January 19, 2019

China is rapidly building robust lethal force to impose its will in the region: US official

China, seeking "great power status", is rapidly building a robust lethal force with advanced capabilities in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace to enable it to impose its will in the region and beyond, according to a top US intelligence official.

"The strategic objectives of the Chinese Communist Party include securing China's status as a great power," Dan Taylor, Senior Defense Intelligence Analyst, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference on Tuesday while releasing a Congressionally-mandated report.

He said that Chinese leaders characterised their long-term military modernisation programme as essential to achieving the "great power status".

"Indeed, China is rapidly building a robust lethal force with capabilities spanning the ground, air, maritime, space and information domains, designed to enable Beijing to impose its will in the region and beyond," Taylor said while releasing the report "China: Military power modernising a force to fight and win" by the Department of Defense.

During the past decade, from counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, to an expanded military presence in the East and South China seas, China has demonstrated a willingness to use the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as an instrument of national power in the execution of what they call their "historic mission in the new century," Taylor said.

Improvements in the equipment and capabilities that have focused on generating combat power across the PLA services present Beijing with additional response options as China faces increasingly global security concerns.

"Expected future advances in areas such as nuclear deterrence, power projection, cyberspace, space and electromagnetic spectrum operations will continue to be critical components of the PLA's developing capabilities," he said.

As a result of "acquiring technology by any means available," China now is at the leading edge on a range of technologies, including with its naval designs, with medium- and intermediate-range missiles, and with hypersonic weapons -- where missiles can fly at many times the speed of sound and dodge missile-defense systems.

"The result of this multifaceted approach to technology acquisition is a PLA on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world," states the Pentagon

"In some areas, it already leads the world," it said.

China also continues to develop capabilities for what they term "non-war missions," such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, counter-piracy, peacekeeping, things of that nature, Taylor said, adding that in the coming years, the PLA is likely to become even more technologically advanced and proficient with equipment comparable to that of other modern militaries.

The report said that China is developing new medium- and long-range stealth bombers capable of striking regional and global targets, adding that such planes will likely reach initial operational capability by about 2025.

The PLA, the world's largest standing army, will acquire advanced fighter aircraft, modern naval vessels, missile systems, and space and cyberspace assets as it reorganises and trains to address the threats of 21st century further from China's shores, Taylor said.

"As we look at China, we see a country whose leaders described it as 'moving closer to centre stage in the world', while they strive to achieve what they call 'the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation'," he said.

This ambition permeates China's national security strategy and guides the development of the PLA, which actually is not a national institution, but rather the military arm of the ruling Communist Party of China, he added.

Taylor said the Chinese Community Party leaders have identified the initial decades of the 21st century as a period of strategic opportunity in the international environment that would allow China to focus on building what they call "comprehensive national power."

A key component of this, of course, is military power, he asserted.


Indian Defence Private Sector’s First: L&T’s Armoured System Complex At Hazira To Manufacture Howitzers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (19 January) will dedicate Larsen & Toubro’s (L&T) howitzer gun manufacturing facility at Hazira in Surat to the nation, DNA has reported.

L&T, in 2017, had won Rs 4,500 crore contract to supply 100 units of K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Indian army. An armoured systems complex was set up by the company at its Hazira facility, which is at around 30 km distance from Surat, to manufacture the howitzer guns.

"Prime minister Narendra Modi will be dedicating the Armoured Systems Complex, which is the first such facility in the private sector in India, to the nation on the 19th," a senior government official was quoted in the report as saying.

The company, in July last year, had announced that it had entered a contract with South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin for joint manufacturing of the guns. Of the total 100 guns, first ten would be built at L&T’s plant in Talegaon near Pune while remaining 90 will be manufactured in the Hazira facility. L&T is supposed to complete delivery of the 100 guns within 42 months.

