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.

Ses­sion I

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.

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