Weather tracking: IMD writes to IAF for space at Jakkur for Doppler radar

It has been nearly a decade since IMD officials have been searching for space in Bengaluru to set up the DWR.
IMD has requested IAF to visit the site before taking the final decision.
IMD has requested IAF to visit the site before taking the final decision.

BENGALURU: After a prolonged search and request to all government and private entities for space on the rooftop of highrise buildings in Bengaluru to set up a Doppler Weather Radar (DWR), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is now looking at defence forces for assistance.

IMD officials from the Delhi headquarters and Bengaluru have sent overtures to the Indian Air Force for assistance and have sought space in Jakkur.

It has been nearly a decade since IMD officials have been searching for space in Bengaluru to set up the DWR. As they were not successful, they had decided to use the rooftop of highrise buildings.

“But we have not received any response from private or commercial firms or government departments so far. We approached Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for space at the HAL Airport. But they said IMD already has an observatory on their premises. They suggested that we utilise IAF land at Jakkur aerodrome. We also think that the space will be ideal and DWR will be safe,” said a senior IMD official.

IMD has requested IAF to visit the site before taking the final decision. “In principle, IAF has agreed to our request. It has also agreed to help us in setting up a 20-metre tower, if required, to mount the 6.5-tonne radar with radome. However, we need to visit the place and discuss the technical details before starting work on the ground. If all goes well, this will be the first time in India that a DWR is being set up on air force land. With this, security and management will not be a problem,” the official said.

The radar will not affect the biennial Aero-India air show and aviation exhibition held at the Yelahanka Air Force Station. It will also not affect the flying and training sessions held at the Jakkur aerodrome, IMD sources said.

In the meantime, IMD is also working on strengthening the 27 automatic weather stations and 47 automatic rain gauge stations. They are ensuring that all of them are functioning and sending timely data, on the weather -- especially rainfall, to the head office in Bengaluru. Work is also being done to set up seven more rain gauges in Karnataka. These are part of a project to set up 400 such rain gauges across the country.

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