Combat Journal | Aug 1, 1988


Thu battlefield of the future will be characterised by fast flowing, mobile operation , conducted by mechanised forces in a high density electronic environment. Enemy force will be located, tracked and engaged by fire almost instantaneously through the use of sophisticated target acquisition devices, computer assisted intelligence evaluation and automated fire control, facilitated by dedicated data links for real-time exchange of information and passage of orders. Rapid technological advances are changing the very shape, scope and speed of land, warfare with weapon systems whose range, lethality and employment capabilities surpass anything known in contemporary warfare.


Operational planning, decision making and reactions to emerging situations on the future battlefield will require real-time intelligence inputs at all levels of command. The intelligence system will have to be based on a series of central computers. It will have to be capable of multi-source gathering of information, automatic transmission of the acquired information to a central processor over dedicated data links, rapid collation, analysis, interpretation and synthesis of Intelligence and its immediate dissemination to user formations and units by way of digitized maps, facsimile and hard copy in the form of intelligence summaries (Isum) and air-photos. Beside their own area of Influence, formations will need to be well informed about situations developing in their flanking formations because of the speed and flexibility of mechanisd operations. This will call for a high degree of automation in the exchange of information and plans.

The present tactical intelligence system is fairly rigid and based on the chain of command. There is a proliferation of agencies reporting to different controlling Headquarters (HQ) and directorates. The intelligence cycle involved in the production of useful Intelligence form raw information is laborious and time consuming. There is also duplication of effort in certain cases because of a lack of of effective coordination, for example, between Signal Intelligence (SI) units controlled by the Signal Intelligence (Sigint) Directorate at the Army HQ and the Electronic Warfare (EW) units controlled by the Corps HQ to which they are allotted.

There is, hence, a need to evolve a comprehensive tactical intelligence system which is reliable and sufficiently responsive to the needs of the future battlefield. The system should be so organised as to provide real-time intelligence inputs and be capable of automatic intelligence data update both up and down the command link and sideways to the flanking formations. It should also be capable of meaningful inter-action with Surveillance. and Target Acquisition (SATA) and EW resource to make optimum use of the information collected by these agencies, particularly Communications Intelligence (Comint) and Electronic Intelligence (Elint).

(Rapid technological advances are changing the vary shape, scope and speed of land warfare with weapon systems whose range, lethality and employment capabilities surpass anything known in contemporary warfare.)

During World War II Sigint comprising Comint and Elint, was considered to be strategic intelligence. It was directed and controlled at the highest executive level, seldom below field army level. Since World War II the use of sigin has remained largely shrouded in a veil of secrecy, Also EW, primarily jamming, was relegated to a technology with nuisance value rather than used as an Offensive weapon which it both have burst forth from their confines. Increasingly, commanders and their staff at tactical echelons are learning to understand the application, advantages and limitations of sigint ad EW. The stimulus for the present emphasis on EW was the 1973 Middle East War. It was the first conflict in which large scale EW. Sigint and coordinated artillery firs were used together as a multiplier of combat power.


It Is clear that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive integrated tactical intelligence system capable of real-time intelligence gathering and processing and with a capability of storing a vast amount of information in a data bank which permits instantaneous access for retrieval and updating to all dependent formation/units. There are two main options available to evolve such a system for use in our Army in the future.

The first option is to evolve a new system which combines the SATA regiments including their surveillance resources, the EW Group and reconnaissance and Support battalions into a comprehensive SEWI (Surveillance, Electronic Warfare and Intelligence ) Group at the Corps level with three to four SEWI Sub-Groups, one for each infantry division or RAPID . Such a group would combine under one commander all the major intelligence gathering agencies except troops in contact. Also, as offensive EW, in particular, is related intimately with the tactical situation and the intelligence available about the enemy’s electronic environment and devices, gathered by way of Electronic environment and devices, gathered by way of Electronic support and devices, gathered by way of electronic-support measures (ESM). The central control of EW, surveillance and intelligence unit,will result in better coordination, singularity to tasks and higher degree of cohesion. However, such a system is likely to be monolithic and unwieldy in nature. It is not discussed further as it would suffer from the following major disadvantage:-

