The Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) formally completed transfer of technology for the production of the Uttam active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the presence of the senior leadership of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Uttam, developed by DRDO’s Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bangalore, will equip the IAF’s TEJAS MK-1A fighters that will begin to enter service from 2024. This development has taken place subsequent to the successful completion of the Uttam’s airborne test program, Delhi Defence Review has reported.

The indigenous Uttam AESA has been fully flight-tested for all air to air, air to ground, weather & terrain avoidance/following modes. Following the successful completion of the baseline Uttam project, fire control radars (FCRs) derived from it are being progressed for the TEJAS MK-1A, TEJAS MK-2 and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft Aircraft (AMCA) as a combined ‘mission mode’ programme given the commonality between them the report stated.

On the initiative of the IAF’s senior leadership, the development of a scaled-up version of the Uttam to equip the Su-30MKI fighter fleet has also begun. The IAF, pleased with the development and performance of the Uttam, will depute some Su-30MKI units for the development, integration, flight-testing and certification of said radar.

Development of this scaled-up Uttam derivative i.e. for the Su-30 MKI will require 36-48 months, with flight testing  estimated to begin after 24 months. Airborne testing is an extremely rigorous process that entails a variety of check points even if the same components are flying in other radar units on different aircraft the report further added.