EX­CLU­SIVE E In­ter­view

Lt Gen­eral P.K. Sri­vas­tava, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Ar­tillery, in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with SP’s Land Forces, on the oc­ca­sion of the Gun­ners Day on Septem­ber 28, 2017, cov­ered a wide range of sub­jects in­clud­ing the role of Ar­tillery in the fu­ture bat­tle­fiel

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Lt Gen­eral P.K. Sri­vas­tava

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Ar­tillery, In­dian Army

SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): What is likely to be the shape of the fu­ture bat­tle­field and the likely roles of ar­tillery in this new dis­pen­sa­tion?

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Ar­tillery (DG): Likely shape of the fu­ture bat­tle­field and the roles of ar­tillery in new dis­pen­sa­tion would be as un­der:

Likely Shape of Fu­ture Bat­tle Field. The fu­ture bat­tle­field will be char­ac­terised by short and in­tense en­gage­ments; non – lin­ear bat­tles; si­mul­tane­ity of op­er­a­tions; in­creased bat­tle field trans­parency; syn­er­gised and or­ches­trated em­ploy­ment of fire power re­sources and em­ploy­ment of pre­ci­sion and high lethal­ity weapon sys­tems in a hy­brid war­fare en­vi­ron­ment. All of this un­der the over­all back­drop of a nu­clear, bi­o­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal war­fare threat.

Likely Roles of Ar­tillery in this Dis­pen­sa­tion. The role of ar­tillery in such a dis­pen­sa­tion i.e. a short and in­tense fu­tur­is­tic bat­tle­field are as un­der:

– Due to high tempo of op­er­a­tions, there will be a re­quire­ment of real time sur­veil­lance and tar­get ac­qui­si­tion at all stages of bat­tle. This would en­tail em­ploy­ment of state-of-the-art sur­veil­lance equip­ment like bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance radars, elec­tro op­tron­ics de­vices and re­motely pi­loted ve­hi­cles (RPVs) of var­i­ous types.

– Syn­er­gised and or­ches­trated em­ploy­ment of all avail­able fire­power re­sources to shape the bat­tle­field and to de­grade the en­emy in con­tact and depth bat­tle en­tail­ing em­ploy­ment of mor­tars, guns and long range vec­tors in con­junc­tion with In­dian Air Force to achieve de­ci­sive de­feat of the en­emy. There­fore ar­tillery should have a bal­ance of guns (towed and self pro­pelled), rock­ets and mis­siles. There is also a need to have a va­ri­ety of am­mu­ni­tion and war­heads to achieve de­sired re­sults at the tar­get with min­i­mum bur­den on lo­gis­tics. – Ar­tillery will be re­spon­si­ble for de­tect­ing en­emy ar­tillery and rocket po­si­tions with the help of weapon lo­cat­ing radars and ef­fec­tively neutralise them with own fire­power re­sources.

– The trend is to­wards pre­ci­sion so as to re­duce lo­gis­tic cost of each suc­cess­ful en­gage­ment.

– Depen­dance on ar­tillery to achieve favourable out­comes will in­crease.

SP’s: Mil­i­tary an­a­lysts of­ten talk about the char­ac­ter­is­tic of fire power to shape a bat­tle­field. Can you elab­o­rate on this is­sue for the un­der­stand­ing of the lay­man?

DGArty: Shap­ing the bat­tle­field is a con­cept in­volved in the prac­tice of ma­noeu­vre war­fare that refers to shap­ing a de­sired sit­u­a­tion on the bat­tle­field and gain­ing mil­i­tary ad­van­tage for own forces. Suc­cess­ful shap­ing of the bat­tle­field fa­cil­i­tates chan­nelis­ing the en­emy to con­form to own strat­egy and will. In this, Ar­tillery plays a ma­jor role, which in­cludes dis­cern­ing the en­e­mies’ in­ten­tions by em­ploy­ing sur­veil­lance re­sources; en­gag­ing them with fire­power si­mul­ta­ne­ously in for­ward and depth ar­eas as well as on the flanks, and em­ploy­ing ap­pro­pri­ate fire power as­sets with the in­ten­tion of mak­ing them lose their ini­tia­tive, co­her­ence and force them to fight a dis­or­gan­ised bat­tle while en­sur­ing the in­tegrity of own forces and plans. SP’s: What are the fu­ture trends in the de­vel­op­ment of gun sys­tems as there is a view that it has reached its plateau of de­vel­op­ment in terms of reach, de­struc­tive power and ac­cu­racy?

