SEA-BASED C4ISR: Paving the Way for the Future

C4ISR stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance whose principal function is to find, fix, as well as track both friendly as well as hostile forces....

C4ISR stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance whose principal function is to find, fix, as well as track both friendly as well as hostile forces. C4ISR systems are also used to assess the amount of damage occurred to the hostile targets in the area of interest. The functions of the C4ISR systems are not only restricted to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, but also include tasking of sensors, as well as interpretation, interrogation as well as exploitation of the processed information.
C4SIR is becoming central to naval strike groups’ combat capabilities. It provides all the relevant information, which is critical for the success of operations in areas such as Surface warfare, Air defense missile system, Anti-submarine systems, Mine warfare, amphibious operations, Maritime interception operation to protect merchant shipping, Maritime security, Maritime homeland security, Counter drug operations, Disaster recovery and rescue operations, Humanitarian assistance, Defense support, the protection of blue water assets like oil fields, strategic naval bases and communication networks running through sea.

The Once-clear distinctions between C4ISR and combat systems are distorting. New concepts of operation are likely to draw C4ISR systems more prominently into the kill chain which shall lead to improvement in-war fighting measures as well as the mission-cycle time (time to find threats, attack targets, and take damage on assets).

The Control, Command, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR) market is growing with the increase in the number of security attacks, global terrorism, increasing the requisite for integrated solutions and interoperability, rise in asymmetric warfare and increasing use of technologies like Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) and unmanned platforms. The sea-based C4ISR market relies majorly on military grade electronic equipment which includes small parts like chips and components.

Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) networks are a real game changer for defense forces, both in eras of peace and war. Covering everything from battlefield sensors to night vision goggles, C4ISR systems are used extensively by just about every military group around the world. With these systems, commanders can gain great insight into the enemy’s movements and their surroundings, and devise actions based on real-time information. However, as this technology has been developed in fits and bursts over decades, many devices are incompatible with others, and systems for efficient analysis of all the data are few leading to a surge of information that can be near to impossible to fully-analyze and act on.

In previous years, battlefield commanders would grasp any piece of information coming to gain insight about their enemy or environment. However, the last couple of decades have seen serious investments in sensor and tactical equipment, which currently produce overwhelming volumes of data that can be molded according to specific needs by making use of the C4ISR system.

In Japan, C4ISR has emerged as one of the top priorities of the government, over concerns about the activities of China and North Korea. In 2013, the country spent more than JPY 10 billion to upgrade electronic warfare and other similar equipment. Brazil strives to become a global power in the future. Thus, there has been a lot of activity happening in the Brazilian defence market, specifically in the C4ISR domain. To strengthen its defence ties, the country recently awarded a USD 4.7 billion contract to SAAB AB to replace its ageing fleet. In addition, Brazil is expected to put impetus in acquiring command and control systems to assist in operations.

Current and Planned Anti-submarine Warfare ISR Systems
The Naval Services bear the primary responsibility for undersea ISR operations. In the current scenario, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations are carried out by making use of ships, submarine, and airborne sensors, along with an array of sonar sensors that are deployed on the ocean floor. Surface combat ships and attack submarines are equipped with hull-mounted sonars and towed arrays. Furthermore, several types of deployed sonar equipment are currently under development.

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