January 31, 2011

Air Launched variant of BrahMos soon: Sivathanu Pillai

A. Sivathanu Pillai, CEO and MD, BrahMos Aerospace interact with school children at the Chennai Science Festival on Sunday. Photo : N. Sridharan 

(The Hindu) : An air launched variant of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile would be inducted into the Indian Air Force by 2012, said A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of BrahMos Aerospace and chief controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), here on Sunday.
Addressing media persons at the Chennai Science Festival, he said that BrahMos packs in nine times more destructive capacity than any other cruise missile of its class in the world. Much of the missile's blast impact is due to the high velocity that it achieves, which translates into high kinetic energy. Having the capability to travel at three times the speed of sound (Mach 3), it can cover a kilometre in a second. “Work has already commenced on designing a hypersonic missile in collaboration with Russia. It would be able to achieve speeds of Mach 7,” said Mr. Pillai. Delivering a talk on ‘Science in Indian defence' at the science festival, he took the audience, consisting largely of school students, on a tour of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). He gave a historical account of the reasons behind the development of the ballistic missile programme that consists of a battery of five missiles – Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul and Nag.
Peppered with interesting anecdotes and missile launch footage, Mr.Pillai paused ever so often to ask a question or two – about Newton's third law or about Tipu Sultan's use of rockets in his fight against the British in 1792.
While describing the projectile and re-entry mechanism of a missile, he said that special composite material had to be developed to design the nose cone of a missile as it had to withstand temperatures as high as 3,000 degree Celsius during re-entry into the atmosphere.
“It was a woman scientist called G. Rohini Devi, who developed the carbon-carbon composite which is used in every Indian missile in operation today,” Mr.Pillai said. “Young girls in the audience must become like her,” he said. Designing the carbon-carbon composite material involved massive amounts of mathematical calculation, but India had only one American- built supercomputer in 1986 and it was used for weather prediction. To take forward the nascent missile programme, a supercomputer was indigenously developed within 24 months, said Mr.Pillai.
The parallel processing supercomputer was called Phase+ and was designed by 14 young college graduates.

Pak ahead of India; has 110 N-weapons

( Zeenews)  :  Washington: Pakistan has doubled its nuclear weapons stockpile over the past several years, increasing its arsenal to more than 100 deployed weapons, The Washington Post reported late Sunday.

Citing US non-government analysts, the newspaper said that only four years ago, the Pakistani nuclear arsenal was estimated at 30 to 60 weapons.
 "They have been expanding pretty rapidly," the report quoted David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, as saying.

Based on recently accelerated production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, Islamabad may now have an arsenal of up to 110 weapons, Albright said.

As a result, Pakistan has now edged ahead of India, its nuclear-armed rival, The Post noted. India is estimated to have 60 to 100 weapons.

Bureau Report

Price negotiations for JV for fighter engine in advanced stage

(Livemint) :  India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) expects to close price negotiations in a month for a joint venture (JV) with French engine maker Snecma to develop gas turbine engines that would power the Indian Air Force’s light combat aircraft (LCA).
The move to partner Snecma follows DRDO’s failure to develop sufficiently powerful engines on its own after spending Rs.2,880 crore over two decades on the project.
While Snecma will bring in critical technology for the hot engine core, DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) will work on the cold sections around it.
“GTRE will have 50% technology work-share and Snecma will have the other half. We will be closing price negotiations within a month,” said Prahlada, chief controller, research and development, DRDO, who goes by one name.
GTRE will obtain complete know-how and intellectual property rights for the engine, Prahlada added. After the closure and approval from the cabinet committee on security, work will begin in three months and the engine will be designed and built in four years, another GTRE official said, requesting anonymity.
The Kaveri engine, developed by GTRE, is undergoing trials in Russia and is nowhere near developing the level of thrust needed to power the LCA. The Kaveri has a thrust of around 65 kilo newton (kN), while 90 kN or more is required to power the LCA for optimal performance. The engine is also much heavier than specified. Nonetheless, some of the technologies and components developed for the Kaveri will be used in the JV.
Because of the delay in developing the Kaveri, India opted for American GE-404 engines. The current Mk-I LCAs are flying with the GE-404 IN20, although even these do not meet original requirement specifications for levels of thrust for the LCA. In October, DRDO selected the more powerful GE-414 as the alternative engine for LCA Mk-II.
Prahlada declined to reveal the estimated cost of the Snecma-GTRE project, but said the new engine will be comparable in pricing and performance to the GE-414. DRDO plans to replace the GE engines on the LCA Mk-I with the Snecma-GTRE engine. “We have plans to fit the engine on all platforms, including the proposed advanced medium combat aircraft and unmanned combat air vehicle,” Prahlada said.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will manufacture the engines in India. Prahlada said the agreement is to make 100 engines in the first batch.
Ratan Shrivastava, director for aerospace and defence practice for South and West, Frost and Sullivan, said the project’s value lay in the fact that India will finally have a flying fighter engine of its own, albeit with a foreign partner.

BrahMos Aerospace to Make Cryogenic Rocket Engines for ISRO

Indo-Russian Joint Venture and cruise missile developers BrahMos Aerospace will manufacture the cryogenic engine once the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) perfects the technology, said a senior official Sunday. The company is also hoping to induct its supersonic cruise missile into the Indian Air Force and develop hypersonic missile in six years' time, chief executive and managing director A.Sivathanu Pillai told reporters in Chennai.

"The ISRO is developing the cryogenic engine to power its GSLV (geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle) rockets. Once ISRO perfects the technology, we will make the engine as the space agency has asked us to do it." Pillai said. The company's wholly owned subsidiary BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvanthapuram Ltd (BATL) that already makes the liquid fuel powered engines and fuel tanks for rockets will make the cryogenic engine, he added.

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India's Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) that holds 50.5 percent stake and Military Industrial Consortium/MPO Machinostroyenia of Russia holding the remaining stake. According to Pillai, $300 million has gone into the venture. Speaking about the supersonic cruise missile for the Indian Air Force, he said it will be ready next year.

"Our supersonic missile, traveling at Mach 2.8, hits the target with nine times more kinetic energy than other missiles in the world," he said. About the hypersonic missile that would have a speed of Mach 7 - or seven times the speed of sound - he said: "The basic technology is being developed. It will take around six years to come out with a missile." On the localisation levels achieved by the company in making missiles, Pillai said the Russians provide the engine components while Indian industries provide the guidance systems.

Last month BrahMos Aerospace and NPO Machinostroyenia signed an agreement ruling out any price escalation. The Russian partner also committed full support of its specialists so that some of the components that are now imported could be locally manufactured.

