Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby brar_w » 06 Jan 2020 21:45

nam wrote:I would hazard a guess that it will take 3 years for aircraft modification and install. Another 3 years for testing. So this kit not coming before 2026.


That would make it one of the fastest EMD programs for an AEW of this size and complexity. The radar is usually *ready* and ground test proven for most projects when the EMD is awarded as high technical maturity on the primary sensor is usually a pre-requisite for most end-users before they pony up the big bucks to enter into advanced development, integration, fabrication and LRIP. The integration itself is complex as is the test-->discovery-->correction loop. You are still putting a huge, high performance sensor, next to very sensitive ESM and communication gear and you have to make sure all that is integrated correctly and put through extensive testing to verify performance for both the airframe (with the modifications) and the payload. This has traditionally taken time for most who have embarked on it when it comes to projects of this magnitude, size and cost. It took the RAAF 12 years to get IOC on the E-7 (from the date of contract award to Boeing/NG). If I were to put a conservative number out there taking it would be 10ish years before this thing is inducted (from the time all contracts are signed).

nam wrote:Airbus had also offered a similar configuration to UK. So I am hoping they have done the studies required and reduce the time required.


The SAAB/Airbus proposal was to mount an existing, in airborne testing or in-service, sensor on the A-330 which is completely different from creating a new sensor that has been prototyped but not flown, and integrating that on a completely new airframe, going through testing of the sensor, ESM and platform integration and then overcoming all the technical hurdles and meeting performance specs. The UK itself didn't think the SAAB/Airbus proposal was as "low risk" as the companies claimed. Boeing/NG also promised a 6 year (contract award --> IOC) to Australia. In reality, they ran into two problems that required serious technical solutions to be prototyped, developed, tested and installed before the program could go ahead (upgraded T/R modules and cooling for the radar to get better performance and ESM and Radar interference issues)..there after the Australians had to rope in MIT's Lincoln labs to provide independent consultant and project management on behalf of it, they ended up spending nearly 5.5 more years to overcome all those challenges. As I said earlier, these things are hard and there are always going to be technical challenges along the way that stresses budgets and schedules - hence the conservative estimate of about a decade as a reasonable expectation. Ideally, 4-6 additional Netra's should be acquired over the next decade leading up to the big AWACS induction and as a hedge against any delays. Not doing so is taking a tremendous amount of risk.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Prem Kumar » 06 Jan 2020 23:26

brar_w wrote:Hence the conservative estimate of about a decade as a reasonable expectation. Ideally, 4-6 additional Netra's should be acquired over the next decade leading up to the big AWACS induction and as a hedge against any delays. Not doing so is taking a tremendous amount of risk.


Well said! I am thinking more like 12 Netras, given their limited endurance, the lack of enough refuellers & 2 borders

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby VKumar » 06 Jan 2020 23:34

Suppose MOD says, 'it is an emergency, we need 12 AWACS or equivalent by this month end' what is the solution, if any?

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Prem Kumar » 06 Jan 2020 23:58

Netra is the only answer and even that won't come by month-end, though it will be the quickest

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Karan M » 07 Jan 2020 00:23

The 3rd Netra is also to be handed over to the IAF after ACM Bhadauria's intervention/request.

Whew. Common sense, finally.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Indranil » 07 Jan 2020 01:36

Karan M wrote:The 3rd Netra is also to be handed over to the IAF after ACM Bhadauria's intervention/request.

This is what happens when people not only respect you, but love you.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby vivek_ahuja » 07 Jan 2020 01:57

Karan M wrote:Whew. Common sense, finally.


More like low-hanging fruit, no?

To me, common sense would entail pulling Embraer out of the blacklist and ordering some more Netras this year so that they start getting delivered in the early 2020s. Make it a national security override to the corruption charges.

I feel like l might be coming across as being harsh on the IAF+MoD on all this. But the severely limited Netra orders has left a bad taste in my mouth. So forgive the saltiness on my part.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby vivek_ahuja » 07 Jan 2020 02:06

BTW, the plot I created for the last page sheds some light for me on some of the reasons why we chose the Embraer platform for the Netra, despite its endurance issues:

1. Its powered by turbofans: has good power-to-weight ratio as per the plots I showed.
2. Its the lowest cost and lowest performance in that cluster of airplane types. Low cost was useful for DRDO to demonstrate the program successfully while mitigating budget risks. The low endurance, however, came along for the ride and is biting us at the moment until the A-330 AWACS(I) comes online.
3. Its based on a commercial business jet with a lot of suppliers. Plus the plane has already been used for other structurally similar AEW platforms (R-99). So low risk from that standpoint as well.
4. Its provided by a non-US supplier and OEM.
5. It's radar still outperforms all available turboprop options (Erieye, ZDK, C-295 etc.).

