October 17, 2021
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Eye in the sky
Role of AWACS and aerostat radars

Air defence, perforce, is a multilayered concept. Till India went nuclear it was sufficient to be able to detect and engage low-flying aircraft and medium range missiles armed with conventional warheads. No more. India now has to ensure that all means of ingress into its airspace are well covered by sensors so as no nuclear-tipped missile is able to penetrate our defences.

Even as India planned its Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, it had simultaneously laid the foundations of an air defence ground environment system (ADGES). Nonetheless it was acknowledged that there were gaps in the radar network within the ADGES but that it would not leave India’s vital points and vital areas accessible to air attack.

Over the past decade India has been closing the gaps in the ADGES with imported airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) and indigenously developed airborne early warning and command system (AEW&C). To be doubly sure of being able to intercept anything flying at rooftop height or tree level the use of aerostats-helium-filled tethe
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