In an interesting take on India's military capability—of 25 years in the past compared with the next 25 years,—the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief has underlined the importance of Directed Energy Weapons (DEWS) and hypersonics in the coming times.
In his address at a public event on Tuesday, IAF chief Vivek Ram Chaudhari said: “The key to faster development of niche technology is to identify core areas of development, clearly articulate requirements and closely interact with the industry to design and develop the technology.”
“The weapons of India @100 would look very different from weapons of India @ 75. Directed Energy Weapons and Hypersonic Weapons have already been tested and employed.”
“DEWs, particularly lasers, provide significant advantages over traditional weapons such as precision engagement, low cost per shot, logistical benefits and low detectability. Our defence industries need to further the development of these weapons and also integrate them onto airborne platforms to get desired ranges and accuracy,” he said.
Significantly, in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s well-publicised plan of “Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation”, China’s People’s Liberation Army wants to “basically complete” modernization by 2036 and be a “world-class force” by 2049.
Neighbours India and China are locked in a violent border row that has failed to resolve even after a series of ongoing parleys both at the diplomatic and military levels.
The Indian military is undergoing a transformative phase with modernization and ‘atmanirbharta’ (self-reliance in defence production) as its main mantras. But concomitantly, there is an ongoing process of acquiring cutting-edge technology in certain niche areas.
To further illustrate his point, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said that in 1998, the first operational launch of PSLV was yet to happen, Agni-1 MRBM with a range of 700 Km was yet to be developed and GPS was new to the world, and the IAF had no Su-30s.
“The fact that technology grows exponentially, and its effects are super-exponential, will mean that the next 25 years would witness an even greater growth, the contours of which may be difficult to predict very accurately at this stage. However, it is certain that 25 years hence, in 2047, when our nation completes 100 years of Independence, we would be looking at a very different India,” he added.
The IAF chief also alluded to other niche areas like Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and Battle Field of Things.