BANGALORE, India, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- India has taken delivery of the first of three Embraer 145 airborne early warning and control aircraft from Embraer Defense and Security in Brazil.
The aircraft, handed over at Embraer's headquarters at Sao Jose dos Campos airport, completed ground and flight tests and met operational targets set by both Embraer and India's Defense Research and Development Organization, a report by Daily News and Analysis said.
The aircraft, which has an in-flight refueling capability, will be flown to Bangalore to the DRDO's Center for Airborne Systems where it will have DRDO-developed mission systems installed.
"The collaboration with DRDO in such a complex program strengthens ties between Brazil and India," Embraer Defense and Security's President and Chief Executive Luiz Carlos Aguiar said at the handover.
The airborne active electronically scanned array radar designed and developed by the DRDO's CABS and positioned on top of the Embraer 145 is an example of this cooperation, he said.
The aircraft will join the air force's three longer-range, Israeli-made Ilyushin IL-76 Phalcon AWACS, of which one has been delivered, a Press Trust of India report said.
The $1.7 billion deal for three Phalcon AWACS aircraft was signed between India and Israel in January 2004, a report by the defense new Web site Defense Industry Daily said.
The contract made India one of the few AWACS operators.
India operates the IL-76 for strategic transport and an Il-78 for aerial refueling, Defense Industry Daily said.
The Indian air force also has four Embraer Legacy 600 jets to transport government officials and foreign dignitaries. A fifth is operated by India's Border Security Force, the PTI report said.
Under the $210 million Embraer AWACS contract, the two other aircraft will be delivered by 2014, as well as training, technical support, spare parts and ground support equipment.
Apart from military sales, Embraer says there is a big potential in the Indian executive and business jet market, a report by the Hindu Business Line newspaper said in May.
Embraer sees the Indian market making up most of South Asia's total $12 billion sales potential within a decade.
Embraer has 14 executive jets in service in India, making up around 10 percent of the total Indian numbers, the HBL report said.
Embraer has named Indamer and Air Works Engineering as authorized service providers for all operators of Embraer executive jets within India.