February 26, 2014

Defence Buys Worth RS 10,000 Crore Get Nod

A Defence Ministry panel cleared over a dozen proposals worth more than `10,000 crore in a marathon meeting on Monday, all in a bid to shore up India’s defence capabilities.
However, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by the Defence Minister, A K Antony and junior minister Jitendra Singh deferred a decision on taking forward four key procurement proposals and these included an urgent Army requirement of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers required for deployment in the mountainous terrains bordering China, officials said here.
The other proposals deferred included tweaking of tender provisions for 16 Navy Multi-role Helicopters, to allow public sector undertakings in an all-private sector project for 56 planes to replace the ageing Avro transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and changes in tender provisions for construction of four landing pontoon docks for the Navy at an Indian shipyard.
Among the proposals cleared by the DAC, along with all service chiefs and ministry’s secretaries as members, was the `1,125-crore Phase-2 of modernisation of airfields infrastructure that is being executed by the Indian private sector Tata SED, officials said.
In Phase-1, 30-odd airfields would be modernised, which will also aid civil aviation operations wherever commercial flights operate from.In Phase-2, 37 more airfields of the IAF would be upgraded to carry out operations of all types of aircraft, in all-weather and day-and-night conditions.
Upgrading of five key ordnance depots near the northern and eastern borders of the country at a cost of `1,800 crore under a modernisation project for strengthening ammunition and explosives storage of the armed forces was also approved.
The Army units deployed at the borders would soon be receiving supplies of 4,000 pieces of handheld thermal imagers from public sector Bharat Electronics Limited at a cost of `1,400, which also got approved at the DAC meeting.
Officials said the Army’s Russian-origin T-72 and T-90 tanks numbering 2,000 and 1,800 respectively and another 1,200 infantry combat vehicles or BMPs would get new Thermal Imaging Sights and the cost of each purchase would be approximately `1,000 crore, `860 crore and `964 crore, respectively.

Indian express

Decks Cleared for Development of BATL

Election year is turning out to be a lifesaver for crisis-hit BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), Chakkai, and the Missile Integration Complex (MIC) inaugurated there by Defence Minister A K Antony in November 2012.
In the 15 months since the inauguration, not a single missile has been integrated at the MIC, to the dismay of the BATL employees.
But now, decks are being cleared quickly for the take-over of Indian Air Force (IAF) land adjacent to the BATL unit.
This will see the long-delayed Phase II expansion of the missile firm finally happening. The Centre will release Rs 40 crore for funding a ‘barter’ so that the IAF can finalise the hand-over of its 7.15 acres of land to the BATL in exchange of 20 acres identified by the State Government at Muttathara. This exchange had been on the cards since 2009.
Last week, Antony promised the BATL’s combative AITUC and INTUC unions a quick end to the problems ailing the seven-year-old missile firm.
“The Defence Minister said that all issues, including matters related to pension and development stagnation, would be looked into,” said M P Achuthan MP, who met Antony in New Delhi with a petition from the AITUC-backed BrahMos Employees Union. And on Saturday, Antony met the INTUC-backed BrahMos Staff Association here, where he repeated the promise. “The Defence Minister has taken a favourable stance on all issues,” Association secretary Suresh Kumar L said.
The meetings are significant in that the BATL management considers both unions illegitimate.
The BATL was formed in December, 2007, by taking over the State Government-run Kerala Hitech Industries Ltd (KELTEC). However, progress has dragged owing to labour issues and scarcity of land for expanding the facility. Both unions have been shooting off petitions to the Centre, the Defence Minister and the State Government since 2008, but were being ignored. In November 2012, the Defence Minister inaugurated the MIC on a portion of the 7.15-acre IAF land which lies next to the BATL unit. The IAF has not formally transferred the land yetThe land deal can be concluded only when the State Government completes the development of the 20 acres at Muttathara and hands that over to the IAF. This process is currently on.
“We will be able to expand our facility once we get the entire 7.15-acre land at Chakkai. Currently only a part of it has been handed over to us, where we have the MIC. The rest of the land is occupied by the Air Force Signals Unit, which the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will help re-locate elsewhere,” said A Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer, BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL), the Indo-Russian parent company of the BATL.
For the past 15 months, the MIC has been limping along by assembling parts of the BrahMos missile. But then, seven years after its formation, full integration of the world-class cruise missile remains a dream at the BATL. The total production at MIC alone - which has around 27 staff - from April to December 2013, amounted to roughly Rs 1.30 crore, according to figures released by the BATL management.
In September that year, production amounted to a measly Rs 7,678, according to a petition filed before the Defence Minister by the trade unions.

