Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Saturday, 23 August 2014

From Today's Papers - 23 Aug 2014

Chinese TV satellite targets PoK, N-E
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Indian telecom operators and broadcasters have raised concern over the latest satellite Asiasat-8 launched recently by China which has been designed to keep the border areas of the country away from signals being beamed by these operators and broadcasters.

The operators and the broadcasters point out that the Chinese satellite is not only the most powerful launched so far, but has been designed to take the northern border of India and North East territories out of India beam. These have been made a part of the China beam as if these are a part of the Chinese territory. The territories, which have been earmarked as part of the China beam include the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. The satellite was launched by China on August 5.

Reports suggest that the move from China came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the possible SAARC satellite by India to bring the SAARC countries closer.

Asiasat-8 has been designed as a commercial satellite offering VSAT/DTH, Internet and telecommunications capacity for various users in India and China. However hidden in its design is to establish its signals on Indian territory, which China has been disputing and claiming as its own.

Lok Sabha member of Parliament from Maharashtra Hansraj Gangaram Ahir has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the perils of the satellite to India.

In his letter (copy of which is with The Tribune), Ahir has urged the Home Minister to come out with a notification banning the use of this satellite by any Indian Telecom, VSAT or DTH operator.

Ahir has pointed out that the new Chinese satellite will allow anyone in PoK, Ladakh, Leh, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and all along the northern border of India and North East to use this high-powered satellite to establish two-way communications from India which will be inaccessible to Indian security agencies and poses grave security threat to the country.

An official of one of the major broadcasters from India, not wanting to be identified, says the high power transmitters on the satellite are about 10 times more powerful than any satellite launched before and can be used to deliver DTH, messaging and internet in border areas which will be difficult to counteract unless the use of the satellite is banned by India on its territory. If any Indian broadcasters, telecommunications providers or broadband providers are given capacity on this satellite, these transmissions will not reach Indian users residing in PoK, Ladakh, Leh, Nepal, Sikkim Arunachal Pradesh and other areas in the Northeast. Instead, transmissions from China will reach them.

This satellite, which will be in use for the next 15 years, will effectively mean that China is taking part of Indian territory out of Indian operators’ purview and bringing it under Chinese operators’ purview. What is worrying is that as a result of this satellite and India beam, areas in PoK, Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan and major parts of North East India and East India will come under Chinese surveillance and it will easily be able to monitor the strategic activities of India in these areas, which are of strategic importance to India.

Under Chinese operators’ purview

    Indian telecom operators have raised concern over the latest satellite Asiasat-8 launched recently by China
    The satellite will block signals being beamed by these operators and broadcasters in PoK, Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan
    These areas have been made a part of the China beam
    This will mean that China is taking part of Indian territory out of Indian operators’ purview and bringing it under Chinese operators’ purview
 No tension on border, says IAF chief
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 22
Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha today dismissed the recent border skirmishes between India and Pakistan as “nothing exceptional” and said things were
“normal” at the border.

“We are always prepared but there is no tension as such if you ask me. It is normal,” Raha told reporters on the sidelines of the annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine inaugurated by him.

“There is nothing exceptional. It has been happening. Our response has been appropriate. The Army is there and the BSF is there. The Air Force is not directly involved but things are not as bad as (they are made out to be),” the IAF chief said.

Asked about the IAF’s estimation about the indigenous projects such as Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Raha said a “lot of thrust was being given on indigenous production of military hardware. “This government is also very serious about pushing it further to take it to a higher level and obviously the Armed forces are looking forward to indigenous products,” he said.

“We do not want to buy weapon system and hardware from outside. We should be self-reliant and there has been lot of activities in this direction. LCA will come soon,” Raha said.
 Will continue to explore oil in South China Sea: India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
In what may upset China, India has decided to extend by one year its agreement for oil exploration in blocks allocated to it by Vietnam in the disputed South China Sea.

“We approach oil blocks within the framework of techno-commercial interests of our oil companies. The oil blocks were allotted for a period of two years in 2012. Our oil companies felt, based on techno-commercial reasons, that we will explore oil blocks for a further period of one year,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told the media while announcing that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would visit Vietnam from August 24-26.

The move reaffirms India’s position as a continuing commercial stakeholder in a region where territorial disputes between China and its Southeast nations have flared up recently. It comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in mid-September.

Swaraj’s visit to Vietnam will be keenly observed in China, given the nature of relations between Beijing and Hanoi. Her visit would pave the way for President Pranab Mukherjee’s trip to Vietnam.
National War Memorial to come up at India Gate
New Delhi, August 22: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley gave the final nod to the much-delayed National War Memorial project which would be built in the India Gate complex at a proposed cost of around Rs 400 crore.

