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)

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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.

MEADS Pro­gramme

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.

NATO’s Cover

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

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