Looking to add new technology along LAC: Army Chief

India is thinking about putting in a number of new technologies at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. These include a variety of drones for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance, loitering munitions, counter drones with different soft and hard kill options, and a number of AI-based systems to better understand images, detect intrusion, and do quantum computing. Army Chief General Manoj Pande told a group of journalists on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that India is thinking about

In response to a question from The Deccan Era, Gen. Pande talked about how important micro, mini, tactical, and long-range drones that the Army bought through emergency procurements are. He also said that the focus has been on counter-drone technologies, such as drone spoofers and hand-held drone jammers.

“We are looking at more soft-kill and hard-kill options to fight drones and even swarm drones,” he said, adding that the Army is looking for some good options among the loitering munitions it wants to buy.

“There are a few projects going on right now where we are looking at AI to help us understand satellite images better. “Getting information is no longer the hard part. Now, the hard part is putting it all together,” he said. He said that the niche technologies can be brought in through different ways, such as iDEX and Make 2 projects.

When asked about China’s use of surveillance balloons in the U.S. and Canada and the possibility that it could do the same against India, Gen. Pande said that India must always be on guard and “know what’s going on around it and be ahead of the learning curve.”

Also, he said that the Army is thinking about getting 95 Light Combat Helicopters and 110 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) in the future to improve its overall combat aviation profile. He also said that making air defence guns in India is a top priority for the Army.

He also said that LCHs would be used in areas with a high altitude because the helicopter could move around well in the mountains.

The LUHs and LCHs will replace the Cheetahs and Chetaks, which are getting old.

Gen. Pande said that Helina missiles would be one of the weapons systems that would be added to the LCH Prachand. He also said that their tests had gone well.

The Defense Acquisition Council has given the go-ahead to buy 40 launchers and missiles for the Helina system.

Gen Pande said, “Its integration on aircraft is something we think is important if we want to get the most out of anti-tank guided missiles.” He said that the force has already gotten three of the first five LCHs, and that the army is getting six of the first limited-run LUHs.

“We need about 250 helicopters in this class as a whole,” he said, adding that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is working to improve the platform’s capabilities, including the autopilot, based on what the Army wants.

He said that the Army should get all six of the American Apache attack helicopters by next year, and that the electronic warfare systems along the LAC are being tested right now.

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