September 30, 2011

Indian Jaguar Re-engining Nears

When India did not shortlist either of the U.S. fighter offerings in its large Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition, it raised questions whether something was amiss with the defense-industrial relationship between the two sides.
But U.S. industry still looks to have access to this growth market. The latest sign is that after seven months of on-again, off-again talks, India’s effort to re-engine more than 100 of its Sepecat Jaguar strike aircraft is finally moving forward, with indications that Honeywell will land the deal.
Indian air force officials say the defense minister, in late August, was told to fast-track the acquisition to replace the Jaguar’s Adour Mk811 engines in light of operational considerations and requirements. That effectively means a contract will be awarded to Honeywell for its F125N engine. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for the $650 million deal during their visits to New Delhi last year. U.S. officials suggest that the paperwork for a foreign military sale (FMS) is already being processed. Any deal with Honeywell would involve the purchase of more than 200 engines.
But it is not a done deal. High-level Rolls-Royce officials says they are still in talks with the air force to upgrade the current powerplant. Rolls-Royce did not respond to the service’s request for proposals earlier this year and was believed to have stepped away from the competition in February, saying it had issues with the stated requirement. While Honeywell offered a new engine, Rolls-Royce’s was an upgrade of the existing Adour engine to the Mk821 standard, and therefore not strictly a “re-engining” as demanded by the Indian air force.
“We are still in dialogue with the Indian air force about what we believe is a much more cost-effective and lower-risk engine upgrade program. A package that would minimize aircraft integration and would utilize existing Adour infrastructure in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., which we believe should be a point of deep importance for the customer,” a senior Rolls-Royce India official says. Military officials confirmed that the firm has held several meetings with the acquisition team since February.
In briefings, Honeywell has criticized Rolls-Royce’s Mk821 program, suggesting that several parts of the engine were yet to be developed fully. Honeywell says its offering, the F125IN, is designed to “drop-fit into existing Jaguar airframes, resulting in an enhanced aircraft with superior mission capabilities and with a projected life-cycle savings of over $1.5 billion.”
Privately, Rolls-Royce has questioned Honeywell’s “drop-fit” claim, suggesting that certifying the F125N on the Jaguar is likely to take an unacceptable length of time from the military’s perspective.
The Indian air force, which began acquiring Jaguars in 1981, has since bought license-built variants from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., and has had them upgraded several times with new navigational aids, weapons capabilities and precision-attack systems, incrementally cranking up platform weight. After several complaints of low thrust across the aircraft’s operational envelope, particularly at medium altitude, the service decided four years ago to search for a new engine. In 2008, an internal study of the options available recommended an engine replacement rather than an upgrade.
Over the next few months, the Indian air force will also come closer to choosing a close-combat air-to-air missile for its Jaguars. The competitive field has been narrowed to MBDA’s Advanced Short-range air-to-air missile and Rafael’s Python 5. Live-fire field evaluations are scheduled to be held before year’s end.
Indian air force chief Air Chief Marshal Norman Browne, a veteran Jaguar pilot himself, has stressed the need for efficient contracting, faced as he is with depleting squadron strength. Four days into office, a fatal Jaguar crash, still under investigation, is understood to have compelled fresh dialogue with the defense ministry to speed up modernization efforts, since they have a bearing on flight safety.

(Aviation week)

First Sortie of INS Vikramaditya Postponed For May 2012

(RUSNAVY) : As a result of inspection held by top-ranking Indian officers at Sevmash shipyard, general schedule of modernization works on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was revised.

As was earlier reported by Central Navy Portal, delegation of Indian Navy officers headed by chief of ship building and procurement department Vice Admiral N.N. Kumar arrived at JSC Sevmash shipyard on Sept 20. Main result of the inspection was changing of pre-scheduled start date of Vikramaditya's sea trials.

Military cooperation with India has been always one of Russia's top priorities. This time, Indian delegation was met by a group of high-ranking persons headed by president of JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) Roman Trotsenko and leadership of Sevmash shipyard – acting director general Mikhail Budnichenko and chief engineer Alexei Alsufiev, vice president of USC and director general of Northern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center Anatoly Tiukov, head of military technical cooperation department Igor Ponomariov, deputy chief of Rosoboronexport's Navy department Evgeny Odintsov.

Summarizing results of inspection, the parties signed a working protocol. Indian Navy's delegates were satisfied with the course of works on the ship's upgrade and agreed with Sevmash officials to postpone the start date of sea trials from Dec 2011 to May 2012 without delaying of the full trial program providing that the acceptance certificate would be signed in due time – on Dec 4, 2012.

According to the protocol, although the works are 4 months behind the schedule, Russian party obliged to do away with the lag till the beginning of sea trials, i.e. end of May, 2011. As of today, the ship is 85% ready. Sevmash will have to complete basic outfitting works, interior finishing, and mooring trials until March 2012. Electromagnetic field measurements are scheduled in Apr 2012, and upon their results it will be decided whether the ship needs degaussing. Till 2012 the shipyard will have to furnish messrooms, cookrooms, medical and living premises: cabins, crew quarters, shower rooms and latrines. Besides, the ship must be checked by Navigation Safety Inspection, and one of its obligatory conditions is that the trial crew should settle in the ship at least 90 days prior to the first sortie. Thus, settlement date of Russian crew to INS Vikramaditya must be mid-Feb 2012.

VADM Kumar drew attention to a number of other problems, such as training of Indian crew, transfer of service documentation, etc. Generally, the Indian party had noticed considerable progress. The next inspection is to arrive at Sevmash in Jan 2012 to check trials of main propulsion plant.

No plans to retire Typhoon class subs soon - Russian military

A high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry has denied rumors of a planned scrapping of Typhoon class strategic submarines in the near future.
Several media sources reported recently that the Russian military had decided to scrap the world's largest nuclear-powered subs by 2014.
"The Defense Ministry has not made such a decision. The submarines remain in service with the Navy," the official told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
The Typhoon class submarines entered service with the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. Three of the six vessels built are still in use.
The Dmitry Donskoy submarine has been modernized as a test platform for Russia's new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile and will remain in this capacity for a long time, the source said.
Two reserve vessels, the Arkhangelsk and the Severstal, are awaiting overhaul at a naval base in Severodvinsk in northern Russia.
"The problem is that they do not have the arsenal of R-39 [SS-N-20 Sturgeon] submarine-launched ballistic missiles anymore, as the production of these missiles in Ukraine stopped in 1991," the source said.
The Typhoon class subs have a maximum displacement of 33,800 tons and were built to carry 20 SS-N-20 SLBMs, all of which have been retired.
Nevertheless, these subs will most likely be modernized to carry new-generation sea-based cruise missiles to match the U.S. Ohio-class submarines.
The Typhoons will be replaced in the future with the new Borey class strategic submarines, which will be equipped with Bulava missiles.

RIA Novosti

Nuclear-capable Agni-II missile test-fired

Balasore: India's nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface Agni-II ballistic missile, with a strike range of 2000 kms, was on Friday test-fired as part of user trial by the Army from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.

The indigenously developed missile was fired by personnel of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army from Launch Complex-IV of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 0930 hours, defence sources said. 

Agni-II, developed as one of the key weapon systems of country’s nuclear deterrence programme, is already under production and has been inducted in the Indian Armed Forces.

