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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gloves Are Finally Off Against Those Irreconcilable, Compulsively Sulking Negativists!-2

On paper, to the north, those Pakistan Army (PA) battle formations that are LoC-specific and Chicken’s Neck-specific are the Mangla-based I Corps that comprises the Gujranwala-based 6 Armoured Division, Kharian-based 17 Infantry Division, the 37 Mechanised Infantry Division also in Kharian, and the 8 Independent Armoured Brigade; and the Rawalpindi-based X Corps that includes the Gilgit-based Force Command Gilgit-Baltistan, Murree-based 12 Infantry Division, Mangla-based 19 Infantry Division, the Jhelum-based 23 Infantry Division, and the Rawalpindi-based 111 Independent Infantry Brigade. Formations allocated for operations along the ‘Shakargarh Bulge’ are the Gujranwala-based XXX Corps comprising the Sialkot-based 8 Infantry Division and 15 Infantry Division; Lahore-based IV Corps with its 10 and 11 Infantry Divisions, two semi-mechanised Independent Infantry Brigades (including the 212 Bde) and one Independent Armoured Brigade; and the Multan-based II Corps made up of the Multan-based 1 Armoured Division, and the Okara-based 14 Infantry Division, 40 Infantry Division and an Independent Armoured Brigade. Thus far, no significant forward deployments of any of these formations have taken place.
Down south, the battle formations arrayed against Rajasthan include the Bahawalpur-based XXXI Corps with its 26 Mechanised Division, 35 Infantry Division, two Independent Armoured Brigades and the 105 Independent Infantry Brigade; and the Karachi-based V Corps with its Pano Aqil-based 16 Infantry Division, Hyderabad-based 18 Infantry Division, Malir-based 25 Mechanised Division, plus three Independent Armoured Brigades at Malir, Pano Aqil and Hyderabad. So far, only some elements of the 25 and 26 Mechanised Divisions have been deployed opposite an area stretching from Jaisalmer to Fort Abbas and the PA has begun flying relentless sorties of its Shahpar (CH-3) tactical UAVs that were acquired from China’s CATIC in 2012. 
This is probably a precautionary measure aimed at monitoring the IA’s upcoming Division-level armoured/mechanised infantry exercises that are held during wintertime. Along the Durand Line, formations that are deployed include the Peshawar-based XI Corps currently with its 7, 9, 14, 17 Divisions and part of 23 Division, along with two independent infantry brigades; and the Quetta-based XII Corps with the 33 and 41 Infantry Divisions).
The PA, however, is most unlikely to attempt any form of escalation along either the LoC or the WB since it presently has a deployment ratio of 54.6%, while the resting and re-equipping ratio is 12.7%, and the remaining 33% is undergoing the training cycle. This trend will continue for at least another four years, since the defunct Durand Line too became active from mid-2014. 
It may be recalled that since March 2002, the PA has been forced by elements that later on went on to become the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by 2006 to wage a three-front war against the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in South Waziristan (which also included Chechan and Uighur militants; against the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan in the sensitive Darra Adam Khel-Kohat area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or KPK (formerly NWFP) and the Shia-dominated Kurram Agency of FATA; and, against the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), headed by Maulana Fazlullah, and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the Swat Valley of KPK. 
The TTP’s cadre base is more than 20,000 tribesmen and the Abdullah Mehsud group from the Alizai clan of the Mehsud tribe from South Waziristan commands about 5,000 fighters. Other militant groups within the TTP include Maulvi Nazir from the Kaka Khel sub-tribe of the Ahmadzai Waziri tribe (South Waziristan), Hafiz Gul Bahadur from the Ibrahim Khel clan of the Utmanzai Wazir tribe (North Waziristan), the Haqqani network using manpower from the Mezi sub-tribe of the Zadran tribe (North Waziristan), Mangal Bagh (Khyber), TNSM (Swat, Dir, Malakand), and Faqir Mohammad (Bajaur).
Some 35% of PA troops (about 180,000 out of an end-strength of approximately 550,000 active-duty personnel and another 500,000 reservists) were engaged in LIC campaigns since 2007 till 2014 and are still literally bogged down throughout the entire 27,200 square kilometres of FATA. 
Formations fully committed to LIC operations include the 37 Mechanised Infantry Division and 17 Infantry Division from Mangla-based I Corps in Swat, 19 Infantry Division from X Corps in northern Swat (based out of Jhelum), 7 Infantry Division from Rawalpindi-based X Corps in North Waziristan (based out of Mardan), 9 Infantry Division from Peshawar-based XI Corps in South Waziristan (based out of Kohat), 14 Division from Multan-based II Corps, Jhelum-based 23 Division  (with 7 infantry brigades) of the X Corps, and 40 Infantry Division. The Gujranwala-based XXX Corps and the Bahawalpur-based XXXI Corps lent one Brigade each. 
In all, there are approximately 17 infantry brigades or 45 infantry battalions, and 58 Frontier Corps (FC) wings now engaged in LIC operations. By mid-2011, 1,83,400 troops had a westward deployment orientation (it now stands at 206,000), while another 10,000 are now abroad on UN-related peacekeeping missions.
Clearly, therefore, the PA is most unlikely to stage large-scale land offensives involving manoeuvre warfare. Instead, the PA, whose MBT armoury presently comprises 550 Al Khalids, 320 Type 85IIAPs upgraded to Al Zarrar standard, 500 Type 59s upgraded to Al Zarrar standard, 380 Type 59s, 450 69IIAPs, and 320 T-80UDs, making for a total of 2,520 tanks, is likely to do what it did in both 1965 and 1971, i.e. use the combination of its armoured and mechanised infantry assets to swiftly transform Pakistan’s semi-urban and rural areas bordering India’s Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan states into impregnable fortresses for the sake of blunting the Indian Army’s (IA) expected shallow-depth land offensives that could be launched from southern J & K and northern Punjab through the Chicken’s Neck and Shakargarh Bulge areas.
Given Pakistan’s elongated geography, it is possible for the PA to use its interior lines of communications for deploying its warfighting assets to their forward concentration areas within 72 hours. To this end, the PA has since 2007 built a sprawling new central ammunition storage depot to the South of its Mangla Cantonment, and has also expanded the existing depot at Kharian.   
Therefore, the IA’s principal doctrinal challenge is to seek ways of enticing the PA to come out in the open so that its armoured/mechanised infantry formations are forced to engage in manoeuvre wars of attrition, during which the IA will be required to swiftly locate and destroy in detail the adversary’s warfighting assets and capabilities. Exactly how this can be achieved will be explained in the near future.  

(to be concluded)

It appears that the NORINCO’s ZBD-08 tracked carrier carrying the AFT-10 CM-501G NLOS-ATGMs too has felt the need for a panoramic target acquisition/tracking system just like the IA had felt the need for its NAMICAs armed with Nag ATGMs! This new version of the ZBD-08/AFT-10 combination is now at the expo centre in Zhuhai for the forthcoming Airshow China 2016 event (starting November 1), which will be an aerospace event in name only and will play host to the complete range of land-based weapons developed by various military-industrial entities of China. Judging by external looks, especially the camouglage paint patterns, all such weapons platforms are being targetted for sales in the Middle East/North Africa regions.

Friday, October 14, 2016

S-400 Triumf LR-SAMs Arriving By 2018 For Limited TMD, Plus Six SSNs & Four Batch-3 Project 1135.6 FFGs

As per the IAF’s projections, there exists a requirement for 12 Batteries of the JSC Almaz-Antey-built S-400 (each Battery using four TELs each housing four cannister-encased LR-SAMs), plus five long-range early warning/tracking radars (LRTR). In other words, as per the IAF’s appreciation, a total of FIVE strategic sectors in northern, western and southern India are urgently required to be protected against conventionally armed inbound TBMs and IRBMs like Pakistan’s solid-fuelled single-stage M-11 (Hatf-3/Ghaznavi//DF-11) 280km-range TBMs, and liquid-fuelled single-stage Hatf-5/Ghauri-1/Nodong-1.
Next on the shopping list will be the five LRTRs which, in all probability, will be the EL/M-2090U UHF-band active phased-array systems from Israel Aerospace Industries’ ELTA Systems subsidiary.
It may be recalled that when the MoD-owned DRDO began R & D work in 1996 on a home-grown TMD system, it had ordered two EL/M-2080 ‘Green Pine’ active phased-array L-band LRTRs in late 1998 from IAI/ELTA for target acquisition-cum-engagement, plus a TMD simulation testbed from Israel’s Tadiran Electronic Systems.
Following their deliveries in 2001, the DRDO began co-developing the applications software for a terrestrial TMD architecture and its distributed command-and-control network at a laboratory in Yalavara, Karnataka. 
Another inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to be inked in Goa as part of a secret annexure of the contract for building Units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) concerns the in-country construction of six 5,000-tonne, single-hulled, fifth-generation attack submarines (SSN) designed by the St Petersburg-based FSUE Central Design Bureau RUBIN for Marine Technology. SSNs of this design, powered by 60mWt (about 25mWe) high-density integral pressurised water reactors (PWR), will also enter service with the Russian Navy in the following decade.
It may be recalled the IGA that India and Russia Atomstroyexport signed on November 20, 1988 for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) officially involved the construction of two 1,000MWe Russian VVER-1000-type light water reactors (at a cost of US$3.5 billion) at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu State. However, a secret annexure of this contract also called for Moscow to offer its ‘consultancy’ and ‘vendor-development’ services, along with the supply of two KLT-40C PWR mock-ups (built by Afrikantov OKBM and designed to deliver 23.5mWe from the 82.5mWt reactor and using 45% enriched uranium-aluminium alloy, clad in zircaloy), their related heat exchangers and steam generators, plus their detailed engineering drawings off-the-shelf—all for the double-hulled S-2/Arihant, S-3 and S-4 SSBNs, and similar military-industrial assistance for building the larger double-hulled S-5, S-6 and S-7 SSBNs, also designed by FSUE Central Design Bureau RUBIN for Marine Technology.
Of the four Batch 3 Project 1135.6 FFGs for the IN, the first two will be built by Kaliningrad-based JSC Yantar Shipyard, while the remaining two will be licence-built by Gujrat-based Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd (RDEL), formerly Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd (PDOECL).

Friday, September 30, 2016

Gloves Are Finally Off Against Those Irreconcilable, Compulsively Sulking Negativists!-1

Since last year, the Indian Army has been monitoring the following launch-pads used by the Pakistan Army to infiltrate its ‘Sarkari Jihadi’ detachments into Jammu & Kashmir: from Bhimber Gali towards Shopian and Anantnag; from Lipa towards Baramula; from Jura towards Sopore; from Athmuqam towards Kupwara; from Dudhnial, Tejian, Shardi, Rattapani and Kel towards Machhal; and from Saonar and Sardari towards Kupwara and Sopore. 
The base camps or sanctuaries for the ‘Sarkari Jihadi’ detachments are located further into the rear within PoK and Khyber Paktunkhwa, as shown in the slide below.
Finally, eight launch-pads spread over a linear 250km frontage and located at Lipa, Kel and Rattapani were chosen for targetted, surgical destruction lasting 7 hours (inclusive of cross ingress/egress) by the Indian Army’s 4 SF (Para) and 9 SF (Para) Battalions. 
(Above) Launch-Pads Destroyed at Athmuqam, Dudhnial, Chalhana and Leepa