Any other reasons I am missing here?

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby nam » 07 Jan 2020 02:11

How could we forget. Guess who is the chief guest of 2020 Republic Day?

Could we see a deal like we did with the South African Denel? After all it is all BRICS...

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby kit » 07 Jan 2020 04:39

VKumar wrote:Suppose MOD says, 'it is an emergency, we need 12 AWACS or equivalent by this month end' what is the solution, if any?



None, AWACS and Aircraft Carriers esp have long lead times of build due to their respective complexities, and the need to train sufficient crew. You cant take them "off the shelf" even if one was offered ( which will not happen ) ., here in lies the wisdom of " strategic planning" and the need for a CDS which hopefully will set things straight !

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 07 Jan 2020 04:42

Well said kit. Same is true for fighters as well. All this talk of matching fighter production in phoren countries, is moot....training sufficient crew takes time.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby VKumar » 07 Jan 2020 05:10

Can the SU30MKI serve as a mini-awacs?

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 07 Jan 2020 05:45

VKumar wrote:Can the SU30MKI serve as a mini-awacs?


not really for a large battlespace.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 07 Jan 2020 05:47

Lets hope there are more orders for Netra, 6-9 would be nice. Retire then Il-76, 5-7 years after the bigger platforms come online.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby brar_w » 07 Jan 2020 06:46

kit wrote:
VKumar wrote:Suppose MOD says, 'it is an emergency, we need 12 AWACS or equivalent by this month end' what is the solution, if any?



None, AWACS and Aircraft Carriers esp have long lead times of build due to their respective complexities, and the need to train sufficient crew. You cant take them "off the shelf" even if one was offered ( which will not happen ) ., here in lies the wisdom of " strategic planning" and the need for a CDS which hopefully will set things straight !


Yes. If you look at the AEW landscape, only one program is at full rate production rest all are off and on depending upon order, customization need etc. The fastest would be to just order additional Netra. In fact I think that will happen sooner rather than later. Hard to imagine the IAF going through nearly the entire decade without adding additional capacity.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby vishvak » 08 Jan 2020 01:15

Its the lowest cost and lowest performance in that cluster of airplane types. Low cost was useful for DRDO to demonstrate the program successfully while mitigating budget risks. The low endurance, however, came along for the ride and is biting us at the moment until the A-330 AWACS(I) comes online.

The Embraer platform (ones already) would be better in scenario where A-330 would be (in future) about to run out of fuel perhaps (or about to enter such situations) and stand out as efficient/effective platform in such a scenario. Generally speaking better in certain ways (RADAR signature, for example).

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby arvin » 08 Jan 2020 08:05

Regarding A330 time lines, as per this link MOD had given approval in march 2015 when parrikar was DM.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ind ... 761377.cms

A much more ambitious indigenous AWACS-India project worth Rs 5,113 crore was also approved by the defence ministry in March 2015 for 360-degree coverage indigenous AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars to be mounted on two Airbus A-330 wide-body jets. But these two AWACS will be ready only by 2024-2025 at the earliest, with six more to be ordered at a later stage.

I assume that design work would be running in the background and CCS nod is more for finance ministry to release funds for the acquiring the planes. If the nod comes this year planes should be here in approx 2 - 3 years, since A330 has a production run of 10 per month.
If another 3 years for testing, 2026 does look like a reasonable time line.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Snehashis » 08 Jan 2020 14:52

Ok, here is some good news. The proposal for the procurement of 2 A-330 AWACs reaches final stage.

Air Force set to get two more warning systems


The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) last month cleared a Rs 9,000 crore joint proposal of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Air Force to purchase two Airbus 330s and convert them into 360-degree long-range capability Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), senior officials familiar with the development said on Saturday.

The proposal is now before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the entire project is estimated to take three years after the apex committee’s clearance.