  • SEWI groups and Sub-groups, will lack organic cohesion as they will comprise sub-units and detachments of specialists I different branches of surveillance and intelligence gathering with very little in common.
  • Centralised control of such a high order of magnitude will result in a certain loss in flexibility of employment and a systemic delay in decision meaning at the functional level. However, at the policy making level, centralisation is always an advantage, like in any other field.
  • Interpretation and analysis of intelligence by a single unit or agency such as SEWI can often be prejudiced. With no alternative sources available for comparison, this can lead to grossly wrong inputs for making tactical decisions.
  • End users of certain exclusive intelligence output, such as from Gun and Mortar Locating Radars for the counter-bombardment (CB) staff at the HQ of an artillery brigade, will not have direct access to intelligence gathering agency as hithortofore.
  • The flow of intelligence will not smooth in all directions, that is, up and down the chain of command and to flanks. It will be mainly from the acquisition devices/sources direct to the sub-group or group and from there down to the user formations and unit. This is a problem which even the CE WI (Combat Electronic Warfare and Intelligence) battalions of the US Army be have been unable to overcome.


The second option is to create, an efficient organization for the automated acquisition of real-time intelligence from existing intelligence agencies operating in the field. The system should be linked by a secure, dedicated communications network. Intelligence centres and cells at the corps and divisional levels, respectively, should carry out seedy analysis, processing and data update and instantaneously intimate the intelligence output to the concerned user. The Automated intelligence System (AIIS) recommended to meet all the requirement on the modern battlefield is explained in succeeding paragraphs.

(The stimulus for the present emphasis on EW was the 1973 Middle east War. It was the first conflict in which large scale EW, sigint and coordinated suppressive artillery fires were used together as a multiplier of combat power.)

In the AIIS concept, as shown in the diagram opposite, an all-source analysis centre (ASACENT) should be set up next to the Operations and planning room” at the corps HQ (Main) . the ASACENT as should be manned by the GS (Int) Staff. It should be based on a main frame computer with adequate terminal electronic line printers, facsimile printers and a disc oriented data base system. An identical computer should be used as a back up in the hot stand by mode. The incoming information and intelligence should be processed at the ASACENT speedy designed software. The result, in the form of a deduction or options requiring a decision before further processing should be presented to the concerned staff officer on his terminal console. On completion of analysis, the data bank should be automatically updated and the end product disseminated to the concerned higher, data channels down to all agencies interacting with ASACENT and ASACELL. The Plan AREN type of area grid network would be eminently suited for the purpose. However, systems engineering will have to take into account the voluminous amount of data which will flow over AIIS communication circuits.

Organisaton of the Staff in AIIS

In addition to the GS (Int) Staff presently authorised to Corps HQ, the following additional staff officers are recommended to be authorised at the ASACENT:—

  • GSO 1 (Intalligenco Analysis).
  • GSO 2 (Intelligence Data Base).
  • GSO 2 (Sigint).

In addition to the GS (Int) staff presently authorised to divisional HQ, the following additional staff officers are recommended to be authorisd at the ASACELL.

  • GSO 2 (Intelligence Analysis and Data Base).
  • GSO 2 (Sigint).

Advantages of AIIS

AIIS will have the following major advantages:-

  • Real-Time Availability to Intelligence. Intelligence will be available, to commanders instantaneously, directly from ASACENT or ASACELL to aid in speedy decision making.
  • Chain of Command System. The AIIS has the advantage of closely following the chain of command and yet has the flexibility to interact directly with higher and flanking formations and intelligence sources, such as SI elements which may not be directly under command.
  • Individual Character of Units retained. The individual character of Units retained. The Individual character and special responsibilities of units such as EW groups and SATA regiments can be retined even while achieving the desired degree of integration of the acquisition Intelligence.
  • Integrated Training. All the intelligence agencies will train with the formation with which they will fight, giving Commanders and staff at every level the opportunity to acquire the skills required in integrating tactical intelligence with the battle plan and lo learn to employ intelligence as a genuine forcer multiplier, not merely as the innocuous ‘I’ of C3I.

