February 28, 2012

Govt nod for two more Arihants

The Government has given a go-ahead for construction of two more nuclear-powered Arihant-class submarines in India.
The move will not only enhance the strategic reach of the Navy, but also propel India into the top league of five nations including US, Russia, France, Germany and UK which have such sophisticated platforms.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already indigenously designed and developed the first nuclear-powered submarine Arihant, which is scheduled to go for sea trials next year.
As things stand, it was just last month that India inducted the Russian-made nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa - rechristened now as INS Chakra - into the Indian Navy. It will go a long way in helping India to build, operate and maintain the two new submarines without delays and cost overruns normally associated with such projects, sources said.
A nuclear-powered submarine can remain submerged under water for more than three months without surfacing and is very difficult to detect as its engines emit minimal signature sound and enemy aircraft and anti-submarines detection ships cannot pick up signals.
Explaining the significance of building two more submarines in the context of global security architecture, sources said here on Monday reports indicated that China is also developing its first nuclear-powered submarine.
Given the growing maritime prowess of China with its plans to build two aircraft carriers besides submarines, Indian defence establishment wants to deny Beijing an edge and allow it to pose challenge to our strategic interests in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, sources said.
As regards the new project, they said India has already acquired the expertise in developing such complex machines while designing Arihant. In fact, Arihant, which was unveiled three years back by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, took more than 15 years of planning, design and construction thereby highlighting the complexities involved in such a project.
INS Chakra is expected to arrive in India by the end of next month. India has taken this platform on a 10-year lease for two billion dollars. This is the second time India has gone in for such an arrangement with Russia as the first submarine was acquired in 1980 for a 10-year period.

-The Pioneer

February 27, 2012

Govt nod for $1bn Navy plane deal

(Times of India ) : The government has finally approved the naval proposal to acquire nine advanced medium range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft, which will cost upwards of $1 billion, to ensure Indian Ocean can be guarded against both conventional and terror threats.

These MRMR planes will be in addition to the 12 long-range (LRMR) aircraft already being acquired for the Navy at a $3.1 billion price tag. After first inking the $2.1 billion contract in 2009 for eight Boeing-manufactured P-8I LRMR aircraft, which will be inducted in the 2013-2015 timeframe, the defence ministry is now finalizing the follow-on deal for four more such planes.

The MRMR project got the "acceptance of necessity'' from the Defence Acquisitions Council, chaired by A K Antony, last week, sources said. Several global aviation majors, ranging from American Boeing and Lockheed Martin to Swedish SAAB, French Dassault Aviation, Brazilian Embraer and European EADS are in contention for this big contract.

The radar-packed MRMR planes, much like the LRMR ones, will be armed with deadly missiles, rockets and torpedoes for potent anti-warship and anti-submarine warfare. With an operating range of over 350 nautical miles, the multi-mission MRMR planes will be Navy's "intelligent eyes and ears'' over Indian Ocean in the medium range.

While the P-8Is, with an operating range of around 1,200 nautical miles, will patrol the outermost layer of India's three-tier maritime surveillance grid, Israeli spy drones like Heron and Searcher-II as well as Dorniers make up the innermost layer.

India is really stepping up acquisition of its naval air assets as well as warships to take care of its primary area of strategic interest stretching from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait. The country has a vast 5,422-km coastline, 1,197 islands and 2.01 million sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone to guard against all threats.

India will spend around Rs 85,000 crore just on naval aviation over the next few years, sources said. This includes already-inked contracts for around Rs 28,000 crore, with another 16 to 17 firm proposals worth about Rs 18,000 crore in the pipeline.

This includes the ongoing induction of 45 MiG-29K fighters, contracted from Russia for about $2 billion, which will operate from both the refurbished 44,570-tonne INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov) and the 40,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier being constructed at Kochi.

Then, American Sikorsky S70B and European NH-90 choppers are currently battling it out after field trials to grab the over Rs 2,000 crore initial contract for 16 multi-role helicopters. The Navy, in fact, is looking to induct 90 such helicopters, with both combat and search-and-rescue capabilities, to replace its older Sea King helicopters.

Navy's Tejas fighter revs for take-off

The Indian Navy has signalled strong support to the naval version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), even before the indigenous fighter makes its first flight next month. In New Delhi, on Wednesday, the defence ministry’s apex Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) sanctioned the building of eight Naval LCA aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
“The eight fighters will be a mix of single-seat fighters and twin-seat trainers. The money for these has also been allocated,” says a senior Ministry of Defence official who was at the DAC meeting.
 The Rs 3,650 crore Naval LCA programme was sanctioned in March 2003. Two prototypes are almost complete, the first a twin-seat trainer and the second a single-seat fighter. The eight fighters sanctioned on Wednesday are “Limited Series Production” or LSP fighters. These will be used for flight-testing, a painstaking process that could last two years or more. Once flight-testing is completed, HAL will establish a full-scale production line.
The Naval LCA is a crucial cog in the navy’s expansion and, therefore, in India’s increasingly visible maritime strategy. It is designed to fly from an aircraft carrier, a floating airfield that can project Indian power across the oceans. India has already bought Russian MiG-29K medium fighters to equip the INS Vikramaditya (formerly the Gorshkov) an aircraft carrier acquired from Russia. But another two (and possibly three) indigenous Vikrant-class aircraft carriers being built at Cochin Shipyard Ltd will field the Naval LCA, along with a medium fighter.
With the first of these, INS Vikrant, at an advanced stage of construction in Kochi, the navy is keen that development of the Naval LCA proceeds alongside. Earlier this month, the normally soft-spoken navy chief, Admiral Nirmal Verma, publicly criticised the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA oversees the LCA programme) for placing the Naval LCA programme on the back burner, while focusing on the air force version of the Tejas.
The admiral’s words have goaded HAL into action. Business Standard has been told that the Naval LCA will take to the air in March, a landmark event for the navy.
“The Naval LCA will definitely fly in March. We are doing ground runs and starting low-speed taxi trials, in which the fighter rolls on the runway under its own power. Then we will do some high-speed taxi trials, in which the fighter will accelerate to take-off speed; but when its nose lifts off the ground, we will slow down without actually taking off. Only after that will the first flight actually take place,” says PV Deshmukh, HAL’s officiating CMD.
The Rs 10,397 crore air force Tejas project has obtained initial operational clearance (IOC), and will soon join the IAF’s fleet. But the Naval Tejas presents additional design challenges, such as being able to take off from an aircraft carrier’s ski-jump after accelerating for just 200 metres. Even more challenging are repeated carrier deck landings, in which a hook on the aircraft snags on an “arrestor cable” on the deck, forcing the aircraft to a standstill in just 90 metres. These landings, in which the fighter slams into the carrier deck at more than 7 metres per second, are often described as “controlled crashes.”
The navy and ADA will extensively test the Naval LCA on land before venturing onto an aircraft carrier at sea. A Shore-Based Test Facility (SBTF) has been created in Goa, which replicates the dimensions and conditions of a carrier deck, including the arrestor and gear that brings the aircraft to a quick halt; and the optical landing system that allows the pilot to “aim” his fighter at the arrestor wire spread out on the carrier deck. After extensive SBTF testing, the Naval LCA will face the crucial challenge of landing and taking off from an actual aircraft carrier.
The navy’s two prototypes and eight LSP fighters will be powered by General Electric GE F-404 engines. Meanwhile, ADA has selected the more advanced and powerful GE F-414 engine for the LCA Mark II. This engine will also power future Naval LCAs. With 15 per cent more thrust, the GE F-414 will be useful in taking off from an aircraft carrier deck.

