ByLt Gen Prakash Katoch
20 Feb , 2013
DRDO’s F-INSAS (Future Infantry Soldier as a System)
It is important to note that in 21st century conflict situations not only will operations be increasingly inter-agency involving greater applications of ‘all elements of national power’, but our adversaries will also endeavour to employ hi-tech irregular forces against us. If we can achieve soldier modernisation within the Security Sector and network this cutting edge at the national level, we can be sure to win future conflict situations. Modernisation of the infantry has not been given its due in past decades. This must be treated as an ‘emergent’ requirement in consideration of the emerging threats within and surrounding the country especially considering the rate at which terrorists are achieving sophistication.
Advancements in science and technology are converting fiction to reality. This, coupled with advent of space wars, cyber, laser, plasma, electro-magnetic and precision guided munitions tend to make armies forget the infantryman – big ticket weapon systems overshadowing the cutting edge foot soldier. Having invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, US forces discovered this and underwent course correction post an army level study focused on this very issue.
Advancements in science and technology are converting fiction to reality…
The fact is that right from the advent of warfare to the present and beyond, the importance of the infantryman can hardly be overemphasized, no matter what advances in robotics are made in the distant future. The man behind the machine will continue to be important. Conflict situations such as terrorism, asymmetric and fourth generation wars have heightened this importance.
When the Indian Army introduced Modification 4B for the Infantry a decade and a half back, it was based on previous studies/reports incorporating operational experience with particular reference to fire power, surveillance, communications and night capability. However, the completion of this modification pan infantry took many decades because of the advent of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir that sucked in bulk of this equipment. Then there was the added requirement of equipping the Rashtriya Rifles battalions also with such equipment since these units were permanently deployed in counter-insurgency environment. Resultantly, just about three-four years ago, Modification 4B has been fully implemented in all infantry units. Here again, the scaling for equipment like night surveillance equipment required much to be desired. Over the years, the requirements of survivability in counter-insurgency and counter terrorism, mobility, mine/Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) handling and battlefield management also have acquired heightened focus.