Its Not Just About Combat Aircraft Image Credit: Geopolitics
Its Not Just About Combat Aircraft Image Credit: Geopolitics

It's Not Just About Combat Aircraft

Much of the attention that is focused on the Indian Air Force scrutinises the IAF’s combat aircraft fleet and its decline from a peak of 39.5 combat squadrons. Insufficient attention is paid to the other important, indeed, vital elements of the IAF which include the air defence network of radars and missiles, the transport and helicopter fleets and the aircraft used therein. These are all worth examining on their own merit, write Sanjay Badri Maharaj

Sanjay Badri Maharaj

India, with its vast airspace, maintains an advanced Air Defence Ground Environment System. This system, along with the civilian air traffic control, is responsible for the detection, identification and, if necessary, the interception of aircraft in Indian airspace. The air defence network is also in the process of being upgraded to cater for ballistic missile threats. Before examining the system in detail, a quick overview is in order. India's air defence network is essentially divided into two parts - the Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES) and the Base Air Defence Zones (BADZ). These two components are closely linked and share information relating to air defence tasks. The Air Defence Ground Environment System consists of an array of radars along the western and northern borders as well as a network of mobile systems in the northeast and south of the country – the latter two areas being as yet less covered by radars.

The ADGES network is responsible for overall airspace management and detection of intruders. The ADGES also controls and coordinates the air defences for large area targets. The Base Air Defence Zones, as the name implies, are tasked with the defence of high value targets – air bases, nuclear installations and key military installations. The BADZ is a scaled down ADGES network, limited to an arc of 100km. The BADZ is a far more concentrated air defence environment than the ADGES and provides the only gap-free air defence cove

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