October 31, 2020

India test-fires air launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

In a display of its growing combat prowess, the Indian Air Force on Friday successfully test-fired an air launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi fighter aircraft in the Bay of Bengal, official sources said.

The missile hit a sinking ship with deadly accuracy and the test-firing produced desired results, they said.The aircraft, belonging to the Thanjavur-based Tigersharks squadron, took off from a frontline airbase in Punjab, and it was refuelled mid-air before the missile was released, they said.

The test firing of the missile came in the midst of India’s bitter border stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh.

The missile was fired after the Su-30 MKI aircraft travelled for over three hours covering a “significantly long distance”, the officials said.

In May last year, the Indian Air Force for the first time had successfully test fired the aerial version of the BrahMos missile from a Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft.

The BrahMos missile provides the IAF a much desired capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions.

The IAF is also integrating the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on over 40 Sukhoi fighter jets which is aimed at bolstering overall combat capability of the force.

In the last two months, India has test fired a number of missiles including a new version of the surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile BrahMos and an anti-radiation missile named Rudram-1.

The Rudram-1 is planned to be inducted into service by 2022.

On October 18, a naval version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired from an indigenously-built stealth destroyer of the Indian Navy in the Arabian sea.

The missile was fired from INS Chennai, a stealth destroyer, and it hit the target with pin-point accuracy after performing “extremely complex” manoeuvres.

BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture, produces the supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or from land platforms.

India also carried out successful test firing of a laser guided anti-tank guided missile and nuclear capable hypersonic missile ‘Shaurya’

The successful test firing of Rudram-1 was seen as a major milestone as it is India’s first indigenously developed anti-radiatiguion weapon.

On September 30, India successfully test-fired a new version of the surface-to-surface version of the BrahMos.

The range of the new land attack version of the missile has been extended to 400 km from the original 290 km.

India has already deployed a sizable number of the original BrahMos missiles and other key assets in several strategic locations along the de-facto border with China in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.


October 28, 2020

Indian Air Force to get a big Rafale boost, 16 fighters to land by April

Five Rafale jets flew to the Ambala airbase via Abu Dhabi on July 29. Three more are landing in Ambala air base on November 5, three will arrive in January, another three in March and seven in April, taking the total number of fighters handed over to the IAF to 21 single-seat fighters and seven twin-seat trainer fighters.

The Indian Air Force’s strike capability is set for a boost with 16 omni-role Rafale jet fighters to be inducted into the Golden Arrows squadron by April 2021 and with France’s biggest jet engine maker Safran ready to make fighter engines and ancillaries in India, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Five Rafale jets flew to the Ambala airbase via Abu Dhabi on July 29 and have already been inducted into the IAF’s Squadron 17. The next batch of three Rafales will arrive in Ambala on November 5 directly from the Bordeaux-Merignac facility (there will be no stop as they will be fuelled mid-air), according to senior government officials. Seven Rafale fighters are already being used for IAF fighter pilot training in France.

Three more Rafales will arrive in January, another three in March and seven in April, taking the total number of fighters handed over to the IAF to 21 single-seat fighters and seven twin-seat trainer fighters. This means that by April next year, the Golden Arrows squadron will be complete with 18 fighters and the remaining three can be sent to the Hashimara airbase in north Bengal’s Alipurduar to counter the threat posed by China on the eastern front. All the fighters are equipped with Mica and Meteor air-to-air missiles along with Scalp air-to-ground cruise missiles. India has now requested Safran for the air-to-ground modular weapon known as Hammer with a 250kg warhead.

While France is willing to offer more Rafale fighters to India, Safran’s offer of making the Snecma M88 engines in India, four years from the day the contract is signed, is a welcome proposal, said the officials cited above.

Not only will the M-88 engines be used by Rafale fighters but these can also be deployed to power Light Combat Aircraft Mark II and twin-engine advanced multi-role combat aircraft developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The IAF plans to buy 83 LCA Mark I A jets, taking the total number of Tejas variants ordered to 123. Safran is said to be willing to offer engines with no third-country spare parts so that no additional approvals are needed, and with 100% indigenisation. The French offer may come up for discussion during foreign secretary Harsh Shringla’s visit to France, the UK and Germany, starting from Paris this Thursday. While DRDO can continue developing its own fighter engine, the Safran engine will fill the gap between development and manufacture.

Only the US, Russia and France have the capacity to produce fighter jet engines, with China still using the Russian RD-93 and RD-33 engines to power its jet fighters such as the J-31 and the JF-17.

