June 29, 2011

China’s Aircraft Carrier is a Highly Vulnerable Extravagance

China’s worst-kept defence project will be a “big fat target” for the U.S. Navy
It has been more than twenty years since the U.S. Navy had a major naval vessel as a target in the event of war. In the 1970s and 1980s the Soviet Navy produced a series of major surface combatants to tempt the U.S. Navy. There were large destroyers, a number of cruiser classes and even the Kirov class of nuclear-powered battlecruisers. Then there were several helicopter and aircraft carriers of the Moskva, Kiev and Tbilisi/Admiral Kuznetsov classes. At its peak, the Soviet Navy deployed more than sixty large surface combatants. Today that number has been reduced to around 28 large surface combatants with no aircraft carriers.

Now China is kindly offering the U.S. Navy the opportunity to practice at least some elements of a fleet-on-fleet engagement. According to reports from WestPAC, China will send its first aircraft carrier out for sea trials next week. It is also an old ship, the Soviet-era Varyag which was under construction when the “Evil Empire” collapsed twenty years ago. It sat partly completed at dockside for years before the PLA Navy made a bid for it. There it sat for additional years as the original construction yard hunted high and low for the construction plans and Beijing and Moscow dickered over price and who would do the remaining work to finish out the vessel. Finally, in 2000 it was towed to the Chinese port of Dalian where it has been undergoing reconstruction and outfitting ever since.

Apparently, the ex-Varyag, now reportedly named the Shi Lang, is ready for its coming out party. The Chinese carrier is a big ship, over 900 feet. It will deploy with conventional take-off and landing aircraft. The main candidate for this role is the J-15, modeled on the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based fighter. The J-15 may also include avionics and equipment from the J-11B multi¬role fighter program, which is based on Russia’s Su-27 fighter. In addition there are reports that China is developing the J-18 Red Eagle vertical/short-takeoff-and-landing (VSTOL) fighter. Less clear is what the PLA is doing to develop the kind of support aircraft that are required in order to conduct competent air operations.

It appears that the PLA did not just buy an ex-Soviet era aircraft carrier but, more significantly, it has bought into a Soviet era vision of a rising world power requiring a blue water Navy. In the process, the Soviet Union wasted enormous resources creating naval forces that were virtually irrelevant both politically and militarily. China, like the Soviet Union/Russia is a continental power. Even with a growing economy Beijing will not have the resources to build both effective land and air force and a blue water navy.

Moreover, deploying an aircraft carrier even with a complement of strike aircraft is not the same thing as having an operationally effective carrier strike group. The PLA Navy will have to develop the capability to provide 360 degree air and missile defense, fleet ASW, underway replenishment and air/sea coordination. Where is the Chinese navy’s equivalent of the Aegis air/missile defense system, E-2D airborne surveillance and C2 or the Los Angeles class SSN?

The reality is that the U.S. Navy should welcome the Chinese effort to create its own blue water navy. The U.S. Navy has a seventy year history of being able to engage and destroy hostile surface fleets. The name Shi Lang could also be translated as “big fat target.”
DEFPRO  , Daniel Goure, Ph.D.

Indian Light Combat Helicopter TD-2 successfully tested by HAL

Another major milestone was by achieved by India’s state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to our sources the HAL’s flagship helicopter development program Light Combat Helicopter’s (LCH) second prototype TD-2 (Technology Demonstrator) achieved its first flight at 1500hrs IST. This a major boost for the program as this prototype is expected to be a weaponized version. The nature of this test flight is not yet clear but it is believed that the helicopter made low level hover similar to first test flight of LCH TD-1. The TD-2 also has lots of Indian Army specific inputs like the revolutionary digital camouflage. Also the TD-2 is 100kgs lighter than the TD-1. TD-2 is also equipped with a fully functional target acquisition and pilots vision pod a feature which was not seen in TD-1.
Plan to develop an attack helicopter was finalized in October 2006 after the design concept developed by HAL was approved by the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. Need for a modern attack helicopter platform was felt by the Indian military during late 90s when its attack helicopter fleet comprising of some 30 Russian Mi-24s and Mi-35s proved to be useless at high altitude and lacked sophistication needed by complex modern wars. It was decided to develop an attack helicopter which could fulfill the unique and different needs of the Army and the Air force.
LCH was designed out of HAL’s highly successful multi-role utility helicopter “Dhruv”. Dhruv first entered service in 2002 and since have carried out its duties in a very successful manner. Dhruv is also being exported to many countries. Developing LCH from Dhruv saved HAL preciously needed time. So far the IAF has placed an order of 65 LCH’s and the Army has placed an order of 114. According to estimates the LCH should receive its Final operational clearance by 2013/2014 after which it will enter service.
The LCH incorporates stealth features, ability to perform night operations and crash landing gear for high survivability. The LCH will have a narrow fuselage, with two crew stations. The LCH is being designed to fit into an anti-infantry and anti-armour role and will be able to operate at high altitudes (16,300 feet). HAL will supply the Indian Air Force with 65 and Indian army with 114 gunships. The helicopter is powered by the HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engine. The helicopter will be equipped with helmet-mounted targeting systems, electronic warfare systems and advanced weapons systems.
The LCH is to have a glass cockpit with multifunction displays, a target acquisition and designation system with FLIR, Laser rangefinder and laser designator. Weapons will be aimed with a helmet mounted sight and there will be an electronic warfare suite with radar warning receiver, laser warning receiver and a missile approach warning system.
Complete details are still sketchy but we working on getting them. The news of first test flight of TD-1 was made public first on 2nd April 2010

- Defense Aviation  by Pratik Sawerdekar

Russia to showcase new stealth corvette at IMDS-2011

(RIA Novosti) : Russia will exhibit for the first time its newest Steregushchy class (Project 20380) corvette, the Soobrazitelny, at a biennial naval show on June 29-July 3 in St. Petersburg.
More than 300 companies, including 30 foreign firms from 25 countries will take part in the 5th International Maritime Defense Show, IMDS-2011.
The demonstration part of the show will involve 15 combat ships of the Russian Navy and three foreign warships: German frigate FGS Hamburg, Dutch frigate HMS Van Amstel and U.S. Navy frigate USS Carr.
The Project 20380 corvette can be deployed to destroy enemy surface ships, submarines and aircraft, and to provide artillery support for beach landings. It uses stealth technology to reduce the ship's secondary radar field, as well as its acoustic, infrared, magnetic and visual signatures.
Russia plans to have up to 30 vessels of this class to ensure the protection of its coastal waters, as well as its oil and gas transportation routes, especially in the Black and the Baltic seas.
The first Project 20380 corvette, the Steregushchy, was put into service with Russia's Baltic Fleet in October 2008.
The program of the show includes exhibition firing from 10 ship artillery mounts and demonstration flights of aerobatic teams, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Russia test fires troubled Bulava missile after 8-month break

(RiaNovosti) : Russia resumed tests of its troubled Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.
It was launched from the Yury Dolgoruky nuclear powered submarine in the White Sea, Col. Igor Konashenkov said.
The launch - 15th in the Bulava's history - was successful "by all parameters," he said, adding that it hit a designated target on the Kura test range in Russia's Far East Kamchatka region some 6,000 kilometers to the east.
The previous test was conducted on October 29, 2010.
Only seven of the previous 14 launches were officially declared successful, although some military experts say that many of those were also flawed.
Despite several previous failures, officially blamed on manufacturing faults, the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear submarines.

India to get anti-submarine torpedoes from US

(The Economic Times) : India will get lightweight anti-submarines torpedoes to arm the eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft it is buying from the US, with the Obama administration notifying the potential sale to the US Congress on Tuesday.

The news was welcomed by the US embassy in New Delhi, which said the sale of Mk-54 torpedoes reflects the mutual benefits of the India-US security relationship.

The Pentagon has "officially notified" the potential sale of Mk-54 lightweight torpedoes to the Indian Navy.

