October 30, 2012

Upgraded Indian Submarine Starts Seas Trials in Russia

An Indian Kilo class diesel-electric submarine that has been overhauled at the Zvezdochka shipyard in northern Russia has sailed for two-week sea trials, the company said.
INS Sindhurakshak, which was handed over to the Indian Navy in 1997, has been upgraded under a direct contract between the Zvezdochka shipyard and the Indian defense ministry, signed on June 4, 2010.
“The Indian submarine, which has been repaired and modernized at the Zvezdochka shipyard, sailed for sea trials on Monday,” the company said in a statement.
The upgrade program stipulated a complete overhaul of the submarine, including its hull structures, as well as improved control systems, electronic warfare systems, and an integrated weapon control system. The upgrade is reported to cost around $80 million.
The sub is expected to be delivered to India by the end of 2012, following a series of additional tests.
Russia has built ten Kilo class submarines for India and has already overhauled four of them: INS Sindhuvir, INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhughosh, and INS Sindhuvijay.
The overhauled Indian submarines are equipped with 3M-54 Club-S (SS-N-27) anti-ship cruise missiles, the Indian-developed USHUS sonar, CCS-MK radio communications system and Porpoise radar.

RIA Novosti

Boeing’s Chinook wins Indian heavy lift helicopter tender

New Delhi. US Boeing’s Chinook CH 47F helicopter is set to win the Indian Air Force’s helicopter tender, defeating the Russian Mi 26 in the open international tender by a decent margin
The tender was opened recently in the presence of representatives of both the companies, and according to reliable sources, the quote by the US company was “surprisingly much lower” in both the initial and lifecycle costs.
Russia – and the erstwhile Soviet Union – has been the biggest supplier of aircraft and defence equipment to India , but all these so far have been acquired on the basis of government-to-government agreements.
With the loss of the heavy-lift tender, Russia has lost both the competitive tenders against the US in India in which it participated, the other being that of combat helicopters. In that, Russia withdrew its Mi-28, and Boeing's Apache AH 64D won on both technical and financial merit. Earlier, the Russian Mig 35 lost against the French Rafale in the six-corner combat jet competition on technical grounds for 126 aircraft for the IAF.
IAF had issued tenders, officially called request for Proposals (RfPs), after evaluating globally available machines for 22 combat and 15 heavy lift helicopters.
 The result for the combat helicopters was announced earlier, and for the heavy lift, it should be officially announced within a few days. But sources confirmed that the Chinook is L-1, or the lowest in acquisition and maintenance costs in the official jargon.
Notably, IAF has been using the Mi 26 for a quarter century now, and there appeared to be a leaning towards this machine because of familiarity and the fact that it can carry more weight than the Chinook. But Russia does not make this helicopter any more, and even with refurbished machines perhaps, its projected costs are higher.
The Chinook is a much more versatile machine, and the only helicopter in the world that can also float on water for launching and recovering inflatable boats with commandoes. In terms of operational capability, while the Mi 26 can carry more weight, it is nowhere near the American machine.
In fact in the Himalayan heights, the Mi 26 has sometimes had problems in taking off and small runways had to be built to give it some lift. According to Lt Gen BS Pawar (Retd), an expert on rotorcraft, the newer version of the Chinook which India will get from the US , is a proven machine and perhaps the best in comparison to other helicopters. “It is versatile and has proved as a great workhorse both in Afghan and Iraq operations in heavy logistic roles.”
 Chinook will be useful not only in ferrying under-slung artillery guns and jeeps but also be useful for integrated day and night commando operations for which it is well-equipped,” Lt Gen Pawar observed adding that the aircraft has also proved extremely useful in disaster relief operations.

- Iindiastrategic.in

Ensure all weapons trial are fair, transparent: Antony's warning to service chiefs

Defence Minister A K Antony has cautioned the three service chiefs asking them to ensure that all weapons trials are fair and transparent at all stages. Mr Antony's advice comes days after his ministry wrote to the Italian government seeking details of an internal inquiry into helicopter-maker Finmeccanica for allegedly paying bribes to secure contracts across the world, including India.

The minister's words of caution came on a day when the ministry's Defence Acquisition Council cleared buying equipment worth Rs. 6,000 crore. The ministry cleared proposals for the procurement of 3,000 Light Support Vehicles (LSVs) for the Army at a cost of Rs. 1,500 crore and Special Operations Vessels (SOVs) for the Marine Commandos of the Navy at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore.

The meeting also cleared proposals for the purchase of Search and Rescue (SAR) equipment for Indian Air Force choppers at a cost of Rs. 1,000 crore, 3,000 Hand-held Thermal Imagers (HHTIs) that help see in the dark for the Army at Rs. 800 crore and a Cadet Training Ship for the Navy at Rs. 480 crore, which will be built by the private sector ABG Shipyard.
 Finmeccanica and its subsidiary AgustaWestland have been dealing with the Indian armed forces to sell its helicopters. One of the deals, worth $720 million, is for 12 VIP helicopters to be used by the Prime Minister and President. This was signed in 2010.

The other was a bid by the company for India's requirement of 197 light utility helicopters to replace its aging fleet of Cheetahs and Chetaks. Though Finmeccanica's bid was rejected, India has asked the Italian government to share details of an investigation that has revealed that an Indian Army brigadier, who led evaluation trials, offered to doctor them favourably for a $5 million bribe.

Finmeccanica is being investigated by Rome after some its former employees alleged that the defence conglomerate had regularly paid bribes across the world to secure contracts. The Ministry of Defence wants to find out if kickbacks were paid for the $720 million deal too.

Finmeccanica had vehemently denied paying any kickback, saying in a statement, "AgustaWestland is not involved in any irregularity concerning the supply of its helicopters to India."

The Indian Embassy in Rome on its part wrote back to New Delhi saying that while Italy wasn't sharing any details, inquiries from its local sources hadn't revealed anything negative.


October 26, 2012

CCS clears 10,000 Russian anti-tank missiles for Indian Army

A Rs1,200 crore proposal for procuring 10,000 anti-tank guided missiles for the Army from Russia was cleared today by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The CCS cleared the proposal to acquire Russian-origin 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles for the Mechanised Infantry and Infantry battalions of the Army, sources told PTI here.
The Konkurs-M are part of the weapon systems being procured by the force to augment the anti-tank arsenal in the Army, they said.
The CCS had last week cleared the purchase of 25,000 Invar missiles for the T-90 tank fleet under a Rs 2,000 crore proposal.
The Konkurs are part of the anti-tank weapon family of the force which includes the Milan anti-tank guided missiles which India has been buying from France and also license-producing it at the Bharat Dynamics Limited facilities here.
Soon after the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, there were reports suggesting that the Army was facing a severe shortage of tank ammunition as well as anti-tank weapons.
Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh had also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighting a critical shortage of tank ammunition and obsolescence of the air defence weaponry.
Soon after the letter was received, Defence Minister A K Antony held several rounds of meetings with top Ministry brass and military officials and since then has taken steps to ease the shortfall.