Hindustan times 

October 16, 2020

Indian Air Force Team In France Prepares To Bring Next Batch Of Rafale Jets

IAF Rafale Jets: The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of these aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

As it prepares to induct a second batch of Rafale jets, the Indian Air Force has sent a team of officials to France to oversee the logistical issues and review the training of a hand-picked group of pilots at the Saint-Dizier air base there, officials said today.

The second batch of four Rafale jets is expected to arrive in India in the next four weeks.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of these aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

Several teams from the Indian Air Force have visited France since January to oversee the progress of the Rafale project including integration of India-specific enhancements and weapons systems, the officials said.

The IAF's Rafale project management team has an office in Paris headed by a Group Captain-rank officer. The team is tasked with overseeing the production timelines as well as coordinating training of the crew.

A team of experts headed by Assistant Chief of Air Staff (projects) reached France earlier this week to coordinate logistical issues as well as training of pilots and technicians, said the officials.

The first batch of Rafale jets was finally inducted into the IAF on September 10.

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on October 5 said the induction of all 36 Rafale jets will be completed by 2023.

Known for their air-superiority and precision strikes, the Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The newly inducted fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a bitter border row for over five months.

A group of IAF pilots is currently undergoing training on Rafale jets at the Saint-Dizier airbase in eastern France.


October 9, 2020

India test-fires Rudram 1, its first anti-radiation missile to kill enemy radars

 India on Friday successfully test-fired Rudram 1, the tactical anti-radiation missile that the Indian Air Force can launch from its Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets to take down enemy radars and surveillance systems. The missile has a launch speech of up to 2 Mach, twice the speed of sound, people familiar with the matter said.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation developed the new generation weapon. It was tested at the interim test range Balasore, off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal, at about 10.30 am.

“This is a huge step forward,” a senior government official said about the DRDO’s successful test firing. “The IAF will now have the capability to perform SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) operations deep into enemy territory to destroy enemy air defence setup,” the official said.

This would allow the IAF’s strike aircraft to carry out their mission unhindered effectively. “This test demonstrates the capability of an Anti-Radiation Missile with large stand-off ranges,” a second official said.

The New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile, or NGARM, is integrated on Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. Its range depends on the height at which the fighter jet is flying. It can be launched from a height ranging from 500 metres to 15 km and can hit radiation emitting targets within a range of 250 km.

All radars and Electro Optical Tracking System tracked the launch and point of impact, a senior government official told Hindustan Times.

The tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile is equipped with a passive homing head that tracks sources of radiation of a wide range of frequencies. It can lock into a target not only before launch but also after it has been launched.

The missile is comparable to the tactical air-to-surface missile AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile that was inducted by the US Navy only in 2017 and can engage relocatable Integrated Air Defence targets and other targets equipped with shutdown capability. This means that if the enemy shuts down the radar after the missile is launched, it will still hit the target.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted his congratulations to the DRDO team that developed the supersonic-capable missile that can be launched at speeds ranging from 0.6 Mach to 2 Mach.

“The New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (Rudram-1) which is India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile developed by DRDO for Indian Air Force was tested successfully today at ITR, Balasore. Congratulations to DRDO & other stakeholders for this remarkable achievement,” Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.

Hindustan times 

October 7, 2020

PLA Confirms Chinese Fighter Jet Crashed In Paddy Fields After A Bird-Hit: Chinese Media

As China flexes its muscle up in the Himalayas and in the South China Sea, Chinese state-run media published a report of a PLAAF fighter jet crashing down without sharing the exact location of the crash.

On Oct. 5, the People’s Liberation Army Daily reported that pilot Wang Jiandong communicated encountering a bird strike shortly after takeoff. The engine’s in-flight shutdown warning instantly began flashing, and the display screen went black, TaiwanNews quoted the Chines media.

After five seconds, emergency backup power kicked in and the cockpit display screen was restored. Wang then tried to push the throttle forward to increase thrust, but there was no response, as the engine had come to a complete stop.

As he was only 272.7 meters above the ground, Wang recognised there was no time to return to the base and that his aircraft is crashing. According to the Chinese media report, Wang directed the plane away from populated areas “three times” within 37 seconds and aimed it at a rice paddy fields before ejecting a mere 75.9 meters above the ground and safely landing in a nearby orchard.

