Bengaluru, Feb 21: The 10th edition of Aero India saw the security levels setting new benchmarks with a mix of technology and smart coordination by multiple agencies working 24x7.
During a visit to the Operations Control Centre (OCC), functioning from a make-shift, yet spacious building, OneIndia witnessed a host of activities being coordinated with precision.
For the first time, 400 cameras are capturing the activities from every nook and corner of Air Force Station Yelahanka.
"Out of these, 350 cameras are being monitored by a 25-member team, while cameras fitted near the gates and periphery walls are 50 under the control of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)," an official said.
There are 14 cameras with the PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) features, giving an extra edge to the operators. "The zooming option helps us to narrow down on any suspicious movements. We can back-up the videos for 10 days," the official said.
Coordination at the best
At the OCC, the officials from the Intelligence Bureau, Karnataka Police, Security, Disaster Management Team, National Disaster Response Force, Rapid Action Force and G4Security (G4S) monitor their mandated activities on a regular basis.
"The emergencies can occur due to an air crash, bomb hoax, stampede, hangar collapse or even fire. We started the planning six months back and the frequency of our meetings increased as the air show dates were nearing," he said.
Two helicopters are always on the stand-by mode doing air ambulance duties. In addition, the Indian Air Force has also converted two AN-32s for emergency work.
Five escape routes identified
A 60-page SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) is what the OCC team refers to on a daily basis. The G4S have deployed around 300 personnel for crowd and traffic management.
"There are five escape routes for ambulances earmarked with 25 crash tenders always on a stand-by mode. The bomb detection and disposal squad from both the Karnataka Police and Indian Army are also part of the OCC," the official added.
Sniffer dogs are also pressed into mandatory duties at 6 am every day morning. "The entire airfield is sanitized by the dog squads and the exercise is repeated soon after the show as well," he added.
Barring the Flying Bulls locking the wings on air and a minor fire (suspected to have triggered off from cigarette buds), the air show has been so far incident-free.
Photos: A Veeramani
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)