Maritime Theatre Command set for roll out in mid-2022
Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar announced on December 3 that a 10-year Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP) is in the works under the auspices of the newly-raised Department of Military Affairs to prioritise military procurements.
“The ICDP will replace the 15-year Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MPCC),” he declared at the annual Navy Day press conference. The new Plan will junk the individual service approach and focus on a wholistic military approach to prioritise inter-service and intra-service procurements and capability building.
“All three service are working on the Plan which will be finalised by mid-or end of next year,” he said, while ducking a question on whether the new planning process would bolster the Navy’s fleet strength or reduce it further.
The ICDP would “intricately link” military capability to budgets, attempting to ensure budgetary commitment to plans. “The 10-year ICDP, 5-Year Acquisition Plan and 2-Year Roll-On Acquisition Plan will be put up to the apex political leadership for approval so that the Budget matches the Plan,” he elaborated.
Besides the integrated, tri-service, whole military approach, the 10-year timeframe to the Plan as against 15 years for the earlier service-specific plans caters to the rapid changes in technology and the consequent high rate of obsolescence. The 10-year blueprint is being drawn up by following a scientific regimen which involves environmental scanning, simulation studies and net assessment while taking into account the national security objectives. Mission requirement would be worked out and capability gaps identified, the Admiral said.
The Navy Chief said the ICDP would enable the right balance. “It’s not either or. It’s about the capability we want,” he said.
Admiral Hari Kumar had initiated this exercise during his stint as the Chief of Integrated Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC).
He also expressed commitment to the Make in India agenda. “All 28 ships and submarines commissioned into the Navy over the last seven years have been built in India. Further, of the 39 ships and submarines, currently under construction, 37 are being built at Indian shipyards,” he said.
“I would also like to inform you that Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) exists for 72 projects worth 1,97,359 Crore, of which 59 projects worth 1,74,027 Crore, that is over 88%, are for indigenous development,” he elaborated to buttress the Make in India commitment.
The Navy Chief also expressed wholehearted support for the ongoing Defence reforms and announced that the Maritime Theatre Command under this process would be ready for roll-out by mid-2022. It is likely to be headquartered at Karwar.
“We’re looking forward to the Maritime Theatre Command. Details are likely to be finalised by mid-2022. The command structures stay in place with a lean Theatre Command organisation on top for a largely operational role. The (Service) Chief will be responsible for modernisation and training while operational aspects will be handled by the Theatre Commander,” Admiral Hari Kumar disclosed.
In response to questions by the Editor-in-Chief of SP Guide Publications, Mr Jayant Baranwal, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar announced a 10-year roadmap for indigenously developing unmanned systems for the Indian Navy. He also indicated that the Navy's share of the 30 drones which are sought to be acquired from the US will be for surveillance.
Q. How do you see the Indian Navy in terms of the capability of its human assets?
A. We're getting the best of personnel. We train them well. Women officers too are of a very high quality. They are as good as or even better than their male counterparts. We're extremely proud to have the best of personnel working as shipmates.
Q. Can you share the plans towards unmanned fleet?
A. There is an ongoing case for procurement of surveillance drones. There is a 10-year roadmap for indigenously developing air, surface and sub-surface unmanned systems.