March 30, 2012

India and Russia to Develop Hypersonic Cruise Missile

Russia and India are in talks to jointly develop a hypersonic cruise missile and will soon agree on a general outline of the design, the head of the BrahMos Indian-Russian cruise missile program, Praveen Pathak, said on Friday at the Defexpo defense show in Delhi.
"In the near future, we will set up a joint working group which will work out the parameters of the missile in cooperation with developers, and also decide how much each side will contribue to the project," Pathak said.
The weapon will be capable of flying at Mach 5-Mach 7 speeds, he said.
"We want to create a weapon which would not differ much from the existing BrahMos missile in weight and dimensions, so that it could be used in existing launchers on ships or mobile launchers. In this case it would not take too much work to convert such systems to hypersonic," he said.
"Russia has a longstanding interest in high-speed weaponry and scramjet propulsion, which an Indo-Russian programme could draw on," said Douglas Barrie, air warfare analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. "The design of a genuine hypersonic missile, given the performance requirements, would likely be 'new' rather than using the present 3M55 Onyx/Brahmos design which uses a ramjet for sustained supersonic flight," he added.
India's Defence Research and Development Organization has previously displayed a demonstrator model of Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator at airshows. NPO Mashinostroeniye, India's partner in the BrahMos program, developed a hypersonic missile known as 3M25 Meteorit, but it was never deployed.
India will also carry out the first test-firing of the air-launched variant of the BrahMos Russian-Indian supersonic cruise missile by the end of this year, Pathak said.
"We hope by the end of the year we'll carry out the first launch from an aircraft. It will be an air-launch," he said.
Work on adapting the air-launched variant of BrahMos to arm India's Su-30MKI aircraft is being undertaken for the Indian air force, he said. Several aircraft have already been modified to carry the weapon, he added.

The Indian air force has already taken delivery of enough of the ground-launched variant to equip  two battalions. The missiles will be based near India's borders to strike at enemy airfields, air defense sites and radar stations, said Pathak.
India tested a ground-launched BrahMos earlier this month. "The missile flew its maximum range, 290 km. The terminal phase of the flight was a steep diving trajectory. This is one of the requirements for the ground forces," he said, adding that a steep diving attack profile was necessary for hitting targets in mountainous terrain.
BrahMos, a derivative of the Russian NPO Mashinostroeniye 3M55 Yakhont naval cruise missile, is one of the most capable weapons of its class, combining long-range (up to 290 km), high speed (up to Mach 2.8) a heavy warhead of up to 250 kg, a low radar profile and a variable attack profile, including low level flight down to 10 meters and up to 14,000 meters. The weapon operates on a fire-and-forget principle.
The ground-launched variant weighs around three tons at launch.

RIA Novosti

Pinaka test fired

(PTI) India's multi barrel rocket launcher weapon system 'Pinaka' which could neutralise a large area with a rapid salvo of rockets was today successfully test fired at Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) at Chandipur about 15 km from here. "It was a routine trial by army personnel and there were six rounds of successful test-fire today," an official of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said soon after the trial at the rocket firing pad. Indigenously developed Pinaka is an unguided rocket and area weapon system aimed at supplementing the existing guns at a range beyond 30 km and is capable of acting as a force multiplier. With a strike range of 40 km, Pinaka could fire a salvo of 12 rockets in just 44 seconds. One salvo each of 12 rockets from a battery of six launchers could neutralise a target area of 3.9 square km at a time and could destroy solid structures and bunkers. Its quick reaction time, accuracy and high rate of fire gave an edge to Indian armed forces during low intensity warlike situations. The system's capabilities to incorporate several types of warheads also made it deadly for the enemy. PTI COR SKN PC

IBN Live

Russia Delivers Frigate INS Teg to India on Apr 27

On Apr 27, Indian Navy's ensign will be hoisted on lead Project 11356 frigate INS Teg (serial number 354) built by Yantar Shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia), reports the yard's press service.

The first frigate of 3-ship series was laid down at Yantar in July 2007. She was launched in Nov 2009, and sea trials started in the fall of 2011. The ship completed sea trials in Dec 2011, and passed the whole range of state tests and firings in Feb 2012. Indian military commission began acceptance procedures on March 5. The ship started sea phase of acceptance trials on March 15 having left the shipyard's delivery quay in Baltiysk.

INS Teg will return to the shipyard early in April, and the Indian Navy's ensign will be hoisted on Apr 27. Sea trials of the lead ship were going on with difficulties. For instance, one of gas turbines was replaced due to failure.

The $1.6-bln contract for a series of frigates was tied with Indian Navy in the summer of 2006. First three Project 11356 ships were built by Baltiysky Zavod shipyard; that contract cost over $1 bln. Ships were delivered in 2003-2004 with a one-year delay.

Tender for the second trio of frigates was won by JSC Yantar (affiliate of United Shipbuilding Corporation). Indian president Mrs. Pratibha Patil gave names to the new ships by herself. Second and third ships – INS Tarkash ("Quiver", serial number 355) and INS Trikand ("Bow", serial number 356) – were laid down in Nov 2007 and in June 2008, launched in June 2010 and May 2011 respectively. At present, both of them are being outfitted afloat in the shipyard basin; INS Tarkash has already started mooring trials. As was initially planned, the lead ship was to be delivered in 2011, but the deadline was postponed for a year due to objective reasons. Next frigates will be handed over to the customer on half-year intervals.

By their characteristics, frigates of that project are multipurpose warships designed for search and destruction of opponent's submarines as well as antiship/antisubmarine/antiaircraft warfare. They are the first ships to be armed with newest supersonic antiship cruise missile BrahMos jointly designed by Russia and India.

Length of a Project 11356 frigate is 125 meters; beam is 15 meters; displacement is 4,000 tons; operating range is 5,000 nautical miles; complement is 220 men.