October 25, 2012

Second phase of China border upgrade project to start in mid-2013

Indian government is hoping to start implementing the second phase of its China border modernization project by mid-2013, when the programme's first phase, including formation of two new Army divisions and activation of several advanced landing grounds, would be completed.
Discussing Indian military capability along the Chinese border, 50 years after its humiliating defeat in the 1962 war, a senior source in the government told TOI that the three military chiefs have been asked to work out an integrated strategy for the second phase.
With the massive military modernization across the border by China and India's continuous efforts to play catch up, what is unfurling is the world's biggest conventional military build-up along a frontier anywhere in the post-Cold War era. Half a century after the border war between the two Asian giants, a host of factors are now forcing the huge militarization along the border, their growing economy being among the key factors.
The senior government source told ToI that the chiefs of staff committee, comprising the three military chiefs, has been asked to prepare an "integrated strategy" for modernization of military capability along the China border in phase II. "The PMO has asked for an integrated plan. We do not want to have silo approach by the Army, Air Force and Navy," he said.
The move to evolve an integrated strategy came in the face of an Army proposal to create country's first and only mountain strike corps along the Chinese border as well as other components, together worth over Rs 64,000 crore. The proposal was approved by the ministry of defence (MoD) and circulated to the finance ministry and the PMO. In response, the PMO has asked the military chiefs to evolve an integrated strategy.
He said by mid-2013, the government is hoping that the first phase of the modernization would be complete. This includes the ongoing raising of two new Army divisions, activation of eight advanced landing grounds — air fields abandoned at various times since the World War II — and construction of several roads and tunnels close to the border.
The Indian response along the border, virtually abandoned without any modernization since the 1962 war, started only about a decade ago, after it formally reversed the strategy of not developing border infrastructure. India is far too late in catching up with the Chinese side, which has built an impressive infrastructure, with all-weather roads almost up to their forward military posts.
The Indian military also assess that China has built over the years a massive fighting ability across the border.
Namrata Goswami, a research fellow at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, said in a recent paper that China has replaced its old liquid fuelled CSS-3 missiles with more advanced CSS-5s, deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles north of Tibet, and deployed 13 Border Defence Regiments with around 300,000 PLA troops close to Indian border. The paper also points out that China has established airfields in Hoping, Pangta and Kong Ka in addition to the already existing six airfields in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
"Of critical value to China's force structure in this regard is the PLA's 23 Rapid Reaction Forces (RRFs). The RRFs have been considerably modernised into a hi-tech force equipped for a limited war in the Himalayas. They are on a 24 hour operational mode, and are trained to function in any environment. These units are composed of two group armies, nine divisions, three brigades, and seven regimental or battalion level units with an approximate strength of 400,000 personnel including the Resolving Emergency Mobile Combat Forces (REMCF)," Goswami says.

Times of India

October 20, 2012

Russia’s Pantsir-S System Downs Cruise Missile in Test

Two missiles fired from a Pantsir-S short-range air defense system shot down a cruise missile during tests at a practice range in northern Russia on Friday, the Defense Ministry said.
A real cruise missile was launched from a Tu-95MS Bear strategic bomber targeting a building 800 kilometers (500 miles) away.
“The Pantsir-S hit the target with two missiles and prevented the destruction of the defended building,” the Ministry said in a statement.
“The live firing practice at the Pemboy range has confirmed high performance characteristics of the new air defense system,” the statement said.
The system has previously only been tested against practice targets imitating cruise missiles.
Cruise missiles represent a difficult target as they are small, fast-moving, can fly at very low levels and often have a low infrared and radar signature.
The Pantsir-S, produced by Russia's KBP, is a gun-missile system combining a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles, and is designed to take on a variety of targets flying at low altitudes.
The Pantsir can engage targets up to 20 km (12 miles) by missiles and 4 km (2.5 miles) using cannons, KBP claims.
The Defense Ministry has so far ordered 100 Pantsir-S units for Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces, which are expected to be delivered in the next few years.
The export version of the system, Pantsir-S1, has been sold to the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Algeria.
Under a recent $4.2-bln arms contract with Iraq, Moscow will supply Baghdad with 50 Pansir-S1 systems.

RIA Novosti

October 19, 2012

MK 54 Torpedo Ordered by U.S., Australian and Indian Navies

News release from Raytheon:
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has been awarded a $45.3 million U.S. Navy contract to provide MK 54 lightweight torpedo hardware, test equipment, spares and related engineering and repair services for U.S. fleet inventory and in support of foreign military sales to the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy. The award represents an exercised option of a current Navy contract for MK 54 torpedo kits.
“As enemy submarines remain a threat to security, stability and access to the world’s oceans, naval forces worldwide require a reliable and effective undersea warfare weapon,” said Kevin Peppe, vice president of Seapower Capability Systems for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “Together with the U.S. Navy, we continue to advance the development of the world’s most effective lightweight torpedo, delivering its proven capabilities to meet the anti-submarine warfare needs of U.S. and allied fleets.”
Raytheon is the U.S. Navy’s sole production supplier for MK 54 lightweight torpedo hardware, in production since 1999. With an established infrastructure and experienced workforce co-located with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport, Wash., the company works directly with the Navy to meet the lightweight torpedo requirements of U.S. and allied fleets.
The MK 54
The MK 54 is the Navy’s next-generation anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapon deployed from surface ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to detect and attack underwater targets. Sophisticated processing algorithms allow the MK 54 to analyze the information, edit out false targets or countermeasures, and pursue identified threats. The MK 54 is designed for both deep water and littoral environments, making it the only lightweight torpedo capable of striking any underwater target in the world’s oceans, regardless of water depth.
Integrated onboard the MH-60R maritime helicopter, the MK 54 is the primary weapon for the helicopter’s ASW mission. Most recently, the U.S. Navy successfully launched the first MK 54 lightweight torpedo from the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The torpedo adds a critical capability to these long-range ASW, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, which will be capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.

Ottawa Citizen

Cabinet clears Rs 8,000cr missile purchase for armed forces

Proposals worth over Rs 8,000 crore for procuring around 10,000 'Invar' missiles from Russia for the Army's T-90 tanks and over 200 air-launched versions of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles for the IAF were cleared on Thursday by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

The decision for purchasing these missiles for the two services was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) held under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources told PTI in New Delhi.

The IAF proposal worth over Rs 6,000 crore to buy BrahMos missiles for the IAF involves sanctioning of funds for the integration and testing of the BrahMos missile on Russian-origin Su-30MKI of the IAF, they said.

As per plans, the first test of the air-launched version of the supersonic cruise missile, developed jointly by India and Russia, is to be conducted by December-end. Two Su-30MKI of the IAF would also be modified by the HAL at its Nashik facility where they will also be integrated with the aerial launcher developed by the BrahMos, they said.

The BrahMos missiles integrated on the Su-30s will help the IAF achieve the capability to deliver a deadly blow to enemy formations from stand-off ranges of around 300 km without getting close to them.

Under the proposal to procure Invar missiles for the T-90 tank fleet of the Army, 10,000 Invar missiles would be brought from Russian manufacturers and there will be an agreement for license-producing 15,000 missiles by the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under Transfer of Technology (ToT), they said.

In a letter to the Prime Minister in March, former Army Chief Gen VK Singh had pointed out that only 3-4 days of tank ammunition was left with some of the units while highlighting the shortages faced by his force. Invar is a weapon fired from the gun barrel of T-90, over 1,600 of which would be inducted into the Armed Forces in the next few years.


October 18, 2012

Second Indian Frigate Gears Up for Delivery

JSC Yantar Shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia) has finished sea phase of acceptance trials of Project 11356 frigate INS Tarkash built for Indian Navy.

The sea phase of trials took place in the Baltic Sea and finished on Oct 12. All shipboard systems and arms were tested in the presence of the client's state commission. The frigate was found ready for the closing phase which started on Oct 15 at the shipyard's basin.

According to the acceptance trials program, the shipyard must paint the ship's hull, complete furnishing of interior premises and hold the proof trial run. That will be done till Nov 9 when the frigate is to be handed over to Indian Navy.

The solemn handover ceremony of INS Tarkash will be held on Nov 9 at Yantar. The ceremony will start at 10.25 am on the ship moored at the outfitting quay. At 12.30 am, it is planned to hold press conference on the ship's heliport. The ceremony will be attended by top-ranking representatives of Indian embassy and Joint Naval Staff, directors of United Shipbuilding Corporation, Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, Rosoboronexport, and regional authorities.
JSC Yantar Shipyard was established on July 8, 1945 on the basis of Koenigsberg shipyards F. Schichau. It is specialized in construction of light and intermediate tonnage vessels for military and civil purposes, as well as ship repair works. Through the 67-year long history, the yard has built 155 warships and over 500 civil vessels. Currently, Yantar's majority shareholder is government represented by United Shipbuilding Corporation.


