Why Indian defence needs a digital avatar! (1/3)

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We live in an era where technology is constantly changing and evolving. This, while opening up a host of opportunities in all spheres of business, governance and daily lives Our armed forces are already thriving in an environment that is vulnerable to continuous threats, be it on a warfront or on security. So the next logical step is to work towards making our forces ‘digitally supreme’.

There is a pressing need to harness the power of digital technology and equip our armed forces with best-in-class modern digital capabilities that will not only modernize and secure our military operations but will also safeguard our nation.

Let’s take the example of some of the most advanced armed forces in the world and their thrust on defence digitisation

  • Focusing on autonomous technologies, The US Department of Defence (DoD) has allocated $3.7 billion for the development of unmanned aerial and undersea vehicle capabilities[1]
  • Consolidating on overall defence ICT modernisation, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), plans to establish $1.95 billion multi-year framework, spanning 5 years starting 2020, for a host of digital and IT programs[2]
  • The Finnish Defence Force is rolling out a modernised tactical wireless IP network – TAC Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T), to digitise battlefield communications

The armed forces all over the world understand the nuances associated with vulnerability on both the fronts – security as well as battlefield and are rapidly incubating digital technologies in their military operations to gain a winning edge. The time is ripe for our national defence forces to ride the digitization wave and get a new digital ‘avatar’.

How will a new ‘digital avatar’ transform defence

Imagine a digitally-enabled defence force…. Once the C3 (communications command and control) is modernised, technology and digitisation will pervade all levels and departments in defence. Military ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), one of the most critical success factors in warfare and defence will be powered by autonomous technologies, sensors and satellites to provide granular intelligence inputs on field and in operations. A digitised battlefield will have a competitive edge through the added power of next-gen

ISR technologies like thermal, infrared, sound and electromagnetic sensors, aerial photography, high altitude pseudo satellites, UAVs, cloud and AI bases analytics.

Modernization of traditional radio systems and replacing them with digital communications systems will drive innovations in airborne, naval, man-portable, vehicular and stationary communications.

Command and control centre operations have always been a challenging task, but will enable data led decision making and action mobilisation.

Smart weaponry like UAVs, drones, self-guided bullets and unmanned tanks, are now regularly being deployed and are changing the means by which warfare is conducted.

All of these scenarios will beautifully integrate into a defence ecosystem which is fortified and formidable at the same time.

Moving beyond just being ‘battlefield supreme’

Nations, which are able to anticipate and leverage opportunities arising out of digital technology-led transformation, will have the competitive edge over the other nations in future. It is imminent that our nation’s defence arm is digitally equipped so that it can confront to the demands of today and tackle the threats of tomorrow.

What we need is a systematic approach to ‘digitally transform’ our defence force and have cutting-edge technology advantage over the other nations.

Interpret implications and threats that arise from the ever-changing technology landscape

Establish technology-led strategies required to respond to these threats and implications

Optimise their approach in leveraging technologies across defence sector

Prioritise their investment in developing digital capabilities that have the greatest impact, NOW and in FUTURE

How will this ‘digital avatar’ impact military operations

The progress on digitisation in the Indian armed forces will bring in change in the basic precept of military operations. Our defence sector’s enhanced digital capabilities will have far reaching impact on each aspect of defence – strategy, operations and tactics!

  1. More winnability and mission effectiveness
  2. Infallible military intelligence
  3. Excellent management spanning defence strategy, tactics and operations
  4. Jointness among the Tri-forces
  5. Reduced human casualties
  6. Enhanced cyber and physical security
  7. Superior threat identification capability
  8. Smart weapons deployment

Now, what defence sector requires is putting modern digital capability at the heart of its operations to create winning advantage in future…We need to now look at the technology mandate and use cases in a granular fashion. In the next blog in this 3 part series, we will delve deeper into one of the technology applications which is touted as the next big thing in defence – IoBT (Internet of Battle Things). Stay tuned!


[2] https://www.photonicsonline.com/doc/using-swir-in-intelligence-surveillance-and-reconnaissance-isr-military-and-security-systems-0001

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