September 21, 2018

US Hits China With Sanctions For Buying Russian War Planes, Warns India of Implications

The Donald Trump Administration on Friday warned India that there could be “implications” for going ahead with the purchase of S-400 missile defence system from Russia, saying that it has the potential to trigger Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The warning came soon after the United States slapped punishing financial sanctions on a Chinese military unit for its purchase of the S-400 surface-to-air missile as well as the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets.

This was the first time the Trump administration targeted a third country with its CAATSA sanctions, designed to punish Russia for its seizure of Crimea and other activities.

The US State Department said it was applying the 2017 legislation against the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Ministry of Defence. At the same time, the State Department also announced it was placing 33 Russian intelligence and military-linked actors on its sanctions blacklist under the CAATSA rules.

"The ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia," a senior administration official told journalists, insisting on anonymity.

"CAATSA sanctions in this context are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country. They are aimed at imposing costs on Russia in response to its malign activities."

However, the sanctions would mean that all property and interests in property within the US jurisdiction of the EDD and Shangfu have been blocked and the US citizens are barred from transacting with them, the official said."We want to stress that the legislative standard here is a significant transaction with an entity that appears on the List of Specified Persons. We took these actions because China took delivery of 10 Sukhoi fighter aircraft, specifically Su-25s, in December of 2017, after the CAATSA statute came into force. It also took delivery of a batch of S-400 sometimes known as SA-21 surface-to-air missile systems or related equipment in January of this year," the official said.

Both these Chinese transactions from Russia, he said, occurred after the CAATSA sanctions statute came into force. The deal was negotiated between the Equipment Development Department and Rosoboronexport, which is Russia's main arms export entity, he added.

He declined to give a specific answer a question whether the US would be taking similar action against countries like India or Turkey that buy or are looking to buy the S-400 missile defense system.

"As to other potential recipients of the S-400, we haven't made any determinations yet with respect to what to do about those, but you can be confident that we have spent an enormous amount of time talking about prospective purchases of things such as S-400s and Sukhois with people all around the world who may have been interested in such things and some who may still be," the official said.

The defence deal with Russia had been a major sticking point during the recent 2+2 dialogue held between India and US recently in Delhi, with Washington signaling that it could give India a waiver considering its old relations with Russia. However, Friday’s sanctions suggest that it has changed its stance.

The official said the Trump administration has made it "very clear" to these countries that these systems like the S-400 are a system of key concern with potential CAATSA implications.


September 19, 2018

America's F-16 Fighter: Made in India?

President Trump wants to bring manufacturing back to American shores.

But that doesn't include the components of one of America's prime fighter jets. The F-16 Block 70 , the most advanced version of the Fighting Falcon, will have its wings produced in India. Lockheed Martin has partnered with India's Tata Advanced Systems to produce in Hyderabad.

Technically speaking, this will not cost any American jobs, because F-16 wings are currently made in Israel by Israel Aerospace Industries. On the other hand, it's hardly a victory for Trump's call for U.S. manufactured to bring their outsourced production back home.

"This strategic initiative positions Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to become the provider of wings for all future customers," said a Lockheed Martin statement. "This is a strategic business decision that reflects the value of our partnerships with India and the confidence we have in Tata."

Responding to speculation that the move is an incentive for the Indian Air Force to purchase the F-16, Lockheed Martin stated the "the planned F-16 wing production move to India is not contingent on the Government of India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force."

Lockheed Martin spokesman told the National Interest that "it will take approximately two years for Tata to demonstrate this manufacturing capability and become a certified Lockheed Martin supplier. The opportunity for wing production occurs once that is completed, projected to be late 2020 or early 2021."

This isn't the only manufacturing change for the F-16 Block 70 (and the Block 72, a similar model with an engine made by Pratt & Whitney instead of General Electric). Lockheed Martin is moving F-16 assembly from Fort Worth, Texas to Greenville, South Carolina.

"The Block 70 and Block 72 both feature the same advanced avionics, APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, automatic ground collision avoidance system, advanced engine, and industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours," Losinger said.

The F-16 Block 70 scored its first sale in June, when Bahrain ordered 16 jets in a $1.1 billion deal, followed by a 14-jet purchase by Slovakia, which opted for the U.S. plane over Sweden's Saab Gripen.