The Mk-54 is the most advanced lightweight torpedo in the US Navy inventory and is intended to be employed with the P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, eight of which are currently under construction for India by US aerospace major Boeing.

The P-8I, equipped with Mk-54 torpedoes, will provide highly-effective long-range anti-submarine warfare capabilities for the Indian Navy.

"The final content and price for the deal will be determined during discussions with the Indian government," the US embassy said.

"This sale reflects the mutual benefits of the U.S.-India security partnership. For India, the combined sale of the P-8I aircraft with the Mk-54 torpedoes will add to India's anti-submarine capability, as it expands its ability to protect India and the critical sea lanes of the Indian Ocean," it said.

"The offer highlights the US commitment to share cutting-edge technology with India and to ensure that both nations enjoy the benefits of a secure and stable South Asia," it added.

In addition to the US Navy, the Mk-54 torpedo is also in service with the Royal Australian Navy .

June 28, 2011

Pakistan Navy To Get 6 QING Class Submarines And 2 Typ 054A FFGs From China

In the past it Has been Reported that Pakistan is getting  039 class "Songs" or 041 class Yuan class From china But now reports emerge that it is the latest variant of 041 class named "QING" class submarines for which a deal was inked for 6.

The first Qing class built for Chinese Navy was launched last year and will be going through the sea trial this month 6/2011 which will include the firing of CJ-10K LACms with a range of 1,500 KM. 

The deal was signed between Wuhan-based China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp (CSIC) and Pakistani Government in April 2011 is for 6 Qing class submarine, These submarines will be double hulled with a submerged displacement of 3,600 tons. It will be equipped with the new Stirling-cycle AIP and will be able to carry upto 3 CJ-10K which could carry nuclear warheds, Other features include hull retractable foreplanes and hydrodynamically streamlined sail. The AIP and the propulsion systems will be all electric and not the diesal electric propulsion system making the submarines very quiet. This propulsion system has already been tested on a number of heavier Chinese submarines.
And In the other development is Pakistan has also signed a deal for a 10 year leaso of 2 Type 054A FFGs. The two ships that Pakistan will receive are serial number 525 and 526 inducted in PLAN in 2005.

(Asian defense news)

Russia launches Cosmos-series military satellite

(RIA Novosti) :  Russia's Space Forces launched on Monday a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with a Cosmos class military satellite on board, spokesman Lt. Col. Alexey Zolotukhin said.
The rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk space center in north Russia at 08.00 pm Moscow time (16.00 GMT).
"The rocket put the Cosmos-series military satellite into the designated orbit at 08.08 pm Moscow time [16.08 GMT]," Zolotukhin said, adding that the satellite was assigned the serial number Cosmos 2472.
The satellite is a new addition to a Russian network of about 60-70 military reconnaissance satellites, featuring updated imaging technology and an extended lifetime of up to seven years.
The Soyuz-U rocket is designed to orbit Soyuz and Progress manned and cargo spacecraft, as well as special-purpose satellites such as Cosmos, Resurs-F, Foton and Bion.
The rocket has payload of up to 6,950 kilograms. This was the first launch of a Soyuz-U rocket this year.

Mega fighter deal to strengthen India's airspace

(Zeenews) : Rajahmundry: India proposes to buy 126 fighter jets worth over USD 10 billion to strengthen its airspace, Union Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters here in his home district East Godavari, he said the Defence Ministry has sanctioned over Rs 40,000 crore for the mega deal.
The ministry had shortlisted the European Eurofighter and the French Dassault Rafale for the 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) deal.

Raju said he along with a five-member delegation recently visited Paris and held talks with the French officials over defence matters and other issues of mutual concern.

"Our talks mainly concentrated on the purchase of 126 fight planes," he said.
The minister said he would be attending a business conclave being organised in California by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) later this week.


June 27, 2011

India gives in to China at the border

Leh:  China has done it, but India can't.

One can see Chinese construction next to the Indo-China border, but after a confrontation with China last year - over an Indian shed being made - New Delhi has banned all construction on the Indo-China border in Ladakh.

The Ministry of Home Affairs in a letter, written in November 2010, to the Jammu and Kashmir Government said: "You are not to undertake any construction work of any nature in Demchok area till clearance of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi is obtained."

Gurmet Dorjee, who represents Demchok in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Developmental council says his people are feeling cheated, and let down.

"China continues to build across the border but we can't. What is the meaning of this order? People sitting in air-conditioned rooms in New Delhi can't decide what is good for us," said Gurmet Dorjee, member, Ladakh Autonomous Council, Leh.

Dorjee showed NDTV pictures of the Chinese army in the Demchok area, and the buildings coming up in the Chinese controlled area.

But Dorjee and his people after the MHA order, now, can't even build residential houses in the area till it is cleared by New Delhi.

The construction of roads and all the rural development projects have been stopped. The construction of schools and medical health care facilities too has been stopped.

While New Delhi takes babysteps to normalise relations with China, people in Durbhok and Nyomah in south east part of Ladakh are raising serious questions for New Delhi. They want India to be more aggressive with the 'dragon' and are questioning India's China policy.

One can see Chinese construction next to the Indo-China border, but after a confrontation with China last year - over an Indian shed being made - New Delhi has banned all construction on the Indo-China border in Ladakh.

The Ministry of Home Affairs in a letter, written in November 2010, to the Jammu and Kashmir Government said: "You are not to undertake any construction work of any nature in Demchok area till clearance of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi is obtained."

Gurmet Dorjee, who represents Demchok in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Developmental council says his people are feeling cheated, and let down.

"China continues to build across the border but we can't. What is the meaning of this order? People sitting in air-conditioned rooms in New Delhi can't decide what is good for us," said Gurmet Dorjee, member, Ladakh Autonomous Council, Leh.

Dorjee showed NDTV pictures of the Chinese army in the Demchok area, and the buildings coming up in the Chinese controlled area.

But Dorjee and his people after the MHA order, now, can't even build residential houses in the area till it is cleared by New Delhi.

The construction of roads and all the rural development projects have been stopped. The construction of schools and medical health care facilities too has been stopped.

While New Delhi takes babysteps to normalise relations with China, people in Durbhok and Nyomah in south east part of Ladakh are raising serious questions for New Delhi. They want India to be more aggressive with the 'dragon' and are questioning India's China policy.

One can see Chinese construction next to the Indo-China border, but after a confrontation with China last year - over an Indian shed being made - New Delhi has banned all construction on the Indo-China border in Ladakh.

The Ministry of Home Affairs in a letter, written in November 2010, to the Jammu and Kashmir Government said: "You are not to undertake any construction work of any nature in Demchok area till clearance of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi is obtained."

Gurmet Dorjee, who represents Demchok in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Developmental council says his people are feeling cheated, and let down.

"China continues to build across the border but we can't. What is the meaning of this order? People sitting in air-conditioned rooms in New Delhi can't decide what is good for us," said Gurmet Dorjee, member, Ladakh Autonomous Council, Leh.

Dorjee showed NDTV pictures of the Chinese army in the Demchok area, and the buildings coming up in the Chinese controlled area.

But Dorjee and his people after the MHA order, now, can't even build residential houses in the area till it is cleared by New Delhi.

The construction of roads and all the rural development projects have been stopped. The construction of schools and medical health care facilities too has been stopped.

While New Delhi takes babysteps to normalise relations with China, people in Durbhok and Nyomah in south east part of Ladakh are raising serious questions for New Delhi. They want India to be more aggressive with the 'dragon' and are questioning India's China policy.

Indian Army raising new special forces battalion

(Zeenews) : New Delhi: Strengthening its capabilities to carry out special operations, the Indian Army is raising a new special forces battalion which will be deployed in the north-eastern sector.

A new battalion of the Parachute Regiment -- 11 Para (SF) -- is being raised and will be first deployed in the north-eastern sector, Army sources said here.

