Army tests new war concepts
Tribune News Service
Gag (Jalandhar), May 9
To validate its newly conceptualised operational doctrine and battle drills in the backdrop of a nuclear environment, the Army conducted a massive 10-day field exercise, which concluded here today. The exercise, designed to cater for short and intense wars, saw the integration of real time surveillance capabilities with operational planning and execution and operations in a networked battlefield.
Conducted by 11 Corps under the aegis of the Western Command, the exercise involved about 25,000 troops from the Panther Division, the Flaming Arrow armoured brigade and other units along with tactical offensive support from the Air Force.
The exercise began on May 1 and was undertaken in the Nakodar- Ludhiana-Nawanshahr-Moga area.
Briefing media persons at the exercise location, which is about 80 km from the international border, Brig Sanjeev Madhok, a brigade commander, said that an exercise of this scale was being held after several years. “The exercise is being held under as realistic a war scenario as possible,” he said.
Chief of the Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S Pattabhiraman, Director-General, Military Operations, Lieut-Gen Madan Gopal, and GOC, 11 Corps, Lieut-Gen P.K. Singh, were among the top officers who witnessed the concluding manoeuvres of the exercise today.
The Brigadier said that the exercise was designed to train troops for a proactive action against the enemy in a developed terrain. Synergy and jointmanship between the Army and the Air Force was also a key factor in the exercise, he added.
The imaginary situation created for the exercise pitted Blue Land forces against the adversary Red Land forces across the Sutlej which simulated the international border with Pakistan. The battle scenario depicted relations between the two adversaries deteriorating and the Blue Land forces going in for a pre-emptive offensive and a rapid advance into enemy territory.
The exercise consisted attacks and counter-attacks by either side using heavy armour, artillery fire and air support. The scenario also catered to the use of special forces and attack helicopters.
Under the simulated conditions, the battle continued for nine days with the Blue Land forces advancing up to 30 km into enemy territory and further expanding their hold on the enemy. By this time, the strike corps would be in a position to launch a massive offensive.
Air Force sorties were launched, both for Blue as well as Red forces. While fighter aircraft neutralised targets in depth, attack helicopter missions were flown during day as well as night for degrading and delaying enemy mechanised forces. In addition, a quick link-up was also established with heli-borne forces launched behind enemy lines.
Officers participating in the exercise said that a high degree of integration of surveillance equipment with battlefield management was also achieved, so that commanders were able to take quick and rational decisions and apply their resources optimally. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and satellite imagery were also used for gathering information.
The Army also displayed its latest hi-tech surveillance equipment, which included the Israeli-made long range radar observation system, hand held thermal imagers, imagery interpretation vehicle, which had download satellite images and print blow-ups in field conditions, communication equipment and armoured vehicles.
A demonstration of small team insertion and exfiltration (STIE) by helicopters was also given. This showed how a special forces teams can be dropped behind enemy lines and then quickly exfiltrated. Demonstrations of a canal bridging and mechanised assault and close air support by Mi-35 helicopter gunships was also organised.