November 30, 2010

Russia's missile forces to replace Topol-M with multiple-warhead RS-24

(RIA Novosti) Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) will be rearmed with multiple-warhead RS-24 missiles instead of the RS-12M Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle) mobile intercontinental ballistic missile systems, SMF Commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Tuesday.
"The mobile missile system with the RS-24 ballistic missile is an improved version of the Topol-M, and during production experience with fifth generation mobile missile systems was taken into account," Karakayev said, adding that the missile proved itself a reliable weapon. "Therefore it was decided to rearm the SMF with this type of missile system," he continued. "At the same the Topol-M mobile missile system will not be supplied to the Strategic Missile Forces in the future."
RS-24 is believed to have up to six independent warheads, and is thus more likely to be able to penetrate anti-missile defense systems than the single warhead Topol-M.
The SMF said in August that the Topol-M and RS-24 missiles would be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia's nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80% of the SMF's arsenal by 2016.
As of June 2010, the SMF operated at least 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M missile systems. The RS-24 was commissioned in 2010 after successful testing.
The RS-12M Topol is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles entered service in 1985.
The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of 550 kilotons.
Next year the SMF will hold 10 intercontinental ballistic missile launches, twice as many as in 2010, Karakayev said.

LCA successfully test fires R-73 missiles

(PTI / Hindustan Times) : India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' on Tuesday successfully completed air-to-air close combat missile firing tests, ahead of its clearance for induction into the IAF. The tests for firing of R-73 missiles took place at the INS Hansa naval air base in Goa where the LCA  detachment is currently based as part of the last phase of its flight trials, the DRDO said."As a run up to the impending achieving of Initiation Operational Clearance (IOC) and release to service, a Tejas detachment has been operating from INS Hansa in Goa, conducting the last phase of flight trials.  
"One of the main objectives of the current phase of flight trials was clearing the firing envelope of air-to-air close combat missile from the Tejas," a DRDO statement said.
The R-73 missile, which is the chosen air-to-air close combat missile for supersonic Tejas, is integrated with the on-board Digital Stores Management System (SMS) and Open Architecture Mission and Display Computer.
The missile selection is performed from the high resolution Multi Function Display (MFD) pages integrated with the sophisticated on-board avionics. All these equipment form the IOC standard of avionics, it said.
The test-firing was done from the Tejas LSP-4 aircraft piloted by Group Captain George Thomas, Group Director (Flight Test Operations) of the National Flight Test Centre at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
The test aircraft was accompanied by a chase Tejas piloted by Group Captain Suneet Krishna. This critical test was closely monitored and controlled by Test Director Wing Commander Toffeen, supported by safety pilot Group Captain (retired) R R Tyagi from the mobile telemetry positioned at the test location.
The data and video from the test aircraft were also available at the base station in Bangalore through a dedicated fibre optic link set up for this purpose, the statement said.
"This flight test demonstrated important requirements of the user like safe separation of the missile from the test aircraft, no missile plume-effect on the engine operation, avionics and weapon system functionality and safety interlocks, aircraft handling quality assessment during missile release, and effect of missile plume on the composite structure," DRDO officials said.
More firings of the missile are planned during the current week leading to close combat missile firing envelope clearance for the Tejas.

DRDO Lab Makes Most Powerful Conventional Explosive

(Press Information Bureau) Pune Based DRDO Lab Makes Most Powerful Conventional Explosive Move over RDX! That’s passé for the needs of the Indian Armed Forces. The DRDO is developing a powerful explosive, - the CL-20, that can substantially reduce the weight and size of the warhead while packing much more punch. In fact, the RDX is not the standard explosive in use with the Indian Armed Forces; the warheads are mostly packed with HMX, FOX-7 or amorphous Boron.

Scientists at the Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) have already synthesized adequate quantity of CL-20 in the laboratory. “It is the most powerful non-nuclear explosive yet known to man,” says Dr. AK Sikder, Joint Director, HEMRL, who heads the High Energy Materials Division. The compound, ‘Indian CL-20’ or ICL-20, was indigenously synthesized in the HEMRL laboratory using inverse technology, he added. “The HEMRL has taken India to an elite club of countries with advanced capabilities in the field of Energetic Materials,” said Shri Manish Bhardwaj, a senior Scientist with the HEMRL. In fact, the CL-20 is such a fascination for the HEMRL that a larger-than-life size model of the compound occupies the pride of place as one enters the portals of the main building of the DRDO's premier lab in Pune.

CL-20, so named after the China Lake facility of the Naval Air Weapons Station in California, US, was first synthesized by Dr. Arnold Nielson in 1987. CL-20, or Octa-Nitro-Cubane, is a Nitramine class of explosive 15 times as powerful as HMX, His/Her Majesty Explosive or High Melting Explosive or Octogen. The HMX itself is more than four times as potent as the Research Developed Explosive or Royal Demolition Explosive or Cyclonite or Hexogen, commonly known as RDX.

“CL-20 offers the only option within the next 10-15 years to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces for Futuristic Weapons,” said Dr. Sikder. “CL-20 -based Shaped Charges significantly improve the penetration over armours,” he said, adding that it could be used in the bomb for the 120-mm main gun mounted on the MBT-Arjun. “But the costs of mass production of ICL-20 are still prohibitive,” said Dr. Sikder. Compared to Rs.750 per kilogram it takes to produce RDX in the factory today, the HMX is worth about Rs.6,000 per kg while a kilogram of CL-20 costs a whopping Rs.70,000 per kg.

“We have a tie up with industry partner for intermediate commercial exploitation of ICL-20,” said Dr. A. Subhananda Rao, Director, HEMRL. About 100 kgs of ICL-20 has been produced by HEMRL in collaboration with the Premier Explosives Limited (PEL). The CL-20, which looks like limestone or grainy talcum powder, is being manufactured by the PEL factory at Peddakanlukur village in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. The Rs.60 crores Hyderabad-based company bagged the DRDO’s Defence Technology Absorption Award, 2007 worth Rs.Ten Lakhs, presented by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on May 12, 2008, their most prestigious award, claimed company sources.

“The advantage with the CL-20 is its Reduced Sensitivity,” said Dr. Sikder, enabling easy handling and transportation of the lethal weaponry. In fact, the HEMRL is concentrating on the Reduced Shock Sensitivity (RSS) explosives, such as RSS-RDX, which costs about Rs.1,500-2,000 per kg, and RSS-HMX. “There is a whole array of low sensitivity material or Insensitive Munitions we are working on,” said Dr. Rao. “The world around there is a lot of R&D being pumped into what are called the Green Explosives, as also the advanced Insensitive Munitions (IM) and RSS explosives,” added Dr. Sikder, which reduces the chances of mishap and loss to M4, - Men, Money, Materials and Machines.
(Praween Kavi )

Navy Submarines Deal - Rosoboronexport Offers Amur-1650 Class Submarines

( By India Defense )The Indian Navy, which is planning to acquire six non-nuclear submarines in a deal expected to be in the range of USD 10-12 billion, has been offer the fourth generation Amur-1650 class submarines by Russia. The proposal from Russia may include transfer-of-technology and localized production in Indian shipyards.

Facing mounting challenges posed by the modernization of Chinese and Pakistani naval capabilities, the Indian Navy is keen to boost up its undersea warfare capability.
  • Project 751, Indian Navy proposes an undersea force of 24 submarines by 2015. India already has 10 Kilo-class submarines and has set up a line to manufacture French Scorpene Submarines at Mazagoan docks in Mumbai, the first of these submarines are expected to roll out by 2012.
  • Rosoboronexport said it would bid for the tender by offering the Amur class submarines, which are an upgraded version of Indian Navy's Kilo-class submarines.
  • With the speed of 20 knots, the Amur is designed for both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Its armaments include 16 tube launched torpedoes and also has a capability of launching cruise missiles.
  • Rosoboronexport officials were quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying that the submarine could be fitted with AIP fuel cells to considerably improve its submergence endurance and range. "The company will surely take part in the tender, and it will bid with its Amur 1650 non-nuclear submarine," an official said.
  • The Amur 1650 submarine has been developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau of Naval Technology on the basis of the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, the most low-noise submarines in the world. The sonar signature level of the submarines of this class is several times lower in comparison with Kilo-class submarines. These submarines are equipped with radio-electronic weapons of the newer generation created on the basis of the latest achievements in the field of radio-electronics.
  • The submarine is equipped with 6 torpedo tubes and can take a crew of 35 people. Its depth of submergence is 300 metres, and its endurance is 45 days.
  • The Indian Navy has already sent requests for technical specifications to a number of countries including Russia, Germany, Spain and France who have already shown interest in the d

UK firm fined for supplying defective parts to IAF

(ZEE News)New Delhi: The Defence Ministry today said it has fined British defence major BAE Systems for supplying defective components for the Hawk AJT aircraft for the IAF.

The defective components caused delays in supply of the aircraft by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to IAF, which had to modify its training plan for its young pilots on the Hawk advanced jet trainer, Defence Minister A K Antony told Lok Sabha in reply to a written query.
"In view of the delay in delivery of Hawk by HAL due to the receipt of defective components, jigs and fixtures from the foreign manufacturer, on whom liquidated damages have been levied, the original training plan by Hawk AJT for 2010-11 has been modified," he said.

Hawks were inducted into the IAF in 2008 with an aim of replacing Kiran Mk II and MiG 21 aircraft for flying training. "Pilots of IAF are being trained on the MiG 21 aircraft," he said.

In 2004, a contract was signed with the UK for supplying 66 Hawks of which 24 were to be manufactured in Britain and rest were to be license-produced at HAL facilities in the country.

Due to the supply of defective items by BAE systems, the delivery schedule of the aircraft has been adversely affected.

BAE Systems supplies the components of the aircraft to the HAL in complete or semi knocked down kits and they are assembled by the Indian aircraft manufacturer at its lines in Bangalore.

Recently, India signed an agreement with BAE Systems for procuring another 57 aircraft of which 40 will be for IAF and the rest will go to the Navy.

Answering another query, Antony said the available strength of pilots and personnel below officers ranks was enough to meet the current operational requirements of IAF.

"The ab initio cost of training of a fighter pilot in the IAF at 2008-09 rates is Rs 13.70 crore approximately," he said.

BrahMos unit set to bag key orders

( By  The Hindu):  BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL), which caters to the product requirements of the country's defence, aerospace and nuclear industries, is set to bag key orders that will fuel the company's bid to become an industry major in these sectors.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), it is reliably learnt, is contemplating making the BATL its next work centre for production of cryogenic and semi-cryogenic engines.
“Presently, the cryogenic as well as liquid engines for the ISRO are made by a consortium comprising Godrej and MTAR Technologies. Technical collaboration would be a lot easier with the BATL taking up the job as the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre [VSSC] and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, which have designed and developed the engine, are located within four and 30 kilometres from it. BrahMos Thiruvananthapuram has been asked by the ISRO to produce some components of the cryogenic engine, but to execute it in full, it requires the Rotary Vacuum Brazing facility. A request to set it up at the BATL is being pursued with the ISRO,” a top BrahMos source told The Hindu in Thiruvananthapuram two weeks ago. The BATL had earlier purchased equipment worth Rs.25 crore on a grant from the ISRO.
The company is sparing no effort to deliver before March next a BrahMos cruise missile container (canister), ordered as a trial piece. “We have secured a crucial order to manufacture 135 BrahMos containers, each costing about Rs.30 lakh to Rs.35 lakh,” said the source.
Already under fabrication at the BATL are the liquid Vikas engines for the ISRO and the firm has so far been able to deliver 16 of them. “In addition, an order for 12 more has come. Material for six engines is available and four would be realised this year itself,” said the source. “The BATL makes the full engine in-house. And, the complicated friction ring of the engine is manufactured only by it,” said the source.
The first set of subsystems of the BrahMos missile such as the FDU (front docking unit), shutter assembly and cable separator — together called ‘metallic airframe components' — delivered by the BATL is undergoing quality and acceptance tests and the company is positive about getting a fresh order for 200 such sets. “This would require us to set up a separate production line and the process is well under way,” said the source.
The machining capability of the BATL spans products with diameters ranging from 0.5 millimetres to 2.5 metres (for L-40 propellant tank cages).
With the process of acquisition of nearby land for the second phase development of the company facing delays, a modest complex for the integration of the cruise missile has now been carved out within the existing campus with assistance from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Also in place is a facility for meteorology for the accommodation of fresh equipment.
The company, which had delivered three-piece manipulators (robotic arms used in atomic reactors) to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is hoping to receive supplementary orders and is negotiating with the BARC to set up a plant at the BATL for this.
“While assorted product range, relatively less volume of orders and research and development activities are restricting the company's margin of profit from leapfrogging, it is definitely growing at a comfortable pace,” the source maintained.

Electronic warfare suite developed for MiG-27

(By DNA ) : India has successfully tested the electronic warfare (EW) suite for MiG-27 fighter aircraft, to thwart any kind of enemy threats, said a senior official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Wednesday.
The sophisticated version of MiG-27 fighters will be operational by 2011.
Announcing the latest achievement in the country’s defence warfare capabilities, Dr Prahlada, chief controller, R&D (Ae&SI) of DRDO, speaking on the sidelines of the India National Electronic Warfare Workshop (EWWI-2010) in the city, said the technical know-how would bring India on par with the rest of the world.
“We have successfully integrated the present electronic warfare (EW) systems with MiG-27 fighters. It will be operational from 2011. Similarly, we’ll integrate EW systems with MiG-29 fighters and Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) by 2011. They are likely to be operational by 2012,” said Prahlada.
Although all the three wings of the Indian armed forces have been using EW systems for long, upgradation of MiG fighters and Tejas is the first step forward in indigenous development by the DRDO.
The DRDO is also building two new test ranges in Chitradurga district in Karnataka and another in Tandur in Andhra Pradesh, which will be operational by 2012 and 2013, respectively. Both the aeronautical ranges will be used to test radar-based EW systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, air-to-ground weapons, huge parachutes, and Tejas LCAs and aerostats.
While the Chitradurga range would test ‘non-communication’ EW systems, the Tandur range will test ‘communication’ EW systems.
“We have already acquired the land in Chitradurga. Talks are on with the government to acquire land in Tandur. These are peaceful areas, far-off from populated city spaces and have no risk of any radiation leak,” said Prahlada.

Indian MMRCA contract by March 2011: IAF Chief

( By Defense world ) The Indian contract to buy 126 MMRCA fighter aircraft is expected to be signed by March 2011, the Indian Air Force Chief of Staff, P.V. Naik has been quoted as saying.

      In an interview to Vayu Aerospace, a media partner of defenseworld.net, the air force chief said that the likely timeframe for completing various activities before the contract is signed is about 6-8 months, “So, we expect the contract to be signed by March 2011. From thereon, the induction should begin by mid 2014 onwards".

      The RFP for the M-MRCA was issued in August 2007 to six global vendors. These vendors responded with their proposals and the TEC was completed in June 2009. By this time, the IAF was already ready to undertake Field Evaluations and these were conducted from July 2009 to May 2010, the Air Chief said.

      Thereafter the IAF has completed the analysis of results and compiled an exhaustive report well in time. The Staff Evaluation report was submitted on 30 July 2010.

       "In my opinion, considering the number of vendors involved and the complex nature of evaluations, there has not been any inordinate delay. We have been able to achieve our objectives well within the stipulated time frame", he added.

November 29, 2010

Not just jets, missiles too cost a bomb

( Times of India ) NEW DELHI: Fighters, submarines or tanks may grab all the eyeballs but other military hardware also costs a packet. Over the next five years, the armed forces will induct three advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems for well over Rs 30,000 crore.

The SAM systems  to detect and destroy hostile aircraft, drones and helicopters at ranges betweem 25 and 70 km -- are the indigenous Akash system and the two being developed with the help of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) -- the long-range SAM (LR-SAM) and medium-range SAM (MR-SAM).

Latest status reports peg the R&D costs and orders placed for the 25-km Akash system, which has a multiple target handling capability with digitally-coded command guidance system to protect vital installations, at a staggering Rs 19,182 crore.

While the joint DRDO-IAI project cost for LR-SAM to arm naval warships is Rs 2,606 crore, the MR-SAM for IAF is worth Rs 10,076 crore.

Akash systems are already on course to be inducted, with the IAF order being worth Rs 6,200 crore and the Army's Rs 12,402 crore. The first IAF Akash squadron, with two `flights' of four launchers each, is expected to be operational at Gwalior airbase by next year. Six of the squadrons will subsequently be based in the north-east to counter the Chinese threat.

The 70-km-range LR-SAM project -- with multi-function surveillance and threat radars, weapon control systems and missiles -- in turn, is slated for completion by May 2012. In the first phase, it will arm the three Kolkata-class destroyers being built at Mazagon Docks for Rs 11,662 crore.

Under the MR-SAM project, which will also have a strike range of 70 km, the delivery of the first firing unit to the IAF is scheduled for March 2013, with the 18th one coming in October 2016.

All three projects are important because the armed forces are largely equipped with near-obsolete air defence units, like the Russian-origin Pechora, OSA-AK and Igla missile systems, even though the radar coverage of Indian airspace suffers from many gaping holes.

Interestingly, though IAI has been dogged by some controversy -- ranging from kickback allegations to exorbitant business charges -- the government has refused to blacklist the firm on the ground that it will prove "counter-productive" due to the "crucial" projects that are underway.

 India is also importing several Spyder low-level quick-reaction missile systems from Israel to bolster its air defence capabilities. IAF had pushed for them due to persistent delays in the indigenous Akash and Trishul SAM systems. While Trishul has failed to materialise, armed forces now seem confident about Akash.

The sleek 5.6-metre-long Akash uses an integrated two-stage Ramjet rocket propulsion technology, and is powered by an air-breathing engine to carry a payload of 60 kg.

As its computerised operation ensures a low-reaction time, Akash is designed to neutralise multiple aerial targets attacking from several directions simultaneously in all-weather conditions. With an 88% "kill probability", it can even take on sub-sonic cruise missiles, says DRDO.

November 27, 2010

USAF Chief Considers F-35 And F-22 Replacement

(By David A.- Aviationweek)The U.S. Air Force’s senior officer has acknowledged concern over the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, in particular slow software development that may push the Joint Strike Fighter’s operational debut into 2016.
“There are some issues with respect to timing on software development,” the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, told a group of defense writers this week in Washington. “We don’t have a complete understanding yet of whether that will affect the new, predicted [initial operating capability] of April 2016. I’m still concerned about the schedule – a little less on technical matters, [but] software appears to be a potential pacing item.”
At the same time, the chief of staff sounded more reassured about other development efforts. “With respect to the A-model aircraft, my assessment is that it is ahead on test points and flying hours, software stability has been good and the structure has experienced no failures or surprises,” Schwartz said.
The chief’s comments come as Pentagon leaders struggle to get a better handle on the three-model, nine-nation U.S.-led program, potentially the largest defense acquisition in history. A defense acquisition board (DAB) meeting on the JSF was convened Nov. 22 and another is due soon. The latest presentation there was by Navy Vice Adm. David Venlet, who became program manager last spring, and entailed a preliminary technical baseline review that involved a look at both production status and schedules, as well as test data and progress on software engineering.
The next DAB, still to be scheduled, will finalize inputs for the Fiscal 2012 defense budget request, expected on Capitol Hill in early February. Also at next DAB, “the resulting program plan will be considered for Milestone B,” Pentagon representatives told reporters separately this week.
In turn, programs delays could ripple throughout the military, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. But the Air Force chief disputes the GAO analysis, saying there are options and workarounds such as structural and avionics upgrades to extend the operational life of Block 40/50 F-16s and thereby ensure the U.S. can execute the national military strategy.
“A-model F-35 performance has indicated it is the best of the lot,” Schwartz says. “[But,] if the aircraft aren’t ready to put on the ramp, we’ll work alternatives. There is a related fighter force structure strategy that will accompany the F-35 production information in the Fiscal 2012 budget plan.”
The JSF’s bumpy path to production has not dampened Schwartz’s enthusiasm for joint aviation programs with the Navy, particularly in relation to a request for information about an F-22 replacement, although he said teamwork would be critical.
“There is little beyond the conceptual,” Schwartz said of news of a future aircraft collaboration. “It’s too early to put a whole lot of stock in a 2030-plus notion. With respect [to] Navy and Air Force cooperation, it seems to me that cooperation between the Air Force and Navy on air platforms and capabilities is absolutely key. The notion that this introduces challenges is true,” he continued.
“Ideally, what you want to do is have the U.S. government together in a way that allows us to get the best capability,” he says. “An example is BAMS and Global Hawk. Why should the Navy and Air Force have two separate depots, ground stations and training pipelines for what is essentially the same airplane with a different sensor? I think there is lots of opportunity for both of us to make better uses of resources.”

November 26, 2010

Russia offers Il-476 to China

Russia will offer China the new military cargo plane Ilyushin Il-476, which will be produced in Ulyanovsk, head of the Rosoboronexport department on exports of special property and services Sergei Kornev told reporters at Airshow China 2010 on Wednesday.
He leads the Rosoboronexport delegation at the show.
“Il-76 production in Ulyanovsk is being resumed. Il-476 is a new generation plane with profound modernization. We will offer this plane to our Chinese partners,” he said.
It is not planned to resume the fulfillment of a contract on the delivery of many Il-76 cargo planes and Il-78 tanker planes to China. “We will sign a new contract because we offer a plane of completely new quality,” Kornev said.
He confirmed the complete delivery of D-30KP engines for the Il-76.
Meanwhile, consultations on the joint creation of a heavy cargo helicopter continue with China. “No agreements have been reached so far,” Kornev said.
As of lately, Russia has been leasing heavy helicopters Mil Mi-26 to China.
Russia and China agreed on the delivery of 34 Il-76MDs and four Il-78s in September 2005. Experts approximately evaluated the deal at $1.5 billion. The contract was suspended due to the Tashkent aviation plant’s inability to build the aircraf  (Source: Interfax-AVN /Russiandefenseblog)

November 25, 2010

DRDO plans five missile tests

( Times of India ) BALASORE  : In a step forward to attain the minimum credible nuclear deterrence, India's defence scientists are going to show more fire power at the country's best test facilities at Chandipur and Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast in the coming days.

