INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS

WHAT'S HOT? ANALYSIS OF RECENT HAPPENINGS

AEW CONFERENCE IN LONDON

An IDC Report 

 

London, 03 December 2003

The International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC) Conference opened in in London on 3 Dec at the Holiday Inn near Victoria. It attracted over 100 delegates from all over the world under one roof and on 3 Dec there was more AEW expertise to be shared than any other platform in the world. The participants included mid level service officers mainly the hands on experience variety, scientists, commentators and reps of the Military Industrial Complex that make the hardware and some of them were ex Air Force or Navy. The representation included 9 Western Countries, Jordan, Australia, three each from India (DRDO), Pakistan (Air Force), Israel and South America including Brazil.

Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems Aircraft (AWACS) have made rapid advances necessitating corresponding changes in command and control in net centric warfare also. The early versions of AEW were UAVs, Aerostats and radars fitted in MR Aircraft like PC3 Orion, Gulfstream, Astra, and even Dorniers, IL 38 and TU 142 and such.

The Duke of Wellington at Waterloo had voiced his predicament by saying he had spent all his life guessing what was on the other side of the Hill. This dilemma now appears solved. Today the countries with true AEW assets can see well over the radar horizon up to 350 miles and more with powerful radar, optical sensors and send down the data and pictures via appropriate links, so battle space management becomes easy and SURPRISE, a principle of war, can be used for missile action and air superiority with devastating results. This just shows that in the next decade almost every country will have Air Force AWACS capability and Navies will have AEW helicopters flying from ships or off aircraft carriers.

AEW is the most happening thing in RMA and today with the Boeing Sentry 2 AWACS, Northrop Grumman E2C Hawkeye 2000, British SEAKING MK 7 with Searchwater in Royal Navy's 849 Squadron (just 13 of them) and SAAB and EMBRAER 145 and other adaptations like Boeing 737 AEW and C130 J with APS/ANS 145 radar which are all operational and being used in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is quest by even smaller nations like Mexico, India and Greece to quickly get equipped.

The AEW Conference in London had many answers regarding frequencies to be used, heights to be attained and how data can be moved in real time in peace for recce and surveillance and in war to cripple the enemy. This is revolutionary.

In early 2000, Defence Minister George Fernandes had announced that four KAMOV Ka 31 helicopters were contracted at $13.95m each from Russia and they have arrived on the scene. The DRDO had also made an AVRO 748 with a Rotodome as their version of AWACS but in Jan 2000 it crashed with the test pilots and the scientists, but that knowledge remains. At present the Phalcon AWACS has been signed for on three Uzbeck IL 76s for delivery in 2005. So India too is on its way and the Defence Ministry Annual Report 2001 had said India will get Aerostats, low level radars, UAVs and Air Surveillance Aircraft. This is happening now and no wonder the IQPC Conference is a success and those who missed it should get briefed or get the proceedings.

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