I need to make one last post of thoughts before I start posting my take on some of the other posts made here.
If you go back in history and notice that some technology has proven to be a war winner, you will also see that what broke the back of that war winning technology and stopped it from winning was never exactly the same technology. It is always something different that defeats any given "war winning" technology. It could be new technology or it could be new tactics, or it could be other factors.
I won't go too far back - but start at World War 1. By the time WW1 started Europe at least had arrived at the conclusion that wars would be positional - with trenches fortifications. Perhaps this was because the invention of the machine gun had made the infantry, and even horse cavalry charge obsolete. Fixed machine gun positions at strategic vantage points were supposed to mow down any invader - thus putting an end to a style of warfare revolutionised by Gengis Khan. World war ! ended up being a massive and bloody stalemate with millions being mowed down for moving out of their trenches. But people were already thinking of a way of breaking that stalemate. The first tanks and aircraft arrived in WW1 but not enough to make a big difference.
By WW2 the French military still imagined that fixed defences would work. But the Germans had kept their grey cells whirring. They realised that if they broke though those lines the French would be toast (French toast?) They relied on "shakinah" (Shock and awe) of dive bombers and artillery followed by rapid mobility to overrun French lines. War had been revolutionised. It was mobile again, with trucks and tanks. The fortified fixed defences causing stalemates were now a thing of the past. WW2 of course produced many technological breakthroughs. Nothing like war to force people to think about how to get an advantage.
We have a thread on BR
to jog memories of revolutionary tech that came out of WW2
Let me briefly list out some of the things that military forces had after WW2 which have defined wars in the period after WW2.(list from memory - maybe incomplete)List 1
- The tank
- Air Force as a separate arm
- Use of offensive and defensive air power against land and naval targets
- Aircraft carriers
- A rediscovery of unguided rockets in war
- Ballistic missiles
- anti-tank weapons, the shaped charge
- Nuclear weapons capability
The main revolutionary war related technologies to come out (or mature) after WW2
- Jet engines/aircraft
- satellites for communication, surveillance and navigation
- computers and electronics, smart systems
- precision guided munitions including guided missiles
If you look at these two lists they tell a curious story. Most of the weapons we use today were developed by WW2
Other than guided missiles, the only developments after WW2 are "ancillary technology" that have made warfighting "more effective" using existing weapons platforms and systems developed during WW2. Very few revolutionary new weapons have come out after WW2 at least in the lists that I have made above, which to my knowledge include all the major developments. I would be happy to be corrected.
It is List 2 that makes a war big difference to the items in List 1.
There is, IMO an even more disquieting difference between those two lists.
Practically every country in the world has List 1. (ignore nukes for this thread). List 2 is dominated by the words "west", "developed", "great powers"."colonial powers", "superpowers"
If you analyse where these "lists" originate from - you find that List 1 originates from the scientific and industrial revolution of the 19th century. The countries that underwent that industrial revolution actually developed list 1. The very same countries are now proceeding to refine the weapons of List 1 by using List 2 technologies that they have themselves developed based on their century old industrial experience and development. They made the weapons for all wars, and they are making them better using manpower skills that they have and they use.
The second major point that emerges from the two lists can be obtained by looking at each major weapons system and seeing how it can be countered.
1) The Tank
: The tank has been countered by other tanks, anti-tank mines, anti-tank weapons, air power (helicopters and fixed wing aircraft) and physical obstacles.
: Aircraft are countered by other aircraft, anti aircraft guns, surface to air missiles, denial of use of air bases by anti-runway weapons, and technology sanctions.
: IIIRC the major methods used to counter submarines was by surface ships and aircrfat in ww2. Hunetr kiler submarines are an addition to that.
4) Aircraft carriers
: Aircraft carriers can be (theoretically) countered by aircraft, missiles, submarines and surface ships
5) Radar and Sonar
are countered by jamming and/or stealth, physical destruction of radars by aircraft, missiles, artillery, sabotage
6) Unguided rockets:
there is no specific counter other than by destruction of the launchers one by one. Bunkers, deception/protection
7) Ballistic missiles
: ABM systems, destruction of missile sites/laumchers
8) Anti-tank weapons:
countered by stealth, reactive armour, more and thicker armour, making tanks weapons have a longer range than anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft weapons
9) Guided munitions and missiles:
These can be countered by stealth/deception, close in weapons systems, quick reaction missiles, destruction of enemy electronic eyes like AWACS and UAVs, jamming/flares, heavier armor, underground bunkers, dispersal of assets, asset redundancy
Two major conclusions can be reached from here
1) The way to counter a given technology is never exactly the same technology. A crude example is that you do not need ballistic missiles to counter ballistic missiles. There is always something else or some other tech that can counter a given tech. The lesson here is that if an adversary has a given technology - you do not need to acquire exactly the same tech to counter it. It can be done by something else.
2) Look at the two lists above. India is primarily a "List 1" country but the threats it faces are weapons and systems provided by "List 2" countries.
Based on these two observations one can start looking at how India might be able to counter the various technologies that are thrown at it by adversaries.
There is one aspect I have left out - and it is a very significant technique by which high tech is countered. This is asymmetric warfare. Hopefully I will be able open a few thoughts about that as a strategy.