Business Standard

we’re engaging India full thrust: Putin

Russia has closer defence ties with India than with any other country, including China, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said.
“As far as joint [defence] projects are concerned, we have advanced farther with India than with any other country, including China,” Mr. Putin said, citing the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, the Akula class nuclear submarine leased to India, the multi-role transport aircraft and the fifth-generation fighter plane.
“The nuclear submarine should have set sail to India the other day. We are very actively working with them [Indians] on the transport plane. They have joined us full swing in the work for the Perspective Aviation Complex for Frontline Aviation (PAK-FA), T-50,” Mr. Putin said at a meeting with Russian security and defence experts on Friday at the Sarov nuclear centre.
Mr. Putin dealt at length on progress in building the fifth-generation plane.
“It is now clear that we will have the fifth-generation aircraft. Two, or even three, planes are already up in the air, and more planes will join them this year. Technological problems have all been solved; it is quite obvious that we’ll make the aircraft and make it quite fast. We needed a partner to bring down the final cost of the plane; they [Indians] will buy it in large numbers. The T-50 is shaping to be superior to the American fifth-generation plane.”
Mr. Putin was responding to a suggestion from a defence analyst to “engage actively” with India, China, Iran and other countries, and to pursue issue-specific alliances to uphold Russia’s security interests. “We’re engaging India full thrust, we’re in fact doing it all as you say,” replied Mr. Putin, who is almost certain to reclaim Russian presidency in the March 4 elections. 

The Hindu

Britain drawing up Iran battle plan, says report

Britain is reportedly drawing up a battle plan for a war with Iran as top defence officials believe that London will be "sucked into" any new conflict with Tehran. Plans are being made to send hundreds of troops and a nuclear submarine to the Gulf region, The Sun reported.

Defence officials believe it is just a matter of when the war breaks out - with the timescale set between 18 and 24 months. "Defence planners went into overdrive at the start of the year. Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the regime pursue their nuclear ambitions.

Britain would be sucked in whether we like it or not," an unnamed official said.

The report said that Britain will first fly an infantry battalion to the UAE, the country's strong ally in the Gulf region. It would also mean a "public show of support" that would demonstrate that Britain was ready to defend the UAE if it comes under attack from Iran.

The UAE is separated from Iran by just over 50 km of sea across the Strait of Hormuz . If other allies like Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar ask for help, Britain could fly in further troops. The Royal Navy has already gathered seven warships in the Gulf. The HMS Daring, a powerful destroyer, arrived in January to join Type 23frigate HMS Argyll. A nuclear submarine is reportedly also in the area, the report said. 

Times of India

February 25, 2012

Taiwan Navy Plans to Buy 8 New Submarines

Taiwan Navy plans to ask national government to sponsor procurement of 8 new submarines within the next two months, reports Agence France-Presse referring to United Daily News.
Reportedly, three countries offered Taiwan submarines; however, it is not disclosed what states want to deliver them. As an option, Taiwan was offered assistance in submarine construction or delivery of several German-made subs.
In Apr 2001, the US planned to sell 8 conventional submarines to Taiwan, although the contract has not been signed so far. According to Taipei Times, the contract cost $12 bln.
Most likely, Taiwan Navy figures on diesel electric submarines displacing 1,000-1,500 tons, writes Taipei Times. It is not reported what sum Taiwanese government is able to allocate.
As was earlier reported, Taiwan Navy purchased 440 American-made acoustic buoys with the view to track Chinese submarines.


