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ENERGY SECURITY

FUTURE TENSE Rising prices and geopolitical turbulence make energy security a global priority I SHYAM SARAN GENDER

TIME TO CHANGE Women entered the Services 19 years ago but they are still not accepted in combat roles I SONIA TRIKHA SHUKLA APRIL 2012

DEFENCE and SECURITY of INDIA

DSI

THE GUNS FALL SILENT DELAYED ARTILLERY PURCHASES HAVE BECOME A SECURITY CONCERN I RAHUL BEDI

VOLUME 4

ISSUE 4

` 250


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APRIL 2012

LETTER FROM THE

DSI

editor

I

t is fitting that the recent announcement by a Swedish think tank, which monitors global arms sales, that India has become the largest importer of weaponry coincides with the biennial Defexpo 2012 being held in the capital. The event, now in its seventh avatar, focusses on land and naval systems and is billed as Asia’s largest defence exhibition. According to the organisers, it will see participation from 70 countries: A substantial increase from two years ago when the event had 570 participants from 30 countries. Over four days in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, many business cards will be exchanged, high profile delegations will religiously take notes and multi-million dollar deals will take place. How many actually result in delivery is difficult to say; as the defence community knows only too well that there is a huge gap between promise and politics. And who would know better than the Army’s top brass which is desperately trying to fill the shortfall in India’s artillery requirements. Ever since the charge of kickbacks over the purchase of Bofors, 25 years ago, the Army, as our cover story details, has not been able to purchase a single new artillery gun. Several trials, tenders, cancellations, court cases have taken place but to no effect causing serious concern over India’s war fighting capabilities. The statistics are not encouraging. After their induction as officers into the Services nearly 20 years ago, women are still not on the frontlines. Answering a Lok Sabha question, Defence Minister A.K Antony said that there were 6,749 women in the Armed Forces — the highest in the Army, followed by the Medical Corps and then the Indian Air Force. However, most are on Short Service Commissions serving 5-14 years and are not eligible for pension. Compared to other countries — America has 200,000 women in the Armed Forces, some in combat support duty in Afghanistan, and Israel has equal opportunity conscription — India falls way behind. DSI, which believes that you don’t need to be man to fight and die for your country, looks at why gender barriers are still in place despite there being an acute shortage of officers. DSI also looks at why energy security should top India’s agenda. With rising prices, geopolitical turbulence and energy shocks, there is a critical need to reassess the nation’s energy needs and dilemmas. As usual we look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions. Write to us at feedback.DSI@mtil.biz. Should you want to subscribe you can contact us at DSIsubscriptions@mtil.biz and our marketing department will do the rest.

Mannika Chopra EDITOR Defence & Security of India

1

At the Defexpo 2012 many business cards will be exchanged and multi-million dollar deals struck. How many will actually result in delivery is difficult to say; as the defence community knows only too well that there is a huge gap between promise and politics.


COVER STORY

06

POLITICS AND PROMISES The defence establishment’s artillery purchases have been continually deferred due to bureaucratic delays, vacillation, and a bewildering round of dispatching, withdrawing and re-issuing of tenders. AFP

CONTENTS

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2


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Contents_2nd time:contents-feb-R.qxd 22/03/12 6:01 PM Page 4

CONTENTS

DSI

AFP

APRIL 2012

ENERGY SECURITY

AFP

LIGHTS OFF!

TECHNOLOGY

16

WATCH THIS BATTLE SPACE

The battles of the future, both conventional and non-conventional, will be characterised by a non-linear and multi-dimensional approach in which targets will have little time for reactions.

NAVY

54

Global developments have the potential to trigger oil supply disruptions as well as precipitious price hikes which will not only impact India’s energy security but also affect the country’s economy. There is an urgent need to put in place contingency plans to meet such a potential crisis.

38

AT A LOW EBB

AFP

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Despite the 26/11 wake-up call, shortages of offshore patrol vehicles in the Navy and coast guard persist, indicating that the nation needs many more platforms for effective maritime security.

GENDER

48

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MUCH LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE

Ninteen years after women were inducted into the Services, their presence in combat roles is still absent. 4

REGION

60

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Contributors_2nd time.qxd:contributors-aug.qxd 22/03/12 4:13 PM Page 4

CONTRIBUTORS

APRIL 2012

DSI

DEFENCE and SECURITY of INDIA APRIL 2012 VOLUME 4, NUMBER 4

RAHUL BEDI Rahul Bedi is the New Delhi correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly, UK, and contributes to it on a diverse range of security and military related matters. He is also the India correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, London, and the Irish Times.

ARUN SAHGAL

GURMEET KANWAL

KAPIL KAK

RANJIT RAI

VIJAY OBEROI

Brigadier Arun Sahgal (retd) is Joint Director, Simulation and Net Assessment, Institute of National Security Studies and Visiting Fellow, Vivekananda Kendra International. Founderdirector of the Office of Net Assessment and Indian Integrated Defence Staff, he has also headed the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation and the United Service Institution of India. He continues to support the Indian Joint Staff and Service Headquarters as a consultant.

Gurmeet Kanwal is director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. He commanded an infantry brigade during Operation Parakram on the Line of Control in 2001-03. A soldierscholar, he has authored several books including Indian Army:Vision 2020 and Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal. He is a wellknown columnist and TV analyst on national security issues.

Kapil Kak, Air Vice-Marshal AVSM, VSM (retd), has been Deputy-Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. A post-graduate in Defence and Strategic Studies from the Universities of Madras and Allahabad, he has authored more than 40 major book chapters and journal articles on a variety of strategic, national security and defence issues. He is currently Additional Director, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

Ranjit B. Rai, former Director Operations and Intelligence at Naval Headquarters, is a navigator and Air Force trained air controller. Commodore (retd) Rai attended the Royal Navy Staff College, London and Yarrow Shipyard in the United Kingdom. Presently, he is Vice-President, Indian Maritime Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that focusses on maritime and security issues. A prolific writer on naval issues he contributes to many publications and is the author of four books including a Nation and Its Navy at War.

Vijay Oberoi, founder-director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) is also the founder-president of the War Wounded Foundation which works for the rehabilitation of war disabled personnel. A post graduate in Defence Studies and an International Fellow at the Army War College in USA, he was commissioned into the Army in 1961. He retired as Vice-Chief of Army Staff in 2001 and was part of the Track II level talks with Pakistan. He has also edited several books on security and intelligence.

SONIA SHUKLA

SHYAM SARAN

K. C. SINGH

Sonia Trikha Shukla is co-authoring a book on India-China border relations focussing on Tawang, as well as working as a consultant on Indian foreign and security policy issues. While specialising in foreign affairs and international security issues, she launched and edited DSI. She has been at The Indian Express, contributing articles on Indian foreign policy, including India’s fight against terrorism, the rise of fundamentalist forces, missile defence and India-Pakistan relations.

Shyam Saran was India’s Foreign Secretary from 2004 to 2006. He has also headed the Economic and Multilateral Economic Division in the Ministry of External Affairs. As Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, he advised the Prime Minister on foreign policy, nuclear and defence related issues. Postretirement, he was appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for India-US civil nuclear issues and Special Envoy and Chief Negotiator on Climate Change. He is a senior fellow, Centre for Policy Research and ViceChairperson, Research and Information Systems (RIS) for Developing Countries.

K.C. Singh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974. Besides serving in different capacities in Cairo, New York and Ankara, he has been Deputy Secretary to the President of India and spokesperson for the Ministry Of External Affairs. After serving as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Iran, he returned to India as Additional Secretary (International Organisations) and Co-ordinator for counter-terrorism. He is a columnist, strategic analyst and a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Maneesha Dube EDITOR

Mannika Chopra SENIOR SUB-EDITOR

Urmila Marak CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Bipin Kumar DESIGN

Vikas Verma (Sr. Visualiser), Ajay Kumar (Sr Designer), Sujit Singh SENIOR MANAGER INTERNATIONAL MARKETING Vishal Mehta (E-Mail: vishalmehta@mtil.biz) DEPUTY MANAGER MARKETING Tarun Malviya (E-Mail: tarunmalviya@mtil.biz) SALES & MARKETING COORDINATOR Atul Bali (E-Mail: atul@mtil.biz) CIRCULATION & DISTRIBUTION

Sunil Gujral PRODUCTION & PRE-PRESS

Sunil Dubey, Ritesh Roy, Devender Pandey MTC PUBLISHING LIMITED

323, Udyog Vihar, Ph-IV, Gurgaon 122016 Ph: +91 0124-4759500 Fax: +91 0124-4759550 CHAIRMAN

J. S. Uberoi PRESIDENT

Xavier Collaco FINANCIAL CONTROLLER

Puneet Nanda GLOBAL SALES REPRESENTATIVES Australia Charlton D'Silva, Mass Media Publicitas Tel: (61 2) 9252 3476 Email: cdsilva@publicitas.com France/Spain Stephane de Remusat, REM International Tel: (33) 5 3427 0130 Email: sremusat@aol.com Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Italy/UK Sam Baird, Whitehill Media Tel: (44-1883) 715 697 Mobile: (44-7770) 237 646 E-Mail: sam@whitehillmedia.com Israel Liat Heiblum, Oreet - International Media Tel: (97 2) 3 570 6527 Email: liat@oreet-marcom.com Russia Alla Butova, NOVO-Media Ltd, Tel/Fax : (7 3832) 180 885 Mobile : (7 960) 783 6653 Email :alla@mediatransasia.com Scandinavia/Benelux/South Africa Tony Kingham, KNM Media Tel: (44) 20 8144 5934 Mobile: (44) 7827 297 465 E-Mail: tony.kingham@worldsecurity-index.com South Korea Young Seoh Chinn, Jes Media Inc. Tel: (82-2) 481 3411/13 E-Mail: jesmedia@unitel.co.kr USA (East/South East)/Canada Margie Brown, Margie Brown & Associates. Tel : (+1 540) 341 7581 Email :margiespub@rcn.com USA (West/SouthWest)/Brazil Diane Obright, Blackrock Media Inc. Tel: +1 (858) 759 3557 Email: blackrockmedia@cox.net Defence and Security of India is published and printed by Xavier Collaco on behalf of MTC Publishing Limited. Published at 323, Udyog Vihar, Ph- IV, Gurgaon 122016 and printed at Paras Offset Pvt Ltd, C176, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase I, New Delhi. Entire contents Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduction and translation in any language in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Requests for permission should be directed to MTC Publishing Limited. Opinions carried in the magazine are those of the writers’ and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or publishers. While the editors do their utmost to verify information published they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited material or for material lost or damaged in transit. All correspondence should be addressed to MTC Publishing Limited. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Defence and Security of India is obtained by subscription. For subscription enquiries, please contact: dsisubscriptions@mtil.biz

www.mediatransasia.in/defence.html http://www.defencesecurityindia.com


Contributors_2nd time.qxd:contributors-aug.qxd 22/03/12 4:13 PM Page 4

CONTRIBUTORS

APRIL 2012

DSI

DEFENCE and SECURITY of INDIA APRIL 2012 VOLUME 4, NUMBER 4

RAHUL BEDI Rahul Bedi is the New Delhi correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly, UK, and contributes to it on a diverse range of security and military related matters. He is also the India correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, London, and the Irish Times.

ARUN SAHGAL

GURMEET KANWAL

KAPIL KAK

RANJIT RAI

VIJAY OBEROI

Brigadier Arun Sahgal (retd) is Joint Director, Simulation and Net Assessment, Institute of National Security Studies and Visiting Fellow, Vivekananda Kendra International. Founderdirector of the Office of Net Assessment and Indian Integrated Defence Staff, he has also headed the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation and the United Service Institution of India. He continues to support the Indian Joint Staff and Service Headquarters as a consultant.

Gurmeet Kanwal is director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. He commanded an infantry brigade during Operation Parakram on the Line of Control in 2001-03. A soldierscholar, he has authored several books including Indian Army:Vision 2020 and Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal. He is a wellknown columnist and TV analyst on national security issues.

Kapil Kak, Air Vice-Marshal AVSM, VSM (retd), has been Deputy-Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. A post-graduate in Defence and Strategic Studies from the Universities of Madras and Allahabad, he has authored more than 40 major book chapters and journal articles on a variety of strategic, national security and defence issues. He is currently Additional Director, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

Ranjit B. Rai, former Director Operations and Intelligence at Naval Headquarters, is a navigator and Air Force trained air controller. Commodore (retd) Rai attended the Royal Navy Staff College, London and Yarrow Shipyard in the United Kingdom. Presently, he is Vice-President, Indian Maritime Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that focusses on maritime and security issues. A prolific writer on naval issues he contributes to many publications and is the author of four books including a Nation and Its Navy at War.

Vijay Oberoi, founder-director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) is also the founder-president of the War Wounded Foundation which works for the rehabilitation of war disabled personnel. A post graduate in Defence Studies and an International Fellow at the Army War College in USA, he was commissioned into the Army in 1961. He retired as Vice-Chief of Army Staff in 2001 and was part of the Track II level talks with Pakistan. He has also edited several books on security and intelligence.

SONIA SHUKLA

SHYAM SARAN

K. C. SINGH

Sonia Trikha Shukla is co-authoring a book on India-China border relations focussing on Tawang, as well as working as a consultant on Indian foreign and security policy issues. While specialising in foreign affairs and international security issues, she launched and edited DSI. She has been at The Indian Express, contributing articles on Indian foreign policy, including India’s fight against terrorism, the rise of fundamentalist forces, missile defence and India-Pakistan relations.

Shyam Saran was India’s Foreign Secretary from 2004 to 2006. He has also headed the Economic and Multilateral Economic Division in the Ministry of External Affairs. As Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, he advised the Prime Minister on foreign policy, nuclear and defence related issues. Postretirement, he was appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for India-US civil nuclear issues and Special Envoy and Chief Negotiator on Climate Change. He is a senior fellow, Centre for Policy Research and ViceChairperson, Research and Information Systems (RIS) for Developing Countries.

K.C. Singh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974. Besides serving in different capacities in Cairo, New York and Ankara, he has been Deputy Secretary to the President of India and spokesperson for the Ministry Of External Affairs. After serving as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Iran, he returned to India as Additional Secretary (International Organisations) and Co-ordinator for counter-terrorism. He is a columnist, strategic analyst and a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Maneesha Dube EDITOR

Mannika Chopra SENIOR SUB-EDITOR

Urmila Marak CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Bipin Kumar DESIGN

Vikas Verma (Sr. Visualiser), Ajay Kumar (Sr Designer), Sujit Singh SENIOR MANAGER INTERNATIONAL MARKETING Vishal Mehta (E-Mail: vishalmehta@mtil.biz) DEPUTY MANAGER MARKETING Tarun Malviya (E-Mail: tarunmalviya@mtil.biz) SALES & MARKETING COORDINATOR Atul Bali (E-Mail: atul@mtil.biz) CIRCULATION & DISTRIBUTION

Sunil Gujral PRODUCTION & PRE-PRESS

Sunil Dubey, Ritesh Roy, Devender Pandey MTC PUBLISHING LIMITED

323, Udyog Vihar, Ph-IV, Gurgaon 122016 Ph: +91 0124-4759500 Fax: +91 0124-4759550 CHAIRMAN

J. S. Uberoi PRESIDENT

Xavier Collaco FINANCIAL CONTROLLER

Puneet Nanda GLOBAL SALES REPRESENTATIVES Australia Charlton D'Silva, Mass Media Publicitas Tel: (61 2) 9252 3476 Email: cdsilva@publicitas.com France/Spain Stephane de Remusat, REM International Tel: (33) 5 3427 0130 Email: sremusat@aol.com Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Italy/UK Sam Baird, Whitehill Media Tel: (44-1883) 715 697 Mobile: (44-7770) 237 646 E-Mail: sam@whitehillmedia.com Israel Liat Heiblum, Oreet - International Media Tel: (97 2) 3 570 6527 Email: liat@oreet-marcom.com Russia Alla Butova, NOVO-Media Ltd, Tel/Fax : (7 3832) 180 885 Mobile : (7 960) 783 6653 Email :alla@mediatransasia.com Scandinavia/Benelux/South Africa Tony Kingham, KNM Media Tel: (44) 20 8144 5934 Mobile: (44) 7827 297 465 E-Mail: tony.kingham@worldsecurity-index.com South Korea Young Seoh Chinn, Jes Media Inc. Tel: (82-2) 481 3411/13 E-Mail: jesmedia@unitel.co.kr USA (East/South East)/Canada Margie Brown, Margie Brown & Associates. Tel : (+1 540) 341 7581 Email :margiespub@rcn.com USA (West/SouthWest)/Brazil Diane Obright, Blackrock Media Inc. Tel: +1 (858) 759 3557 Email: blackrockmedia@cox.net Defence and Security of India is published and printed by Xavier Collaco on behalf of MTC Publishing Limited. Published at 323, Udyog Vihar, Ph- IV, Gurgaon 122016 and printed at Paras Offset Pvt Ltd, C176, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase I, New Delhi. Entire contents Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduction and translation in any language in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Requests for permission should be directed to MTC Publishing Limited. Opinions carried in the magazine are those of the writers’ and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or publishers. While the editors do their utmost to verify information published they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited material or for material lost or damaged in transit. All correspondence should be addressed to MTC Publishing Limited. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Defence and Security of India is obtained by subscription. For subscription enquiries, please contact: dsisubscriptions@mtil.biz

www.mediatransasia.in/defence.html http://www.defencesecurityindia.com


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ARTILLERY

APRIL 2012

Spectators check out Bofors guns on display at a defence exhibition in Mumbai

DSI

RAHUL BEDI

KEY POINTS The Army’s inventory of 6 different calibres, used by its 180-odd field artillery regiments, are obsolete. n Acquisitions have been deferred due to numerous bureaucratic delays and vacillations. n To augment its depleted firepower, AHQ is mulling the acquisition of additional 130mm M46 field guns. n

G

POLITICS AND PROMISES AFP

By continuously deferring artillery purchases the defence establishment has adversely impacted modernisation in a critical area 08

09

od, Napoleon said, fights on the side with the best artillery which formed the backbone of his Grande Armée in the late 18th and early 19th century and which for decades thereafter unleashed the fiercest firepower of his three arms upon his European enemies. The brilliant French campaigner’s foot and horse artillery ably demonstrated its deathly capacity to inflict maximum damage on his adversaries in the least amount of battle time. His field guns appreciably degraded hostile formations ahead of providing his cavalry and infantry relatively resistance-free opportunity to effectively finish the job. Applying Napoleon’s battle-tested adage to the Indian Army’s (IA) prevailing dismal artillery profile will be patently exaggerated. It will also, sadly, preclude God’s assistance to the Army considering that its inventory of at least six different calibres, which its 180-odd field artillery regiments employ, are either obsolete or fast approaching that status and are far from being a potent force. These include, Soviet D-30 122mm guns, the locally-designed and built 105mm Indian Field Guns (IFG) and its Light Field Gun (LFG) derivative and Soviet 130mm M46 towed field guns. The FH-77 155mm/ 39 calibre Bofors howitzers, 410 of which were imported from 1986 onwards, now reduced to half their original number due to the non-availability of spares and their ensuing cannabalisation, and 180 M46s — unsatisfactorily and expensively retrofitted


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ARTILLERY

APRIL 2012

Spectators check out Bofors guns on display at a defence exhibition in Mumbai

DSI

RAHUL BEDI

KEY POINTS The Army’s inventory of 6 different calibres, used by its 180-odd field artillery regiments, are obsolete. n Acquisitions have been deferred due to numerous bureaucratic delays and vacillations. n To augment its depleted firepower, AHQ is mulling the acquisition of additional 130mm M46 field guns. n

G

POLITICS AND PROMISES AFP

By continuously deferring artillery purchases the defence establishment has adversely impacted modernisation in a critical area 08

09

od, Napoleon said, fights on the side with the best artillery which formed the backbone of his Grande Armée in the late 18th and early 19th century and which for decades thereafter unleashed the fiercest firepower of his three arms upon his European enemies. The brilliant French campaigner’s foot and horse artillery ably demonstrated its deathly capacity to inflict maximum damage on his adversaries in the least amount of battle time. His field guns appreciably degraded hostile formations ahead of providing his cavalry and infantry relatively resistance-free opportunity to effectively finish the job. Applying Napoleon’s battle-tested adage to the Indian Army’s (IA) prevailing dismal artillery profile will be patently exaggerated. It will also, sadly, preclude God’s assistance to the Army considering that its inventory of at least six different calibres, which its 180-odd field artillery regiments employ, are either obsolete or fast approaching that status and are far from being a potent force. These include, Soviet D-30 122mm guns, the locally-designed and built 105mm Indian Field Guns (IFG) and its Light Field Gun (LFG) derivative and Soviet 130mm M46 towed field guns. The FH-77 155mm/ 39 calibre Bofors howitzers, 410 of which were imported from 1986 onwards, now reduced to half their original number due to the non-availability of spares and their ensuing cannabalisation, and 180 M46s — unsatisfactorily and expensively retrofitted


Artillery_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:21 PM Page 4

ARTILLERY

APRIL 2012

This situation has been further complicated by the MoD either wholly or conditionally blacklisting at least four overseas howitzer vendors in a restricted market miserably failing to provide any clarity on their respective status or realistic acquisition guidelines. “Blacklisting vendors reduces competition and forces the Government to resort to single-vendor procurements which is contrary to declared policy and disallowed,” says former Major General Mrinal Suman, India’s foremost authority on military acquisitions and offsets. But more importantly, the Services remain deprived of essential equipment which, in turn impinges adversely on the country’s war preparedness, he declares. Besides, floating fresh tenders entails major delays and cost overruns, he adds. Even Defence Minister A.K. Antony was forced to declare last October that the Army has been trying to “frantically” to acquire new howitzers but, “faced a lot of hurdles.” He said that the MoD was attempting to find a solution to this long-pending howitzer

by Israel’s Soltam to 155mm/45 cal standards, comprise the Army’s artillery assets. The limited strike range of 17km, for instance, of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)-produced IFG that has been the mainstay of the Army’s artillery regiments for over three decades is in today’s battlefield environment wholly irrelevant as the envelope of battle contact at the tactical level has almost doubled to over 30km. Besides, many militaries have inducted mortars with enhanced ranges of 12-14km, virtually neutralising at minimal cost the IFG/LFG’s marginally longer reach, necessitating thereby the induction of significantly more proficient artillery into the Army.

Procurement Impediments “Slippages in the artillery procurement, delayed by over a decade are liable to slide further raising serious operational

implications,” says retired Major General Sheru Thapliyal. The former artillery officer warns that if acquisitions are not decided upon imminently, the Army can face a situation where it simply has no effective long-range firepower in a turbulent neighbourhood in which its enemies are today far better accoutered. The gestation period of inducting an artillery system into the Army is fiveseven years following an arduous and, in India’s case, interminable period of issuing tenders, conducting trials and concluding price negotiations before inking the deal. Despite the decisive and widely accepted efficacy of devastating artillery firepower let loose on Pakistani military emplacements by the FH-77B Bofors howitzers during the 1999 Kargil conflict, the IA’s long standing Artillery Rationalisation Plan stands stymied. Under this Plan, the Army proposes by 2020-25 to acquire a mix of around 3,000-3,600 155mm/45 cal ultra

10

lightweight (ULW) and 155mm/52 cal towed, mounted, self-propelled-tracked and wheeled-howitzers capable of achieving ranges in excess of 40km through a combination of imports and local licensed manufacture for around 180 of its 220 artillery regiments for an estimated USD 5-7 billion. The remaining artillery regiments are equipped with light guns and missiles. All these acquisitions, however, have been continually deferred due to bureaucratic delays, vacillation, and a bewildering round of dispatching, withdrawing and re-issuing of tenders by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Inconclusive trials, Qualitative Requirement (QR) and inventory overreach by the Artillery Directorate at Army Headquarters have resulted in foreclosing options for both howitzer upgrades and acquisitions and, in one instance, litigation by a foreign vendor has collectively impeded modernisation in a critical area where shortfalls are alarmingly high and operationally worrisome.

Even Defence Minister A.K. Antony was forced to declare last October that the Army has been trying to “frantically” acquire new howitzers but, “faced a lot of hurdles”. He said that the Ministry of Defence was attempting to find a solution to this long-pending howitzer requirement.

requirement.“We have not fully succeeded, but we think there will be a breakthrough in the coming weeks or next few months,” Antony has admitted.

No Ladders, Plenty of Snakes Acknowledging these delays and impediments, 25 years after the FH-77B Bofors howitzer import was enmeshed in allegations of corruption, resulting in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress Party’s defeat in the 1989 general election, India’s Army Chief, General V.K. Singh has employed the apposite snakes-and-ladder allegory to illustrate this predicament. “The [equipment] procurement game is a version of snakes and ladders where there is no ladder but only snakes; and if the snakes bite you somewhere the whole process reverts to zero,” he declared at his annual press conference in mid-January ahead of Army Day in a direct assault on the MoD’s convoluted and protracted procurement policies. He was referring to the persistent deferment of artillery purchases when

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An Army officer checks the ammunition at an artillery position on the India-Pakistan border

DSI


Artillery_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:21 PM Page 4

ARTILLERY

APRIL 2012

This situation has been further complicated by the MoD either wholly or conditionally blacklisting at least four overseas howitzer vendors in a restricted market miserably failing to provide any clarity on their respective status or realistic acquisition guidelines. “Blacklisting vendors reduces competition and forces the Government to resort to single-vendor procurements which is contrary to declared policy and disallowed,” says former Major General Mrinal Suman, India’s foremost authority on military acquisitions and offsets. But more importantly, the Services remain deprived of essential equipment which, in turn impinges adversely on the country’s war preparedness, he declares. Besides, floating fresh tenders entails major delays and cost overruns, he adds. Even Defence Minister A.K. Antony was forced to declare last October that the Army has been trying to “frantically” to acquire new howitzers but, “faced a lot of hurdles.” He said that the MoD was attempting to find a solution to this long-pending howitzer

by Israel’s Soltam to 155mm/45 cal standards, comprise the Army’s artillery assets. The limited strike range of 17km, for instance, of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)-produced IFG that has been the mainstay of the Army’s artillery regiments for over three decades is in today’s battlefield environment wholly irrelevant as the envelope of battle contact at the tactical level has almost doubled to over 30km. Besides, many militaries have inducted mortars with enhanced ranges of 12-14km, virtually neutralising at minimal cost the IFG/LFG’s marginally longer reach, necessitating thereby the induction of significantly more proficient artillery into the Army.

Procurement Impediments “Slippages in the artillery procurement, delayed by over a decade are liable to slide further raising serious operational

implications,” says retired Major General Sheru Thapliyal. The former artillery officer warns that if acquisitions are not decided upon imminently, the Army can face a situation where it simply has no effective long-range firepower in a turbulent neighbourhood in which its enemies are today far better accoutered. The gestation period of inducting an artillery system into the Army is fiveseven years following an arduous and, in India’s case, interminable period of issuing tenders, conducting trials and concluding price negotiations before inking the deal. Despite the decisive and widely accepted efficacy of devastating artillery firepower let loose on Pakistani military emplacements by the FH-77B Bofors howitzers during the 1999 Kargil conflict, the IA’s long standing Artillery Rationalisation Plan stands stymied. Under this Plan, the Army proposes by 2020-25 to acquire a mix of around 3,000-3,600 155mm/45 cal ultra

10

lightweight (ULW) and 155mm/52 cal towed, mounted, self-propelled-tracked and wheeled-howitzers capable of achieving ranges in excess of 40km through a combination of imports and local licensed manufacture for around 180 of its 220 artillery regiments for an estimated USD 5-7 billion. The remaining artillery regiments are equipped with light guns and missiles. All these acquisitions, however, have been continually deferred due to bureaucratic delays, vacillation, and a bewildering round of dispatching, withdrawing and re-issuing of tenders by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Inconclusive trials, Qualitative Requirement (QR) and inventory overreach by the Artillery Directorate at Army Headquarters have resulted in foreclosing options for both howitzer upgrades and acquisitions and, in one instance, litigation by a foreign vendor has collectively impeded modernisation in a critical area where shortfalls are alarmingly high and operationally worrisome.

