Bangladesh Analysis Bangladesh Army Modernisation: 2030 and beyond


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It has become widely accepted that the convergence of technological advances is leading to a revolution in military affairs or perhaps even a military revolution. One of the unanswered questions concerning this shift is whether it will lead to continued dominance by the offense or a period of defensive dominance. Offense dominance means that battle requires much greater resources to defend than attack. Defense dominance reverses that balance. Today several high intensity regional conflicts in various parts of the World has provided us invaluable opportunity to reassess and examine the doctrinal rationale of warfighting concepts and the implications of range of capabilities for 21th century warfare.

In this Article, we will examine the great duality of war and seek the answer to the most relevant question: Does technology favour the offensive or defensive? And in light of it, we will assess how Bangladesh Army should fight: Concepts – doctrine – organisation – training, and what it should fight with: materials – 5 modernisation priorities.

Part I

The great duality of war: Does technology favour the offensive or defensive?

To examine this question, we will provides a couple of historical examples of the shift between offense and defense dominance at the tactical level.

History records a constantly shifting balance between offense and defense, driven by a combination of social, economic, and political changes. Despite Americans’ love for technology, it alone cannot drive major shifts. For instance, defense was dominant during much of the medieval period because of the cost and difficulty of reducing a castle. This was based not only on the technology of building a castle but also the political, social, and economic structures necessary to do so. Offense was not restored until a wide range of social, political, technological, and military changes necessary for the development of military establishments capable of rapidly reducing the castles occurred. While cannons provided a key technology, the society first had to develop the political, social, and economic systems to produce and sustain them.

A much later major shift of advantage to the defense was driven by the development of rifled muskets and the cannon, the mass production of these weapons, the tactical adaptation of field fortifications, mobilization of mass manpower, economies that could pay for them, and governments that could marshal those resources. The combination of these factors led to defense dominating the tactical battlefield from the late U.S. Civil War until near the end of World War I. Governments could field and arm forces that combined the tactics and technology, which meant any unit moving above ground could be quickly observed and taken under fire. The opposing armies were forced to go to ground in massive trench systems that could be held even against numerically superior attacking forces. Failure of military leaders to recognize these changes—despite the lessons of Crimea, the Boer War, and the Russo-Japanese war—led to repeated, bloody, futile attempts to cross World War I’s “no-man’s-lands.”

It was not until the Germans applied new concepts and tactics to technology emerging from the second industrial revolution—first lightweight machine guns and mortars, then armor and aircraft—that movement was restored to the battlefield. The transition was not completed before the end of World War I. During the interwar period, political, social, and economic systems had to evolve in parallel to produce the skilled engineers and operators, the financial backbone, and the will to conduct the global mechanized warfare of World War II. Since then, the offense has generally dominated tactically in conventional conflicts.

Today, convergence of 21st-century technologies is dramatically changing the battlefield environment. Commercial satellite networks tied to artificial intelligence (AI) processing tools mean that we are approaching a period of constant surveillance of the planet with visual, infrared, and electromagnetic sensors, as well as synthetic aperture radar. At the same time, nations are developing AI-assisted command and control systems that will allow them to absorb, understand, and act promptly on the resulting intelligence. This will enable them to coordinate attacks across all domains, including long-range precision attacks and swarms of autonomous hunters, informed by many sources and sensors, that will seek out their prey.

These co-evolving concepts, tactics, and commercial and military technologies are
once again creating a battle-space in which movement becomes extremely
dangerous. If a unit moves, it will create a signal and can be attacked at much greater ranges than in the past. At the same time, cyber, space, and
electromagnetic domains will provide both reinforcement for and increasingly
powerful alternatives to kinetic attacks.

It is essential to understand the difference between offense domination and a temporary advantage gained by offensive action. Offense domination provides the aggressor a major advantage that can be pursued throughout the conflict. Thus, it is inherently escalatory because the side that attacks first is perceived to have a war-winning advantage. Attacking first has historically provided the advantage of selecting the time and place of the battle. But it has also often provided only a temporary advantage because the attack did not prove sustainable for several reasons. These can best be expressed by the attack reaching its culminating point before it attained its strategic goals. This has been particularly true when concepts, tactics, and technology combined to increase the inherent advantages of the defense.


The impact of the fourth industrial revolution on this oldest domain of war has already been dramatic. As noted, the balance between offense and defense in land combat has shifted through the ages. Since the last year of World War I, the offense has dominated conventional ground combat. (Irregular warfare has followed its own pattern.) However, emerging technologies are shifting the balance in conventional warfare back to the defense.

Since new systems allow units to remain passive and yet see the battlefield clearly, the defense will have a distinct advantage. Electro-optical and electronic warfare sensors can provide a great deal of information that, combined with external sensors such as satellites and drones, can allow the defenders to visualize the battlefield without revealing their own positions. The defenders will not have to emit signals until they choose to fire. And they will have the advantage of fighting from prepared positions. While most current systems must be manned to operate, autonomous and remote-control systems are being developed worldwide. As these systems mature, defenders can be located at a distance from their weapons and thus not be at risk even after firing. Recent events have shown ground forces will be subject to attack by the emerging families of swarming drones.2 Inexpensive autonomous drones are flying now and can be mass produced using advanced manufacturing techniques. It is not unreasonable to expect a defender to be able to launch hundreds or even thousands of loitering munitions against each brigade-size attack.

In contrast, attackers will have to move if they intend to execute anything but strike missions against the defender. The very act of moving will create a signature. While attackers will retain the traditional advantage of selecting the time and place of attack, the advantage of physically massing either offensive or defensive forces is declining as weapons ranges increase dramatically. Mass can be achieved by assembling long-range fires rather than massing forces. This favors the defender since attackers may well be forced to pass through restrictive chokepoints, while defenders can disperse to the maximum effective range of their weapons. However, as the Azerbaijanis demonstrated against the Armenians, the offense can remain dominant if the attacker adopts modern concepts and weapons while the defender relies on 20th-century weapons and concepts.1

How army should fight?

Fighting power

Fighting power is a concept that describes the operational effectiveness of armed forces, or any element of them. Fighting power recognises the fact that forces do not simply consist of such tangibles as people and equipment, they also have intangible conceptual and moral properties that can play a decisive role in shaping their effective employment. The drive to achieve the right balance of fighting power guides force development and preparation, with each component adjusted as necessary to meet the needs of a specific context. Fighting power is therefore intrinsically linked to the required quality of adaptability. It consists of three components as described below and shown in figure.


a. The conceptual component of fighting power rests on the development and application of doctrine, a set of fundamental principles by which land forces guide their actions in support of objectives. Agile, not dogmatic, doctrine takes past experience and extracts guidance for dealing with future challenges, providing a foundation from which initiative can be applied with confidence. An understanding of relevant doctrine, as well as the dynamics of any given situation, provides the context, insight and foresight required for effective decision-making. The flexibility to adapt to deal with dynamic challenges is another essential element of the conceptual component. Realistic and demanding training to develop core skills, along with organisational and technological flexibility, based on doctrine and supported by effective lessons processes, underpin the ability to adapt successfully.

b. The moral component. The moral component concerns the human aspect of fighting power. It supplies and sustains our land forces’ will to fight. It has three mutually dependent elements. High morale enables the land force to fight and overcome the privations of conflict. This is largely dependent on confidence in
equipment, training, sustainment and leadership. Moral cohesion contributes to this success, providing a sense of shared identity and purpose that binds individuals into teams, and teams into effective fighting forces. Moral cohesion is sustained by shared values and standards, which guide the actions of every soldier. Land forces rely on the strength of their leaders at all levels to establish and sustain motivation, morale, moral cohesion and trust. Their vision, intellect, communication and unceasing motivation pave the path through chaos and confusion. To be effective, a force’s actions must reflect a sound and appropriate ethical, moral and legal foundation. The values of courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment together should guide Army's actions. They demand that the actions of our land forces are lawful, appropriate and totally professional.

c. The physical component. The physical component of fighting power, sometimes referred to as combat power, provides the means to fight. Our ability to attract, recruit and retain the right people, with the right skills, in the right quantity and at the right time is critical to fighting power. Workforce and equipment are converted into ready, deployable and resilient forces through education and training. Training must be realistic, providing the forcing function for wider innovation and adaptation, as well as creating the conditions in which our land forces’ fighting spirit can be developed. Training must therefore replicate the challenge of combat so that it inculcates the confidence and tactical innovation necessary to prevail in war. Sustainability is also essential; even if the force is fully staffed and has all the necessary equipment, if it cannot be sustained, it cannot be employed as intended. The physical component is also reliant on wider resources; staffing, equipping, training and sustaining armed forces costs money. The physical component of land forces can be broken down into units and formations, or by the function that they fulfil.