-- IANS  / Aerospace19

BrahMos for IAF to be ready by next year

(Zeenews) : Chennai: BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile for the Indian Air Force, would be ready by next year, a top official said on Sunday.

"BrahMos will be ready for the IAF by next year and the supersonic missile is nine times faster than other missiles in the world", BrahMos Aerospace Chief Executive and Managing Director A Sivathanu Pillai told reporters here.

On the development of the hypersonic missile that would travel seven times more than the sound, he said the basic technology was being developed. "It will take at least six years", he said.
The BrahMos Aerospace would also manufacture cryogenic engine for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). "Once the technology gets ready (by ISRO), we will begin doing the engines for them,", Pillai said.

The ISRO was in the process of developing cryogenic engine to power its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles, he said.

ISRO's Kerala unit was already in the process of making liquid fuels that would power engines, he said.
BrahMos Aerospace is the brain child of former President APJ Abdul Kalam. It is the joint venture company between India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia. The aim of the partnership is to design, develop, manufacture and market supersonic cruise missile system.


January 29, 2011

Industry Looks To New Bomber For Design Work

(Aviationweek ) : Where is the next combat aircraft? Domestic and export orders will keep U.S. and European production lines running through the middle of the decade. But development work is diminishing and design teams dissipating, and the gap between new programs stretches out.
The U.S. Air Force and Navy have begun requirements definition and technology development for “sixth-generation” air dominance aircraft, notionally aimed at service entry in 2025-30. But despite Russia, and now China, unveiling F-22-class stealth fighters, U.S. budget pressures are likely rule out any significant funding before 2015.
Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 entered flight testing in December 2009 and is targeted for entry into service around 2015. The Chengdu J-20 made its first flight on Jan. 11 and China has talked of a fighter becoming operational in 2017-19, so it is clear that U.S. stealth aircraft could face peer threats by 2020.
But even if the U.S. launches a next-generation ­fighter program soon after 2015, the 15-year spans from flying competitive prototypes to initial operational capability for both the F-22 and F-35 make a 2030 in-service date look doubtful.
Meanwhile, F-22 production is wrapping up and while the F-15E and F/A-18E/F (and possibly F-16) lines will continue through 2015 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program still plans production beyond 2030, the growing issue for industry is the lack of design and development work. The only near-term prospect is the family of long-range strike systems the U.S. Air Force is looking at to replace its planned next-generation bomber program, which was suspended in 2009. While the system is likely to include new strike weapons for existing platforms, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates this month said the Air Force will invest in a new long-range, nuclear-capable penetrating bomber.
Funding to begin the program is expected in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2012 budget request, to be unveiled in February. Gates says the aircraft, which will have the option of being remotely piloted, will be designed and developed using proven technologies to ensure it can be delivered on schedule and in the quantity required.
Since the original next-generation bomber plan was shelved, the long-range strike program has been undergoing an intensive cost scrub within the Pentagon. This critical look at the design requirements driving cost is similar to the process that is en route to reducing the price tag on the Navy’s SSBN(X) next-generation ballistic missile by 35% from initial estimates.
The result could be a platform optimized for extremely low observability, potentially with optionally manned capability, but using technology from aircraft like the F-35 where it makes sense and saves money. This could include avionics and engines. For industry, that could mean a scaled-back design and development effort compared to previous bomber programs.
Aside from a new bomber, potential platform design and development opportunities are limited to possible next-generation unmanned aircraft, including the Air Force’s planned MQ-X Predator/Reaper replacement and a carrier-based UAV for the Navy. The scope and timing of these programs is far from clear, but more detail may come with the 2012 budget request.

IAF to purchase amphibious aircraft

(Tehelka.com, IRDW ):
For the first time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to purchase amphibious aircraft which it intends to deploy at the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.A request for information for the aircraft which can take off from both land and sea has been floated by the IAF. Contenders in the fray are Canadian Bombardier 415 and Russian Beriev Be-200 as well as the Dornier Sea Plane.
“It is for the first time the IAF is planning to have an amphibious capability. This is because of the changing dynamics of security demands around the isles,” a senior IAF official said.
Andaman and Nicobar is the only tri-service ccommand of the Indian armed forces. The aircraft will boost the forces’ capability to keep an eye on the maritime boundary around the islands, most of which are uninhabited.
“IAF intends to buy six of these aircraft for maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue ops,” the official added.
As per the IAF’s qualitative requirements, the aircraft should have a short take off capability and a range of 800 nautical miles.
The proposal to acquire the amphibious aircraft for the IAF was mooted in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which brought into focus the non-state actors in the maritime security realm. Since then Indian authorities have embarked on a plan to augment the security of its 7,516 km-long coast. In 2009, the Indian Navy had inked a deal to purchase eight long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I from Boeing for its first ring of maritime security.
For the second tier the navy intends to purchase medium-range reconnaissance aircraft while the first ring would consist of coastal radar stations.

DRDO plans to test 10 missiles this year

( SOURCE :TNN , IDRW ) : The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has planned a series of missile tests in the coming months to prove its might. At least 10 missiles, including the country’s first intercontinental range ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V have been slated for flight tests this year.
Defence sources said while the first missile to be test-fired this month is the most sophisticated K-15, the test of other projectiles that are in the pipeline include advanced air defence (AAD) interceptor, Agni-I, Agni-II, Prithvi air defence (PAD) interceptor, BrahMos, Prithvi, Astra and Agni-V. “The focus this year will be on the maiden test of the 5,000 km-range Agni-V, which has been scheduled to be test-fired in September. This is the first ICBM India has developed and it is considered a China-specific missile. If launched from the line of control, it can hit targets in China’s northernmost city Habin,” said a source .

Besides Agni-V, India has so far developed two long-range missiles the 2,000 km-range Agni-II and 3,500 km-range Agni-III. However, the Agni-V ICBM has been designed by adding a third composite stage to the two-stage Agni-III missile. It is built with high composite content to reduce its weight.
The 17.5-metre-long Agni-V would be a canister launch missile system to ensure it has the requisite operational flexibility to be swiftly transported and fired from anywhere. Though the missile weighs around 49 tonnes, one tonne more than Agni III, its range has gone up to far more.
“But before the test of Agni-V, its shorter-range cousins like the 700 km-range Agni-I and 2,000 km-range Agni-II have been planned to be test-launched in April. While on January 31, the submarine-launched ballistic missile will be tested from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) off the Andhra Pradesh coast, the AAD interceptor test is to be carried out on February 10, which will follow the test of other missiles,” the source informed. Apart from the Agni-V, the DRDO is now focusing on the ballistic missile defence (BMD) system. As part of the project, it has already developed two interceptors exo atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) and endo atmospheric (within the atmosphere). After the endo atmospheric AAD test, in which the interceptor will kill the incoming missile at an altitude of 15 km, the test of the exo atmospheric PAD interceptor will be conducted.
“We are trying to programme such a coordination that the PAD interceptor would destroy the incoming enemy missile at an altitude of nearly 150 km. During earlier PAD tests, the missile successfully intercepted the target missile at an altitude of 45 km and 80 km,” a defence official said.
The scientists also keep a watch on the flight tests of Prithvi, Agni-II and beyond visual range Astra missiles. Last year, while a user trail of Prithvi-II had failed miserably, the first experimental test of the extended version of Agni-II ended with failures.
While the Agni series of missiles and the interceptors would be launched from the Wheeler Islands, BrahMos, Astra and Prithvi will be tested from the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Orissa coast.

