Saturday, September 11, 2010

Indian Air Force Inaugurates New Secure Network

Next week, the Indian Air Force (IAF) would usher in a modern, state-of-the-art digital information grid by dedicating Air Force Network (AFNET), a fully secure and reliable network to the nation making it a true net-centric combat force. The AFNET replaces the IAF’s old communication network set-up using the tropo-scatter technology of the 1950s.

This monumental achievement also marks the successful clearance of one milestone for release of radio spectrum, a very valuable but finite resource. Defence Minister, Shri AK Antony will launch the AFNET services of the IAF at a special function to be held at New Delhi, on Tuesday. Union Telecom Minister, Shri A Raja will also be present at the function.

The IAF project is part of the overall mission to network all three services. The mission comes in the backdrop of an IT Roadmap document of the Defence Ministry stipulating automation, simulated training and mandatory computer proficiency in the services.

IAF has taken up a mandate to create and maintain an assured, dedicated, secure and inter-operable communication network along with associated services to provide real time, instantaneous transfer of information between Sensors, Command and Control (C2) centres and Shooters. In addition, IAF aspires to use communication network and IT-enabled infrastructure for all other operational, techno-logistics and administrative functions to leverage development in this field to enhance efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ease of administration.

While all three services are engaged in large scale automation and computer-based networking, the IAF is the first among the three to complete the project of interlinking major installations throughout the country on a high bandwidth network.

All major formations and static establishments have been linked through a secure Wide Area Network (WAN) and are accessible through data communication lines. The nationwide programme was launched by the IAF in collaboration with the private industry to accelerate the use of Information Technology (IT) as well as to link all field units using a dedicated satellite.

AFNET incorporates the latest traffic transportation technology in form of IP (Internet Protocol) packets over the network using Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). A large VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) layer with stringent quality of service enforcement will facilitate robust, high quality voice, video and conferencing solutions.

Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS), an automated command and control system for Air Defence (AD) operations will ride the AFNET backbone integrating all ground-based and airborne sensors, AD weapon systems and C2 nodes. Subsequent integration with other services networks and civil radars will provide an integrated Air Situation Picture to operators to carry out AD role.

AFNET will prove to be an effective force multiplier for intelligence analysis, mission planning and control, post-mission feedback and related activities like maintenance, logistics and administration. A comprehensive design with multi-layer security precautions for “Defence in Depth” have been planned by incorporating encryption technologies, Intrusion Prevention Systems to ensure the resistance of the IT system against information manipulation and eavesdropping.

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