Indian Army to Boost Electronic Warfare Capability

With electronic warfare becoming central to all military operations, the Army is planning to procure helicopter-mounted electronic warfare systems to augment its capabilities, which, at present, are restricted to land-based systems.
Sources said some firms have already briefed senior officers concerned at Army Headquarters about the operational aspects of such systems The Army has now sought technical details of available systems for evaluation. The Army, like its sister services, is already into electronic warfare, with the Corps of Signals being the nodal agency in the force for using the electromagnetic spectrum for military gains. Currently, the systems with the Army are vehicle mounted.

Electronic warfare involves use of the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves and infrared, to interfere with, intercept, degrade or dominate an adversary’s communication, data-transfer or surveillance network for attaining battlefield superiority, while protecting one’s own networks.

Heli-borne electronic warfare systems, sources said, would allow greater operating flexibility as they can cover greater distances in shorter time without the impediment of traversing difficult terrain like deserts and mountains. They would also be less vulnerable to anti-radiation missiles that static ground based systems.

Sources added that heliborne systems could also play an important role in counter-terrorist operations by pinpointing remote terrorist radio transmitting points or jamming their communication. They would also cut down the response time vis-à-vis vehicles. Electronic warfare suites are already retro-fitted in combat aircraft as well as helicopters and transports. Depending on the type of aircraft, some systems are for offensive operations while those for transports are primarily for self-defence.

The Army’s quest for electronic warfare systems assumes significance as its aviation corps is being expanded. Besides additional indigenous Dhruv ALHs, process is underway to acquire over 80 medium utility helicopters for the force.

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