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
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.