Keys to Success: Net-centricity, Command, Control, Synergised Operations
There is not only the need to undertake periodic holistic reviews but more importantly technologies available globally must be optimised ensuring required security to enhance our C4I2SR capabilities. This is essential in the face of mounting threats.
There is not only the need to undertake periodic holistic reviews but more importantly technologies available globally must be optimised ensuring required security to enhance our C4I2SR capabilities.
THE NEW WAR PARADIGM demands integrated and networked decision support systems with space, land, surface and subsurface sensors with state-of-theart weapons and equipment whose potential requires optimum utilisation and synergy to inflict maximum damage on the enemy. The key to success will lie in attaining higher levels of net-centricity; effective command and control across the force, an accelerated decision-action cycle and an ability to conduct synergised operations simultaneously within the defence and security establishment. With speedy technological advancements, command, control, communications, computers, information and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4I2SR) systems provide sterling opportunities for the defence and security establishment acting as important force multiplier for commanders at all levels. From this, it can be surmised that intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) are not stand-alone entities and must be viewed within the ambit of a composite C4I2SR system.
Human Intelligence (HUMINT), technical intelligence (TECHINT), signal intelligence (SIGINT), open source intelligence (OSINT) all combine into all source intelligence. Advantages of HUMINT are enormous including in environment of insurgency and terrorism, which cannot be replaced sole reliance on TECHINT. Yet, even the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) with mandate to operate trans-border sources is denied permission to do so and directed to rely on TECHINT. This is the root cause for our inability to cope with irregular and asymmetric threats. Army’s fledgling Technical Support Division (TSD) unit that has been in the news recently too has reportedly been shut down. To top this we are also hampered with poor mapping even within our own territory. Intelligence is the final product of information and information is an operational asset, the strategic value of which has been increasing by the day. At the national level, the Multi Agency Centre (MAC), National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) are efforts to synergise intelligence even though NCTC has not earned consensus because of fears by states of the Centre misusing its powers. It is an established fact that the side which has information advantage has more chances of being the winner. In military terms, acquisition of intelligence or information will depend on a plethora of sensors including HUMINT, processing it speedily and disseminating it in real time or near real time at required levels including commanders and shooters simultaneously. Surveillance implies monitoring activities and changing information on ground essential for responding particu- larly with telescoped time frame required for decision-making. Surveillance has many applications from the operational and strategic to the tactical level. The recent disclosure of the US National Security Agency (NSA) snooping on foreign governments, diplomatic missions, businesses and individuals helps the US manipulate nations in its own national interests. Today, computers, telephones, cameras, social network analysis, biometrics, aerial means, satellites, humans, identification of credentials, global positioning system (GPS) and a host of other devices are all being used for surveillance. Reconnaissance is the military term to gain vital information about enemy forces or features for analysis and/or dissemination. Examples of reconnaissance include observation posts, patrolling by troops/scouts/special forces/intelligence specialists/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aerial, surface and subsurface platforms, etc. In the military, surveillance reconnaissance (SR) is done using binoculars, long-range devices like spotoscopes, night vision devices (NVDs), weapon sights, thermal imagers (HHTIs), radars of all types, UAVs and micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs), aerial, surface and subsurface platforms and satellites. The Army is moving towards better surveillance and target acquisition (SATA) equipment with each Artillery Brigade being equipped with a battery and each Corps being given a SATA Regiment with UAVs and radars as the backbone for all SATA Regiments.
