‘ ‘A well struc­tured and in­sti­tu­tion­alised plan­ning process is in place for ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment and mod­erni­sa­tion of the In­dian Army’

Lt Gen­eral Naren­dra Singh, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS) (P&S), In­dian Army, in an in­ter­view with Lt Gen­eral (Retd) V.K. Kapoor, Edi­tor, SP’s Land Forces, spoke at length about the dif­fer­ent mod­erni­sa­tion drives of the In­dian Army. Ex­cerpts:

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE -

Lt Gen­eral Naren­dra Singh, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS) (P&S), In­dian Army, in an in­ter­view with Lt Gen­eral (Retd) V.K.

Kapoor, Edi­tor, SP’s Land Forces, spoke at length about the dif­fer­ent mod­erni­sa­tion drives of the In­dian Army. Ex­cerpts:

SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): In the re­con­sti­tu­tion of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties within the Army Head­quar­ters, DCOAS ( P&S) has been as­signed far greater re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. All the DGs of line di­rec­torates now re­port to him. Hence the role as­signed to the DCOAS (P&S) has been en­hanced con­sid­er­ably. How is the sys­tem func­tion­ing? What are your views in this re­gard? Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S) DCOAS

(P&S): The re­con­sti­tu­tion of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in the Army Head­quar­ters (HQ) has made the func­tion­ing smoother for all line du­ties as well as for the DCOAS (P&S). Hav­ing said that, I would say that there has not been any par­a­digm change of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or the hi­er­ar­chy. As the DCOAS (P&S), I am re­spon­si­ble for the mod­erni­sa­tion of the Army and man­ag­ing the cap­i­tal bud­get. The sys­tem fa­cil­i­tates con­sol­i­dat­ing re­quire­ments which are com­mon to all the line di­rec­torates and pro­ject­ing con­sol­i­dated cases for mod­ernising the Army. This leads to econ­omy of scales and fi­nan­cial pru­dence. In ad­di­tion, it ob­vi­ates the du­plic­ity of ef­fort and re­duces the ges­ta­tion time for in­duc­tion of new equip­ment. Arms and equip­ment like small arms, bul­let proof jack­ets, night sights, ve­hi­cles and host of other equip­ment is be­ing pro­cured across the board. Var­i­ous line di­rec­torates are nom­i­nated as the lead direc­torate for a par­tic­u­lar type of equip­ment. This stream­lines the pro­cure­ment process, as co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the line di­rec­torates be­comes much sim­pler, be­ing di­rectly un­der the DCOAS (P&S).

SP’s: Field Ar­tillery’s equip­ment pro­file has been ad­versely af­fected by non-pro­cure­ment of 155mm guns and how­itzers, both self-pro­pelled (SP) and towed va­ri­ety, re­sult­ing in fire power de­fi­ciency in the In­dian Army. This has been re­ported ex­ten­sively in the me­dia. Can you up­date us on the sta­tus of pro­cure­ment of 155mm (Towed) guns to re­place older gen­er­a­tion equip­ment; ac­qui­si­tion of the 155mm/ 39 cal­i­bre ul­tra-light weight how­itzers (ULH) which is be­ing pro­cured through the for­eign mil­i­tary sales (FMS) route; pro­cure­ment of 155mm self-pro­pelled (SP) guns to fill ex­ist­ing voids. DCOAS (P&S): The Army is look­ing at equip­ping In­dian Ar­tillery with state-ofthe-art fire power plat­forms. To­wards this end, sev­eral ini­tia­tives to pro­cure var­i­ous types of 155mm guns for var­ied op­er­a­tional roles are at var­i­ous stages of fruc­ti­fi­ca­tion. A three pronged ap­proach is be­ing adopted, wherein the im­me­di­ate re­quire­ment would be pro­cured ex im­port; the medium-term re­quire­ments would be man­u­fac­tured af­ter

ab­sorb­ing tech­nol­ogy trans­fers; while the long-term re­quire­ments would be met by in­dige­nous de­vel­op­ments.

SP’s: Army Air De­fence is in dire straits. No new equip­ment has been in­ducted in the last three decades or so. All equip­ment cur­rently held is out­dated and in many cases ob­so­les­cent. What are the mea­sures be­ing taken to rec­tify this sit­u­a­tion? DCOAS (P&S):

A care­fully for­mu­lated ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment plan of Army Air De­fence has been put in place which is in line with the cur­rent Army Air De­fence phi­los­o­phy. The phi­los­o­phy en­vis­ages a sig­nif­i­cant shift from point de­fence air de­fence sys­tem to the­aterised em­ploy­ment of air de­fence re­sources. The con­cept of theatre air de­fence in­volves dy­namic and cen­tralised em­ploy­ment of air de­fence re­sources to pro­vide lay­ered and tiered area air de­fence cover against air and mis­sile threats.

