Understanding Military Technologies of This Century By Lt Gen PR Shankar (R)

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If you are convinced of the content please forward it to your friends.

Last month I spoke in  a seminar held by Northern Command on Technology. My talk was well received. However it left me with a lingering feel of incompleteness. It was a very interesting seminar. A great initiative by the Army Commander and his staff. A lot of excellent views were expressed on how technology will impact the battlefield.  However there was no clarity as to how our Armed Forces will be upgraded technologically. That is the crux of our problem. 

 There is no doubt that  technologically enabled Armed Forces are the need of the hour as the year-long Ukrainian war indicates. It is also clear that cutting edge disruptive technologies are going to dominate the battlefield of the future.  I have always been of the opinion that our Armed Forces are strong enough to defend India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. However our Armed Forces are yet a distance away to anchor the rise of India as a regional power. The difference between these two states is technology or lack of it.  

Every one whom I have spoken to bemoans the lack of adequate technology or modernisation of our Armed Forces. However it is also stark that our entire system has not been able to ensure that we are technologically up to the required mark. The Indian Armed Forces have displayed a remarkable lack in being able to induct latest technologies which are necessary to win us battles. In case we have been able to do so, in isolated case, it is at great cost often bordering on the unaffordable. In most cases our effort to induct latest weapon systems fail. We are invariably saddled with older generation systems at enormous cost without even the basic knowhow to build upon them. 

The DRDO which is the designated agency has not lived up to its task barring in a few areas. It is still struggling to deliver weapon systems based on technologies of the last generation. Further, they are completely out of tune with the latest disruptive technologies which are impacting the battle field as never before. To rely on their capability is fraught with danger. We have to clearly look beyond.

For our Armed Forces to look beyond, we need to have some understanding of what these latest technologies are and as to how they impact the battle field. We also need to understand their limitations and utility in our environment. Furthe,r we need to have some understanding where these technologies are resident and how to get hold of them. This knowledge has been lacking in our procurement and acquisition system. In fact, those who are responsible for the entire capability development process are not able to understand or conceptualise the synthesis between technology and warfare. If they do so, they are not able to convince others of their ideas. They are also not able to lay down realistic QRs essential to induct weapon systems. The ‘glossy’ based QR generation system has left us far behind in the technology curve. We are also often not able to drive the process to a logical conclusion. As a result more often than not, we end up with oft repeated and jaded maxim – ‘fight with what we have’. Further our capability development system has a lot of bureaucrats who have never dealt with weapon systems, or armed forces or technology. These officials invariably slow down the system due to their lack of knowledge. One can not really blame them.   

I could go on and on about how incapable our system is and criticise it to hell and high water. However I have decided that I should do something about it instead of routinely cribbing about it. We need to start acting somewhere. When I reflected, I realised that these technologies are not taught to our officers in any course of instruction. Nor are they taught to the bureaucrats in their training system. Overall there is a dearth of knowledge.  Further there is also a lack of ‘go to’ source from where any one can start to acquire and build upon this knowledge. Even the Science and Miltech pamphlets for DSSC entrance aspirants are largely outdated. Resultantly, most of these technologies are rarely understood or discussed. They are often discussed and commented upon loosely. Alternately they are avoided and given a wide berth altogether. It is with this in mind that  I started this series on ‘Military Technologies of this Century’. 

In this series, the intent is to cover fundamentals of latest technologies in as simple manner as possible so that those who are not familiar with them can grasp them. The start point is the slide I made for my talk to the Northern Command. It is reproduced below.

In this series we will cover all the technologies which are contained in the  graphic above and then graduate to other technologies which are adjunct to these. The effort is to get to applied technologies. Over a period of time all these will be available to anyone in a public platform for reference. The series will be covered initially by Maj Gen R Narayanan (Retired) and self. At an appropriate time, I will get experts and other people, more knowledgeable than us to cover specific topics. The intent is also to bring in knowledgeable veterans to educate us as to how to get hold of these technologies through existing procedures. The entire idea is to put across issues as simply and holistically as possible. 

The question is – whom will it help? In my opinion, it will be of immense value to the following categories of people:- 

All those who are in the capability development loop – Military or civilian. It will specially assist senior officials who are technology shy. 

Commanders and staff officers at all levels in formulation of ideas and developing operational plans and capabilities.

Aspirants for DSSC and other competitive exams. 

All those who are undergoing  higher level multidisciplinary courses

Aspirants to various UPSC and PSC competitive exams (as per feedback from the public)

Engineering Students and start ups who want to enter the field of defence.  

I have already started the series on ‘Military Technologies of this Century’ on YouTube on the Gunners Shot Channel @gunnersshot9829. So far the following subjects have been covered :-

The feedback I have got from open sources has been great. I would request you to view some of these videos (at least in part) to get a first-hand feel of the how latest technologies are being attempted to be put across to those who need it. I am confident that once they understand the fundamentals,  they will be of immense value to the growth of our Armed Forces. If you feel so, kindly pass it on to your unit mates and regimental types who will benefit from this. Unless our grass roots are strengthened, we will not progress. Also give it to those in the MOD with whom you deal on capability development. 

I thank Lt Gen Satish Dua, Maj Gen R Narayanan and Aadi Achint who have joined me in this endeavour. I also thank Mr Sai Pattabhiraman, Maj Gen Rohit Gupta , Gp Capt Narang and Col Manish Kumar who are waiting in the wings to come to the forefront. I will also invite those of you who feel that you can make a difference to our organisation in any capacity to increase the technical thresh holds of our system. Feel free to get in touch with me through email. I look forward to help from one and all. You expertise is invaluable to the nation.

For all those in uniform and in service. Do not worry. All info in these videos is totally UNCLASSIFIED and will remain so. Just absorb the knowledge and do good to the nation.   


Gen sir the way u explain things is easy to grab and think further day by day ur videos about military tech increasing my curiosity in this domain

Upsc और psc वाले aspirant के लिए बहुत ज्ञान भरा है,एक अच्छे ऑफिसर बनाने में मदद करेगा,थैंक्स सर जी।

            Thankyou sirs for this intellectually enriching session

Jai Hind General Sir, I am an engineering student and your channel is like a gold mine I am going to start digging and share it with my friends. Sir I also have a small request if you can bring guests like Prof. Kamakoti from IIT Madras to make us aware about VLSI field in India. Sir we all feel very blessed that we are getting to know about very interesting and advance technology this will give us a great guidance for our final year project.

Great information! Never knew that these technologies existed. It would be great if you also show the advances made by other advanced countries in space warfare.


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