Satellite tech to boost anti-Naxal operations

The CRPF’s anti-Naxal operations are set to go hi-tech as it plans to deploy GPS-enabled satellite trackers and mobile video conferencing system in a big way.

As part of the network-centric warfare initiatives against the ultra-left extremists, the paramilitary is already using satellite imageries to plan and execute operations.

Presently, the CRPF has deployed 51 satellite trackers for real time tracking of troops deployed in special operations in Naxal-affected areas and the force has sought authorisation from the Union Home Ministry to procure 808 additional trackers for the purpose.

Apart from satellite trackers, the paramilitary is also in the process of seeking sanction for acquisition of mobile video conferencing system that will provide direct video and audio linkage with the troops undertaking operations with the command centre. The CRPF is already using Terra Explorer GIS (geographic information system) workstations that contain map and satellite imageries for planning operations and better situational awareness of troops.

The paramilitary is also building its GIS database focusing on incidents, intelligence and operations for effective response to the emerging challenges in Naxal-infested areas.

The GIS system is being used in the CRPF to visualise and analyse operations using the uploaded data and reports. The force is gathering reports/queries related to deployment of security forces, incidents, location of police station and helipads for planning operations in the future, a senior CRPF official said.

As of now, the CRPF is planning operations based on Terra Explorer Pro software and the paramilitary is also using Google Earth and GIS software that is available through open sources. All the units deployed in anti-Naxal operations have already been provided GPS devices and GPS trackers will be provided after they are procured. The Union Home Ministry has advised the Central paramilitary forces to explore adoption of real time GIS solutions, based on their needs, and use them prominently while planning and executing movements, deployment and operations. The CRPF, meanwhile, has sought expansion of the financial power of the Director General from the present Rs6 crore to Rs20 crore.

The Ministry has also advised the forces to adopt additional functions/advantages to enhance professional effectiveness and efficiency.

All analog radio sets have been replaced by state-of-the-art digital sets and two Skylark UAVs, VSAT/handheld Satphones have been provided to the formations in the Naxal areas.

A Data Centre at Delhi and a Data Recovery Site at Bangalore have been set up to aid network-centric operations against the ultras, especially the Naxals.

The CRPF, meanwhile, has sought expansion of the financial power of the Director General from the present Rs 6 crore to Rs 20 crore for procurement through rate contract system and for machinery and equipment items from Rs 4 crore to Rs 15 crore. The initiative is being taken to streamline procurement through delegation of financial power.

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