Weapon Systems & Sensors for Modern Warships
Enough is not being done by the defence establishment to get the private sector industry on board in our acquisition and development programmes. Marginalising a vital arm and a national asset like the private sector industry is a serious omission, entirel
Modern wars hips are divided into several categories and are classified according to their role and capability. The destroyer is generally regarded as the dominant surfacecombat vessel of most modern blue water navies. However, the once distinct roles and appearances of cruisers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes have blurred as modern warships, and are armed with a mix of antisurface, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weapons. Class designations no longer indicate a displacement hierarchy and the size of all vessel types have grown beyond the definitions used in the 20th century. The evolving technologies and need for sophistication in future naval combatants demand several new design features giving the ship enhanced operational capabilities in terms of hull design, stealth, propulsion, power systems and a suite of sensor, weapon and communication systems to match the role and capability requirements.
The operational battle space environment is dense and complex. Data from the sensors and systems are transmitted in real time to the command centre and it integrates this data and the information from external sources including data links, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and airborne warning and control system. A computer-aided action information organisation (CAIO) system compiles, maintains and displays the tactical situation and provides real time battlefield awareness. The combat management system ( CMS) provides the decision support functions to take or suggest the best decision in real time for designating the optimum weapon system for the threat detected.
The future ship building programme of the Indian Navy will have an increasing thrust on indigenous design, construction, equipment and systems. Evolving technologies and need for multiplicity of roles of future warships call for adopting bold new strategies in design and construction. Stealth technologies and special hull design will give the modern warship a reduced radar cross section as well as electromagnetic, acoustic and infrared signatures. Advanced propulsion and power management systems will provide the speed, reach and capability to operate the sensors, weapons and other equipment, plant and machinery on board.
The Modern Warship
The modern warship should have a multirole, multi-mission capability. This ship should be capable of operating in a multithreat, multi-dimensional scenario, including space and information warfare. It should be capable of a wide range of surface warfare, anti-aircraft/missile defence, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, information warfare missions by using weapons and sensors in a net-enabled environment in blue waters and littorals scenarios. It should have multi-source data fusion and system integration for target detection, identification, tracking, threat evaluation, weapon designation, fire control solutions and weapon systems.
The Sensor Suite
The sensors on board should be capable of detecting airborne threats, surface targets, low flying (sea skimming) missiles and submarines. They should be capable of detecting electromagnetic and infrared signals. Electro-optic sensors would also be used in close-in situations.
••Gunnery Sensors: Active electronically scanned array 3D multi-function radars for anti-surface warfare/antiaircraft defence/anti-missile defence systems for detection, tracking and weapon directing and control for engagement from close-in to long ranges. Also, radars for navigation and coastal surveillance and capability for identification of friend or foe (IFF).
••Anti- submarine Warfare (ASW) Sensors: Active sonar with the wet end covering complete sonar frequency band and advanced signal processing for detection, identification and classification of targets. Passive sonar would be capable of long-range detection. The sonar would be capable of mixed mode operation for submarine/torpedo detection modes. Mine hunting sonar and towed array active/passive sonar and torpedo decoy systems will provide additional capability for underwater warfare. The helicopter carried on board will carry dipping sonar to add to the underwater detection capability.
•• Electronic Surveillance Measures: Wide band, comprehensive electronic warfare/direction finder suite with interand intra-pulse emitter finger printing capability. Active and passive electronic countermeasures using non-rotating emitters would be installed to neutralise the EW threat. Infra-red surveillance systems, thermal imagers, stabilised electro-optronic system would add additional capability to the sensor suite.
•• Navigation System: Navigation radar with automatic radar plotting aid, electronic navigation charts and electronic chart display system, ring laser gyro, global positioning system ( GPS), inertial navigation system, automatic identification system, log, echo sounder, and anemometer provide not only for navigating the ship but also data to the sensors and weapons systems.
We need to direct our efforts in core technologies where indigenous substitutes are not available at present and mitigate the risk of technology denial
•• Communication System: The communication system comprises of a comprehensive suite for secure multi-channel, multi-mode (voice, data, multimedia), surface and space communication, software radio, control and exploitation of medium/highaltitude long endurance (M/HALE) UAVs, global maritime distress safety system; all exploited via integrated masts. The internal communications suite consists of intercoms, broadcasts and telephones.
