February 28, 2013

Pinaka rockets successfully test-fired

Indigenously developed ‘Pinaka’ rockets were on Thursday successfully test-fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) by an armament establishment from a base at Chandipur-on-sea, about 15 km from here.
“Three rounds of Pinaka rockets were successfully tested today,” defence sources said, adding some more trials were expected to be conducted on Friday.
On January 30 and 31, this year, seven rounds of “Pinaka” rockets were tested from the same base.
‘Pinaka’, which has undergone several tough tests since 1995, has already been inducted into the armed forces.
Thursday’s test was conducted by personnel from Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune unit at Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) firing point-2 at Chandipur, the sources said.
“The MBRL, capable of acting as a force-multiplier, has been developed to supplement artillery guns,” a defence official said.
‘Pinaka’ is an area weapon system with a range of 40 km
The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system gives an edge to the army during a low-intensity conflict situation, he said.
The unguided rocket system is meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos. ‘Pinaka’ system can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds, the sources said, adding that the battery of six launchers can neutralise at a time a target area of 3.9 sq km.
The system’s capability to incorporate several types of warheads makes it deadly for the enemy as it can even destroy solid structures and bunkers. 

The Hindu

Union Budget 2013: Government increases defence spending by 4.5%

The government has upped its allocation for defence expenditure by 4. 5 per cent to Rs. 2.03 lakh crore for the financial year 2013-14, effectively negating the intense speculation that the stuttering growth of the Indian economy could have a cascading effect on the country's military.

Of the total defence outlay for 2013-14, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, Rs.86,741 crore will be for capital expenditure.

Earlier this month, Defence Minister AK Antony told reporters at the recently concluded Aero India show in Bengaluru, "India is not an island. The world economy is going through a tough time, we will have to cut down."

Mr Antony said that the government is drastically cutting down on expenditure across the board and "budget cuts fall on our department too." He said that there will be no cuts in "priority areas" and the "operational preparedness" of the military will not be affected.


February 26, 2013

Finally Sanity Prevails! MoD Decides Not To Blacklist Any More OEMs

This landmark decision, taken during a meeting of the Union Cabinet Committee on National Security earlier this week, follows a series of representations made by the three armed services to both the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the National Security Adviser P. Shivshankar Menon, all of which have had the desired effect. Historically speaking, such blanket blacklistings have been legally untenable and indefensible and consequently, the only nett losers have been India’s armed forces. For instance, the Indian Navy’s (IN) Dabolim-based MiG-29K tactical flight simulator, procured from Germany-based Rheinmetall, is today a virtual white elephant. Furthermore, more than 12 principal surface combatants of the IN are in dire need of Barak-1 CIWS installations, which again were postponed indefinitely on the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission. All this has served to pile up enormous pressure on the MoD’s bureaucracy as well as on the presently-serving Raksha Mantri to not jeapordise national security any further by resorting to blanket blacklistings that never seem to have a satisfactory end-state.

It is now believed that blacklistings enforced for the past decade will also be lifted, albeit without any official announcement, with just an official confidential notification being sent by the MoD directly to all the blacklisted OEMs about the discontinuance of their respective blacklistings. All this, however, should not detract the MoD from pressing for liquidated damages from those OEMs that have been proven to act in contravention of their contract obligations, especially with respect to the Integrity Clause. In cases where culpability has been legally established (as in the case of the DENEL Group), and is likely to be established (as is the case with Finmeccanica), the MoD should make all-out efforts to sue such OEMs for contract violation and corporate accounting frauds and claim liquidated damages with compound interest.

Israel, US Test New Missile Defense System

(RIA Novosti) - Israel and the United States carried out the first successful test of the Arrow 3 missile defense interceptor on Monday, the Defense Ministry said.
The interceptor, designed to shoot down long-range missiles, was fired into space from a coastal military launching pad in central Israel.
A senior defense source told The Jerusalem Post the interceptor took off at around 8 a.m. over the Mediterranean Sea, “obtained hypersonic speed, and reached an altitude of 100 kilometers, entering space.”
The test was led by technicians from the Israel Aerospace Industries, together with a team from the US Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency.
The system is set to become operational by 2016 and is designed to effectively engage Iranian Shihab 3 missiles, among others.
Arrow 3 will be part of the multi-layered defense shield Israel is building. It currently has the Iron Dome missile defense system that can intercept short-range and medium-range rockets and has reportedly intercepted up to 85 percent of rockets fired from Gaza during the November 2012 conflict.

BrahMos in IAF soon: Sivathanu Pillai

To be upgraded to a hypersonic cruise missile with a speed of Mach 7 by 2017

The programme for induction of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with a speed of Mach 3 into the Indian Air Force will be ready by the end of 2014, A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited, said here on Monday.
Speaking at the inauguration of a national conference on “Multifunctional Nano materials and Nano composites” at Bharathiar University, Mr. Pillai pointed out that BrahMos would be upgraded to a hypersonic cruise missile with a speed of Mach 7 by 2017.
“While Europe, the U.S., and China are in the process of developing such missiles, efforts are under way in India to make Mach 8 possible. BrahMos Aerospace that was established at an outlay of 3 million U.S. dollars, has already crossed 5 million U.S. dollars in terms of business,” Mr. Pillai said.
Pointing out that the Indian Army should be proud to be the only Army to have in its possession such a powerful cruise missile, he added that BrahMos was the first of its kind capable of destroying targets with maximum accuracy and could be launched from multiple platforms such as ships, mountains, plains and submarines.
Mr. Pillai was felicitated on the occasion on being conferred with Padma Bhushan recently.
G. James Pitchai, Vice-Chancellor of Bharathiar University, and Palani G. Periasamy, managing director of PGP Group of Companies, offered felicitations.

The Hindu

February 25, 2013

India to Launch Canadian Asteroid Hunter

(RIA Novosti) - India’s PSLV carrier rocket is due to blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Monday carrying a Canadian asteroid detection spacecraft and six other satellites, the Spaceflight.now portal reported.
The NEOSSat micro-satellite, weighting about 160 pounds and about the size and shape of a suitcase, is equipped with a telescope sensitive enough to detect objects as faint as magnitude 20. Jointly funded by the Canadian Space Agency and Defence Research and Development Canada, a research arm of the Canadian military, NEOSSat will collect up to 288 images per day, ultimately covering the entire sky.
"We believe that, if successful, this project will deliver great science," the portal quoted Guennadi Kroupnik, director of satellite communications and space environment projects at the Canadian Space Agency. "It will help to discover and to monitor asteroids and comets in the inner solar system, where there are a lot of challenges for observations from the ground."
The launch of the PSLV-C20 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) is slated for 16:26 Moscow time (12:26 GMT). The 44.4-meter (146 feet) tall rocket will have a liftoff mass of 229.7 metric tons.
The main payload of the rocket is 407-kilogram (897 pounds) Indo-French satellite SARAL, intended for ocean studies.
Besides SARAL and NEOSSat, it would put into orbit five other satellites: two Austrian micro-satellites UniBRITE and BRITE, AAUSAT3 satellite build by students in Denmark, STRaND - a small satellite from United Kingdom powered by a smartphone, and a mini-satellite from Canada, SAPPHIRE.

February 23, 2013

From licensed assembly to joint production: India wants to produce Russian tanks T-90C

India is interested in continuing the licensed production of Russian T-90C tanks. This came in a statement by Chief Executive of the Russian-Indian tank contract, General Director of "Uralvagonzavod" scientific industrial corporation Oleg Siyenko at the IDEX-2013 arms fair. On Monday, a Russian T-90C tank participated in a dynamic demonstration of technical equipment at the exhibition in Abu-Dhabi, and earned a lot of praise from experts.

