Feeds

India to deploy tethered blimp radars

Worried about Tamil Tiger air force

High performance access to file storage

The Indian armed forces are using radar-carrying static balloons to provide an early warning of terrorist air strikes, according to reports.

Much interest has been aroused in defence circles during recent months by the air raids mounted in Sri Lanka by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or "Tamil Tigers"). The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tigers has normally been seen as a counter-insurgency conflict like many others ongoing around the world, in which relatively well-armed conventional forces battle guerillas who favour tactics such as suicide bombing, ambushes, and assassination.

Many governments, including the US, list the Tigers as a terrorist organisation.

In recent months, however, the Tigers have mounted several bombing raids against targets in Sri Lanka, reportedly using modified light aircraft of Czech manufacture. The Tiger pilots have flown in and out at low altitude, which makes them difficult to detect using ground radars.

India nowadays prefers not to get too involved in the Sri Lankan fighting off its southeastern coast, after suffering a bloody nose during a military intervention and the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by the Tigers in 1991.

But the Indians are worried that the fighting could come to them, in particular in the form of Tiger air attacks. Lacking a big fleet of AWACS planes or similar conventional-type airborne radar platforms, Indian military planners are thinking outside the box.

India Defence reports that the Indian Air Force will deploy aerostat radars on the southeastern Tamil Nadu coast. The aerostats are tethered blimp-like balloons carrying phased-array radars which can detect approaching aircraft from afar, even if they fly at low level. The IAF purchased two of the EL/M-2083 systems from Israel in 2004, and apparently has been sufficiently pleased with the balloon-borne eyes-in-the-sky that a further four have been ordered.

The aerostats aren't as vulnerable as they might seem; they aren't highly pressurised. This means that they won't burst, and leak only slowly if penetrated. An aerostat will stay up for hours even with its envelope pierced by hostile fire. Filled with helium rather than hydrogen, there's no risk of a Hindenburg style explosion.

Reportedly, small Russian-made ground radars have also been deployed, in particular at the Kalpakkam nuclear plant. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.