According to the sources at the integrated test range (ITR), the DRDO has planned to test-fire at least five sophisticated long range missiles within next two months. The launching complexes at both the places have been readied for the first ever synchronized test in the recent times.

While on Thursday, an advanced version of the Agni-I missile has been scheduled to be fired, in December two missiles – Brahmos and Agni-II - will fly in the sky. In January scientists will fire the newly developed Agni-II + missile and an interceptor missile, which last time didn't take off due to a technical snag in the target missile.

"This is for the first time that altogether five missiles have been lined up to be test-fired within next two months. The lab authorization committee of the ministry of defence (MoD) has given necessary green signal for the proposed test-firings. Range integration has been completed. We all are hopeful of test launching the missiles successfully," said a defence scientist.

Originally designed to strike the target at a distance of 700 km, the Agni-I missile this time will be tested by the armed forces with better re-entry technology and an extended range. Compared to its longer-range cousins, its height is just 15 metres and it is powered by both solid and liquid propellants, which impart it a speed of 2.5 km per second. It can blast off from both road and rail mobile launchers.

Next month there will be tests of BrahMos and Agni-II. On September 5 last India created history by flight testing Brahmos cruise missile, for the first time in the world, at a supersonic speed in a steep-dive mode. The 8.4-meter long missile can hit a target at a distance up to 290 km. The missile can travel at thrice the speed of sound and carry a conventional warhead weighing 200 kg to 300 kg.

"BrahMos has become the only supersonic cruise missile possessing this advanced capability in the world. After the scheduled test this version will be ready for induction," said the scientist.

Similarly, the two-stage solid-propelled Agni-II is one of the key weapon systems of the country's nuclear deterrence doctrine and had been inducted into the armed forces. Having about 1.3-meter diameter, it is 21 metres tall and capable of carrying a payload of one tonne. It has strike range of nearly 2000 km. The missile, which had failed to deliver desired results consecutively twice last year, was successfully tested in May this year.
"Meanwhile, we have developed Agni-II+ missile which is completely a new missile having a strike range between 2750 km and 3000 km. It has several advanced technologies in comparison to its previous missile. This missile, a part of the Agni series, will bridge the gap between its long-range missiles Agni-II (2000 km) and Agni-III (3500 km)," informed the scientist.

In the final step, the DRDO will test the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile to shoot down an incoming "enemy missile" as part of its efforts to build a credible ballistic missile defence shield. Of the four interceptor missile tests so far, the first three were successful. The last one in March this year was a failure.

India To Have 2 New EW Test Ranges

( By Aviationweek ) The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is establishing two test ranges to test electronic warfare (EW) systems in Chitradurga (Karnataka) and Tandur (Andhra Pradesh).
DRDO Chief Controller Prahalda told Aviation Week that the facilities would act as force multipliers for India’s EW capabilities. “The ranges would augment India’s testing capabilities further. Today, we use the [Indian Air Force] range in Gwalior for carrying out some specific tests. Smart systems are crucial during future conflicts,” Prahalda said.
DRDO hopes to make both the ranges live within the 2012-14 timeframe with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore (almost $219 million) total. The ranges would be used for simulation, modeling and testing, among other uses.
“In today’s scenario EW systems take centerstage. If the weapons are nullified with jammers, before you initiate any action, you are numbed. Without EW systems, you cannot win a war,” said Prahlada.
Meantime, on the MiG-27 upgrade program, the DRDO official said that it had successfully completed the integration of EW suites on the platform, with operational flights scheduled starting next year. “MiG-29 is next in line. We are also working on a fourth-generation EW system that would be ready by 2012,” he said.
The Defense Electronics Application and Defense Electronics Research laboratories are actively pursuing developments on the new EW system to be manufactured by Bharat Electronic Limited.
The long-range surface to air missile (LR-SAM), being developed in partnership with Israel, had completed one test phase recently and more trials are scheduled to begin next year.
DRDO also hopes to get about Rs 9,000 crore from next year’s Indian government’s budget for strategic and tactical systems. Bangalore is currently hosting the two-day National Electronic Warfare Workshop, which began Nov. 24.

Rosoboronexport delivered Ka-31 helicopters to China

(By Rusnavy) Representative of Rosoboronexport which is the state intermediary company in arms export and import reported about delivery of Russian radar surveillance helicopters Ka-31 to China during press-conference at Airshow China 2010 held in Nov 16-21 in Zhuhai, informs Aviation Explorer.

We recall that Rosoboronexport's deputy director general Alexander Mikheev said at international exhibition HeliRussia-2010 held in Moscow in May 2010 that the contract provides delivery of nine Ka-31 helicopters to China.

Ka-31 helicopters are made by JSC Kamov which is a member of Helicopters of Russia holding. The onboard radar is capable to detect and track up to 20 targets simultaneously at the distance up to 150 km (aircrafts) and up to 285 km (surface ships). These helicopters are in service with Russian Navy; 9 were exported to India under a $207-mln contract.

November 24, 2010

Pakistan to receive first ZDK-03 AEW&C aircraft

(By Greg - Flight Global ) :  Pakistan will receive the first of four Shaanxi ZDK-03 airborne early warning and control system aircraft by the end of January 2011.
The other three aircraft are likely to arrive later in the year, says the Pakistan air force.
"The ZDK-03s have been developed to our specifications," says the air force. "It won't be an E-3C Sentry, but it will have the latest electronics and everything an AEW&C aircraft needs."
The Chinese-built aircraft will have an active electronically scanned array radar, and its open architecture electronics will allow for future developments and upgrades.
Pakistan has also received its third of four Erieye radar-equipped Saab 2000s being acquired from Sweden, with the final aircraft likely to arrive in the coming months. The four-engined Chinese aircraft has a greater range than the Saab, say sources.
The ZDK-03 deal underlines the strong military ties between Pakistan and China. The countries have also jointly developed the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder fighter, of which Pakistan is likely to buy 200.
Purchasing AEW&C aircraft from two separate sources is indicative of Pakistan's strategy of not becoming too reliant on any one ally. The USA imposed military sanctions against Islamabad from 1990 until 2005 in response to its testing nuclear weapons.
The air force's current fleet includes Lockheed Martin F-16s, Dassault Mirage III/5s and Chengdu F-7s and JF-17s.
In terms of military transports, Pakistan flies Lockheed C-130s, but also operates Ilyushin Il-76/78 tankers.

Thailand signs for more Gripen fighters, anti-ship missiles

(by Flight Global )Thailand has signed a planned follow-on order for Saab-produced fighter and surveillance aircraft and added anti-ship missiles to its air force's future inventory.
A new agreement covering the supply of six more Gripen Cs and a second Saab 340 -based airborne early warning and control system aircraft was secured in Stockholm on 23 November. It was signed by Royal Thai Air Force commander in chief Air Chief Marshal Itthaporn Subhawong and Gunnar Holmgren, director general of Sweden's Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).
Saab has valued the new contract at around SKr2.2 billion ($317 million). The company will deliver the new batch of single-seat Gripens in 2013 and upgrade the Erieye surveillance radar-equipped Saab 340. It will also supply its RB15F anti-ship missile: a subsonic, sea-skimming design with a maximum range of over 108nm (200km).
The new deal represents the long-planned second instalment of a 2008 contract for four Gripen Cs, two Gripen D trainers, one AEW&C aircraft and a Saab 340 trainer. It also includes the provision of logistics support and personnel training, the FMV says.

