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“War – Weapons, Equipment & Transport for the 21st Century”

War - Weapons

Book-3: War, Conflicts, Security, and The Military -1.0


Changes in the concepts of warfare – Calls for newer types of weapons, equipment, transport and technologies

Quotations for consideration:

  • “It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.” – John F. Kennedy.
  • “Today the real test of power is not the capacity to make war, but the capacity to prevent (deter) it.” – Anne O’Hare Mc Cormick .
  • “Failing to keep pace with the developments in warfare is a dangerous luxury with defeat as the almost sure end.” – Anon.


The nature of war in the 21 st Century calls for a different type of organization and, in this Information & Technological Age, for soldiers to be super empowered by smart, robust and effective weapon systems, smart personal and communication equipment and fast, agile and reliable means of transport suitable for executing their tasks.

The weapons, equipment and transport systems must be such as to enable the forces to operate as the modern equivalent of an effective Sniper. To rapidly identify, target, and kill / destroy the enemy’s Commanders and the nodes of their command network. Thus destroying the cohesiveness and coordination of the enemy Forces, and thereby reducing them to a bunch of isolated and ineffective rabble.

To enable infiltration and ex-filtration of Special Forces personnel into and from enemy territory to undertake such missions as deemed necessary for the security of our Country.

To use rapidly deployable unmanned vehicles, remotely operated crafts and robots, to gather intelligence and enable identification and monitoring of enemy activities and targets, using data analysis, remote sensing etc, and also to destroy selected enemy targets.

To also develop equipment and technologies, for cyber attack and defence capabilities and for defence against Weapons of Mass Destruction.


By reorganizing the DRDO and the Ordnance Factories etc to work with Universities and Industry to identify, develop and productionize, the required new age weapons, equipment and transport. Encourage innovation and even reverse engineering as may be required. DRDO should also work with the Ordnance Factories and other Public Sector Units such as MIDHANI, BHEL (R&D) and ECIL etc, and even selected private sector companies, to setup additive manufacturing (3-D printing by deposition using nozzles or sintering / solidification using lasers etc) facilities, as such manufacturing, taking full advantage of digital technology, will soon become the order of the day, and result in a ‘regime shift’ in manufacturing, especially for custom modeling and small batch manufacturing.

  1. Nature of New Age Weapons, Equipment and Transport :
  1. Light & effective body armour.
  2. Personalized & effective communication links.
  3. Highly agile, standardized weapon platforms, appropriate to the task and terrain and capable of being fitted with selected weapons load appropriate to the task. (High Energy lasers, masers, focused sonic generators etc..,)
  4. Unmanned ‘bots’ capable of infiltration, into selected sites and of remaining there in a passive observation mode, till called up on to act against appropriate targets vide pre-programmed routines or vide remote control.
  1. Unmanned Ariel vehicles (UAV’s / Drones) for surveillance and also to launch weapons.
  2. Software Viruses that can ride in on cable / satellite / wireless traffic to suborn IT and C & C (Command and Control) channels and make them ineffective.
  3. Focused EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) generators to knock out IT and C & C communication nodes.
  4. Tiny multi spectral imaging systems to defeat camouflage. Obversely, methods to counter such systems for own use.
  5. Transport Platforms, based on hovercrafts, airships, helicopters, jet boats & submersibles, of standardized design, in a few selected sizes, to carry troops or appropriate standardized & modular containers / weapons loads with capacity for quick infiltration and exfiltration operations.
  1. Strike Forces:

Specially trained and superbly qualified Special Forces strike teams to infiltrate and deploy, and if necessary control, such weapons and to also take up tasks that cannot be left to unmanned or remote controlled systems.

Such Forces would need, light and effective body armour, appropriate weapons and communication links and enough self contained IT capability. Stealth transport for infiltration / ex-filtration and support would need to be developed. These could be larger versions of the standardized platforms for weapons as mentioned above

  1. Prototyping, Concept Demonstration & Productionizing

Build an equivalent of an ‘Invention Machine’ as done by John Koza using Generic Algorithms and parallel processing Computers, and develop and use additive manufacturing technologies, to expedite the development of Products and even manufacture them in small batches.