L&T, Samsung Techwin to produce guns in Pune

 (IANS) Technology, construction and engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has joined hands with South Korea's Samsung Techwin Co. Ltd (STW) to develop tracked self-propelled artillery guns for the Indian Army.
 These guns are expected to roll out from L&T's world-class dedicated facility at Talegaon, near Pune, a company statement said here Thursday.
 The two companies also announced at the DEFEXPO-2012 in New Delhi that they would co-operate to develop the 155mm/52 calibre tracked, self-propelled gun with L&T as the lead partner for which a proposal was submitted to the defence ministry last year.
 STW is the original equipment manufacturer for the South Korean K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer, which is among the most successful of the guns in this category. The Indian gun will be a variant of this.
 Along with the K10 ammunition re-supply vehicle, the K9 gun system is recognized for its functionality and unrivalled performance and a large number of them are in service in South Korea and other countries.
 "As the lead partner, L&T will indigenously produce the self-propelled howitzer, thereby contributing to self-reliance in the defence sector. As part of the co-operation agreement between the two companies, STW will provide key technologies to L&T for localization of the K9 Thunder," said M. V. Kotwal, President, Heavy Engineering, and Member, L&T Board.
 During the production phase, the joint offering would have an over 50 percent indigenous content, including components like fire control systems, communication systems, and life support systems which have already been used in India. This phase will also include significant localization of hull/turret structure and major subsystems, Kotwal added.
 Besides offering the sophisticated gun system to meet the needs of the Indian Army, the co-operation would result in new avenues in Indian and global defence markets for the two companies.
 The K9 Thunder is on display at the L&T stall in the Defexpo, with L&T-STW jointly announcing their readiness to field the system for Indian Army's User Evaluation trials which are expected to commence shortly.
 Headquartered in Seoul, the Samsung Group is a multinational conglomerate composed of 29 affiliated businesses with a total turnover exceeding $200 billion, and Samsung Techwin as the technology and innovation leader in the group, specializing in defense & security solutions.
 L&T is a $11.7 billion technology, engineering, construction, manufacturing and financial services conglomerate, with global operations in major lines of business for over seven decades.

 Newtrack India

March 29, 2012

Raytheon begins to enhance Jaguar fighter aircraft capability

US defence major Raytheon has started the process to enhance capabilities of the Indian Air Force's Jaguar fighter aircraft fleet by enabling it to fire latest precision guided munitions.

"Raytheon has started procuring components required to build the Munitions Control Units (MCU) for 126 of the Indian Air Force's Jaguar Darin II attack aircraft," the company said in a statement.

MCU enables integration of modern weapons on older aircraft with minimal modifications to aircraft wiring and the flight or stores management software.

"The MCU's compact size enables it to be located in a weapons pylon or avionics bay of a legacy aircraft. From there, it interfaces between 'smart' weapons and the existing software of a legacy aircraft," it added.

Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president Harry Schulte said, "MCU will give the Jaguar the capability to employ 'smart' or 'advanced' weapons like the Maverick missile, Paveway precision-guided munition and AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missile."

Raytheon was awarded a contract to build the MCU in 2011, and funding was authorized for the system in 2012.

In anticipation of the contract, Raytheon began preliminary work to integrate MCU on Jaguar in 2008.

- Brahmand

India's biggest defense deal in trouble?

It is India’s biggest defence deal till date, an Rs 80,000 crore deal that will provide a new generation of fighter jets to the Indian Airforce. But now questions are being raised by those within the Union Defence Ministry over the evaluation process that led to the decision to award the contract for 126 aircraft to Rafale.

*Sources to TIMES NOW

1 - Procedure followed in calculating the cost of Rafale fighter jet deal was faulty
2 - All the required information about costing of the aircraft was not done properly
3 - Cost of 18 aircraft to be delivered in 'fly away' condition was not done appropriately
4 - Lack of clarity on issues regarding transfer of technology by both key defence ministry officials
5 - Is Rafael actually 10,000 crore rupees cheaper than its rival the Eurofighter?

Reservations which cast a shadow on this multi crore deal. The Opposition wants the Rafale deal investigated adding to the woes of the Union Defence Ministry. But sources say Rafale is unfazed by the aspersions cast on the deal. With the Government now left with just two options, one of doing the due diligence by reevaluating the deal and the other of over-ruling the objections raised by Union Defence Ministry officials. The question is which way will the Government sway?

Times of India

March 28, 2012

Saab offers India ‘unjammable’ RBS 70 NG VSHORAD

The RBS 70 NG is a 'beam-rider', steered by a user-operated laser beam and is not susceptible to deception by counter-measures dispensed by target aircraft, like chaff or flares.
The Swedish defense company, Saab, has offered the RBS 70 NG for the Indian tri-service tender for Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) systems. The tender is for an initial order estimated to be worth INR 27,000 crore (USD 5.4 billion) for over 800 launchers and over 5,000 missiles. Saab says it has sold more than 1600 systems and 17,000 missiles to 18 countries. This could be its single largest order if it works out for them.
Bo Almqvist, Vice President at Saab briefed StratPost on the system, the advanced NG variant of which was first tested earlier this month at Karlskoga in Sweden. The test was conducted before representatives of 17 countries, including the Defense Attache of India and five targets were taken out – three in the daytime and two at night time, with three direct hits and two proximity hits.
Targets included a dummy missile placed on a vertical platform around 4.5 kilometers away and an aircraft-towed aerial target flying at a height of 500 meters, tracked from a distance of six kilometers and requiring an elevation of around 30 degrees. This aerial target had a vertical height of around two feet. Such targets typically have a Hot Spot, which raises the temperature of the target by a few degrees above the surrounding air. But this target had no Hot Spot and Bo explained why.
Almqvist, who has a Ph.D in Theoretical Physics and a thesis on Quarks and Leptons, has lost none of his academic enthusiasm and vigorously scribbles on the whiteboard to explain the different systems.
He begins by distinguishing the operator line of sight-guided RBS 70 NG from systems guided by Infra Red Homing. Heat-sensing homing guidance systems, he says, are susceptible to deception by counter-measures dispensed by target aircraft, like chaff or flares.
“But how do you jam a laser beam?” he asks. Since the RBS 70 NG is a ‘beam-rider’, steered by a user-operated laser beam, it cannot be deceived and diverted by such counter-measures. Of the other comparable systems, only the Thales Starstreak is laser-guided as well. Not prepared to disclose the effective range of the laser beam guiding the missile, he says, “It’s good for six kilometers.”