Chinese carrier Varyag is powered by Ukrainian engines

(Rusnavy) : Ukraine technically assists China to build the first national aircraft carrier, reports Canadian-published military magazine Kanwa. In addition, Ukrainian experts take part in recovery of aircraft carrier Varyag sold to China in 1999.

"Reconstruction of Varyag has been finished, the ship is equipped with Ukrainian-designed powerplant", writes the magazine. The carrier was sold to China without main propulsion plant, radars, and arms, and towed through the Black Sea to Chinese port of Dalian under the veil of further refitting into an entertainment park. However, many military observers say this ship will soon turn into training range for deck pilots.

Establisher and editor of Kanwa magazine Andri Pinkov said that Ukraine also helped China in construction of boiler-and-turbine factory in Harbin; now China produces defense-oriented boilers, turbine plants, and steam engines there. Such systems are applied in catapults and aircraft arresters similar to those at Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Besides, China has built two land-based training facilities for deck pilots.

January 28, 2011

Eyeing MMRCA deal, US offers 5th gen F-35 stealth fighter to India

(ZeeNews ): Washington: The US is open to Indian participation in its Joint Strike Fighter programme that would finally lead to its purchase of fifth generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, a top Pentagon official said Friday.

"There is nothing on our side, no principle which bars that on our side, Indian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter. Right now, they're focused on these aircraft which are top-of-the-line fourth-gen fighters," Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter said.

Headed to India in the coming weeks, Carter said the decision to pursue the F-35 is to be taken by India only.
Carter was delivering a key-note address on "US-India Defense Relations" at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on the occasion of the release of a report on India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program.

At a cost of about USD 10 billion for 126 aircraft, the MMRCA competition is the largest Indian fighter tender in years.

Eight countries and six companies eagerly await the outcome of the selection process, which has garnered high-profile attention for its sheer size, its international political implications, and its impact on the viability of key aircraft manufacturers.

Carter argued that US-built F-16 and F/A-18 as being the most technologically advanced aircraft in the competition.

"I think that, without saying anything disparaging about the other entrants, both F/A-18 and the F-16 offers include the best technology," he said.

Authored by Ashley Tellis, the report says that in choosing an aircraft, the government of India must employ a speedy decision process that is focused on the right metrics, taking both technical and political considerations into account.

Tellis in his over 140 page report notes that the European aircraft are technically superb, but the US entrants prove to be formidable "best buys".

If Washington wants an American aircraft to win the game, however, it will need to offer generous terms on the transfer of technology, assure India access to fifth-generation US combat aircraft, and provide strong support for India's strategic ambitions to counter the perception that the older US designs in the MMRCA race are less combat effective, the report notes.

"Given the technical and political considerations, New Delhi should conclude the MMRCA competition expeditiously, avoid splitting the purchase between competitors, and buy the best aircraft to help India to effectively prepare for possible conflict in Southern Asia," the report said.

"Because of the dramatic transformations in combat aviation technology currently underway, the Indian government should select the least expensive, mature, combat-proven fourth-generation fighter for the IAF as a bridge toward procuring more advanced stealth aircraft in the future," it said.

"In making its decision, India's government must keep the IAF’s interests consistently front and center to ensure that its ultimate choice of aircraft is the best one for the service. This will not only help India to strengthen its combat capabilities in the coming years but position it as a rising global power worthy of respect far into the future," the report said.


Embraer To Roll Out Indian AEW And C On Feb. 21

(Avaitionweek) : India’s Embraer-built Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&C) is scheduled for rollout Feb. 21 in Brazil.
A senior defense official confirmed to Aviation Week Jan. 27 that the first flight of the modified EMB-145 is expected around May. “The first EMB-145 will land in India in August 2011 for system integration and subsequent induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF),” the official says.
India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the AEW&C program in October 2004. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) gave the task to the Bengaluru-based Center for Airborne Systems (CABS). The initial project was approved at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore ($396 million) to develop two operational systems and one engineering prototype within 78 months. But the IAF could only finalize the operational requirements in 2007. CCS looked into the delay and extended the probable date of completion to March 2014, while approving funds to carry out additional tasks.
“The AEW&C with the systems integrated by CABS will fly in India in early 2012,” the official says. “CABS have already begun the integration on ground-based systems [according to the] exact specifications [of] the EMB-145, including the seating arrangements.”
AEW&C is seen as a force multiplier for IAF’s surveillance activities and is expected to boost India’s network-centric warfare capabilities. “In addition to surveillance and tracking of aircraft and UAVS, the system can also detect emissions and communications from radar,” the official says.
The Indian AEW&C system can operate with a maximum crew of 12. “It can fly non-stop for 10-12 hours with midair-refueling,” the official adds. “The all-up weight is 24 tons. The aircraft is being modified to enable mounting of mission systems and be certified for airworthiness, including . . . icing conditions, by Brazilian authorities as per the FAR 25 standard.”

January 27, 2011

Dogfight! India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Decision

(Ashley J Tellis -Carnegie Report)  : The Indian air force (IAF) is entering the final stages of selecting a new medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA). At a cost of about $10 billion for 126 aircraft, the MMRCA competition is the largest Indian fighter tender in years. Eight countries and six companies eagerly await the outcome of the selection process, which has garnered high-profile attention for its sheer size, its international political implications, and its impact on the viability of key aircraft manufacturers. Furthermore, the winner will obtain a long and lucrative association with a rising power and secure a toehold into other parts of India’s rapidly modernizing strategic industries. Once selected, the aircraft will play an essential role in India’s military modernization as the country transitions from a regional power to a global giant.

