Shri AK Antony today inaugurated the IAF’s gigabyte digital information grid –
the AFNET (Air Force Network), dedicating it to the people of the nation, for
their direct or indirect participation in the communication revolution.
The launch, a
significant milestone in the IAF’s quest towards achieving a capability for Network
Centric (NCW) operations was held in the presence of Union Minister of
Communication & IT, Shri A Raja, Raksha Rajya Mantri, Shri MM Pallam Raju,
Minister of State for Communication, Shri Sachin Pilot, Marshal of the Air
Force Arjan Singh, Chief of the Air Staff, Chief of the Army Staff and other
officials from the three services and members of the Industry.
two-fold aim of ‘Network for Spectrum’ approach of the government – to
facilitate the growth of national tele-density on the one hand, and ensuring
modernization of defence communications with the state-of-the-art communication
infrastructure, the network will have the potential to support net-centric
operations, Shri Antony said.
interception of simulated enemy targets by a pair of Mig-29 fighter aircraft
airborne from an advanced airbase in the Punjab
sector neutralizing intruding targets in the western sector was played out live
on the giant screens at the Air Force auditorium offering a glimpse of the harnessed
other functionalities contributing towards NCW were also showcased. These
comprised of facilitating video from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), pictures
from an AWACS aircraft to the decision-makers on ground sitting hundreds of
kilometers away, providing intelligence inputs from far-flung areas at central
locations seamlessly. This was possible mainly with the robust networking
platform provided by AFNET.
with an estimated expenditure of Rs 1077 Cr, comprises of Internet Protocol
(IP) Multi Protocol Switching Protocol (MPLS) based Network with Optic Fibre
Cables (OFC) as backbone. The AFNET
Project has SATCOM Network as overlay, Line Of Sight (LOS) Radio for Metro Area
and difficult terrains, as a back up to OFC links. The network is secured with
a host of advanced state-of-the-art encryption technologies. It is designed for
high reliability with redundancy built into the network design itself.
IAF envisages using
AFNET communication network and enabled IT infrastructure for all operational,
techno-logistics and administrative functions to leverage developments in this
field so as to enhance operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ease of
The AFNET project
is an excellent example of seamless co-ordination between the MoD, the MoC &
IT, PSUs such as BSNL and private industry. The committed industry effort was
ably led by BSNL, M/s Cisco & HCL Infosystems Ltd. Shri Antony lauded the
synergy between the Ministries of Defence and Communication and Information
Technology, BSNL and the Indian industry and said that together they can take
the IT services to the next higher level.
While this fully secure and reliable nation-wide communication network
will serve the IAF, the AFNET will also facilitate accelerated economic growth
by providing radio frequency spectrum for telecommunication purposes. AFNET
will be the largest Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network in the
“The recent deployments of AFNET, IACCS and
other systems have put the IAF in the fore-front of NCW enabled nations.
This quantum leap in the field of Communication & Information Technology
will help field units train and develop tactics, techniques and procedures to
realize the full benefits of network-enabled capabilities,” said the Air Chief
at the inauguration.