Russia to Test Pantsyr Gun System Against Cruise Missiles

The Russian armed forces are to carry out live firing tests of the Army's Pantsyr short-range gun-missile air defense system against cruise missile targets for the first time at a range in northern Russia, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
"The Pantsyr will be tested in live attacks for the first time against real cruise missile targets on the range," a Defense Ministry source said.
The system has previously only been tested against practice targets imitating cruise missiles.
"The system has been flown several thousand kilometers to an airfield near the Pemboi Range in the Komi Republic, after which it will be driven to the firing range," the source said.
The Pantsyr, produced by Russia's KBP, is a combined gun-missile system combining a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire-control radar and electro-opitical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles, and is designed to take on a variety of targets flying at low-level, including cruise missiles and aircraft.
Cruise missiles represent a difficult target as they are small, fast-moving, can fly at very low levels and often have a low infrared and radar signature.
The Pantsyr can engage targets up to 12 miles (20 km) by missile and 2.5 miles (4 km) using the cannon, KBP claims.

The system was first made in 1994 and first shown at the MAKS airshow in Moscow in 1995. A modified variant was shown at MAKS 2007

RIA Novosti

CCS to discuss BrahMos, tank ammunition proposals tomorrow

As the army faces ammunition shortage for its tank regiments, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is expected to consider a proposal of defence ministry to procure over 20,000 of Invar missiles from Russia for T-90 tanks at an estimated cost of around Rs. 2,000 crore. The meeting tomorrow is also expected to discuss the procurement of air-launched version of the 290-km-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles for the IAF, they said.

Under the Army proposal, 10,000 Invar missiles would be brought from Russian manufacturers whereas the remaining would be license-produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under Transfer of Technology (ToT), they said.
In a letter to the Prime Minister in March, former Army Chief Gen V K Singh had pointed out that only 3-4 days of tank ammunition was left with some of the units while highlighting the shortages faced by his force.
Invar is weapon fired from the gun barrel of T-90, over 1,600 of which would be inducted into the Indian armed forces in the next few years.
The proposal to buy BrahMos missiles for the IAF involves sanctioning of funds for the integration and testing of the BrahMos missile on Russian-origin Su-30MKI of the IAF, sources said.
As per the plans, the first test of the air-launched version of the supersonic cruise missile, developed jointly by India and Russia, is to be conducted by December-end.
Two Su-30MKI of the IAF would be modified indigenously by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Nasik facility where they will also be integrated with the aerial launcher developed by the BrahMos, they said.
The BrahMos missiles integrated on the Su-30s will help the IAF achieve the capability to deliver a deadly blow to enemy formations from stand-off ranges of around 300km without getting close to them.

Hindustan Times

October 17, 2012

‘Mini-air force’ to see big-ticket investment

With the government accepting the Army's demand of owning and operating attack helicopters, it will be spending several crores to build the 'mini air force'.
The Army received a letter from the ministry of defence mentioning that all 'future procurements' of attack helicopters will be done by the force. “It means that in all probability, the 22 Boeing Apache AH-64D helicopters to be procured for $1.4 billion will go to the Indian Army,” a senior Army officer said on conditions of anonymity.
The Defence Aquisition Council (DAC) has given an 'in principle' approval for the attack helicopters for the Army. The decision to let the Army operate attack helicopters was taken on Thursday despite the opposition from the Indian Air Force (IAF) over 'duplication of assets'. “The Indian Army's request for a 'mini air force' was actually referred to the NSA who favoured the army's request,” a source told FE.
Just last week, IAF chief NAK Browne had said: “The 22 heavy-duty Boeing's AH-64 D Apache Longbow helicopters will be joining the air force.” In fact, Browne had reacted sharply to the question of the Army demanding air assets for itself as “duplication of assets”. “We cannot afford to have our own little air forces. Tomorrow the Coast Guard will ask for submarines will we give it to them?”
He had also revealed that in 2011, the IAF has conceded the Army’s demand for attack helicopters but the latter also wanted medium-lift helicopters and it was then that the Air Force put its foot down.
The procurement of the Apache helicopters is currently in the contract negotiation stage.
According to sources, the ministry of defence has given greater role to the Army in operating the medium-lift helicopters that are now being operated by the IAF, meaning that the tasks of the Army will be given priority. Though the Army will soon get its first indigenous ‘Rudra’ helicopter, it has also put out a request for 10 squadrons of attack helicopters.

The Indian Express

India plans to impart power punch to Jaguar fighters

India is finally giving its Jaguar "strike" fighters some much-needed new teeth with advanced missiles, engines and avionics. Apart from having a maritime strike role as well, the Jaguars have long been identified by IAF as the jets capable of delivering nuclear weapons if required.

The IAF on Monday issued a RFP (request for proposal) to M/s HoneywellBSE -0.92 % Aerospace, the US-based manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics, to "completely re-engine" 125 Jaguars and provide 270 F-125IN turbofan engines.

Concurrently, IAF is all set for the first test-flight of a Jagaur fighter upgraded to "Darin-III" standards by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), with new-generation avionics including a glass cockpit and autopilot, next month.

Grappling with only 34 fighter squadrons when at least 44 are needed to be "comfortable" against Pakistan and China, IAF has been progressively going in for upgrade of its existing fighters as well as planning new inductions to retain its aerial combat ratio while phasing out the old MiG variants.

IAF already has upgrade projects underway for 51 Mirage-2000s for Rs 17,547 crore and 63 MiG-29s for $964 million, even as it inducts 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs at a cost upwards of $12 billion. Then, it plans to induct 126 French Rafale fighters in the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project.

For futuristic requirements, IAF is looking at inducting over 200 stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft from 2022 onwards, after joint development and production with Russia, at an overall cost that will eventually touch $35 billion.

Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne on Tuesday told top IAF commanders that the force was "going through a very busy and challenging" period. "Our focus now, and at all times, must be on three priority areas - operational capability, operational infrastructure and operational security, especially in view of the new inductions in our inventory."

As for the Jaguar project, the plan is to finish the "design and development" phase with Honeywell on the initial two fighters by 2015-16. The "complete re-engine" phase of the remaining 123 fighters will be completed by 2023-24 by HAL under transfer of technology from the US firm.

IAF had inducted 40 Jaguars from UK from 1979 onwards, which was later followed by indigenous licensed production by HAL. But with progressive upgrades of avionics and weapon systems, the overweight fighters have been suffering from their "under-powered" Adour-811 engines manufactured by Rolls-Royce. Several Jaguar crashes have also occurred due to engine problems.

"There is a serious low thrust engine issue. Earlier, Rolls-Royce was also in the race to supply more powerful engines for the Jaguars but the company withdrew its bid last year. So, IAF got the clearance from the Defence Acquisitions Council to move the project on a single vendor (Honeywell) basis," said a source.

 The Economic Times

October 16, 2012

The RAFALE Omnirole Fighter: Pushing Forward on New Air-to-Air Capabilities

(Dassault-aviation) : In October 2012, the RAFALE omnirole fighter reached two major milestones: the first delivery of a production aircraft equipped with the first production RBE2 AESA radar, and the initial successful testing of the new-generation, very long-range, METEOR air-to-air missile.

Pushing forward on new air-to-air capabilities, the Rafale B301, operating from Cazaux DGA Flight Test Center in southwestern France, successfully completed, on October 4 then on October 10, two successful tests of the beyond visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) Meteor.

On December 22, 2010, the French defense procurement agency (DGA: Direction Générale de l’Armement) ordered 200 Meteor missiles. A week after, the contract for integration of the Meteor missile to the Rafale system was awarded to the industry.

This advanced, ramjet-powered, missile, made by MBDA, is intended for air defense missions. It will intercept targets at very long range, and it will be a perfect complement to the MICA missile, which is currently used at shorter ranges for air-to-air interception, dogfight and self-defense.

On October 2, 2012, the first production Rafale F3 (the single-seater C137), equipped with the first production Thales RBE2 AESA 1 radar, was delivered to the French DGA, paving the way for the introduction into operational service of the first European combat aircraft fully exploiting the cutting edge AESA radar technology.
Extended range capabilities offered to the Rafale by the RBE2 AESA radar (among a number of other key operational benefits) allow the full use of the latest generation of long-range air-to-air missiles such as the Meteor.

