The IAF on Friday said the tight air defence blanket thrown over the city for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) had factored in all security threats, including paragliders, microlites and UAVs that can be used as sub-conventional weapons.
IAF's Western Air Command, which has been given responsibility to provide air defence cover to the CWG, had set up a 60-km radius surveillance and monitoring apparatus ahead of the games beginning two days from now.
"All types of conventional and sub-conventional threats have been factored into it (air defence cover for CWG)," Western Air Command chief Air Marshal NAK Browne told a press conference in New Delhi to announce IAF's plans for its 78th Air Force Day parade on October 8 at Hindon air base in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of the capital.
He was asked if the air defence blanket put in place a week ahead of the games was equal to the magnitude of alertness during the 2002 Operation Parakram armed forces build up following the December 2001 Parliament terror attack.
"The requirements (of CWG) are fairly different from 'Op Parakram'. Alert status remains the same. Don't forget that the threats have changed between 2002 and 2010," he said, explaining what sub-conventional threats posed by air platforms such as parachutes, gliders and microlites meant.
"We do not look at big or small threat. Threat is threat. A hang-glider could be a threat. Paragliders, fixed wing, microlites and all such could be a threat. Every single one is a threat and we take all of them into account (when an air defence cover is put in place)," he added.
Browne said though WAC would be the main agency for CWG air defence, there would be a lot of integration and cooperation with other agencies of the government to ensure foolproof security was in place both on the ground and air.
He said the IAF had the responsibility of securing the air, with sensors, reconnaissance, surveillance all put in place all over the city and its radius.
Asked if the IAF armed helicopters and fighter jets would take down an air threat if observed, Browne said there was a clearly defined Rules of Engagement (RoE) in case of such scenarios.
"It (RoE) is not ad-hoc, but a fully integrated system. A commander will be sitting at the command and control centre to take decisions (to shoot down). All decisions will be taken at the highest levels," he added.
He also noted that the Civil Aviation Ministry had already given proper guidelines for scheduled flights in and out of Delhi, with the air space being a no-fly zone during the CWG opening and closing ceremonies.