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India asks for enhanced systems on third Il-76 AEW

The third Ilyushin Il-76 airborne early warning aircraft ordered by the Indian air force will carry additional systems for enhanced performance. The AEW aircraft is expected to arrive later this year in Israel for preparation by Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Systems subsidiary, for delivery to India in 2011.

Two converted Il-76s carrying the Elta AEW Phalcon mission suite have already been delivered to India. Based on their operational experience India's Defence Research and Development Organisation has asked IAI to add to the third aircraft systems for enhanced performance.

© Indian air force

IAI has no comment on the request, but it is understood that the additional systems may include sensors that would improve the "threat picture" even under adverse conditions.

In the meantime, India experts are visiting Israel regularly.

The Indian ministry of defence is seeking proposals to further bolster AEW capabilities with either additional converted Il-76s or smaller platforms such as the Gulfstream G550 with Israeli systems.

Earlier this year India requested a proposal from IAI for another three Il-76s. That deal could be worth around $1.5 billion.

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