MOD ISSUES RFP FOR OVER 6,000 MULTI SPECTRAL CAMOUFLAGE NETS FOR TANKS & APCS IN HIGH-ALTITUDE AREAS
The nets with their disruptive patterns, conceals critical equipment in high-altitude terrains, enhancing stealth and reducing detection risks from enemies
The Ministry of Defence, Government of India, is set to procure 6,175 Multi Spectral Camouflage Nets (MSCN) for High Altitude, including Barren Mountain and Snow-Bound Areas, as it released a Request For Proposal on November 10, 2023.
These specially designed nets, made from polymer-coated fabric, feature a disruptive pattern for effective blending in diverse terrains. The MSCN suppresses signatures for critical equipment like tanks and radars in the presence of enemy surveillance devices in the visual, infrared (IR), Total internal Reflection (TIR), and radar ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Notably, the Indian Army, in collaboration with the Indian Air Force, had previously released an Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for the acquisition of 6,425 MSCN units. The AON, issued on September 27, highlighted the essential features required for this specialised equipment tailored for rugged, barren mountainous, and snowbound terrain.
Emphasis On Buying Indian-IDDM Classification
The army was supposed to have received 6,175 networks for High Altitude areas, while the Indian Air Force was to procure 250 units for various ‘Air Force’ applications, as stated in the AoN. This procurement falls under the ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ classification, emphasising the need for complete design and development within India, prioritising indigenous production. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had previously acquired a total of 6,000 similar MSCNs. These networks were produced by an Indian MSME- Entremonde Polycoaters Ltd. In an official statement, the IAF stated, these acquisitions will camouflage IAF’s installations.
However, as per the revised number numbers, it is unclear if the units accorded to IAF have been taken into account for the acquisition.
Crucial Specifications For High-Altitude Operations
The AoN outlines essential specifications for the MSCN, crucial for operations in high-altitude environments. According to the AoN, the netting should provide optimal camouflage for critical installations, thereby reducing the likelihood of detection by both aerial and ground-based electromagnetic sensors.
Visual And UV Spectrum Coverage: The MSCN is specified to cover a wavelength range of 380 to 780 nm in the visual range, resulting in a significant 70 percent reduction in object recognition at distances of 750 metres in daytime conditions and 100 metres during night time under a full moon. In the UV range (300 to 380 nm), the net reflectivity index should not be less than 60 percent, ensuring effective concealment.
Stringent Thermal Transmission Tests: Mandated tests for thermal transmission impose a maximum allowable of 20 percent across specified bands. This ensures the net’s performance in varying thermal conditions, with a permissible temperature difference of less than 10°C between the net and its ambient environment.
Radar Detection Shield: The Army will also assess the MSCN’s ability to reduce radar transmissions in centimetre and millimetre wavelength bands. A minimum transmission loss of 6 dB is required, providing an effective shield against radar detection.
As per the AoN, one of the additional features is that MSCN should have reversibility. This allows for deployment in two distinct contiguous terrains, with one side tailored for High Altitude Mountain Terrain, and the reverse side optimised for Snow Bound Areas. The colour pattern strictly adheres to the Indian Standard Colour Code (ISC), ensuring seamless integration with the environment.
Operating Parameters And Longevity Requirements
Operating parameters have also been defined for the acquisition of the MSCN. The MSCN must function within a wide temperature range, from minus 30°C to 50°C. Storage requirements remain flexible. The previous AoN also specified that there should be no need for any special arrangements. Furthermore, the requirements stated for the MSCN have a strong focus on its longevity, with an additional requirement for an operational life of ten years and an allowance for 150 handling. Another need stated in the AoN is that the net weight should be 300 grams per square metre to ensure portability without compromising durability.
Another requirement is that repair kits should accompany acquisition of each MSCN to ensure troops are able to address minor damage in the field. The acquisition, as per the Army’s official statement, will be divided between two vendors at a ratio of 60:40, with the first vendor delivering 60 percent of the initial order and the second vendor providing the remaining 40 percent at similar costs.