The missile used in the system, the Bolide, has a range of eight kilometers, exceeding the six-kilometer requirement of the tender, and the system itself is claimed to have an altitude coverage ‘in excess of 5,000 meters’, according to a company statement.
Another disadvantage of IR Homing guidance systems, says Almdqist, is that they are ineffective within 20 degrees of the position of the sun, leaving a cone of ineffectiveness from the position of the operator with an angle of 40 degrees, which would create a circle of ineffectiveness of around 13 square kilometers in the sky around the position of the sun (assuming conical side distances of six kilometers).
The degree of ineffectiveness for the laser-guided, line of sight operated system is 1-2 degrees around the position of the sun, he says.
Typically, three to five units of the operating a system each are connected to a single surveillance radar, which alerts and guides them towards possible targets. Saab says the system includes integrated thermal imager and night sight capability, three-dimensional target designation, automatic target detection. The auto-tracker aids the missile operator during engagement, allowing him to visually cue the target on the monitor. In case the operator changes his mind and wishes to abort the hit, he simply has to take away the tracker and self-destruct the missile, says Almqvist.
He says the operator also has option of selecting the part of the aircraft to be targeted. This gives the operator the choice to merely scare off or disable an aircraft, if he chooses not to bring it down completely. In the IR Homing system, the missile would likely go towards the engine, the hottest part of the aircraft.
He also points out that unlike other comparable systems, which can operate only with an elevation of at least 5 degrees from the horizon, the RBS 70 NG has no such restrictions and can zero in on ground targets like armored vehicles as well.
The RBS 70 NG can only be operated with a code input locking system to prevent unauthorized use and comes with a 16 kilometer-range HARD (Helicopter and Aeroplane Radar Detection) radar system for tracking targets. This can be containerized or vehicle-mounted. The system also has an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) receiver to prevent errors in identification of targets. Almqvist says the system is effective against Unmanned Aerial/Remotely Piloted Vehicles (UAVs/RPVs), fighter aircraft, helicopters, Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and can even take out cruise missiles.Saab says the modularity of the system also allows it to be used in a remotely controlled configuration. “These deployments can last several weeks or more in around-the-clock operations,” says the company.
The NG variant improves upon the older RBS 70 system with a new day and night sight, which is also lighter by around eight kilograms. The system earlier required a clip-on sight for night operations. The newer version also incorporates visual cueing, an upgrade from the audio beeps which earlier guided the operator.
The tender has also asked for a naval variant of the system, with anti-corrosive qualities. The effective range of the naval variant could be slightly lower due to the presence of crud caused by moisture which might affect the integrity of the laser beam.
Offset proposals for the tender to comply with the 30 percent offset requirement of the Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP) were submitted in June and the process is currently at the stage of technical evaluation. User trials are expected to take place early next year.


BAE Systems ready to help India build Bofors guns

Dean McCumiskey, Managing Director and Chief Executive of BAE Systems’ India operations told StratPost his company would be open to discussing any question of technical assistance the OFB might require, in its attempt to execute the designs and technology documentation transferred to it as part of the old Bofors howitzer procurement.
 BAE Systems has said it is ready to provide assistance to India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) in its endeavor to build artillery guns on the basis of the technology of the Bofors FH77 B02 howitzer, transferred to it as part of the aborted procurement in the 1980s. BAE Systems owns the howitzer unit of the erstwhile Swedish company.
Dean McCumiskey, Managing Director and Chief Executive of BAE Systems’ India operations told StratPost his company would be open to discussing any question of technical assistance the OFB might require, in its attempt to execute the designs and technology documentation transferred to it as part of the old Bofors howitzer purchase, cut short because of the infamous corruption scandal.
The OFB has been tasked with the manufacture of 100 howitzers to be built using the technology transferred to it by Bofors.
Besides providing drawings and manufacturing instructions as part of the technology documentation transferred, Bofors was also required to provide technical support in understanding and executing the documentation, as part of the contract. But since the deal was cancelled, there was no move to execute the license production of the technology and build the howitzer in India.
Defense Minister A.K. Antony told Parliament earlier this month, “The government had secured the right of transfer of technology during the purchase of Bofors guns. Though all the technological documents as per the ToT contract were received by OFB from M/s AB Bofors, the Transfer of Technology was not carried forward as the dealings with the technology provider; (M/s AB Bofors) were suspended. Further, no indent was placed by Army on OFB for manufacture and supply of complete gun system.”
Consequently, India never requested any technical support from Bofors or any of its successor companies, the agreement for which lapsed several years back without any move to extend its validity.
StratPost understands from sources familiar with the technical details of the Bofors artillery procurement that it would be ‘almost impossible’ to make use of the documentation without assistance and support from the original designer and producer. There are also questions as to the availability of components and subsystems in the market, which has moved on from analogue to digital. Systems that would likely require redesign altogether could include the computer, range finder, gyro and positioning system.
BAE Systems currently makes the FH77 B05 howitzer, a significantly advanced version of the system supplied to India


Brahmos missile flight tested successfully off Orissa coast

(ANI): India on Wednesday successfully testfired version three of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, off the Orissa coast.
The test firing took place at around 11.22 a.m., a Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) release said.
The release said that the missile flew through the designated 290 kilometer distance at Mach 2.8 and achieved high precision with steep dive once again.
The Network of telemetry stations and down range ships confirmed that the missile followed the pre designated flight path.
When contacted, Dr. A. Sivathanu Pillai confirmed that it was a text book launch achieving 100 percent results.
"Today's trial was special, as for the first time, the Brahmos missile was launched in a 'steep drive' mode," Dr. Pillai, the chief of Brahmos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture company.
The missile was completely integrated at the BrahMos Integration Complex at Hyderabad. The test flight was witnessed by senior officers from the armed forces. he Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Brahmos, along with Mr. S Som, Project Director, Brahmos and Rear Admiral S Mohapatra, Executive Director were present during the launch.
"The missile was test fired from a ground mobile launcher from the launch complex-3 at about 1122 hours and the trial was successful," a defence official said.
The supersonic missile is capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 200 to 300 kilograms.
The cruise missile, a surface-to-surface army version, was test fired in the presence of senior army officials and DRDO scientists, a defence official said.
The two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the army and the navy.
The army has so far placed orders for the Brahmos missile to be deployed by three regiments of the army. Two of them have already been inducted operationally. he Defence Ministry has also given a go-ahead to the army to induct a third regiment equipped with the missile system to be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh along the China border. (ANI + inputs)