This will be eighth special forces battalion of the Parachute Regiment and will be deployed in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in that region, they said.
The Parachute Regiment has 10 battalions under it and seven of them have been trained as special forces, which are supposed to carry out counter-terrorist operations during peacetime and sabotage enemy installations beyond enemy lines during wars.

The special forces battalions include the 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 21 para units, which are deployed in different sectors of the country and have also been given responsibility to handle any 26/11 type attacks if that occurs near their area of deployment.

The Army wants to increase the number of special forces troops to more than 10 battalions with around 700 men in each.

These battalions have been provided with modern equipment such as Tavor 21 assault rifles.


Indian Air Force undergoing major transformation: Air Chief to NDTV

(NDTV) New Delhi:  These are exciting times for the Indian Air Force after battling years of obsolescence and depleting fleet strengths, it is now poised for a major transformation. What does the future hold? In an exclusive interview, Air Chief Marshall PV Naik, the Chief of Air Staff discusses his strategy for the transformation of the IAF.

Here's his conversation with NDTV's Security & Strategic Affairs Editor Nitin Gokhale.

NDTV: Let me start by asking you what are the changes that are being done in the Air Force for the past 3-4 years and what do you think is going to happen in the next 3-4 years?

PV Naik: The process of change started seven or eight years back but it is materialising now, which is a very very exciting thing. Over the next 3-4 years, I expect the IAF to become one of the most modern air forces in the world. There are lots of things in the offing - we have aircrafts, equipment, missiles, radars actually we have a very long list.

If you permit me I will just read out from this just to tell you what all inductions we have planned.

First list is of acquisitions: 126 MMRCA's is well-known. 214 fifth generation fighter aircrafts that will be coming around 2017; 42 SU 30's additionally, we require the RFP has been issued to HAL; 75 trainers - that process is well on its way, two more AWACS of IL-76 base which we are waiting for; 10 C-17s - another famous deal cleared by CCS; 80 + 59 medium-lift helicopters; 22 attack helicopters; 12 VVIP helicopters. There are upgrades also going on for weapon systems: 63 MiG-29's, that upgrade is well on its way in Russia. Mirage 2000 upgrade will be going to the CCS next week and Jaguar re-engineering, that is another major project for which a new RFP has been issued now. Missiles, 18 firing units of MRSAM (Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles), 4 Spyders, 49 SR-SAM that is short range, 8 Aakash missiles.

As far as radars are concerned, Rohinis, aerostats, medium-power radars, low-level tactical radars, low-level light weight radars, we have the AFNET which is already active, we have the MAFI (Modernisation of Airport Infrastructure) which is going on. The first airfield to convert on to MAFI would be Bhatinda. And we have the IACCS which is active, so if you see all-round development of the Air Force is in the offing.

NDTV: Some of the deals are always in focus... for example, the 126 fighter jets, it's been a long process... and you've had a technical re-evaluation, flight testing and now you have come down to two manufacturers. There has been a lot of speculation, a lot of writing on this - that the Americans and the Russians were very unhappy and that they in fact went to the extent of saying some of the processes were unfair... they weren't transparent enough, what do you have to say to that?

PV Naik: You know right in the beginning when this deal was going through, I had said that whoever we select, the others would always be dissatisfied. So I think it is a case of that. As far as the entire process of the MMRCA selection is concerned I think it is one of the finest things the Air Force has ever done. There was no security breach, a very fair treatment was given to everybody, every vendor briefed as per RFP and in fact the process has gone so well and so timely that I would like to patent that process. After all these were six of the best aircraft in the world... Unnis -Bees ka farakh, very little difference in all these, very difficult to decide which is the best, ultimately what suits our country - the best has to emerge as the best. That doesn't mean the other aircraft are bad. But these were the best-suited to our conditions and so that is how we went about the selection. The process was very elaborate. As you are aware each aircraft had 600 testing points. So the whole thing went through in a very professional manner and I must compliment the team that undertook this task - very well done.

NDTV: In any case I think and the others have pointed out that this is not the only deal that is going in the Air Force, you have several others. Like the Americans shouldn't be complaining about not getting this deal because you are giving them other orders. For instance the C-17s, the C-130s, Harpoon missiles you are buying from them. Even the Russians - you have a major project with them isn't it?

PV Naik: Yes, we have the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, we have the Brahmos missile which is a joint project. And we have many others.

NDTV: Sukhoi upgrade also, I mean the additional Sukhois?

PV Naik: The Sukhoi upgrade, the MiG-29 upgrade... so many things for the Russians also.

NDTV: So everybody can actually get a part of the pie in India?

PV Naik: But we have selected whatever is best for us. It so happens that it is well-distributed.

NDTV: Coming back to the final selection what do you think is the time frame? You had said before that it should be done very quickly and you are hopeful... do you think there is a time frame you could think of?

PV Naik: At present, the Technical Oversight Committee has finished their report. The report will be submitted to the Rakhsha Mantri. Thereafter, they will open the commercial bids and decide who is the L-1 (lowest bidder) vendor. After that the CNC will start negotiations, thereafter it will go to the Finance Ministry. From Finance, it will go to CCS and after their approval, the final contract will be signed. So I think another two months is a very optimistic assessment. That is by September, I expect this deal to be signed.

NDTV: And once the deal is signed, what is the time frame for the induction for the first aircraft that will come down?

PV Naik: That will be about three years.

NDTV: One way of overcoming over-dependence on foreign vendors or foreign manufactures is to indigenise...we have had this experience of the LCA Tejas. You have inducted the prototype, given operational clearance for the first prototype. How hopeful are you about the LCS Tejas finally getting inducted and coming into the IAF ?

PV Naik: See Nitin, Tejas took us 20-21 years to reach this stage but over the last two years I have seen that we have reached a very good stage and there is light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm very very positive Tejas will be inducted into the Air Force. We have already given the initial operational clearance, now the squadrons will slowly come and start operating these aircrafts. It will take a couple of years for these aircraft to get full operational clearance. During this time, the phase two build-up is also going on with the actual engine which is a GE-414 engine which has been decided. Thereafter, the Tejas will have the engine and we will have 6-7, if not more, squadrons of the Tejas class of aircraft. Now all the people who have flown this aircraft swear by it, it's a wonderful aircraft. Of course, it is not in the fifth-generation class but I would call it a MiG-21++, with some latest technologies, with the latest collaborations an excellent aircraft to fill in the gap in our numbers which is there.

NDTV: In the past we have spoken about critical gaps in air defence, and gaps in the radar and chain of radars we have within the country or on the borders. What is the situation now, what is the status?

PV Naik: See generally we have complete coverage at medium and high levels, there is no gap it is gap-free. It (gap) is only at low levels because the capability of ground base radars is limited because of the earth's curvature. And it is only at the lower levels that we have a gap. To fill these gaps we have many other schemes in place, firstly low-level radars, the medium-power radars, the LLTRS, the LLWRs, they fill in the low-level gap. We have the AWACS, we have the aerostats which actually raises the platform of the radar so it increases the range of the radar, so these are the radars through which we will fill in the gaps. Most of them are on track and 2012 onward, they will start ramping up. In fact, the first medium-powered radar at Naliya - I inaugurated it a couple of weeks back , so thereafter deliveries will start and I'm sure we will have gap-free coverage even at low levels .

NDTV: What about the air defence systems?

PV Naik: As far as missiles are concerned, we are into MRSAMs - medium range SAMs (surface to air missiles) which is about 100-110 kms range, we are into SR-SAMs that is the short range, we are into Spyders missiles which are even shorter range. So there are different stages of missiles coming - a multi-layered defence which is what is desirable in air defence. Plus we have the AWACS and from the AWACS to the IACCS. Complete pictures available to everybody for better command and control.

NDTV: I just want you to elaborate because in the post-26/11 scare that was there in this country - there was a lot of talk that we have these gaps and even Delhi is not safe. As an Air Chief, I want an assurance from you for the viewers that none of these scares are a reality?

PV Naik: You have my assurance, you must convince the public that our air defence at the present moment is good but we want to make it better. At the present moment, I give you an assurance that Delhi is safe.