After an investigation by the PLA, it was authenticated that the crash was caused by a bird-hit on the engine of the jet during takeoff, causing it to stall; however, the report did not specify the time and location of the incident. The report did confirm that the pilot is a member of the PLA’s Southern Theater Command.

It is not revealed what type of a jet was involved in the incident, however, the only hint that the report shared was the stock image used in the article included a Chengdu J-10 taxiing on a runway.


IAF Likely To Place Orders For Over 110 Fighter Jets By The End Of This Year To Shore Up Dwindling Numbers


To shore up the declining number of fighters in its fleet, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to place orders for 116 fighter jets by the end of this year.

The IAF will place an order for 21 MiG-29 fighters from Russia by December this year, a report in ThePrint says. These aircraft will be made for the IAF using the airframes which were built in the 1980s but never used.

While the airframes will be old, the fighters will be as capable as the upgraded version of the MiG-29s in service with the IAF currently.

The IAF will also place an order for 12 Su-30 MKIs. These aircraft will be built in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at its facility in Nashik.

Over 250 Su-30 MKI fighters are in service with the IAF. The new aircraft will replace those lost in accidents over the years.

A deal for 83 Tejas Mark 1As is also likely to be inked by the end of the year.

Addressing the annual press conference yesterday (5 October), IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said the induction of indigenously designed and developed Tejas fighters into the air force is a priority for him.

These orders will come at a time when the number of fighters in the IAF fleet is declining. While the IAF should have around 40 squadrons of fighters to deal with the threats India faces, it currently has only 30.

Many of these 30 squadrons operate obsolete MiG-21 fighters.

With no progress towards disengagement and de-escalation between India and China in eastern Ladakh, the IAF has moved a large number of fighters to its bases along the border with China in the eastern and western sector.

MiG-29s, Su-30 MKIs, Rafales and Mirage-2000s have been seen flying in Ladakh.

Swarajya Staff

September 28, 2020

India Cuts Steel For Its First Locally-Built Project 11356 Frigate

India’s Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) cut a steel plate for its first locally built Project 11356 frigate on September 21. The official ceremony of steel cutting was being live-streamed on the same day by the Ishwari Digital media platform.

During the ceremony, the Vice Chief of the Indian Navy’s (IN’s) Staff Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar cut the first plate of steel for the premier Indian-built Project 11356 frigate.

In his turn, a representative of GSL said the construction of the Project 11356 frigates would be the largest shipbuilding program to be conducted by the enterprise. “Thanks to the commencement of the project, the shipyard has entered the league of the Indian enterprises that are capable of building large surface combatants. Therefore, India’s capabilities to construct this type of defense hardware will be dramatically reinforced,” he said. “We are planning to fulfill the program in time. The enterprise rapidly adopted to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to minimize its impact on manufacturing processes,” he added.

According to the representative of GSL, the new ships will incorporate “a large number” of indigenous subsystems.
India has designated the new ship ‘Advanced Missile Frigate’ (AMF). “GSL commences production of Advanced Missile Frigates, with ‘First Steel Cutting’ today at the hands of Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar — another landmark step in Defence Shipbuilding and a major boost to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ [projects],” said GSL in a tweet on September 21.

Russia and India previously contracted the delivery of four Project 11356 frigates to the Asian country. Under the deal, the Yantar Shipyard (a subsidiary of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation) and GSL are set to build two ships each.

The Project 11356 frigate is designed to strike surface/underwater combatants and aerial targets in both blue and green waters. The ships operate both in battle groups and as standalone naval platforms. The frigate is armed with an A-190 10 mm naval gun, strike missiles (including the Kalibr and Shtil missile weapons), and torpedoes. The ship can store a Kamov Ka-27 naval rotorcraft. The Project 11356 frigate is 124.8 m long and has a displacement of 3,620 t, a full speed of 30 kt, and a cruise range of 4,850 nm.

The naval platform has been designed with the use of stealth technologies; the acoustic signature of the ship has also been reduced, while the system’s protection against high-precision weapons has been reinforced. The frigate’s powerplant integrates four gas-turbine engines. The ship can employ only one gas-turbine engine to sail in order to increase the service life and cost-effectiveness ratio of the main powerplant.

Another representative of GSL told TASS at the Army 2019 international military-technical forum that the Indian Project 11356 frigate would receive a number of locally built subsystems, including a 76 mm naval gun, the BRAHMOS cruise missiles, two 30 mm anti-aircraft guns, two torpedo launchers, and a rocket launcher. The source added that the sensor suite of the new ship would also comprise several Indian items, including a sonar, an information combat-management system, and an electronic warfare system.

