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IAF to deploy Aerostat radar to secure Delhi

Ajit K Dubey in New Delhi | December 09, 2008 16:46 IST
Last Updated: December 09, 2008 17:37 IST

Faced with intelligence inputs of a possible threat from the skies on the pattern of 9/11, the Indian Air Force has decided to install a highly sophisticated radar in Delhi [Images] to detect low-flying aircraft.

The decision to install an aerostat radar in Delhi comes close on the heels of Defence Minister A K Antony saying that the country needs to guard against aerial threats.

"We are planning to deploy a dedicated aerostat radar to secure the capital from threats from low-flying aircraft," IAF sources said. This will be integrated with units of surface-to-air missiles based in the capital.

After the recent terror strikes in Mumbai, intelligence agencies had warned about a WTC-type terror strikes at important locations across the country.

Antony had chaired a high-level meeting of the tri-services chiefs and his ministry officials to discuss means to counter any such aerial threat after terrorists breached coastal security in Mumbai recently.

In response to intelligence warning, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had recently said, "We are prepared to tackle any such threat."

The deployment of an aerostat radar is one of the steps taken by the IAF to strengthen the aerial security of the capital, sources said.

"There have been few instances in the recent past where aircraft have flown over the VVIP zone. Last month, during the ongoing Parliament session, a Pawan Hans chopper flew right over the Parliament building and it was after this incident that we decided to hasten the process of deploying an aerostat radar," sources said.

"With our existing radars, we can protect whole of national capital region. But this would be the only radar guarding against low-flying threats," they added.

Radars protecting against high flying aircraft have been deployed by the IAF in and around Delhi and they along with the radars at air bases cover a long range and detect any aircraft coming towards the capital.

"We have deployed these radars around the capital and with their capabilities, we can receive warnings about aircraft moving towards capital much in advance, giving us ample time to thwart it," they added.

"With the high powered radars, we were sure about tackling high flying threats and with the aerostat, we would be able to counter low-level flying objects also and thus, ensuring an almost fool-proof security cover for Delhi," the sources claimed.

The IAF is going to procure four more aerostat radars in the near future from Israel and is deploying them at strategic points to provide advance warning against enemy aircraft and missiles the sources said.

The IAF is acquiring low-level transportable radars along with medium and high-powered radars to plug the gaps in its aerial coverage along the borders and coastal areas.


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