In an effort to boost indigenous network-centric technology, the Indian Army last month awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), Bangalore, to create an artillery combat and control system (ACCS).
A senior Army artillery official said the system, dubbed Shakti, would automate the artillery’s tactical fire control from the regiment level down to battery command posts. The contract’s exact value was not disclosed.
Shakti is based on the U.S. Army’s ACCS, but the technology was developed by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Bangalore, part of the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation. The BEL-built system will comprise computers and intelligent terminals connected as a wide area network. Its main subsystems are the artillery computer center, battery computer, remote access terminal and gun display unit.
The Shakti system will make the Army’s artillery operations at least 10 times more effective, the artillery official said.
The pilot contract awarded in September calls for BEL to test the ACCS in both static and mobile roles. The pilot system would link one battery command post, one reserve battery post, one regiment command post, one fire detection center, one fire control center, one observation post, one commanding officer, one battery commander, one artillery brigade commander, one corps artillery commander, command corps artillery, artillery division commander and individual guns.
Army officials say by efficiently networking their artillery units, Shakti will allow more rapid and accurate firepower. It will also improve the ability of commanders to concentrate that firepower where it is most needed, a senior BEL official said.
The ACCS will be the first and most critical C3I system to be fielded by the Army, the BEL official said. Once fully implemented, it is visualized as a network of ruggedized tactical computers, extending from the corps fire control center down to individual guns. It also would function as a force multiplier for artillery units.
The pilot system is expected to be delivered by the end of 2005, a senior Army planning official said. The Army thereafter would conduct year-long rugged trials.
The Army aims to spend about $300 million by 2015 to fully implement the ACCS in its artillery units. The Army, which currently has no integrated C3I system, has around 600 operational artillery guns, most of them slated for modernization.