Global Air Defence Scenario
India’s air defence network has two principal components—the ‘Air Defence Ground Environment System’ (ADGES) and the ‘Base Air Defence Zones’ (BADZ)
IF ONE LOOKS AT the present-day battle scenario across the globe, it is very clear that the air threat envelope is spreading beyond one’s imagination. In this backdrop, air defence assumes a significant role, requiring deployment of multi-layered mix of weapon systems. Several countries have developed air defence systems that are not only effective, but also futurisitic.
Countries such as the United States, Russia, France, India and Israel have all developed missile defence systems and they all have been deployed effectively. The need for air defence system is imperative in a nation’s security. From an Indian perspective, there are indigenous air defence systems and also India is looking at highly advanced antimissile defence systems for its two-tiered missile defence shield which is scheduled to be deployed in two separate phases by 2016. India is receptive to working with partners including the United States, Israel, Russia and NATO countries on missile defence.
India’s Two-tiered Defence
India’s air defence network has two principal components—the ‘Air Defence Ground Environment System’ ( ADGES) and the ‘Base Air Defence Zones’ (BADZ). The ADGES network provides for wide area radar coverage and permits the detection and interception of most aerial incursions into Indian airspace. The BADZ system is far more concentrated with radars, interceptors, SAMs and AAA units working in conjunction to provide an intense and highly effective defensive barrier
The ballistic missile defence programme is an initiative to develop and deploy a multilayered ballistic missile defence system to protect India from ballistic missile attacks. It is a double-tiered system consisting of two interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for lower altitude interception. The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched 5,000 kilometres away.
The US, like other countries, has approached India and offered to sell its Patriot missile system. The Patriot is a combat-proven and the world’s most advanced air and missile defence system. It is said to be the cornerstone of the air and missile defence architecture for 12 nations, including the US and five NATO nations.
Patriot, the Most Advanced System
Patriot is a long-range, high-altitude, allweather system that is regularly and rigorously tested with US Army oversight under real-world conditions. The system can counter threats from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft, and is continuously upgraded to keep ahead of evolving threats.
It is fully modernised as to be in service through 2048 and beyond. Patriot systems are interoperable and can be integrated into existing systems to become part of a larger integrated air and missile defence architecture. It provides protection against a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Patriot (MIM-104) is produced by Raytheon in Massachusetts and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Flor- ida. As well as the US, Patriot is in service in Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. Raytheon is the prime contractor for both domestic and international Patriot Air and Missile Defence Systems and system integrator for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles.
After seven years of tri-national co-development, the MEADS (medium extended air defence system) programme successfully completed its first flight test at White Sands Missile Range recently. The test also represented the first launch using a MEADS lightweight launcher (Italian configuration) and battle manager (US configuration). The missile’s unique sideways manoeuvre demonstrated a 360-degree capability that today’s fielded air and missile defence systems cannot provide. It executed a planned self-destruct sequence at the end of the mission after successfully engaging the simulated threat.
Using its 360-degree defensive capability, the advanced MEADS radars and MSE missile, MEADS can defend up to eight times the coverage area of currently fielded systems while using far fewer system assets. This greatly reduces deployed personnel, equipment and demand for airlift to a fraction of that for current systems.
The MEADS programme aimed to replace Patriot missiles in the United States, the older Hawk system in Germany, and Italy’s even older Nike Hercules missiles. MEADS will be designed to kill enemy aircraft, cruise missiles and UAVs within its reach, while providing next-generation point defence capabilities against ballistic missiles. MBDA’s SAMP/T project would be its main competitor, but MEADS aims to
Patriot systems are interoperable and can be integrated into existing systems to become part of a larger integrated air and missile defence architecture.
offer improved mobility and wider compatibility with other air defence systems, in order to create a linchpin for its customers’ next-generation air defence arrays. MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.
Air Command Systems International (ACSI), a Thales Raytheon Systems com- pany, is the prime contractor for NATO’s Air Command and Control System (ACCS). NATO ACCS sets new standards of integration for air operations in Europe, providing a single, integrated approach to planning, tasking, monitoring and mission execution. The programme is now delivering a system that networks air C2 systems across 17 locations in NATO Europe using the same system of hardware and software, and sharing operational data over a high-speed communications network.
The NATO ACCS programme also has a deployable air command and control system. The Deployable Combined Air Operations Centre ( DCAOC) with equipment packed in carrying cases for transport, provides the deployed operational planning and tasking capability. The DARS (Deployable Air control centre, RAP production centre , Sensor fusion post) is a mobile, shelterised tactical component of the NATO air command and control system that will support any NATO out-of-area operations.
In the future, ACCS will integrate missile defence command and control for NATO; interoperability with Air Ground Surveillance (AGS) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and sensor to shooter mission execution.
Russia’s Fifth-generation System
Russia’s new fifth-generation air defence system S-500 will be able to destroy any target at any altitude. According to the Dep-
Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile