The US defense major Boeing has started an Analysis and Experimentation Center in Bangalore in partnership with the Indian government-owned defense company Bharat Electronics Limited.
So far soft-launched, the center will conduct studies for clients that require projections of play-outs of future conflict scenario. Boeing’s International Director of Analysis and Experimentation, Eugene Beckles says the Indian Integrated Defense Staff (IDS), the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) have been apprised of the opportunities this unit would present them to better plan their acquisitions and structures for future conflicts. He says the reaction so far has been ‘mixed’.
Boeing has existing centers in Australia and the United Kingdom and is also building one in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
With assets, threats and objectives laid out, the scenario was war-gamed by operators at the new center at Bangalore in association with operators at their centers in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Beckles thinks this is a service that could be utilized by the armed forces for virtual war gaming to visualize future operational options and strategies.
He also said that the one of the focus areas of the Analysis and Experimentation unit is also to examine the challenges posed by the urban warfare in varied settings, especially important after something like the 2008 terrorists attacks on Mumbai.
In its discussions with the IAF, Boeing was asked about the possibility of examining the question of air superiority in a possible future conflict with China.
Dr. RP Sharma, representing BEL by video link from Bangalore, said such a gaming and simulation capacity could have reduced the four to five year delays in the construction of the Indian Navy’s Combat Management System, ultimately deployed on the Talwar-class frigates.
But there are issues of secrecy and sensitivity that do have to be tip-toed around, something which Boeing recognizes. Which is also why they employ retired Indian military officers like Colonel Rajesh Sood as Senior Manager and local systems engineers who are cleared for working on sensitive projects.
Boeing and BEL are also setting up another such center at the latter’s facility in Ghaziabad near New Delhi, later this year.
Your correspondent visited the United States recently at the invitation of the Boeing Company.