Even Defence Minister A.K. Antony was forced to declare last October that the Army has been trying to “frantically” acquire new howitzers but, “faced a lot of hurdles”. He said that the Ministry of Defence was attempting to find a solution to this long-pending howitzer requirement.

requirement.“We have not fully succeeded, but we think there will be a breakthrough in the coming weeks or next few months,” Antony has admitted.

No Ladders, Plenty of Snakes Acknowledging these delays and impediments, 25 years after the FH-77B Bofors howitzer import was enmeshed in allegations of corruption, resulting in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress Party’s defeat in the 1989 general election, India’s Army Chief, General V.K. Singh has employed the apposite snakes-and-ladder allegory to illustrate this predicament. “The [equipment] procurement game is a version of snakes and ladders where there is no ladder but only snakes; and if the snakes bite you somewhere the whole process reverts to zero,” he declared at his annual press conference in mid-January ahead of Army Day in a direct assault on the MoD’s convoluted and protracted procurement policies. He was referring to the persistent deferment of artillery purchases when

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An Army officer checks the ammunition at an artillery position on the India-Pakistan border

DSI


Artillery_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:21 PM Page 6

ARTILLERY

Byzantine Acquisition Plans This, however, is easier said than done considering the MoD’s Byzantine acquisition procedures that have become even more complex and bureaucratic under successive, updated Defence Procurement Procedures since 2004 and the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) inherent inefficiencies, inadequacies and interminable delays in designing new weapon systems. Moreover, the artillery requirements are immense and the moneys involved equally substantial, rendering the entire procurement process not only complex and laborious but time consuming. For now, the Army plans on importing 400 155mm/52 cal towed guns which will be followed by the indigenous licensed manufacture of another 1,180 howitzers to equip 79 regiments to replace the outdated 105mm IFG/LFG and the Soviet D-30 122mm field artillery pieces. Alongside, it proposes to procure some 200 155mm/52 cal mounted guns and locally build 614 to arm 40 regiments in addition to acquiring 180-odd self-propelled (tracked and motorised) for five regiments for deployment in the Punjab plains and Rajasthan’s desert terrain against Pakistan. However, even a cursory examination of the extraordinary tribulations surrounding these delayed procurements illustrates the overwhelming chaos pervading the artillery modernisation drive. The import, for instance, of the easily transportable, airmobile 145 BAE

The gestation period of inducting an artillery system into the Army is five-seven years, it involves arduous, and in India’s case, interminable period of issuing tenders, conducting trials and price negotiations. Despite the decisive and widely accepted efficacy of devastating artillery firepower let loose on Pakistani military emplacements by the FH-77B Bofors howitzers during the 1999 Kargil conflict, the Army’s long standing Artillery Rationalisation Plan stands stymied.

An Army officer with soldiers from an artillery unit, New Delhi

12

DSI

Systems M777 LWH and Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems for USD 647 million to equip two newly raised mountain divisions deployed along India’s disputed Northeast frontier with China, is one such instance. In what the Army thought was a done deal — the MoD had in May 2009 notified the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency regarding the M777 acquisition via the FMS route — has now become legally entangled after rival Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) filed a petition in the Delhi High Court last year challenging the purchase. Fielding its rival Pegasus 155mm/45 cal LWH, STK was blacklisted on alleged corruption charges in June 2009 which remain under inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). STK denies all charges of any wrongdoing in the corruption case involving the former OFB head and in its legal petition is seeking clarification on its nebulously defined ‘blacklist’ status. The court, meanwhile has directed the MoD not to award the LWH contract without its permission, declaring that if STK was eventually cleared of corruption charges and deemed not blacklisted, it will be allowed to compete in the tender further complicating and postponing the already overdue acquisition.

Twist in the Tale

” AFP

reminded of his January 2011 assurance of signing the contract to import 145 BAE Systems M777 ultra lightweight Howitzer (ULH) from the US, via its Foreign Military Sales (FMS), programme. At the time, the Army Chief blamed, “elements within the Army and outside” for the delay; but this year, he maintained that the problem was legal and had been referred to the Law Ministry. He also hoped that the proposed artillery assets would soon be inducted in consonance with the Army’s newly devised strategy. “We have put in place a comprehensive and well-thought out plan under which indigenous (Howitzer) development, (overseas) acquisition and joint ventures have been meshed together, so that in years to come we can get out of this type of problem,” General Singh stated.

APRIL 2012

The trials were eventually called off for tenuous reasons and the contract retendered. But it remains in limbo after BAE Systems last April declined for commercial considerations to participate in trials for towed guns, claiming that the revised QRs had been ‘diluted’ thereby ‘compromising’ the customised capabilities of its FH-77B 05 gun achieved at great expense. BAE Systems has maintained that the re-issued tender included ‘technical and performance relaxations’ which allowed less capable weapon systems to enter the competition. Earlier, BAE Systems fielded the same Howitzer for four rounds of trials, the last being in 2006. The first three sets featured South Africa’s Denel Ordnance G5 Mk-2000 howitzer and Israel’s Soltam ATHOS 2052 autonomous towed howitzer system, but only Soltam and BAE systems participated in the unprecedented fourth and final round of ‘confirmatory and reliability’ trials which eventually proved inconclusive and the contract was re-tendered.


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ARTILLERY Denel was unable to be included in the fourth round as it was blacklisted in 2005 after the newly elected Congress-led coalition suspended all dealings with it following allegations that it had resorted to ‘unfair commercial practices’ in the deal for 400 anti-materiel rifles under the previous BJP-led administration. The case remains under CBI inquiry and its status imprecise. This blacklisting also led to the MoD terminating the limited series production of the 155mm/52 cal Bhim self-propelled howitzer project — a mating of Denel/LIW T-6 155mm/52 cal turret with the chassis of India’s locally designed Arjun Main Battle Tank — which the State-owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited was to build in Bengaluru. Last year, the MoD shelved the ` 4,726 crore tender to acquire 180 lightweightmotorised 155mm/52 cal howitzers mounted on six or eight-wheeled vehicles following alleged deviations in trials conducted in 2010. The Army submitted its trial report featuring the 48-tonne Rheinmetall Wheeled Gun-52 and Slovakia’s ShKH Zuzana-A1 to the MoD which revoked it following an anonymous complaint to Antony regarding alleged technical snags in which the Slovakian gun barrel reportedly burst. This acquisition too is on hold. Meanwhile, in a desperate bid to augment its severely depleted firepower, Army Headquarters is seriously mulling the acquisition of additional 130mm M46 field guns, developed in the 1950s from surplus stocks lying with former Soviet Republics and other East European states. India was the largest export customer for the M46 guns with an estimated 800 purchased 1960 onwards and successfully employed in the 1971 war with Pakistan. Senior artillery officers say that M46s were cheaply available and could be easily upgraded either by the OFB or private defence contractors like Tata Advanced Systems or Larsen & Toubro (L&T) or all three to 155mm/45 cal levels similar to the retrofit executed by Soltam 2001 onwards. But this controversial upgrade of 180 M46 guns by Soltam remains mired in controversy with the CBI tasked to inquire into ‘alleged irregularities’ in awarding the USD 45,524,137 contract by the BJP-led National Democratic

For now, the Army plans on importing 400 155mm/52 cal towed guns which will be followed by the indigenous licensed manufacture of another 1,180 howitzers to equip 79 regiments to replace the outdated 105mm IFG/LFG and the Soviet D-30 122mm field artillery pieces. It also proposes to procure some 200 155mm/52 cal mounted guns and locally build 614 of them to arm 40 regiments in addition to acquiring about 180 selfpropelled ones for five regiments for deployment in the Punjab plains and Rajasthan’s desert terrain against Pakistan. However, even a cursory examination of the tribulations surrounding these delayed procurements illustrates the overwhelming chaos pervading the artillery modernisation drive.

14

Indian Army trainees at the Artillery Centre, Hyderabad

AFP

Blacklisted

APRIL 2012

Alliance in 2001. The outcome of the CBI inquiry, like many others before it, remains unclear but senior artillery officers say that the upgrade in which the OFB is involved is not only ‘over ambitious’ but ‘inefficacious’ as the retrofitted guns faced ‘obturation’ problems with their barrels and breech block and were unable to achieve the promised range of 40km as agreed upon in negotiations. The attendant proposal to upgrade the FH-77B 155mm/39 Bofors howitzers to 155mm/45 cal standards too stands compromised due primarily to the overextended QR drawn up by the Artillery Directorate for the retrofit. The upgrade, which by raising its calibre, will enhance range, it also includes replacing the gun barrel, breech block, strengthening the under carriage and fitting it with a state-of-the-art sighting system allowing it to fire heavier ordnance to register greater damage. “Some of the upgrade QRs are unrealistic for these 25 year-old guns demanding more capability than even newer howitzers,” says an armament industry source associated with the project. The Army, he declares, is unwilling to revise or modify the Request for Proposal (RfP) even though many in the artillery directorate conceded that the QRs in the 2009 upgrade RfP were technically and financially impractical. Earlier, a similar RfP in 2006 that required competing vendors like BAE Systems, which now owns Bofors AB — the FH-77B’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) — and Tata’s — working with the OFB to develop an upgraded prototype howitzer within a year — lapsed unfulfilled. The RfP, re-issued in early 2009, led to BAE Systems, despite being the OEM, declining to respond to it due, reportedly, to ‘QR overreach’ leaving the upgrade in jeopardy. More recently, the MoD and the DRDO have been working on projects to locally develop a 155mm gun despite indigenous technical incapability and know-how. Last September, the MoD raised the possibility of the OFB building the FH-77B 155mm/39 guns of which it acquired 410 in 1987 alongside the technology to make them but never did. The OFB, to whom Bofors transferred the FH-77B blueprints and other technical details, never undertook their manufacture as the howitzer deal was mired in a corruption scandal involving senior Congress Party politicians, military and

15

DSI

MoD officials that rumbled on for over two decades before being concluded last March. The MoD wants the OFB to begin constructing at its Vehicle Factory unit in Jabalpur six prototypes: Two FH-77B 155mm/45 cal guns, two similar models but with advanced on-board computers and two upgraded 155mm/45 cal howitzers by end-2013. A cross section of senior military and OFB officials are confident that the OFB’s Jabalpur unit is capable of making the FH-77Bs having earlier successfully built the 105mm IFG/LFG and more recently upgraded the 130mm guns after being provided the retrofit kits by Soltam. They claim that steel for the FH-77B’s barrel will be provided by the State-run Mishra Dhatu Nigam in Hyderabad and fashioned at the OFB’s unit at Kanpur. Senior Army sources, however, caution that the FH-77B proposal could well be jeopardised by sensitivity over the Bofors issue in the prevailing turbulent political milieu and by the inconclusive arbitration over India’s outstanding dues to the Swedish company and complex patent rights. A former three-star artillery officer has expressed skepticism over whether Bofors has comprehensively transferred the entire set of blueprints for the FH-77B gun and with the agreement between the MoD and former AB Bofors having lapsed, the inept OFB will be unable to exploit badly needed technical support from the OEM. “It seems the clueless MoD, along with the Army, is once more planning to walk down a blind alley by attempting to reverse engineer the FH-77B gun. This is a regressive move that will not only prove costly and time consuming but impractical and largely unachievable,” the artillery officer says, declining to be named. The DRDO’s Armament Research & Development Establishment in Pune is considering a public-private-partnership involving Bharat Forge and L&T and Tatas, along with various other DRDO laboratories, to develop a 155mm/45 gun ambitiously called Metamorphosis. “The [acquisition] process for the 15mm howitzers is back to zero….. so it is better to develop our own system,” DRDO head V.K. Saraswat told the Business Standard in August 2010 but predictably this statement has failed to inspire confidence amongst the Army’s gunners.


Artillery_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:22 PM Page 8

ARTILLERY Denel was unable to be included in the fourth round as it was blacklisted in 2005 after the newly elected Congress-led coalition suspended all dealings with it following allegations that it had resorted to ‘unfair commercial practices’ in the deal for 400 anti-materiel rifles under the previous BJP-led administration. The case remains under CBI inquiry and its status imprecise. This blacklisting also led to the MoD terminating the limited series production of the 155mm/52 cal Bhim self-propelled howitzer project — a mating of Denel/LIW T-6 155mm/52 cal turret with the chassis of India’s locally designed Arjun Main Battle Tank — which the State-owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited was to build in Bengaluru. Last year, the MoD shelved the ` 4,726 crore tender to acquire 180 lightweightmotorised 155mm/52 cal howitzers mounted on six or eight-wheeled vehicles following alleged deviations in trials conducted in 2010. The Army submitted its trial report featuring the 48-tonne Rheinmetall Wheeled Gun-52 and Slovakia’s ShKH Zuzana-A1 to the MoD which revoked it following an anonymous complaint to Antony regarding alleged technical snags in which the Slovakian gun barrel reportedly burst. This acquisition too is on hold. Meanwhile, in a desperate bid to augment its severely depleted firepower, Army Headquarters is seriously mulling the acquisition of additional 130mm M46 field guns, developed in the 1950s from surplus stocks lying with former Soviet Republics and other East European states. India was the largest export customer for the M46 guns with an estimated 800 purchased 1960 onwards and successfully employed in the 1971 war with Pakistan. Senior artillery officers say that M46s were cheaply available and could be easily upgraded either by the OFB or private defence contractors like Tata Advanced Systems or Larsen & Toubro (L&T) or all three to 155mm/45 cal levels similar to the retrofit executed by Soltam 2001 onwards. But this controversial upgrade of 180 M46 guns by Soltam remains mired in controversy with the CBI tasked to inquire into ‘alleged irregularities’ in awarding the USD 45,524,137 contract by the BJP-led National Democratic

For now, the Army plans on importing 400 155mm/52 cal towed guns which will be followed by the indigenous licensed manufacture of another 1,180 howitzers to equip 79 regiments to replace the outdated 105mm IFG/LFG and the Soviet D-30 122mm field artillery pieces. It also proposes to procure some 200 155mm/52 cal mounted guns and locally build 614 of them to arm 40 regiments in addition to acquiring about 180 selfpropelled ones for five regiments for deployment in the Punjab plains and Rajasthan’s desert terrain against Pakistan. However, even a cursory examination of the tribulations surrounding these delayed procurements illustrates the overwhelming chaos pervading the artillery modernisation drive.

14

Indian Army trainees at the Artillery Centre, Hyderabad

AFP

Blacklisted

APRIL 2012

Alliance in 2001. The outcome of the CBI inquiry, like many others before it, remains unclear but senior artillery officers say that the upgrade in which the OFB is involved is not only ‘over ambitious’ but ‘inefficacious’ as the retrofitted guns faced ‘obturation’ problems with their barrels and breech block and were unable to achieve the promised range of 40km as agreed upon in negotiations. The attendant proposal to upgrade the FH-77B 155mm/39 Bofors howitzers to 155mm/45 cal standards too stands compromised due primarily to the overextended QR drawn up by the Artillery Directorate for the retrofit. The upgrade, which by raising its calibre, will enhance range, it also includes replacing the gun barrel, breech block, strengthening the under carriage and fitting it with a state-of-the-art sighting system allowing it to fire heavier ordnance to register greater damage. “Some of the upgrade QRs are unrealistic for these 25 year-old guns demanding more capability than even newer howitzers,” says an armament industry source associated with the project. The Army, he declares, is unwilling to revise or modify the Request for Proposal (RfP) even though many in the artillery directorate conceded that the QRs in the 2009 upgrade RfP were technically and financially impractical. Earlier, a similar RfP in 2006 that required competing vendors like BAE Systems, which now owns Bofors AB — the FH-77B’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) — and Tata’s — working with the OFB to develop an upgraded prototype howitzer within a year — lapsed unfulfilled. The RfP, re-issued in early 2009, led to BAE Systems, despite being the OEM, declining to respond to it due, reportedly, to ‘QR overreach’ leaving the upgrade in jeopardy. More recently, the MoD and the DRDO have been working on projects to locally develop a 155mm gun despite indigenous technical incapability and know-how. Last September, the MoD raised the possibility of the OFB building the FH-77B 155mm/39 guns of which it acquired 410 in 1987 alongside the technology to make them but never did. The OFB, to whom Bofors transferred the FH-77B blueprints and other technical details, never undertook their manufacture as the howitzer deal was mired in a corruption scandal involving senior Congress Party politicians, military and

15

DSI

MoD officials that rumbled on for over two decades before being concluded last March. The MoD wants the OFB to begin constructing at its Vehicle Factory unit in Jabalpur six prototypes: Two FH-77B 155mm/45 cal guns, two similar models but with advanced on-board computers and two upgraded 155mm/45 cal howitzers by end-2013. A cross section of senior military and OFB officials are confident that the OFB’s Jabalpur unit is capable of making the FH-77Bs having earlier successfully built the 105mm IFG/LFG and more recently upgraded the 130mm guns after being provided the retrofit kits by Soltam. They claim that steel for the FH-77B’s barrel will be provided by the State-run Mishra Dhatu Nigam in Hyderabad and fashioned at the OFB’s unit at Kanpur. Senior Army sources, however, caution that the FH-77B proposal could well be jeopardised by sensitivity over the Bofors issue in the prevailing turbulent political milieu and by the inconclusive arbitration over India’s outstanding dues to the Swedish company and complex patent rights. A former three-star artillery officer has expressed skepticism over whether Bofors has comprehensively transferred the entire set of blueprints for the FH-77B gun and with the agreement between the MoD and former AB Bofors having lapsed, the inept OFB will be unable to exploit badly needed technical support from the OEM. “It seems the clueless MoD, along with the Army, is once more planning to walk down a blind alley by attempting to reverse engineer the FH-77B gun. This is a regressive move that will not only prove costly and time consuming but impractical and largely unachievable,” the artillery officer says, declining to be named. The DRDO’s Armament Research & Development Establishment in Pune is considering a public-private-partnership involving Bharat Forge and L&T and Tatas, along with various other DRDO laboratories, to develop a 155mm/45 gun ambitiously called Metamorphosis. “The [acquisition] process for the 15mm howitzers is back to zero….. so it is better to develop our own system,” DRDO head V.K. Saraswat told the Business Standard in August 2010 but predictably this statement has failed to inspire confidence amongst the Army’s gunners.


Bettlefield_2nd time:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:28 PM Page 2

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

WATCH THIS BATTLE SPACE The battles of the future, both conventional and non-conventional, will be characterised by a nonlinear and multidimensional approach in which targets will have little time for reactions

T

he dominant technology trends which are profoundly impacting modern and future battle spaces, requiring the armed forces to generate a coordinated, unified and joint response, are battlefield transparency, long-range precision firepower and an integration of systems. As part of an effect-based operations (EBO), the focus is on a concentration of effort rather than on a mass approach. This line of thinking demands an increased transparency of battle space through layered and combined sensor inputs building a common operating picture (COP) in nearreal time. COP is a potent system for providing commanders with data and nearreal time Information Systems Research (ISR) inputs allowing commanders to bring together various elements of a joint force in the most powerful way possible. This implies taking cognisance of technology and its linkages to create an environment of enhanced information and surveillance capability leading to an improved range and accuracy of weapon

systems. Such an approach will be backed by increased volumes and high-speed data transformation which in turn will be supported by seamless communications, creating a net-centric capability. The battle space of the future, in both a conventional war scenario or in a hybrid scenario, which relates to a convergence of traditional and non-traditional, regular and irregular forces, non-state and state actors, will be characterised by non-linearity. It will also be marked by a multi-dimensional expansion of battle space and a fluidity. Here, targets will have little time for reactions or fire support elements, simultaneity of engagements, dominant manoeuvres, synchronisation or integration of various elements of combat power and full- dimension protection. To generate favourable asymmetry in such a complex battle space without inflicting collateral damage and fratricide, battlefield transparency generated through multisensor surveillance, processed and viewed through visualisation tools, become the most critical factor influencing outcomes.

All Weather Picture Battlefield surveillance relates to the ability to obtain in real or near-real time an all weather picture of battle space. This encompasses human intelligence (HUMINT), technology related imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signal or communication intelligence (SIGINT) together with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The basic concept of battlefield surveillance is to obtain knowledge of battle space as it exists at a particular time and a capability to detect changes, indicating thereby an intention of the enemy’s action plan and deployment initiating premptive action. Battlefield surveillance follows a layered approach with sensors located in space, near-space and tactical layers and controlled with protocols at strategic, operational levels. These, in turn, are integrated through gateways to provide one common operational picture where required. Single sensor systems cannot detect all types of targets or monitor all types of events or meet spatial, temporal

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An Army personnel keeps vigil during an exercise in the Great Rann of Kutch, near Ahmedabad

16

DSI

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Bettlefield_2nd time:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:28 PM Page 2

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

WATCH THIS BATTLE SPACE The battles of the future, both conventional and non-conventional, will be characterised by a nonlinear and multidimensional approach in which targets will have little time for reactions

T

he dominant technology trends which are profoundly impacting modern and future battle spaces, requiring the armed forces to generate a coordinated, unified and joint response, are battlefield transparency, long-range precision firepower and an integration of systems. As part of an effect-based operations (EBO), the focus is on a concentration of effort rather than on a mass approach. This line of thinking demands an increased transparency of battle space through layered and combined sensor inputs building a common operating picture (COP) in nearreal time. COP is a potent system for providing commanders with data and nearreal time Information Systems Research (ISR) inputs allowing commanders to bring together various elements of a joint force in the most powerful way possible. This implies taking cognisance of technology and its linkages to create an environment of enhanced information and surveillance capability leading to an improved range and accuracy of weapon

systems. Such an approach will be backed by increased volumes and high-speed data transformation which in turn will be supported by seamless communications, creating a net-centric capability. The battle space of the future, in both a conventional war scenario or in a hybrid scenario, which relates to a convergence of traditional and non-traditional, regular and irregular forces, non-state and state actors, will be characterised by non-linearity. It will also be marked by a multi-dimensional expansion of battle space and a fluidity. Here, targets will have little time for reactions or fire support elements, simultaneity of engagements, dominant manoeuvres, synchronisation or integration of various elements of combat power and full- dimension protection. To generate favourable asymmetry in such a complex battle space without inflicting collateral damage and fratricide, battlefield transparency generated through multisensor surveillance, processed and viewed through visualisation tools, become the most critical factor influencing outcomes.

All Weather Picture Battlefield surveillance relates to the ability to obtain in real or near-real time an all weather picture of battle space. This encompasses human intelligence (HUMINT), technology related imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signal or communication intelligence (SIGINT) together with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The basic concept of battlefield surveillance is to obtain knowledge of battle space as it exists at a particular time and a capability to detect changes, indicating thereby an intention of the enemy’s action plan and deployment initiating premptive action. Battlefield surveillance follows a layered approach with sensors located in space, near-space and tactical layers and controlled with protocols at strategic, operational levels. These, in turn, are integrated through gateways to provide one common operational picture where required. Single sensor systems cannot detect all types of targets or monitor all types of events or meet spatial, temporal

LAND SYSTEMS & C4I

NEW TOOLS FOR NEW RULES

ARUN SAHGAL

Tadiran SDR-7200 Software Defined Radio

KEY POINTS Battlefield surveillance relates to the ability to obtain in real or near-real time a complete picture of battle space. n This area encompasses human intelligence and technology related imagery. n It follows a layered approach with sensors located in space, nearspace and tactical layers.

Visit us at

n

AFP

An Army personnel keeps vigil during an exercise in the Great Rann of Kutch, near Ahmedabad

16

DSI

Defexpo 2012

Tadiran GRX-4000 Radio Relay

SATCOM On The Move

Israel Pavilion

BattleComm Dominance Uniting complementary strengths, Tadiran Communications' radio communications capabilities fused with Elbit Systems' integrated networking expertise result in Battlecom Dominance. From the individual soldier and platoon commander up to the division and corps levels, our cutting-edge radios and systems allow warfighters in over 50 armies to share mission critical information swiftly and securely.

