Integrated Airand Missile Defence
Air and missile defence capabilities are advancing rapidly across the world. With increasing threats to India’s security from its neighbours and beyond, it is imperative to evolve a long-term strategy to counter them. Air and missile threats, including unmanned platforms, are becoming more complex, thus necessitating inclusion of new technologies and concepts to ensure security of vital areas and targets. Integration of new technologies and weapon systems in a tri-service domain is a challenge. Being a technology intensive field, Air Defence operations involve complex and multiple layers in execution and need to be understood by commanders at all levels in the three services.
A one day seminar on ‘Integrated Air and Missile Defence’ (IAMD) was held at the DRDO Auditorium, New Delhi on 30 May 2018. It was organised by ‘South Asia Defence & Strategic Review’ in concert with CENJOWS. The seminar brought together leading representatives of the military, R&D, think tanks and the industry on one platform. It focused on Capability Development for the Indian defence services to develop a formidable Integrated Air and Missile Defence capability against current and futuristic air threats, as also Capability Sustainment to include upgrading/sustaining legacy systems.
Opening & Keynote Session
Chairman’s Address. Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, PVSM, AVSM, SM (Retd), Director CENJOWS, delivered the address. He stated that AD is a critical component of both war prevention and war fighting, especially in the current environment where real time credible threats exist. On the one hand we have Pakistan waging a proxy war and on the other hand we have China which can be a flash point at any time as periodic transgressions and disagreements take place. As Air power will play an important role in future wars, holistic defence preparedness is essential and therefore it is imperative that the voids in our present inventory of AD missiles and radars are urgently addressed.
Opening Address. The VCAS Air Marshal SB Deo, PVSM, AVSM, VM, VSM, ADC, spoke on the subject ‘Evolving a Strategy for Capability Development and Self Reliance in Air Defence.’ He stated that there are three key issues pertaining to capability development and indigenisation. The first is that there should be no more procrastination; this besides other reasons also happens because we want to reinvent the wheel, which is certainly not the right way forward. Secondly poor engineering is delaying programmes, to obviate issues arising because of this we must ensure proper quality controls and lastly there are avoidable problems due to poor domain knowledge; to negate these there is a need for the services to continually interact with DRDO and the Industry. He further added that the Industry should be thrilled with IDDM Make-II. It is a very simple procedure, of which the Industry should take advantage of and offer equipment which the Services would then be obliged to try out and buy, if the equipment meets the specified requirements. He also said that we have the requisite expertise available in India. The Industry must take advantage of this as the costs in India are low.
Special Address. Mr U Raja Babu, OS and Programme Director, Ballistic Missiles, DRDO, spoke about ‘India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)Programme: Implementing New Technologies to compliment current Air Defence capabilities.’ He said that trends are changing from BMD, due to high costs, towards IAMD. The present operational environment poses different type of threats from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft and rockets and artillery. Aircraft and Ballistic missiles have diverse missions as they deal differently with threats from different ranges and heights. IAMD enables to integrate and optimise available resources to maximise air defence, even though systems engineering poses some challenges.
Special Address. Mr Jagdish Chand, GM Missile Systems, BEL, spoke on ‘Augmenting the Effectiveness of the India's AD Capability.’ He brought out that BEL has been providing support to the Indian Army in radars, weapon systems, C4I systems, missile electronics and RF seekers.
BEL has rendered yeoman service to the nation and has greatly helped India's defence preparedness.
Session 1 :Emerging Aerial Threats and Countermeasures Future Technologies
The session was chaired by Lt Gen Kuldip Singh, PVSM, AVSM, (Retd), Former DG AAD. He began the session by stating that air threats are dynamic, potent, ever evolving and multi-dimensional. The threats would manifest themselves through fourth/fifth generation aircraft, AHs and UAVs. The UAVs would pose a threat both during peace and war. Due to the varied terrain obtaining in India we would have to take the same into account while drawing up our plans for Air Defence.
SM Shivkumar, VP Defence, Bharat Forge on ‘Emerging Gun Technologies /The Renaissance of Gun based Air Defence.’
• Threats will be varied viz multiplatform, silent and standoff.
• It would be a battle of attrition which warrants deploying a multi layered system of sensors and weapon systems to defeat these threats.
• Gun technology is changing with electro magnetic guns and directed energy (lasers etc) weapons coming on the scene.
• As far as developments in ammunition are concerned there are advances towards air burst and proximity fuses taking place.
Anders Wadsten, SAAB, spoke about ‘Active Phased Array Radars for Air Defence.’
• He detailed the history and evolution of phased array radars.
• Phased array radars give mission flexibility and appropriately meet requirements dictated by present day operational needs wherein there are multi threats.
• Phased Array radars have several advantages over traditional radars and can give accuracies of up to plus/minus 5 m.
Saurabh Kumar, Product Manager, Hexagon/ LUCIAD on ‘Air & Missile Defence including ISR.’
• There are solutions available to integrate sensors, software, domain knowledge, and AD workflows into intelligent information ecosystems that deliver actionable information.
• The ability to rapidly integrate sensor data in a visual environment provides the geospatial location intelligence and situational awareness necessary for mission critical operations.
• The above will greatly facilitate decision making as AD operations are very time critical.
Smt Padmini Balachandra, AGM D&E, BEL spoke about ‘Evolution of Radars and BEL’s Role in Indigenisation.’
• BEL has been supplying radars to the defence forces since 1964 and has state of the art infrastructure and highly trained manpower at its nine units.
• A brief was given on legacy, current and future radars, which BEL is working on.
Dr Bo Almquist, SAAB spoke on ‘AD Missile Technologies: Evolution of Man-portable AD systems (MANPADS).’
