Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) developed its Phalcon system for Israeli defence forces and for export. Airborne Early Warning, Command and Control (AEWC&C) systems play a major role on the modern battlefield by providing real-time intelligence and command and control needed to achieve and maintain air superiority over the combat area and to enable surveillance of borders in peacetime. The world's most advanced AEWC&C system, the PHALCON, was developed and produced by ELTA using Active Phased Array Electronic Scanning Technology rather than a mechanically rotating antenna (rotodome) used by current AWACS systems, giving PHALCON greater operational flexibility and performance by several orders of magnitude.
The Phalcon AEW&C aircraft is based on four sensors: phased-array radar, phased-array IFF, ESM/ELINT and CSM/COMINT. A unique fusion technology continuously cross-relates the data gathered by all sensors. When one of the sensors reports a detection, the system automatically initiates an active search of the complementary sensors.
* The AWE&C phased array radar replaces the conventional rotodome radar. It is mounted either on the aircraft fuselage or on top of the aircraft inside a stationary dome, providing full 360° coverage. This electronically steered beam radar delivers a tremendous advantage over mechanical rotating antenna, as it supports the tracking a high maneuvering targets. The radar can detect even low flying objects from distances of hundreds of kilometers, day and night, under all weather conditions. Verification beams sent at specific, individual, newly detected targets eliminate false alarms. Moreover, track initiation is achieved in 2 to 4 seconds as compared to 20 to 40 seconds with a rotodome radar.
* The IFF system employs solid state phased array technology to perform interrogation, decoding, target detection and tracking. A monopulse technique is used to implement azimuth measurement. The IFF data is automatically correlated with the phased array radar.
* The ESM/ELINT system receives, analyzes and locates radar signals, covering 360o. It combines high sensitivity with high probability of intercept, and achieves excellent accuracy in bearing measurement. The system uses narrow-band super-heterodyne receivers and wide-band instantaneous frequency measurement (IFM) techniques to provide very high accuracy and probability of intercept of airborne and surface emitters. Very high bearing accuracy for all received signals is achieved through Differential Time of Arrival (DTOA) measurements. The system also collects and analyzes ELINT data.
* The PHALCON's CSM/COMINT receives in UHF, VHF and HF, rapidly searching for airborne, shipborne or ground communications signals of interest. Selected radio nets can be monitored for signal activity. A DF capability locates targets. Detected signals can be assigned to monitoring receivers instantaneously. The system makes extensive use of computers to reduce the load on operators.
The aircraft communicates, via its data link, with Air Defense HQ. Data from additional air defense sensors are fused to create a complete spatial picture.
The PHALCON systems can be installed on a variety of platforms, such as the Boeing 707, Boeing 767, Boeing 747, Airbus and C-130.
This system was sold to Chile in 1995, where it is designated "Condor". The Israelis began in 1993 converting a FACh Boeing 707 to carry the Phalcon airborne early warning system. Chile had repeated system problems and complained to Israel of system shortcomings.
Under the aegis of Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai and Defense Ministry Director General Ilan Biran, six agreements for cooperation between Israeli, American and European defense firms were signed on 15 October 1998. Under one of these agreements, IAI/ELTA Electronics Industries Ltd. and Raytheon Systems Company will cooperate on the development, production and marketing of AEWC&C systems on a world wide basis. The new project will be based on PHALCON. The two companies had teamed up to compete for tenders for AEWC&C systems for Australia, South Korea and Turkey.
Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) was marketing its Phalcon airborne early warning (AEW) system to China in competition with the British defense firm GEC-Marconi. In 1996 Tel Aviv and Beijing signed an agreement on purchasing the Falcon radar system, which China insisted system should be fitted onto Russian Il-76 aircraft. The Phalcon's triangular radar array would be mounted on the rear quarter fuselage of the Il-76 to provide full 360 degree scan coverage. Beijing was expected to acquire several PHALCON AEW systems, and reportedly could buy at least three more [and possibly up to eight] of these systems. But in July 2000 the United States pressured Israel to back out of a $1 billion agreement to sell China four Phalcon phased-array radar systems.
The India Air Force agreed in 2004 to purchase three systems for $1.1 billion. Russia and Israel on 10 October 2004 signed a tripartite agreement to facilitate the equipping of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with the Phalcon airborne warning and control systems. The IAF plans to mount the Phalcon radar and surveillance systems from IAI on IL-76 aircraft supplied by Russia.