NDTV: Let me now move away - a little bit from your current plans and look at the future. There are several threats in the neighbourhood as we know and you have spoken in the past, you don't want to be adversary specific but a capability-based force. Towards that end, how are you progressing? How are you looking at the future?

PV Naik: You know being part of the services - all the three services do an exercise. We assess all the threats around our region - that means it can be a person, it can be a country, it can be anything, it can be an organisation. Anything that affects the growth of our country or that impedes the growth of our country is a threat. Thereafter we decide on what capability we require based on the strategic decisions taken by the country's leadership. Our zone of interest, our political leanings, various other factors come into this. Thereafter we decide what capability by which year we should acquire. Then we go towards procuring that capability. Now in the years to come, our Air Force needs to meet the aspirations of the country. From the Gulf of Hormuz to the Malacca Straits, as the Prime Minister has pointed out therefore, we must have the range, we must have the capacity to reach these vast distances... and we must have the capability to carry out what is known as net-centric warfare because that is the warfare of the future. You cannot do it isolated. So towards that net-centricity forms the bedrock, the base is AFNET which is already in place and it is improving slowly day by day. On the AFNET will be based the ICACS (integrated command and control systems), that are various nodes, places geographically across the country. The IACCS will give you a filter-clear picture of what is happening in its area of jurisdiction. It will pick up the pictures through sensors of Army, Navy, and civilian radars. It will give you a fused and filtered clear picture. So that wherever, you are sitting you will be able to see what is happening all over. This forms the ground segment of the network-centric warfare. Then we come to the air segment, all the aircrafts will be connected through datalink, the AVACS will be connected through datalinks. They download onto what is known as a ground-exploitation station and from there it goes to the IACCS. This forms the air part of the net-centric warfare. On top in space, we have the satellites through which information, recce, communication etc is projected down and once again merged with the IACCS. Once you have net-centricity - at present, we don't have, we are network-enabled. Once we have the net-centricity, then the sensor to shooter time reduces and your reaction is very fast. You are able to undertake immediate operations with this capability. So that is the future that I am looking at you know in about 8-10 years time.

NDTV: You said this before, but I want to ask you this again, are we looking at China more closely? Is our readiness towards or against China - are we looking at it more closely than before?

PV Naik: You know, many people ask me this as a very serious question. We have always looked intently at every threat, not only China or Pakistan. But as I told you, as a military mind, you assess all the threats. We call it the appreciation method. Each and every threat is listed...and a threat is anything that impedes the progress of the country, and we look at it closely. We look at things very, very closely and give the required inputs to the leadership.

NDTV: Coming back to the MAFI and the 30 airfields you are upgrading and modernising...are we also looking at a series or a network of airfields in say Ladakh or Arunachal Pradesh? Are we also looking at that?

PV Naik: Yes, we are. In the North East, it is long overdue. We have a major drive on to modernise all the ALGs (Adavance Landing Grounds). We have eight ALGs which are being modernised. Pasighat, Along, Menchuka and all these places and modernisation of the airfield which are already existing from Chabua, Mohanbari, Jorhat, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Hashimara, Tezpur. And down South, all these things are already under hand. They are on a fast-track. There is a committee, as you know, empowered committee which is looking into the operationalisation and modernisation of these and that is headed by the Vice Chief. As far as the Western Sector is concerned, Nyoma, DBO - that is a Phase 2 for which action has already started and these will also be brought up to the upgraded standard.

NDTV: Are there plans to have Fighter air bases at Nyoma and Leh?

PV Naik: We will have to see that, for that a study is going on at the moment. But for transport airport and helicopters, definitely. Thereafter we will evaluate if it is fit for fighters and then decide.

NDTV: Now let me come back to the other issue we spoke about last year also, about use of airforce in the anti-Maoist operation. At this moment, where does it stand?

PV Naik: See, use of Indian Air Force in anti-Maoist operations is the government's prerogative and we are doing that. What you want to know is if there is any offensive use of the IAF. My views remain the same. After all, it is our own people. Intelligence is not available 120 per cent which is required. There is likely to be collateral damage so therefore, offensive use of the Air Force I will not visualise in the near future. It is already being used for roles like insertion, extraction, CASEVAC (casualty evacuation), recces, surveillance. And it will I think continue to be used for these purposes.

NDTV: Do you think that role will increase?

PV Naik: I am sure it will increase.

NDTV: You recently pulled out all your helicopters from the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, and they are not very happy about it. What was the reasoning?

PV Naik: It was the requirement for our country. You know the helicopters are used basically to support the Army in forward areas. And now... more and more use in urban warfare also. Internal situations against the Maoists, Naxalites etc. We didn't have the helicopters, although we are getting some, but they are yet to be ramped up. So therefore the only way to do it was to pull out from Congo.

NDTV: One final thing on the internal thing. The Air force also does a lot of behind-the-scenes and away from peoples' gaze work. A lot of humanitarian operations in floods and disasters. Do you see even that role being increased because a lot of effort goes into that kind of situations?

PV Naik: I think that role will remain the same, we are already doing considerable work. We do not have the resources but we still give it our best because after all it is saving your own citizens. There have been some very very great rescues which have been carried out. One has been carried out by my predecessor on the Timber Trail (near Shimla) which got a lot of publicity but there are a lot of rescues which do not get publicity. There are always floods along the Ganges, there are always floods down South because suddenly unseasonal rains cause floods and everywhere, the Air Force is the first to go. You want to ferry troops, you need the Air Force. You want to ferry boats, you need the Air Force. You want to rescue, you want to drop packets, now if there is an earthquake you need the Air Force. In fact, in the earthquake which happened in Pakistan and in our adjourning parts of J&K, Air Force did a hell of a lot of work. Leh there were floods, suddenly the Leh airfield was unusable. Army and Air Force together got that airfield up with just about 12 hours which was a very great accomplishment.

NDTV: You are looking at a very modern Air Force, are you getting the required technical manpower? Is the best of the technical talent coming to you? Or is it that you are trying to make special efforts to bring them in?

PV Naik: The intake has improved a little bit, but it is still not up to the desired standards... so we are taking various measures to make sure the intake improves. We are taking them before the 12th standard, before their degree, we are giving them a degree in the Air Force. We are approaching various regions to find new talent. Basic thing, is after their induction, training them and then retaining them. These are the two areas where we are giving our focus. And it is being emphasised everywhere that absorption of new technology and converting the operationalisation of new technology is the need of the hour. So our training patterns have been suitably modified. The training itself is being ramped up. All of this will take a little time.

NDTV: Let me take your views as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee. What are your views on CDS (Chief of Defence Staff)? What do you think should happen to CDS?

PV Naik: You know the Air Force has been maligned quite badly over a lot of years, they feel that the Air Force doesn't want CDS. Totally to the contrary, the Air Force is very much in favour of the CDS. The point is I do not want a CDS in the present form. That means you make a 3-star, 4-star, 5-star head of IDS which is an existing organisation and call him CDS, you cannot do that. If there is a CDS - in my opinion and this is the Air Force opinion - that he has to be the single point of military contact to the Raksha Mantri. Are we ready to do that? Second point: what role model of CDS do we want? There are different role models all over the world. In the American role model, he controls all the operations of all the three services and he is answerable to the President directly. In the Australian model, the Defence Secretary and the CDS are at par. There are other models where CDS only looks after training and acquisition. There are other models where CDS only looks after operations. So we have to decide what model do we want. The third issue is, do we need a change just because everybody else has a CDS? Now since 1947, we have done pretty well. In 1947, '65, '71 and Kargil operations, despite what people say, I think there was a considerable amount of synergy involved. Today also when we go down to the field levels, that is command level, station level, you find a tremendous amount of synergy between the Army, Navy and Air Force. So do we need a CDS? That is a basic question. In my opinion, I don't think we need a CDS for the next 5-10 years.