Shaurya surfaces as India's underwater nuclear missile

The country’s top defence scientist has, for the first time, revealed that India’s new Shaurya missile, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over 750 kilometers, is specially designed to be fired from Indian submarines and could form the crucial third leg of India’s nuclear deterrent.
If launched from a submarine off the China coast, it could hit several Chinese cities like Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.
 Air and land-based nuclear weapons are delivered to their targets by fighter aircraft and ballistic missiles, respectively. Since these can be knocked out by an enemy first strike, the most reliable nuclear deterrent has traditionally been underwater, missiles hidden in a submarine.
V K Saraswat, the DRDO chief and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, revealed to Business Standard at the ongoing Defexpo 2010, “We have designed the Shaurya so that it can be launched from under water as easily as from land. The gas-filled canister that houses the missile fits easily into a submarine. The underwater leg of the nuclear triad needs to be totally reliable and needs a state-of-the-art missile.”
India’s undersea deterrent had so far revolved around the K-15 ballistic missile, built with significant help from Russia. The K-15 was to equip the INS Arihant, India’s lone nuclear-powered submarine, which is being constructed in Visakhapatnam. But now, after rigorous underwater testing, the Shaurya could be the mainstay of Arihant’s arsenal.
“The Shaurya was developed from ground up as a submarine-capable missile,” confirms Dr Prahlada, the top DRDO scientist responsible for liaising with the military. “Every piece of technology for fitting it in a submarine is already in place.”
Shortly before the Defexpo 2010, Dr Saraswat had publicly stated that India’s missile technology was ahead of China’s and Pakistan’s.
Now top DRDO scientists have revealed that the Shaurya is not a ballistic missile, as it has been thought to be; it is actually a hypersonic cruise missile, which never leaves the atmosphere.
A ballistic missile is like a stone being lobbed towards a target. Rockets toss it upwards and towards the target; after the rocket burns out, gravity pulls the missile warhead down towards the target. Buffeted by wind and re-entry forces, accuracy is a problem; and, since the ballistic missile’s path is predictable, shooting it down is relatively easy.
The Shaurya has none of these issues. Its solid-fuel, two-stage rocket accelerates the missile to six times the speed of sound before it reaches an altitude of 40 kilometers (125,000 feet), after which it levels out and cruises towards the target, powered by its onboard fuel.
While ballistic missiles cannot correct their course midway, the Shaurya is an intelligent missile. Onboard navigation computers kick in near the target, guiding the missile to the target and eliminating errors that inevitably creep in during its turbulent journey.
The Shaurya, say DRDO sources, will strike within 20-30 metres of its target after travelling 750 kilometres.
Conventional cruise missiles, like the American Tomahawk and the Indo-Russian Brahmos, offer similar accuracy. But their air-breathing engines carry them along slowly, rendering them vulnerable to enemy aircraft and missiles. The Shaurya’s solid-fuel, air-independent engine propels it along at hypersonic speeds, leaving enemy fighters and missiles far behind.
“I would say the Shaurya is a hybrid propulsion missile”, says Dr Saraswat. “Like a ballistic missile, it is powered by solid fuel. And, like a cruise missile, it can guide itself right up to the target.”
Making the Shaurya even more capable is its ability to manoeuvre, following a twisting path to the target that makes it very difficult to shoot it down. In contrast, a ballistic missile is predictable; its trajectory gives away its target and its path to it.

Business Standard

Sukhoi to remain top combat jet seller till 2015

Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker will remain among the top three exporters of fighter jets until at least 2015, the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) said on Friday.
"Sukhoi will export 109 fighters in the next three years, while US Lockheed Martin will export 110 aircraft, and China's Chengdu 112 aircraft," CAWAT head Igor Korotchenko said.
The total amount of Sukhoi fighter contracts with foreign customers until 2015 is estimated at $5.45 billion.
 Su-family fighters constitute the bulk of Russia's arms exports. India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria and Venezuela are among key buyers of Su-family fighters.
Korotchenko said Sukhoi sold 171 fighter jets in the past three years.

IBN Live

February 24, 2012

Decks cleared for first test of 5000-km range Agni-V missile

India has begun final preparations for the first test of its most-ambitious strategic missile, the 5,000-km Agni-V, which will prove to be both a technical as well as logistical challenge.

The Agni-V, which will bring the whole of Asia, 70% of Europe and other regions under its strike envelope, will be tested from Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast towards end-March to early-April, top defence sources said.

"We are almost ready for the test. There are no technical glitches or problems. It's more of a scheduling and logistical issue now since the missile will travel halfway across the Indian Ocean," said a source.

"Countries like Indonesia and Australia as well as international air and maritime traffic in the test zone will have to be alerted a week or 10 days before the test. Moreover, our warships, with DRDO scientists, tracking and monitoring systems, will have to be positioned midway and near the impact point in southern Indian Ocean," he added.

The nuclear-capable Agni-V, about 50-tonne in weight and 17.5-metre tall, is bound to generate waves. Once the three-stage missile becomes operational by 2014-2015 after "four to five repeatable tests", as promised by DRDO, India will break into the exclusive ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) club that counts just US, Russia, China, France and UK as its members.

India could have gone for a higher strike range but believes the solid-fuelled Agni-V is "more than adequate" to meet current threat perceptions and security concerns. The missile can, after all, even hit the northernmost parts of China.

With a canister-launch system to impart higher road mobility, the missile will give the armed forces much greater operational flexibility than the earlier-generation of Agni missiles. "The accuracy levels of Agni-V and the 3,500-km Agni-IV (first tested in November 2011), with their better guidance and navigation systems, are far higher than Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km) and Agni-III (3,000-km)," said the source.

India, of course, cannot match China in terms of its vast nuclear and missile arsenals, with missiles like the 11,200-km range Dong Feng-31A even unnerving the US. But missiles like Agni-IV and Agni-V will certainly add teeth to its credible minimum nuclear deterrence posture.

The Agni missiles will get deadlier once MIRV (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) payloads for them are developed. An MIRV payload on a missile carries several nuclear warheads, which can be programmed to hit different targets. A flurry of such missiles can hence completely overwhelm BMD (ballistic missile defence) systems.

