Pakistan deploying new TPS-77 radar near India border; Here's why
With Pakistan expanding its radar network, it will be important for India to ensure that it has the necessary countermeasures to protect its airspace, says Girish Linganna
Pakistan is developing yet another TPS-77 radar site in Chorr Cantonment, just 58 kilometres away from the International Border. The TPS-77 Multi-Role Radar (MRR) is a highly-capable radar system that provides critical situational awareness and air traffic control capabilities to military forces worldwide.
TPS-77 Radar Family
The TPS-77 radar family includes Lockheed Martin's AN/TPS-77 and AN/TPS-117 radars. The TPS-77 MRR is a highly mobile version of Lockheed Martin's successful TPS-77 product line that is designed for ultra-low power consumption and is more transportable than the TPS-77.
The TPS-77 MRR is a mobile radar system that can be easily transported and set up in different locations. It operates in the S-band frequency range and has a maximum detection range of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). The radar uses advanced digital signal processing techniques to provide accurate target detection and tracking capabilities in challenging environments.
The TPS-77 MRR can detect and track a wide range of airborne targets, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and missiles. It can also provide weather detection and tracking capabilities, making it useful for meteorological applications.
The AN/TPS-77 is a mobile version of the AN/FPS-117 radar. Both are three-dimensional, tactical transportable, long-range air surveillance radars with a range of 470 km. The two systems share an 80 per cent commonality rate. However, unlike the AN/FPS-117, the AN/TPS-77 can be easily transported and deployed to operate globally.
TPS-77 MRR in Pakistan
Pakistan has purchased TPS-77 MRR radar systems, which are multi-role radar systems capable of UAV detection, low-level flight surveillance, tactical ballistic missile warning, ground-based air defence and maritime surveillance. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) deployed two new radar systems, including TPS-77 MRR in November 2021 to enhance air defence monitoring.
Impact on India
Pakistan's new TPS-77 radar site has the potential to impact India's air defence capabilities. India has been striving to modernise its air defence system, and Pakistan's new radar site could make it difficult for India to execute surprise attacks. This is particularly concerning given the recent history of tensions between the two countries.
In 2019, Pakistan claimed to have detected and engaged Indian fighter jets with its own radar systems during the Balakot airstrike. However, India's BrahMos missile misfire incident in 2020, which went undetected by Pakistan, revealed a gap in their radar coverage. With Pakistan expanding its radar network, it will be important for India to ensure that it has the necessary countermeasures to protect its airspace.
Pakistan's latest move to develop another TPS-77 radar site underscores the importance of advanced radar systems in modern warfare. The TPS-77 MRR is a highly capable system that provides critical situational awareness and air traffic control capabilities to military forces worldwide. While Pakistan's new radar site has the potential to impact India's air defence capabilities, it also highlights the need for India to continue modernising its air defence system and developing countermeasures to protect its airspace.