Indian Army Armored Vehicles

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Antimony, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    I cam across this interesting but dated article on the SAAG website. It's an article by Subhash Kapila about the relevance about India's armored units. He argues for replacing them with Air Cavalry Brigades, since as per him Armored units are of limited use in the geographical terrain of the Sub continent's border regions.

    I don't know if I agree with him, but what struck me is that this call for mating air based systems with land based systems creates creates (or is supposed to create) highly mobile brigade level formations suitable for surprise offensive manouvres. Is this not similar to COLD START?

    Excerpt:
    Would like to invite DFI members to discuss this

    Source: The T- 90 Deal and Armoured Divisions
     
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  3. Ratus Ratus

    Ratus Ratus Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Just a few little points from the article to think about:
    Armoured divisions are very costly formations to afford and to maintain in terms of the exorbitant costs of tanks, APCs and AFVs and a host of other specialised and logistic units in support.

    What is the cost not to mention logistics for these air-cavalry brigades?
    Notice the author seems to have slipped on this little piece of detail.

    I love this:
    The air-cavalry brigades i.e. aerial offensive capability brigades with in-built aerial firepower, armed helicopter-mobile infantry battalions, integral aerial anti-tank weapons and guided missiles and integral aerial logistic capabilities provide an effective answer to and a medium for dual-purpose (western and northern borders) offensive employment in Indian tactical environment.
    I see it now and with the music of ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ blaring loudly..

    Alright seriously if air cav so great why was it not used in both Iraq wars instead of all the ground troops and armour?

    This is where the paper has a little fall: "It is not the intention here to discuss the detailed organisation of air-cavalry brigades".
    It is always nice to float ideas and better still not to include any meaningful detail for discussion.
     
  4. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    I was thinking the same:D

    But couple of things about the article

    1. How valid is the contention that Armor units are useless in the Subcontinents theatres, at least where they current are? That is what the author seems to harp on more, rather than a cost comparison between armored and airborne cavalry
    2. I wonder if the idea of high mobility strike brigades mentioned here gave some one the idea behind COLD START
     
  5. Ratus Ratus

    Ratus Ratus Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    How valid is the contention that Armor units are useless in the Subcontinents theatres, at least where they current are? That is what the author seems to harp on more, rather than a cost comparison between armored and airborne cavalry

    Look at it this way, they on high at one point said armour was not a valid cosideration for Vietnam in the 60s-70s. The reason terrain, and wet season. Funny how well tanks worked there.


    I wonder if the idea of high mobility strike brigades mentioned here gave some one the idea behind COLD START
    If reading that article alone gave someone a bright idea they should rule the world.
    In many ways there is little depth in the article. You could do more by looking back to history even the NA campaigns have smatterings of the cold start logic.
    Simply look at the Indian air lift ability at present. How much can be air lifted fast and to what points?
    The article is about air lift and neither side is hot with this ability.
     
  6. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    It was used in 2003, the cav of 173rd brigade opened up the Northern front since they couldn't use Turkey and the cav of 101st Division fought many battles in support of operations.
     
  7. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Who says they are? The excerpt is refering to the Northern border.

    Airbourne was far more effective.

    What India needs are true airbourne divisions. They should be modeled after the VDV. The high elevations they must operate in are ideal for this form of airlift, not basing it on Western models that rely on helicopters. High altitudes are difficult if impossible for helos to operate, so they should use drop vehicles that are fully autonomous. I was in an airbourne tank-destroyer platoon, we had enough firepower to take out an entire tank company. We ambushed Chechen supply convoys travelling up the mountains and did so with devestating effect, they could just have easily been tank columns. At the time we were using Konkurs, but now my old unit has Kornet, nothing will stop it.
     
  8. Ratus Ratus

    Ratus Ratus Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Not the main issue here actually.
    The Kurd end of the operation is one point but armour was landed afterwards.
    What I point to is that air cav was not used as the sole method of the approach to this. Normal ground forces constituted the majority of force composition.

    What the article is pointing at is the complete use of air cav to the point of no other concept.
     
  9. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    Vladimir sir would you please share the Orbat of a typical Russian airborne division
     
  10. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Armour wasn't even needed. The Kurds defeated Saddams forces with alot of help from the air and the 173rd.

