This was a long pending demand of the Indian Army

To provide a big boost to the operational capability of defence forces, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has given its approval for Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON) Phase IV of the Indian Army. The India Army’s Corps of Signals maintain the Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON).

This was a long pending demand of the Indian Army and the project has been given to M/s ITI, a PSU. To be implemented within 36 months from the date of signing the contract, the project is estimated to cost around Rs 7,796.39 crore.

How Will This Help The Indian Army?

This is going to be an upgrade on the existing Asynchronous Transfer Mode Technology to Internet Protocol (IP) / Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Technology.

Also, Optical Fibre Cable (OFC), Microwave Radio and Satellite will be used for communication.

In any operational scenario with almost 80 per cent indigenous content this system is expected to provide better survivability, responsiveness and high bandwidth.

It will enhance the communication coverage of network closer to IB/LC/LAC.

Through this network, the high bandwidth communication will extend to the remote operational areas in Central and Eastern Sectors.

And will also reach to the forward locations in the Western border.

This whole project is expected to augment the communication network of Indian Army in the sensitive forward operational areas. Keeping in view the ongoing tensions in eastern Ladakh, this communication project upgrade will give a boost to the operational preparedness of the Indian Army.

Also, the Indian industry gets a big boost as this project involves the execution of civil works, laying of OFC, tower construction, etc.

And more employment opportunities will be generated in remote border areas.

Expert View

According to Debajit Sarkar, expert on competitive intelligence and market research in the defence and aerospace and industry, “Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON) is the army’s telecom network spread across different terrains in the western, northern, north-eastern regions.”

According to him, “The project is an Internet Protocol- Multi Protocol Label Switching (IP-MPLS) based communication network with that combines satellite, microwave radio and optical fiber network. It is a fully automated, digital, protected, dependable and survivable static communication system based on satellite, microwave radio, optical fibre cable and mill metric wave communication apparatus. ASCON also provides services such as FAX, TELEX, Data Transfer and Video to defence users on this network.”

“Under Phase IV of this project ITI will install and maintain telecom equipment’s like IP/MPLS routers, mobile nodes, various telecom equipment and network managed services in order to provide the complete infrastructure at various sites and thereafter rollout of an optical fibre network over thousands of kilometres,” Debajit Sarkar explains.

Why Is It Critical?

“ASCON Phase IV will provide better survivability, responsiveness and high bandwidth in any operational scenario and enhance the communication coverage of the network closer to the LAC, LOC and International Border. So now at a place line Ladakh for instance, the Army’s communication channel will become more robust and adversaries will find it difficult to jam,” he adds.