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Bettlefield_2nd time:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:33 PM Page 4

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

operation directorates and their equivalents at all Service Headquarters (SHQ). Strategic intelligence and decision support systems at respective SHQs are interfaced with all Command HQs and Corps HQs on a secure defence communication network with a secure gateway. This, at the national and strategic level, constitutes the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture. The communication highways are largely based on fibre optics with satellite communication providing a backup. Project Sanjay At the operational level, starting from Corps HQs downwards to the battalions, the TAC C3I (Tactical, Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence) architecture synthesises the battlefield surveillance efforts into a cohesive common operating picture. This Operational Battlefield System being developed by the Army, named Project Sanjay, aims to integrate and automatise the entire

and tactical surveillance requirements of a modern battlefield. The requirement, thus, is a mix of various sensors possessing different capabilities. In a multi-sensor environment, a mix of ground and airborne sensors acquire movement and deployment of hostile forces. The subsequent information output is dependent on the type of sensor. The inputs from multiple sensors have to be fused for analysing the confirmation and accuracy of collected information. Due to different spatial and temporal references, information from each sensor will appear incomplete and disjointed if processed in isolation. A multi-level, multi-faceted process dealing with detection, association, correlation, combination of data, target identification and a timely assessment of situation will require a central processor with automated software in a geographic information system (GIS) environment. This whole system is called a Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS). Data collected by various surveillance devices is of little value if it is not relayed

AFP

Visitors look at an unmanned aerial vehicle at Aero India, Bengaluru

instantly to those who need it, and processed in real-time. The situation awareness must have the capability to engage time-sensitive targets and increase overall tactical efficiency which is the basic building block synchronised at an operational level to achieve strategic goals. In a sub-conventional, asymmetrical scenario, intelligence generated at a strategic level through battlefield surveillance can be shared directly with a small tactical unit like some special forces or an armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) loitering over a tactical area for a timesensitive strike. A BSS demands a high bandwidth network to transmit and receive video streams, data from radio and acoustic sensors for integration into three dimensional maps for continuous surveillance of a specific area. Data will come from satellite, UAVs, airborne platforms, ground vehicles and individuals. Users can set alerts to changes in activity to focus attention on specific events. Significantly, the management of radio spectrums will be a challenge in areas where

18

The Indian Army’s BSS system has passed the test stage and at present user trials are in progress. The system is likely to be introduced in phases this year. However, there are a number of organisational challenges that it has to surmount.

surveillance activity in the tactical battlefield environment, from detection of targets by various formation level sensors (corps, division and brigades), transmission of information to a surveillance centre, where data fusion takes place to provide valueadded information for commanders as a part of a decision support system. The top-down input for BSS comes from C4ISR. At the TAC C3I level, various captive sensors include medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs, low-altitude short-range UAVs, long and medium-range battlefield surveillance radars (BFSRs), long-range optical electric system (LOROS), and medium-range aerostats. In the BSS, weapon-locating radars, sound-ranging bases, electronic support measures (ESM), elements of various EW systems, Air Defence Command and reporting system are linked to a command intelligence data support system (CIDSS) for speedy processing, conversion of information into intelligence with artificial intelligence tool assisting in decision making and thereafter execution. The

W H E R E P E R F O R M A N C E M E E T S I N N O VAT I O N

fibre optic lines are not laid. This obstacle, over a period of time, can be overcome with a breakthrough in laser communication. Three-Tier System In the Indian environment a threetier system is being envisaged. At the top is a strategic layer with sensors and a connectivity to relevant national agencies. Here, systems at different operational stages, are controlled and deployed at corps and divisional levels but networked through a common battlefield surveillance system architecture. Another layer is at the battalion level – integrating systems – and then there is the individual soldiers’ level. Presently, resources which are being deployed include, satellite-based sensors and medium range UAVs such as Heron and aerostats. In addition, sensitive SIGINT and HUMINT are being used to control at the strategic level. Inputs from various agencies, including civilian and military, and sensors entrapped by national agencies like the National Technical Research Organisation with inputs in real-time will be given to military

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D ISP L AYS

C USTO M P ERIP HERAL S

P O I NT I NG D E VI CE S

SLK-80 COMPACT BACKLIT KEYBOARD

AK-39 RUGGED WEARABLE KEYBOARD - Adjustable green backlighting - Available NVIS compatible configuration - Integrated FSR pointing device - Designed to meet MIL-461 standards - Designed for use in harsh environments - Wearable design

- Adjustable green baclighting - Available NVIS compatible configuration - Integrated FSR pointing device - Sealed to IP68 specifications - Designed for use in harsh environments - Compact Case - 246.1mm x 96.0mm x 28.9mm

SLK-880-FSR BACKLIT MILITARY KEYBOARD - Adjustable green backlighting - Available NVIS compatible configuration - Integrated FSR pointing device - Fully-Submersible - Compact Case - 290.8mm x 173.7mm x 29.2mm

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Bettlefield_2nd time:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:33 PM Page 4

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

operation directorates and their equivalents at all Service Headquarters (SHQ). Strategic intelligence and decision support systems at respective SHQs are interfaced with all Command HQs and Corps HQs on a secure defence communication network with a secure gateway. This, at the national and strategic level, constitutes the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture. The communication highways are largely based on fibre optics with satellite communication providing a backup. Project Sanjay At the operational level, starting from Corps HQs downwards to the battalions, the TAC C3I (Tactical, Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence) architecture synthesises the battlefield surveillance efforts into a cohesive common operating picture. This Operational Battlefield System being developed by the Army, named Project Sanjay, aims to integrate and automatise the entire

and tactical surveillance requirements of a modern battlefield. The requirement, thus, is a mix of various sensors possessing different capabilities. In a multi-sensor environment, a mix of ground and airborne sensors acquire movement and deployment of hostile forces. The subsequent information output is dependent on the type of sensor. The inputs from multiple sensors have to be fused for analysing the confirmation and accuracy of collected information. Due to different spatial and temporal references, information from each sensor will appear incomplete and disjointed if processed in isolation. A multi-level, multi-faceted process dealing with detection, association, correlation, combination of data, target identification and a timely assessment of situation will require a central processor with automated software in a geographic information system (GIS) environment. This whole system is called a Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS). Data collected by various surveillance devices is of little value if it is not relayed

AFP

Visitors look at an unmanned aerial vehicle at Aero India, Bengaluru

instantly to those who need it, and processed in real-time. The situation awareness must have the capability to engage time-sensitive targets and increase overall tactical efficiency which is the basic building block synchronised at an operational level to achieve strategic goals. In a sub-conventional, asymmetrical scenario, intelligence generated at a strategic level through battlefield surveillance can be shared directly with a small tactical unit like some special forces or an armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) loitering over a tactical area for a timesensitive strike. A BSS demands a high bandwidth network to transmit and receive video streams, data from radio and acoustic sensors for integration into three dimensional maps for continuous surveillance of a specific area. Data will come from satellite, UAVs, airborne platforms, ground vehicles and individuals. Users can set alerts to changes in activity to focus attention on specific events. Significantly, the management of radio spectrums will be a challenge in areas where

18

The Indian Army’s BSS system has passed the test stage and at present user trials are in progress. The system is likely to be introduced in phases this year. However, there are a number of organisational challenges that it has to surmount.

surveillance activity in the tactical battlefield environment, from detection of targets by various formation level sensors (corps, division and brigades), transmission of information to a surveillance centre, where data fusion takes place to provide valueadded information for commanders as a part of a decision support system. The top-down input for BSS comes from C4ISR. At the TAC C3I level, various captive sensors include medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs, low-altitude short-range UAVs, long and medium-range battlefield surveillance radars (BFSRs), long-range optical electric system (LOROS), and medium-range aerostats. In the BSS, weapon-locating radars, sound-ranging bases, electronic support measures (ESM), elements of various EW systems, Air Defence Command and reporting system are linked to a command intelligence data support system (CIDSS) for speedy processing, conversion of information into intelligence with artificial intelligence tool assisting in decision making and thereafter execution. The

W H E R E P E R F O R M A N C E M E E T S I N N O VAT I O N

fibre optic lines are not laid. This obstacle, over a period of time, can be overcome with a breakthrough in laser communication. Three-Tier System In the Indian environment a threetier system is being envisaged. At the top is a strategic layer with sensors and a connectivity to relevant national agencies. Here, systems at different operational stages, are controlled and deployed at corps and divisional levels but networked through a common battlefield surveillance system architecture. Another layer is at the battalion level – integrating systems – and then there is the individual soldiers’ level. Presently, resources which are being deployed include, satellite-based sensors and medium range UAVs such as Heron and aerostats. In addition, sensitive SIGINT and HUMINT are being used to control at the strategic level. Inputs from various agencies, including civilian and military, and sensors entrapped by national agencies like the National Technical Research Organisation with inputs in real-time will be given to military

DSI

RUG G ED K E Y BOARD S

D ISP L AYS

C USTO M P ERIP HERAL S

P O I NT I NG D E VI CE S

SLK-80 COMPACT BACKLIT KEYBOARD

AK-39 RUGGED WEARABLE KEYBOARD - Adjustable green backlighting - Available NVIS compatible configuration - Integrated FSR pointing device - Designed to meet MIL-461 standards - Designed for use in harsh environments - Wearable design

- Adjustable green baclighting - Available NVIS compatible configuration - Integrated FSR pointing device - Sealed to IP68 specifications - Designed for use in harsh environments - Compact Case - 246.1mm x 96.0mm x 28.9mm

SLK-880-FSR BACKLIT MILITARY KEYBOARD - Adjustable green backlighting - Available NVIS compatible configuration - Integrated FSR pointing device - Fully-Submersible - Compact Case - 290.8mm x 173.7mm x 29.2mm

WWW.I KE Y.COM

V I S I T O UR BO OT H AT DE FE X PO

M A RCH 29 - A PRI L 1

PRAG AT I M AIDAN , N E W D E L HI

B OOTH 1 4 . 3 S


Bettlefield_2nd time:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:33 PM Page 6

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

DSI

Battlefield surveillance vehicle

bottoms-up input to the TAC C3I system are provided from the forces in operating the BMS architecture. Surveillance devices of various capabilities are being deployed in concert for a range of operations of various formations: for example, at the brigade and division level, there are micro-UAVs and short-range BFSR, apart from sound-ranging and weapon locating radars such as AN/TPQ-37. At the corps level, there is a two-level interface. The top level is with the national C4ISR and below it is with elements deployed at brigade and division levels. Additional long-range sensors deployed include short and medium-range UAVs longrange aerostats. Below the brigade, from the battalion to the soldier level, is what is referred to as Battlefield Management System (BMS), a man portable, modular mobile system that can provide near-real time command, control and intelligence activity at the infantry battalion or at an armoured regiment level. The BMS architecture at the

Battlefield Surveillance Systems demand high bandwidth networks to transmit and receive video streams, data from radio and acoustic sensors for integration into three dimensional maps for continuous surveillance of a specific area. Data will come from satellite and UAVs.

20

battalion level and below gets its top-down inputs largely from TAC C3I architecture in terms of connectivity gateways and provides a larger battle picture to the lowest tactical commanders. The captive surveillance assets available at this level include mini-UAVs (Nishant, short-range BFSRs, thermal image integrated observation equipment (TIIOE) and contact reports). The integration of GPS and GIS has brought into existence a powerful tool that translates the location and visualisation aspects of both hostile and friendly forces, vectors on the contact commanders monitor and the hand-held personal digital assistants (part of the F-INSAS system) of the infantry soldier. The seamless connectivity ensures that any tactical action executed directly under the strategic HQ, the ISR and C4 levels to small teams can be configured on existing communication highways which will largely be satellite-based. The Army’s BSS system has passed the test stage and at presently user trials are in


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3/19/12 4:14 PM


Bettlefield_2nd time:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:38 PM Page 8

TECHNOLOGY

FEBRUARY 2012

DSI

AFP

Indian and Chinese soldiers during a joint training counter terror drill at Belgaum

progress. The system is likely to be introduced in phases this year. However, there are a number of organisational challenges that the BSS system has to surmount, including technological issues in the form of network configuration, reliability, survivability and adequate firewalls to assure security. From the organisational perspective, problems include the creation and training of a suitable manpower base to work these systems as well as infrastructure like communication control centres and surveillance communication terminals. The road ahead is marked by finding solutions to integrate other elements of TAC C3I, which include a reporting system and a artillery command and control system which can operate within the overall architecture. Other aspects include building an increasing flexibility to support a plug-andplay approach, particularly to support other formations and units that come to operate in a corps zone and an engineering support philosophy to ensure a 24X7 operational reliability. The theme of transformation or modernisation has improved efforts in

Data collected by various surveillance devices is of little value if it is not relayed instantly to those who need it, and processed in real time. The situation awareness must have the capability to engage time-sensitive targets and increase overall tactical efficiency which is the basic building block.

22

C4ISR, TAC C31 and BMS reducing the ‘fog and friction of war’ to pursue effect-based operations with fewer forces. Further, advances in ISR technology are also making the battle space more transparent. However, resources, surface and space bases are scarce and heavily rely on network centric capabilities placing a heavy demand on bandwidth. For optimisation they have to be exploited in a joint manner with future technologies focussing on laser communication. A panIndia battlefield grid needs also to be established with a power-to-edge concept in which the war fighter who today is largely observing and acting should exercise control over orientation and decisions – an area which is currently in the domain of the commander. According to current indications, the Army should shortly have in place an interim architecture for networked enabled warfare. A progressive fielding of TAC C31 will certainly accelerate radical changes in the Army’s perception, concepts, doctrines and organisation leading to a much desired transformation of the armed forces.


216X276.indd 1

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Gurmeet Kanwal_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:43 PM Page 2

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

2002, a missile launched from a Predator drone killed several terrorists in a moving vehicle in Yemen. The operation was controlled from the US Central Command Headquarters in Florida, satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery was used to track a moving vehicle in real time after ground operatives had tipped off the CIA about the presence of terrorists in it, and a precision strike air-to-surface missile was used to successfully destroy the target without causing collateral damage. The technologies proven in the RMA led to a ‘transformation’ in force structures, doctrines, training methodology and the management of human resources. Recent wars fought by American and other Western armed forces have shown, time and again, that information superiority leads to enhanced combat effectiveness. network centric warfare (NCW) is a concept enabled by information superiority that synergises combat power by the real-time networking of sensors, decision-makers and shooters to achieve shared situational awareness, enhanced quality of decision making, faster tempo of operations, focussed application of fire and increased survivability. All of this leads to enhanced mission effectiveness. NCW exploits information superiority and transforms it into combat power by effectively linking all decision makers and all firepower entities in the battle space. By making it possible to generate precise war fighting effects at high tempo simultaneously across the full battle space, it blurs the distinction between the operational and the tactical levels of war. NCW acts as an enabler that focusses on the speedy attainment of operational level aims, thus leading to the early achievement of strategic objectives.

BATTLE FOR

CHANGE The Indian Army has been slow in catching up with the latest developments in network centric warfare

KEY POINTS The key element in a NCW environment is intelligence gathering in real-time. n The Army does not have military satellites it needs for continuous surveillance. n Supremacy in future battles will hinge on sophisticated command, control and communications systems. n

S

peaking on this year’s Army Day, January 15, General V.K. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, said that his task was to transform the 1.13 million strong Army into an, “agile, lethal and networked force.” Again, earlier, while speaking about

24

The India NCW Story

AFP

GURMEET KANWAL

modernisation of the Army, he said, “The primary areas that are being addressed are aimed at greater battlefield transparency, increasing the lethality and precision of firepower capabilities, overcoming night blindness and achieving network centricity.” All of these remarks were said in the context of preparing to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict – from subconventional to conventional state-onstate warfare under a nuclear overhang – in positional, attritional, manoeuvre, asymmetric and virtual warfare. Armed forces across the world have readily accepted Admiral William Owens’ concept of following a system-of-systems approach outlined in his seminal book, Lifting the Fog of War. This has led to the theory of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) which is nothing but the application of information technology (IT) to warfare to increase the prospects of eliminating the “fog and friction of war” – an idea made famous by military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. The RMA’s real significance in modern warfare emerged when, on November 5,

As usual, India has been slow to catch up with the latest developments in NCW technologies and concepts. This fact was brought out during the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) seminar on NCW held last year which underlined that the Information Technology An Army officer on top vision of the Indian Army (IA) of a Network includes transformation into System truck a dynamic network-centric force, achieving information during the Republic Day superiority through effective parade, New management of information technology. Delhi

25

DSI

The IA has made some progress in acquiring Geo Information System (GIS) capability, which provides the spatial orientation and context to the Operational Information System (OIS) and the Management Information System (MIS) system. It forms the base over which the other functionalities and applications ride. The modern GIS system includes features of network analysis, 3D visualisation, fly-through and simulation. A few of them also possess image processing and change detection capabilities. Army Strategic Operational Information Dissemination System (ASTROIDS) is a secure information dissemination system which connects Army Headquarters with Command and Corps Headquarters for exchange of terrain, operations intelligence and logistics information. During the seminar proceedings, Major General D.V. Kalra, former ADG, Information Systems at Army Headquarters said: “The Command Information and Decision Support System (CIDSS) is the hub centre of tactical C3I which connects Corps Headquarters down to infantry battalions. It has computer nodes linked through suitable communication media and provides processed information to commanders and staff on terrain, operational, intelligence and logistics functions for decision making. Further, a Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS) has been developed to provide an automated data fusion of surveillance devices and operational information system to commanders at field force level so as to facilitate decision making in battle in near real-time. “Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS) and Air Defence Control and Reporting System (ADC&RS) are in an advanced stage of development. The Indian Army is making conscientious efforts to overcome various challenges thrown up by the fielding of new systems.” Except for the ACCCS artillery fire control system that is being fielded quite extensively, he noted, the others are at various stages of development. Sadly, noble intentions do not necessarily translate into concrete achievements. Immediate operational considerations invariably override long-term capability development while allocating budgetary priorities; the Indian defence acquisition decision making process is laborious and the proverbial red tape is difficult to throw off.


Gurmeet Kanwal_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:43 PM Page 2

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

2002, a missile launched from a Predator drone killed several terrorists in a moving vehicle in Yemen. The operation was controlled from the US Central Command Headquarters in Florida, satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery was used to track a moving vehicle in real time after ground operatives had tipped off the CIA about the presence of terrorists in it, and a precision strike air-to-surface missile was used to successfully destroy the target without causing collateral damage. The technologies proven in the RMA led to a ‘transformation’ in force structures, doctrines, training methodology and the management of human resources. Recent wars fought by American and other Western armed forces have shown, time and again, that information superiority leads to enhanced combat effectiveness. network centric warfare (NCW) is a concept enabled by information superiority that synergises combat power by the real-time networking of sensors, decision-makers and shooters to achieve shared situational awareness, enhanced quality of decision making, faster tempo of operations, focussed application of fire and increased survivability. All of this leads to enhanced mission effectiveness. NCW exploits information superiority and transforms it into combat power by effectively linking all decision makers and all firepower entities in the battle space. By making it possible to generate precise war fighting effects at high tempo simultaneously across the full battle space, it blurs the distinction between the operational and the tactical levels of war. NCW acts as an enabler that focusses on the speedy attainment of operational level aims, thus leading to the early achievement of strategic objectives.

BATTLE FOR

CHANGE The Indian Army has been slow in catching up with the latest developments in network centric warfare

KEY POINTS The key element in a NCW environment is intelligence gathering in real-time. n The Army does not have military satellites it needs for continuous surveillance. n Supremacy in future battles will hinge on sophisticated command, control and communications systems. n

S

peaking on this year’s Army Day, January 15, General V.K. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, said that his task was to transform the 1.13 million strong Army into an, “agile, lethal and networked force.” Again, earlier, while speaking about

24

The India NCW Story

AFP

GURMEET KANWAL

modernisation of the Army, he said, “The primary areas that are being addressed are aimed at greater battlefield transparency, increasing the lethality and precision of firepower capabilities, overcoming night blindness and achieving network centricity.” All of these remarks were said in the context of preparing to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict – from subconventional to conventional state-onstate warfare under a nuclear overhang – in positional, attritional, manoeuvre, asymmetric and virtual warfare. Armed forces across the world have readily accepted Admiral William Owens’ concept of following a system-of-systems approach outlined in his seminal book, Lifting the Fog of War. This has led to the theory of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) which is nothing but the application of information technology (IT) to warfare to increase the prospects of eliminating the “fog and friction of war” – an idea made famous by military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. The RMA’s real significance in modern warfare emerged when, on November 5,

As usual, India has been slow to catch up with the latest developments in NCW technologies and concepts. This fact was brought out during the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) seminar on NCW held last year which underlined that the Information Technology An Army officer on top vision of the Indian Army (IA) of a Network includes transformation into System truck a dynamic network-centric force, achieving information during the Republic Day superiority through effective parade, New management of information technology. Delhi

25

DSI

The IA has made some progress in acquiring Geo Information System (GIS) capability, which provides the spatial orientation and context to the Operational Information System (OIS) and the Management Information System (MIS) system. It forms the base over which the other functionalities and applications ride. The modern GIS system includes features of network analysis, 3D visualisation, fly-through and simulation. A few of them also possess image processing and change detection capabilities. Army Strategic Operational Information Dissemination System (ASTROIDS) is a secure information dissemination system which connects Army Headquarters with Command and Corps Headquarters for exchange of terrain, operations intelligence and logistics information. During the seminar proceedings, Major General D.V. Kalra, former ADG, Information Systems at Army Headquarters said: “The Command Information and Decision Support System (CIDSS) is the hub centre of tactical C3I which connects Corps Headquarters down to infantry battalions. It has computer nodes linked through suitable communication media and provides processed information to commanders and staff on terrain, operational, intelligence and logistics functions for decision making. Further, a Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS) has been developed to provide an automated data fusion of surveillance devices and operational information system to commanders at field force level so as to facilitate decision making in battle in near real-time. “Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS) and Air Defence Control and Reporting System (ADC&RS) are in an advanced stage of development. The Indian Army is making conscientious efforts to overcome various challenges thrown up by the fielding of new systems.” Except for the ACCCS artillery fire control system that is being fielded quite extensively, he noted, the others are at various stages of development. Sadly, noble intentions do not necessarily translate into concrete achievements. Immediate operational considerations invariably override long-term capability development while allocating budgetary priorities; the Indian defence acquisition decision making process is laborious and the proverbial red tape is difficult to throw off.


Gurmeet Kanwal_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:45 PM Page 4

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

DSI

AFP

National Cadet Corp officer Sulthana Khan checks an INSAS assault rifle at a training camp, Hyderabad

The key elements in a NCW environment are reconnaissance (ISR), intelligence, surveillance and in real-time; a fully integrated and seamless automated decision making system based on a responsive and flexible, multi-channel communications system with a high band width for data transfer; and, firepower assets that provide adequate precision strike capability. Seamlessly integrated ISR systems for target acquisition and tracking and powerful weapons platforms with precision strike capability are necessary for military domination and deterrence and development in these has been sluggish. The Armed Forces still do not have military satellites that they need for continuous surveillance when UAVs are few in number. The stocks of precision strike weapons held in the air-to-ground and artillery arsenals are limited and need to be increased by several orders of magnitude. However, supremacy in the battles of the 21st century will hinge on sophisticated command, control and communications systems that link the ‘shooters’ and ‘sensors’ together to achieve synergy through network centricity and effects-based operations. It is in this field that

modernisation has been grossly inadequate, particularly in the Indian Army. According to Lt General Noble Thamburaj (retd), former Vice-Chief of Army Staff, the modernisation focus in the 11th Defence Plan, which ends on March 31, 2012, is on “precision firepower, air defence, aviation, Future Infantry Soldier as a System (F-INSAS), infrastructure development, network centricity and achieving battlefield transparency through improved surveillance, and target acquisition… Considering the receding span of technological cycle (sic), the right balance has to be maintained between state-of-art, current and obsolescent technologies.” Despite this clear realisation about achieving the right balance, the Army’s communications systems are still based mostly on obsolescent technologies. Software-based radios and cognitive radios are not even being seriously considered. Though some modern frequency hopping radio sets with integral encryption devices have been introduced into service in recent years, networked communications, which form the ‘backbone’ of an effective command and control system, need substantial upgradation.

26

The Plan AREN system that is designed to ‘roll forward’ and keep pace with offensive operations in the plains, has been in service for almost three decades and is based on outdated and bulky technologies. It is based on outmoded second generation radio relay hubs and has little capacity for data transmission. Requests for Information (RfI) were floated for a Tactical Communication System (TCS) for offensive operations and a Battlefield Management System (BMS) for communication at the tactical level in defensive operations a few years ago. But since then the acquisition process has meandered along and this has resulted in prolonged delays in introducing both these systems into service. The new optical fibre network being laid as an alternative to the 3G spectrum will go a long way in providing modern landline communications. However, future communication systems will need to provide wide-band data capabilities to facilitate the real time transmission of images and battlefield video while on the move. The BMS will be integrated with the Army Static Communications (ASCON) system, which is the backbone communication network of the


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19/03/2012 14:21


Gurmeet Kanwal_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 4:46 PM Page 6

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

Network centric warfare is a concept enabled by information superiority that synergises combat power by the real-time networking of sensors, decision-makers and shooters to achieve shared situational awareness, enhanced quality of decision making and faster tempo of operations.

Army. ASCON provides voice and data links between static headquarters and those in peace-time locations. It is of modular design and can be upgraded.

Offensive Operations

The TCS is a system that is meant for offensive operations – a mobile system that can 'leapfrog' forward as the operation progresses into enemy territory. The offensive operations echelons of the ‘pivot’ or ‘holding’ Corps deployed on the international boundary and the three Strike Corps will be equipped with TCS. The TCS programme has been delayed by more than ten years – the project was originally to have been started in 2000 and was hence called TCS 2000; now it is 2012 and yet the programme has not seen the light of day. The BMS is meant for communications from the battalion headquarters forward to the companies and platoons. It will enable the Commanding Officer to enhance his situational awareness and command his battalion through a secure communications network with built-in redundancy. BMS involves big numbers and will be fielded both in the plains and the mountains. The number of infantry battalions alone is about 350. To this can be added, 60 Rashtriya Rifles and 45 Assam Rifles battalions. When

DSI

Battlefield Surveillance System

armoured, artillery, engineers and signal corps regiments, as also aviation squadrons and the logistics battalions are added, the numbers are really huge. Both TCS and BMS have been categorised as ‘make’ programmes by the Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Defence Minister. This implies that the two systems must be designed and developed in India. The leading contenders are Bharat Electronics Limited, Tata Advanced Systems and Wipro, among others. Indian companies need to invest in developing the required technology and the ability to design and implement robust tactical communications systems. About 70 percent of the required technology will have to be acquired from abroad and overseas companies will play a significant role. MNCs with suitable technologies and the right experience to help as system integrators include General Dynamics, Thales and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company. Indian companies planning to bid for these contracts must carefully evaluate the technological capabilities of these MNCs and how their systems have fared during recent combat operations, the type of experience they have in integrating tactical communications systems and whether they are likely to bring a long term commitment to the Indian projects. The BMS communications system must also be compatible with the Future Infantry

28

Soldier as a system programme. The F-INSAS project focusses on enhancing the lethality and survivability of soldiers. It seeks to transform soldiers into fully networked, mobile warriors with a high degree of situational awareness and the ability to operate in all weather conditions in all types of terrain. The programme envisages equipping infantrymen with lightweight integrated helmets with a ‘head up’ display that has a built-in communication system and night vision goggles, hand-held computer display, Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and lethal fire power, including Laser-guided weapon systems at appropriate levels. The design and development responsibilities for both these programmes need to be clearly defined in order to avoid turf wars between the Infantry Directorate and the Information Systems Directorate in the Army. Little progress has been made towards addressing inter-Service interoperability challenges in the communications field. A tri-Service Defence Communications Network (DCN) is now under development and the proposals which have been received are being evaluated. Cyber security and offensive cyber warfare are other areas that do not appear to have received the attention that they deserve. With China moving rapidly towards creating ‘one million laptop warriors,’ neglecting this field will prove to be very costly in the long-term.


kak aerospace_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:03 PM Page 2

TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

DSI

Villagers in Agra walk past Air Force parachutes

KAPIL KAK

KEY POINTS For India, it’s crucial to combine air and space power because of their enormous importance in the future. n Space, stealth, UAVs/UCAVs and cyber information constitute principal areas in aerospace technology. n Given India’s extended threat spectrum, the demand for new aerospace technologies is enormous. n

AFP

T

FORCE FOR THE FUTURE Technology applications will drive new possibilities in future battle spaces and energise India’s aerospace industry 30

he transformational impact of accelerating technological advances in war-fighting today, especially in the aerospace sector, is universally recognised. Over the last two decades, major regional conflicts have occurred in the Gulf, Kosovo, Kargil, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia and, recently Libya. Barring Afghanistan — given its Pakistan factor — all these conflicts have unquestionably established the preeminence of the vertical dimension, comprising air, near space, space, outer-space and cyber-information. These technology-driven verticals have not only helped achieve military successes in the military campaigns outlined above but their significance in military force application in the future is expected to increase substantially. Even in the Indian context — considering the limited military leveraging of space at present — it’s important to combine air power and space power as one consolidated aerospace power, not only because of the seamlessness of these two areas but their enormous combined importance in the future. In the overall global geo-strategic construct, amidst an almost historic rare stability in relations between the great powers, a power-shift to Asia, the rise of China and the potential emergence of India, and the continued relevance of the cooperation-competition-deterrence-conflict continuum, a few trends in the technologyconflict dyad are discernible. First, technological changes will continue to profoundly impact conventional and

31

sub-conventional war-fighting, even as regular inter-state wars witness far less traction. In fact, limited wars or possibly local border conflicts may well be the norm. Second, technological enablers for an aerospace power will equip the latter to dominate battle-spaces, providing it ‘long legs’ to address the adversary’s multiple centres of gravity in vast geographic spaces with precision, persistence and minimal bloodletting, making it a politically acceptable military instrument. Aerospace power technologies allow targets to be struck simultaneously at tactical, operational and strategic levels — all at the speed of sound. Thirdly, India’s aerospace technological context for force application imperatives can arise because of unresolved territorial disputes with China and accident-prone bilateral relations with its nuclear-armed proxy, Pakistan — a country which regularly receives aerospace technological assistance both from both the US and China. Lastly, the compulsion to secure a vast coastline and maritime areas, extensive land borders and airspaces, increasing assets in space, energy and trade flows and India’s national interests in the strategic neighborhood, from the ‘Hindukush to the Irrawady, Aden to Singapore and Suez to Shanghai’ will inevitably demand a complex and wide-ranging tool kit of technologies for aerospace power application.