Tatas make first defence purchase

(The Economic Times )MUMBAI: The $72-billion Tata Group has made its first acquisition in the defence business . Tata Advanced Systems (TAS), a company set up in 2006 to tap the enormous opportunities in India’s defence sector, has bought a 74% stake in Hyderabad-based HBL Elta Avionics for an undisclosed amount.

The remaining 26% continues to be held by its foreign partner ELTA Systems, a unit of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). TAS has bought controlling interest in HBL Elta from HBL power systems , a company listed on the BSE, and the transaction was sealed a few weeks ago, said a Tata group source. The South-based outfit manufactures parts and accessories for defence-related aerospace applications. Mape Advisory , a boutique investment banking firm, advised Tatas on the transaction.

This will be the group’s second JV with IAI. It already has a 74:26 partnership to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, radars and homeland security systems. IAI chief executive Itzhak Nissan and Tata Sons chairman Rata Tata have ambitious plans to build a multibillion dollar enterprise in the defence sector.

The Indian government has been modernizing the manufacturing of defence equipment, opening up the area for private players. It, however, has capped foreign direct investment to 26% and debates have been on to raise it to 49%. For the Tata Group, the acquisition underscores its huge interest in defence—identified as a key business area to its existing portfolio of salt-to-software and tea-to-telecom.

The group expects defence to be more than $5 billion business in the near future. And for that, TAS has struck a few partnerships with foreign companies for technology, among other things.

It has a joint venture with US-based helicopter manufacturer Sikorsy to manufacture cabins for Sikorsky S-92 helicopters. And recently, the company unveiled its first cabin, rolled out from the Hyderabad facility. TAS also has a joint venture with AGT International to provide integrated solutions for homeland security market.

Another partnership is with Lockheed Martin, makers of the legendary F-16 fighter jet, to make aircraft parts for the overseas market. “We are in discussions to sign a couple of more partnerships with foreign companies,” said the Tata group source.

The group has been present in defence, homeland security and disaster management space for several years but in a small way. One of the group companies that laid the foundation for this business was Nelco—a company where group chairman Ratan Tata cut his teeth in business in the ’70s. Today, there are several group companies such as Tata communications , CMC and Titan Industries which cater to defence and aerospace.

Tata Power Strategic Electronic Division was a successful bidder for the Indian Air Force project involving the upgradate of 30 IAF airfields. Early this year, Tata Motors  launched combat vehicles to enhance its participation in the defence sector.

Boeing Offers F/A 18 Naval Variant for Indian Navy Fighter Jet Requirement

( by India Defense ): Boeing India has offered a naval variant of the F/A 18 E/F Super Hornets multi role fighter jet platform to the Indian Navy. The Navy currently has one aircraft carrier (INS Viraat) in service and Russia is expected to deliver INS Vikramaditya by 2012.

India is developing indigenous aircraft carriers and the aim is to have a total of three Aircraft carriers resulting in two fully operational Carrier battle groups and an additional Aircraft carrier eventually in refit making India an operating Blue-water navy.

Dr. Vivek Lall, Vice President, Boeing Defense, Space and Security, India confirmed:
"We have responded to the RFP with our F/A-18 Super Hornet platform. We made a presentation to Navy earlier this year."
-- Dr. Vivek Lall

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine 4.5 generation carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft. The F/A-18E single-seat variant and F/A-18F tandem-seat variant are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm gun and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons.

Additional fuel can be carried with up to five external fuel tanks and the aircraft can be configured as an airborne tanker by adding a buddy air refuelling system.

The F/A 18's are being operated by the United States Navy -- the Super Hornet achieved initial operating capability (IOC) in September 2001 with the U.S. Navy's VFA-115 squadron at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

US senate clears transfer of two Osprey-class minehunters to India

(By India Strategic )Washington. The US Senate has cleared the transfer of two Osprey- clas s minehunters to India on a grant basis to boost Indian Navy’s efforts to ramp up coastal security in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The Senate Monday approved the transfer of Osprey class minehunter coastal ships Kingfisher (MHC-56) and Cormorant (MHC-57), decommissioned in 2007, under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
Touted as the world’s second largest minehunters, surpassed only by the British Royal Navy’s 60- metre Hunt class minehunters, the 56.5 metre Osprey class vessels are designed to find, classify, and destroy moored and bottom naval mines from vital waterways.
Constructed entirely of fibre-glass and designed to survive the shock of underwater explosions, they use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control.
The Indian Navy, which presently deploys Czech-made Pondicherry and Mahe-class minesweepers, is highly deficient in this class of warships. It has been on the lookout for such highly mobile coastal warships and minehunters and minesweepers since the 26/11 attacks.
The ships are equipped with a high definition, variable-depth sonar and a remotely-operated, robotic submarine used to neutralise mines. The Osprey Class ships are the world’s largest Glass-Reinforced Plastic (GRP) ships and are the first US Navy ships designed solely for minehunting.
The platform has been designed with exceptionally low magnetic and acoustic signatures to protect against mine detonations during minehunting operations.
The computer-aided detection techniques include marking of mine-like sonar contacts with track buckets for further detailed search. Classification of targets is carried out using higher frequency narrow beam acoustics to provide high-resolution echo and shadow imagery.
Twelve minehunter ships were built for the US Navy by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (formerly Litton Avondale Industries) of New Orleans and Intermarine of Savannah. The ships were commissioned between 1993 and 1999 and decommissioned from the US Navy between 2006 and 2007.

Russia to develop nuclear-powered space engines

MOSCOW (PTI),brahmand : Russia is planning to start work on the development of nuclear-powered space engines next year, and their first launch could come in 2020, a space industry official has said.

CEO of Energia Space Corporation Vitaly Lopota Tuesday said the work on standardised space modules with nuclear-powered propulsion systems will begin in 2011.

"The first launches with a capacity of 150 to 500 KW nuclear engines could be made some time in 2020," Lopota was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

According to earlier reports the project will require an estimated funding of over USD 580 million.

Energia Space Corporation has also announced its readiness to design a space-based nuclear power station with a service life of 10-15 years for deployment on the moon  or Mars.

It is also working on a concept of a nuclear-powered space tug, which could more than halve satellite launching and orbiting costs.

Earlier, Chief of Federal space agency Roskosmos Anatoly Perminov had said the development of Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS) for manned spacecraft was crucial if Russia wanted to maintain a competitive edge in the space race, including the lunar and Mars missions.

Since the Soviet days Russia has a rich experience in using nuclear reactors of the size of volleyball to power its Kosmos series spy satellites .

November 23, 2010

North Korea launches attack on South Korean island

 (By RIA Novosti) North Korea opened artillery fire at a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing one soldier and provoking a retaliatory attack from the South, Seoul's YTN television reported.
An eyewitness told the TV station that some 60 to 70 houses were ablaze on the Yeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea. The island, which is off the countries' west coast, is populated by some 1,200 people.
A spokesman for South Korea's joint chief of staff said "scores of rounds" were fired by the North. South Korean military retaliated by firing some 80 rounds, Yonhap said.
At least one South Korean marine is reported to have died, with three seriously injured. It is not immediately known if there were any civilian casualties.
The South Korean military is on its highest non-war alert and the Air Force has deployed fighter jets to the island.
Yonhap said Seoul was considering the evacuation of its nationals currently in North Korea.
"We will decide whether we should evacuate them or not after looking into the safety of those at the Mount Kumgang resort and the Kaesong industrial park," the South Korean agency quoted a Unification Ministry official as saying.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered an emergency meeting of security ministers in connection with the attack.