  1. Process for Developing the Prototypes & Concept Demonstration
  1. Break – up the ‘General Requirement’ and describe specific steps / stages with measurable or identifiable parameters. Then; announce a competition amongst the IIT’s, Universities and even individual researchers / private companies etc, with prizes for the 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd best concepts / prototypes. (Manpowered flight, Solar powered flight, Private Space flight, are some of the examples of the result of such competition – ‘Google’ – Malcolm prize and X – prize). Evaluation can be done by suitable qualified persons from DRDO etc.
  2. Where secrecy is important, the essential concepts or ideas can be taken up for further development by forming ‘Brain storming’ teams of suitably qualified persons from DRDO Scientists, Service Officers, IT and other experts, all treated as equals. Encourage them to come up with ideas within a few days. Secrecy is important. Cross discipline thinking should be encouraged.
  3. Allow teams to develop prototype models / simulations to best illustrate / demonstrate the selected concepts. (say within 30 days) to prove workability, working with Industry / Universities as necessary.
  4. Select the best of such approved concepts and work to further improve on them and productionize them within a tight time framework. If no concept passes this phase, go back to point (i) above and restart.
  5. Develop operational procedures and test them in field exercises in reasonable time frames appropriate to the product. Maintainability and subsequent upgradability, to keep them updated to changing technologies must to also be a consideration.

The DRDO should learn from the US – DARPA (Defence Advanced Research & Projects Agency) on how to structure close collaborations among Public and Private Agencies, and Industry – University partnerships. Deepen & broaden collaboration across Research Communities and develop methods to keep the science open and the applications proprietary.

The DRDO Labs should be re-organized to be just a Network of Project Group Organizers and Information Experts. They should get out of the ‘Not Invented Here’ syndrome and start looking at rapidly developing the selected items in the Ordinance Factories or even in appropriate civil facilities using, as far as possible, commercially available components & products. There is no benefit in attempting to ‘re-invent the wheel’ and the cost and time involved in producing a ‘better’ item is not worth the improvement.

As the Productionising process is likely to be longer term than the tenure of the personnel (especially officers in the Military) involved in setting the requirements, procedure should be arrived at to avoid further modifications / alleged improvements etc, once the initial Qualitative Requirements have been stated and prototypes developed. Remember the ‘Better is the Enemy of the Good’. In many cases such improvements are only realized after the need has passed or the product is literally ‘improved on-to death’ in a futile attempt to incorporate every new feature.

Modular, easily replaceable, cost effective units should be more like what one aims for. The effectiveness and value of low cost, quick delivery and reduction in logistics & maintenance due to use and discard capabilities are today not properly recognized.

To make a weapon system survivable you can either make it very tough and rugged or make it very cheap so that you can makes lots of copies. The second alternative is usually far more effective: eg: American Tanks, Ships and Aircrafts in WW-II. The US was in the midst of a great depression when it joined the war in 1941. By 1942 its output of war material already exceeded the combined production of the 3-Axis powers (Germany, Japan & Italy). It was able to reduce the time for launching a Liberty Ship from one in two years to one in every four days. By its peak production in 1944 it was building a plane every 5 minutes, 50 merchant ships a day and 8 aircraft carriers a month, it was this production capacity that really won the war.

Effective project Management methodologies need to be identified or developed and implemented.

The DRDO and the Ordnance Factory Board should plan and be prepared to implement such productivity improvements as and when called upon to do so in the shortest possible time, in collaboration with Public & Private sector Companies making commercial products that can be easily modified even while guarding against the threat of any sort of disruptive situations that may arise.

However, all the Programs must be formulated so as to provide a significant impact on the performance of the Military, the users. They should create paradigm shifting technical capabilities, which often means an improvement of at least 10 times. New Innovations can span the range from ‘Incremental’ to ‘Transformational’ and should make the best use of extant Technologies.

  1. Updating:

Assemble such idea factories / brain storming teams to encourage fresh ideas and outlook and form development teams to take them forward into Production.

The development teams should be kept together till the task is over and should then be dispersed to avoid complacency and stagnation. Re-assemble fresh teams with new recruits to encourage more fresh ideas and outlook, and keep this as an ongoing effort.