On the basis of total characteristics, today the T-90C tank is the best tank on the international market. According to Siyenko, "there are hundreds of already manufactured tanks". This tank is produced on the base of the Russian license at a tank factory in the city of Avadi, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Today, the T-90C tank is the main striking force of the Indian army. India is interested in transition from the currently existing large-unit assembly to complete localization of production and subsequent modernization of the previously jointly manufactured machines. According to estimations of experts, in 2014-2019, India can additionally purchase about 600 new, modernized T-90C tanks and start their complete licensed production on the spot.
Today, India sticks to the same pattern at other enterprises producing various military equipment under Russian licenses. Indian Corporation "Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd" produces one of the world's best fighters Su-30 MKI under the Russian license. Today, together with India we manufacture a prospective fifth generation fighter - FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft). It is for several years now that the Russian-Indian BrahMos joint venture, named in honor of the Russian Moscow River and the Indian Brahmaputra, produces the fastest BrahMos cruise missiles.
Meanwhile, Russian designers are working at a new tank of the fifth generation. It requires radically different engineering and technical solutions, editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko says.
“This tank will be controlled remotely. This project will be the first step on the way to a fully «unmanned» weapon, to so-called combat robots, about which science fiction authors wrote last century”.
And who knows, maybe, this tank can also be created by a joint effort of Russian and Indian gunsmiths.

The Voice of Russia / RIA

Russia to hand over INS Vikramaditya to India in November

Russia will hand over the much-delayed INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier to India in November, giving the country's navy a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region.
The Vikramaditya aircraft carrier is to be handed over to the Indian Navy in November, 2013, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin, said yesterday.
"The ship is to be put in a dock in April, go on sea trials in June and July and be officially handed over some time in November," he said.
The Vikramaditya was originally built as the Soviet Project 1143.4 class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
The Vikramaditya, which is already years past its original 2008 delivery date, was supposed to have been handed over on December 4, 2012, but sea trials in September revealed the ship's boilers were not fully functional.
The Vikramaditya then returned to the shipyard to fix the problems that were detected during the sea trials.
The ship demonstrated excellent seaworthiness, speed of 27.9 knots (about 52 kilometres per hour) and manoeuvrability during the three-month sea trials.
The ship sailed for more than 12,000 miles, with 517 flights performed from its deck by aircraft and helicopters.
Russia's Northern Fleet aviation was involved in the sea trials, aircraft and helicopters flew around and over the ship in order to check its radar, air defence, communication and control systems.
Under a package inter-governmental agreement signed in New Delhi in January 2004, the body of the Admiral Gorshkov was transferred to India for free, subject to its upgrading at Sevmash, a Russian shipbuilding company, and armament with Russian aircraft.
Russia will also train the Indian crew of about 1,500 and create an infrastructure for the ship in the Indian Ocean.
The overall cost of the contract was estimated at $1.5 billion, of which about 974 million were intended for the conversion of the ship into a full-scale aircraft carrier.
The Admiral Gorshkov was built in Nikolayev under the name of Baku and put to service in the Northern Fleet in 1987.

The Indian Express

February 22, 2013

Army, HAL sign Rs 300 cr deal for 20 Cheetal choppers

The Army on Thursday signed a Rs 300 crore contract with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for procuring 20 Cheetal helicopters to boost its capability in carrying out high-altitude operations in areas like Siachen.

The Cheetals are being procured to fulfil the deficiencies faced by the force in light helicopter segment in view of the delays in the procurement of new 197 choppers for it and the IAF.

The Cheetal helicopters are the upgraded versions of the Cheetah/Chetak choppers in the Indian Armed Forces and have been equipped with stronger engines to enhance their performance.

The contract for the procurement was signed today between the Army and the HAL today and the first helicopter would be delivered within next two years from now, army sources said. 

 The negotiations for the deal started in December 2010 and it was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony last December, they said.

The Cheetals come with a longer range than their predecessors and will have a range of 640 km in comparison with the 540 km of the vintage choppers.

They will also have a better load-carrying capability in the high altitude areas as they can carry 90 kg while the Cheetahs can carry only 50 kg along with the pilots.

Army has some of its squadrons of Cheetah/Chetak choppers deployed in Siachen base camp and around Leh in Jammu and Kashmir to support its troops deployed at and along the world's highest battlefield there, the officials said.

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

The deal is awaiting clearance by the DAC which has to decide on whether to allow certain deviations in the tendering process after going through a Special Technical Oversight Committee report in this regard.

European Eurocopter AS550 Fennec and Russian Kamov 226 Sergei are in race for supplying these new choppers.

PTI/ Zee news

February 21, 2013

Ahead of Nirbhay launch, DRDO staff gagged

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Bangalore, has launched probably one of the most secretive operations in recent times ahead of the upcoming maiden test of Nirbhay, a subsonic cruise missile.
Sources confirmed to Express on Wednesday that the missile has reached the Interim Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur in Odisha after its long journey from Bangalore by road. The tentative launch date is now fixed for March 10 and the campaign activities will enter the last lap in the coming days.
But DRDO officials in Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad have gone into a shell, working on a common script and refusing to reveal any details of the launch.
“The DRDO headquarters had to answer some queries recently over too many sensitive matters appearing in the media. These are national programmes and the DRDO has been told to adopt a tied-tongue policy,” a top official with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
The Services too have expressed their displeasure of too many DRDO officials interacting with the media, ahead of critical launches.
Nirbhay will have its maiden test from a mobile launcher with a pre-designed target set in the sea. Sources said that the R&D Engineers, Pune, a specialised arm of DRDO, have completed making changes on the launcher.
The missile was originally scheduled to be tested in October 2012, but last-minute changes on the launcher brought in delays.
With an ability to travel at a speed of 0.7 Mach and perform multiple manoeuvres, Nirbhay is the first full-fledged missile being developed in Bangalore.
Designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment, Nirbhay is a two-stage missile with a range of about 1,000 km


February 20, 2013

Air Force orders 50 laser-guided bombs from ADE

After a series of flight trials, the Indian Air Force has asked the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) to make 50 laser-guided bombs (LGBs). These bump bombs called Sudarshan, hitherto part of IAF’s vintage ammunition, are getting a life-extension with an improvised range and strike capabilities.
The ADE won the project for developing an LGB seven years ago and successfully demonstrated the capabilities during trials in 2010. “Our mission was to develop an advanced laser guidance kit for 1000 lb class dumb bombs so as to improve the accuracy. We demonstrated the same and now the IAF has asked us to make 50 Sudarshans,” ADE director P S Krishnan told Express on Tuesday.
Krishnan said the laser-guidance seeker, fitted on the nose of the LGB, is the most critical desi component on board. “It’s developed jointly by IIT Delhi and ADE, while BEL is the production agency. The guidance kit directs the bomb towards a target, which has been illuminated by laser energy using a laser designator system. The laser energy is reflected from the target and detected by the laser seeker unit on the LGB kit. The seeker provides information on the deviation of the laser sport from the centre line of the detector,” he explained the features of the bomb.
Sudarshan has on board a flight control computer with microelectromechanical systems-based rate gyros. It also has high-precision linear ball-lead-screw actuators. A next-generation bomb (NG-LGB) is in the pipeline, but the scientists need to address the problem of rolling of the bomb, after its release.  “The range of Sudrashan now is around 9 km if dropped from a normal altitude, and for the NG-LGB we hope to increase the range to 50 km,” he said.


Smaller version of BrahMos missile being developed for IAF

A smaller variant of the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is being developed for arming IAF's fighter aircraft.

