Army commanders to soon get real-time, comprehensive operational picture through automation initiatives

Combining information and data from various sensors and input sources — including those from across the border — into one comprehensive image, the Battlefield Surveillance System will aid in quick decision-making

May 06, 2023 01:46 am | Updated 09:10 am IST - NEW DELHI

‘Project Sanjay’ is in the process of being deployed after extensive validation carried out in plains, desert, and mountainous regions.

‘Project Sanjay’ is in the process of being deployed after extensive validation carried out in plains, desert, and mountainous regions. | Photo Credit: PTI

Army formations at all levels — from the commander on the ground to the Corps level — will soon have a real-time, common operating picture, with information and data from various sensors and inputs fused into one comprehensive image for quick decision-making, according to defence sources, who said that this is a result of one of several automation projects in the process of being rolled out.

A new Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS) under Project Sanjay is in the process of being deployed, after extensive validation carried out in the plains, deserts, and mountains last year.

“Under BSS, the aim is to have surveillance centres for all field formations by December 2025. It will integrate thousands of sensors which will enable provision of an integrated surveillance picture to commanders and staff at all levels, besides completing the sensor-shooter grid by integrating with the Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS),” a source said. The system also integrates data on the movements of India’s adversaries received from various sources across borders, including sensors, satellites, UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles, and patrols.

This is among a series of automation projects being rolled out which are expected to cumulatively improve operational efficiency, enhance battlefield awareness for commanders on the ground, and also provide functional efficiency for human resource management, logistics, inventory management, medical services and other administrative functions, sources said.

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Ghaziabad is the project’s system integrator, and after hundreds of trials across terrains, it has shown a rate of success of more than 95%, meeting the army’s aspirations and requirements. As part of the trials, a few surveillance centres were set up under two corps of the army, and with the bulk production clearance now granted, the full project will be implemented by the end of 2025, the source said. The original cost was estimated to be around ₹2,700 crore, but has now been revised to ₹2,400 crore and is set to go down further.

To enable these projects, the imminent operationalisation of the secure Network for Spectrum will provide an abundance of bandwidth to the services, the source stated. Further, the Army is setting up captive data centres across the country and these will be fully operational this year.

Complementing the BSS is the Army Information and Decision Support System, an upgraded and redesigned version of the erstwhile Combat Information Decision Support System, which will integrate inputs from all operational and managerial information systems.

A decision support system called the Situational Awareness Module for the Army (SAMA), developed in cooperation with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics has successfully integrated inputs from ACCCS, BSS, e-Sitrep, and the Management Information Systems Organisation. The application has been designed to present a comprehensive battlefield picture to commanders at all levels based on authorisation and roles, the source said.

“SAMA is being fielded this month for field validation under a Corps. DSS will significantly reduce decision making time,” the source added. The Request For Information for SAMA was issued in October 2022 and the project is under categorisation for procurement through the capital route.

Noting that situational reporting is the keystone of all operational correspondence that happens on a perpetual basis, and this is the lifeblood that keeps the operational staff working, sources said beginning this month. situational reporting would be undertaken through an enterprise-class Situational Reporting Over Enterprise-Class GIS platform (E-Sitrep). This is configured for the army’s operational needs, with a state-of-the-art spatial visualisation, temporal and dynamic querying and analytics custom-built for commanders and staff as per authorisation rules, the source added.

The system will be first operationalised in the army’s Northern Command in June 2023 and the balance commands will migrate to the new system later.

Among other projects in the process of being implemented are the computerised inventory control project, a state-of-the-art enterprise resource planning solution for managing the stores, munition, aviation and vehicles supply chains, an army version of Gatishakti called AVAGAT and improved high-precision weather forecasting through a new application called Anuman, in collaboration with the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), which has helped the artillery fire more accurately.

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