Nec­es­sary im­pe­tus is be­ing given to progress nu­mer­ous pro­cure­ment cases, which are at vary­ing stages of the pro­cure­ment process. Is­sues of limited ven­dor base for tech­no­log­i­cally com­plex air de­fence sys­tems, along with se­cu­rity re­stric­tions on trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy and limited in­dige­nous ca­pa­bil­ity for de­vel­op­ment of com­plex air de­fence sys­tems had led to new equip­ment be­ing in­ducted. Th­ese have now been ad­dressed through re­search and de­vel­op­ment (R&D), trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy, in­di­geni­sa­tion and in­volve­ment of pri­vate in­dus­try.

SP’s: L-70 guns have been with us for more than 40 years. The radars of this sys­tem have been changed many times but the gun sys­tem has not been changed. They con­sti­tute al­most 50 per cent of the strength of air de­fence sys­tems in the Army. What is be­ing done in this re­gard?

DCOAS (P&S): L-70 guns, de­spite its vin­tage, have an ef­fec­tive range com­pat­i­ble with present day gun sys­tems. The sys­tem has also un­der­gone mod­i­fi­ca­tions for in­creased rate of fire, us­age of im­proved am­mu­ni­tion and change of fire con­trol radar. Cur­rently, a two-pronged ap­proach is be­ing adopted for re­place­ment of the L-70 gun, to in­clude: Upgra­da­tion of se­lect num­ber of ex­ist­ing guns with an im­proved sight­ing sys­tem, power lay­ing and on­board power sup­ply. Pro­cure­ment of a suc­ces­sor gun sys­tem in a phased man­ner to meet the bal­ance re­quire­ment.

SP’s: What is the sta­tus of Ar­jun Mk II and what is the plan for fur­ther in­duc­tion of Ar­jun tanks?

DCOAS (P&S): MBT Ar­jun has been in op­er­a­tional ser­vice with the In­dian Army since 2007. For an emerg­ing world power, we have to be self-re­liant, with a strong in­dige­nous de­fence in­dus­try. There­fore, MBT Ar­jun is a step in the right di­rec­tion. We are now fo­cus­ing on in­tro­duc­ing an im­proved MBT Ar­jun Mk II with up­grades, to make it a truly world class tank. The Army has clearly ar­tic­u­lated its long-term per­spec­tive plan for in­duc­tion of tanks based on its ar­mour phi­los­o­phy. MBT Ar­jun and its up­graded ver­sion have a de­fined role to play in this.

SP’s: What is the sta­tus of fu­ture main bat­tle tank (FMBT)? DCOAS (P&S):

The FMBT will be an in­dige­nously de­signed and de­vel­oped tank. All stake­hold­ers would be brought on­board as the pro­ject pro­gresses. It would be based on the guide­lines of the DPP and in­dige­nous in­dus­try would be in­volved to the ex­tent pos­si­ble. The de­vel­op­men­tal pro­ject will be mon­i­tored in all stages of de­vel­op­ment, from the prin­ci­pal staff qual­i­ta­tive re­quire­ments (PSQR) stage to the bulk pro­duc­tion, so that we get a state-of-art tank, com­pa­ra­ble to/ bet­ter than any fu­tur­is­tic tank of the world.

SP’s: In the al­ter­nate fuel ve­hi­cles (AFV) sem­i­nars held in the past, the re­quire­ment of light tanks for the moun­tains in the east as well as in the western sec­tor had emerged. Is there any move in this di­rec­tion? It seems that an In­de­pen­dent Ar­moured Bri­gade is be­ing raised for the Eastern theatre with light tanks as re­ported by the me­dia.

DCOAS (P&S): The ca­pa­bil­ity of an Army is an amal­gam of equip­ment and man­power, both of which are pro­cessed in par­al­lel for ca­pa­bil­ity en­hance­ment. The num­bers re­quired for the ca­pa­bil­ity de­pends upon dy­nam­ics of threat as­sess­ment as well as fi­nan­cial pru­dence. To that end, In­dian Army pe­ri­od­i­cally car­ries out re­al­is­tic threat as­sess­ment and for­mu­lates ca­pa­bil­ity re­quired for un­der­tak­ing its man­dated char­ter. Ac­cord­ingly, mod­erni­sa­tion and force struc­tur­ing pro­pos­als are taken up with the govern­ment. As far as the equip­ment mod­erni­sa­tion is con­cerned, any con­tem­po­rary Army en­deav­ours to main­tain 30 per cent of equip­ment as state-of-theart. Ac­cord­ingly, In­dian Army also en­deav­ours to in­duct new equip­ment/weapon plat­forms as per op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments, in step with the cur­rent trends in the world. To­wards that, var­i­ous new plat­forms to be in­ducted in the Army are be­ing con­sid­ered for var­i­ous arms and ser­vices.

