The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon buy 41 specialized radars to help monitor bird activity around air bases to prevent bird-hits that are responsible for nearly a tenth of its air crashes.
"We have issued a request for information recently. We are receiving information on various Avian radars that are available in the market now. Soon we will release a request for proposals (tender) for these radars," a senior IAF officer told IANS.
The official did not want to be identified as per service rules.
The air force decided to induct sophisticated radars in important air bases on being concerned over bird-hits grounding its combat and transport fleet and resulting in an adverse impact on its operational readiness.
Several of these air bases are now located within the limits of heavily populated cities and towns such as Agra, Bareilly, Gwalior, Srinagar, Chandigarh and Tezpur.
A recent parliamentary standing committee report had pointed out that nine percent of the over 1,000 air crashes that have taken place since 1970 were due to bird-hits.
The number of bird-hits recorded by the IAF in the last 40 years is relatively small compared to either 39.5 percent caused by technical troubles faced by the aging fleet or the 39 percent human error cases due to inadequate pilot training.
But the purpose of buying the Avian radars is to save both aircraft and pilots from accidents caused by bird-hits, which can be easily avoided, the officer said.
The Avian radars will be put to use for collecting data on bird activity close to an air field so that the flight operations there could be reoriented to evade birds.
Other bird hazard control measures adopted by the IAF at present include 'zone guns', automated scarecrows and special frequency transmitters.
The air force station also regularly conducts awareness campaigns among residents of localities around the air bases for efficient garbage disposal and solid waste management.