"We are also proposing the F-16 Block 70 for the Bulgarian Air Force and we’re in discussions with numerous other customers about new production F-16s, and F-16V [the Viper version] upgrades," said Losinger. "We see F-16 production opportunities totaling more than 400 aircraft, including the potential F-16 Block 70 order for the Indian Air Force."

Which is good news for Lockheed Martin, and the United States, which will enjoy seeing former Russian clients like Bulgaria and India buying American aircraft to replace their MiGs. But the wings will still be made in India, which is good news for the Indian economy.

The F-16 is hardly the only aircraft that uses foreign-made components, noted Richard Aboulafia, an aviation industry analyst for the Teal Group consultancy. Aboulafia pointed to Boeing's F-15, which uses numerous foreign-made parts, including Israeli-made rudders and doors, and Japanese- and Korean-made components for jets used by those nations.

U.S. aircraft manufacturers need free trade to sell planes overseas, which puts them on a collision course with Trump administration's Buy America policy. "This is a risk all aerospace manufacturers face: the need to grow the market and live in a globalized industry while placating a nationalist administration that doesn't understand business," Aboulafia told the National Interest.


S-400 missile deal with Russia is in final stage, says Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharman on Tuesday said that the deal to purchase S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia has "reached almost the final stage".

The S-400 missile deal is a contentious deal as the United States is opposed to it. The US has imposed military sanctions against Russia under stringent CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). This also extends to countries that engage with Russia in defence matters. US' stand effectively means that any country that engages in defence or intelligence sharing with Russia could also be subject to sanctions.

"The negotiation with Russia on the S-400 have reached almost the final stage, we'll have to see it if it's signed before the Russian President's visit. But the negotiations are almost complete," Sitharaman told media today.

During the 2+2 dialogue earlier this month, India told US that it would go ahead with the deal and sought waiver from sanctions.

On one hand, India wants these missiles to strengthen defence capabilities, but at the same time does not want to sour relations with the US. India would hope that the Trump administration grants the exemption to India under CAATSA. The waiver that India may seek will not be an easy decision for the Trump administration to make because of certain sections in the CAATSA legislation.

Section 231 the CAATSA legislation requires that the president impose sanctions on any entity that "engages in a significant transaction with the defence or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation". With the value of the deal being almost Rs 40,000 crore, it definately falls under 'significant transaction' mentioned in CAATSA.

Good news for India is that some sections in the Trump administration want the waiver to be granted to India. Reports say that Secretary of Defence James Mattis is a strong proponent of granting waivers to India.


India's Home-Made Breathing Apparatus to Enable 45-min Deep Fording of T-90

The apparatus will enable T-90 tank crews to conduct deep fording for at least 45 minutes. State-owned defense lab DRDO is expected to transfer the technology to the private sector for mass production, following which they will be made available to the army starting 2019.

 Crews of the Indian army's T-90 tank are set to equip themselves with major war-fighting apparatus used while crossing rivers or water canals in the rough Himalayan terrain. The equipment will make them capable to operate submerged tanks continuously for at least 45 minutes during deep fording.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Tuesday accorded approval for progressing design and development of such equipment, known as individual underwater breathing apparatus (IUWBA), for T-90 tanks.

"Developed by DRDO Lab DEBEL, the IUWBA is used by the crew of tanks as a safety gear and is required by the tank crew for emergency escape when negotiating water obstacles while deep fording," a statement issued by the Indian Defense Ministry reads.

During deep fording, in the eventuality of the tank stalling mid-crossing, there is no alternative for the crew but to flood the tank to escape from the fighting/driver compartments of the tank and reach the surface of the water as per the enunciated emergency escape procedure.The Indian army has put forth an annual requirement of 2,000 units of underwater breathing equipment with effect from 2019-20, while in total it will purchase 6,628 units of such equipment. The state-owned defense lab DRDO is expected to transfer the technology to the private sector for mass production. Companies like Flash forge, Jyotech, Sure Safety (India) Pvt Ltd, Osho Corp Global Pvt Ltd, H&H Precision Pvt Ltd have positively responded to the proposal for mass production.

The IUWBA, which will be a separate apparatus, will weigh around 5 kg. The equipment will retain its efficiency when stored at temperature ranging from —5 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius.

The Indian Defense Ministry has also accorded approval for design and development of test equipment for guided weapons systems of the T-90 tank. At present, the equipment is imported from foreign firms.


