On paper, to the north, those Pakistan Army (PA) battle formations that are LoC-specific and Chicken’s Neck-specific are the Mangla-based I Corps that comprises the Gujranwala-based 6 Armoured Division, Kharian-based 17 Infantry Division, the 37 Mechanised Infantry Division also in Kharian, and the 8 Independent Armoured Brigade; and the Rawalpindi-based X Corps that includes the Gilgit-based Force Command Gilgit-Baltistan, Murree-based 12 Infantry Division, Mangla-based 19 Infantry Division, the Jhelum-based 23 Infantry Division, and the Rawalpindi-based 111 Independent Infantry Brigade. Formations allocated for operations along the ‘Shakargarh Bulge’ are the Gujranwala-based XXX Corps comprising the Sialkot-based 8 Infantry Division and 15 Infantry Division; Lahore-based IV Corps with its 10 and 11 Infantry Divisions, two semi-mechanised Independent Infantry Brigades (including the 212 Bde) and one Independent Armoured Brigade; and the Multan-based II Corps made up of the Multan-based 1 Armoured Division, and the Okara-based 14 Infantry Division, 40 Infantry Division and an Independent Armoured Brigade. Thus far, no significant forward deployments of any of these formations have taken place.
Down south, the battle formations arrayed against Rajasthan include the Bahawalpur-based XXXI Corps with its 26 Mechanised Division, 35 Infantry Division, two Independent Armoured Brigades and the 105 Independent Infantry Brigade; and the Karachi-based V Corps with its Pano Aqil-based 16 Infantry Division, Hyderabad-based 18 Infantry Division, Malir-based 25 Mechanised Division, plus three Independent Armoured Brigades at Malir, Pano Aqil and Hyderabad. So far, only some elements of the 25 and 26 Mechanised Divisions have been deployed opposite an area stretching from Jaisalmer to Fort Abbas and the PA has begun flying relentless sorties of its Shahpar (CH-3) tactical UAVs that were acquired from China’s CATIC in 2012.
This is probably a precautionary measure aimed at monitoring the IA’s upcoming Division-level armoured/mechanised infantry exercises that are held during wintertime. Along the Durand Line, formations that are deployed include the Peshawar-based XI Corps currently with its 7, 9, 14, 17 Divisions and part of 23 Division, along with two independent infantry brigades; and the Quetta-based XII Corps with the 33 and 41 Infantry Divisions).
The PA, however, is most unlikely to attempt any form of escalation along either the LoC or the WB since it presently has a deployment ratio of 54.6%, while the resting and re-equipping ratio is 12.7%, and the remaining 33% is undergoing the training cycle. This trend will continue for at least another four years, since the defunct Durand Line too became active from mid-2014.
It may be recalled that since March 2002, the PA has been forced by elements that later on went on to become the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by 2006 to wage a three-front war against the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in South Waziristan (which also included Chechan and Uighur militants; against the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan in the sensitive Darra Adam Khel-Kohat area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or KPK (formerly NWFP) and the Shia-dominated Kurram Agency of FATA; and, against the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), headed by Maulana Fazlullah, and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the Swat Valley of KPK.
The TTP’s cadre base is more than 20,000 tribesmen and the Abdullah Mehsud group from the Alizai clan of the Mehsud tribe from South Waziristan commands about 5,000 fighters. Other militant groups within the TTP include Maulvi Nazir from the Kaka Khel sub-tribe of the Ahmadzai Waziri tribe (South Waziristan), Hafiz Gul Bahadur from the Ibrahim Khel clan of the Utmanzai Wazir tribe (North Waziristan), the Haqqani network using manpower from the Mezi sub-tribe of the Zadran tribe (North Waziristan), Mangal Bagh (Khyber), TNSM (Swat, Dir, Malakand), and Faqir Mohammad (Bajaur).
Some 35% of PA troops (about 180,000 out of an end-strength of approximately 550,000 active-duty personnel and another 500,000 reservists) were engaged in LIC campaigns since 2007 till 2014 and are still literally bogged down throughout the entire 27,200 square kilometres of FATA.
