Indian Army received a wide range of indigenously manufactured military equipment to boost up its combat capabilities. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 16 August handed over these weapon systems to the Army to enhance operational preparedness in the backdrop of the prolonged border face-off with China in eastern Ladakh.
The key equipment that the Army received included surveillance hardware, assault patrolling boats, ‘Future Infantry Soldier as a System’, quick reaction fighting vehicles, automatic communication system, upgraded sights system for tanks, advanced thermal imagers and a new anti-personnel mine ‘Nipun’. Around 7 lakhs of these mines would be provided to the force manufactured by the Indian private sector industry.
The equipment/systems have been jointly developed by Indian Army in collaboration with Defence Public Sector Undertakings, Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and the industry, in line with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to modernise the Armed Forces, under the ‘Aatmanirbharta Bharat Abhiyan’ (Self-reliant India campaign), said Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a statement.
The new boats – Landing Craft Assault (LCA) – equipped with advanced surveillance gadgets and other equipment are being deployed to keep a strict vigil over the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. Last year, the Army had ordered 12 LCA boats to strengthen its existing fleets of vessels. “The LCA is much more versatile and has overcome the limitations of launch, speed and capacity. It has enhanced the capability to operate across the water obstacles in eastern Ladakh,” the Defence Ministry said.
It said the infantry-protected mobility vehicles and assault boats will enable the troops deployed along the borders to respond to any “challenge in a befitting manner”. The ministry said these vehicles will provide mobility and more protection to a large number of infantry soldiers posted in the northern borders, adding quick reaction fighting vehicles will enhance the mobility of the troops in eastern Ladakh.
In his remarks, Rajnath Singh exuded confidence that the equipment and systems will enhance the operational preparedness of the Indian Army and increase their efficiency. “It is a shining example of the country’s growing self-reliance prowess, in partnership with the private sector and other institutions.”
Singh said the infrastructural needs of the Armed Forces are increasing with constantly changing times and urged them to strive for excellence. He called for infrastructural development based on the latest technology to help the Armed Forces remain prepared to deal with future challenges.
The details of the equipment and systems handed over to the Indian Army are as follow:
F-INSAS System: Future Infantry Soldier as a System
Future Infantry Soldier is being equipped with three primary sub systems. The first sub system is the modern state of art assault rifle along with day and night holographic and reflex sights. The sights are mounted on the weapon and also on helmet to enable a 360-degree visibility and accuracy in operational conditions. In addition to the primary weapon system, the soldiers will also be kitted with multi-mode hand grenade which has also been procured indigenously along with multi-purpose knife.
The second sub system is protection system. This gives protection through a specially designed helmet and a bullet proof jacket. The third sub system consists of communication and surveillance system. This F-INSAS system is capable of further upgradation by incorporating real time data connectivity.
Anti-Personnel mine ‘Nipun’
For a long time, the Indian Army has been using vintage NMM 14 mines. With the efforts of Armament Research and Development Establishment, Pune and the Indian industry, a new Indian mine named ‘Nipun’ has been developed. It will enhance the protection provided to the troops on the borders. The mine is more potent and effective than the existing anti-personnel mine.
Hand Held Thermal Imager (Uncooled)
This equipment is for surveillance and detection. It gives visibility in both day and night and in adverse weather conditions to the soldiers to detect enemy movement and activities.
Commander Thermal Imaging Sight for T-90 tank
This equipment gives enhanced visibility and range to the commanders of armoured columns. Earlier, in T-90 tanks had image intensification systems which had its own limitations and constraints. The limitations have been overcome by use of thermal imaging sight produced by India Optel Limited.
Downlink Equipment with Recording Facility
This downlink equipment helps the helicopters in carrying out constant reconnaissance and surveillance of the borders and operational areas. While on missions, reconnaissance data observed is recorded in the system and can be accessed only when the helicopter returns to the base. The equipment, produced indigenously by Exicom Private Limited, is fitted on the Advanced Light Helicopter.
Semi Ruggedised Automatic Exchange System Mk-II
Indian Army had exchanges that provided line communications to the operationally deployed units. However, there were limitations in terms of numbers of subscribers and quantum of data that could be communicated. Also, the equipment could not work with latest internet protocol technology. A new system has been developed by the Bharat Electronics Limited, Kotdwar, which overcomes all inadequacies of the older system.
Upgraded Radio Relay (Frequency Hopping)
In challenging forward areas, where no lines or other forms of communication are available, Indian Army has to extend its communication system. With this radio relay system, forward troops are in a position to operate their communication equipment and radio sets at much longer ranges and in greater depths than hither-to-fore. This is an advanced system with frequency hopping technology and very high capacity. It has been developed by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bengaluru.
Solar Photovoltaic Energy Project
One of the most challenging terrain and operational sectors of the country is the Siachen Glacier. The complete power requirement in the area to operate various equipment was met only through captive generator supply. A solar photo-voltaic plant has been installed to improve the overall energy requirements and also obviate dependence on fossil fuels. This plant at Partapur was virtually dedicated to the Nation by the Raksha Mantri.
Landing Craft Assault (LCA)
There are boats operating in Pangong Tso lake, however, they have limited capabilities. The LCA is much more versatile and has overcome the limitations of launch, speed and capacity. It has enhanced the capability to operate across the water obstacles in Eastern Ladakh. LCA has been indigenously developed by Aquarius Ship Yard Limited, Goa.
Mini Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS)
RPAS removes the operational limitations faced by the Indian Air Force aircraft and the heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at tactical level. It empowers the Indian Army by removing the restricted capability for surveillance, detection and reconnaissance at the infantry battalion and mechanised units level.
Infantry Protected Mobility Vehicle (IPMV)
IPMV provides mobility and more protection to a large number of infantry soldiers posted at the Northern Borders. It has been made by Tata Advance Systems Limited.
Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle (Medium)
The second vehicle along with the Infantry Mobility Protected Vehicle for enhanced mobility of our troops in Eastern Ladakh is the Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle (Medium). It facilitates quick deployment of troops and will enable much faster reaction. The vehicles have been procured from Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. These are tailor made vehicles with high mobility, enhanced firepower & protection. It will facilitate in creating moral ascendency in our Northern Borders.