Yahoo News

March 27, 2012

Moscow May Help India Build Closed-Cycle Submarines

Russia has offered help India build air-independent (closed cycle) propulsion systems for installation in Amur 1650 class submarines and also to equip future possible joint Indian-Russian built vessels, Viktor Komardin, the deputy head of Rosoboronexport's delegation said at the Defexpo Indian defense show on Tuesday.
The Amur 1650 is one of several contenders, including the Scorpene (France), Type 214 (Germany) and S-80 (Spain) in a tender for the Indian Navy for six subamrines with a total value of $11.8 billion.
"Russia is currently completing tests of a new air-indepedent propulsion system, which could be installed not only on the Amur 1650 but on jointly developed boats," Komardin said. "This is a critical factor for the Indians. So our chances here are good," he added.
Rosoboronexport, Russia's defense sales holding, has already offered India its Amur 1650 boat, which started trials with the Russian navy in 2010. The Amur has an armament of multirole torpedos and Klub anti-ship missiles, and can also strike land-targets with advanced cruise missiles, which may include the India-Russian Brahmos. "These missiles which the Indians want can only be supplied by Russia," Komardin said.
The Amur 1650 has a good chance of winning the tender, Komardin claimed, thanks to its ability to remain submerged for over 25 days using its air-independent propulsion, and also its long-range weaponry. Similar foreign boats can only stay submerged for 15-20 days.
Russia is currently evaluating the Lada class air-independent submarine, a derivative of the Amur 1650. In 2010 the Lada class submarine St Petersburg entered service with the Russian Fleet.
The Russian Fleet Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky told RIA Novosti previously that the first Russian air-independent boat, based on a similar design, the Projet 677 class, could enter service in 2014. Two such hulls are currently under construction at the Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg, which could be fitted with a closed-cycle propulsion system.
An air-independent propulsion system is currently being rapidly developed by specialists from the Rubin submarine design bureau.
Air-independent submarines, usually using hydrogen-orygen fuel cells, are quieter than conventional diesel-electric boats, and do not have to surface or use snorkel tubes to breathe air, which makes them vulnerable to detection by radar and other sensors.

RIA Novosti

Russia to Show New Tank in India

Russia will display a prototype model of its new T-90S tank at the Defexpo 2012 arms exhibition in India later this week, arms firm Rosoboronexport delegation head Viktor Komardin said on Monday.
"This new tank will be the gem of the show," Komardin said. "Its first foreign presentation will be the main event," he added.
"The Indian Army already operates the T-90, so its modernized variant - which, by the way is an absolutely new machine - will be of great potential interest to the Indians," he said.
The show will take place in Delhi from March 29 to April 1.
India has overtaken China as the world's largest conventional arms buyer in the last five years, according to a report from the Swedish Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released last week. India spent $12.7 billion on weapons in that period, 80 percent of which came from Russia.

RIA Novosti

March 26, 2012

Hind Aeronautics calls bids for new MMRCA complex

Defence aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has invited bids to build a new design and manufacturing complex in Bangalore for MMRCA fighter planes.
The facility is estimated to cost Rs 360 crore and is to be completed two years from the award date.
The IAF is acquiring at least 126 MMRCAs (medium multi-role combat aircraft) to modernise its ageing and depleting fleet.
The MiG-21 fighters are to be phased out from 2014. The Navy is also expected to top up the order.
The tender for the new production unit comes even as the Government's Contract Negotiation Committee is negotiating the cost of procuring the fourth-generation fighters with the finalist vendor, France's Dassault Aviation.
HAL plans to locate it at Challaghatta where it has large tracts of land. The integrated ‘green' factory complex will include hangars, runways and residential units.
The area is close to the old international airport, which was closed to commercial flights in May 2008.
The HAL defence airport continues to operate military, VVIP, charter and select non-scheduled flights into and out of Bangalore.
The Ministry of Defence said in February this year that a Contract Negotiation Committee had started negotiations with the L1 MMRCA bidder, France's Dassault.
This was for its lower price over the European Eurofighter consortium for its Typhoon. Dassault — if and when an agreeable price is reached in the coming months and the contract is sealed — will directly supply 18 Rafale MMRCAs to the IAF.
HAL will build the remaining 108 aircraft. It will be its first export of Rafale, which has also been used in Afghanistan and Libya.

Keenly watched

The MMRCA acquisition is said to be this century's largest and most keenly watched defence purchase contest.
The order is estimated at a minimum of around Rs 50,000 crore ($10 billion)
Also in the race were Boeing IDS (F/A-18 Super Hornet); Lockheed Martin (F-16IN Super Viper); Sweden's Saab (JAS 39 Gripen) and Russia's RAC MiG (MiG-35). 

Hindu Business Line

March 24, 2012

Indian Military Delegation Inspects Sevmash Shipyard

Visit of Indian military delegation headed by Vice Admiral Nadella Kumar to Sevmash shipyard is coming to its end.

Indian partners started the visit with inspection of the Project 11430 aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. Being accompanied by Sevmash's director general Andrei Diachkov, foreign military production managers Sergei Novoselov and Georgy Zhukov, representatives of United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Rosoboronexport, and Nevskoye Design Bureau, Mr. Kumar visited the ship's conning room, flag bridge, aircraft command station, aircraft ammunition bilge, and hangar. He inspected with interest crew quarters, commanding officer's cabin, cook room, and officers' mess rooms.

Indian military officials held several working meetings with directors of USC and Sevmash, listened reports of colleagues observing the works on the carrier, and met with their families residing in Severodvinsk.

- Rusnavy

Navy to get N-powered submarine in the next few days

INS Chakra, the nuclear-powered Akula-II class submarine taken on lease from Russia for 10 years, will reach Indian shores in the next few days. It will formally be inducted into the Navy, in the presence of defence minister A K Antony, at Visakhapatnam on April 4.

With this, the country's protracted wait for a nuclear submarine, which can operate underwater for months at end, is finally over.

But this does not mean India now has an operational nuclear weapon triad - the capability to fire nukes from land, air and sea - since INS Chakra is not armed with nuclear-tipped missiles due to international non-proliferation treaties.