A new version of the missile is to be fitted on the frontline aircraft of Air Force including Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000 and the future inductions such as the 126 multirole combat aircraft, BrahMos officials said today.

For the first time, the Indo-Russian joint venture showcased the model of the new missile at the 15th anniversary celebrations of the tie-up between the two countries.

"Dr A S Pillai (of the venture) has assured us that BrahMos will be developing a miniaturised version of the missile for our other aircraft and the future inductions," IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said.

BrahMos officials said the range of the missile would be 290-kms and it would be smaller by around three metres as compared to the present missile.

At the moment, IAF and BrahMos are working on a Rs 6,000 crore project for integrating an air-launched BrahMos on the SU-30 MKI aircraft to allow the warplane to carry one missile under its belly.

After the new missile is developed, the SU-30MKI would be able to carry three missiles while other combat jets of the IAF would be able to carry one each, they said.

BrahMos Aerospace is also planning to carry out the underwater testfiring of the missile in near future which is expected to pave way for its induction into the Indian submarine arm.

Economic Times

February 19, 2013

Ukraine to Deliver 110 Battle Tank Engines to Pakistan

(RIA Novosti) - Ukraine will deliver 110 tank power plants – engines and related parts – to Pakistan under a $50 million contract, state-run arms exporter Ukrspetsstroi said on Monday.
The power plants will be manufactured at the Kharkov-based Malyshev Plant, a state-run enterprise specializing in armored vehicles and their components, under a four-year contract that was signed “several days ago,” Ukrspetsstroi said in a statement on its website.
It did not provide any technical specifications.
Ukraine previously delivered more than 300 power plants to Pakistan for its al-Khalid main battle tank, Ukrspetsstroi's acting deputy general director Vadim Kozhevnikov said, adding that Ukraine also supplies tank engines to China.
The statement cited Kozhevnikov as saying he believed Ukraine is in a good position to compete with the world’s leading tank power plant manufacturers, in particular Germany.
“We are direct competitors of German engine manufacturers. Our models are every bit as good as theirs in terms of technical characteristics but are significantly cheaper,” Kozhevnikov said.

Russia and Italy revisit developing S-1000 class diesel-electric submarines project

Russia and Italy have revisited the idea of jointly building and commercialization into third world markets of S-1000 class diesel-electric submarines, a project that was frozen four years ago, the deputy director-general of the RUBIN Russian design office, Andrei Baranov said.

But now RUBIN and the Italian company FINCANTIERI have decided to revisit the project. According to Baranov, a happy blend of the latest European equipment and Russian designing experience can help build a modern-day multipurpose submarine.

He pointed out that the two sides started work on the project in the middle of the 2000s, but the effort was later suspended for lack of funding.

The submarine is designed for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, reconnaissance missions. With the length of 56.2 meters, the diameter of 5.5 meters and the displacement of about 1,100 tons, S-1000 class submarine can reach the speed of up to 14 knots. The immersion depth of S1000 makes up 250 meters. The crew will consist of 16 men and six troops.


Israel – Spy Satellites Super-power

(i-HLS) : Experts involved in the development of an array of Israeli satellites say that there are currently seven working in space independently. In terms of quality and technology the level of Israeli manufactured intelligence satellites (“blue and white”) is second only to the United States.  According to foreign reports, the “Shavit” launcher is capable of launching “Jericho” models of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM).  “Jericho 3″, for example, can reach a range of 4500 km to 11,500 km. According to foreign reports, the “Jericho 3″ can carry 2-3 splitting nuclear warheads.

There is no country in the Middle East today, including Iran, that can perform covert operations – for example, transporting weapons or handling missiles of any type – without being discovered and detected. The sophisticated intelligence Satellites of the Israeli defense forces – including the “Ofek 9″, which was launched in June 2010 from the Air Force base of Palmachim, are filming unusual activities and transfer high resolution photographs to the sophisticated IAI control center.

According to media reports following its’ launch, the properties of the “Ofek 9″ include the capability to identify objects the size of 70 cm, but in actuality its capabilities are suspected of being much higher. Sophisticated spy satellites can accurately distinguish the objects being carried by people who are being photographed in the area under observation. Specialists who study IAI satellites report that  ”one cannot say exactly what the size of the details are, but if  commercial satellites have legal restrictions on the size of identifiable objects, the performance of military satellites is much better.”
Israeli experts engaged in developing satellite systems say that “there are currently seven states that operate in space independently. In terms of satellite quality and their technology – Israel is second only to the United States.”
‘Ofek 9′ was launched into space by the Israeli satellite launcher ‘Shavit’, which was built at the Mabat plant of Israel Aircraft Industries. ‘Shavit’ was designed for the launching and placing of satellites in low orbits at altitudes between 200 to 500 miles above Earth. The ‘Shavit’ satellite launcher is a three stage launcher powered by solid fuel and is produced at IMI and Rafael. The launcher rises to height of 20 meters and weighs about 30 tons. According to foreign reports, the ‘Shavit’ can also be used to launch inter-continental ballistic missiles of the ‘Jericho’ models.  ’Jericho 3′ for example, can reach a range of 4500 km to 11,500 km. According to those foreign reports “Jericho 3″ can carry 2-3 splitting nuclear warheads.
The properties of the ‘Ofek 9′ are: Weight – 300 kg, height – 2.3 m, width with wings open – 3.6 meters, diameter when the wings are closed – 1.2 meters. The ‘Ofek 9′ orbits the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude ranging from 311 to 600 miles. The expected life of the satellite is four years, but if there are no unexpected problems, it can continue its work in space for at least two more years. ‘Ofek 9′ has an optical camera which was made and installed ​​by Elbit’s EL-OP division and which is capable of transferring information about the activities in the Bushehr nuclear reactor to its control center.
The quality and capabilities level that defines the Israeli Space Agency was described by its’ Chairman, Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, “Israel currently operates ten satellites working in a shared array. Each of these satellites ends an orbit of the Earth once every hour and a half. One satellite is followed in succession by another. At any given moment there is no interesting place in the entire Middle East that is never under observation.

 By Ami Dor-on

February 18, 2013

David Cameron aims to 'steal' Indian Air Force fighter deal from France: report

British Prime Minister David Cameron will attempt to 'steal' a six billion pound Indian defence contract from under the nose of French President Francois Hollande when he visits New Delhi this week, according to a media report.

"The Prime Minister will use a trip to India to try to persuade the New Delhi government to buy more than 100 Eurofighter jets after the French President left empty-handed this week," the Daily Mail reported ahead of Cameron's three-day official visit which begins tomorrow.

French contractor Dassault Aviation was chosen last year as the preferred bidder for the contract to supply Rafale jet fighters to the Indian Air Force under a USD 10-billion deal - a blow for the UK-German-Spanish-Italian consortium, which includes Britain's BAE Systems, which builds the Eurofighter.
 But Hollande's hopes of signing a final contract came to nothing this week - despite him squeezing in a visit before Mr Cameron. The French premier also failed to secure any major trade deals, the British paper claimed.

"That has sparked hopes in Downing Street that Cameron can persuade the Indian authorities to rethink the deal and buy the Eurofighter instead," it said.

"Officials made clear that the Prime Minister wants to steal a march on Hollande, who has repeatedly clashed with Cameron," the paper said.

Cameron angered the French by offering to put out a "red carpet" for entrepreneurs fleeing Hollande's new 75 per cent top rate of tax, while the French government retaliated with the same offer for British businessmen if the UK quits the EU in the referendum Mr Cameron has offered.

Quoting a British government source, the Daily Mail said: "Hollande was in India this week and a deal has not been signed so we will want to find out from the Indians how their talks are progressing with the French."