Times of India

India needs greenfield defence investments

To begin with, there must be a reality check. The accumulated strengths of various public sector entities engaged in India’s military aerospace programmes are clearly insufficient for the challenges ahead; Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is an overburdened monopoly. Our long-term needs, which include multiple fighter programmes such as light combat aircraft, SU-30MKI, MMRCA, advanced medium combat aircraft and the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, plus helicopter programmes, far exceed HAL’s capacity to deliver. India’s defence preparedness has already taken a significant beating from production delays and cost overruns. Moreover, despite decades of effort and several specialized design and development organizations, gas turbine research establishment and aeronautical development establishment, we still do not have the capacity to research and design, prototype, produce, service and upgrade aircraft without depending on imports of components, major sub-assemblies and significant number of complete aircraft. There is, thus, an urgent need to create greenfield capacity to broaden the base of India’s aerospace industry and achieve higher efficiencies, cost reduction and accelerated outputs. Public sector capacity requires to be supplemented by new private sector (both domestic and foreign) participation, involving joint ventures and co-production, to ensure higher levels of technology transfer and to substantially improve the level and cost of after-sales support. This will not only take India’s technological prowess to an even higher plane, but will also have a positive spin-off on our civil aerospace needs.
Progressing reform of India’s defence industrial sector will be a good way to start. Our long-standing preoccupation with equity caps has yielded only a trickle in foreign direct investment flows since 2002. If we can purchase complete equipment manufactured by an entirely foreign-owned company based in another country, why cannot we accept the same from that company’s wholly owned Indian subsidiary? Permitting majority foreign ownership in high-technology areas will also partially reduce complex issues related to intellectual property rights and export-control regimes.
Next, we should create a level playing field for a dynamic national defence sector, whether public or private. Several private sector companies are already playing a meaningful role in India’s defence production and await an opportunity to contribute more, on their own or through partnership with foreign entities. Precisely for reasons of national security, we cannot afford to fall behind because of ideological constraints or vested interests that support the status quo of our overdependence on defence public sector units (PSUs).
As currently framed, India’s defence offset policy is suboptimal to say the least, designed mostly as countertrade to increase exports of PSU products related to defence and civilian aerospace and internal security. This policy lacks the strategic focus to link acquisitions to collaborative models involving joint production, technology transfer and manufacturing capacity that builds self-reliance. Countertrade is widely regarded as the least meaningful element of defence offsets; transfer of technology is by far the most beneficial. While it is questionable whether such large (50%) offsets can even be fulfilled—not least because of the lack of product capacity of our PSUs or the existing aviation industry—it is more than likely that this requirement will inevitably increase costs. Surely that outcome cannot be justified.
A more pragmatic approach would be to renew India’s present offset policy to enable the induction of high-technology aerospace manufacturing and services through a multi-tiered vendor base. This can be incentivized by offering flexible share-holding options for the establishment of local manufacturing units by foreign companies linked to proposed acquisitions under the umbrella of the primary supplier. Offsets should provide for the progressive localization of sub-assembly manufacturing by vendors under a phased manufacturing programme. This would imply transparently designating high-tech vendors as long-term suppliers without obliging them to tender for every subsequent order. That is the only way to ensure that the risks and costs of rapid technological development are shared. A comprehensive new offset policy that decreases costs and at the same time strengthens defence capability merits consideration.
To conclude, India needs to leverage its current and future defence aerospace acquisitions to create an indigenous high-technology aerospace industrial base that will underpin its national security and economic strength. For this to happen, the need for structural and regulatory reforms of this sector cannot be overstated.


February 23, 2012

India plans to develop next-gen electronic warfare systems

(PTI) India plans to develop new-generation Electronic Warfare (EW) systems to be fitted on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, aircraft and satellites that would help it see "deep inside enemy territories", a key defence research and development official said here today. Chief Controller, Research and Development (Electronics and Computer Sciences), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), R Sreehari Rao, said the present EW system, especially ground-based ones fitted on Naval platforms have got "limited range" (10-20 km) and "can't intercept beyond the line of sight". He noted that EW systems (to be) fitted on higher platforms like UAVs, aircraft and satellites would give "very long range". The ones on UAVs and aircraft would give the country a 400-500 kms range capability and those on satellites "much longer range". "We can see deep inside enemy territories.We have plans to go in for higher platforms", Rao told reporters in response to questions ahead of the second international conference on electronic warfare, which will be formally inaugurated here tomorrow. He also said a prototype of synthetic aperture radar, development of which is being pursued by DRDO constituent lab, Electronics and Radar Development Establishment would be flight-tested on a Dornier aircraft this year.

IBN Live

February 22, 2012

Aircraft-Related Facilities of INS Vikramaditya Almost Ready

Designers of JSC Sevmash shipyard are resolving complex technical issues when working on Project 11430 aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya being modernized for Indian Navy, reports the shipyard's press service.

For Sevmash, INS Vikramaditya is one of the major projects to be completed in 2012. Main weapon of the carrier are deck-based fighters MiG-29K/KUB and helicopters Ka-28/31. Without special air-technical facilities, none of aircraft is able to take off the deck. The shipyard's designers along with representatives of Nevskoye Design Bureau and contracting parties are handling all technical problems related to the carrier's air wing.

Retrofitting of the carrier is coming to its end; most of mechanisms and systems have been already assembled and are pending trials. Three arresters have been mounted; braking systems and damping devices have been installed under deck. Mooring trials of arresters are finished, another stage is flight tests. Assembling of aircraft weapon elevators is at the final stage; those systems deliver weapons from ammunition room to aircraft on the flight deck. Three standard elevators have been already repaired, and the fourth one was designed by Nevskoye bureau, built by Sevmash and mounted on the ship. Racks for missiles and bombs have been made and assembled in ammunition rooms.

Installation of four fire-resistant curtains in hangar was finished in Jan 2012; in case of fire, they divide the hangar into five isolated sections stopping fire propagation. Designers resolved technical issues related to alignment of underway replenishment system, assembling of aircraft towing device, and placement of external fuel tanks for the ship's air wing.

INS Vikramaditya is expected to take sea for the first time and start trials on May 25.


India to Complete NITKA Aviation Simulator in 2012

First runways for deck-based aviation land simulator NITKA built for Indian Navy at naval base Hansa will be completed by the end of 2012. According to The New Indian Express, construction of the takeoff strip is to be finished by June 2012, and the landing one – by the year end.

The NITKA simulator is being constructed under auspices of Russian specialists within a $60-mln contract tied with Rosoboronexport in 2009, reports The New Indian Express. India's expenses on construction of the training asset are evaluated as INR 1.75 bln ($35.5 mln).

