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Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories A Conceptual Case Study of Lakshadweep (Minicoy and Suheli Par Islands)

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

ANALYSIS | Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories

IndraStra Global  4/05/2016 03:28:00 PM  Featured , India , Indian Navy , Maritime ,Sea Lanes of Communications , South Asia

Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories

A Conceptual Case Study of Lakshadweep (Minicoy and Suheli Par Islands)

By Rear Admiral Dr S. Kulshrestha (Retd.), Indian Navy  and Rahul Guhathakurta, IndraStra Global

 

The strategy for coastal and offshore security has been articulated in the document “Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy” of the Indian Navy. The strategy envisages ‘to reduce, counter and eliminate the threat of armed attack by sub-conventional groups, and also influx of arms and infiltration by armed attackers from the sea, against coastal and offshore assets’.

The chapter “Strategy for Conflict’ covers the actions for coastal and offshore defense. Essentially the operations will be carried out by the Indian Navy in synergy with the Indian Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and other security agencies.

Defending India’s Coast, Offshore Assets, EEZ and Island Territories.

India has a formidable naval force with both blue water and littoral capabilities; it also has a credible Coast guard, which would work in unison with the Indian Navy in times of war. Further India has put in place a powerful template for marine domain awareness, intelligence and protection of the coastal and offshore areas, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack of 26 Nov 2008. Some of the measures include; setting up of Multi Agency Centres (MAC) for intelligence inputs and reports; registration of fishing vessels by states; placing in orbit Indian Regional Navigation Seven Satellite System and satellite GSAT 7 ; setting up of a coast wide radar chain; raising Marine Police force, Marine Commandos Rapid Reaction Force and a Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB);setting up layered patrolling; putting in place The National Command Control Communication and Intelligence network (NC3IN) etc.

Prominent Gaps in Coastal and Offshore Defence

Thus, the layered defence of Indian coast and its offshore areas consists of Indian Navy, the coast guard, the marine commando & Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) and the marine police. All these are info-linked for maximum advance knowledge and in a way form a net worked coalition. However, there apparently is a gap as far as setting up the coastal and offshore area defences per se is concerned. It lacks the delay, denial, disruption, and demoralizing (D4) capability, which is essential in today’s environment. This capability should be acquired by leveraging the perceived threats presented by the submarine, mines, small craft and cruise missiles.

The defence plan should be an asymmetric and proactive approach to defence with defining it as a zone that comprises two segments of the defence environment:-

·                     Seaward- the area from the shore to the open ocean, which must be defended to thwart expeditionary forces at sea.

·                      Landward- from the shore to the area inland that can be supported and defended directly from the shore.

The existing gap in Indian defences can be obviated with very potent defence elements by including:-

·                     Comprehensive assessment of threats from expeditionary forces to ports/ harbors.

·                     Procurement of midget/ miniature submarines with torpedoes and mine laying capability along with arrays of underwater sensors for environment, intrusion information, navigation and communication.

·                     Procurement of UAVs/USVs with intelligent software for remote operations as swarms.

·                     Procurement of Unmanned Underwater Sensor and Weapon Carriers capable of transmitting integrated underwater picture to fixed or mobile stations, firing torpedoes and laying mines.

·                     Procurement and laying of cable controlled mine fields, other mine fields across various depths zones.

·                     Coastal extended reach anti ship cruise missile batteries.

·                     Coastal gun batteries with ability to carry out precision attack on surface ships at ranges greater than 50 km.

·                     All systems networked for an ironclad protection of the Indian Coast and offshore assets and territories.

·                     Development of weapons specific for use in coastal areas and

·                     Development of systems for collection of oceanographic information.

A robust Indian coastal and offshore defense plan and its implementation is an essential element of economic wellbeing of India, as it would ensure security of sea trade, shipping, fishing, marine resources, and offshore assets as well as security of the EEZ.

Rights of a Coastal State w.r.t. EEZ

Within its EEZ, a coastal state has sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing natural living and non-living resources of the waters superjacent to the seabed and its sub soil. Further, it can exploit and explore production of energy from water, winds, and currents. The EEZ remains an open zone with freedom of innocent passage for all. The EEZ legal regime is different from that governing territorial waters and high seas, and contains certain characteristics of both.

However, in a recent judgment regarding the Enrica Lexie (Italian marines) case, the Supreme Court of India has declared the region between the contiguous zone and the 200 nautical miles in to the sea as ‘High Seas’. The Supreme court has said that Article 97 of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is not applicable as shooting was a criminal action and not a navigation accident.

China has been maintaining its right to regulate foreign military activities in its EEZ, as it feels that it has the right to prevent any activity that threatens its economic interests or security. It also asserts that its domestic laws have jurisdiction in its EEZ. The Chinese law requires foreign entities to obtain prior approval to carryout resource exploitation, fishing, and marine research. As far as military activities are concerned, it holds them as prejudicial to ‘peaceful purposes’ provision of the Laws of the Seas Convention. This interpretation has led to a number of minor standoffs between it and the United States of America.

India is also one of the countries, which mandate prior permission before any maintenance, or repairs are carried out to the submarine cables running on the floor of its EEZ.

With respect to military activities by foreign militaries in the EEZ, India along with Bangladesh, Brazil, Cape Verde, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Uruguay require obtaining of prior permission. North Korea has prohibited any such activity within 50 nm of its territory and Iran has completely prohibited the same.

As far as oceanographic surveying is considered, again some countries require prior permission, in fact, China registered protests against the activities of USNS Bowditch and India against HMS Scott and USNS Bowditch, which were gathering military data by undertaking oceanographic survey. Coupling the above with increased proliferation of submarines in the region, the instances of clandestine underwater and ASW surveys would only increase. There are bound to be incidents involving intruder submarines in future and states would therefore be monitoring activities in their EEZs diligently.

EEZ Security Components

Two essential components of effective EEZ security management comprise of surveillance and deterrence. Some of the drawbacks of EEZ surveillance systems in use today include; inability of patrol boats to carry out surveillance, since their missions are area denial, SAR or interdiction; UAV’s have much better sensor packages but need a large infrastructure for 24/7 surveillance; HF radars are affordable but need very large areas for installation; Microwave radars suffer from limited horizon; and patrol aircraft incur huge costs. Since radars have difficulty in automatically identifying unknown and devious small vessels and the electro optic systems are heavily weather dependent, there is requirement for add on sensors to carry out effective monitoring of EEZ. In fact, a complete EEZ surveillance system should be able to cater to all the facets of EEZ activity be it , terrorism, drug and human trafficking, piracy, smuggling, coastal security, Search and rescue, sea traffic control, pollution control, illegal fishing, illegal arms supply and exploitation of natural resources of solar, air, wave, minerals, oil and gas. For such an extensive requirement a cooperative, synergetic and system of systems approach between various agencies involved would be paramount.

The surveillance platforms would include the following:-

·                     Unmanned undersea vehicles, sonar arrays, patrol submarines, and other under water sensors.

·                     Remotely operated vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, offshore platforms, sensors for activity monitoring, and patrol boats.

·                     Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), communication networks, control centers, pollution monitoring centers, surface and navigation radars, and electro-optic systems.

·                     Unmanned Ariel Vehicles, patrol aircraft, helicopters, aerostats, and sensors.

·                     Observation and communication satellites.

Coming to the deterrence capability in the EEZ, it has to be a non-military option during peacetime, which brings the discussion to deployment of Non Lethal Weapons (NLW) and the need to develop them for the EEZ environment. Conflicts in the EEZ are definitely going to be unconventional and it would be difficult to distinguish the adversary from the neutrals or friendly vessels. This may lead to conflicts where use of lethal weapons may not be permissible. Non-lethal weapons would provide tactical as well as strategic benefits to the EEZ protection force in the global commons. NLW would enable options for de-escalation of conflicts, avoid irretrievable consequences of using lethal options, and result in deterring activity without loss of lives and damage to material. NLWs have to be cost effective and easy to operate, as different varieties in varying numbers would be required. However to ensure a calibrated approach, across the spectrum of conflict, there is also a need for NLWs to be doctrinally integrated with the regular naval forces to enable them to tackle a developing situation in the EEZ.

Defense of Island Territories

The defence of the Island territories has to be structured as a mix of the Coastal and EEZ defence plans. The defence plan in case of the Islands should be an asymmetric and proactive approach to defence with defining it as a zone that comprises three segments of the defence environment:-

·                     Seaward- the area from the shore to the open ocean, which must be defended to thwart expeditionary forces at sea.

·                     Landward- from the shore to the area inland that can be supported and defended directly from the shore.

·                     From the Sea-  from the sea by warships and submarines in case, an incursion has already been made on an unprotected/ inadequately protected island. As well as drawing from offensive infrastructure at the islands in the vicinity.

The surveillance and defense components have to be drawn from the coastal and EEZ defense plans and augmented by use of warships and submarines at sea.

“Even if Chinese naval ships and submarines appear regularly in the Indian Ocean, so what?” he asked. “As the largest trading nation in the world, maritime security in the Indo-Pacific cannot be more important for China. The Chinese navy has to protect its overseas interests such as the safety of personnel and security of property and investment. Much of these are along the rim of the Indian Ocean.” – Zhou Bo, honorary fellow, Academy of Military Science, Beijing, Jul 2015

An Academic Case Study of Proactive Defense Infrastructure at Two Lakshadweep Islands (Minicoy and Suheli Par)

The Lakshadweep islands lie between 8° – 12 °3′ N latitude and 71°E – 74°E longitude about 225 to 450 km from the Coast of Kerala. There are 12 atolls, 3 reefs, and five submerged banks. In all, there are 36 Islands, with a total land area of 32 sq km; Lakshadweep islands have a lagoon area of 4200 sq km and 20,000 sq km of territorial waters. It provides a large swath of 4, 00,000 sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone.

Map 1: Proximity Analysis of Minicoy Island and Suheli Par with respect to SLOCs (Interactive map available at http://www.indrastra.com/2016/04/ANALYSIS-Proactive-Defense-Infrastructure-Planning-of-Indian-Island-Territories-Lakshadweep-Minicoy-Suheli-Par-002-04-2016-0015.html)

Minicoy

Minicoy is the southernmost island in the Lakshadweep. It lies between 8° 15’ to 8° 20’ N and 73° 01’ to 73° 05 E with an area of 4.4 sq km including the Viringli islet. Minicoy is separated from the rest of Lakshadweep by the nine-degree channel and from the Maldives by the 8° channel. It is an independent oceanic island that does not belong to either the Maldives or the Lakshadweep bank.

Map 2: Minicoy Island Naval Air Station: The Concept (Interactive map available at http://www.indrastra.com/2016/04/ANALYSIS-Proactive-Defense-Infrastructure-Planning-of-Indian-Island-Territories-Lakshadweep-Minicoy-Suheli-Par-002-04-2016-0015.html)

Suheli Par

It is located at 10°05′N 72°17′E / 10.083°N 72.283°E / 10.083; 72.283, 52 km to the SW of Kavaratti, 76 km to the south of Agatti, 139 km to the west of Kalpeni and 205 km to the NNW of Minicoy, with the broad Nine Degree Channel between them. There are two uninhabited islands, Valiyakara at the northern end with a lighthouse ARLHS LAK-015, and Cheriyakara on the southeastern side. These two islands have a long sandbank Suheli Pitti between them.

