Indian team to visit Israel to discuss AWACS delay

September 22nd, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) A team of Indian defence officials will be visiting Israel to resolve issues leading to the delay in the delivery of the Phalcon airborne warning and control systems (AWACS).The team, which comprises deputy chief of air staff Air Marshal N.A.K. Browne and director general acquisition Shashi Kant Sharma, will go to Israel on a three-day visit beginning Tuesday, a defence official said Monday.

“The team will discuss the issues pertaining to the delivery of Israeli Phalcon AWACS, whose delivery has been delayed,” the defence official said on condition of anonymity.

The first of the three AWACS, being installed by Israel Aircraft Industries on Russian II-78 platforms, was expected to be delivered by October. But certain technical issues have delayed the delivery of the system, termed India’s eye in the sky.

The AWACS will bolster India’s air-surveillance capability multi-fold by enabling early detection of incoming hostile aircraft and directing suitable counter measures.

The $1.1 billion deal for the AWACS was signed in 2004. “Integration and training issues are involved before the AWACS could be inducted,” the official said.

The three aircraft, which were taken from Russia to Israel by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), are being modified in a hangar at Tel Aviv Ben-Gurion international airport.

The Indian Air Force is likely to purchase three more AWACS, taking the number to six. The delivery is slated to be completed by 2012.

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