The Defence Minister agreed to the proposal made by the Army for building a war memorial at the 'Chhatri complex' of India Gate after visiting the national war museum site at the Princes' Park locality near India Gate, Defence Ministry officials said.

On Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26, the Minister had said that after discussions with the forces and visiting the proposed area, he would take a call on whether the memorial should be constructed at India Gate or the Princes' Park.

The Minister was given a detailed briefing by the Army on the proposed construction site of the war memorial, which was first planned to be constructed in 1960 in remembrance of Indian soldiers who have lost their lives in various wars and operations, they said.

Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag and Defence Secretary R K Mathur briefed the Defence Minister on the proposed project where the war museum and the war memorial would be connected through an underpass to be built at the India Gate complex circle.

The memorial will have names of more than 21,000 Indian troops who have lost lives in various operations since 1947.

The Army had given a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue on August 6 where the force was asked to involve international designers and architects to build a grand memorial as promised by the BJP during the Lok Sabha poll campaign.

On a day when the long pending demand of the armed forces was approved by the government, the three armed forces also briefed the seventh pay commission on their demands.

The services have been demanding the resolution of anomalies left behind from the sixth pay commission which was implemented in 2008.
Indian Army C4ISR trends

The Indian Army (IA) believes that state of the art intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems can serve to give it an advantage over even collaborating adversaries on either flank.

As such investment by IA into contemporary ISR systems has been steadily rising with a view to making the kill chain shorter, garnering tactical intelligence and even achieving non-kinetic neutralization capability.

The electronic order of battle (EOB) however requires continuous upgradation as well as the development of a doctrine dovetailed to the absorption of new technology. Since ISR systems are a closely guarded arena and may involve non-negotiable operational security (OPSEC) considerations indigenous development is an imperative.

Fortunately, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been working closely with Indian industry to deliver on this front. However in a world where one sometimes has to run fast enough just to stay where they are, the focus should be on scaleable and upgradeable networks that can also act as enablers of jointness with the Indian Air force (IAF) and Indian Navy(IN).

IA's spend on ISR systems is expected to exceed 5-6 billion dollars by 2020. Large investments have already been made in the area of signals intelligence (SIGINT) leading to the development of highly capable products such as the Samyukta electronic warfare (EW) system. Samyukta, developed by DRDO's Defence Electronics & Research Laboratory (DLRL) along with IA's Signal Corps is a 145 vehicle based integrated EW system consisting of electronic intelligence (ELINT), communications intelligence (COMINT) combined with electronic countermeasures (ECM) and electronic support measures (ESM) blocks covering both radar and communication frequency bands ranging from 1.5 MHz - 40 GHz i.e all the way from High Frequency (HF) to Millimetre Wave (MMW).

Samyukta which is capable of intercepting, detecting and classifying pulsed, CW, PRF agile, frequency agile and chirp radars is very much in keeping with the move towards wideband digitally flexible SIGINT systems in the ISR domain to deal with an increasingly congested and complex threat spectrum. The key enabler of wideband jamming capability in the case of Samyukta is a multiple beam jammer array antenna with Rotman lens that can handle numerous threats simultaneously in X - Ku bands.

Technology for antennas which provides the necessary interface between the transmitter/receiver system and free space today is evolving towards smart, shared aperture, and fractal systems that are increasingly embracing millimeter, sub-millimeter and quasi-optical radiators. These new approaches are expected to yield high performance, low-cost, compact size, lightweight, conformal mounting for low radar cross section (RCS) array integration leading to higher deployability and stealth.

Micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) will be used to produce reconfigurable electromagnetic structures that can perform multiple functions instead of being dovetailed to a single use.

The development of 'smart antennas' and new advances in core technologies such as microelectronics are miniaturizing systems in weight and volume covering a wide frequency range. Smart film materials are being pursued to package together these wind ranging goals which are likely to find expression in the follow on to the Samyukta known as Sauhard being developed by DLRL.

Realizing that though effective, the Samyukta system is meant for large scale forward deployment in the plains, IA and DLRL are now birthing an IEWS for mountainous terrain or IEWS-MT. For effective deployment in high altitude areas, IEWS-MT will obviously have to sport lighter weight electronic systems and will exhibit some of the new technology features outlined above. Tata Power SED has been selected as system integrator for this 186 million US dollar program. TPSED will develop and supply two IEWS-MT systems that include ECM, ESM packages for electromagnetic spectrum scanning, location-fixing of enemy transmitters, jamming, interception of enemy communications, both cellular and radar.