    Were M1A1s really needed to win? With air power and stand-off ATGMs, no tank in Iraq was going to stand. The only real benefit was the armour protection, of which can be replaced with an ADS.

    Then lets focus on that, take Russia for example. We are stripping our tank divisions to the bare bones. Why? The threats we face do not call for pitched battles of tank on tank. What is required are fast reaction brigades which can be at the point of crises in short order. ATGMs can out distance any tank gun, ADS can defeat most threats to armour not requiring MBTs. The more armour you add for billions, the easier it is to make a low cost weapon that can penetrate. Just look at Lebanon in 2006, a few numbers pf Kornet and Metis made short work of Merkavas and have now forced Israel to procure Trophy. The firepower of my tank-destroyer platoon could wipe out an entire tank company and we rode in light armoured BTRs. Our ability to move anywhere anytime gives us the element of suprise, to ambush, to conquer. It is not feasable to do away with regular ground forces, but we have all seen the trend, light mobile brigades that are doing away with tanks as the backbone.
     
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  11. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Three airbourne regiments, one artillery regiment, two air defence regiments along with various support battalions and a transport regiment.
     
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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Antimony,

    Brig Kapila is correct that armour concentration with its support echelons do give away surprise.

    It would be interesting if you could get your hands on Brig Richard Simpkin’s book ‘Race to the Swift’ and read the chapter on ‘Rotary Wing Revolution’. He is taken to be a great ‘brain’ on Armour and allied issues.

    There is no second guessing that Air mobility can achieve a greater degree of surprise. The advantage of an air mobile force is that it can move dispersed and fight concentrated and can be located away from the intended axis of attack.

    However, if there is a large concentration of MANPADS (which will be the case, if the adversary finds India investing in air mobility in a big way) air mobile forces may find it difficult. Therefore, it boils down to the fact that the effective part of the battle would still have to be on foot because the forces will have to be landed away from the objective and beyond the MANAPAD range.

    The lack of artillery since that also give away the surprise when moving into the Assembly Area will have to be compensated by adequate firepower on aerial platforms and degree of the weight of fire would have to be so high that objective is totally neutralised and suppressed and would have to be in a standoff mode.

    At the same time, I would like to add that there are air portable artillery which is equally lethal and they could be used to offset and gap in the aerial platform firepower.

    Against China in TAR where armour cannot be used, this is the best option.

    I wonder if armour can be totally off the inventory. They have their advantage too. While the armour would not match the aerial envelopment package in surprise, mobility and dispersal and yet concentrate, they too can be dispersed, move dispersed to concentrate at the point of the objective. They have the advantage of attacking the objective with the relative protection of their armour as also surpassing the air assault mode in ‘shock effect’ that an armour assault can only achieve! Imagine a Mack coming towards your VW head on!
     
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Air mobility was not used in Iraq because the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2002 and it was decided on a "blitzkrieg" military campaign, which would have the following features:
    o massive buildup of forces in the region, initially unannounced;
    o simultaneous attack by forces staged from the United States, Europe, the Gulf region, and the sea, including at least five Marine and Army divisions;
    o simultaneous use of all service forces and national capabilities (CIA, Delta Force, psychological warfare) to rapidly encircle and destroy the Iraqi leadership and military and to stabilize the population and control events;
    o rapid capture and control of mass destruction weapons and units;
    o air assets engaged within days, naval and initial troop deployments within weeks, full troop deployment within one-two months;
    o no prolonged bombing campaign or troop build-up on Iraq's borders.


    Further, Brig Kapila is advocating a roadmap for the future and not as is of now. Therefore, today's airlift capability is not in question.

    In the Cold Start concept, what he is advocating is correct since Cold Start does not aim at deep thrusts wherein Pakistan nuclear threshold is crossed!
     
  14. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    I dont know why people underestimate the armour. Remember people Tanks are the symbol of power of the Army. Even today driving the tank into the capital of the enemy country means victory. A Tank is a very powerful weapon so are rest of the armor. Even in modern days tanks are the most potent weapon. Nothing is there to punch holes in the enemy's defence like a nice tank. Tanks are the Knights who charge up front, take the brunt of fire and make holes in the position for the infantry to come in. That is why they are still called as the cavalry units.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I don’t think that anyone underestimates the value of a tank.

