Man­ag­ing Bat­tle at the Cut­ting Edge

With both China and Pak­istan hell-bent on stok­ing in­sur­gen­cies within In­dia, our cut­ting edge forces will need to be equipped with the re­quire­ments to cope with the 21st cen­tury threats in­clud­ing high-tech ter­ror­ists and in­sur­gents wield­ing mod­ern weapons

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch

With both China and Pak­istan hell-bent on stok­ing in­sur­gen­cies within In­dia, our cut­ting edge forces will need to be equipped with the re­quire­ments to cope with the 21st cen­tury threats.

T ECH­NOL­OGY HAS POISED COM­MAN­DERS to see their ar­eas of re­spon­si­bil­ity in depth and in real near time. It is pos­si­ble to de­velop an ac­cu­rate com­mon pic­ture and share it both hor­i­zon­tally and ver­ti­cally. Pre­cisely lo­cat­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing, track­ing and at­tack­ing tar­gets by ap­pro­pri­ate means and mon­i­tor­ing ef­fects is a re­al­ity. Op­er­at­ing in joint en­vi­ron­ments and ma­ture ca­pa­bil­ity to con­duct multi-di­men­sional si­mul­ta­ne­ous op­er­a­tions is fa­cil­i­tated. Success in fu­ture mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions will re­quire a tele­scoped de­ci­sion-ac­tion cy­cle and the abil­ity to con­duct op­er­a­tions si­mul­ta­ne­ously within an all arms group.

Re­quire­ment

The Army wants the ob­jec­tive of the sys­tem to pro­vide a com­mand, con­trol and in­for­ma­tion (C2I) in­te­gra­tion tool sup­port­ing ev­ery level of mil­i­tary users rang­ing from in­di­vid­ual sol­dier to bat­tal­ion group/com­bat group com­man­der in the tac­ti­cal bat­tle area (TBA), which will pro­vide in near real time an ap­pro­pri­ate, com­mon and com­pre­hen­sive tac­ti­cal pic­ture by in­te­gra­tion of in­puts from all el­e­ments in a bat­tle group. The in­te­gra­tion will in­clude in­puts from com­mand and con­trol el­e­ments, de­tach­ments, sup­port­ing arms, sur­veil­lance de­vices and head­quar­ters, thereby pro­vid­ing a dis­tinct edge in the suc­cess­ful con­duct of op­er­a­tions and op­ti­mi­sa­tion of re­sources.

Ca­pa­bil­i­ties

The ca­pa­bil­i­ties re­quired of the bat­tle­field man­age­ment sys­tem (BMS) are: to pro­vide a com­mand and con­trol sys­tem span­ning the TBA spread­ing across in­di­vid­u­als, de­tach- ments, com­bat plat­forms, sen­sors, sub­units, units to the bat­tal­ion com­man­der/reg­i­ment com­man­der; achieve faster re­ac­tion ca­pa­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity in com­mand and con­trol by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion au­to­mat­i­cally at the right place and in the right time, thereby com­press­ing the ob­serve ori­ent de­cide and act (OODA) loop; pro­vid­ing a strong foun­da­tion for mak­ing de­ci­sions based on near real time, con­sis­tent and well-struc­tured in­for­ma­tion, thereby en­hanc­ing the in­for­ma­tion han­dling ca­pa­bil­ity of com­man­ders at all lev­els; strength­en­ing in­for­ma­tion ex­change by hav­ing a strong mes­sag­ing and repli­ca­tion mech­a­nism; im­prov­ing and mod­ernising pre­sen­ta­tion of in­for­ma­tion in near real time; in­te­grat­ing with other com­mand and con­trol sys­tem.

Ar­eas of In­ter­est

There are numer­ous ar­eas of in­ter­est that in­clude de­vel­op­ing a suit­able ap­pli­ca­tion on an in­tu­itive op­er­at­ing sys­tem, ge­o­graphic in­for­ma­tion sys­tem (GIS) suit­abil­ity cus­tomised to meet mil­i­tary re­quire­ments, voice and data com­mu­ni­ca­tions that should al­ways

The BMS sought by the Army will per­form a va­ri­ety of op­er­a­tional sit­u­a­tion aware­ness and de­ci­sion sup­port func­tions at the bat­tal­ion/com­bat group level

re­main up, com­puter hard­ware which is rugged and non-ob­tru­sive, retro-fit­ment main­tain­ing plat­form in­tegrity and sys­tem in­te­gra­tion to in­clude ap­pli­ca­tion soft­ware, data links with ra­dio sys­tems, in­te­gra­tion of bat­tal­ion/reg­i­ment level sen­sors bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance radar (BFSR), ther­mal im­agers, un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cles (UAV) data, satel­lite im­agery, etc. The BMS be­ing looked at will per­form a va­ri­ety of op­er­a­tional si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness and de­ci­sion sup­port func­tions at a bat­tal­ion group/com­bat group level.

