Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit India for a day two weeks from now. On the agenda are the acquisition of two more Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) and extended range air to air Derby missiles by the Indian Air Force and joint projects in agriculture, water and waste management.
India plans to order two PHALCON AWACS mounted on Russian A-50 platform (worth $ 2 billion) for better control of the war theatre . The order is awaiting a green signal from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
While India has five AWACS platforms, Pakistan already has seven such with another three on order from China. Islamabad already has three SAAB Erieye and four ZDK-03 from China, which were deployed 24X7 after the Balakot air strike by the Indian Air Force on a terrorist facility in Pakistan. Given this differential, IAF deployed AWACS for only 12 hours a day.
The IAF is also looking towards the acquisition of extended range Derby air to air missiles from Israel after Pakistan used 70 km AIM-120 C 100 kilometre beyond visual range missiles against Indian jets in its February 27 retaliation to the Balakot strike.
IAF wants to integrate the 70 kilometre range Derby missiles on the Su-30 MKI platform with upgraded radar equipped with data link to take the fight to Pakistani F-16s in future.
India and Israel are jointly developing the short, medium and long range surface to air missiles in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
On May 2019, New Delhi Television Limited revealed that Indian Air Force is planning to equip its frontline Sukhoi-30 fighters jet with Israeli Derby air-to-air missiles after the Russian-made R-77 missiles were found wanting in air combat operations over the Line of Control on February 27 this year.
The I-Derby isn’t the only missile the air force is looking at to modernise its Sukhoi-30 fleet. The European MBDA manufactured Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), the first of which were acquired for the air force’s Jaguar fleet in 2014 as part of a 250 million pound deal, has been tested in wind tunnels on models of the Su-30 by the National Aerospace Laboratories in Bengaluru.