A No 10 official added: "We respect the fact that the Indians have chosen their preferred bidder and are currently negotiating with the French. Of course, we will continue to promote Eurofighter as a great fast jet not just in India but around the world."

However Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week said that "discussions on the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) (Rafale) contract are progressing well."

Cameron will lead the largest ever trade delegation of ministers and businessmen to India, designed to strike defence, energy and education deals with the emerging superpower, the paper said.


February 15, 2013

70 per cent of defence machinery imported while Indian defence companies find government a hindrance

When drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, of the US Army fly over enemy territory, they use a technology developed by a little-known Bangalore company to send back crystal clear images to their command centre. This technology is used by armed forces around the world, except in India — the home of its developer ArvindLakshmikumar, who founded Tonbo Imaging four years ago.

Tonbo developed this technology for Europe's biggest defence company which, in turn, sold it to various armed forces. Lakshmikumar, 36, had been keen to sell such innovations to the Indian armed forces, but gave up after he realised the futility of trying to convince the authorities here that his products were among the best in the world.

He shifted his headquarters to Singapore, as he felt that he could crack the global market for his technologies better from the Southeast Asian city state. Lakshmikumar's ordeal is just another example of the difficulties and frustrations that small Indian aerospace and defence companies have to go through, facing a hostile bureaucratic set up on the one side and a colonial mindset on the other.

"There is a serious colonial hangup for foreign products," says Lakshmikumar. "For an Indian bidder they have millions of questions." The milieu is skewed so against the local players that while an Indian bidder is asked to pay a security deposit, a foreign bidder is not.

"The system is structured in such a way that even if we need a pin, we prefer to import it rather than make it ourselves," says Smita Purushottam of the New Delhi-based think tank Institute of Defence Studies & Analyses.

India imports more than 70 per cent of its weapons and technology for its defence needs, making it a sitting duck for security threats during wars. In contrast, even Pakistan has a more proactive policy that encourages domestic manufacturers. China is in a different league altogether. The mindset of those in power is also hurting the economy. India will spend $100-150 billion (about Rs 5.4-8.1 lakh crore) on defence modernisation programmes by 2022, according to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. It will also become the fourth biggest defence spender in the world by 2020, behind the US, China and Russia, according to IHS, a US-based information and analytics provider.
"The best of our minds are utilised by other countries for their progress," says A Sivathanu Pillai, a scientist and CEO of BrahMos Aerospace, the maker of BrahMos missile. "Put them on the same level field, and they will compete." The government said its intention was to promote local companies when it unveiled its offset policy in 2005-2006, requiring foreign firms winning defence contracts to ensure that at least 30 per cent of the contracted value is invested in India. But most of it is still on paper.

The EconomicTimes

India’s Rafale jet talks brighten after rough patch

(Reuters) - India and France are speeding up negotiations on a $10 billion deal for 126 Rafale aircraft following disagreements over the cost of building them in India, which caused months of delays, two Indian Defense Ministry officials told Reuters.
India started exclusive talks with French Dassault Aviation's (AVMD.PA) Rafale for a 126-plane order in January 2012, over the competing Eurofighter Typhoon (EAD.PA) (SIFI.MI) (BAES.L). The two sides still have to sign a final contract.
French President Francois Hollande discussed the deal with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday, the first day of a two-day visit to India.
"We've seen progress in these discussions and I'm hopeful that they will succeed," Hollande said after the talks. Singh said discussions on the sale were "progressing well".
The deal is being negotiated against the backdrop of the arrest of the chief executive of Italy's Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) this week after allegations kickbacks were paid during the sale of helicopters to India. India has suspended the deal pending investigation.
There were no immediate indications the fallout from the Finmeccanica investigation would affect the French deal.
Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony said on Wednesday that the kickback allegations were likely to cause an "initial setback" to India's push to modernize its weaponry.
The talks on the Rafale sale have progressed slowly because of differences about how to price the transfer of technology, sourcing of spares and the selection of an Indian partner, two Indian Defense Ministry officials said.
"There are three issues of contention - pricing of transfer of technology, sourcing from India and the joint venture with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)," said one of the ministry officials, who said negotiations had been delayed by a few months, largely because of those issues.
The other official said the contentious points had been mostly resolved and the deal could be finalized as soon as July.
Dassault declined to comment.
The second official said Dassault had earlier asked India to pay up to $2 billion more for the future upgrading of technology that would be transferred over the 30-year life-cycle of the deal.
At an air show in Bangalore last week, India pledged not to let defense cuts stand in the way of efforts to finalize the deal.
Following India's strong objections to the cost escalation, France has broadly agreed to review its decision but negotiations were still going on for calculating the price for the maintenance and life-cycle cost of the planes, the second official said.
Under the Rafale deal, Dassault is expected to send 18 ready-made jets, then manufacture the rest in India.
India expects the deal will provide business of $4 billion to $5 billion to Indian companies, said the second ministry official, who has knowledge of the talks.
Both officials said another contentious issue in the negotiations was the selection of India's state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) as partner of Dassault to manufacture planes in India.
Rafale has expressed doubts about the technological capability of HAL to manufacture such a sophisticated fighter jet, the official said. A HAL program to manufacture advanced jet trainers is running years behind schedule.
However, India has told French negotiators that provisions of entering into a joint venture with the HAL to produce fighter jets was non-negotiable and there was no question of involving any private company in the deal, the officials said.
The second official said both countries were committed to the deal, and India's defense minister, A.K. Antony, and the Indian air force chief, N.A.K Browne, were making it a top priority during the upcoming fiscal year that begins in April.
President Hollande, accompanied by ministers and corporate delegates, also discussed the sale of nuclear plants to India.
That included the Jaitapur nuclear plant being built by France's Areva (AREVA.PA), which is still under negotiations and has been hit by protests in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

February 14, 2013

India regards France as one of its most valued strategic partners: Manmohan Singh

(ANI): Asserting that India regards France as one of its most valued strategic partners, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the relationship between the two sides is defined by the breadth and diversity of our cooperation, and by the intensity of the bilateral dialogue.
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome President Francois Hollande on his state visit to India. India is his first Asian destination for a bilateral visit. This demonstrates the importance of this relationship to our two countries," said Dr. Singh in his opening statement to the media with French President Francois Hollande by his side.
"India regards France as one of its most valued strategic partners. France has given us strong and steadfast support at difficult moments. Our relationship is defined by the breadth and diversity of our cooperation, as well as by the intensity of our dialogue. The Joint Statement that is being released today reflects the broad range of activities that is covered by our mutually beneficial engagement," he added.
Dr. Singh said that today that he exchanged views on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest with President Hollande.
"We reviewed progress on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed," said Dr. Singh.
The Prime Minister said the two sides also expressed satisfaction with the progress in defence cooperation, which is poised to reach a qualitatively new level.
"Discussions on the MMRCA contract are progressing well. We have also concluded negotiations on the Short Range Surface to Air Missile, which, once approved by the Government, will be co-developed and co-produced in India," said Dr. Singh.
"There is a welcome shift from defence trade to co-development and co-production of advanced defence items in India, which will help expand our domestic production base and strengthen the India-France strategic partnership," he added.
Dr. Singh said both sides had also agreed to further strengthen counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation.
Stating that France has been a longstanding partner in our space programme, Dr. Singh said: "In September 2012, I was happy to witness ISRO's 100th mission, which successfully put a French satellite in orbit. Later this month, ISRO will launch the integrated SARAL satellite carrying the ALTIKA and ARGOS payloads from the French National Space Agency."
"Both President Hollande and I agreed on the need to reinvigorate our bilateral economic engagement by harnessing the enormous synergies between our two economies. We welcome the appointment of a French Special Representative for the economic relationship with India. We also look forward to the recommendations of the India-France CEOs Forum to energize our economic relations," he added.
Dr. Singh further said a broad-based India-EU Trade and Investment Agreement, currently under negotiation, would open new opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries.
"I have requested President Hollande's support in ensuring an early conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Agreement," he added.
Emphasizing that culture is as strong a binding force as any between India and France, Dr. Singh said: "The second edition of "Bonjour India" is being organized currently in India. The new Cultural Exchange Programme that was signed today and the decision by French film festivals, including the Cannes festival, to celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema will further strengthen our cultural relations."
"President Hollande and I also had productive discussions on regional and global issues. France and India share similar worldviews on many issues, including on the need to stabilize the global economy and combat terrorism. We also discussed the situation in Mali. As part of our support to the Malian defence forces and the African-led International Support Mission, India has announced an assistance of one million US dollars at the Donors Conference held recently in Addis Ababa," he added.
Welcoming the French President to India, Dr. Singh said that he looks forward to working with him to further expand and deepen the special bilateral relationship between the two nations. (ANI / yahoo news)