Fighting power can only be applied if it is held at the appropriate readiness, can be deployed in time and then recovered for the next operation. Readiness applies to all components of fighting power. The deployment and recovery of land forces also requires organic and non-organic enablers. For example, maritime and air forces enable the deployment of a land force to a point of disembarkation from which it may need to project itself overland for long distances. Fighting power also varies depending on the level of interoperability that the force can achieve with other military formations and with other actors. These factors must be accounted for when considering the employment of land forces in a wider context based on their readiness state and overall military utility in each situation.2


Combined arms is the synchronised and simultaneous application of arms to achieve an effect greater than if each element was used separately or sequentially (ADP 3-0). Leaders combine arms in complementary and reinforcing ways to protect capabilities and amplify their effects. Confronted with a constantly changing situation, leaders create new combinations of capabilities, methods, and effects to pose new dilemmas for adversaries. The combined arms approach to operations armed conflict is foundational to exploiting capabilities from all domains and their dimensions.

Complementary capabilities compensate for the vulnerabilities of one system or organization with the capabilities of a different one. Infantry protects tanks from enemy infantry and antitank systems, while tanks provide mobile protected firepower for the infantry. Ground maneuver can make enemy forces displace and become vulnerable to joint fires, while joint fires can disrupt enemy reserves and C2 to enable operations on the ground. Cyberspace and space capabilities and
electromagnetic warfare can prevent enemy forces from detecting and communicating the location of friendly land-based fires capabilities, and Army fires capabilities can destroy enemy ground-based cyberspace nodes and electromagnetic warfare platforms to protect friendly communications.

Reinforcing capabilities combine similar systems or capabilities to amplify the overall effects a formation brings to bear in a particular context. During urban operations, for example, infantry, aviation, and armoured units working in close coordination reinforce the protection, maneuver, and direct fire capabilities of each unit type while creating cascading dilemmas for enemy forces. Army artillery can be reinforced by close air support, air interdiction, and naval surface fire support, greatly increasing both the mass and range of fires available to a commander. Space and cyberspace capabilities used to disrupt enemy communications can reinforce a brigade combat team’s (BCT’s) ground-based jamming effort to increase the disruption to enemy C2. Military information support operations can amplify the effects of physical isolation on an enemy echelon, making it more vulnerable to friendly force exploitation.3

Mission command is the Army’s approach to command and control that empowers subordinate decision making and decentralized execution appropriate to the situation. Mission command supports the Army’s operational concept of unified land operations and its emphasis on seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative.

The mission command approach to command and control is based on the Army’s view that war is inherently chaotic and uncertain. No plan can account for every possibility, and most plans must change rapidly during execution to account for changes in the situation. No single person is ever sufficiently informed to make every important decision, nor can a single person keep up with the number of decisions that need to be made during combat. Subordinate leaders often have a better understanding of what is happening during a battle, and are more likely to respond effectively to threats and fleeting opportunities if allowed to make decisions and act based on changing situations and unforeseen events not addressed in the initial plan in order to achieve their commander’s intent. Enemy forces may behave differently than expected, a route may become impassable, or units could consume supplies at unexpected rates. Friction and unforeseeable combinations of variables impose uncertainty in all operations and require an approach to command and control that does not attempt to impose perfect order, but rather accepts uncertainty and makes allowances for unpredictability.

Mission command helps commanders capitalize on subordinate ingenuity, innovation, and decision making to achieve the commander’s intent when conditions change or current orders are no longer relevant. It requires subordinates who seek opportunities and commanders who accept risk for subordinates trying to meet their intent. It tells subordinates what to achieve and why, but not how. It is not, however, an absence of command and control, commanders must express a clear intent and main effort, provide adequate resource and give firm direction when necessary. Subordinate decision making and decentralized execution appropriate to the situation help manage uncertainty and enable necessary tempo at each echelon during operations.4

The centrality of Combined arms and Mission command to Operational success is self-evident. Russia's tremendous losses of equipments, notably armour in early months of the Ukraine conflict is largely attributed to its inability of competent combined arms warfare. Similarly, AFRF's rigid command and control structure often resulted in tactical formations inability to seize the initiative or exploit it. Resulting in poor operational tempo.

When it comes the final tenet of land doctrine, it is about overall operational approach to war fighting. And perhaps this is where a great deal of contemporary debate and discussion lies. The age old dilemma of Manoeuvre vs attrition.

Manoeuvre warfare derives much of its meaning from its position as the proposed opposite to attrition warfare. Attrition, as a style of war, focuses on battle, mass, firepower, systematic and sequential activity, cumulative action, and the physical wearing down of an adversary. Attrition is a direct approach. Success is measured in terms of relative casualties and territory taken. Manoeuvre warfare is positioned by its proponents as the antithesis of this. Manoeuvre warfare is indirect; it seeks to avoid enemy strengths and focus on identifying and attacking enemy weaknesses. It emphasizes dislocation, disruption, and the undermining of enemy will and cohesion rather than the physical destruction of the adversary. Explicitly, manoeuvre is presented as a superior approach than attrition, the latter being characterized as incremental, costly, and time-consuming. Three themes, in particular, lie at the heart of manoeuvre warfare approaches: system-based thinking; tempo; and non-linearity.

System-based thinking conceptualizes the enemy as a structure of integrated sub-parts reliant for their effective functioning on critical nodes and such intangibles as cohesion, will, and decision-making. Enemies can be defeated, therefore, by collapsing their system, long before they are physically destroyed. This mind-set emphasizes the importance of the targeting of the enemy’s critical vulnerabilities: the discovery, and then leveraging, of enemy weaknesses.

Tempo can be defined as the speed of friendly forces relative to the enemy. Manoeuvre warfare approaches conceptualize warfare as an iterative, time-competitive phenomenon based on the continuous adversarial interplay between action and reaction. Manoeuvre warfare sees success in war as a function of superior tempo. Superior tempo comes from being able to identify opportunities and exploit them more quickly than the adversary, a situation that creates the basis for undermining the adversary’s moral, physical, and conceptual cohesion and bringing about their systemic collapse.

Achieving superior tempo and the systemic collapse of the enemy requires a non-linear approach to warfare. Non-linearity embraces uncertainty, friction, and disorder. Commanders must accept that they cannot wholly understand and control events. Consequently, in manoeuvre warfare, the emphasis is on agility, flexibility, surprise, individual initiative, and moral courage in order to exploit emerging circumstances without waiting for orders from above: ‘All patterns, recipes and formulas are to be avoided’. In that vein, manoeuvre warfare puts an emphasis on de-centralized decision-making, ‘mission command’, as the best way of coping with uncertainty and disorder, and the fluidity of combat.

The ‘manoeuvre’ element in manoeuvre warfare may involve physical manoeuvre, although even here, relative speed of manoeuvre, and not just position, is important. However, manoeuvre also has much wider connotations. The ‘manoeuvre’ in manoeuvre warfare is focused on attaining positions of advantage: but these positions of advantage may be temporal, psychological, and/or cognitive rather than physical. For the US Marine Corps, for example, manoeuvre is conducted ‘in the physical and cognitive dimensions of conflict to generate and exploit psychological, technological, temporal, and spatial advantages over the adversary’. In that sense, manoeuvre warfare can also be conceptualized as a philosophy of war, ‘manoeuvrism’ or ‘a manoeuvrist approach’, of general applicability across all levels of conflict and in non-physical domains. This philosophy focuses on applying to operations at all levels principles such as surprise, seizing the initiative, preemption, momentum, simultaneity, exploitation, and a focus on the psychological impact of actions. Indeed, successful manoeuvrism may involve pre-empting the need at all for battle.5

That is at least, as mentioned above, how proponents of the manoeuvre warfare would like to describe it. However, as some distinguished contemporary critics rightfully pointed out, attrition is an idea that is vastly misunderstood because of decades of being misrepresented in war studies literature and in Western military doctrine. Attrition is not a form of warfare, nor is there a set of specific tactics specifically linked to it. Instead, attrition is a state of being, and a characterisation of war in which high casualties as a result of significant direct and indirect attacks occur.

