A proposal awaiting government approval since 2015 was strongly backed by the prime minister’s office in the aftermath of the recent border tensions with China.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian government has cleared a proposal for constructing next-generation hardened shelters for aircraft of the Indian Air Force deployed at the eastern and northeastern airfields that border China. The hangars are designed by the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization.
The Indian Defense Ministry will initially release $150 million of the total estimated cost of $750 million for the proposed shelters, which can withstand missiles and bombs of up to 2,000 pounds.
The proposed shelters would dot forward areas including Leh, Ladakh and the northeastern states and would also cover the newly built advanced landing grounds — Tuting, Mechuka, Along, Passighat, Vijaynagar, and Ziro — along with the India-China border.
Last year, a parliamentary panel on defense raised concerns over the lack of availability of hardened shelters for frontline aircraft such as the Su-30MKI. "The IAF is already short of planes, and worse than that is, hardened shelters are not available for even the limited number of aircraft that is available with the service…The committee desires that there should not be any delay in execution, as such delays have become a common feature of all the projects," the committee warned in 2016.
The Indian Air Force has already built new weapon storage areas and labs in large numbers in all the forward bases.
It constructed 16 shelters for Su-30 aircraft between 2004 and 2007 capable of withstanding 1,000-pound explosives.
This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.