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By Bulbul Singh

17 Mar 10. India plans to offer the ambitious $2bn network centric warfare Tactical Communication System(TCS)project only to the state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), leaving several domestic and overseas defence companies in the lurch.

“After nearly three years of waiting, the private sector defence companies got a rude shock when they were not considered for the TCS Programme as several companies had invested money in tie-ups with overseas defence companies.” said a senior Executive of a domestic defence company.

The Indian government decided to award the programme only to BEL under the category ‘Make (Indian Hi-tech ),’ saying the programme is of security concern to the country. Domestic defence companies here complained that they have been left out to help BEL bid without competition. The executive added that, “They have already been involved in secretive Indian defence projects and they find no reason why they should not have been allowed to compete in TCS.”

Some of the companies who were in the race for TCS included BEL and domestic Companies, inclusing: Tata Group of Companies, Information Technology major Wipro, Larsen & Toubro(L& T), automobile major Mahindras and IT major Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL).

Under the category ‘Make (Indian Hi-tech),’ the Indian government
will also part finance the development of the programme. The domestic defence companies had, in turn, tied up with overseas defence companies for TCS and were prepared to compete without any development money from the government. Some of the Original Equipment manufacturers, who were in the race includes Thales, EADS, Raytheon and Elbit.

TCS will be the Indian Army’s futuristic backbone for digitized battlefield communication networks, facilitating communication from the theater command level down to the troops deployed in the battleground. The project will use varieties of communication applications including wired/wireless equipments supporting voice, video, data, fax and other value added services.

TCS will also provide communication support to the Indian Army’s
tactical command, control communication and intelligent network
form nationwide spectrum.

TCS will also be networked with the combat net radio [CNR] system of
the Indian army’s field forces for proving communication capability
for voice and data between CNR users and other user systems in the
tactical network

TCS is part of several network centric warfare programmes to be built by the Indian defence forces in the next five-to-seven years, including the Integrated Air Command, Control and Communication System (IACCCS),Delhi Area Defence Centre (DADC). These network centric systems will use Fibre Optics satellite, for effective and efficient integration of battlefield with the command centers in the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy.

Under the IACCCS Program, the Indian Air Force will integrate air command, control and communication systems and modernize the
existing Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES) communications
network using Fibre Optic Media. State-of-the-art radar and communication systems.

DADC is another air defence system which is being installed around the capital Delhi to connect various assets of the Indian Army for defending strategic installations around the capital.

So far, the Indian Army has integrated a homegrown Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON), called Mercury Thunder.
ACSON is a digital, fully automated, secure and survivable static
communication system that is based on microwave radio, optical-fiber
cable, satellite and millimeter wave communication equipment.

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