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Saurav Jha
Thursday , September 18, 2014

Trends in India's military simulation market


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The use of simulators as a training and operational readiness tool in the Indian military has risen considerably since the 2000s. Today, simulator use in the Indian armed forces has expanded far beyond traditional aggregate/constructive simulation for war-gaming purposes to virtual solutions tailored to providing individual and collective driving, flight, gunnery and sensor training. With hydrocarbon based fuels becoming more expensive, the cost calculus in favour of simulator training for platforms has become more attractive. And given the lack of firing and instrumentation ranges in the country, simulator-based training is obviously one part of the answer to maintaining unit-readiness levels. However, while cost and range availability will remain key drivers for simulator use growth, technological advances that allow the replication of a wide range of combat scenarios, some of which cannot actually be done in live-training are highlighting the role that simulators increasingly play even in refining concept of....


Friday , September 12, 2014

Seeking the future: An interview with Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Director Research Centre Imarat


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The brainchild of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Research Centre Imarat is India's premier missile sub-systems laboratory. With a vast forested campus RCI is the jewel in DRDO's missile crown and is today an institution doing cutting edge research and development in missile guidance systems, control and actuation, onboard computing and even batteries. Moreover under the leadership of its current director Dr G Satheesh Reddy, RCI is graduating to full systems development for precision guided munitions (PGMs). Dr Reddy, a DRDO 'outstanding scientist', has numerous awards to his credit and is a leadinglight in the field of military navigation and sensing technology today. Geek at Large caught up with him in his RCI office... SauravJha: Dr Reddy, do you feel that India's delivery capability is potent enough over ranges of 5000 kms or more, given that we presently lack a global navigation satellite system of our own and must....


Saturday , September 06, 2014

Guest Post #9: The Alchemy of ISIS by Ravikant Mishra


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The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a matter of great concern for India and the world. The ISIS represents not merely another group of rebels and terrorists out to overthrow a regime in the turbulent Middle East, but a particularly egregious form of fundamentalism bent upon destroying all peace and stability in the region in the name of restoring the glory of Islam. It is the culmination both of processes which have been at work in the region for no less than a century, and of the more recent political and strategic failures on the part of the local regimes as well as the West. For close to four centuries, both Iraq and Syria, and most other parts of the Middle East, were part of the Ottoman Empire. The breakup of the empire in the wake of the Ottoman defeat in the First....


Saturday , August 30, 2014

Some notes on DRDO's PDV ballistic missile defence interceptor


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In late April, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) unveiled the PDV, which has been designed to serve as an exo-atmospheric interceptor for India's emerging two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system consisting of both endo and exo atmospheric interception capability. The PDV's first test was essentially used to validate the capabilities of its on-board imaging infrared (IIR) seeker as well as the capabilities of a new target missile used for this test. As such neither an actual hit to kill (HTK) nor an explosive intercept was orchestrated by DRDO technologists in this test since the idea it seems was to glean as much data as they could from both the IIR seeker as well as the target missile. Nevertheless, this maiden outing for the PDV seems to have validated its integration with the detection, tracking and automated launch control systems associated with the two-tier BMD scheme. Future....


Thursday , August 28, 2014

Interview with the Chief of DRDO, Avinash Chander -Part II


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Saurav Jha: Talking about the future, one area that is always supposed to be 'five years away' is that of directed energy weapons (DEW). India too has programs in this sphere with weaponization being pursued in labs such as CHESS. So what is the status of India's DEW pursuits? Avinash Chander: We have been for too long on the fringe of this area. Our initial aim was to create a centre which will look at how to convert technologies into weapon systems. That centre has just come up. But definitely within the next decade we are looking for sufficient deployable capability. We must have a deployable weapon system within one decade. Saurav Jha: Which of the two technologies is likely to be weaponized earlier, high power microwave or solid state laser? Avinash Chander: lasers will have better opportunities to start with. Because for harnessing microwave power in....


Saturday , August 23, 2014

Interview with Dr Avinash Chander, DRDO Chief and Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister


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The new Narendra Modi government gave the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), a major vote of confidence in its first budget by substantially hiking both the revenue and capital resources available to India's premier weapons development agency. However it is understood that this hike is also intended to help DRDO complete existing projects and pave the way for future programs many of which will be pursued in mission mode. The idea is to create a substantial military industrial complex in India which not only caters to domestic requirements but also dovetails with India's wider geo-economic strategy with respect to manufacturing exports and job creation. DRDO today is being asked to not merely catch up with the west in the realm of military technology but actually create 'technological surprise' for the rest of the world. DRDO itself realizes that for India to achieve this objective, the path taken....


Friday , August 22, 2014

Indian Army C4ISR trends


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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....


Monday , August 11, 2014

The Sonar market in India 'hots' up


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Defence procurement in India has often been characterized by the need to make a decision between importing an off-the-shelf system on operational grounds and waiting for a home grown system to complete development. Sonars for the most part has been an area where such decisions have been easier to make with the Indian Navy(IN) mostly opting for indigenous systems developed by DRDO' s underwater sensor laboratory the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi. Recently however, time lags in a few segments of this critical technology area have led IN to explore foreign options even as the indigenous system is being progressed. A key example would be IN's move to source active towed array sonar (ATAS) units from overseas as an urgent anti-submarine warfare (ASW) requirement given that NPOL's program for that is still work in progress. Nevertheless given operational security considerations and India's overall capability in this sphere, domestic....


Thursday , August 07, 2014

The Indian Military looks East


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Earlier this year, President Pranab Mukherjee laid the foundation stone of an Indian Army (IA) 'air defence' (AD) station at Nabagram in Murshidabad district, West Bengal that is expected to be complete by 2018. This new military installation is purportedly part of the infrastructure build-up under way in the Eastern part of India to support the IA's new mountain strike corps (MSC) which was green lighted last year and is designed to launch offensive operations into Tibet. While the immediate raison behind some of this support infrastructure may indeed be the new offensive posture vis a vis China, the sheer number of new developments spanning all three military services and other security services suggests a comprehensive overhaul of the homeland security architecture in the Eastern part of the country which was till now reaping the dividends of India's 1971 victory in the Bangladesh war. Given that India's East is set....


Tuesday , July 29, 2014

Technology is increasingly driving India's homeland security market


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India's homeland security (HS) spend is now larger than the overall defence budget of many countries. Understandably this sector is attracting just as much attention from India's domestic industry as the bigger defence sector itself. Moreover HS is an arena where entry barriers for Indian private firms are arguably lower and many high-value solutions can be currently crafted through the use of conventional off the shelf (COTS) technology. Of course the sheer span of the sector ranging from high end cyber security devices to protective gear for troops deployed on internal security duties mean that HS is anyway becoming a significant avenue for Indian industry to shore up revenues even in otherwise lean periods. However, ultimately companies that wish to consistently succeed in this space will need to focus on domestic innovation dovetailed to emerging scenarios with a focus on cost and terrain effective technology rather than simply rebadging imported....


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More about Saurav Jha

Saurav Jha studied economics (and debated politics) at Presidency College, Calcutta, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He writes and researches on global energy and security issues and is a regular contributor to publications such as World Politics Review, The Diplomat and Le Monde Diplomatique, and has written for Deccan Herald, The Telegraph and Hindustan Times. He is the Consulting Editor of Geopolitics magazine. His first book, The Upside Down Book of Nuclear Power, was published in March 2010 to excellent reviews. He is presently working on The Heat and Dust Project, a quirky travelogue, based on an intense budget journey through India, co-authored with his wife Devapriya.

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