NEW DELHI : The terror attack on the Pathankot airbase a month ago has brought to light a shelved project to install ‘small fences’ around all 54 major airbases just because of the high costs. A Rs 5,000-crore estimate was prepared back in 2011 for the ‘small fences’ but the project was dropped after installing these fences at three airbases of the Indian Air Force in the northern states. A pilot project to try out indigenous technology in a forward airbase in Jammu and Kashmir to reduce costs turned out to have glitches.
Disclosing this, a top Defence Ministry source said the ministry has asked the IAF to rework the project and present it to a committee set up to review security at all armed forces facilities. But for abandoning installation of the “smart fences,” the militants” entry in the Pathankot airbase would have been noticed in no time, he said.
He said the ministry was also shocked to learn that the chip-embedded smart cards issued to the IAF personnel and their family members for entry into the airbases through the guarded entry gates were also not functional at many places.
‘Smart fences’ of wires strung across poles and fitted with sensors, thermal imagers and cameras are used by countries like United States, Israel and France in war zones. Any intrusion sets off an alarm, indicating its location to allow for quick retaliation.