Command and Control

The Indian Army gets set to procure the long-awaited BMS and TCS

Dilip Kumar Mekala

Indian Army’s long-awaited procurements like Battlefield Management System (BMS) and Tactical Communication Systems (TCS) may become reality soon. Recently, the two consortia - Tata Power SED with Larsen &Toubro (L&T), and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) with Rolta India - that were previously selected by the defence ministry in the BMS programme had submitted their detailed proposals to the ministry, and are now awaiting the results. The BMS project, categorised as a ‘Make’ programme under the DPP, will be one of the largest solutions to be indigenously manufactured for the Indian defence. This prestigious project is meant to deliver Command and Control capabilities to the fighting echelons, operating at the forward edge of the tactical battle area at the battalion and combat group levels. BMS is a situational awareness and visualisation system that aims to optimise the operational effectiveness of tactical units.

Indian Army personnel operating communication devices during Exercise Sanghe Shakti
Indian Army personnel operating communication devices during Exercise Sanghe Shakti

In February 2015, the ministry of defence (MoD) had shortlisted BEL-Rolta and Tata-L&T consortia for the BMS project worth over Rs 50,000 crores.

BEL has been proactively working on BMS. The company has established the test bed of BMS for continuous evaluation and implementation of user requirements. Having worked on several Tactical Command, Control, Communications & Intelligence (Tac C3I) systems of the Indian Army, in association with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), BEL certainly has the expertise for the BMS programme. In the recently concluded DefExpo in Goa, BEL and Rolta had jointly displayed its BMS system that is in the development stage. Rolta has also invested significantly in BMS technologies indigenously and has over the years delivered cutting edge Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) systems, to the Indian military. As a part of the consortium, Rolta is executing its role and responsibility in areas of BMS application software development and applicable licensing, GIS software and GIS data services. Rolta is jointly working with BEL for manufacturing subsystems for the soldier system, the overall system design, integration, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the BMS solution.

Tata Power SED and L&T collaboration is also very hopeful about the outcome of the programme. Giving the scope of the programme, Tata Power SED said, when BMS will be deployed by the Indian Army, it will cover more than 70 per cent of the soldiers while digitising the tactical battlefield and creating a secure IoT (internet of things) for the army. Tata Power SED boasts that it is one of the few private companies with a track record of over four decades in defence R&D and production.

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