DLRL is also venturing into developing more compact and modular ELINT systems such as the 'Sujav' which it says is meant for high accuracy DF and jamming of communication transceivers. It covers HF, VHF & UHF ranges and is available in cluster configuration for army use or in suite configuration for naval usage. It has also developed the 'Safari' IED suppression system for IA and paramilitary forces. DRDO's various jammers naturally employ digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) techniques for digital flexibility.

A very big aspect of staying at the cutting edge of EW is the availability of dedicated testing and training ranges for the same. In this context the development of Chitradurga (Karnataka) and Tandur(Andhra Pradesh) as EA ranges is a very welcome development indeed. These ranges will in all probability see the use of DARE's Range On Wheels (ROW) concept. ROW has been developed for evaluation of installed specifications of airborne EW Systems and for fine tuning EA techniques. This mobile range consists of representative threat radar, a reference radar, a slaved system (DASA), a data acquisition station, a mission control station and a generator vehicle. It can also be used for avionics, and weapon evaluation since it is capable of studying aerodynamic data in real time for aircrafts, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Indeed for truly persistent 'ISR', IA has to move towards airborne intelligence systems which will increasingly be based on medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs in the years ahead that enable an operator to look 400-500 kilometres deep into enemy territory. Putting together credible SIGINT packages on UAVs requires not just superior antenna technology but may end up seeing a generational shift in electronics as such. Some developers believe that the need to package more capable ISR payloads combined with management of limited on-board power on UAVs will lead to Gallium Nitride(GaN) based semi-conductor technology totally replacing the current Gallium Arsenide(GaAs) in power transistor devices at the higher end of the frequency spectrum as SIGINT packages increasingly operate in that part of the spectrum. GaN is preferred over GaAs in the course of this evolution since it offers exceptional power density and can operate at higher power levels over higher frequencies with greater efficiency. In this context India may need to create GaN foundry capability on an urgent basis.

Even as we watch out for the progress of intelligence packages on UAVs, a prototype Ku-band synthetic aperture radar(SAR) developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), DRDO's key radar lab based in Bangalore, is set to be flight tested on the Nabharatna Do-228 flying testbed supplied by HAL earlier this year. This indigenous SAR, which will eventually be carried by the Rustom-2 MALE UAV is expected to boost medium range battlefield mapping capabilities    by conferring IA with the ability to cover ground the size of an army corps commander's area of interest from a safe stand-off distance. The observational element, which will be combined with effective ground moving target indication (GMTI) will prove rather useful for the various classes of loitering attack systems that are currently on DRDO's drawing board.

Systems based on unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) however seem to be moving faster. DRDO's Combat Vehicles and Research Development Establishment (CVRDE) has created a family of BMP-II based UGVs called Mission Unmanned Tracked (MUNTRA). The system consists of a manned BMP-II unit called MUNTRA-B serving as a base station for three tele-operated BMP-II based UGVs tailored to specific roles. One UGV variant dubbed MUNTRA-M uses a VHF band ground penetrating radar (GPR) developed under DRDO's 'Divya Chakshu' program to detect buried IEDs. A CBRNE variant called MUNTRA-N has also been developed.

IA already deploys several battlefield surveillance radars (BFSRs). The longest ranged BFSR in the IA inventory is the X-band PIT 530 BFSR-MR, which can detect a group of moving people at 18 km, low flying helicopters at 25 km, moving vehicles at 40 km and a 155 mm artillery blast at 15 km. BFSR-MRs are currently deployed with IA's mechanized infantry units (MIUs). These radars originally designed by ELTA are currently being produced by BEL under license.

BEL's PJT-531 Battlefield surveillance radar-Short range (BFSR-SR ) however is an indigenous product developed by LRDE in a period of just 24 months in response to a specific qualitative requirement from IA. BFSR-SR is a man portable, battery powered J-band surveillance and acquisition radar capable of detecting crawling men at 500 m, moving groups of people at 5 km and a group of vehicles at 10 kms. It can track 50 targets in track-while-scan (TWS) mode and displays target information on a high resolution portable colour PC display. Interestingly, the BFSR-SR has made it to the MUNTRA program with a MUNTRA-S UGV carrying it in both tele-operated and autonomous modes. Summer trials of MUNTRA-S were concluded recently.