The two-stage solid fuel propelled Agni-II missile, developed by Advanced System Laboratory (ASL) and other DRDO laboratories, has a length of 20 metres, diameter of one metre and weighs around 17 tonnes, they said.

It is equipped with a special navigation system to achieve high degree of accuracy. The system is also equipped with anti-ballistic defence counter measures. It can be transported both by rail and road, they said.

The last trial scheduled on August 29 this year was aborted due to some technical problem, the sources said.

A user trial of the missile conducted on May 17 last year from the same base was successful.

PTI / ZeeNews

Saab sets up Indian subsidiary

Swedish defence firm Saab AB will Oct 1 launch its Indian subsidiary, Saab India Technologies Private Limited, to conduct research in defence, aviation and internal security technologies for this country's security forces, the company said Thursday.
"Saab is strengthening its commitment as a long-term partner to the Indian defence industry, armed forces and national security with its new Indian entity Saab India Technologies Private Limited. The company is a fully owned subsidiary of Saab AB," a company release said.
"Saab has been a supplier to the Indian armed forces for decades. Saab India Technologies is a result of a continuous presence in India together with the defence industry private and public sector as well as research and development organisations," it said.
Saab India Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab, which provides world-leading products, services and solutions within the fields of defence, aviation and civil security. Saab offers its complete product range in India for all defence and aviation related business opportunities from underwater, land and aerospace, the release said.
“Our commitment to the security of the Indian society manifests through research and development investments, customised solutions and tailor made offset projects.
"We are intensifying our operations in India with a long-term perspective contributing with technological know-how to the Indian defence industry,” Saab India Technologies chairman Jan Widerstrom said in the release.
“In Saab’s ambition to enable India to develop a strong distinct position with its developing defence industry, the company continues to develop its competence in India with a growing organisation bringing in Swedish experienced personnel and hiring local Indian expertise.
"Saab India Technologies is the preferred employer for all competence and resources under the Saab umbrella," Saab India Technologies managing director Inderjit Sial added.


AK Antony to visit Russia next week to review military projects

In the run-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's summit-level talks in Russia later this year, defence minister A K Antony will be in Moscow next week to review ongoing and proposed bilateral military projects.

Sources said the impending 10-year lease of K-152 Nerpa nuclear submarine, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project and the ongoing $2.33 billion refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will figure during the India-Russia inter-governmental commission on military technical cooperation ( IRIGC-MTC) on Tuesday.

The FGFA project, in particular, is crucial since it will in the coming years become the biggest joint defence programme. As of now, India and Russia have only inked the $295 million preliminary design contract for it. But, as earlier reported, India will end up spending around $35 billion over the next two decades to induct 250-300 of the advanced stealth fighters from 2020 onwards.

Moreover, there are several problems still to be sorted out in the ongoing programmes. India remains unhappy about Russia not adhering to delivery schedules, jacking up costs mid-way through execution of agreements, creating roadblocks in technology transfer and failing to provide uninterrupted supply of spares. 
Times of India

September 29, 2011

India's Prahaar Missile Launch on July 21

                                                   source : youtube (Shivaroor)

User trial of Agni-II tomorrow

After successful trials of hypersonic missile ‘Shourya’ and medium range ballistic missile ‘Prithvi’-II, defence scientists and the Indian Army are preparing for a user trial of 2,000-km plus range nuke capable missile Agni-II.
Defence sources said the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a special wing of the Army, will carry out the test on September 30.
Preparation is on at the Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast for the last fortnight for the test launching of India’s first indigenously built Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM). �
The test of the missile which was scheduled to be held on August 29 last was aborted due to last minute technical snags in the missile system.
The mission was put off after snags were detected a few seconds before the take off.
The system did not get adequate pressure for ignition following the technical glitch. “Though the pyro was fired in time, required pressure could not be built up for ignition which led the scientists to abort the mission,” it said.
A defence official said the snags have been fixed and this time they were hopeful of success in the Agni-II user trial. “Everything is on schedule. We are planning to conduct the test on September 30 or October 1. The test schedule is subject to favourable weather,” he told this paper.
This was not for the first time that technical snags were detected in the Agni-II system. In 2009 two consecutive attempts for Agni-II trials had ended in failure. On both the occasions the missile had developed technical glitches during the second stage separation.
The two-stage solid propelled Agni-II missile developed by Advanced System Laboratory (ASL) and other DRDO labs has a length of 20 metres, diameter of one metre and weighs around 17 tonnes.
It is designed to carry both conventional and nuclear payload of over a tonne.
The missile is equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system with modern techniques for taking the missile towards designated target very accurately. The Agni-II version was first test-fired in 1999 from the same location.
This test is considered ‘very crucial’ as it is supposed to give a technical push to the country’s intercontinental missile programme.
India aims to initiate the programme with the maiden test of 5,000-km range nuclear capable missile Agni-V anytime in December.

IBN Live

Israel's Iron Dome gains anti-aircraft role

The "Iron Dome" system deployed to protect the Israeli population from short-range rockets is also efficient against aircraft up to an altitude of 32,800ft (10,000m).
A Rafael source said that during the deployment of the first three systems the Israeli air force has learned about the extra capability.
"It will serve as another layer in our anti-aircraft deployment that consists of upgraded Hawk and Patriot missiles," the source said.
In the past few months, Iron Dome batteries have intercepted more than 90% of the BM-21 Grad and Kassam rockets launched from Gaza into Israel.
A mobile defence system aimed at intercepting short-range rockets and artillery shells, Iron Dome avoids causing collateral damage by detonating a target warhead away from the defended area. Its interceptor has an effective range up to 70km (38nm), according to Rafael.
Foreign sources have indicated that Singapore has already purchased the Iron Dome system, with other countries also likely to show interest.

Flight Global

India Conducts Engine Trials Of Naval LCA

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has conducted engine tests of the naval Light Combat Aircraft prototype in the southern city of Bengaluru.
The first engine ground run (EGR) of aircraft NP1 was conducted at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) complex on Sept. 26 with the primary objective of checking aircraft-to-engine integration. In addition, flight control, hydraulics, fuel systems, electrical and avionics systems were evaluated, a DRDO official says.
The official says the next step will be a taxi run of the aircraft, after which it should be ready for flight trials by the end of this year or early next year.
“The aircraft will now go through a phase of refinements based on feedback identified during the course of the build up and also observed during the EGR, followed by a series of final integration checks and taxi trials before its maiden flight shortly,” the DRDO official says.
The team steering the project includes the Indian navy, air force, HAL, DRDO, the Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification, the Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance, educational institutions, and other public and private-sector partners.
Meanwhile, the first flight of the maritime reconnaissance P-8I aircraft will be performed soon. Based on the Boeing 737-800, it was developed by the American aircraft maker and is being assembled at the company’s facility in Renton, Wash. The aircraft, a variant of the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon, will be the first of eight units ordered and is scheduled to enter service in 2013. India is the only export customer for the aircraft so far.


