Canister-launched Anti-armour Loiter Ammunition (CALM) System

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    In News

    • Recently, the Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for canister-launched anti-armour loiter ammunition (CALM) for its mechanised forces.

    About 

    • Earlier, the Indian Army had issued a RFI for the supply of Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles to be deployed in Ladakh and Kutch.The Army has specified that it intends to procure 150 such systems.
    • These systems are being procured under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programmes.

    Canister-Launched Anti-Armour Loiter Ammunition (CALM) System

    • About: 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.
    • Target guided: When a target is sighted it can be guided down to destroy the target with the explosive payload that it carries. 
      • Uses camera: Usually, loiter ammunition carry a camera which is nose-mounted and which can be used by the operator to see the area of operation and choose targets. 
    • Variations: These munitions also have variants which can be recovered and reused in case they are not used for any strike.
    • Area of deployment: The CALM system 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.

    Loitering Munitions

    • Loitering munition is a category of weapon systems, the main elements of which are an unmanned platform with a warhead. 
    • They are a mix of a surface-to-surface missile and a drone.
    • Loitering munitions are an asset to the artillery branch of the Army as they are able to detect and take out static and moving targets across all types of landscape — from mountains to deserts.
    • The weapons systems are able to destroy radar installations, air defence systems and communication centres and dynamic targets such as enemy vehicles and troops.

    Significance

    • Deployed in remote places and hard terrains: They 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
    • High temperature tolerance range: 
      • In the plains and deserts: The system should be able to operate between the temperature of zero degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius.
      • In high altitude: It should be able to operate between minus 15 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius
    • Penetrating surveillance:
      • 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.
    • Top down attack capability:
      • This ability 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.

    Usage of CALM System

    • Global: 
      • The CALM System had been very effectively used in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in 2021: The Azerbaijan forces made extensive use of Israeli systems to wreak havoc on Armenian tanks, radar systems, communication hubs and other military targets. 
      • 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.
    • India:
      • India uses the Israeli Harop loitering munition
      • In September 2021, an order was placed for 100 explosive-laden ‘SkyStrikers’, capable of long-range tactical strikes from Bengaluru-headquartered firm Alpha Design, in a joint venture (JV) with Israeli firm Elbit Security Systems.

    Source: IE