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CST Advanced Systems: Innovating Pathbreaking INCASS and UAV

CST Advanced Systems boldly champions the 'Make in India' initiative, specializing in infantry modernization, cutting-edge electronics, robust communication systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles

CST Advanced Systems is a premier supplier to Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, and security agencies. The company integrates next-generation communication systems with state-of-the-art surveillance and tracking technologies, including ‘friend or foe’ identification, delivering advanced situational awareness.

Proudly supporting the Government of India’s “Make in India” initiative, CST Advanced Systems stands as one of the fastest-emerging private sector players. The company provides infantry modernization, electronics, and communication systems to the world’s third-largest armed forces.

In an exclusive conversation with The Interview World, Col. Ani John Alex (Retd.), General Manager – Business Development at CST Advanced Systems, highlights the advanced defense products developed by the company. He explains how these products enhance the efficiency of the Indian military’s surveillance capabilities, shares insights into their robust UAV systems, and emphasizes the cutting-edge nature of their offerings. Here are the key insights from his interview.  

Q: Could you provide an overview of the products CST Advanced Systems is currently designing for the defense sector?

A: We are CST Advanced Systems, a Talwar Group company headquartered in Delhi with manufacturing facilities across India. CST stands for Communication Security Technologies.

Our company specializes in communication and surveillance, offering a wide range of products. Today, I want to highlight one of our most dynamic and essential solutions: the Integrated Communication and Surveillance System (INCASS).

INCASS addresses the critical need for timely situational awareness in various operations, including conventional warfare, counter-terrorism, and anti-Maoist missions. This system processes incoming information rapidly, enabling swift decision-making and action.

INCASS operates as a system of systems, built on the backbone of our software-defined radios. It provides capabilities for audio and data transmission, along with live video feeds from soldiers on the ground to team commanders. This real-time visual feed allows commanders to see exactly what their soldiers are seeing through rugged devices, enhancing their situational awareness.

Multiple teams transmit live feeds back to the headquarters, offering a comprehensive view of the entire battle area. This real-time visibility enables commanders to make informed decisions, course-correct, maneuver forces, and achieve greater operational success.

In addition to live video feeds, we have integrated a personal tracking and mapping system. This system tracks the location of personnel, even in GPS-denied environments, ensuring continuous situational awareness. By combining this tracking capability with our radios and live feeds, we provide a holistic situational overview.

With INCASS, you always know where your soldiers are, what they are seeing, and where they are moving. This comprehensive situational awareness and timely updates at all levels are crucial for the success of our forces.

Q: How do you envision your products and solutions enhancing efficiency in surveillance and decision-making within military organizations?

A: In the defense sector, we frequently refer to the OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) cycle. Our goal is to minimize this cycle as much as possible. Traditionally, we receive the information, process it, and then make a decision.

However, with the new system, I can see what my soldier sees in real time. This direct observation also allows me to make immediate decisions, effectively reducing the OODA cycle to its minimum. Furthermore, such advancement will revolutionize warfare, transforming conventional operations and enhancing anti-terrorism and anti-Maoist efforts.

Moreover, we design the entire system under the “Make in India” initiative. This means all data remains within India, stored securely on our servers. Moreover, there is no risk of external access to our data, ensuring complete security. In essence, this is the most significant advantage of the system.

Q: How do your products enhance the ability of defense personnel to effectively monitor and secure porous borders?

A: This technology will significantly enhance our capabilities in that segment, especially given the challenges posed by porous borders. For instance, as I demonstrated, we can mount a camera on a soldier or place it at a remote location. It can operate unmanned, eliminating the need to deploy personnel while still providing comprehensive information.

Our country has an extensive border, making it impractical to station personnel everywhere. By leveraging technology, we can deploy cameras to gather real-time feeds. Moreover, this allows us to monitor critical areas and respond swiftly to any threats. This approach maximizes efficiency and ensures effective border management.

Q: Could you share details about the large-size UAV you designed, including its features, intended applications, and the inspiration behind its creation?

A: We have established a collaboration with Ikran Aerospace to enhance our line-of-sight radio equipment. Typically, RF transmission has a range limit, but by integrating our radios with drones, we extend this capability significantly.

With our antennas positioned in the sky, they automatically connect to all ground radios. This aerial deployment also increases the ground-to-ground communication range by two to three times, enabling us to cover a much larger area.

This extended range is particularly beneficial for conventional operations or large-scale operations in areas like Jammu & Kashmir. For instance, in operations spanning both sides of a hill, a drone can ensure complete network coverage. This is the true advantage of our innovative approach.

Q: Has this UAV been integrated into the Indian defense system for commercial use?

A: We’ve been pioneering the distribution of these radios and associated technology since 2018, establishing a solid six-year track record. Continuously upgrading and enhancing features, each year sees the integration of new systems, forming a cohesive ‘system of systems.’ This approach ensures ongoing scalability and robustness, adapting seamlessly to emerging technologies. Our commitment to ‘Make in India’ also underscores our ethos, with a continuous expansion of integrated systems.

Q: From a technological perspective, how do you envision your products evolving over the next 5 to 10 years?

A: Looking forward 5 to 10 years, our current strategic initiatives are pivotal in shaping future military capabilities. The groundwork we are laying now is crucial as it undergoes rigorous testing and scaling phases before full integration into operational forces, a process anticipated to span approximately 8 to 10 years. Despite this timeline, our efforts have positioned us well ahead of schedule, ensuring readiness for future challenges.

Our technology represents a significant leap forward, akin to current standards observed in Western armed forces. This advancement not only meets but exceeds these benchmarks, setting a new standard for operational effectiveness and tactical superiority. For instance, our innovations enable real-time tracking and live video feeds, providing commanders with unprecedented situational awareness and decision-making support.

This capability has been demonstrated in critical operations, such as the precise execution seen in missions like the capture of Osama Bin Laden. By delivering such advanced capabilities today, CST Advanced Systems is shaping the future landscape of military operations, ensuring that our armed forces remain at the forefront of global defense strategies and technological innovation.

RAAYA i2h - A Pathbreaking Surveillance UAV Designed by CST Advanced Systems
RAAYA i2h – A Pathbreaking Surveillance UAV Designed by CST Advanced Systems
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