Naval news 

September 27, 2020

Another 36 Rafales on the way?

Earlier this month, the Indian Air Force formally inducted five Rafale combat aircraft — two 2-seat trainers, and three combat-ready single seater aircraft, into the 17th ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron in Ambala. Another five Rafales with IAF roundels are at the Dassault base in Merignac in southern France, being used for conversion of MiG-21bis pilots, ground handling and maintenance crews. The retraining stints are for six months for each lot of Indian pilots and technicians, with the pilots allotted the contracted number of training sorties alongside a French instructor.

Making allowance for the occasion, there was the expected hyperbole. The defence minister Rajnath Singh called the aircraft a “game changer” and, with less the Chinese adversary in Ladakh in mind than the domestic audience, added that it sent a “big and stern message to the entire world, especially those eyeing our sovereignty.” The French defence minister Florence Parly not to be outshone in exaggeration said that “India has world class capability and incredible sovereign tool. India has an edge over the entire region.” She was merely embroidering what her Indian counterpart had stated in Merignac on 8 October 2019 when formally accepting the first lot of Rafales. After a joy ride in the plane, the Indian leader had declared “the new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA)” as making “India stronger” and giving the IAF an “exponential boost” to “its air dominance” capability.

Why Rajnathji was briefed to say this is not important. But how the IAF means to actually obtain air dominance with just 36 of these aircraft is a mystery. Sure, Rafales working in tandem with Su-30MKIs can plausibly achieve this objective as former Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa stated, but by themselves even twice this number of Rafales in Indian colours cannot. But, as the late defence minister Manohar Parrikar was convinced, larger numbers of Su-30s would alone have sufficed for the purpose. Moreover, the additional Su-30s could have been secured at a fraction of the Rs 59,000 crore upfront cost of the Rafales or, to repeat myself, for just a “truckload” of the exorbitantly-priced Meteor, Scalp and Hammer missiles that these aircraft will be armed with, and which have been tested and proven by the French Air Force against such military heavyweights as Libya and Syria!

This begs the question I long ago asked — where was the need for the Rafale in the first place?

But whether India dominates the skies is not Parly’s interest; that the IAF procures an additional 36 Rafales is. In a meeting with the French press at the embassy that evening, Parly was reportedly confident that Paris will be able to ring up such a sale on the same terms, but without the ‘sunk costs’ of attending infrastructure — airconditioned hangars, special diagnostic and testing machines, etc.

When reminded by a pesky French journo that such a follow-up deal clashes head-on with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘atm nirbharta’ policy and the thrust of Rajnath Singh’s ‘negative list’ thinking, Madame Parly dissembled but did not budge from her stand, indirectly hinting that such a deal would be signed for the same reason the original was approved in April 2015: Modi will agree to buy ’em. End of argument! Irrelevant considerations like, where’s the money? are obviously not expected to intrude into the Indian government’s calculations, or at least Paris does not expect them to.

Both France and the IAF had gamed this out right, and their plan is working. IAF was the decisive actor here. It had sought the 36 Rafales it was partial to from the beginning as a wedge purchase easing the buy, as I had predicted, of more such aircraft to fill the Service’s entire 126 MMRCA requirement without having to go through the transfer-of- technology and licensed manufacture cycle.

Bharat Karnad

September 26, 2020

CAG flags pending defence offset deals: Dassault, Boeing, Russian ROE in list

The CAG mentioned that out of total offset obligations of Rs 66,427 crore between 2007 and 2018, Rs 19,223 worth of offsets should have been discharged. But only Rs 11,396 crore worth of it had been discharged.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has criticised the Defence Ministry’s offset policy, introduced in 2005, stating that it has brought “negligible Foreign Direct Investment”, and that the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) “has not acquired any high technology so far”.

In its report for 2019, tabled in Parliament on September 23, the CAG noted that it found that “in many cases vendors make offset commitments in order to get the main contract. But later they are not earnest about fulfilling these commitments and raised new issues which delayed offset implementation.”

It has listed cases of a deal to buy 80 helicopters from Russian Rosoboronexport (ROE), 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation, and a contract with US giant Boeing to buy 10 military transport C-17 III aircraft.

The CAG mentioned that out of total offset obligations of Rs 66,427 crore between 2007 and 2018, Rs 19,223 worth of offsets should have been discharged. But only Rs 11,396 crore worth of it had been discharged, of which Rs 5,457 worth of offset claims have been approved, it reported.