The low­est level to which the sys­tem will be con­nected is in­di­vid­ual sol­dier/com­bat plat­form and the high­est level will be the bat­tal­ion/reg­i­ment com­man­der. The sys­tem will be fur­ther in­te­grated to the tac­ti­cal com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and in­for­ma­tion (Tac C3I) sys­tem through the com­mand in­for­ma­tion de­ci­sion sup­port sys­tem (CIDSS). The BMS will com­prise a tac­ti­cal hand­held com­puter with in­di­vid­ual sol­diers and tac­ti­cal com­put­ers at Bat­tle Group Head­quar­ters and com­bat ve­hi­cles. Com­put­ers will be in­te­grated em­ploy­ing ap­pli­ca­tion and data­base servers con­nected on a dataen­abled com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work. The sys­tem will en­able gen­er­a­tion of com­mon op­er­a­tional pic­ture by in­te­grat­ing in­puts from all rel­e­vant sources within a bat­tle group by in­te­grated use of GIS and global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS). The BMS will be a highly mo­bile sys­tem which is able to net­work it­self by in­te­gra­tion of com­po­nents and pro­vide a high data rate. The com­mu­ni­ca­tions should not in­ter­fere with the legacy com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment and should eas­ily be retro­fit­ted into com­bat plat­form. The com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem should op­ti­mally utilise the band­width avail­able for mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­volv­ing voice and data in­clud­ing video stream­ing and im­ageries. It should be scal­able to en­sure its avail­abil­ity to all el­e­ments and range from be­ing man-por­ta­ble to be­ing fit­ted in com­bat ve­hi­cles. The ear­lier the Army ac­quires the BMS, the bet­ter will be its ca­pac­ity in net­work-cen­tric war­fare.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

The BMS sought by the Army will per­form a va­ri­ety of op­er­a­tional si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness and de­ci­sion sup­port func­tions at a bat­tal­ion/com­bat group level. The low­est level to which the sys­tem will be con­nected is in­di­vid­ual sol­dier/com­bat plat­form and the high­est level will be the bat­tal­ion/reg­i­ment com­man­der in­te­grat­ing to the Tac C3I Sys­tem through the CIDSS, en­abling a com­mon op­er­a­tional pic­ture, in­te­grat­ing all sources through in­te­grated use of GIS and GPS, will be a highly mo­bile and with high data rate. The com­mu­ni­ca­tions should not in­ter­fere with the legacy com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment and should eas­ily be retro­fit­ted into com­bat plat­form. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions should op­ti­mally utilise the band­width avail­able for mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­volv­ing voice, data, im­ageries and video stream­ing. It should be scal­able to en­sure its avail­abil­ity to all el­e­ments and range from be­ing man­portable to be­ing fit­ted in com­bat ve­hi­cles. When pit­ted against the fu­ture re­quire­ments, the legacy com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices are phys­i­cally in­com­pat­i­ble, fol­low dif­fer­ent link pro­to­cols, have is­sues of ad­dress, reach and qual­ity of ser­vice (QoS). The legacy of ex­ist­ing com­bat net ra­dios (CNR) are with fixed fre­quency (ana­logue), are ca­pa­ble of lim­ited com­mu­ni­ca­tion and data rates be­sides the re­quire­ment of a mo­dem for data trans­mis­sion, are not se­cure and have no data en­cryp­tion fa­cil­ity. In ef­fect, the present fam­ily of ra­dio sets does not meet the re­quire­ments of a NCW Force that would fa­cil­i­tate trans­mis­sion of voice, video and data si­mul­ta­ne­ously. For BMS to be suc­cess­ful; there is a need for a re­li­able, ro­bust, re­silient and ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem that as­sures that the net­work is al­ways func­tional. Net-cen­tric­ity war­rants a par­a­digm shift from voice-cen­tric to dat­a­cen­tric sys­tems and net­works even­tu­ally en­abling NCW ca­pa­bil­i­ties. For BMS com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the In­dian Army would be look­ing for long-range high band­width data trans­mis­sion (live stream­ing), fa­cil­i­tat­ing mes­sag­ing, in­clud­ing voice mail, quickly de­ploy­able, self-con­fig­ur­ing and self-heal­ing net­works, easy to cus­tomise, rolling cov­er­age and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity. The fo­cus will have to be on change in net­work topol­ogy, non line of sight com­mu­ni­ca­tions, spec­trum man­age­ment, net­work man­age­ment sys­tems, QoS (in­clud­ing la­tency, as­sured de­liv­ery, jit­ter), se­cu­rity of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, net­works and stor­age, ro­bust­ness and au­then­ti­ca­tion. De­ploy­ment of new tech­nolo­gies like soft­ware de­fined ra­dios (SDRs) that can also com­mu­ni­cate with CNRs to off­set growth in de­mand for spec­trum needs se­ri­ous thought. Com­pres­sion tech­nolo­gies for pas­sage of in­for­ma­tion must be cap­i­talised. Test bed for the BMS should be