IA certainly has been steadily adding to its radio frequency measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) capabilities as epitomized by the acquisition of weapon locating radars (WLR). After buying some eight AN/TPQ-37 WLRs off the shelf from Hughes, IA today has placed significant orders for the LRDE developed and BEL built Swathi WLR which is a coherent, electronically scanned C-band pulse doppler radar. The radar automatically locates hostile artillery, mortars and rocket launchers and tracks friendly fire to locate the impact point of friendly artillery fire to issue necessary corrections and is capable of dealing with counter-battery fire from up to 30 kms away. Swathi WLR has been specifically designed for high mobility, quick deployment operations in an ECM environment.

IA of course also has to guard against incoming aircraft and not just ballistic projectiles. Army Air Defence (AAD) is currently receiving deliveries of the Bharani Low level Light Weight L-Band 2D Radar which is a battery powered compact sensor tailored for employment in mountainous terrain against hostile aerial targets like UAVs, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft flying at low and medium altitudes. Bharani can be transported by vehicles, animal transport or a group of men or as a heli-slung load. It can be dismantled into packages to facilitate quick installation and re-location in mountainous terrain.

IA is also inducting LRDE's 3D Tactical Control Radar (TCR) in a Tatra VVL mounted configuration for mobile stand-alone medium range, all weather 3D surveillance. Pertinent data can be collected by a Target Data Receiver (TDR) located 20 Kms away from the Radar. The radar operates in the S-band and is capable of TWS of fighter sized targets from up to 90kms away and for UAV sized ones from up to 65 kms away. The TCR's antenna is mechanically rotated in azimuth to provide 360 deg and 50 deg elevation coverage up to an altitude of 10 kms.

Clearly radar systems have emerged as a key indigenous strength in the ISR space. But in the battlefield of today long range electro-optical sensors complement BFSRs to vastly improve tactical reconnaissance capability. Till recently, IA was heavily dependent on foreign sources, especially Israel in this space. Several units of Elbit's Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation System(LORROS) are currently operational with IA. LORROS consists of forward looking infrared (FLIR) and colour charge-coupled-device (CCD) image sensors, with the option of also integrating an eye-safe laser rangefinder (LRF), built-in compass and an inclinometer, which provides UTM location mapping. It can be operated remotely with a control unit that can be stationed up to several kilometres away using a fiber -optic channel. This year however BEL began deliveries of the 'Kshitij' to IA which is an upgraded version of LORROS that extends its FLIR range beyond 13 km and was developed keeping in mind the Line of Actual Control with China. It is expected that the cheaper Kshitij will allow IA to field it in every battalion.

To make squad level ISR even more commonplace, IA placed orders worth Rs 700 crores for the Integrated Multi-Function Sight (IMFS) developed by DRDO's Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE) which packages a thermal imager (TI), a LRF, a CCD camera, a global positioning system GPS and a digital magnetic compass into a single device weighing just 3.5 kg. However even as indigenous hand held TIs proliferate, India has to run faster to catch up with the West in the area of image intensifier tube technology for night vision devices (NVD). IA is currently on the lookout for mass introduction of third generation NVDs and the FDI route could actually be pursued for this.

IRDE's IMFS represents a generic trend in ISR technology where multi-functional payloads are finding their way onto a common platform small or big. This trend has of course given rise to wide area persistent surveillance (WAPS) systems that have been born out of American urban warfare requirements during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. WAPS allows both wide area coverage as well as narrow view high resolution ISR simultaneously. Context is maintained even as specific targets (such as individuals and vehicles) are examined both spatially and over time. Obviously WAPS systems are essentially designed to be deployed on aerial platforms such as tethered balloons, aerostats, UAVs or manned aircraft. The US Gorgon Stare system which is deployed aboard the reaper UAV and uses five electro-optical and four infrared cameras to generate imagery from 12 different angles is considered the current gold standard, though more extensive systems can be carried on much larger aerial vehicles such as Aerostats. However such systems are data intensive. For instance a single Gorgon Stare pod can generate around two terabytes of data every day.

Heading into the future, hyperspectral imaging, full-motion video, foliage penetration, and mapping and tracking of individuals on foot will all find their way into solitary aerial platforms as the ability to geo-locate and geo-register targets will become increasingly important in sub-conventional scenarios. Indeed the fusion of SAR systems combined with Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) payloads is already happening to increase decision making capability. Naturally this is also increasing on-board computing requirements for UAVs leading to the development of increased core count, lower power consuming CPUs, along with associated FPGAs or GPGPUs. This is creating a network architecture where intelligence collected can be shared, processed and distributed in a more decentralized rather than in a point to point relay station manner.