Sea trails of upgraded aircraft-carrier set for 2012

Indian navy and Sevmash shipyard agree that it will be inappropriate to start testing at sea with “Vikramaditya” this November as earlier scheduled.
Russia and India agreed in 2004 to upgrade and sell the former Soviet aircraft-carrier “Admiral Gorshkov” to the Indian navy under the name “Vikramaditya.”
After years of delays and disagreements between the two countries on the final price tag, a 2010 agreement stipulated delivery of the modernized vessel for December 2012. But, first the Indian crew will take the vessel out in the Barents Sea for testing. That was supposed to happen this November.
New date for sea trail of the huge aircraft-carrier is now May 2012.
The vessel is now 85 percent ready, reports the portal of the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk following delegation of inspections of the Joint Staff of the Indian Navy.
- Today, the works are on schedule, but there are technical problems can be solved largely through Rosoboronexport, which always supports us. I am sure that in December 2012, the ship will be delivered to the customer, President of JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation Roman Trotsenko, says in the press-note posted on the portal of Sevmash.

(Barents Observer)

Boeing wins $469M contract for C-17 airlifter services to India

The Indian Air Force upped the total value of a contract with Boeing Co.  for aircraft maintenance and upgrades by nearly half a billion dollars, according to an announcement from the Defense Department Wednesday.
The contract modification — worth $469 million — was made under a foreign military sales requirement for Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, which means the actual contract to provide the services to India is between Boeing and the Defense Department.
The Indian Air Force is a member of the "virtual fleet," which is an international program that provides C-17 customers with comprehensive logistics support, including spare parts, support equipment, technology orders, sustainment engineering, and on-site field teams. This is accomplished through use of shared resources across the entire global fleet, providing all C-17 customers —regardless of the number of aircraft that they own — access to the same support services.
Boeing, which employs more than 3,200 people in more than two dozen locations in the Washington area, announced in June that the India’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters for an estimated $4.1 billion, making India the C-17′s largest international customer

(Washington Business Journal)

September 28, 2011

Sukhoi-30MkIs increase night flying to enhance fighting capabilities

(DNA) : Be prepared to hear loud roars of fighter jets every night. The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi-30MkI air dominance fighters have just stepped up their night flying, and will continue to do so in the coming days.
This was disclosed to media persons by Wing Commander B Satish, commanding officer of the 30 Squadron (The Rhinos) at the IAF base at Lohegaon on Tuesday. The media visit had been organised as part of the Air Force Day celebrations, to be held on October 8 across the country.
Satish, who took over the squadron recently, said that night flying had been increased to further hone the flying capabilities of the pilots. The Pune IAF base is arguably the most important of all bases in the country as it has three fighter squadrons of Sukhoi-30MkIs (Squadrons 20, 30 and 31).
Satish said, “Night flying adds considerably to the physiological stress in a fighter pilot. But night time expertise is important to put down enemy airfields and fighter aircraft with pin-point accuracy.”
Not only are the Sukhois flying every night, but as many as eight Sukhois took part in war games last week assisted by a state-of-the-art AWACS (airborne warning and control system) aircraft from Agra, which specially flew down from Uttar Pradesh and went back the same night.
Explaining the exercise to media persons in the special briefing room, Squadron Leader Shanmukha said how four Sukhois ‘fought’ four Sukhois over the airspace covering
Pune-Ahmednagar-Solapur. Such exercises are extremely important in honing the fighting capabilities of pilots.
“Exercises such as these are followed by exhaustive de-briefing sessions, when mistakes are analysed threadbare. This is the only way we are able to improve our skills,” Shanmukha said.
Later, Flight Lieutenant Thakurdas explained the immense manoeuvrability of the Sukhoi jet when he showed media persons an aircraft from up close. Pointing to the special canards (small, additional wings near the cockpit) and the two nozzles in the rear of the aircraft, Thakurdas said that these helped the Sukhoi-30MkI turn 360 degrees like a helicopter in a split second. “This adds to the dominance of the aircraft in the air,” he said.
Finally, the journalists were taken inside the IAF managed air traffic control (ATC) room where three young Air Warriors with ear phones sat glued to their screens receiving and issuing instructions rapidly. Squadron Leader Johar told the media that the ATC works 24/7 and was fully controlled by the IAF.
“As the Pune air base is used by both civilian and military aircraft, our ATC team has to converse with both groups. The language used during the radio telephony is consistent with international standards,” Johar said. The Pune air base sees as many as 100 take-offs and landings every day of civilian and military aircraft.

Indian Navy's first Boeing P-8I maritime recce aircraft to fly soon

(domain-b) :Boeing will soon conduct the first flight of a 737-800-based P-8I maritime patrol aircraft intended for the Indian Navy (IN), with the first unit emerging from the manufacturer's Renton Field assembly site in Washington.
Photographed at the facility early this month by a private aerospace enthusiast,  the aircraft has emerged painted in Indian markings and assigned the registration IN320. It is the first of eight IN P-8Is on order. The Boeing fleet will replace the Indian Navy's current Tupolev Tu-142 turboprops.
Derived from the P-8A Poseidon, now in development testing for the US Navy, India's next-generation maritime surveillance aircraft is scheduled to enter operational service sometime early 2013.
The Indian derivative will differ from the USN version primarily through the addition of a belly-mounted radar, which, combined with other sensors, will provide a 360° surveillance capability against airborne targets.
Also on order of the P-8I are 32 Raytheon Mk54 lightweight torpedoes worth $86 million.
The first USN P-8A flew from the Renton Field in July.
India is not only the first, but so far, the only foreign buyer for the 737 derivative.

I st development flight of Agni-V missile in December: Saraswat

The first development flight of the long range Agni-V missile would be conducted in December this year, DRDO Chief V K Saraswat said here today.

"The first development flight of Agni-V will be in the month of December this year... Agni-V will take us to a level of 5000 km plus class of missile systems which meets all our threat requirements," Saraswat, who is also Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister A K Antony, said.

He was interacting with reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of Golden Jubilee celebrations of Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a premier DRDO lab working in the area of physiological development of soldiers of the armed forces.

Replying to a question on whether DRDO is planning to develop Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Saraswat said, "We are not developing any ICBM. Our threat perception today is not requiring development of any ICBM."

He said that the country possesses the capability to develop longer range missiles.

"Whether it is a 5000 km range missile or a 10,000 km range one, it requires the same technology. Only the magnitude of the rocket motor, the size of the rocket motor, or the diameter of the missile changes. But the science and technology remains the same," he said.

On the recent test firing of Prithvi-II missile, Saraswat said it was a training launch carried out by the Strategic Force Command (SFC).

"Missiles like Prithvi-II and Agni-III are already inducted in the armed forces. Forces have already taken certain number of these missiles. Now as part of the total programme, from every batch of production, they take one or two missiles to validate its production worthiness and second thing is that they train their units," he said.

"Every time a new unit (of the forces) comes, it has to be trained. So what you are seeing today are the training firing of these missiles. Yesterday's firing of Prithvi-II was also a training launch carried out by the SFC. Similarly, all the previous firing were done as part of that," Saraswat said.

On weapon trials of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas which is going on at a firing range in Pokhran, Saraswat said, "Yesterday LCA fired a laser guided bomb which had a direct hit on the target under heat conditions in Pokhran. It was the first such firing from the aircraft."

He said the aircraft is expected to get the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) from the IAF by 2012.

On development of Mark-II version of the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun, Saraswat said the tank would be equipped with advance and modified systems such as an integrated gun capable of firing anti-tank missiles and a display system to show several functions to assist the soldier.