According to the report, K9 Vajra-T is a variant of South-Korean K9 Thunder 155mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer. It has been modified for the Indian conditions to meet requirements of army, including operations in desert. Vajra is highly mobile with capability of moving at speeds of over 60 km per hour. The howitzer being self-propelled provides tactical advantage as it can be used at different points on the battlefield.

Tags: Indian Army, Gujarat, L&T, Surat, Larsen & Toubro, Howitzer Guns, K9 VAJRA-T, Hazira, K9 Thunder,


Rafale deal: Defence Ministry says all issues already answered in detail

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday termed The Hindu’s detailed story on steep price escalation in the deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets as “factually inaccurate”. It did not adduce any new arguments as all issues have been answered in detail by the government at various fora and by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament, it said.

In a statement, the MoD spokesperson said, “The cost of the India Specific Enhancements (ISE) was on a fixed basis in the 2007 bid, which was negotiated down in the 2016 deal. However, to compare the cost of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft [MMRCA] contract which never materialized with the cost of the 36 aircraft procured in 2016 is fallacious. The author, while indicating the price of ISE as €1.4bn in 2007, has failed to include the in-built escalation factor that would have worked between 2007 and 2015.”

Escalation factors ::

In an exhaustive story in The Hindu, N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group, detailed how there was a huge price escalation as a result of bypassing procedures, official objections and the non-recurring cost of the ISE spread on just 36 aircraft compared to the earlier 126 jets.

‘Not comparable’ ::

The spokesperson said that “the author has rightly pointed out” that the cost of the basic aircraft in the 2016 deal was better than the offer of 2007 after considering escalation but however, observed, “Surprisingly, in the headline of the article, the author has compared the un-escalated price of 2007 with the price of 2016 without considering the escalation factors inherent in the price bid.”

‘No adverse finding by Supreme Court’ ::

The MoD said that “hidden deep in the article itself” it is stated that the price is 14.2% higher compared to the escalated price “as probably this figure does not attract as much attention as a 41.4% higher price.”

Observing that even the UPA Government had “rightly” rejected the European consortium EADS offer of 20% discount in 2012 after opening of bids as violative of procedure, the MoD statement said that consideration of this offer by the government would have again made it subject “to charge of violating basic procedure.”

“It is best to avoid the pitfalls of a corporate battle which has been going on since 2012 which has adversely affected the capabilities of the Indian Air Force. The controversy should be put to rest in the interest of national security,” the statement said.

In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition following the surprise announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 citing “critical operational necessity” of the IAF.

Referring to the Supreme Court verdict over the issue, the MoD statement said the apex court has not found “anything adverse in the deal” and has refused to order an investigation.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has been given access to all the files related to the Rafale deal. It is best to await the report of an authoritative agency like the CAG,” the statement added.

According to the statement, a negotiation, especially, between two countries is a comprehensive deal and “selectively picking certain aspects while ignoring others, creates doubts by vested interests on a matter of vital national security.”

Reacting to The Hindu report, the BJP said there had been enough clarity shed on the issue by various institutions to elicit further comment.

Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani, while answering a question at a presser at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi said: “In cohesion with Mr. Chidambaram whatever statements have been made, and supplanted by the supposedly national daily, the Supreme Court has issued unequivocally its statement, the defence minister has eloquently spoken on it in Parliament and the CAG has access to all files. For those who use this for their own political ends, yeh public hai sab janti hai (this is the public, it knows everything).”

Ms. Irani added that after this clarification, if the Congress is still maliciously raising the issue, it is only for a political purpose, for which they are also sidelining national security.


India, Uzbekistan sign agreement on uranium import

India and Uzbekistan signed an agreement on importing uranium from the Central Asian nation following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019 here on Friday.

The two sides also signed an agreement for a line of credit of $200 million from India for financing housing and social infrastructure projects in Uzbekistan.

"Both leaders witnessed the exchange of the contract between the Department of Atomic Energy of India and the Novoi Minerals and Metallurgical Company of the Republic of Uzbekistan on long-term supply of uranium ore concentrate for India's energy requirements," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

It stated that Modi expressed his satisfaction on the progress and implementation of various decisions taken during the state visit of Mirziyoyev to India in 2018.

