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PRECISION GUIDED MUNITIONS AND LOITERING MISSILES NEEDED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS BY THE INDIAN ARMY

India's missile and munitions stock is at the critical stage, therefore, the situation demands courageous decision making and must be resorted to bring the situation under control. However, looking at the potential of Indian Private Sector at the recent DefExpo-2018, it would be easy for our DRDO to collaborate with private sector and develop the force multipliers.

Pakistan currently is calibrating the proxy-war to their advantage. The situation in Kashmir in the current year seems to have taken a turn and we watch militants duly guided, trained and funded by Pakistan attacking military camps and convoys. These bold actions are due to the ease with which despite adverse weather conditions terrorists are training and infiltrating in adequate numbers from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Further, it appears that Pakistan is calling the shots and we are reacting to their asymmetric manoeuvres. Our strength lies in our Artillery which must be used to engage their communication centres, logistic lines of communications and terrorist camps. These can be degraded and effectively destroyed by accurate artillery firing. Each shell of 155mm carries 5kg of high explosive and is more than a force firing small arms and rocket launchers. The situation demands courageous decision making and must be resorted to bring the situation under control. It is pertinent to note that we could successfully hold elections prior to the cease-fire in 2003 without difficulty and they learnt their lessons and stopped attacks on Parliament, Akshardham Temple and Kaluchak during that period. We must realise Pakistan believes in Asymmetric Warfare and there is a need for us to engage selective targets with Artillery. In the Artillery, while the current ammunition is unguided and needs correction, there is a dire need to introduce Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) and Loitering Missiles which would be able to hit targets with accuracy and thereby decimate terrorist camps, headquarters and communication centres. Pakistan would only temper its Asymmetric Warfare once their elements in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir feel the pinch. This would be best done with conventional ammunition, PGMs and Loitering Missiles.

Utility

A PGM is a missile, bomb or artillery shell equipped with a terminal guidance system. It contains electrical equipment that guides that guides it in the final phase before impact. PGMs are the most important development of the 20th century. They saw their initial use during the Vietnam War when the Thanh Hoa Bridge was knocked down by the bombers using Laser Guided Bombs from the US Air Force. The percentages of PGMs used in various conflicts are as appended below:-

  • Vietnam-0.2 percent.
  • First Gulf War 8 percent.
  • Op Allied Force -35 percent.
  • Second Gulf War, Afghanistan and Libya -56 percent.

The United States has taken a decision that 50 percent of all its ammunition holdings would be precision guided. This would overall optimise ammunition holdings and improve destruction of pinpoint targets. This has been vindicated by the success of PGMs which has increased from 90 percent during the First Gulf War to the current rate of 95 percent. The weapons could be in the form of a PGM which has a Global Positioning System with Inertial Navigation System in the loop or an inexpensive system which could have a Precision Guidance Kit which has an inertial guidance kit fitted on the nose of the shell and produces an accuracy of less than 30 metres. The PGMs like Excalibur has an accuracy of 5 metres and missiles like the Hellfire and other Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles have pinpoint accuracy.

The other weapon is the Loitering Missile which is capable of loitering over the target and engaging with pinpoint accuracy. It is reported that Israel has Delila and other variants. The other Companies who manufacture this variant are MBDA of Europe and Lockheed Martin of the United States. This is certainly a force multiplier for any Army in the World, particularly in a Counter Insurgency environment.

PGMs and the Loitering missile must be acquired on priority and later the technology could be shared and these could be Made in India. This must be obtained by the Fast-Track Procedure using a co-development model. At least 10 percent of the Indian Army's ammunition must be PGMs. The Loitering Missile must also be procured in suitable numbers to undertake pinpoint attacks on critical targets.

Gaining India a Strategic Advantage

The Regiment of Artillery today only has the Krasnopol which has currently been cleared for the plains. There is a need to have PGMs and Loitering Missiles which can be procured to be useful at the Line of Control. All these would form a part of 'Make in India' project and enhance our capability to destroy targets effectively. Currently, in the absence of this equipment, there is a need to correct long Range Artillery with the help of UAVs to engage critical targets in depth. This would ensure that Pakistan is hurt in its critical areas thereby would be compelled to reduce infiltration of trained terrorists across the Line of Control. These would be Destruction by Firepower with rich dividends. Firepower resources of Pakistan are inferior and they would be dealt with suitably.

The use of Artillery must lead to correct manoeuvring by the executive and the diplomats who must be able to leverage with Pakistan to offset the current asymmetric advantage. The Artillery Firepower has to be followed by vigorous search operations of militants within the state. All this is a current necessity to ensure our ascendancy in Counter Terrorist operations.

Conclusion

Artillery has played an important role in Counter-terrorism operations. The Indian Artillery is suitably poised to ensure success in Counter Terrorism operations. It is time that our authorities took a decision to use this Arm for optimum benefit to the forces operating against our Western adversary by inducting PGMs and Loitering Missiles. Viewing our indigenous capability at the Defence Expo from 11 to 15 April it would be easy for our DRDO in conjunction with the private sector to collaborate and develop these force multipliers.

...........................REFERENCES......................................
- Precision Guided Munitions, www.globalsecurity.org
- Data given by representatives of School of Artillery, Fort Sill during Artillery Seminar conducted in 2012 on Artillery.
- Excalibur Precision Guided Extended Range Artillery, Raytheon.com
- Reported in Jerusalem Post, July 2016.

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