India's AEW&C Programme Gets Ready For Platform Flight Tests
Have just received a detailed briefing on the test phase of India's AEW&C programme. In a few months, the first of three modified EMB-145 platforms will begin a routine of flight tests for basic performance and handling. This preliminary testing will be carried out in Brazil by Embraer and a team from the Indian Air Force's Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in association with Brazil's Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil and India's CEMILAC.
The first flight test aircraft, which is set to make its first flight later this year, will be integrated with a Dorsal Unit (DoU) containing dummy electronics, ECS, IFR, auxiliary power units, internal fuel tanks, SATCOMs and antennae. India's Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) -- the laboratory spearheading the programme -- has already supplied Embraer with a dorsal unit (with dummy electronics) and a Ku-band SATCOM dome, while the Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), CABS and the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) have shipped in antennae for ESM, CSM and U/VHF.
While the EMB-145 with the configuration above will undergo flight tests in Brazil, the configuration for ferry to India in August 2011 will be the aircraft with only the dorsal pylon (minus the unit), ECS, IFR, APUs and internal fuel tanks.
Once the first aircraft reaches India, it will undergo a rigorous flight testing schedule by CABS, ASTE and CEMILAC in association with Embraer. After a few flights in India, the aircraft will be integrated with a dorsal unit with real electronics and other mission system equipment, including operator workstations (five), avionics racks, rest crew seating, seats and cabling.
On June 23, EADS Defence & Security announced that it had been awarded a contract to supply consultancy services to CABS for developing the AEW&C's system architecture with particular regard to certification and mission equipment optimisation.