Map 3: Suheli Par Naval Air Station: The Concept (Interactive map available at http://www.indrastra.com/2016/04/ANALYSIS-Proactive-Defense-Infrastructure-Planning-of-Indian-Island-Territories-Lakshadweep-Minicoy-Suheli-Par-002-04-2016-0015.html)

As a purely academic exercise, a proactive defense infrastructure has been studied for placement on Minicoy and Suheli Par using GIS and other architectural tools available as open source. The primary study is based upon the following documents:

·                     Draft Approach Paper For The 12th Five Year Plan (2012‐2017), Earth System Science Organization Ministry of Earth Sciences

·                     Notification under section 3(1) and section 3(2)(v) of the environment (protection) act, 1986 and rule 5(3)(d) of the environment (protection) rules, 1986 declaring coastal stretches as coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and regulating activities in the CRZ. New Delhi, the 19th February 1991(as amended up to 3rd October 2001)

·                     Report of the Working Group on Improvement of Banking Services in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep by RBI, 12 May 2008

·                     Socioeconomic Dimensions And Action Plan For Conservation Of Coastal Resources Based On An Understanding Of Anthropogenic Threats. Minicoy Island – UT Of Lakshadweep Project Supervisor: Vineeta Hoon. Centre for Action Research on Environment Science & Society, Chennai. 2003.

·                     Report on Visit to Lakshadweep – a coral reef wetland included under National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme of the Ministry of Environment & Forests. 30th October – 1st November 2008

·                     Report on BSLLD (Urban) Pilot in Lakshdweep, 2014. Directorate of Planning and Statistics, Lakshadweep.

·                     CZMAs and Coastal Environments- Two Decades of Regulating Land Use Change on India’s Coastline. Center for Policy Research, 2015.

·                     Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP) for Minicoy island.

·                     Lakshadweep Development Report

Criterion for selection of the island of Minicoy and Suheli par

Some of the criterion for selection of the islands of Minicoy and Suheli par are:

Minicoy and Suheli Par would synergistic-ally straddle the 9-degree channel, one of the most important SLOC not only for India, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and also for China. The security of the SLOC would be ensured pro-actively by developing the defense structure at both islands.

·                     Minicoy is inhabited and Suheli Par is not, thus providing two distinct classes of islands.

·                     Minicoy is geologically different from other islands in the Lakshadweep.

·                     Both have large lagoons.

·                     Both need to be developed for prosperity and connectivity of the region with main land.

·                     Both have poor connectivity with mainland.

·                     Both can provide security structures for EEZ and its regulation

·                     Main Features of Proactive Defense of Islands.

The main features of the conceptual structures include:

·                     Airstrips for use by tourists as well as defense.

·                     Small harbor facilities

·                     Submarine piers

·                     Mini/midget pens

·                     Staging facilities

·                     Coastal gun and missile batteries

·                     Mooring Buoys

·                     Off Shore ammunition storage

·                     Air defense capability

·                     Radar and underwater sensors

·                     Strategic Oil Storage Facility

·                     Command, Communications, and Control Center for Indian Navy

·                     Strategic Communication facility

·                     Storm Warning and Fisheries information center

·                     Ocean Surveillance stations and cabled Oceanic Information Observatories

·                     Floating sun power panels

·                     Offshore Desalination plants

·                     Facilities for Tourists

Linkages with MDA, ODA, and OICZ

It is important that any academic exercise for development of a proactive defense infrastructure of island territories consider concepts of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Oceanic Domain Awareness (ODA), and Ocean Information Consciousness Zones (OICZ). MDA focuses upon the maritime security environment specific to naval operations; the ODA focuses upon the overarching oceanic environment. Both are technology intensive and require sophisticated sensors and computational capabilities.MDA has tactical, regional, and strategic components whereas the ODA is strategic knowledge based architecture. Both require elaborate data and information fusing interface with myriad of interconnected agencies. The MDA primarily needing vast inputs from commercial, intelligence and security agencies and the ODA from advanced research, academic and scientific communities. The ODA is conceptualized as a comprehensive 3D+ knowledge zone up to India’s EEZ, the OICZ on the other hand is a collaborative approach at sharing oceanic information, processing it as required and archiving it for use at a later date. ODA can be established by a country individually, but OICZ requires transfer / sharing of scientific knowledge and technology between nations. Benefits of ODA accrue to the nation whereas OICZ would empower the region. Both are strategic in nature.

The usage of “geo-spatial tools” behind the “Conceptual Proactive Defense Infrastructure Plan” for Minicoy and Suheli Par

In the field of geopolitical studies, spatial analysis driven by various geographic information system (GIS) technologies helps strategic experts in computing required and desired solutions. In this analysis of Minicoy Island and Suheli Par, Google My Map API is used to perform a variety of geo-spatial calculations by using a set of easy to use function calls in the data step. In layman’s term, a layer-by-layer computational analysis of geographic patterns to finding optimum routes, site selection, and advanced predictive modeling to substantiate this analysis has been carried out. These concepts are formulated by considering the land reclamation factors and available details of Integrated Island Management Plan of Government of India (GoI) for Lakshadweep Islands. However, there are certain limitations associated with this analysis with respect to bathymetric data, which has not been considered for evaluation purpose due to lack of availability of such data in open/public domain. Further, these interactive custom maps can be easily exported into KMZ format and can also be embedded seamlessly with other websites for further distribution.

Considering all the factors discussed hitherto the maps are embedded in this article, depicting the proactive defense infrastructure plan for Minicoy and Suheli Par have been developed.

Conclusion

India’s EEZ and island territories face threats of disruption of energy supplies, piracy, and acts of terrorism, in addition to the fact that other nations are keen to poach in to the fisheries and seabed wealth. The security of the EEZ and island territories is therefore a matter of India’s national interest and need exists for boosting the surveillance and augmenting security arrangements of EEZ’s and island territories. Even though, an ambitious plan for coastal security and maritime domain awareness has been put in place, it needs to be further strengthened and stitched together so that the security of EEZ and Island territories functions as a comprehensive entity with synergies across the various agencies involved.

The academic exercise undertaken above in respect of Minicoy and Suheli Par islands demonstrates that it is feasible to provide effective SLOC protection, achieve maritime dominance in a limited area of interest, provide support to second strike capability and utilize space and oceans for surveillance, intelligence, science, and communications purposes.

Time for a proactive approach to plan the defense of EEZ and island territories is now!

 

About The Authors:

 

Rear Admiral Dr S. Kulshrestha: The author RADM Dr. S. Kulshrestha (Retd.), INDIAN NAVY, holds expertise in quality assurance of naval armament and ammunition. He is an alumnus of the NDC and a PhD from JNU. He superannuated from the post of Dir General Naval Armament Inspection in 2011. He is unaffiliated and writes in defence journals on issues related to Armament technology and indigenisation.

 

Rahul Guhathakurta: He is the founder of IndraStra Global and a seasoned supply chain management professional with 8+ years experience in trade route optimization and planning through various GIS applications.

Cite this Article:

Kulshrestha, S, Guhathakurta, R “ANALYSIS | Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories – A Conceptual Case Study of Lakshadweep (Minicoy and Suheri Pal Islands)” IndraStra Global 002, no. 04 (2015): 0015. http://www.indrastra.com/2016/04/ANALYSIS-Proactive-Defense-Infrastructure-Planning-of-Indian-Island-Territories-Lakshadweep-Minicoy-Suheli-Par-002-04-2016-0015.html |ISSN 2381-3652|

 

Dimensions of Submarine Threat in the Littorals –A Perspective

(Published :  “FEATURED | Dimensions of Submarine Threat in the Littorals –A Perspective by RADM Dr. S. Kulshrestha (Retd.), INDIAN NAVY.” IndraStra Global 01, no. 11 (2015): 0408. ISSN 2381-3652,)

Dimensions of Submarine Threat in the Littorals –A Perspective

Abstract

The littorals present a very complex environment in which the platform, weapon and the target interplay is dependent upon the real time and archival understanding of the medium parameters. The article aims to provide a perspective into the extent of the littoral underwater submarine threat and the constraints which hamper its successful prosecution. It also brings out the fact that the Blue water Navy would have to enhance its environmental understanding and modify its approach towards anti submarine operations to reduce likely attritions during littoral conflicts. The article brings out the imperative need to dove tail fundamental environmental research and Indian Naval requirements to tackle the threats in littorals.

 

 “…the very shallow water (VSW) region is a critical point for our offensive forces and can easily, quickly and cheaply be exploited by the enemy. The magnitude of the current deficiency in reconnaissance and neutralization in these regions and the impact on amphibious assault operations were demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm.”

Maj. Gen. Edward J. Hanlon Jr., Director of Expeditionary Warfare, Sea Power, May 1997

A blue water navy’s ability to execute manoeuvre in littorals is severely compromised due to confined sea spaces, lesser depths, heavy traffic, threats due to lurking quiet diesel submarines, coastal missile batteries, swarms of armed boats, deployed mines and threats from the air. The definition of a littoral region encompasses waters close to the shores as well as greater than 50 nm at sea. The Indian Navy, like all the other blue water navies has not been fundamentally positioned for close combat encounters. It is has generally been expected that sea warfare would have standoff distances of at least 50/60 km if not more between adversaries   (outside range of torpedoes and guns). If Carrier groups and anti ship cruise missile (ASCM) cruisers are deployed, the standoff can be up to a couple of hundred kms (ASCM and Air craft limits). However today littorals present an inevitable close quarter engagement situation with CSG remaining well clear of coastal missile batteries and aircraft operating from shore based airfields. In case of countries like China, the CSG may even remain a thousand km away to save itself from a barrage of carrier killer missile like the Don Feng 21 D with a range of over 2000 kms[i].

 Thus littorals have withered away the advantage of the CSG and the big ships as manoeuvring in close quarters is not feasible any more. The lighter ships would have to fight in the littorals with a much larger risk of attrition from the diesel electric submarine, mines, swarm of boats and shore based assets. The blue waters represent large swaths of sea with adequate depths for operations, and much less uncertainties in the sensor – weapon environment. The littorals are confined zones with reducing depths and a very adverse sensor environment. This has drastically compressed reaction times leading to requirements of great agility for the men of war.

 A worthy defender is always considered to be in an advantageous position in the littorals, fundamentally due to the intrinsic knowledge and experience in operating in his home environment. It constitutes what the US DOD calls an access denial area likely to impinge upon the US national interests in the Vision 2004 document this has been articulated as “To win on this 21st Century battlefield, the U.S. Navy must be able to dominate the littorals, being out and about, ready to strike on a moment’s notice, anywhere, anytime[ii] The Indian Navy has in all probability identified areas in Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean where it may have to engage in littoral conflicts either singly or in concert with coalition of navies, should such a contingency arise. On the other hand 26/11 had opened the coasts to attack by terrorists and the Government of India has initiated efforts to tighten its coastal security. As to the plans of defending own littorals against a formidable expeditionary force, nothing much is known in the open domain, in all likely hood it remains a simplistic defensive model due to insufficient focus and the inevitable funding. The fact remains that ocean rim state navies today are focussing more on littoral capability than building a blue water navy. Indian Navy has to consider the littoral capability seriously whilst modernising and achieve a balance, depending upon its current and future threat perceptions. The blue water force has to have an embedded littoral component force so that the IN can operate in littorals far away from her home ports.

