How important is digital supremacy for an entity tasked with guarding the borders of a nation, such as the Navy? Infinitely important! Just ask the Indian Navy – the 7th largest in the entire world.
Today, they might stand tall as India’s maritime guardians, but even on the digital front, they haven’t let their guard down. Equipped with a next-gen integrated digital communications network with 1500 network sites for ubiquitous connectivity, 44 network locations and 40 secure data centres with custom enterprises application solutions, the Indian Navy has created a formidable digital fortress to protect the interests of the nation.
This new defence network was born out of STL network modernisation solutions in partnership with a leading national telecom operator. We proudly call it Project Varun – a timely response to iron out the vulnerabilities of critical communications in the Navy and open the frontier to new-age defence applications, smart weapons systems, real-time situational awareness and faster decision-making.
A Need of the Hour
It’s no surprise to see global superpowers allocate billions of dollars to upgrading defence systems, and India is no different. A vital part of this investment also goes towards upgrading military communication systems that ensure a secure connection with the command-and-control centre, reliable communication on the battlefield and amongst comrades, and the safety and security of our personnel. Additionally, with cyber warfare growing at a rapid scale, a stable, secure and robust defence communication network becomes extremely crucial.
In the Indian Navy’s quest for a modern network that would strengthen homeland security for the country, while improving voice, video and data experience across its fixed and mobile sites, lie several obstacles.
- Dependence on public network backbone – Network bandwidth constraint – Information security concerns
- Fragmented ecosystem – Disaggregated network & data management across 1,31,000 sqft – Isolated orchestration & de-centralised control mechanisms
- Complex stakeholder management – Involvement of private, public and government bodies – Co-ordinating 1000+ strong labour force across multiple layers
- Challenging accessibility – Remote locations spread out over difficult terrains – Limited hours of work in mission-critical establishments
A huge task lied in front of STL to clear these obstacles by identifying vulnerabilities. There was only one solution: a large-scale network modernization. And thus, Project Varun was initiated.
Codename: Project Varun
To solidify the communications network for the naval soldiers of the country, STL had to think like a soldier. The answer lied in a unique approach – consolidate, secure, ready.
First, consolidate the multiple isolated and far-flung sites. Second, secure them with reliable links. Third, ready the network for the use of digital technologies such as virtualisation, big data analytics, and customised enterprise applications. And voila! Independent high-capacity end-to-end communication network now linked multiple naval sites and Indian islands – 44 network locations and 1500 network sites to be precise.
This strategy was at the heart of Project Varun’s battleplan – a complex, one of its kind greenfield project to build a robust, integrated communications network spanning converged network design, fibre & ICT deployments, data centre ecosystem and network security that ensured a secure, reliable and seamless digital highway for administrative and various mission-critical operations.
- Network design excellence using DNA with iCORE – STL’s network design philosophy
- Execution excellence using Lead 360° – STL’s signature network deployment method
- Project governance using STL’s digital governance platform
- Strategic partner ecosystem
All under a stringent timeline of 12 months! Today, the Naval network boasts a 100% private backbone; 40 secure data centres with custom enterprises application solutions; 30,000+ Endpoints enabled with high QoS AV/Data communications; and wide see-through optical fibre sensing, software-defined applications and integrated command and control centres.
Project Varun epitomizes the great ability of digital transformation to serve and protect the people of a nation. The Indian Navy has much to leverage from the network modernization achieved in record time that will enhance military communication bandwidth and accessibility, enable superfast action orchestration and introduce multiple efficiencies in storage and sharing of sensitive, mission-critical data of national importance.
A bespoke, highly advanced defence communication network now brings the Indian Navy on par with the greatest armed forces in the world, turning India into a force to be reckoned with. It’s truly an honour to serve such a greater purpose through digital technology that is shaping pretty much every aspect of our lives.