September 18, 2018

Indigenous Akash missile defence system among Rs 9100 crore equipment cleared by Defence Acquisition Council

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday cleared the procurement of two regiments of Akash missile defence system. 

 The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the Defence Ministry's highest decision-making body on acquisitions, headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Tuesday, cleared procurement of military equipment worth Rs 9100 crore. Among the most significant proposals cleared was the procurement of two regiments Akash Missile systems under 'Buy (Indian)' category of the Defence Procurement Policy. 
"Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved procurement of equipment for the defence forces valued at over Rs 9,100 Cr. DAC approved procurement of two Regiments of Akash Missile Systems under 'Buy (Indian)' category," news agency ANI reported.
Defence Ministry sources told Times Now that this would be the latest version of the Akash missile defence system and added that the acquisition will provide the much-needed stealth as well as a 360-degree protection against aerial threats.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), the air defence (AD) system can engage targets up to a distance of 30 km and altitudes of 18000 metre. The system can engage and destroy incoming aerial threats such as fighter jets, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles. The system is already in service with the Indian Army as well as the Indian Air Force.
The DAC also accorded approval for progressing design and development of Individual Under Water Breathing Apparatus(IUWBA) for T90 Tanks. IUWBA is used by the crew of tanks as a safety gear and is required by the Tank crew for emergency escape when negotiating water obstacles.


Dead End for Spike-MR Deal: India Tests Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile

The successful tests of the man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM), developed by state-run DRDO, come less than a year after the Indian government scrapped a $500 million deal for the Israeli Spike-MR.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian defense scientists have successfully conducted back-to-back tests of the new indigenously designed and developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM). The tests were conducted at the Ahmednagar test range in the western state of Maharashtra.
The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile which is fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. The MPATGM reportedly boasts a top attack capability and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometers. Eight static tests of rocket motor were conducted to achieve consistent ballistic performance last year.
 Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after calling off the planned purchase of Israeli Spike-MR in November last year, had directed the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to deliver countrymade man-portable fire and forget guided missile.

"The two missions on 15 and 16 September 2018 have been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability," the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
India had decided to settle for an indigenous MPATGM platform after a committee headed by a major general examined various aspects related to the Spike MR-deal and recommended developing a homemade anti-tank guided missile.

The decision was made despite the Indian army headquarters having highlighted "the operational urgency of the equipment," arguing that the Spike would give "a major capability impetus to troops deployed on the Line of Control (LC), especially in the current operational scenario." The deal included over 8,356 missiles, 321 plus launchers and requisite technology transfer to India's state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited initially. Spike-MR was chosen over the American Javelin, which had offered missiles having a range of four kilometers as a "Make-in-India" project.

Indian government sources told Sputnik that the first MPATGM prototype is expected to be handed over to the Indian army by the end of 2018 for user trials. Mass production of the missile is expected to begin in 2021.
Nevertheless, the Indian army is still pushing to acquire at least 2,500 Spike-MRs as a stopgap measure to quickly address the capability gap. The Indian army says it requires at least 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles in the next 20 years.


September 17, 2018

Pakistan action against terror funding not satisfactory: FATF body

Almost three months after Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for failing to curb terror funding, Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on the “legal” front, was found to be “unsatisfactory”, according to a review by the Asia Pacific Policy Group (APPG).

The APPG examines cases of all countries on the grey and black lists and reports to the FATF.

Official sources said that a review held on September 11-12 in Jakarta observed that “not much has been achieved by Pakistan, especially on the legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc).”

The APPG also reviewed Pakistan on its compliance with the 26-point action plan, which Islamabad, in February this year, had submitted to the FATF to choke the funding of militants groups, including Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its affiliates.

The development, officials said, comes as a major setback for newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was hoping that the inter-governmental body will be lenient in the review given Islamabad’s commitment to the 26-point action plan spanning over a period of 15 months.

APPG, according to official sources, will report the unsatisfactory performance by Pakistan to the FATF, at its plenary in Paris in October 2018.

Sources also said that another review for Pakistan will be held in December this year following which a final evaluation report will be prepared. “For Pakistan, the first deadline is January 2019 failing which they may face more heat. By then, Pakistan will have to publish updated lists of persons and entities proscribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities,” the official explained.

Being on the grey list may hurt Pakistan’s economy as well as its international standing as it faces the risk of being downgraded by multilateral lenders like the IMF, World Bank, ADB etc. And further, reduction in risk-rating by Moodys, S&P and Fitch, which may lead to a fall in the stock market, said the official.

