An Indian Air force fighter jet Sukhoi 30 on display during Aero India 2007 in Bangalore
An Indian Air force fighter jet Sukhoi 30 on display during Aero India 2007 in Bangalore | Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg News
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The Modi government has allocated Rs 5,500 crore to build the Next Generation Hardened Aircraft Shelters (NGHAS) on India’s northern borders.

New Delhi: The air force has got a go-ahead to construct 108 modern shelters to house fighter aircraft in forward areas on India’s northern borders at a time when China has ramped up activity in the Tibet Autonomous Region, which overlooks Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Ladakh.

The Union Cabinet had recently allocated about Rs 5,500 crore for the project to build the Next Generation Hardened Aircraft Shelters (NGHAS), said three senior officials aware of the development who asked not to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

In the past few months, there were reports of increased activity by the People’s Liberation Army (air force), which has carried out several exercises, including moving troops at a rapid rate in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has now spread its fighters in disparate bases in the eastern sector. “While the fighters can be scrambled as when required from different bases, it will be difficult for the enemy to target every base,” a senior IAF officer said, explaining the decision.

Majority of the hardened shelters will be designed to house the Russian made Su-30MKi jets – the mainstay of IAF’s fighters. In 2016, a parliamentary committee on defence pointed to the fact that IAF did not have protective shelters to keep the Su-30Mki. “Hardened shelters are not available for even the limited numbers of aircraft that is available with the Service,” the committee observed.

Also read: Despite Modi’s promise, one more year passes without IAF getting its fighter jets

Apart from the hardened shelters, IAF has also inducted new technology to repair damaged runways in a few hours.

“The combination of the hardened shelters and capability to repair damaged runways quickly gives us an operational edge,” said a senior defence ministry official.

NGHAS are specialised structures comprising layers of reinforced concrete, sand and steel. They can protect aircraft from direct hits by a 2,000-pound bomb.

IAF bases in the western sector have “blast pens” – tunnel-shaped concrete structures covered with a layer of earth and protective walls near their openings, which are supposed to protect aircraft from the effects of blasts in case of an attack.

“However, with the change in warfare technology the blastproof pens may not be enough to protect assets,” the officer quoted above said, explaining why IAF needs NGHAS.

To underline the importance of the hardened shelters, a second defence ministry official said IAF told the Union government that during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, nearly 60% of the air force’s loses were of fighters that were on the ground. After the 1965 war, India started building blast-proof pens. “The blastproof pens ensured that fighters on the ground were safe during the Bangladesh liberation war. No aircraft on the ground was lost during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war,” he said, adding that IAF told the government that the need of the hour now was to upgrade to NGHAS.

Also read: Crucial role IAF played in early days of 1947-48 Pakistan war

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19 Comments Share Your Views


  1. If this country require perfect security, stop electronic & print media for reporting any defense related news & event. These fools in media did not know the repurcussion by disclosure these type of info.

  2. This information is confidential. The enemies benefit from all this information. Kindly use your discretion with the Nation’s security in mind before posting any news

  3. This blog and reporting sites run by hardcore anti indians funded by chriatian missionary from west. And we need immediate action to restrict and control this type of deatiled information putting in public domain. First and foremost those traitors air force officers need be under investigation.

  4. Defence preparedness should not be made public or with media. A special wing be formed to deal with such issues. Now RG will jump into the matter and other political parties too and our enemies too will get aware of it. No need to become satayawadee Harishchander in defence matter.

  5. You the reporters of The Print are reporting for foreign media it seems. You cannot decipher what is printable and what is not. You should be shot at on public crossing to teach media a lesson to be judicious in their judgement and keep country’s interest first.

  6. The worst uneducated prime minister Modi Matric bringing down GDP to 6.2% from Dr Manmohan Singh PhD Economics 10.09% has brought the nation to its nadir with his deceptions and fabrications, and was staring at his moment of judgement at the hands of the people, who are set to throw him out of power for good, for leaking out Defense Secrets.”

  7. The ‘jumlebaaz’ prime minister Modi has brought the nation to its nadir with his deceptions and fabrications, and was staring at his moment of judgement at the hands of the people, who are set to throw him out of power for good for leaking out Defense Secrets”

  8. This is such irresponsible reporting and also sensationalism. Chinese bombs??? This is just prudent defence policy and should apply even in situations where there is no threat. Obviously this reporter and the journal want to find a way to get eyeballs..

  9. Looks like they are paid agents of our sworn enemies. Otherwise why would they disclose the ground realities of our defence preparedness so openly. Even the bloody congress is creating pressure on the govt. to reveal the details of Rafale so that it can be passed on to the enemies. If not what business these guys have in meeting secretly the Chinese embassy or sendingcfeelers to Pakistan??

  10. Stop this biased/ignorant reporting.For 10 years UPA negotiated and finally did not sign the contract the reason given out by saint anthony publically finally was that funds were not there. How come they did not make a provision for this deal in their budget or were there some ghotalla reasons which are also available on social media. NDA Signed a contract for 36 fly away aircraft within 2 years of assuming power to meet IAF urgent needs and took simultaneous measures to ensure that Tejas acheived FOC status and also funded incrased HAL Capacity to manufacture 16 ac annually so that the 126 Tejas a truly make in India through indignous R&D at much lower cost than imported 4th generation aircraft. Why could UPA not acheive all this clearly shows they had little interest in both the urgent needs of IAF and Make in India. Also keeping totality of requirements in mind an RFP for 100 ac has also been floated by NDA. Why does Print in particular and many other media houses too not highlight these facts which are all in the public domain.Finally your paper surely should know that procuring warplanes in a fully weaponised configuration has a lead time to supply which would not be less than 3 years so ac will be available in 2019 and by then another 20 very capable Tejas would have joined the IAF. This is commendable acheivement and shows NDA’s senstivity to issues National Security

  11. All persons and media involved in giving and publishing such sensitive information must be jailed under anti national activity and for giving such information to our enemies.

  12. Why India and Modi Gov is under fear that, China may drop bomb in Arunachal and NE Boarder area? And huge fund was allocated to build underground safe shelter to protect Indian aircrafts. It is funny and probably another money laundering case. The contract may offer to Ambani or Adani group to build such shelter. Did you know, Numbers of Chinese companies are doing business in India, such as metro rly project by a Chinies co, RRCC.
    Modi is desperate to mint money for next parliamentary election.
    Modi is fooling one billion ++ poor masses of India. He is not only demon but an evil spirit.

  13. This is a defence related issue. We don’t benefit reading this and our enemies benefit by knowing this information. Can some one please give a hard kick on the bottom of this reporter?!! This kicking if his bottom will be a service to the nation.


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