In a display of cost-cutting synergy between ministries, the government has announced that six used Air India A-320 jet airliners will be recycled into Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) systems for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
This will involve withdrawing the airliners from Air India, sending them to France for fitment of airborne radars, and then handing them over to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to be integrated with the complex software that will allow these aircraft to function as “eye-in-the-sky” controllers of air force battles.
The “acceptance of necessity” (AoN) of AEW&C systems was one of seven procurement clearances the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on Thursday, amounting to Rs 28,000 crore. The MoD terms this as a “big boost to Make in India”. These are the first AoNs the MoD is according under the new Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.