 The major under water threats comprise of mines and undetected diesel submarines. However as far as mines are concerned, they are every coastal country’s weapon of choice as they are economic, easy to lay but very hard to detect and sweep. They are the psycho sentinels of defence, since unless their existence is proved it has to be assumed that waters are mine infested and have to be swept before warships can attempt a foray in to the littorals[iii]. The clearing of mines for safe passage is a very time consuming and intensive exercise which introduces significant delays in any operation, while taking away element of surprise and granting time to adversary to plan tactics. Therefore in case delays are not acceptable, littoral operations would have to cater for some attrition on account of mines as well as navigation hazards posed due to sunken or damaged ships on the sea route.

 The aim of this article is to derive a perspective in to the fundamental dimensions of the littoral medium, platform and weapon with respect to the underwater submarine threat which constitutes the most potent hazard to a powerful navy.

Operating Littoral Environment

The littorals comprise of different types of zones in which a Navy has to operate. These include continental shelf, surf zones, straits and archipelagos, harbours and estuaries. The main thrust of naval operations hinges upon the underwater acoustics (sonic ray plots) which provide not so accurate measure of effectiveness of Sonars. In the continental shelf not much is known about the tactical usage of bioluminescence, plankton or suspended particles and other non acoustic environmental information. Quantifiable effect on performance of different sensors and weapons under various conditions is also not available to the Commander to help him deploy them optimally. Further predictions about conditions for naval operations in continental shelf areas of interest are at best sketchy and no reliable database exists to provide correlation between various environmental conditions that may be encountered. In the surf zone region (within 10 m depth line till the beach), temporal and spatial environmental data is required for effective planning of naval operations however, there are large variations in acoustic data over short and long term. Archipelagos and straits are subject to; swift changes in currents and water masses due to restricted topography, dense shipping, fishing and human traffic which complicate planning. Most of the harbours are estuarine in nature and present a highly intricate and variable environment (tides, currents, wave amplitudes etc) warranting a holistic approach to understand the same.

Thus it can be seen that carrying out missions in littorals also involve other aspects of environment in addition to the uncertain under water acoustics which have a direct bearing on the missions. These aspects include real time and archival data bases of; meteorological surface conditions required for efficient operation of IR, Electro optical, and electromagnetic sensor and weapon systems; under water topography, accurate bathymetry, bottom composition, and detailed assessment of oceanographic water column environment for under water sensors and weapons.

The availability of overarching oceanic environmental knowledge would provide insight into enemy submarine operating/hiding areas, location of mines and underwater sea ward defences. Currently the Indian Navy does not have the capability to carry out exhaustive littoral environmental scanning let alone field any sensor or weapon system that can adapt to the dynamic littoral environment and carry out missions with conviction. In fact, even for own littoral zones this type of information is not available which would enable effective deployment of static or dynamic defences.

Effect of Environment on Propagation of Sound in Shallow Waters

A brief description of the acoustic environment in shallow waters is relevant at this stage. The main factor affecting acoustic propagation in deep oceans is the increase in pressure of water column with increasing depth as the temperature remains nearly constant. The speed of sound increases with depth and the sound waves finally hit the bottom and reflect upwards. In shallow waters the rays tend to refract, that is bend upward without going to the bottom. This phenomenon takes place when the refracted sound velocity equals the sound velocity emitted by the source. On reaching the region of the source they again refract towards the depths and this process continues.[iv] In very shallow waters the sound rays are reflected upwards from the bottom. The amount of sound energy reflected upwards depends directly on the nature of the sea bottom. Harder the sea bottom better is the reflection and vice versa.[1]In shallow waters it is clear that the sound speed depends mainly on the temperature which in turn depends upon the amount incident solar radiation, wind speeds, wave action etc.

It can therefore be inferred that the acoustic signal in shallow waters is dependent upon factors like temperature, sea surface, nature of sea bottom, waves and tides, in-homogeneities and moving water masses amongst others. These present a very complex effect on the acoustic signal by altering its amplitude, frequency, and correlation properties. Further, multipath reflections from the bottom, as well as surface put a severe constraint on signal processing. The understanding of the underwater sound propagation remains unsatisfactory to this day. The complex interplay of acoustics, oceanography, marine geophysics, and electronics has bewildered Navies searching for submarines or mines in the shallow waters. Two fundamental issues that of beam forming and lining up the sonar are discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.

 Zurk et al[v] in their paper “Robust Adaptive Processing in Littoral Regions with Environmental Uncertainty” have addressed a real time problem in underwater, i.e. the dynamic nature of the sensor, target, medium and the interfering element’s geometry. The moving sensor, target and medium causes difficulties for adaptive beam former sonars which are designed to assume a certain level of stationary conduct over a specified time period . The time period required is dependent upon the number of elements in the array and the coherent integration time. Since large arrays give much better resolution  they have a larger number of elements, leading to a moving source transiting more beams during a given observation period. If target is in motion, the target energy is distributed over many beams weakening the signal and degrading the accuracy of targets location. The arrays with larger volumes thus have larger probability of motion losses. Some techniques to reduce these errors include sub-aperture processing, time-varying pre-filtering of the data, and reduced-dimension processing.

 Naval sonar systems have become more and more complex over time and require expert operators. Optimising sonar line ups has become essential in a littoral environment where the acoustic properties change rapidly over time and space domains. With the sonar automatically determining the optimal line up based upon desired inputs from the operator and the sensor feeds of operating environment, the sonar operator would be able to give his full attention to the task of detection, identification and classification of the targets. The necessity of   autonomous environmentally adaptive sonar control is imperative in littorals because of the tremendously large number of objects which may be present below the water line and skills of the operator would be put to test to sieve out the elusive submarines.

 Warren L.J. Fox et al. “Environmental Adaptive Sonar Control in a Tactical Setting.”[vi]  Have addressed the issue of sonar line up and have recommended neural networks for generating acoustic model simulations required.  Control schemes for Sonars are of two types, namely acoustic model-based and rule-based. Model-based controllers embed an acoustic model in the real-time controller. In acoustic model based controllers, acoustic performance predictions are inputted in to the controller, based upon available estimates of the existing environment, which in turn, gives the feasible sonar line ups. The choice of line up depends upon the chosen parameters for the operation. In the rule based controller, a generic set of operating environmental conditions are defined by the sonar and acoustic experts, which are then subjected to acoustic modelling and the sonar equations to generate the best possible line up. The existing environmental conditions would have to be assessed in real time prior to selection of the best line up available as per design. This approach however may not account for the large number of varying environments that are the hallmark of different littorals, and lead to discrepancies in results. Thus it appears that acoustic model based controller may be a better choice, as it largely takes care of the prevailing conditions at sea, than the rule based one, but it requires much more computational power and time to assess the situation prior to lining up the sonars. Warren L.J. Fox et al[vii] have recommended a method of training artificial neural networks for use in a sonar controller for ships as well as unmanned under water vehicles, to emulate the input/output relations of a computationally intensive acoustic model. Artificial neural networks are much faster and utilise far lesser computational capacity.

 The Submarine Threat in Littorals

 The shallow waters pose a serious problem for under water acoustics, they remain unfriendly to current sensors like towed arrays, variable depth sonars and air dropped sonobuoys due to depth limitations, deployment of torpedoes ( both ship and air launched) and depth charges. Shallow waters with close proximity to land also pose difficulties for radars and magnetic anomaly detectors thus providing a relatively safe operating area for small diesel electric submarines. Detection of surface craft by submarines in passive sonar mode is much easier because of their higher acoustic signatures. The surface ships would perforce resort to active sonar transmission as their passive capabilities are degraded in littorals. This in turn makes them more acoustically visible.

 The littoral submarine however has a limited period of quiet operation under water of a couple of days, as it has to either surface or snorkel for recharging its batteries by running its diesel generator sets. The battery capacity drainage is directly proportional to the running speeds, faster the submarine travels quicker is the discharge and hence larger is the discretion rate, which is the charging time required. Interestingly it is this discretion rate, which allows the submarine to be vulnerable to detection. During charging, the radiated noise of diesel generators, the IR signatures and the likely visibility of the snorkel make it susceptible to observation by trained crews. The submarine therefore prefers to lie in wait, barely moving or just sitting at the bottom for the prey to arrive.

 Development of Air independent propulsion technology (AIP) has enhanced the submerged time of submarines by a great extent (from a couple of days to about two weeks). The AIP is dependent upon availability of oxygen on board. The AIP while granting more submerged time to a submarine unfortunately provides the same level of acoustic signature as a snorkelling submarine, thus making it prone to detection.[viii]

 Fuel cell technology has been successfully interfaced with AIP and Siemens 30-50 KW fuel cell units have been fitted in the German Type 212A submarines since 2009, it is said to be much quieter , provides higher speeds and greater submerged time.

 The weapons for the submarines include mines, torpedoes and the submarine launched missiles. The technology ingress in computing, signal processing, hull design and materials have benefitted the submarine, its sensors, weapons and fire control systems. These advances coupled with vagaries of the acoustics in shallow waters have made the diesel submarine a very potent and lethal platform. While many countries have AIP submarines, of interest to India is the acquisition of these submarines by Pakistan[ix] since the Indian Navy does not operate an AIP submarine. The Indian Navy today even lacks the adequate numbers of diesel electric submarines required.

 The Unmanned Submarine (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle; UUV)

 An UUV generally is a machine that uses a propulsion system to transit through the water. It can manoeuvre in three dimensions (azimuth plane and depth), and control its speed by the use of sophisticated computerised systems onboard the vehicle itself. The term Unmanned underwater vehicle includes, remotely operated vehicles, Paravane, sea gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles.

It can be pre programmed to adhere to course, speed and depths as desired by the operator, at a remote location and carry out specific tasks utilising a bank of sensors on the UUV. The data collection can be both time and space based and is referenced with respect to coordinates of the place of operation. It can operate under most environmental conditions and because of this, they are used for accurate bathymetric survey and also for sea floor mapping prior to commencing construction of subsea structures. The Navies use them for detecting enemy submarines, mines, ISR and area monitoring purposes etc.

 The UUVs carry out their routine tasks unattended, meaning there by that once deployed the operator is relatively free to attend to other tasks as the UUV reaches its designated area of operation and starts carrying out its mission, be it survey, search, or surveillance.

Compared with many other systems, UUVs are relatively straightforward, with fewer interoperable systems and component parts, facilitating reverse-engineering of any components that might be restricted in the commercial market place. All of these factors, however also increase the likelihood that even a low tech littoral adversary could easily field offensive, autonomous UUVs, this in turn leads to seeking rapid developments in UUVs by major navies.

