The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on February 12, 2013 cleared a DRDO proposal to develop two AWACS aircraft with a 360-degree AESA radar mounted on an IL-76, Boeing or Airbus aircraft.
An additional 4 AWACs systems are proposed after the successful completion of the initial project.
DRDO proposed the project following steep price escalation of the Phalcon AWACS system being acquired from Israel.
The IAF is currently operating 3 Phalcon AWACS mounted on IL-76 aircraft, acquired under a $1.1 billion tripartite agreement among India, Israel and Russia finalized in 2004.
DRDO has proposed the AWACS on its successful development of the airborne AESA radar for the AEW&CS system that it is currently developing.
Defense Minister AK Antony told the Lok Sabha on March 4, 2013:
"To leverage the experience and expertise gained in the design and development of Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems, a project proposal for indigenous development of AWACS (India) by DRDO has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on 12th February, 2013. The development of AWACS (India) is envisaged to be completed in 84 months from the date of formal sanction of the Program. [via PIB]