Corps of Signals 100th Anniversary
1911 - 2011

Photographs and Report on 14th Reunion at Jablapur: 13- 15 Feb 2011

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Tactical Communications System: Network for the Battlefield

L&T-Tata-HCL shortlisted in Rs 10k-cr defence deal race
by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 21st Jun 2012

In a long-anticipated move towards unleashing the abilities of India's private sector in equipping the military, the ministry of defence (MoD) has chosen a private sector consortium to compete with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), the public sector giant, to develop a backbone communications network for the 21st century battlefield. The project is worth an estimated Rs 10,000 crore.

Called the Tactical Communications System (TCS), this network will be created simultaneously by two Indian ‘development agencies', or DAs. Besides BEL, the MoD's traditional go-to shop for electronics and communications, South Block has selected a private sector consortium of Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power (Special Electronics Division) and HCL. The MoD today informed the two DAs in writing about their selection. Business Standard has reviewed a copy of the MoD letter.

The TCS is a mobile communications grid that is rolled out across the battlefield, even deep inside enemy territory, for advancing tank formations. Each TCS provides an army corps (some 60,000 soldiers) with the frequencies and bandwidth needed for its communications, including voice, data and video.

It operates like a cellular phone network, but with three major differences. First, the TCS is mobile, its exchanges and switches installed in high-mobility vehicles that can transport and install these anywhere, including mountains and deserts. Second, the TCS transmits enormous volumes of data, such as map overlays, video conferencing or streaming video from unmanned aerial vehicles. Finally, the TCS maintains secrecy, forestalling enemy eavesdropping by rapidly hopping frequencies, hundreds of times a second, in a coded sequence.

Given the importance of secrecy, the MoD ruled that the TCS must be built in India. It is the first project being taken up under the ‘Make' category of the Defence Procurement Policy of 2008 (DPP-2008). This mandates that an Indian company, or consortium, must develop the TCS, with a minimum 30 per cent indigenisation at the prototype stage.

The two DAs will now take about six months to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR). This will define every system, sub-system, and capability of the TCS network. After studying the DPR, the MoD will estimate the cost of developing a TCS prototype. Industry sources say a working TCS prototype for an army division (15,000 troops) could cost about Rs 300 crore. MoD will fund 80 per cent of this cost; the vendors will pay 20 per cent.

The next crucial stage, explains Rahul Chaudhary, CEO of Tata Power (SED), is the building of the TCS prototype, which the two contending DAs would do separately, taking some 18 months. Then, in six to eight months of user evaluation trials, MoD will choose the better design. The DA that indigenises technology better will have an advantage over the one that relies more on foreign technologies and components.

The trials would also give the user a last chance to recommend design changes. The finalised design, to be documented into a General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR), will be the TCS that enters operational service. The government could nominate a single winning vendor —between BEL and the L & T-led Special Purpose Company (SPC) — to build all seven TCS systems the army needs, each worth some Rs 1,500 crore. However, most insiders expect MoD would speed up production and hedge risks by distributing the order 65:35, with the superior design getting the lion's share.

In choosing the two DAs that were intimated today, MoD evaluated eight carefully vetted companies: L & T, Tata Power (SED), HCL, Rolta, Wipro; and also from PSUs: BEL, Electronics Corporation of India Ltd and ITI. Given the complexity of the projects and the stakes involved, L & T, Tata Power (SED) and HCL decided to combine forces, bidding jointly as an SPC.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Utilization of manpower in the Army: 1985

Source : The Indian Defence Review, © 1995 by Lancer Publishers & Distributors.
Article Author : Lieutenant General K. Balaram, PVSM (Retd)

This article is based on a paper presented by the author to the Ministry of Defence in September 1985, prior to his retirement as Vice Chief of Army Staff and Adjutant General, Indian Army.
The trade or employment structure of the Army, broadly, has three groups namely, the General Duties, Skilled and Highly Skilled or Technician groups. The General Duties group comprises the combat categories of armoured corps, mechanised infantry, artillery, corps of engineers, infantry and some categories of the corps of signals. The Skilled group generally comprises operator categories of various types of equipment mostly in the combat support and logistic units. The Highly Skilled group or Technical group includes mechanic and technical categories. The educational standard at recruitment, training period and the period of engagement is graduated upwards from the General Duties group to the Highly Skilled group. The training period varies from about a year or so at the lowest level to about two and a half to three years at the highest level of knowledge and skill. The aim of this article is to examine whether optimum use is made of this manpower and, if not, suggest an alternative method by which improved optimization and cost-effectiveness can be achieved.
The jargon prevalent in the Adjutant General's Branch, the Personnel Management Organization of the Army, is used in this article since it is expressive and brief. The meaning of the jargon is explained for ease of understanding of the uninitiated and lay readers. Quantitative analysis is essential to present the magnitude of the problem. Complicated calculations are given in the tables but derivations thereof are given in the text.
Prior to 1965, sepoys in the General Duties categories were engaged for seven years of 'colour service' with eight years of 'reserve' liability, Skilled categories for 10 and 10 years and Highly Skilled categories for 12 and 8 years, respectively. Except for Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), the age profile of combat units was between 18 and 25 years and those of Combat Support and Technical Services and Logistic Services units wore comparatively more, but not unduly so. Therefore, the high spirits, generally associated with youth, pervaded the entire Army. Re-employment after release from the Army was comparatively less difficult since trained manpower between the ages of 25 and 30 was more acceptable in the employment market. About 65 per cent wore released without the Army incurring any expenditure on pensions on their account since the minimum service for a pension was 15 years. Only JCOs and senior NCOs retired with pensions.
The colour service of the three groups, as defined, was changed to 10, 12, and 18 years, respectively with effect from 25 January 1965 to 15, 15 and 18, respectively with effect from 1 February 1976 and to 17, 17 and 20 years, respectively with effect from 30 June 1979. These increased colour service periods are operative till date. The effects of this upward revision of colour service will next be discussed in detail.
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