New Delhi: India is planning to development three new spy planes for keeping a close watch on enemy communications and carrying out long-range surveillance missions. The three new spy planes are also known as signal intelligence and communication jamming system aircraft.
The project will be carried out indigenously and majority of the technology and equipment would be made in India. The proposal for getting these spy planes is in the advanced stage and is likely to get clearance in next week, news agency ANI reported citing defense officials.
The project is being developed jointly by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory and the Indian Air Force. The agencies concerned would issue a tender to aircraft manufacturers to buy the platform for the aircraft, as per officials.
Officials also noted that the requirement for such an aircraft had been there for a long time and the specifications have now been finalised for the project. The Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), which is working on projects including the Airborne Early Warning and Control systems, is carrying out the spy planes project.
The Airborne Early Warning and Control systems is the next generation of the existing Netra aircraft or AEW&C Netra Mark1A. Moreover, the Indian Air Force (IAF) also has plans for developing an indigenous Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (I-STAR) aircraft, Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Mark 1A aircraft on Embraer legacy jet plane platform as well as AEW&C Mark 2 on Airbus 321 jets for the Indian Air Force.
CABS is also developing the Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance project of the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy. The development comes around a week after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an increase in the Defence Budget on February 1.
The Centre has set aside Rs 6.21 lakh crore for Defence Budget for 2024-25, a hike of 4.72 per cent from last year’s allocation of Rs 5.25 lakh crore amid India’s continuing border conflict with China and evolving security situation in strategic waterways.
The budgetary allocation to the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has been pegged at Rs 23,855 crore. The increased budgetary allocation will help in equipping the Defence Forces with niche technology lethal weapons, fighter aircrafts, ships, platforms, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones.