April 30, 2012

India developing radar-destroying Anti-Radiation Missile

After the success of Agni-V project, India is developing an Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) which can hugely multiply the strike capabilities by destroying the enemy's advance warning system.

 Production of the ARM, which are among the most advanced missiles, is being undertaken on priority basis by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), which specialises in the missile development.

Such missiles can be mounted on Sukhoi fighter planes Su-30 MKI, 140 of which have already been acquired by India from Russia and around 100 more are expected to be delivered in due course of time.

These missile can detect a radar by tracking its electro-magnetic radiation and pulses generated, an official told PTI, adding these would be independent of the radar wavelength and be able to destroy it.

Such missiles, currently in use of some major powers like the US, can detect and attack a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input.

The proportional guidance system that homes in on enemy radar emissions has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile's nose.

The Anti-Radiation Missiles in use by the US Air Force move at the speed of over Mach 2, propelled by a smokeless and solid-propellant rocket motor.

The US Air Force introduced High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) on the F-4G Wild Weasel and later on specialised F-16s equipped with the HARM Targeting System (HTS). Other projects being undertaken on priority basis by the DRDO are Long Range Air-to-Air Missile and Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile.

The flight test and production clearance of Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles is also on the cards.

The DRDO is also planning guided flight of Astra Missile from ground and air in the near future.

Operationalisation of the third regiment of BrahMos missile for Army, its integration with Su-30 MKI as also underwater trials from pontoon are also on the priority list.
DRDO is also working on early static validation trials of Pinaka MK-II rocket, with an extended range of 60 kms, along with user trials of its warhead.

The present range of the Pinaka rocket, launched in clusters of 12 from indigenously-built multi-barrel launcher, is 39-40 km in 40 seconds with 1.2 tons of high explosives.
Fitted with a variety of warheads like anti-tank mines and blast-cum-pre-fragmented high explosives, Pinaka can destroy an area of 350 sq kms.

Army has already raised two regiments of Pinaka and more are planned.
Flight trial of 'Prahar' missile as tactical battlefield surface-to-surface weapon system is also in the pipeline.

-- Deccan Herald

U.S. Deploys F-22 Stealth Jets in Southwest Asia

The U.S. Air Force has deployed its fifth-generation stealth fighters, F-22 Raptor, in Southwest Asia, the Washington Post newspaper said, citing an Air Force spokesman.
The paper quoted An Air Force spokesman, Capt. Phil Ventura, as saying that the deployment was “regularly scheduled” and was directed at improving “tactical interoperability.”
The number of F-22s, as well as the location of their base, was not disclosed “to protect operational security,” Washington Post said.
The deployment comes as the Iran Six, which includes the United States and Russia, is preparing for talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program.
Aviation Week, which was the first to report the deployment of the fighters earlier this week, quoted industry sources as saying the planes would operate out of Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, which has a border with Iran. There was no official confirmation of the information, however.
F-22 is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. It has never been combat-proven.
The $150-mln plane entered service with the USAF in 2005. Over 160 F-22s have been built by Lockheed Martin with projected goal of 187 aircraft. The export sale of the F-22 is prohibited by U.S. federal law.
The USAF already lost two F-22s - during takeoff at Nellis Air Force Base in December 2004 and during a test flight near Edwards Air Force Base in March 2009.


Russia Orders More S-300 SAM Missiles

The Russian Defense Ministry has resumed large-scale procurements of modernized S-300V surface-to-air missile systems, the manufacturer said on Saturday.
“The State Defense Order through 2020 provides for significant volumes of procurement of modernized S-300V air defense systems,” Almaz-Antei’s general director Vladislav Menshchikov said.
Almaz-Antei’s former design bureau chief Igor Ashurbeili previously said S-300 production for the needs of the Russian military had stopped and that there were only export contracts.
However, in early March the Defense Ministry signed a three-year deal with Almaz-Antei for delivery of S-300V4 air defense missile systems.
The S-300 system is a family of long-range air defense missile systems capable of engaging all types of airborne targets including UAVs, helicopters and planes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles.
Almaz-Antei said in early April it would build a new air defense systems plant in the Nizhny Novgorod region by 2015.
The company manufactures S-300 and S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems among other products.


April 27, 2012

Russian-Built Frigate Joins Indian Navy

(RIA Novosti) : India on Friday formally commissioned a new frigate into its navy, following a handover ceremony at a shipyard in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
INS Teg is the first of three modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates being built at the Yantar Shipyard under a $1.6 billion deal sealed in 2006.
The other two vessels will follow in a year or so, a Yantar spokesman told RIA Novosti.
The 3,970-ton frigate incorporates stealth technologies and is armed with eight 290-km BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
It is also equipped with "sensors for three-dimensional warfare," the Times of India newspaper reported.
The Indian navy already has three Russian-built Talwar class frigates.

BHEL may make ‘Bofors-equivalent’ guns for the Army

Even as the Bofors gun scandal continues to haunt India years after it was unearthed during the 1980s, the good news is that these guns may soon be produced at home. The country’s largest power equipment manufacturer, state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), which is alreadymaking supplies of 76 mm and 127-mm guns to the Indian Navy, said it was looking at producing “Bofors-equivalent field guns for the Indian Army” with appropriate technology selection by the ministry of defence (MoD).
“After our successful stint with the Indian Navy to supply guns for ships, we are now in talks with the defence ministry to manufacture Bofors-equivalent field guns for the Indian Army,” BP Rao, CMD, BHEL, told Hindustan Times.
“Depending on the technology they (MoD) select, we area ready to manufacture these guns at our Haridwar factory where we have a separate manufacturing set up for guns,” said Rao.
Rao clarified that BHEL may not be the only one to manufacture such specialised guns as companies such as Mahindra and L&T were also in the race for the same.
Talks in this regard were at initial stages, a senior defence ministry official said, confirming that efforts were on to produce such guns indigenously.
Field guns or howitzers are identified by barrel diametre. The specifications for the Bofors-type howitzers is 155x45 mm, which means a barrel with a diametre of 155 and length, which is 45 times the diameter. Such guns can fire a shell up to 30 km.
While there has been no purchase of such guns since the Bofors controversy broke out in the 1980s, the government has been in talks for procuring the highest version of the 155x52-mm calibre guns.
Moreover, the recent offset policy of the ministry of defence  will help in indianisation of such specialised guns produced using foreign technology, said Rao. “With the announcement of 30% technology transfer under the policy, foreign vendors would be forced to share the technology to meet such commitments.”

Hindustan Times

April 26, 2012

ISRO successfully launches 'spy satellite' RISAT-1

A great week for India's rocket scientists, twin back-to-back successful launches, India's most potent missile the Agni-V from Wheeler Island on April 19 and now the 'grand success' of ISRO'S rocket from Sriharikota.

India today successfully launched its first indigenous 'spy satellite' RISAT-1. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying the radar imaging satellite lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh at 5.47 am. Minutes later, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan declared the mission "a grand success".

"PSLV-C19 has successfully injected India's first indigenous radar imaging satellite RISAT-1 into orbit. It is a proud moment for India," he said.
 The 44.5 metres tall, 321-tonne PSLV-C19 ascended towards the sky amidst resounding cheers of ISRO scientists. Around 17 minutes after the lift-off, it placed RISAT-1 into a polar circular orbit at an altitude of 480 kilometres and an orbital inclination of 97.552 degrees. Each of the four stages of the rocket performed as programmed. This is the 20th consecutively successive successful flight of the PSLV. 

RISAT-1 has day and night viewing capacity and will not be blinded by cloud cover. It will orbit the earth 14 times a day. It will help in crop monitoring and flood forecasting during Kharif season. It gives India the ability of continuous surveillance. The all-weather surveillance tool is hence sometimes referred as a spy satellite in common parlance.

Weighing 1,858 kilograms, RISAT-1 is the heaviest satellite ever launched from India. It took ISRO 10 years to make this sophisticated satellite. The total cost of the mission is about Rs. 500 crores. It is probably India's most expensive mission hoisted from Sriharikota till date.

RISAT-1 carries a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, operating in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode and can provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions. It has a nominal mission life of five years. It can have a resolution of about 1 meter.

RISAT-1's project director N Valarmathi is the first woman to head a remote-sensing satellite project.

Apart from RISAT-1, India already has another spy satellite RISAT-2 which was launched in 2009. It was acquired from Israel for ABOUT $110 million.

RISAT-1's launch comes exactly a week after India successfully test-fired its first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V.


Defense Ukraine on Brink of Missile Deal with India - Media

Ukraine is close to signing one of its biggest ever defense deals for air-to-air missiles with India, according to Russian media reports.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta says the deal for R-27 missiles, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, is in the final stages and is waiting for approval from the Ukrainian leadership.
The Vympel R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) missile is a medium-to-long-range air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union. It is similar to U.S. AIM-7 Sparrow.
The missile comes in infrared-homing (R-27T), semi-active-radar-homing (R-27R), and active-radar-homing (R-27AE) versions. It would be fitted to India’s MiG-29 and Su-30 fighter jets.
While the deal has not been confirmed officially, the paper quotes a source close to Ukraine’s national security and defense council, saying both nations are sensitive to Russian concerns over the deal and want to make sure that it would not irritate Moscow.
Tensions between Kiev and Moscow could arise later because if the deal is successful, India may want to buy other weaponry from Ukraine, entering a market dominated by Russia, defense analysts quoted by the paper said.
Some industry experts believe Moscow would not oppose the deal as the Ukrainian company is the only manufacturer of these missiles, although Russian firms supply some components for R-27.
The R-27 was originally designed by Vympel, a Russian missile design bureau, in the 1980s. Vympel is now part of Russia's Tactical Missiles Corporation, which now produces successor weapons to R-27.
Artem, a Ukrainian arms firm involved in R-27 production in Ukraine, could not be reached for comment.
Ukrainian R-27s displayed by the Artem and Arsenal companies at the Moscow air show in 2011 featured what the makers claimed were upgraded seekers. Arsenal said it had developed a new infra-red seeker for the R-27 extending its detection range from 18 km to 30 km.
New Delhi showed interest at the recent DEFEXPO-2012 arms show in Ukrainian anti-tank missiles and new engines for Mi-family helicopters produced by the Ukrainian Motor Sich company, according to Ukrainian officials.

RIA Novosti

April 25, 2012

Pakistan tests nuclear-capable ballistic missile

(Reuters) - Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Wednesday, the military said, less than a week after rival India tested a missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads as far as Beijing and Eastern Europe.
Pakistan's Shaheen-1A is an intermediate range ballistic missile, capable of reaching targets in India. Military officials declined to specify the range of the missile.
The missile's impact point was in the Indian Ocean.
India and Pakistan have fought three full-scale wars since they were carved out of British India in 1947. They conduct missile tests regularly and inform each other in advance.
Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in May 1998, shortly after India conducted similar tests.
U.S. intelligence estimates last year put the number of nuclear weapons deployed by Pakistan at 90 to 110. Analysts say the strategic U.S. ally's nuclear arsenal is the fastest growing in the world.
Pakistan, like neighbouring India, is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Yahoo news

India to Test Own Hypersonic Ramjet

India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) will hold trials of domestically-developed hypersonic combustion ramjet in 2013, reports PTI referring to DRDO director Vijay Kumar Saraswat. According to him, the propulsion system will be capable to work at speeds six times higher than sound speed. Saraswat declined to give any details of the prospective project.

Presently, India is developing a hypersonic missile capable to accelerate up to six Mach numbers. The project is developed by Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos. The new ammunition will be based on supersonic cruise missile BrahMos already operated by Indian Army. In its turn, BrahMos missile is based on Russian cruise missile Onyx.

Today, active development works on hypersonic vehicles are held by the US, Russia, and Brazil. In particular, American planemaker Boeing jointly with US Air Force is developing hypersonic missile X-51A Waverider accelerating up to six Mach numbers. Besides, Lockheed Martin designs hypersonic vehicle Falcon HTV-2. In its turn, Brazil is developing missile 14-X also supposed to fly at speeds exceeding six Mach numbers.

As was reported late in Aug 2011, Russia's Tactical Missiles Corporation had started research works on a hypersonic missile project. According to the company's chief designer Boris Obnosov, Russian missile will be capable to fly at speeds 12-13 times as high as sound speed.

Besides, it is considered that the Baranov Aircraft Engine Building Institute is also engaged in development of hypersonic vehicle Igla under Project Holod-2. Its deputy director Valentin Solonin told AviaPORT on Apr 22, 2012 that the institute was researching integration of a ramjet and an airframe.

"We research effective compression, combustion, and expansion processes occurring in hypersonic vehicle's propulsion plant, and consider its integration with the airframe. Also, we actively study thermal states of ramjet and airframe. Since the inside temperature makes 2,600-2,700 degrees Celsius and the flight is quite continuous, there are some problems regarding thermal state", Solonin said.

- Rusnavy

Frigate INS Teg Handover Ceremony to Take Place on Apr 27

Project 11356 lead frigate INS Teg built by Yantar Shipyard (Kaliningrad) will be triumphantly handed over to Indian Navy on Apr 27. The handover act subscription ceremony and hoisting of Indian naval ensign will start at 10 am on the frigate moored at the shipyard's outfitting quay. Then a press conference will take place on the ship's heliport, the yard's press service told Central Navy Portal.

India delegates representative of Joint Naval Staff VADM Nadel Kumar, Naval Attaché to Russian Federation Commodore Surei Kumar Grewal, diplomats from Indian Embassy to Russia, and other officials. Russian delegation will be headed by Roman Trotsenko, president of United Shipbuilding Corporation; high-ranking officials from Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation and Rosoboronexport will attend the ceremony as well. Among other top-ranking guests invited are Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief ADM Vladimir Vysotsky and Baltic Fleet Commander VADM Viktor Chirkov.

Lead frigate of the 3-ship series ordered by Indian Navy, INS Teg had successfully finished state acceptance trials in mid-Apr 2012. Trials started in Sept 2011 and faced some difficulties. For one, due to a defect revealed during the trials, the shipyard had to replace one of gas turbines in the frigate's main propulsion plant. Generally, the ship will be handed over with a one-year delay primarily because of frustrated contractors' deliveries.

Second frigate of the series – INS Tarkash – was launched in June 2010 and is completing mooring trials. The ship is expected to head for Baltiysk to start sea trials in mid-May. It is planned to deliver the frigate to Indian Navy in the coming fall. Third ship – INS Trikand – was launched in May 2011 and is being currently outfitted at the shipyard. The ship is to join Indian Navy in the first half of 2013.

Indian Navy already has in inventory three analogous frigates built by Baltiysky Zavod shipyard (St. Petersburg) in 1999-2004. Considering high combat and performance characteristics, Indian Navy command decided to purchase other three frigates of this kind from Russia, but with other weapons. Antiship missile system BrahMos was mounted instead of Club-N and gun mounts AK-630 were a substitution for Kashtan SAM systems.

Russian Navy ordered six ships of that project. The lead one – frigate Admiral Grigorovich – was laid down at Yantar Shipyard in Dec 2010 and is to be launched in the coming summer. Second and third frigates (Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov) are under construction. The fourth hull is expected to be laid down in 2012.

-  Rusnavy

India’s Mahindra Plans Unmanned Sea Surveillance Vessels

India’s biggest sport-utility vehicle maker, plans to build unmanned coastal surveillance vessels as the nation boosts security along its coastline following the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.
The company’s newly formed joint venture with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. will assemble the vessel at a facility in Pune, western India, “in a phased manner” after initially importing models from its partner, K.A. Hai, chief executive officer of Mahindra’s defense unit, said in an e-mail reply to Bloomberg questions. He didn’t give a timeframe.
“Unmanned patrol vessels will be needed in large numbers to protect from infiltration by terrorists, protect our offshore assets and patrol vital coastal assets such as nuclear plants,” Hai said April 18.
India created a specialized force and added interceptor boats to strengthen security along its about 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) of coastline after militants reached Mumbai in November 2008 through the west coast and killed 166 people in an attack that lasted almost three days. The government also encourages local private companies to build defense equipment to help pare the nation’s reliance on overseas suppliers.
“This is a good opportunity for Mahindra as India is now reducing its dependence on foreign companies for defense,” said Umesh Karne, a Mumbai-based analyst at Brics Securities Ltd. “It’s also a strategy to hedge against fluctuations in its main business.”

Indian Venture

Rafael, which will hold a 26 percent stake in the Indian venture, currently builds Protector, a remotely controlled naval combat vessel. The business, to be operational by July, expects sales to reach $50 million in the first year, Hai said last month.
Mahindra fell 1.6 percent, the most in two weeks, to 714.6 rupees at close of trading in Mumbai. The benchmark BSE India Sensitive Index also declined by a similar margin.
The company, based in Mumbai, got 61 percent of revenue from the automotive business in the quarter ended in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Farm equipment contributed the balance.

Armored Vehicles

Mahindra has also formed a venture with BAE Systems Plc (BA/) for armored vehicles and a partnership with Telephonics Corp. for radars as it expects sales of about $500 million in 10 years for its defense unit.
India last year overtook China as the world’s largest arms importer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Locally made defense equipment now account for about 40 percent of total purchases, from 30 percent previously, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said March 29.
The world’s second-most populous country plans to raise defense spending by 13 percent to 1.93 trillion rupees ($37 billion) in the year that began April 1. Tata Motors Ltd. (TTMT), owner of Jaguar Land Rover, and truckmaker Ashok Leyland Ltd. (AL) are also expanding military equipment business after India opened defense production to private players in 2001.


April 24, 2012

'US appreciates India closing missile gap with China'

The lack of US condemnation of India's latest missile test demonstrates that the Washington appreciates India's need to meet the emerging strategic challenge posed by rising China, according to two US scholars.
It also shows "US is comfortable with Indian progress in the nuclear and missile fields", Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow for South Asia, and Baker Spring, research fellow in National Security Policy, at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative thinktank said in a commentary.
"India's successful test of the Agni-V, a nuclear-capable long-range missile, is a major step forward for New Delhi in attaining nuclear deterrence against regional rival China," they said calling it as "telling that no country has criticised India's missile test."
Curtis and Spring also noted that the US State Department simply called on all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint and underlined India's solid record on non-proliferation and its cooperation with the international community on nuclear issues.
"This is a far cry from Washington's position on Indian ballistic missile development throughout the 1990s, when Washington pressured New Delhi to modify its nuclear and missile posture," they said suggesting "the new US stance also demonstrates a welcome evolution in US non-proliferation policy."
"The US change in position with regard to Indian missile capabilities demonstrates how far the US-India relationship has evolved over the last decade," Curtis and Spring said.
"Now the US views India as a strategic partner with growing economic and political clout that will contribute to promoting security and stability in Asia."

 Times of India

Indian Army's summer exercise in Rajasthan's deserts

With some of the frontline fighter aircraft and other aerial assets from Indian Air Force (IAF) providing support, Indian Army is all set to test its desert warfare skills in the peak summer in Rajasthan. Codenamed 'Exercise Shoorveer', the exercise is aimed at validating the fighting skills of its troops during peak summer, along with accuracy and lethality of its modern weapon systems, Indian Army officials said here today. "At present, the formations are practicing their battle drills in designated training areas... A number of field firings are being carried out to check the accuracy and lethality of the weapon systems," they said. The exercise will also provide a platform to validate new concepts, modifications, armaments and logistics inducted by the force in the last few years. Defence Minister A K Antony will visit the exercise to review the war games and interact with the troops and senior army officials. "A large number of innovations and modifications carried out by the Army units and formations to enhance their combat power are being tested in the field", the officials said. On participation of IAF, they said "the momentum of training is gradually building up with the increased combat tempo to set the stage for a major joint Army-Air Force exercise." The exercise will culminate with Jaipur-based Sapta Shakti Command along with IAF carrying out swift battle manoeuvers and joint operations, they said.

IBN Live / PTI

Boeing to help set up transonic tunnel facility

Global aircraft major Boeing is setting up a transonic wind tunnel facility in Hyderabad.
The facility, the first of its kind in the country and under ‘Defence offsets', could involve an expenditure of Rs 400-450 crore.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will use the facility for its research studies. It is expected to come up in 3-4 years, according to Mr K.V.R. Murthy, Integrated Financial Advisor, DRDO.
A wind tunnel is an enclosure that is equipped to test the aerodynamic features of various aircraft shapes. It can also test space vehicles.
A transonic tunnel is a high-speed tunnel that can generate speeds up to Mach 1.4 (Mach is the speed of sound).

Offset commitments

The Defence Ministry's offset policy stipulates that a minimum of 30 per cent of the value of a large contract bagged by a foreign company or a consortium in Defence projects has to be sourced from lndia.
Boeing has the largest offset commitment in the country, according to Mr Dinesh S. Keskar, Senior Vice-President, Asia-Pacific & India sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
In a recent interaction with Business Line in Hyderabad, Mr Keskar said the company was active in the Defence and aerospace sectors and has collaborations with HAL, BEL, and the Tata group.
It is also looking at opportunities with companies that possess engineering expertise, such as Mahindras and L&T.
In the last five years Boeing has won a major contract to supply 68 aircraft to Air India. In 2009, the Government of India purchased eight Boeing P-81 long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.
In June 2011, the Defence Ministry signed an agreement with the US Government to acquire 10 Boeing C17 Globemaster III airlifters. Some of these deals carry Defence offsets.

Hypersonic tunnel

The DRDO is also in the process of setting up its own Rs 350-crore Hypersonic Wind Tunnel facility, also in Hyderabad.
At present the country has only one wind tunnel facility at the National Aerospace Laboratory, Bangalore, which is 40 years old. This will also be upgraded, Mr Murthy said. 

The Hindu - Business line

April 23, 2012

Nalanda Ordnance Factory Board developing indigenous artillery shells

After its earlier partners — both foreign firms — were banned by the Defence Ministry, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) Nalanda has begun work to indigenously develop critical components needed for artillery shells, including Bofors guns.
“It has been decided that the Bi-Modular Charge Systems (BMCS) required for firing artillery shells for heavy guns like Bofors will be indigenously developed by OFB Nalanda in Bihar. The technology would be provided by the Nainital-based DRDO laboratory High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL),” an OFB official told PTI.
BMCS are the propellant required for firing ammunition of high-calibre howitzers and artillery guns.
The materials and chemicals required for developing BMCS have been developed by other OFBs and a small number of the finished products — in test-tube quantity — have been sent to Balasore in Odisha for Initial Assessment Trials (IAT), officials said.
OFB Nalanda, which has been given the responsibility to produce BMCS, will start operating its first plant by August, they said, adding that the plant will produce some key components required for making the final product.
The IAT has been scheduled for next week, after which the equipment will be subject to the quality parameters set by the Directorate General of Quality Assurance under the Defence Ministry.
These tests will validate the progress made by OFB in making the systems, which will be used as prototypes to be further developed to meet the requirement of the Indian Army, said the officials. 

Business Line

April 20, 2012

INS Vikramaditya Prepares for Taking Sea

Igor Leonov, construction manager of Project 11430 aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya modernized by Sevmash shipyard for Indian Navy, told about works scheduled in April to prepare the ship for sea trials starting on May 25, reports the shipyard's press service.

According to Leonov, works planned for March have been almost completed. Final finishing of internal premises and assembling of shipborne furniture have been executed. Tanker Chaika pumped 3,600 tons of fuel into the ship. Tugs of the yard's water transport department did their job excellently and tugged the non-ice harbor tanker aboard the carrier.

Two critical issues remained uncompleted, i.e. startup of refrigerating machines and fixture of search-and-rescue equipment. The first problem needed personnel replacements, and the second one delayed for 10 days. This was because drawings of equipment fixtures did not match those on the ship, so additional works were needed.

Late in March, a contingency happened; smoke flue of one of eight boilers was damaged. The accident causes are being currently investigated. The boiler itself and charging turbine set were not damaged and are fully serviceable. Upon delivery of new expansion joints from St. Petersburg, the smoke flue will be completely repaired till sea trials begin.

On Apr 6, the ship was transferred to deperming station; all life support systems began off-line operation. Important indicator of self-sufficiency is that crew is regularly provided with hot food. One of three shipborne cookrooms was put into operation. All 360 servicemen keeping watch on the ship get three meals a day. Works on drinking water tanks go on as well; they will be treated by ozone which is the most advanced and effective method.

Since deperming works began, daily traffic flow to the ship exceeds 3,000 persons. Working and living conditions are already established. Washrooms, shower rooms, latrines, cabins for workers and crewmembers are fully-equipped and ready for use.

According to weather forecasts, night temperatures will be below zero in April. This causes additional problems to experts involved in deperming works. Early in May, it is planned to hold heeling test to calculate the ship's stability.

Then spare parts, tools and accessories will be loaded in the ship, as well as fuel and food supplies in order to maintain sea trials.

Sevmash started arranging the carrier's trials in the White Sea. De-berthing and pilotage plans have been agreed upon with White Sea Naval Base command. Fourteen tugs will be involved to provide safe departure of INS Vikramaditya.

- Rusnavy

Likely Scenarios for Israeli Attack Against Iran


India eyes Agni-VI to double range

Indian scientists and engineers are now looking forward to Agni-VI, the next missile in the series that could well possess double the target range.
Though Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which develops and manufactures missiles for the Indian armed forces, is yet to make an official statement on the new one in Agni series, it has announced intentions to work on missiles with a target range of 10,000 km.
Technically, Agni-V is an intermediate range ballistic missile and falls 1,000 km to 2,000 km short of being called a real intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). But it is quasi-ICBM, as it can hit targets in other continents, depending on the location from where it is fired.
For instance, Agni-V can hit Australia if fired from the Andaman islands, hit most of Europe, including Moscow, when fired from Delhi or Kashmir, and parts of Africa if it is launched from Mumbai or Gujarat.
While Agni-V has a range of 5,500 km, DRDO plans now to build missiles that are truly ICBM in range with 10,000 km-plus target capacity.
China, incidentally, has missiles with range of over 13,000 km.
“We go from here to many other missiles, which will have capability for MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle), for anti-satellite system. It (new missile) will also be built using this technology for launching micro-, mini- and nano-satellites to meet the requirements of the armed forces on very, very short notice,” DRDO chief Dr V.K. Saraswat said.
Agni-V can carry up to three nuclear warheads, and officials said the next missile in the series might carry even up to 10 nuclear warheads, capable of hitting multiple targets simultaneously.
Buoyed by the success of Agni-V, sources said defence scientists and engineers are now ready to move ahead with the planned next-generation missile that can cover twice the distance.
The DRDO is also working on integrating Agni-V with submarine.

-  The Asian Age

April 19, 2012

NATO Says India Poses No Missile Threat

NATO does not consider India as a missile threat despite the country’s advanced missile development program, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday.
India is all set up to test its domestically-developed Agni-5 ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), giving it the ability to target most parts of Asia, including the northernmost parts of China, and large parts of Europe.
The three-stage solid-fuel missile will be launched from a site on Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal and is expected to reach its target area in southern Indian Ocean.
A successful test of the Agni-5 missile will put India in the elite club of nations having Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), which includes the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.
Speaking at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Rasmussen said the Alliance does not consider India as a threat to NATO allies and territory.
He also said the upcoming Chicago summit would declare NATO’s interim missile defense capability as part of the so-called Smart Defense strategy.

RIA Novosti

Chinese Carrier Shi Lang to Come Into Service in 2012

Chinese aircraft carrier built on the basis of Soviet aircraft-carrying cruiser Varyag will be put in service in 2012.

China bought almost completed aircraft-carrying cruiser Varyag from Ukraine in 1998. Due to lack of funds for appropriate outfitting, Ukraine had to sell the ship at the price of metal scrap. The contract cost was only $20 mln. The Project 11436 ship was laid down in Aug 1985 and launched in Nov 1988; outfitting works were suspended in 1992. Project 11436 was a logical continuation of earlier built Soviet carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (Project 11435). Aircraft carrier Ulyanovsk (Project 11437) was supposed to become the next upgrade equipped with steam catapults and nuclear powerplant. At the time of the sale, Varyag was 67% completed. Towage from Nikolayev to China took almost 2 years (627 days). Being outfitted in China, the carrier obtained the name of Shi Lang in honor of famous Chinese military leader.

Displacement of the ship is almost 60,000 tons. Her length exceeds 300 meters, and full speed is 29 knots. Fuel range is about 8,000 nautical miles. Apart from automatic gun mounts AK-630M, the ship's Russian analog Admiral Kuznetsov is armed with 12 launchers of Granit antiship missiles posing a considerable threat to enemy ships. However, the Chinese have not such armament at hand, so Shi Lang would be unlikely equipped with antiship missile systems.

It is noteworthy that the China's first aircraft carrier will be commanded by Li Xiaoyan who had graduated from the Kuznetsov Naval Academy (Russia). His graduation work was carrier groups.

As was reported in Dec 2011, the carrier started second phase of sea trials. The ship took the sea for 12 days and then returned to homeport Dalian. Interaction with prospective Chinese deck-based fighter J-15 was conducted during those trials, although deck landing tests were not held. Except for airplanes, intelligence sources reported about helicopters on board the Chinese aircraft carrier.

First phase of sea trials was performed in Aug 2011 and took only 5 days. Experts of shipbuilding companies tested and adjusted equipment on service.

So far, it has not been reported whether the carrier is equipped with arresters. This system provides the deck landing capability. Currently, Chinese industry has not technology to produce such equipment. That is why, China planned to purchase 4 arresters from Russia. However, that contract was banned. Russian party referred to strategic kind of the equipment. Taking off the carrier deck is relatively simple, since the ship is equipped with bow ski-ramp and aircraft take off by own engine thrust. But deck landing on the moving carrier is much more complicated task.

Air wing is supposed to consist of Chinese-produced fighters J-15. Initially, the Chinese declared the airplane would be designed under stealth technology, but upon a closer view it turned out to be nothing more than amateurishly copied Russian fighter Su-33. Its prototype – experimental airplane T-10K – was bought along with the carrier from Ukraine either in 2001 or 2005 and had passed "reverse engineering".

Reportedly, China will use the retrofitted ship as a trial platform for new technologies and training of naval pilots. Chinese officials voiced plans to build several aircraft carriers as development of the given project. According to plans, China would have full-fledged aircraft-carrying fleet no later than 2020.


Agni V, India's first ICBM, successfully test-fired

New Delhi:  India has successfully test-fired Agni V, its first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The missile was launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast at 8:07 this morning. The test launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed due to bad weather.

"The mission was successful. The missile hit the target in the Indian Ocean in a perfect way," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief VK Saraswat said.

The successful test of Agni V is a significant achievement for India. The indigenously developed, nuclear-capable missile has a strike range of 5,000 kilometres. It is about 17 metres long, two metres wide and weighs around 50 tonnes. The sophisticated missile travels faster than a bullet and has the capacity to carry 1000 kilograms of nuclear weapons.
 Only six countries - including the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, China and France - so far possess this technology. India will break into this exclusive ICBM club once the Agni-V is ready for induction by 2014-2015 - after several more tests.

Tipped to be a "game changer" by experts, Agni V will extend India's reach all over Asia, parts of Africa and parts of Europe. The Agni series of missiles, including Agni-V, is crucial for India's defence vis-a-vis China since Beijing has upped the ante in recent times by deploying missiles in Tibet Autonomous Region bordering India.

Agni-V can be configured to launch small satellites and can be used to even shoot down enemy satellites in orbits. Once fired, it cannot be stopped. It can, however, be launched only after a decision by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Defence Minister AK Antony described Agni V's maiden test flight's success as a major milestone. "The nation stands tall today. We have joined the elite club of nations (who possess the ICBM capability)," Mr Antony reportedly told DRDO chief over the phone after the test flight of the missile was declared successful. "The immaculate success of Agni V is a major milestone in the country's missile research and development programme," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated DRDO scientists for the feat. "The nation stands together in honouring the scientific community who have done the country proud," he conveyed via twitter.

"DRDO and other organisations have worked tirelessly in our endeavour to strengthen the defence and security of our country. Today's launch represents another milestone in our quest for our security, preparedness and to explore the frontiers of science," he added.


April 18, 2012

Agni-5 launch put off till tomorrow due to bad weather

NEW DELHI: The maiden test-firing of Agni-5 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, scheduled for today, was postponed at the last moment till tomorrow due to bad weather conditions at the test range off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal.

The test flight of the first-of-its-kind missile was to take place from Wheeler Island at around 2000 hours but it was put off due to safety reasons and bad weather at the test range.

"The test launch of Agni-5 missile has been postponed till tomorrow due to safety reasons. The test has been cancelled as there is heavy lightening in the test range," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has developed the missile, said, "Due to heavy lightening in the region, the Agni-5 launch is postponed for safety reasons."

The agency has got a "window period" of two days till April 20 to conduct the test firing of the missile.

A Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) - warning against any flight operations in the area - has already been issued by the agency till the time test launch.

The missile will take 20 minutes to reach its target area in southern Indian Ocean. DRDO has deployed tracking devices and stations all along the route of the test flight to collect data on the missile's trajectory.

The tracking stations will also record the speed and homing in of the missile on to the target.

Agni-5, with a range of over 5000 kms, is a three-stage, all solid fuel powered, 17-metre tall missile with capability to carry various forms of payload.

It can be launched from land-based mobile platform and has the capability of hitting multiple targets.

The successful test launch of the missile will be a major leap forward for India in the area of military technology and military deterrent capability, making it the fifth country in the world to possess such a technology.

Only the US, Russia, France and China possess the capability to operate an ICBM.

Senior military officials and the agencies which had participated in development of the missile were present at the Wheeler Island to witness the test launch.

Following the successful test launch, DRDO plans to conduct more such tests of the missile over the next one year after studying and analyzing the parameters achieved in each subsequent trial.

On the timeline fixed for fully developing Agni-5, DRDO Chief Dr V K Saraswat had said another one year of testing will be involved.

In November last year, DRDO had successfully test fired the 3,500 km range Agni-4 missile giving muscle to India's deterrent capability against the military adversaries. 

The Economic Times

It's a high five moment for the Agni

(The Hindu)) : India will enhance its deterrent reach with the launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile. However, China and Pakistan have powerful missiles of their own as well. 

For India, Agni V is more than just its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). With a range of over 5,000 km, this road-and rail-mobile missile can be fired from deep within the country and still reach all parts of China, especially the latter's populous and economically important eastern seaboard.
The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) created Agni V by adding a third stage to Agni III, a missile with a range of 3,500 km while carrying a 1.5 tonne payload that was first successfully tested five years ago.
Both Agni III and V have a diameter of two metres, making them capable of carrying several warheads known as Multiple Independently Targeted Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV). (Agni I and II have a diameter of one metre and the first stage of the Agni IV has a diameter of 1.2 metres.)
Firing MIRVs requires what is known as a “Post Boost Control Vehicle,” a manoeuvrable platform that sits atop the rocket and holds the warheads. After the missile has lofted it into a ballistic trajectory, the platform must be able to release each warhead with the orientation and velocity needed to reach its target.
As India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has already demonstrated the ability to put multiple satellites into orbit in the course of a single launch, developing a Post Boost Control Vehicle should be technologically straightforward. However, developing compact nuclear warheads could be a significant hurdle in acquiring MIRV capability. Published information on U.S. systems suggests that each re-entry vehicle will need to weigh less than 500 kg. First generation missile-borne nuclear warheads typically weigh twice as much.
India now has a range of nuclear-capable Agni missiles in its arsenal, starting with Agni I that can strike targets 700 km away. These missiles use solid propellants and can therefore be launched at short notice. They are also carried on mobile launchers, making it more difficult for an enemy to locate and destroy them.
In China and Pakistan
But India's nuclear-armed neighbours, China and Pakistan, have powerful missiles of their own.
China's strategic forces still rely heavily on ballistic missiles using liquid propellants. Its first missile, the “Dong Feng 1” (DF-1), was a copy of the Soviet R-2 missile, and relied on technology and designs provided by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. The next missile, DF-2, was designed to be capable of landing a nuclear warhead on Japan.
The country then went on to build more advanced ballistic missiles, still using liquid propulsion, which also became the basis for its Long March launch vehicles. These include the DF-3, the DF-4 and the DF-5.
China switched to solid propulsion when it developed its first submarine launched ballistic missile, the “Ju Lang 1” (JL-1). The land version of the missile was designed as the “DF-21.”
A more powerful, solid propellant missile, the DF-31, is now beginning to be deployed. The submarine version of the missile, the JL-2, will be carried aboard China's new Type 094 Jin-class nuclear-powered submarines, the first of which was launched in 2004.
“China is progressively replacing its older liquid-fuelled DF-3 and DF-4 missiles with the new solid-fuelled two-stage DF-21 missile,” according to a 2010 assessment prepared by the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore.
Although it was within China's capabilities to equip the DF-31 with MIRVs, there was no clarity on whether this had actually been done, the assessment noted. Official U.S. sources have maintained that as the country was developing this capability, its DF-31 and all variants of that missile were currently equipped with only a single warhead.
A 2007 report from the NIAS group pointed out that China has deployed the DF-3, the DF-4 and the DF-21 missiles in bases in the Qinghai and Yunnan provinces. From those locations, these missiles would be able to reach all of India.
Pakistan, for its part, has produced a range of missiles using a mix of imported technology and indigenous capability.
Improving on sounding rocket technology supplied by the French company, Sud Aviation, to the Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), it developed the Abdali (also known as Hatf-1). But the missile is estimated to have a range of only about 100 km.
Its Ghaznavi missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead, is a shortened version of China's M11 solid propellant missile supplied by the latter in the 1990s.
Ghauri, which uses liquid propellants, is based on North Korea's No Dong missile. The technology for this missile was imported by the A.Q. Khan Laboratories, which provided uranium enrichment technology to the North Koreans. The range of this missile has been put at about 950 km with a 1,000 kg nuclear warhead.
China also appears to have supplied the technology for the solid propellant M9 missile, with the Pakistani version being called the Shaheen-1. The NIAS team believes that the Shaheen-2, which was first tested in March 2004, has involved a second stage being added.
The missile would then have a range of 1,200 km compared to 730 km for its predecessor. If so, large parts of India, including places as far south as Hyderabad, would be within its reach.
But the range estimated for the Shaheen-2 assumed that it has a diameter of one metre, notes Rajaram Nagappa, who heads the strategic studies group at NIAS. But it was difficult to accurately estimate the diameter from publicly available images of the missile. If, as some reports suggest, the missile has a diameter of 1.4 metres (the same as China's DF-21), then its range would be considerably greater.
“Though constrained by the availability and production of uranium, Pakistan has a credible deterrent structure in place that would be largely organised around the Shaheen-1 and -2 missiles,” according to the NIAS 2010 assessment.

