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India to get AWACS on May 20: Major

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Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). A File Photo.

SHILLONG (PTI): The Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive its first 'Phalcon' Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from Israel on May 20. Phalcon is the Israeli radar mounted on Russian Il-76 aircraft.

The three Phalcon AWACS, under the $1.1-billion deal signed in March 2004 will be landing in India

in the third week of this month, Chief of Air Staff Fali Homi Major confirmed on Thursday.The AWACS would provide the IAF means to track incoming cruise missiles and look deep inside neighbouring countries without violating any air space.

"Lots of things are happening and there are more things to be done which my successors will continue," Major, who retires on May 31 after 42 years of service, said here on the sidelines of a farewell function organised by the Eastern Air Command here.

The surveillance system will provide IAF with vital intelligence inputs, helping it to maintain air superiority, improve strike capabilities and conduct tactical radar based surveillance inside neighbouring countries without violating their airspace.

It is an all weather system capable of logging 60 targets simultaneously with a range of 400 km, IAF sources said.

Speaking about the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, Major said: "a lot of measures have been taken in the IAF after the incident and are being implemented well. It is a wake-up call for the country. India has to beef up its security." Asked why it was not possible for the NSG commandos to requisition IAF transport planes to fly them to Mumbai, he said, "Yes they could have done it. And, they did it later. The rest of the men were taken in IAF planes."

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