EADS Works With India On AEW&C Aircraft

The Indian defense ministry’s Center for Airborne Systems (CABS) has engaged EADS defense unit Cassidian to help with the system integration and flight testing of India’s Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) platform.

The AEW&C is scheduled to be integrated on a modified Embraer EMB-145 aircraft later this year. The Indian air force is set to commission three AEW&C platforms by 2013, with the first flight expected this May.
A senior CABS official tells Aviation Week that Cassidian was brought in as a consultant in January. “Many complex systems will have integration issues and get bogged down by protracted flight testing and evaluation,” the official says. “We hope to dovetail the experience of the Cassidian team into the program so as to compress time schedules.”

The Cassidian team is expected to stay with CABS until the end of the program. “They are helping us in evolving [the] most optimized ways of testing the systems,” the official says. “While airborne systems [must] be flown and tested, a majority of them can also be proven on [the] ground. The Cassidian team is involved with the [upgrade] of NATO’s early warning platform and hence comes with rich experience.”

CABS’ parent organization, the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), wants a minimum number of test flights to be undertaken when the EMB-145 finally arrives in India. “Our interactions with the Embraer team have increased following the rollout of the first EMB-145 platform this February. We want to ensure that there won’t be any more delays,” the official adds.

Cassidian has been working with DRDO since 2006, undertaking projects for the Defense Avionics Research Establishment and later CABS. In February, Cassidian inaugurated an engineering center in Bengaluru employing more than 100 Indian engineers. This was the first defense-oriented engineering center to be operated by a foreign company in India.
According to Cassidian, the Indian center will be at the forefront of engineering and system development, developing its core competencies in radar, protection systems, avionics, engineering information technology, 3D visual simulation, aerostructures, and aerospace modeling and simulation.
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