“The need for more AWACS was acutely felt post the Balakot air strike, with Pakistan being able to deploy its SAAB AWACS 24x7 in the north and south sectors and India being able to cover the two theatres only for 12 hours each day,” one of the officials cited above said.

The DRDO has also decided to hand over a third Embraer-mounted Airborne Early Warning system to the IAF (Indian Air Force) to further enhance Indian capability in battlefield theatre. The IAF already has two Israeli PHALCON radars mounted on a Russian A-50 platform and two DRDO-developed radars mounted on Embraer platforms.

According to the proposal cleared by the DAC, the Airbus AWACS will be a 50:50 joint venture between the DRDO and the IAF. Once the aircraft are purchased, the DRDO will mount a 360-degree rotor dome radar along with state of the art communication capability to guide the IAF fighters and attack helicopters in future war theatres, one of the officials cited above said.

The AWACS not only tracks the aerial threat, be it a fighter or a missile, but also guides the counter-response. Had it not been for PHALCON AWACS, the Indian response to the February 27 Pakistani counter-strike would have been weak and the IAF would never have known that Wing Commander Abhinandan had downed a Pakistan Air Force fighter code-named Red Mike on the radar. Whether Red Mike was an American F-16 sold by Jordan to Pakistan or any other fighter is still not confirmed.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby pushkar.bhat » 08 Jan 2020 15:24

I will not be surprised if we see the India AWACS Bird operational on an earlier date. I would not be surprised if we had a copy of the chapati with us courtsey the French and had already worked out the integration of the Antena segments into the structure.

Moreover, if the load is a non-moving static load then the mounting and testing will be faster. Anyway, let's not count the chicken before they hatch.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby chola » 08 Jan 2020 15:41

^^^ Have anyone actually tested a chapati on an A330 yet? There were proposals from Airbus but I don't recall any prototype of an A330 with a saucer radome.

We might be the first and if so it will take time to integrate. Adding an external structure to the back of an aircraft, even one as modern and advance as the A330, I would imagine to require a long and deliberate set of testing.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby kit » 08 Jan 2020 17:02

Interestingly the A330 AWACS that India builds would fit RAF requirements quite well

What say , if India offers the A330 AWACS to the UK ? :D

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby pushkar.bhat » 08 Jan 2020 17:23

Interesting read. This is a Bachelor Thesis on AWACS Static Loads. https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/bitstream/handle/10016/27771/TFG_Alejandro_Muniz_Luis_2017.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

And then there is another published paper https://www.asdjournal.org/public/Proceedings/IFASD_2017/IFASD-2017-006.pdf on the Rotodome on an A330 and a C-295. So it seems that Airbus has done a fair amount of work on this already.
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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby pushkar.bhat » 08 Jan 2020 17:25

kit wrote:Interestingly the A330 AWACS that India builds would fit RAF requirements quite well

What say , if India offers the A330 AWACS to the UK ? :D


Will they have the money to pay up? We have enough NPA's in the banking sector.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby manjgu » 08 Jan 2020 20:58

with such a solid product as netra, India should have been in the business of exporting desi AWACS...and here we are struggling to put planes in the air !! shame on the whole def ecosystem. any war between India ..pak/china will be short/sharp and won on the ground/air. Both these arms need to be given more attention.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Prem Kumar » 08 Jan 2020 22:09

There will be no shortcuts in the A330-chappathi project. Our memory is singed by the Airavat crash, which set us back by a decade. So, AWACS will take time to come!

This is why its important to buy 12 more Netras. You have put in all the God-awful amount of effort to get a structurally stable aircraft with wonderful performance. We are pissing on all the hard work by ordering 2+1 of that system. Its an utter disgrace.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby brar_w » 08 Jan 2020 22:11

kit wrote:
What say , if India offers the A330 AWACS to the UK ? :D


It wouldn't. The main requirement for the UK was a near off-the-shelf, low or no risk system that could allow them to rapidly recapitalize their E-3 inventory and have it slot right into the missions those aircraft currently perform, or expected to perform, and be compatible with all the special intel and black box equipment that they share with US aircraft. The E-7 can not only do that and then some, it has been doing that for a while now and they have data of its performance in the ME where it was splitting missions with E-3, including multiple 15+ hour missions. Additionally, all future E-7's (A Saudi order has been in the works for a while) will be fitted in the UK and the UK will likely guide its upgrade and enhancements over lifetime. It is the most successful AEW in its class and the UK industry will now have a stake in its future sales. Beyond this, for the next decade, I'm sure the UK will take a long hard look at the ABMS capability when it begins to be fielded. The E-7 is in a way a quick and fairly affordable stop gap until something more relevant with the eye out into the future, can be developed. Britain, smartly, did not want to sink a lot of money on it on customization and upgrades given the roles these are likely to play in a future high end conflict. Since Australians already invested in making it NATO+ standard (from an ESM, Electronic Warfare, and CID perspective) I doubt the UK would have needed much in terms of unique enhancements.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby arvin » 08 Jan 2020 22:30

