Indian Air Force’s eye in the sky arrives escorted by fighter jets

May 25th, 2009 - 5:32 pm ICT by ANI  

By Praful Kumar Singh

New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): The Indian Air Force’s eye in the sky, Phalcon AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform, arrived in India from Israel today.

The first of three Indian Air Force AWACS arrived in Jamnagar, Gujarat. It took off from Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, first for Ovda in the southern Israeli coastal town of Eilat. At night, it flew from from Eilat to Jamnagar, reaching India on Monday.

The Israeli-built system is mounted on a Russian-built IL-76 transport aircraft as a part of the tripartite agreement between India, Israel and Russia.

Three Mig-29 and three Jaguar aircrafts took off from an advance fighter airbase of South Western Air Command (SWAC) and escorted the giant IL-76 configured in its new avatar.

The fighter formations caught up with the AWACS mid-air and escorted it as it entered the Indian FIR (Flight Information Region), and touched down at the Jamnagar Air Force Base, close to midday, today.

Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, SWAC, Air Marshal KD Singh along with senior IAF officials and air warriors welcomed the crew of the AWACS aircraft that included the Commanding Officer of the first AWACS squadron, Group Captain B Saju.

” It was a great feeling to be escorted by our fighters and it feels really good to be back,” said Group Captain B Saju upon arrival.

The Israeli Phalcon AWACS will be inducted in air force squadron on May 28, which will help the IAF to monitor military build-up and aircraft movement nearly hundreds of kilometres inside Pakistan without violating their airspace.

The AWACS are slated to operate from the Agra airbase under the Central Air Command and frenetic preparations ahead of its first arrival to join the extended fleet of the IL-76 family are complete, said an Indian Air Force statement.

India’s most potent force multiplier, Phalcon AWACS, is also capable of tracking down incoming missiles. The all weather system capable of engaging 60 targets simultaneously and has a range of 400 km. (ANI)

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