November 29, 2013

DRDO Developing High Altitude ‘Killer’ Missile

After a long wait, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is contemplating to conduct the first test of its newly developed interceptor missile from a defence base off the Odisha coast next month.
The missile, dubbed as Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), has the potential to destroy enemy missile with a strike range of around 2,500 km outside the earth’s atmosphere (at an altitude of over 150 km). Only a few countries in the world have such a capability.
The air defence exercise, a part of India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, would involve two missiles- the interceptor and enemy missile. Both the missiles have been developed for the first time and will be programmed at separate locations in Chandipur and Wheeler Island.
A source said while the enemy missile would be fired from a Naval warship in the Bay of Bengal, the interceptor would be launched from the launching complex-IV at Wheeler Island. “The test is likely to be conducted any time  between December 20 and December 27,” he said.
Earlier, the DRDO had successfully test-fired exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) and endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) interceptor ballistic missiles.
Of the seven interceptor missile tests, six have been successful. While two were in exo-atmosphere region, five took place in endo-atmosphere (below an altitude of 50 km).
“Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) interceptor missile has already demonstrated its killing capability at an altitude of 50 to 80 km. The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile has destroyed the target missile at an altitude of 15 to 30 km. Now we want to achieve the interception altitude of over 150 km,” a defence scientist said.
The two-stage PDV interceptor will be powered by solid propellants and fitted to an innovative system for controlling the vehicle at an altitude of more than 150 km.
A scientist associated with the PDV project told ‘Express’ that the focus was now to achieve the killing precision at the highest altitude with the help of an advanced software for which the DRDO would achieve a direct hit-to-kill on the target missile.
In a bid to protect major cities, the DRDO has developed two-layered BMD system and the R&D is on to develop Phase-II anti-ballistic missile defence system, capable of destroying enemy inter-continental ballistic missiles fired 5,000 km away.
The two-layered BMD system is expected to be inducted in the armed forces by the end of next year.
However, prior to the PDV test, two user trials by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) have been planned.
While the 350-km range Prithvi-II ballistic missile is slated for test on December 3, Agni-III missile, with a range of 3,000-km, is scheduled for test on December 18.
* The missile, dubbed as Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV), has the potential to destroy enemy missile with a strike range of around 2,500 km outside the earth’s atmosphere (at an altitude of over 150 km)
* Only a few countries in the world have such a capability
* The focus was now to achieve the killing precision at the highest altitude with the help of an advanced software for which the DRDO would achieve a direct hit-to-kill on the target missile


US Stinger offer puts brakes on Indian Army's VSHORADS selection

The Indian Army's long-delayed USD3-5 billion procurement of man-portable very short range defence systems (VSHORADS) is deadlocked following a recent US proposal to supply the Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger missile system via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.Official sources said the US offer in September 2013 to provide Stinger systems had stalled the Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) selection from one of three vendors competing for the 2010 VSHORADS tender.
The US offer followed the 26 September meeting in Washington between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama.
India's MoD is known to favour acquiring US materiel under the FMS programme, having procured more than USD8 billion worth of equipment through it since 2002.


Russia to Deploy 3 New S-400 Air Defense Regiments in 2014

(RIA Novosti) – Three new regiments equipped with S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems will be put in service with the Russian armed forces next year, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
“Two S-400 regiments were presented to the Russian military this year. Another three [regiments] should be put in service in 2014,” Putin said at a meeting on the development of Russia’s aerospace defenses.
Russia currently has a total of five S-400 regiments, with two regiments deployed around Moscow and the remaining units deployed near the port city of Nakhodka in the far eastern Primorye Territory, as well as in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and in the Southern Military District.
The sixth regiment will join the two S-400 regiments based near Moscow by the end of 2013, according to the Defense Ministry.
The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) air defense system is expected to form the cornerstone of Russia's theater air and missile defenses by 2020.
The system can engage targets at a maximum range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) at an altitude of 40,000-50,000 meters (130,000-165,000 feet). The system uses a range of missiles, and is optimized for engaging ballistic and cruise missiles.
 Russia plans to have 28 S-400 regiments by 2020, each comprising two or three battalions (four systems each), mainly in maritime and border areas.

November 28, 2013

Japan, South Korean military planes defy China's new defence zone

TOKYO/SEOUL: Japanese and South Korean military aircraft flew through disputed air space over the East China Sea without informing China, officials said on Thursday, challenging a new Chinese air defence zone that has increased regional tensions and sparked concerns of an unintended clash.

The move came after Tokyo's close ally Washington defied China's demand that airplanes flying through its unilaterally announced zone identify themselves to Chinese authorities, flying two unarmed B-52 bombers over the islands on Tuesday without informing Beijing.

Tensions have ratcheted up since Beijing's weekend announcement of the zone that includes the skies over islands at the heart of a feud between Japan and China, and its demand that planes flying in the area first notify Chinese authorities.

Japan and the United States have sharply criticized the move, which some experts said was aimed not only at chipping away at Tokyo's control of the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, but also at challenging US dominance in the region.

The United States does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands but recognizes Tokyo's administrative control and has assured Japan that the US-Japan security pact covers them.

The developments are expected to dominate US vice president Joe Biden's visit to Japan, China and South Korea next week.

Also on Thursday, China rejected South Korea's demand for the repeal of the zone, but appeared to soften its demand that commercial aircraft tell its military authorities of any plans to transit the area. Japan's two biggest airlines have already begun defying that order.

"The East China Sea Air Defence Identification zone is not aimed at normal international flights. We hope that relevant countries' airlines can proactively cooperate, so there is more order and safety for flights," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said naval ships and patrol planes have been operating in the East China Sea and would continue to do so.

"They are carrying out surveillance activity as before in the East China Sea, including the zone," Suga told a news conference, adding there has been no particular response from China. "We are not going to change this (activity) out of consideration to China," he added.


A South Korean official also said a navy reconnaissance plane had flown over a submerged rock in the area claimed by both Beijing and Seoul, and that the flights would continue.

The rock, called Ieodo in Korea and Suyan Rock in China, is controlled by South Korea, which maintains a maritime research station built on it.

Asked about the South Korean flight, Chinese spokesman Qin only said that Beijing was aware of it.

South Korea's reaction to Beijing's weekend declaration has been somewhat muted, reflecting its efforts to forge closer ties with China and a chill in relations with Japan.

On Thursday, however, Seoul's vice defence minister told a senior Chinese military official that the move to impose the new rules created military tension in the region and called on Beijing to rectify the zone

"The Chinese reaction was that they will not be accepting the (South) Korean side's demand," Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters after talks between Vice Defence Minister Baek Seung-joo and Wang Guanzhong, the deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Asked if China would heed Japanese calls to revoke the air defence zone, China's Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Tokyo had implemented its own zone in 1969 and blamed it for raising tensions with its double standards.

"Japan consistently blames others and smears the name of other countries but never examines its own conduct," Yang said in a statement posted on the ministry's website after a press briefing that was closed to foreign reporters.

"If they want it revoked, then we would ask that Japan first revoke its own air defence identification zone and China will reconsider it after 44 years," Yang said.

Japan says it only requires planes headed for its territorial air space to notify authorities, not those merely transiting through its air defence identification zone.