Formations fully committed to LIC operations include the 37 Mechanised Infantry Division and 17 Infantry Division from Mangla-based I Corps in Swat, 19 Infantry Division from X Corps in northern Swat (based out of Jhelum), 7 Infantry Division from Rawalpindi-based X Corps in North Waziristan (based out of Mardan), 9 Infantry Division from Peshawar-based XI Corps in South Waziristan (based out of Kohat), 14 Division from Multan-based II Corps, Jhelum-based 23 Division (with 7 infantry brigades) of the X Corps, and 40 Infantry Division. The Gujranwala-based XXX Corps and the Bahawalpur-based XXXI Corps lent one Brigade each.
In all, there are approximately 17 infantry brigades or 45 infantry battalions, and 58 Frontier Corps (FC) wings now engaged in LIC operations. By mid-2011, 1,83,400 troops had a westward deployment orientation (it now stands at 206,000), while another 10,000 are now abroad on UN-related peacekeeping missions.
Clearly, therefore, the PA is most unlikely to stage large-scale land offensives involving manoeuvre warfare. Instead, the PA, whose MBT armoury presently comprises 550 Al Khalids, 320 Type 85IIAPs upgraded to Al Zarrar standard, 500 Type 59s upgraded to Al Zarrar standard, 380 Type 59s, 450 69IIAPs, and 320 T-80UDs, making for a total of 2,520 tanks, is likely to do what it did in both 1965 and 1971, i.e. use the combination of its armoured and mechanised infantry assets to swiftly transform Pakistan’s semi-urban and rural areas bordering India’s Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan states into impregnable fortresses for the sake of blunting the Indian Army’s (IA) expected shallow-depth land offensives that could be launched from southern J & K and northern Punjab through the Chicken’s Neck and Shakargarh Bulge areas.
Given Pakistan’s elongated geography, it is possible for the PA to use its interior lines of communications for deploying its warfighting assets to their forward concentration areas within 72 hours. To this end, the PA has since 2007 built a sprawling new central ammunition storage depot to the South of its Mangla Cantonment, and has also expanded the existing depot at Kharian.
Therefore, the IA’s principal doctrinal challenge is to seek ways of enticing the PA to come out in the open so that its armoured/mechanised infantry formations are forced to engage in manoeuvre wars of attrition, during which the IA will be required to swiftly locate and destroy in detail the adversary’s warfighting assets and capabilities. Exactly how this can be achieved is explained below.
Key Areas Requiring Attention
It is obvious from the above-mentioned dispositions of the PA’s armoured/mechanised infantry formations that Pakistan’s heartland remains its province of Punjab, and nothing else. From this, one can deduce that the full conventional might of the PA will be utilised for denying the IA the much-needed space for deep AirLand battles. All talk, therefore, of the PA acquiring ‘full-spectrum’ nuclear deterrence through the deployment of TNWs to thwart large-scale IA land offensives is therefore utter baloney and boulderdash. This becomes starkly evident when analysing the IA’s objectives for its future AirLand campaigns that will most likely focus on ways and means of seizing back Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) through multi-dimensional AirLand campaigns being launched from the southwest, east and to the north00all aimed at capturing the districts of Bagh, Bhimber, Kotli, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad. The PA will consequently be forced to commit the bulk of its offensive Strike Corps formations against those IA’s offensive formations poised for breakout throughout India’s Punjab State and the southern portion of Jammu & Kashmir State. In such a scenario, should the IA be tasked with the attainment of India’s strategic objectives through a high-intensity AirLand campaign lasting up to a fortnight (to be waged by the IA’s mission-tailored Integrated Battle Groups, or IBG), then the IA will be required to be supplied with two vital force-multiplier capabilities that will bestow the IA with the overwhelming superiority required for waging knowledge-based warfare through effects-based tactical operations: tools for mastering the OODA Loop (which refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act) such as integral land-based and airborne intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) assets capable of providing real-time targetting updates to Army Aviation Corps platforms, the DRDO-developed and BEL-built Shakti ACCCS and the on-site armoured vehicles; and customised armoured vehicles armed with target-specific weapons.