The process to include Pakistan in the list began in February 2018 when the FATF approved the nomination for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List. The resolution against Pakistan was moved by the US which says Islamabad is not doing enough to comply with anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering regulations.

New Delhi has been lobbying hard with the US for the monitoring of Pakistan while highlighting the funding of terrorist activities. India in the past also shared dossiers and evidence regarding the involvement of Pakistan’s officials on deputation at missions in India and elsewhere in peddling fake currency and planning attacks on Indian assets on foreign soil.

“We had highlighted Islamabad’s complicity in funding foreign terror networks at various international fora,” said a senior government official.

Pakistan was on the watch-list between 2012 and 2015 as well but only for money laundering. FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.


India clears way for $2.2-billion frigates deal with Russia

Two weeks after India significantly upgraded its defence ties with the United States through the Comcasa (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement), the Modi government has cleared the way for one of the biggest purchases from Russia — $2.2-billion stealth frigates deal.

The agreement, which will allow India to procure from Russia four new warships for the Navy, will be signed during a summit between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Capital in October. Efforts are on to add the finishing touches to the contours of the deal.

The long-pending deal, to procure Project 11356 or advanced Talwar-class frigates, will involve building two of the ships at the Goa Shipyard, while the rest will be bought directly from Russia’s Yantar shipyard.

Sources have told ET that the clearance procedure before the signing is in the final stage and that India could make payments through the rupee-rouble route.

As reported by ET, financial sanctions by the US have complicated purchase of weapons from Moscow as Indian banks are unable to transfer money to defence companies in Russia. An alternative arrangement, to pay in Indian rupee instead of the standard US dollar, is being worked out to partly deal with the matter.

The deal is being processed as a ‘2+2’ scheme where technology will be transferred to Goa Shipyard to construct two of the frigates from scratch. The other two will be delivered faster — possibly within two years — as the hulls of the ships have already been fabricated for a Russian Navy order that got stalled following the Ukrainian crisis. The ship has been designed to work with Ukraine-made gas turbines.

While there were initial discussions to involve the Indian private sector to build two of the ships domestically, the government took a decision to nominate the stateowned Goa Shipyard as it had spare capacity at hand. The Indian-made warships are expected to cost 30-50% more than the direct Russian import due to the cost of building infrastructure and transfer of technology.

India and Russia had signed an intergovernmental agreement to proceed with the deal in October 2016, but price negotiations and technical consultations, which also involved the Indian shipyard, delayed the final clearance, which could be one of the big takeaways from the Modi-Putin summit that is scheduled to take place in Delhi on October 5.

India already operates six of the Talwar-class frigates, but these four to be ordered will be more advanced versions. The warships are to be fitted with the Brahmos missile system and will have significant changes from the older ships as the Navy will have several Indian-made equipment onboard, including sensors and communications. They will add to India’s muscle in the Indian Ocean region.

Among the immediate priorities for the Navy are minesweepers and multi-role helicopters that can be deployed on warships.


Submarine plan propels forward after delays

Defence Ministry to finalise guidelines for partnership

The Navy’s mega-deal for procuring six advanced conventional submarines under Project-75I and processed through the Strategic Partnership (SP) model is moving forward after being held up due to policy clarity. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has initiated the process to finalise specific guidelines for the project, estimated to cost over ₹60,000 crore.
“A meeting is planned with MoD in mid-September to finalise aspects relevant to submarine specific guidelines for SP model. Specific aspects requiring concurrence of foreign OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are enumerated in the succeeding paragraphs,” the MoD said in a long communication issued to the OEMs in the end of August.
The communication details the desired project outcomes under broad heads like creation of industrial eco-system, the range and scope of technology transfer, indigenisation content, indigenisation of the pressure hull steel, research and development and skilling roadmaps which have detailed enclosures.

Compliance is key

The foreign OEMs have been asked to indicate compliance for each para and sub-paras listed and also for all the enclosures along with their observations and remarks and submit their responses by September 11.
“The meetings with MoD are likely to be scheduled in the week commencing September 17. Firm dates and timings will be promulgated at short notice,” the communication reads.

