Thursday, March 20, 2014

What's wrong with our radar?

I think the problem is not with the radar per se. The problem is with our attitude and perhaps exacerbated by the fact many of our people are not up there by merit, but simply put there due to strings and other affirmative actions.

Take the radar blip for example. Our airforce did nothing, simply because it was supposedly non-hostile. This is assuming that that perception is correct at that point in time and not excuses put forward by our powers-that-be simple to silent the issue.

How about this response by the Indian Airforce?

In the 80s, MAS used to fly the DC-10 for the KL-London route. The flight plan would be submitted and ATC in the FIR along the route would be notified of all flights coming their way. One day the London-KUL leg was delayed due to one reason or another, and after a couple of hours, normal service would resume both in the deck and cockpit. Upon reaching the Indian airspace, the indication on the radar should be the Malaysian airline flight code (say MH XXX), and it showed just that.

However, the Indian authorities were expecting MH XXX aircraft many hours earlier, and hence this civilian aircraft could not be the Malaysian airlines. No sooner one can begin to identify oneself, the Indian Air Force jetfighters were scrambled and this civilian-and-certainly-non-hostile aircraft was soon escorted by the IAF jetfighters.

Indian airspace has always been very tight, and they are very protective of it, understandably so and personally I thought the response from the Indian Air Force was very appropriate. Fortunately they were not the Soviets and all lived to tell the tale, unlike those on KAL 007 which strayed into Soviet airspace.

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