SP’S LAND FORCES2/2009
W W W . S P S L A N D F O R C E S . N E T
SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): Network CentricWarfare (NCW) is an information superi- ority-enabled concept at the heart of which lie digital communication networks. How is the Indian Army (IA) visualising trans- formation to this type of warfare?
Director General Information Systems(DGIS):
The IA is undergoing a phase of transition from conventional warfare toinformation-enabled warfare, that is, fromplatform centric to network centric warfare.The full realisation of any such revolutionis possible only with technological develop-ment, organisational adaptation and, mostimportantly, a national will. An effectiveand technologically sound information tech-nology (IT) force, along with robust com-munication networks, have been created tofacilitate real-time sharing of informationand quick decision making so as to achieveinformation superiority. A road map hasbeen formulated by which we can progresssteadily towards being a potent IT force.Next, we have identified developmentof C4I2 systems as a major thrust area formodernisation of the army. Developmentand fielding of automated operational infor-mation systems for various levels of opera-tions from Army HQs to Battalion HQs anddown to individual soldiers is in progress.Command Information Decision SupportSystem, Artillery Combat Command ControlSystem, Battlefield Surveillance System,Air Defence Control and Reporting Systemand Battlefield Management System arethe major projects under development.Integrated together with requisite communi-cations, these systems will provide near realtime ‘Sensor to Shooter’ links to make thearmy a network centric force.
SP’s: The absence of NCW capabilities isalready being felt in the military. What isthe current progress within the army andamong the three services?
The hurdles in sharing informationamong the various agencies of the countryare not only because of lack of media orinfrastructure, but also due to organisation-al and procedural hurdles. These are beingaddressed at appropriate levels by con-cerned agencies. War fighting is a continu-ously evolving affair and a Net-Centric forceis the requirement of the day. We are mak-ing a headway towards achieving such aforce keeping the primary focus of protect-ing our borders and sovereignty. Fightingterrorism/insurgency effectively would bea tremendous spin-off acquired throughNet-centric capability. At present, we have anumber of projects working towards obtain-ing NCW capabilities, which are followinga road map and are at different stages of development. Even the networking at TriService level has been worked out and isbeing implemented.
SP’s: The military instrument of NCW willhave to be forged on suitably integrated organisations, induction of new technolo- gies, joint operational concepts and doc-trines and joint training. Your comments.
Interoperability is a problem facingnot just the IA but many other armies theworld over. Since the systems were con-ceived and developed in standalone modes,their integration into a system of systemsin a seamless manner is a technologicalchallenge. We are working towards identify-ing appropriate solutions and a commonNetwork Centric Operations philosophyis being worked out. Integration at HQIntegrated Defence Staff level is ensuringinteroperability and synergy at the inter-ser-vices levels.
SP’s: NCW will also demand a DefenceCommunication Network (DCN) toderive the full benefits of the synergy soacquired. What is the status of this proj- ect?
DCN is a futuristic project to providecommunication connectivity for all thethree services. The project is progressingwell and will be incorporating the aspira-tions of the three services.
SP’s: How are India’s advanced software capabilities being exploited by the IA?
As I said earlier, all our projects arebeing executed by leading IT players in theindustry who have established credentials.Some packages, such as various missioncritical Operational Information Systems,are being designed by the DRDO and BharatElectronics Limited, who also have advancedskills in their respective fields. We alsohave a Tri-Service Defence IT ConsultativeCommittee which incorporates leaders fromthe industry and academia for advice onimportant IT matters to the services.
SP’s: The terrorist attacks in Mumbairevealed that while even terrorists wereusing technologies easily available in themarket to achieve effective communication, India’s elite counter-terror outfits had failed to master technologies which could lend the winning edge. Where do we lack in capability? What is the status in terms of ISR capabilities? What can be done inthe interim till the IA acquires full spec-trum Command, Information and DecisionSupport System (CIDSS) capability?
The reasons for failure to detect/intercept the intrusion of terrorists intoMumbai are being investigated by otheragencies. I cannot comment on those issues.The IA is among the most advanced armiesto have sophisticated surveillance systems.These surveillance devices are being net-worked in a phased manner for better syn-chronisation, speedy transfer of informationand efficient decision making. Let me assureyou that the IA is modernising itself to meetthe challenges of the future.
SP’s: The IA’s CIDSS involves development of the following:• Artillery Command and Control, andCommunication System• Air Defence Control and ReportingSystem• Electronic Warfare System• Battlefield Surveillance System, and• Battle Management SystemWhat is the current status of each project?
The projects are at various stages of development—from systems study stage,as in the case of Battlefield ManagementSystem, to fielding stage, as in the case of Artillery Combat Command Control System.
SP’s: Does the IA’s overall concept cater for100 per cent NCW capable formations or isthe pan to selectively transform the army formations. By when will the force be capa-ble of engaging in NCW?
The IA will completely network for-mations and achieve network enabled statusby about middle of the next decade.
SP’s: Are we prepared to deal with thethreats that the networks are going to face?
Our networks have robust inbuiltsecurity and will be operating on securegateways. However, national expertisetoward tackling the embedded threats is atpresent limited and needs to be developed.
SP’s: Is the IA planning to network allweapon platforms for ‘situational aware-ness’ or is this going to be done selectively?What are the costs involved?
Networking in the army is beingplanned right from the Army Headquarterslevel down to the individual soldier and thetanks. This networking, however, will bedone in a phased manner. Costs involvedare as per the long term perspective plans of modernisation of the army.
SP’s: Apart from digitised communica-tions, what are the other essentials neces-sary to convert the army’s stand aloneweapon systems into situational awareness platforms? What could be the cost incurred for digitising a formation, like a division?
The systems to get seamlessly meshedwith the overall NCW environment requireequipments and weapon systems which arenetwork enabled. In other cases, a humaninterface is being adopted as an interimmeasure. The complete digitisation processis being done in phases and proceduresare being networked selectively. The costsincurred are as per the long term perspec-tive planning funds allocated by the armyfor this purpose.
SP’s: All advanced countries havesome forms of Soldier Modernisation Programmes. How has India’s F-INSASbeen designed and how much progress havewe achieved?
F-INSAS is a multifaceted programmewhich aims at making the soldier an inte-gral part of the war fighting system. Thisinvolves provisioning of state-of-the-artweapon system, communication equipment,and so on to make the soldier more effectiveand survivable in war.
SP’s: Software-Defined Radio (SDR) is arapidly evolving technology and over the last few years, analog radio systems arebeing replaced by digital radio systems. How is the IA proposing to implement it?
In my opinion, so far as IA is con-cerned SDR is the future of military commu-nication. It has definite advantages over thepresent family of radios in the IA. It is onlya matter of time before SDRs are inducted inthe army.
SP’s: Communications policy has to beuniform and the equipment should be compatible to ensure standardisation andnetworking. How can this be achieved in a force as large as the IA?
In a network centric environment,where we are looking at seamless integra-tion, communications policies need to beformulated and implemented centrally. Youare right when you mentioned that policiesbased for different arms are no longer ten-able. I strongly feel that we need a commoncommunication policy not just for the armybut also for all three services.
“In a network centricenvironment, wherewe are looking atseamless integration,communications policiesneed to be formulatedand implementedcentrally.”