This modernisation program will enable flights to take-off and land in adverse weather conditions, as well as improve flight safety

Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State for Defence, informed the parliament that the second phase of airfield modernisation is underway. This was in response to a question seeking information on developments in airfield infrastructure in the country. The contract for the second phase of the modernisation project, worth Rs 1187 crore, was signed between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and TATA Power SED on May 8, 2020.

It is part of a dual-phase project called Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI). Phase-I of the MAFI project involved upgrading 30 Indian Air Force (IAF) airfields and was signed on March 16, 2011, for Rs 1,215 crore. Phase-II is for the airfields of the IAF, the Indian Navy (IN) as well as the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

The new features and systems to be installed include Cat-II Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Cat-II Air Field Lightning System (AFLS). Both of them will be directly-connected to Air Traffic Control (ATC). These systems will allow aircraft to take-off and land in adverse weather conditions, thereby improving on flight safety and frequency of flight operations, Bhatt added. He also said that it will aid flights with night operations.

More than 250 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will be direct beneficiaries due to this project. Investments of this nature boost the local economy as it involves the manpower, skill, and capital of the allied sector. The Communications, Avionics, and Information Technology (IT) fields will witness growth, as will civil and electrical equipment and construction, Bhatt concluded.