The triad will be in place only when the indigenous nuclear submarine, the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, equipped to carry a dozen K-15 (750km) or four K-4 (3,500km) nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, becomes fully operational next year.

The 8,140-tonne INS Chakra, which makes India the world's sixth country after US, Russia, France, UK and China to operate nuclear-powered submarines, of course, has boosted India's underwater combat arm that is currently grappling with just 14 ageing conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Armed with the 300-km range Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles as well as other missiles and advanced torpedoes, INS Chakra will be potent 'hunter-killer' of enemy submarines and warships as well as provide effective protection to a fleet at sea.

INS Chakra will also be used to train sailors in the intricate art of operating nuclear submarines. Incidentally, the 'Charlie-I' class nuclear submarine India had leased from Russia from 1988 to 1991 was also named INS Chakra but the expertise gained on it was steadily lost since Indian Navy did not operate any other nuclear submarine thereafter.

The new 10-year lease flows from the January, 2004, agreement, with India funding a major part of Nerpa's construction at Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard after Russia stopped it midway due to funds crunch. It was slated for induction much earlier but technical glitches delayed the process, which included a toxic gas leak in November, 2008, that killed 20 Russian sailors. 

Times of India

March 23, 2012

Defence panel MP raises red flag on $20-bn Rafale deal

Defence minister AK Antony has asked his ministry to ascertain facts on the evaluation process that led to the emergence of the French Rafale as the lowest bidder for the $20-billion combat fighter deal, after a member of the standing committee of Parliament on defence raised a few red flags in a letter in February. The member, MV Mysura Reddy, is a Telugu Desam Party MP in Rajya Sabha.

In his letter, Reddy has alleged irregularities in the evaluation process and demanded that Antony get the entire matter probed. The letter asks why the Rafale, which has not been bought by any other country, has been chosen for the Indian Air Force It also points to the fighter jet’s performance in the recent air campaign in Libya, saying “the Rafale failed in precision bombing”. Furthermore, it quotes from unspecified news reports about alleged irregularities.
“The ministry… must ensure… there has been no manipulation in the evaluation process,” the letter, dated February 27, goes on to say.
In his reply on February 29, Antony said: “I have asked the ministry to examine all the points raised by you.” He also marked Reddy’s letter to defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma for getting the matter examined.
The ministry then sent the letter to Ranjan Kumar Ghosh, joint secretary (air), acquisitions manager, and the chairman of the contract negotiating committee (CNC). “As a member of the standing committee, I brought it to the knowledge of the defence minister as it was my patriotic responsibility”, Reddy told HT.
Antony has publicly said to ministry and defence officials that he would not hesitate in cancelling a deal if any irregularities were brought to his notice.
“We will examine all the points raised in the letter… but the work on CNC is not complete,” a senior defence ministry official told HT.
“All the same, the CNC is accountable if any lapses are found in the oversight stage.”
As of now, the CNC has not shared its findings on questions relating to the evaluation process with either the defence secretary or Antony.
The Rafale emerged as the lowest bidder in the deal for the supply of 126 fighters to the IAF on the basis of extensive trials and complex calculations, including unit cost, lifecycle cost and transfer of technology.
Eighteen fighters will be supplied from mid-2015 onwards and the rest will be manufactured in India over the next six years.

- Hindustan Times

China 'warns' India with border drill

(Times of India) : China is back to flexing its muscles close to the Indian border. The People's Liberation Army has conducted a major "live fire" exercise, testing its multi-role J-10 fighters armed with laser-guided and other bombs, in the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Chinese official media on Thursday described the exercise as "the first operation of its kind" on the 3,500-metre high plateau, which saw the fighter jets being fuelled and loaded with bombs for ground attack missions during sub-zero temperatures.

The rare publicity given to the exercise comes at a time when China is getting ready for a change of guard, including the election of a new president and secretary general of the Communist Party.

It's also meant as a strong signal to India, which has belatedly taken to strategically counter China's massive build-up of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control over the last two decades.

This is, of course, not the first time PLA has undertaken combat exercises in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), having tested its Sukhoi-27UBK and Sukhoi-30MKK fighters as well as rapid reaction forces and airborne corps there over the last two-three years.

But China-watchers in the Indian defence establishment say the latest exercise, with fighters conducting both day and night sorties, seems to be "several rungs higher" than the ones conducted in the past. It comes barely five months after another major PLA exercise, involving air force, tanks and artillery, was held in the region.

"China usually deploys fighters in TAR only during summers from March onwards because of the thin air and tough operating conditions there. But last year for the first time, PLA kept the J-10 jets deployed at Gongar (Lhasa) throughout the winter," said a senior officer.

China, apart from nuclear missile bases in Qinghai province that unmistakably target India, has built five fully operational airbases at Gongar, Pangta, Linchi, Hoping and Gar Gunsa, an extensive rail network and over 58,000-km of roads in TAR.

This makes it possible for PLA to move around 30 divisions (each with over 15,000 soldiers) to the LAC within 30 days to outnumber Indian forces by at least three-is-to-one. The Chengdu military region and the PLA airbases in TAR are mainly tasked for an anti-India role, as earlier reported by TOI.

India, in turn, has based its most potent fighters Sukhoi-30MKIs, which can go deep into China, at Tezpur and Chabua in Assam, apart from planning to deploy six C-130J "Super Hercules" strategic airlift aircraft in the eastern sector.

"We have a slight advantage over China in the sense that its TAR airbases are located at an average height of 10,000 to 12,000-feet. This restricts the weapon loads their Sukhois and J-10s can carry. PLA Air Force, of course, is almost triple our size" said an IAF officer.

India is also now upgrading eastern sector ALGs (advanced landing grounds) like Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar as well as several helipads in Arunachal Pradesh. This comes after the reactivation of western sector ALGs like Daulat Beg Oldi, Fukche and Nyama in eastern Ladakh.

Moreover, Army is now planning a mountain strike corps (70,000 soldiers) after raising two new mountain infantry divisions, with 1,260 officers and 35,011 soldiers, in Assam and Nagaland. There are also plans to base Akash and BrahMos missile regiments in the North-East for conventional deterrence against China.

