Seeking to prepare itself for futuristic warfare of the kind seen in the iconic and sensational Star Wars movies,Indian armed forces are planning to spend around Rs 6 lakh crore to get hi-tech equipment such as robots for combat roles,precision-guided missiles and watch-dog satellites,according to a Defence Ministry document.
In the document ‘Technology and Capability Roadmap’ for the armed forces for next 15 years,Defence Minister A K Antony has also made it clear that his department will make these acquisitions in a holistic manner “without compromising transparency,fairness and probity at any level.”
“In the next 15 years,Indian forces are poised for major modernisation… The volumes are high and the financial outlays large. There is substantial scope in the process for Indian industry to harness this market around USD 100 billion (Rs six lakh crore) to develop indigenous capability; especially in high technology areas,” it said. The TCR has been provided by the Ministry as a step to provide a roadmap to the private and public sector indigenous industry about the requirements of the armed forces so that they can gear up themselves to provide the solutions.
“The document is being put up in the public domain to establish a level playing field for the Indian defence industry,both public and private sector,” the Ministry said. In the field of space,the TCR says the armed forces would require “watchdog satellites” to guard against the anti-satellite weapons,which have been developed by China.
“With the advent of anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) a concept of ‘watchdog satellites to guard other satellites could also be explored,” it said.The armed forces are also turning eco-friendly and have sought “eco-friendly solar,wind and electric power and propulsion systems which are capable of lowering fuel consumption,reduce pollution and better energy efficient while helping vessels to operate quietly.” Seeking artificial warriors on field,the TCR said for winning land battles,the Army would need “Robots to assist troops in combat for tasks such as surveillance,reconnaissance,anti mine and anti IED role,urban area combat and casualty extraction.”
To deal with the threat of enemy ballistic missiles,the 45-page TCR says a capability called Joint Area Missile Defence would be required for air defence. “It will use air defence assets of the three services in conjunction with the surveillance sensors of other agencies to detect,track,acquire and destroy incoming theatre ballistic and cruise missiles,” it said. Seeking capabilities to fight the menace of terrorism,the TCR said capabilities will have to to be developed to oppose terrorism throughout the threat spectrum including anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism.
“It includes protection of personnel,assault,explosives detection and disposal,investigative sciences and forensics,physical security and protection of infrastructure and surveillance and collection. Successful execution of the wide range of R&D efforts will greatly improve the capability of the soldier,” it said. The document,which is similar to a previous document issued in 2010,also envisages procurement of modern combat aircraft,combat drones,unmanned underwater systems,space-based capability,anti-submarine weapons launched from air,several types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and training tools for the forces in next 15 years.