• Manpad Systems were developed after WWII.
• As of today, we have gone through four generations of MANPAD systems. The first guided missile came in the sixties. The process of evolution has seen several improvements in seekers and trackers. Fourth generation missiles, such as the, Russian SA-25, and missiles believed to be under development in Japan, France, and Israel could incorporate focal plane array guidance systems and other advanced sensor systems, which will permit engagement at greater ranges. Till date 5 lakh MANPADs missiles have been produced in the world.
• 9K333 Verba, a recent development by Russia, is a finished fourth-generation MANPADS with three-channel optical guidance (ultraviolet, near-infrared and mid-infrared).
• While going in for a MANPAD system it would be advisable to go in for a system which is recent in design and for which support is assured for many years.
Session 2 :Capability Sustainment and Self Reliance in Air Defence
The Session was chaired by Maj Gen Subodh Kumar, ADG AAD. The following speakers spoke during the deliberations.
Co Rajinder Bhatia (Retd) CEO, Bharat Forge gave out the Industry Perspective.
• We should replace the word indigenisation with self-reliance as indigenisation gives the hint of reverse engineering whereas self-reliance is aimed at developing capability ourselves.
• The elements of a strong Defence Industrial Base (DIB) are both technology capability and manufacturing capability.
• The industry needs a clear understanding of defence needs as several ambiguities obtaining presently cast a shadow on business investments.
AVM , J Chalapati, VSM spoke on ‘Adding New Capabilities to Existing Legacy Systems.’
• He spoke on obsolescence management in the Airforce and listed out the system improvements that are being affected in the AD aircraft in the inventory of the Airforce like the Mig 21 Bison, Mig 29, Mirage 2000 etc
• He brought out that aircraft have several advantages over ground-based AD weapons due to longer ranges and large area coverage.
Brig Vikas Sharma, DDG (Equipment), Army AD, spoke about ‘Capability Sustainment: Obsolescence Management of AAD Systems.’
• Obsolescence management can either be reactive or proactive.
• Reactive obsolescence management involves cannibalisation or costly life time buy of spares.
• Proactive obsolescence management entails being well prepared for scheduled resets.
• We are aiming to maintain a robust mix of the two.
Capability Development and Self Reliance in Critical Technologies for Air Defence and Sustaining Legacy Systems
The panel discussion was chaired by Maj Gen Subodh Kumar, ADG AAD and the discussants were AVM J Chalapati, Brig Vikas Sharma, Brig Shailendra Malik DDG, Department of Indigenisation and Capt Kartik Moorthy, Indian Navy.
Brig Shailendra Malik stated that there is great scope for indigenisation of sub-assemblies and spares. The Navy representative said that the force is sworn to self-reliance and indigenisation and that Navy’s indigenisation has been a success story due to better integration with the Industry. The Chairman brought out that there is a huge opportunity in spare parts but for some reason the Industry has not responded adequately.
The Operational Scenario. The spectrum of threats will vary in terms of ranges and payloads as these would manifest themselves through aircraft, AHs, different types of missiles and UAVs. The threats will continue to become increasingly sophisticated and lethal in this conflict charged world. Hence there is a need for a robust AD umbrella to protect population and critical assets. The AD battle requires employment of a layered system of sensors, which would have to be supported by failproof communications.
IAMD. Aircraft and missiles have different potential. Therefore, integration of the two to follow the IAMD approach is both a pragmatic and affordable option for the protection of our assets as it helps offset the resource crunch to a great extent. In this approach various command, services and systems are integrated to leverage different system capabilities to counter threats. To be effective, any IAMD solution must provide enhanced situational awareness, optimization of sensor and weapon resources and open architecture that allows for integration of sensors and weapon systems. It must also be scalable.
Centralised Networks. It is important for all AD sensor networks to be centralised. Besides the network and sensors for ground-based AD and aircraft, the decision networks also need to be strong. Centralised networks will prevent fratricide as did happen during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, on the first day of the Gulf War and in the Falklands War.
Network Security and Modular Systems. Network Security is of the utmost importance in the operational scenarios that obtain. Towards this end we must develop indigenous protocols. Also, we must look at modular designs for our systems so that different requirements posed by varying types of terrain in our context can be adequately met.
DIB Eco System. The DIB needs to be developed much more. Though the world believes that we have done well in this regard, we still need to go a long way. We need to fire our imagination for innovation. A manufacturing eco system should have competence, capability and capacity.
Industry Concerns. There is lack of clarity in the Industry regarding the actual needs of the forces, ambiguity as there are no firm orders and a trust deficit between Industry and the forces. Thus, there is a need for greater engagement between the Industry and the Services to obviate the grey areas. Govt policies must also me made as industry friendly as possible and the Indian Industry must get a level playing field with the OEMs.
Capability Sustainment. Our capability can be sustained by ensuring that our equipment is properly looked after. We need to be proactive in our obsolescence management and this can be done by timely planning and execution of resets. In addition, appropriate provisioning of spares also needs to be done. We must look at indigenisation of sub-assemblies, tracks and other spares.
Opportunities for Industry and MSMEs. Industry should not look at big ticket projects only. There is plenty of scope for the manufacture of spares and sub-assemblies. The Industry must also look at ammunition and missile requirements. The requirement of spares is given on the web site of the Department of Indigenisation (Army). The requirement as given now will substantially increase next year.
Future Acquisitions. While going in for future acquisitions it must be ensured that the system being acquired is current in the country which is offering the product and that support in terms of spares etc would continue to be available for the duration for which the equipment will be in service with us.
R &D. It is of the utmost importance that funds allocated for R&D are judiciously spent and that there is timely execution of our R&D endeavours as otherwise technology will outpace the same.