    It is just that the correct equipment must match the strategic aim in view, the tactical application based on optimising resources.

    The armour regiments are called cavalry, but also Lancers and Horse.

    Most of the times, because of the minefields, it is the infantry which goes in and the armour is in supporting role!

    Each arm and service plays a complementary role to the victory in battle.
     
  16. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    sir werent they the ones who charged up front in the war...like the tank does today?
     
  17. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    you may have any kind of war, but at the end you need soilders and armoured units on the ground to hold it for you. That is fact..........

    yeah we are not against air mobility of our forces, but at the same time you cannot just close down armour units. both have to be included in right propotion and they should complement and supplement each other in modern warfare.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Who shall lead the attack to the objective has to be decided on various factors. The basic issue is as below:

    The first issue is what is the number of tank casualties acceptable? It must be remembered that tanks cannot be wasted on merely taking an objective. They are basically to destroy the enemy's tanks and the enemy strategic reserves.

    If there is a deep minefield and the enemy has a high density of Anti Tank resources on the objective, then using tanks in attack would not have cost benefit. The tanks could go ploughs down, but it will reduce the speed and would be easier targets.

    sayareakd,

    The Infantry holds the ground and not armour.
     
  19. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    Sir, this is where I think the IDF messed up big time in 2006.
    Tanks need to be supported by IFVs, and most of all infantry, which was not the case, and hence, the Israelis paid a heavy toll to ATGMs.
    Most people think this as a drawback of the tank, but it was a result of how they were used.
     
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This is worth reading:

    Preliminary “Lessons” of the
    Israeli-Hezbollah War
    Anthony H. Cordesman
    Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy

    An Excerpt from the above:

    Informal Networks and Asymmetric "Netcentric Warfare"
    Like insurgent and terrorist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan—and in Arab states like Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other states threatened by such groups—the Hezbollah showed the ability of non-state actors to fight their own form of netcentric warfare. The Hezbollah acted as a "distributed network" of small cells and units acting with
    considerable independence, and capable of rapidly adapting to local conditions using media reports on the, verbal communication, etc.

    Rather than have to react faster than the IDF's decision cycle, they could largely ignore it, waiting out Israeli attacks, staying in positions, reinfiltrating or reemerging from cover, and choosing the time to attack or ambush. Forward fighters could be left behind or sacrificed, and "self-attrition" became a tactic substituting for speed of maneuver and the ability to anticipated IDF movements.

    Skilled cadres and leadership cadres could be hidden, sheltered, or dispersed. Rear areas became partial sanctuaries in spite of the IDF. Aside from Nasrallah, who survived, no
    given element of the leadership cadre was critical.

    A strategy of attrition and slow response substituted for speed and efficiency in command and control. The lack of a formal and hierarchical supply system meant that disperse
    weapons and supplies—the equivalent of "feed forward logistics"—accumulated over six years ensured the ability to keep operating in spite of IDF attacks on supply facilities and
    resupply.

    The ability to fight on local religious, ideological, and sectarian grounds the IDF could not match provided extensive cover and the equivalent of both depth and protection. As noted earlier, civilians became a defensive weapon, the ability to exploit civilian casualties and collateral damage became a weapon in political warfare, and the ability to exploit virtually any built up area and familiar terrain as fortresses or ambush sites at
    least partially compensated for IDF armor, air mobility, superior firepower, and sensors.

    The value and capability of such asymmetric "netcentric" warfare, and comparatively slow moving wars of attrition, should not be exaggerated. The IDF could win any clash,
    and might have won decisively with different ground tactics. It also should not be ignored. The kind of Western netcentric warfare that is so effective against conventional forces has met a major challenge and one it must recognize.
     
  21. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    IDF underestimated Hezbollah and they overestimated themselves. Russian anti tank weapons played major role and area where IDF was intercepted played crucial role in that.

    i failed to understand why IDF did not took air force attack helicopter to take out Hezbollah fighters ???
     

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