IAF now wants a major induction of long-range surveillance radars (LRSRs) and high-power radars (HPRs) to bolster air defence coverage in “hilly terrain’’ in the hinterland as well as along the borders with China and Pakistan. This comes after IAF has already inked contracts for 19 LLTRs (low-level transportable radars), four MPRs (mediumpower radars) and 30 indigenous medium-range Rohini radars, among others.
Apart from lightweight mountain radars for high altitude areas, plans are also afoot to procure nine more Aerostat radars to add to the two EL/M-2083 Israeli Aerostats inducted earlier as well as two additional AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) to supplement the first three Israeli Phalcon AWACS bought under a $1.1-billion deal.
The overall aim of all this is to ensure Indian airspace, which still has several gaping holes, especially over central and peninsular India, becomes impregnable against hostile aircraft, drones and helicopters. As for the LRSRs and HPRs, IAF’s global request of information (RFI) says these active aperture phased array radars, which will “be used for air defence surveillance, command and control in hilly terrain’’, should be able to classify large, medium and small aircraft, drones and helicopters at a range of 450 to 600-km automatically.
Though IAF is yet to specify numbers, the procurement is likely to be large since the RFI specifies that the project will involve a “phased manufacturing programme’’ leading to indigenous production under transfer of technology. With advanced “electronic counter-counter measures’’, the LRSRs and HPRs should also be capable of being integrated into the IACCS, the fully-automated network being established to integrate the wide array of military radars.