Faced with intelligence inputs of a possible threat from the skies on the pattern of 9/11, the Indian Air Force has decided to install highly sophisticated radar in Delhi to detect 'rogue' low-flying aircraft.
The decision to install 'Aerostat' radar in Delhi comes close on the heels of Defence Minister AK Antony saying that the country needs to guard against aerial threats.
"We are planning to deploy a dedicated Aerostat radar here to secure the capital from threats from low-flying aircraft," IAF sources told PTI in Delhi on Tuesday.
These radars would be integrated with units of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) based in the capital.
After the recent terror strikes in Mumbai, intelligence agencies had warned about a WTC-type terror strikes at important locations across the country.
Antony had chaired a high-level meeting of the tri-services chiefs and his Ministry officials to discuss means to counter any such aerial threat, after terrorists' breached coastal security in Mumbai recently.
In response to the intelligence warnings, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had recently said, "We are prepared to tackle any such threat."
The deployment of an Aerostat here is one of the steps taken by the IAF to strengthen the aerial security of the capital, sources said.
The IAF has been planning to deploy an Aerostat here for some time now after some aircraft encroached the no-fly zone areas over the capital.
"There have been few instances in the recent past where aircraft have flown over the VVIP zone. Last month, during the ongoing Parliament session also, a Pawan Hans chopper flew right over the Parliament building and it was after this incident that we decided to hasten the process of deploying an Aerostat radar here," sources said.
"With our existing radars, we can protect whole of national capital region (NCR). But this would be the only radar guarding against low-flying threats," they added.
Radars protecting against high flying aircraft have been deployed by the IAF in and around Delhi and they along with the radars at air bases can "see" up to a long range and detect any aircraft coming towards the capital.
"We have deployed these radars around the capital and with their capabilities, we can receive warnings about aircraft moving towards capital much in advance, giving us ample time to thwart it," they added.
Sources said that with the induction of Aerostat radar, the IAF is expected to ensure a "fool-proof" security against any aerial threats.
"With the high powered radars, we were sure about tackling high flying threats and with the Aerostat, we would be able to counter low-level flying objects also and thus, ensuring an almost fool-proof security cover for Delhi," the sources claimed.
The IAF is going to procure four more Aerostat radars in the near future from Israel and is deploying them at strategic points to provide advance warning against enemy aircraft and missiles the sources said.
The IAF is acquiring low-level transportable radars along with medium- and high-powered radars to plug the gaps in its aerial coverage along the borders and coastal areas.