The Rafale is already an extremely effective new-generation, combat proven (Afghanistan, Libya), omnirole tactical fighter, but development is continuing apace to exploit more and more of the aircraft’s tremendous capabilities, and to seamlessly add new ones. As a result, the Rafale looks set to become even better in the near future.

1: AESA: Active Electronically-Scanned Array.



1. French operational requirements have been set at 286 Rafales. The Air Force will receive 228 aircraft (in two versions: the single-seater Rafale C and the two-seater Rafale B), while the Navy will operate 58 Rafales M (single-seater).
2. To date, 180 production aircraft have been ordered for both services. Under current plans, production of the aircraft is to continue through 2025.
3. By October 15, 2012, 111 production aircraft have been delivered to the warfighters (36 Rafales M for the French Navy; 37 Rafales C and 38 Rafales B for the French Air Force).
4. A decade before the still-to-come Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Rafale is the first aircraft to have been designed, from the outset, to take off and land both from land bases and from aircraft carriers. The Rafale will ultimately replace all the current types of legacy fighter aircraft in the inventory of the French Air Force and the French Navy.
5. Missions of the Rafale omnirole fighter:
- air defence and air superiority;
- close air support;
- engagement of surface targets (with laser-guided bombs, all-weather stand-off precision weapons, or cruise missiles); SEAD/DEAD capabilities;
- anti-ship attack;
- nuclear strike;
- real time tactical and strategic reconnaissance (ground and naval targets);
- in-flight refuelling (“buddy-buddy” tanker capability for the French Navy Rafale M).


1. The Meteor missile is being developed by MBDA to meet the requirement of six European nations (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom).
2. Increasing proliferation of state-of-the-art air-to-air threats is a critical challenge for modern air forces, answered by Meteor.
3. The BVRAAM Meteor and its benefits · A fast and highly manoeuvrable, beyond visual-range, air-to-air weapon.
· The largest No-Escape Zone (NEZ) of any air-to-air weapon resulting in a long stand-off range and high kill probability to ensure air superiority and crew survivability.
· A guidance that is provided by an active radar seeker benefiting from enhanced technologies drawn from MBDA ASTER and MICA missile programs.
· The capability of engaging air targets autonomously by day and night, in all weather and in severe electronic warfare environments.
· A missile equipped with both a proximity and impact fuse to ensure total target destruction in all circumstances.

Russia to Protect South Borders With S-400 Air Defense Systems

The air defense units of Russia’s Southern Military District will be rearmed with advanced S-400 Triumf air defense systems by the end of 2012, a spokesman for the district said on Monday.
The Southern Military District was created in October 2010. It comprises the republics of Adygea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, Chechnya, and the Krasnodar, Stavropol, Astrakhan, Volgograd and Rostov regions.
“In line with a plan for the rearmament of the southern Military District, the S-400 air defense systems will be put on combat duty by the end of this year to replace the S-300PM systems,” Col. Igor Gorbul said.
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 a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and an altitude of up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles).
Russia already has four S-400 regiments protecting national airspace around Moscow, in the Far East and in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
Gorbul said that the Southern Military District received 16 pieces of new military hardware in 2012, including Pantsir-S (SA-22 Greyhound) short-range gun and missile air defense systems.
Pantsir-S is primarily designed to defend higher ranking air defense systems such as S-300 and S-400.

RIA Novosti

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will start negotiations to sell uranium to India

AUSTRALIA'S refusal to sell uranium to India had been an "obstacle" to getting a larger slice of the benefits of the booming Indian economy, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said last night.
Arriving in New Delhi for a three-day state visit, the PM said the rise of the Indian middle-class would play a big role in Australia's future.

She played down concerns by anti-nuclear campaigners that selling uranium would lead to a build up of weapons in Asia.

Pictures: Julia Gillard visits India

Ms Gillard said Australia would negotiate safeguards that would be backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

She said Australian uranium would only be used for peaceful purposes and it was in India's interests to have a robust and safe nuclear industry.
 The PM said Labor's previous ban on uranium sales to India  "had become an obstacle in our relationship".

Australia is already a big supplier of education services with high numbers of Indian students in Australia.

But the PM believes the uranium deal will open the way to selling expertise in health, legal, financial services, technical innovation and water technology.

Ms Gillard said Australia and India had a history of shared values and strategic interests and it was time to broaden and deepen ties.

"This is a very important relationship for Australia," she said.

"India is one of those nations that in our region of the world in this Asian century we will see grow spectacularly in economic weight, we will see the rise of its middle-class."

Ms Gillard's visit will aim to boost wider business and cultural ties with the world's largest democracy and massively growing economy of 1.3 billion people.

Trucking boss Lindsay Fox is leading a business delegation which includes ANZ chief Mike Smith and Rio Tinto's Sam Walsh.

Relations with India turned sour when Kevin Rudd cancelled talks about selling uranium after the Howard Government had backed the idea.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson yesterday admitted there "had been a difficulty in the relationship between Australia and India" over the uranium issue.

Dr Emerson said Ms Gillard's visit aimed to "deepen and enrich this relationship as part of our push on Australia in the Asian Century".

There is expected to be a big focus on India in the upcoming White Paper being prepared by Ken Henry.

Dr Emerson said India was "pleased" talks were back on after last year's ALP national conference voted to overturn the ban on uranium sales to India amid high emotion.

Three Cabinet ministers, including Right-winger Stephen Conroy who was in tears during the debate, voted against Ms Gillard.

Left-winger Doug Cameron said Labor's light on the hill would become a green pulsating nuclear light.

Dr Emerson said safeguards would be negotiated before any sale took place and it would "take time" to get it right.

The Government already has 22 agreements with other countries to sell uranium but India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Government wants the safeguards to have the same strict rules to make sure Australian uranium is only used for domestic energy purposes.

Australia has the world's largest deposits of uranium.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said India had nuclear weapons and it would be impossible to verify that Australian uranium was not diverted for weapons.

“If this deal goes ahead, Australian uranium will likely fuel – directly or indirectly – the build-up of nuclear arms in South Asia. India is still producing both highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons, expanding its nuclear arsenal and investing heavily in new nuclear-capable missiles and submarines,” said ICAN co-chair Dr Tilman Ruff.

“India used a reactor supplied by Canada and fuel provided by the US – both supplied only for peaceful purposes – to make the plutonium for its first nuclear bombs."

India is not a party to any nuclear disarmament treaty, and nuclear safeguards agreements don’t apply to India’s military facilities, meaning that it’s impossible to verify that Australian uranium is not diverted for weapons purposes.”

India has shot dead two anti-nuclear campaigners in recent weeks and there have been reports India's auditor-general raised safety concerns about a possible Chernobyl-style disaster.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlum said India was ranked 28 out of 32 countries for safety of its nuclear stockpile.

“The Prime Minister should put human rights and safety before uranium profits during her current visit to India,” Senator Ludlam said.

The Opposition supports selling uranium to India. Frontbencher Mitch Fifield said it would help increase living standards in India by providing cheap energy.

Australia's relationship with India also suffered a blow in 2009 when attacks against Indian students were labelled racial attacks and led to a storm of protest against Australia in the India media.

Ms Gillard made her first official visit to India in 2009 as Education Minister to try and address concerns.

The PM last night said she belived the problem had been fixed but would find out on this trip if there was any lingering strain.

"My sense is since then we have addressed those concerns," she said.

She told one story about how the community in Melbourne's west in her own electorate went out of their way to "strengthen their embrace of Indian students" after there had been an attack at Werribee train station.

"The Aussie character was on display as we responded to it," she said.

