New Delhi: With militarily active borders on both sides of the country, Indian Air Force proposes to construct 108 new generation hardened aircraft shelters at a cost of more than Rs 5,000 crore to protect its fighter fleet. The hardened blast panes are meant to safeguard the frontline Su-30MKI, Jaguars, Mirages and the upcoming Rafale aircraft from 2,000- pound enemy bombs in case of a war.
Each of these shelters, sources told DH, could cost more than Rs 50 crore as they would be made up of reinforced concrete, would be having iron doors and maintenance facilities.
Blast panes are integral part of a military air field where combat aircraft are kept during the war to save the metal birds from enemy bombs and missiles. The existing IAF shelters are capable of withstanding a blast from a 1,000-pound bomb. The new generation panes will be designed to withstand the hit by a 2,000-pound bomb, which the IAF apprehend the enemies may be possessing.
Besides, these shelters would be large enough to accommodate the big Su-30 MKI aircraft and will have proper maintenance facilities. They would also be fitted with iron doors to minimise the chances of fragmentation damage from a missile strike.
While the proposals are under the consideration of the defence ministry since 2015, sources said the air headquarters had made a fresh pitch for its approval given the rapidly changing security dynamics in India’s neighbourhood.
Construction of hardened blast panes is a key part of the IAF’s plan to improve the infrastructure of its air fields particularly for the bases in the North East and Leh.
Two other components of the plan is to improve the infrastructure in Nyoma and Kargil airfield so that more fighter flying is possible near India’s border with China and Pakistan, respectively.