In attritional environments, both actors can be subject to high levels of destruction, or one actor can inflict high casualties on the other. In either case, a military force striving to destroy a significant amount of the enemy’s combat power, to advance the enemy toward strategic exhaustion, is not simultaneously allowing the same thing to happen to itself. Thus, arguments against attrition suggesting that destruction-oriented operations have a reciprocal impact on oneself are unconvincing strawmen that do not hold up to rigorous examination.

Moreover, attrition is a fundamental feature both of war and warfare. As a fundamental feature, and despite the Clausewitzian school of thought’s opposition to additions, attrition is a salient component of the nature of war. As a fundamental feature of war, attrition is justified as an organizing and optimization principle for modern military forces."6

Hence, a more accurate dichotomy would be Manoeuvre warfare vs positional warfare.

Positional warfare emphasises mobility and protection with firepower implicit. Formations are placed in a location that compels the enemy to attack but that are favourable to the defence. With the defence considered the stronger form of war, the adversary is placed at a disadvantage from the start of the battle in needing to attack a well-protected, entrenched force.7 Positional warfare aims to impose high attrition on the attacking enemy forces, progressively destroying an adversary’s equipments, personnel and resources at a pace greater than they can be replenished.8

Between positional and manoeuvre warfare lies a newcomer. Interchangeability war-fare accentuates protection and firepower, with mobility restrained. In this form of warfare, a force positions itself at a central location and, from there, engages the enemy, whether they are advancing or not. The force does not move around the battlefield, instead letting the range and lethality of its firepower substitute for mobility.9

'Interchangeability' is concept that says fire and manoeuvre are interchangeable. It is possible to obviate the need for one through a focused application of other. Manoeuvre is traded away for fire. In other words, Firepower to a large extent can substitute for manoeuvre on the modern battlefield.

Now coming back to 'how Bangladesh army should fight its future war', I would argue given the inherent defensive nature of Bangladesh Army with no expeditionary ambition, army should lean in favour of a flexible 'interchangeability warfare' doctrine that stresses protection and firepower, While trading maneuver for fire is fully able to engages the enemy, throughout the depth and breadth of battlefield whether they are advancing or not.10

This new way of warfare reflects the fact that there is emerging a period of firepower dominance. Here we Will examine why the Maneuverist approach is not suitable for Bangladesh Army.

a. As the World largest River delta consisting of hundreds of water ways, with nearly 80% of the country's surface area being floodplain, The terrain configuration hinders manoeuvre warfare significantly in Bangladesh.

b. Technological Advancement Denies Maneuver Advantages.
manoeuvre force aims at paralysing enemy’s action rather than destruction of enemy force, it requires a phantom force capable of swift movement avoiding opponent’s detection and then identify the suitable nerve centre, plan, communicate and deliver the decisive stroke. The Germans could do it initially against France during the WW-II. However, rapid advancement in the field of devastation and accuracy of firepower are outpacing the advantages of maneuver which still is limited with the capabilities of internal combustion engines of 20th century.11 On the other hand as Robert Scales (a retired major general and former commandant of the US Army War College) recently wrote-

"The three components of firepower dominance — lethality, range, and precision — have all increased killing power by at least a factor of four or five just in the past three decades alone while the speed of ground maneuver is exactly where it was during the Battle of France in 1940."12

Similarly, thanks to the modern state of art Command, control, communication and computers (C4) architecture and network enabled capability facilitating unprecedented integration of sensors, decision makers and effectors, the response time, integration and synchronisation of fires has improved dramatically.

In addition to that, the ubiquitous availability of highly attritable and high-fidelity surveillance and reconnaissance assets, from electronic and multispectral sensing, to video feeds from UAVs, leaves little room to hide. It is fair to say that Western armies have to a large extent been in denial about the impact of these capabilities. Awaiting a revolution in swarm technology and AI, Western forces have largely overlooked the fact that it is the density of sensors that is decisively reshaping the battlefield.

Given the range and endurance of modern ISR capabilities, and the distance that armoured and mechanised forces must traverse under threat before actually coming into the direct fire zone, it must be doubted whether existing concepts of armoured manoeuvre will remain viable, as armoured units face persistent attrition before ever they reach an adversary ground formation. As the weight of most armoured units – with a correspondingly limited operational reach – restricts long marches, the distance from a safe start line to an objective may render the logistics and break down rate prohibitive for established norms of operation.13

c. Maneuver Warfare Flexibility or Too Much Uncertainty? An indirect approach may take too long a time which subsequently would degrade the force strength and morale. It may also be too vulnerable to fog and friction due to constant adjustment with situation and changes of plans. Changing decisions continuously to keep up with the ever-changing circumstances (OODA loop) is also a part of the game. There is an old saying in the US Navy about it, “Order, counter order, disorder!” Again, in the process of attacking the enemy’s weaknesses, there comes up the requirement to fix the enemy’s strength. If there is no ‘the vulnerable ground’ (VG), a force may attack series of relative weaknesses and become susceptible to ultimate attrition. On the other hand, the same result with less time and casualties may be achieved by a decisive engagement of enemy’s critical strength. The most important requirement for a successful maneuver warfare is accurate, up-to-date intelligence on the disposition of vital enemy command, support and combat units. As no one can guarantee intelligence of maximum accuracy; implementation of strategies based on inaccurate intelligence can become problematic. Again, when faced with an opponent, capable of maneuvering and redeploying quickly and discreetly, the prospect of maneuver strategies to deliver victory become even more challenging. Lebanon War in 2006 may be sited as an example where such shortcomings had been exposed as Israeli forces were unable to deliver a decisive blow to the flexible command structure of Hezbollah.

On the other hand, today it can be argued that, with latest technological advancement of firepower having real-time datalink, AI aided comprehensive C4 systems, easy availability of highly attritable and high-fidelity surveillance and reconnaissance assets, from electronic and multispectral sensing, to video feeds from UAVs, as well as satellite and GPS coverage for target acquisition and engagement by precision and smart munitions, much of the same pre-emption, disruption and destruction can an be achieved by firepower alone. The risk of a decisive battle at a decisive moment for neutralising the CG always entails the danger of own attrition. Thus, the notion which is gaining ascendancy in many circles is ‘maneuver battle field fires than maneuver units’. The extended range, accuracy, target acquisition and ultimate devastation at target end are allowing commanders to create desired maneuver effect without committing his forces to a prolonged deadly combat. Nowadays, a commander only needs to synchronize operational and tactical fire (both lethal and non-lethal) to accomplish this task. Modern attrition warfare has taken a revolutionary shape of an exclusive fire power warfare which is centred on Manoeuvring battle field fires rather than maneuvering units.14

Similarly, today Tempo is becoming more about the relative speed of judgment than action. The blurring of political, informational, and military spheres not only increases the complexity of the operating environment, but also produces a a level of data that tends to overwhelm decision makers. This challenge is compounded by the shrinking of operational battlespace with non-nuclear precision missiles that can traverse thousands of km, multiple combatant commands, and a dizzying array of competing command authorities. While tactical engagement, massing fires, and effective sustainment remain the foundation of effective warfighting, an ability to cut through the complexity and make effective decisions faster than an adversary is the new high ground. Much of this advantage is gained through effectively processing what can amount to petabytes of data — a task impossible for a single human and difficult for large staffs. Hence by applying highly sophisticated AI/ML to aggregate data, parse trends, identify patterns, and pass the results to humans to apply context and make decisions, friendly force can drive much of operational tempo.15

Organising principles

Based on armed conflict’s attritional nature, force optimization must start with organizing and equipping to account for destruction and battlefield losses. Arguments that the future of conflict will be any less deadly or destructive are out of touch with reality, are borderline delusional and are in no way supported by much more than wishful thinking. Forces must therefore be constructed with the capacity required to absorb casualties and equipment losses. Force structure should be optimised around the ideas of elasticity, redundancy, mobility and localised overmatch.16


a. Rigorous combined arms training and exercises are fundamental to enhance the army's war fighting capabilities.

