July 22, 2017

Fake Chinese Spares For India-Made Bofors Guns, Alleges CBI Complaint

Cheap Chinese parts passed off as 'Made in Germany' found their way to the production line of Indian-made Bofors artillery guns called Dhanush used by the Army, prompting the CBI to file a case against a Delhi-based company.

The Indian-made gun has cleared trials with the Indian Army and has proved its ability to strike targets 38 km away as compared to the original Bofors gun which has a range of approximately 27 kilometres. The Army plans to acquire 414 Dhanush guns.

But an initial probe by the CBI suggests that the Gun Carriage Factory in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur, that built the initial few guns, had accepted a Chinese made crucial part called 'Wire Race Roller Bearings'.

The first order for four bearings was placed by the factory in 2013. In August 2014, the company was asked to provide six. The delivery of two bearings each was made on three occasions between 7 April 2014 and 12 August 2014.

The CBI said production and performance of the Dhanush gun is extremely crucial for India's defence preparedness and "wire race roller bearing" is its vital component.This was done as a special case though its tests showed that the bearings supplied by Delhi-based Sidh Sales Syndicate were unacceptable due to deviations in dimensions.

The company had claimed that it was sourcing the spares from a German firm, CRB Antriebstechnik and even produced certificates from this company. The CBI's complaint said the spares were also embossed as 'CRB-Made in Germany'.

The CBI, however, found that the documents were forged and German company didn't even manufacture the parts it was supposed to have supplied.

To further back its case, the agency has also seized emails exchanged between the Delhi-based company and the Chinese firm which had supplied the parts.


Indian Army's ammunition stock will exhaust after 10 days of war: CAG report

The stock of as many as 61 types of ammunition - out of a total of 152 types of ammunition considered critical by the Indian Army to fight a war - is available for just 10 days only, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found.
The stocks of just 20 per cent of the armoury - 31 types of ammunition - were found to be satisfactory, the CAG has found. The CAG report was placed before the Parliament today.
The Indian military is required to hold ammunition enough to fight a short intense war of 20 days. Earlier, Indian military was required to have store supplies, spares and ammunition - called War Wastage Reserve (WWR) - to fight a 40 day intense war. In 1999 the WWR was scaled down to only 20 days.

The CAG says that of the 152 types of ammunition identified as critical stocks of only 31 were available for 40 days whereas as many as 12 types of ammunition was available for 30 to 40 days and stocks of as many of 26 types of ammunition was available for a little over 20 days.
The CAG report says that while WWR stocks of some of the critical items have improved - for instance explosives and demolition items- ammunition for Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) and Artillery ammunition "meant for sustaining superior fire power were under critical level".

Concerned by shortfall, the previous UPA government had come up with a plan - Ammunition Road Map - to rapidly add to ammunition stocks by 2015. The CAG report, however, observes that "despite a lapse of more than three years - from March 2013- no significant improvement in availability of WWR ammunition was noticed".
Lack of ammunition stocks is severely affecting training of the Indian Army. The CAG has observed because of shortage of ammunition, the Army Head Quarters had imposed "restriction" on training. It says in 2016, of the 24 types of ammunition required for training only three were available for more than five days for training activity. And, the availability of as much as 88 per cent of ammunition was far below requirement. "Majority of training ammunition - 77 to 88 per cent - remained critical i.e. less than five day".

Concerned by huge shortfall of ammunition, the Government recently gave the vice-chief of Army Staff powers to make to emergency purchases.
Sources told India Today that the Indian Army has identified 46 types of ammunition, about half dozen types of mines and 10 weapon systems as extremely critical. "These can now be purchased immediately bypassing the long winded procurement procedure," a senior officer said.


