplied by Rafael under a previous deal. However, a source at the company says the dispute is about work that is not included in its maintenance contract with New Delhi.

For the new contest, Rafael will bid with new versions of its aerostat-carried radar systems, a company source confirms.

Offering a persistent surveillance capability, radars mounted on aerostats provide the long-range detection of low-altitude threats, such as hostile aircraft and cruise missiles.

Source: Flight International