As described above, combined arms team concept implies that, units and sub units are organized for combat with mixed grouping of all arms and are customized for specific tactical mission. The nucleus of such a team is armour and Mechanized Infantry. Around this nucleus, a team/ group is formed supported by elements of self-propelled Artillery, Air Defence Artillery, Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Signal and air assets (Attack helicopter). At present training modules are conducted in isolation, not keeping harmony between armour and mechanized infantry as combined arms concept (CT/CG/CC). In addition, ongoing training (Mechanized Infantry Course -UN, conducted by SI&T and ACC&S) on mechanized forces focused on UN employment rather than their conventional employment. Therefore, it is necessary to redesign the overall training concept keeping in mind the classic role of mechanized forces. Bangladesh Army may take a closer look for developing a separate center and school for mechanized infantry. A separate institutional training and formation training curriculum for the officers and men need to be developed in order to strengthen the effectiveness of mechanize forces. Besides, few designated training areas (Sarnaw Deep and Hathazari Field Firing Range) need to be developed to conduct CT/CG/CC level maneuver exercise with live firing, at least once in a year/alternative year.17

b. To adapt and implement the philosophy of mission command on large scale, Bangladesh Army must put more emphasis on modernising the training and education of CO, JCO and NCO. More broadly, employing the mission command approach during all garrison activities and other training events is essential to creating the cultural foundation for its employment in high-risk environments.

c. Necessity of adequate CCD training to gain the qualitative edge in war fighting.

Camouflage, concealment and decoy (CCD) is the use of materials and techniques to hide, blend, disguise, decoy, or disrupt the appearance of military targets and/or their backgrounds. CCD helps prevent an enemy from detecting or identifying friendly troops, equipment, activities, or installations. Properly designed CCD techniques take advantage of the immediate environment and natural and artificial materials. One of the imperatives of current military doctrine is to conserve friendly strength for decisive action. Such conservation is aided through sound operations security (OPSEC) and protection from attack. Protection includes all actions that make soldiers, equipment, and units difficult to locate.

CCD training must be included in every field exercise. Soldiers must be aware that an enemy can detect, identify, and acquire targets by using resources outside the visual portion of the EM spectrum.

Each member of the unit must acquire and maintain critical CCD skills. These include the ability to analyze and use terrain effectively; to select an individual site properly; and to hide, blend, disguise, disrupt, and decoy key signatures using natural and artificial materials.

Unit CCD training refines individual and leader skills, introduces the element of team coordination, and contributes to tactical realism. If CCD is to conserve friendly strength, it must be practiced with the highest degree of discipline. The deployment and teardown of camouflage; light, noise, and communications discipline; and signal security must be practiced and evaluated in an integrated mission-training environment. CCD proficiency is developed through practicing and incorporating lessons learned from exercises and operations. A unit must incorporate CCD (who, what, where, when, and how) into its tactical standing operating procedure (TACSOP). Generally, CCD is additive and synergistic with other defensive measures. CCD enhances unit survivability and increases the likelihood of mission success. A unit that is well trained in CCD operations more easily recognises CCD as employed by an enemy, and this recognition enhances a unit’s lethality.18

To be continued with Part II……….
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@Sanchez @Kartal1 @dBSPL @Nilgiri @Gary I have been working on this Article for some times. As you can see, majority of the texts are not mine. I only modified and edited it for the most parts and assembled it together.

Any professional and amateur review would be very much welcomed. I would really appreciate it if you guys can make some time (when appropriate) to read it and give me your thoughts.
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@Sanchez @Kartal1 @dBSPL @Nilgiri @Gary I have been working on this Article for some times. As you can see, majority of the texts are not mine. I only modified and edited it for the most parts and assembled it together.

Any professional and amateur review would be very much welcomed. I would really appreciate it if you guys can make some time (when appropriate) to read it and give me your thoughts.
I was thinking about researching about this for some time. Geopolitics and force posture of Bangladesh. Will take a look hopefully tomorrow.


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Part II

What should Army fight with? 5 – Modernisation Priorities

1. Air and Missile Defence

Force Protection is one of the six fundamental warfighting functions. Active Air and Missile Defence is the most prominent part of it. However, when it comes to fighting a conventionally and numerically superior adversary against whom Air superiority cannot be achieved, Active Air and Missile defence capabilities becomes the lifeline of the friendly manoeuvre formations. Unfortunately, today this is the area where Bangladesh Army lacks terribly. Hence, it must be the number one priority for the Army. Ongoing Russo-Ukraine conflict has clearly demonstrated the centrality of a comprehensive, integrated, multilayered Air and missile defence architecture to force protection and preservation of combat power.

Currently, Bangladesh army has 43rd and 44rd SHORAD Regiment equipped with Chinese FM-90 short range Air defence systems. 43rd and 44rd SHORAD regiments are deployed with 9th and 24th infantry Divisions respectively. Additionally, Army has one battery of operational Oerlikon Skyguard® 3 VSHORAD. Another battery is on order. It has been also alleged that Army bought two batteries of Norinco PG99 CS/SA1 self-propelled VSHORAD.

However, these numbers are nowhere near enough to conduct sufficient active air and missile defence operations to protect all ten Divisional formations and critical assets of Bangladesh Army in time of full fledged conflict. Due to lack of necessary procurement budget and political reasons army has a tendency to buy a very small numbers of state of art weapons and move on. Such as Oerlikon Skyguard 3 VSHORAD can be considered best in its class, however, just one or two batteries are going to have very little effect in a large conventional ground combat. Army must specifically focus on Air defence Artillery modernisation as it did on amour and mechanised infantry modernisation in the previous decade. (From 2011 to 2020 Army has procured 500+ APCs and MRAPs. Extensively modernised its tank fleet and added two regiment of new state of the art tanks. MBT-2000 and VT-5).


Recently, it appears under the MRSAM (medium range surface to air missile) evaluation process Army has taken steps in the right direction. It has been reported that Army has order (presumably) 2/3 batteries of HISAR O+ MRSAM from Türkiye in 2021 under a billion dollars contract.

We strongly recommend Army continue its MRSAM purchases in batches Ultimately, it is crucial that each of the 10 Divisions has 1 organic MRSAM Regiment for effective force Protection. We recommend to raise at least 4 MRSAM Regiments by 2030 and 6 more by 2040.


When it comes to MANPADS, Bangladesh Army's initiative to manufacture them locally and open a domestic production line within BOF has been good so far, however we should be optimistic with caution. previously, a similar attempt in mid 2010s has failed. But if this one were to succeed, it will require extensive cooperation and successful ToT from International partners. This project, if realised, will not only enhance the domestic defence industry and build expertise, but will also offer flexibility in procurement and help save foreign currencies.


Today proliferation of small unmanned areal systems (UAS) has evolved into a much more significant and dynamic threat than it was previously anticipated. Ukraine conflict is demonstrating how small and cheap (mostly) commercial drones are procured in tens of thousands and fielded with platoon and even squad level formations. These are creating unprecedented sensor density and offering dramatic localised situational awareness to the smallest units. Something like that was almost unthinkable just two decades ago. To make matter worse, these quadcopter, Octocopter, and FPV UAS has been increasingly adapted and modified to carry Grenades, small ammunitions and they are accurately hitting entrenched positions, infantry and armoured vehicles. Which has become a major problem for force protection.

