Posts Tagged ‘ cyberwarfare ’

Leaner and Meaner fighters

While at the Dubai Airshow this year I had a chance to check out the latest in military aviation technology. Well not really the latest but about the closest that was available for people to see. Anyway, from the B1 bombers with the awesome “Master of disaster” B1 bomber to the latest fourth generation F22 stealth fighter everything was there to be scrutinised by press and end users alike. The flying and stationary displays of the aircrafts were not only the displays that were there. It was more and that included in the airshow. The technology display pavilions were amazing as well.

But after a long and exhaustive day at the airshow, I really began to wonder the relevance of the aircrafts. I mean considering the last few years where more than countries going on full blown wars, we have seen smaller gueirella terrorist outfits that make use of imilar technologies as field american personnel. There is a bit of a level playing field considering that in order to engage in combat with these guys one would need to be on the ground and in their lairs. It is definately not as simple as two aircrafts going head to head in open air for a full blown dogfight. In these circumstances is the military fighter aircraft kind of loosing its relevance ?

Fighter aircraft are increasingly required to justify their expense by adapting to new roles and capabilities. Even so, fleet sizes continue to decrease. Despite still forming the backbone of advanced air forces, the size of many global fighter aircraft fleets is on a steady downward trajectory. Simultaneously, this reduction in the physical numbers of combat aircraft coupled with emerging operational requirements has necessitated an expansion in the mission set they are capable of undertaking. Aside from traditional tasks such as defensive and offensive counter air missions, today’s fighters are increasingly required to be accomplished at providing close air support and strike capabilities as well as contributing to intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance efforts.
The future structure of the USAF’s fighter fleet is currently one of the key issues facing the Pentagon and the new administration of US President Barack Obama, with the White House looking to reduce its defence budget while simultaneously remaining engaged in two foreign theatres. As a result of these dual demands, the USAF has been placed under increasing pressure by the Pentagon to focus upon providing capabilities relevant to continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, this mentality appears to have shifted attention from the air-superiority mission if current fighter procurement plans are examined. Moreover, the geography of future fighter programmes seems likely to change over the coming years. Despite European, Russian and US dominance in the current global fighter market in terms of market share, a shift away from these traditional centres of fighter technology, although minimal over the next 15 years, does appear to be taking place.
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So, I think the airshows in the next few years is going to consistently move towards civilian aviation technologies and not military technologies. So the last few goldern years of military aviation technology is available for us to view through the air shows. Lets make the most of the airshows then.

Technology and Networks in the Military

Sparked by the Dubai Air show, and the awesome display of the aircrafts here, I began to think what the future of the warfare would be like. We are seeing a different sort of a conflict resolution in the world already, The U.S playing big brother in the world trying to have a say in all the internal issues of countries is a growing concern among nations. This was evident when the U.S president bought over the topic of unrest in Tibet and the Xinjiang province. The “Minority Report” style of operations (like foreseeing the conflict that Iraq may pose with its alleged WMD’s) that was employed by the U.S to attack Iraq was something of a game changer, not only is the result a bad reference for the U.S but a definite setback to similar thinking processes.

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The entire shift of conflicts now is spearheaded world over through the keyword “terrorism”. Most conflicts starting from the Sri Lankan siege on the LTTE or the worldwide attack on Al Qaeda are all terrorism related. The good old days of the cold war don’t seem to be in sight, when one country used espionage on another country to get information in peace time to have an upper hand during “war” time. On the surface it looks like it is a dying form of warfare or has it just moved from the physical to the virtual.

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Analysts say China employs a constantly shifting mix of official and civilian or semicivilian groups (such as so-called patriotic hacker associations) as the foot soldiers — the “proxies” — in its cyberwar armies. The technological challenges of tracing attacks on U.S. government and private-corporation computers are so enormous that Beijing can simply deny that any of the problems have originated in China. If you cannot identify the source you cannot deter the attack. So far, the Chinese have been able to get away with it, despite the fact that not just the U.S. is complaining. In the past few years, sources ranging from the German Chancellor’s office to government mainframes as far afield as New Zealand and Belgium have made loud public allegations that they had been the subject of cyberinfiltration from China, all to no avail.

If U.S. officials try to raise the issue of what they believe is a constant and growing campaign by China to infiltrate U.S. networks, steal secrets and hone Beijing’s ability to wreak havoc in case of military conflict, the likelihood is that Chinese officials will simply deny that the problem exists, as they have done with great success in the past. From the American point of view, there’s unfortunately currently little Washington can do to change that state of affairs.

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Since I am from one of China’s neighbors, India, this might not be something we might be losing sleep over, today. But definitely as technological advancements trickle down into the heart of the military operations in India this might be something that we need to worry about, but unlike a country like the U.S, our inability of implementation of these technologies in the military sector might be a sort of a boon in disguise. The websites of the Indian armed forces are a faint shadow of their counterparts in the U.S or Europe.

With less networking between the bases, the Indian Armed forces rely on less “low tech” communication methods than the rest of the superpower militaries. Although having declaring itself a nuclear state with the capability of producing a nuclear weapon in 18 months, It has begun indigenously manufacturing its own weaponry only in the late 90’s and the 2000’s.

One could write a whole lot about the pros of technology in the military, I am quite contended that India is on the ‘not-so-advanced’ list. For now …