The Australian


The general goes candid on procurement bottlenecks, the Army's proposed air wing and officer-soldier relations

When China launched massive offensives along the Himalayan border in 1962, General Bikram Singh was studying at the Punjab Public School in Nabha. Though the front was far away, he and his friends will not forget those days of air raid sirens and the rush to take shelter in nearby bunkers. There were blackout drills and freedom songs. Everyone was keen to bear arms against the enemy. That childhood experience, in part, led to him joining the Army 10 years later.
Commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment on March 31, 1972, he commanded an infantry battalion in the northeast and one on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. During the Kargil war, he, as official spokesperson, was the face of the Army. Subsequently, he was deputy force commander of the UN Blue Helmets in Congo, commanded the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Command and took over as Chief of the Army Staff on May 31, 2012. Singh is the first chief from among officers who joined post-1971, the year in which India fought its last war.
Indisputably, Singh has rare military talent and the rare ability to empathise. Friends say he has a special brand of humour which could even be self-deprecating. Colleagues know little about his private life, other than that he played cricket and is a bookworm. A big fan of poetry, his favourite is Sir Muhammad Iqbal aka Allama Iqbal. These days Singh's reading list is mostly on China, yet, in this interview with THE WEEK, he was extremely guarded on questions specific to that neighbour.
Sources in the Army Headquarters say that, unlike what has been widely reported, Singh has not scrapped the idea of raising a new strike corps of about 40,000 soldiers. In fact, Singh confirmed the proposal to THE WEEK.
The strike corps, according to reliable sources, is aimed at dissuading China from adventurism in Arunachal Pradesh. “We have plans in place to ensure the country's territorial integrity is never again violated the way it was during the 1962 war,” said a senior staff officer. “1962 will not be repeated, never.” Asked about it, Singh would only confirm the existence of plans.
During the interview, an aide informed him about the death of an officer in Ladakh. Singh asked his wife, Bubbles Kaur, to get ready to visit the bereaved family. The interview had to be concluded shortly. Excerpts:
You are the first post-1971 war officer to lead the Army. It is seen by many as a generational shift in the Army. What does this mean for you?
While the major security challenges of contemporary times have essentially been in the sub-conventional war fighting domain, the Indian Army possesses great experience and the required prowess to win wars for the country in both conventional and sub-conventional arenas. I can assure you that there will be no drawbacks due to any 'generational shift'. The Indian Army's leadership is highly competent, adroit and astute to handle various challenges.
You have been visiting various commands and have met officers and soldiers. What are the major issues that you are conveying to them?
[I tell them] We need to get back to basics with regard to management of our units. It needs to be remembered that the most precious resource of the Indian Army is the soldier, who is at the heart and soul of our combat power. We need to ensure that he remains fully motivated, geared and primed to execute his assigned tasks with josh and élan, both individually and as part of his sub-unit.
The Army is pitching for its own air wing. What is the rationale for demanding air capability for the Army?The Army, as part of the overall plans for capability development, has envisaged integral aviation. The induction of attack helicopters and tactical lift capability into army aviation is an inescapable operational necessity. It will enable us to operate effectively in all types of terrains and maintain the necessary tempo of operations. All major armies of the world have integral aviation resources. I am convinced that given the wisdom of our leadership, these resources will ultimately get transferred to the Army in the overall interest of national security.
Is the Indian Army failing on the modernisation front?Modernisation is a complex and dynamic process impacted by operational changes, emerging technologies and budgetary support. Every defence plan earmarks a substantial component of its capital budget for modernisation. I am conscious of the fact that the Army's modernisation plan has not progressed as desired. There has been slippage in capital procurement. Various bottlenecks in the existing procurement procedure are being streamlined. Modernisation cannot also be complete without India acquiring indigenous capability. The role of DRDO in this regard is paramount. We need to develop a research and development base which is comparable to the best in the world.
Despite joint military exercises and growing relationship with India, the Chinese army's border transgressions have not reduced. Why is the Army unable to stop border transgressions?
There are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both sides patrol up to their respective perceptions of LAC. Due to perceived differences in the alignment of LAC, some minor incidents of local nature do occur, which are resolved amicably through the established mechanisms of hot lines, flag meetings and border personnel meetings.
The Army has a plan to raise an additional mountain strike corps to defend the border with China. What is the progress on the proposal?
Based on the threat perception, the Indian Army has identified its requirements and formulated its long-term perspective plan (LTPP) for development of capabilities and force structures. LTPP for the 12th Plan has recently been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security. [The progress on capability development is reviewed periodically.]
Focus of the Army over the last five years has been to progressively increase our capabilities through enhancement of force levels, upgradation of technology, induction of force multipliers as also modernisation and improvement of infrastructure.
Raising of two infantry divisions sanctioned in the 11th Plan was completed by me when I was Eastern Army Commander. These formations are today operationally effective. Our proposal [to raise the new mountain strike corps] is undergoing the process of vetting and validation. There have been some observations that are being looked into by us. The proposal is being resubmitted and I am confident that it will soon get approved.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony has expressed concern about the deteriorating relationship between soldiers and officers in the Army.
It is true that as in the case of a large organisation, some aberrations do arise. It remains the focus of the Army to identify the causative factors for such aberrations and institute measures to obviate them.
My talks to officers at various stations have essentially been focused on highlighting the causative factors for the aberrations and urging all unit and formation commanders to create conducive climate in their units and formation, besides ensuring strict adherence to unit routine that enables all ranks to intermingle during various parades. It is extremely important for healthy interpersonal relations that officers and men rub shoulders during training and games parades.
What is your view of the India's internal security threats?The situation in J&K and the northeast has improved owing to the relentless operations carried out by the security forces. Multi-pronged initiatives, as part of our national strategy, have strengthened the hands of civil administration. We need to remain vigilant and continue with our intelligence-based surgical operations while scrupulously upholding the law of the land and with utmost respect for human rights. We need to keep all enablers in place, especially when there are still around 400 terrorists in the state [J&K] and intelligence reports allude to higher level of infiltration.
You are reputedly a bookworm. What are you reading currently?
These days, the only time I get to read is while I am travelling. I am reading India-China Nuclear Crossroads by Lora Saalman.

Offensive action
The Indian Army hopes to have a strike corps based in the northeast soon. The proposed corps will have its own mountain artillery, combat engineers, anti-aircraft guns and radio equipment. It will provide India with strategic capabilities that were missed badly in the 1962 war.
After 1962, India's policy was not to build any offensive formations in the eastern sector, fearing it might provoke Beijing. The sanctioning of a strike corps, therefore, indicates a new assertiveness.
The proposal for the corps was submitted by the Army in 2007. On May 14, 2009, the cabinet committee on security approved the plan. The finance ministry, however, felt that the cost involved—about 065,000 crore—was too high, and sent the file back to the ministry of defence. There were also questions whether this step would end up being more provocative than effective.
Contrary to what has been widely reported, Gen. Bikram Singh has not given up on the plan. He told THE WEEK that the proposal was very much on the cards and would be cleared soon.

The week 

October 15, 2012

Army to buy copter-borne early warning systems

In a first that will give a major boost to the Army’s aviation wing, India is planning to procure helicopter-borne early warning systems for the land force. The final specifications for the system are being chalked out, following which a tender process will be initiated this year.
The new system could be fitted on board the Army’s existing Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and will give formation commanders an insight into enemy territory while serving as warning systems for approaching aircraft and armoured units.
Sources said the Army is in the final stages of ordering the new system and is considering involving the Indian private sector in the programme. The other option is to rope in Defence Public Sector Unit, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), to design and develop the system.
The project, which would involve developing a new system in collaboration with a foreign partner, can be lucrative for the Indian defence industry, as the final order would be for a large number of the early warning systems.
The new systems would give a fillip to the Army’s aviation wing that has seen a steady growth in the past few years. Starting with the small Chetak/Cheetah single-engine choppers, Army aviation is now operating the ALH and is set to order a new fleet of light attack helicopters that are being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The early warning systems would be integrated with attack helicopter squadrons that the Army plans to induct in coming years and will act as valuable force multipliers.
While the Air Force does operate early warning systems, it does not have any such helicopter-borne systems that are vital for close-in, ground combat situations where enemy armour and rotary wing aircraft operate.
Meanwhile, the Army recently won a tussle with the Air Force on control over attack helicopter squadrons. Traditionally operated by the Air Force, the Army has them under its operational control and has now been selected for operating them also as is the norm world over.

