Future Shock

A range of high-tech hardware will be procured for all three armed forces

Prasun K. Sengupta

Significant force accretions involving high-tech hardware procurements are expected to take place between now and 2022 for all three of the armed services. For instance, in the arena of four airborne reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition (RISTA), the Indian Air Force (IAF), which presently has access to two Bombardier Aerospace Global 5000 battlespace surveillance platforms (delivered in late 2014), will be acquiring seven more such platforms in future.

BAE Systems’ Armadillo ICV
BAE Systems’ Armadillo ICV

Flown and maintained by the IAF for the Research & Analysis Wing’s Aviation Research Centre, each of the two existing Global 5000s is equipped with two types of belly-mounted synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna — one for ground mapping (a modified version of the EL/M-2060P from Israel Aerospace Industries, or IAI) and the other for locating moving ground targets (EL/M-2055). The EL/M-2060P is capable of tracking hostile ground targets — both stationary and mobile — 300km away and using Ku-band and X-band data links for transmitting battlespace reconnaissance data to ground-based Corps-level HQs in real-time. When used for SIGINT missions, the Global 5000 comes equipped with a EL/I-3001 SIGINT suite that will search, intercept, measure, localise, analyse, classify and monitor short-duration ground and airborne transmissions and their signals parameters — all aimed at building up, in real-time, a full-spectrum picture of the electronic order of battle.

Air Land Battle Requirements
The Indian Army (IA), meanwhile, has begun inducting into service the IAI-built RICent system, which is designed to produce 24/7 all-weather geo-spatial imagery intelligence (IMINT) through the real-time processing and integration of images generated by a variety of space-based, airborne and land-based IMINT sensors. RICent’s multi-sensor exploitation and intelligence dissemination processes employ a variety of automatic and semi-automatic tools essential for quick detection, acquisition and identification of time-critical targets, extracted from the huge volumes of imagery data. Its field-proven capabilities for very high-throughput automated geo-spatial image intelligence processing are also essential in effective wide-area environmental monitoring and for responding quickly to natural disasters.

In addition, the IA’s Rangapahar, Dimapur-based III Corps in Nagaland; Tezpur-based IV Corps in Assam; Ranchi-based XVII Corps in Jharkand; and the Leh-based XIV Corps in Jammu and Kashmir will in future be equipped with the IAI-developed TAC-4G broadband fourth-generation cellular network. TAC-4G is based on a flat-IP network architecture which provides flexible and fast communications between many users.

This includes fast-and-secure communications between different points and support of concurrent running of multiple applications, many of which require high bandwidth. The high flexibility of TAC-4G along with additional inherent capabilities such as information security, on-the-move network infrastructure, and support of multiple applications, positions the system as an optimal solution for addressing the complex military communications requirements. TAC-4G also supports a wide variety of multimedia applications and allows quick and easy addition or removal of applications. It also implements the ‘network-centric warfare’ principle; allows various-level commanders the highest level of control and effective activation of various war-fighting, logistics and maintenance forces; allows real-time battlefield management and control; uses the cost-effective commercial cellular network providers’ infrastructure, which allows shorter implementation time and fewer risks in comparison to other alternatives that are not based on COTS infrastructures.

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