 UUVs are on the verge of three developments which would accelerate their induction into modern navies. First is the arming of UUVs to create Unmanned Combat Undersea Vehicles (UCUVs). This is virtually accomplished with UUV designs incorporating light weight torpedoes as weapons of choice. Heavier UUVs are contemplating missile launchers and/or heavy weight torpedoes as weapons in their kitty. However these appear to be interim measures, as a new class of weapons specific to unmanned vehicles are already under advanced development. These include much smaller and lighter missiles, torpedoes and guns firing super-cavitating ammunition.

 A second potential technology development is radically extended operational ranges for these armed UUVs. Already, the developed countries have invested in programs to create long-range underwater “sea gliders” to conduct long-range Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment (IPOE) missions[x]. While the technologies enabling the “sea glider” approach probably do not provide the flexibility and propulsion power to enable armed UUVs, such programs will significantly advance the state of UUV navigation and communications technologies. Leveraging these advancements, other nascent technologies such as Air-independent-propulsion (AIP) or Fuel Cell propulsion or perhaps Aluminium/Vortex Combustors, could provide the propulsion power necessary to effectively deploy armed UUVs even well outside of the operating area limitations of conventionally powered submarines.

 Finally, “autonomy” for these armed, long range UUVs will allow them the flexibility to conduct operations far away from the home port. Artificial intelligence (AI) based autonomous control systems are being developed at a frenetic pace, fuelled principally by demand for improved UAVs. Such developments will directly contribute to UUV autonomy, but in fact, are not actually necessary for the majority of “sea denial” missions envisioned for UCUVs. Even with current state of missile seeker technology, UCUVs would only need enough autonomy to navigate to a known area of operations (a port, choke point, or coastal location) and launch, and the missile would do the rest. For more complex missions, weapons could be guided by an on-site observer, for instance on a trawler or even ashore, in real-time or near-real-time. In short, there are a remarkably small number of “hard” technology barriers standing in the way of the long range, autonomous, armed and capable UUVs. There is little reason to think that this capability will be limited to high end, navies only. Thus networked operations of unmanned vehicles with PGMs are going to become the lethal weapon combo for the future.

 A request for information has been floated by the Indian Navy to meet its requirement for at least 10 autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). These AUVs are to be developed and productionised within four years of contract finalisation. The Navy has opted for a special category MAKE for the armed forces under the Indian Defence Procurement Procedure for high technology complex systems designed, developed and produced indigenously .Modular payload capability of the AUVs have been asked for, where in  payloads like underwater cameras for surveillance reconnaissance and high definition sonars can be mounted.

  UUVs in various configurations and roles such as communication and navigation nodes, environmental sensors in real time or lie in wait weapon carriers are going to be the choice platform in the littorals. These are expendable if required, economically viable, and offer flexibility in design as being unmanned they can have much lesser degree of safeties.

 Weapons

 “The Navy’s defensive MCM capabilities in deep water are considered fair today, but they are still very poor in very shallow water (VSW) – not much better in fact than they were some 50 years ago.” [xi]

Milan Vego.

 The naval mine is a relatively cheap, easy to employ, highly effective weapon that affords weaker navies the ability to oppose larger, more technologically advanced adversaries. The mere existence of mines poses enough psychological threat to practically stop maritime operations, and thus deny access to a desired area at sea. Further they can be used as barricades to deter amphibious forces and cause delays in any naval operation in the littoral. Thus, a mine doesn’t have to actually explode to achieve its mission of access denial. North Koreans were able to deter and delay arrival of U.S Marines sufficiently to escape safely, by mining Wonsan Harbour in October of 1950 with about 3000 mines.

 Mines are classified based upon their depth of operation, methods of deployment or the way they are actuated. The versatility of deployment can be gauged by the fact that mines can be laid by majority of surface craft, submarines, crafts of opportunity and aircrafts/ helicopters. Mines have been used by countries and non state actors alike with dangerous effects and thus continue to pose a credible threat to Navies as well as merchant marine.

   Types of mines are based upon the depth at which they are deployed. As per the  21ST Century U.S. Navy Mine Warfare document[xii] the underwater battle space has been divided into five depth zones of, Deep Water (deeper than 300 feet), Shallow Water (40-300 feet), Very Shallow Water (10-40 feet), the Surf Zone (from the beach to 10 feet) and the Craft Landing Zone (the actual beach). Mines are of three basic types namely, floating or drifting mines, moored or buoyant mines and bottom or ground mines.

  Drifting mines float on surface and are difficult to detect and identify because of factors like visibility, sea state and marine growth etc. Moored mines are tethered mines using anchoring cables to adjust their depths. These can be contact or influenced based mines. Bottom mines are most difficult to locate as they can also get buried under sediment layer which cannot be penetrated by normal sonars.

Mines can be actuated by contact, influence, and by remote or a combination thereof. With modular Target Detection Device (TDD) upgrade kits, the older contact mines can be easily upgraded to actuate by influence methods. The influence needed for actuation could be pressure, acoustic or magnetic or a desired combination. In addition ship counters and anti mine counter systems are also being incorporated in to the mines to make them much more potent and lethal.

Mine technology has kept a step ahead of the ships designs for low acoustic and magnetic signatures, and many countries are engaged in development and production of naval mines. Non metallic casings, anechoic coatings, modern electronics and finally reasonable costs have made mines a choice weapon for poor and rich nations alike. It is estimated that about 20 countries export mines while about 30 produce them. Sweden Russia, China and Italy are the leading exporters. Mine MN 103 Manta from SEI SpA of Italy is one of the most exported mines in the world with about 5,000 Mantas in inventories throughout the world.

 It is estimated that China has in its inventory about a hundred thousand mines of various vintages and from the WWI simple moored contact mines to modern rocket-propelled mines with advanced electronic systems for detection and signal processing. [xiii]

 The submarine torpedoes are an embodiment of a synergetic mix of engineering disciplines ranging from mechanics, hydraulics, electronics, acoustics, explosive chemistry etc. to sophisticated software and computing. Their development has therefore involved differences in propulsion designs from steam engines to electrical motors to thermal engines and rocket motors. The control and guidance systems have also evolved from simplistic mechanical/ hydraulic to sophisticated electronic and onboard computer based systems. The guidance has further diversified in to self guided and wire guided varieties. The simple straight runners have given way to active passive homers and wake homers to attack moving targets. The warheads have moved from minol based to TNT/RDX/Al and now on to insensitive explosives with a life of over 40 years. The warheads over the years have been fitted with simple contact exploders, to acoustic influence and magnetic influence proximity fuses. The diameter of the torpedoes has ranged from 324mm to 483mm to 650mm, and before settling for internationally acceptable 533mm. Interestingly with the advent of microelectronics space has never been a constraint for the torpedo and electronic/ software updates always get comfortably accommodated in the torpedo.

A major technical feature that sets apart a torpedo from a missile is the fact that a practice torpedo is recoverable for reuse; this enables excellent weapon capability assessment, crew training as well as analysis of vital firing geometry. Some of the noteworthy heavy weight torpedoes are the American Mk 48 Adcap, the Italian Blackshark, the German DM2A4 and the Russian 53-65 K oxygen torpedo.

The torpedo has been evolving with leaps in technology but some characteristics towards which the heavy weight torpedoes are headed include; faster speeds (~over 60 Kts), Quieter signature, better reliability in detection, enhanced ranges of operation (>100 Kms),smarter electronics, and increased lethality.

The cruise missile owes it origins to the German V1/V2 rockets and mainly to the fact that manned aircraft missions had proved to be very expensive during the wars (loss of trained fighter pilots as well as expensive aircraft). Unfortunately the cruise missile development until the 1970s resulted only in unreliable and inaccurate outcomes which were not acceptable to the armed forces. Cruise missiles overcame their inherent technical difficulties and owe their tremendous success and popularity to some of the technological advances in the fields of; firstly, propulsion, namely small turbofan jet engines which resulted in smaller and lighter airframes; secondly miniaturisation of electronic components, which led to much smaller on board computers thus to much better guidance and control abilities and finally,  high density fuels and much better explosives and smaller warheads.

  Cruise missiles have become weapons of choice at sea because of their ability to fly close to the sea surface at very high speeds (sub-sonic/supersonic), formidable wave point programming and lethal explosive capabilities. These make the missiles very difficult to detect and counter at sea. Some of the naval cruise missiles worth mentioning are the Brahmos, the Tomahawk, the Club and the Exocet family.

It appears that the trend towards hypersonic scramjet cruise missiles will continue to gather momentum and such missiles could be in the naval inventories by 2020. Coupled with hypersonic missiles would be real time target data updating and guidance by extremely fast computers and satellite based systems. The kinetic energy of hypersonic cruise missiles would be a lethality multiplier against targets at sea and therefore such a missile would be a formidable weapon without a credible countermeasure as on date. The costs continue to increase with new developments; however maintenance requirements appear to be reducing with canisterised missiles.

As Far as weapons are concerned the Indian Navy has a fairly reliable capability in mines, torpedoes and cruise missiles, however the numbers appear deficient for the defensive role in own littorals.

The submarines today can launch such missiles from their torpedo tubes or from vertical launchers which can also be retrofitted. In fact the submarines can launch torpedoes, missiles, UUVs and also lay mines comfortably. Thus making them, the toughest of platforms to counter.

Conclusion

“The marriage of air independent, nonnuclear submarines with over-the-horizon, fire and forget antiship cruise missiles and high endurance, wake homing torpedoes . . . [means that] traditional ASW approaches, employing radar flooding and speed, are not likely to be successful against this threat.”[xiv]

                                                                                    Rear Admiral Malcolm Fages

 The dimensions of submarine threat in the littorals, discussed briefly above encompass the underwater acoustic environment, the developments in submarine technology, the underwater unmanned vehicle, and the weapons. The discussion has brought out the potent danger an undetected submarine in littorals presents to the aggressor.

The Navy today faces a deficiency in an all inclusive understanding of the undersea environment in the coastal areas due to which it is difficult to counter the diesel electric submarine threat in the littorals. This deficit would not allow correct positioning and deployment of sensors for timely detection of the underwater peril. Research and development is also needed in the quality of sensors such that they are embedded with real time environmental information and can calibrate themselves accordingly for best results. As far as other environmental sensors are concerned, like those dependent on zoo plankton behaviour or bioluminescence fundamental research needs to be initiated with naval needs in focus. The acquisition of submarines and UUVs should be fast tracked if Indian Navy wants to be a credible littoral force.

 


[1] The speed of sound is given by the equation (available in text books):-C(T,P,S)=1449.2+4.6 T+0.055 T2+1.39 (S−35)+0.016 D(1)

Where: C is in m/sec, T in ° Celsius, D in metres and embodies density and static pressure effects. S in parts per thousand.

The speed of sound is dependent upon temperature and depth because the S, the salinity is nearly constant at 35 ppt for sea water.