Four foreign OEMs have responded to the Navy’s Request for Information issued last year. However, further progress got held up as clarity was required on some aspects of the SP model. The contenders are Naval Group of France, Rosoboronexport Rubin Design Bureau of Russia, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany and Saab group of Sweden.
From the Indian private sector only two companies, Larsen and Toubro and Reliance Defence, have shipyards and hence eligible to participate in the tender. Mazagon Dock Ltd, a defence public sector undertaking and the only Indian shipyard with experience of manufacturing submarines, is also expected to be considered.
The SP model, which is the last chapter of the defence procurement procedure, has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks — which would be specifically opened up for the private sector. Under this policy an Indian private company would be selected in each segment which would tie up with shortlisted global OEM to manufacture the platforms in India under technology transfer. The ambitious policy came into effect in May last year but progress was slow due to lack of clarity.

End of July, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the general as well as project specific implementation guidelines for Naval utility helicopters.

the hindu

September 16, 2018

Info leak about Rafale weaponry can help China, Pakistan: Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has refused to reveal the exact full price of each Rafale aircraft fitted with weaponry, saying that "information leaked about the weapon systems can ultimately help Pakistan and China."

Sitharaman, who appeared in 'Aap Ki Adalat' programme on India TV, said that 36 Rafale fighter jets being purchased by the government from France were nine percent cheaper than the price negotiated by the previous UPA government.

She even reportedly described as "white lie" the allegation made by the Congress that the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security was not taken for the Rafale deal.

"Saraasar jhoot hai (It`s a plain lie). The PM visited Paris in 2015, where a memorandum of interest was signed. There was no need for CCS approval for this. Only after the prices were finalized, the Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed in September 2016, and for this the final approval of CCS was taken in August that year," the Defence Minister said.

Asked what happened to assertions by BJP leaders that if the party came to power, it "will get 10 heads in reply to two be-headings (by Pakistan Army)", Sitharaman said. "kaat to rahe hain, display nahin kar rahen" (heads are being cut off, but are not being displayed).

To a query about why she was not revealing the full price for each Rafale aircraft as demanded by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, she said, "For whom is he worried? By leaking information (about weapon systems fitted on Rafale aircraft), whom is he trying to help? By demanding replies from us, who will ultimately benefit? This is what I am seriously asking. Is it Pakistan, or China? Those countries which keep an evil eye on us will benefit. Do we have to do this? I am sorry that the president of the oldest political party sitting in the opposition is demanding this."

She said the government had disclosed the basic price of Rafale aircraft in Parliament, but Gandhi was comparing the basic price of Rafale aircraft with the final price, which he believes is Rs 1,600 crore.

"I do not know from where he got this figure. Even a child can understand this. He should compare basic prices." Answering a query, she said, "We are very close to reaching "10i", meaning capability for 10 days intensive war.

Sitharaman said the talks for purchasing Rafale fighter aircraft began in 2007 during UPA regime and then they were put in cold storage for five years.

"In December, 2011 or January, 2012, it was announced that the basic price of each Rafale aircraft would be Rs 520 crore. Had the UPA government then purchased these aircraft at that rate in 2012, then the first of the 18 flyaway aircraft would have come by 2015 or 2016. By then, three per cent cost escalation per year would have come into force, and by 2015-16 it would have gone up to Rs 738 crore per aircraft."

On Rahul Gandhi`s charge that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was overlooked in offsets, the Defence Minister said that HAL was already overburdened and its production capacity was less.

She said the government has given Rs 22,000 crore worth orders every year to HAL compared to Rs 10,000 crore during UPA government and had also placed orders of 83 more Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Sitharaman clarified that any offset deal with a private company was out of the purview of the Inter-Governmental Agreement and it was a commercial decision. "No company has been named in the IGA."

She pointed out that the Indian Air Force`s squadrons had come down from 42 to 33, and therefore, the deal was done at a fast pace.

"For 10 years they did nothing and sat on the files. Now when we have bought 36 Rafale aircraft to raise the operational efficiency of IAF, they are saying we have played with the nation`s security. Who really played with the nation`s security?"


