In a move which is going to bolster the capabilities of the IAF, it has decided to buy Software Defined Radios (SDR) from Israel. The IAF will equip its major fighters- Mirage 2000, MiG-29 and Sukhoi-30, with these imported SDRs.
The SDRs will help in improved and secure communication between the fighter jets and ground installations. More importantly, it will also ensure communication between fighter jets in the air and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) – the eye in the sky. It will also provide a much-needed boost in tackling enemy attempts to jam communication. If the enemy tries to jam the frequency used by the aircraft, the IAF can quickly shift to another frequency continuing communication. Another game-changing factor will be secure data linking between those communicating. Therefore, every side which is a part of the communication will get to know the exact location of the other sides participating in the communication.
A senior official speaking about the Balakot airstrikes said, “Whatever we were talking could have been heard.” He said that the SDRs will ensure that no one can pick up our communication. And data linking will ensure that we know who is where. Therefore, it is clear that during the Balakot airstrikes, the IAF had found itself deficient when it comes to safe and secure communication. And now the IAF is ensuring that it plugs that gap. During the Balakot airstrikes, the IAF was successful in accurately bombing the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror training camps. However, a deficiency in the mode of communication can result in awkward situations leading to compromise of missions and costly failures. Where the communication lines are not secure, the enemy can also get a rough idea about the missions on which the fighter aircraft are advancing giving it a slight upper hand, which can prove to be rather costly in such sensitive missions. The SDRs will ensure more reliable and secure communication, thereby maintaining the capability of the IAF to surprise its enemy. With this, the IAF will be in a better position to carry out Balakot-like airstrikes in a much safer manner.
As of now, the IAF is buying only 400 SDRs, as only a small number is possible in emergency acquisitions. However, once these SDRs arrive, they will prove to be a game-changer for the IAF.