March 22, 2012

Russia Orders 30 Su-30SM Fighters

Russia's Defense Ministry has signed an order with aircraft-maker Irkut for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, a military spokesman said on Thursday.
"According to the contract, the company will deliver 30 of these aircraft to the Russian Defense Ministry by 2015," he said.
The value of the deal was not disclosed.
The Su-30SM is a two-seat derivative of the earlier Su-27UB and the MKI variant supplied to India, and is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions. The aircraft features thrust-vectoring engines to enhance manueverability.
In August 2011, Irkut said it would deliver 40 Su-30SM aircraft to the Defense Ministry including 28 for the Air Force and 12 for the Russian Navy, replacing Su-24s in the strike-attack role, according to lenta.ru

RIA Novosti

March 21, 2012

BrahMos missile fully operational with two Army regiments: Govt

Indigenously developed BrahMos cruise missile system having a strike range of 290 kms, has become fully operational with two regiments of the Indian Army, government told the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "The flight trial was carried out on March 4, 2012 by the Second Regiment of the BrahMos Army Unit for operationalisation of the regiment in desert warfare, after training of the personnel.

"With this test firing, the BrahMos Missile System is fully operational with two regiments of the Army," he said.

He was asked whether the BrahMos missile was test fired and its details thereof.

Informing the House on the test firing conducted by Army, the Defence Minister said, "BrahMos Missile System with launchers, mobile command post with its control and communication systems had been fully deployed by the Army in operational mode and the missile was fired".

Replying to a question on indigenous production of defence equipment, Antony said the defence public sector units are taking various initiatives to encourage indigenous participation in defence production and to widen the defence industrial base.

"These include development of indigenous vendors, registration of new vendors, policy initiative for greater private sector participation and outsourcing in their production programme," he said. 

The Economic Times

5,000 Pinaka rockets to be produced every year

Nagpur: The Ordnance Factory Ambajhari (OFAJ) near here is all set to enhance its manufacturing capacity of Pinaka rockets from the present 1,000 rockets to 5,000 every year for the Indian Army, sources said.

"Pinaka rocket is one of the major projects (of the OFAJ). The multiple rocket launcher has successfully been indigenised and production of Pinaka rocket is in association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)," official sources said.

"Pinaka rocket is operable at extreme conditions of temperature ranging from -10 degree centigrade to 55 degree centigrade. These rockets, with a payload of 100 kgs, have a striking range of 40 kms and can bring devastation around 500 kms of surrounding areas of the target. It has already been tested and inducted into the arsenal of the Indian Army. It is a mammoth project of the Ambajhari Ordnance Factory," they said. 

 Very soon, construction work would commence for the extension project of Pinaka. Each Pinaka battery consists of six launcher vehicles, each with 12 rockets, six loader-cum replenishment vehicles, two command post vehicles with a fire control computer and radar.

According to sources, AN-32 Platform system is another important milestone in the history of OFAJ and the first batch of OFAJ's indigenously produced AN-32 Platform was handed over to the Indian Army in July last year.

AN-32 Platform system is an Aerial Delivery System to para drop vehicles from height of 500 to 700 metres, with the help of parachutes. The platforms loaded with vehicle are carried on hydraulic trolley to airbase and the same is put inside an AN-32 aircraft with the help of a hydraulic trolley and manual push, sources said.

The platforms, along with parachutes, are dropped from aircraft at the desired locations. The platform loaded with vehicles gets stabilised and lands on ground with the help of parachutes.

The AN-32 Platform heavy drop system was designed and developed by Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE). It is a substitute to Russian AN-32 Platform system. OFAJ has indigenously developed this item in collaboration with ADRDE Agra.

Another vital project of the OFAJ is 105 mm shells HEER, which has a projectile mass of 16 kgs and is of 593 m length. HEER has a range of 20.4 Km with super charge, they added.

The OFAJ, established in 1966, is a premier factory in the family of 41 ordnance factories. It is engaged in manufacturing and supply of ammunition hardware parts, shells, fuses, rockets, cartridge cases, assault bridges and high strength aluminium alloys, they said.

The 41 defence production units and factories under the Defence Ministry are engaged in the production of weapon systems, armoured personnel carrier, tanks and ammunitions and equipments required by the Indian Armed Forces and Para Military Forces in the country.

PTI  / Zeenews

Navy planning new air base in Karnataka

New Delhi: Strengthening its capabilities along the western seaboard, the Indian Navy is planning to establish a new naval air base in Karwar in Karnataka for operating both fighter and surveillance aircraft.

"We have plans of establishing a Naval Air Station at Karwar for basing and operation of fixed and rotary-wing military aircraft," Navy officials said on Tuesday.

The naval air base is part of the Navy's Rs 10,000 crore plans under the phase II of the Project Sea Bird. 

 Aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov', which India is getting from Russia, six Scorpene submarines and several other warships will be based there in the future.

The Navy already has an air base in Goa and has deployed its MiG 29K and Sea Harrier fighter aircraft there.

It has also placed orders for 29 more MiG 29K carrier- borne fighter planes from Russia along with the indigenous versions of the naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas'.

Under the Phase-II of the Project, Karwar will get an armament depot, dockyard complex and missile silos, apart from additional jetties, berthing and anchorage facilities.

It is planning to expand the base to the extent where it can provide requisite berthing and operational fleet base facilities for the operation, administration and command and control of over 30 warships and submarines.

The Karwar base would be the third such major base of the Indian Navy and is being strengthened at a time when Pakistan is developing ports with the help of the Chinese and would also providing strategic depth to its maritime force.

It would also help the Navy in decongesting its base in Mumbai which has seen a significant increase in merchant shipping.

PTI/ Zeenews

March 20, 2012

Russia Seals S-400 Missile Supply Deal

Moscow-based missile manufacturer Avangard has signed a contract to supply Russia's defense ministry with missiles for its new S-400 air defense systems, the mininstry said on Tuesday.
The value of the three-year deal was not disclosed.
Avangard will be the sole supplier of missiles for the S-400 system, the ministry said. The types of missiles in question were not disclosed but previous descriptions of S-400 have included the designations 9M96 and 9M96E2 and the long-range 40N6E.
The Russian military has previously said the S-400 system would not be exported.
The S-400 Triumph, which succeeds the Soviet-era S-300, is a medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile system that can effectively engage any aerial target, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise and ballistic missiles at up to 400 kilometers and an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.