However, for retaining the element of surprise and initiative, an elaborate deception plan involving the Indian Army (IA) and Indian Air Force (IAF) was required. For, to be factored in was the high state of the operational readiness at that time of both the Pakistan Army (PA) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) throughout the LoC. Following the meeting of India’s Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) on September 21, and another meeting between the Indian PM and the two armed services chiefs on September 24, a deception plan jointly prepared by the IA’s Udhampur-based HQ Northern Command and the IAF’s Delhi-based HQ Western Command was put into effect. 
Both the IA and IAF decided to lull ther adversary into assuming that a powerful AirLand attack would be launched at a few locations in southern PoK, namely in the Bhimber sector’s areas like Tatta Pani/Hot Springs area. While the IA decided upon unleashing field artillery fire-assaults against Samahni, Bandala and Tatta Pani, the IAF commenced a series of supporting helicopter movements. 
For starters, by September 24 night, the IAF began ferrying out four Mi-35P attack helicopters belonging to the Pathankot-based 125 ‘Gladiators’ Sqn Sqn (the other Sqn—104 ‘Pioneer Rotarians is at Suratgarh) and making them land at selected locations like Poonch, Rajouri, Bhimber Gali and Krishna Ghati along with in-ptheatre Mi-17V-5s. All these movements were carried out non-stop for the following four days in full view of the PAF’s Saab 2000 AEW & CS platforms that were flying out of Kamra and keeping an eye on almost all air-movements inside both northern Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.  
Shortly after dusk on Sptember 28, the IA’s light field artillery and mortar strikes at locations inside PoK, like Bandala, Samahni and Tatta Pani, from locations like Mankote, Balnoi and Nangi Tekri in the Krishna Ghati sector, and from Richhmar Gali in Tangdhar sector. 
The real insertion by foot of the IA’s SF (Para), however, took place in the Lipa, Shardi and Rattapani bulges (i.e. areas where Pakistan-controlled territory juts into J & K). Known as the JAW-HEAD tactic, this meant that the IA gave the impression of hitting the enemy’s jaws but in reality was aiming for the forehead in a totally surprising move. 
The bulges were carefully selected so as to present favourable topography for the attacking forces. For, throughout the LoC where IA and PA observation posts and bunkers are located face-to-face, extensive anti-personnel minefields are laid to cover the frontal and flank (left and right) approaches, but the rear area is devoid of any mines so as to facilitate friendly movements. Consequently, a raiding party beginning its ingress into enemy territory from the baselines of any bulge can stealthily sneak in through the rear and attack from the least expected direction. Thus, the IA’s SF (Para) detachments had to penetrate up to a depth of only 700 metres from the LoC but, if calculated from the frontal tip of a bulge, the targetted launch-pads would appear to be up to 3km inside PoK.
Due to this common-sensical mission-planning, the SF (Para) detachments had not need for shoulder-fired LAWs like Carl Gustavs. Only NVDs and weapons like Instalaza C-90 LAW, IWI-built Tavor TAR-21 assault rifles fitted with T-40 40mm single-shot underbarrel grenade launchers (UBGL) supplied by Turkish Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu (MKEK, or Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corp) were used with devastating effect.
The diversionary laying of light field artillery and mortar strikes at locations inside PoK, like Bandala, Samahni and Tatta Pani sent the PA into a tizzy and it has yet to recover from this common-sensical shock-and-awe tactics.

