IAF to Go in for 10 more AWACS SOURCE: India Strategic The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking at 10 AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems Aircraft) on western platforms.Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne told India Strategic that right now, IAF is negotiating for two IL 76-based AWACS with Israel, in addition to the three already acquired. But the future platforms would be western, either the Boeing 767 or Airbus A330. The Air Chief also released the Aero India editions of India Strategic and the Show Daily. Significantly, he said, the radar systems would be provided by DRDO, either indigenously or through collaboration. The idea is to develop indigenous capability, something the IAF and the other Services, Army and Navy also support. DRDO is already working on smaller airborne intelligence systems on Brazilian Embraer 145 aircraft. But to fix a radome on a big aircraft would pose two challenges: One, the development of the system and two, its integration on big aircraft like the Boeing 767 or Airbus A 330. In fact, aircraft technologies are easier to manage than the AWACS systems, which demand futuristic sophistication. Israelis are among the best in EW and AWACS technologies though, given the fact that they learn a lot from the research done in the United States and some other western countries. But how much they share with India, or other countries, is a matter of both good relations and money. Air Chief Marshal Browne pointed out that the Air Headquarters was working on the AWACS requirement in consultations with DRDO, and that an RfP (Request for Proposals) for the new platforms should be issued in 2014. It may be noted that the IL 76 aircraft were made by the Soviet Union with factories in its constituent states. Russia is likely to unveil its own version of IL 76 in 2014 but by the time it comes to the market for exports, it would be a while. On the acquisition of Rafale MRCA, the Air Chief said that several aspects of the deal had been finalized, and that he expected the discussions between the French Dassault-led Rafale International and the Ministry of Defence to be over by May or so. The file would then go to the Finance Ministry, and once okayed there, then to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval and sanction. He was hopeful that this entire process should be over by July Air Chief Marshal Browne said that IAF was happy with the acquisition of Pilatus trainer as the younger pilots were really in need for an ab initio machine to begin their flying careers. IAF has just got the first lot of the aircraft, 75 of which have been ordered from its Swiss maker.