The Indian Express

'IAF wasn't successful in dropping supplies in 1962'

Indian Air Force equipment during the 1962 War 'cannot be compared to that of China' and it was 'not successful' in delivering supplies to beleaguered Indian troops, an official Chinese daily claimed today, days after IAF Chief NAK Browne said the use of Air Force would have changed the outcome of the conflict.

In the first such write-up ahead of the 50th anniversary of the eight-day war which broke out on October 20, 1962, a commentary in the Chinese edition of Global Times claimed  that the combat capability of the IAF was very limited leaving it a 'spectator'.
"On the eve of the war the backbone of the IAF in terms of equipment cannot be compared to that of China," it said, adding the IAF mainly consisted of British WWII Spitfire turboprop aircraft and "second hand" Vampire aircraft.
"The Vampire aircraft had been trounced by the Chinese people's volunteers as early as the Korean War. As for the 100 MK6 fighter aircraft and 90 Canberra light bombers ordered by India from the UK, they were not yet delivered by the end of 1962," it said.
"The Indian military did not deploy any combat aircraft in frontline airports at Indian border, and basically sent transport planes to provide supplies to the Army," it said.
"Owing to a lack of real world experience, the majority of the supplies fell into the gorges and gullies. In many cases, the parachutes did not open and damage was caused to the supplies," the commentary claimed.
The commentary came days after Browne said the outcome of the 1962 war with China would have been different had the Air Force been used in an offensive role.
According to statistics, the Chinese daily said, "during the entire Sino-Indian border war, only 40 per cent of the airdrops fell into the Indian Army  hands. This was far removed from the amount required to maintain normal operations needs."
Also, it claimed that India did not deploy fighter aircraft based on Central Intelligence Agency information that China has already deployed bombers on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.
"The Chinese aircraft combat radius could cover Delhi  and strikes by IAF in Tibet would inevitably lead to a tough retaliation by China. Ultimately, the request of armed intervention by IAF had to be shelved," it claimed.
"By the end of the first phase of the Sino-Indian border war, the IAF had become a 'bystander'," it said.
After October 28th, when China announced 'a unilateral ceasefire, the IAF helicopters were out in force. They were rescuing the remnants of the Indian army'.
Even in the Arunachal sector in the second phase of hostilities on November 16, "IAF continued to mobilise Otter aircraft to provide supplies to the besieged troops. But this could not save the Indian Army from the fate of defeat.
Chinese army gunfire successfully brought down, and seized, an Otter aircraft in Wanong," the commentary said. The article, however, said the IAF went on  modernisation drive soon after the war as the US provided a number of C-47 transport aircraft to India. "France  accelerated production of the Indian Skylark helicopter with high altitude flight capability."
"India has also leased a C-130 transport squadron from the US. The leasing of an entire transport group is unprecedented. At the same time, India and the Soviet Union's military cooperation became increasingly closer. In 1962, India purchased the first batch of seven MiG-21 fighters from the Soviet Union," it said.
PTI  / Rediff

Russia won't arm India’s enemies: Deputy PM Rogozin

Russia on Sunday firmly assured India that it will not arm its "enemies" with visiting Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also indicating Moscow's willingness to expand cooperation in defence production by building a new transport aircraft and battle tanks.

"You must understand that we do not deal with your enemies. We don't deliver any arms to them.... If you see otherwise, you may spit on my face," Rogozin told reporters here when asked if Russia would supply arms to Pakistan.

He said Russia has no restrictions in delivering arms and weapons to India "because there are no conflicts and contradictions in our relations". 

 "We never created problems for India on its frontiers in difference from other countries. That is a political advantage (for Russia) as a friend of India," the Russian leader said.

Rogozin, who will co-chair the Inter-Governmental Commission meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna here on Monday, said that Russia was ready to cooperate with India in producing a transport plane with a payload of six tonnes as well as developing battle tanks. 

 Noting the success in producing the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles jointly, he said that Russia was keen to cooperate with India and make it a top defence producer.

At the same time, he acknowledged that there were problems in handing over the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India due to technical reasons. He said new technology always encounters some complaints and asserted that India will be proud to have such a ship for its Navy.

The ship encountered malfunction in the main power plant and the boiler. Rogozin said Indian partners and crew were onboard the ship and the two sides were trying to rectify the problems.

"We know that time-table is very important. Quality is prime point. Problems have been found on equipment supplied by third countries.”

"But sometimes, problems may occur. Specifications were agreed by Indian and Russian parties. Flight tests from the carrier have been successful. The ship may be a good carrier for India," he said.

PTI/Zee news

Indian Air Force to procure 12 choppers for Siachen operations

Troops stationed at the Siachen Glacier can look forward to better resource mobilisation as the Indian Air Force is procuring 12 new light helicopters for deployment there.

A request for proposal (RFP) has been sent by the IAF to defence aerospace PSU HAL for buying 12 Cheetal helicopters which will be used for carrying out operations in high altitude areas in the northern borders, IAF officials told PTI here.

The Cheetal helicopters are an upgraded version of the Cheetahs with more powerful engines manufactured by HAL.
 The IAF has some of its squadrons of the Cheetah/Chetak choppers deployed in Leh and Thoise in Jammu and Kashmir for flying to provide air support to army troops deployed at and along the world's highest battlefield there, the officials said.

The Cheetals are being procured as there is a delay in the acquisition of new Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs) for replacing the Cheetah/Chetak fleet of the IAF and the Army due to cancellation of procurement procedures in the recent past, they said.

The Defence Ministry is procuring 197 LUHs of which 133 would go to the army while the remaining would be with the IAF.

The navy has also issued a tender for procuring 56 choppers that will replace its fleet of the vintage Cheetah/Chetak helicopters.

Indian armed forces, which are on a massive modernisation drive, have decided to procure and induct over 1,000 choppers for different requirements over the next five to 10 years.


October 13, 2012

Russia and India Sign Transport Plane Deal

India and Russia gave the green light on Friday to a long-delayed joint project to develop a Military Transport Aircraft, Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (OAK) said after the signing ceremony in New Delhi.
"A contract was signed by the client, the joint Indian-Russian MTAL venture, and the contractors, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation Transport Planes (OAK-TS)," OAK said.
The signing gives an official start to the project, the technical details of which have been approved by the Indian and Russian defense ministries.
"A long and complex preparatory phase in every sense has been completed for the project, the first Indian-Russian transport aircraft, which involves joint financing and workshare, and creation from scratch of a new plane for the air forces of both nations," OAK said in a statement.
A large group of Indian aerospace engineers will arrive in Moscow in the near future to start work on the program.
MTA will be a twin-engine light transport with a wingspan of around 100 feet (30 m), capable of carrying 18-20 ton payloads, with a maximum take-off weight of 65 tons, and speed of 500 mp/h. The aircraft is designed to replace the BAe 748 and Antonov An-32 in Indian service and An-12, An-26 and An-30 in Russian service.
The program has had a protracted development so far. Indian daily The Hindu reported previously that Defense Minister A.K. Antony had expressed concerns over delays in the project. The paper cited sources saying further delays would be likely to be advantageous for rival aircraft such as Embraer's KC 390 which is expected to be ready in 2014.
“It has taken the two nations a decade in effect to launch the project, and as the OAK statement alludes to this has been a 'long and complex preparatory phase,'" said Douglas Barrie, an air warfare analyst with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. "The hope must be this is not now replicated in the development phase. Both countries have had a long-standing requirement for an aircraft in this class, but there has been a lack of urgency in moving to meet this.”

RIA Novosti

Indian Army to get its own attack helicopters

In a move that is likely to raise hackles within the Indian Air Force (IAF), the government has decided to allow the Indian Army to acquire its own fleet of attack helicopters.

