Netra AEW&C – India’s battle proven ‘Eye in the Sky’
Netra is developed by India’s DRDO and it was the operational brain during February 2019 Anti-terror airstrikes that guided the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000-5 fighters as they flew towards Pakistan’s Balakot, 80 km from the Line of Control, and bombed a camp of the Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The Netra, an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, was flying well inside Indian airspace while it was providing surveillance, guidance and radar coverage for the “non-military pre-emptive action” carried out by the Mirage jets at 3:30 am. DRDO said the Netra can track targets 450-500 km deep into enemy territory without crossing the Line of Control.
The Netra can detect radar signals, and eavesdrop on and listen to all communications that takes place among Pakistan’s armed forces. It does not carry any active cameras but all the electronic intelligence it gathers can be beamed back live to commanders on the ground. The national security establishment can also monitor the operations live in New Delhi, using data sent from the Netra.
The Netra can fly for five hours at a stretch, but with air-to-air refuelling, it can fly for nine hours. The AWACS can accommodate five flight controllers who can directly communicate with ground controllers and airborne pilots as they fly towards the target. New Delhi can listen into what the Netra is watching using a data link.
The aircraft can also be patched with satellite-based platforms. Recently, the Indian Air Force got its dedicated satellite called GSAT-7A made by the Indian Space Research Organisation. Using satellite-based communication system, the reach of the Netra becomes very large.
Source – Free Press Journal