Seeking to further strengthen the surveillance along the borders with China and Pakistan, the Indian Air Force is in the process of reviving the indigenous Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft based on the Brazilian Embraer aircraft

The Indian Air Force is set to buy six new indigenous Netra-I surveillance aircraft in an effort to boost its surveillance capabilities along the borders with China and Pakistan. The Netra-I Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft program is based on the Brazilian Embraer aircraft.

The Air Force already has two Netra-I aircraft which were developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and six more will be bought in a revival of the programme as. "As per the plans, the six new aircraft would be made in India by the DRDO and would be provided to the Air Force in a project of over Rs 8,000 crore,” government officials told India Today TV.

"The DRDO and our officials have already started looking for sources to acquire the Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft to modify them for carrying the radar on it after modification," officials added. The Indian Air Force has been using these aircraft very effectively along both the China and Pakistan border to keep an eye on their activities along the boundary and their performance has been very effective. An airborne surveillance platform, it has the ability to maintain constant, all-pervasive vigil over the entire battlefield, IAF officials said.

The Indian Air Force relies on three Israeli AWACS and two Netra surveillance planes for its surveillance needs. The programme will be done along with the Netra-2 AEW&C project under which six A-321 aircraft would be modified to turn them into surveillance aircraft. This would mean that India would be getting around 13 more AEW&C planes in the coming five to ten years.

The surveillance planes will be made by modifying the Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft.

The DRDO had earlier planned to build six Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) on an Airbus 330 aircraft for which a facility was planned to be created in Bangalore. It is also working on modifying A-321 aircraft for the Netra-2 project for surveillance planes.