•• CAIO and CMS: The CAIO enables seamless data transfer to and from sensors, weapons, and navigation and communication systems; provides information fusion with in-built high grade security and decision support aids; and presents various tactical pictures to the command and combat team. The CMS has decision support features for threat evaluation, target indication and weapon designation which are fully integrated with fire control and weapon systems onboard.
The weapon systems on board should be capable of engaging airborne targets, surface targets, low flying (sea skimming) missiles and submarines at medium-to longranges. They should be capable of engaging close-in threats and provide point defence.
••Gunnery Weapons: The gunnery weapons would be an appropriate mix of various missiles and guns to meet the requirements of engaging with all types of threats. Typically these would comprise land attack capable cruise missiles, long-range surface-to-air missiles capable of defeating airborne threats emanating from sea skimming and high diving missiles and aircraft, fully-automatic twin barrel electromagnetic rail or compact stealth turret with capability of firing operator selectable different types of munitions, combined multi-barrel and missile capable close-in weapon system/point defence missile system for short and medium-range anti-air, anti-surface and anti-missile defence purposes.
•• ASW Weapons: Vertical launch light weight torpedoes capable of sustained run at high speed with operator selectable vertical and horizontal search patterns. The torpedo transducer is operator configurable as per bathymetric and tactical considerations. The ship-borne helicopter would be capable of carrying torpedoes so as to get stand-off advantage.
•• Countermeasure Dispenser System: Capable of deploying advanced antiair/AMD countermeasures like super rapid blooming off board chaff and multiple types of anti-torpedo decoys for hard kill, acoustic seducers and wake enhancers. 7a.7a.
•• Aviation Capability: The ship will have helicopter deck and hangar capable of operating a heavy lift helicopter, multi-
Ship’s Data Networks
The CAIO and CMS collate, process, present and exploit the data from the sensors, weapons and other systems onboard. The ship’s data bus performs the function of carrying and distributing the data to the various networks and systems.
••Integrated Ship’s Data Network: It integrates the following functions and requirements:
– Sensors and weapons CAIO integration—for command and control, navigation, electronic warfare support, tactical and non-tactical data processing and support functions.
Ship’s internal voice and data communication requirements comprising broadcasts, intercoms, telephones and CCTV. The versatile console system, composite communication system for external communications and telephone exchange will use the network to exchange data.
– Data link interface to share and distribute information and communicate in real-time or non real-time between all ships, aircraft and establishments in operational scenario.
– Ship wide distribution of ship’s house holding data for tactical and non-tactical processing and presentation.
•• Integrated Bridge Management System (IBMS): IBMS collects, processes and presents navigational and other relevant data to improve the efficiency of the ship’s navigation and safety at sea. ••Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS): IPMS functions as an intelligent, fully-automated and integrated propulsion, plant and machinery, and power generation management system. The sensors and weapons systems would be expected to perform and deliver as per specifications, but the overall success of the role and mission of the ship would depend upon the integration of systems and their networking. Therefore, the command and control system needs to be emphasised and looked at in some detail. role, multi-mission capable medium-lift helicopter plus tactical UAV. It would be capable of deploying M/HALE UAVs.
Naval Command and Control Systems
A command and control system is germane to success of a mission for a modern warship. Advances in microelectronics and data processing technology have made systems which are software intensive and have embedded intelligence. The essential components of a command and control system are:
••Sensors: Radar, IFF, sonar, electro-optic,
Internal, external and tactical
•• Data link
electronic warfare systems
•• Navigation systems
••Command and control systems
•• Fire control systems
••Weapons- guns, missiles, torpedoes, rockets, decoys
System engineering and integration for interaction between components to achieve optimum operational performance is the essence of combat system engineering. (See Figure I for concept of a naval command and control system.)
The CMS concept is based on an architectural backbone, consisting of an open system using modern software and hardware technologies. The human interfaces are designed to optimise the use of multi-function consoles and to satisfy the demanding requirements for reduced manning. Assistance to the command functions is provided in the following main areas:
••Evaluation of battle space tactical
••Threat evaluation and weapon
••Management of combat systems
resources (sensors and effectors)
•• Aircraft and helicopter control
••Conduct of anti-surface, anti-aircraft
and anti-submarine operations
••Management of tactical data links
•• Force coordination
••Message handling management
••Recording and playback
Defence Capability Requirements and Technology Strategy
National security and defence capabilities are highly dependent on technology and its exploitation. Long-term technology planning, nurturing research, design and development at centres of excellence, ship production, public-private partnership requires a holistic appreciation of the dynamic security scenarios, national defence postures, doctrines and national policies and priorities. Comprehensive study of long-term security scenario will influence the defence and military requirements of the future. This long-term technology vision and forecast will provide unique benefit of seeding the right technologies, developing them into militarily deployable systems.
Warship, Sensor and Weapon Induction Cycle
The design, planning, production and induction of a modern warship with highly sophisticated sensors, weapons, propulsion plant and machinery is an extremely complex and long-drawn process, involving multiple agencies with very high level of expertise. It involves multi-disciplinary, advanced technologies operating in a very dense equipment environment, engineered and integrated to deliver high performance in very demanding scenarios. This capability has to be extremely well-conceived, planned, executed and managed through multiple agencies within cost, time and with life cycle support. (The key areas in the conceptualisation, design, production and induction of naval systems and ships are illustrated in Figure 2.)
The cycle commences with a statement of qualitative requirements which broadly defines the capability and performance characteristics of the ship and its sensors, weapons, propulsion plant and equipment and machinery.
Simultaneously, the research and development ( R&D) and industry capability (public and private sectors) is analysed to assess the capability to develop and deliver the requirements and evolve a strategy for building the ship and its induction into the Navy. Also, the naval designers and engineers evolve the basic design, laying down the salient parameters, general arrangements and layout of the ship, decks, compartments, sensors, weapons, propulsion plant, equipment and machinery and their detailed technical specifications.
The basic design and technical specifications leads to identification of technologies and the assessment of capability to design and develop the system building blocks—sensors, weapons and other modules and to integrate them to deliver the performance as specified in the qualitative requirements and technical specifications. This requires high level policy and decisions for public-private partnership, forming consortiums, foreign collaboration, transfer of technol- ogy, licensed production, etc. as may be necessary in each case.
The shipyard selected for the construction of the ship does the detailed engineering, production and fitting out of the ship leading to harbour and sea trials and commissioning of the ship. The suppliers of sensors, weapons and systems carry out the system engineering and integration and onboard trials in harbour and at sea. It is evident that all these are extremely complex tasks involving strategic thinking, policy formulation and a myriad of agencies and tasks to plan, execute, dove- tail and monitor the activities and events for orderly execution and time and cost management.
The Way Ahead
India’s warship building programme is a national imperative and extremely relevant to our needs. There is every reason to enhance this capability in terms of design know-how, production capacity, infrastructure, production of marine equipment, sensors, weapons and systems engineering. Our objective should be to benefit from home-grown technology and achieve self-reliance. We need to direct our efforts in core technologies where indigenous substitutes are not available at present and mitigate the risk of technology denial. Yet foreign collaboration is inescapable and essential to remain on par with emerging trends.
From an industry perspective, enough is not being done by the defence establishment to get the private sector industry on board in our acquisition and development programmes. Marginalising a vital arm and a national asset like the private sector industry is a serious omission, entirely to the detriment of our self-reliance and defence preparedness.
The private sector industry is a global player in several domains by virtue of technology absorption, managerial skills and open competition. Our industry is extremely nimble and flexible in its approach and this can considerably reduce the development/acquisition cycle and cost of defence projects. Also, they have easy access to advanced technology and can enable foreign collaboration. The industry should be encouraged to participate and become partners in defence programmes by giving incentives for R&D, award of development projects and competitive participation.
India’s strategic objectives require a strong maritime presence in the Indian Ocean and surrounding regions. To achieve this objective, we require sustained efforts by various national institutions, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), both public and private sectors to build a technologically advanced Navy and support infrastructure, well-equipped with futuristic naval systems and warships.