India’s Netra AEW&C aircraft conduct aerial refueling for the first time

The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft has conducted air-to-air refueling (AAR) for the first time.

During the aerial refueling operation, the aircraft, based on Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet, has received fuel from IAF’s Russian Ilyushin Il-78MKI aerial tanker.


DRDO Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWACS) is a project of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop an airborne early warning and control system for the Indian Air Force.

It is also referred to as DRDO NETRA AEW&CS system.

The AEWACS aircraft will have an active electronically scanned array (AESA) primary radar with Identification, friend or foe (IFF).

The system will also have ESM (Electronic Support Measures) and CSM (Communications Support Measures) ability. Datalinks to network the AEWACS with fighters, and ground based control systems will also be provided, as will be the SATCOM (Satellite Communication System).

The aircraft will also have a comprehensive self-defence suite. The avionics suite will be linked via a datahandling system, controlled by Mission computers.

Ilyushin Il-78MKI

Ilyushin Il-78 (NATO reporting name: Midas) is a Soviet four-engined aerial refuelling tanker based on the Il-76 airlifter.

Il-78MKI is the customized variant of the Il-78ME for the Indian Air Force. These Uzbekistan-built planes are fitted with Israeli fuel transfer systems and can refuel six-eight Sukhoi Su-30MKIs in one mission.

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