- India is slowly but steadily building a fully automated surveillance network to make its airspace, which still has many gaping holes in central and peninsular mainland as well as island territories, as secure as possible in the years ahead.
- By progressive integration of all airborne and ground-based civilian and military radars around the country, the aim is to ensure any intrusion by a hostile aircraft, helicopter, drone or micro-light is detected as soon as it takes place.
- The IAF has already established five nodes of the automated air defence network with data links or the IACCS (integrated air command and control system) at Barnala (Punjab), Wadsar (Gujarat), Aya Nagar (Delhi), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Ambala (Haryana) with help from defence PSU Bharat Electronics.
- Under Phase-II of the IACCS, approved by the defence acquisitions council for Rs 7,160 crore, four new major nodes and 10 sub-nodes will now come up. While three nodes will be in eastern, central and southern India, the fourth is meant for the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Island archipelago.
- Some will be located in underground complexes to improve survivability in face of enemy attacks. The entire IACCS infrastructure is being upgraded, which include advanced early-warning and jam-resistant radars.The proposed launch of the dedicated IAF-Army satellite will also help.
- The wide array of new radars being gradually inducted range from ground-based medium power, low level and light weight radars to “eyes in the skies” in the shape of additional AWACS (airborne warning & control systems) and Aerostat radars.
- The first medium-power radar, for instance, was inducted in Naliya around four years ago.
- Some civilian radars are already linked to the IAF network, which includes the ones controlled by the Airports Authority of India at Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.