NDTV: Do you think India needs to develop credible missile deterrents? Specially because of what China is doing? The distances should improve, the range should improve, do you think?

PV Naik: I feel we are developing the capability to have long-range missiles. This development of capability should never be stopped because 10-15 years from now, when you want it, it will not be available. So the capability development must continue. As far as weaponisation is concerned, that is the government's prerogative. Depending on the geo-politics, they will decide on what distance and what weaponisation is important. But capability build-up must continue.

NDTV: Towards that you are quite happy with what DRDO is doing? The missile program?

PV Naik: That has been one of our most successful programs.

NDTV: Air Chief Marshal, it has been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much for your time.


US sulking over lost fighter contract

(Hindustan Times) : The US is struggling to come to terms with the rejection of its bids for a $10.2 billion (Rs 45,900 crore) contract to supply 126 fighter planes to the Indian Air Force, the country's biggest order symbolising its growing military appetite. US defence contractors betrayed their frustration and questioned India's arms procurement policy in hushed tones at the Paris air show in Le Bourget. A top executive, who did not wish to be named, said questions about the criteria adopted to shortlist European fighters (Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale) had not been answered.
"We are awaiting responses to the clarifications sought by the US government," he said.
But the IAF said it went by the book.
"It was a fact-based decision. Politico-strategic considerations were not factored in. The Typhoon and Rafale best met our requirements," Air Chief Marshal PV Naik said.
He said the US should not be upset over losing the fighter deal, as Washington's platter was piled high with military contracts worth billions of dollars.
"They have a lot in its kitty. The US has won several contracts including those for C-17 military transport aircraft, C-130J airlifters and P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance planes," Naik said.
US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer had announced his resignation in April, a day after Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin's F-16 Super Viper fighters were edged out of the race, along with Russia's MiG-35 and Sweden's Gripen.
The fighter contract could either be awarded to Eurofighter Typhoon (a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies) or French firm Dassault Aviation's Rafale, depending on who the lowest bidder is.
Naik said the decision should not impact Indo-US strategic ties.
India is buying 10 Boeing C-17s for $ 4.1 billion (Rs 18,450 crore) and 12 P-8Is worth $3.1 billion (Rs 13,950 crore) from the US. Lockheed Martin won a $1 billion (Rs 4,500 crore) order in 2008 to supply six C-130Js to the IAF.

June 25, 2011

Indian Navy offered Maritime version of Global Hawk

 (IDRW ) : Northrop Grumman has received and responded to Request for Information (RFI) issued recently by Indian Ministry of defence. Northrop Grumman has received necessary permission from United States government and has offered MQ-4C, which is a modified version of combat proven Global Hawk, improvised for the Maritime surveillance.
MQ-4C also known as Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV based on Global Hawk and will complement the 737 based Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA), the P-8A Poseidon.
Indian Navy has already ordered 12 of P-8I which is an export variant of the P-8A Poseidon which US Navy will be operating ,which they will be replacing their older turbo prop based P-3 Maritime surveillance aircraft  .
MQ-4C Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV will have 36 hour endurance and will be able to operate up to 60000 ft against strong winds and severe weather, and has a payload of 3200 LB .MQ-4C will have 2D AESA radar providing it 360 degree coverage over vast section of the ocean.
MQ-4C will provide Indian Navy, a tactical platform which will be able to scan large section of Indian Ocean for Hostile surface and Submarine fleet, and it also will be operationally be quite cheaper to operate than a manned surveillance aircraft.

Eurofighter, Dassault Submit Revised Offset Bids, Indian MMRCA Contest Enters Final Round

(Defenseworld) : Eurofighter and Dassault, the two shortlisted bidders in India's MMRCA fighter tender submitted revised offset bids on June 17 signaling the start of the final round of evaluation at the end of which one of the bidders will walk away with the $10 billion tender to equip the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 126 (plus 66 options)Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

      A source from one of the bidders told Defenseworld.net at the Paris Air Show 2011 that the updated offset bids included individual MoUs with third part equipment providers which supply critical equipment such as engine, avionics and other critical systems. Earlier offset propsal submitted had only offset commitments on the part of the bidders who are essentially platform integrators.

      The Indian MoD has not given any timeframe for their next engagement with Dassault and Eurofighter, the sources said adding that they expect to hear from the customer within the next 2-3 months. After the studying the offset proposals, the MoD will call the two bidders for final discussions on price/contract performance and select one among them.

      "The revised offset bids include 50% direct engagements with Indian companies such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and several other Indian private groups such as the Tatas, Mahindras, L & T and others", said the source.

      The MoD had asked the two bidders to extend their commercial bids (price quote) till the end of the year. Generally, commercial bids are valid for two years from the date of the RFP.

June 24, 2011

Indian French kiss of luck for Dassault ??

(IDRW News) : Dassault aviation CEO in its recent press conference at the Paris Air show hinted that, Dassault aviation is counting big time on India’s MMRCA contract where the winner will provide Indian air force 126 fighter jets in next few years.
India’s MMRCA deal which is considered has Mother of all Deal, Due to sheer size of the aircrafts which will be purchased from a single vendor and the potential growth of orders which normally comes with Indian contracts is also large. And then Indian Navy too interested in a Carrier borne aircrafts, just sweetens the deal.
Dassault Rafale which has struggled until now to find an export customer is counting big on Indian order, since other potential export customers are watching Indian MMRCA contract very carefully, Particularly Brazil which Favoured Rafale in their quest to purchase 36 fighters in their F-X2 program. But seems to be holding back just long enough to see who will be winner in Indian MMRCA deal.
India has tested all six aircrafts for more than 650 parameters and defence experts believe that the Indian test carried out by its experience test pilots, was extensive enough to be a used has a hand book for other air forces around the world, which are looking at currently purchasing aircrafts based on Technical performance.
CEO also informed press that Rafale has part of NATO air force over Libya, were able to operate more than two dozen of its fighter, without having any operational difficulty, taking a pot shot where serviceability of Rival Eurofighter Typhoon in Libyan operations has been in question, due to shortage of spares.
Ceo also confirmed that the Production variant of RBE-2 AESA radar for the Rafale, which has already been successfully integrated and tested, will be ready for export market from 2013 onwards; Dassault is also considering upgrading the engines of Rafale’s to add higher thrust, currently Dassault Rafale is powered by 2 × Snecma M88-2 turbofans generating 75.62 kN of thrust with its after burner, but French are already working on a higher thrust engine, which is known has Snecma M88-3 which will have 91kN of thrust on its after burner , this has been developed in connection with the sale of Rafale to the United Arab Emirates considering the fact that they will operate in a hot weather countries and will be for interception operations.
Rafale might have struggled to bring export orders even after 11 years been inducted in to French air force, but the majority of the upgrades and operational issues seems to be taken care of by this long time of operational use in the French armed forces, where else in Partner countries of Euro fighter Typhoon have struggled to maintain a steady supply of spares and serviceability of Typhoon in their respected air force.
Indian air force which is retiring its current fleet of Mig-21 and Mig-27 from its service will definitely want to have a fighter aircraft with steady supply chain and not repeat whole Bae Hawk experience again, where due to loop holes in contract British firms not only supplied old worn out spares, but also effected serviceability and the production of the aircraft in the Hal Facility in India.
Rafale upgrades are already in the pipeline, which means further Reduction in RCS, Engine upgrades, integration of a Limited production AESA radar, and improvements in Avionics package has already been taken care by Dassault keeping in mind its Primary customer , that’s French Air force , while EADS is counting on Indian funds for the future upgrades on the Eurofighter Typhoon .

IAF seeks direct control of HAL to stem eroding combat-edge

( Times of India) : With an eye on the future and fed up with the "bureaucratic culture" pervading Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the country's only aircraft manufacturer, IAF now wants the control of the navratna defence PSU.

IAF has asked the defence ministry (MoD) to appoint one of its three-star officers, instead of a bureaucrat, as the chairman and managing director of HAL once the present incumbent Ashok Nayak retires on October 31.