Rest of the claims are either pending or have been rejected” by the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), it stated.

Offsets are benefits that a buyer gets from a seller — technology/capability that Indian industry gets from a foreign vendor selling equipment to India.

The CAG noted that offset obligations worth about Rs 55,000 crore are “due to be completed by 2024”. But “the rate at which foreign vendors have been fulfilling their offset commitments was about Rs 1300 per year,” so “given the situation”, fulfilling the commitment in the next six years will be a “challenge”, it noted.

On the entire offset policy, which the government is banking on as it tries to invite more international projects and push domestic defence manufacturing, the CAG has said that the “objectives of the offset policy remain largely unachieved, even after more than a decade of its adoption”.

Among contracts the country’s top auditor reviewed was the deal to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation in 2016, for which the CAG has noted that the foreign vendor has “not confirmed the transfer of technology” to DRDO that “wanted to obtain Technical Assistance for indigenous development of engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft”. The CAG noted that in April 2016, DRDO identified six new technologies to be obtained under offsets obligations, but “did not agree on transfer of five technologies, as most of them were not within the vendor’s core competencies”.

Another deal mentioned is offset obligations of Mi-17 V5 Medium Lift Helicopters, signed with ROE in December 2008. The CAG said a general offset agreement was “signed for discharge of offset obligation of USD 405.7 million” through four projects by December 2012. The CAG found that of four projects, only one had been completed – for that, too, the CGDA rejected 87 per cent of the claimed value.

The four projects included setting up of overhaul facilities for the helicopter engine and aggregates worth $128 million; purchase of Indian airborne equipment for aircraft Su-30 MK worth 32.07 million; establishing repair and maintenance facilities for navigation system worth $150 million; and setting up two training centres for pilots and ground specialists for $95 million.

Only the project to buy Indian airborne equipment for SU-30 MK was completed, the CAG noted. But of $32.07 million value, CGDA accepted claim for only $2.07 million. So, out of $450.07 million, only $2.07 million worth of offset obligations have been completed and accepted by the government.

The rest have either been rejected or the foreign vendor has sought extensions to complete the project, CAG noted.

The Defence Ministry, the CAG said, “failed to recover penalties against the four projects as there was no provision of Bank Guarantee either in the main contract or in the offset contract”.

In the deal with Boeing, “an offset contract with total obligation of USD 1,115 million was signed” on June 14, 2011. The CAG noted that the offset obligations were to be discharged within seven years of signing the contract through seven projects with 14 Indian Offset Partners (IOP).

“DRDO was one of the major IOP and was to discharge 47 per cent of the offsets”, with “two major projects”. The projects were High Altitude Engine Test Facility (HAETF) for $315 million and Transonic Wind Tunnel (TWT) worth $195 million.

Both projects have been extended till June 2023 — the CAG said the delay has been “mainly on account of export restrictions by the US Government”.

Although DRDO had done due diligence, the CAG said “these facilities were viable option at that point of time, however the vendor had not indicated how long it would take for export license approval from their (USA) government”.

The licence for TWT was granted in February 2017, by when “competence of Indian industries had increased significantly” and DRDO finally decided to not go ahead with it, the auditor reported. The HAETF project is “still under discussion”, as the US government is “yet to grant export license”, the CAG report states.

The CAG specified that “the fact that these technologies required export licence from US Government was known to the vendor at the time of submission of the offset proposal”, but “neither the firm seems to have disclosed the time frame for obtaining these licenses nor the MoD (Ministry of Defence) insisted on time bound commitments”.

The CAG pointed out that “it is not clear how MoD intends to ensure fulfilment of these or alternative commitments of offsets made by the vendor”.

The Indian express 

September 24, 2020

Taiwan Looks To Slam Chinese Navy Vessels With SLAM-ER Missiles Deployed On F-16 Jets

Taiwan is reportedly close to signing a $3 million deal with the United States to acquire Stand-Off Land-Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles, amidst the ongoing Chinese threat.

The missiles are reported to be part of the large proposed arms deal worth $7 billion between the two nations, which will see Taipei acquire advanced weaponry from Washington.

Built by American Aerospace giants, Boeing, the SLAM-ER missile is an advanced stand-off precision-guided, air-launched cruise missile, developed for the United States Armed Forces and their allies.

