India’s Armour and Artillery Programs Explained
The Indian Army operationally consists of seven commands, with the essential field formation being a division. Below the division level are permanent regiments that are liable for their own recruiting and training. The military is an all-volunteer force and comprises quite 80% of the country’s active defense personnel. It’s one of the largest armies in the world, with 1,237,117 active troops and 960,000 reserve troops. The military has begun an infantry modernization program referred to as Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) and is additionally upgrading and acquiring new assets for its Armour and Artillery Programs.
The Artillery of Indian Army consists of a dynamic inventory that ranges from the missiles, Multi-Barrel Rocket launchers, High Mobility Guns, Mortars Precision Guided Munitions for the destruction of enemy targets to Radars, UAVs, and Electro-optic devices for locating and completing Post Strike Damage Assessment (PSDA). The Regiment of Artillery has played a crucial role in the post-independence conflicts with the neighbors, including the Kargil War. The importance of the artillery in conventional warfare remains intact, especially with the artillery guns playing a serious role within the ‘Integrated battle groups.’ These battle groups are formations comprising artillery, mechanized infantry, and armored and infantry elements alongside the fashionable day force multipliers like UAVs and EW systems.
The cannon fire is often used to urge a whip hand over the enemy for suppressive and destructive purposes. Around 30 years after acquiring the Bofors guns in the 1980s, which proved decisive in the Kargil war, two more artillery guns — the K9 Vajra and US origin M777 Ultra Light Howitzers — were inducted into the Indian Army equipment in 2018. While Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Dhanush is within the pipeline for induction, its Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is in its trial stages. Along with its role in conventional battlefields, artillery is extensively being deployed and utilized in counter-insurgency (CI) battles. Earlier the artillery was to be avoided in counter-insurgency operations due to the priority of the fatal accident. Still, with the arrival of precision ammunition, its role has attained tons of importance. Artillery formations are deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir also because of the northeastern theatre by the Indian Army.
With the introduction of self-propelled and automatic artillery weapon systems, the footprint of artillery has reduced due to the removal of ancillary systems. These advancements have also helped increase the survivability of the systems against enemy fire because their ability to maneuver sorts of terrains altogether has also increased. The introduction of ‘force multipliers’ like satellite communication, UAVs, networked electronic systems, and AI has increased the efficacy of artillery. It has again underlined its role as a strong arm on the battlefield. India is on the road to turning itself into an exporter of defense equipment instead of an importer. The BJP government has made no secret of it. It included the defense sector under its umbrella of AtmaNirbhar (self-reliance) schemes to spice up the economy. Some experts believe that while the impetus on domestic defense manufacturing is certainly a move within the right direction, imports are generally of higher quality than domestic products.
Only time will tell if India’s switch in strategy will bear fruit, but the wheels of roping in other Indian firms to assist out the Indian soldiers is already in motion. Most of the military equipment is imported, but efforts are being made to manufacture indigenous equipment. The Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed various weapons for the Indian Army, including small arms, artillery, radars, and the Arjun tank. All of India’s military small-arms are developed under the authority of the Ordnance Factories Board, with the primary firearm developing facilities in Ichhapore, Cossipore, Kanpur, Jabalpur, and Tiruchirapalli. The Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle, which has been successfully deployed since 1997, may be a product of Rifle Factory Ishapore, while ammunition is manufactured at Khadki and possibly at Bolangir. In 2014, Army chief General Bikram Singh said that the Indian Army could acquire half the ammunition needed to fight during a major conflict by the subsequent year if given sufficient budget support.
What’s On the Cards:
India has struck various deals to procure equipment and ammunition for military use in the past year. Some of the deals are discussed here. India-made Israeli Tavor X 95 rifles: Until now, India got its Tavor X 95 rifles from the Israel Weapons Industry (IWI). These guns are being made in India and being supplied to the central and state forces, consistent with The Print. In February, the Indian Ministry of Defense granted a ₹48,000 crore contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to supply 83 light combat aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A jets — Tejas fighters — to the Indian Air Force. The first Tejas LCA batch is to be delivered in three years. The remainder is going to be supplied in 2030. Over ₹1,000 crore defense procurement contract with Bharat Electronics for contemporary radio systems: The Indian Ministry of Defence signed a contract worth over ₹1,000 crores with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for acquiring Software Defined Radio Tactical (SDR-Tac).
The design and development SDR-Tac may be a venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO), Weapons and Electronics Systems Engineering Establishment (WESEE), BEL, Centre for AI & Robotics (CAIR), and therefore the Indian Navy. The radio system may be a four-channel multi-mode, multi-band, 19 racks mountable, and shipborne design. The Indian Army gets 118 Arjun Mark-1A tanks worth ₹8,400 crores: In December 2020, the Defence Ministry recently cleared the induction of 118 Arjun Mark-1A tanks into the Indian Army. Their cumulative value is around ₹8,400 crores. The tanks are locally developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). This tank may be a third-generation main battle tank. This suggests its composite armor and computer stabilized preparation systems, which permit firing on the move, also have a very high first hit probability on targets up to 2,000 meters away. It has 72 more features than its older version.
These 118 new tanks will be joining the fleet of the primary batch of 124 Arjun tanks, which are already with the Indian Army and deployed within the desert along the Pakistani border. A $200 million deal for Israeli SPICE bombs: While most of the new defense procurement deals in India’s kitty focus on keeping manufacturing in-house, some equipment remains being imported. While India tried to brush reports under the rug, the country has signed a $200 million contract with Israel’s Rafael Advanced defense system. The company has declined to spot the ‘Asian country,’ its customer — as per its handout in December 2020 — but Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that the tactical radios are specific to the Indian Army. Indian firm bags Army’s ₹ 140 crore deal for top altitude UAVs: The Indian Army ordered a complicated version of SWITCH tactical drones from ideaForge, an Indian company, on January 14. These are specialized drones that are made to work in high-altitude areas like Ladakh.
The exact number of drones has not been disclosed, but the deal is worth $20 million (around ₹140 crores), and therefore the delivery will take around one year. IdeaForge won out over other documented companies like Israel’s top UAV manufacturer Elbit, the Tata Group, Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, and VTOL Aviation. Indian Army on the search for new carbines: The Indian Army has issued a fresh request to the procurement of 93,895 carbines after the last process with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Caracal was dumped in September last year. The Request for Information (RFI) has been issued to all major foreign small arms manufacturers, including Caracal, Sig Sauer, Beretta, and Kalashnikov. The first difference in this point is that the RFIs have also been issued to Indian firms, just like the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Reliance Defence, SSS Defence, Bharat Forge, and PLR Systems, among others.
Government sanctions six new’ eyes within the sky’ worth ₹10,994 crores: In another boost to ‘Make in India,’ the Defence Acquisition Council gave its go-ahead for the DRDO to develop 6 new Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) planes in September last year. With ₹10,994 crores budget, these new planes will act as “eyes within the sky” for the Air Force of India. They will also cover a vital gap in India’s security preparedness. The Indian Navy is going to be getting new UAVs to strengthen maritime surveillance. In September 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Union Minister Rajnath Singh, also approved the Navy’s proposal to accumulate ship-launched, unmanned aerial systems for ₹1,000 crores, which can allow the force to possess a far better maritime knowledge while on the move. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) got an invitation for a proposal for its HTT- 40 trainer aircraft from India’s Ministry of Defence. Apart from the Tejas fighter jets, the Ministry of Defence is additionally looking into acquiring HTT-40 trainer jets from HAL. The company showcased the prototype back in 2016, and its development is going to be a huge boost of domestic production in India.