In the ongoing war of words, the policy panel of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party approved a resolution on Thursday demanding China rescind the new air defence zone, saying the unilateral move reflected "unreasonable expansionism". But the resolution dropped a more inflammatory reference to "premodern and imperialist expansionism" contained in an earlier draft.  - Times of india

Russia to Deploy 22 New Ballistic Missiles in 2014

(RIA Novosti) – Twenty-two land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles will next year be added to Russia’s nuclear arsenal, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
“We intend to continue prioritizing the development of the main component of our strategic nuclear deterrent,” Putin said at a meeting on the development of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.
Putin did not specify the type of new ICBMs to be deployed, but a source in the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity that the missiles will be mobile and silo-based Yars ICBMs.
Yars is armed with the multiple-warhead RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has considerably better combat and operational capabilities than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin).
Russia currently deploys an estimated 326 ICBMs with approximately 1,050 warheads, according to a June report by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

In line with the New START treaty signed in 2010, Russia is allowed to add 227 delivery systems and 150 warheads to its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
According to the recent State Duma Defense Committee report on the draft federal budget for 2014-2016, Russia plans to increase annual spending on nuclear weapons by more than 50 percent in the next three years.
The report said 46.26 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) is to be spent on Russia’s nuclear weapons systems in 2016, up from 29.29 billion rubles this year.
The Defense Ministry earlier announced plans to retire most of its outdated SS-18 Satan, SS-19 Stiletto and SS-25 Sickle (Topol) ICBMs and replace them with SS-27 Sickle-B (Topol-M) and RS-24Yars missiles by 2021.

November 27, 2013

Second trial of Agni III next month

In a bid to make the 3000-km range nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-III fully operational, Indian Army is readying for the second user associate trial of the weapon from a defence base off the Odisha coast next month.
Preparation is on at the Wheeler Island test facility from where the missile has been scheduled to be test-fired in a real time situation on December 18. This will be sixth test of the missile which defence sources said, was all set to go for bulk production after the trial.  After four developmental trials in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, this ‘China Specific’ missile was inducted in the Armed Forces in June 2011. While the maiden trial of the missile was a failure, on the rest three occasions, the missile performed as expected. Its first user trial on September 21 last year was also a copy book success.
While the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a specially raised missile-handling unit of the Indian Army will carry out the test, DRDO will provide all logistic support to track and monitor the missile’s flight path. The test will reconfirm the technical parameters set for the user associate launch and check the Army’s readiness to use it.
A defence scientist said the missile had been successfully test-fired four times in last six years making it full proof proven missile. “The technologies incorporated in the missile system and software have also performed as expected. After a couple of more user associate trials, the missile will be made fully operational,” he said. 
After Agni-III trial, the DRDO has scheduled to conduct third trial of 4000-km range Agni-IV. Even as India adopts a clear-cut ‘no-first-use’ doctrine, it has an active credible nuclear deterrence and is well capable of its own defence with weapons like Agni series missiles, interceptors capable of destroying enemy missiles in both exo and endo atmospheric region, submarine and ship launched ballistic missiles besides a few short range and medium range surface-to-surface and air-to-air missiles.
Agni III is expected to be the mainstay of India’s nuclear deterrence programme when fully operational by providing the country with strategic second-strike capability.


India Pushes Russia For Greater Inclusion In Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Development

India wants a greater stake in the development of a Sukhoi T-50-variant Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft

India and Russia have been long-term collaborators on defense technology. The two countries together produced the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile — the fastest cruise missile in production. The relationship hasn’t always been balanced in India’s favor, however, and this has come to light recently with India’s stake in the development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, based on the Russian Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA).
According to Defense News, India has conveyed its displeasure to Russia over its “low level of participation in the joint development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), despite being an equal financial partner in the project and placing an order of more than US $30 billion for the new planes.” The joint effort is a major component of India’s continued air force modernization. According to RIA Novosti, India currently bears 50 percent of the costs of development.
In a visit to Moscow earlier this month, Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony pushed Russia to increase India’s share of the development work to 50 percent, in line with its financial equity in the project. Antony, speaking at the 13th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, stressed the necessity for the two longterm partners to cooperative equally in “all the phases — design, development and production — in the execution” of the FGFA project.
New Delhi’s push for equitable inclusion in military technical cooperation with Russia is related to its long-unachieved strategic goal of developing self-sufficiency in indigenous military production. India is the world’s largest importer of weapons technology. Indeed, Defense News cited a Russian diplomat in New Delhi as saying that part of the reason that the Russians limited India’s share in the FGFA project is due to “India’s capabilities in military aircraft research and industrial infrastructure.”
The agreement to jointly develop the FGFA was signed between the Indian and Russia Air Forces in 2007, with the final design, research, and joint development contract expected to exceed more than $10 billion. Although that contract is yet to be signed, Defense News reports that “In December 2010, Rosoboronexport, India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics and Russian aircraft-maker Sukhoi signed a preliminary design development contract worth $295 million.”
The Indian Air Force is likely to order around 200 units of the single-seat, twin-engine fighters. The Sukhoi T-50 possesses a supersonic cruising ability which, combined with its ultra-manuverability, makes it a potent addition to the Indian Air Force. The jet is expected to increase the versatility of the Indian Air Force. As part of India’s stake in the development of the aircraft, it is expected to be able to specifically tune the units it purchases to the specific needs of its air force.
Antony’s visit to Moscow came just a couple days after India inducted the INS Vikramaditya — formerly the Russian Admiral Gorshkov. India’s naval modernization, which has reached new heights in recent years, has largely been dependent on its cooperation with Russia as well. In his recent visit, Antony also addressed a prospective nuclear submarine lease from Russia to India.


India to acquire 15 US-2i aircraft from Japan after defence minister’s visit

India’s plan to acquire at least 15 US-2i amphibious aircraft for its Navy from Japan is expected to fructify when the defence minister of Japan arrives in India next month.
Speaking to FE, a senior officer said, “Soon after the Emperor of Japan’s visit is over, Itsunori Onodera, the defence minister of Japan, will visit India to explore the potential for cooperation between the defence and aviation industries between the two countries, as well as to figure out the mechanism and modalities for the acquisition of the aircraft by the Indian Navy.” Also, Onodera will also be seeking confirmation from India on cooperation in dealing with the issue of piracy in the Indian Ocean.
India has reportedly clarified that it is reviewing the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET), thereby placing the Shinmaywa US-2i as a dual civilian-and-military item. India has accepted the high cost of the aircraft to build up the strategic partnership.
The two sides had set up a joint working group to decide the terms of the cooperation of the US-2i amphibious aircraft when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Tokyo in May this year, and could possibly include joint production, operation and training on the US-2i amphibious aircraft. The Indian Navy earlier issued a request for information (RFI) for the aircraft. Canada’s Bombardier, Japan’s ShinMaywa and Russia’s Beriev had offered their aircraft to meet the requirements.


November 26, 2013

India to strengthen Andaman and Nicobar Command to take on China

As the race for the Indian Ocean region heats up with India, China and the United States trying to dominate the region, South Block is all set to hand over the controls of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) - India's strategic outpost in the Bay of Bengal - to the Indian Navy.

The ANC was set up 13 years ago following the Kargil Committee report, partly to buy peace among the three services and partly to ensure that all three gear up to operate from the region. The command was rotated among the three services - Army, Navy, and Indian Air Force.

But after 13 years, there is a growing realization that the required infrastructure at ANC hasn't come up because of lack of focus and appreciation of requirements of the Navy. The Navy, too, has officially written to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) stating that development of the ANC is not satisfactory.

"Some key infrastructure needs to come up immediately if the Navy is expected to operate with ease on the Eastern and Western board of Malacca Strait. Unfortunately, these haven't been addressed. The fact that the command has been rotated among the three services has added to this delay" a senior Navy official told NDTV.

For instance, in 2012, the Navy operationalised INS Baaz, an airbase at Campbell Bay at the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It overlooks the Malacca Strait through which the crucial Sea Lane of Communication (SLOC) connecting China to the rest of the world passes through. Although the naval airbase is in operation, efforts to increase the runway and turn INS Baaz into full-fledged air base hasn't materialised yet.

Similarly, the Navy wants bigger fuel, ordnance and storage dumps. But in the last 13 years, plans to make the ANC a forward outpost of India capable of repairing, equipping and launching ships and aircrafts for missions hasn't come up.

"Can ANC handle and equip a fleet if required?" a senior Navy asked.

With the Navy getting a second aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, the need to develop a forward operating outpost that can equip, repair and launch an entire fleet becomes all the more important.