DGArty: While de­liv­ery means may have reached a plateau in reach of gun sys­tems, a lot of work is on for im­prov­ing the ef­fi­cacy of am­mu­ni­tion. This in­cludes im­proved ac­cu­ra­cies and de­struc­tive power. Mi­cro elec­tron­ics are be­ing in­creas­ingly used for de­vel­op­ment of smart, pre­ci­sion, near pre­ci­sion and area de­nial am­mu­ni­tion sys­tems. At present the tech­nol­ogy is ex­tremely ex­pen­sive and needs to be re­fined to make it qual­ify in a cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis.

SP’s: What are your plans to de­velop/ ac­quire pre­ci­sion guided am­mu­ni­tions? What are the ranges and the type of ac­cu­racy that you are look­ing for? DGArty:

We would be in­ter­ested in af­ford­able so­lu­tions for smart am­mu­ni­tion, pre­ci­sion am­mu­ni­tion or am­mu­ni­tion with im­proved ac­cu­racy at ranges of up to 45 km for guns. Typ­i­cally a pre­ci­sion sys­tem has to give pin point ac­cu­racy while a near pre­ci­sion am­mu­ni­tion should pro­vide ac­cu­ra­cies of up to 30-50 m. In ad­di­tion, so­lu­tions for ex­ten­sion of range of 155mm am­mu­ni­tion be­yond 45 km with pre­ci­sion ca­pa­bil­ity are also of in­ter­est to us. Army has com­menced in­volve­ment of academia and in­dus­try in ad­di­tion to DRDO/OFB through ini­tia­tives of Army De­sign Bureau and Army Tech Board for the pur­pose.

SP’s: Af­ter about 25 years of ne­glect, it is now un­der­stood that at­tempts are afoot by the Army to ful­fill its long-post­poned 1999 Field Ar­tillery Ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion Plan (FARP), un­der which the army aims to im­port, lo­cally de­velop, and li­cence-pro­duce some 2,820-3,000 as­sorted 155mm how­itzers to equip its ar­tillery reg­i­ments. Would you like to am­plify on the progress so far? DGArty:

Ar­tillery Ra­tio­nal­iza­tion Plan was first per­ceived in year 2000, wherein 155mm was made the stan­dard gun sys­tem for In­dian Ar­tillery. Ac­cord­ingly, ‘Ar­tillery Pro­file’ was con­ceived and pro­mul­gated with em­pha­sis on Medi­u­mi­sa­tion of Ar­tillery. Since then, based on our op­er­a­tional ne­ces­sity, con­certed ef­fort has re­sulted in suc­cess­fully con­tract­ing of 155mm/39 Cal Ul­tra-Light How­itzers from US Gov­ern­ment and 155mm/52 Cal Tracked (Self Pro­pelled) Ar­tillery guns with L & T. To give im­pe­tus to in­di­geni­sa­tion ma­jor projects such as 155 mm/45 Cal Dhanush Gun Sys­tem, de­sign and de­vel­op­ment by OFB and 155 mm/52 Cal­i­bre Ad­vance Towed Ar­tillery Gun Sys­tem (ATAGS) de­signed by DRDO in part­ner­ship with pri­vate in­dus­try is also be­ing pur­sued.

SP’s: It was re­ported that in May 2015 the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) ap­proved the im­port of 145 M777s, 155mm ul­tra light how­itzer, along with Selex Laser In­er­tial Ar­tillery Point­ing Sys­tems through the US for­eign mil­i­tary sales pro­gramme. Can you elab­o­rate on its progress?

DGArty:

The con­tract for pro­cure­ment of 145 Nos of 155mm/9 cal­i­bre Ul­tra Light How­itzer (ULH) was signed with US Gov­ern­ment in Nov 2016. These how­itzers are be­ing pro­cured un­der US For­eign Mil­i­tary Sales Pro­gramme. As per the con­tract, US Gov­ern­ment will de­liver 25 fully formed how­itzers from USA/UK and bal­ance 120 how­itzers will be as­sem­bled in In­dia. The de­liv­ery of these how­itzers will be com­pleted over a pe­riod of four years.

