NEW DELHI: Lack of mountain radars in the treacherous terrain along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is hampering the Indian Air Force’s(IAF) plans to keep an eye on the aerial incursions by its neighbour in the east. While the incidents of troops of People’s Liberation Army crossing over to Indian side had been common, a recent report of a Chinese helicopter straying into Indian air space had created a furore.
Conceding the lacunae in the Indian air defence on the Sino-Indian border, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said the force was in the process of procuring the Low-Level Light-Weight Radars (LLLWR). He, however, said the border was manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the IAF was just providing air support to the forward bases.
“So, these intrusions are reported by the ITBP, to the Army and also to us. If you are fully aware of the terrain in that region, the issue of mountain radars is one that we are now looking at,” he added.
These radars would take care of airspace in northern and north-eastern sector and would be in place by 2016-17. Till then, the IAF and the Army had to depend on the visual detection system put in place by the ITBP which was deployed in Ladakh, Browne said.
The rugged and specialised mountain radars would be deployed in high altitude areas to ensure detection of intruding Chinese drones, helicopters and aircraft.
“These radars will be installed in terrains like Ladakh and Arunachal since conventional radars cannot be deployed there. They should be able to pick up even small aircraft from a distance of 300 to 400 km,” an official said.
The IAF had already given contracts for 19 LLLWRs and more were in the pipeline. At present, the IAF had placed along the LAC two Rohini radars developed by the DRDO and manufactured by the BEL.