The fu­ture in­fantry sol­dier sys­tem pro­gramme, be­ing devel­oped by the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of In­fantry, is to en­sure a dra­matic in­crease in lethal­ity, sur­viv­abil­ity and mo­bil­ity while mak­ing the in­fantry sol­dier “a self-con­tained fight­ing ma­chine”

at full scale, down to the in­di­vid­ual sol­dier. It is pru­dent to do this and then think of elim­i­nat­ing a par­tic­u­lar piece of equip­ment than adopt­ing the re­verse ap­proach. There is a need to re­view the com­mu­ni­ca­tion phi­los­o­phy of the Army. While legacy ra­dios have their lim­i­ta­tions, the change man­age­ment to­wards field­ing of lat­est tech­nol­ogy like SDRs and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture will need to be fine tuned. Ap­pli­ca­tions will need to be stan­dard­ised and adapt­able to any com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem in­clud­ing COTS prod­ucts. Band­width re­quire­ments for the BMS need to be viewed keep­ing in mind the in­cre­men­tal re­quire­ments that would be re­quired pro­gres­sively over the years. A con­ser­va­tive ap­proach by the Army at this stage, which is likely due to the lim­i­ta­tions of legacy com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment, could limit ex­ploita­tion of fu­ture tech­nol­ogy. As an in­di­ca­tor, the US Army catered for one 1GB band­width for a com­bat team two years back and plans in­cre­men­tal up­grades. The government needs to ex­am­ine al­lot­ment of a ded­i­cated de­fence band from the spec­trum to meet the band­width re­quire­ment of the ser­vices and keep­ing in mind threats to na­tional se­cu­rity. This will also ad­e­quately ad­dress the com­mu­ni­ca­tion re­quire­ments of the BMS. Ro­bust se­cu­rity al­go­rithms must be speed­ily devel­oped to en­sure se­cu­rity of both stored data as well as trans­mit­ted in­for­ma­tion.