The MMRCA competition comes as challenges to India’s national security are increasing in intensity and complexity. Ever since the 1971 war, India’s defense strategy has relied on maintaining superior airpower relative to both China and Pakistan. In the event of a regional conflict, Indian air power would serve as the country’s critical war-fighting instrument of first resort. Due to delays in its defense procurement process as well as accidents and retirements of older fighter aircraft, however, India’s force levels have reached an all-time low of 29 squadrons, and the IAF is not expected to reach the currently authorized force levels of 39.5 squadrons before 2017. This growing and dangerous hole in the IAF’s capabilities comes as India’s neighbors are aggressively modernizing their own air forces, making India’s need to expand its combat aircraft inventories all the more urgent.

In choosing an aircraft, the government of India must employ a speedy decision process that is focused on the right metrics, taking both technical and political considerations into account. The IAF has already evaluated the six MMRCA competitors against 660 technical benchmarks and has provided its recommendations to the Ministry of Defense. While the IAF has paid special attention to the fighters’ sensors and avionics, weapons, aerodynamic effectiveness, and mission performance, India’s civilian security managers are certain to emphasize technology transfer as well as costs when making their decision. In fact, the winning aircraft for the IAF ought to be chosen on the triangular criteria of technical merit, relative cost, and optimal fit within the IAF’s evolving force architecture. 

Political considerations, however, will be key in the selection process. In choosing the winning platform, Indian policy makers will seek to: minimize the country’s vulnerability to supply cutoffs in wartime, improve its larger military capacity through a substantial technology infusion, and forge new transformative geopolitical partnerships that promise to accelerate the growth of Indian power globally. While Indian leaders may be tempted to split the purchase among vendors to please more than one country, doing so would needlessly saddle the IAF with multiple airframes in return for meager political gains.

Given the technical and political considerations, New Delhi should conclude the MMRCA competition expeditiously, avoid splitting the purchase between competitors, and buy the “best” aircraft to help India to effectively prepare for possible conflict in Southern Asia. Because of the dramatic transformations in combat aviation technology currently underway, the Indian government should select the least expensive, mature, combat-proven fourth-generation fighter for the IAF as a bridge toward procuring more advanced stealth aircraft in the future.

Under this criterion, the European aircraft are technically superb, but the U.S. entrants prove to be formidable “best buys.” If Washington wants an American aircraft to win the game, however, it will need to offer generous terms on the transfer of technology, assure India access to fifth-generation U.S. combat aircraft, and provide strong support for India’s strategic ambitions—to counter the perception that the older U.S. designs in the MMRCA race are less combat effective.

In making its decision, India’s government must keep the IAF’s interests consistently front and center to ensure that its ultimate choice of aircraft is the best one for the service. This will not only help India to strengthen its combat capabilities in the coming years but position it as a rising global power worthy of respect far into the future.

KAI rolls out first production T/A-50

( FlightGlobal) : Korea Aerospace Industries has rolled out the first production T/A-50, the light-attack variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer.
The South Korean air force has ordered 22 T/A-50s for lead-in fighter and ground-attack training, says an industry source. These will be delivered by the end of 2012.
Virtually identical to the T-50, the T/A-50 (above) is equipped with a three-barrelled 20mm cannon with 200 rounds. It can also carry air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons and has an ITT EL-2032 mechanically scanned radar.

The T/A-50 has achieved weapons certification for the Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick (above) air-to-ground and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, although it is not certificated to use the latest AIM-9X variant.
In 2013, following the end of T/A-50 production, KAI hopes to transition to building its developmental F/A-50, which could begin testing in 2012. Seoul has committed to buying 60 F/A-50s and could eventually order up to 150 to replace its air force's Northrop F-5Es

DRDO-Snecma Kaveri Engine to Power Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)

(IndiaDefense) :  A DRDO project for over two decades, the fighter jet engine Kaveri will be used for powering the home-grown fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). Being developed by DRDO's Gas Turbine research Establishment (GTRE), the Kaveri was initially being developed for the LCA Tejas programme but now it will be used on the AMCA.

The AMCA is expected to be ready by 2016-17, senior officials told Press Trust if India. The AMCA is a twin-engine indigenous fighter aircraft programme for which initial sanctions have already been accorded by the Defence Ministry, they added.

The indigenous fighter aircraft engine programme was first started in 1986 and has suffered delays and cost over-runs. It was also marred by the technology denial regimes in the 90s. After not being able to get the desired thrust for powering fighter aircraft, the DRDO entered into a Joint Venture with the French engine manufacturers Snecma to further enhance its capabilities.

"In recent times, the engine has been able to produce thrust of 70-75 Kilo Newton but what the IAF and other stake-holders desire is power between 90—95 KN. I think with the JV with Snecma in place now, we would be able to achieve these parameters in near future," they said.

On using the Kaveri for the LCA, they said the engine would be fitted on the first 40 LCAs to be supplied to the IAF when they come for upgrades to the DRDO in the latter half of the decade. Due to the lack of readiness of the Kaveri engine, GE engines from the United States were procured to power the LCAs and recently, another tender was awarded to the American company for supplying 99 engines for the advanced version of the Tejas.

On the present status of the programme, officials said the maiden flight test of the Kaveri was completed successfully during the Flying Test Bed (FTB) trials at the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Moscow November last year. During the coming months, 50-60 test flights will be carried out to mature the engine in terms of reliability, safety and airworthiness.

These trials would pave the way for further flight trials of Kaveri engine with a fighter aircraft, they added.

Russia's secret torpedoes sold to Iran from Kirghizia?

(Rusnavy) : Editorial staff of Russian news agency REGNUM obtained unverified information that components of secret torpedoes Shkval which are currently in service at Russian Navy were sold to Iran last year.

According to the source, the deliveries were carried out in 2010. Components of the Russian naval weapon were illegally sold from Dastan plant located in Bishkek, Kirghizia. Aside from commercial goods, this instrument engineering plant has been producing torpedo elements since Soviet times.

In recent years 53% shares of Dastan were held by the circle of ex-president Bakiev. In accordance with intergovernmental agreements of 2009, Russia planned to acquire shares of Dastan in exchange for a $180-mln debt relief and a $2-bln investment credit.

Despite the fact that Russia transfered the first tranche on time and in full ($300 mln arrived in Kirghizian budget in mid-2009), shares were not transferred then. After change of power in Apr 2010, new leaders of the country confirmed intentions to transfer the shares to Russia. However, the situation has not been changed so far – the plant's shares have not been transferred to Russia.

Note that numerous scandals have recently blazed up around leadership of the plant. At first, Kirghizian media reported about an incident in Manas International Airport when the plant's chief engineer allegedly was almost got off the plane by security authorities. Simultaneously, it was reported that the national procuracy launched an inquiry into "the instances of fraud and illegally held tender". Later on, it was reported of wage arrears in the plant. Here is how it was described by the local news agencies: "According to the Ministry of State Property, there was $2.66 mln on account of JSC Dastan prior to appointment of new directors. As for employees, by Aug 2010 these funds had been completely spent, although it is uncertain for what exactly".

