Qioptiq logo Raytheon


By Bulbul Singh

30 Dec 08. The Indian Air Force has awarded $100 million contract to state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd.(BEL) to build Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) on the model of NATO’s Air Command and Control System. The system will handle the service’s air traffic control, surveillance, air mission control, airspace management and force management functions.

Though the IACCS system was first proposed in 2002, the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), took up the project. However, the defence ministry found that DRDO was going too slowly on the project and awarded it BEL.

Only Domestic companies, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) were short-listed for the IACCS project.

“BEL in turn is in negotiation with Thales of France and Raytheon of the U.S. to help BEL complete the project without any formal announcement,” said sources in BEL. However, a BEL official said, “They will only seek consultancy from overseas players in the IACCS project.”

Sources in the Indian defence ministry said, “The decision to select only domestic companies was taken for security considerations and it was decided that the IACCS project should be an indigenous project only.

One senior Indian defence ministry official however said that
homegrown Network centric warfare solutions, including IACCS, will be confined to basic programming, adding that India will have to seek assistance from overseas companies for complex solutions.

The first phase of IACCS is expected to be commissioned in another eight months. It will enable quick transfer of data from low-level transportable radars (LLTRs), high-power static radars and medium-power radars as well as ground stations of AWACS and aerostat radars to a control room. A senior Indian Air Force official said, the system will handle the service’s air traffic control, surveillance, air mission control, airspace management and force management functions.

The $100 million tender for IACCS covers only five nodes of IACCS, and the remaining five will be covered after the completion of the ongoing project. “The first note is expected to be completed in eight months,” said a senior Indian Air Force official.

For the long term, IACCS will be modelled on the lines of the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) which will result in automation of all planning and execution of air operations. IACCS will in reality mature into an independent air command and control structure and integrate all the air assets of the Indian Air Force. Consisting of data links and advanced communication systems, IACCS will integrate air traffic control, surveillance and force management functions. There are plans to integrate space based assets such as satellites and surveillance systems.

In October 2008, the Indian Air Force received another network centric warfare system, the Pilot Integrated Air Command and Control System (PIACCS) which will network civil and military radars in southern India. Developed by domestic private sector Jupiter Strategic Technologies Pvt. Ltd. PIACCS will be used only by the Southern Air Command (SAC) of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

PIACCS, the first in India, will integrate radars of the army, navy, air force and will act as a force multiplier for the Indian Air Force.

The system also provides facilities to support air defence functions like automatic surveillance, identification, threat evaluation, interception and recovery.

The Indian defence ministry also plans to integrate the Network centric warfare programs of Navy, Indian Air Force and Navy. Presently, Army, Navy and Air Force have their stand alone network.

Back to article list