MoD sources confirmed IAF had even proposed the name of present assistant chief of air staff (operations & space), Air Vice Marshal M Matheswaran, a top-notch fighter pilot now approved for the air marshal rank, for the HAL post.

"The matter is being examined...no final decision has been taken," said a source. Simultaneously, a panel of names has also been drawn up to include Pawan Hans chief R K Tyagi, a defence accounts service officer S N Mishra, who earlier was joint secretary (aerospace) in MoD, and MSTC chairman S K Tripathi, among others.

IAF's revolutionary proposal, on the face of it, makes a lot of sense. As HAL's biggest customer, it has every reason to be worried that most projects being handled by the PSU, which has a sales turnover of over Rs 13,000 crore, have been plagued by time and cost overruns.

IAF contends the HAL chief should be someone who "understands aerospace concepts" and can "transform" HAL into a cutting-edge company, capable of delivering on time, to stem its fast-eroding combat edge. The force is down to just about 32 fighter squadrons from a "sanctioned strength" of 39.5 squadrons.

Most ongoing HAL projects like the ones for the Tejas light combat aircraft, Dhruv advanced light helicopters and indigenous production of Sukhoi-30MKI fighters as well as Hawk AJTs (advanced jet trainers) are all running behind schedule.

Moreover, HAL is also going to handle new programmes worth billions of dollars with foreign collaborators in the near future. They range from the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) and fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) to light utility helicopters and multi-role transport aircraft (MTA).

The $10.4 billion MMRCA project to acquire 126 fighters, for instance, is all set to be sealed by December. With just two contenders now left in contention, Eurofighter Typhoon and French Rafale, the project will see only the first 18 jets come in "fly-away condition", while the rest will be manufactured by HAL after transfer of technology.

An even bigger project will be the joint development of the stealth FGFA with Russia for which the $295 million preliminary design contract was inked last December. The cost of designing, infrastructure build-up, prototype development and flight testing of FGFA is pegged at $11 billion. India and Russia will chip in $5.5 billion each.

Moreover, each of the 250-300 FGFA India hopes to begin inducting from 2020 onwards will cost around $100 million each. Consequently, India will spend upwards of $35 billion over the next two decades on the FGFA.

Russian MiG-29 fighter jet crashes, two killed

Two pilots were killed on Thursday when a Russian Air Force MiG-29 fighter jet crashed in the Astrakhan region on Thursday, law enforcement sources said.
“At 4.43 p.m. the aircraft went off the radar screens around 43 km from the town of Akhtubinsk in Astrakhan region,” the source said.
The crash site has been located and an Mi-8 rescue helicopter is on its way to the site.
Akhtubinsk is home to the Russian Air Force’s test and tactical evaluation center, but it is not yet known if the aircraft came from that base.
(RIA Novosti)

IAF to increase level of its force in Andaman and Nicobar

New Delhi, Jun 23 (PTI) In the backdrop of increasing Chinese activities in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean region, the Indian Air Force is planning to increase the level of its forces in the Andaman and Nicobar islands."Of course, we are but in a planned manner. Its not immediately over a next two or three plans we have to build up Andaman and Nicobar islands," IAF Chief Air Chief marshal P V Naik told reporters here.The IAF chief was responding to queries about the need to build up its assets in the island territory in view of the activities of other forces there.The IAF has in the recent past operated its frontline SU-30MKI air superiority aircraft from its bases in Car Nicobar islands.Reports in the past have suggested that the Chinese Navy has been active close to the Coco Islands in Myanmar and has been operating there.To strengthen its defences, India has already set up a tri-services command under a three-star officer in the region close to the South East Asian countries.IAF has been strengthening its presence in the South to protect the country's interests in the Indian Ocean Region.With the induction of force multipliers such as the mid-air refullers, the Air Force has expanded its strategic reach and is capable of carrying out long range operations.PTI AJD AD

IBN Live

June 23, 2011

India shortlists PARS 3 LR system of MBDA

PARIS (BNS): The PARS 3 LR guided missile system of MBDA has been short listed for the Indian Army's future air-to-ground missile requirement, the company announced at the Paris Air Show on Wednesday.

Hindustan Aeronautical Limited has already received a proposal from the MBDA Deutschland for its PARS 3 LR multi-target, long range weapon systems for HAL's Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH DHRUV).

“I am delighted that the Indian Army has short listed PARS 3 LR for its procurement project. This represents a further confirmation of the close partnership MBDA has developed with India over the years,” Werner Kaltenegger, Managing Director of MBDA Deutschland, said.

The successful industrial trials confirm the high level of reliability of the PARS 3 LR guided missile system, he added.

Recently in April 2011, three PARS 3 LR firings were carried out from a German Tiger helicopter at the Vidsel test range in Sweden by MBDA Deutschland for its export campaign in India.

All three missiles were equipped with live warheads and all three struck their intended targets at the optimal hit points.

Two firings were carried out within one minute of each other, the first against a static target at a range of 7,000 m and the second against a moving target at a range of 700 m. The third firing was carried out with the helicopter in fast forward flight against a static target at a range of 7,000 m.


'Oz may lift ban on exporting uranium to India'

Melbourne: In a bid to strengthen bilateral ties, Australian government could review and lift the long standing ban on uranium export to India later this year, a media report said on Thursday.

"Later this year, the (Julia) Gillard Government is likely to take two very big decisions affecting relations with the US and India. It will provide much greater access for US military forces to northern Australia. This could ultimately lead to US ships being based in Australia.

"And it will likely lift the ban on selling Australian uranium to India. Both decisions should be seen against the backdrop of China," The Australian said.

Expert on foreign affairs Greg Sheridan in the article said: "I now believe senior ministers within the Gillard government will make a serious attempt to change this policy at Labor Party's national conference in December."

A resolution could take one of two forms -- it could simply allow an exception for India, with appropriate safeguards or allow federal cabinet the authority to make an exception where it wants to, provided various safeguards were met.

"Earlier this year, Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna met the Australian authorities including Resources Minister Martin Ferguson where the uranium talks were raised."

Australia had maintained its stand on not selling uranium to India as it has a policy of exporting the radioactive element only to the signatories of NPT.

The report cited that all big nuclear nations were now offering nuclear trade with India and the US had signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India and secured support for this from Nuclear suppliers group.

"This is not an issue about the security of uranium supply for India. Rather, it is a determination to make the leap to real strategic partnership with India.

"New Delhi is too proud to make a public fuss about Australia's uranium policy, and the hypocrisy of our selling uranium to China while we refuse to do so for India. But the Australian position is a huge road block to a real strategic partnership," the report said.

The expert said that it was of first order importance for Canberra as commercially India was Australia's next China.

"Indian investment is already making a big difference in our resources sector," the report out.

It further commented that even more importantly the US-India-Indonesia-Australia relationship was essential to Canberra's ability to manage successfully the growing power of China.

"The only way we can become of genuine strategic consequence to India is through fulfilling a historic role of providing energy security, and in particular uranium. Such a policy reform would mean a big fight for the Gillard government with the Greens and with the far Left of its own party," the report added.

PTI / Zeenews

CAE-built C-130J simulator for IAF to Arrive in Feb 2012

(Defenseworld) : The C-130J full-mission simulator being designed and manufactured for the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be ready for training by February 2012. It will be installed at the Hindon Air Force Station near New Delhi.
CAE is currently developing the C-130J simulator for the IAF under subcontract to Lockheed Martin, who is providing the simulator to the IAF as part of the overall acquisition of six C-130J aircraft.

The C-130J simulator for the IAF is currently at the CAE USA facility in Tampa, Florida, where it is undergoing software and systems integration as well as final assembly and testing.

The simulator is scheduled for power-off at CAE?s facility this October, at which time it will be shipped to India. The C-130J full-mission simulator for the IAF is on-schedule to be ready-for-training in India by February 2012.
?Over the past two decades, CAE has delivered more training systems for the C-130 than any company and we will be pleased to welcome the Indian Air Force to the long and growing list of militaries who train their Hercules aircrews on CAE-built simulators,? said Martin Gagné, CAE?s Group President, Military Products, Training and Services.