Key Technologies In India, the induction of key technologies of information, command and control, penetration and precision in the recent past has been marked by a non-linear, discontinuous aerospace technology change. Among others, the Su-30MKI will proceed from Phalcon-equipped IL-76 AWACS and the IL-78 in-flight refuelling aircraft; unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), aerostats and precision weapons acquisitions will be followed by the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft and the Fifth Generation Aircraft. But what are the major aerospace technologies, specific to the Indian context,


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TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

DSI

Villagers in Agra walk past Air Force parachutes

KAPIL KAK

KEY POINTS For India, it’s crucial to combine air and space power because of their enormous importance in the future. n Space, stealth, UAVs/UCAVs and cyber information constitute principal areas in aerospace technology. n Given India’s extended threat spectrum, the demand for new aerospace technologies is enormous. n

AFP

T

FORCE FOR THE FUTURE Technology applications will drive new possibilities in future battle spaces and energise India’s aerospace industry 30

he transformational impact of accelerating technological advances in war-fighting today, especially in the aerospace sector, is universally recognised. Over the last two decades, major regional conflicts have occurred in the Gulf, Kosovo, Kargil, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia and, recently Libya. Barring Afghanistan — given its Pakistan factor — all these conflicts have unquestionably established the preeminence of the vertical dimension, comprising air, near space, space, outer-space and cyber-information. These technology-driven verticals have not only helped achieve military successes in the military campaigns outlined above but their significance in military force application in the future is expected to increase substantially. Even in the Indian context — considering the limited military leveraging of space at present — it’s important to combine air power and space power as one consolidated aerospace power, not only because of the seamlessness of these two areas but their enormous combined importance in the future. In the overall global geo-strategic construct, amidst an almost historic rare stability in relations between the great powers, a power-shift to Asia, the rise of China and the potential emergence of India, and the continued relevance of the cooperation-competition-deterrence-conflict continuum, a few trends in the technologyconflict dyad are discernible. First, technological changes will continue to profoundly impact conventional and

31

sub-conventional war-fighting, even as regular inter-state wars witness far less traction. In fact, limited wars or possibly local border conflicts may well be the norm. Second, technological enablers for an aerospace power will equip the latter to dominate battle-spaces, providing it ‘long legs’ to address the adversary’s multiple centres of gravity in vast geographic spaces with precision, persistence and minimal bloodletting, making it a politically acceptable military instrument. Aerospace power technologies allow targets to be struck simultaneously at tactical, operational and strategic levels — all at the speed of sound. Thirdly, India’s aerospace technological context for force application imperatives can arise because of unresolved territorial disputes with China and accident-prone bilateral relations with its nuclear-armed proxy, Pakistan — a country which regularly receives aerospace technological assistance both from both the US and China. Lastly, the compulsion to secure a vast coastline and maritime areas, extensive land borders and airspaces, increasing assets in space, energy and trade flows and India’s national interests in the strategic neighborhood, from the ‘Hindukush to the Irrawady, Aden to Singapore and Suez to Shanghai’ will inevitably demand a complex and wide-ranging tool kit of technologies for aerospace power application.

Key Technologies In India, the induction of key technologies of information, command and control, penetration and precision in the recent past has been marked by a non-linear, discontinuous aerospace technology change. Among others, the Su-30MKI will proceed from Phalcon-equipped IL-76 AWACS and the IL-78 in-flight refuelling aircraft; unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), aerostats and precision weapons acquisitions will be followed by the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft and the Fifth Generation Aircraft. But what are the major aerospace technologies, specific to the Indian context,


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TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

AFP

A Navy technician prepares a Heron, an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle, for flight, Porbandar, Gujarat

that are not only expected to drive new possibilities in future battle spaces but truly energise and empower India’s fledgling aerospace industry? The spectrum is indeed wide. But as we will see space, stealth, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), advanced missiles and trans-atmospheric vehicles, miniaturisation and artificial intelligence and information-cyber systems constitute the principal domains. Space Air power and space power missions tend to blur, as routine operations of air power move on to space with increasing technological intensity. Space, being a strategic centre of gravity in any future war, both sides will seek to control space technologically. As the ultimate high ground, it occupies a critical niche in the force application cycle of surveillance and reconnaissance, dominance in navigation of aerial platforms for precision attack and in damage assessment for target re-visits. Of all these, situational awareness constitutes the key as this alone can guard against a ‘space Pearl Harbour’. Many see the inevitability of the weaponisation of space, however remote such a prospect may appear today. This is because China is aggressively pursuing its space weapons capabilities — demonstrated through the anti-satellite (ASAT) test

carried out on January 11, 2007 — in the face of world opinion. India consequently will have no alternative but to defend its satellites, key space assets, against an adversary’s denial of service attacks by ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ kill. To this end, India’s satellite acquisition cycle needs speeding up and dedicated armed forces satellite launches are behind schedule. Joint Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)Air Force (IAF) contingency plans are needed to cater to the rapid launch of satellites to replace those disabled during crisis/conflict situations. The basic challenge to space satellites lies in three areas: ground and space lasers, exoatmospheric electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) and high power microwave. India will need to develop systems for like-to-like deterrence and/or asymmetric counter-technologies against each of these segments. Another emerging trend is that of America vacating outer space and progressively increasing its operations in the low earth orbit (LEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO). As the interdiction threat is a function of target orbit, LEO satellites can be reached by air launched ASATs and space based interceptors and are, thus, more vulnerable than geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites that have higher survivability but are still vulnerable to ASATs.

32

Space-based radars are acquiring greater technological sophistication. Advanced data fusion technologies help collect, analyse and disseminate data from sensors in space, aircraft and UAVs. Furthermore, the placement of micro, mini, milli and nanosatellites in orbit, by manned aircraft or small launch vehicles, to serve as guardians, is a concept that is likely to take more tangible shape. India will need to build specific capabilities in these and related areas, especially ballistic missile defences (BMD), where tracking and attacking missiles in boost phase, post-boost and midcourse stages is only possible through latest aerospace technological solutions. Stealth There are multiple dominant technologies in stealth that enhance survivability and combat effectiveness of fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, high-end strike UCAVs and other systems. Stealth and thrust vectoring are two must-have features in the combat aircraft being designed for the future. As air defences get more challenging, dependence on UAVs/UCAVs will be greater, crucially underling the need for stealth in these platforms as well. Thus, American F-22 and F-35, Chinese J-20 and the Indo-Russian T-50 Fifth Generation combat fighters, as also high-end strike UCAVs, American X-45 and X 7UCAS-D,

European nEUROn and Russian Mig SKAT, all employ maximum stealth configuration. Clearly, stealth technology dictates a new warfare environment in which the key to successful operations will be the reduction of the radar cross-section (RCS). As LEO satellites will be particularly vulnerable, high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV architecture for communication, navigation and surveillance could be an effective option for crisis stability and as a backup. The key to stealth on aircraft to reduce RCS will lie in fuselage shaping, flying wing design, engines buried in aircraft body, on-top placement of intake ducts and extensive employment of composites and radar absorbent materials. India has already taken baby steps in stealth design on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. Confronted by the prospect of aerial stealth proliferation, aerospace powers like India should be on the lookout for counterstealth options. Bi-static radars (passive radars) — in which the transmitter and receiver are at different locations — appear a cost-effective option. For India to deal with

stealth-based air dominance planning she will have to take into account the core technologies unfolding in bi-static radars and ensure she is not caught off guard by shifts in the aerospace technology landscape. There is need for greater prioritisation of R&D in bi-static radar. Millimeter wave radar, ESM — and DF— as also IR/EO — systems are other options. UAV/UCAV Aerospace technologies have propelled UAVs as revolutionary new weapons with an enormous operational potential across a wide spectrum, principally reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence and target attack (RSTA). Not surprisingly, the number of UAVs in the US Armed Forces has increased from 200 at the time of 9/11 to over 70,000 in 2012. The successes of the American Global Hawk, Hellfire missile-armed Predator and RQ 170 Reaper in Iraq and Afghanistan have established UAVs as icons of aerospace power, especially in sub-conventional warfare. Many advanced UCAVs with fighter-equivalent performance, better

DSI

stealth and longer range, like the Boeing X-45A, are in operation. In India, UAVs have been extensively em p l o y e d f o r s u r v e i l l a n c e a n d reconnaissance across wide-ranging terrain, including maritime and coastal patrol. Considering India’s extended threat spectrum, the UAV demand is expected to rise immensely. At the same time, the Indian aerospace industry has acquired substantial capabilities, with the UAVs constituting, if you will, the low- hanging fruit. But it is the challenge of futuristic aerospace technologies which the UAV stakeholders will need to grapple with. Issues of policy, air legislation and ethics also merit attention, especially when target engagement gets done through automation. It has been said: “Even sworn enemies deserve to have an actual person rather than an algorithm make the decision to kill them.” So autonomous UAVs flying in controlled airspace too will raise questions of air legislation. Payloads for emerging UAVs/UCAVs may include air-to-ground missiles, radio


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TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

AFP

A Navy technician prepares a Heron, an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle, for flight, Porbandar, Gujarat

that are not only expected to drive new possibilities in future battle spaces but truly energise and empower India’s fledgling aerospace industry? The spectrum is indeed wide. But as we will see space, stealth, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), advanced missiles and trans-atmospheric vehicles, miniaturisation and artificial intelligence and information-cyber systems constitute the principal domains. Space Air power and space power missions tend to blur, as routine operations of air power move on to space with increasing technological intensity. Space, being a strategic centre of gravity in any future war, both sides will seek to control space technologically. As the ultimate high ground, it occupies a critical niche in the force application cycle of surveillance and reconnaissance, dominance in navigation of aerial platforms for precision attack and in damage assessment for target re-visits. Of all these, situational awareness constitutes the key as this alone can guard against a ‘space Pearl Harbour’. Many see the inevitability of the weaponisation of space, however remote such a prospect may appear today. This is because China is aggressively pursuing its space weapons capabilities — demonstrated through the anti-satellite (ASAT) test

carried out on January 11, 2007 — in the face of world opinion. India consequently will have no alternative but to defend its satellites, key space assets, against an adversary’s denial of service attacks by ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ kill. To this end, India’s satellite acquisition cycle needs speeding up and dedicated armed forces satellite launches are behind schedule. Joint Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)Air Force (IAF) contingency plans are needed to cater to the rapid launch of satellites to replace those disabled during crisis/conflict situations. The basic challenge to space satellites lies in three areas: ground and space lasers, exoatmospheric electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) and high power microwave. India will need to develop systems for like-to-like deterrence and/or asymmetric counter-technologies against each of these segments. Another emerging trend is that of America vacating outer space and progressively increasing its operations in the low earth orbit (LEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO). As the interdiction threat is a function of target orbit, LEO satellites can be reached by air launched ASATs and space based interceptors and are, thus, more vulnerable than geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites that have higher survivability but are still vulnerable to ASATs.

32

Space-based radars are acquiring greater technological sophistication. Advanced data fusion technologies help collect, analyse and disseminate data from sensors in space, aircraft and UAVs. Furthermore, the placement of micro, mini, milli and nanosatellites in orbit, by manned aircraft or small launch vehicles, to serve as guardians, is a concept that is likely to take more tangible shape. India will need to build specific capabilities in these and related areas, especially ballistic missile defences (BMD), where tracking and attacking missiles in boost phase, post-boost and midcourse stages is only possible through latest aerospace technological solutions. Stealth There are multiple dominant technologies in stealth that enhance survivability and combat effectiveness of fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, high-end strike UCAVs and other systems. Stealth and thrust vectoring are two must-have features in the combat aircraft being designed for the future. As air defences get more challenging, dependence on UAVs/UCAVs will be greater, crucially underling the need for stealth in these platforms as well. Thus, American F-22 and F-35, Chinese J-20 and the Indo-Russian T-50 Fifth Generation combat fighters, as also high-end strike UCAVs, American X-45 and X 7UCAS-D,

European nEUROn and Russian Mig SKAT, all employ maximum stealth configuration. Clearly, stealth technology dictates a new warfare environment in which the key to successful operations will be the reduction of the radar cross-section (RCS). As LEO satellites will be particularly vulnerable, high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV architecture for communication, navigation and surveillance could be an effective option for crisis stability and as a backup. The key to stealth on aircraft to reduce RCS will lie in fuselage shaping, flying wing design, engines buried in aircraft body, on-top placement of intake ducts and extensive employment of composites and radar absorbent materials. India has already taken baby steps in stealth design on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. Confronted by the prospect of aerial stealth proliferation, aerospace powers like India should be on the lookout for counterstealth options. Bi-static radars (passive radars) — in which the transmitter and receiver are at different locations — appear a cost-effective option. For India to deal with

stealth-based air dominance planning she will have to take into account the core technologies unfolding in bi-static radars and ensure she is not caught off guard by shifts in the aerospace technology landscape. There is need for greater prioritisation of R&D in bi-static radar. Millimeter wave radar, ESM — and DF— as also IR/EO — systems are other options. UAV/UCAV Aerospace technologies have propelled UAVs as revolutionary new weapons with an enormous operational potential across a wide spectrum, principally reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence and target attack (RSTA). Not surprisingly, the number of UAVs in the US Armed Forces has increased from 200 at the time of 9/11 to over 70,000 in 2012. The successes of the American Global Hawk, Hellfire missile-armed Predator and RQ 170 Reaper in Iraq and Afghanistan have established UAVs as icons of aerospace power, especially in sub-conventional warfare. Many advanced UCAVs with fighter-equivalent performance, better

DSI

stealth and longer range, like the Boeing X-45A, are in operation. In India, UAVs have been extensively em p l o y e d f o r s u r v e i l l a n c e a n d reconnaissance across wide-ranging terrain, including maritime and coastal patrol. Considering India’s extended threat spectrum, the UAV demand is expected to rise immensely. At the same time, the Indian aerospace industry has acquired substantial capabilities, with the UAVs constituting, if you will, the low- hanging fruit. But it is the challenge of futuristic aerospace technologies which the UAV stakeholders will need to grapple with. Issues of policy, air legislation and ethics also merit attention, especially when target engagement gets done through automation. It has been said: “Even sworn enemies deserve to have an actual person rather than an algorithm make the decision to kill them.” So autonomous UAVs flying in controlled airspace too will raise questions of air legislation. Payloads for emerging UAVs/UCAVs may include air-to-ground missiles, radio


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TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

DSI

AFP

Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on display during the Republic Day parade, New Delhi

surveillance equipment, high definition video cameras, communication relays, hyper-spectral imaging, microwave beams and precision bombs among others. Satellite communication links help extend UAV ranges otherwise constrained by line-of-sight. On the other hand HALE UAVs offer an alternative channel to satellites in communication relay over thousands of kilometres. The prospects are endless. Advanced Missiles and Transatmospheric Vehicles One emerging and potentially dominant aerospace technology is that of the hardto-detect, direction-changing stealthy cruise missile that can penetrate target areas in large numbers and strike within feet of its goal forcing aerospace defenders to deal with such precision attackers with little warning. Multiple types of such missiles are being fielded the world over, and militaries are likely to induct these in large numbers as technologies get upgraded and refined. The most exploitable vulnerability of a cruise missile may be its guidance system, generally GPS, whose un-encrypted civil code can be manipulated or signal jammed. The spoofing of terminal seekers (infrared, radar, image or acoustic) can also degrade

the effectiveness of such enemy cruise missiles. Technological solution will have to be found to safeguard cruise missiles against enemy counter-measures. The focus of aerospace technologies is also shifting to trans-atmosphere (20 to 120km or so) vehicles. Here hypersonic missiles — defined as being at least fivetimes the speed of sound (6,124 kmph at sea level) — and trans-atmospheric vehicles will be the game-changers. Marking the trend, the American concept of prompt global strike envisages longrange, depressed-trajectory conventional missiles — land or sea-based — hitting targets anywhere on earth in an hour. Employment of boost-glide technologies on hypersonic payload delivery vehicles (like the American HTV-2) enables these to reach speeds of over 13,000 kmph. Scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) technology missions also hold promise. Technologies of ballistic/cruise missiles and hypersonic trans-atmospheric vehicles are evolving at a breathtaking pace throwing up challenges in the quest for enhanced capabilities. Indian R&D is also engaged in hypersonic vehicle technologies. Technologies will also need to be developed against missiles with manoeuvrable and independently targetable re-entry vehicles that have the potential to counter BMD.

34

Miniaturisation and Artificial Intelligence Miniaturisation and AI are two other technologies growing in functionality, and finding increasing adoption in aerospace power applications. The United States Air Force Research Laboratory is furthering nanotechnology and micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) in such diverse fields as directed energy systems, optical materials, infrared photo-detectors, high yield ‘energetic’ materials for fuels, night vision systems and weapons. Despite inherent technological limitations, Indian defence R&D has also made some impressive forays in these fields. Specifically, UAVs, robotics and night vision systems — which have been addressed indigenously — lend themselves to high-priority and doable value-added miniaturisation. It needs hardly be mentioned that 21st century satellites and aircraft rely on an invention of the 19th century — copper-based electrical wires and cables. Development of electrically optimised carbon nanotube wires and cables (80 percent lighter and more robust) will not only enhance mission capability but help achieve dramatic fuel savings. Some other potential applications as a way forward are ‘shielding’, aircraft lightning protection, nanomembrane-based


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Information and Cyber-Technologies Accretions in information technologies — compared to other domains — appear limitless, with breakthroughs occurring frequently. Their low costs and ready availability enables permeation across all societal transactions. These create vulnerabilities that an adversary can leverage to undertake cyber-attacks against systems, particularly critical infrastructure. This is indeed a new ‘technology war’ with which dedicated Indian security organisations are said to be grappling, and building deterrent capabilities. As in other forms of warfare, cyber warfare too has offensive and defensive components. In the latter, based on cyber intelligence, networks are protected through technological means against hacking by adversaries.

AFP

‘flexible’ electronics Flight operations in missiles, rockets, room of the Global ‘smart’ bombs and Hawk, a weather MEMS-based GPS. reconnaissance AI has come a drone, NASA’s Dryden Flight long way since World Research Centre, War II when robots California were first used to track mines. Research and experimentation continues in areas such as robotic troops, autonomous sniper systems and patrolling robots. India’s R&D has already developed a robotic vehicle, Danksh, which detects and destroys bombs. AI developers have made impressive successes in voice recognition systems, enabling complex avionics, navigation, communications and weapon systems to be checked and modified without human interface. A feature called genetic programming evolves algorithms that map data to a given result when no set formula is known and the variables to a problem increase even up to 50. A genetic powered programme randomly generates ‘expression trees’ to represent various formulas. These are tested against data, the poor ones discarded, and algorithms used to breed the ‘highest fitness tree’ for a given problem. Significantly, AI systems have not transited to battle spaces; this would happen when systems are proven and further refined. As to ‘autonomous’ weapons designed for a ‘predatory’ mission to hunt and kill human beings without human direction or supervision, serious ethical concerns persist. Will non-human combatants be accepted as de rigueur? The jury is still out.

FEBRUARY 2012

India’s aerospace technological context for force application imperatives can arise because of unresolved territorial disputes with China and accident-prone bilateral relations with its nuclear-armed proxy, Pakistan — a country which regularly receives aerospace technological assistance from both the US and China.

36

DSI

Offensively, cyber-technologies can degrade or paralyse an adversary’s network, target his RSTA nodes, insert viruses and corrupt data. This may require integration of network and electronic warfare (EW) systems. It may be recalled that integrated EW and network systems helped the Israeli Air Force on September 6, 2007 to ‘blind’ the Syrian defence radar network and enable a strike force of 18 F-16 aircraft to attack a suspected nuclear reactor without being detected. It has rightly been averred that emerging aerospace technological advances in intelligence, information processing, penetrator platforms and precision targeting will enormously facilitate prosecution of aerospace operations in the years ahead. The first step involves a collection of intelligence on the adversary’s vulnerable areas/points, critical nodes, including communication grids. Employing seminal advances in information processing, involving storage, transfer and filtering, commanders can convert this situational awareness into missions to control and dominate the designated space. Enabled by stealth, hypersonic and/or electronic warfare technologies, aerospace platforms can then penetrate in large numbers and address targets with precision munitions. It needs to be underscored that technologies and doctrines must be in tandem; new and legacy systems require synergy; likewise for concept of operations and supporting organisational structures. Also, rapid technological change will justifiably nudge aerospace planners towards compressing their procurement cycles and training patterns for informationcyber-systems. The dramatic impact of aerospace technological advances on war fighting will continue apace because aerospace power will remain the most politically acceptable instrument of choice for force application. The aerospace technologies spectrum is indeed wide. But as we have seen, space, stealth, UAVs/UCAVs, advanced missiles and trans-atmospheric vehicles, miniaturisation and AI, and informationcyber constitute principal thrust areas. These will not only drive new possibilities in future battle spaces but have the potential to truly energise India’s fledgling aerospace industry.


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RANJIT B. RAI

AT A LOW EBB Despite the 26/11 wake-up call acute shortages of offshore patrol vessels continue KEY POINTS India’s regional responsibilities call for her Navy and Coast Guard to possess adequate maritime assets. n The nation needs many platforms for effective maritime security of its 7,211km-coastline. n The 26/11 Mumbai attack revealed a severe gap in offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). n

N

AFP

A man walks past an elaborate wall mural outside the Indian naval dockyard, Mumbai

38

39

ot many people know it but India is a maritime nation. Yet, since a majority of her people, have not seen the sea, they fail to appreciate the importance of the Indian peninsula that majestically juts into the world’s largest, busiest and resource-rich Ocean. Consider the significance of the seas for India: around 90 percent of India’s external trade, both imports and exports, annually worth over USD 230 billion and increasing, is transported by sea; the prevalence of maritime terrorism and piracy in the region is growing; nations in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) look to India as a democratic


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DSI

RANJIT B. RAI

AT A LOW EBB Despite the 26/11 wake-up call acute shortages of offshore patrol vessels continue KEY POINTS India’s regional responsibilities call for her Navy and Coast Guard to possess adequate maritime assets. n The nation needs many platforms for effective maritime security of its 7,211km-coastline. n The 26/11 Mumbai attack revealed a severe gap in offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). n

N

AFP

A man walks past an elaborate wall mural outside the Indian naval dockyard, Mumbai

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39

ot many people know it but India is a maritime nation. Yet, since a majority of her people, have not seen the sea, they fail to appreciate the importance of the Indian peninsula that majestically juts into the world’s largest, busiest and resource-rich Ocean. Consider the significance of the seas for India: around 90 percent of India’s external trade, both imports and exports, annually worth over USD 230 billion and increasing, is transported by sea; the prevalence of maritime terrorism and piracy in the region is growing; nations in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) look to India as a democratic


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NAVY

Early Neglect For the first 35 years after India’s Independence, shipbuilding — a capital intensive, risk-prone activity dependent on the vagaries of world trade — was classified as a ‘strategic industry’ which meant that licenses to build ships were denied to the private sector. Shortly after 1947, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) took over two large, privately owned shipyards, left behind by the British: Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL), located in (then) Bombay, and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), located in (then) Calcutta. In 1962, the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) a facility left behind by the Portuguese was also taken over. The Ministry of Shipping on its part took over Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) at Vishakapatnam from the Scindia business group and later in 1969 built Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) with help from Mitsubishi of Japan, primarily for merchant shipbuilding. Typically, these huge public sector undertakings (PSUs) were controlled from South Block and Parivahan Bhavan in New Delhi. As the costs of building warships by these monolithic PSUs escalated, their manufacturing timelines too stretched interminably. This shortsighted policy to deny the private sector exists till today. Permission to construct warships are continuously given to PSUs, despite five private shipyards having come up and Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s promise to allow a level playing field to both PSUs and

Between 1981 and 1989 MDL has built seven 1,200 tonne Vikramclass OPVs for the ICG. Realising the need for bigger and more modern vessels India has ordered and received its first three naval 2,000-tonne unarmed Sukanya-class Advanced OPVs from Busan in 1989, and subsequently has built four more on that design at HSL, Vishakapatnam, in two years flat, proving that there really is no rocket science involved in building OPVs.

private industry for naval and Coast Guard (CG) orders. However, slowly a realisation has dawned that the nation needs many more platforms for the effective maritime security of its 7,211km coastline and far-flung islands. Old methods of shipbuilding need to be replaced by newer, faster modular methods, swifter and transparent ordering procedures and competition has to be urgently thrown open to private players. Besides, it has been established that competitive shipbuilding and ship exports boost the revenues of a nation and provides large-scale employment, a path taken by Japan, South Korea and China whose Governments have provided initial incentives and subsidies to encourage shipbuilding.

Jack of All Trades The acronym, OPV, is given to any offshore patrol vessel which conducts offshore activities. Its size can vary from 45 metres in length to around 105 metres and it weighs

40

DSI

When the glaring absences of OPVs in Bombay High patrols were questioned by the Oil Natural Gas Commission under whose account OPVs were sanctioned to protect crucial oil rigs, patrols were augmented by simply renting fishing boats and equipping them with naval crews and communications. (Post 26/ 11, all fleet ships have been ordered to transit and patrol Bombay High and display their presence every time they depart or arrive Mumbai for exercises.)

Favoured Competition

Clicking a Naval Coast Guard vessel, off Mumbai Port

between 300 tonnes (the minimum tonnage for an ocean-going vessel) to 3,000 tonnes. Known as the Jack of all trades, OPVs have become the preferred economical choice of Navies and Coast Guards for the variety of roles they can perform. They can be engaged in SAR missions, in coastal antiterrorism and anti-piracy patrols, border and oil rig surveillance, coast along the undemarcated India-Pakistan border, are useful in anti-smuggling activities and protect the 2.1 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which currently extends upto 200 nautical miles. OPVs can also be fitted out with equipment to control oil spills, execute hydrographic and minesweeping duties and can be employed in low intensity conflict. Designed for multiple roles, OPVs can also be fitted with sonar equipment, carry underwater unmanned vessels (UUVs) for mine-sweeping and anti-submarine duties. OPVs can also be design-built for hydrographic duties with UUVs.

Glaring Deficiency Despite their criticality, the glaring absence of OPVs in India’s coastal patrol and security have been all too apparent particularly when Mumbai, India’s financial centre, bore the brunt of the 26/11 attack in 2008. Ten Pakistani suicide Laskar-e-Taiba attackers from the seas landed at Cuffe Parade’s fishermen’s beach in a rubber dinghy and held a city to ransom, killing 164 innocents. The 26/11 assault has tragically shown up the gap in the OPVs, intelligence and vigil efforts — on land and at sea. There is a common consensus that the shortage of OPVs had escalated the situation. The shortfall of this vessel has been detailed in many documents in the past. According to the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-2007 ), it requires 175 ships and 221 aircraft for effective patrolling of the EEZ and coastal and shallow waters. Against this, as of January 2008, the ICG has only 68 ships/vessels and 45 aircraft for the EEZ and International Maritime Boundary Line

patrolling. Compared to the force levels of 122 vessels envisaged in the Seventh FiveYear Plan (1985-2000), as of December 2010, the ICG possessed only 65 percent of that required force level. The shortage of OPVs for patrolling further shrunk when India transferred three AOPVs to Sri Lanka in 2000. These included the Navy’s INS Sharayu (renamed SLNS Sayura), and Coast Guard’s ICGS Vigraha. (The SLNS Sayura has since returned last year to Kochi). Further, cutting into the inventory, the Navy has also converted two OPVs: The INS Subhadra, which doubled as the President’s Yacht for the December 2011 President’s Fleet Review and the INS Sukhanya used to fire single 300km Dhanush nuclear capable missiles by an ingenious vertically launched system devised by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd. OPVs have also been deployed for training duties with the Navy’s training squadron and cadet and midshipmen training ships.

41

AFP

and strong maritime power able to maintain the stability and security of the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) and ensure that coastal security is not threatened. India is also mandated by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to undertake Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts in 4.6 million sq km of the IOR, an area 50 percent more than that of India’s total landmass. Clearly then, the responsibilities that devolve on India call for her Navy and Coast Guard to possess maritime assets in adequate numbers. Unfortunately, with the seat of power, New Delhi located 800km away from the seas maritime matters fail to get the attention they deserve. Even today, an assortment of ten ministries and agencies deal with maritime security issues all working in different directions without a single nodal point of control.