The Indian express

February 24, 2014

Akash missile test-fired, on target again

For a second time in a span of four days, Indian Army successfully test-fired the medium range, surface-to-air missile, Akash, from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha on Monday.
Like in Friday’s trial, the missile hit the bull’s eye today too- it engaged and destroyed a receding flying target at a distance of 19 km. The target was a tow body and supported by pilotless aircraft Lakshya. “ The mission went off fantastically as planned”, a top Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official told the Hindu.
The missile was test-fired as part of pre-induction trials by the Army.
Akash missile is an air defence weapon system and capable of engaging multiple targets. It can thrust all the way up to the target because of its ramjet propulsion. It can fly at supersonic speed reaching a maximum of 2.5 Mach and engage the enemy aircraft at a maximum range of 25 km.
The missile was developed under DRDO’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme using state-of-the-art technology. It could be launched to engage and destroy fighter aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and other targets. Supported by phased array Rajendra radar, which can track 64 targets, Akash missiles are guided towards their targets.
The warhead of the missile gets triggered by radio proximity fuze, while the onboard digital autopilot helps in stability and manoeuvring capability. 

The Hindu

Akash missile may be inducted into Army soon

The successful test-firing of the indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) in Odisha on Friday has the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) brimming with confidence that it would be quickly inducted into the Army. With the aid of pilotless target aircraft, Lakshya, the Akash missile successfully intercepted a flying target. Senior officials from the defence ministry said Friday's test fire was more of a 'pre-induction trial'.

A senior official said the Air Force has got one version of Akash, but the Army is yet to follow suit. According to senior officials, the Defence Acquisition Council has already given the nod for a combined order of Akash missiles for IAF and Army, pegged at Rs 23,000 crore."There might be a few more tests, but from our side, Akash is ready for induction and production," said a DRDO official. The Hyderabad-based lab of DRDO, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), is among the major contributors towards development of Akash.DRDO started developing Akash in the 1980s in collaboration with at least 300 public and private companies, a significant chunk of which were from Andhra Pradesh. The missile is often evaluated against the American Patriot SAM but uses an integral ram jet rocket propulsion system in addition to being touted as being more accurate and cheap. Akash aims to replace the Russian 2K12 Kub missiles that are in service presently.

Developed indigenously under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of India, Akash is an all weather area air defence weapon system for defending vulnerable areas against medium range air targets penetrating from various altitudes.

In addition to DRDL, other major contributors towards development of Akash include Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Research & Development Establishment (Engineers) and Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) of Pune.

Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) at Hyderabad has reportedly been assigned to produce missile systems, while Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore is the nodal production agency. Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad, Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai and Tata Power Company Mumbai are other production partners. 

What makes Akash lethal?
Battery Level Radar (BLR) can concurrently track up to 64 targets while simultaneously guiding eight missiles towards four targets at the same time.

Immunity to electronic countermeasure environment.

Akash can operate in a totally automated hands-free operation mode, from target detection to kill.

The supersonic surface-to-air missile has a range of about 25 km and can fly up to a speed of Mach 2.5.

With pre-fragmented warhead of 55 kg and safety arming mechanism, Akash boasts of high odds of kills while manoeuvring targets like cruise missiles, fighter aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Akash can neutralize multiple aerial targets attacking from several directions simultaneously.

It has a high flexibility of deployment as it can be launched from mobile as well as static platforms.

Akash is equipped with advanced battlefield management software for performing relative threat computation and pairing of targets and missiles.

