Friday, September 18, 2015

RAW to shut down its covert air wing, assets will go to NTRO and IAF

Plans have been firmed up to shut down the Aviation Research Centre (ARC), India’s premier imaging-intelligence organisation, highly-placed government sources have told The Indian Express. The plans, backed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, envisage that the ARC’s aircraft and electronics assets will be divided between the National Technical Research Organisation and the Indian Air Force. The organisational restructuring is primarily meant to enhance intelligence-gathering on China’s military capacities in the Tibet plateau, by integrating satellite-based data gathered by the NTRO with aircraft-based imaging conducted by the ARC. NTRO’s imaging capacities, sources said, would be significantly enhanced by the acquisition of ARC electronic suites which are equipped with cloud-penetrating radar, something the satellites it now operates do not possess.
Flying from bases at Charbatia in Orissa, Sarsawa in Uttar Pradesh, Tinsukia in Assam and Palam in Delhi, the ARC operates a fleet equipped with Russian IL-76s, AN-32s, General Dynamics Gulfstream IIIs and Global 5000 jets. It is also equipped with Russian-manufactured Mi-17 and Indian-made Alouette II and III helicopters. The organisation is largely staffed by officers on deputation from the armed forces.
18/09/15 Praveen Swami/Indian Express
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