Maritime surveillance goes hi-tech

At the click of a mouse, the Indian Navy will be able to track the movement of ships and fishing boats plying in the waters all along India’s 7,500-km-long coastline. It has set up a Command Centre in Gurgaon which will receive real-time radar feeds and pictures taken by high-definition cameras, satellites and maritime surveillance aircraft. The footage will be exactly the same as captured by 46 coastal radar stations now operating in remote areas of the country. Called the Information Management Analysis Centre (IMAC), the command post will enable the Indian Navy and other stakeholders in coastal security to take effective action in case a rogue ship or boat is detected.
This R450-crore project, also known as National Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence Centre (NC3I), was launched soon after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, when Pakistani terrorists managed to reach the city undetected due to gaps in coastal surveillance. The Command Centre, which is 80% indigenized and is the nodal centre of the NC3I network,  will go a long way in plugging these gaps through round-the-clock surveillance by radars, high-definition electro optic cameras and satellites, according to Admiral Kishan Pandey, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, Communication, Space and Network centric operations.

An officer sitting at his console in the Gurgaon centre can access real time information on his computer screen about traffic of ships and boats in his designated zone, be it waters of Chennai or remote islands in Andaman & Nicobar. In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, at least 46 coastal radar stations at strategic locations in all the nine littoral states continuously monitor sea lanes. These stations in turn relay information to six core centres located in Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Mumbai, Chennai, Port Blair, Visakhapatnam and Kochi. The officer will also get the information or visual data as seen by his counterparts manning the radar stations. All the stations, core centres and main command posts are connected with a high-tech computer network through especially-developed Coastal Surveillance and Decision Support software system designed and managed by the Navy.

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