Staff Reporter

IAF using civil aviation radars for military surveillance

Says air assets of non-State actors pose no threat

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is integrating military and civilian assets, chiefly airfields and radars, for better air defence surveillance, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Air Command (SAC) Air Marshal Y.R. Rane has said.

Interacting with journalists here on Wednesday, the Air Marshal said the IAF had been using civil aviation radars for military surveillance since October last. He said the country’s air space was under intense round-the-clock surveillance. No aircraft could get airborne undetected. All aircraft, including military and civilian ones, required flight clearance from the Air Defence Direction Centre at Bangalore.

Strategic reach

He said the SAC had not detected any violations of its air space so far. However, it was mindful of the ‘negligible’ air assets acquired by certain non-State actors in the region. Such outfits posed little or no threat to the country. The SAC had a vast network of sea and land based ‘spotters’ which gave advance warning of incoming aircraft, including low-flying ‘microlites’ and unmanned aerial vehicles, Mr. Rane said.

He said the IAF’s air base in Tanjavore in Tamil Nadu would soon be ready to handle a range of modern fighter aircraft. The expansion of the air base was indicative of the growing strategic importance of the SAC.

The indigenous light combat aircraft would be based in Sulur as and when it was inducted into active service. The proposed Aero Space Command would be held by a group representing the three wings of the armed forces, the Air Marshal said.

He said the IAF was expanding its strategic reach by acquiring air-to-air refuelling capability and fighter aircraft capable of longer ranges and higher payloads.

Ideally, the IAF should be able to project its power from the straits of Malacca to the Gulf region to protect the country’s national and economic interests.


The Ministry of Defence (Directorate of Public Relations), the Southern Air Command and Doordarshan, Thiruvananthapuram, have jointly produced a 26-minute documentary reflecting the history and detailing the future role of the SAC.

Doordarshan (Thiruvananthapuram) Assistant Director Sajan. G has directed the documentary.

The documentary traces the birth and evolution of the SAC, the youngest command of the IAF. It has been shot at various IAF bases including Sulur, Suryalanka, Car Nicobar, Mysore and Agati.

The documentary will be aired on Doordarshan on October 7 at 7.30 a.m.

Doordarshan Malayalam will air the documentary on October 7 at 8 p.m. and also on October 8 (Air Force Day) at 8 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.