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Conference Report 2012



A seminar on Digitisation of Battlefield

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      Special address by Lt General Narendra Singh,
      Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning & Systems),
Indian Army
      Lt General Narendra Singh, Deputy Chief of Army
Staff (Planning & Systems), Indian Army,
      Major Gen (Retd) D.C. Katoch &
SP's Editor-in-Chief Jayant Baranwal
      SP's Editor-in-Chief Jayant Baranwal offers
      vote of thanks
      Panelists during the first session
      Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch chaired the
      first session
      Panelists during the second session
      Lt General Sunit Kumar, Director General,
Information System, Indian Army chairing
the second session
Lt General Rajesh Pant, Commandant, Military
College of Telecommunication Engineering,
brilliantly elaborates the crucial issues
of Information Systems domain     
      Indian Army officials during the seminar
      Delegates at the conference
      SP's Editor-in-Chief Jayant Baranwal
      in the audience
      Classic Stripes camouflage vehicle being
      demonstrated to Indian Army officials
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Organised by SP Guide Publications in collaboration with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), the seminar witnessed serving and retired senior Army officials and industry representatives deliberating and discussing on various aspects of battlefield, challenges and solutions

By Sucheta Das Mohapatra


  • Techno-centric Future battlefield
  • Mechanised Forces in Future Conflict
  • Artillery Command, Control and Communications System
  • Challenges of a Digitised Battlefield
  • Tactical Communication System
  • Modernisation of Infantry
  • Camouflage and Concealment in the Digital Age
  • Signature Management
  • Security of Network Systems
  • UAVs and UCAVs

Both serving and retired Indian Army officers and representatives from the industry assembled in large numbers at the Hotel Oberoi in New Delhi on September 20, debating, deliberating and articulating on the technology requirements of the Indian Army. The occasion was a seminar on “Digitisation of Battlefield”, organised by SP Guide Publications in collaboration with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). The aim of the seminar was to highlight and review the magnitude and complexity of the programme and to outline the role the industry could play in assisting the Indian Army, but interestingly discussions about the flaws in the Defence Procurement Procedure, bureaucratic red tape and government’s indifference towards private sector participation, ruled the roost.

The day-long seminar began with Major General (Retd) D.C. Katoch, Additional Director, CLAWS, giving his welcome remarks followed by the key note address by Lt General Narendra Singh, Deputy Chief of Armed Services (Planning & Systems). Stating that the battlespace today is a composite whole and the challenges are enormous, Singh said that Indian Army is marching slowly but surely towards a 21st century force. He highlighted on the merits of having digitisation of land forces. Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s Land Forces, gave his vote of thanks and expressed hope that our forces be equipped.

Session I

The first session on “Techno-centric Future battlefield” was chaired by Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch, Former Director General, Information System, Indian Army. Major General K.J. Singh, Additional Director General, Perspective Planning (ADG PP), Indian Army, gave a presentation on “Mechanised Forces in Future Conflict” and spoke on digitisation of armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) platforms; digitisation and its impact on mechanised forces, opportunities and challenges in transitioning to digitisation. Stating the advantages, he said that digitisation facilitates miniaturisation; integrates information and communication devices; redefine data/information storage capabilities; enhanced speed and accuracy; protection and sense of autonomy. “Digitisation has major implications and impact on mechanised forces. It has increased situational awareness, direct style of command, higher lethality premium strikes, etc.”

Brigadier R.K. Sharma, Deputy Director General (DDG), Project Management Office (PMO), Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS), Directorate General Artillery, said that in traditional systems there was disorientation and lack of control, whereas with technology there is increased intelligence and surveillance capability; enhanced weapon, lethality, rockets, precision guided munitions (PGMs), increased data transmission, situational awareness, etc. “The communication architecture is most important in artillery system: the capability of interfacing with legacy and future communication system; communication on the grid network and integrated with other C3I components, etc.” The payoffs according to him include optimum utilisation of resources, selection of best equipment; secure stealth capability, reduced response time, integration with TacC3I, etc. Brigadier Sanjay Ahuja, DDG (C), Directorate General Infantry, spoke on “Infantry Modernisation”. He said that all operations in foreseeable future will be infantry specific and modernisation is a growth in and off itself. He threw light on mini unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), surveillance radars, future infantry soldier as a system (F-INSAAS), etc and ended with the Sanskrit words charaveti charaveti (keep moving, keep moving).