Tuesday's exchange of fire came amid large-scale military exercises in South Korea. The drills, involving some 70,000 troops, were launched Monday and are to last through November 30.
"Our army was carrying out military training, and there was a telegram from North Korea with a protest and questioning whether this was an attack," the spokesperson was quoted as saying by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
He did not rule out that subsequent artillery fire from the North was a response to the drills.
The attack is the second incident in the tense Yellow Sea border area this year. In March, a North Korean submarine was alleged to have torpedoed a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, causing the loss of 46 lives. An international investigation said the North was to blame, but the reclusive regime denied involvement.
North and South Korea remain technically at war, since no peace treaty was signed following the Korean War in 1953. The Demilitarized Zone between the countries is the most heavily armed border in the world.
The latest attack comes after the revelation that the North has created a new uranium enrichment facility.
Despite the development, South Korea will not seek the return of U.S. tactical nuclear missiles over fears that the move could scupper international efforts to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear program, the South Korean deputy defense minister said.
"Redeploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea would cross the line of the denuclearization policy on the Korean Peninsula," deputy defense minister Chang Kwang-il told Yonhap.
He added that "South Korea has had no talks with the United States over the issue."

Lack of Artillery Modernisation will Adversely Impact on Operational Plans

(by India Strategic) New Delhi. While Pakistan recently acquired M-109 A5 155mm howitzers from the United States, the most potent and the most sophisticated self-propelled gun in the world, India once again cancelled its Request for Proposal (RfP) for 1,580 towed guns (155mm, 52 calibre). This has set back the artillery modernisation programme of the Indian Army by another three to five years over and above the ten-year long delay that has already occurred.
Of all the combat arms of the Indian Army, artillery will be a battle winning factor on future battlefields. It is a well-established fact that potent artillery firepower had turned the tide and eventually paved the way for victory during the Kargil conflict. Yet, despite the lessons learnt in Kargil, modernisation of the artillery has continued to stagnate. In a future conventional war that will be fought under the nuclear shadow, the ability to manoeuvre with large tank columns and armoured personnel carriers will be extremely limited due to the need to avoid crossing an adversary’s nuclear red lines. In the mountains, manoeuvre is in any case not possible due to the restrictions imposed by the terrain. The inability to manoeuvre will lead to much.
greater emphasis being placed on firepower to achieve the desired military aims and objectives. Hence, it is imperative that artillery modernisation is undertaken with alacrity so as to generate firepower asymmetries of a high order on the future battlefield.
Slow Process
The last major acquisition of towed gun-howitzers was that of about 400 pieces of 39-calibre 155mm FH-77B howitzers with a range of 30 km from Bofors of Sweden in the mid-1980s. This gun had proved its mettle in the Kargil conflict. After two decades of neglect during which the 100mm and 122mm field guns of Russian origin and the indigenously developed and manufactured 75/24 Indian Mountain Gun joined the long list of equipment bordering on obsolescence but still in service with the Indian Army, tenders were floated and trials were held for a 52-calibre 155mm towed gun to replace all field and medium guns.
Just when a contract for 120 self-propelled (SP) guns on tank tracks and 180 wheeled SP 155mm guns was about to be concluded after years of protracted trials, Denel a South African arms manufacturer and a leading contender for the contract, was alleged to have been involved in a corruption scam in an earlier deal for anti-material rifles (AMRs). The other two howitzers in contention, from Soltam of Israel and BAE Systems (erstwhile Bofors of Sweden) reportedly did not meet the laid down criteria and Army HQ recommended fresh trials. The guns did not meet the stringent performance parameters as they were mainly technology demonstration and developmental models and not guns that were in actual service with the home country armies.
It was then decided to begin the process all over again, setting the programme back at least three to four years.
Beginning in January 2008, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued three global tenders for 155mm guns and howitzers for the mountains, the plains and self-propelled guns for the deserts. The Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) of MoD, chaired by the Defence Minister, approved the procurement of 1,580 guns on December 13, 2007 and an RfP was issued on March 26, 2008. The RfP was issued to eight prospective bidders including BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Nexter (France), Rhinemetall (Germany), Samsung (South Korea) and ST Kinetics. The Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) short-listed the guns of BAE Systems and ST Kinetics.
The DAC had also approved the procurement of 145 light-weight towed 155mm, 39-caliber howitzers on June 19, 2006 and an RfP was issued to ten global vendors on January 14, 2008. ST Kinetics was the only one to submit a Technical and Commercial Offer for its Pegasus Light Weight Howitzer. As it became a single-vendor situation, the MoD initiated the procurement of light-weight howitzers through the direct Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route from the US government.
An RfP has also been issued for 180 wheeled self-propelled 155mm guns for around Rs 4,700 crore for employment by mechanised forces in the plains and semi-desert sectors. Summer and winter trials of all the new guns were expected to be held over the next one year and it was anticipated that contracts would be awarded as early as in the first half of 2010.
While the summer trials of the self-propelled (wheeled) howitzers were held in 2010, none of the other manufacturers have so far been invited for trials and the tender for 1,580 towed howitzers has again been cancelled.
 Guns for the Mountains
The probability of the next conventional war breaking out in the mountains is far higher than that of a war in the plains. With this in view, the artillery recently conceptualised a requirement for a light-weight towed howitzer of 155mm calibre for employment in the mountains. Neither the present Bofors howitzer nor its 52-calibre replacement will be capable of effective operations in the mountains. A light-weight 39 or 45-calibre155mm howitzer weighing less than 5,000 kg, with a light but adequately powered prime mover, is ideal for the mountains. The gun-train should be capable of negotiating sharp road bends without the need to unhook the gun from the prime mover.
In January 2008, the MoD floated an RfP for 145 pieces of ultra-light 39-calibre 155mm towed howitzers for use by the Indian Army’s mountain formations.
Presumably, these howitzers will also be employed by the Army’s rapid reaction divisions – as and when these are raised – as these howitzers will be easy to transport by air. 145 howitzers will be adequate to equip seven medium artillery regiments and will cost approximately Rs 3,000 crore. Though the RfP was issued to BAE Systems and to Singapore Technologies and trials were slated to commence, in June 2009, Singapore Technologies was black-listed for its suspected involvement in another procurement scam.
The US BAE Systems M777 A1 howitzer is now undergoing summer trials at Pokhran and will be put through winter trials soon after the present round is completed.
Some Progress
Since the Bofors 155mm Howitzer was introduced into service, the indigenously designed and manufactured 105 mm Indian Field Gun (IFG) and its (not so) light version, the Light Field Gun (LFG), have also joined the list of guns and howitzers heading for obsolescence. Approximately 180 pieces of 130mm M46 Russian medium guns have been successfully “up-gunned” to 155mm calibre with ordnance supplied by Soltam of Israel. The new barrel length of 45-calibres has enhanced the range of the gun to about 40 km with extended range ammunition.
There has been notable progress on the rocket artillery front however.
A contract for the acquisition of two regiments of the 12-tube, 300mm Smerch multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) system with 90 km range was signed with Russia’s Rosoboronexport in early-2006 and the equipment has since been received. This weapon system is a major boost for the long-range firepower capabilities of the army. If this weapon system had been available during the Kargil conflict, Pakistan’s brigade HQ and forward airfield at Skardu and other targets deep inside POK could have been hit with impunity.
Extended range (ER) rockets are being introduced for the 122 mm Grad MBRL of Russian origin that has been in service for over three decades. The ER rockets will enhance the weapon system’s range from 22 to about 40 km.
A contract worth Rs 5,000 crore has also been signed for the serial production of the Pinaka MBRL weapon system, a DRDO project initially plagued by time delays and completed with help from Larsen and Toubro and the Tatas. The Pinaka rockets will have an approximate range of 37 km and sub-zero probability of error.
Counter-bombardment (US term counter-fire) capability is also being upgraded, but at a slow pace. At least about 40 to 50 Weapon Locating Radars (WLRs) are required for effective counter-bombardment, especially in the plains, but only a dozen have been procured so far.
In addition to the 12 AN-TPQ 37 Firefinder WLRs acquired from Raytheon, USA, under a 2002 contract worth US $200 million, Bharat Electronics Limited is assembling 28 WLRs.
These radars will be based on both indigenous and imported components and are likely to be approved for introduction into service after extensive trials that are ongoing.
The radar is expected to match the capabilities of the Firefinder system and will have a detection range of about 40 km.
An indigenous sound ranging system for locating the positions of enemy guns based on the sound of their firing does not appear to be making worthwhile progress and may be shelved in favour of an imported system. In fact, it needs to be considered whether this relic of the two World Wars, that is rather cumbersome to deploy and maintain, deserves a silent burial as gun and mortar locating radars now provide accurate locations of enemy guns and mortars.
Efforts are also underway to add ballistic as well as cruise missiles to the artillery arsenal.
The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile (Mach 2.8 to 3.0), with a precision strike capability, very high kill energy and range of 290 km, is being inducted into the army. A ceremonial induction function of the Block-I version was held in July 2007. Since then, the Block-II version has successfully completed trials. It is a versatile missile that can be launched from TATRA mobile launchers and silos on land, aircraft and ships and, perhaps in future, also from submarines.
Fifty BrahMos missiles are expected to be produced every year.
Efforts are afoot to further increase its strike range. BrahMos Aerospace has orders worth Rs 3,500 crore from the Army and the Navy, which has opted for the anti-ship as well as the land attack cruise missile (LACM) versions. These terrain hugging missiles are virtually immune to counter measures due to their high supersonic speed and very low radar cross section and are far superior to sub-sonic cruise missiles like Pakistan’s Babur.
Chile, Kuwait, Malaysia and South Africa have shown interest in acquiring the BrahMos missile.
The modernisation plans of tube artillery alone are likely to cost Rs 13,000 crore at FY 2008-09 prices. The major acquisitions will be of initial lots of 400 towed howitzers of 155mm calibre, with a barrel length of 52-calibres, costing about Rs 4,000 crore, 145 light-weight 155mm towed howitzers, with a barrel length of 45-calibres, costing Rs 3,000 crore and 180 SP 155mm howitzers costing Rs 5,000 crore.
The “Shakti” project for command and control systems for the artillery, earlier called Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS), has passed user trials and is now being fielded extensively in the plains. Gradually it will be fielded up to the corps level and the two artillery divisions will be equipped with it.
Artillery modernisation must be given a major boost so that the army gets the firepower that it needs for any future conflict. In conjunction with aerially delivered firepower, the artillery is the only combat arm that can cause degradation and destruction and ultimately break the enemy’s will to fight.
Any further delay in the implementation of artillery modernisation plans will be extremely detrimental to national security interests.