On Dec 28, 2010 the president of Dastan Corporation Sergei Danilenko was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention center. A bit earlier, Kirghizian law-enforcement agencies arrested chief engineer of JSC TNK Dastan Boris Udot (court changed the measure of restraint with house arrest). According to unverified information, apart from financial violations, the company directors were charged of "illegal deliveries of special-purpose devices".

For over a year Kirghizian side has been explaining time delay in share transfer as "confusions and irregularities while the plant's privatization".

Dastan plant produces warhead elements for Shkval-type torpedoes which can be made both in nuclear (up to 150 kiloton yield) and conventional (210 kg of chemical explosives) variants. According to sources of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, "it is hard to overestimate significance of this kind of weapon for Russia, especially after ratification of new Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction Treaty... Shkval torpedoes are in service on surface ships and submarines of Russian Navy. Experts say the world had not seen a torpedo comparable to Shkval in speed for a long time. Only in 2005 Germany managed to create a Shkval-like torpedo..."

January 26, 2011

LCA - The pride of Indian Baby

                                                     ( Youtube : Kashsoldier )

January 25, 2011

Russia, France sign warship agreement .

(RIA Novosti) Moscow and Paris on Tuesday signed an agreement to jointly build Mistral-class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy.
The agreement was signed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and French Defense Minister Allain Juppe in the presence of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
In all, four warships are to be built, Sechin said.
Russia's input to the construction of the first Mistral-class warship will be 20% and 40% in the second, he said.
The third and fourth ships are to be built in Russia, whose share of labor input will subsequently rise to 80%, he added.
Anatoly Saikin, head of Russia's arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, said the agreement is only a framework and stipulates neither deadlines, nor the cost of the future contract.
"A contract is still a long way off. Only an intergovernmental general agreement has been signed," he said.
Russia and France in December announced they would jointly build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Another two are planned to be constructed later at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg.
A Russian Defense Ministry source said in December the first Mistral-class ship, with a price tag of 720 million euros, is expected to be built in late 2013-early 2014 and the second in late 2014-early 2015.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.
A number of Russia's neighbors have expressed concern over the upcoming deal, in particular Georgia and Lithuania.

F-15E flies with new radar system

by Samuel King Jr.
Eglin Air Force Base Public Affairs
 (AFNS) -- Officials took a step forward in the F-15E Strike Eagle's continuous technological evolution as the Air Force's most versatile combat aircraft here Jan. 18.
Officials from the 46th Test Wing launched the fourth generation fighter for the first time with a new and improved radar system the APG-82(V)1.
The APG-82 uses active electronically scanned array radar technology composed of numerous small solid-state transmit and receive modules. The standard radar, APG-70, is a mechanically scanned array housed in the nose of the aircraft. Although the current F-15E radar has undergone numerous updates and upgrades, it is still the same system the aircraft had on its maiden flight more than 24 years ago.
"We've been able to get more out of it, but at this point it's pretty much maxed out," said 1st Lt. Nathaniel Meier, a radar modernization project manager with the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force.
The new radar lacks the motors and hydraulics of the old system and includes a new avionics and cooling system.
Aircraft radar continuously sends out and receives energy to identify objects or targets around it.
Due to its unique capabilities, the F-15E radar operates as air-to-air and air-to-ground radar, officials said.
"One AESA-equipped F-15E can detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and gain the same battle picture and prosecute the same number of attacks that currently require several mechanically scanned radar assets," said Brad Jones, the Boeing director for U.S. Air Force development programs. "Adding AESA multiplies the effectiveness of the F-15E."
The advantage AESA radar has over an MSA is its near-instantaneous ability to redirect its focus from air-to-air to air-to-ground mode, officials said.
By no longer having to wait for the array to physically move to a new area of interest, the aircrew receives better situational awareness in less time, Lieutenant Meier said.
The four-year-old project borrowed from existing technology to create the new system. The array system was taken from F-15C Eagle models and the avionics were borrowed from F-18 Hornets.
The reason for the change was to improve the entire aircraft's reliability, availability and maintainability, Lieutenant Meier said.
The new radar works as a plug-in-play system with newer, easily replaceable parts, the lieutenant said.
It's expected to have approximately a 20-fold improvement in aircraft reliability, he said.
The aircraft also stays mission-ready.
An average failure for the radar component was previously measured in tens of hours and can now be measured in hundreds of hours, Lieutenant Meier said.
The APG-82 has fewer moving parts and the new equipment lasts longer, which cuts down on the time needed for repairs, he said.
The modification of the aircraft, which began in June 2010, was a concerted effort by members of Boeing, the 46th Maintenance Group, Raytheon, the 46th Technical Support Squadron and the OFP CTF.
"Without their determination, (F-15E) RMP would not have been anywhere close to making its first flight," Lieutenant Meier said.
The developmental test flight was considered successful, and the aircrew members said they liked what they saw during the flight.
"There are huge performance increases," said Maj. Raja Chari, a 40th Flight Test Squadron member and the pilot for the first flight. "We're getting the benefit of two decades worth of technology. From what we saw in this flight, we're heading in the right direction."
The developmental test process is about building incrementally into testing more complicated functions of the equipment and finding any flaws and problems based on usage in specific test profiles.
"Really, the engineers put in the time and hard work," Major Chari said. "We have the easy part of seeing if it will do what they thought it would. It was interesting to see the engineers reacting and diagnosing the issues right away, based on our feedback."
Capt. Chris Dupin, a 40th FTS member and the weapons system officer for the first flight, said he noticed improved capabilities during the initial flight.
He said the radar was able to detect F-16s much farther away than ever before.
"The kill chain for anything is the ability to detect, identify, target and engage a threat," Captain Dupin said. "If we can detect an air target earlier or farther away, that leaves more time and space to complete the rest of the kill chain. Completing the kill chain faster and earlier means we're better able to gain or maintain airspace superiority."
The biggest "test" facing the project involves combining avionics and array systems from other aircraft and incorporating them into a totally different one.
"By using (government and commercial) off-the-shelf equipment, the Air Force is able to save a large amount of the development costs, but the challenge is integrating these new systems and making them work as one," Lieutenant Meier said.
Developmental testing is scheduled to continue through 2012, but the OFP CTF, being a shared unit of the 46th Test Wing and 53rd Wing, is unique in that its members can perform developmental tests while incorporating early operational testing.
Officials have begun modifying a 53rd Wing F-15E with the new radar and they plan to begin some of the operational type of testing as early as March.
The next stage of testing for the radar will be conducted by Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center officials before being incorporated in all F-15Es beginning in approximately 2014.