SP’s: The over­haul of the T-72 tank is be­hind sched­ule by a few years. This will ad­versely af­fect the fleet of tanks held by the Army. How are we plan­ning to get over this is­sue? DCOAS (P&S):

As you are aware, our T-72 fleet is be­ing over­hauled along with the up­grades. Our present over­haul ca­pac­ity is also be­ing en­hanced. All th­ese steps will en­sure that the com­plete mid-life over­haul of the tank, along with the up­grades, is com­pleted in an ac­cept­able time frame which meets our op­er­a­tional re­quire­ment.

SP’s: Long-term strate­gic plan­ning is the do­main of DCOAS (P&S) as well as the VCOAS? Func­tion­ally how are the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties shared be­tween the two?

DCOAS (P&S): A well struc­tured and in­sti­tu­tion­alised plan­ning process is in place for ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment and mod­erni­sa­tion of the In­dian Army. The VCOAS is re­spon­si­ble for the over­all di­rec­tion, evo­lu­tion and co­or­di­na­tion of th­ese plans. DCOAS (P&S) is re­spon­si­ble for ex­e­cu­tion and mon­i­tor­ing progress of this process. The re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the two of­fices, though sep­a­rate, are com­pli­men­tary to each other.

SP’s: Is the cap­i­tal bud­get al­lot­ted to the Army ad­e­quate con­sid­er­ing the voids in the in­ven­tory and re­quire­ments to mod­erni­sa­tion and in­duc­tion of new tech­nolo­gies?

DCOAS (P&S): Though the ini­tial al­lo­ca­tions this year are low, there has never been a con­straint of cap­i­tal bud­get for mod­erni­sa­tion and in­duc­tion of new tech­nolo­gies. Ad­e­quate bud­getary sup­port has been promised for the new schemes as well as com­mit­ted li­a­bil­i­ties.

SP’s: The De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP) 2011 was for­mally re­leased on Jan­uary 13, 2011. One of the crit­i­cisms is that the Min­istry of De­fence has missed an­other op­por­tu­nity to re­vamp the whole sys­tem as the ini­tia­tives in­tro­duced are of mar­ginal na­ture and only aim at strength­en­ing the stran­gle­hold of the pub­lic sec­tor. What are your views on this is­sue? DCOAS (P&S):

DPP 2011 has evolved as a com­pre­hen­sive, rep­re­sen­ta­tive and ro­bust com­pi­la­tion based on the ex­pe­ri­ences gained while un­der­tak­ing de­fence pro­cure­ments in the past. Th­ese have been taken into ac­count while pre­par­ing a func­tional and ac­cept­able DPP in line with ground re­al­i­ties.

The DPP has re­cently been re­viewed. An im­por­tant as­pect of the re­view is the pre­ferred or­der of cat­e­gori­sa­tion for all cap­i­tal

pro­cure­ment cases. In this, “Buy In­dian” and “Buy & Make (In­dian)” will be the pre­ferred cat­e­gori­sa­tion. Pro­ce­dures for “Buy & Make (In­dian)” cat­e­gory have also been sim­pli­fied. This is likely to give boost to in­dige­nous pro­duc­tion and bol­ster the par­tic­i­pa­tion of In­dian in­dus­try in the de­fence sec­tor.

SP’s: How is our off­set pol­icy be­ing made more prac­ti­cal? DCOAS (P&S):

The re­vised de­fence off­set guide­lines were rat­i­fied in July 2012. Th­ese guide­lines have ad­dressed ma­jor pol­icy is­sues re­lat­ing to ex­pand­ing av­enues for dis­charge of off­set obli­ga­tions through trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy (ToT)/trans­fer of equip­ment (ToE) as valid means of off­set dis­charge. Fur­ther, the De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) has been per­mit­ted to ac­quire a se­lected list of core tech­nolo­gies as part of off­set obli­ga­tions from for­eign ven­dors. In or­der to in­cen­tivise for­eign com­pa­nies to en­gage In­dia’s mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises (MSMEs), the re­vised guide­lines have also, for the first time, al­lowed mul­ti­pli­ers of up to three for tech­nol­ogy ac­qui­si­tion by the De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO). Ex­ten­sion of bank­ing pe­riod to seven years as against ear­lier pe­riod of two years will fur­ther fa­cil­i­tate the ef­fi­cient dis­charge of off­set obli­ga­tions in the long term. The re­vised off­set guide­lines pro­vide a rel­a­tively stronger mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem by way of cre­at­ing a De­fence Off­sets Man­age­ment Wing (DOMW) to re­place the erst­while De­fence Off­sets Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Agency (DOFA), with more pow­ers in terms of post con­tract man­age­ment.