The author is Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), New Delhi.

Indian Sukhoi jets to have indigenous Samtel flight display system

 (By India Strategic) Bangalore. Russian-designed Sukhoi fighters (Su-30MKI) with the Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon have in their cockpit an indigenous multi-functional display system manufactured by Samtel in a joint venture with defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), a top company executive says.

  “The first home-grown multi-functional display (MFD) system will be fitted in the cockpit of a Sukhoi for a roll-out Friday,” Samtel-HAL Display Systems Ltd Executive Director Puneet Kaura told reporters on the margins of a defence conference here.

The display systems are being manufactured under a limited series production by the joint venture in collaboration with scientists and engineers of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at a cost of Rs. 250 crore.
In the joint venture formed in 2006, Samtel has 60 percent equity stake, while the $2-billion HAL holds 40 percent stake.
The MFD system is a device that puts aircraft monitoring systems and flight planning functions at a pilot’s finger tips. The system displays a composite view of the aircraft’s environment, providing the pilot with all information to make safe decisions during every phase of flight.
Engine performance and situational data such as location, terrain and weather and airport information, which are digitally depicted can be quickly interpreted at a glance on the large-format display.

“We have supplied five ship sets of MFD systems to the IAF for conducting flight trials in association with the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) and HAL,” Kaura said on the sidelines of the ‘Indian Aerospace & Suppliers’ Conference, organised by KPMG and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) here.
About 30 flight trials were conducted so far at the HAL airport in Bangalore.
The indigenous MFD systems will replace the flight display systems of French aerospace firm Thales, fitted on Sukhois, reducing the cost significantly.
“The air force is in need of MFD systems in large numbers for its Sukhoi fighters. With their number set to go up, demand for it will increase,” an industry source said.
The Sukhoi fleet strength of IAF will go up to 230 by 2017 from 105 currently in phases. The first 90 Sukhois were Russian built, while the remaining 140 are being manufactured by HAL at its Nashik plant in Maharashtra under licence production from Sukhoi Design Bureau.

“We will have to produce five ship-sets every month. We hope to meet the requirement in the next five years. The systems were cleared for the series production a fortnight ago,” Kaura said.
Samtel is in advanced talks with some international firms to market the technology.
“Our technology is ready and the potential is huge as it operates in all-weather conditions,” Kaura added.


IAF Upgrading Equipment, Defense Minister Says

( Aviation Week) The Indian air force is continuously modernizing its equipment, as well as making new purchases, Defense Minister A.K. Antony tells parliament. The IAF phases out obsolete systems and upgrades and extends the life of other equipment when feasible, he says.
Obsolete equipment like the MiG-23, MiG-25 and Canberra aircraft has been phased out, Antony says. Existing fighters including the MiG-27, MiG-29, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and Su-30 MKI, as well as transport aircraft such as the An-32 and other helicopters, are being upgraded.
Various fighters, transport aircraft, helicopters, radars and missile systems are also being procured in a phased manner to meet military requirements, Antony says.
India is also set to sign a $2-billion deal with Dassault to upgrade 51 aging Mirage 2000 fighters to the 2000-5 standard (Aerospace Daily, Oct. 20). The agreement is expected to be signed Dec. 6 when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits India.
New Mirage capabilities will include longer-range detection and weapon firing against multiple targets, as well as an extended operating envelope that allows for border-protection missions using two Mirages instead of six. The multitrack RDY-3 radar to be installed in the Mirage is the same generation that the French air force is using on its M-2000D, with increased range compared to the existing Doppler multifunction system.
The Mirages, which have 20 years of remaining life, will not receive an engine upgrade. However, improvements in avionics, helmet-mounted displays, electronic warfare equipment, data links and mission computers will make the aircraft a multirole fighter, an official says. Weapons will include MBDA’s MICA heat-seeking infrared (IR) missiles and MICA RFs.
“The Indian air force is undergoing a major modernization process, and the Western Air command occupies a unique position in this transformation drive,” said Air Marshal N.A.K. Browne, air officer commander-in-chief of the Western Air Command, Nov. 22 at the annual Commanders’ Conference. “The need of the hour is speedy operationalization of newly inducted equipment with a commitment to preserve and maintain what we already have to the highest possible standards.”
The two-day conference is focusing on key issues including infrastructure development, especially in the northern region of Leh, as well as introduction of new equipment and aviation and maintenance safety.
The IAF’s Western Air Command operations extend from the world’s highest airfields in the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan.
A 15-year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for 2002-17 is also being implemented. From April 2009 to March 2010, the IAF spent $4.5 billion.