India to induct nuclear submarine in April first week

(PTI) In a major boost to its underwater strike capabilities, India will induct its Russian-origin nuclear-powered submarine 'Nerpa' in the first week of April. 'Nerpa', which will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra', is scheduled to arrive at its home base of Visakhapatnam in the first week of April and is expected to be commissioned formally into the Indian Navy by Defence Minister A K Antony on April 5, Defence Ministry officials told PTI here today. The submarine will be on a ten-year lease under a deal expected to be worth over USD 920 million, they said. An Indian crew had set sail with the Akula II class vessel to India in the end of January. After the 'INS Chakra' joins the naval fleet, it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine. This will also propel India in the elite league of six nations operating nuclear submarines. India is also working on development of indigenous nuclear submarines of the 'Arihant' class. The first submarine 'INS Arihant' was launched for sea trials recently and is expected to start operational patrols by the end of this year. The Navy will have three submarines of this class by the end of this decade. India already possesses or is in the process of developing a family of nuclear-capable missiles including the Agni series, Prithvi variants, naval missile Dhanush, and submarine-launched Sagarika. Meanwhile, the Navy will commission 'Admiral Gorshkov' aircraft carrier on the Navy Day on December 4 this year in Russia. The aircraft carrier has been under retrofit for the last over five years at Russian facilities and is expected to reach Indian waters only in mid-2013.


India to induct new combat jets from 2016

Come 2016 and India will start inducting the first of the 126 combat jets it is purchasing for nearly $20 billion, parliament was informed Monday.

The first squadron of the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) will comprise 18 Rafale aircraft that will be purchased in a fly-away condition from French manufacturer Dassault Aviation. The remaining aircraft will be progressively manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, with the last of them being inducted before the end of 2023.

The Rafale was chosen after beating off stiff competition from five other aircraft.

"The first squadron of MMRCA consisting of 18 aircraft is expected to be inducted within three to four years of signing the contract," Antony told the Lok Sabha during question hour.

The deal is expected to be sealed before the end of 2012, as cost negotiations are on with Dassault Aviation. 

- The Economic Times

March 19, 2012

India World’s Top Arms Importer – SIPRI

(RIANovosti) : India has topped a rating of the world's largest heavy arms importers, released on Monday by the independent Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), researching into conflicts, arms control and disarmament.
According to the report, India, the largest arms recipient, accounted for 10 percent of global arms imports between 2007 and 2011. Among the most significant contracts signed by India is the purchase of 120 Russian Su-30MK multirole combat aircraft, 29 Mig-29Ks and 20 British Jaguar fighters.
The top five arms importers include states in Asia and Oceania: India, South Korea, Pakistan, China and Singapore, which account for 30 per cent of all imports of major conventional weapons between 2007 and 2011, the report said.
SIPRI, which calls Russia “a minor importer of major conventional weapons,” mentioned Moscow's recent arms deals, which include the delivery of four French Mistral-class helicopter carriers, up to 2500 Italian 60 Lynx LMV armored vehicles and Israeli unmanned drones.
The United States and Russia were named the key arms suppliers that accounted for 30 and 24 percent of all exports respectively.
During 2011, the United States delivered 64 combat aircraft, including 11 F-15Es to South Korea, 7 F-15SGs to Singapore, 9 F/A-18Es to Australia, 12 F-16Cs to Turkey and 16 F-16Cs to Morocco, the think tank’s report said.
“The most significant order placed in 2011, the largest arms deal for at least two decades, was Saudi Arabia’s order for 84 new F-15SG combat aircraft and upgrade of 70 existing F-15Es to the same standard,” SIPRI reported.

March 17, 2012

Budget 2012: Military plays catch-up but China a long march ahead

Modernization of the over 13-lakh strong armed forces will continue in a steady albeit sluggish manner, with the defence outlay being hiked to Rs 1,93,408 crore (around $39 billion) to cater for some major fighter, aircraft, helicopter and howitzer deals to be inked in the coming fiscal.

But two major worries remain. One, India's budgeted defence expenditure still remains just 1.9% of the projected GDP for 2012-13, much less than the 3% being demanded by the armed forces and strategic experts for several years to effectively deter both China and Pakistan. An assertive China, for instance, recently hiked its official defence budget to over $100 billion.

Two, the revenue expenditure (day-to-day costs and salaries) pegged at Rs 1,13,829 crore for the coming fiscal continues to far outstrip the capital one for new weapons, sensors and platforms at Rs 79,579 crore. There is simply no indication the much-touted aim to "transform'' the military into a lean, mean fighting machine is anywhere on the horizon. 

 Moreover, the defence ministry has been forced to return Rs 3,055 crore of unspent capital funds. Defence minister A K Antony admitted he had expected more for his ministry this time but he took solace at the FM declaring that additional money would be provided if needed.

For the record, the 2012-2013 defence outlay represents a 17.63% hike over last year's budgetary allocation of Rs 1,64,415 crore. But if revised estimates of 2011-2012 are taken, it becomes a mere 13.14% jump.

Capital expenditure, in turn, has registered a more robust 20.3% hike from last year's revised estimate of Rs 66,144 crore. This will, however, be just enough to keep the modernization on track, without any surges, since a major chunk of it will also go for already contracted weapon systems.

Army, in particular, is grappling with "operational gaps'' in artillery guns, air defence weapons, night-vision capabilities and aviation. IAF and Navy, too, are making do with inadequate aircraft, helicopters, submarines and trainers.

A mega project on the anvil is the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) programme to acquire 126 fighters for IAF, with the final commercial negotiations for the French Rafale jet now in progress.

Even as IAF also waits for the over Rs 3,000 crore deal for 75 Swiss Pilatus PC-7 turbo-prop aircraft to train its rookie pilots, Army is desperate to acquire 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers from the US for $647 million, its first-ever acquisition of 155mm guns since the infamous scandal in the mid-1980s completely derailed its artillery modernization plans.

