The Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for anti-armour loiter ammunition for its mechanised forces which can be used on enemy tanks and other targets in the plains and deserts of Western India as well as on high altitude areas in the Northern borders in Ladakh.
What exactly is a CALM System?
- The CALM System is a pre-loaded canister with loiter ammunition or a drone which once fired can remain aloft for a period of time over the area of operation, and when a target is sighted it can be guided down to destroy the target with the explosive payload that it carries.
- Usually, loiter ammunitions carry a camera which is nose-mounted and which can be used by the operator to see the area of operation and choose targets.
- These munitions also have variants which can be recovered and reused in case they are not used for any strike.
What use of the equipment has been specified in the RFI?
- The RFI states that the CALM Systems will be used in the plains and deserts of the Western parts of the country as well as the Northern high altitude areas of heights up to 5,000 metres.
- In the plains and deserts, the system should be able to operate between the temperature of zero degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius while in high altitude it should be able to operate between minus 15 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
- It will be employed by the Mechanised Infantry units of the Army for surveillance of beyond line of sight targets by day and night in real time and beyond visual range engagement of enemy armoured fighting vehicles and other ground based weapon platforms over extended ranges.
Has this kind of system been used in combat?
- The CALM System had been very effectively used in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in 2021 where the Azerbaijan forces made extensive use of Israeli systems to wreak havoc on Armenian tanks, radar systems, communication hubs and other military targets.
- The top down attack capability of the loiter ammunition gives it a big advantage over targets such as tanks which are vulnerable to any attack on the top where the armour protection is weak.
- The Russian military is also using their ZALA KYB loiter ammunition in Ukraine while some reports say that the US has also provided Ukraine with its Switchblade loiter munitions that could target Russian armour 10 km away.