Additionally, more sophisticated and capable purpose-built loitering ammunitions like Switchblade-600 and Lancet-3 with longer range, endurance and higher lethality are being extensively used against soft and armoured targets to a great effect. Moreover, high-end version of these loitering ammunitions like Israeli Harop, with more payload, hours of endurance and ability to traverse hundreds of km has been able to hit high value targets (HVT) throughout the adversary’s operational depth, as we witnessed in Nagarno-Karabakh war.

Last but not the least, tactical UAVs like Orlan-10 are greatly enhancing the field commander’s situational awareness by providing persistence ISR throughout the depth and breadth of the battlefield. (These systems are cost effective and easy to produce in numbers, Hence attritable.) Consequentially, this class of UAV along with others has become a significant force multiplier for the traditional Artillery, enabling a highly devastating Reconnaissance-strike-complex (RSC) by providing target acquisition with unprecedented accuracy.

Although these trends are yet to proliferate fully in South Asia, it would be foolish to assume our neighbours would fail to keep up with the unprecedented changes that are taking place. Indian army has already began investing gradually in small indigenous UAS and loitering ammunitions. Previously it brought undisclosed numbers of Harop loitering ammunition from Israel.

Soon Bangladesh Army's Air defence Artillery will need to address these newly emerging threats. Although, there is No doubt EW will play a large role in defending against these, but nevertheless kinetic interceptors are essential. However, Recent conflicts in Ukraine and Nagarno-karabakh showed us the inability of traditional Air defence systems (even the advanced ones) to adequately address the threat posed by small UAVs and loitering ammunitions. Even without taking into account the difficulties to detect, track and identify these threats due to their small RCS and very low IR signature, a very simple cost-benefit analysis will demonstrate the serious inefficiency of traditional of defence systems. A short range interceptor missile cost 200-400k USD while a loitering ammunition like Lancet or Orlan-10 type UAVs only cost 35k-100k. Let alone those quadcopter and FPV UAS, which costs much less, usually 1000-10k.

Although world leading armed forces are seeking solutions to this problem in next generation directed energy weapons, those are at least a decade away from being fielded in large numbers. Besides, with the limited budget it has, it is unlikely Army will be able to get its hand on such high-end expansive laser weapon systems in sufficient numbers. Alternatively, cold war Era concept of radar guided AAA guns are getting renewed attention. These VSHOARAD are cost effective when dealing with emerging UAS and loitering ammunitions threats. Ukraine has used and continues to using its German donated 50 Gepard to a great effect against shahed-136 and other Russian UAS.

In this course, Bangladesh Army has taken the right step in procuring state of art Oerlikon Skyguard 3 and (presumably) Norinco PG99 CS/SA1. Both can fires programmable smart airburst ammunitions. Additionally, these are excellent C-RAM systems, as well as effective against low flying aircrafts, cruise missiles and helicopters.

However, Army needs to procure them in numbers to have a meaningful impact in operational capability of Air defence Artillery. (Even Ukraine is struggling despite having 50 Gepard and stated to get 60 more from its Western allies in order to sufficiently address the magnitude of the threat posed by Russian drones.)

Hence, we recommend Army should procure additional 7-8 batteries of radar control Triple A guns to be able to deploy at least 1 battery with each Division by 2030. And 20 more batteries by 2040. Ultimate aim should be to raise 10-11 VSHORAD Regiments each equipped with 3 batteries of radar guided Triple A guns to adequately address the magnitude of future threats.

Last but not the least, proper integration is imperative for effective Air and Missile Defence operation. Integration combines separate and different sensors, various types of interceptors, and decision makers into a single network enabled Architecture, and provide coordination and synchronisation of all available Air and Missile defence capabilities.

2. Artillery

Big Guns are back! Or perhaps they never went. Modern Artillery has improved significantly in range, accuracy and lethality. Ukraine conflict is clearly demonstrating how Artillery is central to warfighters, specially when other means of delivering indirect fire are denied. Artillery must fulfil four roles on the modern battlefield . These are, in order of priority:

• Suppression of enemy fires.
• Striking high-value targets (HVTs).
• Breaking up enemy force concentrations.
• Providing fire support to enable manoeuvre.

Each task makes the subsequent one possible, however a warfighting fires’ capability must deliver all of these effects.

Suppression of Enemy Fires

Counter-battery fire is a critical fires responsibility because unless enemy artillery is suppressed, they will be free to strike friendly HVTs, break up friendly force concentrations, and provide fire support to enable hostile ground manoeuvre. Leaving enemy guns intact ensures suffering correspondingly high casualties.

Striking High-Value Targets

The combat outcomes of a war are generally defined by the totality of the battlefield. This means that the sum of all working parts within a military decides whether that force is successful. This includes the ability of a logistics corps to bring a force and everything it needs into battle; the force’s signaller’s technical skill in ensuring and protecting communications; and a commander’s ability to understand a situation and position forces accordingly.

Hence, Striking enemy HVT like logistic and munitions depots, radars, SAM sites, EW systems, C2 nodes and communication systems are self evidently essential to undermine enemy's operational effectiveness and disintegrate its command and control, degrading its ability to conduct operations while leading to a collapse of the enemy’s capabilities.

Breaking Up Enemy Force Concentrations

Ever since the invention of mobile field artillery, the ability to disrupt and attrit enemy force concentrations has had a decisive impact on the outcome of battle. From Waterloo, where the allied gun line blunted the advance of Napoleon’s columns, to the battles of Salerno, Taranto and Anzio, where artillery and naval gunfire support played a critical role in breaking up German armour, preventing allied forces being driven into the sea,33 the ability to deliver a heavy volume of fire at reach has shaped the battlefield. Between Waterloo and Anzio there was a dramatic improvement in the range and lethality of artillery, and yet the determining factor in its effectiveness remained similar – the capacity to quickly deliver a high volume of fire into a concentrated area. The development of explosive shells increased the effect of a smaller number of guns, consequently causing infantry to disperse. During the Napoleonic era, a British infantry platoon would deploy in a space of approximately 16.75m by 2m. By the Second World War, a platoon was expected to occupy a frontage of approximately 200–400m by 60–100m in defence. There is a strong correlation between weight of fire and casualties inflicted. The volume of firepower is usually proportionate to the size of forces that can be concentrated into a space. Punishing this concentration, therefore, and denying an adversary the capacity to concentrate, is critical to winning tactical exchanges.

It is important to recognise that the objective of breaking up enemy force concentrations is not in the first instance to destroy the enemy, but rather to prevent them from achieving local numerical superiority, and thereby protect friendly forces, and enable engagements with advantage. To break up enemy concentrations, it is first necessary to demonstrate the capability, which is invariably achieved by delivering a punishing effect. Once the ability to effectively saturate a defined area has been demonstrated, the adversary should disperse to avoid suffering comparable casualties in the future.

Fire Support to Enable Friendly Ground Manoeuvre

The defeat of adversaries in the close battle is dependent on the effective application of fire and manoeuvre. Without the threat of being overrun, dug-in infantry can often avoid heavy losses to artillery fire. While the lethal radius of a 105-mm high explosive round is 40m in open ground, this reduces to 1m against dug-in infantry. However, artillery fire against dug-in infantry can suppress them, enabling friendly elements to manoeuvre. Manoeuvring against an enemy that is not suppressed is to invite unacceptable losses. During the 1944 Normandy campaign, a British Army assessment concluded that the survivability of armour operating beyond the reach of friendly artillery halved every six seconds once the vehicle came under fire. Conversely, a suppressed enemy can be overrun or flushed out, and it is once an adversary is forced to move that fires become lethal. Artillery accounted for 58.3% of German losses during the First World War. This trend has persisted into modern conflict. Following the period of high intensity conflict in the Donbas between summer 2014 and 2015 it was concluded that artillery accounted for 85% of casualties on both sides.

The effective employment of firepower in support of manoeuvre is substantially different from breaking up enemy force concentrations at reach, or precision strikes against HVTs. The first point is that the threat of the capability is not sufficient to suppress the enemy. Thus, it is critical that the fires system is able to sustain its fire for a prolonged period.19

Army's Artillery modernisation need.