Amit Dakshini, Vice President, and Head of Business, Classic Stripes, spoke about “Camouflage and Concealment in the Digital Age” and gave out details about his company and its products. It was followed by a presentation by Pummy Chicker, VP and Head of Defence Business, Classic Strips on the company’s iPAT camouflage solution. “We need camouflage solution that are simple and can provide a cover to the soldier who is fighting. The key areas where iPAT camouflage can be used include watch towers, air strips, radars, buildings, bridges, stores, automation depots.” Chicker said that iPAT can be customised for all types of surfaces.

“Signature Management” was the subject on which Naresh Ummat, Diretor Marketing, India Saab Barracuda, a company within Saab Technologies spoke about. He informed that every tank used in Afghanistan has Saab Barracuda camouflage and the company is trying to acquire as much sophistication as it could. “We have 100 per cent in house research and development (R&D) and five per cent of the company’s revenue is spent on R&D.” The company has varied solutions like mobile camouflage, static camouflage, special application camouflage, force protection, engineering services, miniature UAVs, etc. Ummat said that the best way to avoid from being killed is to avoid from getting detected. The company has personal camouflage solutions like special operations tactical suit (SOTACH); personal camouflage (Poncho); signature concealment personal suit; combat uniforms, 3D soldiers net, etc to conceal the soldier.

The question and answer session that followed witnessed burning deliberations on government’s defence procurement procedure and the industry expressed its dissatisfaction with the present system and demanded a clear structured policy. Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s Land Forces questioned whether we are taking modernisation to the next level we deserve and we aim at, to which the ADG (PP) replied that modernisation initiatives are being undertaken according to a structured plan, the long-term integrated perspective plan -2027 and there is the five year defence plan which is further divided annually, though the Army works under a biannual plan cycle. “We are making considerable progress, though we have not achieved what we had aimed at. We have constraints of resources and though we have commitments towards Ordnance Factory Boards (OFBs) and defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), yet we are forging joint ventures (JVs) and the Pinaka is a good example. We are making verifiable progress.” Singh recommended the industry to work on quality control. “Quality control should be the mantra for the industry.” As a user he said, it is because of quality factor that there is a resistance to indigenous products. The chair Lt General (Retd) Katoch added that India is a country with little money in R&D and hence there is no focus.

The Editor-in-Chief of SP’s Land Forces asked Classic Stripes representatives whether the company is planning on collaborations with industries abroad. Dakshini said that the company is happy to partner with any efficient foreign player, but at present they are not looking at any collaboration. He further added that the company is confident that it can provide right quality standard. The chair said that the problem in DPP is because the think-tank and private industry are not coming together.

An enraged Ashok Kannodia, Chairman and Managing Director, Precision Electronics Limited, queried, what is the government doing to promote private industry? “Nothing is impossible, we can do anything,” he said and gave the example of Indian Army’s tactical communication system (TCS), wherein the Indian industry was involved. Similarly, there were other delegates from the industry who wanted to know what the way forward is? While the chair said that DPP is not conducive to private sector participation, but initiatives like in the case of TCS can be taken; Singh said that to totally condemn DPP would be wrong. “India is an elephant and it takes time to dance. It may take some time but effort is on.” To this the industry reacted and said that for a business men, both government and user (Indian Army) are one entity and hence a mechanism needs to be created wherein industry and government work together, a melting ground is needed, they felt.

