Artillery Vision 2027
For the coming next 15 to 20 years, the philosophy of the artillery should continue to achieve “destruction” by synergized orchestration of all available fire power resources provided by variety of agencies cutting across the three services based on a joint targetting doctrine, including effective use of “Fourth Dimension”. Reliance will be placed on use of seamless networking of acquisition means, passage of information, rapid management of heavy volume of data, automated fire control systems and integration of all fire power platforms. In this context, we need to reduce hierarchies in our Battery Command Posts, Regiment Command Posts, Fire Control/Direction Centres and all our information networked Artillery Fire Control and Surveillance systems.
The futuristic artillery platforms should be independent and autonomous firing identities, capable of firing on their own, achieved by introducing automatic alignment, laying and loading of ammunition. These platforms should have matching mobility in case of towed guns, adequate protection in case of self propelled guns, and portability by helicopters and aircrafts in case of light guns. Large operational frontages will dictate platforms capable of achieving longer ranges, which help us in achieving concentrated fire power in preference to concentrating fire power units. However, there should be a balance between mobility and longer range.
The aim of all developments in the field of ammunition should be: (a) Increase lethality by increasing the content of high explosive (HE) and reduce the overall weight of shell by having casing of better metal. (b) Increased density of fire power on target will reduce correspondingly by introduction of PGMs. However, we need to balance the requirement of PGMs and “duds”. (c) Complement long range capability of artillery by introduction of wide variety of ammunition capable of generating varied affects, both lethal and non-lethal. (d) All the above needs to be backed by accuracy, improved target designation and trajectory correction systems.
We should also not gloss over the important aspect of efficient ammunition management in the field, which becomes a crucial battle winning factor rather than the number of tubes available. If two second lines can be handled in 24 hours instead of one, the available artillery will be perhaps twice as effective.Modernisation of Indian Artillery
Keeping Artillery Vision 2027 in mind, it is imperative that we modernize Indian Artillery systematically to compete with the best in the world. In this regard, it should be well understood by us that while other advanced nations have leapt far ahead in the field of Artillery, we are still lagging behind. We certainly need to catch up, and catch up fast. During the time spectrum of 2010 to 2027, we have to take much longer strides and accelerate our efforts, failing which the gap between the front runners and laggers will be huge, rendering it impossible to be narrowed. Ramifications of such slow progress should not be difficult for this elite gathering to fathom.
Today Artillery is already in the process of major modernisation. Modern delivery means and supporting systems like BRAHMOS Missiles, Smerch long rg rkt sys, Pinaka rkts, UAVs, WLRs and LORROS have either been inducted or in the process of induction.. However, the induction of 155mm/52 Cal guns, Ultra Light Howitzer, Wheeled and Tracked SP guns are not following the desired pace. But, are we not late vis-à-vis other modern Artilleries. Take example of Smerch that has been in Service in Russia since 1990 and we are still inducting it in our Army. The so called modern weapons are, infact, already in the process of replacement in developed countries, whereas we, in some cases are still working on the road map. Such a state is disturbing and most unwarranted, and merits urgent rectification. This seminar is one such positive step to throw up seminal ideas and to speed up our efforts at modernisation.
In the pursuit of modernisation, we must not forget upgradation of our existing equipment to make it somewhat akin to the state of the art, and provide it with extra life. Upgradation of 130mm guns to 155mm 45 cal guns is nearly complete and the upgradation of the 155mm 39 Cal guns is being progressed. Our age old 120mm Mortars also require immediate upgradation and we need to look at long rg mors with enhance rg and precision capabilities.
I am sure, different aspects related to modernisation and upgradation of the Indian Artillery will be deliberated upon in this particular forum and we will come out with viable options to tide over all hurdles and trace out a most befitting roadmap for modernisation.
User, Designer and Manufacturer Interaction
I am very pleased to note that the three main players, i.e. designer, manufacturer and the users have been closely associated with each other and have chosen interactive and coordinated approach towards modernisation. Such concerted and coordinated efforts would surely lead to a technologically modernized Indian Army in a foreseeable future. However, such an approach can only be successful if there is a high degree of understanding amongst the partners. However, this august gathering will agree that such an interactive and well blended pursuit can suffer a great set back if there is an element of ego in any of the partners. To ensure that such an imbroglio does not ever emerge and our efforts are not eroded, there is a need to have more interactive seminars of this nature. In this regard, we have taken the initiative and coordinated this Seminar, which I propose should be conducted more frequently. We all can easily crystal gaze into the enormous merits of such forum, accordingly, we must ensure to continue with such pursuits in future too.
It is prudent to mention that, at times, some of the us, harbour a belief that indigenous designs and manufactured products can not be compared with the best in the world. Such a belief, more often that not, is misplaced. Notwithstanding such an unwarranted presumption, if we, as users, are convinced that some of the foreign industrial establishments have already produced state of the art and technologically advanced equipment, and if it also meets the laid down qualitative requirements, we must subordinate our ego and explore the possibility of buying off the shelf. In any case, the option of acquisition of TOT continues to remain with the users. It is my earnest desire that such an arrangement of procurement must not be viewed negatively by either DRDO or the Indian manufacturers. However, over dependence on import has to be an exception than rule. Over indulgence in only import is fraught with numerous financial and self sufficiency related implications. Options of import and indigenous production must be weighed realistically. We ought to take pride in the fact that we have splendid manufacturing facilities backed with world class designers and scientists.
There is no denying the fact that in a futuristic battlefield, Artillery will be the dominant tactical weapon, because it can respond in seconds, land on the target within minutes, is impervious to weather, never runs out of fuel, provides smoke cover, illuminates targets and suppresses the fires of enemy guns and other lethal weapons.
The Regiment of Artillery has a glorious record of past achievements and we look forward to the future with pride and confidence – confidence in the capabilities of the guns and missiles, confidence in the ability of the man behind the guns to fire them with traditional courage and professional competence.
(Lt Gen KR Rao is the Director General Artillery of the Indian Army. This is an excerpt from the speech he delivered this morning at the 3rd International Artillery Seminar conducted jointly by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, CII and the Regiment of Artillery)
Labels: Armour And Artillery, Army, Conference, Warfighting, Weapons