Sources tell NDTV that the Defence Ministry is now likely to move the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to hand back the Andaman and Nicobar Command to the Navy. It is also likely to press for the additional commands, Special Force Command and Aerospace Command, to be handed over to the Army and the Air Force respectively while the third additional command, Cyber Command, is headed by the three services in rotation.


November 25, 2013

Supersonic folly: Why new strategic bombers are airborne dinosaurs

Both Russia and the US are going full throttle with the development of new long-range strike bombers, but drones are a cheaper and more futuristic option
What do terrorists and air force generals have in common? The answer is both have recurring nightmares about drones. This is because these unmanned aerial vehicles threaten to put both groups out of business.
The irony is that despite the growing sophistication and endurance of drones – which are performing strike missions that were until recently the air force’s exclusive preserve – both Russia and the United States have green-lighted the development of long-range strike bombers. The new projects are not going to substantially improve Russian or American security but are guaranteed to leave gaping holes in their defence budgets.
Red star bomber gets the green light
The Russian Air Force has approved the development of a new strategic bomber known as the PAK-DA that will replace Russia’s ageing fleet of 63 Tupolev Tu-95M Bear and 13 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers in the next decade.
Remarkably, at a time when air to air missiles are going hypersonic (five-10 times the speed of sound) the new Russian bomber is being touted as subsonic. So when the PAK-DA enters service in the 2020s it will be replacing aircraft that were designed 50-70 years ago, and yet the new bomber will be slower than some of the retiring aircraft.
Secondly, the doctrine of strategic air strike remains unchanged. The subsonic Tu-95 and the Mach2 Tu-160 are designed to take off from bases deep in Russia and launch hundreds of nuclear armed Kh-102 cruise missiles from safe standoff distances – up to 3000 km away from American shores.
The new bomber, which is expected to burn billions in R&D cash, will perform the same role – that is, it will be yet another platform for launching cruise missiles. The only major improvement is it will have a stealth coating, the effectiveness of which hasn’t been conclusively proved against a worthy enemy.
And in the blue corner
American aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin declared in October 2013 they will cooperate on a new long-range strike bomber (LRSB) project for the US Air Force as the military seeks to replace its aging bomber fleet of 160 heavy bombers — 76 B-52 Stratofortresses, 63 B-1 Lancers, and 20 stealth B-2 Spirits. The US Air Force said the cost of each aircraft is estimated at $550 million and the total value of 100 planes would be $55 billion.
But wait, the prime contractor is Lockheed-Martin – the king of cost overruns. In 1996 when it bagged the contract, the projected cost of the aircraft was around $65 million, which has now ballooned to around $200 million per plane. The LRSB programme – which has already chewed through $300 million – is unlikely to buck the trend.
You’d think with the Soviet threat gone, the US Air Force doesn’t have a case for a new bomber. But the new mantra is if you don’t have an enemy, then invent one. Despite the fact that the Chinese military is puny by American standards, the US military is portraying the dragon as larger than life. The Pentagon’s view is that no Chinese naval ships can patrol without coming under the reach of land-based airpower. According to the US Air Force's Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove, the US must continue to have the ability to strike any target on the globe from the air.
Long-range strike is a central capability in the American military’s new doctrine of AirSea Battle, which calls for closer integration between the US Air Force and US Marines in the battlefield.
Bombers in the crosshairs
But whether supersonic or slow, bombers are becoming vulnerable. Defence analyst Loren Thompson says the most important way in which bombers are becoming obsolete is their declining ability to evade interception by enemy defenders.
“Many countries such as Iran and Syria have deployed integrated air defenses that combine highly sensitive radars with agile surface-to-air missiles,” he says. “These defenses have been designed to burn through interference generated by US jamming devices, and to track aircraft in multiple frequencies so that they cannot be easily deceived by countermeasures. That will make it difficult for US bombers to penetrate hostile air space in the future, especially if they lack advanced stealth features. The B-2 is the only truly stealth bomber in the fleet today, and even it is deficient in some wavelengths.”
Lumbering and expensive, the bomber is already in the crosshairs of anti-aircraft forces. The downing of the F-117 stealth fighter-bomber by Serbian ground forces using an antiquated Soviet missile system is a pointer to what motivated and educated combatants – unlike Saddam Hussein’s badly trained forces – are capable of achieving in the battlefield. With the newer S-300 and S-400 surface to air missiles, that threat has multiplied by several orders of magnitude.
Also, new radars under development, especially in Russia, are being designed to seek out stealth aircraft just as easily as non-stealth ones.
Day of the drone
It is a measure of how drones are reshaping modern warfare that America’s top guns are being reassigned to drone duty, leaving a huge shortfall of pilots in the US Air Force. The problem is so acute that the service is offering a $225,000 signing on bonus for new pilots – provided they stay in the air force for nine years.
The 21st century air force is facing an existential crisis as the increasing sophistication of drones and their endurance power – limited only by fuel supply – is changing the aerial equation in favour of unmanned aircraft. With air refuelling, airborne time will be limited only by the failure of subsystems.ntinental bombers. The absence of a pilot translates into substantial cost savings not only in fuel but also because expensive life support systems are not needed.
Back to the future
According to Air Force Magazine, the drones vs piloted aircraft struggle “has little to do with technology and everything to do with politics”. This is because the world is still uncomfortable with the idea of an armed machine flying around without a human controller on board.
However, pilotless technology is not really new. Russia’s Buran space shuttle, which flew in November 1988, was completely automated. According to a report prepared by the All-Russian Research Institute of Aviation Materials, the most important difference from the American shuttle was that the Russian spaceship could perform the flight and landing in totally automatic mode.
More recently, the Boeing 777 is an example of an aircraft so automated that it could be said to have “optional pilots”.
Air force pilots may be glamorous and butch, but in the age of the drone the long-range bombers – and indeed other piloted aircraft – are living on borrowed time. If air forces – and their civilian bosses – accept that with humility, it could save both former superpowers a pile of cash


November 22, 2013

Can the PAK DA outperform the B-2?

The Russian armed forces continue to update their strategic arms. Next in line is the development and production of a new Advanced Long-Range Aviation Complex (the PAK DA). Experts suggest that there may be nothing new in this project, and that it would become a copy of the American B-2 ‘stealth’ bomber.
But is that really the case?
According to reports in the Russian media the Tupolev aircraft production company will begin development work on a strategic bomber, which is due to replace the Tu-95 and Tu-160 aircraft currently in service. It is suggested that the airframe of this aircraft will resemble a ‘flying wing,’ and that it would be subsonic and fitted with a system to reduce its radar target signature.
Army General Valeriy Gerasimov, the Chief of the General Staff, announced in the summer that development work on the PAK DA to replace the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 bombers will begin in 2014. Along with this plan, the series production of the aircraft itself will begin in 2020.
An official representative of the Ministry of Defense then announced that the PAK DA would be equipped with all the precision weapons currently being developed, including hypersonic weapons.
Boris Obnosov, the General Director of Tekhnicheskoe Raketnoe Vooruzhenie, announced that a hypersonic missile for the new bomber “has already been produced, but flies for only a few seconds.” Series production of the missile itself is to begin in 2020.
Nevertheless the military wanted to make this a subsonic aircraft. Why was this decision made? Taking everything into consideration, all this relates to the aircraft’s future role in combat. It could either be a fairly compact, stealthy missile carrying aircraft, or a hypersonic aircraft with the potential to penetrate existing air defense systems by virtue of its speed.

