Jugal R Purohit, New Delhi, September 10, 2016 – Indiatoday.in
“We are as surprised as anyone else. If there was an investigation, they should have informed us. This is mentioned in the contract,” said a senior Defence Ministry source.
Rocked by allegations of corruption in its deal with Brazilian aviation firm Embraer, which is under investigation in Brazil and USA, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) responded by saying it had asked for an explanation from the firm over the matter.
“We are as surprised as anyone else. If there was an investigation, they should have informed us. This is mentioned in the contract,” said a senior source.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who was in Goa following his tour to the US had been briefed over the matter and with his concurrence, a communication was being sent at the time of writing this piece. “Within 15 days, they are to respond,” said the source.
On its side, the DRDO and MoD will begin re-examining their files for anomalies it was informed.
The Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System is under-development by the Bengaluru based Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS) for the Indian Air Force. As a part of the deal, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer modified its jet aircraft, EMB-145 to carry the Active Array Antenna Unit (AAAU), developed by the DRDO, on the aircraft’s fuselage. A total of three modified EMB-145 aircraft had been developed under this agreement.
The various sub-systems of the AEW&C Mission system were integrated into the ‘modified green’ aircraft by DRDO and the full-fledged EMB-145 based AEW&C tested from 2012. The AEW&C system comprises many sub-systems like Radar and communication links that are being designed and developed by DRDO.
WHAT IS AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING AND CONTROL SYSTEM
As the name suggests, this is a mobile, aerial platform to keep an eye on the enemy for any missile launches or fighter plane launches taking place and responding accordingly. It can also be used as a communications platform to direct own planes and missiles, in response.
As per reports which appeared in the Brazilian press, government agencies in Brazil and USA were looking into Embraer’s business deals. It was reported that the firm had hired the services of a UK-based agent for the Indian sale of EMB 145 plane, an arrangement which is disallowed as per the MoD rules.
The deal was concluded in July 2008. A DRDO release from then stated, “A few EMB-145 based AEW&C/AWACS versions are already in operation with Air Forces of Brazil, Mexico and Greece”.
IMPACT OF ALLEGATION
- Surprised, Defence Ministry asks Brazilian firm to explain.
- Critical project, IAF is awaiting delivery of three planes from DRDO.
- DRDO was keen to export this plane with own radar systems to friendly countries.
- No action till Embraer explains.
- If blacklisted, could curtail India’s options.
- India unable to build planes, relies on imports.
- IAF uses Embraer for VVIP travel also