IAF told to plan for advanced weapons

NEW DELHI: In a significant ramp up for Indian air defence capabilities, the Ministry of Defence has given a green signal to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to plan for the latest ‘advanced weapons’ to be inducted in the arsenal.

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1

In a significant ramp up for Indian air defence capabilities, the Ministry of Defence has given a green signal to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to plan for the latest ‘advanced weapons’ to be inducted in the arsenal.

The IAF is mandated as the sole agency to protect the vast India air space from incoming enemy missiles, UAVs, fighter jets and helicopters. The Army and the Navy have their own ‘area specific’ air defences for their formations.

The ‘advanced weapons’ will be transformation from the existing system of air defence missile to a ‘network centric’ approach that interconnect all available resources on a single platform. Real time imagery from truck-mounted radars, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and satellites will be available to ground-based commanders and senior commanders to react with the best possible weapon within range of the enemy threat.

The IAF has been tasked to look at appropriate technology for the future.

Sources said air defence was one of the priority areas of the ministry headed by Manohar Parrikar. The first priority will be the estimated Rs 18,000-crore plan to add the latest version of the surface-to-air missiles of the Akash series.

Akash system can simultaneously engage multiple targets in all weather conditions and can strike at targets at an altitude of 20 kms. It can also engage UAVs in addition to helicopters and fighter planes. At 96% indigenisation, it represents a major capability development for a crucial weapon system. The Army version is to protect armoured columns and bases and is designed for high mobility.

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