pushkar.bhat wrote:Interesting read. This is a Bachelor Thesis on AWACS Static Loads. https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/bitstream/handle/10016/27771/TFG_Alejandro_Muniz_Luis_2017.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

And then there is another published paper https://www.asdjournal.org/public/Proceedings/IFASD_2017/IFASD-2017-006.pdf on the Rotodome on an A330 and a C-295. So it seems that Airbus has done a fair amount of work on this already.


Thanks for posting. Since Airbus has tons of data on the radome configuration and its effects there should be very little unknowns. Looks optimistic.
Now only if we could clear the embraer log jam. Hope we convince them to set up a india factory for business jets during the republic day visit.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby JayS » 09 Jan 2020 01:34

pushkar.bhat wrote:Interesting read. This is a Bachelor Thesis on AWACS Static Loads. https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/bitstream/handle/10016/27771/TFG_Alejandro_Muniz_Luis_2017.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

And then there is another published paper https://www.asdjournal.org/public/Proceedings/IFASD_2017/IFASD-2017-006.pdf on the Rotodome on an A330 and a C-295. So it seems that Airbus has done a fair amount of work on this already.

Good find. The radome in the thesis is 9.1m dia. IIRC, the one that DRDO was making is 10m isn't it..??

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby JayS » 09 Jan 2020 01:39

Snehashis wrote:Ok, here is some good news. The proposal for the procurement of 2 A-330 AWACs reaches final stage.

Air Force set to get two more warning systems


The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) last month cleared a Rs 9,000 crore joint proposal of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Air Force to purchase two Airbus 330s and convert them into 360-degree long-range capability Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), senior officials familiar with the development said on Saturday.

The proposal is now before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the entire project is estimated to take three years after the apex committee’s clearance.


“The need for more AWACS was acutely felt post the Balakot air strike, with Pakistan being able to deploy its SAAB AWACS 24x7 in the north and south sectors and India being able to cover the two theatres only for 12 hours each day,” one of the officials cited above said.

The DRDO has also decided to hand over a third Embraer-mounted Airborne Early Warning system to the IAF (Indian Air Force) to further enhance Indian capability in battlefield theatre. The IAF already has two Israeli PHALCON radars mounted on a Russian A-50 platform and two DRDO-developed radars mounted on Embraer platforms.

According to the proposal cleared by the DAC, the Airbus AWACS will be a 50:50 joint venture between the DRDO and the IAF. Once the aircraft are purchased, the DRDO will mount a 360-degree rotor dome radar along with state of the art communication capability to guide the IAF fighters and attack helicopters in future war theatres, one of the officials cited above said.

The AWACS not only tracks the aerial threat, be it a fighter or a missile, but also guides the counter-response. Had it not been for PHALCON AWACS, the Indian response to the February 27 Pakistani counter-strike would have been weak and the IAF would never have known that Wing Commander Abhinandan had downed a Pakistan Air Force fighter code-named Red Mike on the radar. Whether Red Mike was an American F-16 sold by Jordan to Pakistan or any other fighter is still not confirmed.


Need to place the actual contract soon. Its gonna be good 3-4yrs after contract signature for Airbus to deliver first airframe and total 7 yrs IIRC from contract to delivery of the first AWACS to the IAF. Good news is they are likely to negotiate contract for 2+4 option and the plan is for total 6 AWACS over a decade in 3 phases, batches of 2.

We should simply order the same A330 for Tankers as well and 1 or 2 of them in freighter config for some of the usual transport jobs for IAF, so airframe life of the Mil transporters can be conserved.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Karan M » 09 Jan 2020 09:22

nam wrote:The only silver lining in this saga is that DRDO already has the radar and radome ready.