"Missile firing capability in Arjun Mark-II will be completely unique. It will be capable of firing laser guided missiles with pin-point accuracy. The missile will be integrated with the MBT and it would be capable of defeating the tank's armour," he said.

Arjun Mark-II will have several different capabilities, for example, a different kind of gunner sight and panoramic sight along with an integrated display, which is not there at present, Saraswat said.

"The integrated display has got multiple functions like target detection, it can see how the missile is going to be located and function for firing different weapons. The display will also show if the tank is moving through an amphibious area," the DRDO chief said.

On systems to ensure improved performance of soldiers operating the tank, he said, "The internal ergonomics will undergo required changes. All the systems will have to go for a reorientation mode. We have also made some new devices like human cooling system."

Indian Army has ordered 142 MBT Arjun Mark-II which would be ready for commissioning within a couple of years. 
  - Deccan Herald

September 27, 2011

World Airforces Strength as on 2009


                                          Source :  (Thanks to) Flight Global

Iraq signs deal to buy 18 F-16 warplanes

Baghdad: Iraq has signed a contract to buy 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 warplanes to bolster its air force, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday.

The value of the deal was not immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official said recently the offer on the table for the Iraqi government was valued at "roughly $3 billion."

Iraqi and U.S. military officials have said strengthening its air force is one of Baghdad's top priorities as U.S. troops prepare to leave by December 31, more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

"The contract was signed ... and a part of the contract cost was sent to the bank account of the company," said Maliki's media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi. .

Lockheed said in a statement it looked forward to a partnership with Baghdad and was "pleased with the confidence Iraq places in our products." It declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, referring questions to the Iraqi and U.S. governments.

The Pentagon said it was aware of news reports that Iraq had signed the agreement but did not immediately confirm and referred questions to Baghdad.

Iraq has long sought a combat jet for its rebuilt air force. The government delayed a planned purchase of F-16s in February to divert a $900 million down payment to its national food ration program to help quell street protests.

Maliki said on July 30 Iraq would buy 36 F-16s, double the number it had originally planned, to shore up its weak air defenses. The OPEC producer has found itself flush with cash this year, reaping windfall profits as world oil prices have remained above budget projections.

The two sides have been negotiating for the F-16 Block 52 export model with sophisticated avionics and weapons in a deal that included maintenance and training, a U.S. military official said.

Iraq is relying on the U.S. military for air support as it rebuilds its forces and battles a stubborn Islamist insurgency. Washington and Baghdad are discussing whether to keep some U.S. troops or military trainers in Iraq beyond the year-end deadline for U.S. departure.

Iraq's two airborne defense units, the Air Force and Army Aviation Command, have only 158 aircraft, including 89 helicopters and 69 airplanes, and about 7,500 personnel, according to U.S. figures.

At present, it has three Cessna Caravan propeller planes equipped with Hellfire missiles but no combat jets, a U.S. military official said. 

(PTI / Zeenews)

Russia to deploy 2nd Yars ballistic missile regiment by yearend

A second regiment equipped with Yars mobile ballistic missile systems will be put on combat duty in central Russia by the end of 2011, Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Monday.
The Yars missile system is armed with the RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile that has considerably better combat and operational capabilities than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin). Russia fully deployed the first Yars regiment consisting of three battalions in August 2011.
"The second regiment equipped with Yars mobile systems will be put on combat duty with the Teikovo missile division [in the Ivanovo region] by the end of 2011," Karakayev said.
The SMF said in August that the Topol-M and RS-24 missiles would be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia's nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80% of the SMF's arsenal by 2016.
The RS-24 is a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads, while Topol-M is a single-warhead missile.
As of August 2011, the SMF operated at least 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M missile systems, and nine RS-24 systems.

RIA Novosti

Bill introduced in US House to freeze all aid to Pakistan

A key American lawmaker from Texas has introduced a resolution in the House of Representative to freeze all US aid to Pakistan.

The House Resolution (No HR 3013) if passed will freeze all US aid to Pakistan with the exception of funds that are designated to help secure nuclear weapons.

"Since the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan has proven to be disloyal, deceptive and a danger to the United States," Congressman Ted Poe said in a statement after tabling the resolution in the House on Friday.

"This so-called ally continues to take billions in US aid, while at the same time supports the militants who attack us.

"The United States must immediately freeze all aid to Pakistan," said Poe, who is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Pakistan has made it "painfully obvious" that they will continue their policy of "duplicity and deceit" by pretending to be US ally in the war on terror while simultaneously promoting violent extremism, the Congressman said.

According Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just this month the Pakistani government supported the groups who were behind both the truck bomb attack that wounded more than 70 US and Nato Troops and the attack on the US Embassy, Poe said.
The resolution has been sent to the house foreign affairs Committee for necessary action.

It is only after this key Congressional committee approves the resolution that it will be sent to the House of Representatives.

Notably only a few resolutions enter the House of Representatives. 

- Times of India

Indian Shipbuilding Joint Venture On Hold

(Aviationweek) : India has put on hold the joint venture between state-run shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Ltd. and Pipavav Defense and Offshore Engineering Co. after receiving complaints from other commercial shipyards that were passed over for the deal.
The Indian defense ministry is now forming a new policy for public-private business partnerships to establish greater transparency, according to Defense Minister A.K. Antony.
The joint venture, announced Sept. 12, was intended to create an independent company named Mazagon Dock Pipavav Ltd. that would work on Mazagon’s one-billion-rupee ($22 billion) backlog and bid for future defense orders (Aerospace DAILY, Sept. 15).
“The issue needs to be fully examined and settled before any forward movement takes place on this front,” Antony told a parliamentary committee Sept. 26.
Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) issued an expression of interest in March 2011 seeking strategic partnership with Indian private sector shipyards to meet the timelines for filling its orderbook. L&T, Bharati, ABG and Pipavav yards were shortlisted. This was followed by presentations from the shipyards and site visits by MDL officials to evaluate the various strengths and capabilities.
The eventual selection of Pipavav irked the other companies, who pointed out that the decision had been made without waiting for their detailed submissions.
Partnering with MDL would help any company tap large government contracts for defense ships and submarines, boosting its revenue and shipbuilding capabilities.
Antony says that any public-private joint ventures must compete for contracts. “We are treading on a new path and we would like to ensure that transparency is maintained at all levels,” he adds.
Pipavav was the first company in the private sector to get orders for frontline warships, which are priced from $100 million to $6 billion each. The company has outstanding orders of $1.5 billion, of which 42% are defense contracts. Pipavav Defense owns India’s largest dry dock and has a license from the government to build warships.

September 26, 2011

Prithvi-II ballistic missile test-fired successfully

India on Monday successfully test-fired its nuclear capable Prithvi-II ballistic missile, with a range of 350 kms, as part of user trial by the armed forces from Chandipur off Orissa coast, about 15 km from here.
"The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was flight tested at around 8.50 AM from a mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range launch complex-III," ITR Director S P Dash said.
The trial, conducted as part of operational exercise, was "fully successful," he said.
The test-firing of the short-range ballistic missile, which has already been inducted into the armed forces, was a 'user trial', defence sources said.
The sleek missile is "handled by the specially raised strategic force command", they said, adding the missile has a length of 9 metres and is one metre in diameter. It is propelled by two engines than run on liquid fuel. 
Prithvi, the first ballistic missile developed under the country's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), has the capability of carrying 500 kg of warhead.
The missile uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory.

