Defense Standardization is actually the current and most important real need of IAF particularly. For those who know this term, yes it would be a bit easy. But those who don’t, don’t worry, that’s why we are here.
Defense Standardization is almost necessary but let’s understand the terms. The defense is self-explanatory and standardization means the process of creating standards to guide the creation of a good or service based on the consensus of all the relevant parties in the industry. This is mainly done for ensuring safety, interoperability, and compatibility.
So, in short, here, safety means Safety in terms of data, interoperability means all of them can talk to each other and share data at the same time to each and everyone, and compatibility is the data shared by one can be assessed modified, and also updated by others.
The example you ask. then here it is. Let’s say a phone has a particular form of data and let that phone belong to any smartphone company. So, in order for others to get that data, the particular phone has to share data and that facility should be available with him. After that, the phone should have also the capability to capture, modify, and delete that data as well. And this is only possible if the data is compatible with another phone. And above all this, the data should be safe and secured also so that it doesn’t go into the wrong hands.
Being a Defence Enthusiast, do know how many types of aircraft IAF operates?
Here what we see is actually 7 types of Aircrafts IAF operates. We won’t be talking about upcoming like Tejas-Mk 1A, AMCA, TEDBF, and ORCA because they would be made indigenous and this problem will not be there.
But for this all aircraft, you will see there are 3 different sections here. The Jaguar is from Britain (Actually Britain and France). Rafale and Mirage are from France. The MIG-21, MIG-29 UPG, and SU-30 MKI from Russian. And Tejas is an Indigenous one. But between these 3 communication is tough.
The simple reason for this is the source codes. The Western ones would never share the source codes of equipment in a fighter with the Russian ones. The simple reason, safety. Once the source code is known, the rival countries try to make countermeasures from the loophole of source codes.
Since we all know the source codes are not shared, one needs to know that Data collected by one Aircraft cannot be shared with the other one perfectly. As either you need the 3rd equipment that can decode the data of one source code and again encode it in another source code. This can be done by special equipment in-plane or by different planes like AWACS or by Satellites.
Here, AWACS also needs to operate in a way that the Data is sent to each aircraft. So, if there is a fleet attacking, and MIG-21 and Mirage are going for attack and Rest would be in defense like Su-30 MKI and Rafale. You see the complexity the AWACS has to deal with. It has to transmit data of the enemy in 4 different forms. And if any update is there, from any attack or defense aircraft, it cannot directly send to other aircraft. It needs to go through AWACS. This leads to inefficiency and delay in getting knowledge of the environment. This is utter avoided in war scenario as there, for the Air force, every second matter
Where Other Countries Stand
When we look at the world for the same they don’t have such a problem. Let’s first take the superpower line America. They actually have defense Standardization. Why?. Because they purchase in bulk and create an economy where all contractors even help the government to be superior to the rest of the world. Look at their fighters, Currently they have F-15,F-16,F/A-18,F-22,F-35. Along with that, they have bombers, all of them have a common datalink and share the source codes with each other.
Such strong is the data link, that an F-35, If it is flying alone then it can act as an AWACS aircraft and send all the gathered data directly to other aircraft and the same F-35 can fire the missile from other aircraft as well. The same F-35 sends data to all satellites, AWACS, and also ground-based centers the second it got the data. You see here, with the help of this data linking, a single aircraft, even though having no offensive weapon, is more dangerous. And due to this Sync actually, 2 Aircraft + 2 Aircraft is not equal to 4 but more than that.
Also, looking at China, Just their own aircraft and Russian ones, so again good datalink. Russia even the same, as they have all of their own aircraft.
And now look India, you think SU-30 MKI can directly send the data other than MIGs. This is why it gets harder for India
The argument always has a counter-argument. Here, many people say that since we have such a diversified fleet, we have the best of both worlds. Like we have SU-30 MKI and Rafale at the same time. But since we have the best of both worlds, and they cannot operate together, they are useless.
Also, our defence has seem to dependent on one quote
Don’t pull all of your eggs in one basket
This one is true. But the more different fighters you have tougher becomes their logistics. Each pilot has to train totally different for each aircraft. The maintenance of the same is totally different. And the same time since the order is less, the economy of scale is never created leading to a higher cost of each aircraft. One knows that if the order in bulk, the cost of technology per aircraft decreases.
One needs to understand that until and unless the Datalink is not strong your synergy is going to less. Also having such a big fleet is causing tougher logistics and also different training for each pilot. Air-force is the problem of not-standardizing the aircraft.
This has made the overall cost of each aircraft more and more bypassing of each day and also in the economy of local aircraft was not created, we haven’t still got Tejas (Initial 40) or any other aircraft my ourself. But the point is to note that only Air-force is not responsible as all the decisions of defense come from the Breaucacy who don’t have full knowledge of these technicalities.
And this problem is not only confined to Air-force, Army has also become Prey of not having Defense Standardization which we will discuss in the next blog.