SP’s: What is the Army’s pol­icy on sen­sors and sur­veil­lance de­vices and what is their sta­tus? In this we may in­clude sur­veil­lance satel­lites, UAVs, LORROS, night vi­sion de­vices, radars and other ground sen­sors. How far have we pro­gressed in this di­rec­tion? DCOAS (P&S):

Bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance is one of the most im­por­tant force mul­ti­pli­ers. Our sur­veil­lance phi­los­o­phy caters to gap free sur­veil­lance from for­ward to depth ar­eas. The sen­sors to be pro­cured for strate­gic to tac­ti­cal sur­veil­lance, have also been iden­ti­fied. Th­ese in­clude aerostats, un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (UAVs), bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance radars, weapon lo­cat­ing radars, long-range elec­troop­ti­cal sen­sors, sound rang­ing sys­tems, etc.

Aerostats equipped with sur­veil­lance radars and real time com­mu­ni­ca­tion links have been planned to be in­ducted. The Heron, a medium-al­ti­tude, long-en­durance UAV, has been ac­quired in ad­di­tion to the Searcher I and II UAVs. Medium-range bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance radars (BFSRs) have been in­tro­duced into the in­ven­tory of Army’s sur­veil­lance and tar­get ac­qui­si­tion (SATA) units for en­hanc­ing the medi­um­range ground sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­ity of the Army. The long-range ob­ser­va­tion sys­tem (LORROS) pro­vides day and night sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­ity. De­vel­op­ment of Nis­hant re­motely-pi­loted ve­hi­cle de­signed by the DRDO, to un­der­take bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance, re­con­nais­sance, real-time en­gage­ment of tar­gets by ar­tillery fire-and laser des­ig­na­tion has been suc­cess­fully com­pleted. In ad­di­tion, we are also go­ing in for en­hanc­ing the night fight­ing ca­pa­bil­ity of our soldiers and com­bat sys­tems. It can thus be seen that the re­quire­ment is be­ing ad­dressed in a holis­tic man­ner.

SP’s: Re­con­nais­sance and Sur­veil­lance Troops and Pla­toons of Ar­moured Reg­i­ments and Mech­a­nised In­fantry units re­spec­tively, can be ex­cel­lent as­sets in war, if equipped ap­pro­pri­ately. Is any­thing be­ing done in this re­gard? DCOAS (P&S):

The Re­con­nais­sance Troops and Pla­toons of Ar­moured Reg­i­ments and Mech­a­nised In­fantry Bat­tal­ions are force mul­ti­ply­ing as­sets and are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Com­bat Group Com­man­der. While so far they are based on light wheeled ve­hi­cles, we are now work­ing to­wards equip­ping them with spe­cialised light ar­moured mul­tipur­pose (LAM) ve­hi­cle. Th­ese ve­hi­cles will have ad­e­quate fire­power and state-ofthe-art elec­tron­ics and op­tron­ics. In ad­di­tion, mini-un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (UAVs) are also planned to be in­ducted to pro­vide re­con­nais­sance sup­port and ex­tended reach to the Com­man­ders on the field.

SP’s: What is the growth pat­tern of the Army Avi­a­tion which is a vi­tal el­e­ment of our of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­ity? By when will our Chee­tah and Chetak helicopters be re­placed? DCOAS (P&S):

Army Avi­a­tion Corps since it’s rais­ing, has trans­formed it­self into a full-fledged arm and is poised to fur­ther grow ex­po­nen­tially, in tune with the ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment plan of the Army. The in­her­ent knowl­edge of the Army avi­a­tors of ground war­fare; and their affin­ity for troops on ground, makes Army Avi­a­tion a bat­tle win­ing quo­tient for ef­fect-based op­er­a­tions and tac­ti­cal bat­tle cen­tric op­er­a­tions. In the medium and long term, Army Avi­a­tion will have var­ied ca­pa­bil­ity of re­con­nais­sance, util­ity, armed and at­tack helicopters to re­spond swiftly and ef­fec­tively to the Field Force Com­man­der’s re­quire­ment. As re­gards the Chee­tah and Chetak helicopters; Chee­tal and ad­vanced light he­li­copter (ALH) are be­ing in­ducted into the armed forces. Re­place­ment he­li­copter are also be­ing looked at. In ad­di­tion, there are a large num­ber of de­vel­op­men­tal projects in the pipe­line like the light util­ity he­li­copter.

