Embraer is flight-testing the last of three EMB-145 aircraft modified to be fitted with an airborne surveillance radar for India. Once the activity has been completed in Brazil, the aircraft will be delivered to the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) Centre for Airborne Systems to have an indigenous active electronically scanned array radar installed.
"They have two aircraft with the mission systems already installed," says Embraer, which adds that it provides technical assistance to India with regard to integrating the platform's mission systems. "It's a joint programme," Embraer says. "We have our technicians going there and some Indian technicians coming here."
Embraer has already delivered two modified EMB-145 airframes to India
The system, referred to in India as the Airborne Early Warning and Control System, is not operational yet, Embraer says. Two aircraft are still undergoing tests at the DRDO, but if the project proves to be successful it could be inducted into service with the Indian air force. Sources suggest that the type's radar is likely to have been designed with Israeli assistance.
One unique feature of the Indian aircraft is that they are fitted with an in-flight refuelling probe, which should boost their range and endurance considerably. "It's the first time one of our [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] platforms based on the -145 has the air refuelling system," Embraer says.
Embraer says that while India has options to buy more of the aircraft, it cannot disclose that information.