USD5 BILLION NETWORK CENTRIC PROGRAMME ONLY FOR INDIAN COMPANIES
By Bulbul Singh
18 Jul 13. The Indian Ministry of Defence will not give the $5 billion network centric programme, Battlefield Management System (BMS) on nomination basis to state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited. Instead the BMS programme has been put in the ‘Make India’ category under which only domestic defence companies will be eligible to compete.
Under the ‘Make India’ category only domestic companies are allowed to design, develop and produce defence weaponry and equipment and the Indian government funds the development costs up to 80 per cent. India, has so far been largely buying weaponry and equipment under the ‘Buy and Make’ category under which weapons are purchased from overseas defence companies and then license produced here under technology transfer.
The domestic defence companies which will be offered to participate in the development and production of the BMS programme will need to join hands with overseas defence companies because they do not have the fully technology. Under the ‘Make India’ category indigenous element of the system up to 50 per cent is allowed. As such nearly half of the BMS project will essentially be based on overseas inputs.
The domestic companies which are likely to compete in the programme include state owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL); Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.(ECIL); and domestic private sector majors CMC; Tata Power SED; Rolta India Ltd; Wipro Ltd.; Larsen & Toubro ro (L&T) Ltd; HCL; Punj Lloyd Ltd.; Bharat Forge Ltd.; Tata Consultancy Ltd. (TCS); and Tech Mahindra.
The BMS system will network the infantry level personnel on the battlefield to the command headquarters and will comprise of palm top computers in the hands of individual soldiers and tactical computers at Battlegroup headquarters and in combat vehicles. Computers will be integrated employing application and database servers connected on a data enabled communication network. The system will enable generation of a common operational picture by integrating inputs from all relevant sources within a battle group.
The main aim of the project is to provide a C4I gathering integration tool supporting every level of military users ranging from individual solider to Battalion Group/Combat group command. The integration will include inputs from command and control elements, combat platforms, detachments, supporting arms, surveillance devices and headquarters, providing edge in optimization of resources.
As such 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 Systems. It will be operated through a high capacity Tactical Data Network.
The BMS will also receive and transmit data, voice and images from multiple sources including radars, cameras, laser range finders, ground sensors which will equip the infantry soldier on the battlefield to get access to real time information simultaneously with the Command headquarters.
The crucial aspect of the BMS will be its high mobility and its ability to network itself by integration of components to provide a high data rate. The communications must not interfere with the legacy communication equipment and should easily be retrofitted into combat platform. The communication system should optimally utilize the bandwidth available for military communications involving voice and data including video streaming and imageries. Besides, its scalability will be a salient aspect which will enable its availability to all elements and range from being man-portable to being fitted in combat vehicles.
India is looking for a customized BMS system with a diverse range of battlefield solution like terrain analysis, details of own and enemy troops, resources and capability and the weapon systems.
Last year India’s Ministry of Defense finalized two