For Indian Navy, the simulator will be a static model of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant being built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd. In particular, NITKA will be equipped with a 14-degree ski-ramp, arresters, and other landing facilities.

According to The New Indian Express, the simulator is primarily designed for test flights of prospective lightweight fighters Tejas to be stationed on the carrier. In prospect, NITKA can be used for training of the rest Indian Navy's pilots as well as MiG-29K pilots.

Presently, only the US and Ukraine operate such ground-based carrier deck simulators. Ukrainian NITKA is located in Crimea and used by Russian Navy on a leasehold basis as well as naval base in Sevastopol.


'Indo-Russian fighter jet better than Chinese, US aircraft

The Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) is superior than the similar Chinese and American rival fighter jets which include the J 20 Black Eagle and the F-22 Raptor, a top Russian military commander has claimed.

India and Russia are jointly developing the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA FGFA for their respective air forces and have plans of producing over 400 of these highly-advanced fighter jets.

Commander of the Russian Air Force Colonel General Alexander Zelin told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that his country's government has decided to give top priority to the development of the joint venture aircraft.

"While comparing Russia's T-50 PAK FA with the US F-22 Raptor and China's Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle, one concludes that the T-50 is superior to its foreign analogues in terms of its maximum speed in afterburner and standard modes, maximum range and thrust-to-weight ratio," he said.

The Russian Air Force Commander said that despite the comparable dimensions and weight of the Chinese J20 Black Eagle and the F-22 raptor, "the T-50 has much shorter take-off and landing runs. Moreover, its on-board equipment has better specifications than its foreign equivalents."

India signed a preliminary design contract with Russia recently for the aircraft and is planning to induct around 250 of them starting from 2017.

Commenting on the flight tests schedule of the FGFA, Zelin said, "Tests are now taking place as planned in line with specific decisions.Over 100 flights have been performed and all the specifications obtained during the tests confirm T-50 project requirements."

"The tests involve three fixed-wing aircraft, and three more aircraft will arrive in the near future. All in all, the tests will involve 14 aircraft," he added. 

The Economic Times

February 21, 2012

Pakistan receives US surveillance aircraft

The Pakistani navy took delivery Tuesday of two state-of-the-art, US-made surveillance aircraft nine months after Islamist militants destroyed two similar planes, officials said.
Pakistan said the P3C aircraft, modified with the latest avionics, are designed to improve surveillance in the North Arabian sea, one of the world's most important shipping routes deeply troubled by Somali piracy.
"The two aircraft have been delivered to the Pakistan navy. These aircraft have been provided under the foreign military funding programme," a spokesman for the US embassy in Islamabad, told AFP.
Relations between Pakistan and the United States were severely damaged last year by a covert American raid that killed Osama bin Laden and air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, and the alliance remains tense.
The navy said the aircraft would help "maintain requisite vigil in our vital area of interest in the North Arabian Sea", which it said was "home to intense maritime activity both legal and illegal and thus warrants continuous guard".
Pakistan is to receive six P3C aircraft from the United States in three batches. The first two, received in 2010, were destroyed during a 17-hour siege of a key naval base in Karachi last May blamed on the Taliban.
The attack killed 10 personnel and deeply embarrassed the military, just three weeks after bin Laden was killed in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Times of India

Russian Nuclear Sub to Arrive in India on March 30-31

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine, the K-152 Nerpa, which has been leased to the Indian Navy, will arrive in that country on March 30-31, a source in the Indian Defense Ministry reported.
“We expect the submarine to arrive in India on March 30-31,” the source said. The sub is currently en route, bound for the port of Visakhapatnam, he said.
The Nerpa, an Akula II-class attack submarine, had originally been scheduled for delivery to India in 2008. However, that date was moved back after twenty people, mostly civilians, died during sea trials earlier that year when a fire-suppressant gas was accidently released on the sub.


Indian Fighter Deal Will Take Six Months To Finalize

India has started price negotiations with France’s Dassault Aviation on the 126-fighter Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program. A contract is expected to be signed after six months, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony says.
India announced in early February that the French Rafale had won the $11 billion deal, beating the Eurofighter Typhoon on price.
Meanwhile, Antony also says the proposed purchase of Swiss Pilatus PC-7 turbo trainer aircraft is going back and forth from the Cabinet Committee on Security to the finance ministry, due to clarifications that were sought to ensure a controversy-free deal for 75 aircraft for training rookie air force pilots.
The government will scrupulously scrutinize every stage of the procurement process and there will be transparency throughout, the minister says. “Nobody can corrupt the Indian system. We will not tolerate that. Everybody should be clear on that,” he says.
All processes in the proposed purchase of Pilatus—from qualitative requirements to Defense Acquisition Council approval, to trials of the competing aircraft and cost negotiations—are over.
“But at every stage we want to be absolutely clear that the process is going through as per the defense procurement procedure and there is absolute transparency,” Antony says. “So discussions are going on with the finance ministry.
“It is not a problem . . . it is part of the process, because the government is very particular that everything is clinched after clarifying all the issues so that future controversy can be avoided,” Antony adds.

Aviation week

Iran Begins Construction of Destroyer Jamaran 2

Iran began construction of destroyer Jamaran 2, reports news agency IRINN referring to Iranian Navy Commander ADM Habibollah Sayyari.
He added that construction of the destroyer Jamaran 2 was conducted by own efforts under direction of Iranian experts.
Sayyari pointed out that the new destroyer would constitute a development of Jamaran destroyer built in Feb 2010.
Destroyer Jamaran is Iran’s domestically built ship. She carried out first overseas cruise on Dec 18, 2011 after participation in the anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden.
The 1,420-ton destroyer Jamaran based in Iranian Navy’s 16-th Flotilla is equipped with advanced radioelectronics, a heliport, and has max speed up to 30 knots. The ship is armed with up-to-date antiaircraft, antiship, and antisubmarine systems, as well as torpedo tubes and gun mounts.
Iranian Navy’s officials earlier said construction of five similar and even more advanced ships was in progress.