Govt acts on General VK Singh's complaint, fast-tracks acquisition of weapons

With an eye on both China and Pakistan, the government on Tuesday approved a slew of measures to fast-track acquisition of weapons as well as boost infrastructure development along the borders for faster mobility of troops and equipment.

The new steps significantly include seeking the Planning Commission's sanction for 14 strategic railway lines, mostly along the western and eastern fronts, for "quick troop mobilization and logistics sustenance'' in times of conflict, sources said.

An empowered committee has also been constituted under defence secretary Shashikant Sharma to examine the "detailed project reports'' of the Army's proposed "capability development plan on the Northern Borders'', worth Rs 26,155 crore that is slated for completion by 2020-2021. There is already an ongoing Rs 9,243 crore project for "infrastructure development in the Eastern Theatre'' by 2016-2017.

All this is critical since China can now move around 30 divisions (each with over 15,000 soldiers) to the borders within 30 days to outnumber Indian forces by at least 3:1 after undertaking massive infrastructure development all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control. Beijing, in fact, has recently taken to holding regular air and land combat exercises in the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to flex its military might.

The new fast-track measures came after defence minister A K Antony held an almost two-hour long meeting with General V K Singh and his top brass on Tuesday, a day ahead of the slated testing of India's most ambitious strategic missile, the over 5,000-km range Agni-V.

This was the third review meeting to plug critical operational gaps in India's military capabilities, highlighted by Gen Singh in his confidential letter to PM Manmohan Singh on March 12, in the face of two "inimical neighbours'' and the "reality of large land borders''.

The meeting "expressed satisfaction'' at the progress of procurement cases for the 4th regiment of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles at a cost of Rs 4,100 crore and two regiments of the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers for Rs 2,136 crore.

The new BrahMos regiment, with the missile's Block-III version that has "steep dive capability'' to take out targets hidden behind a mountain range, will be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh, with the first three catering for the western front with Pakistan.

The meeting also discussed the Army's proposed procurement of 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers, which India is to buy from the US in a direct government-to-government deal worth $647 million.

These air-mobile artillery guns will be needed for the new mountain strike corps (70,000 soldiers) being planned after the raising of two new mountain infantry divisions, with 1,260 officers and 35,011 soldiers, in Assam and Nagaland.

MoD will also try to expedite the long-delayed over Rs 20,000 crore 155mm artillery modernization programme, which includes 1,580 towed, 180 self-propelled wheeled and 100 self-propelled tracked guns as well as more Russian Smerch multi-launch rocket systems.

It was also decided that another empowered committee would be set up on the lines of the one for the Siachen Glacier, under the Army vice-chief, to speed up acquisition of specialized equipment for the 10 battalions of Special Forces tasked for clandestine warfare deep behind enemy lines.

The weaponry for them includes advanced assault rifles and carbines, all-terrain multi-utility vehicles and GPS navigation systems, modular acquisition devices, laser range-finders, underwater vehicles and combat free-fall parachutes, among other things.

Yet another committee will be constituted to examine the Army's long-pending case of acquiring its own attack helicopters and other "combat aviation assets'', which the IAF has been opposing tooth-and-nail. "The committee will include both Army and IAF members to study the current practices in armies of developed countries,'' said an official.


Times of India

April 17, 2012

Russia-China Su-35 Fighter Talks Frozen

Negotiations on the sale of Russian advanced Su-35 Flanker-E fighters to China have been put on hold over Beijing’s refusal to buy a large consignment, Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Tuesday.
“We have been promoting the Su-35 fighter on the Chinese market,” Rosoboronexport deputy chief Viktor Komardin said.
“However, China only wants to buy a limited number [of aircraft] whereas we want [to sell] a large consignment to make [the deal] economically viable.”
He offered no indication of the numbers involved
The negotiations have been ongoing for more than one and a half years.

 RIA Novosti

April 16, 2012

Agni-V, India's ICBM, gets ready for launch

Come Wednesday and India may join a select club of countries that possess or are about to possess an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

Hectic preparations are on for the launch of Agni-V missile that day from the Wheeler Island off the Orissa Coast.

Designed and developed by India's Defence Research And Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, the three-stage missile is scheduled to be launched from a mobile launcher.
With a range of 5,000 km, Agni-V, once validated and inducted into the armed forces after several more tests couple of years down the line, will be India's longest-range missile which can carry a nuclear warhead.

Seventeen metres tall and 50 tonnes in weight, Agni-V's three stages are powered by solid propellants. It will have the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead weighing over one tonne, DRDO scientists have said.

The Hindu newspaper quoted Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, describing Agni-V's technology as a "game-changer" for strategic options. Except the US, Russia, France and China, no other country had designed and developed this range of systems, he said.

Earlier last month, DRDO chief, Dr VK Saraswat had told reporters that India will break into the exclusive ICBM club once the 50-tonne Agni-V is ready for induction by 2014-2015. The Agni series of missiles, including Agni-V, is crucial for India's defence vis-a-vis China since Beijing has upped the ante in recent times by deploying missiles in Tibet Autonomous Region bordering India.

DRDO is also aiming to operationalise a Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) by 2013 and a missile shield for Delhi by 2014, Mr Saraswat said.

"The K-15 SLBM is now getting ready for the final phase of induction after its two recent tests (from submersible pontoons) were successful... we have done over 10 flights of it so far," the DRDO chief said.

Once the 750-km-range K-15, and the 3,500-km K-4 become fully operational, they will be inducted onto India's indigenously-manufactured nuclear submarines. The first home grown Nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, scheduled to undertake sea trials this August, will need these SLBMs to complete what is called nuclear-triad.

After a rare failure of Agni III missile test is Agust 2006, the DRDO has been on a roll with the tests of the two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system, designed to track and destroy incoming hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere, scheduled to be completed  by 2013. "We will test the exo-atmospheric interceptor at 150-km altitude this year, which will be followed by an endo-atmospheric test at 30-km altitude," Dr. Saraswat said.

All eyes are now on the launch of Agni V on April 18.