Over the past 16 years, significant efforts have been made by India’s Ministry of Defence-owned DRDO laboratories and DPSUs like Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) toward the fielding of RF-based and optronic sensors for battlespace surveillance. Latest examples of these include the BEL-developed LRRSS, the DRDO-developed and BEL-built BFSR-XR 50km-range and BFSR-ER 15km-range battlefield surveillance radar, and the IRDE-developed and BEL-built, armoured vehicle-mounted SEOS with 15km-range.
What is lacking, however, is the availability of synthetic aperture radar-based sensors capable of providing high-resolution, photographic-like imagery, even in inclement weather or darkness. The most obvious solution therefore lies in equipping the recce-scout RSH version of the HAL-developed LUH with a lightweight SAR sensor like SAAB’s Carabas, plus s stabilized LRRSS. The Carabas is designed to enable superior foliage and camouflage penetration (FOPEN) capabilities, wide-area surveillance and automatic target detection. It is based on low-frequency SAR and change detection technology and it also exploits polarimetric sensing. Carabas utilses two very broad bands in the low VHF and UHF domains: 20–90MHz and 140–360MHz, respectively. It is the low VHF band that gives Carabas its supreme penetration performance, while the UHF band is more important for detecting smaller targets in lighter vegetation. Carabas’ signals penetrate foliage without reflections through all vegetation types and man-made camouflage. The Army Aviation RSH helicopters, when equipped with such sensors, will not only make the battlespace transparent and almost eliminate the fog of war, but will also be able to provide real-time situational awareness updates to the command post of Brigade-sized or Battalion-sized IBGs, based on which the IBG’s commander will be able to rapidly respond to specific requests for both direct and indirect fire-support, as well as wage effects-based combined arms operations with both a wide variety of armoured vehicles and the Rudra gunships.
Supplementing these will be a host of digitised GIS-based tools (pertaining to both friendly and enemy territories) that are now available (work on them began in 2009) for the IA’s South-Western, Western and Northern Command HQs and can be readily uploaded on to any armoured vehicle’s autonomous land navigation system (ALNS). Terrain analysis is the starting point in conceptualising a battle. Natural or man-made diversity grants different values for different areas, creates centres of gravity, breaks up terrain into areas with varying degree of mobility, and creates checkpoints and exclusion zones. Differences in elevation, soil-bearing pressure and other trafficability issues, the location of natural obstacles such as rivers, swamps, defiles, crevasses and artificial obstacles like intelligent minefields, tank bumps, fortified gun posts, underground bunkers, deliberate flooding and the existence of buildings, roads, bridges, dams, and religious sites; all have an effect on build-up, mobility, troops and weapons deployment, and field communications. These considerations apply to conventional and non-linear dispersed operations equally. In order to succeed, all land-based military campaigns require processing of terrain data and effective use of terrain information functions such as planning, controlling, organising and decision-making. Terrain information, therefore, is unquestionably a critical resource in the operation of all military organisations.
Military Geospatial Information System (MGIS) helps in generating terrain trafficability maps, commonly referred to as Going Maps (GM), when data pertaining to five thematic layers, viz., soil, slope, moisture, land use, and landform is fed into the system. It is then integrated to produce the GMs in a three-level hierarchical manner. At every level, the theme integration takes place through a trafficability-ranking matrix, which actually encodes the domain knowledge for mobility. The theme integration is implemented using an artificial neural network in a GIS environment to overcome the limitations of spatial analysis of a conventional GIS and to incorporate the generalisation ability of a neural network into the system. The system divides going conditions into three categories, namely, ‘good going, 'restricted going’, and ‘difficult going’. Beside the generation of GMs, the MGIS can also assess the ground water potential of a given terrain based on case-based reasoning (CBR). A typical CBR cycle comprises the following four steps: Retrieve the most similar cases, re-use the cases to solve the problems, revise the proposed solution if necessary, and retain the new solution as part of a new case. The attributes used for assessment of the groundwater potential of a given terrain are geology, landform, land use, soil, slope, and lineament. The case-base is prepared using cases having the aforementioned attributes along with the results of the training case. Once a query case is received the most similar cases are retrieved. Afterwards, the retrieved cases are combined with the new case using ‘re-use’ mechanism to present the proposed solution to the query case. The ‘revise’ process tests the obtained solutions for success, typically on a real-world situation. Finally, the useful experience is ‘retained’ for future use, and the case-base is updated accordingly.