155/52 SP Howitzers

To provide effective and persistent counter-battery fires, it is critical to survive the enemy CB (counter bombardment) first. Hence, Range and mobility becomes essential. Today's Bangladesh Army's Medium Regiments are tasked with providing counter battery fires against enemy's long range heavy Artillery as Army's 105mm and 122mm field artillery guns are simply cannot reach them. However, Army's medium Artillery Regiments are mostly equipped with old, towed, Chinese 130mm guns that doesn’t have the accuracy of digital fire control system or the range of 155mm/52 calibre heavy Artillery.

Ukraine battlefield has clearly demonstrated that 'mobility' (almost) equal 'survivability'. However, except one self propelled Regiment of NORA B-52 K1, all the other assets of Army's artillery are towed. That include approximately thirty field Artillery Regiments and five medium artillery regiments. In tomorrow's war fighting, where responses time is rapidly shortening due to introduction of advanced C4, battle management systems and automatic fire control systems, this rigid old school towed Artillery force of the Army will not survive a competent adversary. While due to budget limitation it is practically not possible to transform the whole Artillery branch into a Self propelled one. Nor is it desirable as in the hilly terrains of Chottogram and Sylhet districts light Towed guns are still more suitable on average.

Thus, to keep up with today's trends Army must introduce more long range 155/52 Self propelled heavy Artillery. And if budget does not allow to raise sufficient numbers of new SP Regiments and equip them alongside the existing other regiments, (which would likely to be the case) then in the long run when phasing out the old Type-54 130mm towed guns, army should convert three of the medium artillery regiments to SP Regiments, and equip them with 155mm/52 calibre long range heavy SP Howitzers.

We recommend Army should raise two more SP Regiments by 2030 and additional four SP Regiments by 2040. Due to the budget limitation and logistical setup, Army is unlikely to afford tracked howitzers anytime soon. However, NORA B-52 has proven to be an adequate, cost effective weapon system for the Army. Procuring more of them would be the logical choice in short to medium term.

Type-B and Type-A MLRS

Bangladesh Army has recently added TIGER MLRS to its Arsenal to significantly enhanced its deep fires capability. TIGER MLRS can fire multiple types of precision guided Rockets. Initially, Army has bought two types of Rocket; TRG-300 and TRG-230 with a range of 120km and 75km respectively.

It is rare that any one weapon or technology will alter the totality of the battlefield, as results are dependent upon so many different factors that defy effective centralised control.

However, the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) provided to Ukraine have disrupted this trend and decisively shaped the battlefield by engaging Russia’s logistics, command and control (C2) nodes, and troop concentrations through much of the Russian Armed Force’s (RuAF) operational depth. This has prevented the RuAF from concentrating and massing artillery fire in a way that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) could not match, disrupted RuAF attempts to concentrate forces for offensives, and made command of Russian units a risky endeavour. Without the above effects, the AFU would have suffered significantly greater casualties and setbacks. The value of GMLRS is best understood through a combination of software, hardware and tactics.

The primacy of the deep fight is the central lesson analysis of the Russia Ukraine War provides for future combat. The integration of long range precision effects and intelligence into a single system is therefore a critical lesson that Bangladesh Army must learn.20

Besides, Type-B GMLRS can augment offensive counter-air operations with precision fires capable of engaging point and area targets. Considering geographical proximity of some of the critical air bases of neighbouring countries that makes them within range of Type-B MLRS (120km), and the fact that, in a full scale conflict BAF will be unable to carry out effective offensive counter-air, this capability would be critical in Bangladesh’s strategic context.

Lately, HIMARS has proven to be excellent in counter-battery role as well. Army's Type-B GMLRS can be utilised in the same way. Although it cannot be a primary function as it would be uneconomical.

We will recommend, Army procure two more type-B GMLRS Regiments by 2030 to be deployed with 10th/24th and 11th infantry Divisions. And Additional 5 Regiments by 2040.

Field Artillery

Last but not the least, at some point Army will need to modernise its vast 30 Regiments of 105mm and122mm field artillery guns. (Some of them are very old) Recently, it procured state of art Boran 105mm light towed howitzers (equipped with digital fire control system) for its newly raised field artillery Regiment. We recommend, in the long term army should gradually standardise Boran as replacement for the old guns and look to manufacture them locally.

3. UAS and Loitering Ammunition

Unmanned areal systems (UAS) and loitering ammunitions are the forefront of this new military 'age'. While Artillery has the central role to play, but you can’t shoot what can’t see.

The Russia-Ukraine War presents the first instance in which both combatants deploy robust, if still largely primitive, reconnaissance-strike complexes (RSCs) that they innovate during wartime. This situation allows observers to identify
fundamental mechanics of the interaction between these complexes that provide programmatic and intellectual lessons.

The RSC concept has its roots in Soviet and Russian doctrine but is conceptually identifiable in Western military thought. In brief, the reconnaissance-strike complex is an integrated intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISR/T) fires system, in which the time between target identification and engagement is extremely compressed. Sensors and shooters operate together in a harmonized network that makes combat a game of target identification, in which the side that is found first is usually killed.

The RSC concept is inextricably linked to intellectual-doctrinal developments in the 1980s in the United States and Soviet Union. Both doctrines increasingly pointed toward attacking the enemy at operational depth, a more natural line for the Soviets with deep operational theory, but one that finally translated into the West. A properly constructed RSC should enable the synchronization of violence across an immense battlespace at depth and width, creating a combat area orders of magnitude larger than what was historically feasible. The US military deployed an early reconnaissance-strike complex in the Iraq wars, while China and Russia have deployed their own RSCs since the late 2010s

Ukraine is not the first conflict in which UAS and loitering munitions have been deployed at large scale. The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War included extensive UAS employment and, arguably, a nascent RSC on Azerbaijan’s part. Azerbaijan’s success (at least partly) stemmed from structural deficiencies in the Armenian military, namely its lack of short-range air defenses against loitering munitions, inability to intercept fixed-wing UAS consistently, and limited electronic systems. By contrast, the Russia-Ukraine War provides sufficient scale and sophistication for conclusions to be drawn.

The ZSU has developed a sophisticated method of UAS employment that is integrated with a broader battle-management system that also receives information from US and private satellites. Precision-guided munitions are increasingly capable of hitting any individual target. Historically, however, weapons performance has exceeded practical ISR range. Ukraine demonstrates how unmanned aerial systems can narrow the precision-ISR gap through the creation of a UAS-enabled reconnaissance-strike complex.

Ukraine’s UAS-ISR system accomplishes two goals.

*First, it transforms traditional artillery fired in battery into “precision” weapons that can individually engage targets and rapidly improve accuracy.

*Second, it enables the Ukrainian armed forces to employ artillery in a distributed manner by facilitating responsive surveillance over a much wider area when combined with a fluid battle-management system. This capability reduces the need for exposed logistics hubs and decreases Russian counter-battery effects, thereby allowing the ZSU to remain competitive despite a materiel disadvantage.

Additionally, an effective RSC must be capable of facilitating strikes across the battlespace, particularly into the enemy’s depth. (Fighting deep was critical in the Ukrainian case because of the need for a breakthrough and Russian fires volumes.) Deep strikes are needed both to starve the front line of shells, disrupt electronic assets, and suppress defender command-and-control (C2) nodes and to disrupt the attacking force.

To strike deep, enough firesmust be concentrated to suppress or destroy multiple AAW, EW, artillery, and counter-battery assets 10–15 kilometers into enemy-held ground. This action creates a hole in the enemy AAW-EW network through which fixed-wing UAS can be used to identify the target and engage it with precision weapons by type-B GMLRS. The deeper the target, the longer the window must be. (Fires corridors like these has allowed Ukraine to conduct deep strikes at scale, thereby targeting the logistical underpinnings of the Russian military.)21

Apart from its Specific role in reconnaissance–Strike complex, It is needless to say How UAS of various types providing commanders at each levels with unprecedented situational awareness and ISR capability at a scale for a cost that was almost unthinkable a generation ago.

To enhance its overall ISR capability and to develop a capable and efficient RSC of its own, Army must invest in in variety of unmanned areal systems.

Here is proposed classification of three types of UAS that Army should invest in.