SP’s: What is the progress on Dhanush Towed How­itzer 155mm, 45 cal­i­bre, be­ing man­u­fac­tured by the OFB?

DGArty:

155mm/45 Cal­i­bre Dhanush Towed How­itzer be­ing man­u­fac­tured by OFB has com­pleted the Field Eval­u­a­tion Tri­als (FET) less DGQA tri­als of Au­to­matic Gun Sight­ing Sys­tem and Dig­i­tal In­ter­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sys­tem. The guns are cur­rently un­der­go­ing the user ex­ploita­tion to test the ro­bust­ness and ef­fi­cacy of the sys­tem. Re­cently, within a span of three months, in sum­mer of 2017, two in­ci­dents were no­ticed dur­ing the user ex­ploita­tion phase at Pokhran and in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been or­dered to es­tab­lish the cause. Once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­pleted, re­me­dial ac­tion will be taken and user ex­ploita­tion will be re­sumed. Post suc­cess­ful GS Eval­u­a­tion and user ex­ploita­tion, the Bulk Pro­duc­tion Clear­ance (BPC) will be granted to OFB.

SP’s: Are there any new de­vel­op­ments in mor­tar sys­tems that ar­tillery should look­ing at?

DGArty:

Presently Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery is hold­ing 120mm Mor­tar Reg­i­ments which are mainly or­bat­ted to field for­ma­tions in moun­tains/high al­ti­tude area (HAA). How­ever, as per op­er­a­tional and tac­ti­cal re­quire­ment for high an­gle fir­ing with higher rate of fire in moun­tains/HAA, the im­por­tance of mor­tars is likely to con­tinue in the fu­ture. The ex­ist­ing 120mm mor­tar is re­li­able, ro­bust and meet­ing our op­er­a­tional and tac­ti­cal re­quire­ments. The de­vel­op­ment of guided bombs for in­creas­ing the ac­cu­racy and range are un­der con­sid­er­a­tion de­pend­ing on cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis.

SP’s: The bat­tle­field is get­ting deeper with long range ar­tillery weapons re­sult­ing in the re­quire­ment of bet­ter tar­get ac­qui­si­tion and bat­tle dam­age as­sess­ment sys­tems. What are the plans for the mod­erni­sa­tion of Sur­veil­lance and Tar­get Ac­qui­si­tion branch of the In­dian Ar­tillery? DGArty:

The sur­veil­lance and tar­get ac­qui­si­tion as­pects con­trib­ute to real time situational aware­ness and tar­get­ing. This is a key re­sult area for us. We are in the process of de­vel­op­ing multi-di­men­sional, multi-spec­tral and all weather ca­pa­bil­ity for the same to be able to cover the length and breadth of the bat­tle space. For this we are de­vel­op­ing satel­lite, air­borne as well as ground based ca­pa­bil­ity. Sen­sors rang­ing from air­borne syn­thetic aper­ture radars, and op­ti­cal de­vices to ground based bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance radars, weapon lo­cat­ing radars and elec­tro-op­ti­cal sen­sor are avail­able. We are in touch with do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ad­vances in these tech­nolo­gies and con­stantly seek to up­grade and de­velop indigenous so­lu­tions in con­so­nance with op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment.

SP’s: A part of the Bat­tle Man­age­ment Sys­tem (BMS), is ev­ery ar­tillery weapon plat­form to be a ‘situational aware­ness plat­form’ or is this go­ing to be done on a se­lec­tive ba­sis?

DGArty:

Ar­tillery is a part of the BMS. How­ever, this is still at evolv­ing stage. Un­like other arms of Army, Ar­tillery Com­mand and Con­trol Cen­tres will be made BMS com­pat­i­ble, rather than plat­forms.

