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Bharat & it's Network Centric Warfare

Niranjan Bhombe

Soham Athavale

3 November 2022

"Now a days we all are hearing this term quiet frequently. Let us know more about NCW (Network Centric Warfare)...."

Let us start from the term it self. "Network" itself means many devices connected to eachother through single medium. It is somewhat similar to Internet of Things. In IoT electronic devices like TV, Fridge, Mobile are connected to eachother through internet. Similarly in NCW many components of war are interconnected.

Let us take a simple example: In a carrier strike group of Navy, several vessels are included. There is a mother ship, an aircraft carrier accompanied by several distroyers, submarines, supply vessels, oil tankers and aircrafs. In a NCW scenario these entities are connected in a single network.

Let us assume a submarine spots a hostile vessel in its vicinity. Then the submarine will send a message to mother ship. Mother ship can launch a cruise missile or scramble an aircraft to destroy that ship. Meanwhile the submarine doesn't have to blow up its cover and fire a torpedo. This can be a classic example of NCW.

Bharat is leading in this arms race. Bharat is developing a CATS program for its Airforce. CATS stands for Combat Air Teaming System. It has 4 components:

  1. Warrior

  2. ALFA

  3. Hunter

  4. Infinity

CATS Warrior is a project inspired from Loyal Wingman project of Boeing Aerospace and Defence of United States. It is a combat aerial vehicle which will fly along with mother ship, guide it, carry payload and when required sacrifice itself to save mother ship and its pilot.

CATS ALFA where ALFA stands for Air Launched Flexible Assets. These are small suicidal drones which can swarm and ambush enemy bases within minutes. They can be operated remotely by Warrior and Mother Ship.

CATS Hunter is a missile delivery system which can be recovered. Hunter is known for its precision of payload delivery and returning back to either Mother Ship or inside friendly territory and can be recovered with the help of parachute.

The last and the most important is CATS Infinity. It is a HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellite). Infinity is a solar powered aerial vehicle which can remain in air for nearly a month once airborne. It provides network for all the CATS components to communicate with each other and connect them with ground stations. Thus creating their own medium in sky once airborne.

The main component of this system is the mother ship which can communicate and monitor all the CATS components. This mother ship is HAL Tejas.

This is the future of warfare. And it is not only limited to Airforce and Navy, it can be extended to other fragments too. There can be networks of Tri - Services components. This will provide efficiency and speed to the actions. It can reduce risking of lives.

As every coin has two sides NCW also has some drawbacks. It is very costly to build and maintain the networks. It is difficult to maintain the continuity and speed of communication. An abrupt disconnection may compromise whole mission. There are possibilities of disturbances in medium and data leakages. We are constantly working to make it more reliable and trustworthy.





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