SP’s: The Army needs ded­i­cated at­tack helicopters op­er­ated by the Army and in di­rect sup­port of field for­ma­tions in war. What are im­pli­ca­tions of the lat­est govern­ment no­ti­fi­ca­tion in this re­gards? DCOAS (P&S):

The fu­ture bat­tlespace will wit­ness com­plex, swift, short and very vi­o­lent ap­pli­ca­tion of com­bat re­sources by the field force com­man­ders who will need to ‘look, move and strike deep’. In or­der to gain­fully em­ploy and op­ti­mise the task­ing of at­tack helicopters in the tac­ti­cal bat­tle area, the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) has vested the own­er­ship of at­tack helicopters with the Army. Army Avi­a­tion as a ma­noeu­vre arm in third di­men­sion with its en­hanced strike ca­pa­bil­ity of at­tack helicopters will play a very de­ci­sive and lethal role; and pro­vide in­ti­mate com­bat sup­port to Bat­tle Groups in the tac­ti­cal bat­tle area. In­duc­tion of th­ese in the Army would be car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with the ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment plans of the In­dian Army.

SP’s: What is the sta­tus of the pro­ject fu­ture in­fantry sol­dier as a sys­tem (F-INSAS)? It does not seem to have pro­gressed much. DCOAS (P&S):

Pro­ject F-INSAS per­ceives the sol­dier as a sys­tem—a sit­u­a­tion aware sol­dier ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing mul­ti­ple roles in bat­tle. His weapon, sight, sur­veil­lance sys­tem and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment will be an in­te­grated sys­tem. It is de­signed to en­hance an in­di­vid­ual sol­dier’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties in terms of in­creas­ing his lethal­ity while pro­vid­ing him nec­es­sary pro­tec­tion at the same time. We have moved from con­cept stage to ex­e­cu­tion stage of the pro­ject. In the ini­tial phase, pri­or­ity is be­ing ac­corded to weapon sys­tems, en­hanc­ing night vi­sion, pro­tec­tion and bat­tle­field mo­bil­ity ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The weapons and equip­ment are at var­i­ous stages of pro­cure­ment process and the pro­ject is pro­gress­ing well.

SP’s: What is the progress of our ef­forts to mod­ernise the In­fantry at unit and sub unit level with par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to fire­power, mo­bil­ity, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance and night fight­ing ca­pa­bil­ity? DCOAS (P&S):

The fu­ture wars are likely to be dif­fer­ent from the ones we have fought in the past. Full scale con­ven­tional con­flicts are likely to re­cede, giv­ing way to sec­tor spe­cific, short, in­tense and de­struc­tive bat­tles un­der a nu­clear back­drop. In ad­di­tion, we shall be wit­ness­ing a fu­sion of in­sur­gency and ter­ror­ism with the op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment hav­ing a high de­gree of am­bi­gu­ity. Hence, it is im­per­a­tive that we build our ca­pa­bil­i­ties to face the en­tire spec­trum of con­flict, from asym­met­ric to con­ven­tional war un­der a nu­clear back­drop.

Mod­erni­sa­tion of the In­fantry is be­ing ad­dressed on pri­or­ity. State-of-the-art as­sault ri­fle and car­bine are cur­rently un­der ad­vanced stages of pro­cure­ment and shall be in­stru­men­tal in en­hanc­ing fire­power and lethal­ity at the sol­dier level. To cater to the anti-tank de­fence at In­fantry Bat­tal­ion level, third gen­er­a­tion, fire and for­get anti-tank guided mis­siles and rocket launch­ers are be­ing pro­cured.

En­able­ment of the in­fantry to en­hance the sur­veil­lance and ef­fec­tive en­gage­ment at night is the key pri­or­ity area. Short-range bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance radar (BFSR) cou­pled with mini un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (UAVs) would fur­ther en­hance the sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­ity of an in­fantry com­man­der. The ini­tia­tives in the field of mo­bil­ity in­cludes in­duc­tion of high mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cles, light spe­cial­ist ve­hi­cles and su­pe­rior troop and load car­riage ve­hi­cles, lend­ing en­hanced mo­bil­ity in all ter­rain sce­nario.

The vi­sion of the In­fantry is to have a fully-em­pow­ered sol­dier equipped with weapons and equip­ment which has a de­ci­sive tech­no­log­i­cal edge over its ad­ver­sary.

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