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'Indian navy's surveillance ability limited'

Enhancing surveillance capabilities and network-centric ops are the key areas to be developed, reports Dhaval Kulkarni.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2006 20:59 IST

Noting that the Indian Navy's surveillance capabilities had not kept pace with it's extended area of operations, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta said that the Navy would focus on network centric warfare.

Speaking to reporters at the Naval Air Station Kunjali on Thursday, Mehta said enhancing the surveillance capabilities of the navy and network-centric operations would be the key thrust areas.

The Navy had a wide domain covering extensive areas like Africa, South East Asia and the South China seas, which was much than the normal area of operations, and the creation of naval assets had not kept pace with these requirements.

"The network-centric operations will ensure that each units will be networked and enable them to share information detected on the radars and the sonars, and to decide which weapon is to be deployed for the threat," said Mehta.

The idea was at a conceptual stage and if implemented, would enable the various ships, units, sub-organisations and headquarters to share data and communicate. The Local Area Network (LAN) and the Wide Area Network (WAN) will be used for the purpose.

"We will test the concept by putting it on a platform, and see if it works before networking all units," added Mehta.

To get over the snags in the surveillance capabilities, the Navy had plans for going in for satellite coverage of a large area. Rotor based Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) mounted on platforms like ships would enable ships to cover large areas. The Navy was also trying to be a capability driven force, and build it's strengths in the Light Intensity Maritime Operations (Limo).

The acquisition of the aircraft carriers USS Trenton and the INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) would help build India's maritime capabilities and the work had started on the construction of the Scorpene submarines in Mumbai's Mazgaon Docks.

Orders had been placed for the construction of a new aircraft carrier in the Cochin shipyard, and the vessel would be ready by 2011.

An audit system had been put in place to prevent disasters like the collision of the ship INS Prahaar with a commercial vessel and plans for replacing ageing hardware like the Sea King helicopters were being formulated.

Plans for an indigenous helicopter, which could be used by the three armed forces were being drawn up.

However, Mehta observed that the Navy lacked submarine capabilities, as the submarines could not stay underwater for a long time. However, when nuclear submarines were developed, this snag would be done away with.

The Navy would focus on developing indigenous technology and military hardware.