According to the US Navy, the missiles which are a derivative of the Harpoon anti-ship missile that can strike targets on both land and at the sea “in excess” of 135 miles.  “The SLAM-ER is extremely accurate, and has the best (circular error probable) in the U.S. Navy’s inventory.”

According to leading global new agencies like the Reuters and The New York Times, the potential arms deal hinges on the approval of the State Department and the US Congress and also on the financial capabilities of Taiwan.

If the deal goes through, the missiles would add to the sea mines, coastal defense cruise missiles, and Reaper surveillance drones and rocket launchers that Taiwan wants to bring from the US, in a bid to fend off advances by the Chinese military.

Tensions between Taiwan and China are extremely high after the Chinese jets repeatedly breached the median line between Taiwan and China last week. The PLAAF pilots indicated their willingness to continue the practice, telling Taiwanese personnel who attempted to warn them away that “there is no median line,” the Taipei-based China Times newspaper reported.

According to the reports, 18 aircraft of the PLA Air Force buzzed Taiwan, which scrambled its fighter jets to intercept the hostile aircraft. Seen as a show of force, the PLAAF detachment consisted of bombers and escorting fighter jets, the Taiwanese defense ministry stated in a tweet.

Chinese state-run media – the Global Times warned both Taiwan and the US and stated that through these military drills, the PLA has gained substantial experience in invading Taiwan and mastered key data on Taiwan’s defense system. These are rehearsals to merge Taiwan with the mainland, warned the GT editorial.


Israel Aerospace Industries got undue benefit from sale of UAV engines to IAF — CAG report


A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament Wednesday pointed out irregularities in the purchase of aero engines for Unmanned Aero Vehicles (UAVs) by the Indian Air Force from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The report states that the IAI gained undue benefits of Rs 3.16 crore from the contract.

It says that the IAF concluded a contract in March 2010 with IAI for five 914 F (certified) UAV Rotax engines for Rs 87.45 lakh per engine even as Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO laboratory, had procured the same variant of the engine at Rs 24.30 lakh per engine in April 2012.

The average price of the engine in the international market is between Rs 21-25 lakh, the report says.

“As a result, the vendor gained an undue benefit of Rs 3.16 crore as it supplied the five contracted UAV engines at more than three times the market price or the price offered to the DRDO unit,” reads the report.

The auditor also accused the vendor for mislabelling and supplying uncertified engines to the IAF which reportedly led to several accidents, including loss of one UAV in a crash.

Speaking on the report, a senior Indian Air Force officer said that while acceptance of “mislabelled” engines will be looked into, price negotiations are not in the domain of the IAF.

“Price negotiations are conducted by the ministry,” the officer said.

Mi-17 chopper fleet could not be upgraded even after 18 years’

The CAG report also noted that the upgradation of Medium Lift Mi-17 Helicopters, proposed in 2002 to overcome their “operational limitation”, could not be achieved even after 18 years.

“As a result, these helicopters were flying with limited capability, thus compromising operational preparedness during these years,” it said.

The CAG further said that due to poor planning by the Ministry of Defence and indecision at various stages of procurement, it took 15 years to enter into the upgradation contract of 90 Mi-17 helicopters with an Israeli company — in January 2017.

The audit also states that while the contracted delivery of these upgraded helicopters had to begin July 2018 and was to be completed by 2024, 56 of these helicopters, even after upgradation, would be left with less than two years of life and would be phased out by 2024.

The print 

Dassault still not transfered technology: CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, said Dassault Aviation — the maker of Rafale fighter aircraft — had so far not confirmed the transfer of high technology for jet engine.

Part of Rafale deal 

  • CAG said in the offset contract under Rafale deal, Dassault had proposed to discharge 30 per cent of its offset obligation by offering technology to the DRDO
  • But till date, the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of the technology, CAG said

In a statement, CAG said in the offset contract related to the 36 Rafale jets, Dassault Aviation and European missile maker MBDA had initially proposed (in September 2015) to discharge 30 per cent of their offset obligation by offering high technology to the DRDO.

“The DRDO wanted technical assistance for the indigenous development of its engine (Kaveri) for the light combat aircraft. Till date, the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology,” CAG said. “Offset obligation” is the stipulated share of work that the foreign manufacturer is obligated to get done in India.

The CAG report, Management of Defence Offsets, said it was found in many cases that foreign vendors made offset commitments to qualify for the main supply contract, but were later not earnest about fulfilling these commitments. The CAG statement cited the example of Rafale for this.

The tribune