New Delhi: Reports quoting defence sources say that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire four more aerostat radars from Israel. The radars would boost the IAF's ability to detect hostile low-flying aircraft, helicopters, spy drones and missiles and also help in plugging gaps in the country's radar network.
Recent developments in Sri Lanka, where low-flying propeller aircraft deployed by the Tamil Tigers mounted spectacular air raids against the Sri Lankan air force and it's Colombo air base, have also set alarm bells ringing among defence circles here and may well have provided the required incentive for an increased induction of these radars.
If the report is correct, then the four aerostat radars would be a follow-on order to the two EL/M-2083 aerostat radars, already inducted in 2004-2005. Reportedly, these radars are capable of providing three-dimensional low-altitude coverage equal to 30-40 ground-based radars.
Pakistan, too, is acquiring six similar, L-88, radar systems from the US.
Also slated for induction over the coming five years are a wide array of LLTRs (low-level transportable radars), LLLWRs (low-level light weight radars), CARs (central acquisition radars) and SARs (synthetic aperture radars). These would go a long way towards improving the IAF's air defence capabilities.
The Israeli EL/M-2083 aerostat radars are more basic versions of the EL/M-2080 Green Pine radars, which form the core of the Israeli Arrow-2 BMD (ballistic missile defence) systems. India has imported two Green Pine radars from Israel in 2001-2002, for use as long-range tracking systems. These radars were used last year in the Prithvi Air Defence Exercise (PADE) BMD test.