DGMF in sync with ever-chang­ing bat­tle­field sce­nario

In an in­ter­view with Lt Gen­eral D.S. Sid­dhu, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Mech­a­nised Forces, In­dian Army, who has wide ex­pe­ri­ence in com­mand­ing ar­moured units and for­ma­tions in all types of ter­rain in our bor­der ar­eas, spoke about the roles and mod­erni­sa­tion sta­tus

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - Con­trol sys­tem. As re­gards digi­ti­sa­tion of the fu­ture bat­tle­field, we plan to fit the dig­i­tal con­trol har­ness. In ad­di­tion, the army is con­sid­er­ing in­tro­duc­tion of a soft­ware de­fined ra­dio (SDR) which will en­sure real-time data, voice and im­age trans­fer.

SP’s M.A.I. (SP’s): What is the role of your Di­rec­torate with re­gard to the de­sign­ing of fu­ture tanks and ICVs for the Ar­moured Corps and Mech­a­nised In­fantry? Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Mech­a­nised Forces (DGMF): The DGMF is the nodal agency for prop­a­gat­ing the Gen­eral Ser­vices Qual­i­ta­tive Re­quire­ment (GSQR) for de­sign­ing tanks and ICVs. We en­deav­our to tai­lor the mech­a­nised force and the equip­ment to re­main cur­rent with the ever-chang­ing fu­tur­is­tic bat­tle­field sce­nario and achieve the de­sired op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties. SP’s: In the con­text of the changed na­ture/char­ac­ter of war, have any new roles been de­fined for the Mech­a­nised Forces? DGMF: To re­main op­er­a­tionally rel­e­vant in the chang­ing sce­nario, there is a need to con­stantly de­velop, evolve and adapt to the chang­ing threat spec­trum. With this as the fo­cus, Mech­a­nised Forces are de­vel­op­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties to fight and de­ci­sively influence out­come of op­er­a­tions across the en­tire spec­trum of con­flict. In ad­di­tion to our tra­di­tional role in con­ven­tional op­er­a­tions, we are con­cen­trat­ing on widen­ing our em­ploy­a­bil­ity to in­clude oper­at­ing in high al­ti­tude ar­eas (HAA), counter-in­sur­gency, counter-ter­ror­ism, out of area con­tin­gency sit­u­a­tions and the United Nations (UN) man­dated op­er­a­tions. SP’s: Has any thought been given to the in­dige­nous de­vel­op­ment of the fu­ture main bat­tle tank (FMBT)? DGMF: The FMBT will be an in­dige­nous tank. The de­vel­op­ment model would be based on the guide­lines of the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP) and in­dige­nous in­dus­try would be in­volved to the ex­tent pos­si­ble. SP’s: It seems that the T-90 will be our MBT for the next decade or so. How are we cater­ing for the digi­ti­sa­tion of the bat­tle­field in the fu­ture? DGMF: As the main­stay of the ar­moured fleet, the T-90 Tank is slated to re­ceive state-of-the-art up­grades to main­tain its dom­i­nance on any fu­ture bat­tle­field. These mod­erni­sa­tion schemes in­clude an ac­tive pro­tec­tion sys­tem, im­proved Com­man­der’s ther­mal imag­ing sights pro­vid­ing true ‘hunter-killer’ ca­pa­bil­ity, an ad­vanced muz­zle ref­er­ence sys­tem for re­ten­tion of ze­ro­ing both by day and night and nec­es­sary soft­ware up­grades to op­ti­mise the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the fire SP’s: Have we iden­ti­fied the light ar­moured ve­hi­cles for the re­con­nais­sance troops and pla­toons in ar­mour and mech­a­nised units? What type of LAVs are we look­ing at? DGMF: The light ar­moured mul­ti­pur­pose (LAM) ve­hi­cles for the re­con­nais­sance el­e­ments of the mech­a­nised forces should be ag­ile, ad­e­quately pro­tected and have ad­e­quate fire­power. Ma­jor re­quire­ments spec­i­fied for the LAM ve­hi­cle are that it should have a max­i­mum weight of eight tonnes, with a min­i­mum pay­load of 1.5 tonnes. The LAM is a ‘Buy and Make (In­dian)’ project. The re­quest for in­for­ma­tion (RFI) for the LAM has been is­sued and re­sponses re­ceived. A project ap­praisal com­mit­tee has been ap­pointed by the MoD which is in the process of fi­nal­is­ing the list of ven­dors to whom the re­quest for pro­posal (RFP) will be is­sued. SP’s: What is the sta­tus of the T-72 up­grade and mod­erni­sa­tion pro­gramme? What is the fo­cus cur­rently and where have we reached? DGMF: Tank T-72 com­prises the ma­jor­ity of our tank fleet to­day. These are of 1972 vin­tage and need to be mod­ernised to en­hance their mis­sion re­li­a­bil­ity. With this in view, we are in the process of re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing engine with a more pow­er­ful engine, in­cor­po­rat­ing an aux­il­iary power unit, fit­ting a ther­mal imag­ing fire con­trol sys­tem for the gun­ner with suit­able night en­able­ment for the driver and com­man­der also. Other up­grades in­clude the dig­i­tal con­trol har­ness and mod­erni­sa­tion of the fire sup­pres­sion sys­tem. SP’s: What is be­ing done with re­gard to sur­vival of the tank in the fu­ture bat­tle­field? DGMF: We are plan­ning to en­hance pro­tec­tion in terms of im­proved pas­sive ar­mour, re­ac­tive ar­mour and in­cor­po­ra­tion of an ac­tive pro­tec­tion sys­tem (APS) in our tank fleet. In ad­di­tion, pro­tec­tion mea­sures for tanks/ICVs while fight­ing in built-up ar­eas is also be­ing de­vel­oped in the form of tank ur­ban sur­vival kit and BMP ur­ban sur­vival kit.

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