Indian Army to boost surveillance with 118 ISAT-S, that comes integrated with four kamikaze drones for deterrence against potential threats

The Indian Army approved the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of 118 Integrated Surveillance and Targeting Systems (ISAT-S) for its mechanised fleet on October 17. This advanced system, as per the released AoN, will ‘revolutionise’ the way the Army’s armoured divisions conduct surveillance operations, enhancing its operational and tactical capabilities. The system will not only have a defensive role but also an offensive one, with its four integrated kamikaze drones.

The procurement is a component of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)'s approved Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for nine capital acquisition proposals, amounting to approximately Rs 45,000 crore.

Overview of ISAT-S Procurement

The ISAT-S is designed to provide comprehensive surveillance and targeting capabilities for mechanised forces. It includes an array of components such as a Surveillance Drone, Operator Control Unit (OCU), Remote Video Terminal (RVT), and Tube-launched Loitering Munitions, among others. This integrated system is assured to be a game-changer in modern warfare.

As per the AoN, the system will have the capability to be launched from altitudes up to 4500 metres and to operate seamlessly in temperatures ranging from minus 20°C to 45°C. The surveillance drone, equipped with colour day video and monochromatic night thermal cameras, will be able to detect human targets at ranges of up to 4000 metres, with recognition capabilities extending up to 2500 metres.

Integration With Existing Armour of Indian Army

One of the key aspects mentioned in the AoN is that the ISAT-S should be able to integrate with the mechanised division's existing Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) including all the tanks in its arsenal - T-72, T-90, and MBT Arjun. The system would include four loitering munitions ready to be launched from within the tank, ensuring minimal impact on the vehicle's silhouette. Additionally, the system will have the capability to dismantle enemy tanks while attacking from the top angle, targeting the adversary's turret.

According to the AoN, the system should be able to operate in the unlicensed ISM band. The ISAT-S will need to employ encryption standards with 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption to secure communication between components. Anti-jamming and anti-spoofing measures will also be integrated into both hardware and software, ensuring uninterrupted and secure operation.

Training And Simulation

To ensure seamless operation, a comprehensive training simulator will also be developed, as mentioned in the official AoN. It will have separate instructor and student consoles, enabling mission planning, scenario setting, and performance assessment. The simulator's technical specifications are stated to align with Defence Series Map standards, ensuring realistic training scenarios.

Maintainability And Ergonomics

The ISAT-S will need to adhere to stringent environmental and operational standards. It, as stated in the statement, will comply with Optoelectronic equipment standards and will, in the future, be verified and validated accordingly. Moreover, emission testing will ensure that the system meets electromagnetic compatibility standards.