Referring to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between Gujarat and the Andijan region of Uzbekistan signed during the state visit, Modi expressed the hope that as a result of President Mirziyoyev's visit, the relationship between Uzbekistan and India and region-to-region cooperation between Andijan and Gujarat would be further strengthened.

To attract investments in the pharmaceutical sector, an Uzbek-Indian Free Pharmaceutical Zone is being developed in the Andijan region, which is on the southeastern side of Uzbekistan, near its border with Kyrgyzstan.

Pharmaceutical products, mechanical equipment, vehicles, services, optical instruments and equipment are India's major exports to Uzbekistan.

India imports fruit and vegetable products, services, fertilisers, juice products, extracts and lubricants from the Central Asian nation.

Mirziyoyev informed Modi that Uzbekistan attaches high priority to attracting investments from India and mentioned the sectors of IT, education, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, agri-business and tourism as some of the priority areas for Uzbekistan's prospective cooperation with India.

Modi also thanked President Mirziyoyev for his support for the first-ever India-Central Asia Dialogue held at the level of foreign ministers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on January 12-13 where important discussions took place on supporting peace and development efforts in Afghanistan.

Prior to his talks with Mirziyoyev, Modi held a meeting with Prime Minister Malta Joseph Muscat who has also come to participate in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

"Discussed growing economic linkages and agreed to enhance mutual cooperation in sectors such as renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, air connectivity and tourism," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.


Govt sanctions new squadrons of Dornier aircraft to boost coastal surveillance

The Indian government has sanctioned three new squadrons of Dornier aircraft to boost coastal surveillance in a bid to provide better intelligence to prevent terrorist and other threats from the sea, an official statement said Friday.

The new squadrons are to be set up in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and will augment existing Dornier squadrons in Kerala and the Andaman Islands, the statement said, adding that the government had also sanctioned an increase in the manpower required for the manning of these additional aircraft.

The additional squadrons would help India “through round the clock sensor based surveillance and provide targeting data in areas of operation to ward off terror and other threats from sea,” the statement said. “This addition would further strengthen Indian Navy’s efforts at coastal security of India’s vast coastline of over 7,000 kilometres.”

Maritime surveillance has been accorded high priority after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack given that the 10 terrorists who targeted India’s financial capital and held the city to ransom for 60 hours came by sea from Pakistan’s port city of Karachi. One hundred and sixty-six people were killed in the siege that began on 26 November and ended on 29 November 2008.

The contract for procurement of 12 Dornier aircraft was signed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in December 2016 with delivery to start in January this year.

“This is a substantial contract for the indigenous HAL built maritime surveillance version of the Dornier 228 aircraft,” the statement said.


Satellite images show China is building underground facility 50 km from India border

The People’s Liberation Army has constructed an underground facility (UGF) barely 50 km from the India-China border, and just 60 km from the Indian forward posts at Demchok in Ladakh.

So far, there was just one UGF in Tibet, with another one which could possibly target India being a fair way away in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. But now, thanks to satellite imagery, ThePrint has identified a deeply buried hardened target (DBHT) under construction near the town of Ngari, also known as Shiquanhe in Mandarin, which could of worry to India.

Construction of this UGF began in December 2016, about six months before the Doklam standoff near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in the east. The slow speed of construction indicates that special personnel are being used instead of locals, clearly in order to maintain secrecy and security of the facility.

Overview of the UGF ::

The UGF is served by four large tunnel entrances and three small ones. Most of them have barracks at the entrance for security personnel.

The facilities are in two separate groups, not very far from each other, and connected with proper roads. They have hardened entrances constructed with reinforced cement concrete. It is assessed that all entrances would soon be covered with other material to withstand even a direct hit.

Excavated earth has been piled nearby to avoid detection, but a temporal comparison indicates clear mensuration.