However the appropriate technical solutions, which permit development of a relatively large stealth bomber able to fly at hypersonic speeds do not yet exist. A small, subsonic stealth aircraft, which can operate from medium sized airfields with the potential to carry hypersonic missiles, is able to patrol the launch area over long periods and strike the target with high-speed weaponry at very short notice. This was the reason the Americans chose not to use the B-1 supersonic bomber for this role in favor of the B-2.  
How similar though are the PAK DA and the B-2? From a scientific-technical point of view ‘copying’ a similar aircraft is no more than an observation of the laws of aerodynamics and other fundamental laws, which define the operability of aviation and space technology.
When designers are faced with identical or similar tasks, their solution will follow more or less the same methodology. However, a huge number of differences lurk behind the external similarities, which define the level of sophistication of one combat system over another. As experience has shown, few would deny that the Tu-144 and ‘Concorde’ are alike. The aerodynamic configuration of the F-15 is similar to that of the Su-27, but the Russian designers—even though they started work a little later—produced an undeniably more successful aircraft from the point of view of the airframe.
This being the case it is remarkable that the Americans owe a great deal to the Soviet scientist Pyotr Ufimtsev for actively introducing stealth technology into their own fighter-bomber aircraft.
In 1975 the Advanced Development Projects department of the Lockheed corporation received a translation of an article by Ufimtsev, in which he proposed a method that could be used to calculate the reflection of a radar beam from a two-dimensional body. This algorithm opened the way to developing an aircraft invisible on radar screens. It could be said that at that moment the history of stealth aircraft began. Later one of the authors of ‘invisible’ aircraft Alan Brown who led the U.S. Air Force’s first stealth program Senior Trend, which began in 1978 admitted that Ufimtsev’s contribution to creating a computer program for stealth technology could be estimated at between 30 percent to 40 percent. This though is a controlling stake in a new technology.


Air Force to receive BrahMos by 2015

Brahmos Aerospace is on track to supply cruise missiles to the Indian Air Force by 2015, the company's managing director A S Pillai has said. The BrahMos cruise missile which is jointly designed and developed by India and Russia has been inducted in the army and navy but its variant for the air force is undergoing trials.

Pillai spoke to media after receiving the first batch of 40 missile airframes from Godrej & Boyce today. The BrahMos missile's air version will be mounted on Su-30 aircraft.

The air force version will be lighter than its sea and ground variants and the planes will require upgrades. Flight trials will take place next year and deliveries to IAF are slated to begin in 2015.

"Currently we have orders worth $6 billion and various countries have shown interest to acquire the missiles,'' Pillai said. Responding to a query on why Russia had not inducted these missiles he said discussions were on this regard. "It is a question of their policy and requirement. We are making all out efforts and hope a decision is made soon,'' he said.

"We have been investing in aerospace business for last twenty years. It is of strategic importance to us though the technology business is not so important from turnover view point,'' said Jamshyd Godrej, chairman of Godrej & Boyce. He refused to reveal revenue contribution form aerospace business.

"Last month Godrej Aerospace completed the first production order of 40 sets of missile air-frame assemblies. Based on our superior performance and and dedication to the endeavour the second serial production order of another 100 sets has also been awarded to us,'' Godrej added.

Business standard

Indian Army begins recruitment for new mountain strike corps

The Indian Army has begun the process of raising the new mountain strike corps that will be deployed along the disputed border with China following formal approval by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in early November.
Senior officers told IHS Jane's that the army is shortlisting officers and men for the new corps, which will comprise around 90,000 soldiers. The process is due to be completed by 2021-22 at an estimated cost of over INR650 billion (USD10.48 billion).
The new formation, likely to be designated 17 Corps, was sanctioned on 17 July by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).


November 21, 2013

Russia to Start Producing New Main Battle Tank in 2016

(RIA Novosti) – The development of Russia’s new-generation main battle tank will be completed in 2015, and mass production is slated to being in 2016, the tank maker said Wednesday.
Russia’s leadership has already seen a secret prototype of the new tank, dubbed the Armata and expected to become the armored core of the Russian army.
“We are moving to the next R&D stage of the project, to be finished in 2015,” said Vyacheslav Khalitov, deputy general director of the Urals-based Uralvagonzavod state-run corporation.
“The start of production in line with planned capacity is expected in 2016,” Khalitov said.
The official said three Armata prototypes were currently being tested, and production of the tank would start even before the end of the R&D work.
The Armata is designed as a modular universal combat platform that could be used as a basis for a variety of combat vehicles, including fire support, mine clearing, heavy flame throwing and bridge laying vehicles, according to Defense Ministry officials.
Although the new tank remains top-secret, Uralvagonzavod has said that its design incorporates elements seen in other projects, including Object 195 and Black Eagle.
It will also reportedly feature a remotely controlled gun and fully automated loading, as well as a separate crew compartment made from composite materials and protected by multilayered armor.
The Defense Ministry has said the Russian Ground Forces will get 2,300 Armatas by 2020.

Tests underway for Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

A series of tests are underway for India's first Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) and this will get a boost with the wind tunnel facility coming up here.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is confident that HSTDV, which has already achieved 6.5 Mach, will achieve its aim of scramjet flight for 20 seconds.
Mach is commonly used to represent the speed of an object when it is travelling close to or above the speed of sound.
V.G. Sekaran, director general (missiles and strategic systems), DRDO, told reporters here Wednesday they have already achieved some milestones in terms of engine development.
"HSTDV would give us a lead in hypersonic vehicle design, scramjet, material technology and how to manage environment which is peculiar to hypersonic flying engines," he said.
He said work on the wind tunnel required for tests had started and it would be ready in one-and-half years. He was confident this would reduce the development cycle in hypersonic programme.
Issues related to a long term hypersonic programme in the country will be discussed at a two-day international symposium beginning here Thursday.
The sixth symposium on "Applied aerodynamics and design of aerospace vehicles" will discuss the roadmap for some of the futuristic hypersonic programmes.
Prahlada, vice chancellor, Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, said India was looking at extreme technologies in aerodynamics aimed at making aircraft efficient, green and quiet with smooth flying.
He said India required Aerostat and aerodynamics in a big way. Two types of Aerostat were developed and deployed which can go up to one km. Aerostat which can go up to four km and carry two tonnes of load were under development, he added.
"Our aim is it develop an Aerostat which can go to 10 km and lift 10-20 tonnes in bad terrain," he said.
A series of Aerostats will be developed that can be used both for civilian and military purposes.
Prahlada said work was also on to develop micro air vehicles, emulating how some birds like hummingbird and bumblebee fly.
"These birds have very special aerodynamic control. We have not been able to simulate similar aerodynamics for unmanned micro air vehicle. We are looking at using smart material which works like these birds," he said.
He pointed out these birds can stay where they are and keep lifting without moving forward. Normally when an aircraft lifts, it has to move. Both forward motion and lift are linked but in case of birds, it is delinked, he added.

 Business Standard

November 20, 2013

India steps up boat patrols on Ladakh lake after Chinese intrusions

The Pangong Tso Lake is now witnessing a marked change in India’s approach towards China, with New Delhi upping the ante by carrying out regular boat patrols in the water body in Ladakh where the Chinese had earlier resorted to aggressive intrusions.
In a series of protests over the past few weeks, Beijing has complained that the Indian Army was resorting to aggressive patrols – coming too close to the Chinese boats and engaging them.
Besides handing over protest notes at the border personnel meeting, the Chinese have also conveyed the message at diplomatic level.
The Chinese protests emanated following their assessment that the Indian Army’s newly-acquired American patrol boats have considerably reduced their tactical advantage on the strategic lake, located at 14,500ft in Ladakh, official sources said.
The 135km-long Pangong Tso Lake, which is nestled between India and China, had previously become a playing field for the Chinese PLA’s dominance on the waterways.
It became a potential crisis point in 1999 when Beijing built a five-km permanent track into the Indian territory along the lake, as India was engaged with Pakistan in the Kargil war.
But now the sleek high-speed patrol boats from the US have become an irritant for China. More than a dozen boats procured by the Indian Army have been deployed on the lake, one third of whose area falls in India and the remaining portion in China.