The Indian military is expected to induct radars worth over $8.5 billion in the next decade. Various indigenous developmental projects for radars and associated equipment as well as international acquisitions are taking place. The indigenous projects include development of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to be fitted on the LCA MK II as well as a ‘through wall imaging radar’. India has initiated integration of the indigenously-built airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system with the Brazilian Embraer EMB-145 aircraft which India is acquiring. The EMB-145I aircraft has been modified to carry the Indian-made Active Array Antenna Unit (AAAU). In addition, new generation of multi-function radars which can be integrated with any weapon system to provide surveillance, early warning, interception guidance and raid assessment are also being developed, including a medium power radar (Arudra), a low-level transportable 150-kilometre radar and a synthetic aperture radar—all capable of being integrated into any weapons system. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also developing 3D radar systems: the Central Acquisition Radar (CAR) for use with Akash surface-to-air missiles (SAMs); ‘Rohini’ for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and ‘Revathi’ for the Navy. A third variant (3D tactical control radar) for Army reports is also being produced. According to media, the US firm Raytheon is also talking to the IAF regarding airborne SR radars. Raytheon has received two request for information (RFIs) from the IAF but India has not decided whether to go for an active electronically scanned array system or a mechanically scanned arrangement. Meanwhile, Navy has issued an RFI for 3D radars to enhance surveillance aboard ships more than 3,000 tonnes to provide 360-degree surveillance to detect aircraft, helicopters and incoming anti-ship missiles. No new radars and UAVs have been inducted by the Indian Army. The move to identify and induct MAVs is progressing slowly. The DRDO is designing a range of MAVs (Black Kite, Golden Hawk and Pushpak already developed) but are yet to match up with COTS products like the ‘Netra’ by Idea Forge, a spider like MAV suited for all types of operations including counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency or the MAV with an infrared sensor developed by Aurora Integrated System.
With respect to C4I2SR, the military is yet to evolve an network-centric warfare (NCW) Doctrine which should have been the start point to develop the NCW architecture. Non-merger of HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), lack of operational authority of the former and the lack of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) have contributed to this. Neither voice or data networks nor radio communications of the services are interoperable to the desired degree. Radio sets differ in their frequency bands, wave forms and secrecy algorithms. Networks of the three services do not talk to each other. Common standards and protocols, mutually compatible database structures, development/deployment of interfaces between systems using disparate platforms and commonality of hardware have not commenced. Services cannot exchange individual UAV pictures and the Air Force picture does not come directly into Army’s Operations Rooms. No common secrecy algorithm has been developed. Requirement of a military satellite was first projected by the Navy and later caught on by Army and Air Force. Adequate bandwidth is at premium. Military’s Project Defence Communications Network (DCN), strategically connecting the Corps Headquarters of the Army and equiva-
With respect to C4I2SR, the military is yet to evolve a network-centric warfare (NCW) Doctrine which should have been the start point to develop the NCW architecture.
lents of sister services, Strategic Forces Command and HQ IDS, has been awarded to HCL Infosys in early 2013 for development over two years. However, the project does not include development of requisite software; implying the services and HQ IDS require developing software individually with attendant interoperability problems.
Military survey products are primarily Google based maps that hardly measure up to military requirements; 30 years behind meeting routine mapping requirements and large-scale mapping vital for operational information systems (OIS) not done at all. DIA is the central repository for all intelligence inputs pertaining to the three services but we are yet to integrate the aspects of topography with DIA. Within the existing setup, adequate resources in terms of remote sensing, electronic intelligence (ELINT) payloads and cartography are not available to produce high quality fused data. An enterprise geographic information system (GIS) is yet to be developed and a defence spatial data infrastructure (DSDI) is perhaps decades away. Army’s primary focal points for NCW are the tactical command control communication and intelligence system (Tac C3I) system and the TCS aside from the management information system (MIS) and GIS. In case of Tac C3I, artillery command, control and communications system (ACCCS) is already being fielded. A contract with the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) was concluded in March 2011 for ` 1,035 crore for equipping CIDSS along with a second contract of ` 2,635 crore for the BSS but these contracts have not been taken to their logical conclusion in the required time frame. Complete fielding of CIDSS will likely take another seven-eight years and being the hub of the Tac C3I will delay any measure of net-centric capability. Test bed for the air defence control and reporting system (ADC&RS) is yet to materialise though contract with BEL was signed in March 2008. Expression of Interest (EoI) in respect of the BMS has been recently issued. BEL and a consortium of Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Tata Power SED and HCL Infosys Ltd has been selected for making prototype TCS and the best bidder will then execute the project. The Army Strategic Operational Information Dissemination System (ASTROIDS) sanctioned in 1995, to connect Corps HQ upwards to Army HQ, with Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), DRDO as the development agency, but has been recently foreclosed lacking requisite software and faulty security overlay. RFI for a fresh project is under preparation.
From the aforesaid it is apparent that there is not only the need to undertake periodic holistic reviews but more importantly technologies available globally must be optimised ensuring required security to enhance our C4I2SR capabilities. This is essential in the face of mounting threats.