Terrain Feature Extraction System (TFES) is being used for extracting terrain parameters or themes (land-use/land cover, landform, and soil type) from satellite images and associated knowledge base in an automated mode. The land use, landform, and soil layer has 10, 28, and 12 classifications, respectively. For land-use classification, a multi-layer perceptron (MLP) is used for training and subsequent generation of corresponding themes. The landform classification uses a texture-based method for creating a database that is used for training MLP. However, texture-based methods alone are not sufficient for generating landform themes. The advantage with land-use is that the satellite images always capture the top canopy of the earth’s surface, whereas for landform as well as soil-theme extraction, one has to penetrate through the canopy and infer the thematic information based on some ‘association rule’, or some other ‘relevant knowledge’. TFES first tries to identify the terrain category to which the given image belongs. Afterwards, it undertakes texture-, connectivity- and shape-based methods to delineate the actual landform classes. The soil-theme extraction module actually divides the computational process into two phases. The first phase uses the coarse classification using MLP-trained-by-error back-propagation algorithm, whereas the second phase allows the coarse-classified imagery to pass through a ‘rough-CBR’ system to get the final soil classification. The rough set-theoretic approach is employed in the final classification stage for its ability to discover decision/classification rules from the data. The discovered rule-set is referred to as the ‘soil information system’.
Terrain Reasoner System (TRS) helps decision-makers (troop commanders, wargamers and mission planners) in a combat development setting for arriving at route alternatives that are largely determined by the threat capability of the obstacles and strategic nature of the regions to be negotiated for a pre-specified mission accomplishment risk factor (MARF). The problem of navigation and route planning of vehicles or troops is defined as the final behavioural outcome of a sequence of complex decisions involving several criteria that are often conflicting and difficult to model. A fuzzy inference system has been built to implement the perceive-reason-act decision cycle of a moving agent representing a vehicle or a foot soldier in a safety-critical tactically driven scenario. A two-person soft-game model has also been developed to compute the best-next-move for a reflex, goal-oriented, rational, and utility-driven moving agent. The route computation takes place directly over a satellite image that has been classified as ‘go’, ‘slow-go’ and ‘no-go’ region. While the route traced by the agent is locally optimum in a defined tactical sense, global optimality can be achieved through a process of adaptive learning over several simulation episodes. The agent-task environment interaction model is extended into the virtual reality graphics environment. The baseline virtual reality extension can be invoked by the user through access buttons in the graphic user interface. By a proper selection of the camera placements and view perspectives, the user is able to remain either static in a particular position or moveable along with the roving agent and can watch (in 3-D) the tactical manoeuvre performed by the roving agent from different vantage points. The virtual reality implementation is meant to serve as an exploratory tool for finding strategically interesting configurations of various objects thereby enhancing the user's situational awareness of the scene.Terrain Matching System (TMS) is an intelligent decision-support system based on the integration of CBR and fuzzy multi-criteria decision making. Classically, CBR uses symbolic and/or numeric attributes. However, in reality there exists a certain degree of fuzziness and uncertainty associated with the descriptors used for characterising problems. Also, these problems can be better represented using linguistic world expressions. Fuzzy case-based reasoning is a methodology, which uses linguistic or realistic variables for case representation. It emulates human reasoning about similarity of real-world cases, which are fuzzy (continuous and not discrete). TMS consists of two components, i.e., the application developer and the problem solver. The application developer is responsible for development of any application desired by a domain expert (he/she should be able to define any number of slots of different data required to define an application, through slot manager). There is a provision for the domain expert to assign different properties to slots in terms of indexing, fuzzy, descriptive, default values, etc. through the case manager. Fuzzy function suitable for a particular application can also be specified. This module has restricted access rights. The problem-solver has major sub-parts like search engine, the similarity computation module and the solution module. The search engine retrieves the cases indexed by relevant indexing slots and computes similarity between the query case and the cases retrieved from the case base. The cases entered through the case manager under a case type, are indexed by the slots, which are specified as indexing slots for that case type. Multi-criterion algorithm plays a role in determining the usefulness of the selected cases. Search for most similar and most useful cases results in the selection of only those cases that are superior to or that dominate other cases in the case-base. Once a query case is submitted, the similarity computation module of the shell retrieves the cases similar to the current problem or situation using the indices. Each past case is assessed for similarity to the current case according to the multiple attributes. Similarity assessments are performed sequentially according to the order of importance of attributes and help in determining usefulness of the selected case for the current situation. The solution module proposes a solution as evaluated by the decision system. The solution-case is having the highest similarity score among all the retrieved similar cases. Thus, the most useful and most similar case would be considered as the final suggested solution to the user. The application of the module has been demonstrated for finding terrain similar to a given target terrain, which is often the denied or inaccessible terrain in a specific context. The multi-criteria decision-making capability has been demonstrated by solving the problem of choosing the best single/multiple air-drop/landing zones near a mission objective with specified coordinates in an arid/semi-arid region.