Times of india

February 21, 2014

L&T pioneers torpedo-tube AUV, Navy interested

The Indian Navy is now keenly tracking an advanced programme unveiled at the recently concluded Defexpo event: the Adamya autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed and built in-house by L&T Heavy Engineering. While the navy has a stated requirement for AUVs, the Adamya has caught its attention for a reason. According to L&T, "Adamya is the next step into the world of unmanned naval warfare and coastal defence. Its unique design allows it to be launched from the torpedo tube of a submarine—a pioneering feat globally."
L&T has highlighted several features on the Adamya to the Navy, including the fact that the vehicle's modular design and depth-rated shells enable mission customisation as per the Navy's needs without having to resort to pressure-proofing of the internal electronic systems. Other qualities include short turnaround time and ability to be air-shipped conveniently. The Adamya is being pitched for naval applications that include hydrographic survey (the Hydrography Dept. incidentally is also looking for AUVs), mine countermeasures, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance (ISR), offshore survey, clandestine monitoring, environmental monitoring and optional anti-submarine warfare. The 18.7 feet, 850 kg platform sports an endurance of 8 hours at 4 knots (with maximum forward speed of 6 knots) with a customisable depth rating of 500 metres.

By SP's Special Correspondent

Black Shark sinks, advantage Atlas?

With a deal for 98 Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes built by Finmeccanica subsidiary WASS virtually dead in the water in the aftermath of the AgustaWestland episode, the Indian Navy is weighing other options. Alternative suppliers are also moving quickly to position themselves for an advantage. The recently concluded Defexpo show saw Germany's Atlas Elektronik formalise its partnership with private Indian shipbuilder Pipavav, announcing the intention to hammer out a joint venture that will upgrade the Indian Navy Class 209's existing torpedoes and offer license-built SeaHake Mod4 torpedoes for the heavyweight torpedo requirement.Atlas (a joint venture of ThyssenKrupp and Airbus Group). The naval weapon is being pitched as having extreme unmatched endurance and guided range far beyond the firing platform's sensor range, very high speed, including continuous speed control to encounter present and future scenarios, multiple homing modes, including active, passive, combined, acoustic homing and wake homing. Atlas has also conveyed that the SeaHake can be integrated on any modern submarine platform and combat management system, including the Class 214 and S-80 that will compete in the prospective Project 75-I competition for six new generation conventional attack submarines.

  By SP's Special Correspondent

Akash missile test-fired

India on Thursday test-fired the indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile from the Integrated Test Range launch complex at Chandipur near here.

The missile targeted a floating object supported by Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) 'Lakshya', defence officials said.
"Akash was test fired from launch complex-3 at 11.22am," a defence official said, adding that "some more trials would be conducted within the next couple of days".

"During the trial, the missile was aimed at intercepting a floating object supported by a pilotless target aircraft, flown from launch complex-II, at a definite altitude over the sea," according to a source.

Akash is a medium range surface-to-air anti-aircraft defence system developed by the DRDO as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

It has a strike range of 25 km and can carry a warhead of 60 kgs. It has the capability to target aircraft up to 30 km away and is packed with a battery that can track and attack several targets simultaneously, they said.

With the capability to neutralize aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles etc, defence experts compare Akash to the American MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system.

The last trial was conducted on June 6, 2012 from the same base. 
 Times of india

February 19, 2014

BEL to invest $100 million in electronic warfare products

State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will invest Rs.620 crore/$100 million over the next five years in developing electronic warfare products jointly with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a top official said Tuesday.

"We will invest $100 million from ensuing fiscal year (2014-15) over the next five years for funding joint programmes with DRDO to develop electronic warfare products required for our armed forces," BEL chairman and managing director S. K. Sharma said at a conference here.

As the country's leading electronics major, BEL manufactures and supplies a range of products, including radars, electronic warfare system, sound and vision broadcasting, missiles and sonars to the Indian army, navy and air force.

With nine manufacturing facilities across the country, the company had jointly developed a mobile integrated electronic warfare system 'Samyukta' with DRDO, Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and the army's signal corps for tactical battlefield use.

Covering a wide range of frequencies, the system is used for surveillance, analysis, interception, direction finding and position fixing, listing, prioritizing and jamming of all communication and radar signals.

"In view of our capability to manufacture electronic warfare systems, we have decided to associate with DRDO in developing advanced and next generation electronic warfare products from inception to avoid delays in production," Sharma said at the third International Conference on Electronic Warfare (EWCI 2014).

