Getting ready for futurisitic warfare, the Indian Army has raised “Signals Technology Evaluation and Adaptation Group” (STEAG), a first of its kind specialised technology unit, for undertaking research and evaluation of the next generation communication technologies like Artificial Intelligence, 5G and 6G networks, machine learning, and quantum technologies for defence applications.

The move is in sync with realisation in the Indian armed forces to equip themselves with next generation fighting capabilities. The Army last year decided to operationalise command cyber operations and support wings (CCOSW), for cyberwarfare.

Corps of Signals

Army sources said the STEAD is at a nascent stage of evolution, but it would be under Corps of Signals which is a combat support arm handling military communications.

Realising that communications are an important component of military operations, the Indian Army stated that the side with better communication technologies and the ability to connect the various constituents for information sharing will have an edge over its adversary.

Communication support

“The modern warfare necessitates the induction of new equipment to provide seamless communication support to units and formations during operations. To imbibe such advancements in technology, the Indian Army has raised this groundbreaking technology-oriented unit STEAG which will bolster its capabilities in digital domain,” said sources in the defence establishment.

STEAG will be nurturing and developing tailored technologies spanning the complete spectrum of wired and wireless systems to include electronic exchanges, mobile communications, Software Defined Radios (SDR), Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, 5G and 6G networks, Quantum Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, the Army officials elaborated.

“It will be a premier organisation, the first of its kind equipped with the capability to harness niche technology, leverage cutting edge solutions and identify suitable use-cases for defence applications by fostering collaboration and partnership with Academia and Industry,” Army sources observed.

The hi-tech unit will carry out technical scouting, evaluation, development, management of core ICT solutions, and provides user interface support by maintenance and upgradation of contemporary technologies available in the environment.

Aligning itself with the tenets of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Start-Up India, STEAG will help bridge the divide between the Armed Forces on the one hand and industry and academia on the other. The new Centre of Excellence is expected to be a game changer in fostering self-reliance in high end communication technologies, which have thus far been a monopoly of select countries with advanced economies and research ecosystems.