The Defense Research Development Organization’s (DRDO) Center for Airborne Systems (CABS) has begun integrating the indigenous mission systems for India’s modified EMB-145 Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft.

The Indian air force will have three AEW&C aircraft by 2013; the first is due to arrive in the country by year-end. Embraer unveiled the AEW&C aircraft in Brazil on Feb. 21.

DRDO is exploring ways to finish the integration of subsystems on ground rigs to the extent possible. “With this development approach, we expect overall delay is minimized and systems are ready for user trials,” a CABS official says.

Prior to the arrival of the aircraft, the primary radar, identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) interrogator, communications and electronic intelligence receivers and data-processing systems are being integrated. Embraer will modify the aircraft for Indian requirements and it will be certified for airworthiness, including under icing conditions, according to the FAR Part 25 standard.

The radar’s active array unit is undergoing rooftop testing, while the IFF interrogator system will undergo standalone flight trials on an HS 748 Avro.

When asked whether the program’s schedule may slip, industry sources say that in complex programs like these, delays are inevitable.

The initial project was approved at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore ($400 million) to develop two operational and one engineering prototype system. Now more funding has been allocated to carry out other tasks.