All the intelligence agencies will train with the formation with which they will fight, giving commanders and stall at every level the opportunity to acquire the skills required integrating tactical intelligence with battle plan and to learn to employ intelligence as a genuine force multiplier, not merely as the Innocuous ‘I’ of C3I.

Cost Effective System. AIIS will be a cost effective tactical intelligence system it involves minimum capital outlay on hardware for the integration of all intelligence activities. The major expenditure would be on an automated, secure, digital communication systems. The can be obviated by dovetailing AIIS with Plan AREN and the Operational Information System lower and flanking formation and agencies such as EW Group, Joint Air Defence Centre (JADC) and others who may need that tat of Intelligence.

The ASACENT should obtain information intelligence form and interact with the following for the acquisition and dissemination of Intelligence:-

  • GS (Int) at HQ Command.
  • Operations and Planning Room at the Corps HQ (Main).
  • ASACENT of Flanking Corps.
  • HQ Corps artillery brigade.
  • EWCC (Electronic Warfare Control Centre).
  • SI Units of SI Directorate which are in location in the Corps Zone.
  • Army Aviation Squadron.
  • JADC
  • APTS (for air photographs and imagery interpretation).
    ASACELL (All Source Analysis Cell) at all divisional HQ and ASACELL increments at independent armoured and infantry brigade HQ.

Like the ASACENT at Corps HQ, there should be a ASACELL should be manned by the divisional GS (Int) staff and should be based on a control computer with a of standby. Processing of Intelligence from raw data should be carried out in a manner similar to that at the ASACENT. However, one salient diffence should be that the ASACELL should instantaneously transmit all raw information data as it is received to the ASACENT. This should be followed by deductions/assessment being forwarded as hither-to-fore, by means of intelligence reports and ISUMS. Such a system will reduce or eliminate efforts to interpretation as analysis will be carried out independently by the ASACENT and the ASACELL. This will also introduce a redundancy factor in the intelligence process.
The ASACELL at the divisional HQ should interact with the following:-

  • ASACENT at HQ (Main)
  • Operations room at the divisional HQ (main)
  • ASACELL‘s of flanking divisions
  • HQ artillery brigade
  • HQ infantry brigade
  • EWCP (Electronic Warfare Command Post)
  • DADC (Divisional Air Defence Centre)
  • SATA regiment of the division. RPVs and surveillance radars may transmit information directly to ASACELL when required.
  • Reconnaissance and Support Battalion Company (Where authorised)

Flow of Intelligence

The flow of Intelligence in the AIIS will be as shown in the diagram. Information/raw data will flow to the ASACENT and ASACELL directly from the acquisition agencies. Processed intelligence, after analysis, evaluation, interpretation and synthesis, will flow to the concerned users and the agencies requiring information update for their own functioning.


Combat or tactical intelligence deals with those facets of intelligence with commanders in the field need in order to effectively plan and successfully execute their operational plan in a combat zone. At present, A large number of surveillance and intelligence organizations and agencies operation in a corps zone. There is very litter inter-action report directly to the command HQ. They report directly to the command HQ or even to Army HQ. this has resulted in a haphazard and uncoordinated method of acquisition of intelligence. Analysis, interpretation and synthesis are seriously hampered.

There is urgent need to develop an integrated tactical intelligence system capable of collecting information directly form various sources, carrying out speedy evaluation and disseminating intelligence in a user-friendly from to the concerned formations and units. The AIIS (Automated Integrated Intelligence System) with an ASACENT at the Corps HQ and an ASACELL at the division HQ all the requirements of a tactical intelligence system of the future. It will be a reliable and cost effective system capable of meeting to morrow’s need today and will restore intelligence to its equal-partner place in the acronym C3I, making intelligence a true and potent combat force multiplier. The AIIS will satiate to a great octant every commander’s obsession with what lies on “the other side of the hill.”