Customised Armoured Vehicles for Waging Knowledge-Based Manoeuvre Warfare
First firm indications of the kind of futuristic families of armoured vehicles required for the future digitised AirLand battlespace emerged two years ago when, following 10 years of operations analysis starting in the mid-1990s and the consequential 10 years of military-industrial R & D work that began in 2005, the Russian Army unveiled its Ob’yekt 148 T-14 Armata MBT, the Ob’yektfire-support combat vehicle (FSCV)Ob’yektOb’yektFSCV, which will in future be superceded by the Ob’yekt
The FSCV has today emerged as an irreplaceable element of the combined-arms, armour-heavy IBGs since it plays the critical role of supporting the armoured assault team with target acquisition and close-/medium-range fire-support and anti-armour team suppression. It is also highly effective in both rural and urban areas, offering elevations and depression angles for both main weapons and their associated optronic sensors. Without the BMPT-72’s existence today, MBTs like the T-90S, T-72CIA and Arjun Mk.1A would be highly vulnerable to anti-armour ambushes laid by dug-in hostile forces lurking within rural farmhouses of the type prevalent in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province and southern PoK.
The BMPT-72’s turret contains 850 rounds of APRS-T, HEF-I, AP-T, plus KE rounds. A redesigned turret with lower profile and better protection, including armoured shields for protecting the 9M123 Khrizantema ATGMs from splinters and small-arms fire, have been incorporated. The ATGM launchers are positioned oblique side-by-side rather than the previous stack configuration. The BMPT-72 also uses improved fire-control and navigation systems, utilising video, thermal imaging and laser rangefinder sights for both the commander and gunner. The standard T-72 hull has received a remodeling with add-on armour and reactive armour modules, with slat armour protecting the rear area. The laser-guided 6km-range 9M123F version of the Khrizantema, developed byKBM Kolomna Machine Design Bureau, comes with a thermobaric warhead for destroying bunkers and other man-made dwelling structures.
Another vehicle similar to the BMPT-72 is Israel’s Nammer heavy ICV, which comjes equipped with state-of-the-art vectronics developed by ELBIT Systems for offering dramatically enhanced all-round situational awareness.
Yet another vital component of the IBG when waging manoeuvre is the land-mobile 120mm breech-loading mortar, which had until recently remained a much maligned and under-appreciated weapon. The IA’s military planners and warfighters tend to be enamoured with high-tech weapon systems and fail to recognise the potential of a tried and true weapon that has been around since before the American Civil War. While high-tech weapon systems have their place on the battlefield, they are expensive and should be used for high-value targets. It is universally accepted that the mortar is an indirect fire weapon. However, few are aware that the mortar can also be utilised in a direct-fire role. When mounted on a lightweight armoured vehicle and firing high-explosive fin-stabilised, shallow coned-shape charge—high explosive squash head— munitions, the mortar can have a devastating effect on brick and masonry walls. What once provided cover and concealment to the enemy now becomes a lethal, casualty producing, spall.
