Indian Air Force  Representational Image
Indian Air Force Representational ImageReuters

The Indian Air Force recently launched a cellular network to ensure secure communication of their activities.

The ₹300 Crore network, a standalone system captive 3G WCDMA network called Air Force Cellular (AFCL), was launched by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne.

"The launch of AFCEL is a significant milestone in the IAF's quest towards integrating all the Air warriors on a common combat grid. The AFCEL has been customised to provide secure high quality voice and data solutions with stringent quality of service," said a release by the IAF.

The facility will be made available to about 1.7 lakh IAF personnel, through which they can avail the features of secure network enabling- voice, data, video streaming, file sharing, enhancing and facilitating communication. "The cutting edge technology of WCDMA would be exploited by IAF for Triple play (Voice, Video and Data)," the release added.

All major formations and static establishments will be covered under this project. While Phase-I will ensure mobile connectivity to all the air warriors in the National Capital Region, phase-II of the project, which is under way, will provide connectivity to other static bases in India.

The IAF also has plans to provide about one lakh mobile handsets to the personnel of the rank of Sergeants and above for secure 'end-point' connectivity.

The pan India project was launched by IAF in collaboration with leading Information and Communication Technology Services and System Integration Company, HCL Infosystem who has partnered with Alcatel Lucent India as its technology partner.

The AFCEL will enable IAF to leverage the cutting edge WCDMA technology for further enhancing its Net Centric Warfare capabilities.

The IAF has also launched an Air Force Network (AFNet), a gigabyte digital information grid, in 2010 to replace the older system. It is owned, operated and managed by the IAF.