CAG slams Indian Navy for delay in anti-submarine warfare corvettes projects

The Comptroller and Auditor General has come down hard on the Indian Navy for causing inordinate delay in construction of four anti-submarine warfare corvettes.
In a report tabled in Parliament, the federal auditor said two of the four warships were delivered to the Navy were not fitted with required weapons and sensor systems due to which they could not perform to full potential as envisaged.
The CAG was severely critical of the Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) for delay in finalising the design of the corvettes, saying approved designs were amended 24 times.
The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), a defence public sector undertaking (DPSU), was issued letter of intent for the project in 2003 but major modifications in design of the ships continued till 2008.
The first corvette was delivered to the Navy in July 2014 and second one in November 2015. According to the contract for the project, the third corvette should have been delivered in July 2014 and fourth in April 2015.
"Against the 18 weapons and sensors to be installed on ASW corvettes, audit observed that the two ASW corvettes delivered were not fitted with 'X' weapon and sensor systems. Thus, ASW corvettes could not perform to its full potential as envisaged," the CAG said.
The auditor also observed that Sea Acceptance Test (SAT) on six weapons and sensors in the first corvette and all weapons and sensors on the second one were pending satisfactory completion.
"Thus, the effectiveness of the main feature of anti-submarine warfare was yet to be fully proved."
(SAT) is conducted to test vessel's speed, equipment, manoeuvrability and safety features.
The CAG also expressed dissatisfaction over licence production and supply of Hawk Mk 132 AJT aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
It said not insisting for licence for manufacture of unlimited number of aircraft by the ministry of defence (MoD) while negotiating for "batch I" contract resulted in avoidable payment of licence fee for licenced manufacture of unlimited number of aircraft.
The CAG also said HAL incurred an expenditure of Rs 107.05 crore on account of procurement of six additional engine kits in anticipation of order from MoD which remained infructuous.
The HAL produces the plane under licence from BAE. under licence from the BAE Systems.
"Though establishment of facilities for major servicing of airframe and engines was envisaged to be completed by March 2016 and March 2018 respectively, considering aircraft directly procured by MoD, HAL was yet to establish the facilities till date," it said.


‘ThyssenKrupp Marine ready for complete tech transfer’

India MD says the German conglomerate’s AIP system for submarines is used by nine navies

German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is banking on its vast experience in design and construction of submarines and the fact that it has delivered subs for coastal and blue water deployment to the navies of 19 countries, to help deliver India’s next-generation submarines, the P-75(I). The Indian Navy had recently flagged off the next stage of P-75(I) by issuing Request For Information (RFI) to foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
Even as the Strategic Partnership policy is set to unlock submarine building in the country, ThyssenKrupp is in talks with private Indian shipyards for tie-ups, and is keen to be the foreign OEM of choice for the P75(I) programme. The German submarine specialist had recently landed a contract to modernise two Indian Navy type 209/1500 submarines.
Lauding the massive technological capability available at Indian shipyards, Gurnad Sodhi, Managing Director, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems India, spoke to BusinessLine about how the P-75(I) contract would be an important milestone for the company, and how his team is looking forward to integrate any weapon system the Indian Navy may opt for. Edited excerpts:
Six advanced submarines are to be built under P-75(I). Why is air-independent propulsion (AIP) an enabling factor?
A crucial factor in non-nuclear submarines is the AIP system. Ever since there have been submarines, the goal has been to extend their diving time.
AIP helps make this possible, significantly increasing the underwater range and reducing the risk of discovery. Our AIP technology will help boost combat operation capability of India’s stealth vehicles.
The Indian Navy has announced it would not include its indigenous AIP system in the Scorpene submarines. How can you compete with other foreign OEMs with the AIP technology?
Most OEMs do not have a proven technology.
The German AIP is the only proven AIP in the world at present, and is actively being used by many navies worldwide where our boats are operating.
We have already committed that ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems will be happy to provide complete transfer of technology (ToT) to the Navy for the AIP system for P75(I).
To enable ToT, do you have any likely Indian partners in the fray?
We have already built two Type 209 submarines in collaboration with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in the early nineties, and have a good relation with them. The Indian government had last month finalised and elaborated the Strategic Partner of the DPP (Defence Procurement Procedure) 2016.
We have visited and examined most Indian shipyards — private as well as public —like Larsen and Toubro, Reliance Defence, MDL, Hindustan Shipyard, and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, and are aware of the immense technological capability available at each yard.
We will be happy to collaborate with any shipyard (public or private) with whom the the Indian government wishes us to build our boats in India under P75(I).
Have you received any indication in this regard?
We have regular interactions with the Indian Navy, and have amply demonstrated our commitments. Both the Navy and the Indian government are aware of this.
Has the company undertaken any AIP-related ToT?
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ air-independent propulsion system is successfully running on our 209PN and 209R, 212A, 214 and Dolphin AIP submarines in six navies across the world — the German, Italian, South Korean, Israeli, Portuguese and Hellenic (Greek) Navies.This technology has been exported, and is presently being used for the manufacture of 3 + 6 Type 214 submarines under construction, with complete ToT in South Korea, in collaboration with Hyundai Heavy Industries.


July 21, 2017

US releases UAV technology to India, mulls Predator deal

The US has confirmed that the critical Category One UAV technology from US-based General Atomics has been released, acceding to India’s strong request. Also, the Indian Air Force has requested for 100 units of Predator C Avenger aircraft worth $8 bn.

Highly placed sources told FE, “The White House under President Donald Trump spearheaded the interagency process to make a very significant policy change in favour for India by granting this technology as desired by India based on senior Indian government requests.”