The In­fantry

As the van­guard of cut­ting edge of the In­dian Army are the 400-odd In­fantry and Rashtriya Ri­fles bat­tal­ions be­sides other fight­ing arms. Even­tu­ally, this ca­pac­ity will also be re­quired in the Para­mil­i­tary Forces (PMF), Cen­tral Armed Po­lice Forces (CAPF) and other se­cu­rity forces units em­ployed in counter-in­sur­gency and anti-ter­ror­ist op­er­a­tions, dis­as­ter man­age­ment, bor­der de­ploy­ment and UN mis­sions. Through the BMS be­ing devel­oped by the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (DGIS), the Army wants to pro­vide a com­mand and con­trol sys­tem span­ning the TBA spread­ing across in­di­vid­u­als, de­tach­ments, com­bat plat­forms, sen­sors, sub­units, units to the bat­tal­ion com­man­der/reg­i­ment com­man­der; achieve faster re­ac­tion ca­pa­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity in com­mand and con­trol by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion au­to­mat­i­cally at the right place in the right time and com­press the OODA loop. The fu­ture in­fantry sol­dier sys­tem (F-IN­SAS) pro­gramme be­ing devel­oped by the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of In­fantry, is to en­sure a dra­matic in­crease in lethal­ity, sur­viv­abil­ity and mo­bil­ity while mak­ing the in­fantry sol­dier “a self-con­tained fight­ing ma­chine”, is based on the land war­rior sys­tem of the US Army and fu­ture sol­dier pro­grammes of other na­tions. This is be­ing devel­oped in three phases; Phase 1 com­pris­ing weapons, body ar­mour, cloth­ing and in­di­vid­ual equip­ment, Phase 2 com­pris­ing the tar­get ac­qui­si­tion sys­tem and Phase 3 com­pris­ing the com­puter sub-sys­tem, ra­dio sub-sys­tem, soft­ware and soft­ware in­te­gra­tion. F-IN­SAS will pro­vide the in­fantry­man with lat­est weaponry, com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work and in­stant ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion on the bat­tle­field. It will in­clude a ful­lynet­worked all-ter­rain, all-weather per­sonal equip­ment plat­form, en­hanced fire­power and mo­bil­ity for the digi­tised bat­tle­field of the fu­ture. The in­fantry­man will be equipped with mis­sion-ori­ented equip­ment in­te­grated with his buddy sol­dier team, the sub­unit, as also the over­all com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, com­put­ers, in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence (C4I2) sys­tem. Com­plete field­ing in all in­fantry and RR units is likely to be com­plete by 2020 or so. The BMS and F-IN­SAS pro­grammes are be­ing devel­oped con­cur­rently; BMS un­der In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems and F-IN­SAS un­der the In­fantry. BMS was con­ceived at bat­tal­ion/reg­i­ment level pan-Army (in­clud­ing for the in­fantry) and com­prises com­mu­ni­ca­tion, non-com­mu­ni­ca­tion hard­ware and soft­ware. The DGIS is charged with fa­cil­i­tat­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the In­dian Army into a dy­namic net­work-cen­tric force, achiev­ing in­for­ma­tion su­pe­ri­or­ity through ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. Quite log­i­cally, Phase 3 of F-IN­SAS (com­puter sub-sys­tem, ra­dio sub-sys­tem, soft­ware and soft­ware in­te­gra­tion) should be part of the BMS. How­ever, the In­fantry was adamant that Phase 3 of F-IN­SAS should be devel­oped by In­fantry and not be part of BMS. Lack of un­der­stand­ing of tech­nol­ogy and egos led the de­ci­sion-mak­ers to rule that the DGIS and In­fantry would progress both projects con­cur­rently. A sep­a­rate project of soft­ware and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­te­gra­tion by In­fantry is ret­ro­grade, de­lays over­all net-cen­tric­ity pan-Army, in­curs ad­di­tional avoid­able costs and de­feats the very pur­pose that DGIS was cre­ated for. While the In­dian Army re­quired the BMS ‘yes­ter­day’, squab­bling on de­lim­i­ta­tion be­tween the BMS and F-IN­SAS cost a de­lay to Phase 1 of BMS by al­most two years. If F-IN­SAS is to in­cor­po­rate si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness and GIS, then it will amount to not only ‘re-in­vent­ing the wheel’ but will also re­quire yet an­other project to in­te­grate the F-IN­SAS with the BMS, im­ply­ing in­fruc­tu­ous and avoid­able ad­di­tional ex­pen­di­ture and time. For­eign armies have faced sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions and we need to learn from their mis­takes rather than go­ing through the same mis­takes. The In­dian Army must take cor­rec­tive ac­tion and let BMS cover the In­fantry too, as planned ear­lier, es­pe­cially since the BMS be­ing devel­oped will cover Mech­a­nised In­fantry, in­clu­sive of dis­mounted role.

Con­clu­sion

De­ploy­ment of the bat­tle­field man­age­ment sys­tem will pro­vide a de­fin­i­tive edge in bat­tle. It is equally re­quired for home­land se­cu­rity where the in­ter­nal se­cu­rity by all indi­ca­tions is likely to get uglier with bulk pop­u­la­tion in youth bracket, il­lit­er­acy, un­em­ploy­ment, in­flux of il­le­gal weapons and drugs. Men­tion of “two-and-a-half­front” by the Army is proof enough of this. With both China and Pak­istan hell-bent on stok­ing in­sur­gen­cies within In­dia, our cut­ting edge forces will need to be equipped with the re­quire­ments to cope with the 21st cen­tury threats in­clud­ing high-tech ter­ror­ists and in­sur­gents wield­ing mod­ern weapons, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, equip­ment and pro­vid­ing fleet­ing tar­gets.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: US Air Force

Ex­pe­di­tionary Se­cu­rity Forces Squadron Raven op­er­a­tors view­ing im­ages trans­mit­ted from an RQ-11 Raven dur­ing a re­cent mis­sion

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