Army prepares for a digitized Battlefield


New Member
Feb 16, 2009
Computers and communications are crucial for the army in the information age, playing an important role in weapon control and management systems.

The army has three technical corps - engineers, signals and electrical and mechanical engineers. Operating and maintaining complex equipment requires high levels of technical expertise and on-job application. Army officers, junior commissioned officers, jawans, and defence civilians all need appropriate training, and this has acquired a different dimension with the introduction of simulation tools.

Simulated training is the most cost effective methodology for training, states the army. According to the army, ‘This creates a realistic environment to generate near real responses to various contingences as well as handling of complex weapon systems, without the need to go outdoors and use operational equipment. It also saves transportation costs and ammunition.’

The army’s approach is to develop such systems indigenously, where a large number of simulations is required and the main weapon of equipment would remain in service for about 20 years. The army simultaneously develop sand introduces simulators along with the weapon or equipment itself. The Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) in Madhya Pradesh, and the Indian Institute for Information Technology Allahabad (IIIT-A) are jointly developing simulator tools.

Another method of training adopted by the army is computerised war gaming. The Army Training Command (ARTRAC) aims to apply computerised war gaming in the Indian army, for training as well as indigenous development of war game models. War gaming helps in training commanders and staff in a simulated battlefield environment. It also helps in ‘practising various tactical contingencies and arriving at realistic results’ and in ‘validating operational plans as well as performance evaluation and analysis’, according to the army.

According to analysis from Frost & Sullivan, the Indian land-based training and simulation market is set to grow, thanks to the Indian army’s plans for modernisation. Frost & Sullivan projects the market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36 per cent from 2007 to 2017. Indian software companies would benefit, as they could collaborate with simulator developers to design and supply software for simulators. The army could save on wear and tear of original equipment, fuel, and man-hours. Soldier safety during training could also be addressed.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the Indian army’s low budgets reduce the possibility of conducting trials on full-fledged simulators for technical evaluation. Budgetary constraints also compel the army to choose products in the lowest price range, forcing the manufacturers to offer low-cost, at the same time technologically advanced simulators. This situation is expected to improve with a significant hike in the defence budget.

The Corps of Signals aims to make the Indian army a network-enabled force by 2012 and network centric force by 2017. The vision of the Corps is ‘to achieve electronic and information superiority for effective functioning of the Indian Army’. The responsibilities include setting up a converged, robust, broadband and secure IT infrastructure, both at peace and operational locations of the Indian Army.

A ‘Network for Spectrum’ project is being implemented by the department of telecommunication (DoT) in exchange for spectrum being released from defence quota. According to the army, the network will provide additional overlay and strengthen the army’s communication infrastructure. The Indian army is also planning to upgrade the cyber security of its networks.

Modernisation of the armed forces is one of the top priorities of the Indian government, says defence minister AK Antony. The defence budget was increased from $18.7 billion (Rs 96,000 crore) to Rs $20.5 billion (1,05,600 crore) for 2008-09.

Antony said, ‘Armed forces all over the world are modernising and becoming technology intensive… the art of warfare is moving into new dimensions with the era of the foot soldier being rapidly replaced by technology and knowledge intensive machines, which call for an entirely new order of expertise. Since such technologies are crucial to the maintenance of a country’s edge over the others, there is little prospect of critical technologies being shared with us,’ he added.

Antony said that it was also possible that such technologies may be available only on unacceptable terms and conditions. He said that this background increased the significance of the responsibility of the Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO).

A Defence Information Technology Consultative Committee (DITCC) comprising eminent personalities from the ministry of defence (MoD), the three services, ministry of communication and IT, academia and the industry was established. ‘DITCC has evolved a road map and a common approach for the integration of information technology in our Armed Forces,’ the defence minister said.


Regular Member
Mar 30, 2009
How much of technology does the army (or the forces) really use? For e.g., would officers use emails in their daily communication? Do they have their assets (everything from trucks to missiles) in databases accessible over some sort of network connection? Do they use modern people management or financial management software?

Some senior government offices that I have visited seems to treat the obligatory computer as a showpiece. One major (this was in 2006) that I had talked to said that he did not really have a great deal of use for his office computer, the irony being that his younger brother was in a junior management position in a software company

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