The amount of earth excavated indicates that approximately 3.5 lakh cubic metres of space has been created inside the UGF.

Construction material ::

The construction material for this facility is dumped at two places very close to the entrances. These dumps also have two cement plants sufficient for construction activity inside the tunnels.

The material dump has some iron rebars, indicating that the construction work is reinforced concrete.

The vehicle park and barrack type of accommodation for workers and staff is located very close to one of the dumps.

Garrisons ::

The tunnelled facility has a support garrison constructed in 2016 and 2017. Construction of another support garrison has probably just begun.

Both the garrisons are very close to the main road. The roads are wide enough to let large transporters with big turning radii move smoothly.

Although it is difficult to indicate the exact purpose of this facility with such low temporal resolution, it can safely be assumed that it may be used for storage of missiles and/or ammunition on wheels.


Amidst Spat, Elevated Chance Of IAF Su-30 Order To HAL

Chances of the Indian Air Force signing up for 40 more Su-30 MKI fighters have swelled considerably amidst an ill-tempered political spat between India’s government and the chief opposition Congress Party. Livefist learns that an unsolicited offer made by HAL in February 2018 has shuffled its way to the top of the priority list, with the government regarding the proposal as a possible twin-cure.
On the one hand, it would slow the depletion in the Indian Air Force’s fighter squadron strength — a chief worry for the IAF leadership. More visibly, though, it would alleviate the bruising political storm that has raged for months now with HAL, which license builds the Su-30 in western India, being held up by aggressive opposition parties as a company neglected and driven into the ground by the government in power. HAL will build and deliver the last of its ordered Su-30s this year. An order for 40 more jets would therefore keep a fully functioning production line buzzing for at least three more years.
The IAF’s possible order, in other words, would serve as a soothing salve on two bruising fronts — equipping the military adequately and political perceptions in an election year. Elevated chances of the 40 aircraft order come shortly after HAL found itself the unlikely centerpiece of a scrappy episode in India’s Parliament earlier this month. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was angrily accused by the Congress Party of lying to Parliament about large scale orders that had been handed to HAL. The Minister was forced to respond with documents indicating ‘pipeline’ orders for several different platforms.
To be sure, the Indian Air Force isn’t against the idea of 40 more Su-30 MKIs, which would take its fleet strength of the type to 312 aircraft. However, a section within the IAF has strongly held that the service needs to get larger numbers of lighter fighters that have less demands on serviceability and availability. This also ties in with the fact that the existing Su-30s are soon to be up for an extensive upgrade cycle that will make them more capable aircraft. Yet another section believes that the need of the hour is to double down and order at least an equal number of Rafale jets, instead of Su-30s, since they’re less demanding on maintenance and pilot resources.
The politically-charged suggestion from the opposition parties that HAL was abandoned by the government for offsets and local manufacturing contracts in the 2016 Rafale deal is also a clear compelling factor for the government leaning towards handing this new 40 jet deal to HAL. With the first new Rafales arriving in September this year, an order to HAL would quell perceptions that HAL has been allowed to languish by lack of orders, even if that weren’t true.
The Indian Air Force has been watching, with increasing consternation, the manner in which HAL has allowed itself to become a political football without a clear stand on way or the other on the many fast-flying allegations concerning the company. As its principal customer, the IAF believes that HAL — with which it has shared frequently ill-tempered relations — is looking to fish in troubled waters, hoping to gain from the turbulence surrounding it. Reports last week that HAL, a company listed on the stock exchanges, would need to borrow millions to pay salaries, amplified suggestions that the company was a broken shell of its former self and that it had been neglected to its doom by the current government. Again, a 40 aircraft booster shot could stop the political bleeding on that count.
There’s another compelling reason why the new order could be pushed through.
In a related development, with the Su-30 MKI production run in its final leg, HAL and its partners have only just mastered all phases of license production of the AL-31FP engine in Koraput, Odisha, including ‘Phase V’ which involves building brand new engines from raw materials, and not simply assembling them from parts. HAL has also additionally mastered the capital overhaul of AL-31FP engines and its aggregates locally, all of it still monitored though by a guarantee team from Russia.