Session II

The second session was on “Space and Ground-Based Assets” and was presided by Lt General Sunit Kumar, Director General, Information System, Indian Army. Lt General (Retd) Davinder Kumar, former Signal Officer-in-Chief spoke on “Challenges of a Digitised Battlefield” and said that it is centric to the network-centric paradigm. “The whole nation is the virtual battlefield today.” He said that the challenges are unique and enormous, and are basically with regard to vision, policy and roadways. “We need to have a comprehensive roadmap, approved by the government and backed by budget.” IP addressing is another big challenge both from allocation and security point of view and there is the need for an internet protocol (IP) address directory. Camouflage and concealment will always be important, he said, and added that in China, detection evasion is central to military training. There is the need for potent optical countermeasure, development of capability to launch cyber attacks, perception management, etc.

Lt General Rajesh Pant, Commandant, Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE), spoke on “Security of Network Systems”, the vulnerabilities and solutions, many perspectives and emerging trends. The vulnerabilities he said are lack of policy at user end which leads to insider threat, lack of physical security, weakness in the operating system, network management, etc. “Network systems face varied threats, insider threat being the most critical.” Arif Shouqi, Chief Defence Architect, CISCO Systems APJC spoke on “Tactical Communication System” and gave out an integrated view of the “Tactical C3I and Sub System:”

Jay Shah, Senior Principal Engineer, DRS Tactical Systems, gave a presentation on the subject “Enhancing Battle Management on the Move”. He beamed on the challenges faced in integration of technology and gave details of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade (FBCB) programme, the battlefield management system (BMS) of the US Army. “The programme is evolving and DRS has provided the rugged hardware systems.” He threw light on what does a mission capable BMS need, the mission command software suite (MCSS), the integrated communication management, etc. Kumar who was chairing the session concluded by saying that the challenge lies in seeing how the technology used by the US Army be used by soldiers in India who mostly come from villages.

The last to speak in the session was Air Vice Marshal (Retd) A.K. Tiwary on “UAVs and Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVS)”, the opportunities and threats, the problems and remedies. He emphasised on the need for firewalls as a remedy for vulnerabilities.

The Q&A session which followed witnessed discussions on different aspects of digitisation. Jayant Baranwal questioned on why aren’t chips not being manufactured in India, while the country’s technically skilled workforce is moving abroad, the chairperson said it is a strategic, systemic deficiency, but things are improving. “The problem is being addressed and it will be in the public domain when time comes.” The panel expressed hope that the United Nations’ tasked with the job of defining the cyber crime law would come out with a legal solution to many problems. “Information warfare is a super set while cyber warfare is a subset. Information warfare is a new dimension of warfare while cyber warfare is a new theatre of war.”

To another query by the SP’s Land Forces Editor-in-Chief whether DRS provides training as part of the solutions they offer and how would they impart training to Indian soldiers, which may vary from what they provide to US soldiers, Jay Shah said that they absolutely do it. They train the soldiers on the equipment and as of now the training is in English and if there is a request for any other language, they would be able to do it too. Replying to a question on CISCO’s involvement with the Indian Army, Arif Shouqi said that they are involved in many programmes with the armed forces, for example TCS of Indian Army and Air Force Net (AFNET). The chair concluded by saying that there are a host of challenges a digitised battlefield is facing and the industry needs to come forward.

At the valedictory session, the Additional Director of CLAWS informed that another seminar on the subject may likely be organised to address the issues. Lt General Philip Compose, Director General, Perspective Planning, gave the valedictory address and said that future war will be multifaceted, probably short and swift, from radically similar to radically dissimilar, shifting emphasis from symmetric to asymmetric. “The need is to execute a single information system and development of independent custom-made integration system is important. Conflict will remain as a human activity and hence there is the need to synergise the soldiers. The challenges are unique but we must endeavour to achieve the goal.” The day ended with vote of thanks by Lt General (Retd) V.K. Kapoor, Editor, SP’s Land forces, who pointed out why isn’t the Indian Army not able to get its cases through the Ministry the Defence (MoD). “The Indian Army has great resilience in fighting and is spectacular in defensive warfare. But where does it go when we can’t get our cases through MoD.” He further asked why the Indian Army cannot have a test bed like the US Army, though it is good at conceptualising. Kapoor ended with the statement that it is high time to think on investments and in fact give the industry funds for R&D.


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