Source : India Today
China deploys JY-27A anti stealth radar in Pangong region near LAC
Satellite images doing rounds among social media’s OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) circle bring into the spotlight the Chinese advanced surveillance radar system which has been positioned critically to blanket India’s northern frontier. Starting in 2017, China has been ramping up its air defence capabilities to counter strikes from its neighbour and neutralize aerial threats. It has now appended a 3-D long-range air surveillance and guidance radar, JY27A, near to the landmark spots of Pangong Lake at eastern Ladakh, and Mianwali Airbase in Pakistan overlapping to the time of standoffs.
The advanced anti-sheath radar system hosts the capability to detect early signs of airstrike over a radius of 500 km which overlays into parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the northernmost part of India. Pakistan, on the other side, has reportedly positioned the Chinese-made JY-27A counter radar in Mianwali Air Base, as identified in September 2019 satellite images by Jane’s Defence Weekly, a US-based defence weekly.
This 3D long-range air-to-air alerting radar system is adept at detecting stealth aircraft as potent as the American F-22 raptor from 500km (310 nautical miles) away using its active phased array antenna and very high-frequency waves. With its terrain-adaptive measurement technology installed either on land or locomotive, it is resistant to jamming and could also guide surface-to-air missiles (SAM) to strike incoming aircraft.
The hush-hush activity of buildup in the Pangong region has been traced back by India Today using satellite images from Sentinel Hub to August 2020, around the time when the long-standing skirmish was hemming at the disputed border in eastern Ladakh. While the lives of twenty Indian armed forces soldiers were lost in the violent face-off between India and China, an US intelligence report states that 35 Chinese troops were killed, with over 60 injured. The situation remained tense till February 2021, when after ten rounds of diplomatic talks between India and China from September 2020 to February 2021, troops from both sides reportedly withdrew from the area.
An analysis of the satellite imagery further suggests that the radar has been positioned approximately 50 km from the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in the Ngari prefecture area of Rutog town and doesn’t lie in the Indian-claimed territory. However, the detecting range being approximately 500 km, it is skilled to detect early air signals of aircraft, missiles and jets originating from northern India including Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Srinagar and parts of Punjab, Haryana and Kashmir.
The timing of the build-up in the Pangong region coincides with the extended standoff between India and China in the eastern Ladakh region which implies that China started prepping up its air defence system anticipating future airstrikes emanating from India.
Jane’s Defence, a US defence weekly, identified a JY-27A CVLO radar in the imagery of Mianwali Air Base in Pakistan captured on August 29, 2019. The radar is believed to have arrived at the airbase in northeast Pakistan between June 5 and August 29, and was not fully operational as of September 2, according to the report.
This move came after Indian warplanes conducted airstrikes in Pakistan in February 2019 which led to an escalation of tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations. It was the first time that an Indian aircraft had crossed the Line of Control to strike in decades. As per media reports, the Indian Mirage 2000 fighter jets dropped bombs on a “terrorist camp” in Balakot of Pakistan-controlled territory in the early dawn hours.
It was only after this, that Pakistan secured this advanced air-defence early detection radar system from its “all-weather” friend, China, which is supposed to act as a deterrent to India’s growing air combat capabilities. The IAF’s arsenal of combat aircraft include freshly acquired Rafael jets potent with beyond visual range (BVR) missiles.
While India signed the deal of 36 Rafale planes with France in 2016, the first batch of Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020. The Rafale series is a 4.5-generation aircraft with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles along with advanced radar and electronic warfare capabilities. It was inducted swiftly into the Indian Air Force at the peak of the conflict with China and started operating over Ladakh within a week of its arrival in the country. The French firm Dassault Aviation is also involved in the maintenance of the aircraft, whose serviceability is over 75 per cent.
No Threat to India’s Airstrike Capabilities: Defence Expert
Experts have rejected the notion that such radars pose any threat to India’s airstrike capabilities or IAF’s air arsenal. India Today spoke to Group Captain Uttam Kumar Devnath on what this network of radars could mean for India, he says, “China has deployed similar long-distance surveillance radars at five more locations across LAC and IAF knows exactly all the locations and capabilities. We have adequately factored these radars into our war plans for future operations ie how to avoid, evade, degrade, and neutralise them.”
He went on to add, “These PLAAF and PAF stations will face soft and hard kill options from IAF, within first few hours of war,” and hinted at a few other pivotal spots of Chinese radar establishments like Shigatse, Ganbala, Lhasa in Conggor, Hoping, Chamdo Bangda and an upcoming surveillance site at Linzhi.
Damien Symon, who is an OSINT(open source intelligence) expert reported an early warning site of another JY-27A series radar at the expressway Kargilik in China with its surveillance overlapping into areas of Srinagar.
Unveiled at the 2016 Zhuhai Air Show, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation’s (CETC), the early warning radar manufacturer had advertised the JY-27A as VHF (very high frequency) radar, which it states offers 3D electronic-scanning in azimuth and elevation.
Syria had been earlier known to use a series of three radar systems, a JY-27, a P-14 and a P-12/18, located at the Damascus airbase and responsible for guarding the airspace above Central Syria, but open-source intelligence(OSINT) sources indicate it getting destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in January 2019.
China has long acted forcefully to defend the country’s territory and interests, but now it is pressing its territorial claims aggressively by operating with greater firepower than ever before. Its military assertiveness reflects a growing sense of confidence and capability, but also one of confrontation. The increased operational tempo this year follows a modernization program that began in 1990 and flourished under its authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, focussing on naval and missile forces which have shifted the power dynamics in the Pacific. JY-27A anti stealth radar LAC JY-27A anti stealth radar LAC JY-27A anti stealth radar LAC JY-27A anti stealth radar LAC IgMp