Indian MoD clears purchase of items

 The Defence Ministry has cleared proposals worth over Rs 1,500 crore for procurement of various systems including Israeli anti-missile radars for the Navy's warships.

The proposals cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony include approval for the procurement of Anti-missile Doppler Radar (AMDR) from Israel for around Rs 300 crore, Navy sources said on Wednesday.

The radar would be deployed with the weapon systems on-board naval ships to protect them from enemy missiles, they said.

The apex decision-making body of the Ministry also cleared the proposal for establishing repair facilities in collaboration with Russian firms for armament of submarines of the Navy, they said.

The submarines in the Indian fleet are of Russian-origin and the weapon systems fitted on them are also mainly from that country only.

The DAC also approved a proposal worth over Rs 850 crore for setting up Mobile Communication System for the Army formations deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.

The system would enable the Corps operating there to communicate with each other through a dedicated network, the sources said.

The communication system would be developed by public sector undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited.

 PTI / brahmand

Russia Touts New Submarine

(RIA Novosti) - Foreign customers have shown high interest in Russia’s advanced Amur-1650 class submarine, state-run arms dealer Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday.
“Of the nine countries that are planning to modernize or develop their submarine fleets…three have already chosen the Amur-1650 project,” Rosoboronexport’s director Anatoly Isaikin said.
He did not name the countries in question.
The ongoing work on air-independent (closed cycle) propulsion systems for the submarine should further fuel the customers’ interest, he added.
The Amur 1650 is one of several participants in a tender by the Indian Navy for six submarines with a total value of $11.8 billion. The Amur 1650 is up against the Scorpene (France), Type 214 (Germany) and S-80 (Spain), among others.
The Amur has an armament of multirole torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, and can also effectively engage land targets with advanced cruise missiles, which may include the Indian-Russian Brahmos.
The Amur 1650 has the ability to remain submerged for over 25 days using its air-independent propulsion, five to 10 days longer than similar-class foreign boats.
Air-independent submarines, which usually use hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells, are quieter than conventional diesel-electric boats and do not have to surface or use snorkel tubes to breathe air, thereby exposing themselves to detection by radar and other sensors.

February 13, 2013

Navy’s Marcos get ‘duck drops’

If Ajmal Kasab’s cousins come calling again or pirates strike over choppy seas, India’s marine commandos (Marcos) will take just over an hour to launch a counter-offensive. Leading the charge will be two Marcos squadrons, deployed in Mumbai and Port Blair, equipped with “duck drop” systems fitted on Ilyushin-76 aircraft.
This is a “force-multiplier”, said a scientist from the Aerial Delivery Rese-arch and Develop-ment Establishment, the Agra-based outfit that designed the system. Once paradro-pped from aircraft, it all-ows marines to assemble inflatable motorised boats in 10 minutes and race towards ships in distress.
“Once commandos are near the target, they can dismantle the boats and travel underwater to mount a surprise attack. The marines can be deployed in an hour, unlike earlier when it took up to 48 hours to reach targets as they had to travel on ships. Each system (two boats) can take 32 commandos, weapons and fuel,” the scientist told this newspaper.
The scientist said the “duck drop” system was inducted recently by the Navy after several trials in the Indian Ocean. “It took us two years to develop the system; it’s a cost-effective way to rush commandos for rescue operations. It costs less than a tenth of a similar system that US marines use onboard C-130J Super Hercules. It is also impossible to acquire these as the US has banned their sale,” he added.
The “duck drop” system will be on display for the first time at Aero India 2013.

The Asian Age

Army Chief leaves for Japan

Chief of Army Staff (CoAS)General Bikram Singh on Monday set off for Japan on a four-day visit, to firm up bilateral ties  between the two countries and enhance defence cooperation. “The visit of the Army Chief to Japan is part of the ongoing high-level military exchanges between the two countries and highlights the importance of India’s peaceful and friendly ties with Japan,” the Army Headquarters (HQ) said in a statement here.
New Delhi and Tokyo had taken their bilateral ties to newer heights following the establishment of the India-Japan global partnership for the 21st century in August 2000 and the strategic and global partnership in 2006. And defence and security cooperation have emerged as the major highlight of the strategic partnership.
A Defence Policy Dialogue was established between the two countries and the Army-to-Army talks were institutionalised under this mechanism. The defence cooperation between the two sides has been characterised by joint efforts in the field of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, exchange of personnel for training courses and delegation visits at the functional level, apart from the cooperation in the UN peacekeeping operations.
And both India and Japan had indicated a willingness to further enhance cooperation in other areas of mutual interest in the defence and security sector.
Meanwhile, the Army Chief is scheduled to hold talks with the Japanese Self-defence Forces Chief of General Staff, the Chief of Army Staff and the Defence Minister during the visit.
Gen Singh will also visit the Japanese military training establishments and various formation headquarters.

The New Indian express

Rafale, Jaitapur deals not on table during French President visit

Enhancing cooperation in the key areas of defence, nuclear energy, counter-terrorism and trade will be focus of French President Francois Hollande's first visit here but USD 10-billion deal for Rafale fighter aircraft will not be inked during his two-day stay starting Thursday.
Hollande, who will be on a state visit to India, his first stop in Asia after becoming President, will be accompanied by his companion Valerie Trierweiler and a high-level delegation comprising his cabinet colleagues and 45-strong business leaders.

The French President will hold wide-ranging talks with  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on international, regional and bilateral issues such as situation in Mali where French forces are fighting terrorists.
"With upgradation of the relationship to strategic partnership in 1998, the relationship has become multifaceted and symbiotic in areas such as defence, civil nuclear energy, space and counter terrorism. There have been regular high- level exchanges at the Head of State/Head of Government
levels," Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Referring to Hollande's visit, French Ambassador Fracois Richier said "there would be no signing of contract for supply of Rafale multi-role fighter aircraft" during it. He was speaking at a panel discussion on India-France relations here today. However, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Paris that the talks with India to finalise the purchase of warplanes were "looking up".
Dassault Aviation's Rafale aircraft was shortlisted by India early last year as it choice for procuring 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft. The French fighter had edged out five other aircraft including American F-16 and F-18 tobag the USD 10-billion contract. Diplomatic sources also ruled out inking of a contract for
nuclear reactors at Jaitapur.

