अशवतामा मरः, on the glorious battlefield of Kurukshetra, this was the strategy adopted by the Chief strategist, the Lord himself, as an Information Warrior, to lead these words out of the truthful mouth of “Yudishtira”. Choice of a weapon system, choice of the right person to do that to make sure the enemy camp believed the story and then to “JAM” the enemy side with the mighty “PANCHAJANYA” and all the other conches, when a query was raised, कुत।ःकु़ञरः व नरः. That is the power of Electronic Warfare, the greatest battle of Kurukshetra was won by effective use of Electronic Warfare, and more so by pure jamming(ECM) to ensure Dronacharya was laid to rest. The Kauravas were JAMMED to defeat, besides the use of the best missile systems the world is yet to come to scientific terms with.
Information Warfare and one of its main ingredients, Electronic Warfare, was most offensively used in the Battle of Kurukshetra. There have been numerous instances of use of EW in the IPKF operations, more by the LTTE and thereafter in the Gulf war and other theatres of operations. Every military aircraft, warship and offensive land systems incorporate EW as an essential ingredient in the system. EW is employed as a stand alone weapon system as also incorporated in each of the weapon systems. Indian Army has in its inventory, formidable weapon systems incorporating EW as also stand-alone EW systems. Erstwhile USSR was known for its Centre of Excellence(CoE) concept; as a part of this, they had developed Hungary as a CoE for Electronic Warfare. It is widely believed in military circles that Hungary was home to the best brains in EW as well as they developed and productionised the best EW systems in the world. They were leaders in EW. The first EW systems that the Indian Army had in its inventory were the Hungarian systems incorporating the entire spectrum of communications, from the HF(High Frequency) to the UHF(Ultra high frequency) bands. It is to the credit of the Indian Army that they used the EW systems on requirement basis. The philosophy of use of EW systems has been one of Integrated application of EW on the battle field. Integrated application involves an effective integration of the Electronic Support Measures(ESM) and the Electronic Counter Measures(ECM) for effect. In addition the deployment philosophy has been one of integration with the operations at hand. The field commander at all times needs to be hands on with the Electronic intelligence that is available and match and mesh it with the hard intelligence that is gathered. Often times, the ground forces are tasked to co-relate and confirm the electronic intelligence inputs received. In the electronic domain there is a problem of plenty, this is also called as “information Overload”, a technique employed by militaries to hide the intelligence amongst much trash. There is an effort and a tremendous effort at that to be able to pick out the intelligence from this mesh. This gets complicated when the information is coded, then we need to kick in the deciphering of codes for effect. So between tactical Communications and EW, it is a game of the police and the thief, whichever way this can be seen. Indian EW systems are adequately equipped to carry out spot analysis, with an ability to search on specified parameters and counter hostile electronics for effect. There has been a debate whether an army requires an Integrated EW system or can it be discrete elements of EW to be conjoined by traditional communications. Both schools of thought have propagated their views in convincing manner to bring about synergy in their applications. While it would be prudent to use discrete EW in a Low Intensity Conflict Environment(LICO), and other such exigencies, it would be more prudent to have an Integrated EW application in conventional operations. Indian Army specialises in both such environments and hence also uses EW in a more innovative manner. While the reliance on foreign sources was pretty heavy in the pre 2000 era, there was a paradigm shift in the post 2k era. The Indigenous EW Program (IEWP) SAMYUKTA, spear-headed by the Corps of Signals, Indian Army and DRDO was a boon to the outreach of EW in the Armed forces. There are a number of indigenous programs concurrently running, each with a success far greater than its preceding one. Thus the nation has witnessed proliferation of production from the traditional Defence Public Sector Units(DPSUs) to the private industry. This happened even in the maiden attempt of DRDO when the indigenous program was conceived. Although there were cost and time over-runs combined with a slap of sanctions, DRDO fought through the mist with clenched fists and brought about a revolution in the industry. May be, sanctions was an opportunity to challenge the industry with technology problems and seek solutions in an atmosphere of collaboration, this was the late 90s and early 2k. The development of the system was led by Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Bharat Electronics Limited, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Corps of Signals of Indian Army and private companies like CMC and Tata Power Company Ltd. Strategic Electronics Division (TataPowerSED). Around 40 companies and more, also contributed by producing various components indigenously. Dr Aatre, leading the program at that time, former DG DRDO, said that the challenge was to tackle the sanctions imposed by the United States after 1998 nuclear tests conducted by India which banned the import of advanced electronic components. CMC and TataPowerSED jointly developed Command and Control Software having 10 million lines of code even though project was not attractive commercially. Stressing the need of indigenous development in the field of electronic warfare systems, President Abdul Kalam said, “The electronic warfare system is a force multiplier system which needs high level of secrecy for maintaining surprise against adversary actions. In such a situation, it is essential that the system design, architecture and deployment knowledge is generated within the country and maintained as a closely guarded information by the services. This is essential to ensuring tactical and strategic advantage for our armed forces during an operation”. The results were highly encouraging with the industry matching up to the technology challenges and also providing innovative solutions. Today, the nation boasts of indigenous solutions for EW across the electronics domain. Indigenous content achieved in this discipline is also very high to the order of more than 60% on an average. In the air domain, we have achieved enormous successes.