————–

 [i] G D Bakshi China – Dong Feng 21-D: A Game Changer?

http://www.globaldefence.net/portals/aviation/21579-china-dong-feng-21-d-a-game-changer.html?showall=1    ( Accessed 20 Oct 12)

[ii] VISION | PRESENCE | POWER 2004, A Program Guide to the U.S. Navy, Chapter 1 http://www.navy.mil/navydata/policy/vision/vis04/vpp04-ch1.pdf ( Accessed 17 Oct 12)

[iii] US Navy DOD document, Concept for future naval Countermeasures inlittoral power projection 1998. http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/docs/mcm.htm ( Accessed 23 Oct 12)

[iv] Robert J. Urick, Principles of Underwater Sound 3rd Edition Peninsula Pub (August 1, 1996)

[v] Lisa M. Zurk, Nigel Lee and Brian Tracey, “Robust Adaptive Processing in Littoral Regions with Environmental Uncertainty” in Impact of Littoral Environmental Variability of Acoustic Predictions and Sonar Performance, ed. Nicholas Pace and Finn Jensen [Bruxelles, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishing, 2002], 515.  http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~zurkl/publications/saclant_2002.pdf ( Accessed 30 Oct 12)

 [vi]  Warren L.J. Fox et al. “Environmental Adaptive Sonar Control in a Tactical Setting.” in Impact of Littoral Environmental Variability of Acoustic Predictions and  Sonar Performance, ed. Nicholas Pace and Finn Jensen [Bruxelles, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishing, 2002], 595

 [vii] Ibid.

 [viii] Benedict, Richard R. “The Unravelling and Revitalization of U.S. Navy Antisubmarine Warfare.” Naval War College Review 58, no.2, (Spring 2005), http://www.jhuapl.edu/ourwork/nsa/papers/art4-sp05.pdf ( Accessed 27 Oct 12)

  [ix]  Rajat Pandit, Pak adding submarine muscle as India dithers, The Times of India Apr 11, 2011.

 [x] K. L. Mahoney and N. D. Allen Glider Observations of Optical Backscatter in Different Jerlov Water Types: Implications to US Naval Operations, Research paper, 2009. Naval Oceanographic Office, Stennis Space Center, MS 39522 USA

 [xi] Milan Vego. “Future MCM Systems: Organic of Dedicated, Manned or Unmanned,” Naval Forces 26, no.4,(2005).

[xii]  21ST Century U.S. Navy Mine Warfare, http://www.navy.mil/n85/miw_primer-june2009.pdf

[xiii]  Scott C. Truver. TAKING MINES SERIOUSLY Mine Warfare in China’s Near Seas, Naval War College Review, Spring 2012, Vol. 65, No. 2

 [xiv] Malcolm I. Fages, Rear Adm., USN; remarks at Naval Submarine League Symposium, June 2000, as published in Submarine Review (October 2000), p. 34.

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52.India’s Bridges of Friendship in the Indian Ocean Region

(Published in World news report and Tazakhabarnews, 21 May 2015)

Two incidents in the recent past reflect the benevolent relationships India shares with countries in the Indian Ocean Region. First was supply of fresh water to Maldives through INS Deepak and INS Sukanya when the Maldivian desalination plant caught fire and the Maldives faced an unprecedented fresh water crisis. The second was evacuation of Indian and foreign citizens form Yemen involving Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Air India, and passenger liners.

India has placed considerable emphasis on developing a security presence in the northeast Indian Ocean. There are several dimensions to this: first, India’s direct security presence in the Andaman Sea, second, its bilateral security relationships in the region and third, its aspirations to gain a security role in the Malacca Strait. While India aspires to play a significant security role in Southeast Asia it has given particular focus to the Malacca Strait, the key maritime choke point between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. India’s Andaman  and Nicobar islands, which run north-south through the Andaman Sea form a natural base for projecting power into the Strait and beyond into the South China Sea.

India has deep links with Singapore, which now acts as India’s primary economic, political and security partner in Southeast Asia. Singapore sees India as having an important security role in the region, acting as a balance to other extra-regional powers, including China, the United States, and Japan. India and Singapore conduct extensive security cooperation, including broad-based security dialogues, joint exercises, intelligence sharing, and cooperation in defense technology. At the invitation of the United States, India took a security role inside the Malacca Strait through the provision of naval escorts for high value commercial traffic, as part of the U.S. led Operation Enduring Freedom.

India has also been developing its security relationship with Indonesia; a Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2001. There are biannual “coordinated” naval patrols; between the Indian and Indonesian navies in the Six-Degree Channel at the northern entrance to the Malacca Strait; to keep extremist groups from using these routes. These patrols comprise Indian and Indonesian vessels and aircraft, coordinated out of India’s Joint Operations Command in the Andaman Islands.

In November 2009, Australia and India concluded a joint security declaration, providing a framework for increased cooperation, security issues such as maritime policing (piracy and maritime terrorism, illegal fishing, people trafficking etc), disaster management, and anti-terrorism and there seem good prospects for closer security relations in coming years.

India-Malaysia defense relations have steadily grown over the years. A MOU on Defence Cooperation was signed in 1993. Malaysia-Indian Defence Cooperation meetings at the level of Defence Secretary from Indian side and Secretary General from Malaysian side are held regularly; Malaysia participates in the biennial MILAN event regularly. Indian navy and coast guard vessels make regular friendly port calls each year at Malaysian ports.

Thailand, and India have agreed to continue strengthening defence relations including exercises and joint patrolling.

Vietnam has also welcomed Indian Navy ships in their region, which would enhance India and Vietnam military relations. Vietnam has also sought Indian support for a peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

India and Japan also have close military ties. They have shared interests in maintaining the security of sea-lanes in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and in co-operation for fighting international crime, terrorism, piracy, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The two nations have frequently held joint military exercises and co-operate on technology. India and Japan concluded a security pact on 22 October 2008.

In June 2012, India, a major importer of arms and military hardware purchased eight warships from South Korea.

The first Republic of the Philippines–India Security Dialogue was held in Manila on 12 March 2004. The Philippines and India agreed to establish a security dialogue that would serve as a policy forum for sharing security assessments and for reviewing and giving direction to co-operation in bilateral/regional security and defence matters.

In August 2009, a security agreement was formalised with Maldives that will significantly enhance India’s capabilities in the central Indian Ocean. India has been granted use of the former British naval and air base on Gan Island, part of the southernmost group of islands in the Maldives. (Lying around 1,000 km south of India and around 700 km north of Diego Garcia). As part of the agreement, India is also building a system of 26 electronic monitoring facilities across the Maldives archipelago.

India has cordial relations with Iran due to India being a major importer of Iranian oil and the fact that  it is now actively engaged in developing container terminals at Chahbahar port. Since 2003, India has entered into several defence agreements with Oman dealing with training, maritime security cooperation and joint exercises. The Indian Air Force uses the Thumrait air base for transit purposes and Oman has offered the Indian Navy berthing facilities in support of anti-piracy patrols. In 2008 India also entered into a security agreement with Qatar which, according to some reports, includes Indian security guarantees. The agreement, deals among other things with maritime security and intelligence sharing. India has a cordial relationship with Yemen since diplomatic ties were established in 1967.

The south western Indian Ocean forms the gateway between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. India’s security relationships in the region are anchored by its close relationship with Mauritius, the island territory that lies around 900km to the east of Madagascar. India has long-standing and close political, economic and security associations with Mauritius. Since 2003, the Indian Navy has also provided maritime security through periodic patrols of Mauritian waters including anti-piracy patrols in 2010.

The Indian Navy has assisted Seychelles with maritime security in the EEZ under a 2003 defence cooperation agreement under which it provided anti-piracy patrols in early 2010. In July 2007 the Indian Navy opened an electronic monitoring facility in northern Madagascar at the head of the Mozambique Channel and reportedly has also been granted “limited” berthing rights in Madagascar for Indian naval vessels. The Indian Navy has also acted as a maritime security provider for Mozambique, in 2006, India and Mozambique entered a defence cooperation agreement that envisages joint maritime patrols, supply of military equipment, training, and technology transfer in repairing and assembling military vehicles, aircraft and ships.

India’s maritime security relationships in the southwestern Indian Ocean are also buttressed by growing maritime security relations with France and South Africa. Since 2001, the Indian Navy has conducted annual exercises with the French navy, which operates out of Reunion and Djibouti. India also has a growing presence in Antarctica, with three active research stations.

From the above it can be visualized that India has built a reasonable number of bridges of friendship in the Indian Ocean Region which have helped in enhancing its image as a benign friend in need.

51. French Influence in the Indian Ocean Region – A Perspective

(Published in IndraStra Global – Strategic Information & Intelligence Forecasting, 20 May 2015)

France has continued to cultivate and nurture its influence in the Indian Ocean Region through its geographical presence, naval ties and interdependencies developed through military equipment sales.

France has its out posts at Mayotte & La Reunion and military bases in Djibouti and Abu Dhabi. The Mayotte archipelago consists of two major islands and a number of small islets between NE Mozambique and NW Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel. Though geographically it is a part of the Comoro Islands, its people preferred accession to France in 2009. The Foreign Legion detachment in Mayotte has strength of 270 personal and can act as a rapid reaction force. This contingent exercises mainly with Madagascar armed forces, adds to security and maritime surveillance of the Mozambique Channel and can be used for humanitarian assistance tasks in the area. Mayotte has an EEZ of 63,078 sq kms. Reunion (La Reunion) is an island ~120 kms SW of Mauritius and East of Madagascar. Reunion provides a convenient access to sea lines of communications (SLOCS) in eastern and southern coast of Africa. France maintains a small naval presence at Reunion islands through its naval base at Point des Galets, which has a frigate, a support ship and some patrol craft. Reunion has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 31, 5058 sq kms.

Republic of Djibouti is strategically located in the horn of Africa, with Gulf of Aden and Red Sea as its eastern borders. It shares its borders with Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Djibouti’s location offers a controlling position over the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Its Camp Lemonnier military base (ex France) has been leased to USA and is being upgraded by an investment of $1.4 billion to house over 1000 US Special Forces. France, under a defence treaty, pays €30 million/year for keeping up to 3000 troops under the Forces Françaises de Djibouti. France has also stationed marine, air force and army units at Djibouti with fighter aircrafts at Ambouli airport. Djibouti provides a military access to SLOCS between Red Sea and Indian Ocean, which carry the bulk of French energy supplies. Interestingly, since 2012, China too has got a foothold in Djibouti, as its China Harbour Engineering Company is executing a $64 million project of constructing an ore terminal for export of salt to SE Asia.

In 2009, France signed an agreement with Emirates to operate a military base at Abu Dhabi. The naval base is at port Mina Zayed and can berth French naval ships except aircraft carriers. The air force base is at Al Dhafra which can house fighter aircraft. The Army base (Urban Combat Training and intelligence) is at Zayed and the famous 13th Démi-Brigade de la Légion Étrangère has been relocated to this base from Djibouti, without diluting the French military presence at Djibouti. Abu Dhabi is located near the junction of Straits of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. This base provides France access to the SLOCS in Persian Gulf and ensures safety of its oil supplies.

In 2011 France has signed an agreement with Kenya for cooperation in the fields of international security, economic partnership, and scientific collaboration amongst others. France has also gifted a patrol boat for helping Kenya in its fight against sea piracy. France has nurtured its relationship with South Africa with which it holds regular military exercises. Both countries are looking for greater cooperation in ensuring maritime security in association with other countries. France, Mozambique and South Africa carried out ‘Operation Oxide’ an anti-piracy naval exercise in 2011.