  1. Some ideas for such teams to work on:

If some of the ideas seen too futuristic or even Science Fiction type imagining, please check the references given for work being done ‘NOW’, on such ideas, many by independent individuals and small businesses in the private sector.

  1. For Offensive Operations :

Design and develop;

  • Equipment for locating and disarming mines, especially anti personal mines, used in combat zones. – as different from IED’s. (VIPeR, an Israeli Robot manufactured by Elbit Systems about the size of a small TV capable of entering most combat zones and engaging enemies with an on board armoury that includes a machine pistol and grenades as well as Bomb sniffing and disposal equipment. Also ‘Land Shark’ – @ blackirobotics.com – for bomb defusing, sentry and casualty recovery).
  • Manned ‘stealth’ craft (M80-Stiletto / Naval command centre of M-Ship Company) and Sea Planes (iconaircraft.com) and robotic craft (‘Ripsaw’ unmanned, high speed armed tank of Mike & Geoff Howes ) to penetrate into enemy territory, to identify commanders / command centers and to take action as pre-programmed / remotely directed to kill / destroy them, either directly or by acting as a mother vehicle to launch small explosive UAV’s to go out and attach to the target and blow up. Also stealth and silent electric aircraft (electraflyer.com).
  • Better Night Vision and Triwave (noblespeak.com) Devices and also Vision Devices to penetrate solid walls (PRISM from Cambridge Systems, UK) which can see through 40 cm thick wall from up to 15 Mtrs. Also BIEBL’s Radar Sensor using Radio waves between 433 MHz and 24 GHz and ‘THRUVISION’ and T-500-Tetra X-ray units.
  • UAV’s to patrol borders and to detect movements of Forces, camouflaged positions etc and to identify threats and to act thereon, either directly or indirectly by informing / calling on available Forces. Spy Helicopters (dragonfly.com and Vespid & ‘parrot.com’) and Ground bots (rotunders.se) and also slow, long distance autonomous underwater robotic craft (SPRAY-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute / Scrips Institute of Oceanography).
  • Jet Wings for HALO Operations and Jet Packs for personal air borne mobility (presently Martin Twin Turbo Jet Pack allows 30 Min / 50 km flight – martinjetpack.com).
  • Better Radio / Enemy Communication Spectrum Jamming Technologies with out effecting own Communication channels (US Navy ‘Growler’ System) and also Stealthy Hovercraft like ‘Aesir Embla’ (aesir-uas.com) for surveillance and even disaster reconnaissance.
  • Improved Information Technologies to Access, Analyze and Identify Command & Communication nodes / centres and cyber attack and defense technologies / hacking -anti hacking algorithms. Use of Satellite and Space technologies.
  • Multi Lingual Translators (Many reasonably efficient models are currently available)
  • Weaponized solid state lasers ( Bob Yamamoto @ lawrence livermore national laboratory).
  • VR battle simulation systems for training and also laser simulation for deception.
  • Meta-materials technologies for Stealth & Camouflage / Invisibility Technologies(University of California – Berkley and Hong Kong University are working on such Technologies)
  • Light, fast moving, agile personnel and material carriers to reach troops and material to difficult to access sites in the quickest possible time. Helicopters, Hovercraft and Airships of various sizes and capacities would be ideal vehicles for such purpose.
  • GECKO type vertical wall climbing gloves and shoe covers (University of Manchester and Polytechnic University of Turin). Also snake bots to access and monitor hard to reach sites.
  • Methods to obtain Oxygen from water when submerged or to get rid of excess CO2 from Submarines etc and to obtain water from air. (us.poseidon.se) and smarter scuba re-breathers (us.poseidon.se).
  • Personal / light vehicle armour – Shear thickening fluid to further improve Kevlar’s bullet stopping power, and similar technologies could be studied. Also bomb proof wall paper sheets of peel and stick plastic (X-Flex – Berry Plastics Corporation) and other penetration resistant fabrics (stormarest.com).
  • Exo-Skeletons for personnel to enable them to carry greater loads and to enhance mobility.
  • Wearable Fabric that can generate power to charge gadgets. (Georgia University of Technology is working on Fabric made from Zinc Oxide Nano wires on strands of Kevlar which generate power as the fabric bends and stretches and wearable interactive Computers & Communication Systems. Also portable and dismantleable Solar and wind power systems. (mariahpower.com and energyintegrationtech.com) and low temperature waste heat (200 0F) power generators (electrotherm.com)
  • Specific frequency generators to target and destroy organs and even kill (see Prof. G. Bugdanov – termite killing generator)
  • For Internal Security / Policing Operations