SP’s: Sen­sors play an im­por­tant role in the present bat­tle field for pro­vid­ing per­sis­tent situational aware­ness by day, night and ad­verse weather con­di­tions. What are your plans for ac­quir­ing such ad­vance sys­tems? DGArty:

Our RPVs are ca­pa­ble of spot sur­veil­lance on any emerg­ing tar­get. We are look­ing at wide area elec­tro-op­ti­cal pay­loads and ex­ploit­ing the syn­thetic aper­ture radar, pay­loads along with on de­mand satel­lite/im­agery to en­able ac­qui­si­tion of per­sis­tent sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­ity over any given area of re­spon­si­bil­ity. BMS once in­ducted will give ad­e­quate im­pe­tus to en­hanc­ing bat­tle­field trans­parency. Of spe­cial in­ter­est are the fo­liage pen­e­tra­tion radars to en­hance our sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­ity in forested ar­eas to give our forces the req­ui­site edge by achiev­ing com­plete bat­tle­field trans­parency.

SP’s: What is the progress on BMS and has the digi­tised net­work reached a level for pro­vid­ing seam­less fire power? DGArty:

The BMS is at pro­to­type de­vel­op­ment stage by the de­vel­op­ing agen­cies.

SP’s: UAVs, UCAVs and aerostats are recog­nised as force-mul­ti­pli­ers in the mod­ern bat­tle­field and have be­come im­por­tant part of weapon in­ven­tory of many ad­vanced armies of the world. Will the ar­tillery be the cus­to­dian of such force-mul­ti­pli­ers or will they be in­ducted in all com­bat arms. What are your plans re­gard­ing their in­duc­tion and em­ploy­ment?

DGArty:

There is no doubt that un­manned sys­tems are the fu­ture in all three di­men­sions of war­fare. RPAs have var­i­ous clas­si­fi­ca­tions in­clud­ing mi­cro/mini, short-range and HALE/MALE. The Ar­tillery will be cus­to­di­ans of the short-range and HALE/ MALE class of RPAs while the mi­cro/mini RPAs will be au­tho­rised to other arms and ser­vices based on re­quire­ment. As far as the short-range and HALE/MALE class of RPAs is con­cerned, we in­tend to equip all our fight­ing for­ma­tions with this crit­i­cal tech­nol­ogy so as to en­hance our in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and the tar­get­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

SP’s: What is likely to be ra­tio of guns, rock­ets and mis­siles in the ar­tillery? DGArty:

Guns will con­tinue as the main­stay of the Ar­tillery, while rock­ets and mis­siles will be held se­lec­tively to cater for op­er­a­tional depths.

SP’s: What are the plans for ‘Make in In­dia’ and in­di­geni­sa­tion, are there any gun de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes be­ing car­ried un­der this?

DGArty:

The Ar­tillery is look­ing at ‘Make in In­dia’ and in­di­geni­sa­tion in a very big way. All our pro­cure­ments are based on in­di­geni­sa­tion as the ul­ti­mate aim. The Dhanush, Ad­vanced Towed Ar­tillery Gun Sys­tem (ATAGS) and up­gunned 130mm are indigenous gun de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion pro­grammes that we are whole heart­edly sup­port­ing. The other gun sys­tems such as the tracked SP guns, mounted gun sys­tem and towed gun sys­tems will also have fair de­gree of indigenous con­tent. Ev­ery weapon plat­form has a large num­ber of sup­port sys­tems. This is one area where we are giv­ing im­pe­tus to in­di­geni­sa­tion so as to negate the heavy im­port costs. Am­mu­ni­tion for ex­ist­ing and fu­tur­is­tic gun sys­tems is com­pletely made in In­dia. In ad­di­tion, the Pi­naka rocket sys­tem and its am­mu­ni­tion is com­pletely indigenous while ef­forts are be­ing made for indigenous pro­duc­tion of other types of rock­ets, as well.

Ar­tillery plays a ma­jor role, which in­cludes dis­cern­ing the en­e­mies’ in­ten­tions by em­ploy­ing sur­veil­lance re­sources; en­gag­ing them with fire­power si­mul­ta­ne­ously in for­ward and depth ar­eas as well as on the flanks, and em­ploy­ing ap­pro­pri­ate fire power as­sets with the in­ten­tion of mak­ing them lose their ini­tia­tive, co­her­ence and force them to fight a dis­or­gan­ised bat­tle while en­sur­ing the in­tegrity of own forces and plans.