Working towards such a capability is critical in an era where networks fight networks and these networks are increasingly looking to become mobile adhoc networks (MANET) to literally keep pace with an ever changing tactical battle area and rear. Making the sensor to shooter chain shorter requires ad-hoc networking that optimizes spectrum utilization when coupled with contemporary waveforms which in turn enables the real time delivery of video, image transfer, voice and data.    The dependence on space to provide wider coverage continues to grow which is then sought to be linked with MANETs on the ground and in the air.

Much work however needs to be done for attaining this kind of network centricity in IA's EOB. And the reason for that is a little mysterious because the IA's plans in this direction go way back. In fact the current flagship IA program, the tactical communication system (TCS) was actually labelled TCS-2000 initially given that it was supposed to be rolled out by that year i.e 2000. After a decade long delay the programme was re-badged TCS-2010 and we are now in 2014. Clearly this program needs to be taken up on a priority basis.

Be that as it may, TCS which is sought to be developed under the 'make' category of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has two competing development agencies- Bharat Electronics (BEL) and a consortium of L&T, Tata Power and HCL Infosys Ltd. TCS as currently envisioned is essentially a mix of a mobile vehicular ad-hoc network (VANET) and the more static wireless service network (WSN) technology at the corps level. It is designed to give IA the means to 'communicate on the move' even as it penetrates into enemy territory making TCS a very big enabler of the 'cold start' type doctrines.

Based on light weight high mobility vehicles which represent communication nodes, TCS will have the bandwidth to handle very high data rates and provide encrypted voice, video and data transmission though frequency hopping radio networks with multiple redundancies. Naturally this network will also have the mobile terminals necessary for satellite based connectivity as well and the firewalls necessary to prevent cyber intrusion given that cyber and electronic warfare techniques are increasingly melding with each other.

The project worth around 3 billion dollars will see each of the two competitors build a prototype TCS with the one being selected going on to build seven sets of TCS for seven corps of the IA. The TCS is however a harbinger of a truer MANET called the battlefield management system (BMS) which will facilitate high bandwidth real time communications from the battalion headquarters forward to the companies and platoons. Being fielded in all varieties of terrain the BMS contract value will probably be worth ten times more than the current TCS contract and a game changer in Asia. The IA actually has vast network centricity plans and envisages a tactical command, control, communications and information (TacC3I) system core which will encompass the command information decision support system, the Shakti artillery combat command and control system, the battlefield surveillance system including BFSRs and WLRs, an air defence control and reporting system augmented by newer generation 2D and 3D radars, and of course the BMS.

Meanwhile DLRL has been developing a tri-system radar finger printing system which will prove crucial to achieving 'jointness' in the electronic realm. This system has the capability of providing 'Unique Identification of emitters among a class of emitters' based on intra-pulse analysis of radar waveforms. The system measures the frequency, phase and amplitude variations within the radar pulse. Intra pulse analysis extracts as many parameters (features) of radar pulses as possible with fine grain accuracy.

The three services together are moving towards an overarching defence communication network (DCN) which once fully operationalized would give real meaning to the concept of 'jointness' championed by the three services. In the words of a former Defence Minister himself, 'DCN envisages a network of optical fibre cables, satellite earth stations and transportable and portable satellite terminals with high security features that enable conduct of simultaneous real time networked operations from multiple sites to cater for contingencies and failures, as well as hardware redundancies for fail-safe operations. Such a network will be the backbone of the proposed joint commands for cyberwarfare, special operations and space operations.
AWWA revamp brings relief for serving army personnel
Now, serving army personnel will not have to perform duties of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA). Undergoing a major restructuring with the implementation of a new Memorandum of Association (MoA), which clearly specifies that “no serving army personnel” will be a “member of the society” (AWWA). Earlier, serving personnel used to be honorary members of AWWA and an officer used to be detailed as a welfare officer who had to work as an interface between the army and AWWA.

“Also, AWWA has to delink from all commercial ventures presently being run by it and receipt of profits directly from such ventures be ceased. The nomenclature of such ventures be changed appropriately,” say the new instructions.

Also, necessary staff for manning AWWA offices and its functioning has been asked to be employed and uniformed personnel be replaced.
A board of officers will be convened to assess rent and allied charges for premises being occupied by AWWA.

No designation will now be given to the spouse of the commanding officer, such as AWWA president, and attendance is also not compulsory even if there are vacancies.

Earlier, designation used to be given to the wife of the commanding officer.

Also, AWWA units earlier used to be allowed up to the battalion level but now it is restricted to the corps level or above and all area headquarters commanded by a Lt Gen.

Members of AWWA now have to be categorised into ex-officio, nominated and ordinary members. Earlier, there was no such categorisation.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal