Electronic Warfare Equipment for the Indian Air Force

After a detailed inquiry by the top brass of the Indian Air Force, it was found that while the Indian Ground Control had effectively warned the MiG-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abinandan Varthaman that he was flying into a restricted zone, the message could not get through to him due to heavy jamming of the Communication channels by the Pakistani Air Force.

What has happened?

  • Conventionally, the fighter aircraft are equipped with a comprehensive electronic warfare suite that not only jams the enemies communication capabilities but also reduces interference with its own communication channels.
  • However, the fighters operated by the Indian Air Force, mainly the MiG-21, are old and do not carry an EW suite integral to them.
  • The IAF had concluded that these planes need an EW suite and had initiated a global call for suppliers but DRDO & BEL concluded that they could develop an indigenous equivalent of the same and the government scrapped the global tender in favor of a domestic equivalent.
  • However, the new EW developed by the DRDO was too heavy and required substantial modifications to the airframe to properly function.
  • Thus, the Indian Air Force did not have an operational EW at the time of the MiG-21 shootdown.

Other EW suite developed in India

The DRDO has developed the Tarang Radar Warning Reciever for use on the MiG-27, LCA Tejas, Jaguar, and Su-30MKI planes. The RWR system is used to detect any radio emissions of a radar system whose primary purpose is to issue a warning to the pilot if the aircraft has detected a radar signal.

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