A deal to purchase Israeli Phalcon AWACS Systems is likely to be signed today when Shimon Peres meets the Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes. George has indicated that the Il76 platform may be used to mount the Israeli system. The Indian Air Force already operates a sizable fleet of Il76 called Gajraj
The move comes even as India is having difficulty buildng an indegenous AWACS system. The original plan was to build an AWACS system indegenously and mount it on a A300/310 platform. A development version was built using modified Hindustan 748 Turboprops. One of the test planes crashed near Chennai, and the programme seems to have died a slow death since then, even as the Air Force was eagerly awaiting this vital piece of equipment.
An AWACS system is regarded as a vital element in India's Nuclear Policy of building a "triad" of delivery systems and their associated c4i systems and Israels assistance will be a great help towards this end.
It remains to be seen how the US reacts to this development. The US had earlier blocked the sale of the same equipment to the PRC.