Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Delhi under heavy security blanket against aerial threats

Ahead of Commonwealth Games, the city was on Tuesday brought under a heavy security blanket to defend it against any aerial threat like rogue aircraft, microlights or balloons.

Apart from security personnel manning observation posts for unidentified aircraft, UAVs and para gliders, the IAF will also place fighter jets such as the front line Sukhois and MiG-21 Bisons at nearby air bases to deal with any eventuality such as a hijacked plane or a fast flying aircraft.

Two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles of the IAF will hover over Delhi at 6,000 to 10,000 feet altitude on all days of the CWG from October 3 to 14.

The IAF, official sources said here today, will be the lead agency in the air defence of the city with agencies from the Home Ministry and Delhi Police supporting the effort to secure the CWG from any threats from the skies.

"We have put in place a comprehensive air defence over a 60-km radius in Delhi with the IAF leading the security forces comprising of Home Ministry agencies and Delhi Police.

"The holistic air defence plan will cover all conceivable threats be it hijacked planes, low-speed and high-speed aircraft, para gliders, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles and aero-models," sources said.

While the IAF will place its anti-aircraft surface-to-air weapons such as Pechora, OSA-Ak and Igla, its fighter jets and armed helicopters will be based in ready mode at Bareilly, Sirsa, Adampur and Srinagar to provide combat air patrol.

IAF's Mi-17 helicopters would be on stand by for casualty evacuation, apart from its Chetak and Cheetah helicopters carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance flights.

Other security agencies, including the Delhi Police, will be spread out across the city to man observation posts and they will take a decision on further action including shooting down any threat.

The Army's air defence guns and medium machine guns too would be deployed during the period, they said.

"The IAF has trained the Delhi Police personnel over the last three months in aerial observation and interception activities to observe, report and target the sub-conventional threats in urban areas.

"We have also put in place a joint network of IAF and Delhi Police for better coordination," the sources said.

The air space over Delhi would be a no-fly zone for all unscheduled aircraft during the CWG for which the Aviation Ministry has already issued guidelines.

Also, the radars of IAF and the Airports Authority of India would be manned 24 hours during the games, sources added.

The security agencies have also organised mobile observation posts all around Delhi, which, sources said, would be the first line of air defence.

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