Indian Express

Shaurya test-fire a copy-book success

India on Saturday test-fired a new-age surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), about 15- km from Balasore. Indigenously developed Shaurya missile was test-launched from an underground silo located in the launching complex-III around 2.30 pm.
Defence sources said the missile was test fired in its final configuration and met all mission objectives. "The test was a copy book success. The missile travelled along the pre-coordinated path as expected and covered a distance of nearly 700 km," said a defence release.
Shaurya can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads. It is the land version of the underwater-launched missile K-15 and was first fired in 2008 from the same test range. This missile can remain hidden and camouflaged in underground silos from enemy surveillance or satellites till they are fired from the special storage-cum-launch canisters.
A defence scientist said this developmental flight trial was a part of the on-going technology demonstration work undertaken by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The sophisticated missile can be easily handled, transported and stored within the canister for longer shelf life.
"All the radar stations, telemetry stations, electro-optical stations along the east coast have tracked and monitored all the mission parameters. Ships located near the target have also tracked and witnessed the final event. The missile has reached the target within few meters accuracy," he informed.
Shaurya, which has a strike range of 750 km, can carry a one-tonne nuclear and conventional warhead and is powered by two-stage solid fuel. Its length is about 10 metre and diameter of 0.5 metre. Its launch weight is about six tonne. The high maneuverability of the missile makes it less vulnerable to available anti-missile defence systems.
Prior to the test firing the district administration had temporarily evacuated 401 families residing within two km radius of the launching complex-III to nearby shelter camps early in the morning. They were compensated as per the prevailing guidelines. Soon after the successful launch DRDO chief controller Avinash Chander congratulated all the scientists and employees of DRDO and other establishments. Director of DRDL P Venugoplalan, Director of ITR SP Dash, Director of SPIC Satish Kumar and Programme Director AK Chakravarti monitored all the preparatory operations. Project director A Joseph and team had prepared the missile and conducted the launch flawlessly.

Times of India

Rs 3L cr plan to boost India's naval might

Jostling for the same strategic space with China in the Indian Ocean and beyond, with the oil exploration stand-off in South China Sea being just the latest indicator, India is slowly but surely building a Navy for the future.

A powerful three-dimensional Navy, which can protect India's geo-strategic interests stretching from Hormuz Strait to Malacca Strait, will not come cheap. Neither will it be built overnight.

Calculations show ongoing warship, submarine and maritime aircraft acquisition programmes as well as some concrete projects in the pipeline will together cost well upwards of Rs 300,000 crore.

When Admiral Nirmal Verma on Saturday commissions the second fleet tanker from Italy, the 27,500-tonne INS Shakti, Navy's force-levels will stand at 132 ships, with just over 50 "major combatants" and 14 ageing submarines.

But the numbers will dip in the coming months, with older ships slated for retirement. China, in contrast, has close to 100 major warships and over 60 submarines, and is now increasingly flexing its muscles in international waters.

India cannot hope to match it. The good news, however, is there are 46 ships "on order" for Navy at different domestic shipyards, along with aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (refitted Admiral Gorshkov) and three Talwar-class stealth frigates being built in Russia, say defence ministry sources.

Ranging from two aircraft carriers, six submarines and seven guided-missile destroyers to four anti-submarine warfare corvettes, nine naval off-shore patrol vessels and eight amphibious craft, the combined price tag for these 50 ships comes to over Rs 100,000 crore.

There are also two other major projects taking concrete shape now. One, the Rs 52,000 crore `Project-75India' to acquire six new-generation stealth submarines, equipped with land-attack missiles and air-independent propulsion, for which the global tender is now in the final stages. Six Scorpene submarines are already being constructed at Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks (MDL) for Rs 23,562 crore.

Then, seven more stealth frigates are to be built at MDL and GRSE (Kolkata) under Project-17A for around Rs 45,000 crore. This will follow the three 6,200-tonne stealth frigates built at MDL for Rs 8,101 crore, INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, with only the last now left to be delivered.

Navy is also going in for new carrier-borne fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft as well as multi-role helicopters and spy drones, which together will cost around Rs 85,000 crore. These include 45 Russian MiG-29Ks for $2 billion and 12 American P-8I long-range reconnaissance aircraft for over $3 billion.

The biggest warships currently under construction are the 44,570-tonne Vikramaditya and the 40,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) being built at Cochin Shipyard.

With Vikramaditya to be inducted by early-2013 and IAC by 2015, India hopes to deploy two potent carrier battle-groups by the middle of this decade. Another lethal punch will come when India's own nuclear submarine, the over 6,000-tonne INS Arihant being built at Vizag, becomes operational next year. 

- Times of India

September 24, 2011

DRDO to test-fire three missiles from today

(The Hindu) : Hypersonic Shourya will make its third flight before induction in Army
It will be a busy week from Saturday for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) — it will test-fire three surface-to-surface missiles, which can carry nuclear weapons, from Orissa's coast.
Hypersonic missile Shourya (valour), which can also carry conventional warheads, will be test-fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near Balasore.
This will be followed by the launch of Prithvi-II on September 26, also from Chandipur, and Agni-II on September 30 from the Wheeler Island off Damra.
It will be the third launch of Shourya, which can fly at six-seven times the speed of sound (Mach 6 to 7) at low altitudes. The first launch was on November 12, 2008, and the second was kept a secret. It is the land-variant of underwater-launched missile K-15 that is being fitted into nuclear-powered submarine Arihant. K-15 is already under production.
DRDO missile technologists said the Saturday launch of Shourya would be “a proving trial with the user's [Services'] participation.” Since the first two launches were successful, the missile would be inducted into the Army if this flight too turned out to be a success. There would be no change in the configuration of the missile that can hit targets 750 km away.
Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, said the final version of Shourya was picked up from the production lot for the trial.
A highly manoeuvrable, two-stage missile, it can be launched at different altitudes, and even from a canister. Its manoeuvrability makes it less vulnerable to the present-day anti-missile defence systems.
S.K. Chaudhuri, Associate Director of the Research Centre, Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad, said the reliability and the final design of Shourya would be tested on Saturday. A test was conducted at the RCI's simulation laboratory under his supervision. “The simulation has shown good results, according to our expectations,” he said.
The sleek, single-stage Prithvi-II is an Air Force version. With a range of 250 km, it can carry warheads weighing 500 kg.