As a force multiplier system, an electronic system needs high level of secrecy to maintain an element of surprise against an adversary. It ensures tactical and strategic advantage for armed forces during an operation.

"We sold electronic warfare systems to the armed forces to the value of Rs.2,000 crore over the years. The market potential is about Rs.10,000 crore in view of the growing requirement for such warfare by the armed forces in the coming years," Sharma added.

Earlier, delivering a keynote address, Air Marshal M. Matheswaran of the Integrated Defence Staff told about 600 delegates from across the country and overseas that information operation and information warfare were inseparable.

"Armed forces tend to put electronic warfare on backburner and information operation in the forefront. Gathering information, building upon that information against adversary by deception or jamming gives tactical advantage," he said.

Stressing on the need to educate and train more engineers on operating electronic warfare systems, he said the academia and industry should take advantage of the policy change to involve the private sector in developing the technology and products to gather information and use it for national security.

Deccan herald /IANS

February 17, 2014

Troops to economy, army cells to keep a watch on China

In a first, the Indian Army has deployed a special team of officers to keep tabs on China’s growing capabilities, dig into the heart of its strategic mindset and predict its impact on national security.
These officers, assigned to “China cells” scattered across the northern, central and eastern sectors where the two countries have long-simmering border disputes, have been given the sole mandate to track every Chinese move and file reports on a daily basis, a top officer told HT.
The teams are monitoring not only China’s military capabilities but also critical areas such as its international relations strategies, soft power efforts and economic reforms, said a source.
The army looks at the move- a brainchild of army chief General Bikram Singh – as a way of understanding China better, amid global concerns about its strategic intent.
"It’s not about an incursion here or a transgression there. The China cells are looking at the big picture,” the officer said. He clarified that the army wasn’t interfering in the domain of the ministry of external affairs, describing the cells as the army’s “in-house think tanks.”
The cell set up at the Kolkata-based Eastern Command is staffed by six officers, including a brigadier (China) who heads it. The squads at the Udhampur-based Northern Command and the Lucknow-based Central Command consist of three officers each and are headed by colonels.
In recent months, China has grown increasingly aggressive along the line of actual control (LAC).
This has happened in spite of the two countries signing a new border pact, with a series of incursions straining bilateral ties.  China’s aggressive foreign policy has triggered disquiet globally, at a time when the US is focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, seen as a counter to China.
There have been growing concerns about China bullying countries with whom it has territorial disputes in the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. China also set off alarm bells last year by unilaterally declaring control of the airspace above large parts of the East China Sea, where it is locked in a territorial dispute with Japan.

Hindustan times

Budget 2014: Defence ministry gets Rs 2,24,000 crore, 10% more than last time

Amid its modernization drive, the defence ministry was on Monday allocated Rs 2,24,000 crore in the interim budget, marking a 10 per cent increase over the last budget.

The allocation for the ministry in the last financial year (2013-14) was Rs 2,03,672 crore, of which around Rs 80,000 crore was to be spent on modernization.

The allocation was announced in the vote-on-account presented by finance minister P Chidambaram.
Last time, the hike in allocation was 14% compared to the previous year.

The ministry had spent 82% of that amount till the start of this month.

The hike in allocation comes at a time when the ministry has a number of procurements in the pipeline while some are in their final stages and expected to materialize in the coming months.

These include the deal for 126 multi-role combat aircraft which is expected to cost thousands of crores of rupees.

Other acquisitions in the pipeline include deals for 22 Apache combat choppers, 15 Chinook heavylift helicopters and the 126 Rafale combat aircraft.

Defence ministry is also in advance stage of negotiations for a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme with Russia, on which it is expected to spend around Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next 10-15 years.

It is also in the process of issuing the tender for the approximately Rs 60,000 crore deal for procuring six large conventional diesel electric submarines for the Navy.

The ministry has been seeking additional funds of Rs 40,000 crore since last year, but that request has been turned down in view of the slowdown.

In view of certain defence scams in which foreign firms were involved, the ministry has also worked towards promoting indigenization in the defence sector for which it made a major procurement policy change to make the importing of weapons systems the last option for the three services.

- Times of india

February 15, 2014

More organized approach could've got LCA faster: DRDO official

In light of defence minister A K Antony recently expressing concern over delay in development of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Avinash Chander, director general (R&D) in Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said government should adopt an organized approach in such projects.

