‘Airpower by itself cannot achieve lasting victory or success without boots on the ground’
Army Air Defence aims to evolve into a modern net-enabled force capable of providing air defence protection to field forces and strategic assets against the complete spectrum of air threat, in all operations of war and all types of terrain. In an intervie
Indian Army’s vision of the future, Army Air Defence aims to evolve into a modern netenabled force capable of providing air defence protection to field forces and strategic assets against the complete spectrum of air threat, in all operations of war and all types of terrain.
SP’s: Does it include AD for homeland security? DG:
AD for homeland security has assumed a significant role increasing prominence in the aftermath after the 9/11 events. In the subcontinent too, we have the example of the LTTE using light aircraft for terrorist attacks. Thus the possibility of innovative application of aerial resources by terrorist groups and non-state actors cannot be ruled out. Like other services, AAD too plays an important and critical role in ensuring AD for homeland security. This includes deployment of sensors and suitable weapon systems to neutralise such threats.
SP’s: Are the responsibilities between the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and civil agencies clearly defined? DG:
Delineation of responsibilities between the three services is adequately defined besides most of the coordination issues to promote a high degree of interoperability. As a matter of fact, a number of inter-services study groups constituted in the recent past have been successful in resolving most issues between the services.
SP’s: A majority of the weapon systems in the inventory are either obsolete or obsolescent. The L/70 gun, which is the mainstay of AAD and is still carrying on after more than four decades, is an example. Are there plans to replace it with a more modern system? DG:
As part of the modernisation process, steps are being initiated for replacement of the existing gun systems in addition to upgradation of a part of the gun inventory.
SP’s: Do you consider the gun systems relevant in the current and future air threat scenario? DG:
Although concerns about the relevance of gun systems in the future AD environment are genuine, I am of the opinion that gun systems will remain relevant for effective terminal air defence against the RAM threat and leakers. While modern AD missiles can take care of the delivery platforms like aircraft, UAVs, helicopters, etc, high rate of fire gun systems are best suited for addressing threat from very low RCS targets such as rockets and shells. This is achieved by creation of a ‘cloud’ of shrapnel in the direction of the threat to neutralise warhead/shell. It is due to this reason that guns form the bedrock of many modern terminal air defence systems like Vulcan Phalanx, Iron dome, etc. These gun systems will continue to be an important part of arsenal of AAD till such time directed energy weapon technologies mature to a stage where they can perform the same in a cost-effective manner.
SP’s: What are the plans for the successor of quick reaction and medium-range surface-toair missiles (SAM)? DG:
Plans for acquisition of both quick reaction and medium-range SAMs are in progress.