A senior HAL source said, “The licensed production of the Russian AL-31FP turbofan engines powering Su-30MKI multirole fighters at HAL’s engine division in Koraput is being successfully implemented in accordance with the contracts concluded earlier by Rosoboronexport. It’s a successful example of Make in India. AL-31FP engines are being manufactured and assembled from the kits delivered by the Ufa-based UEC-UMPO (producer of AL-31FP, part of UEC) production company.”


January 18, 2019

Rafale's range is 2.5 times more than a Sukhoi: Top IAF sources

At a time when critics are questioning the operational capabilities of the Rafale combat aircraft, top IAF sources said the range of the French-origin aircraft is 2.5 more than that of the Russian Sukhoi-30.

"The operational capabilities of the Sukhoi-30 in terms of capability and range are far superior than that of the MiG-29 while the range of the Rafale is 2.5 times that of the Su-30MKI in the same role," top IAF sources told ANI here.

The sources were asked about criticism that the Air Force should have bought more Sukhoi-30s rather than getting 36 Rafale combat aircraft for meeting its requirement of multi-role combat jets.

"The Sukhoi-30, MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 are not MMRCA... None of these meet the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements of the Indian Air Force specified for MMRCA in 2007 for its requirements of 126 combat jets," the sources said.

Explaining the combat capability and the range of the Rafale in comparison with the Sukhoi-30s, the sources said the Air Force has flown the Russian planes across the length and breadth of the country in one go and the range of Rafale is 2.5 times more than the Sukhoi.

During the Exercise Gaganshakti, the Air Force had carried out long-range sorties of the Sukhoi-30 which lasted for more than nine hours.

The sources said the Meteor missiles to be equipped on the Rafale combat aircraft was very capable missile with a range of more than 150 kilometers and has been integrated on the Gripen and the Eurofighter combat jet.

The Narendra Modi government signed a deal for 36 Rafale combat aircraft in September 2016 for over Rs 60,000 crore.

The Congress has been questioning the deal and the award of offsets contract to Anil Ambani-led Reliance but the governments of India, France and Dassault Aviation have defended the deal saying there was no wrongdoing in the procurement.

The government has stated in Parliament that the procurement was done to meet the emergency requirement of the Indian Air Force as the number of combat aircraft squadrons is dwindling.


HAL's Light Combat Helicopter completes weapon trials

The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) indigenously designed and developed by HAL has successfully carried out air to air missile firing on a moving aerial target. During the tests conducted in integrated test range at Chandipur, Odisha recently, the test pilots executed a flawless mission and achieved a direct hit on the aerial target, destroying it completely.

"This is the first time in the country that a helicopter has carried out air to air missile engagement. None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction", said CMD, HAL, R Madhavan.

Other weapons on LCH include a 20mm Turret gun and 70 mm Rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year.

LCH is capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier. It was designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWRDC) of HAL in response to the operational needs of Indian armed forces.

Equipped with a helmet mounted sight and a forward looking infrared sighting system, LCH pilots can now detect and destroy any target on ground or in the air. Using these sights, pilots can now launch a missile onto any target without having to turn the helicopter. The fire and forget missile is effective against all types of aerial threat, including UAVs and microlight aircraft. It is also capable of operating from dispersed locations and flying at ultra low levels.

The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs (10 for IAF and 5 for Army).


To counter China's military buildup, India moving ITBP command to Leh

  • The North West frontier of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police has been ordered to move 'lock, stock, and barrel' by March-end
  • The frontier at the new location will be operationalised from April 1
  • Leh frontier of the border guarding force will have three sectors based in Leh, Srinagar and Chandigarh
Amid growing concerns over the Chinese military buildup along the eastern flank of the country, the government has ordered moving a strategic ITBP command from its current base in Chandigarh by over 960 km to the border of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said Thursday. The North West (NW) frontier of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), tasked to guard the 3,488-km long Sino-India border in peace times, is headed by an Inspector General (IG) of police-rank officer, which is equivalent to a Major General rank in the Army.