Javelin missile, R&D coop to feature in US-India talks

As New Delhi looks to translate its relationship with the US into badly needed high technology, the government is readying for meetings tomorrow with America’s key gatekeeper of military technology, the visiting assistant secretary of state for political military affairs, Andrew Shapiro.
High on New Delhi’s technology agenda is Washington’s reluctance to transfer military knowhow, of the kind needed for building the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile in India. The Army wants the Javelin for its ground forces, to enable two-man infantry teams to fire $40,000 missiles at $10 million enemy tanks 2,500 metres away and destroy them 95 per cent of the time. The Javelin sale, potentially a billion-dollar (Rs 5,000 crore) contract for US companies, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, has been blocked by Shapiro’s office, the department of political military affairs. The technology, it has been deemed, is too sensitive to transfer.
 Shapiro’s 10-person team will be discussing this issue with India’s defence and foreign ministries (MoD and MEA), which regard overly-strict US licensing and export controls as key obstacles in “operationalising”, or obtaining tangible benefits from the growing strategic convergence between the US and India.
In clearing any transfer of high technology like the Javelin, Shapiro’s primary consideration is strategic: would technologically enabling India enhance long-term US strategic interests, without threatening America’s lead in military technology. Growing pressure from American senators and representatives complicates Shapiro’s decision-making. Fearing the declining US defence budget will cause job losses in their constituencies, American legislators are willing to back technology transfer to India, if that is what it takes to get orders from the world’s biggest buyer of foreign weaponry.
A likely example of this is the Global Hawk Block 30, a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which flies 36-hour unmanned missions to watch over vast expanses of territory or water. After the latest US defence budget cuts, the US Air Force has cancelled orders for Global Hawks, 13 of which have already been built or are close to completion by Northrop Grumman. The politically influential company, aided by US Congressmen in whose constituencies the UAV is built, are pressuring the US government to find alternative buyers. There are 13 Block 30 Global Hawks almost ready, which will now be mothballed.
Savvy bargaining by India could get it the Block 30 Global Hawk and perhaps even the technologies that go into it, believes Manohar Thyagaraj, an expert on US-India military relations.
“If India were to express interest, US Congressmen would mount pressure on Shapiro to share the technology. But India tends to engage only the US administration; it has put very little effort into building relationships on Capitol Hill. When Congress gets onto something, it acquires real momentum. New Delhi has not yet understood that engaging Congress is as important as engaging the administration,” says Thyagaraj.
India’s key technology player, the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO), has figured out the opportunity that lies in declining Western defence budgets. DRDO chief V K Saraswat declared during the Defexpo India 2012 defence exhibition on March 31, “Global economic recession is leading to capacities and capabilities in the international market that we can exploit. So, it will be an era of US and European agencies coming and trying to work with us and we will exploit this.”
Shapiro’s department of political military relations must okay all such joint ventures. US defence giant Raytheon is learnt to be keen on working with DRDO for developing technologies that can detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the roadside bombs that took a heavy toll of US lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that are now being used to deadly effect by Maoist insurgents in India. With US government funding, Raytheon has already developed a technology called SAVI (Seismic Accoustic Vibration Imaging), which uses acoustic reflections to detect buried IEDs. But budgetary cuts have dried up Raytheon’s funding, and it is looking towards India for partnership in developing SAVI into a deployable military system.
“The DRDO’s funding and scientific base is ideal for reviving such a project; and both sides would profit from selling the SAVI system to the Indian military and abroad. If India comes to the table with money, it would be well placed to negotiate access,” says a top DRDO official.
The dialogue on Monday will be followed by a succession of others. The US-India-Japan trilateral is scheduled for April 22 in Tokyo, followed by the US-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington in May and the US-India Homeland Security dialogue in June.

 Business Standard / Ajai Shukla

Air Force chief Browne goes on a different sort of shopping trip

Indian Air Force (IAF) chief NAK Browne went to a Delhi mall on Saturday, much to the surprise of weekend shoppers.
Browne walked in to get first-hand experience of the IAF's new recruitment initiative targeting urban boys and girls who are seen to be distancing themselves from the armed forces as a profession.
The happening mall was chosen to attract youngsters and the IAF was able to create some buzz with a live orchestra performance and a show of rifle drills. 


April 14, 2012

Indian Army fast-tracks air defence guns' purchase

Exactly a month after army chief Gen. V.K. Singh highlighted gaps in the country's defence preparedness in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India decided to fast track purchase of air defence guns for its forces and has called for information from global firms in this regard.
Gen. Singh had written to the prime minister on March 12 and on April 11, the army's air defence directorate issued a Request for Information (RFI) to air defence gun manufacturers seeking details of their products so that a tender document could be prepared.
Gen. Singh had said in his letter that 97 percent of the air defence guns in the Indian Army inventory were obsolete.
"The army air defence directorate has issued the RFI, as it plans to procure air defence guns having a caliber of more than 30mm," an officer in the army headquarters said here Friday.
"This RFI has been issued with a view to identify probable vendors who can undertake the said project. The original equipment manufacturers/vendors have been requested to forward information on their product which they can offer the Indian Army," the officer added.
The air defence guns that the army is looking for should be capable of engaging air targets during both day and night, with or without a fire control system, and should be transportable by broad gauge rail rakes.

--Indo-Asian News Service ncb/rn/vm - Webindia123

April 12, 2012

Another round of Nag trials in June-July

                 Army has sought changes in specially designed carrier NAMICA
With Rajasthan deserts providing one of the worst testing environments, yet another round of trials, perhaps the last, will be conducted in June-July 2012 of the anti-tank Nag missile and more importantly its specially designed carrier, NAMICA.
Although the third generation missile with “top attack and fire and forget” capabilities was expected to be inducted last year after it was tested for various ranges in July 2010, it was delayed with the Army seeking modifications in NAMICA. Each NAMICA can carry 12 missiles, eight of them in ready-to-fire mode.
“We are hoping for initial induction after the trials. The aim of the tests is to prove the launch system as well as the missile to the requisite capability,” Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation, told The Hindu.
The partially amphibious NAMICA had been totally modified and two separate systems produced by Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Electronics Limited would be tested in the trials.
Nag missile, which has a range of four km, would be tested for its full range, two km and a minimum of 500 metres. This time DRDO scientists would demonstrate the lock-on-before launch capability of the missile for a four-km range with an upgraded imaging infrared seeker.
In lock-on-before-launch mode, the missile keeps acquiring the image of the target every 30 milliseconds right from the launch till the impact on target.
The missile would be fired to destroy both moving and stationary targets during the trials.
The shorter the range, the more difficult it would be for the missile to attack a moving target.
Mr. Chander said there was no other anti-tank missile in the world with a lock-on-before launch system for a four-km range.
The U.S. Javelin and the Israeli Spike had lock-on-before launch systems but the range was only 2.5 km.
He said it was also being planned to have the lock-on-before-launch capability for a seven-km range of the missile.
In recent field trials, the lock-on-after-launch capability of the Helina missile (airborne version of Nag) was proved.
There was some problem with the actuators and these were being rectified, Mr. Chander said. 

The Hindu

Pak N-arsenal is developing rapidly: Report

WASHINGTON: Estimated to have more nuclear weapons than India, Pakistan is rapidly developing and expanding its atomic arsenal, spending about $2.5 billion a year to develop such weapons, a report 'Assuring Destruction Forever : Nuclear Modernization Around the World' has said.

Pakistan is estimated to have 90-110 nuclear weapons.

"A long-term concern driving the programme is US policy of countering the rise of China by cultivating a stronger strategic relationship with India. This may tie the future of Pakistan and India's nuclear weapons to the emerging contest between the US and China," it said. 

Times of India

Government on overdrive to tide over tanks’ ammunition crunch

With Army chief General V K Singh ominously warning his entire tank fleet is ``devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks'', the government is fast-tracking orders to arm the T-90S main-battle tanks with missiles and specialized ammunition for a greater punch on the western front with Pakistan.

Top sources say contracts for 25,000 Invar missiles and 66,000 APFSDS (armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot) rounds for the Russian-origin T-90S fleet as well as 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), at an overall cost of around Rs 6,000 crore, are in the final stages.

This comes after Gen Singh wrote a confidential letter to PM Manmohan Singh on March 12, which found its way into the public domain, detailing the critical ``hollowness'' in his 1.13-million-strong Army's war-waging capabilities.

Defence minister A K Antony, incidentally, is slated to hold the third review meeting on Gen Singh's concerns on April 17-18. While the procurement process for the new contracts was initiated quite sometime ago, their swift conclusion has become a top-priority over the last few weeks.

There are two big contracts for the 3UBK-Invar missiles, which are potent anti-tank weapons with a five-km strike range, in the pipeline. The first is for 10,000 missiles for Rs 1,386 crore from Russia for which a ``draft'' CCS (cabinet committee on security) note has already been prepared and circulated, say sources.