In addition to the above, the French presence also comprises of its Territory of the French Southern and Antarctica Lands , which have Scattered Islands (around Madagascar),Crozet Islands (South of Madagascar), and the St. Paul, Amsterdam and the Kerguelen Islands in southern Indian Ocean. Further, south, it has its claims in the Antarctica.  The Combined EEZ of all the French territories in the Indian Ocean amounts to nearly 1 million sq kms! The claimed EEZ in the Antarctica region is about 1.7 million sq kms.

Thus it can be seen that France has a significant strategic presence from Emirates in the Persian Gulf, Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden, off Madagascar and down to the Kerguelen islands in the Southern Indian Ocean Region. Further, it has ensured that its national interests in its energy supply lines and the extensive EEZ are carefully monitored and guarded.

The French sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean region has been shaped by a combination of its own energy and EEZ security requirements as well as by forging long-term relationships with countries through supply of military equipment. Its major competitor today is the United States, with which it has friendly relations. However, with China ramping up its own influence in the region by providing lucrative arms deals, affordable infrastructure and a rapidly growing PLA Navy, France would face a serious contender since it is unlikely that it would be able to match the attractive financial packages offered China in the IOR.

30.Autonomous Undersea Vehicles Surfacing

(Published in SP’s Naval Forces Oct- Nov 13)

Autonomous Undersea Vehicles Surfacing

“It’s [NSCT-1 UUV Platoon] done a wonderful job for us over there in the Umm Qasr vicinity and we are looking forward to the end of the conflict to be able to tell the full story of the first operational deployment of UUVs.”

                                                RADM Paul Ryan, CMWC, Inside the Navy, 31 Mar 2003

Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUV) were used in Operation Iraqi Freedom by ‘Naval Special Clearance Team (NSCT) One’, for mine hunting. They carried out operations in port of Umm Qsar. Additional UUV operations were done up river at Karbala and Az Zubayr, Iraq. NSCT One initially checked the bottom for mines then the divers carried out searches of the quay wall and the surrounding areas to locate mined zones. The use of UUVs in operation Iraqi Freedom also proved their utility in hostile war like conditions and in generating valuable oceanographic and environmental data for military as well as commercial use.

The term Unmanned Undersea Vehicles encompasses the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), the Paravane, the sea glider, the Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (AUV) and various hybrids. AUVs are free-swimming autonomous underwater vehicles characterised by modularity, reliability and possibility for custom design. This article would by and large highlight the usage of AUVs.

AUV Sub-Systems

 
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A perspective into components of an AUV would bring out the technological complexities involved in the design and the competence required in their manufacture. An AUV consists of subsystems like, Pressure and Hydrodynamic Hull, Ballast System, Masts, Power and Energy System, Propulsion System, Obstacle-Avoidance System, Manoeuvring System, Communications System, sensors, Navigation system, Host Interfaces and Combat Payload.

 

Pressure and Hydrodynamic Hull.                       UUV structure gives vehicles their rigidity and provides strong points for control surfaces, thrusters, batteries, and other UUV components while permitting internal components to be accessed. Pressure hull enables UUV to withstand sea pressure as it descends into the ocean. The pressure to which an UUV is subjected increases linearly with depth. At 6,000 m sea pressure is ~ 4.4 tons psi, whereas, at 300 m sea pressure is ~441 psi. For relatively shallow operation, therefore the hulls of AUVs can be fabricated from lighter materials such as aluminium.

 

Hydrodynamic hull design reduces drag as UUV moves through the ocean. Minimising drag to maximise speed and endurance is one of the design objectives along with controlling flow over the UUV body for efficient propulsion. Stability and manoeuvrability at low speeds are difficult. Sensor operation stabilisation at higher speeds is problematic. Stability in AUV design scores over speed and endurance.

 

Ballast System.         Neutral or near-neutral buoyancy, once AUV is submerged, is achieved through Ballasting. Lead or foam fixed buoyancy systems are used which can be adjusted depending upon the changes in role/payload of the AUV. Variable ballast system is used for diving or surfacing the AUV and Drop Ballast system is used for surfacing the AUV in case of any emergency.

 
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Power and Energy System.           The power requirements of an AUV until recently, were being met with by the use of silver zinc batteries, however due to their higher costs and limited shelf & cycle lives, they are being replaced with lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries. Solar powered AUVs, which surface during the day for recharging have also been developed. Bus system is used for uniform power distribution.

 

Propulsion System.             Brushless DC motors with propellers are favoured for AUVs of the torpedo type, since they are better than the motors with brushes in factors of reliability, efficiency and power density.

 

Obstacle-Avoidance System.         Obstacle avoidance is carried out by use of single or multiple acoustic beam systems to detect and avoid obstacles. Avoidance manoeuvres are pre- programmed in the AUV. However these need much more fine tuning as they continue to be an area of concern.

 

Manoeuvring System.         Control surfaces, Vectored propulsors or thrusters are generally used for AUV manoeuvres. For hovering, lateral or vertical movement multi thrusters are utilised.

 

Communications System.  Communication is essential for an AUV while submerged or surfaced. Acoustic systems are usually used underwater. Emergency beacons, locating mechanisms in emergency or on completion of mission are also built in an AUV.

 

Masts.             This is a complicated design feature as it impacts the launch and recovery of an AUV. The masts are used for mounting sensors, communication and navigation antennas.

 

Sensors.        Sensors can be put into following groups: conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) sensors, acoustic sensors; electromagnetic sensors; magnetic sensors; optical sensors; and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBNRE) sensors.

 

Navigation.    GPS can only be used by AUVs when they are near the surface, for underwater navigation they use Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Doppler Velocity Log navigation systems. Gyroscopes for orientation, accelerometers for velocity changes and propeller turn rates for speed measurements form the main components of the INS. The Doppler shift provided by the down-track and cross-track sonar returns which give accurate speed and course.

 

Host Interface.          Host interfaces form one of the most important aspects of AUV design. These include both the software and the hardware interfaces with which the AUV communicates with its controlling vessel. Launch& recovery, signal, control and power are some of the interfaces required.

 

Combat Payload.     This may include specially designed torpedoes, missiles or mines.

 

AUVs in the US Navy

 

In the US Navy the Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) program was launched with the aim of shaping, controlling and enhancing intelligence about the undersea battle space. The nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) were to be aided by UUVs in gaining access to denied areas (for e.g. mined, shallow littorals, obstacle infested etc.) through the use of UUV sensors and weapons which would surreptitiously gather information and clear hindrances. The UUVs were to enhance the SSN missions of undersea environmental sensing & mapping, mine warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance. UUVs were perceived to play a significant role in maintaining undersea dominance of US submarines.
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Mine warfare support was the initial requirement to provide SSNs with UUVs. The Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) with the submarines includes two UUVs linked to the submarine by fibre-optic cable, and is deployed through the submarine’s torpedo tubes. It provides a preliminary, limited mine-detection and classification capability. The Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS), launched from the submarine’s torpedo tubes, is an AUV that uses acoustic and radio-frequency links rather than a fibre optic link. SSN’s mine hunting capabilities were expected to be greatly enhanced by the LMRS. The LMRS is a complex AUV that operates secretly from a nuclear submarine and utilises submarine’s torpedo tubes for launch and recovery.  The LMRS is a self-propelled 21-inch diameter AUV AN/BLQ-11 fitted with search and classification sonars for locating mine-like objects as much as 200 kms ahead of the submarine. LMRS has both forward-looking sonar and side-scan synthetic aperture sonar. It has been developed by Boeing Defence space and Security (BDS), and was successfully proved on USS Scranton (SSN-756).

The Navy’s 21″ Mission Reconfigurable Unmanned Undersea Vehicle System (MRUUVS), which is launched and recovered from submarine torpedo tubes, is being developed to independently gather required information. Each MRUUVS includes a vehicle, equipment for, mine countermeasures, combat & control interfaces, and intelligence surveillance, & reconnaissance missions (ISR). The Littoral Precision Undersea Mapping Array (LPUMA) was developed as a part of this project for identification and avoidance of obstacles. Mine identification capability was demonstrated in an improved model of LPUMA which was deployed on a 21″ vehicle.

Other programs worth mentioning are; Remote Environmental Measuring Units (Remus) which is a small AUV, that can be launched by hand from a boat/shore to survey a desired under water area; Battlespace Preparation Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (BPAUV) which is  a much bigger AUV and used for a much larger area; The Littoral Battlespace Sensing–Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program (LBS-UUV) which  provides a low-observable, continuous capa­bility to enable predictions in case of performance of optical weapon and sensors by typifying  properties of the ocean that have influence on the propagation of light and sound. Under this project, electrically pow­ered AUVs (LBS-AUV) and buoyancy-driven undersea gliders (LBS-G) would be developed. These would enable planning and execution of anti mine, anti-submarine, and expeditionary warfare. They will also enable intel­ligence preparation of the environment (IPOE). LBS-AUV has reached full-rate production stage in June 2012, two engineering design models have been delivered to the Naval Oceanographic office; by FY 2017 a total of eight vehicles will be delivered. It has been developed by Teledyne and Hydroid.

Two major programmes in developmental stage as articulated by the US Navy are; The Large-Displacement UUV (LDUUV) which will provide long en­durance, persistent, multi-mission unmanned undersea vehicle capability for the Navy and will contribute to the joint Air-Sea Battle across all phases of operations. LDUUV initial operational capability is expected in FY 2021; The Persistent Littoral Undersea Surveillance (PLUS) System is a cluster of networked AUVs and gliders providing an effective, persistent, adaptive and passive acoustic undersea surveillance capability. PLUS monitors shal­low-water environments from fixed positions on the ocean floor or moves through the water to scan large areas for extended pe­riods of time.

Some leading companies in the field of AUV manufacture are (the details provided have been culled from the website of the companies):-

Bluefin Robotics.     In 1997, Bluefin was founded by a core group of engineers from the MIT AUV Laboratory, now it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Battelle Memorial Institute. It develops, builds, and operates Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and related technologies for defence, commercial, and scientific use. Bluefin has designed over 50 different configurations of modular, free-flooded AUV platforms, and over 70 different sensors. Bluefin provides full AUV lifecycle support encompassing; research and development, technology integration, manufacturing, platform training, and operations support. Its products include Bluefin 9, Bluefin 12S, Bluefin 21, Spray Glider etc. The Bluefin-9 is a lightweight, two-man-portable AUV with a mission turnaround time of less than 15 minutes. Equipped with a side scan sonar and camera, the Bluefin-9 provides the performance of much larger AUVs in a convenient and rapidly deployable package. The Bluefin-21 is a highly modular AUV able to carry multiple sensors and payloads at once. It claims a high energy capacity that enables extended operations even at the greatest depths. The Bluefin-21 has huge capability but is also flexible enough to operate from various ships of opportunity worldwide. The Bluefin Spray Glider is a deep-diving, buoyancy-driven AUV. The Spray Glider collects water column data profiles using a pumped, conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) sensor and other instruments. Deployments of up to 6 months can be achieved with a single set of batteries.