The frontier, according to documents accessed by news agency PTI, has been ordered to move “lock, stock, and barrel” by March-end and will have to be operationalised at the new location from April 1.

The Leh district in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir is the base for the 14 Corps of the army that is headed by a Lt General-rank officer and the new shift will allow a better interaction between the two forces “for strategic and defence planning”, official sources said.

The army, which carved out a separate Corps in Leh after Jammu and Srinagar following the Kargil intrusion in 1999, has been demanding operational control over the ITBP, a proposal rejected by the government time and again.

Having the ITBP and the army at the same operational location will resolve these issues as well, the sources said.

ITBP Director General (DG) SS Deswal confirmed the move to the news agency, saying the new frontier will be moved from Chandigarh to Leh and will be made operational from April this year.

“We have to be on the border and that is why the frontier is being sent to the forward area,” the Director General said.

The Union home ministry had first mooted the proposal for this strategic move in 2015 but it did not materialise owing to some “administrative reasons”.

As per the blueprint of deployment approved by the government for the ITBP, the Leh frontier of the border guarding force will have three sectors that will be based in Leh, Srinagar and Chandigarh and each of these will be headed by a Deputy IG-rank officer.

The ITBP, at present, has about half a dozen battalions deployed along the Chinese border that runs along Jammu and Kashmir and official sources said once the frontier starts operating from its new base in Leh, it will oversee the induction of more battalions that the force is inducting to enhance its presence on this icy, blizzard-prone mountainous border.

The ITBP has recently inducted a mechanised column of vehicles and communication equipment and all the weapons, artillery and combat paraphernalia will now be moved to Leh, that has both road and air connectivity.

The force also has sanctions to create and refurbish 40 Border Out Posts (BoPs) in these icy heights of Ladakh, where personnel have to face hostile weather as the mercury slips to as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius and the altitude ranges from 8,000-14,000 feet.

Modern “composite” BoPs, which have weather control mechanism and facilities for better drinking water and rest and recuperation, are also being created for the ITBP troops in this region.

Leh, till now, had an ITBP sector establishment headed by a DIG-rank officer. The about-90,000-strong force not only guards the scenic Pangong lake in this area but also the upper reaches of the Himalayan mountain ranges that run across China.

As a part of its efforts to strengthen the military muscle along the China border, the government had similarly moved the North East (NE) frontier of the ITBP from Shillong in Meghalaya to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh in 2016.

Both the Arunachal Pradesh and the Leh regions have seen frequent incidents of incursions, standoffs and few instances of physical pushing and shoving between the troops of the Chinese PLA and the ITBP and the Army personnel over the last few years.

The 73 day-long military standoff between India and China in Doklam (Sikkim) in 2017 is a grim reminder of these instances.

Sources, however, added that 2018 saw an about 60 per cent decline in these incidents all along the eastern border front that the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh share with China.


January 17, 2019

Now, IAF wants new canopy for LCA

  • Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and HAL team has begun work on redesigning the canopy and put it on the test bed
  • Tejas R&D team has reworked the frame to accommodate the new canopy for the advanced model
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas aircraft, in its final operational clearance (FOC) configuration will have a new, thicker canopy with the Indian Air Force (IAF) having demanded the same. The same canopy is also to be used in the Tejas Mk-1A aircraft, which will be more advanced.

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) team has already begun work on redesigning the canopy and put it on the test bed, sources working on the project said.

The Tejas R&D team has reworked the frame to accommodate the new canopy for the advanced model of Tejas, which will measure 24mm as opposed to the existing 16mm.

“The existing canopy lining could only hold a 16mm glass, which had to be changed to accommodate 24mm. Now the challenge would be to procure fresh glasses, as HAL had already made some purchases of the 16mm glasses for the canopy, which is of no use now,” a person working on the LCA project said.

