Tucson: Indian Air Force (IAF), seeking airborne surveillance and reconnaissance radars to beef up security along India’s long borders, has sent two Requests for Information (RFIs) to US-based defence equipment major Raytheon, a top company official said.
“We have received two RFIs from the IAF. We have responded to them but it is very early stages of forming the requirements,” Justin Monger, business manager for Raytheon’s Integrated Defence Systems, told visiting Indian reporters here in this city in Arizona state.
Monger said the IAF has not yet apparently decided whether it wants to go for the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) system or Mechanically Scanned Arrangement.
Indian Air Force aircrafts in flight. Photo: AFP
“Given the long border and geographic challenges, the surveillance aircraft has to go high up, may be 40,000 feet. In view of these fundamental constraints, a high powered AESA radar on board a business jet like Gulf Stream or Bombardier (is required),” he said when asked which of the two systems would suit the IAF needs.
Monger said, however, IAF will have to specify its needs and the company would accordingly suggest a solution.
“It will be a big jump (for IAF) to switch to AESA,” he added.
Giving the details of the ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Targetting, Aerial Reconnaissance) Programme, he said the system can scan 34,000 square kilometres in a minute while it can assess and analyse an image within 15 minutes.
“Another aircraft can take over the reconnaissance and surveillance when the first aircraft has to land. The new aircraft can take over all the processed and unprocessed data from the first aircraft,” he said.
The ISTAR programme is on the lines of ASTOR (Airborne STand-Off Radar) programme produced by Raytheon Company for Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom (UK).
Monger said the system provides a highly effective, all weather, day and night and target acquisition capabilities at the same time.
“It was used during Operation Herrick (in Afghanistan) and Operation Ellamy (in Libya). It was used for round the clock coverage in Afghanistan and is still doing 50 missions a month (each mission is around 11 to 12 hours),” he added.
Monger said the coverage provided by the AESA system is near real time.