By Dipali Issar
New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS): With combat jets and surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries on the ready and unarmed aerial vehicles (UAV) on constant patrol, the Indian Air Force (IAF) secured the skies above the capital during the Commonwealth Games to supplement the efforts on the ground by the Delhi Police and other security agencies.
"Three months ahead of the Commonwealth Games, a comprehensive air defence plan was formulated to thwart any conventional or
sub-conventional threats, including a nuclear, biological & chemical (NBC) attack,", IAF spokesman Wing Commander Tarun Kumar Singha told IANS.
"All venues were covered under the air defence plan. The IAF's UAVs were constantly reconnoitering the Delhi skies at heights of 6,000-10,000 feet. The imagery sent by the UAVs was monitored by a joint team of IAF and Delhi Police personnel," he added.
"We had demarcated an area of 60 km around the capital as the air defence zone to prevent any aerial attacks", Singha pointed out.
As part of the heightened security arrangements for the Games, frontline combat jets like the Sukhoi SU-30 and the MiG-29, as also the MiG-21 were kept on constant standby at the air force bases like Adampur, Bareilly and Srinagar to immediately respond to any threats that might have arisen.
Mobile radars and Pechora SAMs were positioned on a 24x7 basis at strategic sites around the capital to counter any aerial threats including those from micro-UAVs and remotely controlled gliders. Especially trained IAF "Garud" commando units also augmented the security setup.
"For the IAF, this special event provided us with an opportunity to validate our procedures for meeting specific contingencies", Singha said, adding: "In a routine air defence exercise, threats are simulated, whereas in this real time scenario, systems can't afford to fail."
"We wanted the people to relax and enjoy the Games," he explained of the IAF effort.