Pakistan ISPR’s Counter-Narrative
When news of the IA’s cross-LoC raids reached the PA’s GHQ in Rawalpindi by 4.30am on January 29, it was wrongly assumed by GHQ that these raids took place only in the PA’s Bhimber and Tatta Pani sectors inside PoK, this being an indication of the successes of the IA’s and IAF’s diversionary tactics. Within the hour, the Pakistani Prime Minister and the PA’s Chief of the Army Staff were told about these raids as well, following which it was decided to contact US Secretary of State John Kerry. In the US, the matter was referred by Kerry to US NSA Dr Susan Rice, who in turn contacted her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and sought clarifications. Upon receiving the necessary details, clarifications and assurances (that were repeated later in the day at a press-conference by the IA’s DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh), Dr Rice reverted back to Islamabad with the India-supplied updates.
The GHQ then went into a huddle to decide its next course of action. Retaliatory cross-LoC raids were immediately ruled out, since if they were to be conducted, then the PA would have been required to admit that a cross-LoC raid had been mounted by the IA, which in turn would have meant that there indeed were unacknowledged sanctuaries within PoK for accommodating both terrorists and irregular active combatants from proscribed ‘tanzeems’. Consequently, the GHQ decided on an elaborate counter-narrative based on outright denial. 
This then led to the Inter Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) organising a press-trip to only those two sectors (Bhimber and Tatta Pani) where the IA had resorted to only cross-LoC shelling.    
On October 1, the press-corps from Islamabad was helilifted first to the Bhimber helipad and from there another Mi-171 ferried the press-corps first to Baghsar, and then to Mandhole village in the PA’s Tatta Pani sector, where it was revealed that the IA’s Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan of 37 Rashtriya Rifles was being kept under detention at the Garrison HQ at Nakyal.
So what comes next? It will be logical to assume that before the onset of winter, the Pakistan Army (PA) will try its level-best to facilitate the infiltration of several ‘sarkari jihadis’ into the Kashmir Valley through multiple infiltration routes along the LoC and even through the ‘Working Boundary’ or WB (i.e. Pakistan’s international border with Jammu that includes the Chicken’s Neck area and which India insists is part of the International Boundary or IB and therefore should not be referred to as the WB) under the cover of deliberate field artillery skirmishes. India, on the other hand, by officially stating that it considers the whole of PoK as an integral part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J & K), has therefore declared that she will regard any Pakistani support/facilitation for armed insurrection by its ‘sarkari jihadis’ inside J & K who have been launched from their sanctuaries inside PoK as a direct and deliberate act-of-war. Consequently, India therefore has signalled her determination to not only target such sanctuaries through repetitive, preventive cross-LoC special operations, but more significantly, has for all intents and purposes declared her intent to climb the escalatory ladder both horizontally (by expanding the lateral frontage required for offensive ground operations) and vertically by bringing in offensive airpower (like the Jaguar IS armed with CBU-105 SFW) to target all PA field artillery gun emplacement sites, regardless of whether they are located within PoK or to the west of the WB in the northeaster portion of Pakistan’s Punjab state.