Chander, who is also the scientific advisor to defence ministry, was in the city to attend valediction function of Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS) probationers, passing out from the National Academy of Defence Production (NADP), here. He said, "both research, production of prototypes and trials should go simultaneously. However, in the current system, a separate approval is required for each stage."

In LCA, first 9 prototypes were made and then trials followed. Each step of initial development, trials and making fresh units needs separate permission. An integrated approach will work better, said Chander. Finally with a substantial 40 LCAs ready, the DRDO can hope for faster progress in subsequent stages, he said. The project was sanctioned in 1994 and given the track record of other aircraft including F-16s, it takes at least 15-16 years to develop a new plane, he said.

Chander also pointed out at low budgetary allocation for defence research. In India, around 5.2% of the total defence budget is earmarked for research. In South Korea, it is as much as 20% and China spends 16% of the defence budget on research. On LCA's Kaveri engine that failed to meet the requirements of aircraft, he said it had been subsequently evolved to be now used in the futuristic unmanned combat aircraft to be made by DRDO. The failure of Kaveri engine in LCA was called a major setback. DRDO is now depending on US-made GE engines for the aircraft.

Chander said one of the biggest challenges before DRDO now was to make guided artillery shells. At present, the artillery has conventional shells. These needed repeated bombarding to ensure the target was hit. Guided shells are like smart bombs that can be pinpointed at the target. However, the challenge is to develop a technology that would prevent electronic guiding equipment embedded in shells from getting damaged when the gun fired. Artillery guns fire with almost 60,000 G-force. Even as the design for smart shells was there, the technology to resist the impact was yet to be developed, he said.

DRDO to turn to campus

DRDO is planning to reach out to the campuses to hunt for research ideas. Avinash Chander said plans were under way to start separate centres dealing in different areas of research for tying up with the universities. So far, research outside of DRDO was limited to ordnance factories. In coming years, many new ideas could come from the campuses, he said.
- Times of india

February 14, 2014

India to procure night-vision device from Elbit

The Cabinet Committee on Security has cleared a proposal worth over Rs 1,800 crore for procuring night-vision equipment in a bid to enhance performance of the Army's tank fleet at night.

The Army's proposal for procuring TIFCS (Thermal Imaging Fire Control System) for the T-90 and T-72 tanks was cleared by the CCS headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in its recent meeting, government sources told PTI.

Under the plan, the T-90 and the T-72 battle tanks will be equipped with the systems to be procured from Elbit Systems of Israel, they said.

Before the inking of the deal, certain questions raised by the CCS will have to be clarified by the force in connection with the proposal and the Army was in the process of doing so, the sources added.

The Army is undertaking an ambitious programme to upgrade its entire fleet of over 2,000 BMPs with advanced weaponry and night-fighting capabilities.

The mechanised forces, which include 63 armoured corps regiments and over 30 mechanised infantry battalions, constitute a critical component of Army's preparedness for high-intensity, fast-tempo and short-duration battles of the future.

Recently, the Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister A K Antony had cleared proposal to procure thermal imaging sights for the armoured vehicle fleet of the force comprising tanks and Infantry Combat Vehicles.

Of the TI sights to be acquired, 2,000 will be for the commanders of the T-72 tanks, which form the backbone of the force's mechanised forces, for around Rs 1,000 crore.

The Army has a fleet of around 2,400 T-72 tanks, which did not come equipped with the night fighting capabilities. The other major component is that of T-90S tanks, 1650 of which have been ordered and over 800 of them have arrived in India.


India Proposes Joint Maintenance of Aircraft Carrier With Russia

India has proposed servicing a Russian-built aircraft carrier delivered to the country last month together with Russia’s Sevmash shipyard over the next 40 years, the shipbuilder said Thursday.
Sevmash said the current servicing contract is for 20 years, but that Indian naval officials have proposed to extend that timeframe.
“Our Indian partners have proposed to conduct all service work on the ship together with Sevmash,” the White Sea-based shipbuilder said.
The Vikramaditya was ceremonially handed over to India in November, but only departed from Russia in December, and arrived safely at its new home port Karwar last month.
Sevmash representatives are scheduled to visit India next month as part of an intergovernmental military cooperation commission.
The two countries have longstanding military ties and, among other projects, have cooperated on the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile and the fifth-generation PAK-FA jet fighter still under development.


