New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday inaugurated the Indian Air Force``s gigabyte digital information grid - AFNET (Air Force Network), dedicating it to the people of the nation, for their direct or indirect participation in the communication revolution.
"Outlining the two-fold aim of ``Network for Spectrum`` approach of the government - to facilitate the growth of national tele-density on the one hand, and ensuring modernization of defence communications with the state-of-the-art communication infrastructure, the network will have the potential to support net-centric operations," said Antony.
A practice interception of simulated enemy targets by a pair of Mig-29 fighter aircraft airborne from an advanced airbase in the Punjab sector neutralizing intruding targets in the western sector was played out live on the giant screens at the Air Force auditorium offering a glimpse of the harnessed AFNET potential.
Further, various other functionalities contributing towards NCW were also showcased.
These comprised of facilitating video from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), pictures from an AWACS aircraft to the decision-makers on ground sitting hundreds of kilometers away, providing intelligence inputs from far-flung areas at central locations seamlessly.
This was possible mainly with the robust networking platform provided by AFNET.
AFNET Project with an estimated expenditure of Rs 1,077 crore, comprises of Internet Protocol (IP) Multi Protocol Switching Protocol (MPLS) based Network with Optic Fibre Cables (OFC) as backbone.
The AFNET Project has SATCOM Network as overlay, Line Of Sight (LOS) Radio for Metro Area and difficult terrains, as a back up to OFC links.The network is secured with a host of advanced state-of-the-art encryption technologies. It is designed for high reliability with redundancy built into the network design itself.
IAF envisages using AFNET communication network and enabled IT infrastructure for all operational, techno-logistics and administrative functions to leverage developments in this field so as to enhance operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ease of administration.
On the occasion, Antony lauded the synergy between the Ministries of Defence and Communication and Information Technology, BSNL and the Indian industry and said that together they can take the IT services to the next higher level. While this fully secure and reliable nation-wide communication network will serve the IAF, the AFNET will also facilitate accelerated economic growth by providing radio frequency spectrum for telecommunication purposes.
AFNET will be the largest Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network in the defence segment.
The launch, a significant milestone in the Indian Air Force``s quest towards achieving a capability for Network Centric (NCW) operations was held in the presence of Union Minister of Communication and IT A Raja, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Communication Sachin Pilot, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Chief of the Air Staff, Chief of the Army Staff and other officials from the three services and members of the Industry.