NEW DELHI: An Indian Navy project to equip sub-20 metre fishing boats and dhows with transponders to enable their tracking up to 250 nautical miles away at sea has proved a success and is expected to provide real-time maritime surveillance to prevent a repeat of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Buoyed by the results, which bolster an Automatic Identification System (AIS), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is to go ahead with its ambitious Rs 336 crore plan of 2017 to equip some 2 lakh sub-20 metre boats with transponders.
This would ensure that the 7516-km long Indian coastline along 9 states and 4 Union Territories remain inviolate.
“This is the first time that transponders have been used to relay signals as part of AIS. The prototype transponders have been able to receive signals from as far as 200-250 nautical miles,” said a senior Navy officer. He, however, said, “The bigger challenge is to equip some 1.6 lakh of 2.22 lakh boats of all types to ensure the Indian coasts are free of terror intrusion,” he added.
The Navy has so far equipped 500 boats with transponders in Gujarat, 500 in Tamil Nadu and 50 in Puducherry.
“The feeds are linked to Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram, Haryana through satellite and helps in identification of friend or foe,” he said.