India To Open Fighter Bids In October

(Aviation week) : India will open the commercial bids of its two shortlisted vendors for the $11 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) by the middle of October, with the deal likely to be finalized by the end of this year, the Indian Air Force chief says.
“We have a meeting of the Defense Acquisition Council on October 7, where some of the issues are going to be discussed. Once those issued are cleared, hopefully by the middle of month, we should be in a position to open the bids,” Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne said Sept. 22. “We are in final stages of this process and hopefully [will] be done by the end of the year.”
In April, India downselected the Eurofighter Consortium’s Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale as the final contenders for the 126-fighter deal. The two bidders have extended their offers until December; the Indian government has to decide the final winner by then or the bids will expire.
The MMRCA tender was issued in August 2007. Boeing’s F/A-18, Lockheed Martin’s F-16, the MiG-35 and Saab’s Gripen were rejected by the Indian government.
The Indian Air Force is looking at inducting the jets into its fleet by 2015, as it will be phasing out its Soviet-era MiG series aircraft.
According to defense ministry officials, there has been a delay in finalizing the deal due to the 50% offset clause imposed by the Indian government, which requires the contract winner to plough back half the deal’s value into the Indian defense industry.
“Offsets for this program amount to 200 billion rupees [$5 billion] and these are going to be in service for over a period of 13 years,” Browne says.
Asked to compare MMRCA with the Indo-Russian fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), Browne says, “MMRCA does not have stealth features and super cruise capability, while FGFA has all that. FGFA has a recessed armament carrier where all the missiles and weapons are located inside the aircraft, which gives it a certain amount of stealth potential.”
India is planning to induct 250-300 FGFAs and it will share the $11 billion development cost equally with Russia. The total cost of the FGFA fleet is likely to surpass $30 billion.

September 23, 2011

Army to Have Another BrahMos Missile Regiment

(OutLook) : As part of efforts to upgrade military capabilities in the north-east, the induction of an advanced variant of the 290-km range supersonic cruise missile in the army for mountain warfare has been approved by the government.

The approval by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) -- Ministry's apex decision making body-- will pave the way for induction of the fourth missile regiment in the army, Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.

The sanction for inducting a regiment of the Block III steep-dive variant of the BrahMos, granted recently in a DAC meeting chaired by the Defence Minister, is expected to enhance the lethality of army's firepower in the north-east region.

The steep-dive attack cruise missile can hit enemy targets hidden in the shadows of mountains, they said.

The army has inducted a total of three regiments already including two of the Block II variant, which can precisely hit the intended enemy building or assets even in a cluster of buildings.

In the backdrop of massive military infrastructure buildup by China in its areas along the frontiers, India has taken several measures to improve its preparedness in the north-east.

These steps include deployment of two squadrons of the Su-30 MKI fighter jet aircraft in Tezpur and Chhabua in Assam and raising of two mountain divisions for deployment in Arunachal Pradesh and adjoining areas.

The government also revised its old military doctrine of not developing roads along the border and is working on developing over 70 strategic roads on the Sino-Indian border.

BrahMos is a stealth supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land and has been inducted in all the three services.

U.S. Military Chief Says Pakistan 'Exporting Violence' To Afghanistan

(Global security) : In an unprecedented public condemnation of Pakistan, the U.S. military's outgoing chief Admiral Mike Mullen has accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of actively supporting Haqqani network extremists who he said target U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee, on September 22 that "in choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan -- and most especially the Pakistani Army and ISI [intelligence service] -- jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but also Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence."
The statement came a day after a key U.S. Senate committee voted to make economic and security aid to Pakistan conditional on its cooperation in fighting militant groups, including the Haqqani network. U.S. officials blame the group for this month's rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
A press statement by the Senate Appropriations Committee said on September 21 that the bill "includes strengthened restrictions on assistance for Pakistan by conditioning all funds to the Government of Pakistan on cooperation against the Haqqani Network, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations."
Mullen's comments and the Senate committee's decision follow calls from senior administration officials -- including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta -- for Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, to cut all ties to the Haqqani network and to stop supporting extremist proxies as part of its strategy.
On September 22, Mullen also told U.S Senators that by exporting violence, Pakistan has eroded its internal security and its position in the region.
"They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being," Mullen said.
'Strategy Has To Shift'
Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment think tank in Washington on September 20, Mullen said that he recently held detailed discussions with Pakistan's military chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urging him to disengage from the Haqqani network.
"The need for the Haqqani network to disengage, specifically the need for the ISI to disconnect from Haqqani and from this proxy war that they're fighting -- and without that we can't succeed in the overall effort as well," Mullen said. "What I believe is the relationship with Pakistan is critical. We walked away from them in the past and in walking away from Pakistan, walking away from Afghanistan, it's where -- look where we are today."
Mullen said that the ISI has been supporting proxies for an extended period of time. "It is a strategy in the country and I think that strategic approach has to shift in the future."
Pointing The Finger
Mullen said he had no doubt that the Haqqani network was behind the September 11 attack on a U.S. military base in the central Wardak Province, which injured 77 soldiers. He said it was also responsible for the daring attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on September 13. "I think the U.S. is prepared to take appropriate action to protect our men and women, first of all, in the fight and certainly to protect the Afghan citizens who have been devastated by this network as well." he said.
Meanwhile, in Kabul, senior Afghan officials are pointing the finger at the ISI for helping the Taliban to plan the September 20 assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Rabbani was the key figure responsible for negotiating with the Taliban. The insurgent movement said it is not commenting on Rabbani's murder.
But in Islamabad, Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, denied the presence of the Haqqani network inside Pakistani territory.
Money Talks
Talking to reporters after a meeting with U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller on September 21 in Islamabad, Malik said Pakistan was battling terrorism "as a frontline fighter" and the Pakistani government would not allow its soil to be used for terrorism anywhere in the world.
"As far as Haqqanis are concerned, we have discussed a number of issues. Yes, this is an irritant and we are resolving it together. And you know, Haqqanis are the production of the Soviet Union and Afghan war when we were partners and they are sons of the soil," Malik said. "But I assured him [Mueller] they are not on the Pakistani side. But if there is any intelligence which is provided by U.S., we will definitely take action."
Malik, however, changed his views a day later. In an interview with Reuters on September 22, Malik conceded that elements of the Haqqani network are based in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region on its western border with Afghanistan.
Observers say that the group can draw on a pool of roughly 10,000 to 15,000 fighters. Despite years of American pressure Islamabad has resisted a large scale offensive against militants in North Waziristan – something it has done in the rest of the tribal areas.
"Our capacity to trace them in that area is limited. Give us the information and we will operate," Malik said. "Let's have information, let's have a proper investigation and if there is a requirement, let's have an operation."
Malik said that Washington and Islamabad were fighting a common enemy without a joint strategy. "Instead of a blame game we have to sit together. We are not part of the terrorism, we are part of the solution," he said.
Washington needs Pakistan's land routes for supplying its troops based in Afghanistan, while Islamabad needs Washington's economic assistance.
Pakistan is seeking a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan when its current program ends later on this month. The South Asian nation of 180 million has been struggling since 2008 to keep its economy afloat with an $11 billion IMF
"The Washington Post" reported on September 21 that Islamabad is on a Washington ultimatum to cut ties with the Haqqani network. The U.S. wants Islamabad to help eliminate its leaders or else "the United States will act unilaterally."