No plan to buy F-35: Govt

(The Financial Express) : India has officially put a full stop to the frantic US pressure to enter the $10.4-billion race for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). Reacting to media reports that the US may offer F-35 fighter jets to re-enter the MMRCA race, the official spokesperson in the ministry of defence (MoD), Sitanshu Kar, told FE that, “We have progressed a lot in the MMRCA programme, we have crossed a lot of stages that have become part of history.”
“It is too late in the day for any new entrant,” said a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officer on condition of anonymity.
Industry sources, agreeing with the government’s decision not to allow any new entrant in the already closed race, said: “It is a very interesting situation. The trials are over. The commercial bids are expected to be open shortly. Discussions on offset commissions are progressing well. While one government is offering its best machine, it will be India’s call finally.”
However, the source added that “it will be unfair to the shortlisted contenders”.
The government has shortlisted the European consortium Eurofighter’s Typhoon and the French Dassault’s Rafale fighter aircraft.
Lockheed Martin’s offering, the F-16IN, was eliminated from India’s $10.4 billion, along with rival Boeing’s F-18IN Super Hornet offering. The MMRCA deal was touted as the ‘mother of all defence deals’ in the international defence industry.
Though the Indian Air Force never seemed very interested in the F-16 Falcon from the US-based Lockheed Martin, one of the several reasons for the aircraft not being in the race could be the fact that fact that Pakistan also flies F-16s. Also Lockheed Martin could have run into problems in meeting the industrial offset provisions, given its lack of penetration in India.
India has been invited to F-35 events. With potential US order numbers dropping, India could have joined the elite programme. However, India chose to join hands with Russia for its Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme, which offers a semi-indigenous alternative.
The F-35 jet is still in development and the planes would cost about $133 million each. The Pentagon plans to buy more than 2,400 of them, which means that at an estimated $382 billion, it is Pentagon’s most expensive weapons programme ever. A rough estimate has it that at $133 million per unit, the cost of acquisition for the MMRCA would go up by 50 per cent should the IAF opt for the F-35. This would inflate the $11-billion MMRCA tender to $17 billion.

Antony for indigenous weapon systems suited to Indian climate

(IBN Live) : New Delhi, Jun 22 (PTI) Observing that imported weapon systems come with "hidden costs, time and cost overruns", Defence Minister A K Antony today asked the domestic industry to develop systems as per the country's climatic conditions. "Imported systems and technology come with hidden costs, time and cost overruns," he said while addressing a seminar on standards for quality and empowerment here. Antony said imported weapons did not always suit India's climate and technology should be developed keeping in mind Indian conditions. "There have been instances where systems developed by other nations work well in cooler climates and at lower temperatures, but the efficiency of the product and technology goes down in nations with warmer climate like ours," he said. Antony said to achieve the exacting quality standards of our armed forces the defence industry needed to invest more in Research and Development. "Both the Defence PSUs as well as the emerging private sector will have to invest more in Defence R&D, something like the pharma sector has done," the Minister said. He said there is need for investing in defence industry, more so in terms of faith and confidence in capabilities. "We must gradually reduce our reliance on foreign suppliers considering that transfer of technology is easier said than done," he said. The Defence Minister said the defence forces must be given the choice among the best technologies available as "greater competition will lead all the participants in the Defence Sector to raise productivity levels � both in terms of quality and quantity," he said.

Raytheon in $23 million deal for India military air traffic upgrade

(The Economic Times ) : LE BOURGET, PARIS: Radars and missiles major Raytheon has bagged a $23.2 million contract from Tata Power Strategic Electronic Systems in a programme to automate air traffic management systems of the Indian Air Force .

Company officials taking part at the Paris Air Show here, said the contract was part of the IAF's project for modernization of its airfield infrastructure (MAFI). The project aims to make all IAF air bases capable of handling all types of modern transport and fighter aircraft at all times. Tata Power Strategic Electronic Systems is the prime contractor of the project, which is undertaking the programme to upgrade 30 airbases of IAF in the first phase of the project.

Raytheon also has tie-ups in India with L&T and BEL, and is eyeing a bigger presence in India in the long term.

In the MAFI project, Raytheon Network Centric Systems will supply a variant of its globally deployed AutoTrac family of air traffic management systems. Raytheon NCS command and control systems vice president Andy Zogg said the company's AutoTrac system would provide IAF with a modern automated systems backbone for easier and rapid incorporation of new tools and functionality as they become available.

The US-based $25-billion Ratyehon has a presence in electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the area of sensing, and offers a broad range of mission support services, among others.

The Indian defence market has attracted the attention of defence and aerospace players at the Paris Air Show here, particularly in the backdrop of projections that the country's defence market could be in the range of $ 80 billion over the next 4-5 years. There are also expectations among participants here that the Indian defence sector would opt for unmanned air vehicles, tactical missiles destroyers and more radar-based warfare systems in the coming years.

June 22, 2011

China Plans Aircraft Carrier Test Next Month

China Plans Aircraft Carrier Test Next Month
(NavalToday) : China is planning an initial sea trial of its first aircraft carrier next month, a Hong Kong newspaper said Tuesday, a move likely to further worry neighbors amid heightened tensions over territorial disputes.
Some form of limited testing of the ship is planned to coincide with celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1, the Hong Kong Commercial Daily said.
The newspaper reported earlier this month that a top general, Chen Bingde, told it that the carrier was being outfitted, the highest-level confirmation by the secretive military that work is under way. Chen refused to give a timetable for its completion.
China has spent the best part of a decade refurbishing the former Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag after it was towed from Ukraine in 1998, and the carrier program has been widely known for several years.
Activity aboard the ship, docked in the northern port of Dalian, has picked up in recent days, with photos on military enthusiast websites showing workers removing heavy equipment from its sloped flight deck.
The newspaper said the ship will be formally launched next year on Oct. 1, China’s national day, after workers complete the installation of weapons systems and other equipment.
The still-unnamed ship was bought as an empty shell without engines, weapons systems, or other crucial equipment and isn’t believed to have traveled before under its own propulsion. Years of sea trials and flight training are needed before it will be fully operational.
Once launched, it is expected to primarily serve as a training vessel for the navy and for naval pilots, while China moves swiftly to build its own carriers.
The carrier’s move toward operability raises the stakes for Washington, long the pre-eminent naval power in Asia, and jangles the already edgy nerves of China’s neighbors upset with what they see as Beijing’s more assertive posture in enforcing claims to disputed territories.
Over the past year, China has seen a flare-up in territorial spats with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and seen its relations strained with South Korea — all of which have turned to Washington for support.

Russia blasts U.S. Navy maneuvers near Georgia

(RIA Novosti) :Russia is outraged at the maneuvers of American USS Monterey cruiser carrying the AEGIS air defense system near the Georgian coast on the Black Sea, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The U.S. warship arrived for joint exercises with Georgia as part of the Phased Adaptive Approach program designed to shape the European segment of the U.S.-led project to build a global missile defense system, the Trend news agency said.
"The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier expressed concern that along with negotiations on cooperation in the global air defense system, [the U.S.] is conducting simultaneous 'reconnaissance' operations near the borders of our country," the ministry said.
Russia has been deeply concerned over U.S. plans to deploy a European air defense system near the Russian borders, saying it threatened its national security. Washington said it needed the system as a shield against possible threats from Iran or North Korea.
"And now this American warship has demonstratively entered the Georgian port of Batumi," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Relations between Russia and Georgia have been complicated in the past decade. Russia has traditionally supported Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Georgia has been looking to join NATO. In 2008, Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war over the two breakaway Georgian republics, after which Russia recognized them both as being independent states.
"Whatever the explanations are, it is clear that the Georgian authorities will see the incident as encouragement for their ambitions for revenge against the Russian allies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is unlikely to help stability in the region," the ministry said.
Russian diplomats said they expected a more constructive approach from U.S. authorities, which would help provide security in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region as a whole and respect the interests of all local countries.