The Indian Express

February 11, 2013

Trust Rafale, she won't let you down: French tell IAF

"Stopping the terrorists, that's done." This was the curt statement given to the media by French minister Laurent Fabius after a successful bombing raid on key terrorist establishments in the Northern Mali town of Gao on January 12.

The mission was accomplished by a fleet of four Rafale fighter planes, the winner of India's Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal.

"When we were asked to launch attacks, we scrambled four of our Rafale fighters to Mali from France. The jets reached their target within 9 hours 35 minutes. Twenty-four assigned targets were destroyed by our boys before they returned," he said during his interaction with Indian Air Force pilots.

General Denis Mercier, Chief of Air Staff, French Air Force, added: "I am here as a pilot and an air chief to tell young pilots here what she (Rafale) is capable of. The first thing I told every pilot I met is that this machine is battle-proven and she won't let you down," he said.

The aircraft has proved itself in Afghanistan, Libya and now in Mali. "In future, we want to hold exercises with IAF to tell them what we have learned during these days of combat," he added.

Times of India

US pitches for Rs. 9,900-cr anti-tank missile deal

Yet another multi-billion dollar defence deal with the United States is in the works. New Delhi is in discussions with Washington to buy anti-tank guided missile systems worth $1.8 billion (Rs 9,900 crore) to arm its troops with the capability to destroy enemy armour.
 The Indian Army is projected to deploy 8,356 Javelin missiles and 321 launchers to knock out enemy tanks from a distance of 2.5 km - it had first tested the capabilities of the missile in October 2009 during joint military exercises with the US.
The outcome of the latest tests of the missile - a joint venture between US defence firms Raytheon and Lockheed Martin - is expected to give fresh impetus to the proposed acquisition.
The fire-and-forget Javelin missile acquired and engaged targets up to 4.75 km, nearly twice the range requirement of the Indian Army, during tests conducted at Eglin Air Base in Florida.
"The US and Indian armies will be conducting Yudh Abhyas exercise at Fort Bragg in the US in May 2013. This may present another opportunity for Indian soldiers to fire the Javelin…The enhanced range performance is a critical milestone for us," Brad Barnard, senior manager, Raytheon Javelin International Growth, told HT at Aero India 2013.
The enhanced capability indicates that the one-man portable missile can potentially be used in both vehicle and dismounted roles. India plans to buy the Javelin system under the US government's foreign military sales (FMS) programme in which the Pentagon serves as an intermediary.
This is a government-to-government transaction, unlike direct commercial sales negotiated directly between foreign governments and the US arms manufacturers.
Defence minister AK Antony had told Parliament in August 2010 that India was looking at a possible purchase of the third-generation anti-tank guided missile from the US. The Javelin Joint Venture is awaiting a formal letter of request to kick start the procurement.
Raytheon executives said the firm was ready to respond to all requests of the Indian government relating to the evaluation and procurement of the Javelin missile system.
The US is pitching for the lucrative order at a time when Antony has asked the armed forces to prioritise their purchases against the backdrop of a shrinking defence budget. He, however, emphasised that the military's operational readiness would not be compromised.
Foreign military contractors don't seem to be discouraged. BAE Systems international managing director Guy Griffiths told HT, "This is not an unusual issue. We face such situations everyday in the US and Europe. We are taking a long-term view of the Indian defence market and our prognosis is things will improve as the economy grows."
US defence and aerospace firms have won contracts worth more than $9 billion (Rs 49,500 crore) over the last five years to equip the Indian military with special operations aircraft, heavy airlifters and submarine hunter planes. India is also negotiating deals worth $3 billion (Rs 16,500 crore) with the US for supplying heavy-lift and attack helicopters to the IAF.
The Javelin Punch
  1. Designed to destroy tanks and armoured vehicles, the missile also provides secondary capability against helicopters and fixed defences such as bunkers and buildings.
  2. The imaging infrared system allows the gunner to acquire targets during night.
  3. The missile normally engages and destroys a tank in the `top-attack' mode. It also has a direct-attack capability to engage targets with overhead cover or in bunkers.
  4. The fire-and-forget capability allows the gunner to acquire another target or move position as soon as the missile is launched.
  5. The system is deployed and ready to fire in less than 30 seconds and the reload time is less than 20 seconds
  6. Indian soldiers had fired the Javelin in October 2009 during exercise Yudh Abhyas, the annual Indo-US military drill then held at Babina near Jhansi. The missile engaged and destroyed targets every time it was fired - six times by American troops and thrice by Indian soldiers
Hindustan Times

February 9, 2013

Jawans may soon have top-class Italian machine guns

The Indian Army is conducting trials of a sophisticated automatic assault rifle, ARX-160, a close quarter battle weapon from the stables of world renowned and one of the oldest small arms company in the world, Beretta of Italy.
Putting behind the recent controversy over the “barrel bulge” experienced by the Border Security Force while using Beretta’s MX-4 Storm sub-machineguns, the defence ministry has included the company among a total of four contenders – other three being IWI, Sig and Colt – for choosing 45,000 ARX-160 assault rifles for the jawans of the Indian Army.
Udai Singh, Beretta – India country manager, said the ARX-160 A1 and A2 assault rifles are developed to be the most effective weapons on the battlefield.The rifles are designed to accept multi-calibre cartridges: a magazine of 45 cartridges of 5.56mm (NATO standard) as well as 39 cartridges of 7.62 mm in a magazine (in use among the jawans as with the INSAS rifles).
The rifle’s barrel can also be changed from 16-inch to a 12-inch one, depending on the nature of combat planned, besides the weapon can also double as a sniper rifle in urban combat scenarios.
Both versions of the AEX-160, manufactured in Brescia in Italy, are already in use in at least 10 member countries of NATO, he said.
A unique feature of both versions of the assault rifle is that they are ambidextrous – which means safety catches and other features including the empty cartridge ejection chamber is provided on both sides of the rifle. This provides an added benefit that the soldier can choose which side the empties can eject from just before resorting to “corner fire” (firing at a target on the sides without turning the body).
Sources in Beretta informed DNA that the defence ministry is also in talks with the company to procure a specialised sniper rifle from the stables of Sako, a Beretta subsidiary company, “…but the talks are still in the initial stages,” the source said.
A company spokesperson separately told DNA that Beretta was looking forward to a new beginning with the Indian defence ministry after the “barrel bulge” controversy was amicably resolved after all the 80 MX-4 Storm sub-machine guns, suspected to have the defect, were completely replaced with new ones. The 80 MX-4 weapons were a part of a total of 38,000 delivered to the Border Security Force in May 2012.
“The problem that we refer to as ‘barrel bulge’ occurs commonly due to defects in the ammunition, not in the weapons,” explained the spokesperson. “Especially in an automatic rifle, which has micro grooves inside the barrel, a small defect in the cartridge can lead to the bullet getting stuck within. But as it is a machine gun, the following bullet rams into the stuck one at high velocity and displaces it. But this causes the barrel to bulge a little.”


February 8, 2013

Army gets its first indigenously made Rudra attack chopper

The first ndigenously-developed weaponised helicopter 'Rudra' was on Friday handed over to the Army which has successfully raised an attack chopper fleet on its own.

This is the first of the 60 armed helicopters provided to the Army by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the defence ministry handed over the control of all attack helicopters to the land force.

"This is a very important system for us as it will be the first platform (of choppers) which is weaponized. In any battle, fire (power) and manoeuvrability should be closely integrated to support ground operations and provide immediate help if and when required.

"This (Rudra) will help us to get that capability," Army deputy chief Lt Gen Narendra Singh told reporters here.

"The first squadron of the helicopters would be operationalized soon. We will have 60 choppers and one squadron will have 10 of them," Army Aviation Corps' Maj Gen PK Bharali told here.

