The Indian military has developed a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to address emerging challenges such as surveillance balloons or unknown objects in the sky, reported The Indian Express.
The decision to establish these SOPs was made after a similar high-altitude object was observed above the crucial Andaman and Nicobar Islands almost a year ago, the report says.
Earlier, the United States Air Force shot down a large Chinese balloon, which the US government alleges was being used by the Chinese for spying on key military installations.
Shortly after this incident, the US shot down multiple mysterious high-altitude objects over Canada and the continental US.
The Indian Express report says that, these SOPs include the use of drones and aircraft for detection, as well as targeting and analysis of any remnants.
“As per the SOP, positive identification of the aerial object and subsequent verification to rule out the possibility of it being a civil asset will be the first steps when such a flying object is spotted,” the report says quoting an official.
“Once identified and verified, a decision will be taken to destroy the target. The weapon systems, such as missiles or a ground-based air defence system, and the aircraft deployed will be selected based on the altitude of the target,” the official said.
The aircraft would then be launched from the nearest bases. The possibility of deploying an aircraft from an aircraft carrier, if that is in the vicinity, is also there, the official added.
Moreover, the official said that the entire operation from the launch of the weapon system to destroying the target will be photographed and recorded in detail.
“A detailed report will be prepared including the sighting time, size of the target, its description recorded on the radars on the ground and this will be intimated through the chain of command,” the official added.
The wreckage of the target will also be recovered for analysis, the official finally said.
The Indian Express report says that the SOPs drafted by one of the military commands for the tri-services are open to future upgradation.
The report quotes another official saying that, “the main issue with spotting such an high-altitude slow moving object is the difficulty in detecting and accurately identifying it.”
The Chinese balloons move slowly and possess negligible radar signatures compared to fighter jets or missiles, the official explained, which even the US was unable to detect initially.
However, efforts are being made to upgrade the radars at key Indian military sites, in order to detect such aerial objects.
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