Pakistan bridges technology gap with India

SOURCE : Express News Service

In 2009 when the first of the three Russian-Israeli spy planes arrived in New Delhi, it was viewed as the Indian Air Force’s big technological leap leaving adeversaries like Pakistan behind. Two years down the line, Pakistan has knocked much of this technology gap off with help from China by adding planes that can peep inside Indian border and thwart aerial strikes.IAF bosses now admit that it was time to redraw its plans regarding acquistion of more Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems, popularly known as “eye in the sky” because of its capacity to scan wide areas to dissolve any aerial threats from missiles and combat jets.The IAF has in its fleet three Israeli Phalcon systems, arguably one of the best of the AEW&C available anywhere in the world bought for a whopping $1.1 billion. Mounted on a modified Russian transporter IL-76, Phalcon is central to IAF’s plans to maintain air superiority by quickly and simultanesously searching, tracking and locking targets spread over a big area.Pakistan has bridged this technological divide to a greater extent, said a senior officer about Pakistan Air Force inductions like Swedish Erieye System and much bigger China’s ZDK-03 which, like the Indian Phalcon, is mounted on Russian Il-76. The official said that Pakistan is looking to have atleast 10 of these aircraft which is too big a number for a small country. It has led to an AEW&C race in the sub-continent with India getting ready for a repeat order of Phalcons. All eyes were also on Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) own plans to develop an AEW&C at home which is going to be ready for trials soon. The Indian system would be mounted on Brazilian Embraer EMB-145 aircraft and the IAF hopes the DRDO will be able to deliver a good platform without much delays.Ahead of the DRDO trials, Pakistan would induct first of four ZDK-03 AEW&C developed by China in a move that has generated some interest. Little is known about ZDK-03 which is said to be another product of Chinese reverse engineering, according to experts.Pakistan already has three Erieye systems bought from the Swedish company SAAB as part of its “Project Horizon”. These are being operated by Chaklala-based 13th squadron.Experts said the PAF’s sector operations centers were connected by Erieye Ground Interface Segment, as has been the case with other operators like Brazil, Greece and Mexcio that use Erieyes. Brazilian AEW expert Sergio Ricardo told the Express that India still has an edge because the Israeli system is much more advanced but others were catching up fast. The Phalcons were not sold to China by Israel under the US pressure.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Jan 31 2011. Filed under India. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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