He was talking on the sidelines of a function where HAL chairman RK Tyagi officially handed over the chopper to the Army.

Bharali said a total of 60 Rudras would be inducted into the Army and the machines will be part of six squadrons.

The chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles such as the 'Mistral', rocket pods and heavy machine guns to help the ground forces with close air support. The Army is also planning to procure the under-development Light combat helicopter (LCH) being produced by the HAL.

Recently, after a long tussle between the Army and the Air Force, the defence ministry decided to give control of all the future acquisitions of attack choppers to the land force.

The Army has plans of having a squadron-each of weaponized choppers in each of the pivot corps and a full-fledged attack chopper squadron with each of the three Strike Corps.

Times of India

India developing Agni-VI ballistic missile

India is developing a long-range nuclear-capable Agni-VI ballistic missile that would carry multiple warheads allowing one weapon system to take out several targets at a time.

"Agni-V is major strategic defence weapon. Now we want to make Agni-VI which would be a force multiplier," DRDO chief V K Saraswat said here on Friday.

Refusing to divulge the range of the new under-development missile, he said the force multiplier capability of the missile would be because of its multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) capability.

The Agni-5 ballistic missile, which was test-fired in April last year, has a range of upto 5,500 kms and it is believed that the Agni-6 would have a range longer than its predecessor.

"It will have force multiplier capability by the MIRV approach which would enable us to deliver many payloads at the same time using only one missile.

"Work is on in this area and designs have been completed. We are now in the hardware realisation phase," he said.

DRDO officials said once the Agni-6 is developed, it would propel India into the elite club of nations with such a capability including the US and Russia.

The DRDO chief said his organisation was also working towards developing a cruise missile defence programme which would enable the armed forces to defend against low-flying cruise missiles and enemy aircraft. 

Times of India

Indigenously - manufactured aircraft stole the show at Aero India 2013

Unlike the past few editions that were dominated by aircraft from nations vying for the medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract, the opening session of this year saw the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, AWACS, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and the ZM-1 along with the vintage Tiger Moth perform some aerobatic stunts.
The much-maligned Tejas, which in the past has been bashed for its performance and inability to enter the service, put up a breathtaking display. Piloted by Grp Capt Suneet Krishna, the LCA a number of stunts to display its capabilities.
As for the foreign-made aircraft, Rafale, the winner of the $ 11 billion MMRCA deal showcased its might.
The F-16 Falcon which lost out the MMRCA deal was the only other contending aircraft which took part in the flying display.
Flying Bulls, the four-member team from Czech Republic performed their signature mirror flight, narrow flip and drunken man manoeuvre.
Not left behind was the Indian Air Force's Sarang display team, which also put up an impressive display. The Russian Knights team, that was to perform at the inaugural, could not do so as they are yet to arrive at the Air Force Station Yelahanka.
Despite all the excellent performances, the team that was missed by one and all was the Surya Kirans. The IAF’s nine-aircraft aerobatics team, which has left the Bangalore audience spellbound in the past editions of the air show with their signature manoeuvres such as Delta, Loops, Barrel Rolls and Bomb Burst, been disbanded.


Aero India 2013: Elbit unveils marinised Hermes 900 for Indian Navy requirement

Israeli company Elbit showcased a new maritime patrol mission suite for its Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Aero India Airshow 2013 in Bangalore.
Images of the Hermes 900 on the Elbit stand at Yelahanka airbase showed it deploying life rafts and equipped with a maritime patrol radar suite featuring the Selex Galileo Gabianno T200 X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR).
The set-up takes advantage of the Hermes 900's 350 kg payload. As well as the SAR, payloads include an automatic identification system (AIS), an electro-optical multisensor payload, and electronic surveillance systems. Elbit said in a release that it also has "redundant line-of-sight and satellite communications [SATCOM] links and radio relay, enabling the operator to 'talk through' to vessels at sea".
The SATCOM link would enable the aircraft to be operated at low altitudes at extended ranges, allowing it, for example, to fly beneath the cloud base at long distances offshore.
Ran Tavor, vice-president of Asia-Pacific and CIS business at Elbit, told IHS Jane's on 6 February that developing the Hermes 900's maritime mission suite involved embedding parts of a naval C4I network in the system's ground control stations (GCS).

 by James Hardy / Janes

Union Cabinet approved DRDO for developing AWACS for IAF

The Union Cabinet of India on 6 February 2013 gave approval to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for developing an indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) for IAF.

AWACS allows IAF to keep a close watch on the enemy territory. The government granted an in-principal approval to the proposal for developing an indigenous AWACS. The approval was granted in the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security.

DRDO officials announced that DRDO would work for finalisation of further details of the programmes as well as the number of aircrafts that IAF would need for giving overall coverage to India’s boundaries. At present, India has a fleet of three AWACS aircraft.


IAF hopes Rafale deal will be signed by June

The Indian Air Force (IAF) hopes that the contract for the medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale will be signed by the middle of this year with the French aerospace vendor Dassault Aviation.
“The MMRCA project is very much on track. If all goes well, we will be in a position to sign the contract before middle of the year,” Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne told IANS Thursday.
Giving an update on the status of the multi-billion dollar deal at an aerospace event here, Browne said the contract negotiations committee (CNC) had completed a major part of the work and discussions were underway on the work share between Dassault and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which will manufacture the fighter under licensed production.
“We hope by at least April-May the CNC will complete its work so that it (deal) could go to the finance ministry, where it will be examined all over before going to the cabinet for final approval,” Browne said on the margins of Aero India 2013, a biennial trade expo on aerospace products and technologies in military and civil aviation areas.
Pointing out that the fourth-generation fighter deal was an extremely complex project, Browne said there was no short cut to the time-consuming process, which had to run its course covering technology transfer and the offset clause under stringent clauses.
“It was only a year ago (Jan 31, 2012) that the L1 (Dassault) was selected for acquiring the aircraft and the CNC was set up to finalise the deal soon after. We want it (deal) to happen as early as possible for induction soon,” he said.
The contract is for purchasing 126 Rafales, including 18 jets in fly-away condition from Dassault and 108 to be manufactured by HAL, the state-run defence behemoth in Bangalore, later this decade.
The twin-engine delta-wing Rafale outsmarted Eurofighter Typhoon of EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space), which was also short-listed in 2011 out of the six global aerospace majors, including Russian MiG-35, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Falcon, Boeing’s F-18 Hornet and Swedish Saab Gripen, who participated in the global tender floated in 2007.
The IAF will have an option to buy an additional 63 Rafale aircraft later.
The French fighters are meant to replace the ageing MiG 21 fleet of the Soviet era to enhance its air prowess and bridge the gaps in the fixed wing aircraft.
Dassault has flown in three Rafales, including two from the French Air Force (FAF) frontline air base at Saint-Dizier in northeast France and one from Al Dhafra military air base at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for flying and static display during the five-day air show at IAF’s Yelahanka air base on the city’s outskirts.
Dassault test pilot Squadron Leader Brocard Mickael is at the controls to demonstrate the strike power of Rafale used by the FAF.