The devastation can be localised without bringing down entire structures. The secret to employing the mortar in the direct-fire mode is the incorporation of a breech block and a pivoting base rather than the traditional base-plate. The breach block and pivoting base-plate allow the mortar to be used in the traditional muzzle-loaded role using conventional munitions, or in the breech-loaded direct-fire mode using specialised munitions. The concept of using a mortar in, both, an indirect fire and a direct-fire mode had its advent during World War-2 when the Swiss developed a 105mm breech-loaded mortar. However, this was not adopted by any of the warring powers. After WW-2, this weapon became commercially available and was purchased in limited quantities by both Pakistan and Malaysia. The idea of a breech-loading mortar, although not new, now seems to be receiving renewed interest.
In 1996 BAE Hagglunds and the Finnish armaments developer Patria developed the advanced mortar system (AMOS) a turret-mounted, breech-loaded, twin-barreled 120mm for mounting on both tracked and wheeled vehicles, as well as coastal patrol vessels. The AMOS is capable of firing a wide range of conventional and specialised ammunition. With both guns sharing a common cradle, the AMOS is capable of multiple rounds simultaneous impact. In 2007 BAE tested its non-line-of-sight mortar, NLOS-M platform. Like the AMOS it fired a wide range of conventional and specialised mortar munitions, and like AMOS, it was capable of multiple round simultaneous impact. To date, the development of such mortars has focused on 120mm systems, which were tied to larger programmes.
A mortar that can be either breech-loaded or muzzle-loaded, and can be used in either an indirect or direct-fire mode, is still worth pursuing particularly for use in the current theatres of operation in South Asia. The focus should also be on 81mm calibres. The ability to deny the enemy cover and concealment afforded by brick and masonry walls without having to demolish entire structures or rely on high-tech weapon systems needs its day in court. Leveraging existing technologies to put such a weapon system in the hands of troops today, and not five years down the road, is both affordable and low-risk, technologically. An 81mm lightweight vehicle mounted breech-loaded mortar, designed to accompanying dismounted ground troops operating in an urban or rural environments, or in support of remote outposts, will provide immediate direct-fire or indirect fire capabilities to small unit leaders at the squad- and platoon-leveld. Commanders could concentrate the fires of mortars from decentralised locations on targets of opportunity, or employ the mortar systems independently, or as part of existing organic fire-support assets from a centralised location in support of ground operations.
The last vital component of the IBGs are the armoured vehicle-mounted surveillance and target acquisition (SATA) systems and sensors that, when mounted atop raisable hydraulic masts, provide enhanced situational awareness and fire-support coordination vectors for the MBTs, FSCVs, ICVs and APCs. So what are the IA’s home-grown options that can be rapidly exploited in order to field the fleets of FSCVs, APCs and SATA-related platforms?
Before exploring the various available homegrown platform options, it will be worthwhile to take note of the fact that over the past 15 years, significant military-industrial competencies have been attained in areas like automotives, digitised vectronics and related data-buses, composites-based appliqué armour and ceramics-based add-on armour tiles, and soft-kill and hard-kill self-defence suites—some of which are highlighted in the following slides:
Tailor-Made Platform Options
From the above, it becomes evident that if the intention is to acquire overwhelming conventional superiority against its adversary, the IA will be required to undertake a radical makeover of its manoeuvre warfare force structures. For instance, a Regimental IBG will then have to comprise two ISTAR vehicles, 40 MBTs like the Arjun Mk.1A, eight FSCVs, four breech-loading mortar carriers, 15 BMP-2 ICVs, and up to 20 wheeled 8 x 8 APCs. But rather than procure new-build vehicles for developing such platforms, preference must be given to the modification and upgrade (through public-private industrial partnerships) of existing armoured vehicles that are presently lying totally unutilised.
For instance, up to 2,200 Vickers Mk.1/Vijayanta 39-tonne medium battle tanks were built from the late 1960s till the early 1980s. On the other hand, 1,800 T-54 and 36-tonne T-55 medium battle tanks were inducted into service throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The first batch of 300 T-54s were ordered in 1964 from the USSR and were delivered between 1965 and 1967. The second batch of 225 T-55s were ordered in 1968 and were delivered between by 1971. The third batch of 650 T-55s were ordered in 1971 and were delivered between 1971 and 1974. In addition, 274 T-54s, 44 T-55s and seven T-55AKs were ordered in 1970 from Czechoslovakia and delivered between 1970 and 1971. A further 300 T-55s were ordered in 1971 from Poland and delivered in the same year. Of these, 800 T-55s were upgraded with Polish assistance in the 1980s.