PICTURE: UK's first Project 'Julius' Chinook returns to the sky

(Flightglobal) : The Project "Julius" upgrade to the UK Royal Airforce's Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter fleet has advanced to the flight-test phase, with the first modified example to be ready for operational use late this year.
Equipped with a modified cockpit and other enhancements, 30-year-old Chinook HC2 ZA677 was returned to the air at Vector Aerospace's Fleetlands site in Hampshire on 9 December as a re-designated HC4 transport. It is the first of 46 in-service aircraft due to receive the modifications at the UK's depth maintenance site for the type.

"The first of the modified helicopters is expected to be available to commanders before the end of 2011," says David Pitchforth, managing director, Boeing UK Rotorcraft Support.
Work to prepare 38 Chinook HC4/4As will conclude in 2015, while an effort to adapt eight longer-range HC3-model aircraft as HC5s will wrap up the following year, the company says.
"Julius delivers important new capabilities which will be quickly used on operations in Afghanistan and beyond," says Chris White-Horne, future heavylift project leader for the UK Ministry of Defence.
Key elements of the upgrade programme include the introduction of an adapted Thales TopDeck cockpit with four new multifunction displays and a digital moving map, plus a tablet-based electronic flight bag. Worth more than £400 million ($638 million), the project will also lead to the fleet-wide use of Honeywell T55-714 engines.
Boeing says the enhancements "will provide improved situational awareness, increased safety and options for capability enhancement".
The RAF's Chinook fleet should eventually grow to 60 aircraft, with 14 new-build examples currently under contract.

India To Review Revamped Refueler Bids

(Aviationweek) : The Indian air force soon will begin technical evaluations of resubmitted bids for six midair refueling transport aircraft from contenders Airbus Military and Ilyushin.
The revised bids were submitted Jan. 12. After the original request for proposals (RFP), released toward the end of 2007, Airbus Military’s A330-based Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) was disqualified as being too expensive. Ilyushin’s bid also was disqualified when it did not deliver clarifications on its IL-78 proposal to the ministry of defense on time.
Since the price of both vendors’ offerings is already known, the new RFP asks for lifecycle costs, which were not covered in the earlier RFP. While the initial costs of the Russian aircraft are lower, their operating costs are much higher than for the Western tankers due to their age, a defense official says.
The A330 MRTT is in the process of being delivered to Australia. “This time, we have an even better case as the aircraft is certified flown and proven,” says Airbus Military spokeswoman Barbara Kracht. “An added advantage of the A330 is it is a proven platform with over 80 operators.”
Airbus says the MRTT can be equipped with a combination of an aerial refueling boom system for receptacle-equipped receiver aircraft, Cobham 905E/805E under-wing refueling pods for probe-equipped receiver aircraft, and a universal aerial refueling receptacle system for self-refueling.
The new RFP falls under India’s Defense Procurement Procedures 2010 regime.

F-22 Raptor might be in Aero-India claims Indian express

SOURCE : Indianexpress/Idrw : The world’s most advanced combat aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, is likely to make a rare appearance outside the US during the upcoming Aero india show in Bangalore next month. This will be the first appearance of the stealth fighter, which is also the only operational fifth generation fighter aircraft in the world, in India and its third participation at an international air show.
Final details are being worked out by the US, but sources said that two of the fighters are set to be flown in for the air show that begins on February 9 and will be showcased as a static display. Defence Ministry officials confirmed that the fighter is likely to make its Indian debut at the air show, making the latest edition of the Aero India the grandest ever.
While it was inducted into the US military in 2005, the stealth aircraft has rarely been seen outside its country and has made appearances only at limited air shows, the first being at Farnborough in 2008. According to a release by the US State department, the only other participation has been at an air show in Chile last year. However, the fighter has also carried out flying demonstrations at the Dubai air show. Its participation at the Aero India would take it up by several notches in the international order of air shows.
While the F-22 Raptor’s appearance will be a last minute surprise, it has been speculated that the recent Indian contract to purchase fifth generation fighters from Russia and the first flight of the Chinese fifth generation fighter, J 20, could have had some influence on the decision. As of now, US legislation prevents the sale of the F-22 to any foreign nation, including close allies such as Japan.
The F-22 would be the most anticipated participant at the Aero India, but this year’s air show will see close to 100 aircraft participating, a number that has never been achieved before. In comparison, during the last show in 2009, less than 50 aircraft took part. Other notable participants will be the Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, F/A 18, F 16 and the Saab Gripen.
The biggest participant will be the US that is bringing in several aircraft, including 10 fighters, the C 17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and the WC 130 J Weatherbird. A notable absentee in this year’s show will be the Russian MiG 35 that is unlikely to come even though it is one of the six contenders for the IAF’s MMRCA programme.

US removes ISRO, DRDO from export control list

SOURCE:TNN , IDRW : The  United States on Monday removed several Indian government  defense-related companies, including subsidiaries of DRDO (Defense Research and Development ORganisation) and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), from the so-called Entity List, in an effort to drive hi-tech trade and forge closer strategic ties with india.
The move, which was described as the “first steps” to implement the export control policy initiatives announced by President Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8, 2010, precedes a visit to New Delhi on February 6 of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who is leading 24 U.S. businesses on a high-tech trade mission to India.
But the relaxation of export controls is aimed at more than just ginning up hi-tech trade and U.S exports, U.S officials said. An administration official who briefed correspondents on background left little doubt that the relaxation had larger strategic implications, pointing out that the re-ordering of rules to exempt India spanned three U.S administrations and Presidents and two Indian government and Prime Ministers, and was result of greater engagement and growing trust between the two countries.
Locke himself said in a statement that “Today’s action marks a significant milestone in reinforcing the U.S.-India strategic partnership and moving forward with export control reforms that will facilitate high technology trade and cooperation.”
Following up on exemptions long sought by India, in a process that involved tortured negotiations, the U.S Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Monday published a Federal Register Notice which updates the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) relating to India in several ways.
Among them
• Removing several Indian space- and defense-related companies, including four subsidiaries each of DRDO and ISRO, and Bharat Dynamics, from the Entity List. Removal from the Entity List eliminates a license requirement specific to the companies, and results in the removed companies being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes.
• Removing India from several country groups in the EAR resulting in the removal of export license requirements that were tied to India’s placement in those country groups. Countries that figure in EAR include China,Pakistan,Russia, and in some instances, even Israel.
• Adding India to a country group in the EAR that consists of members of the Missile Technology Control Regime, to recognize and communicate India ‘s adherence to the regime, the U.S.-India strategic partnership, and India ‘s global non-proliferation standing.
While the changes move India into different league altogether, Washington also has several requirements from New Delhi to ensure it stays in line with its non-proliferation goals. “These changes reaffirm the U.S commitment to work with India on our mutual goal of strengthening the global nonproliferation framework,” Under Secretary of Commerce Eric Hirschhorn, said in a statement on the occasion of the changes.