The vessels, measuring 37ft long and 10ft wide, have a speed of 40 knots and come with GPS and night vision devices. Equipped with machine guns, the new Indian boats can carry 10 soldiers at a time.
Earlier, the Indian Army operated close to a dozen vintage boats that were no match to the superior Chinese patrol boats. The Indian patrols were chased away by their better-equipped Chinese counterparts.
In 2000, the Chinese had rammed into Indian patrol boats in the area and over 20 Chinese boats had made a 10km deep incursion on the Indian side of the lake in April this year.
China had a stronger military presence on the lake, and continued with its aggressive patrolling to stake a claim on the water body.
The Chinese operate close to 22 armed patrol boats – mostly smaller high-speed vessels with capacity for five to seven soldiers – on the lake. But the Indian response is now changing the rules of the game. The sources said the Chinese are irked by the fact that Indian patrols are now giving a fitting response to them by catching up with the Chinese boats if they enter the Indian side.
Although the change in approach is localised, it marks a shift in India’s approach, which has traditionally been a cautious one when it came to the eastern neighbour.
New Delhi has earlier buckled down on many instances under the Chinese pressure on the 4,057-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC).


India’s Emerging Blue-Water Navy

On November 16, the Indian Navy finally took delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Adm. Gorshkov, at Sevmash Shipyard in northern Russia's Severodvinsk town. The acquisition marks a new phase in India’s quest to become a true blue-water navy.
The handover ceremony of the 44,570-tonne carrier is sure to have generated more than a passing interest within the PLA Navy and across the rest of the continent, since India will be the only country in Asia to have two aircraft carriers in its fleet. Admittedly, the 55-year old INS Viraat is “long in the tooth” as India's Navy Chief Admiral D. K. Joshi himself described it in a recent interview, but it will continue to operate until India's locally built carrier INS Vikrant becomes operational by 2017.
At the moment, only the U.S. Navy brings that sort of capability to Asia. Although it is coming five years late – the original delivery was scheduled for 2008 – the Vikramaditya will give India the ability to project raw naval power in its “near abroad” as well as in its extended neighborhood. With a capacity to carry two dozen Mig-29 K fighter jets and 10 Kamov helicopters at any given time on board and fitted with the latest sensors and missiles, the brand-new aircraft carrier will boost the Indian Navy's firepower significantly.
But the Vikramaditya is not the only reason why the Indian Navy feels upbeat about its future capabilities. Naval aviation, long treated as a poor cousin of surface combatants in the Indian Navy, is exhibiting some new chutzpah of late. Days before Defence Minister AK Antony and flew to Russia with Joshi, the nation’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the purchase of four more Boeing P8I maritime patrol and antisubmarine aircraft in addition to the eight already contracted. The first of these eight planes was in fact parked at INS Dega airfield for everyone to see when Joshi formally inducted the newly acquired Advanced Jet Trainers Hawks into the Navy, to take training of Naval fighter pilots to the next level. The second P8I landed in India on November 15.
INS Dega, a small air station under Eastern Naval Command, is set to become Indian Navy's biggest air base on the eastern seaboard soon. The expansion of air assets in the East is just one of the several plans that the Indian Navy has unveiled to strengthen its presence in the Bay of Bengal and support India's “Look East Policy.” The P8Is are set to replace the hardy but old Soviet-made Tu-142 M aircraft that have been the backbone of the navy's long range maritime patrols – with flights lasting up to 16 hours at a stretch. The P8Is are expected to play a major role in the Navy's  surveillance role in the Indian Ocean as well as Malacca Straits.
As Joshi told this writer in an interview for Indian broadcaster NDTV on board INS Jalashwa, the navy's biggest amphibious ship: "The first P8I has already arrived and is in the process of being accepted. Various acceptance trials are in progress and by the end of the year we will have three of them and others following in quick order next year. That brings into this region a capability that has not existed before. It’s a brand-new aircraft, apart from the platform which in any case is a proven Boeing aircraft. The fit has been to the specification the US Navy currently has. So therefore the capabilities that are coming into our hands are absolutely state of the art."
Another capability the Indian Navy quietly added earlier this year was a dedicated communication satellite for its exclusive use. The satellite is expected to fully stabilize by the end of December. Launched with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the naval satellite is described as a force multiplier by senior naval officers. It covers the Navy's entire area of interest in the Indian Ocean and beyond. The satellite handles all data transfers for maritime domain awareness and the entire range of communications and networking needs of the Indian Navy. "It brings an entirely new dimension in network operations and in maritime operations," Joshi told this writer a fortnight ago, speaking about the satellite for the first time in the public domain.
In fact, but for an accident on board a refitted conventional submarine, INS Sindhurakshak that killed 18 sailors and sank the boat after an unexplained explosion in Mumbai harbor, the Indian Navy could have celebrated 2013 as one of its most significant years in terms of ramping up its capabilities. For instance, the nuclear reactor on India's first locally built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant went “critical” in August, marking a major milestone in India's effort to acquire a credible nuclear triad. One more year of sea trials will allow the Arihant to become operational by the end of 2014. With at least three more locally manufactured nuclear submarines in the pipeline, the Navy is hoping to overcome one obvious weakness in its arsenal: depleting submarine strength.
 The force levels of conventional submarines is down to the single digits and with delivery schedules for two building projects running way behind time, naval headquarters is naturally worried about its submarine arm. Joshi admitted as much: "Submarine-force levels I agree with you are under strain," he said, not wanting to sound too alarmist. He also hastened to add that by 2017-18 the two major submarine building projects will be back on track.
The big picture is indeed positive for the Indian Navy. Its long-term Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan had identified a mix of two major roles for the force: One, the traditional blue water operational capability and two, a plan to effectively counter threats closer to the coast. It is steadily working towards achieving that objective.
In April 2012 a new naval base, INS Dweeprakshak (Island Protector) was put into operation at Kavaratti in Lakshawadeep, the tiny island chain, southwest of mainland India. Although the Indian Navy has had a small presence on the strategically important islands for the past decade, its decision to open a permanent base emanated from recent incidents of piracy very close to these islands. The Navy has captured at least 100 pirates and foiled several piracy attempts in this area in recent times.
The Navy is also in the process of setting up Operational Turn Around (OTR) bases, Forward Operating Bases and Naval Air Enclaves along the coast, which would enhance the reach and sustainability of its surveillance effort on both the coasts. In 2011, the Navy focused on creating operational and administrative infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, considered the country's strategic outposts.
Given the extensive plans presented to parliament, it is evident now that the Indian Navy is in the midst of its most ambitious expansion plan in the past three decades. Senior officers point out that the Indian Navy's perspective-planning in terms of force-levels is now driven by a conceptual shift from numbers of platforms – that is, from the old bean-counting philosophy – to one that concentrates on capabilities.
As the Indian Navy Chief pointed out in our interview: "The navy has great reach and sustenance. Long sea legs. We can reach out to distant waters, and sustain ourselves, bring our combat potential to where it is so required." With strategic planners predicting future conflicts in the Indo-Pacific, the Indian Navy's rising profile will be keenly watched across the region and beyond.

 Thediplomat / Nitin Gokhale

India, US may make fourth generation Javelins

The ice seems to be breaking. Coming slowly out of an environment of mistrust which prompted major restrictions on defence technology transfers, the US wants to jointly produce with India its fourth generation of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.

Washington has also upgraded its initial offer of a part transfer to a full transfer of technology for third-generation Javelins.
The technology transfer will include the 'seeker' software — which helps home in on the target.
The Defence Acquisition Council headed by defence minister AK Antony has asked the Indian Army to consider the US-made Javelin along with Israeli Spike missiles. The Javelin purchase will feature in meetings during Army Chief General Bikram Singh's trip to the US early next month.


November 19, 2013

Army gets final nod to deploy 50,000 more troops along China border

The government has given its final go ahead to the Army for raising a corps along the China border which will include the deployment of 50,000 additional troops there at a cost of around Rs 65,000 crore.

The 17 Corps, the latest and the 14th such formation of the Army, will initially be based at Ranchi in Jharkhand and after development of infrastructure, will be moved to Panagarh in West Bengal. This will be the first corps with strike elements to be deployed close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The defence ministry has given the government sanction letter (GSL) to the Army in this regard with complete details of the new formation to be raised and the funds sanctioned for the purpose, government sources said here.

