Science & Tech Security Issues

Project Akashteer: India’s Upgraded Air Defence

  • Reorientation of focus: Following the 2020 stalemate with China, the Indian Army moves its focus from the west to the north.
  • Lessons from the Ukraine crisis: Insights from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine are affecting Army Air Defence (AAD) modernisation.
  • New systems are being introduced in order to improve air defence capability.

What exactly is Project Akashteer?

  • Project Akashteer intends to build networking and automation capabilities akin to the Indian Air Force’s system.
  • Project Akashteer focuses on developing a comprehensive air defence picture for monitoring, tracking, and engaging air defence assets.
  • Implementation deadline: The project seeks to complete implementation of radars, control centres, and weapons by March 2024.

New Technology and a Shifting Focus

  • Shift in focus: The Indian Army moves its concentrate from the western to the northern borders.
  • Mountainous air defence needs: The demand for lightweight radars and transportable weapon systems to meet the needs of mountainous terrain.
  • Insights from the Ukraine conflict urge the study of emerging threats such as UAVs, loitering weapons, swarm drones, and cruise missiles.

Installation of New Systems

  • Improved Akash surface-to-air missile systems: A contract for two regiments of improved Akash systems to increase air defence capabilities has been signed.
  • Partnership with Israel: Collaboration with Israel to launch a medium-range surface-to-air missile programme.
  • Quick reaction systems development: To satisfy essential air defence demands, the country is developing a fast reaction surface-to-air missile (QRSAM).
  • Investigation of air defence guns: Ongoing efforts to acquire air defence weaponry in order to improve air defence capability.

Problems and Indigenization

  • Component shortage: The Ukraine conflict has caused a global shortage of components and gear, slowing the pace of inductions.
  • Indigenization is emphasised: Focus on encouraging indigenization and lowering reliance on imported air defence systems.
  • Modernisation revitalization: Army Air Defence modernisation is being revitalised, with an emphasis on indigenous development and procurement.

The importance of the project

  • Improved air defence capabilities: Focus on improving air defence capabilities for strong border security.
  • Monitoring and cooperation have been improved: Initiatives for integration and automation improve monitoring, coordination, and situational awareness.
  • Contribution to improved border preparedness and response capabilities.

The way forward

  • Continual research and development: To remain ahead of shifting threats and problems, prioritise continual research and development.
  • Collaboration on a global scale: Collaboration with foreign partners on the integration of sophisticated air defence systems and technology.
  • Integration of sophisticated technologies: Integration of advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of air defence operations.
  • Future air defence strategies should prioritise innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness.
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