INDIAN SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES INADEQUATE
By Bulbul Singh
30 Mar 06. The Select Committee of Parliament of Indian Parliament on defense has observed that the surveillance capabilities of Indian defense forces is inadequate and has asked the Indian defense ministry to acquire advanced low level radar for the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force on immediate basis.
The Standing Committee on Defense, in its latest report tabled in the Indian Parliament says ” The Committee observes that the surveillance capabilities of our forces are insufficient and not up to the desired level because of non- availability of low level radar systems with the three services”.
The Committee has asked the Indian defense forces to complete procedural procurement formalities in a time bound manner in order to strengthen the surveillance system and procure radar from overseas and domestic markets.
A defense ministry official said, the low level surveillance radars are currently available with the Corps of Army Air Defense and several low level radar have been contracted from state owned Bharat Electronics Limited, (BEL).
However, an Indian Army official said the air defense system of the Indian Army is severely affected due to aging air defense system which are grounded in large numbers due to availability of radars.
Most of the Indian defense forces are equipped with air defense systems bought from erstwhile USSR countries in the 60’s and 70’s.
An Indian Air Force official said that there is need to acquire Low Looking Transportable Radar due to rising threats from low flying objects from Pakistan. The official also said that last year the Indian defense forces quashed a plan to acquire 19 Low Looking Transportable Radar (LLTR) worth $119 million because it was on a single vendor basis in which Thales of France was the only vendor. The Request for Proposal has yet to be issued and the acquisition of these radars is being affected due to bureaucratic delays, said the Indian Air Force official.
Thales was the only contender in the technical trials held in India in 2004 for the procurement of proposed LLTRs. The global tender was issued in 2002.
An Indian defense ministry official revealed that a chain of coastal radars are planned to be purchased from overseas countries within the next one to two years. Details of the requirements of such radars is not available.
The defense ministry official said proposals for procurement of Medium Power Radar, Central Acquisition Radar, Low Level Light Weight Radar and Low level Transportable radar will be procured from domestic and overseas countries in the next three years.
The Parliament Committee has however observed “The Committee are sorry to note that in spite of repeatedly projecting the requirements of armed forces, proposals for acquiring low level radar in case of navy, air force are still under consideration (by the Indian defense ministry)”.