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Israel targets further AEW sales to India

Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Systems subsidiary will deliver the first of three Ilyushin Il-76-based airborne early warning aircraft to India in February, while New Delhi is already negotiating the purchase of additional systems from Israel.

The first Il-76 transport to have been modified by Elta for AEW duty with the Indian air force is undergoing final tests in Israel, and is scheduled to be handed over next month. New Delhi's original schedule for the type has slipped because of problems encountered while installing surveillance radar, and its remaining two examples will now be delivered by 2011 under the $1.1 billion deal.

Missions will include providing tactical surveillance of airborne targets and performing electronic intelligence tasks.

India's air force wants to bolster its AEW capabilities and is negotiating the purchase of additional systems, probably based on smaller platforms, with a selection expected by mid-2009.

Elta has already produced a Phalcon-type AEW system for the Israeli air force based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet.

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