Russian Air Force to Receive New Attack Aircraft by 2020

The deliveries of new close air support aircraft to the Russian Air Force will start by 2020, Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said.
“The Air Force units will start receiving this aircraft by 2020,” Drik said on Monday. “It will gradually replace highly-reliable Su-25SM Frogfoot attack planes.”
According to Drik, the new aircraft will meet the demands of modern warfare and feature elements of “stealth” technology, the whole range of tactical weaponry, modern radar and navigation equipment.
Meanwhile, Russia will continue to upgrade its outdated Su-25 attack aircraft to Su-25SM version, which has a significantly better survivability and combat effectiveness.
The Russian Air Force currently has over 30 Su-25SM planes in service and plans to modernize about 80 Su-25s by 2020, Drik said.


February 20, 2012

IAF to procure 71 more armed choppers

Aiming at strengthening its medium-lift helicopter fleet, the IAF is planning to procure 71 more Mi-17 V5 choppers, including 12 for the Ministry of Home Affairs. These would be in addition to the 80 already ordered from Russia.
The MI-17 V5 falls in armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower. It has latest and more powerful engines that enhance its payload carrying capability at higher altitudes.
Of the 80 choppers ordered earlier, Defence Minister A K Antony formally inducted their first batch on Friday.
Of the 71 helicopters to be ordered, 59 would be provided to the IAF for replacing its old Mi-8 and Mi-17IV choppers and six would be given to the Border Security Force.
The remaining six would be distributed among the other central armed police forces, IAF officials said.
Earlier the IAF was proceeding with the acquisition of 59 choppers only but later on the MHA requested to club its requirements also in the same Defence Ministry proposal, they said.
In 2008, India had signed a deal with Russia to supply 80 Mi-17s to augment its existing fleet of around 150 Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift choppers, which have over five tonne load carrying capability and are also used to ferry troops and VIPs.
IAF had felt the need of inducting more medium-lift choppers after a spate of natural disasters following the tsunami in December 2004 and heavy snowfall in Kashmir in 2005.
The Mi-17 V5 is an upgrade of Mi-17 choppers in the medium-lift category and is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and on board navigation systems.
On the machine's capabilities, an IAF official said, "It has on-board weather radar, state-of-the-art autopilot and is compatible with the latest generation night vision goggles."
The Mi-17 variants have operated in various types of terrain, including Siachen Glacier, and have also proved their mettle in UN missions.


February 18, 2012

India sure to buy French Rafale jets: IAF chief

India will not veer from its decision to award a 12-billion-dollar contract to France for Rafale fighter planes, the Indian Air Force chief of staff said in an interview published online.

"We have a procedure as per the defense procurement policy that stipulates the contract goes
to the lowest bidder," Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne told the US monthly Aviation International News at the Singapore Airshow.
India chose Dassault Aviation's Rafale plane over the Typhoon built by Eurofighter, a consortium made up of British group BAE Sytems, Europe's EADS and Italy's Finmeccanica.
Browne added in the interview posted on Thursday that they have begun negotiations to finalise the contract for 126 planes and that any decision now to involve another manufacturer would be "procedurally untenable."
He was speaking after Rafale's rival Eurofighter said it still hoped to win the contract, despite Dassault being chosen for exclusive negotiations.
BAE Systems, which has a 33% stake in the consortium, said Thursday that it still "actively" upholds its Typhoon offer, adding: "There is still a long way to go before the contract is awarded."
The contract negotiations committee opened Dassault Aviation's Rafale bid on February 13 and identified the French company as its lowest bidder.
Browne called the Rafale selection "Brilliant!" in the AIN interview and added: "We got it at the best cost possible. The decision was based on performance and Rafale passed all qualifications."

Hindustan Times

India says it is negotiating contract with Dassault

India today virtually ruled out a rethink on its decision in the multi-billion dollar combat aircraft deal saying it has already started negotiating the contract with French firm Dassault Aviation in this regard.
On January 31, India had announced that the French Rafale fighter jet has emerged as the lowest bidder in the deal for procuring 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) edging out its European rival EADS consortium's Eurofighter Typhoon.
"Already the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) has started for the procurement of Rafale," Defence Minister A K Antony said here.
The Minister was asked to comment on British Prime Minister David Cameron's statement that he would ask India to rethink its decision on the deal and buy the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The CNC is formed by the Ministry to negotiate the final price of the equipment offered by the vendors.
Antony warned the officials and vendors involved in the process against indulging in any wrongdoing saying "everybody should be careful.... Nobody can corrupt India system. We will not tolerate this."
He said the contract negotiations take place for over six months and after that the deal will have to pass through eight stages.
"It will have to pass through scrutiny in eight stages. After CNC, it will come to Defence Ministry. In Ministry also, there will be minimum four stages of scrutiny by Defence Finance. Then it will go to independent monitors appointed by the CVC and then go to the National Security Council Secretariat and Finance Ministry," Antony said. (MORE)

The EconomicTimes

February 17, 2012

Israeli systems in the new Indian fighter aircraft?

India wishes to equip its new fighter aircraft, the French Rafale, with Israeli-produced systems, but there is doubt that the French government will allow it. At this stage, it is known that India is primarily interested in Rafael's Litening pod, which is intended for navigation and locating ground targets.
The system is considered the best of its kind in the world, and is utilized by many air forces. Rafael is presently creating the fourth generation of the system, which is also used by the United States. US sales are carried out by Northrop Grumman, Rafael’s partner in the Litening field in the US market.
Indian officers have made it clear on multiple occasions that they would like to see the Rafael system onboard the selected fighter aircraft. India took the two US aircraft – the F-16 and F-18 – out of the race, and finally selected the Rafale aircraft a few weeks ago. The Rafale is made by the French company Dassault Aviation.
It was made clear several weeks ago that India is under considerable pressure from France. It was reported that the Indian air force would procure 500 air-to-air MIKA missiles of French production at an estimated worth of $1.2 billion. The deal was part of the upgrade of 51 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft of French production. Rafael’s air-to-air missiles are considerably more advanced than those produced in Europe, yet India decided to procure the French missile nevertheless.
“The French almost never allow any country to participate with them in military deals," says an Israeli source. According to him, while the French government is actively involved in aiding the export of French-produced military systems, the Israeli government barely provides any assistance. Israeli sources confirm that there are contacts with Dassault Aviation, the producer of the selected aircraft, in an attempt to propose a joint deal, however they say that the chances for such a deal are slim.
: Israel Defense

IAF to induct Russian Mi-17 V5 armed choppers today

India on Friday will formally induct its latest Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters from Russia that will greatly enhance its capabilities to carry troops and cargo at higher altitudes as well as help in combat operations.