The decision comes days after IAF chief Air Marshal N A K Browne told reporters on October 5 that it was not possible to have "little air forces". Days later, on October 9, Defence Minister A K Antony, had termed the fight between the IAF and Army over the attack helicopters as a 'family problem'.

National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon had to intervene on behalf of Defence Minister A K Antony in the three year row between the Air Force and the Army over who would own the attack helicopters.
After talking to both Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne and Army Chief General Bikram Singh this week, Mr Menon advised the Government that Army should own and operate the medium lift attack helicopters. The first batch of Apache helicopters to be bought from USA programme may go the Indian Army. Currently, India has two squadrons of attack helicopters, Mi-25 and Mi-35, which are maintained and manned by the Indian Air Force but under the operational control of the Indian Army.

The Indian Army has been for long making a case for having its own fleet of attack helicopters. The Army contends that having its own attack helicopters rather than depending on the IAF would give the land forces more power and reach in tactical situations.

It also argued that having its own attack helicopters is integral to the Cold Start Doctrine - designed to cut down the time taken to mobilise troops. Apart from the three strike Corps, Army has now designated its holding corps as the pivot which can launch offensive defence before strike corps take over. Concerned with enormous time taken to mobilise the strike corps after the 2001 terrorist strike on the Indian Parliament - after which India nearly went to war with Pakistan - the Army revised its deployment and operational plans.

The IAF, however, argues that using attack helicopters without the support of larger air assets like interceptor and attack aircraft would make the slow moving attack helicopters vulnerable. And to ensure that large aircraft are always available to support and sanitise airspace, the attack helicopters should be with the IAF. Also, the IAF contends land forces which are equipped with attack helicopters - like the US - fights wars differently than India.

The IAF had also contended that allowing the Army to own attack helicopter would lead to duplication of assets.

The proposal to arm the Indian Army with attack helicopters was mooted by the former controversial Chief of Army Staff V K Singh as a part of transformation of the Army into a more leaner, meaner and network-centric force. Four exercises held on the western front under Western and South Western Commands in 2011 and 2012 had brought out the need to have attack helicopters as an integral part of the assembled firepower. The proposal was shelved after the relation between the Government and Army Headquarters plummeted following the age row of General V K Singh.


October 12, 2012

BrahMos to Test Submarine-Launch Missile by Year-End

BrahMos, the Russian-Indian supersonic cruise missile joint venture, is to test-fire their anti-ship missile from a submarine platform by year-end, the  Russian partner NPO Mashninostroyenie said Friday.

"We need a test-launch by the end of the year," said the company's Deputy General Director Alexander Dergachev. "A decision will be made on whether the weapon can be accepted for service with the Indian Navy, dependent on the outcome," he added.
The test will be a single demonstration firing from a submerged raft, he said. "When an operational carrier has been chosen, then further trials will continue," he said.
BrahMos, set up in 1998, produces three variants of the BrahMos missile, based on the NPO Mashinostroyenie 3M55 Yakhont (NATO SS-N-26) supersonic cruise missile already in service with Russia's Armed Forces.
The Indian Army has already taken delivery of the land-launched variant. The Navy already has the ship-launched missiles on ten vessels, Dergachev said. The Indian Air Force will also use the weapon, from an upgraded batch of 42 Sukhoi Su-30MKI strike fighters it is expected to order later this year, Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said earlier this week in Delhi.
"The missile had a range of 300 kilometers (180 miles), and will be vertically-launched by a gas generator in its launch container, which will eject the weapon by gas pressure, after which it will reach Mach two," he said.
BrahMos can fly as low as 30 feet (10 m) or attack its target from a high angle, combined with supersonic speed and evasive maneuvering. BrahMos can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 lbs).
Earlier this week, Russian daily Izvestia quoted defense industry sources as saying India has uprated its BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles by installing the advanced satellite navigation systems from Russia's Kh-555 and Kh-101 strategic long-range cruise missiles, adding GPS-GLONASS technology to the existing doppler-inertial platform.

RIA Novosti

US to give 245 Stinger missiles to India

The US is offering 245 Stinger missiles to India as part of a weapons package for the Apache attack choppers being acquired by the Air Force.

"245 air-to-air Stinger missiles and 56 launchers are included in the weapons package for the Apache helicopters," officials of Raytheon, which manufactures the missiles, said.

"The Stinger compliments the advanced performance of the Apache by providing the IAF with the critical air-to-air defence capability," they said.

India has selected the American Apache helicopter for its requirement of 22 attack helicopters which will have both air-to-ground and air-to-air roles in the service.

"Yes, Apache is final now," IAF chief Air Marshal N A K Browne had recently told a press conference when asked if the service was procuring the American choppers. The two sides are at present negotiating the contract.

The American helicopter edged out the Russian Mi-28 in the race for the IAF contract.

The surface-to-air version of the Stinger missile is widely credited for the collapse of Russian helicopter fleet in Afghan war in 1980s and was also used by Pakistani troops to bring down an IAF Mi-17 helicopter during the Kargil war in 1999.

Commenting on its relations with Indian armed forces, Raytheon said it was "providing advanced air traffic management AutoTrac technology solution for the IAF" as part of modernisation of air field infrastructure (MAFI) project.

Under the MAFI programme, India is planning to upgrade 30 military air fields to enable them to carry out night operations and operate large-bodied planes such as the C-17 Heavy-lift transport aircraft.

Times of India

October 11, 2012

India to Build Export T-50 Stealth Fighter by 2020

India will begin production of an export variant of Russian plane-maker Sukhoi's T-50 stealth fighter from 2020, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Wednesday during a visit to Delhi.
"The technical characteristics have been confirmed to our (Russia and India) defense ministries. We propose serial production of the plane should start by 2020," he said, following the meeting of an Indian-Russian intergovernmental commission.
T-50 is a prototype of a multirole stealth fighter jet currently undergoing flight testing by the Russian Air Force. The plane will feature an electronically-scanned active-array radar, supercruise capability, high maneuverability and low radar and infrared signatures. Sukhoi claims it will have significantly better performance than the US-designed Lockheed F-22 Raptor which is now in service.
Russia also hopes to sign a deal with India by the end of this year for an additional batch of 42 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft of an improved standard to those already in service in India, he said.
"Russia has presented India with a contract for delivery of another 42 Su-30MKI aircraft. I hope it will be signed by year-end," he said.
The new Su-30MKI will feature an advanced active electronically-scanned array radar system as well as modified electronic warfare systems and the ability to fire the land-attack variant of the BrahMos Russian-Indian supersonic cruise missile, according to Defence Industry Daily.
Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace is expected to supply the Indian Armed Forces with about 1,000 BrahMos missiles.
India already has around 130 of the advanced Su-30MKI's in service, as part of a major reequipment program for the service, including purchase of 126 French Dassault Rafale fighters.

RIA Novosti

India, Russia line up mega defence deals

Despite aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov's delivery being further delayed to end-2013, and India chaffing at Russia's proclivity to jack up costs and overshoot deadlines, the two countries have set the stage for another flurry of bilateral defence projects over the next few months.

This came through after the 12th Indo-Russian inter-governmental commission on military technical cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), chaired by defence minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov on Wednesday.

"Russia is our time-tested and reliable friend," said Antony, who side-stepped questions on whether New Delhi would impose penalty or liquidity damages on Moscow for the continuing delay in INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished 44,570-tonne Gorshkov for which India has paid $2.33 billion.

The new contracts in pipeline, some of which may be inked during President Vladimir Putin's visit here next month, will again reassert Russia's position as India's largest arms supplier by far despite countries like the US, Israel and France also making deep inroads into the lucrative Indian market. India will spend close to $50 billion on them over the next two decades.

The contracts range from an additional 42 new Sukhoi-30MKIs to add to the 230 of them already contracted, at an overall cost upwards of $12 billion, as well as another 71 Mi-17 V5 helicopters after the initial induction of 80 of these armed helicopters for $1.34 billion.

