By Arie Egozi
Israel Aerospace Industries is in the process of converting its second Ilyushin Il-76 transport into an airborne early warning and control system aircraft for the Indian air force. It expects to hand over the completed platform in mid-2010.
The delivery schedule for India's third modified Il-76 has meanwhile slipped into 2011. IAI is equipping the type with AEW and electronic subsystem equipment provided by its Elta Systems subsidiary under a $1.1 billion deal previously expected to be completed late next year.
India's defence ministry is seeking proposals to bolster its air force's AEW capabilities, with a purchase of additional converted Il-76s, or smaller platforms such as a modified Gulfstream G550 business jet among possible solutions. The aircraft could also be used to perform secondary tasks such as electronic intelligence-gathering missions, say industry sources.
India's first Il-76-based AEW system entered air force service in May 2009 after a delivery delay of around 18 months.