With Russia delivering 21 of the 80 Mi-17s ordered under the $1.34-billion deal in 2008 till now, the induction ceremony will take place at the Palam airbase in the presence of defence minister A K Antony. As earlier reported by TOI, India is likely to go in for 59 more Mi-17s, after the first 80 have been inducted by around 2014, in what will cost the country another $1 billion.

IAF is going to deploy the first squadrons of the new Mi-17s, which will also make it possible for the force to spare some more helicopters for logistical support in the ongoing anti-naxal operations, at Bhatinda and Srinagar.

"These helicopter fall in the armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes. The Mi-17 V5 is an upgrade of Mi-17, which we already have, in the medium-lift category and is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and on board Navigation Systems. It has on board weather radar, state of the art autopilot and is compatible with the latest-generation night vision goggles," said an official. 
Times of India

February 16, 2012

Russia to Put More RS-24 Missiles on Combat Duty in 2012

(RIA Novosti) : A second regiment of the Teikovo Missile Division in central Russia will be fully equipped with Yars mobile ballistic missile systems in 2012, Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) spokesman Col. Vadim Koval said on Thursday.
Russia fully deployed the first Yars regiment consisting of three battalions in August 2011, and put two battalions of the second regiment on combat duty on December 27 last year.
“The deployment of the third battalion of the second regiment will complete the rearming of the Teikovo division with Yars systems,” Koval said.
Two regiments will consist of a total of 18 missile systems and several mobile command posts.
Two more missile divisions will start receiving the Yars systems in 2012. The Novosibirsk division (in Siberia) will receive mobile Yars systems, while the Kozelsk division (in central Russia) will be armed with the silo-based version of the system.
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).
The SMF said last year that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic 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.

Pakistan Plans to Design Own Nuclear Submarine

(Rusnavy) : Pakistan Navy will concentrate on designing and construction of own nuclear-powered submarines, reports Defense News referring to Pakistan's media agencies. Press service of Pakistan Navy declined to comment that news. Reportedly, the project designing has been already financed, and the first nuclear-powered submarine would join Pakistan Navy in 5-8 years.

According to non-conventional arms expert of the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad Mansoor Ahmed, those reports can be the Pakistan government's reaction on developing Indian strategic nuclear program. Particularly, in Jan 2012 Russian shipyard Zvezda leased Project 971U nuclear-powered attack submarine K-152 Nerpa to Indian Navy.

Besides, India is engaged in designing and construction of own Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarines. In total, it is planned to build five subs of this type based on Soviet Project 670 Skat. The first Arihant-class submarine is expected to join Indian Navy by the end of 2012.

So far, it is still unclear whether Pakistan possesses technologies to create relatively compact and reliable submarine-based nuclear reactor. It is unknown what kind of nuclear submarines Pakistan wants to acquire, either attack ones or armed with ballistic missiles.

February 14, 2012

Russia to Deploy S-400 Air Defense Systems Near Borders

Russia will place several new S-400 Triumf air defense systems near its borders in 2012, Air Force Commander Alexander Zelin said.
“The Russian Armed Forces will receive several S-400 Triumf air defense systems this year,” Zelin told RIA Novosti on Monday. “This time they will be deployed in air defense units guarding [Russia’s] border regions.”
Russia currently has two S-400 regiments protecting the airspace around Moscow.
Zelin did not specify the deployment locations for new S-400 units, but some of them will most likely be placed in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad as part of the response to the planned European missile shield initiative, which Moscow considers as a threat to its national security.
The S-400 (SA-21 Growler) air defense system is expected to form the cornerstone of Russia's theater air and missile defenses by 2020.
The S-400 can engage targets at a range of up to 400 km and an altitude of 40,000-50,000 meters. The system uses an array of assets optimized for engaging ballistic and cruise missiles.
An S-400 air defense regiment consists of two or three battalions equipped with four systems each. Russia is planning to arm 56 battalions with S-400 systems by 2020

RIA Novosti

February 13, 2012

Reliance Industries, Dassault Sign Deal for Defense Projects

(Bloomberg) :  Reliance Industries Ltd., owner of the world’s biggest oil refining complex, and Dassault Aviation SA have signed an agreement to explore defense projects jointly, an official at the Indian company said.
“We’ve signed a preliminary agreement with Dassault broadly in the defense sector,” Tushar Pania, Reliance’s spokesman said in a telephone interview, after the Press Trust of India earlier reported the deal.
Dassault emerged last month as the lowest bidder to supply 126 fighter jets to the Indian Air Force, and entered into an exclusive negotiation with the South Asian country’s government over its Rafale planes.
Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries reported on Jan. 20 its first quarterly profit drop in two years as margins for crude-oil refining sank to the lowest in eight quarters.

February 11, 2012

Mission Control Centre for the AAD Interceptor

  ( The Hindu) : The Mission Control Centre for the AAD Interceptor trial held on Friday was deployed in Master-Slave configuration at DRDO Hyderabad and Wheeler Island, Orissa to ensure high availability with built-in fault tolerance at each location.
The MCC of the Indian BMD programme is one of the most advanced, automated net-centric Command and Control systems in the world, a DRDO press release said.
The master MCC located more than a 1,000 km away at Hyderabad from the missile test range, received the target data in real time from multiple weapon system radars. The complete Air Situation Picture during the BMD trial was provided to the MCC commander using advanced data fusion and target classification techniques.
After the classification of the target as an enemy ballistic missile, the MCC issued engagement orders to the AAD Launch Centre located at Wheeler Island in Dhamra.
The complete engagement sequence from target detection to destruction was controlled by MCC in net-centric mode of operation. The trial successfully demonstrated complete functionality in deployment configuration of MCC.