As reported by FE earlier, Indian Navy had sent the letter of request for 22 Sea Guardians in June 2016 and under the Obama administration no tangible action was taken. However, the biggest tangible take away from the Trump-Modi deliberations in Washington DC recently was operationalisation of the major defence partner relationship.

General Atomics chief executive Vivek Lall, a former Boeing official and NASA scientist, who is considered as the father of US India defence relations, met US Vice President Pence post the Prime Minister Modi visit.

Lall had commented, “We are extremely pleased President Trump and Prime Minister Modi have had excellent deliberations and the path forward for a game changer in US India defence relations has been charted. Given the Sea Guardian’s capabilities such a US response to the Indian Navy request demonstrates a major change in US policy because this type of aircraft capability is only exported to a very select few of America’s closest defence partners. This represents tangible implementation of US Congress’ designation of India as a major defence partner.”

According to sources, India has been requesting predator technology for several years, and it was only the combination of Trump and Modi that they were able to move the decision to this point. India was able to join MTCR after significant role of United States backing its entry. Observers term this as another major foreign policy success for Modi.

Earlier this year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had also officially requested the US government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. This request is being actively considered by the White House as a second step after operationalising the 22 Guardian aircraft for the Indian Navy.

As military aviation transforms globally to autonomous systems, US and India have a great opportunity to collaborate at the highest levels of technology and innovation. Overall Indian requirement for UAVs is approximately 650 units.


July 20, 2017

IAF To Get ‘3 x BrahMos’ Load-Out Option By 2021

The Indian Air Force’s original wish to deploy fighters with three BrahMos supersonic stand-off cruise missiles is now an official, timeframed project for the Indo-Russian partnership. Livefist can confirm that BrahMos, which kickstarted an effort in 2012 to spin off a BrahMos variant that weighed half as much as the original and dimensional smaller, has formally committed to putting the new missile into test mode by 2021, with the specific aim of giving the IAF a three-missile loadout option. The effort to shrink the BrahMos, first revealed here on Livefist in 2012, also aims to extend the capability to the IAF’s upgraded MiG-29s, incoming Rafale jets and Indian Navy’s MiG-29Ks, none of which can currently deploy a BrahMos-A. The smaller BrahMos is likely to be designated the BrahMos NG (the BrahMos-2 is the in-development hypersonic version of the missile).
While the Su-30 will be able to weild the BrahMos NG in a three-missile load-out, other platforms will get the weapon system in a single or twin missile load-out configuration depending on simulations that will be completed this year.
The fresh effort actually brings things full circle for the IAF. It had originally hoped the Su-30MKI platform could be modified satisfactorily to deploy three BrahMos-A missiles — two on the wings, and one on special belly hardpoint. Structural studies by HAL and Sukhoi Design Bureau concluded that the modifications were technically risky and economically unacceptable. Following six sets of carriage and separation trials, one of two modified IAF Su-30 MKIs will test-fire a BrahMos-A from its belly hardpoint for the first time next month against a ship target in the Bay of Bengal.
Given the stand-off posture an air-launched BrahMos will have with its 300 km range (to be extended progressively to over 900 km), a three-weapon loadout option is an sharp leg up for mission flexibility and planning.
Like the existing BrahMos base weapon, the BrahMos-3 is being developed for submarine launch. While the original BrahMos will be deployable from a vertical silo stack, the miniaturised BrahMos is being developed for firing from torpedo tubes. Livefist can confirm that BrahMos Corp. has held discussions with the likely contenders in India’s looming mega conventional submarine build programme, the Project 75I, and locked down assurances that their bids will include confirmation that the BrahMos can be deployed for vertical launch from their platforms with necessary modifications. Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems have made formal confirmations to this effect on their Amur 1650 and Class 214 boats respectively.
In an interesting related development at the International Maritime Defence Show 2017 currently on in St Petersburg, Russian officials have revealed the Rubin Design Bureau and India’s DRDO may sign a cooperation agreement on their respective air independent propulsion (AIP) efforts. DRDO chief S. Christopher, who visited Russia in March, is understood to have been keen to forge a partnership so that India’s work so far on an indigenous AIP doesn’t lose out to delivery timeframes to the Indian Navy.
To be executed under India’s new strategic partnership policy, the P75I programme RFP is expected early 2018, with India’s L&T and Reliance Defence likely to face off in the multi-billion contest to build six winning submarine types in country.

Shiv aroor

India won't ink a Single-Engine Fighter Jet deal before 2019

India's single-engine fighter program, worth $12 billion, is unlikely to be "decided before 2019," analysts and officials say, even as the Indian Air Force has decided to hold flight tests of Lockheed's F-16 Block 70 and Sweden's Gripen-E, the two aircraft competing in the program.