India to go for Upgraded Engine for the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation T-50 Fighter Jet

The joint design and development of the fifth generation stealth fighter plane Sukhoi T-50 by India and Russia has seen a new twist as India has indicated that it seeks a more powerful engine. According to Air Chief Marshall N.A.K.Browne, although the progress of the T-50 fighter jet was satisfactory, an upgrade in the T-50 engine is needed. The Sukhoi T-50 is the current prototype of the fifth generation PAK FA jet fighter.
Speaking at a conference in New Delhi, Indian Air Chief Marshall Browne elaborated that by the time India receives these fifth generation fighter jets, there would be significant changes in the jet. The most prominent feature will be a more powerful engine than the one which is fitted with currently. Apparently, India has already chosen the new engine but details or a confirmation have not been disclosed. India plans to induct the fighter jets by 2017.
The agreement to jointly develop and design the fifth generation fighter jet was signed last year between state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Sukhoi Company and Rosoboronexport. The T-50 fifth generation fighter jet is in the prototype phase and as it moves towards the production phase, the delivery schedule will become clearer now.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of speculation about the new or upgraded engine that India proposes to incorporate on the fifth generation Sukhoi PAK FA whose current prototype is called Sukhoi T-50. While no information has been forthcoming, experts feel that it will be the upgraded AL-41 engine or even another engine that gives more thrust. The AL-41 engine is meant to be powering PAK-FA jet fighter, while the prototypes are believed to be powered by a modified pair of Saturn-117S. It has been suggested that the new engine requirements will be more than that of the AL-41 engine which is already expected to deliver about 160 Km thrust.
Air Chief Marshall Browne has pointed out that although the $ 10.4 billion medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal is creating all the hype, the fifth generation fighter plane will be a much more formidable addition and a critical boost to the Indian Air force (IAF) fleet. He added that the MMRCA does not have stealth features or super cruise capabilities, whereas the fifth-generation fighter aircraft has all that. The advantages of a fifth generation PAK-FA are phenomenal since the fighter plane has an armament base, where all the missiles and weapons are inside the aircraft, adding to its stealth capability. 
The prototype of the PAK-FA, the Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter, performed its first demonstration flight at the MAKS 2011 International Aviation Show in Russia last month. The pilots did not perform any maneuvers or acrobatic stunts because the plane was still going through a series of test flights. Besides, an engine problem forced Russia to abort the takeoff of its T-50 stealth plane later in the MAK 2001 air show. The pilot "stopped the take-off due to technical defects," a spokeswoman for the MAKS international airshow revealed. The fifth generation fighter plane was still undergoing tests so technical glitches were to be expected and the pilot "simply chose not to take risks," the spokeswoman said. However, the planes had flown without a hitch over the previous four days. Russian officials have said the final version of the T-50 will not be ready until the end of 2016.
- Defensenow

Indian navy commissions new fleet tanker; sets up base in lakshwadeep island

(Defensenow) : The Indian Navy has inducted a new fleet tanker called INS Deepak which will become a critical part of its Western Fleet and enable combat missions distant from India’s coast.

INS Deepak fleet tanker will be the main re-supply vessel for INS Vikramaditya which the Indian Navy will induct in a couple of years besides promoting India’s maritime interests and homeland security. INS Deepak will sustain the Indian fleets at sea for prolonged periods and augment operational flexibility.

INS Deepak fleet tanker is one of the largest vessels of the Indian Navy and was commissioned into the fleet by Defence Minister A.K.Anthony.

INS Deepak has been designed by the Italian Fincanteri Shipyard specifically for the Indian Navy. It has a displacement of 27,500 tonnes and will help refueling of large vessels besides its capacity to carry more than 500 tonnes of weapons for combat operations. Its fuel transfer rate  is roughly about 1,500 tonnes per hour.

INS Deepak is the first of the two new Italian fleet tankers being inducted into the Indian Navy and the other ship, the Shakti, is expected to arrive before the end of this year.

Besides the induction of INS Deepak to ensure operations for prolonged periods at sea, the Indian Navy is also opening up an operations base in the Lakshadweep islands to step-up coastal security. This is the second Indian Navy base in the island territory of India.

According to the Indian Navy, it will initially open a detachment in the Lakshadweep chain and base warships there and will also ensure aerial patrols in the region. The Indian Navy has already commissioned a Coast Guard district headquarters in Kavaratti and a station in Minicoy, both in the Lakshadweep islands. The island of Lakshwadeep will develop into a full-scale operations base shortly.

Lakshwadeep island lies in the Arabian sea where there has been an increasing fear of attacks and hijackings of merchant vessels. The recent hijacking of a Bangladeshi-flagged merchant vessel about 80 nautical miles off Minicoy in Lakshwadeep triggered major concerns and forced the Indian Navy to permanently deploy two warships in the central and eastern Arabian Sea.

The Arabian Sea witness’s heavy commercial shipping activity all year long and robust security in the island territories is essential. The Naval presence in Lakswadeep island will ward off pirates, terrorists as well as poachers that try to trespass the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial waters.

Russia to build sea-based 'missile shield' - diplomat

(RIA Novosti ) : Russia is planning to develop its own sea-based missile defense system, a Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.
"According to our analysis, this system will be very efficient and meet the norms of international maritime law," said Vladimir Kozin, a deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's information and press department.
Kozin did not give any further details on the future missile defense system. He was speaking at a video conference between Moscow and Kiev on European security.
The move is almost certain to be interpreted as Russia's response to NATO's European missile shield, which it says it needs to counter potential missile attacks from "rogue states," such as Iran and North Korea.
The NATO "shield" includes U.S. warships equipped with Aegis ballistic missile defense systems capable of shooting down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
Russia has retained staunch opposition to the deployment of missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a threat to its national security.
Moscow has repeatedly warned NATO it would create both defensive and offensive means to counter any missile threat and to penetrate any missile defense if the sides did not agree to cooperate on the issue.

September 22, 2011

IAF hopes to finalise combat aircraft deal by year-end

Hoping to finalise the multi- billion dollar combat aircraft deal by the year-end, Indian Air Force today said the commercial bids of two shortlisted vendors in the M-MRCA tender would be opened by middle of next month.

"We have a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council on October 7 where some of the issues are going to be discussed. Once those issued are cleared, hopefully by the middle of month, we should be in a position to open the bids," Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said here.

He was asked to comment on the acquisition schedule of these aircraft which are expected to be inducted in the IAF by 2014.

Browne was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Sixth International Conference on Energising Indian Aerospace Industry organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Earlier addressing the conference, the IAF Chief said, "We are in final stages of this process (of signing the contract for M-MRCA) and (it will be done) hopefully by the end of the year."

On the offset value of the deal, he said, "Offsets for this program amount to Rs 20,000 crore plus and these are going to be in service for over a period of 13 years."

To a query on comparison between Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and M-MRCA, he said, "These are two different kinds of aeroplanes. M-MRCA does not have stealth features and super cruise capability while FGFA has all that."

FGFA has recess armament base where all the missiles and weapons are located inside the aircraft, which gives it a certain amount of stealth potential, he said.

India is developing the FGFA as a joint venture with Russia. 

- The Economic Times

China hits out at US deal on Taiwan F-16 fighters

(BBC News) : China has reacted angrily to a US deal to upgrade Taiwan's ageing fleet of US-built F-16 fighter planes.
Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said the $5.85bn (£3.77bn) deal would "inevitably undermine bilateral relations", including military and security co-operation.
He also summoned US Ambassador Gary Locke to protest against the deal.
China traditionally reacts strongly to US military co-operation with Taiwan, which it considers its territory.
Last year, when the US sold missiles and other hardware to Taiwan, China suspended military exchanges with the US.
Correspondents say harsh words from China were expected, but it remains to be seen whether it takes any action to show its displeasure.