Then, apart from the project to develop a "new-generation" hypersonic BrahMos cruise missile after the supersonic version being inducted in the Indian armed forces, India and Russia are poised to seal the full final design/R&D phase contract for development of the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

The R&D contract is pegged at $11 billion, with the two countries chipping in with $5.5 billion each. Each of this 5th Gen fighter - India hopes to induct 200 to 250 of them from 2022 onwards - will cost at least $100 million over that.

In the near term, the delay in Vikramaditya's delivery was taken up during the meet. "I myself raised our serious concerns over the delay," said Antony, calling for "a wartime effort" by Russia to ensure the carrier's delivery at the earliest.

Serdyukov said, "The ship encountered a big malfunction with the main power plant and boiler...I hope its sea trials will resume next April...the transfer will take place in the fourth quarter of 2013."

India is spending another $2 billion to induct 45 Russian MiG-29K naval fighters to operate from the decks of Vikramaditya and the indigenous aircraft carrier, which too has been delayed at the Cochin Shipyard till at least 2018.

The cost for Vikramaditya's refit escalated to $2.33 billion from the original $974 million earmarked in the January 2004 contract under which the carrier was to be delivered by August, 2008. The fresh contract for Vikramaditya, under which it was to delivered by last December, provides for penalty of up to 5%.

But India is reluctant as yet to invoke it because of the long-standing bilateral ties as well as several ongoing defence projects with Russia, which has also leased nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra to the Indian Navy as well as provided consultancy in the construction of the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant.

Times of India

October 10, 2012

$3.77 bn Super Sukhois deal to be signed during Putin’s visit

The aircraft would virtually be an insurance policy against aerial threats from such aircraft as the J-10s and the F-16s.

Defence ties have clearly been the engine of India-Russia bilateral relationship for over half a century now. The same engine is set to be roaring once again when Russian President Vladimir Putin undertakes a visit to India this month-end. The two countries are going to sign numerous agreements – at least half a dozen, according to knowledgeable sources – and one of these is going to be a $3.77 billion deal for the supply of 40 SU-30MKI Russian fighter aircraft to India.

The new Super Sukhois deal is going to be on the front burner when the India, Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation meets in New Delhi next week. The ultimate goal of the two defence ministers at the two-day meeting later this week would be to thrash out a text of which even a comma or a full stop does not have to be changed and the two ministers sign the deal in the presence of Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their delegation-level talks in New Delhi on November 1. This is going to be a major mission objective of the Indiana and Russian defence ministers in the coming days.

The deal for the fighter aircraft under the MMRCA programme is all set to be sewn up when Putin is meets his Indian interlocutors at the highest level on November 1 in New Delhi’s Hyderabad House. The fighter aircraft in question are described as the ‘Super Sukhois’. The adjective “super” given to these aircraft is because these aircraft have stealth features, a new cockpit, state-of-the-art radar and features which will enable each aircraft to carry such heavier weapons load as the air-launched version of the jointly developed Indo-Russian BrahMos cruise missile. The first delivery of this much-improved fighter aircraft is expected during 2014-15

The Russian-supplied MiG21s have so far served as the backbone of the Indian Air Force. This is set to change once the Super Sukhois’ supply from Russia starts trickling in. The Mig21s are an ageing lot and India is set to phase out as many as 120 of them within the next couple of years. The delivery of the Super Sukhois will increase the Indian fleet of Sukhoi’s to 270 aircraft, an impressive figure for any air force in the world.

The Master Move

India has first begun buying off-the-shelf Su-30s from Russia in 1997. But, in 2000, began developing Sukhoi Su-30MKIs at home after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began production under license from Sukhoi Design Bureau. The Su-30MKI has considerable Indian components in it.

The urgency for signing a new deal for 40 Super Sukois emanates from the fact that the proposed deal for 126 MMRCA aircraft is getting delayed to an unnerving extent by the Indian parameters and the Indians are still far from a stage where they sign the contract with France's Dassault. The Russian Super Sukhois, therefore, is an immediately doable thing which would also send a signal to the international community. In fact, major global arms manufacturers companies like Dassault would be handed out a stern message if India were to sign the new deal for the Super Sukhois with the Russians, as per the Indian strategic thinking.

Moreover, the Super Sukhois fit the bill perfectly for the Indians because the IAF is already flying the Sukhoi and its personnel are absolutely comfortable with the Russian aircraft. Also, it would be a master move by the Indian strategic establishment, not unlike a game of billiards where one hits the blue ball to actually net the red ball. The signal to Dassault would be unmistakable: sign on the dotted line, or else…

Dassault CEO Charles Edelstenne has already showcased Rafale’s 100 percent made-in-France tag as a trump card to win the MMRCA order from the Indians. He has already dangled a carrot before the Indians that Dassault would keep all its high-end technologies, jobs and value-addition within India and deliver as per India's needs and demands, but clearly the Indians are gunning for more. Indubitably, the new Super Sukhois deal will prove to be a major tactic for the Indians for bringing Dassault on the same page.

 What Super Sukhois Will Do?

The Super Sukhois would be a game changer for the Indian skies. The aircraft would virtually be an insurance policy against the aerial threats from China and Pakistan from such aircraft as the J-10s and the F-16s respectively. China and Pakistan and are not unmindful of this as the IAF has already started deployment of the Sukois at the forward bases near their borders. Quite recently, India has replaced its ageing fleet of MiG 23s with a squadron of SU-30MKIs on a forward base near the India-Pakistan border.

The Indians have been flying the Sukhois from 1997 onwards when India first procured its first off-the-shelf SU-30s from Russia and gradually developed Sukhoi Su-30MKIs at home after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began production under license from the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The Indians are, as said earlier, quite comfortable with the aircraft which has a considerable share of Indian components in it.

The new deal for Super Sukhois is an idea whose time has come now.

Russia & India report

Frigate INS Trikand Started Dockside Trials

JSC Yantar shipyard (Kaliningrad) began dockside trials of frigate INS Trikand. The third warship being built for Indian Navy will be handed over in the next year. The new frigate will be equipped with new powerful arms including BrahMos cruise missiles. Crewmembers will feel themselves aboard as good as in a five-star hotel.

Even though the ship is moored at the shipyard's quay, she has already started dockside trials. Shipwrights are aligning and testing all shipboard systems. When the main propulsion plant is started, the frigate will be ready to take the sea.

"Actually, we're checking whether all things operate normally. I mean, the water goes through pipelines, no leaks, electric equipment works, and illumination is okay too", says the ship's engineer-in-charge Igor Stelmakh.

Indian engineers are also assessing the tests. It is the third frigate being built for Indian Navy in Kaliningrad. During the triumphant launching ceremony held half year ago, the ship was christened Trikand which means "bow". On this occasion, a coconut was smashed against the ship's board; that is how Indians celebrate birth of a new ship.

INS Trikand is an up-to-date warship capable to destroy surface, underwater, and air targets. The frigate has perfect navigability and will be armed with mighty weapon systems. Soon the crew of Baltic Fleet mariners will arrive on board. They will be first who test the frigate's seaworthiness.

Same as previous ships made under Indian contract, INS Trikand will be equipped with shipboard missile attack systems with supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, an antiaircraft missile system, and a gun mount. Despite her wide combat capabilities and menacing appearance, Trikand will be very comfortable for the crew. India wants the ship to be furnished as good as a five-star hotel.

"You feel like you're in good apartments. Cushioned sofas, upholstery, lights, furniture, TV sets and so on", says the project manager Alevtin Dmitriyev.

There is nothing unnecessary at duty stations, only the most advanced electronic systems. All cartographic, navigational, radar and sonar information comes to the main station. The ship's systems are capable to detect enemy in the most prompt manner. For one, surface situation can be monitored within the 100-mile radius including all small-size objects.

Ships for India are being made under the large $1.5 bln contract. Yantar shipbuilders treat this order as an honor. Construction process goes on up to schedule. After delivery to Indian Navy, groups of Russian experts continue to work onboard each ship. They consider all comments of Indian servicemen and eliminate defects. As all previous ships, INS Trikand after sea and state acceptance trials will head for her permanent basing site in Mumbai.