To better deal with insurgency and terrorist operations, as well as to provide necessary protection and security for the personnel, design and develop;

  • Rapid personnel recognition methodologies, facial, movement, retinal, finger print etc.., to identify and apprehend suspects (lumidigm.com) and laser surface authentication systems (ingenietechnology.com)
  • High intensity ultra sound scanner to detect and coagulate internal bleeding injuries.
  • Cell scopes – (blumcenter.berkely.edu)
  • Rapid algorithms to identify and call to attention suspicious movements, unattached vehicles / items, through cameras monitoring selected sites (eg; train / Bus Platforms, markets, key locations etc..,)
  • Fire retardant materials and fire fighting / control systems (areasafety.com)
  • Non-lethal methods of crowd control or for disarming or disabling personnel. Tightly focused sonic waves, micro waves, pepper sprays, stun devices, tasers, etc.., could be some of them.
  • Point and shoot toxin detectors (gesecurity.com)
  • Better lie detectors (gadgetuniverse.com)
  • Terahertz wave (T-rays) generators for security scanning and also for ultra fast data transmission, refined motion sensing and gesture recognition (Caltech mini Terahertz emitting chips).

Some ideas for the NTRO to work on:

The NTRO (National Technology Research Organization) should be organizing for ‘Sentiment Analysis’ doing what Kalev Leetaru at the University of Illinois and Aaron Clauset at the University of Colorado are doing; analyzing decades of media reports and other relevant relationship data to arrive at predictions about social conflicts and patterns in terrorist incidents. Such analysis also helps to locate hide outs (eg: of Saddam Hussein and of Osama Bin Laden ) and other key nodes (command centers etc) in addition to providing other useful insights into many ‘Black Swan’ events such as major social conflicts and financial breakdowns and earthquakes etc. Predictive policing methods using comparative statistics (Criminal Reduction Using Statistical History – ‘CRUSH’) and seismology inspired algorithm as developed by George Mahler that also takes in to account the distance and time separating two incidents, can also help indicate the probability of an event occurring in a general location, in a reasonably narrow window of time, so as to allow more effective detecting and monitoring efforts. Methods are being developed to ‘play what if’, to change inputs and see how matters may play out differently, so as to suggest how to counter attacks even before they occur. (See ‘CONDOR’ of Dr. Peter Gloor at M.I.T., ‘EMEME’ of Aptima at Woburn, MA, ‘W-ICEWS’ of Lockhead Martin, ‘The temporal-probabilistic Rule System’ of Dr. Venkatarama Subramanian at the University of Maryland, ‘SCARE’ of Maj Paulo Shakarian’s team at West Point and ‘Rift land’ of the US Navy in collaboration with Professor Claudio Revilla at Mason University Virginia).

‘SPIN OFF’ benefits:

As history demonstrates, technological developments, even if originally encouraged for military purposes, soon manifest themselves in a multitude of ‘SPIN OFF’ products benefiting the civilian society either directly or indirectly. (eg: Teflon, Stents, Encryption, GPS, Oceanography, even the Internet and many million more products). Hence the cost of such technological development should be viewed in its entirety. Economic and technological capabilities are essential elements of military strength and a policy of deterrence.


War, in this information and technology age, is no longer so overt or long drawn or so evident.

Today is it often fought across many dimensions, mostly in a covert and limited manner. Of course old style warfare is still valid, though mostly in defensive operations.

Warfare today hence needs newer technologies and ways to utilize them, and newer weapons, equipment and transport, and more effective ways to continually improve on them and to productionize them rapidly and cost effectively.




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