Mor­tar Bat­tery, 5 Field Reg­i­ment, 22 Moun­tain Reg­i­ment and 6 Field Reg­i­ment pro­vided cov­er­ing fire to the in­fantry units of 4 Moun­tain Di­vi­sion to ex­tri­cate them­selves and launch coun­ter­at­tacks. Sim­i­lar sup­port were pro­vided by guns of 17 Para Field Reg­i­ment and 71 Heavy Mor­tar Bat­tery in Wa­long sec­tor. In Ladakh Sec­tor too ar­tillery of 13 Field Reg­i­ment and 38 Field Bat­tery played sig­nif­i­cant role to hold the en­emy and de­fend Chushul heights.

1965 War with Pak­istan

Ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing of Ar­tillery took place af­ter 1962. Be­fore the 1965 war ar­tillery was called upon to counter Pak­istani evil de­signs in the Rann of Kutch in which 11 Field Reg­i­ment, 17 Para Field Reg­i­ment and Air Ob­ser­va­tion Post made the Reg­i­ment proud. The strate­gic Haji Pir Pass in Kash­mir was cap­tured af­ter heavy fight­ing with the sup­port of 164 Field Reg­i­ment, bat­tery ex 7 Field Reg­i­ment, a medium and a moun­tain bat­tery.

1971 War with Pak­istan

The 1971 Indo-Pak­istan War was more chal­leng­ing as the war was be­ing fought on two fronts. Dur­ing these op­er­a­tions 49 Para Field Bat­tery took part in para drop with 2 Para Bat­tal­ion to cap­ture Pongli bridge on Lo­ha­ganj river near Tan­gail which ex­pe­dited sur­ren­der by Pak­istani Army in East Pak­istan. 2 Para was first to en­ter Dacca around 11.30 AM on 16 De­cem­ber16, 1971, fol­lowed by 851 Light Bat­tery. Soon 563 Moun­tain Bat­tery also en­tered Dacca. With this a new na­tion was born. In the West­ern sec­tor ar­tillery played ma­jor role in cap­ture of im­por­tant Pak­istani pi­quets in Ladakh, Kash­mir, Ra­jauri, Jammu, Pun­jab and Ra­jasthan.

Post 1971 –Kargil Con­flict

The Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery has been per­form­ing ef­fec­tively in Si­achen – the high- est bat­tle­field in the world. The guns for the sec­tor were ini­tially dis­man­tled and air dropped in 1983-84. Medium and field guns are pro­vid­ing close sup­port to in­fantry in Si­achen while ar­tillery ob­ser­va­tion post of­fi­cers are man­ning the pi­quet along with in­fantry.

In the Kargil op­er­a­tions dur­ing 1999, Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery un­leashed a bl­iz­zard of fire power which over­whelmed the Pak­istan Forces by sys­tem­at­i­cally de­stroy­ing the en­emy’s de­fenses and, ul­ti­mately, it broke his will to fight. It was not the first time that the Gun­ners had met a chal­lenge head-on. The brave gun­ners con­trib­uted im­mensely in hoist­ing the Tri­color hoisted on Tiger Hill and mul­ti­ple peaks of the high Hi­malayas in Kargil dis­trict, will be al­ways re­mem­bered for ever.

In its peace time du­ties the Reg­i­ment is un­der­tak­ing in­fantry tasks in Jammu and Kash­mir and in the North Eastern States of As­sam, Ma­nipur and Na­ga­land.

Stream­lin­ing of Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery

In 1964 Coastal Ar­tillery was handed over to In­dian Navy. Air Ob­ser­va­tion Post was sep­a­rated on 1986 and be­came a sep­a­rate corps named Army Avi­a­tion Corps. Sim­i­larly Air De­fence branch bi­fur­cated from Ar­tillery in 1994 and formed new arm of In­dian Army named Army Air De­fence. This has re­sulted in the Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery to be­come a keen, mean and lean fight­ing ma­chine which de­liv­ers fire power wher­ever and when­ever re­quired.

Ac­co­lades

The Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery has the hon­our of hav­ing its of­fi­cers nom­i­nated/se­lected as Gov­er­nors/Lt Gov­er­nors and Chiefs of the Army Staff (COAS).

PHO­TO­GRAPH: In­dian Army

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PIB

In­dian Army’s Pi­naka multi-bar­rel rocket launcher on Ra­j­path, New Delhi

PHO­TO­GRAPH: In­dian Army

130mm gun fir­ing, with Chee­tah he­li­copter de­liv­er­ing mes­sages at gun point

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