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By Bulbul Singh

30 Oct 08. India plans procurement of variety of Air Defence radar systems for the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy worth over $1.5 billion. The move follows a severe attack by India’s autonomous Auditing Agency in its latest report stating that India’s Air Defence system lacks adequate radars.

The latest Indian Comptroller and Auditor General,(CAG) Report, comprising 97 pages and tabled in the Indian Parliament on October 24th says, “Indian Air Force (IAF) do not possess adequate numbers of surveillance radars needed for providing efficient and reliable detection capabilities for ensuring credible Air Defence”

The shortfall in surveillance radars has affected the overall
Indian Air Force Air Defence system. Currently the Air Defence system is made up of the Air Defence Ground Environment System, (ADGES), an integrated network of surveillance radars, air defence control centers, air and missile bases and anti-aircraft guns. The system was developed in the early 70’s with equipment purchased from the USSR. ADGES is still the mainstay of the air defence system with surveillance radars deployed across the country.

Giving details of the shortfall of the radar, the CAG report
notes, “Shortage of medium powerradars (MPRs) needed for ground control and intercept was as high as 53 per cent of the projected requirement. The holding of low-level transportable radars was merely 24 per cent of the actual requirement of the Air Force”.

The shortfall in MPRs has mainly been the result of delays in procurement of radars sought by the Indian Air Force over the last ten years which has compelled the Indian Air Force to ” operate with only 26 per cent of the authorized holding of these radars when large numbers of these obsolete radars become due for phase-out.” adds the report.

Another area of shortfall are High-Power Static Radars (HPSR), Mobile Radars and Low Level Transportable Radars (LLTR).

The HPSRs are 3-D radars, which cover aerial threats at a height of 2 kilometers and above and have a range of 450 kilometers. The Indian defence ministry will float global tenders for the purchase of unspecified numbers of HPSRs in the next six months.

Even the latest purchase of LLTRs has run into trouble, as the Indian defence ministry has set up an enquiry against the state-owned Bangalore-based electronics company, Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) for breaching an agreement on production of Low Level Transportable Radars (LLTRs). The agreement was entered into between BEL and SELEX Integrati, a Finmeccanica company, in 2005 under hich all future production of LLTRs at BEL will be done on Technology Transfer basis.

However, despite the TOT agreement, BEL has gone ahead to procure the LLTRs for the Indian army worth over $250 million under direct purchases and BEL is not producing the LLTRs as per the agreement.

Defence Ministry officials say, “BEL is behaving only as a chanalizing agency in the purchase of LLTRs whereas the company was mandated to produce the future requirements of Indian defence forces on LLTRs on TOT production basis.

The Indian defence ministry had floated an international tender
in 2005, in which Thales of France and SELEX had been short-listed for the purchase of over 30 LLTRs. Thereafter an agreement was signed between BEL and SELEX as part of a compulsory requirement of the Indian defence ministry to build future LLTRs requirements at BEL facilities on TOT basis from SELEX.

The LLTRs provide cover against aerial threats operating at Low Levels i.e up to a height of 2 kilometers and have a range of up to 150 kilometers.

The Indian defence ministry is also planning to procure a variety of Medium Power Radars. The 3-D MPRs can detect aerial threats at a height of 2 kilometers and above and have a range of 300 kilometers. Thereis acute shortage of these radars with the Indian Air Defence sys

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