Hybrid model of ‘smart’ fence being tested along the LoC

Work is also on to convert the existing border fence into a ‘hybrid’ barrier

October 20, 2020 10:13 pm | Updated October 21, 2020 10:45 am IST - Srinagar

Hi-tech sensors will be added to the existing fence. File

Hi-tech sensors will be added to the existing fence. File

The Army has significantly improved its electronic surveillance along the Line of Control (LoC) to check infiltration, and work on converting the existing border fence into a smart fence integrated with several sensors is under way, several officers have said.

However, there is a rethink on converting the entire fence over a 700 km stretch into a smart one due to the high cost. A hybrid model is now being adopted.

“The new hybrid model of the smart fence being tested will cost around ₹10 lakh per km and 60 km is being attempted this year,” a senior officer on the ground said. “This has some rudimentary smartisation. The earlier proposal for a hi-tech fence was to cost around ₹10 crore for 2.4 km. A ₹10 crore type trial was done in the Army’s 19 Division last year, but it was too expensive so no more contracting was done,” the officer said.

The fence will be integrated with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors, infrared sensors and cameras among others.

In recent months, the Army has beefed up troops close to the LoC to plug gaps and it has resulted in a drop in infiltration this year. Lt. Gen. B.S. Raju, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, said that while the multi-tier anti-infiltration grid remains in place, the first tier has been strengthened. Troops have also been given drones, both big and small, to monitor the ground.

The existing fence called the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) is located about 700 m from the LoC. The double row fence consisting of concertina wire was constructed between 2003 and 2005. With its high rate of degradation every year due to snow, the Army came up with a proposal to install a smart fence with various sensors integrated into it and a pilot project was subsequently taken up.

For instance, Tangdhar sector gets 10-15 feet snowfall in peak winters, which means in some places the entire fence gets buried. Due to snow, the iron fence becomes brittle and consequently 60-70% of the fence has to be repaired every year, a second officer on the ground said. “Every year, there is a major exercise over four months from March to June to bring that fence up,” he said.

The fence is present along most of the around 740 km long LoC. While the damage to the fence is less south of Pirpanjal due to less snow, heavy snowfall in North Kashmir causes big damage, officials said. In addition to the fence, the Army has deployed long range surveillance systems to detect people and small vehicles, both during day and night. The fence too has been integrated with various sensors.

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