India plans to acquire six A320 planes to be converted into Airborne Early Warning AEW aircraft

According to information published by the "The Times of India" website on December 16, 2020, India plans to acquire six A320 airliners from the existing Air India fleet that will be modified to be used as Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft.

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India plans to acquire six A320 planes to be converted into Airborne Early Warning AEW aircraft 925 001 Air India’s first A320neo – delivered in February 2017 – is being leased from Kuwait-headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease And Finance Compan. (Picture source Airbus)

The Airbus A320 family is narrow-body airliners designed and produced by Airbus. The A320 was launched in March 1984, first flew on 22 February 1987, and was introduced in April 1988 by Air France.

India will develop a local-made six Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes.

AWACS aircraft is also used to carry out surveillance, including over ground targets and frequently perform C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions similar to an Air Traffic Controller given military command over other forces.

According to Indian defense sources, the Indian-made AWACS will be equipped with local-made 360-degree coverage AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars.

Citing the Live Fist website, on December 17, 2020, the Indian Ministry of Defense has approved the budget to integrate radars and sensor on six Airbus A320 commercial airliners from national carrier Air India’s current fleet. The six aircraft are to be sent to France, where they will be refurbished and modified to Indian Air Force/DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) specifications.

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