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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Clearing The Mist On the IAF's Airborne EW Suites For Combat Aircraft & Helicopters

The integrated EW suite (shown below) for the Tejas Mk1 MRCA as envisaged by the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and designed by the DRDO’s Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE).
This suite, however, remains unproven, although it has been flight-tested on an HS-748 Avro flying testbed by the DRDO’s Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) since 2007. To certify this EW suite on the Tejas Mk1 MRCA, at least 40 additional test-flights on a PV-1 flying testbed will be required, which in turn will further delay the Tejas Mk1’s operational flight certification by at least 18 months. Making matters further complicated is the sub-optimal performance of the DARE-developed RWR-118 radar warning receiver (see below)—a fact which forced the Indian Air Force (IAF) to reject it for the MiG-29UPG upgrade programme.
The IAF’s MiG-29UPGs, in fact, have the IAF’s most advanced internally-mounted integrated EW suite, which includes Elettronica of Italy’s ELT-568 AESA-based jamming system (see below), which will also go on board the yet-to-be-upgraded Su-30MKIs.
The IAF is now favouring the installation (for both the Tejas Mk1 and Tejas Mk2) of an EW suite that will include SaabTech’s radar warning receiver and laser warning receiver along with the MILDS-F missile approach warning system (MAWS) sourced from EADS/Cassidian. This package has already been selected for both the EMB-145I AEW & CS programme, as well as for the Super Su-30MKI upgrade programme.
SaabTech’s radar warning receiver, laser warning receiver and MAWS have already been selected by the IAF for its Dhruv Mk4 ALH and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), and by the Indian Army for its Rudra helicopter-gunships.
Shown below is the DARE-designed EW suite architecture for the Super Su-30MKI, inclusive of the MAWS, RWR, LWR and CMDS installations. Interestingly, the scale-model is shown equipped with twin wingtip-mounted escort jamming pods and a belly-mounted and DARE-developed SIVA HADF pod. The IAF is expected to select the EL/L-8251 jammers for the SEAD version of the Super Su-30MKI. The DEAD-optimised Super Su-30MKI, on the other hand, will be equipped with the SIVA pod along with four Kh-31P Krypton supersonic anti-radiation missiles.
The SEAD-optimised and DEAD-optimized Super Su-30MKIs will also be equipped with EADS/Cassidian’s Ariel Mk3 towed RF-decoys.
Ukraine-origin EW Suites for the IAF’s Mil family of helicopters are shown below.
The IAF’s 40 upgraded MiG-27UPGs each have an internal EW suite comprising the Chemring-built CMDS, BEL-built ‘indifferent’ Tarang Mk2 RWR and an ELTA Systems-supplied EL/L-8222 ASPJ pod. The upgraded MiG-21 Bisons, on the other hand, have ELTA-supplied CMDS and ‘indifferent’ DARE-developed and BEL-built Tarang Mk2 RWRs, plus the external EL/L-8222 ASPJ pods.
When it comes to the IAF’s fleet of Jaguar IS/IT fleet of strike aircraft, a total of 17 Jaguar IT tandem-seat aircraft and 20 single-seat Jaguar IS—built by HAL between 2005 and 2009—have been equipped with DARIN 2-standard missions avionics (comprising 30 LRUs in all), Chemring-built CMDS, ‘indifferent’ Tarang Mk2 RWRs, and internally-mounted ELTA Systems-supplied EL/M-8022 self-protection EW suite.
For the DARIN-3 upgrade programme (which was approved in 2008), an initial 58 single-seat Jaguar IS aircraft will be subjected to a ‘deep upgrade’ by HALBIT Avionics along with HAL’s Mission & Combat System Research & Design Centre (MCSRDC), Overhaul Division, and the IAF’s Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) and Software Development Institute (SDI). The first prototype of the DARIN 3-standard Jaguar IS took to the skies on November 28, 2012. Each DARIN 3-standard Jaguar IS will be fitted between 2014 and 2017 with ELTA-supplied EL/M-2032 multi-mode pulse-Doppler radar, HAL-Edgewood’s OSAMC core avionics computer, Elbit Systems’ Targo HMDS, EL/M-8022 jammer, BDL-built CMDS, SaabTech’s RWRs and LWRs, EADS/Cassidian’s MILDS-F MAWS, and Raytheon-supplied munitions control unit (MCU) for making the aircraft’s weapons management system compatible with the 15 different types of munitions that have been specified by the IAF. Following this, the IAF’s seven DARIN 1-standard Jaguar IMs too will be retrofitted with DARIN 3-standard avionics.
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