India is poised to significantly bolster its defence capabilities with the development of three new spy planes designed to closely monitor enemy communications and conduct extended surveillance missions. This initiative, set to be executed domestically, underscores a commitment to self-reliance, with the majority of technology and equipment sourced from within India.
Defence officials have revealed that the proposal for the acquisition of these signal intelligence and communication jamming system aircraft is in an advanced stage, with clearance expected as early as next week. Spearheaded by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory and the Indian Air Force, the project will utilize an Airbus-319 class aircraft as its base.
Tenders will soon be issued to aircraft manufacturers for the procurement of the necessary platforms, marking a significant milestone in meeting a long-standing requirement. The finalized specifications for the project signal a concerted effort to modernize and enhance India’s surveillance capabilities.
This initiative falls under the purview of the Centre for Airborne Studies, which is concurrently engaged in various development projects, including the next-generation Airborne Early Warning and Control systems. Referred to as AEW&C NETRA MK-1A, this project represents an evolution from the existing Netra aircraft.
Previous reports from ANI had outlined the Indian Air Force’s intentions to present proposals for the acquisition of six additional AEW&C aircraft based on the Embraer platform to the Defence Acquisition Council. Additionally, plans are underway for the development of an indigenous Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (I-STAR) aircraft, as well as the AEWC MK-1A on Embraer legacy jet platforms and AEWC MK-2 on Airbus 321 jets.
The Centre for Airborne Studies is also actively involved in the Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance project for both the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy. Notably, Indian Coast Guard Director General Rakesh Pal has emphasized the significance of the C-295-based maritime surveillance aircraft in enhancing indigenous capabilities for territorial surveillance.