September 15, 2018

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa's thumbs-up for Rafale jet has no relevance; no such thing as 'bad' fighter aircraft

The Indian Air Force chief's statement that the induction of the Dassault Rafale will give the fleet teeth is heartening, but is not a great revelation. Any fourth or fifth generation fighter like the Swedish Viggens,the American F16s or the Russian Sukhois, for example, would provide the much-delayed dental upgrade. Nobody makes bad fighter planes in what is a highly competitive category.
More importantly, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa's observation is mutually exclusive from the inordinate delay in getting the first 36 aircraft and also the dust that has been raised by the Opposition parties. Therefore, any effort to link the air chief's clean chit to sanitising the purchase of scandal is pointless.
Any military expert will confirm that if a four-star officer was to say the choice is a poor one, that would make news. Putting an in-house seal of approval after a three-year foot drag is not really a newsworthy initiative unless it comes as a diktat to quieten the uncomfortable questioning that intensified in August with Congress president Rahul Gandhi challenging Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in an unseemly and undergraduate fashion to respond to the accusations of malfeasance in the purchase. As a deflection, it's a fragile effort because one would jolly well hope the government and the air force chose correctly.
The unfolding of this saga is also reminiscent of the Bofors episode where its unquestionable worthiness as a shoot-and-scoot Howitzer was eclipsed by scandal and slander and an international manhunt that got nowhere.The risk is that the product and politics get so deeply intertwined that it all turns into a ball of wool. If it wasn't for Kargil and the tilt in our favour thanks to the Bofors gun, it would have been maligned as a dummy — which was exactly what was happening until the conflict.
We are way past the time for endorsements for the Rafale. The need of the hour is to appreciate that there is more than one enemy at the gate and our air force is relatively toothless. To address the issue, India must move to either lease jets from France till the supplies begin to arrive or find short term alternatives, because the luxury of leaving the gate unattended till 2019 and beyond is an indulgence that cannot be afforded.


Vajra hits target during Pokhran test

On Thursday, Army successfully test fired from indigenous advanced gun K9-Vajra-T (long range) which hit the target at Pokhran field firing range in Jaisalmer. The gun has a range to fire up to 40-50km.

On Thursday, 6 rounds were fired successfully from the Howitzer after the 13 modifications were done in the gun. Senior officers of army and L&T were present during the trial. The gun developed and built by developed by Larsen and Toubro (L&T). The gun has detection advanced system of chemical & nuclear weapon which has GPS and navigation system and automatic MO loading system.

The howitzer is specially designed for arid lands such as the desert areas western bordering Pakistan. Artillery of Indian army will soon get total 100 indigenous gun K9 Vajra-T(Thunder) 155mm/52 calibre to deal with new challenges it get from china and Pakistan. The fire power capability will improve more from the howitzer. Till now Indian Army receive 10 guns and soon Indian Army will get balance 90 guns, According to the official sources, the latest advanced version K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/ 52 calibre hit target in Pokharan field firing range in the presence of Army and L&T officials. Trials were done and it will undergo more trials in upcoming days.

The ‘Vajra’, a 155 mm howitzer was ordered by the Indian Army in April 2017 after a global competition that was won by Larsen and Toubro. The guns are being made in India with a partnership with Hanwha Techwin of South Korea with an initial order of 100 that is valued at Rs. 4500 crore which is to be supplied to the Indian army in 42 months. The gun will be deployed along the western border to take on a Pakistani battlefield edge in mobile artillery. The weight of howitzer is about 45 Ton. The speed of gun movement is 60-70km/ hour. A manufacturing unit is being set up at Hajiza Gujrat and 10 guns have already been delivered in last 10 months to Indian Army.

Source said K-9 Vajra-T tracked self-propelled howitzer meets the requirements of 21st-century warfare. The howitzer is capable of proving deep fire support with its longer firing range, has qualitative superiority to overcome a numerical inferiority with its higher rate of fire and accuracy along with effective and reliable fire support in all kinds of circumstances with its higher mobility and protection. 13 Modifications more has been done seeing the requirement of Indian Army. There is special system known as MRSI (Multiple round simultaneous impact) which fire 3 round in 15 seconds.

Source said it is specially designed for arid lands such as the desert areas bordering Pakistan. Mounted on a tracked vehicle, the K-9 Vajra is ideally suited for mobile tank warfare. This howitzer could be induct into its mechanized strike corps to offer close fire support during deep thrusts into enemy territory. With the howitzer a vehicle carry with it. Vehicle is known as KT-10 (Automatic Re-ammunition Supply Van) whose as capacity of 104 round.

Source said K9 VAJRA-T is a variant of the South Korean K9 Thunder which is considered to be the world's best 155mm/52 calibre self propelled howitzer in terms of the number of systems in active service.