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Home » Night Vision India 2014

Event Review

 Night Fighting Capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces

The Army's current night fighting capability is limited. What the Army needs is 'third generation' night vision devices (NVDs) for soldiers, night sights for rifles and night vision equipment for armoured and mechanised formations. What the Army has are limited second generation devices which at times are more of a hindrance than an asset and too few third generation NVDs. Pakistan, on the other hand, has got a range of third generation devices from the US under the 'War on Terror' pact. China too has operationalised its entire tank and mechanised fleet for night fighting and possesses significantly higher night capability in the other arms too. Limited night fighting capability decreases force effectiveness and leads to reduced deterrence, thus providing a window of opportunity to hostile powers to increased chances of misadventure from either country.
The Indian Army needs 30,000 third generation NVDs to meet its requirements as per the present war establishment (WE) authorisation. The large numbers required add substantially to cost but this could be reduced with indigenous manufacture. There is a need to further enhance these holdings as presently only one device is authorised per section. The need is to equip each man with a NVD but as a first step at least 50 per of the soldiers need to be so equipped.
The night fighting capability of the Army particularly the infantry and Special Forces need to be upgraded on a war footing. The latest NVD technology on the horizon which can be looked at is the black and white picture for night scenes as compared to the classic green hued image, as studies have shown that night time scenes appear remarkably more natural and clear in black and white combination. The night fighting capability is crucial to the success of critical defence programmes such as F-INSAS, MBTs, Special Forces upgrade and indigenous FICVs. The ability to fight at night has been constrained since ancient times but in the 21st century it will be a do or die choice.
The Indian Army thermal imaging sights purchase was cleared by the country's Defence Ministry on 2 April 2013. Simultaneously, defence officials also approved plans to modernise the Indian Army's 130mm artillery gun arsenal.
In all, approximately 5,000 night-vision sights are set to be supplied by Bharat Electronics Limited. 2,000 of these will be used in combination with T-72 Main Battle Tanks, while a further 1,200 will be used in T-90 Main Battle Tank operations. The remaining 1,780 thermal imaging systems will be allocated to the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle fleet.
Indian Army Night Vision
The Indian Army night vision clearance follows earlier reports that the force's night-fighting capability was pretty limited, with barely half its armoured vehicles able to function around-the-clock. Based on an estimated four-year delivery time frame, it's expected that the last Indian Army night vision systems will be supplied in around 2017.
Known in Indian service as the Ajeya, the T-72 MBT was first conceived in the 1960s and, still in production now, more than 25,000 have been built. A total of approximately 1,900 T-72Ms and upgraded T-72M1s equip the Indian Army, making it the ground force's dominant combat vehicle. Serving alongside these T-72s are around 900 T-90 Bhishma tanks - effectively modernised T-72s with upgraded engines, gunner sights and weapons systems.
Indian Night Vision Systems
Supplementing the Indian night vision systems, other new equipment soon set to join the Indian Army includes 15 Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, which will be used to relocate military equipment into hard-to-access parts of the mountains.
Amongst the most innovative new technologies recently pressed into Indian Army service is the DRDO Daksh: a robot that specialises in locating, manipulating and destroying improvised explosive devices and other personnel hazards.
Border Surveillance
The Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) has approved a home ministry plan to install night-vision surveillance along India’s international borders. Initially, a group of ministers constituted in 2001 had emphasised the importance installation of night surveillance security devices along international border. The list of security equipment includes battle field surveillance radars (BFSR), thermal sensors, high powered sensors, night vision devices, and night binoculars. BFSRs have night vision range of 40 km. Thermal sensors can detect targets in a hilly terrain. Installation of night surveillance devices will facilitate in countering hostile infiltration, smuggling, and trans-border crime. An amount of Rs 4860 million will be spent over the next six years for installing state-of-art night vision equipment on international borders along Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. In the first phase night vision devices covering 12,500 km along these borders will be installed. 2500 km border along Nepal and Bhutan will be covered in next phase. 


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