January 24, 2011

Pakistan orders DB-110 pods for F-16 fleet

(Flightglobal) : Goodrich has won a $72 million contract to provide Pakistan with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance pods and related items for its Locheed martin F-16 fighters.
The main component of the deal comprises five dual-band DB-110 pods, says the US Department of Defense.
According to Goodrich, the DB-110 reconnaissance sensor provides three independent optical fields of view, allowing it to perform the following ISR missions: long-range stand-off, medium-range oblique and overflight, and low-altitude direct overflight.
The deal also includes two datalink upgrades to existing pods, plus ground stations, spares, manuals, in-country installation and engineering support.
"This supports a Foreign Military Sale programme and Pakistani F-16 aircraft," says the DoD. At this time, $17.3 million of the total value has been obligated, it adds.
Pakistan is fighting Islamic insurgents in its western provinces on its border with Afghanistan, placing a premium on reconnaissance assets. The nation's air force operates F-16A/B and C/D-model aircraft.
Goodrich has previously sold the DB-110 to other F-16 operators, including Poland.

B-2 Engineer Convicted of Selling Military Secrets To China

(Asiantechnews) : A former B-2 stealth bomber engineer convicted of selling military secrets to China is due to be sentenced in federal court on Monday.

Noshir Gowadia, 66, faces up to life in prison for his conviction on 14 counts, including conspiracy, communicating national defence information to aid a foreign nation, and violating the arms export control act.

Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway is due to issue her sentence after listening to arguments from the prosecution and defence. Gowadia, who has been in custody without bail since his 2005 arrest, is also expected to have an opportunity to make a statement.

A federal jury in August found Gowadia guilty after deliberating for six days. They had heard 39 days of evidence over nearly four months. The jury acquitted him on three counts.

Prosecutors said Gowadia helped China design a stealth cruise missile to get money to pay the $15,000-a-month mortgage on his multimillion dollar home overlooking the ocean in Haiku on Maui. They said he pocketed at least $110,000 from the sale of military secrets.

They said Gowadia showed his Chinese contacts how his stealth cruise missile design would be effective against U.S. air-to-air missiles.

Gowadia's defence attorneys said it's true the engineer gave China the design for a stealth cruise missile exhaust nozzle but he based his work on unclassified, publicly available information. Gowadia's son has said his father plans to appeal.

The sentencing comes just weeks after China conducted a flight test of its new J-20 stealth fighter during a visit to Beijing by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

The Jan. 11 flight was held at an airfield in Chengdu, where prosecutors say Gowadia delivered an oral presentation on classified stealth technology in 2003.

The city is home to the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute and is a centre for Chinese fighter aircraft and cruise missile reseach and development.

Gowadia helped design the propulsion system for the B-2 bomber when he worked at Northrop Corp., now known as Northrop Grumman Corp., between 1968 and 1986.

Born in India, he moved to the U.S. for postgraduate work in the 1960s and became a U.S. citizen about a decade later. He retired from Northrop for health reasons in 1986, two years before the B-2 made its public debut.

Gowadia moved to Maui in 1999 from the U.S. mainland where he had been doing consulting work after retiring from Northrop.

Second Round in Future US Anti-Ship Missile Programme

  , Lockheed Martin Receives Contracts Worth $218 Million for Demonstration Phase
(defpro ):Despite the currently improving ties between the US and China, it can be expected that China will be the determining factor in US military development during the foreseeable future. As those military operations, which urged western Armed Forces to refocus on so-called asymmetric warfare, are being considered more or less under control and probably achievable in a rather predictable time frame, other potential conflict areas that had been neglected during the past decade begin to slide back to the centre of attention. As if awakening from a nightmare of dirty wars in dusty countries, recently increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula and China’s military build-up have urged the US military leadership and defence analysts to rediscover the necessities of conventional warfare in order to sustain the United States’ superpower status in the future.*

China is very much helping to cement this reasoning: The J-20 fifth-generation fighter aircraft made its maiden flight while US Defense Secretary Gates was in the country, and reports of China’s tangible efforts to build an aircraft carrier emerged just as Chinese President Hu Jintao prepared to meet Barack Obama in Washington ... coincidences? Further, reports of an ominous Chinese anti-ship missile, capable of sinking US aircraft carriers, spooked through the media during the past months.

In this context, the US Navy in 2009 asked the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to support its effort to speedily develop a next-generation stand-off anti-ship weapons system. As current systems, such as the Harpoon RGM-84, are ageing and may not meet future requirements in terms of range, lethality and resistance against defensive measures, the US Navy and DARPA established the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) programme. Within the framework of this programme, two different missile solutions will be developed and have to demonstrate their worth to be quickly introduced into service with the US Navy’s vessels.


Having successfully completed Phase 1, which resulted in two preliminary system designs that will be further explored, DARPA has recently awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin for the programme’s next phase. As Lockheed Martin announced yesterday, it received two contracts worth $218 million for the demonstration of the LRASM-A and LRASM-B concepts. The second phase of the programme aims at achieving successful flight demonstrations of tactically relevant prototypes of both missiles.

Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control Strike Weapons division received a $60.3 million contract for two air-launched demonstrations of the LRASM-A, which is largely based on the company’s experience with the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) airframe. Further, under a $157.7 million contract, the Missile and Fire Control Tactical Missiles division will demonstrate the LRASM-B prototype, comprising four Vertical Launch System (VLS) launches. According to DARPA, the LRASM-B leverages Lockheed Martin’s prior ramjet development activities and a suite of supporting sensors and avionics. It is expected to provide a “supersonic cruise missile with balanced speed and stealth for robust performance.”

Despite being matched with the VLS, used on the US Navy’s destroyers and cruisers to launch state-of-the-art surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles (SAM/SSM), both missile solutions are also designed to be launched by aircraft. Thus, it will replace the air-launched Harpoon variant (AGM-84), which is deployed by various fixed-wing aircraft in the US inventory.

BAE Systems will provide a common sensor system for all missile variants. In addition to multiple sensors, allowing the missile to autonomously select targets even in a cluttered sea lane and in a GPS-denied environment, AviationWeek predicts that the core of the sensor suite will be based on passive radio-frequency technology.

