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Multi-crore aerostat radar was damaged due to lapses: CAG

India’s air defence capabilities have taken a major hit with one of the two aerostat radars purchased from Israel to plug gaps in radar coverage rendered unserviceable.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 9, 2011 2:53:29 am

India’s air defence capabilities have taken a major hit with one of the two aerostat radars purchased from Israel to plug gaps in radar coverage rendered unserviceable after being damaged during bad weather. A report by the CAG has brought out that the radar,which was deployed along the Western border to monitor low-flying aircraft,was severely damaged due to mishandling by Air Force personnel and will be out of service till the end of next year.

The radar,one of the two purchased from Israel for Rs 676 crore,suffered damage in an accident that occurred in May 2009 due to lapses by three officers who failed to monitor weather patterns,the CAG report says. The report pegs the estimated damage at Rs 302 crore and mentions that it has been put out of action for two years.

“All the three officers were awarded severe displeasure for six months as they failed to carry out their responsibilities,” the report,which slammed the IAF for the accident,says. The CAG has also pulled up Air HQ for failing to get the radar repaired even two years after the accident. “The recovery programme of the damaged aerostat would take 18 months from the commencement of repair work. However,the IAF could issue the RFP to vendor for damage assessment in April 2010 and the contract was not concluded by June 2011,” the report says.

The IAF already has gaping holes in its radar coverage along the Eastern and Western borders due to a severe shortage of radars,as has already been brought to notice in earlier CAG reports. The loss of the aerostat is another blow to the IAF that has now embarked on an ambitious project to modernise air defence capabilities.

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