APRIL 2012

Now a comprehensive plan to compete for orders for warships and OPVS has encouraged private shipyards to set up shipbuilding yards. Five modern private shipyards have arrived on the scene: ABG at Surat and Dabhol, Bharti Shipyard Ltd at Ratnagiri and Goa, Pipavav Shipyard Ltd (PSL) in Gujarat, L&T Ltd at Hazira and a new yard up at Tutapuli near Ennore. A level playing field for Naval and Coast Guard orders was announced and ABG, which had bagged orders for three, 3,300-tonne Pollution Control OPVs in 2004 with Rolls Royce propulsion, brought Swan Hunter facilities from the UK and set up a plant in Goa. Still, final ordering has been mired with a clear tilt towards PSUs, dilatory tactics and legal entanglements. Between 1981 and 1989, MDL built seven 1,200 tonne Vikram-class OPVs for the ICG. Realising the need for bigger and more modern OPVs India has ordered and received its first three naval 2,000-tonne unarmed Sukanya-class Advanced OPVs (AOPVs) from Busan in 1989, and subsequently has built four more on that design at HSL, Vishakapatnam in two years flat, proving that there really is no rocket science involved in building AOPVs. On its part, the IN is building four, 2,500-tonne anti-submarine warfare Offshore Patrol Vessels in Project 28 at GRSE and eight, 500-tonne Catamaran OPVs for hydrographic survey vessels at Alock Ashdown Ltd in Gujarat with Konsberg Huggins. (The IN plans to use UUVs in experimental and classified roles). DCNS of France, at its own cost, has designed and delivered the first economical multi-purpose OPV in the GOWIND series, named L’Adroit, with a small Austrian Schibel Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (AUV) to the French Navy, which has employed the platform in anti-piracy


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NAVY

Early Neglect For the first 35 years after India’s Independence, shipbuilding — a capital intensive, risk-prone activity dependent on the vagaries of world trade — was classified as a ‘strategic industry’ which meant that licenses to build ships were denied to the private sector. Shortly after 1947, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) took over two large, privately owned shipyards, left behind by the British: Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL), located in (then) Bombay, and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), located in (then) Calcutta. In 1962, the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) a facility left behind by the Portuguese was also taken over. The Ministry of Shipping on its part took over Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) at Vishakapatnam from the Scindia business group and later in 1969 built Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) with help from Mitsubishi of Japan, primarily for merchant shipbuilding. Typically, these huge public sector undertakings (PSUs) were controlled from South Block and Parivahan Bhavan in New Delhi. As the costs of building warships by these monolithic PSUs escalated, their manufacturing timelines too stretched interminably. This shortsighted policy to deny the private sector exists till today. Permission to construct warships are continuously given to PSUs, despite five private shipyards having come up and Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s promise to allow a level playing field to both PSUs and

Between 1981 and 1989 MDL has built seven 1,200 tonne Vikramclass OPVs for the ICG. Realising the need for bigger and more modern vessels India has ordered and received its first three naval 2,000-tonne unarmed Sukanya-class Advanced OPVs from Busan in 1989, and subsequently has built four more on that design at HSL, Vishakapatnam, in two years flat, proving that there really is no rocket science involved in building OPVs.

private industry for naval and Coast Guard (CG) orders. However, slowly a realisation has dawned that the nation needs many more platforms for the effective maritime security of its 7,211km coastline and far-flung islands. Old methods of shipbuilding need to be replaced by newer, faster modular methods, swifter and transparent ordering procedures and competition has to be urgently thrown open to private players. Besides, it has been established that competitive shipbuilding and ship exports boost the revenues of a nation and provides large-scale employment, a path taken by Japan, South Korea and China whose Governments have provided initial incentives and subsidies to encourage shipbuilding.

Jack of All Trades The acronym, OPV, is given to any offshore patrol vessel which conducts offshore activities. Its size can vary from 45 metres in length to around 105 metres and it weighs

40

DSI

When the glaring absences of OPVs in Bombay High patrols were questioned by the Oil Natural Gas Commission under whose account OPVs were sanctioned to protect crucial oil rigs, patrols were augmented by simply renting fishing boats and equipping them with naval crews and communications. (Post 26/ 11, all fleet ships have been ordered to transit and patrol Bombay High and display their presence every time they depart or arrive Mumbai for exercises.)

Favoured Competition

Clicking a Naval Coast Guard vessel, off Mumbai Port

between 300 tonnes (the minimum tonnage for an ocean-going vessel) to 3,000 tonnes. Known as the Jack of all trades, OPVs have become the preferred economical choice of Navies and Coast Guards for the variety of roles they can perform. They can be engaged in SAR missions, in coastal antiterrorism and anti-piracy patrols, border and oil rig surveillance, coast along the undemarcated India-Pakistan border, are useful in anti-smuggling activities and protect the 2.1 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which currently extends upto 200 nautical miles. OPVs can also be fitted out with equipment to control oil spills, execute hydrographic and minesweeping duties and can be employed in low intensity conflict. Designed for multiple roles, OPVs can also be fitted with sonar equipment, carry underwater unmanned vessels (UUVs) for mine-sweeping and anti-submarine duties. OPVs can also be design-built for hydrographic duties with UUVs.

Glaring Deficiency Despite their criticality, the glaring absence of OPVs in India’s coastal patrol and security have been all too apparent particularly when Mumbai, India’s financial centre, bore the brunt of the 26/11 attack in 2008. Ten Pakistani suicide Laskar-e-Taiba attackers from the seas landed at Cuffe Parade’s fishermen’s beach in a rubber dinghy and held a city to ransom, killing 164 innocents. The 26/11 assault has tragically shown up the gap in the OPVs, intelligence and vigil efforts — on land and at sea. There is a common consensus that the shortage of OPVs had escalated the situation. The shortfall of this vessel has been detailed in many documents in the past. According to the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-2007 ), it requires 175 ships and 221 aircraft for effective patrolling of the EEZ and coastal and shallow waters. Against this, as of January 2008, the ICG has only 68 ships/vessels and 45 aircraft for the EEZ and International Maritime Boundary Line

patrolling. Compared to the force levels of 122 vessels envisaged in the Seventh FiveYear Plan (1985-2000), as of December 2010, the ICG possessed only 65 percent of that required force level. The shortage of OPVs for patrolling further shrunk when India transferred three AOPVs to Sri Lanka in 2000. These included the Navy’s INS Sharayu (renamed SLNS Sayura), and Coast Guard’s ICGS Vigraha. (The SLNS Sayura has since returned last year to Kochi). Further, cutting into the inventory, the Navy has also converted two OPVs: The INS Subhadra, which doubled as the President’s Yacht for the December 2011 President’s Fleet Review and the INS Sukhanya used to fire single 300km Dhanush nuclear capable missiles by an ingenious vertically launched system devised by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd. OPVs have also been deployed for training duties with the Navy’s training squadron and cadet and midshipmen training ships.

41

AFP

and strong maritime power able to maintain the stability and security of the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) and ensure that coastal security is not threatened. India is also mandated by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to undertake Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts in 4.6 million sq km of the IOR, an area 50 percent more than that of India’s total landmass. Clearly then, the responsibilities that devolve on India call for her Navy and Coast Guard to possess maritime assets in adequate numbers. Unfortunately, with the seat of power, New Delhi located 800km away from the seas maritime matters fail to get the attention they deserve. Even today, an assortment of ten ministries and agencies deal with maritime security issues all working in different directions without a single nodal point of control.

APRIL 2012

Now a comprehensive plan to compete for orders for warships and OPVS has encouraged private shipyards to set up shipbuilding yards. Five modern private shipyards have arrived on the scene: ABG at Surat and Dabhol, Bharti Shipyard Ltd at Ratnagiri and Goa, Pipavav Shipyard Ltd (PSL) in Gujarat, L&T Ltd at Hazira and a new yard up at Tutapuli near Ennore. A level playing field for Naval and Coast Guard orders was announced and ABG, which had bagged orders for three, 3,300-tonne Pollution Control OPVs in 2004 with Rolls Royce propulsion, brought Swan Hunter facilities from the UK and set up a plant in Goa. Still, final ordering has been mired with a clear tilt towards PSUs, dilatory tactics and legal entanglements. Between 1981 and 1989, MDL built seven 1,200 tonne Vikram-class OPVs for the ICG. Realising the need for bigger and more modern OPVs India has ordered and received its first three naval 2,000-tonne unarmed Sukanya-class Advanced OPVs (AOPVs) from Busan in 1989, and subsequently has built four more on that design at HSL, Vishakapatnam in two years flat, proving that there really is no rocket science involved in building AOPVs. On its part, the IN is building four, 2,500-tonne anti-submarine warfare Offshore Patrol Vessels in Project 28 at GRSE and eight, 500-tonne Catamaran OPVs for hydrographic survey vessels at Alock Ashdown Ltd in Gujarat with Konsberg Huggins. (The IN plans to use UUVs in experimental and classified roles). DCNS of France, at its own cost, has designed and delivered the first economical multi-purpose OPV in the GOWIND series, named L’Adroit, with a small Austrian Schibel Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (AUV) to the French Navy, which has employed the platform in anti-piracy


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NAVY

APRIL 2012

Legal Wrangles and Delays

operations off Somalia as a cheaper option than large warships. Malaysia has also ordered similar OPVs. Clearly, the global OPV market is growing fast. In India, between the Indian Navy and the ICGS, they have 17 OPVs of varying sizes on order worth ` 12,000 crore (USD 2.6 billion); there is also a plan to place orders for 13 more large AOPVs for the Coast Guard which has already been approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), post-26/11. Five Naval OPVs, with 76mm Otto-Melara gun and systems for the Navy, have been approved by the Cabinet Council for National Security (CCNS) and the DAC for which a global tender was released last March. Seven contenders responded with tender bids and by June, Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Company Ltd, owned by SKIL Infrastructure, was selected as the preferred lowest (L1) bidder at ` 2,800 crore for the construction of five, 110-metre, 2,500-tonne displacement AOPVs designed by the St Petersburg-based Severnoye Design Bureau. However, as this is the first warship order to a private yard the modalities of how the weapon supplies will take place and whether similar support like the Navy provides to PSUs will be forthcoming are posing challenges as is the escalation in the rupee-dollar value.

Growing Piracy

Suspected Somali pirates on board an Indian Coast Guard ship, off Mumbai’s coast

To rectify its inability to patrol at night, the ICGS has begun procuring ELBIT Systems-built CoMPASS (compact multipurpose advanced stabilised system) for its seven, 270-tonne extra-fast patrol vessels (XFPV) and twenty, 260-tonne fast patrol vessels (FPV), all of which were built by Goa Shipyard Ltd. Twelve Griffon 8000TD hovercraft, to add to the six with the CG,

42

AFP

The need for OPVs to combat piracy is also growing. Increasing incidents of piracy in the Horn of Africa continue apace with pirates having moved operations to off the Lakshadweep group of islands in the southern Arabian Sea. ICG’s OPVs have had to be called in and the Navy has begun a crash programme to upgrade all-weather maritime surveillance capabilities of its coastal maritime patrol aircraft and fast attack craft as there is a shortage of OPVs. Naval platforms are already involved in pirate activities off the coast of Somalia and to escort merchant navy convoys along the IMO’s Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor. Speaking at Naval War College late last year, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma stated that 1,800 merchant men have been escorted by the IN over the last few years and according to latest reports, 35 Indian seamen are still in the captivity of Somalian pirates.

DSI

have also been ordered from. The IN is also accelerating its efforts to raise the Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) for force protection functions at naval harbours. The SPB force will comprise 1,000 personnel (61 officers and 939 sailors) and 80 fast interceptor craft (FIC), worth an estimated USD 500 million, from the Sri Lanka-based Solas Marine, of which

31 will be based in Mumbai, 12 in Kochi, 23 in Vishakhapatnam and 10 in Andaman and Nicobar. Nearly two years ago, the MoD inked a contract with France’s Chantier Naval Couach to acquire 15 FIC-1,300 vessels, which will be in addition to the 80 FICs (Motomarine SA-built Hellraiser and Invader) approved earlier for the SPB.

New CG stations have been sanctioned and a new Gujarat Regional Commander and organisaion set up at Ahmedabad. A squadron of Israeli-supplied Heron and Searcher Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAVs) are operating from Porbandar. The CG has ordered the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)designed Nishant UAVs.

43

Despite their criticality, at many levels — ICG Headquarters, MoD and the Union Ministry of Finance — there have been many legal and procedural delays in ordering OPVs. The non-utilisation of the Defence Budget due to the slow progress of construction of ships by the MoD-owned shipyards has been a major stumbling block forcing the surrender of ` 120 crore in 2008-2009. By the end of the Tenth Plan period, even though the ICG had activated 23 coast guard stations, a large number of these stations continue to function with infrastructural deficiencies. Post 26/11, the Government of India had sanctioned 14 new stations in a span of 18 months between June 2009 and November 2010 but shortfalls in vessels were yet to be made good as of December 2010 at most of the stations. Legal cases have further hindered the OPV programme. Controversies were unleashed when, despite L&T being the L1 for 20 Coast Guard Offshore Fast Patrol Vessels (OFPVs) the order went to CSL. Justifying their decision the MoD stated L&T’s bid was “non-responsive” and had used exchange rate variation (ERV), which was not permitted, and since CSL was L2 it nabbed the contract. The reality is that L&T had withdrawn its ERV clause. Four shipyards had succeeded in their technical bids and their quotes are revealing. While L&T quoted ` 66.68 crore per boat; CSL had quoted ` 69.89 crore; GRSE quoted ` 76.1 crore, GSL had quoted ` 94.17 crore and HSL quoted ` 109.41. The numbers showed how varied the bids were. They became public when L&T challenged the MoD’s decision in the Delhi High Court. Losing their case after long arguments L&T had to pay legal costs of ` 700,00 to both the MoD and CSL. The case put a damper on the manner in which future orders were being handled by the MoD. Arguably, the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security — the apex committee that monitors naval intelligence network, linking 51 nodes of the IN and ICG to achieve a "common operational picture’’ and the acquisition of assets, has its work cut out. Nearly four years after 26/11, we still have to achieve tangible results. Most likely, the Navy and Coast Guard, encumbered with its lack of platforms, will be red-faced yet again if another attack takes place.


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NAVY

APRIL 2012

Legal Wrangles and Delays

operations off Somalia as a cheaper option than large warships. Malaysia has also ordered similar OPVs. Clearly, the global OPV market is growing fast. In India, between the Indian Navy and the ICGS, they have 17 OPVs of varying sizes on order worth ` 12,000 crore (USD 2.6 billion); there is also a plan to place orders for 13 more large AOPVs for the Coast Guard which has already been approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), post-26/11. Five Naval OPVs, with 76mm Otto-Melara gun and systems for the Navy, have been approved by the Cabinet Council for National Security (CCNS) and the DAC for which a global tender was released last March. Seven contenders responded with tender bids and by June, Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Company Ltd, owned by SKIL Infrastructure, was selected as the preferred lowest (L1) bidder at ` 2,800 crore for the construction of five, 110-metre, 2,500-tonne displacement AOPVs designed by the St Petersburg-based Severnoye Design Bureau. However, as this is the first warship order to a private yard the modalities of how the weapon supplies will take place and whether similar support like the Navy provides to PSUs will be forthcoming are posing challenges as is the escalation in the rupee-dollar value.

Growing Piracy

Suspected Somali pirates on board an Indian Coast Guard ship, off Mumbai’s coast

To rectify its inability to patrol at night, the ICGS has begun procuring ELBIT Systems-built CoMPASS (compact multipurpose advanced stabilised system) for its seven, 270-tonne extra-fast patrol vessels (XFPV) and twenty, 260-tonne fast patrol vessels (FPV), all of which were built by Goa Shipyard Ltd. Twelve Griffon 8000TD hovercraft, to add to the six with the CG,

42

AFP

The need for OPVs to combat piracy is also growing. Increasing incidents of piracy in the Horn of Africa continue apace with pirates having moved operations to off the Lakshadweep group of islands in the southern Arabian Sea. ICG’s OPVs have had to be called in and the Navy has begun a crash programme to upgrade all-weather maritime surveillance capabilities of its coastal maritime patrol aircraft and fast attack craft as there is a shortage of OPVs. Naval platforms are already involved in pirate activities off the coast of Somalia and to escort merchant navy convoys along the IMO’s Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor. Speaking at Naval War College late last year, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma stated that 1,800 merchant men have been escorted by the IN over the last few years and according to latest reports, 35 Indian seamen are still in the captivity of Somalian pirates.

DSI

have also been ordered from. The IN is also accelerating its efforts to raise the Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) for force protection functions at naval harbours. The SPB force will comprise 1,000 personnel (61 officers and 939 sailors) and 80 fast interceptor craft (FIC), worth an estimated USD 500 million, from the Sri Lanka-based Solas Marine, of which

31 will be based in Mumbai, 12 in Kochi, 23 in Vishakhapatnam and 10 in Andaman and Nicobar. Nearly two years ago, the MoD inked a contract with France’s Chantier Naval Couach to acquire 15 FIC-1,300 vessels, which will be in addition to the 80 FICs (Motomarine SA-built Hellraiser and Invader) approved earlier for the SPB.

New CG stations have been sanctioned and a new Gujarat Regional Commander and organisaion set up at Ahmedabad. A squadron of Israeli-supplied Heron and Searcher Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAVs) are operating from Porbandar. The CG has ordered the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)designed Nishant UAVs.

43

Despite their criticality, at many levels — ICG Headquarters, MoD and the Union Ministry of Finance — there have been many legal and procedural delays in ordering OPVs. The non-utilisation of the Defence Budget due to the slow progress of construction of ships by the MoD-owned shipyards has been a major stumbling block forcing the surrender of ` 120 crore in 2008-2009. By the end of the Tenth Plan period, even though the ICG had activated 23 coast guard stations, a large number of these stations continue to function with infrastructural deficiencies. Post 26/11, the Government of India had sanctioned 14 new stations in a span of 18 months between June 2009 and November 2010 but shortfalls in vessels were yet to be made good as of December 2010 at most of the stations. Legal cases have further hindered the OPV programme. Controversies were unleashed when, despite L&T being the L1 for 20 Coast Guard Offshore Fast Patrol Vessels (OFPVs) the order went to CSL. Justifying their decision the MoD stated L&T’s bid was “non-responsive” and had used exchange rate variation (ERV), which was not permitted, and since CSL was L2 it nabbed the contract. The reality is that L&T had withdrawn its ERV clause. Four shipyards had succeeded in their technical bids and their quotes are revealing. While L&T quoted ` 66.68 crore per boat; CSL had quoted ` 69.89 crore; GRSE quoted ` 76.1 crore, GSL had quoted ` 94.17 crore and HSL quoted ` 109.41. The numbers showed how varied the bids were. They became public when L&T challenged the MoD’s decision in the Delhi High Court. Losing their case after long arguments L&T had to pay legal costs of ` 700,00 to both the MoD and CSL. The case put a damper on the manner in which future orders were being handled by the MoD. Arguably, the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security — the apex committee that monitors naval intelligence network, linking 51 nodes of the IN and ICG to achieve a "common operational picture’’ and the acquisition of assets, has its work cut out. Nearly four years after 26/11, we still have to achieve tangible results. Most likely, the Navy and Coast Guard, encumbered with its lack of platforms, will be red-faced yet again if another attack takes place.


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TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

THE LONG MARCH TO TECHNOLOGY

VIJAY OBEROI

KEY POINTS Attaining information superiority on the battlefield leads to heightened situational awareness. n Due to technology, military operations are shifting from being linear to being dynamic. n Despite technological innovations in communications and surveillance, hierarchy in the forces is still present. n

New technologies imply a challenge to the existing order — a gain for some and a loss to others

“So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu in The Art of War arfare over the past 60 years or so, and especially in the last two decades, has undergone dramatic changes. There is increased battlefield transparency in the Tactical Battle Area (TBA) at all levels. It has changed the entire context of surveillance, intelligence gathering, engagement of targets and decision support systems. Timely and accurate availability of information increases its value manifolds and results in sound decision-making. Attaining information superiority on the battlefield leads to heightened situational awareness, enables quick decision-making and builds a high tempo of operations. The linking of sensors to decision support systems and shooters needs sound communications and shortens the sensorto-shooter cycle, resulting in degrading the enemy’s capability to fight a cohesive battle. This translates into a multitude of communication networks, ranging from the core network to the field networks in the forward zones or a network of networks that permits smooth flow of information. The modern battlefield requires a comprehensive Battlefield Management System (BMS), which is made up of a number of systems, of which the command and control and decision support systems

Maratha light infantry regiment contingent during a Republic Day parade rehearsal, New Delhi

AFP

W

44

DSI

45

are the hub. Battlefield sensor systems, weapon systems against land and aerial targets, electronic warfare systems and battle space management systems feed the command and control and decision systems. These systems are interconnected for effective communications, resulting in better situational awareness and synchronised operational information. The modern battlefield requires near instantaneous distribution of a large amount of information and intelligence, which enables Army units and formations to share a common operational picture. This is done by the networking of the force, also known as Network Centric Warfare (NCW), which results in significantly improved capabilities for sharing and accessing information and intelligence gathered by varying surveillance devices. The characteristics of NCW are speed, precision, knowledge and innovation. A somewhat truncated version of NCW is known as Network-Enabled Capability. With the current technological base and organisational structures of the Indian Army (IA), it is perhaps a more suitable model for us. Current Status The needs of the TBA communications and surveillance systems are security, portability, deployability, reliability and interoperability. The IA falls short in many of these parametres, as the structures of communications and surveillance in the TBA continue to be non-centric, although the Army has been developing modern communications and surveillance systems for many years now. The IA is still a distance away from the time when soldiers in the TBA will have a small hand-held universal pocket device or a global desktop, with multi-media facilities, supported by mobile tactical communication systems, as part of an overall network of networks. However, the present structures suffer from the following drawbacks: n Lack of secure and robust connectivity and interoperability.


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TECHNOLOGY

APRIL 2012

THE LONG MARCH TO TECHNOLOGY

VIJAY OBEROI

KEY POINTS Attaining information superiority on the battlefield leads to heightened situational awareness. n Due to technology, military operations are shifting from being linear to being dynamic. n Despite technological innovations in communications and surveillance, hierarchy in the forces is still present. n

New technologies imply a challenge to the existing order — a gain for some and a loss to others

“So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu in The Art of War arfare over the past 60 years or so, and especially in the last two decades, has undergone dramatic changes. There is increased battlefield transparency in the Tactical Battle Area (TBA) at all levels. It has changed the entire context of surveillance, intelligence gathering, engagement of targets and decision support systems. Timely and accurate availability of information increases its value manifolds and results in sound decision-making. Attaining information superiority on the battlefield leads to heightened situational awareness, enables quick decision-making and builds a high tempo of operations. The linking of sensors to decision support systems and shooters needs sound communications and shortens the sensorto-shooter cycle, resulting in degrading the enemy’s capability to fight a cohesive battle. This translates into a multitude of communication networks, ranging from the core network to the field networks in the forward zones or a network of networks that permits smooth flow of information. The modern battlefield requires a comprehensive Battlefield Management System (BMS), which is made up of a number of systems, of which the command and control and decision support systems

Maratha light infantry regiment contingent during a Republic Day parade rehearsal, New Delhi

AFP

W

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are the hub. Battlefield sensor systems, weapon systems against land and aerial targets, electronic warfare systems and battle space management systems feed the command and control and decision systems. These systems are interconnected for effective communications, resulting in better situational awareness and synchronised operational information. The modern battlefield requires near instantaneous distribution of a large amount of information and intelligence, which enables Army units and formations to share a common operational picture. This is done by the networking of the force, also known as Network Centric Warfare (NCW), which results in significantly improved capabilities for sharing and accessing information and intelligence gathered by varying surveillance devices. The characteristics of NCW are speed, precision, knowledge and innovation. A somewhat truncated version of NCW is known as Network-Enabled Capability. With the current technological base and organisational structures of the Indian Army (IA), it is perhaps a more suitable model for us. Current Status The needs of the TBA communications and surveillance systems are security, portability, deployability, reliability and interoperability. The IA falls short in many of these parametres, as the structures of communications and surveillance in the TBA continue to be non-centric, although the Army has been developing modern communications and surveillance systems for many years now. The IA is still a distance away from the time when soldiers in the TBA will have a small hand-held universal pocket device or a global desktop, with multi-media facilities, supported by mobile tactical communication systems, as part of an overall network of networks. However, the present structures suffer from the following drawbacks: n Lack of secure and robust connectivity and interoperability.


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TECHNOLOGY n

n n

n

n

Continued adherence to a vertical hierarchical structure. Although the implications of a vastly changed battlefield are well understood, we have not been able to develop suitable systems for fielding in the TBA. Planning to fight the last war. Inadequate investments in rapidly changing technology. Not exploiting the strengths of the private sector and non-reliance on customised off-the-shelf systems. Favouring the status quo on account of the obvious comfort levels.

Three Domains The relationship between information and combat is well-known. However, the challenge has always been as to how it can be maximised. All military operations are conducted in three domains. Two of these — the physical domain and the domain of the mind are well-known and understood. The physical domain is where attack, defence and manoeuvre occur. Elements of this domain are easy to measure, for example lethality and survivability. But the domain of the mind is where battles are won and lost. This is the domain of the intangibles: leadership, morale, unit cohesion, level of training and experience, public opinion and so on. Key attributes of these intangibles have remained relatively constant. The third domain is that of information. It is this domain which is now increasing combat power in a broad range of operations. Information impacts at all levels of war, be they strategic, operational art or tactical. Information in the Army comes from a variety of sources, including from intelligence agencies, but a substantial and direct source is various types of surveillance. The second essential element for getting information is communications, without which it is not possible to pass information to anyone. In simplistic terms, it is the combination of surveillance and means of communications that falls under the rubric of the well-known, though comparatively recent phrase — NCW. Protagonists of network centric warfare assert that there is a strong correlation between information sharing, improved situational awareness and significantly increased combat power. Increasingly, information superiority, like air superiority, is being emphasised as a necessary condition for the conduct of successful operations. Information

AFP

n

APRIL 2012

An Army officer works on an enhanced tactical computer; (left) Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a night-vision enabled helmet

superiority is created when one side is able to establish a superior information position vis-a-vis an adversary and the preferred tool today is NCW. A network centric force has the capability to share and exchange information among dispersed elements of the force, whether they are sensors, shooters, decision makers or supporting organisations. Such linkages achieve better decision-making in battle. This results in a common tactical picture. Better networked forces may well be the key to the future battlefield. Network centric forces synchronise their efforts from the bottom-up, to achieve dramatically increased combat power. This ability provides commanders with increased flexibility to employ their forces, to generate desired effects, especially at the tactical level. NCW thus provides commanders with an improved capability for dictating the sequence of battle and the nature of engagements, controlling force ratios and rapidly foreclosing enemy’s courses of action.

46

On account of the impact of technology, operations are shifting from being linear to being dynamic, multi-directional and automatic. Units and formations will need to be task-oriented and should have the ability to move freely on the battlefield. Communications, including data acquisition, transmission, processing and display will have to be quick, without interruption between the different media employed. Thus, networking is a combat support system and is aimed at making the Army more effective in battle. There are some negatives too, for example decision-making via networks may cause information overload, command gridlocks and even a degree of chaos in operations. In some respects, it is posible that networked technologies may amplify uncertainty. While technology can deliver a greater quantity of accurate data, the decision loop involved might be so radically shortened that response time may be reduced to a bare minimum.

Networks are complex systems that, unlike hierarchies, thrive on connectivity, flattened command structures and ‘peer-topeer’ nodes of communications. As network complexity increases, solutions to problems in one node are likely to require parallel adjustments to behaviour in other nodes. Attitudinal Changes Increase in information sharing has the potential to create dramatic improvements in both the Army and joint war fighting capabilities. Exploiting this potential will require new tactics, techniques and procedures. This will be achieved by investing in networks, and by education and training of soldiers who operate the networks and fight another networked force. Training joint and combined forces that have compatible networking capabilities is important to the development of new tactics, techniques and procedures. Networked technologies open access to what is always rare in warfare — information.

Networked technologies open access to what is always rare in warfare — information. Technology alone is counterproductive, as it might lead to a narrow approach towards change. Networking doctrine emphasises the need for a process of constant innovation. If technology is to be implemented successfully, then personnel policies will also require significant changes. This is especially true in our context as the entry-level qualifications of our soldiers are still fairly low.