Russia repays Soviet debts to Slovenia with warships

( Rusnavy) Russian Svetlyak class patrol ship was delivered to Slovenian Navy as repayment of Soviet debt to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), reported yesterday Agence France Presse.

This ship named Triglav in honor of the highest point of Slovenia is capable to secure 43 km of coastline. "With this ship, Slovenia will prove its sea power status", said Slovenian defense minister Ljubica Jelusic.

Estimated cost of Triglav is $35 mln; overall Russia's debt to Slovenia which separated from socialist Yugoslavia in 1990 and joined NATO in 2004 makes $129 mln.

According to armstrade.org, Svetlyak class patrol craft built by Almaz Shipyard (St. Petersburg) is not the first exported vessel of this type. For instance, the shipyard launched similar patrol boat for Vietnamese Navy on Nov 12.

China completes upgrade of ex-Soviet aircraft carrier

( Rusnavy)  China completes repair and modernization of aircraft carrier Varyag, reports France Presse. According to western military experts, China plans to build five carrier strike groups; the first one will be formed in 2015.

Reportedly, China rapidly develops its naval power, but there's a lack of some key elements. However, the situation can be changed soon. China has not officially declared the building of aircraft carrier; nonetheless, it is expected that the ship would be put into operation in 2011, although not completed. This aircraft carrier is considered to be former Soviet Varyag.

At present, the ship stays at the port of Dalian undergoing a full-scale modernization. Hong Kong media sources reported last year that China planned to build five or more aircraft carriers, including two nuclear-powered ones.

Although China has already had significant nuclear potential, and second defense budget in the world (after the U.S.), demonstration of its military power is limited overseas. Aircraft carrier looks the most suitable tool for that purpose. Former US president Bill Clinton once said: "When word of crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: where is the nearest carrier?"

Chinese official media agencies recently held a poll and found out that 98 per cent respondents say it is the best time to build aircraft carriers; 71 per cent pollees are convinced that China should have at least four carriers in inventory. Most of respondents consider power of Chinese Navy does not meet national needs.

First Akash missile system to fill gap in air defence

Business Standard
By  (Ajai Shukla)       
  With crucial Indian defence and nuclear establishments and vital infrastructure facilities open to an enemy air strike, many in India’s military consider the shortage of anti-aircraft guns, missiles and radars as our single greatest security vulnerability.
For two decades, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has blocked overseas purchases, to allow the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) to indigenously develop anti-aircraft missile systems for replacing the obsolete Russian weaponry currently dotted around key headquarters, air bases, atomic power plants, nuclear installations and facilities like the Bhakra Nangal dam.
It has been a dangerous gamble. If war had broken out, the ineffectiveness of these Russian systems, especially the 50-year-old Pechora missile, would have forced the Indian Air Force (IAF) to use its combat aircraft more for defending Indian ground forces against enemy fighters than for attacking targets in enemy territory. But that gamble is finally beginning to pay off, with India’s first modern air defence system readying to roll off the assembly line. On an exclusive visit to Bharat Electronics (BEL) in Bangalore, Business Standard was given the first-ever media look at an operational Akash missile system, which will be delivered to the IAF by March 2011. This first Akash squadron will protect the Gwalior Air Base, where the IAF bases its Mirage-2000 fighters.
BEL will follow this up quickly with a second Akash squadron by December 2011, which will safeguard Lohegaon Air Base at Pune, a major base for the front-line Sukhoi-30MKI fighters. Meanwhile, another defence public sector undertaking, Bharat Dynamics, will build six more Akash squadrons, most of these for the IAF’s new fighter bases along the Sino-Indian border, including Tezpur, Bagdogra and Hasimara.
“BEL is building two Akash squadrons for Rs 1,221 crore,” says Ashwini Datta, BEL’s chairman and managing director. “The ground infrastructure would cost another Rs 200 crore, so each squadron effectively costs about Rs 700 crore. That is not just significantly cheaper than foreign procurement, but also permits better maintenance and allows for continuous technological improvements.”
DRDO and MoD sources say the Indian Army is close to ordering a high-mobility version of Akash, mounted on T-72 tanks, that can move alongside tank forces. One of the army’s three strike corps, which attack deep into enemy territory, has no anti-aircraft “area defence system”; the other two strike corps are equipped with the vintage Russian SA-6, designed in the early-1960s. This makes them dangerously vulnerable to enemy fighters if they advance deep into enemy territory.
The Akash – developed by the DRDO, in partnership with BEL, under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme – is a sophisticated amalgam of systems working in concert. The heart of the Akash is a mobile Rohini radar, which can detect an aircraft when it is 120 kilometres (km) away; automatically, a coded electronic interrogator ascertains whether this is an IAF aircraft, or a civilian airliner. With the target identified, the Rohini radar alerts the Akash squadron headquarters, which then controls the engagement.
As the enemy fighter races in at about 15 km per minute, the task of shooting it down is allocated through a secure digital link to one of the squadron’s two missile “flights”, which are normally about 25 km away, to cover the maximum area. The designated Flight Control Centre locks its sophisticated 3D phased-array radar onto the enemy fighter and calculates the launch parameters for an Akash missile to shoot down the target at its maximum range of 25 km.
Meanwhile, the flight’s four Akash launchers raise their missiles to the launch positions and swivel automatically towards the incoming aircraft. At the calculated time of launch, the Flight Control Centre electronically passes a launch order to one of its four launchers. An audio signal starts beeping and the missile operator presses the launch button, which is quaintly labelled “MARO”. A “ripple” of two missiles roars off the launcher, seconds apart, to increase the chances of a hit. The 3D radar guides the missiles throughout their flight, homing them onto the enemy aircraft. The DRDO claims that a two-missile “ripple” will destroy an enemy fighter 98 per cent of the time.
The dangerous shortage of India’s air defence resources has been known to Business Standard for some time, but can only now be publicly revealed, with the induction of the Akash remedying the situation. The number of installations that need protection – each is termed a Vulnerable Area (VA) or a Vulnerable Point (VP), depending upon how large it is – has steadily increased. In a letter written on December 4, 2002, to the MoD, the IAF’s Air Marshal Raghu Rajan pointed out that a study by the military’s apex Chiefs of Staff Committee, ordered by the Cabinet Secretariat, had identified 101 Indian VAs/VPs in 1983. That went up to 122 in 1992; to 133 in 1997; and is now understood to be well above 150.
Without the anti-aircraft resources needed to protect these VAs/VPs, the outdated Pechora missiles, which began service in 1974 with a designated life of nine years, have been granted repeated extensions. The Russian manufacturers extended the life to 15 years; when they refused any further extensions, the DRDO extended it unilaterally to 21 years. By 2004, only 30 Pechora units of the 60 originally imported were still in service.
On January 15, 2003, the IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, wrote to the MoD saying that 60 per cent of India’s VAs/VPs could no longer be provided anti-aircraft protection. The IAF’s top officer wrote: “By 2004… terminal defence of VA/VPs would be only notional… We need to import minimal number of systems to meet our national defence needs.”
Seven years later, the roll-out of the Akash from BEL will begin to fill this gap.