A Revolution – Smart Military through Technology Adaptation

The Indian military is embracing modern technology to fortify the defence system. The synergy between human expertise and robotic capabilities opens new frontiers in national security, ensuring the protection of the country from all forms of aggression. As India navigates a dynamic security landscape, the strategic adoption of humanoid technology stands poised to elevate its defence preparedness to unprecedented heights

By Manish Johri

Opinion

As a recent development, the integration of humanoid technology into military operations has emerged as a transformative force for our defence system. In the context of the Indian military forces, leveraging humanoid technology presents a significant opportunity to bolster national defence across domains. This article delves into the potential uses, benefits, cost factors, and strategic implications of deploying humanoid technology to safeguard the nation.

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A humanoid is a robot that resembles the human body in shape. It may be carved for a functional or experimental purpose. The Indian Army must prepare to face the challenges and leverage the opportunities posed by the focus of countries such as China and Russia on new-age technologies to maintain its edge over its adversaries and fulfil its mandate of defending the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

AI can develop new capabilities for the Army in a variety of areas, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), targeting, logistics, and planning. AI can also improve the Army’s overall performance in several ways, such as by developing new training programmes, improving maintenance procedures, and automating tasks.

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Below are the instances where our military forces can utilise humanoids:

Sentinel Surveillance: Humanoid robots equipped with advanced sensors and AI capabilities can serve as vigilant sentinels along borders, coastlines, and sensitive installations. These robots can detect intrusions, monitor activities, and relay real-time data to command centres, enhancing situational awareness and response capabilities.

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A humanoid is a robot that resembles the human body in shape. It may be carved for a functional or experimental purpose. The Indian Army must prepare to face the challenges and leverage the opportunities posed by the focus of countries such as China and Russia on new-age technologies to maintain its edge over its adversaries and fulfil its mandate of defending the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

EOD Operations: Humanoid robots specialised in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) can be deployed to neutralise improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other hazardous materials. Their precision, dexterity, and remote operation capabilities reduce risks to human personnel during critical EOD missions.

Search and Rescue Missions: In disaster-stricken areas or combat zones, humanoid robots can navigate complex terrains, locate survivors, and provide essential supplies. Their agility, endurance, and adaptability make them invaluable assets in search and rescue operations, saving lives and optimising resource utilisation.

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Training and Simulation: Humanoid technology can revolutionise military training programmes by simulating realistic scenarios, facilitating skill development, and assessing performance. Virtual environments created by humanoid robots offer immersive training experiences for soldiers, enhancing their readiness and operational effectiveness.

Some of the current AI projects being undertaken by the Indian Army include:

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Integrated Battlefield Management System (IBMS): IBMS is a network-centric command and control system that integrates data from a variety of sources, including sensors, drones, and satellites, to provide commanders with a real-time view of the battlefield. IBMS is also being equipped with AI capabilities to improve its decision-making capabilities.

Netra: Netra is an AI-powered facial recognition system that is being used to identify and track enemy personnel and vehicles. Netra is also being used to develop a system for tracking and identifying people of interest in urban areas.

Daksh: Daksh is an AI-powered system for automating the analysis of large amounts of data. Daksh is being used by the Army to identify patterns and trends in intelligence data, as well as to automate tasks such as medical record analysis and logistics planning.

Bhim: Bhim is an AI-powered system for developing and operating autonomous weapons systems. Bhim is being used to develop a variety of autonomous systems, including drones, unmanned ground vehicles, and unmanned boats.

An exoskeleton is a wearable robotic device that provides the user with additional strength and endurance. Exoskeletons are powered by batteries or other external power sources. They typically have a frame that supports the user’s body and actuators that provide power to the joints. Soldiers can use exoskeletons to carry heavy loads, climb over obstacles, and fight in combat

The Indian Army is currently working on several Directed Energy Weapons (These weapons use energy beams such as lasers and microwaves to destroy or disable targets), including:

Laser Directed Energy Weapons (LDEWs): LDEWs use laser beams to heat and melt targets, or to disrupt their electronics. The Indian Army is developing LDEWs for a variety of applications, including anti-aircraft defence, anti-tank warfare, and anti-satellite warfare.

High-Power Microwave Weapons (HPMWs): HPMWs use high-power microwave beams to disrupt the electronics of targets. The Indian Army is developing HPMWs for a variety of applications, including electronic warfare and cyberwarfare.

Particle Beam Weapons (PBWs): PBWs use beams of charged particles to damage or destroy targets. The Indian Army is in the early stages of research on PBWs, but has expressed interest in developing them for a variety of applications, including anti-missile defence and anti-space warfare.

Exoskeletons

An exoskeleton is a wearable robotic device that provides the user with additional strength and endurance. Exoskeletons are powered by batteries or other external power sources. They typically have a frame that supports the user’s body and actuators that provide power to the joints. Users or computers can control them easily. Soldiers could use Exoskeletons to carry heavy loads, climb over obstacles, and fight in combat. Exoskeletons could also protect soldiers from injury.

Our military is already facing several challenges, including outdated equipment, and a difficult border with Pakistan & China. New technologies can help the future of the Indian Army to overcome these challenges and to develop new capabilities. The Army will be able to operate more effectively in complex and challenging environments. Also, it will be able to respond to threats more quickly and effectively

Some of the current projects of the Indian Army in exoskeleton technology include:

Development of a full-body exoskeleton: The Indian Army is working with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop a full-body exoskeleton for military use. The exoskeleton will carry a load of up to 100 kg and will provide the wearer with increased mobility and endurance.

Procurement of exoskeletons for specific applications: The Indian Army is also procuring exoskeletons for specific applications, such as bomb disposal and disaster relief. For example, in 2022, the Indian Army procured many exoskeletons from the US company Ekso Bionics to be used by bomb disposal squads.

Challenges in Adoption of Modern Technology

Training: Operating emerging technologies requires specialised training, which can be time-consuming and costly to provide.

Cost: Emerging technologies can be expensive to develop and acquire.

Maintenance: Emerging technologies can be complex and require regular maintenance. This can be challenging in remote and hostile environments.

Conclusion

By embracing modern technology in the Indian armed forces, the nation can fortify its defence system against diverse threats and challenges. The synergy between human expertise and robotic capabilities opens new frontiers in national security, ensuring the protection of the motherland from all forms of aggression. As India navigates a dynamic security landscape, the strategic adoption of humanoid technology stands poised to elevate its defence preparedness to unprecedented heights. Our military is already facing several challenges, including outdated equipment, and a difficult border with Pakistan & China. New technologies can help the future of the Indian Army to overcome these challenges and to develop new capabilities. The Army will be able to operate more effectively in complex and challenging environments. Also, it will be able to respond to threats more quickly and effectively.

-The writer is a thinker, keen observer of domestic and global economic, geopolitical development trends and a change manager with more than two decades of corporate experience. The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda