A seminar on Digitisation of Battlefield
Organised by SP Guide Publications in collaboration with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), the seminar witnessed serving and retired senior Army officials and industry representatives deliberating and discussing on various aspects of battlefiel
[ By Sucheta Das Mohapatra]
Both serving and retired Indian Army officers and representatives from the industry assembled in large numbers at the Hotel Oberoi in New Delhi on September 20, debating, deliberating and articulating on the technology requirements of the Indian Army. The occasion was a seminar on “Digitisation of Battlefield”, organised by SP Guide Publications in collaboration with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). The aim of the seminar was to highlight and review the magnitude and complexity of the programme and to outline the role the industry could play in assisting the Indian Army, but interestingly discussions about the flaws in the Defence Procurement Procedure, bureaucratic red tape and government’s indifference towards private sector participation, ruled the roost.
The day-long seminar began with Major General (Retd) D.C. Katoch, Additional Director, CLAWS, giving his welcome remarks followed by the keynote address by Lt General Narendra Singh, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning & Systems). Stating that the battlespace today is a composite whole and the challenges are enormous, Singh said that the Indian Army is marching slowly but surely towards a 21st century force.
The first session on “Techno-centric Future Battlefield” was chaired by Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch, Former Director General, Information System, Indian Army. Major General K.J. Singh, Additional Director General, Perspective Planning (ADG PP), Indian Army, gave a presentation on “Mechanised Forces in Future Conflict” and spoke on digitisation of armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) platforms; digitisation and its impact on mechanised forces, opportunities and challenges in transitioning to digitisation. Stating the advantages, he said that digitisation facilitates miniaturisation; integrates information and communication devices; redefine data/information storage capabilities; enhanced speed and accuracy; protection and sense of autonomy.
Brigadier R.K. Sharma, Deputy Director General (DDG), Project Management Office (PMO), Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS), Directorate General Artillery, said that in traditional systems there was disorientation and lack of control, whereas with technology there is increased intelligence and surveillance capability; enhanced weapon, lethality, rockets, precision guided munitions (PGMs), increased data transmission, situational awareness, etc. “The communication architecture is most important in artillery system: the capability of interfacing with legacy and future communication system; communication on the grid network and integrated with other C3I components, etc.” He threw light on mini unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), surveillance radars, future infantry soldier as a system (F-INSAAS), etc and ended with the Sanskrit words charaveti charaveti (keep moving, keep moving).
Amit Dakshini, Vice President and Head of Business, Classic Stripes, spoke about “Camouflage and Concealment in the Digital Age” and gave out details about his company and its products. It was followed by a presentation by Pummy Chicker, Vice President and Head of Defence Business, Classic Strips, on the company’s iPAT camouflage solution. “We need camouflage solution that are simple and can provide a cover to the soldier who is fighting. The key areas where iPAT camouflage can be used include watch towers, air strips, radars, buildings, bridges, stores, automation depots.” Chicker said that iPAT can be customised for all types of surfaces.
“Signature Management” was the subject on which Naresh Ummat, Director Marketing, India Saab Barracuda, a company within Saab Technologies spoke about. He informed that every tank used in Afghanistan has Saab Barracuda camouflage and the company is trying to acquire as much sophistication as it could. “We have 100 per cent in-house research and development (R&D) and five per cent of the company’s revenue is spent on R&D.” The company has varied solutions like mobile camouflage, static camouflage, special application camouflage, force protection, engineering services, miniature UAVs, etc. Ummat said that the best way to avoid from being killed is to avoid from getting detected.
The question and answer session that followed witnessed burning deliberations on government’s defence procurement procedure and the industry expressed its dissatisfaction with the present system and demanded a clear structured policy. Jayant Baranwal, Edi-
Major General (Retd) D.C. Katoch welcoming the participants and audience of the seminar; Special address by Lt General Narendra Singh, DCOAS (P&S), Indian Army and SP’s CMD
and Editor-in-Chief Jayant Baranwal expressing his vote of thanks.