The postings of the officers to the new formation have already started and its chief will be chosen from the fresh batch of major generals who have faced a promotion board recently to be elevated to the rank of lieutenant general, they said.

The Cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had cleared the proposal for raising the corps in its meeting on July 17.

As part of the plans, the new corps will see the raising of two divisions in Bihar and Assam with their units in Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of the north eastern region.

The sources said the IAF will also deploy its force multiplier assets such as six each of midair refuelling tankers and C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft at Panagarh.

The Army had sent the proposal in this regard in 2010 but it was returned by the government which asked the three Services to work together on plans to strengthen their capabilities in that region. 
Times of india

India, Russia discuss issues related to aircraft, tank deals

Against the backdrop of issues over the work share in the over Rs 1.2 lakh crore fifth generation fighter aircraft project with Russia, India today said both the sides must give their best for execution of the "significant" programme.

During the Defence Minister-level meeting between the two sides in Moscow, the two countries also decided to extend their strategic partnership and to have the first exercise between their air forces next year.

In the meeting taking place two days after Indian Navy inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the Russian side said its naval aviation specialists will train Indian pilots fully for take-off and landing on the warship and the training "in all probability will be held in Goa."

"Referring to FGFA and Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) programme, Defence Minister A K Antony said the two projects are significant because they symbolise going-past the relationship of buyer-seller and both sides must give their best at all phases of the execution of these two projects - design, development and production," a Defence Ministry release from Moscow said.

India is not happy with its share of work in the FGFA project. Though it is investing 50 per cent of the cost of the multi-billion dollar programme, its work share in research and development and other aspects of the programme at the moment is only around 15 per cent.

The two sides are also working towards developing a multi-role transport aircraft.

During the meeting of the Inter Governmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) between Antony and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, the two countries also reviewed issues relating to T-90 tanks and Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft projects.

"On the issue of after sales support, both sides felt they should sign long-term maintenance support agreement," he said.

Business standard

November 18, 2013

9-year wait ends: India finally has INS Vikramaditya

For more than an hour, unrelenting snow and chilling winds came down hard on the flight deck of the INS Vikramaditya , decorated in Tricolour to mark its commissioning into the Indian Navy. Then, almost by cue, as soon as Commanding Officer Suraj Berry signed the document certifying the handing over of the erstwhile Admiral Gorshkov, the snow stopped and the national anthem rung out on what is now the largest ship ever operated by the Indian Navy.
The ship, which currently does not have fighters embarked on board, is likely to set sail for India within a fortnight and reach its home port of Karwar in January, following which the Navy will operationalise it in a few weeks with the first landing of its MiG-29K aircraft.
India waited for nine years for this day, and Defence Minister A K Antony admitted candidly that they had "almost given up hope on the ship at one point". For all that, the ship rechristened Photos: INS Vikramaditya has shaped up well with all work complete on the 44,500-tonne carrier.
Sailors and officers alike onboard the ship — which literally translates into 'Strong as the Sun', and has the motto 'Strike Far, Strike Sure' — are keen on starting the journey to India at the earliest to escape the Russian winter.
Antony described the transformation of the rusting Photos: Aircraft carrier commissioned in the Soviet era to this modern aircraft carrier as an "engineering marvel, which has tested the professionalism, capability and perseverance of the Indian Navy and the Russian industry".
The Navy is confident that flight operations will soon begin on the ship, symbolising that it is fully operational. "The air crew is already trained," Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi said.
In its long journey to India, the Vikramaditya will be escorted by at least five Indian warships that have already made their way to locations that will fall en route. On board Vikramaditya will be over 1,600 personnel, including an 183-member Russian crew who will assist in training as well as operating the vessel.
The Inside look
Presenting the first look at the insides of the carrier to Indian journalists, the Navy showcased the bridge from where the mammoth vessel would be commanded. Outfitted with the latest in navigation, communication as well as combat management systems, the bridge is a technological leap for the Navy. The crew quarters are also impressively roomier. The flight operations control room is part of the additions and has a live video link to monitor the aircraft.

The Hindu

November 15, 2013

Russia Unveils New High-Precision Air Defense System

(RIA Novosti) :  Russia’s Almaz-Antey defense corporation said Thursday that it had developed an advanced version of the Tor-M2 air defense system, featuring an extended firing range, improved precision and greater ammunition-carrying capacity.
“We can say now that a unique air defense system in its class with an astounding precision and range has been created. Its performance surpasses all planned parameters,” said Sergei Druzin, head of research and development at Almaz-Antey.
The Tor system is a low- to medium-altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system designed for intercepting aircraft, cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles and ballistic targets.
Tor-M1 and Tor-M2U variants, armed with 9M331 missiles, are currently in service with the Russian army.
The new system, equipped with new 9M338 missiles, was successfully tested at the end of October.
“We carried out five launches targeting highly maneuverable drones. Three of the targets were hit head-on, while the other two were destroyed by shrapnel from exploding warheads. It is an excellent result, astounding precision,” Druzin said.
In addition, the smaller size of the 9M338 compared with its predecessor has allowed the carrying capacity of the launcher to be doubled, from eight to 16 missiles.
The official said the improved Tor-M2 systems and 9M338 missiles have been approved by a state commission for mass production.
“We can now start producing these missiles in quantities that would meet the demand of the Russian army,” Druzin said.
According to Druzin, the next step in the improvement of the system would be for launching missiles at acquired targets while on the move.
“The [mobile] launcher currently stops for two or three seconds to launch a missile, but it could be done on a move, without stopping,” Druzin said.

Warships to escort INS Vikramaditya from Moscow

Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will not have any air defence systems on board to protect itself from aerial attacks while coming home from Russia and the Navy has sent warships to escort it safely.
To provide it protection from aerial attacks, the Navy has chosen the controversial Barak missiles, which will be integrated with the aircraft only after it reaches India.
"The aircraft carrier Vikramaditya does not have its own air defence missile system. We have chosen the Barak missile to be fitted on board once it arrives in India," a Navy official said.
The escort group of warships has been sent to Russia to bring the carrier to India through a classified route to bring it to its home base in the Arabian Sea, they said.
It is believed that the escort group also includes underwater vessels for providing security to the warship.
The Barak missiles, the Navy's choice for the aircraft carrier, are also in controversy in view of an ongoing CBI probe against them in connection with an alleged bribery scandal of 2006.
The Defence Acquisition Council, the apex defence ministry body for deciding on acquisitions, has also formed an independent committee to take a decision on whether to buy the missiles or not.
Defence Minister A K Antony will induct the long-delayed aircraft carrier into the Navy in a shipyard in Russia, where the second-hand warship has been undergoing refurbishment for the last over six years.
The Navy has plans of bringing the warship to India and deploy it at the newly-developed Karwar naval base called Project Seabird.
The warship, which was given for 'free' to India in 2004, is ultimately going to cost more than Rs 12,000 crore to the nation.


November 14, 2013

India purchases licence to manufacture Invar anti-tank missiles

India will receive a manufacturing licence to produce 15,000 Russian Invar anti-tank missiles, which were designed for the T-90 tank. New Delhi previously purchased 10,000 of these missiles from Russia (produced directly by the manufacturer). The average cost will be around $2,000 per missile following acquisition of the manufacturing licence.
The characteristics of the Russian Invar 9M119M1 (Invar-M) are as follows:
· It is fired from a 125-mm smoothbore gun with increased accuracy
· It operates like a guided missile
· It weighs 17.2 kg and is 680 mm (26.7 inches) long
· It is fitted with a retractable stabiliser (across a 250 mm / 9 inch range), which helps with aiming (the missile is guided along a laser beam, controlled by the tank gunner).
· It has a maximum range of 5,000 m at a speed of 350 m/sec (the maximum speed for a flight of 14 seconds).
  It has a tandem warhead, with a dual application in combat: it first penetrates armour up to 900 mm (35 inches) thick, and it then ensures detonation of the warhead.
It has to be said that India has purchased the latest modification, along with a licence to manufacture a further 15,000 missiles.
In accordance with existing agreements, India is to receive around 1,400 T-90 tanks by the end of this decade. The T-90 first entered service in 1993, and India is the largest country to use this system. India is planning to form 21 tank battalions by 2020, all equipped with the T-90 tank.
In fact there are only 45 combat ready tanks in each battalion. The other 17 are either in reserve or intended for training purposes.


