By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI
The Indian Air Force would spend roughly $200 million on foreign air-defense radar equipment under a proposal sent to the Defence Ministry in early May and expected to be approved, a senior ministry official said.
The proposal would revamp the Air Defense Ground Environment System (ADGES), the backbone of the country’s air defense system, to transmit data by digital instead of analog systems. It also would make India the only south Asian nation that could detect and jam ballistic missiles, an Air Force planner said. The Air Force would seek bids to license production of 15 ground-based systems to detect incoming missiles up to 300 kilometers away. Bids will be sought from Italy’s AMS, Israel’s Elta and France’s Thales, the planner said. The radar would be built by state-owned Bharat Electronics.
The Air Force’s priority for the next three years is making the ADGES six to eight times better, a senior Air Force procurement official said. Air Force specialists would build the classified system without aid from private firms or scientists from the state’s Defence Research and Development Organisation. The Air Force will run the system, but some data may be shared with the Army or Navy, the procurement official said.
ADGES has three detection tiers. The first consists of Army troops with field glasses some 25 kilometers inside the border. The Air Force has installed fiber optic cables and satellite communication to assist the troops in reporting.
The second tier consists of six clusters of Soviet-made air-defense radar networked with Indian TRS-221 5B 3-D service radar that spot targets 300 kilometers away.
The 3-D radar pass information to the third-tier Air Defense Control Centers, which direct Russian-made Pechora and Osa-akm surface-to-air missiles. India’s air defenses also include L-40/70 radar-directed 40mm anti-aircraft guns and man-portable Igla surface-to-air missiles.
The Air Force also wants to spend $40 million to license production of 20 low-altitude surveillance radar sets and $35 million on better missile-detection radar sets for key Air Force bases around the country, the planner said. •