Kongsberg Maritime.           They design and manufacture the HUGIN, REMUS and SEAGLIDER product lines of commercial off the shelf (COTS) AUVs. These AUVs have different capabilities and different applications and roles. Its HUGIN AUVs are being used commercially and in the Navy.  Hugin has been operated in various parts of the world including tropical waters and the Arctic. Kongsberg Maritime’s Remus vehicles are used in a wide number of applications in navies, hydrography and marine research. It has delivered over 200 REMUS vehicles. The MK 18 Mod 2 Kingfish UUV is based on the REMUS 600 and has increased area coverage rate, increased endurance, and serves as a platform for advanced sensors. The Kingfish Small Synthetic Aperture Sonar Module configuration provides wider swath, higher resolution imagery, and buried target detection. It has been deployed by the US Navy in the 5th fleet area of responsibility in June 2013.

Its SEAGLIDER™ has changed the way that oceanographic data is collected. SEAGLIDER’s extremely long endurance allows collection of data at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. Naval planners, researchers, and commercial enterprises are using these vehicles in a wide variety of applications.

 Trends

UUVs have undergone over three decades of development and experimentation effort spearheaded by the US Navy. Their rapid induction in large numbers is likely to revolutionise naval operations itself. What they would provide in near future is:-

– increased intelligence and on-board decision making by use of different unmanned vehicle types AUVs, ROVs, Gliders etc.

– Much more effective mine counter measures and rapid environmental assessment by use of Synthetic Aperture Sonar.

-Induction of propulsion technology from gliders into AUVs to extend their range considerably.

-Increased connectivity, efficient recharging and reliable docking.

-the birth of a new class of smarter weapons, for use from AUVs.

 

 

29.Guns Remain in Navy’s Future Plans

(Published in SP’s Naval Forces Oct- Nov 13)

Guns Remain in Navy’s Future Plans

“The kind of fire support that the Marines need for manoeuvre ashore in the littorals is not the tactical Tomahawk, it’s the kind that comes from a gun….we don’t have it [even though] the requirements have been articulated. … We have a hard requirement for a gun. We are not going to fall off from that requirement.”

-LT Gen Emil Bedard, USMC, Deputy Commandant for Programs

 

Studies were carried out in the US to meet the requirements of the US marines, after the massive battleships of IOWA class were retired. It was concluded that; naval gunfire support had been crucial during the past operations, larger calibres provide support at much larger ranges and are essential for destroying fortified positions, and that to achieve similar effects in suppressing the enemy, a much greater number of rounds would have to be fired from smaller calibre guns like the MK 45 (5 inch). During protracted war, the large calibre gun outshines the missiles and the smaller calibre guns because of large replacement costs of the missiles, much less lethality of smaller calibre rounds as well as the large numbers of both the missiles and rounds required to be stored on board. With the advent of Precision Guidance in larger calibre rounds, collateral damage has been considerably reduced. Their penetration ability in case of hard targets is practically as good as ordnance delivered by air. The Air operations in high threat environments are hindered by availability, mission priorities, weather, as well as prohibitive costs. All these make the large calibre gun a very cost beneficial solution in Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS).

 
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The naval gun continues to be entrenched in its position as the main work horse armament on board ships of the major navies. Despite some promising developments in the recent past, the naval gun is likely to remain the mainstay at least till 2025 if not till 2040. Promising development on the laser weapon system ‘LaWS’, whose prototype is going to be positioned on board USS Ponce next year may lead to a very cost effective solution against small boats and UAVs, but it cannot replace the naval gun in all its roles. The electromagnetic rail gun, appears promising and can fire non explosives shells to large distances (>100Kms) with great accuracy at velocities up to 7.5 Mach, but it is some time away from the prototype stage. The missiles, despite their falling price cannot match the cost benefits afforded by the traditional naval gun. In the interim, technological strides in gun shells and fuses have demonstrated very high ranges (>100Kms) and accuracies. M/s Oto Melara is developing Vulcano and DART munitions for 127/64 gun & 76/62 Strales. The Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) for the Advance Gun System (AGS) mounted on Zumvalt Class Destroyers of the US Navy is being developed by BAE Systems.

The Oto Melara 127/64 gun has been discussed in the SP’s Naval Forces issue Apr-May 2012 and also in Dec 2012-Jan 2013, in this article it is intended to discuss the main guns carried by the US Navy.

Advanced Gun System (AGS)

The 155mm (6-inch) Advanced Gun System, manufactured by BAE Systems (Minneapolis) , is intended to fill the gaps in Naval Gun Fire Support role of the US Navy in providing a heavy volume, precise and sustained gun fire support to forces ashore. The gap has occurred due to decommissioning of the Iowa Class Battleships, which had the huge 16-inch guns, those ships could provide massive support to forces in NSFS role and they themselves could sustain hits due to their protection by heavy armour plating.
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The AGS was initially known as the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS) however the US Navy decided to go in for the conventional turret design since the VGAS would have been able to fire only guided munitions and could not have utilised the conventional unguided projectiles. The AGS would be fitted on three Zumwalt (DDG 1000) class destroyers to support their Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) missions. The AGS will incorporate the AGS Intra-Ship Rearmament System (AIRS) for loading of ammunition, and safely moving AGS pallets between the gun magazine’s pallet hoist and the flight deck. The AIRS is an all electric system with performance in sea conditions up to Sea State 3. Up to 10 rounds per minute can be fired from each gun from an automated 304 round magazine. Eight LRLAP are palleted along with their propellant charges. Thus with fully palleted LRLAP ammunition and automated magazines the Zumwalt class would provide accurate and prolonged gunfire support ashore. The AGS is being manufactured at three locations namely- Cordova, Alabama; Fridley, Minnesota; and Louisville, Kentucky – and is meeting the ship schedules. The AGS magazines and guns have already been delivered for DDG-1000 to Bath Iron Works. For the other two ships they are under various stages of delivery as per the requirements of the yard.

The LRLAP ammunition is being developed by BAE Louisville, Kentucky and Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida. The LRLAP is capable of hitting targets at a range of 137 km with the rocket booster assisted launch. It is multi piece ammunition and the shell is loaded with modular launch charges and rocket booster. This enables in carrying out Multiple Rounds, Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) attack, in which, by adjusting the launching charge and elevation, up to 6 shells can hit the target within 2 seconds, or hit different targets if selected. The shell weight is 11 kg, while the weight of the complete round is 102 kg with a length of 88 inches. The LRLAP deploys its fins after ejection from the barrel and is guided by a combination of GPS and Inertial Navigation System. Being rocket boosted, the CEP is between 20 and 50 meters. This may be improved in future by the incorporation of Semi Active Laser seeker. The Zumwalt class thus packs a massive punch through its two AGS mountings.

 

However since the AGS design is specific to the Zumwalt class, it cannot be retrofitted on any of the existing ships; BAE has therefore come up with 155 mm AGS-Lite (AGS-L). The AGS-L can fire the LRLAP round up to a range of 74 nautical miles at the rate of 6 rounds per minute for land targets and is also able to fire a high capacity ballistic 155 mm ASuW projectile (ASuWP). The AGS-L can store up to 240 LRLAP and 48 ASuWP. It is claimed that it can be tailored to suit existing ships.

 

Mk 45 Mod 4, 5”/62-Caliber Gun System Upgrade

 

The US Navy has been using the 5 inch gun virtually since WWII; this gun packs in a more powerful punch with its heavier shell burst charge than other similar systems. The new variant 5”/62–calibre comprises of a longer barrel L62 Mark 36 gun fitted on the Mark 45 mount. The gun is used in anti surface, anti-aircraft and NSFS roles. It is currently manufactured by BAE Systems Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is has been designed for firing longer range munitions whilst retaining ability to fire all types of existing ammunition. The 5”/62–calibre gun has better maintenance procedures and improved anti-air and anti-surface capability. Apart from a longer barrel, the modification includes a digital control system and an ammuni­tion recognition system. It also has redesigned gun shield, strengthened mount and a better barrel. The gun is in use on 8 cruisers of the CG47 class and 30 destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class. The range with conventional shell is ~15 miles and the rate of fire is 16-20 rounds per minute.

 
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A new projectile the Standard Guided Projectile (SGP) is being developed by BAE Systems on lines of the LRLAP for this gun. The SGP is propelled by a rocket booster and is GPS/INS guided. The unique feature of this 127mm shell is that it can be retargeted in flight through GPS updating and can thus tackle moving targets. It is likely to have a rate of fire of ~10 rounds per minute and a CEP of ~ 10 meters at full range.

 

Close in Weapon System CIWS

 

A close in weapon system is fundamentally designed as a last ditch measure to target incoming anti ship missiles/aircraft. CIWS gun systems have suffered from some drawbacks as compared to CIWS Missile systems namely; (a)The effective range of gun systems is less than 4500 meters, simulation studies have put the effective kill distance between 500 meters and 800 meters, which gives an interception time of about ½ a second against supersonic ASCMs and implies that fragments from the destroyed missile could still hit the ship causing damage to man and material above the water line; (b) There is also a probability that the missile on being hit may not deviate sufficiently from its path, further the CIWS gun systems take time to train on to other missiles which may be targeting the ship;(c) gun systems are unable to target missiles which use way point targeting.

However despite the disadvantages, CIWS gun systems have been retained as a terminal effort to tackle on coming ASCMs, in fact CIWS today employ both guns as well as missiles. Some major CIWS are; Mk 15 Phalanx (USA), Goalkeeper (Netherlands), DARDO (Italy) and the AK- 630 (Russia). The US navy has ~250 of the Raytheon’s Mk 15 Mod 21-28 Phalanx CIWS autonomous combat systems mounted on the US Naval ships. It can be used also against small craft and for ant- air warfare. The Phalanx System is designed as a standalone integrated system which encompasses search (KU band radar and electro-optic), detection, target declaration, tracking, threat elevation, engagement, fire control and kill assessment, this ensures the rapid reaction time required for CIWS. Thus it can be also be utilised by bolting to decks of ships which do not have any type of combat system. It has six major assemblies namely; radar and servo assembly, gun assembly, mount and train drive platform, barbette equipment assembly, electronics enclosure and the local and remote control panels. The search platform is horizontally stabilised and attached to a vertical gyro for sorting and correlating the targets according to range, range rate and angular position. The search antenna has standing wave antennas mounted to search platform for giving elevation coverage. The track antenna is has its own rate integrating gyros.

The heart of the Phalanx system is the versatile M61A1 20 mm Gatling gun, providing a rate of fire between 3000-4500 rounds per minute, firing specially designed high kinetic energy rounds. The gun is electronically controlled and pneumatically driven. It consists of a rotating cluster of six barrels with a breech bolt for each barrel. The round is a 20 mm MK 149 armour piercing discarding sabot which is a sub calibre, spin stabilised tungsten penetrator.

The latest modification (the Block 1B configuration) caters for defence against asymmetric threats such as UAVs, small, fast surface craft, and slow-flying aircraft. An integrated forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) system has been incorporated to enable this feature. It also has an optimized gun barrel (OGB) for closer ordnance dispersion. The OGB can also use Enhanced Lethality Cartridges (ELC) for better target penetration. The Mark 244 Mod 0 ELC (Enhanced Lethality Cartridges) has longer effective range as it uses a heavier optimized tungsten alloy penetrator. Incidentally the under trial SeaRAM Mk 15 Mod 31 CIWS is also based upon the Block 1B Phalanx with the gun system being replaced by the RIM 116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). It is designed as a companion system to target supersonic ASCMs. It utilises the exact deck dimensions of the Phalanx system and so can be mounted conveniently on ships. It has an 11 cell RAM launcher. The RAM is a Mach 2+ missile with a blast fragmentation warhead of 11.2 Kg. It has a range of 9 kms. It can be guided in three modes namely; infrared dual mode enabled (radio frequency and infrared homing), infrared only or passive radio frequency/infrared homing.

