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India to receive first Phalcon AWACS on May 24

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India to recieve Phalcon Awacs from Israel. A file Photo

JERUSALEM (PTI): Barring any last-minute hiccups, Indian Air Force (IAF)pilots will fly home the first of the three Phalcon Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) on Sunday, making India the first country in the South-Asian region to have such a capability.

"It's ready to leave on May 24 for Jamnagar," defence sources said here today. The delivery of the multi-billion dollar aircraft was scheduled on May 18, but last minute technical check-ups delayed its departure.

The AWACS will provide India means to track incoming missiles and look deep into the neighbouring countries under all weather conditions.

AWACS are primarily used for detection of incoming hostile cruise missiles and aircraft from hundreds of kms away in all weather conditions, as well as directing air defence fighters during combat operations against enemy jets. It also helps detect troop build up in hostile territories.

With the induction of the Phalcons, the frontline IAF fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and Jaguars will now be backed by "eyes in the sky" to look much beyond country's borders through direct data linking.

The delivery of the first of the three aircraft, bought at a whopping price of 1.1 billion USDs, is almost a year and a half behind schedule. As per the tripartite deal between India, Russia and Israel, the aircrafts should have been delivered by the end of March this year.

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