All these vehicles can easily be modified and upgraded through the installation of all those items mentioned above. In addition, both the Vickers Mk.1/Vijayantas and T-55s need to be fitted with new powerpacks, with the obvious choice being the Model V-84MS four-stroke 12-cylinder multi-fuel engine developing 840hp, which has been licence-built by the MoD-owned and Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory since the late 1980s.
Following the structural upgrades to their hulls and fitment of new powerpacks and vectronics, different types of mission-specific turrets will have to be installed. For instance, the ISTAR vehicle will require the installation of raisable hydraulic masts containing BFSR-ER & SEOS sensors, which will receive locational data from a RSH helicopter equipped with foliage-penetration SAR and will then take over the task of zeroing in on the precise positions of hostile mortar locations, bunkers and camouflaged MBTs.
For command-and-control purposes, the T-55’s OFB-developed Taimour APC version will come in handy.
The FSCV, on the other hand, will have a target acquisition/fire-control system comprising a commander’s panoramic sight identical to that of the Arjun Mk.1A and a gunner’s sight that uses the TISAS and TISK vectronics of the BMP-2K, but its main job will be to target hostile bunkers and dug-in enemy infantry concentrations with both its twin 30mm 2A42 cannons as well as 9M123F Khrizantema missiles armed with thermobaric warheads that create a sustained and intense pressure-wave, which can be used against bunkers and hardened targets, while causing minimum damage to the surrounding areas.
Accompanying the FSCV will be the 120mm breech-loading mortar carrier for engaging dug-in enemy infantry concentrations.
The existing BMP-2 ICVs will be required to be re-equipped with a new-generation turret containing TISAS vectronics, a single 2A42 cannon, plus a 30mm automatic grenade launcher.
In addition, each BMP-2’s embedded infantry squad should be armed with a 9P135M Manportable launcher with FLAME adaptation kit, plus four Konkurs-M and four Milan-2T ATGMs.
Lastly, the wheeled 8 x 8 APCs like the TATA Motors-developed Kestrel will require only a 12.7mm machine-gun mounted on a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) of the type already on board the Arjun Mk.1A MBT.
Thus, the vehicular configuration of a Regimental IBG will include all the vehicles shown in the slide below.
Other Platform Possibilities
Several financially attractive options exist with regard to making effective use of modified hulls of the T-55 and Vijayanta medium tanks. These include:
Using the T-55’s re-engined hull for mounting customised turrets housing demining flails, like what has been attempted by the DRDO under the CMF-72 project.
Using the T-55’s re-engined hull for mounting full-width mine-ploughs that can be used for swiftly breaching minefields laid in-depth (up to 1,600 yards).
Using the Vijayanta’s re-engined hull to house AAA turrets like the Typhoon from Israel’s RAFAEL, or the upgraded ZSU-23-4’s turret.
Using the Vijayanta’s re-engined hull to house low-level tactical gapfiller air-defence radars like the L-band Bharani that can be raised with the help of a hydraulic mast.
Finally, for base air defence, a truck-mounted solution can well be developed by making use of the OFB-built AK-630M cannon that makes use of the BEL-built Lynx UX multi-sensor fire-control system.
It appears that the NORINCO’s ZBD-08 tracked carrier carrying the AFT-10 CM-501G NLOS-ATGMs too has felt the need for a panoramic target acquisition/tracking system just like the IA had felt the need for its NAMICAs armed with Nag ATGMs! This new version of the ZBD-08/AFT-10 combination is now at the expo centre in Zhuhai for the forthcoming Airshow China 2016 event (starting November 1), which will be an aerospace event in name only and will play host to the complete range of land-based weapons developed by various military-industrial entities of China. Judging by external looks, especially the camouglage paint patterns, all such weapons platforms are being targetted for sales in the Middle East/North Africa regions.