The rest 15,000 missiles will be ordered from defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Ltd, at a cost of over Rs 2,000 crore, for which the contract negotiations committee (CNC) is in progress.

Another over Rs 2,000 crore contract will be for the 66,000 APFSDS rounds fired from the 125mm smooth-bore guns of T-90S tanks. The reserve stocks for this specialized ammunition is down to only four days, as Army vice-chief Lt-Gen S K Singh told the parliamentary standing committee on defence on Monday.

The Army is also going to get the 10,000 Konkurs-M ATGMs directly from Russia for over Rs 1,200 crore. ``All these contracts should be inked within the next few months,'' said a source.

The T-90S fleet, incidentally, has grappled with glitches in its missile and thermal imaging systems right since its induction after India first ordered 310 of these tanks for over Rs 3,625 crore under a February 2001 contract with Russia.

India went in for T-90S tanks since Pakistan was inducting T-80UD tanks from Ukraine as well as `Al Khalid' MBTs developed with China's help, and the indigenous Arjun tanks were then nowhere on the horizon.

Initially, India had plans to manufacture another 1,000 T-90S tanks at the Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory, but Russia, eager to squeeze out more money, put several roadblocks in the transfer of technology (ToT) promised.

It was only after India signed another Rs 4,900-crore deal with Russia in November, 2007, to import another 347 of these tanks, coupled with Antony pushing the ToT case with his Russian counterparts, that Moscow eased controls.

Since then, the Avadi factory has built 170 T-90S tanks, with the annual production slated to touch 100 tanks in 2012. Moreover, the Army has ordered 124 more Arjuns after the initial order of 124 in 2004. 

Times of India

April 11, 2012

Indian Navy to Operate Five Nuc Subs by 2020

Indian Navy will be ready to maintain and operate five nuclear-powered submarines by 2020, reported news agency Brahmand.

According to Indian defense minister A.K. Antony, India is presently considering Russia's offer to take another nuclear sub on lease and plans to build two Arihant-class subs to protect its sea borders.

Akula II class submarine leased from Russia was commissioned into Indian Navy on Apr 4 under name of INS Chakra. Lead sub of Arihant project designed and built in India will be launched in the nearest future and start appropriate trials.

India plans to build up strength of nuclear-powered submarine force, government allocates funds for that, added the minister.

At present, Indian Navy operates 10 conventional diesel electric submarines (Kilo-class and HDW) and intends to add other 12 within the next decade.

Six Scorpene-class subs are being currently built by Mazagon Dockyards in Mumbai under joint project with DCNS (France). Other six Type 75 submarines are to be constructed by own efforts.

Commenting bilateral relations, Russian Ambassador to India A.M. Kadakin called India "a privileged strategic partner" and said Russia would produce whatever India needed.

Russia continues construction of three Talwar-class frigates for India. Two of them are to be delivered in 2012.


Nag in crucial stage of testing

NAMICA, the Nag missile carrier built for the Indian Army to destroy enemy battle tanks, will soon undergo crucial tests in the toughest of war theatres — the deserts of Rajasthan .
Two totally modified versions with advance hit facilities, built by the private sector L&T and public sector BEL, will be put through trials in June-July, according to Mr Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles & Strategic Systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The tests would be done with the Nag guided missile for different ranges. The objective is to get it cleared for initial induction into the Army. The trials would be for 2 and 4 km and minimum of 500 metres range according to the needs of the user, he told Business Line.
Nag is a third generation, anti-battle tank, fire and forget missile. The modified version of the four-km range for example, is being equipped with a ‘lock on before launch' system. There is no competitor globally for this range, with this capability at present. The US missile in the similar class can destroy targets upto 2.5 kms.
The ‘lock on before launch' gives a tactical advantage. The missile acquires the image of the target before launch and keeps updating as it seeks and hits the target with precision. The DRDO has also developed the imaging infrared seeker technology. The private sector is integrating this capability into the higher range nag missiles as well.

Helina missile

The DRDO is scheduled to equip its Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv with the Helina — the air-to-surface, anti-tank missile. The helicopter launched missile has a 7 km lock on system after launch. However, some tests done during March exposed problems in the actuation systems. We are rectifying them. The lock on capability has been established for the full distance, Mr Avinash Chander said.
Helina is an aerial version of the Nag missile. 

The Hindu

April 10, 2012

Russia To Supply Ammunition For India T-90 Tanks

India is likely to take delivery of 16,000 rounds of ammunition from Russia for its T-90 tanks this year.
“A contract for procurement of 16,000 rounds of Fin Stabilized Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS) ammunition for T-90 tanks was signed with Rosoboronexport ... in December 2010. It became effective in March 2011, and the complete consignment is likely to be delivered in the first half of 2012,” a defense ministry official says.
The Indian army has been looking for high-quality 125mm FSAPDS ammunition for in-service T-72 and T-90 tanks. And the government was recently criticized after army chief Gen. V.K. Singh noted that there was a shortage of shells for armored regiments.
A contract for 66,000 rounds of ammunition for 84mm rocket launchers also was signed in March 2011 with Swedish firm Saab, the official says.
Meanwhile, the Russian arms export firm Rosoboronexport hopes India will be interested in upgrading its T-90 tanks into T-90MS versions. At the recent DefExpo in New Delhi, Russia displayed a prototype of its T-90MS tank. The upgraded tank has improved capabilities in firepower, protection, mobility and command ability.
India has overtaken China as the world’s largest conventional arms buyer in the last five years, according to a recent report from the Swedish Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. India spent $12.7 billion on weapons in that period, 80% of which came from Russia.

Avaition Week

Tank ammunition down to four days reserve

Presenting a sobering account of long-term as well as immediate challenges, senior IAF and Army brass told a parliamentary committee that while India's window to catch up with China's defence modernization thrust could close by 2017 or earlier, stocks of certain types of tank munitions are down to four days of reserves.

Responding to queries posed by members of Parliament's standing committee on defence, IAF Vice-chief Air Marshal Kishan Nohwar said the asymmetry between India and China is widening with Beijing's aggressive war doctrine powering a rapid expansion of its military.

While the IAF Vice-chief said India would need to be proactive if its is not to keep lagging China in terms of its preparedness, Army Vice-chief Lt Gen S K Singh told MPs that there was a shortfall with regard to certain tank ammunition due to an Israeli firm being blacklisted, but the situation is not too worrisome as sufficient stocks are available with regard to most weapon systems.

Questions on tank ammunition rose from the leaked letter Army chief Gen V K Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that referred to serious gaps in India's defence preparedness. In view of evidence presented to the committee on Monday, chiefs of the three Services are expected to brief the panel on April 20.

On the controversy over the Tatra trucks, defence secretary Shashikant Sharma said the ministry had written to the Czech suppliers in February seeking to deal with it directly. However, the firm said the dealing should be through its London office, run by businessman Ravi Rishi who was questioned by the CBI last week.

Pointing to difficulties in changing the trucks, officials said the vehicles were the platform for India's missile systems and could not be replaced at a short notice while responding to queries from Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaissi, Congress MP Manish Tewari, Akali MP Naresh Gujral and committee chair Satpal Maharaj.

Sources said several questions on defence preparedness were asked about China in the context of a two-front war. The Army Vice-chief explained the shortage of tank ammunition was due to an Israeli firm being blacklisted and that India's requirements were being sourced from Russia. He said the procurement process is being accelerated.

On the acquisition of trainers for the air force, the panel was told that while there were delays, the order process was in an advanced stage and could be concluded in May. The need for trainers would be all the more acute as India begins inducting the 126 Rafael fighters it has decided to purchase in order to boost its air power.

The IAF Vice-chief said lack of trainers meant that trainees were being able to complete just 25 hours of flying in their first year instead of 150.

On the Tatra trucks, the committee was also told the vehicles had not been found wanting and that both Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had given the vehicles a clean chit. 

Times of India