Rick Edwards, vice president of Tactical Missiles and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, explained: “Both of our LRASM solutions will deliver extraordinary range, willful penetration of ship self-defense systems and precise lethality in denied combat environments.”

“The maturity of these weapons and technologies allows near-term transition to Navy magazines at an affordable price. These are low risk, practical options with the Navy initiating studies of anti-surface warfare capability,” Edwards continued.


As its current anti-ship capabilities are limited in the face of today’s potential conventional threats, the Navy is anxious to introduce its next-generation anti-ship missile system as soon as possible. As yet, this is expected to be achieved as early as 2013. However, many challenges remain before a truly operational system will be available.

The Navy made high demands with regard to the systems’ capabilities. Currently deployed systems require a considerable amount of planning, as well as reliable data and precision guidance, to successfully strike their targets. Thus, the Navy needs a solution that allows its vessels to engage targets well outside their striking range while also providing a significantly increased flexibility and independence.

When the programme was initiated in 2009, Rob McHenry, programme manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, summarised the requirements as follows: “Once the missile flies that far, it has a requirement to be able to independently detect and validate the target that it was shot at. Once it finds that target, then it has to be able to penetrate the air defenses. The standard of maritime integrated air defenses has risen dramatically over the past few years.”
(By Nicolas von Kospoth)

China's new stealth fighter may use US technology

BRUSSELS (AP), brahmand : Chinese officials recently unveiled a new, high-tech stealth fighter that could pose a significant threat to American air superiority and some of its technology, it turns out, may well have come from the US itself.

Balkan military officials and other experts have told The Associated Press that in all probability the Chinese gleaned some of their technological know-how from an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.

Nighthawks were the world's first stealth fighters, planes that were very hard for radar to detect. But on March 27, 1999, during NATO's aerial bombing of Serbia in the Kosovo war, a Serbian anti-aircraft missile shot one of the Nighthawks down. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

It was the first time one of the much-touted "invisible" fighters had ever been hit. The Pentagon believed a combination of clever tactics and sheer luck had allowed a Soviet-built SA-3 missile to bring down the jet.

The wreckage was strewn over a wide area of flat farmlands, and civilians collected the parts some the size of small cars as souvenirs.

"At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers," says Adm. Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war.

"We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies ... and to reverse-engineer them," Domazet-Loso said in a telephone interview.

Indian Army issues global tender to procure howitzers

NEWDELHI (PTI), brahmand : After four failed attempts in the last 25 years,Indian Army has issued a fresh global tender for 400 towed artillery howitzers, the first to be acquired after the controversial Bofors deal.

The ghost of Bofors controversy had been haunting the artillery modernisation process with all previous efforts to procure the guns being cancelled and the Army has not been able to induct even a single new piece of howitzer since the mid 1980s.

The latest request for proposal (RFP) was issued in the third week of January, army sources said, adding the deal would include procurement of over 400 guns from foreign vendors and production of over 1,000 guns indigenously in partnership with the chosen manufacturer.

The tender has been re-issued as the last one was cancelled after one of the two contenders, Singapore Technologies, was blacklisted by the Defence Ministry after it was named in a CBI charge sheet in the Ordnance Factory scam.

After the blacklisting, BAE Systems was the only company left in the fray and the tender was scrapped as the Indian defence procurement rules don't allow acquisition in single vendor cases.

However, it is not yet clear as which firms other than BAE Systems have received the RFP this time.

To augment its artillery prowess, the Army is likely to procure the ultra-light howitzers this year from the United States through the foreign military sales route.

India is already in an advanced stage of negotiations with the US for procuring over 145 ultra-light howitzers for their deployment in mountainous regions.

As part of its over Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation plan, the Army is looking at inducting several types of howitzers through inter-governmental pacts and global tenders.

The Army Chief had also recently said that the trials for different types of guns were expected to begin this year in summer so that their induction could take place by the end of next year.

The Army presently uses a mix of 105 mm field guns and 130 mm and 155 mm howitzers.

Capability Enhancement for Indian Air Force Jaguar Fleet with MBDA ASRAAMs

(IndiaDefense) : MBDA's ASRAAM would provide a significant operational capability enhancement for the Indian Air Force Jaguar fleet in both short and within visual range protection. The weapon system's acquisition ranges are phenomenal and would typically enable a Jaguar pilot to "see", engage and kill the target before it even had the chance to respond. With ASRAAM, the lottery of a close-range dogfight is safely avoided.

Given that the Jaguar will probably be operating at a lower altitude than an in-coming threat, ASRAAM's unmatched speed and 'snap up' capability (the ability of the missile to fire upwards to a very high altitude) is ideally suited to the aircraft’s mission. When combined with a Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS), the aircraft/weapon combination can be used to its full ability.

Because of its sleek, low drag wingless design, proven body lifting techniques and the high speed provided by its 166mm diameter motor, ASRAAM has minimum impact on the desired release envelope. ASRAAM’s high speed also enables rapid and thereby safe separation from the aircraft's 'near field', a major issue when considering risk reduction during the missile integration programme.

Alternative missiles that have fins and wings forward of their center of gravity suffer from a number of disadvantages, one of these is known as 'weather cocking'. This effect occurs when the aircraft is pulling high g manoeuvres during a missile release (typically during an over the shoulder shot with HMS whilst evading a threat). As such a missile travels along the launch rail, its fins etc. have the aerodynamic effect of pulling it away before its last "shoe" has actually cleared the mechanism. You can imagine the damage that this will cause, not only to the launcher and perhaps even to the aircraft, but also to the mission.

With such a missile, the only way to mitigate this danger is to accept a limited launch profile and accept all the subsequent limitations this poses on the operational and self-defence capabilities of the aircraft. With over 50 years of experience in missile design, MBDA was fully aware of the dangers of 'weather cocking' so ASRAAM was developed from day one to permit the widest carriage and release envelope for the aircraft.

ASRAAM has flown on Jaguar with an HMS in the UK at the world renowned test facility at Boscombe Down, in addition MBDA has worked exclusively with the aircraft design authority BAES. The missile is fully operational on both under wing and tip stations on the UK RAF's Eurofighter Typhoon and the Australian Air Force's F/A 18.

MBDA together with its partners ELBIT (Targo Dash V HMS) and Cobham (JOWL -- Jaguar Overwing Missile Launcher) provide a world beating capability for the IAF Jaguar fleet with proven reliable subsystems. With ASRAAM, MBDA will be able to provide the Indian Air Force with a missile that has the unique ability to cover close combat while offering near BVR performance as well as an integration solution featuring the lowest of potential risks.