[section_title title=Of Aircraft Carriers in New Age Lethality]
Military affairs have been revolutionized by increasing the dimensions of war. No one thought before the WW II thought that aircraft and submarines will play almost decisive roles. The War ended by US creating a totally new dimension of “mass lethality” by using fission bombs – not once but twice. One of the major legacies of Second World War has been the aircraft carrier group that was used by Japan with a telling effect during Pearl Harbor attacks and later by US and Soviet Navy during cold war global shadow boxing. Lesser powers – UK and France also operated aircraft carriers and still do. India had an aircraft carrier that helped us block the East Pakistan during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. May be that gave our naval planners a fixation on having aircraft carriers and plans have been in place to operate 3 aircraft carriers – so that 2 carrier groups are always at sea. The recent proclamation by Chief of Indian Naval staff reiterating the same is a clear indication of how it is not easy for Indian Navy or Indian military planners in general to understand the new technological and doctrinal shifts needed to create changes. Lethality the fundamental war making capability is seeing a marked shift. From “piecemeal lethality” to “massed lethality” and “stealth lethality” we have seen the evolution of lethality in the age of industrial revolution and a machine based world. In the information based world “remote lethality”, “virtual lethality” and “non-lethal lethality” are emerging new capabilities.
Dimensions of Warfare and Weapon Systems
War making requires ability to inflict disruption, damage, and destruction of enemy capabilities and resources. This reflects in the primary capability of war making systems, instruments and arms, i.e., their lethality. The lethality should be protected from enemy’s lethality – hence every weapon system needs a self-protection capability – a defensive capability. Further, many weapon systems need to operate together to achieve an effective lethality hence a weapon system requires integration capability that become more pronounced in the information age with systems such as C4ISR attaining same importance if not more than combat systems. Further, lethality needs to operate and be operable in multiple heterogeneous environments. Hence weapon systems need operability in multiple environments without impacting its main function – that is its lethality.
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