IANS / Deccan Herald

February 7, 2013

Airshow: Eurocopter would manufacture in India if wins contract

Eurocopter plans to set up a production line in India to make its Fennec helicopters, if it wins an Indian defence contract for the aircraft, its chief executive said on Thursday.
The company, a unit of aerospace and defence company EADS , is competing for a contract to sell 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters.
"We will set up a production line in India," Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said at an airshow held in Bangalore.
Bertling expects the government to decide on the cheapest bids in the first half of 2013. "So after further negotiations, the assembly line could come up in mid-2014."
The factory would produce between 25 and 50 helicopters a year, depending on the size of the contract, he told Reuters, adding the company was in talks with several local companies to set up the production line.
Eurocopter previously won a contract to sell 197 helicopters to India, but the deal fell through in 2007.
Echoing comments by other executives at the airshow, Bertling said there was no indication that India's planned budget cuts would affect its tenders in the country.
India is planning cuts to its budget this year, including some affecting defence, to reduce spending by about 1.1 trillion rupees in the current financial year, or some 8 percent of budgeted outlay.
"We have zero indication that any request for proposal (RFP) which is out already to be affected. We can imagine for future programs it would be bit of a stretch of delivery time," he said.

  (Reuters / Yahoonews)

IAF to deploy Apache strike helicopters at Indo-China border

New inductions in the IAF such as Apache attack helicopters will be in support of operational plans of the Army, which is raising a new Strike Corps along the borders with China in the northeastern sector, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said here today.
"Whatever inductions are taking place in the IAF, they will fully support the Army's plans. All the strike helicopters like the Apache...They will all support the Army?s plans," he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here.
The proposal was first sent by the Army but it was returned by the government which asked the three services to work together on plans to strengthen their capabilities in that region. 
"We sent the revised plan to the Defence Ministry in December," Browne said. The IAF is planning to deploy majority of its new inductions such as the additional C-130 J transport planes and six new midair refueling tanker aircraft at the proposed headquarters of the new Corps in Panagarh in West Bengal to strengthen country?s defence capabilities in that sector, IAF sources said. 
The force is also planning to station part of the fleet of 22 Apache helicopters being procured from the US in that sector. 
The proposal is awaiting clearance from Defence Ministry's Finance Wing and its cost is being estimated. 
Commenting on how the cut of around Rs 12,000 crore in the defence budget was affecting his force, Browne said, "Well we have the 42 Su-30MKI aircraft. The contract (for the additional planes) has to be signed. Payments have to be made for that because the first four aircraft deliveries will take place in March. We have to find money for it." 
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had signed a deal with Russia for the additional 42 Su-30MKIs in December last year and of these 28 will be produced under licence by HAL in the country and the rest would be built in Russia. 
On Defence Research and Development Organisation's proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project, Browne said it was "too early" to talk about the plane being a fifth-generation one. 
"When all requirements are firmed up, then we will see what technologies are possible and what are not possible. Then you put it in that bracket," he said. 


India on road to tighten coastal security with deadly P8I from Boeing

Boeing will complete the delivery of three of the first batch of eight P-8I long-range sophisticated anti-submarine warfare aircraft to Indian Navy by the end of this year, said Leland Wight, Boeing’s P8I program manager who detailed plans of the handing over of these maritime aircraft which can also be used in anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacities. The aircraft is capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
Boeing delivered the first P8I aircraft to India in Seattle in December 2012 and would complete the delivery of entire batch of eight by 2015 as part of a $2 billion contract signed in 2009.
Wight said while detailing the plans for the delivery of the three aircraft this year that the aircraft spares would be delivered in the first quarter of 2013, while the first test program of the aircraft would be completed in Goa by June this year. He said the second and the third aircraft would be delivered to the Indian Navy by September and December, respectively. Indian Navy has also planned to place an order for four more P8Is even as the Indian Navy is looking at a squadron of 37 such aircraft by the year 2020.
Wight said plans entail setting up a flight simulator of P8I to train Indian Navy aviation personnel as part of pilot and air crew training and maintenance to ensure that the Indian Navy subsequently remains independent while ensuring the upkeep of the aircraft.
Indian Navy procuring the P8I is being viewed as a significant development considering that Pakistan has handed over its southern coast-based port of Gwadar (west of Karachi) to China. There is much speculation about how China is developing the port (whether on industry lines or with military intentions). But with defence minister AK Antony expressing “real concern” about the volatile situation in India’s immediate neighborhood while addressing the media after the inaugural session of Aero India 2013, the importance of procuring a modernized maritime surveillance aircraft is easily understood.
The significance of getting this aircraft is also seen in the background of the November 26, 2008, attack on Mumbai by seaborne terrorists who hoodwinked the Coast Guard to gain entry into the financial capital of India.
The P8Is that India is getting will be armed with anti-ship Harpoon missiles, Mark-82 depth bombs and Mark-54 anti-submarine torpedoes. However, it will not have what Boeing terms it as the "Warfighter's Weapon of Choice", the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM). This is a low-cost guidance kit produced by Boeing which converts unguided free-fall bombs into accurately guided, near-precision smart weapons. It consists of a tail section that contains a Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation System which helps the bombs home into the target with deadly accuracy.
JDAM falls under USA’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program which prohibits certain categories of weapons from being directly sold to foreign governments directly.


Indian Army to get US ultra-light howitzers this year

The Indian Army is set to get the first lot of 145 ultra-light howitzers it is purchasing from the US for $700 million this year.

According to a report in the current issue of India Strategic defence magazine, a team from the army, including from the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Directorate General of Qualitative Assurance (DGQA) and the defence ministry visited the US in January to establish the parameters of the BAE Systems M-777 gun being in conformity with the requirements. This testing was part of the procedure, described as Maintainability Evaluation (ME), and now the final step is about discussions to finalize the price along with spares and maintenance support.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had issued a notification indicating the possible sale of the gun to India on January 22, 2010.
The US Army sent two guns to India for trials, and the Indian Army tested the 152 mm/39 caliber system in the hot and mountainous terrains (Pokhran and Sikkim) the same year, pointing out some shortcomings, which have been rectified.
Although the M-777 gun is made by the multi-national BAE Systems in the US, it is being purchased from the US Army under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
Procedurally, the US would supply whatever is there in the contract, and if something is left out, then India has to send a Letter of Request (LOR) to the US Government again even if it is a simple nut or bolt. The company will have nothing to do with it.
For instance, in 2004, India purchased the first equipment - Raytheon's Weapon Locating Radars (WLRs) - under FMS from the US, and willy-nilly, Indian officials did not cater for spares and support. Finally, Raytheon, which manufactures hi-tech weapon systems for land, sea and air, fixed it, more out of goodwill.
This time, the process should be thorough.
The M-777 is the first artillery gun to be partially made of titanium to reduce its weight and give it mobility, and is easily carried under-slung by heavy lift helicopters like the Chinook CH 47, 15 of which the Indian Air Force is buying from Boeing.
The M-777 has extensively been used in Afghanistan's tough hilly and mountainous terrain with effective fire.
Senior officers of the Army are confident that the acquisition of M-777 will not go beyond 2013, and if there is a delay, it would not be beyond fiscal April 2013-March 2014.
India Strategic also reported that summer trials of the upgraded Bofors FH 77B (155 mm/39 caliber), which India bought from Sweden more than a quarter century ago, would be held mid-year in the hot Rajasthan desert.
The upgraded gun is being developed by India's state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which had got the designs for indigenous production as part of the deal when the gun was acquired but did nothing about it for whatever reasons.
This in fact was the first case in which India got the rights for transfer of technology (ToT) but the opportunity was lost due to political allegations.
OFB's upgraded Bofors gun, being upgunned to 155 mm and 45 caliber, would be based on outdated technology though and in any case would be a stop-gap arrangement till the artillery gets the bigger 155 mm/52 caliber guns, both self-propelled and towed.
The Bofors guns proved extremely effective in neutralizing the Pakistani positions in the 1999 Kargil War, and several army officers swear by it, saying that it was the artillery fire which demolished the Pakistani soldiers, who had infiltrated into the Indian side and occupied a number of hilltop positions.

Hindustan Times