New Delhi: With the Sino-Indian border along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continuing to simmer, the Indian Army has sought to equip itself with a modern low-level light-weight radar (LLLWR) for threat detection and response due to mountainous terrain, officials said. The terrain provides easy ingress to enemy aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying at low altitudes, they said.
The radar figures on a new list of Make in India projects that the army plans to pursue in partnership with the industry. The list, released by army chief General M M Naravane includes surveillance and armed drone swarm, counter-drone systems, infantry weapon training simulator, robotic surveillance platforms, portable helipads and a variety of ammunition.
The army wants a 3D active electronically scanned array radar that has a range of 50 km with tactical control of air defence weapons. To boost self-reliance, the government has notified two lists of 209 defence items that cannot be imported in bans that will be progressively enforced from 2021 to 2025. The LLLWR is among the weapons and systems that cannot be imported.
The radar is required for the northern and eastern borders with China whose army has ramped up military activities in both sectors.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also developed an LLLWR named Aslesha Mk I for ground-based surveillance in high altitudes, plains and mountains to detect and track airborne targets. The Indian Air Force has inducted the Aslesha radar but the army chose not to order it as its requirements were different, the officials said.
There is an urgent need for LLLWR to plug a critical vulnerability along the China border, the officials said.
The army has just inducted the upgraded L-70 anti-aircraft gun, a legacy weapon manufactured by Swedish arms firm Bofors AB, into the eastern sector to tackle aerial threats. This is the first time the upgraded L-70 gun has been positioned at a high altitude. The upgraded L-70 guns, with a range of 3.5 km, are capable of shooting down aircraft, armed helicopters and UAVs.