February 10, 2012

India Tests Ballistic Missile Interceptor

India has test-fired a domestically developed interceptor missile capable of destroying ballistic missiles, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday.
The Advanced Air Defense (AAD) interceptor missile was fired from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha in eastern India early on Friday and destroyed the target.
The target was a modified surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile Prithvi, which was fired from the Chandipur range located some 70 km away from Wheeler Island across the sea.
“The interceptor directly hit the target and destroyed it,” S.P. Dash, the director of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, was quoted as saying.
The test was aimed at developing India's multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. The last time India successfully tested an AAD interceptor missile was on March 6, 2011.

RIA Novosti

IAF fighter deal: Rafale much cheaper than Typhoon; govt rules out review

It was the "substantially higher cost" of acquiring and operating the Eurofighter Typhoon that led to its ejection from the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to supply 126 fighters to IAF.

"The French Rafale jet, the eventual winner, beat the Typhoon hollow both in terms of life cycle costs and direct acquisition costs. The entire MMRCA project cost would have gone up by around Rs 25,000 crore if Typhoon had been selected over Rafale," a top defence ministry source said on Thursday.

Given all this, MoD has ruled out the possibility of "any comeback" by Typhoon despite carping by the four nations (UK, Germany, Spain and Italy) backing it, and will begin "exclusive and extensive negotiations" with Rafale-manufacturer Dassault Aviation next week. "The actual contract for the complex project should be ready for inking by September-October," said a source.

British PM David Cameron may have vowed to "encourage" India to reconsider its decision to go in for Rafale, instead of the EADS-manufactured Typhoon, in the largest "open-tender" military aviation deal going around the globe. But that is highly unlikely to happen.

"The fact is that the cost deferential between Typhoon and Rafale was very high... it would cost India around 22% to 25% more if the former had been selected. No government can agree to so much extra," the source said.

Both Rafale and Typhoon had been found "compliant" on all the 643-660 technical parameters laid down to meet specific operational requirements of India, after gruelling field trials by IAF test pilots spread over two years.

The other four jets -- the American F/A-18 'Super Hornet' and F-16 'Super Viper', the Russian MiG-35 and Swedish Gripen - were weeded out from the hotly-contested race last year since they did not meet all the "test points".

"We went by the book, first in the extensive technical evaluation and now in the meticulous commercial evaluation, without any external factors coming into play," said the source.

For one, the "life cycle cost" of operating the Typhoon over a 40-year period, with 6,000 hours of flying, was found to be "higher" than Rafale after extensive calculations of flight costs, spares, maintenance and the like. "The life cycle costs were actually the tool to determine who was L-1 (lowest bidder)," he said.

For another, the difference in the 'direct acquisition cost', which will actually be used to ink the contract, was even bigger. "The Typhoon's commercial bid was way too high. Rafale was the clear L-1 in both life cycle as well as direct acquisition costs," he added.

Dassault will now have to submit a detailed project report on the transfer of technology (ToT) to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). While the first 18 jets will come in "fly-away condition'' from France from mid-2015 onwards, the rest 108 fighters will subsequently be manufactured under licence by HAL over six years.

"We will negotiate each and every element in the complex project with the French. Payments, as also the 50% offsets specified in the contract, will be spread over 11 to 13 years," he said.

The first jet built in HAL is expected to roll out by 2017-2018. Thereafter, HAL will deliver six jets per year, which will go up to 20 per year later. "HAL will achieve 85% technology absorption by the end. Incidentally, Typhoon's cost of ToT was also very high," he said.

This "mother" of all defence deals will later become the "granny", as reported by TOI earlier, since India will in all probability go in for another 63 fighters after the first 126 jets.

IAF is looking at these 126 new jets, apart from the ongoing progressive induction of 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs contracted from Russia for around $12 billion, to stem its fast-eroding combat edge against Pakistan and China. IAF has already identified Ambala and Jodhpur airbases in the western sector, followed by Hashimara in the eastern sector, to house the first MMRCA squadrons.

India is now finalizing details of the stealth Indo-Russian FGFA (fifth-generation fighter aircraft) to be built in the coming decades. IAF hopes to begin inducting the first lot of the 250 to 300 FGFA from 2020 onwards, which rough calculations show will eventually cost India around $35 billion. 

Times of India

India successfully test fired the interceptor missile

  India has successfully test fired its interceptor missile, its capable to target against in coming Ballistic missiles and enemy Aircrafts . The missile is test fired off the Odisha coast .

February 9, 2012

Eurofighter not out of contest, says David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said in the House of Commons that Eurofighter was not out of contention for the Indian Air Force fighter deal.
“I am very disappointed by what has happened in India,” Cameron said in reply to a question by Labour MP Mark Hendrick, who during the weekly Question Time pulled up the coalition government on the UK’s failure to land a contract from India for the Typhoon fighter jet.
However, Cameron said that the Eurofighter was still in the contention. “Eurofighter is not out of the contest yet and we need to reengage as hard as we can to make sure that we get the best deal for all those workers making Eurofighters in Britain.”
He dismissed the criticism that he had not helped the Eurofighter, which is built by a four-nation consortium of Germany, UK, Italy and Spain, to land the contract.
“All European leaders are actually backing the Eurofighter project. It’s a German project, it’s a Spanish project, it’s an Italian project, it’s a British project and that’s how it should be.”
Labour MP Alison Seabeck raised the Typhoon issue again and asked Mr Cameron how many times he had spoken to the Indian Prime Minister about the bid. Cameron said he had raised the issue repeatedly.
“I raised the issue with the Indian Prime Minister repeatedly during my visit to India and indeed at the G20 at Cannes,” he said.

The Asian age