First batch of Mi-17 V-5 helicopters delivered to India

The remaining 40 helicopters, which were purchased under a contract in 2012, will be supplied to the customer by the end of 2015. The helicopters will be used by VVIPs during India’s up-coming election season. Russia has delivered the first batch of 19 Mi-17 V-5 military transport helicopters to India, as part of the contract to supply 59 helicopters of this type, an official representative of the Russian delegation at Singapore Airshow 2014 told Itar-Tass.
The remaining 40 helicopters will be supplied to the customer by the end of 2015. The contract was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India in December 2012. The contractor is the Kazan Helicopter Plant (KVZ), which is integrated in the Russian Helicopters holding.
In late 2013, KVZ executed the previous large helicopter contract with India signed in 2008, under which it supplied 80 MK-17B-5.The new Russian MI-17 V-5 helicopter is an upgraded version of MI-8/17 which Russia supplied to India before. It is powered by new VK-2500 engines, has a larger payload capacity, modern avionics, an airborne weather radar, and a night vision goggles compatible cockpit which allows for using these helicopters in operations by special task forces.

In May 1999, during Operation Safed Sagar, the Mi-17 was used in the first air phase of the Kargil War by the IAF. The helicopters will most likely be used to transport India’s VVIPs during the election season. Sources tell RIR that the Special Protection Group (SPG), the elite force which handles the Indian Prime Minister’s security, has cleared the helicopters to transport the head of the government. The Mi-17s assume special importance since they will be used in place of AW101 choppers. The Indian government cancelled an order for 12 AgustaWestland AW101 choppers, over corruption allegations between Italian businessmen and their Indian intermediaries.
Russian Helicopters is now actively marketing the MI-38 model in countries of the Asian-Pacific region. The Russian producer plans to sell helicopters in the region with Russian-made engines.

February 11, 2014

A joint venture in India is the way to go: Atlas Elektronik

German firm Atlas Elektronik has won the competition for ATAS (active towed array sonars), which will equip the indigenous Talwar-class ships of the Indian Navy and subsequently be manufactured in India under Bharat Electronics. In an interview to Huma Siddiqui, Atlas Elektronik's India head Khalil Rahman talks about the firm's plans for the country. Edited excerpts:

What opportunities do you see for Atlas Elektronik in India?

We are bidding for major Indian naval programmes, including the new torpedo defence suite (NTDS), which is an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) suit, consisting of a sonar, decoy and a fire control system. The bid is for 12 systems and the RfP has been issued. We are also expecting a bid for 16 shallow watercraft. The third bid is for the towed-array sonar for eight-kilo class submarines, which are undergoing upgrade.
Towed sonars are a cost-effective way to strengthen the underwater capabilities of the navy. ATAS will equip the Delhi and Talwar-class ships and will be subsequently manufactured in India under BEL. The first 6 systems will be imported and the next batches will be built in India under a transfer of technology arrangement.

Many multinational firms operating in India are forging JVs with Indian companies. Does this appeal to Atlas Elektronik?
We are talking actively with our Indian partners and are committed to the market; so a JV in some form is inevitable.

Is the company looking for any more programmes with the navy or the Coast Guard?

We are interested in all programmes where our technology has an application. The ASW (anti-submarine warfare) market is a big opportunity for Atlas in India. We are one of the few global players with a complete ASW solution.
The company owns the IP on everything from the tip of the torpedo to the casket. Our plan is to develop an indigenous solution, which enables us to compete in the Indian market.

The Financial express

IAF will buy 14 Tejas squadrons, lowering costs

India’s own fighter, the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), is playing a growing role in protecting Indian airspace. On December 20, when the Tejas was cleared for operational service in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Minister A K Antony declared 200 Tejas fighters would eventually enter combat service. Today, that figure quietly swelled to well above 300, with the government indicating the IAF would have at least 14 Tejas squadrons.

Each IAF combat squadron has 21 fighter aircraft; 14 squadrons add to 294 Tejas fighters. The 21 comprise 16 frontline, single-seat fighters, two twin-seat trainers and three reserve aircraft to make up losses in a war.