1. Mini/micro UAS– (mostly quadcopter) to provide Localised situational awareness to small units (down to the squad level)

2. Small tactical UAS– Like Bramor C4EYE that Army has already procured in limited numbers. A Range of 40km and 3.5 hours endurance, as well as the ability to carry EO/IIR gimbal and having AES encryption makes it capable and cost effective solution to be deployed at company and battalion level, as well as with the special operation forces to enable greater Situational awareness and enhance ISR capability of the said units. And more importantly, with the field artillery Regiments (1x with each platoon) to fill in the role of UAS-ISTAR in RSC.

3. Tactical UAS– like Orlan-30 and RQ-7 with a long range ISTAR capability. Can be deployed at brigade and division levels for general long range ISR. And specifically with SP heavy artillery regiments and GMLRS regiments to provide target acquisition in enemy's operational depth. in our opinion, Up to RQ-7 type UAS, it balances the cost and benefit in high threat environment. Anything bigger and more expensive (with greater range and payload) e.g. MALE UAS whether it’s TB-2 or Falco Evo, are too costly in high risk environment when Lacking friendly Air superiority and faced with competent enemy Air defence.

For Combat propose, small units can carry quadcopter and Octocopter with the ability to drop small ammunitions, mortar rounds, as well as anti Armor grenades. Perhaps a mortar platoon can be dual-roled as an attack quadcopters platoon. Ukrainian forces are using quadcopters to drop grenades. The difference, obviously, is area fire (a mortar salvo) versus precise fire (a grenade dropped precisely on a target). Both are valid dependent on the target and desired effect.

Loitering Ammunition

“loitering munitions will impact the character of warfare more substantially than the introduction of the machine gun. If Ukraine had enough loitering munitions such as the Hero 120 or Switchblade 600, the now infamous Russian convoy north of Kyiv may have been turned into a highway of death — all without putting a jet in the sky or a pilot at risk.”

Noel Williams, (a technical fellow at Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc., and provides strategy and policy analysis to headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps)

Loitering munitions are in a category of their own. It is misleading to simply bin them with drones. They are more akin to a smart missile than an aircraft. In fact, U.S. manufacturer AeroVironment calls its Switchblade systems “loitering missiles.” Like a missile, these systems are consumable. Loitering munitions are one-time-use weapons designed to find a target and crash into it, giving it its “kamikaze” nickname. Once airborne, loitering munitions can hunt for a target by a human-driven process from a control station, autonomous flight with authority to strike designated targets, or a combination of these methods. Although there are options for recovering some models that do not engage a target, the munition is generally assumed expended once launched.

Soldiers are not reliant on airfields or large open areas to employ these weapons. Thus, like the handheld Javelin anti-armor systems having great success in Ukraine, the man-portable nature of most loitering munitions allows small units to discreetly deploy the weapon across the battlefield. The munition’s launch style varies by type, including a mounted or ground-based catapult system, a modified mortar tube, and a vertical multi-rotor lift. Once airborne, the system is designed to “loiter,” thus the name, for an extended time. The loiter time varies between models. Those being used in Ukraine can stay airborne from 30 to 60 minutes, while some Israeli systems can loiter for nine hours.

While sufficient in quantity, anti-armor capable loitering munitions can replicate Ukraine’s success with the Javelin anti-armor launcher and similar weapons. However, it extends this critical capability well beyond line-of-sight distance and can destroy tanks in defensive positions, vice the ones exposed during maneuver operations. This builds on the growing argument that challenges the modern tank’s perceived invulnerability, questioning their primacy on a modern battlefield.

Additionally, if a small, dismounted team can replicate the role of artillery, this leaves enemy forces that can operate in more protected or safer areas of the battlefield. These long-range strikes can originate from anywhere and disrupt operations across an entire theater by finding and destroying things like fuel dumps, resupply convoys, and headquarters. This challenges how military planners resource combat units across the battlefield.22

Moreover, Loitering ammunition can play a critical role on the counter-battery side. As Ukraine war demonstrated, Russia’s Lancet loitering munitions, cued by the Russian UAS-ISR system linked to counter-battery radars, has attacked Ukrainian artillery with a high level of success. As of July, the ‘Lancet’ drone has mainly targeted artillery installations, destroying or damaging over 106 self-propelled systems and 131 howitzers of which two dozen are M777 howitzers (Bakshi, 2023) (Roblin, 2023).

Modernisation roadmap for the Army

Army should aim to field three types of loitering ammunition initially.

1. Very light systems– Like Switchblade-300 and HERO-30. should be deployed at platoon and squad level. (These system only costs around 5000-6000 USD, hence can be procured in masses)

2. light systems– Equipped with anti tank warhead with a range of 40-60km and endurance up to 60 minutes. Like Switchblade-600, HERO-120, Skystriker. (These systems cost around 30000-50000 USD)

3. Large systems– like Israeli Harop with a range up to 1000km (communication range of 200km) and endurance up to 9 hours and with a warhead 16kg it can penetrate deep into enemy territory and capable of engaging HVT into enemy's deep battle. (Azerbaijan has successfully utilised it against enemy air defence systems.) These types of systems are suitable for brigade and division level deployment.

Army should aim to develop and procure all three types of loitering ammunitions locally with collaboration with the international partners. It will enhance domestic defence industry and save foreign currency.

4. Command, Control, Communication, Computers (C4ISR) System.

When it comes to supporting military operations, history has shown that effective communication and information-sharing processes are just as important as ordnance, strategy, and logistics.

While information creation, communication, analysis, and exploitation have always played a key role in military strategy and operations, recent rapid progress in information and communication technologies has dramatically enhanced the strategic role of situational awareness.

Meeting the challenges of networked warfare and battlefield digitization requires adaptable, safe and secure frameworks that enhance combat effectiveness and support the full spectrum of combined arms and multi-domain operations.

Modern C4ISR solutions provide a sophisticated and advanced framework for a wide range of complex and large-scale applications. With seamless integration of sensors, effectors and communication systems, and full support for manned and (future) unmanned autonomous platforms, the advanced systems offer enhanced cross-force coordination, strategic planning capabilities, comprehensive battle management, tactical operations, survivability and lethality. Today's highly advanced C4ISR systmes feature high level of automation and AI-based decision support tools to reduce cognitive load at all echelons, facilitating optimal decision-making and planning processes.23

In summery, an adequate C4ISR system enables effective Combined arms and multi-domain operations through superior connectivity by facilitating effective command and control, high level of integration and synchronisation.

It allow headquarters to generate superior Tempo relative to their adversary by enabling better informed decision making, and shortening the decision-action cycle through unprecedented automation for the delivery of kinetic and non-kinetic effects in the battle-space.

It enhance survivability and lethality of the friendly force, again thanks to the greater Situational awareness, optimal decision making and planning processes and timely dissemination of combat informations to the relevant units and commanders.

Hence, to remain vigilant and effective for any unforeseen transforming to C4ISR is a non-negotiable urgency. Bangladesh Army also needs to plan and incorporate such technological advancements to fulfill requirement of future warfare.

For C4ISR system Tactical Communication System (TCS) of Bangladesh Army has to be modernized first. Seamless communication system to be introduced to support military operations, For C4ISR system interfaces are to be designed to integrate both terrestrial and satellite communication backbones to enable connectivity from the highest HQ down to frontline troops. National fiber augmented by microwave backbone will be used as core backbone for field communication. Redundancy of backbone will be created by Radio Relay, radio with higher data capacity and VSAT as emergency or alternative communication backbone.

Likely Challenges of Implementation and Measures.

