With electronic warfare becoming central to all military operations,the Army is planning to procure helicopter-mounted electronic warfaresystems to augment its capabilities, which, at present, are restrictedto land-based systems.
Sources said some firms have already briefed senior officers concernedat Army Headquarters about the operational aspects of such systems TheArmy has now sought technical details of available systems forevaluation. The Army, like its sister services, is already intoelectronic warfare, with the Corps of Signals being the nodal agency inthe force for using the electromagnetic spectrum for military gains.Currently, the systems with the Army are vehicle mounted.
Electronic warfare involves use of the electromagnetic spectrum,including radio waves and infrared, to interfere with, intercept,degrade or dominate an adversary’s communication, data-transfer orsurveillance network for attaining battlefield superiority, whileprotecting one’s own networks.
Heli-borne electronic warfare systems, sources said, would allowgreater operating flexibility as they can cover greater distances inshorter time without the impediment of traversing difficult terrainlike deserts and mountains. They would also be less vulnerable toanti-radiation missiles that static ground based systems.
Sources added that heliborne systems could also play an important rolein counter-terrorist operations by pinpointing remote terrorist radiotransmitting points or jamming their communication. They would also cutdown the response time vis-à-vis vehicles. Electronic warfare suitesare already retro-fitted in combat aircraft as well as helicopters andtransports. Depending on the type of aircraft, some systems are foroffensive operations while those for transports are primarily forself-defence.
The Army’s quest for electronic warfare systems assumes significance asits aviation corps is being expanded. Besides additional indigenousDhruv ALHs, process is underway to acquire over 80 medium utilityhelicopters for the force.