The Israeli defence ministry has been shocked to learn from officials in Washington that the sale of three Phalcon-type airborne early warning (AEW) systems to India is being viewed as against US interests. Sources in Israel say the unofficial "hint" was relayed to the Israeli ministry in late March, although no official request to cancel or delay the deal has been received.

Negotiations with India have reached an advanced stage, and Israel had recently managed to reach an agreement with Russia on the purchase of the Ilyushin Il-76s to serve as the system's platform. The Phalcon AEW system Israel has been developing for India will be more advanced than the system that Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) was prevented from supplying to China when the USA blocked the deal three years ago. On that occasion, Israel was forced to pay $350 million in compensation.

IAI will not release details of the system for India, but it is understood that the radar, the Phalcon's main sensor, will be capable of detecting and identifying targets over longer ranges. The package will also include electronic intelligence and communications intelligence sensors to support the radar picture.

Source: Flight International