India’s air defence inadequate: Comptroller and Auditor General

October 25th, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) Revealing gaping holes in the country’s air defence, the Comptroller and Auditor General in its recent report on the defence ministry says that the number of radars with the Indian Air Force (IAF) is inadequate for efficient surveillance of the skies.Constant air surveillance is essential for eliminating potential enemy threats and the shortage of surveillance radars has made the air defence “vulnerable”, it said.

“Air defence is critical to the nation’s security. The IAF, however, holds less than adequate number of surveillance radars needed for providing efficient and reliable detection capabilities for ensuring credible air defence,” the recently released CAG report said.

The CAG has pointed out that the defence ministry could not ensure timely acquisition of three additional high power static radars to provide effective air surveillance over certain sensitive areas.

“Shortage of medium power radars needed for ground control and intercept was as high as 53 percent of the projected requirement. IAF’s holding of low-level transportable radars, which are assigned the role of providing early warning, was merely 24 percent of the actual requirement of the IAF,” the audit report said of the radars in IAF’s Signal units.

The report says that the outdated 1970-71 plan for air defence still forms the basis for determining the IAF’s requirement for radars and other associated equipment as the government is yet to approve the revised plans of 1983-2000 and 1987-2007.

The shortage of radars has also become acute in view of the significant changes in the security scenario, the technology and growing magnitude of potential aerial threats in terms of sophistication and capability.

“This has created a serious mismatch between availability and requirement of surveillance systems,” the report said.

Besides non-availability of radars, the actual “watch hours” allotted to the IAF units were much lower than the hours prescribed by the government.

“The actual surveillance levels ranged between four and 42 percent of the approved norms,” the auditor said.

The Signal units in the IAF, which are responsible for operation and basic maintenance of radars, are also facing acute shortage of officers.

According to the CAG report: “Signal units have large deficiency of officers in operational and technical cadres ranging between 27 to 38 percent.”

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