Army Chief Spells Out The Requirements In Future Armoured Vehicles In His Address
Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 15 November 2017
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s Full Address
Future battlefield will be complex. There will be use of space, there will be use of cyber, there will be information warfare. We have to understand kind of weapon systems and to prepare future battlefield scenario, we have to understand the kind of weapon systems, equipment and technology that our forces are going to be confronted. Battles off course will not be fought alone. Army will be supported by the air force in the air and space and off course navy operating in the sea.
Mechanised forces are expected to operate on Western front and Northern front. Before we decide on what future weapon system should be, we need to appreciate and understand the terrain that we will be operating in.
With The development of canal systems on both sides of the border on our western front, we find that even deserts are turning green, the built up area is coming closer to the borders. They are becoming thicker in size and denser in population. So the gap that we will be operating, are to be filled. With the canal system evolving, we have to address the requirement of bridges in the manner, which these armored fighting vehicles are going to negotiate these obstacles.
Therefore as we say, the battle field will become complex, the terrain will add to the complexities. And yet the lethalty of the weapon systems available to the adversaries is to consider. Therefore, while, it is firepower, mobility protection, these issues hae to be addressed.
We will also have to look at the technologies that reduce the weight of our systems and our war fighting machines.
Battle may have to be fought at level of the combat field. If you look at down south in the area of desert, even in that sector the hardening of the terrain has started. We are passing through a very important phase in our equipment management. Our mechanized forces are also now operating from the northern border and Sikkim sector.
Therefore, whatever be the future armored vehicles that we are looking at must have the capability to operate on the western and northern border. Therefore, whatever equipment we are going to introduce, must be capable of of inter-operability on both the fronts.
At this stage we are looking at modernizing our mechanised forces. I don’t think we can call the new weapon systems as a tank alone. The future combat vehicle will really be a system of system. That is why, I think, we are referring the system as combat vehicle not just the tank.
We will have to ensure that we have the kind of firepower with the ranges that will be accepted to operate.. Time and distance has to increase, weight has to be taken care of, and yet we must have the protection.
We are at a phase where modernization has become necessary. Year 25 and 27, we should be looking at modern tanks and ICVs being introduced in the army. Therefore its time, we must not make mistake, we must decide we want, what are the capabilities that we want to achieve.
We must have capabilities to operate by day and night. There must be integration of system within the machine that is available to us. The commander operating in tank, no matter what level he is operating, may be at troop level, squadron may be at battalion level, or regiment level, there must be sufficient battlefield transparency. He must be able to download whatever is being fed to him inside the machine. So is the case with mechanized infantry which has to keep pace with the armoured corps.
When we talk about these two arms that is the armoured forces, armoured corps and mechanized infantry , there is host of other things forces they are supporting them which is the air defence, artillery, we haeto ensure while we develop tanks and ICVs or MICV, we are not far behind in the other systems. Along with comes engineering elements. The trawls that are going to create gaps in the mine fields to allow the mechanized forces to pass through The bridging equipment that has to be launched can negotiate with the obstacles.
Yet at the same time, we can not loose opportunities that may arise in the battle therefore
Some of these equipment should have the capability of prodding through some of these rivers and canal that exists on our border. While you see these are complex systems we are looking at but we can not make any mistakes. So the GSQRs that are being formulated out will be given out to the industry to support the new weapon system that are going to be introduced.
Lot of efforts have been made by every stake holder who is involved in it to ensure that we come out with the right kind of requirement for the forces so that the industry which is going to support us understands our requirements.
Should there be any problem in understanding the requirement in the battlefield, we have created the adg which functions under the DPP that you can directly approach and rest o tackle the problem that keep coming time to time.
Therefore, this seminar becomes all the more important because it is happening at a time when the ground work for the future combat vehicle is taking place. While we have the track version of ICVs, we are also looking at the field version of ICVs as I said the terrain has started hardening, the density of the population along our borders is increasing. Therefore there is also a requirement for going for field ICVs specially for the supporting. While the track elements may be required, the supporting elements will well do in the evacs.
So it is not just the tanks or ICVs, they are also track, field ICVS. Then also is the requirement of the infantry, which operates along with the mechanized forces but couple of bound behinds because they are required to eliminate some of the resistance that we may be confronted with.
How do they move and reach out into the areas of their operations, so that again we need the technology. Whether we have to have the fair amount of technology? What will be there with the MICV? Something we need to take.
What we need, we need to give them is the sense of protection, which will enable them to move in the battlefield environment in the time and space that we desire.
We are looking at indigenization, we are looking at strategic partnerships and therefore we look for support coming from industry. Any support that industry might need from the Indian Army will be provided to you. We are opening our equipment for you to see. We are allowing this to our industry, who are training establishments. We are training to them to see what is there if we need to improve upon.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.