I would hazard a guess that it will take 3 years for aircraft modification and install. Another 3 years for testing. So this kit not coming before 2026.


The radar is not ready. Has even a working prototype been funded?

DRDO is loaded with radar programs, and only 1 lab is working on them. Superb ROI, but without adequate funding, they just can't move people to this program.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby pushkar.bhat » 09 Jan 2020 10:54

Good find. The radome in the thesis is 9.1m dia. IIRC, the one that DRDO was making is 10m isn't it..??


Yes Jay, 10M diameter and 2M height. About 1500 Kg Weight and transparent to L and S-Band from what I recollect.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby srai » 09 Jan 2020 16:52

...

Need to place the actual contract soon. Its gonna be good 3-4yrs after contract signature for Airbus to deliver first airframe and total 7 yrs IIRC from contract to delivery of the first AWACS to the IAF. Good news is they are likely to negotiate contract for 2+4 option and the plan is for total 6 AWACS over a decade in 3 phases, batches of 2.

...


Don’t forget to add time it takes for attaining squadron FOC. Another 3 more years. A decade.

Not a big fan of “options”. Too much time in-between for the options to be valid. They should just order 6 straight and be done with it. Too cautious.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby pkudva » 09 Jan 2020 22:03

JayS wrote:
Snehashis wrote:Ok, here is some good news. The proposal for the procurement of 2 A-330 AWACs reaches final stage.

Air Force set to get two more warning systems



Need to place the actual contract soon. Its gonna be good 3-4yrs after contract signature for Airbus to deliver first airframe and total 7 yrs IIRC from contract to delivery of the first AWACS to the IAF. Good news is they are likely to negotiate contract for 2+4 option and the plan is for total 6 AWACS over a decade in 3 phases, batches of 2.

We should simply order the same A330 for Tankers as well and 1 or 2 of them in freighter config for some of the usual transport jobs for IAF, so airframe life of the Mil transporters can be conserved.


I doubt this. Generally DAC to CCS takes atheist 2 Yrs. Todate there are tons of files awaiting CCS Clearance.
Further there is a category which have been cleared and are being deferred because of Paucity of funds.
I would Prefer Phalcon as Stop gap.
In mean time A330 based AWACS would be ready.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby chola » 10 Jan 2020 12:03

I am okay with the two A330 AWACS buy (hope it is signed by Modi.)

The A330 will always be a gold plated solution so buying even six will tie up a lot of money that the MOD can't risk. The Phalcons' bus has left the stop. The hike in price plus endurance issue during Balakot had taken them out of the IAF's equation IMHO. I have not seen any proposal since about increasing Phalcons. I think the MoD/IAF are looking for another less expensive solution to complement the A330s where we can get numbers and that could be more Embaer/Netras or maybe a chapati based on the C295.

The C295 AWACS is both a cheaper and a less risky project than the A330 since it has already flown with a chapati.
Image
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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby pushkar.bhat » 10 Jan 2020 12:07

They need to first place orders for C295's. The Government has no money to pay the bill. The C295 with the Rotodome will be a logical next step after that.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby chola » 10 Jan 2020 12:15

^^^ We need not wait for the large C295 order which is for our next gen light transport solution. That is a different story. We can put in say for 6 C295 chapatis now and then order more from the MII output when the C295 big buy comes in.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Karthik S » 10 Jan 2020 12:18

How many airframes you want to have for AWACS? There was talk of going in for Phalcons on A 330 instead of IL 76, that would have been most logical, when our chapati is ready, we can order A 330 carrying our radar.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby chola » 10 Jan 2020 12:42

^^^ More than a few here and there, Karthik ji. The chinis are mass-producing these things like a chapati street vendor.

Again, I don't think airbus or anyone else had flown a saucer on the A330's back. Plopping the Phalcon's chapati on it takes testing and validation. The C295 has already flown with a chapati radome.

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 05 Feb 2020 03:01

https://twitter.com/HarshalPal5/status/ ... 63072?s=20 ----> Here's a fanmade CGI of RTA-90 aircraft in AWACS role.

RTA-90 is an Indian aircraft, based on RTA-70 under development primarily by NAL.

Image

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Re: Airborne Early Warning & Control: News & Discussion

Postby Vivek K » 05 Feb 2020 05:05

Love it!!! Yeh dil maange more!!


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