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By Bulbul Singh

23 Sep 10. In yet another major jolt to domestic private sector defence companies, sources suggest that the ambitious $1 billion Indian Battlefield Management System (BMS) program is close to being awarded to India’s state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Several leading domestic private sector Information Technology (IT) companies, and Indian private sector defence companies were competing for the project. However, last week, BATTLESPACE believes that the Indian defence ministry decided that the BMS will be given to state-owned BEL. The defence ministry will gave reasons of secrecy and strategic importance when awarding the project to BEL.

In addition to the domestic IT companies, overseas defence companies were also eyeing tie-ups with Indian sector companies in the run-up to the competition. The overseas companies will only be asked to assist in selected areas of the project by BEL.

Industry sources contacted by BATTLESPACE about this pending announcement expressed concern and surprise. One contractor, who preferred not to be named said, “This is completely wrong about BMS award to BEL. The program is not even categorized yet, with no RFP on near horizon. From all our interactions with the Indian Army, including the Director General of Information Systems, the requirements for the program are still under formulations. The Indian Army is still seeking inputs from the industry, as evident by a 2-day BMS seminar organized last week (21-22 September) in New Delhi and well attended by Indian Army including VCOAS and Minister of State (I-Mod).”

The main aim of the project is to provide a Command Communication and Intelligence gathering integration tool supporting every level of military users ranging from individual soldiers to Battalion Group/Combat group commanders giving a comprehensive tactical picture by integration of inputs from all elements in a battle group. The integration will include inputs from command and control elements, combat platforms, detachments, supporting arms, surveillance devices and headquarters, providing an edge in optimization of resources.

BMS will be the precursor to a similar system for India’s paramilitary forces that will address counter-terrorism and counter-infiltration requirements.

Indian Army’s proposed Battlefield management systems (BMS) will comprise of Command and Decision Support Systems, Surveillance Systems, Weapon Systems, Systems to coordinate time and space, Information Warfare systems and in-built Operational Logistic System. It will be operated through a high capacity Tactical Data Network by employing standard interfaces and protocols.

The BMS will comprise of palm top computers with individual soldiers and tactical computers at Battlegroup Headquarters and combat vehicles. Computers will be integrated employing application and database servers connected on a data-enabled communication network. The system will enable the generation of a common operational picture by integrating inputs from all relevant sources within a battlegroup.

An Indian Army official said, “The BMS will be a highly mobile system which will create a self-forming, self-healing network and provide high data rates. The communication system would optimally utilize the bandwidth available for military communications.

The tailor-made BMS will also have variety of intelligent solutions in the battlefield such as terrain analysis, Blue Force Tracking, resources & capability and weapon systems. It will also be capable of supporting operational logistic functions at the unit level which will include deployment, management and planning of minefields, obstacles, management of casualties, management of weapons and ammunition management.

The BMS will have specialized indigenous sensors which will be capable of multi-sensor integration, digital data transmission, real-time tracking of own resources, multi-option integr

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