Restricted expressions of interests were sent through Indian embassies to "some overseas participants" to take part in the program in October last year to elicit responses to produce single-engine fighter aircraft in India. Lockheed Martin offered to shift the assembly line of its F-16 Block 70, and Sweden offered to build the Gripen-E aircraft in India with technology transfer.

The F-16 fighter aircraft did not come up for discussion during last month's summit talks on June 26 between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, said a Ministry of Defence official without commenting on the outcome of the talks.

However, analysts and officials are skeptical whether the program would come to an early decision. Some analysts even say the F-16 will never be bought by the Indian Air Force, or IAF.

"There isn't now even the slightest IAF interest in the F-16 Block 70 or any other variant," said Bharat Karnad, professor of national security studies at Centre for Policy Research.

When asked about the outcome of the flight trials the IAF will conduct, Karnad said, "Nothing, it will take time and delay any decision to beyond the 2019 election. Thereafter, the medium multirole combat aircraft, or MMRCA, metrics will still apply, and the F-16 will be rejected."

The F-16 and Gripen were both rejected after flight trials during the 2007 MMRCA tender, which was finally scrapped in 2014, leading to the outright purchase of France's Rafale fighter aircraft worth $8.8 billion that was inked last year.

An IAF official said that this time, only limited flight trials of the F-16 and Gripen will take place, which will be restricted to the upgraded components that were not in the 2007 MMRCA tender.

Daljit Singh, a retired IAF air marshal and defense analyst said, "The F-16 and Gripen fielded during the MMRCA selection did not have all the systems that the IAF would look for in single-engine fighters. AESA radars and EW systems have recently been integrated on the F-16 Block 70 and Gripen E, and they would be required to be evaluated."

"The time for evaluation would be lesser than the previous evaluation, as only two fighters would be evaluated, and the majority of the capabilities have already been tested," Singh added.

However, analysts and officials are unanimous in their view that no decision on the program is likely immediately. In addition, the program is to be built in a newly announced Strategic Partners policy, which was notified in June.

"The chances of seeing any program under this SP program in the near future are slim til the MoD sorts out key issues relating to IP, especially under an unfavorable 49 percent ownership limit for foreign vendors," said Pushan Das, a defense analyst with Observer Research Foundation.

Another IAF official said, "There could be delays based on IAF asking for more and thereby delays due to integration testing, etc."

"In my opinion, in the current scenario with home-grown light combat aircraft, or LCA, getting produced and with LCA Mark-1A and an order of 83 cleared by the government already, I do not foresee an immediate decision on any other single-engine fighter aircraft soon," the IAF official added.


Russia to offer MiG-35 planes at India’s tender for light fighter jets

Russia is ready to take part in India’s tender for the supply of light fighter jets with its Mikoyan MiG-35 plane, Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev told TASS on Wednesday.

"Principally, Russia is ready to participate in future aviation tenders in India. However, as of now, we do not have information on the opening of a tender and, correspondingly, on the plane’s technical requirements set by the Indian side," he said.

The MiG-35 is Russia’s most advanced 4++ generation multipurpose fighter jet developed on the basis of the serial-produced MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft.

The fighter jet features improved flight and technical characteristics, the most advanced onboard radio-electronic equipment and a wide arsenal of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The plane can develop a speed of 2.23 Mach and its operational radius exceeds the range of its predecessor MiG-29 by 50%

The flight tests of MiG-35 fighter aircraft began on January 26 and the plane’s international presentation was held in the Moscow Region on the following day.

The United Aircraft Corporation announced in early February it had signed a contract with Russia’s Defense Ministry on the delivery of two such fighters in 2017-2018. According to a TASS source in the defense sector, a contract for more than 30 MiG-35 for the Defense Ministry may be signed in 2018.


US changes media note to 'Jammu & Kashmir'

In what would vindicate India’s stand, the USA has replaced the term India-administered Kashmir with Jammu and Kashmir in its order designating Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist announced during PM Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington DC.

This was informed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday by MoS external affairs VK Singh in reply to a question on the subject.

“On June 26, during the visit of the Prime Minister to the US, the Department of State designated Syed Salahuddin, leader of the militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). The media note issued by the State Department in this regard on that date had interalia stated “Under Salahuddin’’s tenure as senior HM leader, HM has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people,” the minister said.

