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Indian Army: Army raises elite unit to work on critical technologies having military applications

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The Indian Army has raised an elite unit that will undertake research and evaluation of futuristic communication technologies like 6G, artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum computing for military use in view of the changing nature of the field. The Signals Technology Evaluation and Adaptation Group or STEAG is mandated to nurture technologies spanning the complete spectrum of wired and wireless systems, officials said.

The setting up of STEAG is part of the Army’s efforts to develop technologies considering the future battlefield, they said.

“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 cases for defence applications by fostering collaboration with academia and industry,” one of the officials said.

The elite unit will focus on all upcoming critical technology domains including electronic exchanges, mobile communications, software defined radios, electronic warfare systems, 5G and 6G networks, quantum technologies, AI, machine learning, etc., he said.

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

Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande has been highlighting the need for acquiring new technologies by the force in view of the changing nature of warfare. “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 official said on condition of anonymity. 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, he said.

The Army believes communications are going to be an important component of military operations.

“In the fast-evolving technologies for the battlefield, the side with better communication technologies and the ability to connect the various constituents for information sharing will have an edge over its adversary,” another official said.

He said 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 the digital domain,” he added.

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