Trends

The above discussion brings out the fact that guns continue to provide a cost effective solution against targets on land, air and at sea especially with GPS/INS guided lethal, ammunition. The US Navy will continue to equip its ships with Naval Guns at least till 2025, when the Laser Weapon System may take over the targeting of small craft and UAVs. The Electromagnetic Rail Gun with its non-explosive shells may not replace long range heavy guns for some time to come. In case of the CIWS, companion systems having both the gun and the missile launcher appear to be the trend. The above may change by 2030, only if the missile costs and sizes drop drastically and the numbers stored on board can be increased substantially.

 
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28. Seabed Mineral Wealth of India and its Security

(Published in Defence and Security Alert  Dec 2013)

Seabed Mineral Wealth of India and its Security

The Indian Ocean region’s states are very rich in mineral resources; they contain ~80 % of the world’s diamond, 40% of gold, and 60% of Uranium deposits. These estimates may well be dwarfed by the exploration and discoveries in the mineral rich seabed of their extensive EEZs. India’s EEZ comprises of ~2.172 million km along and around its coastline of ~7500 km. Further India is likely to gain 1.5 million sq km of EEZ as it has placed survey details pertaining to the extent of its continental shelf before the International Sea Bed Authority (ISBA). The continental shelf area of India is approximately 3, 80,000 sq km and the shelf area of the Andaman and Nickobar islands is ~ 30,000 sq km. This implies that more than 75% of the EEZ lies beyond the depth of 200 meters. On the western coast of Maharashtra, the shelf extends to ~ 180 nautical miles, whereas on the eastern coast it is much narrower.

Major issues relating to maritime security in the Indian Ocean range from security of the energy arteries, to piracy, drug & human trafficking, illegal fishing, gunrunning, environmental issues and terrorism. However, the aim of this article is to emphasize upon the seabed mineral resources, which have been less talked about in the media, and to bring out gaps in the comprehensive security of the Indian EEZ.

Review of Offshore Mineral Exploration

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Indian agencies had carried out reconnaissance mapping of ~85.7% of offshore area within the territorial waters (TW) and >98% of the seabed within the EEZ by March 2011.The collection of offshore data is carried out by many agencies such as the Geological survey of India (GSI), Indian Navy, ONGC, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and departments of Ministry of Earth Sciences. The collection of data is carried out by the agencies for scientific, economic, and strategic purposes. The main task of GSI is seabed mapping and exploration of non-living resources in the EEZ and in international waters. GSI has till date surveyed 18,48,318 sq km out of 18,64,900 sq km in the EEZ beyond the territorial waters. It has surveyed 19,76,798 sq km (EEZ +TW) out of a total of 20.14,900 sq km (EEZ +TW).

Placer deposits. These are accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity during sedimentary processes, the survey has found two promising zones namely,  210 sq km on the west coast (Off Aleppy-Quilon, Trivendrum-Kanyakumari and Ratnagiri) and 923 sq km on the East Coast (Off Andhra and Orissa Coast).

Relict Marine Sand . Survey of various blocks off Kollam, Ponnani, Beypore, Chavakkad etc have confirmed the presence of relict sand in an area of 13750 sq km.

Lime Mud Deposits. These have been found at a depth of 180-1200 m off Gujarat coast and at depth of 100-200 m off Andhra Coast. These have also been found in the continental margin of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra and Gujarat coasts.

Phosphatic Sediments. These have been found at depths of 200-1000 m off Gujarat coast and at a depth of 100-200 m SE of Chennai. These contain 15-20% P2O5.

Phosphorite nodules. The concentration of P2O5 in nodules is between 15.6 – 18.6% and is 9.8% in phosphate rich lime mud. Oolites and Phosphate(>5%) in lime deposits have been found off Vengurla. The nodules along with lime mud have been found at depths of 300-550 m off Gujarat coast. Phosphorite in nodules has been found off Nagapattinam at depths of 45-412 m.

Manganese Nodules. Ferro manganese encrustations have been located off Batti Malva in the Andaman Sea. Micro-manganese nodules have been found west of Lakshadweep at depths of 2800-4300 m. The polymetallic nodules and polymetallic massive sulphides (PMS) are of great interest to nations. The PMS are found in localized sites along hot springs in underwater volcanic ranges and contain copper, gold, silver, iron, and zinc. The polymetallic nodules, covering vast areas are found at 4 – 5 km of depth and contain cobalt, nickel, manganese, and iron.

India had received rights to explore these nodules in 1987. It has established two mine sites after exploring an area of ~4 million sq miles. China too has been active in this region and its company China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) has been allowed by the International Seabed Authority to undertake PMS exploration in an area of 10,000 sq km in South- West Indian Ocean.

Rights of a Coastal State w.r.t. EEZ

Within its EEZ, a coastal state has sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing natural living and non-living resources of the waters superjacent to the seabed and its sub soil. Further, it can exploit and explore production of energy from water, winds, and currents. The EEZ remains an open zone with freedom of innocent passage for all. The EEZ legal regime is  different from that governing territorial waters and high seas, and contains certain characteristics of both.

However, in a recent judgment regarding the Enrica Lexie (Italian marines) case, the Supreme Court of India has declared the region between the contiguous zone and the 200 nautical miles in to the sea as ‘High Seas’. The Supreme court has said that Article 97 of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is not applicable as shooting was a criminal action and not a navigation accident.

China has been maintaining its right to regulate foreign military activities in its EEZ, as it feels that it has the right to prevent any activity that threatens its economic interests or security. It also asserts that its domestic laws have jurisdiction in its EEZ. The Chinese law requires foreign entities to obtain prior approval to carryout resource exploitation, fishing, and marine research. As far as military activities are concerned, it holds them as prejudicial to ‘peaceful purposes’ provision of the Laws of the Seas Convention. This interpretation has led to a number of minor standoffs between it and the United States of America.

India is also one of the countries, which mandate prior permission before any maintenance, or repairs are carried out to the submarine cables running on the floor of its EEZ.

With respect to military activities by foreign militaries in the EEZ, India along with Bangladesh, Brazil, Cape Verde, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Uruguay require obtaining of prior permission. North Korea has prohibited any such activity within 50 nm of its territory and Iran has completely prohibited the same.

As far as oceanographic surveying is considered, again some countries require prior permission, in fact, China registered protests against  the activities of USNS Bowditch and India against HMS Scott and USNS Bowditch, which were gathering military data by undertaking oceanographic survey. Coupling the above with increased proliferation of submarines in the region, the instances of clandestine underwater and ASW surveys would only increase. There are bound to be incidents involving intruder submarines in future and states would therefore be monitoring activities in their EEZs diligently.

EEZ Security Components

Two essential components of effective EEZ security management comprise of surveillance and deterrence. Some of the drawbacks of EEZ surveillance systems in use today include; inability of patrol boats to carry out surveillance, since their missions are area denial, SAR or interdiction; UAV’s have much better sensor packages but need a large infrastructure for 24/7 surveillance ; HF radars are affordable but need very large areas for installation; Microwave radars suffer from limited horizon; and  patrol aircraft incur huge costs. Since radars have difficulty in automatically  identifying unknown and devious small vessels and the electro optic systems are heavily weather dependent, there is requirement for add on sensors to carry out effective monitoring of EEZ. In fact, a complete EEZ surveillance system should be able to cater to all the facets of EEZ activity be it , terrorism, drug and human trafficking, piracy, smuggling, coastal security, Search and rescue, sea traffic control, pollution control, illegal fishing, illegal arms supply and exploitation of natural resources of solar, air, wave, minerals, oil and gas. For such an extensive requirement  a cooperative, synergetic and system of systems approach between various agencies involved would be paramount.

The surveillance platforms would include the following:-

-Unmanned undersea vehicles, sonar arrays, patrol submarines, and other under water sensors.

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-Remotely operated vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, offshore platforms, sensors for activity monitoring, and patrol boats.

-Vessel traffic management system (VTMS), communication networks, control centers, pollution monitoring centers, surface and navigation radars, and electro-optic systems.

-Unmanned Ariel Vehicles, patrol aircraft, helicopters, aerostats, and sensors.

-Observation and communication satellites.

Coming to the deterrence capability in the EEZ, it has to be a non-military option during peacetime, which brings the discussion to deployment of Non Lethal Weapons (NLW) and the need to develop them for the EEZ environment. Conflicts in the EEZ are definitely going to be unconventional and it would be difficult to distinguish the adversary from the neutrals or friendly vessels. This may lead to conflicts where use of lethal weapons may not be permissible. Non-lethal weapons would provide tactical as well as strategic benefits to the EEZ protection force in the global commons.NLW would enable options for de-escalation of conflicts, avoid irretrievable consequences of using lethal options, and result in deterring activity without loss of lives and damage to material. NLWs have to be cost effective and easy to operate, as different varieties in varying numbers would be required. However to ensure a calibrated approach, across the spectrum of conflict, there is also a need for NLWs to be doctrinally integrated with the regular naval forces to enable them to tackle a developing situation in the EEZ.

Various NLWs have been developed for use on the surface against vehicles and personnel, and are being used, even military combat vehicles like tanks are being outfitted with Anti Denial Systems, which project electromagnetic radiation to incapacitate personnel. Nonlethal firearm ammunition is based on transfer of energy and is not designed to kill. Wax bullets, beanbag rounds, plastic bullets, and rubber bullets come under this category. Hand grenades which stun, release irritant chemicals or rubber shrapnel are also in use. Directed energy weapons are used not only in anti missile defence but also in disabling drones, electronic devices, and cars. The directed energy weapons utilize various energy forms like electromagnetic radiation, acoustic waves, or particle beams (micro projectile weapons).

Whereas there are various options for use of NLWs on the surface, not much has been reported as far as under water NLWs are concerned. It may be desirable therefore to task the development agencies in the civilian domain to develop them since NLWs may not strictly come under the purview of the DRDO. NLWs designs based on acoustic pulses, ultrasonics, water shots, and very low explosive content weapons can be thought of.

In case of India, an ambitious plan for coastal security and maritime domain awareness has been put in place, however it appears that it needs  to be further strengthened and stitched together so that the EEZ security functions as a comprehensive entity with synergies across the various agencies involved.

In conclusion, it has been brought out that India’s EEZ has the potential to deliver a rich haul of precious minerals once relevant technologies are harnessed. However, it is also true that, in addition to existing threats of disruption of energy supplies, piracy and acts of terrorism, other nations are keen to poach in to the fisheries and seabed wealth. The security of the EEZ is therefore a matter of India’s national interest and need exists for boosting the EEZ’s monitoring, augmenting its security arrangements and developing cost effective comprehensive surveillance and non lethal weapon systems to tackle situations developing in the EEZ which may not warrant military intervention.

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