He further pointed out, taking cognizance of this, the Ministry’s Spokesperson had issued a statement on June 29, 2017 reiterating the well-known position of India that the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. The matter was also taken up with the US, following which Media Note has been amended by the US State Department in which the reference to ‘’India-Administered Jammu and Kashmir’’ has been replaced by ‘the state of Jammu and Kashmir’.


Six in fray for Navy’s €8.3-billion advanced submarine project

Six advanced submarines, to be built under Project 75(I) to scale up the Navy’s warfare capabilities, are set to get off the starters’ block, with the Navy issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to six foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the €8.3-billion submarine project.

“The Indian Navy has issued an RFI asking competent companies that have independently designed and constructed a modern submarine, which is either currently in service or is undergoing sea trials,” confirmed officials who got the RFI, adding that “the L1 for P-75(I) will most likely be announced only at the end of next year.”

A surprise contender among the six OEMs is Japan’s leading shipbuilders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which have been “strongly promoting their technological prowess to win contracts to build India’s next generation of submarines,” said sources.

Other than Japan, OEMs from Spain, France, Germany, Russia and Sweden are also in the mix, and have been issued the RFI that details the technical requirements the Indian Navy would like in P-75(I), said sources.

The Navy has issued the RFI to Russian submarine manufacturer Rosoboronexport Rubin Design Bureau, French naval contractor Naval Group (earlier DCNS), Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Spain’s Navantia and Sweden’s Saab.

“The manufacture of six next-generation stealth submarines has moved to the crucial next stage with this RFI,” said an official, who bagged the RFI, seeking anonymity. “Qualified OEMs, which are the technology provider, will be issued an expression of interest (EoI) much later by the Indian Navy. This (foreign OEMs) is patented under India’s newly-announced Strategic Partnership Model in the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016,” the official added.

Technology transfer ::

Stating that the long-delayed procedure has got a fresh lease of life with the issuance of the RFI, sources indicated that the foreign OEMs will respond to the RFI “to show how they are qualified to build the six submarines with a partner in India. The OEMs will be transferring important know-how, and actual transfer of technology will be key to ascertain which foreign tech partner teams up with the Indian strategical partner.”

Sources added that though the basic parameters of importance in the RFI was the Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP), “which is very innovative, though dangerous,” details were also sought on the means to increase the submarines’ “endurance and stealth capability, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capability, and land attack capability.”

Among other things, the OEMs were asked to submit data on the proposed design for torpedo tubes, sources said, which could launch heavy-weight torpedoes, missiles and discharge other weapons. They were also asked to elaborate on the transfer of technology they were willing to undertake with regard to the submarine design and construction. The OEMs were asked to detail their plans for the discharge of offset commitments.

July 19, 2017

Russian-Indian Joint 5th Gen PAK-FA Fighter Jet to Be Signed Shortly

The contract on creation of a Russia-India fifth-generation FGFA fighter will be signed shortly, the general director of Russia's Rostec state corporation said Tuesday.

The Russian-Indian Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) has stealth capabilities and is based on the Russian T-50 prototype jet.

"As far as the fifth-generation [plane] is concerned, the work is underway. The first stage is complete. The second stage is being discussed. I think it will be completed in near future, the documents have been signed," Sergey Chemezov told a press conference.

The FGFA project came about following the signing of a Russian-Indian cooperation agreement on October 18, 2007.

The PAK FA is a single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. Its unique features make it the best in its class among other similar aircraft in the world, and it is the first operational aircraft in Russian service to use stealth technology.


India-Russia joint venture for making Kamov choppers registered, talks on

An Indo-Russian joint venture to manufacture 200 Kamov military helicopters in India under a $1 billion deal has been registered in India and it will finalise the delivery schedule and the number of units, officials from Russian Helicopters, part of State Corporation Rostec, said.
Interacting with a select group of journalists on the sidelines of the International Air show MAKS in Moscow, Rostec’s Director of International Cooperation and Regional Policy Victor N Kladov said the joint venture is now final and further negotiations will be done by this joint venture company in which India has 50.5% stake while Russia has 49.5%.
The India-Russia joint venture got the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin in April this year.
Around 40-60 of the 200 helicopters will be supplied from Russia in a knock-down kit state, to be assembled in India, and rest will be made in India. The extent of transfer of technology will be discussed by the JV.
The inter-government agreement was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in December 2015.
In October last year, India and Russia finalised a broad agreement for the JV between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Russian Helicopters and Rosoboronexport.
The Kamov choppers will replace the aging fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters in India.
“We are very happy that the joint venture is final. Everything is now in the hands of the joint venture,” Kladov said.
He added that the JV was registered in India as India has major share -- 50.5%, in the venture.
The schedule of delivery and localisation as well as the terms and the number of units will be finalised by the JV.