Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) developed its Phalcon system for
Israeli defence forces and for export. Airborne Early Warning, Command
and Control (AEWC&C) systems play a major role on the modern
battlefield by providing real-time intelligence and command and control
needed to achieve and maintain air superiority over the combat area and
to enable surveillance of borders in peacetime. The world’s most
advanced AEWC&C system, the PHALCON, was developed and produced by
ELTA using Active Phased Array Electronic Scanning Technology rather
than a mechanically rotating antenna (rotodome) used by current AWACS
systems, giving PHALCON greater operational flexibility and performance
by several orders of magnitude.
The Phalcon AEW&C aircraft is based on four sensors: phased-array
radar, phased-array IFF, ESM/ELINT and CSM/COMINT. A unique fusion
technology continuously cross-relates the data gathered by all sensors.
When one of the sensors reports a detection, the system automatically
initiates an active search of the complementary sensors.
The AWE&C phased array radar replaces the conventional
rotodome radar. It is mounted either on the aircraft fuselage or on top
of the aircraft inside a stationary dome, providing full 360°
coverage. This electronically steered beam radar delivers a tremendous
advantage over mechanical rotating antenna, as it supports the tracking a
high maneuvering targets. The radar can detect even low flying objects
from distances of hundreds of kilometers, day and night, under all
weather conditions. Verification beams sent at specific, individual,
newly detected targets eliminate false alarms. Moreover, track
initiation is achieved in 2 to 4 seconds as compared to 20 to 40 seconds
with a rotodome radar.
The IFF system employs solid state phased array technology to
perform interrogation, decoding, target detection and tracking. A
monopulse technique is used to implement azimuth measurement. The IFF
data is automatically correlated with the phased array radar.
The ESM/ELINT system receives, analyzes and locates radar signals,
covering 360o. It combines high sensitivity with high probability of
intercept, and achieves excellent accuracy in bearing measurement. The
system uses narrow-band super-heterodyne receivers and wide-band
instantaneous frequency measurement (IFM) techniques to provide very
high accuracy and probability of intercept of airborne and surface
emitters. Very high bearing accuracy for all received signals is
achieved through Differential Time of Arrival (DTOA) measurements. The
system also collects and analyzes ELINT data.
The PHALCON’s CSM/COMINT receives in UHF, VHF and HF, rapidly
searching for airborne, shipborne or ground communications signals of
interest. Selected radio nets can be monitored for signal activity. A DF
capability locates targets. Detected signals can be assigned to
monitoring receivers instantaneously. The system makes extensive use of
computers to reduce the load on operators.
The aircraft communicates, via its data link, with Air Defense HQ. Data
from additional air defense sensors are fused to create a complete
The PHALCON systems can be installed on a variety of platforms, such as
the Boeing 707, Boeing 767, Boeing 747, Airbus and C-130.
This system was sold to Chile in 1995, where it is designated “Condor”.
The Israelis began in 1993 converting a FACh Boeing 707 to carry the
Phalcon airborne early warning system. Chile had repeated system
problems and complained to Israel of system shortcomings.
Under the aegis of Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai and Defense
Ministry Director General Ilan Biran, six agreements for cooperation
between Israeli, American and European defense firms were signed on 15
October 1998. Under one of these agreements, IAI/ELTA Electronics
Industries Ltd. and Raytheon Systems Company will cooperate on the
development, production and marketing of AEWC&C systems on a world
wide basis. The new project will be based on PHALCON. The two companies
had teamed up to compete for tenders for AEWC&C systems for
Australia, South Korea and Turkey.
Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) was marketing its Phalcon airborne
early warning (AEW) system to China in competition with the British
defense firm GEC-Marconi. In 1996 Tel Aviv and Beijing signed an
agreement on purchasing the Falcon radar system, which China insisted
system should be fitted onto Russian Il-76 aircraft. The Phalcon’s
triangular radar array would be mounted on the rear quarter fuselage of
the Il-76 to provide full 360 degree scan coverage. Beijing was expected
to acquire several PHALCON AEW systems, and reportedly could buy at
least three more [and possibly up to eight] of these systems. But in
July 2000 the United States pressured Israel to back out of a $1 billion
agreement to sell China four Phalcon phased-array radar systems.
The India Air Force agreed in 2004 to purchase three systems for $1.1
billion. Russia and Israel on 10 October 2004 signed a tripartite
agreement to facilitate the equipping of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with
the Phalcon airborne warning and control systems. The IAF plans to
mount the Phalcon radar and surveillance systems from IAI on IL-76
aircraft supplied by Russia.