INDIA BUILDING COASTAL SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
By Bulbul Singh
01 Dec 10. Bharat Electronics Limited is building the first stage of an Indian Coastal Surveillance System (CSS) spread across 7600 kilometres of coastline at a cost of over $180 million. In November 2008 terrorists struck Mumbai through the sea route and caught the coastal security system wanting.
The CSS includes a chain of electro-optic sensors including radars, day and night cameras installed on lighthouses and towers looking into the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
The CSS can be operated remotely from a control centre in New Delhi and can pick up an object at a distance of 30 kilometres. In the first phase the CSS will be deployed in 46 sensitive coastal locations by the end of 2011. Advance data fusion techniques are employed to integrate all the information from the coastal sensors to form the operating picture.
In November orders worth $73 million were placed with SAAB for the supply of a CSS for the entire Indian coastline which is in a addition to the Surveillance System developed by BEL. Saab will implement the project, which includes installation, commissioning, training and support, together with their Indian partner Elcome Marine Services. Saab has been contracted by the Indian Maritime Authority, Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), for the supply of the system.
Meanwhile the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is currently testing transponders for the 400,000-plus fishing boats that ply in Indian waters.
To strengthen India’s maritime surveillance, the Indian Coast Guard is also entering the global market by early 2011 to purchase, on Fast Track basis, 30 helicopters, 20 fast Interceptor boats, 10 fast Patrol vessels and five Offshore vessels.
The helicopters will need to fulfil roles of, logistics and operational cover for the Indian Coast Guard ships at sea, pollution response, casualty evacuation, VIP commitments and reconnaissance and shadow.
Indian Coast Guard strength currently comprises 44 ships, 19 interceptor boats, six hovercraft, 24 fixed wing aircraft and 21 helicopters to undertake operations like search and rescue, anti-poaching, coastal surveillance and checking smuggling.
The Indian Coast Guard aircraft strength has not only been stagnant for the last two years but is inadequate to meet current demands. The process, started in 2009, to lease eight twin engine helicopters is still underway.
Currently there are 28 Coast Guard Stations which include six in Gujarat state, two in Maharashtra state, one in Goa, two in Karnataka, three in Kerala state, one in Delhi, four in Tamil Nadu, two in Andhra Pradesh, one in Orissa, one in West Bengal, four in Andaman and Nicobar islands and one in Lakshadweep.
The Indian government has now approved fourteen new stations which include Pipavav and Mundra on the Gujarat coast. The other locations are at Ratnagiri, Dahanu, Minicoy, Androth, Karaikal, Nizampatnam, Krishnapatnam, Gopalpur, Kolkata, Frazerganj, Mayabunder and Kamorta.