Director General of Indian Coast Guard Inaugurates Remote Operating Station

Director General of Indian Coast Guard Inaugurates Remote Operating Station

The remote operating station (ROS) of the coastal surveillance sensor chain of Kerala cluster was inaugurated by Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, Director General Indian Coast Guard at the Coast Guard District Headquarters No 4 Fort Kochi on September 15. Speaking on the occasion, Vice Admiral Muralidharan highlighted the efforts of BEL the agency that executed the project, Department of Lighthouses and Light Ships , MTNL, BSNL, and ISRO in seeing the project through.

The chain of static sensor project along the Indian coast was conceptualized by the GoM on reforming national security system post Kargil, and was provided impetus post 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. M/s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is executing the project at a cost of Rs 601.75 Crores. The project envisages fitment of high end surveillance gadgets, electro optic sensors, communication equipment and met equipment on light houses at 46 locations across Indian mainland and island territories. The data generated by the static sensors will be available over a robust hierarchical network architecture connecting Coast Guard district headquarters, regional headquarters and at the Coast Guard Headquarters at New Delhi. The data would also be integrated with other monitoring systems like Automatic Identification System (AIS), and Long Range Identification and Tracking Systems ( LRIT). The sensor data generated through this complex sensor mesh, would be shared with other maritime agencies. Phase –II of the project envisages augmentation of the radar chain by additional sensors, and mobile sensor platforms. On completion of the project, the entire coast line of the country will get seamless electronic surveillance up to 25 nautical miles into the sea.

In Kerala, the feed and data from the four coastal surveillance radars at Mount Dilli in Ezhimala, Ponnani, Vypin and Kollam will be available at the ROS Fort Kochi. Two more additional sensors will be installed at Alapuzha and Azhikode in the phase two of the project. Shri Satyajit Ranjan Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Shri DK Sinha Deputy Director General Department of Lighthouses and Light Ships , Inspector General SPS Basra, Commander Coast Guard Region West, Deputy Inspector General TK Satish Chandran Commander Coast Guard District No 4, representatives of BEL and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

About the project

The chain of static sensors project being steered by the Indian Coast Guard finds its origin in the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers (GoM) on reforming the National Security System post Kargil conflict. After detailed inter ministerial Deliberations it was decided that the Indian Coast Guard would implement this ambitious project. In order to define the project requirement for the phase-1 of the project a detailed vulnerability Gap analysis and feasibility study was undertaken by the Indian Coast Guard along with other stake holders viz. DGLL, Indian Navy, concerned state Governments etc. Accordingly, the phase-1 was conceptualized to provide real time surveillance cover up to 25 nautical miles around areas of the high sensitivity and traffic density along our coast line.

Post 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai there was an emergent need to strengthen our coastal security apparatus. Accordingly, this project was progressed on a fast track. Considering the Strategic Nature of the project and with an aim to develop indigenous capabilities in the field, it was decided to implement this project through M/S Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The contract for this turnkey project was conducted with M/S BEL, Bangalore in Sep 11 at a cost of Rs 601.75 crores with an implementation schedule of 12 months and 18 months for the main land and the inland sites respectively.

The project envisages fitment of high end surveillance gadgets viz. frequency diversity radar, electro optic sensors (CCD day Camera, LLTV and the Thermal Imagers), VHF sets and MET equipment on lighthouses and masts erected on DGLL land at 36 locations in main land, 06 locations in Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands and 04 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The data generated by the Static Sensors will flow over a robust hierarchal network architecture, connecting Coast Guard District Headquarters(Regional Operating Stations) and Regional Headquarters(Remote Operating Centers) to Coast Guard Headquarters(Control centre) at New Delhi. The sensor data generated from this network would be further supplemented with the AIS data from the national AIS chain of DGLL/MoS and interfaced with the Vessel Traffic Management Systems of the major ports, Fishing Vessel Monitoring System and LRIT.

The project of Chain of Static Sensors aims at preventing undetected intrusion by monitoring the movement of the vessel playing along our coastal line. The project would also aid in enhancing the efficiency of Search and Rescue (SAR) operation coordinated by the Coast Guard. The sensor data is generated by the Coastal Surveillance Network would also be shared with other maritime agencies via various networks to generate a comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

The project of Chain of Static Sensors, is the first of its kind both in terms of expanse and strategic implications. Despite the inherent complexities of the project involving multi agency coordination at all levels, the project is nearing completion within the stipulated time line. This project when implemented completely would provide the much needed electronic eye to our maritime agencies and provide envisaged impetus to the overall coastal security apparatus.

A total of 46 remote Radar Stations are envisaged in the Phase-I. Four such remote stations located at Mount Dilli in Kannur, Ponnani in Mallapuram, Vypin in Ernakulam and Quilon in Kollam districts comprise the Kerala cluster which is being dedicated to the nation today. The Kerala cluster also include one Remote Operating Station located at Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 4, Fort Kochi which was commissioned on September 15. The Remote Operating Station at Kochi will enhance the electronic surveillance of coastal waters along the 590 Km long stretch of coastal districts in Kerala.

Upon completion of the Phase-I, it is planned to take up phase-II of the project, wherein 38 additional Remote Radar sites would be established. 21 sites of the VTMS Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Khambat would also be integrated. During the Phase-II the Static Radars Chain is also proposed to be supplemented by 08 Mobile Surveillance Systems. Upon Integration of Phase-I and Phase-II, the Chain of Static Sensors would provide near gap free electronic surveillance of the entire Indian coast line up to 25 NM from the Coast.

Naval Today Staff, September 17, 2012; Image: Indian Navy