In a written statement tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Antony’s deputy, Jitendra Singh, stated, “The MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircrafts of the IAF have already been upgraded and currently equip 14 combat squadrons. These aircraft, however, are planned for being phased out over the next few years and will be replaced by the LCA.”

So far, the IAF has committed to inducting only six Tejas squadrons — two squadrons of the current Tejas Mark I, and four squadrons of the improved Tejas Mark II. In addition, the navy plans to buy 40-50 Tejas for its future aircraft carriers.

Since the programme began in 1985, about Rs 7,000 crore have been spent on the Tejas Mark I, which obtained Initial Operational Clearance in December, allowing regular IAF pilots to fly it. By the end of this year, when it obtains Final Operational Clearance, it would have consumed a Budget of Rs 7,965 crore.

An additional Rs 2,432 crore has been allocated for the Tejas Mark II, which takes the total development cost of the IAF variant to Rs 10,397 crore.

Separately, Rs 3,650 crore were sanctioned for developing the naval Tejas, which is ongoing. That means the Aeronautical Development Agency will spend Rs 14,047 crore on the entire Tejas programme, including the IAF, naval and trainer variants.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, which manufactures the Tejas, has quoted Rs 162 crore a fighter as its latest price. Amortising the entire development cost on the envisioned 344 fighters (IAF: 294; Navy: 50), the Tejas would cost Rs 209 crore ($33.5 million) per fighter.

In comparison, the IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighters, bought in the 1980s, are currently being upgraded for $45 million per aircraft. IAF pilots that test-fly the Tejas Mark I find it qualitatively superior to the Mirage 2000.

The heavier Sukhoi-30MKI costs more than Rs 400 crore ($65 million) each. And the Rafale, which is currently being negotiated with Dassault, is pegged at Rs 750-850 crore ($120-140 million) per fighter.

Aerospace expert and historian, Pushpindar Singh, points out that ordering more Tejas would bring down the price further, making it enormously attractive for air forces across the world that are replacing some 3,500 MiG-21, Mirage-III, early model F-16 and F-5 fighters that are completing their service lives.

“With these air forces facing severe budget pressures, the Tejas has only one rival in this market — the JF-17 Thunder, being built by China in partnership with Pakistan. They are marketing the JF-17 aggressively in every global air show, but India is completely ignoring the Tejas’ potential,” said Singh.

Business standard

February 10, 2014

After Army and Navy, IAF gears up for supersonic BrahMos missile punch on Sukhois

India will begin testing its deadliest conventional missile, the 290-km supersonic BrahMos cruise missile, from its most potent fighter jet, the heavy-duty Sukhoi-30MKI, by the end of this year.

After the Army and Navy, IAF is now gearing up to induct the BrahMos missile which flies at Mach 2.8, almost three times the speed of sound. A tactical or non-nuclear missile touted to be the best in its class in the world, with "nine times more kinetic energy than sub-sonic missiles", BrahMos is jointly produced by India and Russia.

"The air-launched version of BrahMos, which at 2.5 tonne is lighter than the 3-tonne land and sea variants, and its launchers are ready,'' said BrahMos Aerospace chief A Sivathanu Pillai, speaking exclusively to TOI.

"The missile has been cleared for flight after simulation tests. Work is now underway in the Hindustan Aeronautics facility at Nasik to strengthen the Sukhoi fuselage to ensure the fighter can carry the heavy missile. After integration, we plan to test the missile from the fighter in December," he added.

Though Pillai was reluctant to talk numbers, sources said IAF has placed a Rs 6,516 crore order for the air-launched BrahMos missile. With the Army having already inducted three BrahMos regiments and the Navy having installed the missiles on six warships till now, including the latest stealth frigates, BrahMos is fast becoming the missile of choice for the armed forces for its sheer lethality and precision-strike capabilities.

Sources, in fact, say the total order book for BrahMos stands at Rs 26,776 crore, with the Army alone notching up Rs 13,618 crore, though there is some disquiet about its high costs. From 2007 onwards, Army has progressively inducted three regiments of BrahMos Block-II missiles developed to hit a specific small target with a low radar cross-section in a cluttered environment.