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Technology alone is counter-productive, as it might lead to a narrow approach towards change. Networking doctrine emphasises the need for a process of constant innovation. If technology is to be implemented successfully, then personnel policies will also require significant changes. This is especially true in our context as the entry-level qualifications of our soldiers are still fairly low. All new technologies represent a challenge to an existing social order and imply gain for some constituencies and loss for others. Since the results of networked technologies are likely to have their greatest impact on the sociology of military organisations, the greatest challenges that the Indian Army will face are likely to be cultural, in the form of introducing changes in thinking and behaviour and not necessarily technology. While developing an increasingly networked force, we need a multi-disciplined intellectual approach, so that the dilemma of decision-making should be devolved to machines when that decision-making vitally affects the lives and limbs of soldiers on the battlefield. Existing attitudes and beliefs about how battles are to be conducted may well be the biggest impediment in achieving network centric capabilities. Despite technological innovations in the fields of both communications and surveillance, hierarchy is not yet dead. It will, however be under pressure to change in a networked environment. The IA currently conforms to an organisational philosophy of vertically integrated command and control. This organisational system reduces uncertainty as it specifies how individuals, sub-units, units and formations should act, as well as their relationship to others. In a hierarchy, people reduce their uncertainty about why to act and what to do by reducing all the available information to only that which they need to perform a task at their level and in their specialisation. Transition to a network-enabled force requires an organisational system that increases the productive capacity of the subordinates by maximising individual and variable human intellectual effort. The choice is difficult but unless we bite the bullet there is a great danger of professional hara-kiri. The Army needs to concentrate on adopting the advantages of a networked force rapidly, as it readies itself for the modern battlefield.


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TECHNOLOGY n

n n

n

n

Continued adherence to a vertical hierarchical structure. Although the implications of a vastly changed battlefield are well understood, we have not been able to develop suitable systems for fielding in the TBA. Planning to fight the last war. Inadequate investments in rapidly changing technology. Not exploiting the strengths of the private sector and non-reliance on customised off-the-shelf systems. Favouring the status quo on account of the obvious comfort levels.

Three Domains The relationship between information and combat is well-known. However, the challenge has always been as to how it can be maximised. All military operations are conducted in three domains. Two of these — the physical domain and the domain of the mind are well-known and understood. The physical domain is where attack, defence and manoeuvre occur. Elements of this domain are easy to measure, for example lethality and survivability. But the domain of the mind is where battles are won and lost. This is the domain of the intangibles: leadership, morale, unit cohesion, level of training and experience, public opinion and so on. Key attributes of these intangibles have remained relatively constant. The third domain is that of information. It is this domain which is now increasing combat power in a broad range of operations. Information impacts at all levels of war, be they strategic, operational art or tactical. Information in the Army comes from a variety of sources, including from intelligence agencies, but a substantial and direct source is various types of surveillance. The second essential element for getting information is communications, without which it is not possible to pass information to anyone. In simplistic terms, it is the combination of surveillance and means of communications that falls under the rubric of the well-known, though comparatively recent phrase — NCW. Protagonists of network centric warfare assert that there is a strong correlation between information sharing, improved situational awareness and significantly increased combat power. Increasingly, information superiority, like air superiority, is being emphasised as a necessary condition for the conduct of successful operations. Information

AFP

n

APRIL 2012

An Army officer works on an enhanced tactical computer; (left) Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a night-vision enabled helmet

superiority is created when one side is able to establish a superior information position vis-a-vis an adversary and the preferred tool today is NCW. A network centric force has the capability to share and exchange information among dispersed elements of the force, whether they are sensors, shooters, decision makers or supporting organisations. Such linkages achieve better decision-making in battle. This results in a common tactical picture. Better networked forces may well be the key to the future battlefield. Network centric forces synchronise their efforts from the bottom-up, to achieve dramatically increased combat power. This ability provides commanders with increased flexibility to employ their forces, to generate desired effects, especially at the tactical level. NCW thus provides commanders with an improved capability for dictating the sequence of battle and the nature of engagements, controlling force ratios and rapidly foreclosing enemy’s courses of action.

46

On account of the impact of technology, operations are shifting from being linear to being dynamic, multi-directional and automatic. Units and formations will need to be task-oriented and should have the ability to move freely on the battlefield. Communications, including data acquisition, transmission, processing and display will have to be quick, without interruption between the different media employed. Thus, networking is a combat support system and is aimed at making the Army more effective in battle. There are some negatives too, for example decision-making via networks may cause information overload, command gridlocks and even a degree of chaos in operations. In some respects, it is posible that networked technologies may amplify uncertainty. While technology can deliver a greater quantity of accurate data, the decision loop involved might be so radically shortened that response time may be reduced to a bare minimum.

Networks are complex systems that, unlike hierarchies, thrive on connectivity, flattened command structures and ‘peer-topeer’ nodes of communications. As network complexity increases, solutions to problems in one node are likely to require parallel adjustments to behaviour in other nodes. Attitudinal Changes Increase in information sharing has the potential to create dramatic improvements in both the Army and joint war fighting capabilities. Exploiting this potential will require new tactics, techniques and procedures. This will be achieved by investing in networks, and by education and training of soldiers who operate the networks and fight another networked force. Training joint and combined forces that have compatible networking capabilities is important to the development of new tactics, techniques and procedures. Networked technologies open access to what is always rare in warfare — information.

Networked technologies open access to what is always rare in warfare — information. Technology alone is counterproductive, as it might lead to a narrow approach towards change. Networking doctrine emphasises the need for a process of constant innovation. If technology is to be implemented successfully, then personnel policies will also require significant changes. This is especially true in our context as the entry-level qualifications of our soldiers are still fairly low.

47

DSI

Technology alone is counter-productive, as it might lead to a narrow approach towards change. Networking doctrine emphasises the need for a process of constant innovation. If technology is to be implemented successfully, then personnel policies will also require significant changes. This is especially true in our context as the entry-level qualifications of our soldiers are still fairly low. All new technologies represent a challenge to an existing social order and imply gain for some constituencies and loss for others. Since the results of networked technologies are likely to have their greatest impact on the sociology of military organisations, the greatest challenges that the Indian Army will face are likely to be cultural, in the form of introducing changes in thinking and behaviour and not necessarily technology. While developing an increasingly networked force, we need a multi-disciplined intellectual approach, so that the dilemma of decision-making should be devolved to machines when that decision-making vitally affects the lives and limbs of soldiers on the battlefield. Existing attitudes and beliefs about how battles are to be conducted may well be the biggest impediment in achieving network centric capabilities. Despite technological innovations in the fields of both communications and surveillance, hierarchy is not yet dead. It will, however be under pressure to change in a networked environment. The IA currently conforms to an organisational philosophy of vertically integrated command and control. This organisational system reduces uncertainty as it specifies how individuals, sub-units, units and formations should act, as well as their relationship to others. In a hierarchy, people reduce their uncertainty about why to act and what to do by reducing all the available information to only that which they need to perform a task at their level and in their specialisation. Transition to a network-enabled force requires an organisational system that increases the productive capacity of the subordinates by maximising individual and variable human intellectual effort. The choice is difficult but unless we bite the bullet there is a great danger of professional hara-kiri. The Army needs to concentrate on adopting the advantages of a networked force rapidly, as it readies itself for the modern battlefield.


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GENDER

APRIL 2012

DSI

SONIA TRIKHA SHUKLA

MUCH LESS THAN

MEETS THE EYE After 19 years of women being inducted into the Air Force, their presence on the frontline is still considered unacceptable

KEY POINTS n There are less than 3 percent women officers in the Army; 3 percent in the Navy and 7 percent in the IAF. n Women in the IAF, unlike their male counterparts, are not qualified to fly fighter planes. n Women officers are not given the same opportunity to attend training courses as male officers.

A

t the height of winter in December 2011, two officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) created history by becoming the first women pilots to land their aircraft on two of the world’s most difficult runways. Squadron Leader Teji Uppal landed her transport plane, AN-32 at the strategic airstrip, Daulat Beg Oldie located at an altitude of 16,200 ft above sea level on the India-China border. Veena Saharan landed her IL-76 military transport plane at the 10,600 ft-high Leh airfield. Despite these feats, the IAF will not allow women in combat roles or to fly their fighter aircraft.

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AFP

(Facing page) Wing Commander Neelu Khatri with her colleagues; Flight Lt Sneha Shekhawat leads a contingent of 144 airmen during the Republic Day parade, New Delhi

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Sonia shuklas_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:36 PM Page 2

GENDER

APRIL 2012

DSI

SONIA TRIKHA SHUKLA

MUCH LESS THAN

MEETS THE EYE After 19 years of women being inducted into the Air Force, their presence on the frontline is still considered unacceptable

KEY POINTS n There are less than 3 percent women officers in the Army; 3 percent in the Navy and 7 percent in the IAF. n Women in the IAF, unlike their male counterparts, are not qualified to fly fighter planes. n Women officers are not given the same opportunity to attend training courses as male officers.

A

t the height of winter in December 2011, two officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) created history by becoming the first women pilots to land their aircraft on two of the world’s most difficult runways. Squadron Leader Teji Uppal landed her transport plane, AN-32 at the strategic airstrip, Daulat Beg Oldie located at an altitude of 16,200 ft above sea level on the India-China border. Veena Saharan landed her IL-76 military transport plane at the 10,600 ft-high Leh airfield. Despite these feats, the IAF will not allow women in combat roles or to fly their fighter aircraft.

48

AFP

(Facing page) Wing Commander Neelu Khatri with her colleagues; Flight Lt Sneha Shekhawat leads a contingent of 144 airmen during the Republic Day parade, New Delhi

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GENDER Nineteen years ago, on January 4, 1993, Neelu Khatri marched out of the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad. She was an officer and not a gentleman. She was among the first batch of women officers to be inducted, not as a doctor or a nurse, but as a regular member of the armed forces. They were not aviators, that was to come a yearand-a-half later, but they were proud to be wearing the uniform. Wing Commander Neelu Khatri was inducted on a short-service commission of five years that was extended to 14 years. The women in the IAF were not allowed to fly back then, but they could work as non-technical ground staff in the education, administration and logistics streams. Khatri chose logistics. Six months later, the IAF admitted women as engineers. Another two courses and one year down the line, women were allowed to enter as pilots in the IAF. But they could only fly transport planes and helicopters. After 19 years and many reviews and committees later — essentially that is where things stand for women in the IAF. In a post-feminist age, it seems almost unfashionable to talk about equal rights for women. But there it is. And women in the IAF, unlike their male counterparts, are not qualified to fly fighter planes and women in the armed forces are not qualified to enter in combat roles. It is a strange irony, in a country where the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is a woman, women are not soldiers and women officers are not permitted to go to battle. That is the central issue and while it may appear to be a straightforward matter of giving women parity in the armed forces, the debate surrounding it is far from simple. There are less than three percent women officers in the Army, just three percent women officers in the Navy and nearly seven percent women officers in the IAF, and for them the road to parity is long and uphill. For them, even if they were able to claim a place in combat roles their struggle will not be over because their real fight is in their day-to-day jobs and routine postings. Women in the armed forces now have permanent commissions but they still don’t feel equal to their male counterparts, unlike women in other private sector jobs. Reshma Singh retired in 2004 after serving for ten years in the IAF in the logistics stream and has worked with Air Deccan and Deccan Cargo before joining

APRIL 2012

As another International Women’s Day goes by, and we recall women who led the first war of Independence like Rani Laxmibai and those who were at the forefront of the Indian freedom movement like Sarojini Naidu, it seems strange that even after 19 years of the induction of women officers in defence services their presence in the forefront of the field is unpalatable.

Lufthansa Technik. She maintains, “I don’t ask for or get any special favours as a woman in the corporate world.” Khatri too is a successful corporate woman, the Head of Defence Advisory Services of KPMG, who takes equal opportunity at her work place as her right. But that wasn’t always the case in her earlier work environment. In the IAF, Khatri says: “We were treated like puppets and the refrain from my bosses before every posting was, ‘I don’t want a woman officer,’” And when she finally got to her posting, she would be given meaningless jobs, usually in areas where she served in an ornamental capacity, such as in parades for visiting VIPs. But for women like Khatri, this was a huge disappointment. They had joined the service to fight for the country but instead ended up fighting the system. In 1998-99, Khatri fought for and became the first woman officer to get herself posted to Leh. During the Kargil

50

Flight Lt. Nevedita Choudhary at Mt Everest

war, as a logistics officer she was offloading IL-76 transport planes. Posting a woman officer to a field station like Leh was considered too bold because a woman would not be comfortable there. Khatri’s another colleague was being denied a flying assignment to Agra because she would have to share a room with two boys. That officer went on the flight and shared the room with the boys by just putting up a curtain and dividing the room. But having fought the system, Khatri was able to prove herself as good as, or even better than her male colleagues. From 2004 to 2007, Khatri was posted in Delhi and her unit was in charge of the preparations for Republic Day Parade. At 2 a.m. in the dead of winter, her Commanding Officer asked her to transport some materials. This posed a dilemma because she was a single parent with two young boys but at no stage did it occur to her that she could ask for a reprieve. She says, “I bundled up my two

boys in a truck and off we went into the night. It was a great adventure for them and they remember it to this day.’’ Khatri’s Commanding Officer, then Group Captain Prem Raj, was so impressed by her dedication that he often said: “Neelu is the only man in my unit.” Apart from people like Khatri, there are others who have broken barriers and excelled in male dominated streams in the IAF. The IAF has an all women six-member sky-diving team led by Wing Commander Asha Jyothirmai. In May 2011, three women officers of the IAF climbed Mt Everest — Flight Lt. Nevedita Choudhary, Sqn Ldr Nirupama Pandey and Flight Lt. Rajika Sharma. But despite these fantastic achievements, women within the IAF still have a very hard time being taken seriously. Khatri was a mountaineer and a car and bike rallyist during her tenure in the IAF but she still had to fight to be given any serious responsibility. On one

posting where she was made in charge of rations, Khatri willfully committed a traffic offence by speeding past and overtaking an Air Commodore’s flag car in her motorcycle. She did it so that she would be called in for an explanation and then she could ask the senior officer for a job with more responsibility. Contrast that with women in other armed forces like the United States and Israel where they handle offensive weapons not just as officers but also as soldiers. In Britain, women are eligible for almost 96 percent of all jobs in the Royal Air Force.

Why Are Women Kept Out? But for everyone who is convinced that the women officers are as good as their male counterparts, there are many more who remain unconvinced in India. Group Captain (retd) Rajan Bhasin thinks women officers are very good but he says that in his entire career in the IAF he did not meet a single

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woman whom he thought could have flown a fighter plane. He further explains: “I think women officers have the mental toughness to fly fighters but they would be wanting in physical endurance. If you want women in fighter planes then you must first create the systems to test their fitness for them.” For women in the IAF who have seen their colleagues do sky diving and climb Mount Everest, flying a fighter plane does not seem an insurmountable challenge. Major General (retd) Mrinal Suman has written extensively on the issue of women in the Armed Forces. According to him, “India has limited experience as regards to induction of women in the Armed Forces. The first batch had joined in 1992. Therefore, our knowledge of the complexities and long-term effects of the issues involved is highly limited. On the other hand, women have been serving in the militaries of developed countries for a long time. These countries have acquired a deep understanding of all the issues involved. Suman’s conclusion is that India must relearn all that the developed world has learnt. He believes that for cultural reasons women officers in India must not be exposed to combat roles. There are several reasons according to him, but in the final balance the Indian Army is not ready for women officers in combat arms because societal and cultural ethos continue to be mired in sex discrimination. Lt Colonel Asha Kale was commissioned into the Army in 1994 and after serving 14 years she too feels women are not suitable for combat roles because the Indian male soldier will not accept a woman as a commander in battle. But as a woman who is discriminated against, Kale has a solution to that problem: If men don’t accept women as commanders then we should raise all women units for combat roles. According to Bhasin, at least in the IAF, fighter pilots are at the forefront of battle and run the risk of being taken prisoners of war in combat, “I don’t think women can be subjected to that.” People who argue against that say all women may not qualify for combat roles but they must have the opportunity to compete for those positions. Khatri says: “Women like me who come from small towns and modest backgrounds break barriers when we join the armed forces so it is not hard for me to take it further and work as an equal among men”.


Sonia shuklas_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:36 PM Page 4

GENDER Nineteen years ago, on January 4, 1993, Neelu Khatri marched out of the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad. She was an officer and not a gentleman. She was among the first batch of women officers to be inducted, not as a doctor or a nurse, but as a regular member of the armed forces. They were not aviators, that was to come a yearand-a-half later, but they were proud to be wearing the uniform. Wing Commander Neelu Khatri was inducted on a short-service commission of five years that was extended to 14 years. The women in the IAF were not allowed to fly back then, but they could work as non-technical ground staff in the education, administration and logistics streams. Khatri chose logistics. Six months later, the IAF admitted women as engineers. Another two courses and one year down the line, women were allowed to enter as pilots in the IAF. But they could only fly transport planes and helicopters. After 19 years and many reviews and committees later — essentially that is where things stand for women in the IAF. In a post-feminist age, it seems almost unfashionable to talk about equal rights for women. But there it is. And women in the IAF, unlike their male counterparts, are not qualified to fly fighter planes and women in the armed forces are not qualified to enter in combat roles. It is a strange irony, in a country where the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is a woman, women are not soldiers and women officers are not permitted to go to battle. That is the central issue and while it may appear to be a straightforward matter of giving women parity in the armed forces, the debate surrounding it is far from simple. There are less than three percent women officers in the Army, just three percent women officers in the Navy and nearly seven percent women officers in the IAF, and for them the road to parity is long and uphill. For them, even if they were able to claim a place in combat roles their struggle will not be over because their real fight is in their day-to-day jobs and routine postings. Women in the armed forces now have permanent commissions but they still don’t feel equal to their male counterparts, unlike women in other private sector jobs. Reshma Singh retired in 2004 after serving for ten years in the IAF in the logistics stream and has worked with Air Deccan and Deccan Cargo before joining

APRIL 2012

As another International Women’s Day goes by, and we recall women who led the first war of Independence like Rani Laxmibai and those who were at the forefront of the Indian freedom movement like Sarojini Naidu, it seems strange that even after 19 years of the induction of women officers in defence services their presence in the forefront of the field is unpalatable.

Lufthansa Technik. She maintains, “I don’t ask for or get any special favours as a woman in the corporate world.” Khatri too is a successful corporate woman, the Head of Defence Advisory Services of KPMG, who takes equal opportunity at her work place as her right. But that wasn’t always the case in her earlier work environment. In the IAF, Khatri says: “We were treated like puppets and the refrain from my bosses before every posting was, ‘I don’t want a woman officer,’” And when she finally got to her posting, she would be given meaningless jobs, usually in areas where she served in an ornamental capacity, such as in parades for visiting VIPs. But for women like Khatri, this was a huge disappointment. They had joined the service to fight for the country but instead ended up fighting the system. In 1998-99, Khatri fought for and became the first woman officer to get herself posted to Leh. During the Kargil

50

Flight Lt. Nevedita Choudhary at Mt Everest

war, as a logistics officer she was offloading IL-76 transport planes. Posting a woman officer to a field station like Leh was considered too bold because a woman would not be comfortable there. Khatri’s another colleague was being denied a flying assignment to Agra because she would have to share a room with two boys. That officer went on the flight and shared the room with the boys by just putting up a curtain and dividing the room. But having fought the system, Khatri was able to prove herself as good as, or even better than her male colleagues. From 2004 to 2007, Khatri was posted in Delhi and her unit was in charge of the preparations for Republic Day Parade. At 2 a.m. in the dead of winter, her Commanding Officer asked her to transport some materials. This posed a dilemma because she was a single parent with two young boys but at no stage did it occur to her that she could ask for a reprieve. She says, “I bundled up my two

boys in a truck and off we went into the night. It was a great adventure for them and they remember it to this day.’’ Khatri’s Commanding Officer, then Group Captain Prem Raj, was so impressed by her dedication that he often said: “Neelu is the only man in my unit.” Apart from people like Khatri, there are others who have broken barriers and excelled in male dominated streams in the IAF. The IAF has an all women six-member sky-diving team led by Wing Commander Asha Jyothirmai. In May 2011, three women officers of the IAF climbed Mt Everest — Flight Lt. Nevedita Choudhary, Sqn Ldr Nirupama Pandey and Flight Lt. Rajika Sharma. But despite these fantastic achievements, women within the IAF still have a very hard time being taken seriously. Khatri was a mountaineer and a car and bike rallyist during her tenure in the IAF but she still had to fight to be given any serious responsibility. On one

posting where she was made in charge of rations, Khatri willfully committed a traffic offence by speeding past and overtaking an Air Commodore’s flag car in her motorcycle. She did it so that she would be called in for an explanation and then she could ask the senior officer for a job with more responsibility. Contrast that with women in other armed forces like the United States and Israel where they handle offensive weapons not just as officers but also as soldiers. In Britain, women are eligible for almost 96 percent of all jobs in the Royal Air Force.

Why Are Women Kept Out? But for everyone who is convinced that the women officers are as good as their male counterparts, there are many more who remain unconvinced in India. Group Captain (retd) Rajan Bhasin thinks women officers are very good but he says that in his entire career in the IAF he did not meet a single

51

DSI

woman whom he thought could have flown a fighter plane. He further explains: “I think women officers have the mental toughness to fly fighters but they would be wanting in physical endurance. If you want women in fighter planes then you must first create the systems to test their fitness for them.” For women in the IAF who have seen their colleagues do sky diving and climb Mount Everest, flying a fighter plane does not seem an insurmountable challenge. Major General (retd) Mrinal Suman has written extensively on the issue of women in the Armed Forces. According to him, “India has limited experience as regards to induction of women in the Armed Forces. The first batch had joined in 1992. Therefore, our knowledge of the complexities and long-term effects of the issues involved is highly limited. On the other hand, women have been serving in the militaries of developed countries for a long time. These countries have acquired a deep understanding of all the issues involved. Suman’s conclusion is that India must relearn all that the developed world has learnt. He believes that for cultural reasons women officers in India must not be exposed to combat roles. There are several reasons according to him, but in the final balance the Indian Army is not ready for women officers in combat arms because societal and cultural ethos continue to be mired in sex discrimination. Lt Colonel Asha Kale was commissioned into the Army in 1994 and after serving 14 years she too feels women are not suitable for combat roles because the Indian male soldier will not accept a woman as a commander in battle. But as a woman who is discriminated against, Kale has a solution to that problem: If men don’t accept women as commanders then we should raise all women units for combat roles. According to Bhasin, at least in the IAF, fighter pilots are at the forefront of battle and run the risk of being taken prisoners of war in combat, “I don’t think women can be subjected to that.” People who argue against that say all women may not qualify for combat roles but they must have the opportunity to compete for those positions. Khatri says: “Women like me who come from small towns and modest backgrounds break barriers when we join the armed forces so it is not hard for me to take it further and work as an equal among men”.


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APRIL 2012

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The Fight From Within

Women officers like Singh and Khatri who have succeeded outside the Armed Forces in an environment that provides equal opportunity for them don’t think that all women in the IAF would necessarily succeed. Khatri further adds: “Unlike in the corporate world where some 20 percent of the people are very good and some 20 percent are very poor and the rest 60 percent make up the middle ground, in the IAF, I found some 20 percent of the women are very good but the rest are all very poor, the middle ground is missing.” Suman underlines that women may not be popular in the Armed Forces because many female officers use their status to get preferential treatment in postings and in duties. Khatri understands that if you have a large section of women officers of very poor calibre then they will load the argument away from giving them serious

Air Force Wing Commander Asha Jyothirmai during the Air Devil parachute display, Hyderabad

responsibilities. But she blames the lack of a middle ground in an organisational structure that does not put enough pressure on them to succeed. For Khatri, it is not a question of whether women are capable or not, but of giving them serious work and responsibility so that they have the attitude needed to perform. Kale believes women are not deemed competent to command units but in actual fact they are only not capable because they are not given the opportunities to attend training courses in the same way as male officers. She further adds: “There is a deliberate move not to allow women to grow in the Army because the Army only has a shortfall of officers up to the rank of Lt. Colonel, and male officers don’t want women to enter the fray and make the competition tougher.” But the lady officers are not giving up the fight. If they are not allowed to go to the battlefronts they are willing to fight the system from within. In the Army and the

52

Air Force, there are hundreds of women officers who are fighting cases in courts for their extensions in service. Despite all these obstacles, however, people like Khatri and Kale don’t regret joining the forces. “A large part of my success is because of my training and experience in the IAF,” says Khatri with a ring of pride in her voice. As another International Women’s Day comes and goes, and we recall women who led the first war of Independence like Rani Laxmibai, and those who were at the forefront of the Indian freedom movement, like Sarojini Naidu and others, Indian women who have been in top leadership positions in politics, even women who have been in space like Kalpana Chawla, it seems so strange that even after 19 years of the induction of women officers in the defence services India still finds their presence in the forefront of the field unpalatable and we still have controversies and vehement debates around this subject.

AFP

In a post-feminist age, it seems almost unfashionable to talk about equal rights for women. Women in the Armed Forces are not qualified to enter combat roles. It is a strange irony, in a country where the Commander-inChief of the Armed Forces is a woman, women are not soldiers and they are not permitted to go to battle.


216X276.indd 1

16/03/12 10:18 AM


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ENERGY SECURITY

APRIL 2012

Global developments can cause oil supply disruptions and trigger price hikes impacting India’s energy security, severely affecting the country’s economy

SHYAM SARAN

KEY POINTS n India is an energy-poor nation with 400 million Indians still without access to commercial energy. n India is vulnerable to disruptions in the global energy markets due to political factors and natural disasters. n There is a need to build up a strategic oil reserve and urgently push through energy reforms.

minerals or commodities in general. The world’s population is already seven billion and slated to reach nine billion by midcentury. The pressure on finite resources will only intensify. The continuing rapid growth of continental size economies, such as China and India, will ensure a sharpening competition for resources world-wide. This is already evident in the case of energy resources. The longer-term trends described above are impacting the global energy markets but in the recent past these markets themselves have been threatened with disruption on account of political factors and natural calamities. How vulnerable is India to such developments? According to Planning Commission documents: India currently imports 76 percent of its oil and this figure is slated to reach over 90 percent by 2030-31. Seventy percent of this oil comes from the Gulf, chiefly Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE and Kuwait. While imports of natural gas are currently placed at 20 percent of total consumption, this may double by 2030-31. India already imports 20 percent of its total coal requirements at present but this is estimated to rise sharply to 66 percent or even 75 percent by 2030-31. India’s total power generation capacity which is currently around 170,000MW, must rise to 800,000MW by 2030-3. (Some estimates place required capacity at 900,000MW by that date). This would still be largely coal-based thermal power. Oil is a key source for any modern, industrial economy, though gas is becoming a more plentiful and costeffective alternative. For India, oil supplies are still tied to the traditional Gulf suppliers and little progress has been made to diversify the sources of supplies. As a

LIGHTS OFF!

T

he availability of affordable energy is likely to become one of the most significant constraints on India’s ability to sustain a GDP growth rate of 8-9 percent per annum over the next several decades. This is the minimum required to achieve poverty eradication and modest living standards for a population likely to reach 1.4 billion by the year 203031. Among major emerging economies, India is the most energy-poor, with 400 million Indians still without access to commercial energy. Nor is India blessed with significant domestic endowments of energy resources, its considerable coal reserves notwithstanding. The inevitable result is an increasing dependence upon imports. This may not have mattered a great deal in a globalised economy with efficient energy markets. However, we are living in an increasingly resource constrained world where the rapid rise in demand for energy is only the most acute aspect of the rise in demand for resources in general, whether land, water, raw materials,

• • •

54

DSI

A woman switches on a light powered by solar energy in Morabandar, near Mumbai

55


shyam saran_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:42 PM Page 2

ENERGY SECURITY

APRIL 2012

Global developments can cause oil supply disruptions and trigger price hikes impacting India’s energy security, severely affecting the country’s economy

SHYAM SARAN

KEY POINTS n India is an energy-poor nation with 400 million Indians still without access to commercial energy. n India is vulnerable to disruptions in the global energy markets due to political factors and natural disasters. n There is a need to build up a strategic oil reserve and urgently push through energy reforms.

minerals or commodities in general. The world’s population is already seven billion and slated to reach nine billion by midcentury. The pressure on finite resources will only intensify. The continuing rapid growth of continental size economies, such as China and India, will ensure a sharpening competition for resources world-wide. This is already evident in the case of energy resources. The longer-term trends described above are impacting the global energy markets but in the recent past these markets themselves have been threatened with disruption on account of political factors and natural calamities. How vulnerable is India to such developments? According to Planning Commission documents: India currently imports 76 percent of its oil and this figure is slated to reach over 90 percent by 2030-31. Seventy percent of this oil comes from the Gulf, chiefly Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE and Kuwait. While imports of natural gas are currently placed at 20 percent of total consumption, this may double by 2030-31. India already imports 20 percent of its total coal requirements at present but this is estimated to rise sharply to 66 percent or even 75 percent by 2030-31. India’s total power generation capacity which is currently around 170,000MW, must rise to 800,000MW by 2030-3. (Some estimates place required capacity at 900,000MW by that date). This would still be largely coal-based thermal power. Oil is a key source for any modern, industrial economy, though gas is becoming a more plentiful and costeffective alternative. For India, oil supplies are still tied to the traditional Gulf suppliers and little progress has been made to diversify the sources of supplies. As a

LIGHTS OFF!