'INS Vikramaditya will be a game-changer'

The "mother" will now get a "grandmother" for company. And while the former may be getting slightly toothless with age, the granny will pack a formidable punch capable of knocking down adversaries wanting to challenge her.

Known in naval circles as the "mother" since she was commissioned in 1987 as a second-hand warship bought from the UK, India's solitary aircraft INS Viraat is now 55-year-old. Though it still constitutes two acres of sovereign Indian territory cruising on the high seas, this 28,000-tonne old warhorse is left with just 11 Sea Harrier jump-jets to operate from its deck.

On Saturday, it will get a granny almost double its size. INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov packed with sensors and weapons, will join the Indian combat fleet when it's commissioned by defence minister A K Antony at Severodvinsk in Russia on November 16.

"INS Vikramaditya will be a game-changer, a potent floating airfield with supersonic fighters ready to fulfill India's blue-water naval aspirations far across the oceans. It's virtually a new ship after the refit. It will prove to be worth every penny invested," said a senior officer.

"Once it reaches India by early next year, and becomes fully operational thereafter with MiG-29Ks being flown by Indian pilots from its deck, it will be 44,570-tonnes of Indian military diplomacy patrolling the seas to guard the country's strategic interests," he added.

Power-projection is the name of the geostrategic game. And nothing does it better than an aircraft carrier capable of moving 600 nautical miles a day, ready to unleash its fighters, helicopters, missiles to take the battle to an enemy's shores if it comes to that.

The US has as many as 11 Nimitz-class "super-carriers" deployed around the globe. Each is over 94,000-tonne, powered by two nuclear reactors and capable of carrying 80-90 fighters. China, too, is now furiously building new carriers — dubbing them "symbols of a great nation" — after inducting its first conventionally-powered carrier, the 65,000-tonne Liaoning, slightly over a year ago.

With INS Vikramaditya becoming the biggest-ever warship to be inducted, the Navy's long-standing ambition to operate two full-fledged "carrier battle groups" - one each for the eastern and western seaboards - has come close to fruition. But it will become an actual reality only after the long-delayed 40,000-tonne INS Vikrant, being built at the Cochin Shipyard, is ready for induction by end-2018.
INS Vikramaditya itself has had a tortuous journey. The Soviet fleet inducted Gorshkov in 1987 but decommissioned it in 1996 due to high costs in the post-Cold War era. A cash-strapped Russia first offered the partly-burnt Gorshkov to India as a free "gift" in 1994, provided the costs for refit and fighters were paid.

Protracted negotiations followed, with the refit cost jumping from $400 million to $700 million. In January 2004, a $1.5 billion package deal was eventually inked, with $974 million earmarked for the refit and rest for 16 MiG-29Ks. Gorshkov was then to be delivered by August 2008.

But more was to follow, with Russia milking India on the ground the refit work had been grossly underestimated. Amid the bitter wrangling, which injected a distinct chill into bilateral ties, the then Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta even accused Russia of reneging from what was a "fixed price contract".

Finally, a fresh deal was inked in 2010, with the refit being pegged at $2.33 billion and another $2 billion for 45 MiG-29Ks. But there were more hiccups to follow. As per the re-revised timeframe, INS Vikramaditya was to be delivered by last December but serious engine/boiler malfunctions during sea trials derailed it yet again. The long saga will end on Saturday.
-Times of india

November 13, 2013

Tender out for Rustom-II's SATCOM Antenna

With its first flight scheduled for February 2014, the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) has floated a global tender to acquire a SATCOM Airborne Antenna Assembly System (SAAAS) for the Rustom-II medium altitude longe endurance UAV. The SATCOM antenna, a communication bridge between the air vehicle and ground station will function in the frequency range of Ku-band for the beyond line of sight communication, in which the uplink carries aircraft command and control, in addition to voice information while the downlink carries multi sensor payload information and multiplexed telemetry data as and when required. The SATCOM parabolic dish antenna will need to be between 0.6-0.73 metres in diameter. Vendors participating in the tender will also need to supply inertial navigation and GPS sensors as part of the package. The ADE has stipulated that the SAAAS needs to be operational at non-pressurised altitudes of upto 35,000 feet. The ADE has provided an extremely detailed list of specifications for the SATCOM's performance. The work package will be divided into two phases, with the first constituting delivery of three airworthy systems to ADE and the second phase comprising flight testing and performance evaluation of one of the systems on a Rustom-II flying platform. This is likely to take place next year once flights begin. ADE has strongly indicated that it prefers a modified existing system to cut down on time. In March this year, SP's had reported how the DRDO had also decided to outsource the SATCOM datalink for the Rustom-II. The ADE has also called for interest in development of the Automatic Take-off and Landing System (ATOL) for the Rustom-II.


Top Israeli general in India to discuss military ties

India and Israel continue to silently expand their already extensive ties in the fields of defence and homeland security, with Israeli chief of land forces major general Guy Zur now in New Delhi on a four-day visit.

Maj-Gen Zur on Tuesday held talks with defence minister A K Antony, Army chief General Bikram Singh, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi and IAF chief Air chief marshal N A K Browne, among others, to discuss measures to bolster bilateral defence cooperation.

While regional and global security situation figured in the talks, the focus was on bilateral defence training programmes, exchanges, R&D projects and armament deals. "The two countries, which share similar challenges of terrorism, have strong military and defence trade ties," said an officer.

The Israeli general will also be visiting the Para establishment in Agra and the Army's Southwestern Command in Jaipur during his visit here. "He has invited Gen Bikram Singh to visit Israel," he said.

Israel is India's second largest defence supplier, second only to Russia, but the ties are largely kept under wraps due to political sensitivities. Tel Aviv records military sales worth around $1 billion to New Delhi every year, ranging from Heron and Searcher UAVs, Harpy and Harop "killer" drones to Green Pine radars, Python and Derby air-to-air missiles.

Two major joint projects, however, are running way behind schedule. The first one is the development of the long-range SAM (LR-SAM) project, sanctioned in December 2005 at a cost of Rs 2,606 crore, to arm Indian warships. The second is the even bigger Rs 10,076 crore medium-range SAM (MR-SAM) project, sanctioned in February 2009, for air defence squadrons of IAF.

Both the SAM systems, being developed by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with DRDO, have the same missile with an interception range of 70-km. They are to be produced in bulk by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics (BDL) to plug the existing gaping holes in India's air defence cover.