US may land deal for re-engining of Indian Air Force's Jaguar too

(The Economic Times ) : The US is likely to be the prime beneficiary of yet another lucrative military contract, after the defence ministry withdrew its commercial tender for the re-engining of the Indian Air Force's Jaguar Deep Penetration Strike Aircraft last month.

New Delhi is likely to proceed through the Foreign Military Sales route as the existing defence policy does not allow procurement from a single vendor.

The latest development is likely to propel the US-based diversified conglomerate Honeywell, which was one of the two vendors invited to supply new engines, as the prime contractor for the new engines, especially after British engine-maker Rolls-Royce pulled out of the competition in March 2011. The tender for the re-engining of the Jaguar aircraft, which was cancelled by South Block last month, has been estimated at $670 million, and calls for the supply of between 200 and 250 engines.

"Commercial tenders cannot end up in a single-vendor situation. This (Jaguar re-engining tender) is likely to be a government-to-government deal," a ministry source said on the condition of anonymity.

For the Jaguar re-engining programme, Rolls-Royce, the world's second-largest engine-maker, had offered its Adour MK-821 engine, an upgraded version of the Adour-811 engines that are currently powering the fleet.

In an emailed response to queries sent by ET, the Westminster, London-based company said it has informed the government, IAF and state-owned defence undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics that it "will not be responding to the RFP".

"The IAF RFP issued in November last year and later confirmed at the Bid Conference in Delhi now calls for a new engine not an upgraded engine," the company said in a statement.

However, Honeywell has elected to stay in the competition, through its offering, the F125-IN Turbofan engine. "Honeywell remains fully committed to supporting the Indian Air Force and the Indian Ministry of Defence in their procurement process for an engine upgrade for their fleet of Jaguar aircraft," Pritam Bhavnani, president, Honeywell Aerospace India, wrote in an email.

The IAF, currently, has about 125 Jaguar strike fighters, but the existing engines on the aircraft have been deemed underpowered as per modern-era battlefield requirements, and a decision to install brand-new engines with greater thrust, has been taken.

With Honeywell still angling for the contract, New Delhi is likely to work directly with Washington for the supply of the engines, with the deal being concluded at the government-to-government level, according to informed sources.

The IAF wants to retain its Jaguar fleet and have been insisting that new engines will increase its longevity. Operationally, the the Jaguars have been used by the IAF, with a great degree of success during the Kargil conflict, in conjunction with its Mirage-2000 fighters.

However, upgrades of existing fighter fleets have not met with much success in recent times, with the Mirage-2000 retrofit seemingly in limbo, as the government continues to be at logger heads with French defence vendors Dassault and Thales over costs.

India to get Nerpa Akula-II N-submarine this year: Official

(Hindustan Times) : India would receive its first new generation Nerpa Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine, which is undergoing sea trials in Russia, by the end of this year, a top Russian official has said. "The Nerpa will be handed over to the Indian Navy on lease by the end of this year," Director of Federal Service for
Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Mikhail Dmitriyev was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. "Currently the submarine is undergoing sea trials, where the Indian crew is checking the functioning of its all systems and mechanism and are honing their skill for operating the vessel," said the official dealing in foreign military cooperation.
Under a $ 650 million confidential deal, part of the aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov' package, Russia is to give India the Nerpa on a 10-year lease, to be inducted as INS Chakra.
The Soviet-designed Shchuka B (Pike), NATO codenamed Akula-II, is claimed to be Russia's 'quietest' submarine avoiding detection by enemy sonars.
The Nerpa was to join the Indian Navy as early as 2008. However, an accident in November 2008 delayed the induction of the submarine.
During the sailing trials in the Sea of Japan, 20 people sleeping in the sailors compartment were killed by the deadly mixture of Freon gas due to the unauthorised manipulation of automatic fire extinguishing system.
It led to delay in the formal induction of the submarine by the Russian Navy for subsequent lease to the Indian Navy.
A court of inquiry had established that a cheaper lethal mixture of Freon was filled in the system, which instantly killed the sailors and technical staff of the shipyard.
Had there been normal more expensive Freon gas in the system, the crew would have enough time to put on gas masks and safely leave the sleeping compartment, the probe had revealed.

Boeing begins final assembly of first P-8I aircraft for India

Boeing [NYSE: BA] began final assembly of the Indian navy's first P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft this month at the company's Renton factory. The P-8I, based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the U.S. Navy.
The start of assembly work follows delivery of the plane's fuselage from teammate Spirit AeroSystems on May 29. Boeing workers have begun installing systems, wires and other small parts onto the fuselage. The P-8I's engines and wings will be installed later this summer.
"The P-8I is a result of a close partnership between Boeing's commercial and defense units to deliver the latest and best maritime reconnaissance capability to the world," said Dinesh Keskar, president, Boeing India. "This agreement highlights the true commitment Boeing has toward India."

"India is our first international customer for the P-8 and we are committed to delivering this aircraft on time," said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. "The timely start of assembly and our in-line production process will allow us to meet our goal and incorporate significant efficiencies as we move forward on the program."
Boeing was selected on the basis of a global tender by the government of India. The contract for procurement of eight P-8I aircraft, with an option for four additional aircraft, was signed on Jan. 1, 2009.
The P-8I will provide India with speed, reliability, persistence and room for growth to satisfy the country’s maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare requirements now and into the future. The aircraft features open system architecture, advanced sensor and display technologies, and a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.
Boeing, the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined, has significantly expanded its footprint in India in both civil aviation and defense. Boeing is partnering with India's leading technology and manufacturing companies to build a supply chain out of India. The company also has opened a Research and Technology center in Bengaluru to collaborate with India’s technical talent for research in aero structures, materials and network systems. Boeing India's corporate office is in New Delhi. For more information on Boeing India, visit www.boeing.co.in.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 65,000 employees worldwide.

: @BoeingDefense.

Paris 2011: Rostvertol’s Upgraded Mi-26T2 Looks for Sales in India

Rostvertol (Russian Helicopters, Chalet B37) is at the Paris show promoting its Mi-26T2, an upgraded version of theits popular Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopter, in the hope of securing sales to India and other potential customers. The company is appearing at the Paris Air Show for the first time since becoming part of the Russian Helicopters (Chalet B37).
Improvements include a glass cockpit, more advanced avionics and night- operations capability. The new cockpit enables crew numbers to be reduced from five to two, plus a flight engineer to operate the external sling. NA new air conditioning system and cargo compartment heating system has have been fitted, which is likely to prove popular with crewmembers.
Revealed at the 2005 Paris Air Show, Tthe cockpit upgrade comprises five multifunction liquid- crystal displays, a pair of PS-7 digital control panels and backup electro-mechanical units. A new TV video sensor has been added, which brings color pictures visuals of external- load operations to the cockpit. An additional searchlight has been installed for nighttime visual operations along with an infrared lighting mode, to be used with night- vision goggles. The navigation upgrade includes an A-737 GNSS system compatible with both the U.S. GPS and Russian Glonass global positioning systems.
The Mi-26T2 features improved versions of its 11,650-0 s.h.p D-136-2 turboshaft engines, now provided with full-authority digital engine control units and a contingency power rating of 12,500 shps.h.pshp at temperatures above 30 degrees C – ,a feature specifically aimed at operations in hot countries such as India, where the helicopter is in direct competition with the Boeing CH-47F Chinook.
Meanwhile, serial production of the Night Hunter version of the Mi-28N attack helicopter is in full swing, with 40 aircraft built to- date. The first machine was delivered to the Russian Federation in 2008. and Tthe type has already taken part in several combat operations already. The Mi-28NE can carry twice the rocket payload of the Mi-24, from which it is developed, and it has been given an air-to-air capability, improved armor and better mechanical survivability. 

Aviation International News