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By Bulbul Singh

22 Jun 05. As Indian Air Force gears up to float a global tender this year worth $9bn for the purchase of one time ever biggest acquisition of 126 Medium Range Multirole aircraft, a series of plans have been chalked out by the planers in the Indian Air Force and the Defense Ministry to revamp the entire air defense network as well as the complete modernization of the aging existing Air Defense Ground Environment System (ADGES) .

The entire project is estimated to cost around $1bn spread over the next three years and has taken up on a priority basis.

The list of projects to be executed in the high priority list for the Indian Air Force include procurement of a series of missile detection radar systems from overseas markets, license production of 19 Low Level Transportable Radar (LLTR), fine tuning of the existing Air Defense Ground Environment System (ADGES), and acquisition of variety of radar.


The backbone of the Indian Air Force’s air defense systems, the Air Defense Ground Environment System (ADGES) is being updated which includes conversion from monologue to digital format.

Indian state owned defense research laboratories, Defense Research and Development Organisation, DRDO which has been entrusted with the job to upgrade the homegrown ADGES is looking for partners in the west, to modernize ADGES

The Indian Air Defense Ground Environment System employs a three tier detection network.The first layer, rather surprisingly, consists of Mobile Observation Posts (MOPs). These remain among the most reliable of the early-warning mechanisms available to the Indian Air Force. The MOPs consists of two-man teams equipped with a HF/VHF radio set and field glasses. The MOPs are scattered along the borders at random intervals, ranging between 25 and 45 kilometres. The MOPs give the first warning of ariborne intrusion, the general direction of the attack and, more the number of aircraft.

The MOPs are assisted in this task by via a communications system based on both HF/VHF radio sets as well as telephone lines. A more advanced communications system based on fibre optic cables and satellite communications is also available to assist the MOPs in reporting to the radar picket line.

The radar picket line, which lies about 150km behind the MOPs, consists of a number of radar clusters. These comprise three radar station separated at a distance of the sum of their radii. The equipment issued to these clusters generally comprises one license-made Soviet STRATEGIC-68/U and two P-18/-19 radars. These are then flanked by two P-12/-15 radars. The STRATEGIC-68/U acts as the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC).

The radars are all long-range surveillance types with ranges in excess of 300km and good performance against targets flying at all altitudes – even those employing electronic countermeasures (ECM). These radar pickets are responsible for giving accurate information on the intruding force to the Air Defense Control Centres (ADCC) located behind the radar picket line. The picket line and the ADCC are separated by a first layer of air defense weapons which are the first to engage the intruders.


Another top priority of the Indian Air Force is to procure missile detection radar systems worth $ 600 million as the state-owned defense research agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has not succeeded in developing such radar which are needed in view of Pakistan’s ability to develop variety of ballistic missiles.

The missile detection radar are needed by the Indian Navy as well to track short and medium range missiles to protect the Indian Navy’s warships, and aircraft carriers.

India is already approaching Israel, United States, France, and Russia to suggest credible missile detecting radar systems so that India could begin procurement process of these systems.


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