This explains the PA’s initiation of mortar fire against Nowshera's Salal and Baba Khor areas Akhnoor's Pallanwalla area and in the Balnoie area of Mendhar sector on September 27, followed by the Sabzian area in Poonch on September 28, 2016. Concurrently, India on September 27 started the process of evacuating nearly 1,000 villages in the six border districts of Punjab state that are within 10km of the India-Pakistan international boundary (around the Shakargarh Salient)—these being  the districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Fazilka and Ferozepur. In addition, as a defensive measure the Indian Army (IA) has begun laying anti-tank mines along the Shakargarh Salient and has also begun deploying medium field artillery regiments on both flanks of the Uri-Poonch Bulge as well as around the Shakargarh Salient and Chicken’s Neck area. Through this action, India is signalling that while it has no intention of unleashing its Strike Corps through the IB, she retains the option of unleashing the unrestricted use of her offensive airpower and the IA’s combined armoured and mechanised warfare formations (integrated battle groups) ably supported by field artillery fire-assaults inside both PoK and the Chicken’s Neck area in order to compel the PA to acknowledge that there’s no such thing as a WB and thus its sanctity should be accepted and respected in the same way as the IB.    
To further drive home this point, the Indian Air Force (IAF), barely a week after concluding its annual ‘Talon’ series of air exercises (which are normally held at the same time as the Pakistan Air Force’s annual Highmark series of annual air exercises), activated all 18 of the principal and subordinate air bases of the Western Air Command and Southwestern Air Command on September 26, and began a four-day wargaming exercise that included synchronised air dominance, battlefield air-interdiction and tactical air-interdiction sorties being flown in support of areas of responsibility of the IA’s Southwestern Command (HQed Jaipur, Rajasthan), Western Command (HQed Chandimandir, Chandigarh) and Northern Command (HQed in Udhampur, J & K). Incidentally, the Pakistan Air Force’s EX Highmark had concluded on September 24. 

IB, WB, LoC Explained
It is now important to understand the various territorial boundary/frontier references. The State of Jammu & Kashmir (J & K) has 734km of LoC running through Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions from Kargil to Malu (Akhnoor) in Jammu district, while it has 190km of IB from Malu to Punjab belt running through Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts. The International Boundary (IB) between India and Pakistan spans 2,175km. The Working Boundary (WB) spans 202km, the Line of Control (LoC) spans 797km, and the Line of Actual Contact (LAC)—which India calls the AGPL— from map-grid reference NJ-9842 till Indra Kol—spans 108km. The LoC runs from a place called Sangam close to Chhamb (which lies on the west bank of the Munnawar Tawi River) all the way up north to NJ-9842 in Ladakh, following which the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) takes over. The WB lies in Jammu Division between Boundary Pillar 19 and Sangam i.e. between Jammu and Sialkot), which was part of the erstwhile princely state of J & K. It is this stretch that is known in India as the International Boundary (IB), while Pakistan refers to it as the WB, since it maintains that the border agreement (the so-called standstill agreement) was inked between the princely state of J & K and Pakistan, and not between India and Pakistan. Given the fact that India maintains a near-foolproof anti-infiltration grid along the LoC, Pakistan has since mid-2013 focussed its terrorist infiltration efforts along the WB. Shakargarh Bulge (which is Pakistani territory) is running adjoining the IB, is 45km x 45km, and is held by the PA. The bulge joins Indian territory with a 40km distance in between both countries and touches India’s National Highway-1, which is the lifeline of the entire Kashmir Valley. If PA troops manage to get effectively operational in three to four days at the tip of the bulge, the NH-1 could be cut of totally, rendering the entire north of India paralysed, as all supplies and winter stocking in the Valley is done by this route, for Indian troops.
(To Be Concluded)