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IAF procuring aerial reconnaissance aircraft, radar systems

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Air Force (IAF) is in the process of procuring aerial reconnaissance aircraft, Aerostat Radar Systems and various other types of radars to provide a gap-free air defence coverage along the eastern and western borders, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday.

In written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, he said, "The capability build-up of IAF envisages procurement of radars of various classes. The induction of these systems along with network centricity is aimed at a gap-free air defence cover along the eastern and western borders."

Replying to a query on damage to Aerostat radar purchased from Israel, he said the Court of Inquiry (CoI) has recommended "administrative action" against the three officers involved in the accident.

The inquiry instituted after the damage to the Aerostat radar, purchased from Israel, revealed that the accident occurred due to a sudden gust of wind in a span of 100 seconds, which was difficult to forecast.

"The CoI has recommended administrative action against three officers involved in the accident, who have been awarded 'severe displeasure' for six months," he said.

Replying to a question on procurement of reconnaissance system, Antony said that contracts for the procurement of aerial reconnaissance pods along with Ground Exploitation System was signed with ELTA, Israel on December 2004 and with Rafael in February 2009.

"A third contract was signed for procurement of reconnaissance equipment from Israel, in 2010. The procurements are in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure and the procured equipment meet IAF's operational requirements," he said.

Noting that the replacement of obsolete equipment and upgradation of the fleet is a continuous, ongoing process, Antony said, "Necessary measures are being taken to modernise the capability of the IAF so as to meet any challenge."

On shortage of officers, he said, "There is a shortage of 561 officers in the IAF. Several measures are being taken to encourage youth to opt for a career in IAF, including conduct of career fairs and exhibition, advertisement, motivational lectures in school and fast tract selection."

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