T

he availability of affordable energy is likely to become one of the most significant constraints on India’s ability to sustain a GDP growth rate of 8-9 percent per annum over the next several decades. This is the minimum required to achieve poverty eradication and modest living standards for a population likely to reach 1.4 billion by the year 203031. Among major emerging economies, India is the most energy-poor, with 400 million Indians still without access to commercial energy. Nor is India blessed with significant domestic endowments of energy resources, its considerable coal reserves notwithstanding. The inevitable result is an increasing dependence upon imports. This may not have mattered a great deal in a globalised economy with efficient energy markets. However, we are living in an increasingly resource constrained world where the rapid rise in demand for energy is only the most acute aspect of the rise in demand for resources in general, whether land, water, raw materials,

• • •

54

DSI

A woman switches on a light powered by solar energy in Morabandar, near Mumbai

55


shyam saran_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:43 PM Page 4

ENERGY SECURITY

developments in this area are:

The deepening crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme (see pg 60), with the US and EU tightening sanctions against the country and Iran threatening to react by sealing the Hormuz Straits, through which the bulk of the world’s oil supplies are shipped both east and west. An armed conflict involving Iran could easily spread to other countries. Sanctions against Iran are already affecting our purchase of oil from the country. The continuing spread of the Arab Spring, which has its origin in popular and democratic upsurge amongst the Arab populace and may result in the empowerment of fundamentalist Islamic forces rather than liberal elements. There is continuing political unrest in Egypt and Libya despite the overthrow of autocratic regimes. The Syrian government of President Assad is under assault by opposition groups that are being aided by Arab countries and the West, as a means to isolate its ally Iran. A Shia-Sunni divide is being added to the existing layers of ethnic, tribal, denominational and other conflicts. All these developments have the potential to trigger oil supply disruptions as well as precipitious price hikes which will not only impact India’s energy security but severely affect the country’s economy in general.

Contingency Plans There is then an urgent need to put in place contingency plans to meet such a crisis so that we avoid the experience of 1990 when the economy was brought to its knees by the first Gulf War. This should include a rapid build up of a strategic oil reserve which has been mooted but not seriously pursued. We should use the prospect of such a crisis to push through energy reforms, including the rationalisation of oil and gas prices, bringing them in alignment with international prices. India will be ill-prepared to face another ‘oil shock’ if it continues with its enormously wasteful practice of heavily subsidising diesel, kerosene and fertilisers.

To ensure India’s energy security both in the short-and long-term, an integrated approach is essential. There is no single Energy Ministry or a national agency to consider energy strategies, energy pricing and investments at home and abroad across different energy sources. There is no coordination of inter-se prices of different fuels, which generates distortions in the market. The sooner an Energy Ministry is set up, bringing together the currently independent sectoral ministries, the better it will be.

According to one estimate, oil subsidies were `53,000 crore in the first three quarters of this year while fertiliser subsidies may be double the budgeted amount of ` 50,000 crore. The difference between subsidised price of kerosene (`14.83 per litre) and its market price (`40 per litre) has been rising leading to increased arbitrage and diversion for adulteration. In the medium-term there is need to diversify sources of oil supplies from the Gulf to producers in Africa, Latin America as also Asia. India and Russia have often talked about an energy partnership to reinforce their strategic partnership. Should not that be pursued with vigour? Wherever it makes economic sense, Indian oil majors should tie up long-term

56

DSI

inefficient subsidy regime, the power situation in the country will improve dramatically. Improved power supply at rationalised tariffs will restore the financial health of state electricity supply utilities, several of which are bankrupt and also begin to free up the very costly diesel based captive power which the corporate sector is compelled to resort to because of unpredictable and low quality grid power. Such captive power is estimated at 25,000-30,000MW! Investments can then be made in improving transmission and distribution (T&D) systems where current losses are nearly 30 percent of total generation. If these losses can be brought down to even 10 percent there will be no power crisis in India. Only consider, South Korea has T&D losses of a meagre three percent.

Old King Coal

An employee in St. Petersburg polishes the interior of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power reactor for the Kudankulam power plant

arrangements with reliable suppliers and invest in oil exploration and refinery projects world-wide. This will provide the country with a wider set of options in the future such as mutually beneficial swap arrangements. It may also be worthwhile to examine whether in several applications, more easily available gas could not replace oil as a fuel of choice. Let us now look at some other components of India’s energy security. Recent developments in the coal-based thermal power sector, which accounts for over 50 percent of current electricity generation in the country, point to the challenges this sector will confront in the coming years. The Planning Commission, in its Approach Paper for the 12th Five Year

Plan, has estimated that the deficit in coal supplies during the Plan will be 200 million tonnes which will need to be imported. Domestic coal production is lagging behind the demand from the power sector and controversies over environmental degradation in coal-bearing forest areas, means that there will be serious constraints over exploiting local reserves. Some Indian companies like Tatas, Reliance and the Adani Group, have invested in coal mines in Australia and Indonesia but have recently been hit by price and tax increases. The falling rupee has not helped. Unless timely and effective measures are taken there will be serious shortfalls in meeting the target of thermal power during the 12th Plan and beyond.

What can be done in the short term to deal with the looming power crisis? The crisis presents an opportunity to bite the bullet and implement power tariff reforms which have been pending for years. While power for industrial use is one of the highest in the world, power for agricultural and domestic use is heavily subsidised. Furthermore there is no variable tariff regime to meet variations in power demand. The creation of new capacity does not take into account the anticipated changes in the mix of base load and peaking power demand so that new capacity will be out of sync with emerging demand pattern. By rationalising the power tariff regime, eliminating the distortions caused by a politically motivated but thoroughly

57

AFP

result, we have become extremely vulnerable to both supply disruptions and price spirals due to the political turmoil within countries of the region and rising tensions among them. Some key

APRIL 2012

In the long run it will be necessary to invest in technologies that can significantly increase efficiency of coal combustion from the current 36-38 percent to 46-48 percent in ultra supercritical thermal plants. This will not only give more MW power per tonne of coal used but also generate lower carbon emissions. Under its Clean Coal Mission, the government is setting up an indigenous prototype ultra supercritical plant using technology originally developed in India’s fast breeder reactor programme. Another route to increasing the efficiency of coal combustion is through the application of gasification and liquefaction technologies, including in situ gasification. Under the Clean Coal Mission, a public/private partnership initiative is currently being formulated to pursue this. The natural gas situation in India and globally is more optimistic. Recent discoveries of gas reserves in the country have provided some breathing space until the rising curve of demand takes hold. International gas prices have halved in the past year due to a large volume of shale gas coming on stream in the US market. In fact, the US is now self-sufficient in gas and may soon be exporting LNG. India has potentially significant reserves of shale gas but the technology required is complex. There are environmental considerations as well. This is one of the areas of technical cooperation between the U.S. and India and may yield dividends in the future. For the present, India should try


shyam saran_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:43 PM Page 4

ENERGY SECURITY

developments in this area are:

The deepening crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme (see pg 60), with the US and EU tightening sanctions against the country and Iran threatening to react by sealing the Hormuz Straits, through which the bulk of the world’s oil supplies are shipped both east and west. An armed conflict involving Iran could easily spread to other countries. Sanctions against Iran are already affecting our purchase of oil from the country. The continuing spread of the Arab Spring, which has its origin in popular and democratic upsurge amongst the Arab populace and may result in the empowerment of fundamentalist Islamic forces rather than liberal elements. There is continuing political unrest in Egypt and Libya despite the overthrow of autocratic regimes. The Syrian government of President Assad is under assault by opposition groups that are being aided by Arab countries and the West, as a means to isolate its ally Iran. A Shia-Sunni divide is being added to the existing layers of ethnic, tribal, denominational and other conflicts. All these developments have the potential to trigger oil supply disruptions as well as precipitious price hikes which will not only impact India’s energy security but severely affect the country’s economy in general.

Contingency Plans There is then an urgent need to put in place contingency plans to meet such a crisis so that we avoid the experience of 1990 when the economy was brought to its knees by the first Gulf War. This should include a rapid build up of a strategic oil reserve which has been mooted but not seriously pursued. We should use the prospect of such a crisis to push through energy reforms, including the rationalisation of oil and gas prices, bringing them in alignment with international prices. India will be ill-prepared to face another ‘oil shock’ if it continues with its enormously wasteful practice of heavily subsidising diesel, kerosene and fertilisers.

To ensure India’s energy security both in the short-and long-term, an integrated approach is essential. There is no single Energy Ministry or a national agency to consider energy strategies, energy pricing and investments at home and abroad across different energy sources. There is no coordination of inter-se prices of different fuels, which generates distortions in the market. The sooner an Energy Ministry is set up, bringing together the currently independent sectoral ministries, the better it will be.

According to one estimate, oil subsidies were `53,000 crore in the first three quarters of this year while fertiliser subsidies may be double the budgeted amount of ` 50,000 crore. The difference between subsidised price of kerosene (`14.83 per litre) and its market price (`40 per litre) has been rising leading to increased arbitrage and diversion for adulteration. In the medium-term there is need to diversify sources of oil supplies from the Gulf to producers in Africa, Latin America as also Asia. India and Russia have often talked about an energy partnership to reinforce their strategic partnership. Should not that be pursued with vigour? Wherever it makes economic sense, Indian oil majors should tie up long-term

56

DSI

inefficient subsidy regime, the power situation in the country will improve dramatically. Improved power supply at rationalised tariffs will restore the financial health of state electricity supply utilities, several of which are bankrupt and also begin to free up the very costly diesel based captive power which the corporate sector is compelled to resort to because of unpredictable and low quality grid power. Such captive power is estimated at 25,000-30,000MW! Investments can then be made in improving transmission and distribution (T&D) systems where current losses are nearly 30 percent of total generation. If these losses can be brought down to even 10 percent there will be no power crisis in India. Only consider, South Korea has T&D losses of a meagre three percent.

Old King Coal

An employee in St. Petersburg polishes the interior of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power reactor for the Kudankulam power plant

arrangements with reliable suppliers and invest in oil exploration and refinery projects world-wide. This will provide the country with a wider set of options in the future such as mutually beneficial swap arrangements. It may also be worthwhile to examine whether in several applications, more easily available gas could not replace oil as a fuel of choice. Let us now look at some other components of India’s energy security. Recent developments in the coal-based thermal power sector, which accounts for over 50 percent of current electricity generation in the country, point to the challenges this sector will confront in the coming years. The Planning Commission, in its Approach Paper for the 12th Five Year

Plan, has estimated that the deficit in coal supplies during the Plan will be 200 million tonnes which will need to be imported. Domestic coal production is lagging behind the demand from the power sector and controversies over environmental degradation in coal-bearing forest areas, means that there will be serious constraints over exploiting local reserves. Some Indian companies like Tatas, Reliance and the Adani Group, have invested in coal mines in Australia and Indonesia but have recently been hit by price and tax increases. The falling rupee has not helped. Unless timely and effective measures are taken there will be serious shortfalls in meeting the target of thermal power during the 12th Plan and beyond.

What can be done in the short term to deal with the looming power crisis? The crisis presents an opportunity to bite the bullet and implement power tariff reforms which have been pending for years. While power for industrial use is one of the highest in the world, power for agricultural and domestic use is heavily subsidised. Furthermore there is no variable tariff regime to meet variations in power demand. The creation of new capacity does not take into account the anticipated changes in the mix of base load and peaking power demand so that new capacity will be out of sync with emerging demand pattern. By rationalising the power tariff regime, eliminating the distortions caused by a politically motivated but thoroughly

57

AFP

result, we have become extremely vulnerable to both supply disruptions and price spirals due to the political turmoil within countries of the region and rising tensions among them. Some key

APRIL 2012

In the long run it will be necessary to invest in technologies that can significantly increase efficiency of coal combustion from the current 36-38 percent to 46-48 percent in ultra supercritical thermal plants. This will not only give more MW power per tonne of coal used but also generate lower carbon emissions. Under its Clean Coal Mission, the government is setting up an indigenous prototype ultra supercritical plant using technology originally developed in India’s fast breeder reactor programme. Another route to increasing the efficiency of coal combustion is through the application of gasification and liquefaction technologies, including in situ gasification. Under the Clean Coal Mission, a public/private partnership initiative is currently being formulated to pursue this. The natural gas situation in India and globally is more optimistic. Recent discoveries of gas reserves in the country have provided some breathing space until the rising curve of demand takes hold. International gas prices have halved in the past year due to a large volume of shale gas coming on stream in the US market. In fact, the US is now self-sufficient in gas and may soon be exporting LNG. India has potentially significant reserves of shale gas but the technology required is complex. There are environmental considerations as well. This is one of the areas of technical cooperation between the U.S. and India and may yield dividends in the future. For the present, India should try


shyam saran_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:43 PM Page 6

ENERGY SECURITY Wherever it makes economic sense, Indian oil majors should tie up long term arrangements with reliable suppliers and invest in oil exploration and refinery projects worldwide. This will provide the country with a wider set of options in the future. It may also be worthwhile to examine whether in several applications, more easily available gas could not replace oil as a fuel of choice.

applications, are becoming increasingly salient, but at current levels of technology and price, they are unlikely to offer a credible alternative to conventional energy sources for the foreseeable future. Renewable energy constitutes 10 percent of India’s total energy currently. Wind power today boasts an installed capacity of 13,000MW but the total potential of this sector is unlikely to exceed 60,000MW.

Here Comes the Sun In the long run, it is solar power which may emerge as the most significant source of energy for India. The country has a high solar insolation and there are large tracts of desert and wasteland available in Rajasthan and Gujarat to enable the setting up of utility scale solar power plants. There is also a very large potential for distributed energy in rural areas, using solar lighting systems, solar lanterns and solar water

58

A worker cleans solar panels on the roof of a housing complex in Kolkata

pumps. Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change adopted in June 2008, the National Solar Mission enjoys pride of place. A target of 20,000MW installed capacity has been announced for the end of the 13th Five Year Plan (2022). Thanks to an innovative regulatory and incentive scheme there has been a very positive response to the Mission. It is likely that the first stage target of 1,000MW by 2013, will be met and competitive bidding has brought down the per unit tariff of solar power to ` 8.75, not much higher than commercially traded conventional power in the country. Despite these encouraging developments, solar power will not become a mainstream source of grid power for some time yet. There is a very large amount of biomass available in India, especially in the form of agricultural waste. No firm estimates exist of the volume available.

AFP

and tie up LNG shipments from multiple suppliers so that there is no inordinate reliance on the Gulf. A deal has been tied up with Australia recently. In the longer run, exploring the possibilities of participating in the much talked about Turkmenistan-AfghanistanPakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline from Turkmenistan and the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, will make sense if the issues of security and economic viability are resolved. Give the current political ground realities, this remains a prospect for the future. India has one of the highest potential in hydro-power capacity particularly in the northern Himalayan zone. According to one estimate, India can create an additional 110,000MW of hydro power capacity over and above the current 30,000MW installed capacity. However, concern for the fragile ecology of the Himalayas and the growing public opposition to large dams, makes it unlikely that any significant projects will emerge in this sector. The prospects for small-scale and micro-hydel projects are bright particularly to meet rural and remote are demand for power. Nuclear energy, at 4000 MW installed capacity in the country, has the potential to become a significant source of clean and reliable energy in the coming decades. Thanks to the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement concluded in 2008, India now has access to the international market in civil nuclear materials, fuel and technology. It can draw upon the most advanced reactor technology to be able to set up reactors of the capacity of 1500MW and above. Our indigenous capability is limited to a 700MW reactor. It is unfortunate that the unprecedented disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, as a result of an earthquake followed by a tsunami, has reignited fears over the safety of nuclear power across the world, including in India. Public protests have held up the operationalisation of the two 1,000MW Russian built reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. The proposed plants at Jaitapur in Maharashtra are also likely to be held up due to local opposition. It seems unlikely that the ambitious target of 63,000MW of nuclear power by 2030-31 will be realised. Renewable energy, consisting of solar power, wind power and bio-mass based

APRIL 2012

Bio-mass based power has been promoted in the country side but has not been uniformly successful. A National Improved Cookstove Initiative is currently being formulated to provide an efficient and commercially viable bio-mass based cookstove. Bio-mass energy is good for distributed applications and for hybrid plants which use a combination of fossil fuel such as coal and bagasse from sugarcane mills. It is clearly evident that India exists in an already energy and resource constrained world. It will find the competition for dwindling energy resources become even more tough and fierce in the coming years. Despite the slowdown spawned by the economic and financial crisis afflicting much of the developed world since 2008, global energy demand has remained robust. This is due to the continuing

high rate of growth of large emerging economies like China and India. China is already the world’s largest energy consumer ahead of the U.S.; India is the fourth-largest. China imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than does the U.S. As against this increasing demand, new oil and gas finds are increasing difficult to exploit as they tend to be located in more inaccessible and inhospitable areas like the deep oceans or the icy wastes of the Arctic. Therefore, even if imports are possible, they will tend to be more costly in future. There is another significant constraint to be added to the above scenario and that is the challenge of global climate change. Climate change is the result of the burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, which release greenhouse gases (GHG), whose accumulation in the earth’s atmosphere leads to global warming. If unchecked, such

59

DSI

warming may lead to catastrophic and irreversible effects on the planet’s fragile life-sustaining ecology. The only credible solution to the challenge of climate change is to drastically reduce the emission of GHGs world wide. This requires a significant and accelerated shift from carbon-based production and consumption patterns to an economic system that is driven by renewable energy such as solar energy and clean energy such as nuclear energy. The promotion of energy security and meeting the challenge of climate change, therefore, point in the same direction but it is in the transition phase that problems arise. In order to ensure India’s energy security, both in the short as well as long term, an integrated approach is essential. There is no single Energy Ministry or a national agency to consider energy strategies, energy pricing and investments at home and abroad across different energy sources in a holistic framework. There is no coordination of inter-se prices of different fuels such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, LPG, coal or renewable sources of energy. This generates distortions in the market which make any sensible planning virtually impossible. The sooner an Energy Ministry is set up bringing together the currently independent sectoral ministries, the better it will be. Despite this India has done well to commit itself to undertaking a shift to a low carbon economy but during the next several decades its economy will continue to be based essentially on a fuel mix broadly similar to what it is today. Therefore, in the short to medium term the emphasis must lie with strategies to significantly enhance energy efficiency across the board, adopt less energy intensive applications and promote a culture of recycling and reuse. In India it does not make sense to promote private vehicular transportation. The emphasis should be on providing quick and efficient public transportation. Instead of socially costly road freight transport, railway freight and inland waterways should be encouraged instead. The government’s fiscal and pricing policies should reflect these priorities. The energy sector in India is crying out for reform. Let us hope that the compulsions of energy security will help concentrate our minds in this regard.


shyam saran_2nd time.qxp:INDO-PAK.qxd 22/03/12 5:43 PM Page 6

ENERGY SECURITY Wherever it makes economic sense, Indian oil majors should tie up long term arrangements with reliable suppliers and invest in oil exploration and refinery projects worldwide. This will provide the country with a wider set of options in the future. It may also be worthwhile to examine whether in several applications, more easily available gas could not replace oil as a fuel of choice.

applications, are becoming increasingly salient, but at current levels of technology and price, they are unlikely to offer a credible alternative to conventional energy sources for the foreseeable future. Renewable energy constitutes 10 percent of India’s total energy currently. Wind power today boasts an installed capacity of 13,000MW but the total potential of this sector is unlikely to exceed 60,000MW.

Here Comes the Sun In the long run, it is solar power which may emerge as the most significant source of energy for India. The country has a high solar insolation and there are large tracts of desert and wasteland available in Rajasthan and Gujarat to enable the setting up of utility scale solar power plants. There is also a very large potential for distributed energy in rural areas, using solar lighting systems, solar lanterns and solar water

58

A worker cleans solar panels on the roof of a housing complex in Kolkata

pumps. Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change adopted in June 2008, the National Solar Mission enjoys pride of place. A target of 20,000MW installed capacity has been announced for the end of the 13th Five Year Plan (2022). Thanks to an innovative regulatory and incentive scheme there has been a very positive response to the Mission. It is likely that the first stage target of 1,000MW by 2013, will be met and competitive bidding has brought down the per unit tariff of solar power to ` 8.75, not much higher than commercially traded conventional power in the country. Despite these encouraging developments, solar power will not become a mainstream source of grid power for some time yet. There is a very large amount of biomass available in India, especially in the form of agricultural waste. No firm estimates exist of the volume available.

AFP

and tie up LNG shipments from multiple suppliers so that there is no inordinate reliance on the Gulf. A deal has been tied up with Australia recently. In the longer run, exploring the possibilities of participating in the much talked about Turkmenistan-AfghanistanPakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline from Turkmenistan and the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, will make sense if the issues of security and economic viability are resolved. Give the current political ground realities, this remains a prospect for the future. India has one of the highest potential in hydro-power capacity particularly in the northern Himalayan zone. According to one estimate, India can create an additional 110,000MW of hydro power capacity over and above the current 30,000MW installed capacity. However, concern for the fragile ecology of the Himalayas and the growing public opposition to large dams, makes it unlikely that any significant projects will emerge in this sector. The prospects for small-scale and micro-hydel projects are bright particularly to meet rural and remote are demand for power. Nuclear energy, at 4000 MW installed capacity in the country, has the potential to become a significant source of clean and reliable energy in the coming decades. Thanks to the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement concluded in 2008, India now has access to the international market in civil nuclear materials, fuel and technology. It can draw upon the most advanced reactor technology to be able to set up reactors of the capacity of 1500MW and above. Our indigenous capability is limited to a 700MW reactor. It is unfortunate that the unprecedented disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, as a result of an earthquake followed by a tsunami, has reignited fears over the safety of nuclear power across the world, including in India. Public protests have held up the operationalisation of the two 1,000MW Russian built reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. The proposed plants at Jaitapur in Maharashtra are also likely to be held up due to local opposition. It seems unlikely that the ambitious target of 63,000MW of nuclear power by 2030-31 will be realised. Renewable energy, consisting of solar power, wind power and bio-mass based

APRIL 2012

Bio-mass based power has been promoted in the country side but has not been uniformly successful. A National Improved Cookstove Initiative is currently being formulated to provide an efficient and commercially viable bio-mass based cookstove. Bio-mass energy is good for distributed applications and for hybrid plants which use a combination of fossil fuel such as coal and bagasse from sugarcane mills. It is clearly evident that India exists in an already energy and resource constrained world. It will find the competition for dwindling energy resources become even more tough and fierce in the coming years. Despite the slowdown spawned by the economic and financial crisis afflicting much of the developed world since 2008, global energy demand has remained robust. This is due to the continuing

high rate of growth of large emerging economies like China and India. China is already the world’s largest energy consumer ahead of the U.S.; India is the fourth-largest. China imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than does the U.S. As against this increasing demand, new oil and gas finds are increasing difficult to exploit as they tend to be located in more inaccessible and inhospitable areas like the deep oceans or the icy wastes of the Arctic. Therefore, even if imports are possible, they will tend to be more costly in future. There is another significant constraint to be added to the above scenario and that is the challenge of global climate change. Climate change is the result of the burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, which release greenhouse gases (GHG), whose accumulation in the earth’s atmosphere leads to global warming. If unchecked, such

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warming may lead to catastrophic and irreversible effects on the planet’s fragile life-sustaining ecology. The only credible solution to the challenge of climate change is to drastically reduce the emission of GHGs world wide. This requires a significant and accelerated shift from carbon-based production and consumption patterns to an economic system that is driven by renewable energy such as solar energy and clean energy such as nuclear energy. The promotion of energy security and meeting the challenge of climate change, therefore, point in the same direction but it is in the transition phase that problems arise. In order to ensure India’s energy security, both in the short as well as long term, an integrated approach is essential. There is no single Energy Ministry or a national agency to consider energy strategies, energy pricing and investments at home and abroad across different energy sources in a holistic framework. There is no coordination of inter-se prices of different fuels such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, LPG, coal or renewable sources of energy. This generates distortions in the market which make any sensible planning virtually impossible. The sooner an Energy Ministry is set up bringing together the currently independent sectoral ministries, the better it will be. Despite this India has done well to commit itself to undertaking a shift to a low carbon economy but during the next several decades its economy will continue to be based essentially on a fuel mix broadly similar to what it is today. Therefore, in the short to medium term the emphasis must lie with strategies to significantly enhance energy efficiency across the board, adopt less energy intensive applications and promote a culture of recycling and reuse. In India it does not make sense to promote private vehicular transportation. The emphasis should be on providing quick and efficient public transportation. Instead of socially costly road freight transport, railway freight and inland waterways should be encouraged instead. The government’s fiscal and pricing policies should reflect these priorities. The energy sector in India is crying out for reform. Let us hope that the compulsions of energy security will help concentrate our minds in this regard.


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REGION Iran going nuclear will affect the regional strategic balance and may even result in an attack by Israel

K.C. SINGH

KEY POINTS n The conclusion of a US-Iran-Israel armed conflict has apparently been war-gamed by the US. n This imbroglio can cause collateral damage in the region, particularly to developing economies like India. n 20 percent of global oil supplies passes through the Strait of Hormuz: a conflict will lead to a disruption.

APRIL 2012

A submarine during a naval exercise, Strait of Hormuz, southern Iran

HIGH HOPES,

HARD CHOICES AFP

T

he stand-off over the Iranian nuclear programme has reached a new crisis point in view of the convergence of Iranian domestic, regional and international developments. The trigger has been the November, 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran warning that she was proceeding from simple mastering of the nuclear fuel-cycle to weaponisation. In particular, reference was made to high explosive testing, weapon head design and the development of the Shahab 3 Reentry Vehicle. This has happened despite four sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy but obviously not stymied Iranian nuclear ambitions. The report revived speculation that Israel, already rattled by the Arab Spring’s destabilising impact on its immediate environment, may take unilateral action, as it did against the Osirak Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981, by targetting the wide-spread Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

With US presidential elections looming and President Barack Obama under pressure due to an ailing economy, the US response was immediate. President Obama signed into law on December 31, 2011, new sanctions on the sale of Iranian crude. There was also coordinated pressure on allies in Europe and Asia to take a similar step. European ministers met in the third week of January to develop their response. The three European countries buying

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68.5 percent of Iranian crude are Greece, Italy and Spain, all nations that have been badly hit by the Eurozone financial crisis. There is talk of seeking a waiver from the US or at least a gradual phasing out of the Iranian import. A similar anxiety was palpable in Asia as China, Japan and Republic of Korea, who together buy half of Iran’s crude exports of 2.2 million barrels per day. Not surprisingly, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao spent

five days in January visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to work out alternative additional supplies as well as long-term arrangements with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members as a hedge against possible disruption of supplies from Iran. Iran responded with bravado, letting it be known that she had commenced enrichment of up to 20 percent at the FORDO, a new facility buried deep in the mountainside near

the holy city of Qom whose existence was first revealed in September 2009. The pretext given by Iran for the higher level of enrichment is the need to produce medical isotopes. Presently, inspectors of the IAEA are descending on Iran in droves and Iran is offering to cooperate. This, however, has been the standard Iranian modus operandi — first accelerating its nuclear fuel-cycle programme, then accepting engagement,

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followed by dissimulation and rejection of any steps prescribed to make their programme more transparent as signatories of the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT). However, this current phase is more riskprone as restrictions on the export of crude oil can cripple the Iranian economy. Iran earns USD 80 billion from the export of oil and gas, which is a quarter of its Gross Domestic Product and 60 percent of its economy. In fact, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has progressively handed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which handles the nuclear programme’s weaponisation, greater control over the country’s oil and gas sector. Ever since the US intent has been obvious the Iranian currency has fallen steeply and there is panic in the domestic market. Understandably, the IRGC has not only threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz but has been conducting naval exercises in the sensitive waterway. It also has warned that the US aircraft carrier group that exited the Gulf will not be allowed to re-enter. The US at any point in time maintains one-anda-half carrier groups in and around the Gulf. At present, this has been raised to three, with another group within reach in the Pacific. Considering that the US’ Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, it is expected that the US will test the Iranian warning. If the US does not do so, it will have a demoralising impact on its GCC friends. The question is why is Iran backing itself into a corner from which it can only emerge either with a loss of face or a fight on its hands that it cannot possibly win. It could be for one of the following reasons. The Supreme Leader and some other senior clerical leadership, who traditionally have been risk-averse, are losing control over the younger and more radical elements in the IRGC, who may be supported by radical clerics in the ruling pantheon. It can also be that a debate is occurring in the regime on whether they should retain recessed nuclear capability like Israel or follow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK’s) example and test after withdrawing from the NPT. Another intent can be a n armed skirmish with the US, if limited to an exchange at sea between the US flotilla and Iranian vessels, resisting the transit of US ships: even if it is accompanied by a loss of life, it will create a level of national consolidation and distract the masses from the economic mess which is facing the country and which is only likely to worsen.


