India to gear up for 'star wars'


New Member
Mar 31, 2010
NEW DELHI: India has no option but to get ready for "star wars" in the future, with countries like China working overtime to develop advanced ASAT (anti-satellite) capabilities with "direct-ascent" missiles, hit-to-kill "kinetic" and directed-energy laser weapons.

The defence ministry's spanking new "Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap" seems to recognize this overriding necessity, outlining as it does a wide array of high-tech offensive and defensive capabilities Indian armed forces will need over the next 15 years.

Identifying priority areas ranging from space warfare, ballistic missile defence (BMD) and combat drones to electronic warfare, NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) defence and submarines equipped with AIP (air-independent propulsion), the roadmap holds that "technological superiority is increasingly going to be the decisive factor in future battles". The 76-page MoD roadmap to "provide the industry with an overview" about military requirements by 2025 does seem ambitious as of now, given the present poor state of the country's defence-industrial production base.

Nevertheless, it gives significant insight into what India plans to acquire in terms of futuristic military capabilities. The roadmap, after all, draws heavily from classified as well as unclassified parts of Army, IAF and Navy doctrines, the still-evolving long-term integrated perspective plan (2012-2027) and DRDO's S&T roadmap, among others. While India is already working in some of these sectors, the roadmap underlines the need to get cracking in the others as well. Ever since China shocked the world with an ASAT weapon test to destroy a satellite in January 2007, alarm bells have been clanging in the Indian defence establishment.

The MoD roadmap, on its part, identifies development of ASAT weapons "for electronic or physical destruction of satellites in both LEO (2,000-km altitude above earth's surface) and the higher GEO-synchronous orbits" as a thrust area.

Apart from "EMP (electromagnetic pulse) hardening" of satellite and sensors to protect them against ASAT weapons, it says armed forces want to induct satellite systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in a major way. The uses range from synthetic aperture radar all-weather imagery and precision targeting to automatic target recognition technology and high-speed communication.

Army's need for "directed energy weapons (DEWs)" is also spelled out in the roadmap. These include mobile air defence to engage enemy rockets, missiles, fighters and helicopters, as also DEWs to neutralize UAVs at a distance of 8-10 km. Moreover, precision weapons and dazzlers are needed for swift counter-terrorist operations with minimum collateral damage.

Another thrust area is UAVs, especially armed ones like the American Predator and Reaper drones equipped with Hellfire missiles. "UAVs with advanced sensors and weapons are going to dominate all facets of the future battlefield,"
it says.

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