The Indian Air Force has drawn up plans to acquire 12 high-powered radars to counter the threat posed by the induction of new combat aircraft in the region, some of which are claimed to have stealth capabilities, as well as ballistic missiles.Such radars have the capability to detect airborne targets at a range of several hundred kilometres. These will combat the growing obsolescence and plug gaps in the country’s existing air defence network.The IAF has specified that the radars should be able to detect targets at an altitude of 30 kms with the ability to detect and track targets having a radar cross section of 0.1 square metre or less following a parabolic trajectory. The systems, which can also be deployed in high altitude areas, should also have measures to counter electronic warfare and anti-radiation missiles.
The move to procure high-powered radars comes in the backdrop of India being in the process of acquiring several other systems, including long-range surface-to-air missiles, to strengthen defences against aerial threats.The IAF has an array of low, medium and long range radars to meet different operational requirements. At present, its requirement of high-power radars, which are large and static systems with an elaborate infrastructure, is met by a mix of Russian and French systems. The French Thales radar, which that has a range of about 600 kms, has been in service for several decades. Besides imported systems, a number of indigenously developed radars such as Rohini, Arudhra and Indra series met low and medium range requirements.
The private sector in India is also reported to be working on high-powered radar systems.The Russian S-400 missile that has a range of 380 km, Israeli Spyder low-level quick reaction missiles, the indigenous Akash and the under development medium range surface-to-air missile along with the missile shield for important cities are among the systems being put in place to enhance air defence capabilities