Considering all requirements likely challenges for implementation of C4ISR system in Bangladesh Army and apposite measures are discussed as under:

a. Mind Setup. Transformation from analogical environment to digital world is a huge challenge. Due to the techno phobia soldiers may not take this change positively. Conduct of training and awareness program for all ranks on C4ISR and motivation may solve this problem.

b. Dependency on Network and Hardware/Software. C4ISR system will be software based network with combination of resources of Army and nationwide backbone. It requires integrating multi standard equipment and platforms. As such, the system will totally depend on network and hardware/software, which will be a great constrain. However, with proper integration and awareness, the problem can be overcome.

c. Standardization of Training. Understanding of C4ISR and use of modernized ICT platforms and equipment will require expert handling. The officers and men of Bangladesh Army are not adequately trained on those gadgets. This can be overcome by planned training, proper understanding of operating procedure and other related issues.

d. Budgetary Constrain. Budgetary constraint would be the major barrier for an effective C4ISR structure. Most of the equipment and platforms need to be procured from foreign countries, which involve huge amount of budget. A phase
wise switching to a standard platform vis-à-vis developing the core network will
integrate through a time plan.

e. Organizational Set Up. At present there is no dedicated organization in Bangladesh Army for C4ISR system. But for smooth functioning of the system
an organizational structure of C4ISR is required.

f. Security Issues. For communication with C4ISR center additional layered of security arrangement to be ensured. Another important aspect is that all soldiers will have the access to real time information. Data communication shall maintain confidentiality in respect of all information provided by the subscriber.

g. Challenges Faced by User Countries. Modern countries like USA, UK, etc. sometimes suffer heavy casualties in the battle field, despite having C4ISR system. Bangladesh Army also likely to face the same difficulties. Therefore, before implementing such a vast project, detail study and analysis of C4ISR system of contemporary armies are essential.


Basing on the discussions following are recommended:

a. AHQ, GS Branch may formulate a board of officers to study C4ISR system of other counties and propose a suitable system for Bangladesh Army. IT Directorate or Signal Directorate may take lead role.

b. A separate organization for C4ISR may be incorporated under AHQ, GS Branch. There may be C4ISR cell in all the formations of Bangladesh Army.

c. AHQ, IT directorate may organize an effective and interactive training module by AITSO to train the men on handling of modern equipment and platforms.24

To be continued with Part III…….
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Part III

5. Electronic Warfare (EW)

All military forces use the electromagnetic spectrum to command and control operating forces acquire targets, guide weapons, and direct supporting arms. These military forces also use the electromagnetic spectrum to collect, process, and report intelligence and to support other administrative and logistics operations. Most facets of military operations involve the use of some device or system that radiates or receives electromagnetic energy via air waves, metallic cable, or fiber optics. Radios, radars, sensors, smart munitions, telephone systems, and computer networks use electromagnetic radiation. Both complex and unsophisticated military organizations depend on these systems and their inherent use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Signals intelligence operations are the principal way to exploit an adversary’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum

Electronic warfare (EW) is “any military action involving the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or to attack the enemy” (Joint Pub 1-02). EW denies the enemy use of the electromagnetic spectrum for command and control and protects it for friendly command and control. There are three divisions of EW.

a. Electronic Warfare Support. Electronic warfare support (ES) includes actions tasked by or under the direct control of an operational commander to search for, intercept, identify, and locate sources of intentional and unintentional radiated enemy electromagnetic signals for the purpose of immediate threat recognition. ES provides information required for immediate tactical decisions and operations such as the identification of imminent hostile actions, threat avoidance, targeting, or electronic attack. Both SIGINT and ES involve searching for, intercepting,
identifying, and locating electronic emitters. The primary differences between the two are the information’s intended use, the degree of analytical effort expended, the detail of information provided, and the timeliness required.

b. Electronic Attack. Electronic attack (EA) is action taken to prevent or reduce an enemy’s effective use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

c. Electronic Protection. Electronic protection (EP) involves the action taken to ensure effective, friendly use of the electromagnetic spectrum despite the enemy’s use of EW.

Signals Intelligence

Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is “a category of intelligence comprising either individually or in combination all communications intelligence, electronic intelligence, and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence, however
transmitted” (Joint Pub 1-02). Simply, SIGINT is intelligence gained by exploiting an adversary’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum with the aim of gaining undetected firsthand intelligence on the adversary’s intentions, dispositions, capabilities, and limitations. SIGINT supports the following six functions of intelligence.

a. Commander’s Estimate. SIGINT helps formulate and modify the commander’s estimate of the situation by providing information needed to analyze the enemy’s C2 operations, identify the current parameters of operating emitters, give insight into enemy intentions, and assess the enemy’s intelligence, EW and other military capabilities.

b. Development of the Situation. SIGINT’s ability to track enemy emitters and associated units and to obtain indicators of intentions can confirm or refute potential enemy courses of action. SIGINT also helps commanders to better understand the enemy and the battlespace, thereby reducing uncertainty by acquiring information regarding enemy structure, dispositions, locations, movements, and operational activities and patterns.

c. Indications and Warning. SIGINT is often the principal provider of indications and warning (I&W) because adversaries often reveal their intentions, locations, and movements in their communications and other electronic emissions.

d. Force Protection. SIGINT supports force protection by revealing critical intelligence about enemy intelligence, sabotage, subversion, and terrorism and by assessing the vulnerability of friendly C2 and CI operations.

e. Targeting. SIGINT supports targeting by providing key operational and locational intelligence on enemy C2 operations and facilities, weapons systems, force compositions, and dispositions. Information provided through SIGINT can identify high value and high payoff targets and help develop options for attacking these targets. SIGINT also supports all-source intelligence gain and loss assessments of potential enemy targets.

f. Combat Assessment. SIGINT can aid in all-source intelligence support of battle damage assessments by exploiting enemy reports of sustained battle damages and by detecting changes in enemy operations subsequen to friendly attacks.25

The experience in Ukraine clarifies some of the critical effects of a contested EMS. Military discourse has – for several years – focused on the problem of EMS denial. Its denial was a major challenge for the UAF in 2014 and 2015. Measures were taken to make the force more resilient. The 2022 invasion therefore provides a better canvas to assess the impact of EW on militaries with appropriately resilient systems, and tactics, techniques and procedures. The effect is not EMS denial. Limitations of power, the tactical necessity to manage signatures and the consequences of EMS fratricide all mean that even forces with large EW capabilities cannot achieve blanket denial across large geographic areas for a sustained period. Denial can be achieved for a short period, or across a limited geographic area. Targeted denial can be delivered for a sustained period over a wide area. However, any kind of targeted denial of bands of the EMS can be evaded through altering frequencies or bearers. The result is that EMS interference and disruption is continual, but denial is limited. This does not mean that contesting the EMS is less of a priority.

Left uncontested, EW slows kill chains, increases confusion and, perhaps most importantly, degrades precision. The inability to determine accurate locations, let alone transmit timely data on target locations, or for munitions to achieve precise impacts against targets, all risk a force losing competitiveness against an opponent. Precision munitions not only inflict disproportionately more damage to the enemy but significantly reduce friendly vulnerabilities in the rear by shrinking the logistics footprint. Precision depends on a functioning kill chain, however. To assure that kill chain and to ensure that the munitions function properly, it is essential to actively contest the EMS. The layering of EW and kinetic attacks is vital to ensure that limited stocks of high-end weapons deliver the effects required. For example, an attempt to deliver precision effects against a target can be disrupted through interference with navigation frequencies so that precise target acquisition is denied. Here, the use of an EW baseline to identify the location of the source of this interference can enable non-precision fires to force the EW platform to displace, thereby opening a window in which the coordinates for an accurate precision strike can be obtained.26

Hence, It is imperative that Bangladesh Army invest in its EW and SIGINT capability. Initially Bangladesh Army has bought four state of art TRC 274 wideband tactical jammer from Thales with high performance ESM capacity to provide efficient detection of targets.

Such systems needs to be fielded with each infantry Division. We recommend for future procurement, Bangladesh Army switches to Turkish solutions in this regard, notably SANCAK or ILGAR. And for more high end solution, Army may look into Aselsan's VURAL systems.


2. https://assets.publishing.service.g...0132199d4/20231008-JDP_0_20_UK_Land_Power.pdf





7. Robert R. Leonhard, Fighting by Minutes: Time and the Art of War, 2nd ed. (n.p.: CreateSpace
Independent Publishing Platform, 2017), 30–32.


9. Leonhard, Fighting by Minutes, 33–34

10. Leonhard, The Art of Maneuver.

11. Attrition or Maneuver? The old age Dilemma



14. Attrition or Maneuver? The old age Dilemma












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