New Delhi: The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) premier Western Air Command (WAC) on Saturday declared that it was putting all of its bases under a ‘continuous’ surveillance by drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This has been done to enhance the security cover in and around the 200 bases which come under the WAC.
It was for the first time that such a move had been undertaken. The IAF has Israel-made Heron and Searcher UAVs in its fleet on which differing payload can be fitted. They can, given the payload, be used in a variety of missions. The IAF as yet does not armed UAVs.
The Delhi-based WAC, given its location and critical Area Of Responsibility (AOR) has been involved in practically all the major wars India has fought. The command also has maintained lines of supply for troops deployed on the Siachen glacier.
Indicators are that this is move made in the wake of the terrorist strike on the Pathankot air force station, earlier this year. During that particular operation, it was a UAV which had pointed out the location of the terrorists who’d taken the cover of bushes.
Explaining the move, a source said, “When there is an exercise on, the full strength of a base is on an operational deployment. The security pickets and patrols are enhanced and strengthened. Following the terror strike, a lot of measures were undertaken. The UAVs will tell us how good are these measures and the coordination unfolding”.
“Deploying UAVs given the flexibility to the commander to immediately cross check the actual deployment of assets and personnel on ground,” said another source.