Times of India

Safety concerns ground Mirage fleet, French team helping probe

After two successive crashes that have been pinned down to engine failure, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters even as a French technical team has arrived to help probe the accidents. The front line fleet of 49 fighters, some of which are also assigned a nuclear delivery role, have been on the ground for the past ten days and will only fly after further safety checks.
The entire fleet was grounded after the recent crash on March 5 in Rajasthan when a trainer version of the aircraft went down after the engine cut off in mid flight. The crash was similar to the one that took place last month when another trainer version of the Mirage 2000 went down even as an Air Marshal who was at the controls managed to eject safely.
Sources said that a team from Snecma, the engine manufacturers of the French fighters, is presently in India to help the IAF team in its investigation. The two successive crashes have come as a major setback for the IAF that has maintained a very good safety record for the Mirage 2000 fleet with the last crash taking place in 2004.
It is learnt that among other lines of investigation, possible defects in the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system that controls the power plant are also being probed. The computer controlled system governs all aspects of engine performance. While this is not a known problem in the fleet, it is being probed as both crashes took place due to engine trouble.
Sources said that the fighters will be allowed to fly only after technical checks rule out a larger problem that affects the entire fleet. As reported, in last month's crash involving Air Marshal Anil Chopra the engine cut off mid flight and did not re engage even after the pilots tried to restart it several times. After successive attempts, both were ordered to eject as the fighter lost altitude.
The grounding of the Mirage fleet is the latest in a series of such events that have affected the IAF in the past few years. In February 2010, close to 100 fighters from the MiG 27 fleet were grounded on suspicions of a major engine snag. The Su 30 MKI fleet was also grounded in December 2009 for several days after a HAL made fighter crashed near Pune.

The Indian Express

March 16, 2012

India to Boost Defense Spending by 17% to Keep Pace With China

India plans to increase defense spending by 17 percent for the next financial year, as the country seeks to modernize its armed forces to keep pace with China’s military buildup and counter traditional rivals.
Total expenditure on the country’s armed services is set to rise to 1.93 trillion rupees ($40 billion) this year, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament today as his delivered the country’s annual budget. China announced plans last month to increase spending by 11.2 percent this year to meet the country’s expanding global commitments.
India’s internal security threats and rivalries with Pakistan and China, the nuclear-armed neighbors with which it has border disputes, have driven a tripling in defense spending over the last decade.
The country, which is the world’s largest arms importer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, is currently negotiating with Dassault Aviation SA (AM) to buy 126 warplanes in the world’s biggest fighter-jet purchase in 15 years.


March 15, 2012

IAF set to induct 6 LCA squadrons

Giving a big thrust to the indigenous fighter jet programme, Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to induct six squadrons of Tejas light combat aircraft over the next 10 years, which will allow the IAF to pack more punch in its aerial strikes.
“IAF plans to induct six LCA squadrons by the end of the 13th Plan,” minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The development phase for LCA (light combat force) began in 1983 and the first technology demonstrator flew in 2001. Four years later, IAF placed the first order of 20 Tejas at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore. Subsequently, it placed order for another squadron.

The first two squadrons – 40 aircraft – of LCA, are first generation Mark-I version. The additional four squadrons would be Tejas Mark-II aircraft with a higher powered engine.

Raju indicated that money would not come in the way of LCA development. The Centre sanctioned Rs 11,845.2 crore to Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) till date while the total expenditure incurred so far is Rs 5,051.46 crore, he said.

Only last week, the penultimate developmental aircraft Tejas limited series production - 7 (LSP-7) successfully undertook its maiden flight from HAL airport. The LSP-7 aircraft, along with LSP- 8 will be offered to the IAF for user evaluation trials.

The LSP-7 flight is also the first time that a LCA maiden flight was not accompanied by the customary chase aircraft, which is an indicator to the level of confidence defence scientists and IAF have in the machine, defence research and development organisation stated. IAF plans to station the first two LCA squadron at Sulur near Coimbatore and Kayathir near Tuticorin.

- Deccan Herald

March 14, 2012

Russia to Deploy Three S-400 Battalions in 2012

Russia will accept into service three battalions of S-400 Triumph air defense missile systems in 2012, Air Force chief of staff Major General Viktor Bondarev said on Wednesday.
“One battalion is currently being deployed at Nakhodka [Russia’s Far East], a second will be based near Moscow, and a third in the Air Force and Air Defense Force chief command. All systems will be delivered by the end of this year,” he said.
The Russian Armed Forces currently have two S-400 regiments, both near Moscow, and a third regiment is to be deployed in the Baltic Fleet.
Bondarev also said S-300 systems will soon go out of production and only S-400s will be made.
The S-400 Triumph long- to medium-range surface-to-air missile system can effectively engage any aerial target, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise and ballistic missiles at up to 400 kilometers and an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.
The Russian Defense Ministry has said there are no plans so far to export the S-400. It will be produced only for the Russian Armed Forces.


India Rejected Tejas Deck-Based Fighter

India's Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) refused to certify deck-based version of Tejas fighter. According to The Sunday Guardian, that was the reason why the aircraft was not qualified for first flight.

The certification agency wanted Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to lower weight of landing gear and to reduce mobility of fore flaps, reports The Sunday Guardian. HAL will be assisted by US Navy and European consortium EADS in elimination of revealed defects.

According to the source, such defects were not revealed in the air-force version of Tejas, since requirements to landing gear of a common fighter are not so severe. Besides, Tejas version for Indian Air Force is not equipped with fore flaps.

The naval version of Tejas fighter was supposed to perform first flight in 2010. As is planned, Tejas fighter will constitute air wing of INS Vikramaditya (former Russian Admiral Gorshkov). For that purpose, Indian Navy ordered 46 Tejas airplanes from HAL. Trials of Vikramaditya are supposed to start late in 2013.

In Feb 2012, India's Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) approbated beginning of Tejas short-run production. As was reported, first serial aircraft would perform flight in 2012.

Seventh modification (LSP-7) of air-force Tejas carried out its first flight on March 9. According to Defenseworld.net, Indian Air Force will estimate Tejas versions LSP-7 and LSP-8. Air-force Tejas will be commissioned at least late 2013 or early 2014, reports The Hindu.

India has been developing Tejas project since 1984. Works on the deck-based version started in 2000's. Besides, HAL is about to present operational training version of the light fighter.