Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Battlefield Hawk Eye

                                The Battlefield Hawk Eye System

Indian Soldier in a F INSAS Config with HMC,PDA and COMM

      Battlefield management system (BMS) is a system meant to integrate information acquisition and processing to enhance command and control of a military unit. It enables complete situational awareness by effectively displaying all crucial data required by a Field Commander at any given point of time. In the chaos of battle, the ability to manage and control events at combat levels and also effectively influence the situations as they keep changing is the key to a success of a operation. 

    BMS is a state-of-the-art, flexible, multilevel and fully interoperable tactical command and control information system providing ground forces from the level of a Commander down to the individual soldier – with integrated situation awareness, a common communication infrastructure, collaborative planning tools and knowledge-based command and control capabilities.

       The Indian army is trying to implement a BMS (Battlefield Management System) with a cost outlay of over INR 50000 Crore/ $ 8 billion. Rolta is in collaboration with Bharat Electronics (BEL) for the project. And Tata Power SED and L&T Defence are also in collaboration for the project. The present government is moving really fast on finalizing the specifications. The first Prototype of the BMS would available with the army by 2017.

   Bharat Electronics has been working on battlefield management systems. The company has established hot bed testing for BMS for continuous evaluation and implementation of user requirements. Having worked on several Tactical Command, Control, and Communications & Intelligence (Tac C3I) systems of the Indian Army, in association with DRDO, BEL has the unique capability of developing and integrating Tac C3I systems and is leading the consortium.

       The ever evolving battlefield of the modern era is extremely chaotic and fast paced. The fast evolving war course misleads the parties involved alike. But technology like BMS has now made it possible for battlefield commanders to see their areas of responsibility in depth and in real time, and also helps to develop an accurate common picture of the battle space. This can further be shared right to the button with a click of the button. This has been made possible by technology enabling rapid acquisition, processing and transfer of information, enhancing situational awareness and acquiring capability to react to information.

        The Management of the information available on the battlefield is crucial and decides the course of the war. The information management is war course decider and the implementation of these decision needs to e precise. The BMS is a third generation warfare system. This third generation system effectively digitizes the battlefield. The sensors and weapons which are used in current warfare are now using extensive digital technology. The sensors, weapons and units which help in enabling the digital technology collectively help in integrating and bolstering the usages of Battle Management Systems (BMS).

   The BMS can effectively provide an integrated ‘Common Operating Picture’ which can be used by the all armed forces to plan evasive plans collaboratively. This helps in exercising highly effective control over operations in a dynamic and ever changing battlefield. The main principal of the BMS is based on Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA). This process involves quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby "get inside" the opponent's decision cycle and gain the advantage.

      Most advanced countries have a very well implemented situation awareness packages but what is crucial is integrating these packages and digitizing them. In an implemented BMS it is crucial for the system to cover the whole military command from the highest order to a even foot soldier. The BMS sought by the Indian Army is expected to perform a variety of operational situational awareness tasks and should also be of decision making support end to a battalion. The Commanding Officer will have a very high amount of situational awareness and through this can command his unit to a very effective position against the enemy with the help of a secure communication link.

      The BMS system being sought by the army is a mobile tactical command and control platform which are integrated with sensors, various weapon platforms and decision making command units. This effectively reduces the time taken for making these decisions with the help of real time analysis of the battle field. BMS will comprise of wearable or hand-held information relay systems which are mounted or controlled on a individual soldier, this information is further relayed to a central command through a secure communication link.

     BMS also compromises of vehicle mounted information systems which are relay the information back to the Central command. This information relayed back is quickly analysed and with the advance systems is placed in real time situations and crucial decisions. The decision made now is verified with various other commands charged with the crucial surveillance task. These commands are responsible for noting the location position of the enemy and the friendly forces. Once the positions of these forces are made available and the battle field scenario is drawn up the information is soon analysed and is forwarded to the strike units which have the crucial weapons systems. These weapon platforms are integrated part of the BMS. With a higher level of combat information available these forces can retaliate/Strike forward enemy positions inflicting huge drawbacks on the hostile forces and paving the way for forward movement of ‘friendly forces’.

      The BMS is one of the crucial projects for the army and can turn out to be a major factor deciding the outcome of a operation. BMS is also one of the projects selected by the government for ‘Make in India’ platform. BMS was cleared from the DAC (Defence Acquisitions Council) tables in July, 2013. The EoI (Expression of Interest) for the project was issued by November, 2013. Around 15 companies received the EoI for the project which involved the Larsen & Turbo, BEL , Rolta , Tata Powers and various other companies. The companies were given four months to form consortiums, forward the proposals and a detailed plan to be submitted to the MoD by July 2014. 

        The foreign consortium involved of Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael and Elbit from Israel, Thales of France, BAE systems from UK and General Dynamics of US. The MoD would be funding around 80 % of the project cost and the remaining 20 % to be funded by the foreign companies. Two consortiums would be selected and their BMS would be put to test on battle fields and the best one would be finally cleared by the MoD to be implemented on the Battlefield. The implementation of BMS has a long way to progress with at least 3 years required to test the systems at various and finally to be implemented at a battle field level. BMS is a force multiplier that gives a combat edge to a military force, enabling faster and accurate decisions to be made which may totally change the course of an operation. With the location of every single tank, artillery, soldier known the command can easily make course changing decisions. If the system is put in place the command will have a hawk eye over the battlefield enhancing the capabilities of the command to manage ground forces of the third largest army in the world.

Written By Karthik Kakoor 

Method of ROLTA, BEL BMS for Indian Army

American Model of Mobile Command Center

Russian President inside the Russian Army Combat Center

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