Thursday, January 05, 2012

Indian Army Demands Attack Helicopters to Form ‘Aerial Brigade’ For Battlefield Operations

The Indian Army has expressed the need for its own attack helicopters for aerial support to its tanks and troops in a battlefield scenario. The concept of an aerial brigade has been created for the Indian Army for seamless battlefield operations. The need for an aerial brigade for the Indian army was conceived and finalized during the’ Exercise Sudarshan Shakti’ in the deserts of Rajasthan. Hence, an Aviation Brigade Headquarters may also be on the anvil.
According to sources, Indian Army will have ‘aviation brigades’ which will comprise of three squadrons of helicopters. The first squadron will consist of helicopters used for airlifting heavy equipment, the second for recce purposes while the third squadron in the aviation brigade will perform the most important task of providing air support to the advancing battle tanks. The current geographic terrain of India is such that its offensive capabilities on ground get restricted. Hence, the armoured divisions and ground units will have to rely on aerial support for effective combat operations in a battlefield scenario.
The Indian Army indicated that a fresh approach to aerial support in battlefield scenario has been long overdue. As of now, Indian Army does now have its own attack helicopter in the fleet.  Hence, the task of providing air-support to advancing troops in a battle-scenario is performed by attack helicopters of the Indian Air Force.  In order to achieve complete aerial support, the Indian Army has to deploy attack choppers of its own which are customized to move continuously with the Indian Army formations on ground. This will lend more combative edge in tactical zones and other battlefield scenarios.
According to defence experts, the concept of an aerial brigade is an effective way of offensive employment in the Indian tactical environment. The aerial brigade aims to provide greater combat capability for the Indian Army. In the emerging high-tech battlefield scenario, air-mobility or the deployment of aerial brigades will be decisive for winning. The future of Indian Army and its effectiveness will rely highly on aerial brigades and these brigades can consist of features such as in-built aerial firepower, armed helicopter-mobile infantry battalions, integral aerial anti-tank weapons and guided missiles and integral aerial logistic capabilities.
The Indian Army has been trying to get total command and control over the rotary winged resources with the intention to further the tactical battle plan. Some of the most important aspects, such as reconnaissance, casualty evacuation and battlefield aerial transportation of troops and materiel, are the important and decisive factors for winning battles. Hence, there must be attack helicopters under the command and control of the Indian Army for operations and maintenance instead of the army relying on IAF for the same.

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