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REGION Iran going nuclear will affect the regional strategic balance and may even result in an attack by Israel

K.C. SINGH

KEY POINTS n The conclusion of a US-Iran-Israel armed conflict has apparently been war-gamed by the US. n This imbroglio can cause collateral damage in the region, particularly to developing economies like India. n 20 percent of global oil supplies passes through the Strait of Hormuz: a conflict will lead to a disruption.

APRIL 2012

A submarine during a naval exercise, Strait of Hormuz, southern Iran

HIGH HOPES,

HARD CHOICES AFP

T

he stand-off over the Iranian nuclear programme has reached a new crisis point in view of the convergence of Iranian domestic, regional and international developments. The trigger has been the November, 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran warning that she was proceeding from simple mastering of the nuclear fuel-cycle to weaponisation. In particular, reference was made to high explosive testing, weapon head design and the development of the Shahab 3 Reentry Vehicle. This has happened despite four sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy but obviously not stymied Iranian nuclear ambitions. The report revived speculation that Israel, already rattled by the Arab Spring’s destabilising impact on its immediate environment, may take unilateral action, as it did against the Osirak Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981, by targetting the wide-spread Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

With US presidential elections looming and President Barack Obama under pressure due to an ailing economy, the US response was immediate. President Obama signed into law on December 31, 2011, new sanctions on the sale of Iranian crude. There was also coordinated pressure on allies in Europe and Asia to take a similar step. European ministers met in the third week of January to develop their response. The three European countries buying

60

68.5 percent of Iranian crude are Greece, Italy and Spain, all nations that have been badly hit by the Eurozone financial crisis. There is talk of seeking a waiver from the US or at least a gradual phasing out of the Iranian import. A similar anxiety was palpable in Asia as China, Japan and Republic of Korea, who together buy half of Iran’s crude exports of 2.2 million barrels per day. Not surprisingly, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao spent

five days in January visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to work out alternative additional supplies as well as long-term arrangements with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members as a hedge against possible disruption of supplies from Iran. Iran responded with bravado, letting it be known that she had commenced enrichment of up to 20 percent at the FORDO, a new facility buried deep in the mountainside near

the holy city of Qom whose existence was first revealed in September 2009. The pretext given by Iran for the higher level of enrichment is the need to produce medical isotopes. Presently, inspectors of the IAEA are descending on Iran in droves and Iran is offering to cooperate. This, however, has been the standard Iranian modus operandi — first accelerating its nuclear fuel-cycle programme, then accepting engagement,

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followed by dissimulation and rejection of any steps prescribed to make their programme more transparent as signatories of the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT). However, this current phase is more riskprone as restrictions on the export of crude oil can cripple the Iranian economy. Iran earns USD 80 billion from the export of oil and gas, which is a quarter of its Gross Domestic Product and 60 percent of its economy. In fact, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has progressively handed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which handles the nuclear programme’s weaponisation, greater control over the country’s oil and gas sector. Ever since the US intent has been obvious the Iranian currency has fallen steeply and there is panic in the domestic market. Understandably, the IRGC has not only threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz but has been conducting naval exercises in the sensitive waterway. It also has warned that the US aircraft carrier group that exited the Gulf will not be allowed to re-enter. The US at any point in time maintains one-anda-half carrier groups in and around the Gulf. At present, this has been raised to three, with another group within reach in the Pacific. Considering that the US’ Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, it is expected that the US will test the Iranian warning. If the US does not do so, it will have a demoralising impact on its GCC friends. The question is why is Iran backing itself into a corner from which it can only emerge either with a loss of face or a fight on its hands that it cannot possibly win. It could be for one of the following reasons. The Supreme Leader and some other senior clerical leadership, who traditionally have been risk-averse, are losing control over the younger and more radical elements in the IRGC, who may be supported by radical clerics in the ruling pantheon. It can also be that a debate is occurring in the regime on whether they should retain recessed nuclear capability like Israel or follow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK’s) example and test after withdrawing from the NPT. Another intent can be a n armed skirmish with the US, if limited to an exchange at sea between the US flotilla and Iranian vessels, resisting the transit of US ships: even if it is accompanied by a loss of life, it will create a level of national consolidation and distract the masses from the economic mess which is facing the country and which is only likely to worsen.


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REGION

APRIL 2012

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AFP

Iranian students protest against the assassination of nuclear scientist Mostafa AhmadiRoshan,Tehran

Finally, a limited armed encounter will strengthen the hands of those who would like to demonstrate nuclear weapon possession. In this way, Iran may be drawing a lesson from how the US has dealt with the DPRK as compared to the way Saddam Hussein was despatched. K.N. Pollock in his book The Persian Puzzle, in 2004, spoke of two parallel clocks ticking in Iran, one being the nuclear programme and the other the likelihood of a more liberal regime emerging from the roots planted by former President Mohammad Khatami in 1997. He did not foresee the emergence of a more radical regime in 2005, followed by the Supreme Leader himself compromising his role as an arbiter in 2009 when the Green Party was literally smothered. The race between the two clocks is today differently framed. Though President Obama began his presidency with a conciliatory letter to the Iranian leadership, holding out what he calls his hand and what the Iranians saw as his fist, today is tightening the noose realising that the nuclear clock has out-paced any possible emergence of a liberal order.

Difficult Juncture Domestically, Iran is at a difficult juncture. The relationship between the Supreme Leader and his erstwhile protégé, President Ahmadinejad, has degraded to the point that the former was threatened to eliminate the post of the President by reverting to parliamentary form of Government. Indeed, the Government has had to postpone the city council elections for fear that there may be large-scale boycott. The elections to the Majlis are due this March 2 — the ninth election since the founding of the Islamic Republic. The voting percentage has varied between 50 percent, during the war years, or the last two elections, to a high of 71 percent and 60 percent in 1996 and 2000, when the liberals were ascending. No doubt, the voter turn-out this time, with economic stringency and the repression of the liberals, worries the regime, especially when elsewhere in the Arab world incomplete revolutions for open societies and democratic governance are at different stages. In fact, the old war horse and former President, A.H. Rafsanjani, on his website, has called for a poll boycott. If the US can get even partial compliance with its crude export sanctions, then the

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regime’s ability to maintain social cohesion may be tested. Iran is one of the few Islamic countries where regimes have, in the past, been challenged from the street. In effect then, Iran may be hurrying to present the world a fait accompli as the latest possessor of nuclear weapons. Were that to happen it will undermine the US created security structure in the Middle East, already strained by the changes in Egypt. It is not a situation that Israel will be willing to countenance. And the possibility also sends shudders down the royal spines of the GCC rulers. The implications of a US-Iran-Israel armed conflict has apparently been wargamed by the US, concluding that they should be able to counter Iranian disruption of oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz in under two weeks. Currently, 17 million barrels of oil pass through it daily, that is 20 percent of the global oil supply. Expectedly, while there will be a spike in the price of oil, the developed countries have their own strategic reserves to dip into. Saudi Arabia has also let it be known that it and the other GCC members will ramp up their oil production to make up for the lost exports from Iran due to voluntary adoption of the US-led sanctions. On its part, Iran has warned the GCC members to desist from this.


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Essentially, there is a mismatch between what a side considers as negotiable and what constitutes core interests and thus exempt from discussion. At the root of the problem is the paradox in the NPT where even the non-nuclear weapon state signatories are allowed access to civil nuclear energy and thus the right to develop a full nuclear fuel-cycle which has dual application, both for the aforesaid purpose as well as enrichment for weapons grade material.

world’s first global empire that the Achaemenid Persians ran from the Aegean Sea to India in the 6th century BC. Combined with this is the Shia vision of martyrdom and betrayal as well as a quest for justice. The US-backed security order used to be pegged to Israel in the West and

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twin pillars in the Gulf, that is Saudi Arabia and Shah’s Iran, until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. After that it rested on Israel and the sixmember GCC. Till 2003, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a buffer between Sunni hereditary rulers, subscribing to different shades of conservative Islam, and the Shia Islamic regime in Teheran. US intervention post9/11 first came as a shock to Iran, leading to an immediate suspension of the enrichment activities in 2003, but then led to the elimination of two of Iran’s biggest antagonists that is, the Taliban and Saddam. Iran today has a seamless Shia crescent running through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean in the West. In the South it has locked horns with Saudi Arabia and the GCC in Bahrain where a Sunni minority rules over the Shia majority. There is also a small Shia enclave in the other melting pot — Yemen, on Saudi Arabia’s Southern flank. Many alternative futures can be divined. The worst case scenario is an all-out conflict with Iran, triggered either by IRGC bravado or a deliberate US/Israel attack to decapitate Iranian nuclear assets. This can have a cascading effect all around the Gulf, as Iran is likely to target oil assets of GCC countries in retaliation. Another scenario can be a limited armed encounter between Iran and the US at sea, more to enable Iran to rabble-rouse the Arab street, consolidate the Iranian nation and seize the pennant of anti-US leadership in the Islamic world – Shia and Sunni. Finally, better sense may prevail amongst Iran’s clerical leadership fearing domestic disunity caused by looming economic damage. This element could rein in the IRGC, allow IAEA inspections, await US withdrawal from Afghanistan, calculate that Taliban-US talks will be inconclusive and keep churning the undetected portions of their nuclear programme. This will be the classic Iranian response of dissimulation, known as taqiyya, in the face of annihilation. The great Persian poet Saadi has written, “A convenient lie is better than an evil causing truth.” Whether Iran reverts to its ancient wisdom or hurtles into uncharted waters of nationalistic assertion the next few weeks or months will reveal.

A protester wears an antiAhmadinejad button at an anti-Iran rally, New York

AFP

This unfolding imbroglio can cause collateral damage in the region, particularly to developing economies like India which may have limited ability to diversify their oil supply in a tightening market. The dialogue track, led by the Europeans, and now christened P5+1 (Germany), has essentially been stalled. An abortive bid by Turkey and Brazil also ended in acrimony all around. Essentially, there is a mismatch between what either side considers as negotiable and what constitutes core interests and thus exempt from discussion. At the root of the problem is the paradox in the NPT where even the non-nuclear weapon state signatories are allowed access to civil nuclear energy and thus the right to develop a full nuclear fuel-cycle which has dual application, both for the aforesaid purpose as well as enrichment for weapons grade material. Iran insists on its right to do so, ignoring that its clandestine programme, since about 1987, has breached the trust on which the balance of rights and obligations rests. The European offer in 2005 of light water reactors, but with fuel produced in safeguarded locations abroad, albeit on a guaranteed basis, was spurned by Iran, by pleading issues of national security and pricing. While the US can offer Iran assurances that regime change is not their objective, there is a mismatch of expectations inherent in their world views. For the US, the four critical issues are: a moratorium on Iranian nuclear programme; Iran abjuring support to terrorism; Iran not undermining the West Asia peace process through surrogates in Lebanon and Gaza; and respect for human rights at home. For Iran, the first is nonnegotiable, accept during tactical interludes to dissipate global pressure, the second, they link to the US’ unjust support to Israel and the third, they essentially subscribe to after the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 and certainly post-9/11 until new alliances emerge with the Taliban in Afghanistan and sundry Shia groups in Iraq. The last clause has always been rejected as a gross interference in Iranian internal affairs. The Iranian wish list is more nebulous and articulates two recurring themes: Iran’s perceived role deficit in the region and a paranoia over threats to the Islamic regime. Iran fancies itself as supporting a security order consisting of Shia allies through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the very border of Israel — a replay of the

APRIL 2012


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DEFENCE BUZZ

APRIL 2012

Dassault Rafale during Aero India at the Yelhanka Air Force station, Bengaluru

a n

u p d a t e

o n

d e f e n c e

AFP

c o m m e r c i a l

n e w s

defencebuzz

RAHUL BEDI

DSI

Trouble at the Top The stand-off between the Army Chief General V.K. Singh and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over his disputed date of birth has been resolved by the Supreme Court but the reverberations from the bitter confrontation between the two remain. This relationship, essential for the two to work in unison to replace, largely through imports the Army’s badly depreciated assets has become adversarial and military officials believe will adversely impinge on the Army’s long-postponed modernisation compared to the frantic proactivity in the other two Services. This simmering row has also created fissures within the force with many officers supporting General Singh and others accusing him of being driven by personal ambition. Tension between the Army and the MoD, rumbling for decades with the uniforms smarting under the latter’s haughty put me-down bureaucrats, too will take time to be salved sadly jeopardising efforts to imminently replace the Army’s predominantly obsolete Soviet and Russian materiel. The upgradation of fighting arms like the infantry and armoured regiments remains woefully inadequate whilst support arms like the artillery and the Army Aviation Corps are equally wanting and the recent face-off between the AHQ and the MoD is not doing this continually postponed modernisation any favours.

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The Army’s 359 infantry battalions and 66 associated units of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), a specialised counterinsurgency force, for instance, requires basic equipment like assault rifles and new generation protective carbines to replace their woefully inadequate weaponry. They also need general purpose machine guns, light-weight anti-materiel rifles, mine protected vehicles and snow scooters for use in Siachen. There is also a paucity of ballistic helmets, 3D-generation night vision devices, lightweight bullet-proof jackets and varied ordnance like new generation grenades and 84 mm rocket launcher ammunition. The alarming artillery deficiency (see pg 6) and upgrading the platform profile of the Army Aviation Corps, still operating vintage Chetak and Cheetah helicopters remains a stillborn priority. It gets worse as a large portion of the armour fleet is night blind whilst obsolete air defence assets dating back to the 1970s and even earlier remain worrisome to tabulate just a few areas needing urgent attention. And though doubtlessly General Singh can under no circumstances have made good all these deferred shortcomings during his tenure, the antagonism his confrontation with the MoD has engendered will have longer, disturbing repercussions.


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DEFENCE BUZZ Even though Dassault’s Rafale has bested European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)-Cassidian’s to secure the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) tender for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) all is not lost for the European weapons conglomerate. Interestingly, market analysts point out that the EADS owns 46 percent of Eurofighter in which the United Kingdom Britain has a 33 percent stake and Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica owned by Finmeccanica has a 21 percent stake. Correspondingly, EADS owns a marginally higher 46.23 percent of Dassault Aviation makers of Rafale. But citing complex ownership patterns they also conclude, albeit questionably, that EADS would not stand to gain financially should the IAF opt for the Rafale. Meanwhile, a final round of price negotiations with Dassault are expected to follow over the next few weeks to ‘finalise’ the contract and the deal estimated at over USD 10.4 billion likely to be inked sometime in the upcoming financial year. The Rafale’s final cost, however, is expected to rise above the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) sanctioned USD 10.4 billion as it will eventually be determined by ‘benchmarking’ it against its global market sale price. Rafale will also be required to defray 50 percent of the total contract value in local offsets largely in the military sector. According to the contract, 18 Rafale will be acquired in ‘fly away’ condition within 36 months of the deal being signed and the remaining 108 built locally by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru. The final contract will also provide the IAF the option to acquire an additional 75-80 Rafales at a later stage raising their total number to over 200 to bolster the force’s fast depleting fighter squadrons. In determining the lowest, or L1 bid, the IAF and MoD adopted a Verifiable Cost Model (VCM) that based its calculation on 40 years of squadron service for the two competing MMRCA or flying time of 6,000 hours. This was further broken down under seven heads — direct platform acquisition cost, including that of weapons and spares, warranty for the first two years and licence royalty for local manufacture. The cost of technology transfer, initial training and operating expenses like consumption of fuel and lubricants and price of inspections and maintenance made up the remaining

DSI

Defence Minister A. K. Antony with the Army Chief, General V. K. Singh, during a ceremony to commemorate the Kargil victory, New Delhi

AFP

The MMRCA Sweepstakes

APRIL 2012

segments. The final MMRCA price was an agglomeration of all seven sections. Senior IAF officials say that the Rafale will complement the IAF’s 51 Mirage 2000H fighters presently being upgraded by Dassualt-Thales-MBDA to Mirage 2000-5 standards, equipped with new avionics, advanced navigation systems, mission computers and anti-air multi-target, all weather, fire-and-forget short and mediumrange missile systems. Other than Rafale and Eurofighter, the MMRCA contest also featured Boeing’s F/A-18E/F, Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN, Russian Aircraft Corporations (RSK’s) MiG-35 and Saab’s JAS 39 Gripen. But they were all rejected following evaluation on 643 technical aspects in desert, coastal and high altitude conditions across the country and in the respective vendors’ countries to assess weapon and other advanced systems. By 2016, HAL is preparing to erect facilities in Bengaluru to start building 108 of the 126 Rafales. HAL’s officiating chairman P.V. Deshmukh recently declared that the corporation had earmarked land within its vast estate in Bengaluru to construct separate divisions to build the MMRCA’s engine and airframe and eventually to integrate the fighter. Separate accessory production are being planned at the HAL divisions in Hyderabad, Lucknow and adjoining Korwa in Uttar Pradesh. HAL envisages business worth ` 20,00025,000 crore from the MMRCA programme over the next decade involving a large proportion of its 33,000-strong work force, Deshmukh adds. It is also expected to defray

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around 30 percent of the 50 percent offset mandated for the MMRCA programme.

The Inside Story Trials in support of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) procurement of six multi-role tanker transports (MRTT) for around USD two billion, involving Europe’s European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Russia’s Rosonboronexport, were completed last November and the rival commercial bids are expected to be opened early this year ahead of launching price negotiations. Official sources said the trials featuring the EADS-built Airbus Military A-330 MRTT and the Russian Ilyushin IL-78 — of which the IAF had acquired six in 2004 — took place in Gwalior where the rival tankers displayed their ability in re-fuelling fighters like Su-30MKIs, Mirage 2000Hs and MiG-29s. Once inducted into service the MRTT will extend all these fighters’ operational range for out-of-area contingency operations as the IAF swiftly evolves into a strategic force. The MRTT capability assessment in Gwalior has followed trials in Spain and Russia in July after the tender was reissued in last September, nine months after a similar contract featuring the same two tankers for around USD 1.06 billion was terminated. This cancellation has delayed the MTRR’s induction into service by at least two or more years. Entreaties by the IAF, which desperately needs mid-air refuellers for its enhanced regional role, to Defence Minister A.K.


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DEFENCE BUZZ

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By opting for the A-330 MRTTs the IAF is also expressing its long-standing discontent with Russian equipment and attempting to diversify its predominantly Moscow-sourced hardware. The IAF’s requirement for mid-air tankers is imperative as it acquires 200-300 additional combat aircraft over the next two decades.

Stopgap Acquisitions The Indian Army has ordered 204 additional WZT-3 armoured recovery vehicles (ARVs) from the State–owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) for an estimated USD 285.6 million under a direct Transfer of Technology (ToT) from Bumar of Poland. The ARV order, placed with BEML in support of the Army’s T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), is to be completed by 2014. T-90 tank during a joint military exercise, Pokhran

No global tender has been issued as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has declared that it is a “repeat order” involving a Defence Public Sector Unit. ARVs is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to repair battle or minedamaged and broken down MBTs during combat or to tow them out of a danger zone for more extensive repairs. ARVs are normally built on an MBT chassis as are the 42-tonne WZT-3s based on the T-72 hull. Nuclear, biological and chemically protected these ARVs are equipped with a crane capable of lifting 13-15 tonnes, a front-mounted stabilising dozer blade and main and auxiliary winches besides being armed with a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun. The Indian Army operates around 544 ARVs, including some 344 WZT-2s and WZT-3s, inducted 1999 onwards and around 200 VT-72B ARVs imported earlier from Slovenia for its fleet of around 1,700 Ajeya T-72M1s and over 2,300 Russiandesigned BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles built locally under licence. But senior armoured corps officers say that the WZT-3s are an “impractical and stopgap acquisition” as by 2020 the Army aims on retiring its T-72M1 fleet, replacing it with imported and licence-built Russian T-90S MBTs which cannot be supported by the Polish ARVs. The T-90S will require separate ARVs which the Army plans to procure from Russia. Alongside, the State-run Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) at Avadi near Chennai is developing an ARV for the locally designed Arjun Mk-I and Mk-II MBT of which the Army plans on inducting around 500 by the end of the decade. Configured on Arjun’s hull, the CVRDE is expected to produce two prototypes by 2014 to support the nearly 60 tonne MBT.

Down In Arms

AFP

Antony not to cancel the MRTT deal following the Finance Ministry’s objections to the A-330s “inordinately” high cost, were overruled after the EADS platform emerged as the favoured platform following trials. At the time Antony maintained that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had sent the tanker contract to the Finance Ministry three times for clearance to no avail. Antony told the IAF that the Finance Ministry categorically has declared that it will not support the A-330 purchase in the Cabinet Committee on Security whose clearance is mandatory ahead of the procurement. The Finance Ministry’s reasoning is that since the IAF already operated an IL-78 fleet, an add-on order for this cheaper platform is preferable. Under successive editions of India’s Defence Procurement Procedures only the lowest bid, or L1, is deemed acceptable for purchase. However, in pressing their preference for the A-330, the IAF is believed to have argued that the MRTT’s life-cycle cost has not been taken into account to make it more competitive in the long run. Former Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major publicly declared several years ago that the A-330 “scored above the IL-78”, also adding hat the final procurement decision will be the Government’s. ACM Major has also conceded that after evaluation the IL-78 failed in meeting the IAF’s requirements. The IAF maintains that the A-330 MRTT is not only technologically superior to the IL-78 but is also more fuel efficient. Besides, many of its systems can be overhauled locally as several domestic airlines operated various Airbus models, thereby reducing its long-term cost.

AFP

A-330 Military Multi-Role Tanker Transport plane at the production plant, Blagnac, France

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a global Request for Proposal (RfP) late last year for the import of 66,000 5.56mm assault rifles (AR) for an estimated USD 250 million to replace the locally designed and inefficient Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56mm AR which has been reluctantly employed by the Army since the mid-1990s. The RfP, dispatched to over 40 overseas vendors with bids to be submitted by midFebruary 2012, requires the 3.66kg ARs to


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convert to 7.62x39mm and be fitted with Picatiny Rail-mounted reflex sights. The ARs will also need to be equipped with under barrel grenade launchers and be able to fire ammunition produced locally by the Stateowned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The tender also mandates a Transfer of Technology (ToT) to the OFB to locally make the ARs. In one of the world’s largest such programmes, estimated at over USD 3 billion, the eventual requirement of the ARs is expected to be around two million units: initial purchase will be for the Army, subsequent ones for the Central Paramilitary Forces and eventually for the Provincial Police. Armament industry executives bemoan the exclusion of the private sector from this potential contract claiming that it is at variance with the MoD’s much publicised and long-stated goal of privatising the monopolistic State-run military-industrial behemoth. Earlier, in its December 2010 RfP in support of the Army’s requirement for 44,618 5.56mm close quarter battle (CQQ) carbines and 33.6 million rounds of ammunition the MoD had similarly authorised a ToT to the OFB to build some 380,000-400,000 CQB carbines to replace the outmoded 9mm model currently in Army service, once more giving the lie to the MoD’s parroted claims of privatising the country’s defence requirements. The imported ARs will succeed the INSAS 5.56mm AR which the Army inducted into service some 15 years ago but consistently found them operationally

AFP

A soldier loads bullets into an AK-47 automatic rifle, Srinagar inadequate, especially with regard to their sights that malfunctioned in cold regions and firing mechanism that tended to malfunction at critical times. Frontline infantry and Rahstriya Rifles (RR) units deployed on counter-insurgency (COIN) duties prefer the tested Kalishnikovdesigned 7.62mm AK-47 of which 100,000 were imported from Bulgaria in 1995 for USD 8.3 million as a ‘stopgap’ measure till the INSAS AR became operational. More recently in 2002, the Army has imported 3,070 Israeli Weapon Industries 5.56mm Tavor-21 AR (TAR-21s) for its Special Forces (SF) for around USD 20 million that were inducted into service 2008 onwards. A contract for an additional 10,000 TAR-21s with reflex sights for newly raised paramilitary SF units is nearing fruition. The INSAS ARs inadequacy has also become a contentious issue between India and Nepal in August 2005 when the then Royal Nepal Army (RNA) claimed that the rifle supplied to it to battle Maoist guerillas repeatedly played up, resulting in heavy casualties. The former RNA maintains that the AR “became too hot” and unusable for sustained firing during a particular firefight at Pili in Kalikot district, 600km west of Kathmandu, in which 43 soldiers died. Reacting irately to these charges, Indian officials say the INSAS rifles might have failed due to poor maintenance and the RNA’s lack of experience in using them. Modernisation of the Army’s 359 infantry battalions and some 66 associated

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paramilitary units by 2020 under the ambitious Future Infantry Soldier as a System (F-INSAS) programme remains in arrears. The F-INSAS envisages the infantry as a fully networked, all-terrain, all-weather personal equipment platform force with enhanced firepower and mobility for the digitalised battlefield of the future. Bedeviled by vacillation and complex MoD procurement procedures, over 305,000 infantry troops and around 56,000 personnel from the RR, the Army’s ‘dedicated’ COIN force lacks not only suitable weapons but also ballistic helmets, lightweight bullet-proof jackets and night-vision devices. In a recent presentation to Army Headquarters, the infantry directorate projected a ` 34,000 crore shortfall of equipment which it had been persistently demanding for years but not got. The MoD either cancelled tenders, declined to clear urgent requirement proposals without explanation or was ruminating their procurement. Military officers say it needs at least 18 MoD departments or agencies to ensure timely acquisition of materiel either domestically, through imports or via a combination of both routes. Procurements that have been projected to take 48 months often take around 7-8 years, if not longer, senior officers say, despite frequent changes and updates to procurement procedures. The basic equipment shortfall includes some 200,000 CQBs, 15,000 general purpose machine guns, 1,100 light-weight anti-materiel rifles, 225 mine protected vehicles and 64 snow scooters for use at heights above 21,000 feet along the Siachen Glacier. There is also a paucity around 390,000 ballistic helmets, over 30,000 3D generation night vision devices, 180,000 lightweight bullet-proof jackets and ordnance like new generation grenades of which the OFB managed to annually provide around 50,000 against a projected requirement of some one million and only around 50,000 rounds of 84mm rocket launcher ammunition. The F-INSAS prototype that was to have been completed by 2012, through a combination of imports and locally designed equipment, has been delayed by at least five years if not more, with the eventual upgrade postponed to well beyond 2020.


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