India is also interested in ordering another two advanced Israeli Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) aircraft, capable of detecting hostile aircraft, cruise missiles and other incoming aerial threats far before ground-based radars, but the huge cost escalation has slowed down things. The first three Phalcon AWACS were inducted by IAF in 2009-2010 under the $1.1 billion tripartite agreement among India, Israel and Russia. 
Times of india

November 12, 2013

India Again Considers Buying Israeli-made ATGM

(Defensenews) : The Israeli-built Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is back on the Indian Army’s acquisition agenda. The potential purchase of the missile arose during a Nov. 11 meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which likely will take up the issue again when it meets later this month, an Indian Defence Ministry source said.
The purchase of the Spike was put on hold in April as it was a single-vendor procurement from Israeli company Rafael. But the Indian Army is in a hurry to get advanced ATGMs.
The renewed interest in the Spike is unlikely to affect a US proposal to jointly produce the Javelin ATGM with India, the Defence Ministry source said, because the Army needs more than 20,000 advanced ATGMs. The Spike, if purchased, will be vehicle-mounted, the source said, while the Javelin will be man-portable.
The Army currently depends on Konkurs M and Milan ATGMs, which are less than 2,000 meters in range.
The Indian Army’s 2010 request for proposals (RfPs) for advanced ATGMs went to Rafael, Paris-based MBDA, US companies Raytheon and General Dynamics and Russia’s Rosoboronoexport. Only Rafael responded to the tender; the other companies balked at India’s technology-transfer requirements.
The Indian Army now proposes to buy third-generation Spike ATGM systems including 321 missile launchers, 8,356 missiles and 15 training simulators and associated accessories, along with transfer of technology. The Army would mount the Spikes on its Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.
US Deputy Defence Secretary Ash Carter formally proposed the joint development of the Javelin during a September visit to India. The Americans have agreed to sell about 6,000 man-portable Javelins to India within six to eight months of a contract signing, and for future needs the US can explore co-production of the missile and later work on the co-development of an ATGM tailored for India. The Americans have also agreed to transfer technology including the special process for manufacturing the Javelin’s warhead, rocket motor, propellant, guidance and seeker, but no algorithms for guidance, which an Indian Army official said is the core to any guidance system.
A team from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin has already briefed Defence Ministry officials on the possibilities of joint development of the Javelin.
India also is developing its own ATGM, the Nag.

CBI set to close Barak probe, MoD readies to buy missiles

Shortly after closing the Soltam anti-material rifle bribery case, the CBI is also set to close its probe into corruption allegations in the Rs 393 crore deal to buy Barak missiles from Israel.
The imminent closure of the 2006 case is being seen as the reason behind the defence ministry's decision Monday to pursue the deal to buy 262 missiles manufactured by Israel's Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries.
Officials said the paucity of evidence in bribery scandals had been discussed more than once when MoD officials and top CBI officers reviewed defence investigations and that the Barak case figured prominently in the discussions.
Sources said a formal closure report in the October 2006 case could be filed as early as the end of this month.
They said the procurement of missiles for the Barak systems was discussed at the defence acquisition council meeting Monday and it was decided to set up a special panel to clear the deal.
The panel was set up after MoD received a favourable opinion from the Attorney General on signing a contract, sources said.
The Barak case was among the biggest referred to the CBI following the Tehelka expose and its FIR named former defence minister George Fernandes, former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, former Navy chief Sushil Kumar and defence agent Suresh Nanda, among others.
The agency had alleged that former Admiral S M Nanda's son Suresh Nanda bribed the Samata Party to get Fernandes to clear the deal when he was defence minister. Nanda allegedly paid Rs 2 crore to get the NDA government's signature on a contract for the Barak anti-missile systems and missiles.
The CBI had also alleged that total kickbacks amounting to Rs 174 crore were paid in the deal.
The FIR had put the Navy in a tight spot as the Barak system was fitted on 10 warships as the primary air defence system. The scandal had also hit procurement of missiles for the systems.


November 11, 2013

India, Dassault enter final MMRCA negotiations

India has confirmed that final negotiations with Dassault for 126 Rafale fighters have commenced, and that the Indian air force plans to phase out its Mikoyan MiG-21 aircraft from 2014.
The defence ministry says final talks are now under way with Dassault, which in early February secured so-called "L1 vendor" status, denoting that it was the lowest-price-compliant bidder for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition.
A defence ministry official also dismissed as false a report in an Indian publication that quoted unnamed sources as saying it had raised concerns about calculations pertaining to the Rafale's life-cycle costs.
Achieving L1 status allows Dassault to conduct final negotiations for the deal with India's Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC). A CNC is comprised of a defence programme's key stakeholders, and in the case of MMRCA is likely to include organisations such as the air force and Hindustan Aeronautics, which will build 108 of the aircraft domestically.
Once launched, negotiations between the CNC and Dassault could take between six months and one year to complete, according to an industry source.
Analysts have estimated the value of the MMRCA contest as ranging between $10 billion and $20 billion. The Rafale's original rivals for the requirement were the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16IN Super Viper, RSK MiG-35 and Saab Gripen NG. All but the Rafale and Typhoon were eliminated in April 2011.
The defence ministry source says India will begin phasing out its MiG-21s from 2014. While popular among experienced pilots, the MiG-21s in air force service have suffered from obsolescence problems as well as a number of fatal accidents in recent years


India rises as world's biggest weapons buyer

With nations, including the US and UK, effecting defence budget cuts, India will emerge as the world’s biggest market for weapons over the next two decades. And vying for a share of the pie will be Russian, American, Israeli, French and British firms.
Despite forays by the Americans and Israelis into the Indian defence market with Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 50,000 crore worth of supplies respectively, Russia still bags a major chunk of orders with over Rs 4 lakh crore supplies made since the beginning of this century.
According to senior defence officers, including Indian Air Force (IAF) Director General (Inspection and Safety) Air Marshal P P Reddy, the force could be spending close to Rs 9 lakh crore in the next 15 years.
The news has come as a major boost to global arms companies that have been scrambling for orders following the cuts in domestic procurements in their respective countries.
The Indian phenomenon has been validated by the Stockholm-based think-tank, SIPRI, which has listed India as the world’s top arms importer for three years in a row now, on the basis of purchases made over the previous five years.
The Indian armed forces’ buying spree over the next two decades will be dictated by its desire to emerge as a modern military, plugging yawning gaps in its present capabilities.
It is also driven by the need to catch up with neighbour China, a possible adversary up north that has powered ahead with its own military modernisation drive on the strength of its booming economy.
Fortunately for India, its defence budget has been steadily increasing, with the 2013-14 budget crossing Rs 2.04 lakh crore, of which over Rs 86,741 crore was earmarked for capital expenditure.
Among the biggest of purchases that is waiting to happen in India is the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), described as the ‘mother of all deals’, estimated to be worth Rs 1 lakh crore.
Key to bolstering the IAF’s falling fighter aircraft squadron numbers, the 126 planes would add to the 20-tonne category of planes in the IAF fleet, bringing in the needed balance in the fleet of 12-tonne Light Combat Aircraft and 25-tonne Sukhois.
IAF will also spend another `2 lakh crore on buying 300 Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), jointly developed by India and Russia, from the middle of next decade.
With nearly 650 combat jets in the fleet, the IAF at present has 34 of the sanctioned 42 squadrons operational, but this will go down further in the next decade due to phasing out of the 250-odd MiG-series combat planes from the fleet, before it grows again and reaches optimal levels after 2030. China, on the other hand, has over 1,600 combat planes in its fleet, while Pakistan has only about 450.
Among the more critical gaps that India intends to plug is the one in its conventional submarine fleet. At present, the Indian Navy is saddled with an aging fleet of 13 submarines of which nine are the Russian Kilo class and rest are the German HDW Type 209 class.
 The six Project 75 Scorpene submarines under construction in the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks is delayed by over three years now and will be inducted beginning 2018 at a revised cost of `23,562 crore, nearly a `5,000 crore increase from the originally approved Rs 18,798 crore. This has resulted in the late 1990s plan of having 24 new submarines before 2030 going for a toss.
Only now, the Indian Navy has got clearance from the government to issue a Rs 50,000-crore tender for six new conventional diesel-electric submarines, under a project named 75I.
China, on the other hand, has over 60 conventional submarines and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, whereas India is only now building its first nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, and intends to have two more in the next decade or so.
These apart, the Navy already has 42 warships of various types—Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes and Mine Sweepers—on order with Indian shipyards, including the 45,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant, which is likely to be ready by 2018. Two more of the Vikrant-class will be built over the next decade or so, while the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya, for which `12,000 crore has been paid by India, will join the Indian fleet in a week.
Among the other purchases lined up by the armed forces are 22 attack helicopters for Rs 7,500 crore, 15 heavy cargo helicopters for Rs 5,000 crore, 16 naval multi-role helicopters for Rs 5,000 crore, 384 light utility helicopters, 45 medium transport aircraft that could cost Rs 20,000 crore, several unmanned aerial vehicles, and many more.