For example, The upgraded version of Tejas comes with Active Electrically Scanned Array Radar, Unified Electronic Warfare Suite, mid-air refueling capacity and advanced beyond the vision range missiles. For an indigenous program, such as the LCA, a complementary indigenous development and production program like SAMYUKTA provides indigenous strength. DRDO is already on the path for development of new-generation Electronic Warfare (EW) systems to be fitted on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs), aircraft and satellites that would help it see “deep inside enemy territories”, The present EW system, especially ground-based ones fitted on Naval platforms have got “limited range” (10-20 km) and “can’t intercept beyond the line of sight.” EW systems to be fitted on higher platforms like UAVs, aircraft and satellites would give “very long range”. The ones on UAVs and aircraft would give the country a 400-500 kms range capability and those on satellites well, much longer. It is indeed with pride that the Indian Armed Forces operate on indigenously developed systems in the EW domain. We have plenty of companies that have also instituted research, besides design, development and production. Companies like Bangalore based Alpha Design Technologies, Hyderabad based VEM Technologies, Chennai based Datapatterns, MSMEs like Accord Software and Systems, SLN Technologies, to name a few and many more are specialising in this field. DLRL, the nodal laboratory of DRDO is aggressively helping private companies develop capability. The Defence PSUs, large Indian primes, host of MSMEs support the indigenous abilities in the EW discipline. Fourth and Third Dimension Warfare Warfare in the third dimension will dictate the outcome of warfare in the other two dimensions. If EW has any time-critical significance it is in the Air Warfare. Survivability of an aircraft depends among other important factors such as low ra ar signature, IRS(Infra red signature) management, and so on; on the advanced levels of Electro-magnetic survivability. Warfare in the Air, is highly vulnerable to EM spectrum management as the dominance of the EM spectrum also is indicative of the aircrafts ability to accomplish its mission while retaining a high degree of survivability. India’s DRDO, built advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite has completed its first flight on-board the Tejas-PV1 light combat aircraft (LCA) in Bengaluru in Jan 2015. The equipment successfully detected radar signals operating in and around the flight path during the test, which was undertaken after the receipt of due flight clearances and certification. Built by DRDO’s Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) laboratory, the EW suite features a radar warner and jammer, and provides the pilot with an additional capability to nullify the effect of detected radar threat by appropriate mode of jamming. DG Electronic Systems, DRDO, then DARE OS and director J Manjula, said: “LCA is the first fighter aircraft of India fitted with a radar warner and jammer equipment with capability for both radar warning and jamming using a unified EW technology. Indigenous efforts are essential in this discipline, since any dependence on foreign sources will only set us backwards in terms of capabilities. One is survivability of the aircraft and the other is to have an ability to detect new targets that would otherwise not be visible. With induction of the Rafale aircraft, with a capability of hosting BVR missile systems, Brahmos (including that of the Mirage aircrafts), nuclear warheads, and such advanced weapon platforms, it is imperative to have the state of the art EW suites that would intimately complement the weapon systems. Soft kill is as important as hard-kill. It is not adequate to have superior weapon systems it is important to have matching abilities between soft and hard kill systems. IAF operates in challenging environments and is often called upon for close air support at short notice. This calls for a high degree of inter-workability between the ground-based communication systems along with a complementary EW deployment both in the air as well as the land and sea. With the acquisition of the advanced Rafale jets, it is time for te nation to concentrate on the next gen AWACS, for eyes and ears in the sky, synergised with ground/water based communication and EW system. This will truly be an integrated application of EW, to identify, locate and eliminate threats by application of the best suited weapon system, in real time. Where do we go from here Indian Armed Forces operate in varied terrain with contemporary state of the art systems and equipment. Investment in futuristic technologies in Aircraft electronics and EW, marine EW and land based EW is the call of the day. Data analytics and data ware housing will determine early extraction of intelligence, from a near-real time intelligence we need to graduate to Real-time intelligence and denial systems. Information warfare with all its ingredients will hold the key to success in any type of conflict. Government is expected to take the lead in making these investments in fundamental science to be able to achieve excellence in deep-rooted understanding. This will enhance engineering and production. It is all about ownership of intellectual property and harnessing it for “Advantage India”. Warfare in the fourth domain is a continuous warfare without any respite, in a domain where technology ages rapidly. In order to maintain a clear dominance of the Electro-magnetic spectrum excellence in EW is essential. In order that our Forces are supreme in land, Sea and Air, complete dominance of the Electro-Magnetic spectrum is an essential pre-requisite. It is time we introduce a system of acquisition that addresses an integrated capability rather than focus on piece-meal procurements.