Since the changes were made to the structure, Tejas will have to be certified by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac), which a senior official from the LCA project said will not be a problem as the reworked canopy has tested well on the test bed.

“The IAF has said that they now want the canopy to be able to negotiate a 40gm bird-hit as opposed to the 20gm that Tejas offered earlier. We will have to achieve as part of the FOC,” a senior member privy to developments said.

Besides, the IAF has also asked for mid air-refueling capabilities in the night, which will see Tejas get another addition: a drogue light at the end of the refueling probe. “These refueling tests will also take a few months, as we have only recently achieved the wet tests in the day,” another source said.

While some of these changes has allowed HAL to begin manufacturing of the FOC configuration aircraft—orders for 20 of which have been placed—the defence PSU is banking on new orders of the 83 Tejas MK-1A to revive itself.

As reported earlier by TOI, HAL is staring at a depleting order book, with most of the major orders scheduled to be delivered by March 2020. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had recently said that the orders for 83 Tejas worth Rs 50,000 crore are in the pipeline. However, with cost negotiations still ongoing, HAL was unsure when the actual orders might be placed.


January 14, 2019

World War 3: China ‘drawing up plans for wars with US and India’, warns expert

And the Center for the National Interest (CNI) has suggested attempts by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCP) to portray the nation as “peaceful and defence-oriented” did not chime with reality, while urging the US to “integrate Taiwan’s military into its regional defense architecture”. The chilling possibilities are discussed in the latest edition of the National Interest, a bi-monthly magazine published by the CNI. The blog discusses what it describes as the “top five war plans” of China’s People’s Liberation Army(PLA).

The blog, written by Ian Easton, says: “The PLA's nightmare scenario appears to be one in which it would be called upon to conduct all five joint operations in a two-front war against the United States and Taiwan in the East, and India in the South.

“In this scenario, available Chinese military sources envision the PLA first launching a joint firepower strike against Taiwan and then conducting a short-duration, high-intensity joint blockade of the island. When the ROC military was judged as having been sufficiently weakened, the PLA would launch a joint attack operation and make amphibious landings.

“Once major beachheads were secured, intense urban and mountain warfare operations in the island's depths would follow.

“According to the assumptions seen in PLA writings, at some undefined moment, the United States could intervene and launch cruise missile strikes and air raids on Chinese forces in the Taiwan Strait and along the PRC coast.”

Such American attacks could force the Chinese to fight a hint anti air-raid operation.

It adds: “In addition, it is assumed that the Indian military and/or Tibetan freedom fighters might at this moment attack across the volatile Himalayan border, forcing the Chinese to simultaneously fight a joint border area operation.

“PLA writings demonstrate some concern that Japan, Australia, and certain Southeast Asian countries might also side against China in a major Taiwan Strait war scenario, but available sources dedicate little attention to this possibility.”

The blog suggests the Chinese military has also developed war plans for other operations, but suggests the five outlined about “are the main drivers of China’s military reforms and buildup”.

It adds: “CCP propaganda seeks to convince audiences that China is a peaceful and defense-oriented country. This message does not accord with reality.

“Understanding China's military buildup means understanding that the PRC is preparing for a dangerous war of aggression against Taiwan, and, by way of extension, the United States and its allies.”

Current thinking suggests the South China Sea has the potential to be the site of the 21st century’s first superpower confrontation, and Admiral Philip S Davidson told Congress last year: “In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

However, the National Interest adds: “PLA writings show that China's military buildup is aimed mainly at fighting in the Taiwan Strait and Western Pacific.

“In response, the US government should lift self-imposed restrictions on political, defense, and security interactions with Taiwan and move to integrate the island's military into its regional defense architecture.”

THE head of the United States Navy is to meet with his Chinese counterpart for talks aimed at “avoiding miscalculation” as tensions between the world’s two biggest economies continue to mount.

Admiral John Richardson is visiting Beijing for talks aimed at reducing "risk and miscalculation".