'Must cancel' The US deal, revealed on Wednesday, falls short of what Taiwan had requested.
The announcement suggests the US will not now sell Taiwan a newer generation of F-16 fighters, as Taipei had hoped. It will instead upgrade its older-generation F-16 fleet.
US officials said the F-16 A/B fighters will undergo a retrofit which will bring them up to the same standards as the more advanced C/D models.
Mr Zhang called on Washington to "immediately cancel the wrong decision".
China's defence ministry, meanwhile, said that the US action had "caused serious damage to Sino-US military relations".
But Taiwanese officials appeared to welcome the news.
"After the upgrade, the air force's combat capability will be advanced hugely," Taiwanese Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu said at a press conference in Taipei.
The defence ministry said Taiwan remained under threat from China's military expansion.
"Improving our defence capability is a crucial... measure to sustain regional security and stable development across the strait," it said in a statement.
Taiwan also said it would continue its attempts to purchase more than 60 of the C/D planes, which are considered more of a match for China's latest war planes.
Taipei said that decision was still pending in the US and urged officials to agree to it.
Washington's decision will now pass to Congress for approval.
Some analysts say the decision to approve an upgrade - rather than provide more advanced fighters - is designed to appease Beijing, which had warned that relations would suffer if the sale went ahead.
In recent years China's military superiority over Taiwan has steadily increased, and the US is legally bound to help Taiwan defend itself.

US confirms $5bn Taiwan F-16 fighter jet upgrade

( BBC News) : The US has confirmed plans to upgrade Taiwan's ageing fleet of F-16 US-built fighter planes. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has warned Washington not to proceed with the $5bn (£3bn) deal.
China's foreign ministry expressed his country's "strong indignation" over the move, saying it would damage ties.
But the US is legally bound to help Taiwan defend itself, and the move comes as China's military superiority over Taiwan has steadily increased.
China's Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun called the decision "grave interference" in the country's internal affairs which sent a "gravely mistaken signal to pro-Taiwan independence separatist forces".
In a statement on the ministry's website, Mr Zhang said: "It must be pointed out that this wrongful course by the US side will unavoidably damage Sino-American relations and co-operation and exchanges in the military, security and other fields".
Combat capability
However, the announcement suggests the US will not now sell Taiwan a newer generation of F-16, as Taipei had hoped.
US officials said the F-16 A/B fighters will undergo a retrofit which will bring them up to the same standards as the more advanced C/D models.
"After the upgrade, the air force's combat capability will be advanced hugely," Taiwanese Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu said at a late-night press conference in Taipei.
The defence ministry said Taiwan remained under threat from China's military expansion.
"Improving our defence capability is a crucial and only measure to sustain regional security and stable development across the strait," it said in a statement.
But Taiwan also said it would continue its attempts to purchase more than 60 of the C/D planes, which are considered more of a match for China's latest war planes.
Taipei said that decision was still pending in the US and urged officials to agree to it.
Washington's decision will now pass to Congress for approval.
Some analysts say the move is designed to appease Beijing, which had warned that relations would suffer if the sale went ahead.

First squadron of LCA to be stationed in Sulur base: DRDO

Tiruchirapalli (TN), Sept 21, (PTI) The first squadron of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas would be located at Sulur Airbase near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, a Senior DRDO official said. Twenty LCAs would be stationed at Sulur in the first phase by early next year and as many aircraft would be added to the squadron subsequently and requisite facilities including hanger and runway were being put in place, DRDO Chief Controller (R&D) Dr W Selvamurthy said here yesterday. Similarly another fleet of 40 LCAs, designed by DRDO and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, would be stationed at an airbase near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu by the second half of next year, he told reporters. The Defence ministry had already attested initial operation clearance last year and LCA's Air and Naval variants had already been rolled out as mass production by HAL. He said DRDO was also planned to develop unmanned aerial vehicle in four versions and prototype models had already been made. The fifth version of Agni cruise missile with a 5,000 kms range was likely to be demonstrated by January next. Selvamurthy, who is also in-charge of international cooperation wing of DRDO, said several pacts were envisaged with countries like USA, UK, France, Israel and Belarus to develop Joint Ventures for production of ultra modern weapons and equipment for Defence purposes. He said an Indo-US joint technology group has been set up to develop foliage penetration radars and ground penetration radars which would help in anti-terrorist and anti-insurgency operations. A two-year time frame had been set to design and develop the related products. Earlier addressing the students of National Institute of Technology here, he said DRDO would recruit a minimum of 5,000 people, including 3,000 scientists, in the next six months. DRDO with over 50 laboratories across the country has a headcount of 30,000 including about 8,000 scientists. He said orders worth Rs 20,000 crores have been received for AKASH cruise missiles from different defence establishments in the world.

IBN Live

Russia to refit nuclear missile cruisers - media

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to refit three mothballed nuclear-powered Kirov-class missile cruisers in a major boost for the Russian Navy's combat strength, Izvestia newspaper said on Wednesday.
The Admiral Nakhimov, Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Ushakov nuclear missile cruisers were built in the Soviet era but have been decommissioned and laid up in dock for over a decade. The only active Kirov class cruiser is the Pyotr Veliky, the flagship of Russia's Northern Fleet.
Izvestia cited a source in the Russian defense industry as saying the overhaul would include the hull and nuclear power plant repairs as well as a significant modernization of the ships' electronics and weaponry.
"All these measures will allow us to extend the service life of these ships until 2030-2040," the source said.
The ships' armament will get a major boost, with installation of advanced multi-module missile systems capable of firing a wide range of missiles and torpedoes, including P-800 Yakhont (SS-N-26) anti-ship cruise missiles.
The ships will also receive advanced air defense missile systems based on the land-based S-400 Triumf, and new point-defense systems.
Each cruiser will have a total missile carrying capacity of 300 missiles, making the ships among the best armed in the world.
After the refit, the Kirov class cruisers will most likely be deployed with Russia's Northern and Pacific fleets as part of large task forces set up to carry out a variety of combat missions - from "hunting" the adversary's aircraft carriers and submarines to massive land assaults.
Work on the Admiral Nakhimov has already started and the cruiser is expected to re-enter service with the Russian Navy in 2015, according to sources quoted in the media.

RIA Novosti

Russia’s position on missile defense in Europe

                                                             -     RIA Novosti

September 21, 2011

Iran develops own version of Russian S-300

TEHRAN - A senior Iranian military commander announced Tuesday that Iran is developing its own version of the Russian S-300 air defense system, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Commander of Iran's Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, Farzad Esmaili, told Fars that the country's experts have removed the flaws and defects of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system and have started designing and building an Iranian version of the missile system, dubbed as Bavar 373.
The Iranian commander did not elaborate further on the details of the Iranian product.
Iran and Russia signed a contract for the S-300 system in 2007. In September 2010 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning shipments to Iran of the weapons and equipment listed in the UN resolution.
In August, Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow, said Tehran filed suit against Russia in the International Court for Moscow's refusal to supply Iran with the missile defense systems.
Sajjadi insisted that the S-300 shipment does not fall under the resolution, which prohibits the sale of conventional weapons, including missiles, tanks, military helicopters, warplanes and warships, to Iran.

- ChinaDaily