New Delhi, Oct 8: President Pranab Mukherjee Monday released a postage stamp to commemorate the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) latest radar-mounted aircraft to mark the 80th anniversary of the force.
Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces, was attending his first defence event, a reception to mark the Air Force Day at the residence of the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, in Lutyen’s Delhi.
The postage stamp was brought out by the department of posts and depicts the Israeli-built Phalcon Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) radar mounted on a Russian IL-76 plane.
Mukherjee was joined at the reception by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Law Minister Salman Khurshid, among others.
The Phalcon AWACS are a force multiplier for the IAF, acting as an eye in the sky to key a tab on enemy aircraft taking off or a hostile missile being fired against the country and sending signals to the air force commanders to take a quick operational decision to act against the incoming threats.
IAF has inducted three Phalcon AWACS under a 2004 tripartite deal between India, Israel and Russia for $1.1 billion, in 2009-10. The fleet is based in Agra.
The IAF also plans to buy two more Phalcons for over $800 million and base them in the eastern sector to defencd the borders with China and to secure the island territories and waters of Bay of Bengal.