The missile's Block-III version, which will constitute the 4th regiment, has "trajectory maneuver and steep dive capabilities" to take out targets hidden behind mountain ranges. The government has also approved the deployment of BrahMos missiles in Arunachal Pradesh to counter China's huge build of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, after the earlier nod for the western sector facing Pakistan.

As for the air-launched BrahMos, sources say 42 Sukhois have been earmarked for structural and software modifications to carry the missiles. IAF has till now inducted around 190 of the 272 Sukhois ordered from Russia for over $12 billion, with a bulk of them being produced at the HAL facility at Nasik under licence.

"The launcher, which weighs around 300-350 kg, will be fitted on the fighter's belly. It will take another three months to perfect the Sukhoi's software and mission computer for the BrahMos missiles,'' said an official.

IAF is progressively basing its Sukhoi-30MKI "air dominance" fighters both on the western and eastern fronts to add to the dissuasive posture against Pakistan and China. Pune and Bareilly already have two Sukhoi squadrons each, while one each is based in Tezpur, Chabua, Halwara and Jodhpur.

Another squadron is coming up at Sirsa, with Tezpur, Chabua, Jodhpur and Halwara slated to get their second squadrons thereafter. The last Sukhoi squadron will be based at Thanjavur in south India by around 2018 to keep "a strategic eye" on the Indian Ocean region. 
- Times of india

February 8, 2014

Agni-5 to be ready for induction in armed forces by next year

The Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a strike range of more than 5,500 km, is expected to be ready for induction into the armed forces by next year after completion of development trials, DRDO chief Avinash Chander said on Friday.
The head of the defence research agency also said that sea trials of the indigenously built nuclear submarine INS Arihant would begin in the next “one or two months” and the under-water missile BO-5 would be fired from it during that process.
Addressing a press conference at the Defexpo-2014, Chander said the Agni-5 ballistic missile is expected to be ready for induction by the next year.
“It will take two-three more trials for the completion of the development trials. These trials are expected be completed within one year. We are going to do the trials from canisters this year. After few trials it will be ready for induction,” he said.
The three stages, solid propellant missile has already been test-fired twice from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) and have been highly successful.
The indigenously developed missile Agni-V is capable of striking a range of more than 5000 km. It is about 17 meter long and 2 metres wide with launch weight of around 50 tonnes.
Unlike other missiles of indigenously built Agni series, the latest one ‘AGNI-V’ is the most advanced version having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
In the Agni series, India at present has Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500 range.
Commenting on the trials of INS Arihant, Chander said the vessel will be launched for sea trials within a month or two and it will be firing the indigenous BO-5 missiles, which have a range of around 700 km.
He said the development trials of the BO-5 missile were completed in January 2013 and it is ready for being fully integrated with the indigenous nuclear submarine.
On the Ballistic Missile Defence system, he said the first test of the frozen configuration will be tested within a month’s time.
To a query on India’s anti-satellite capability, the DRDO chief said the kill vehicle (missile) of the BMD along with the launcher of the Agni missile can be used for demonstrating this capability but so far, the country does not want to showcase it as it is against having debris and other unwanted materials in space.

Indian express

Dhanush howitzers all set to play bigger role

Though several companies have come out with heavy-duty artillery guns, sensing the void felt by the Indian Army, only one of these big guns really boomed.

Manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board, based on technology supplied by Bofors, Dhanush howitzers (155 mm/45 calibre) has a range of 38 km. Notwithstanding last year’s barrel bursting experience, the gun's performance was found satisfactory in limited firing trials carried out so far.

Later this month, the indigenous artillery gun would be taken to Sikkim for another round of trial to check its accuracy and range. “We already have a written request from the Army to make 128 of these guns for which we began procuring the material,” an OFB official told Deccan Herald at the ongoing Defence Exposition (DefExpo) in Delhi.

Manufactured by the OFB units in Kolkata, Kanpur and Jabalpur, Dhanush suffered a setback last July when its barrel burst during firing in Rajasthan. “It happened because of a defective ammunition supplied by an Army depot in Jabalpur and not because of the gun,” he claimed.

The Indian Army has not purchased any artillery gun since the Bofors came in the 1980s. The Swedish howitzers proved its mettle during the Kargil war, but, since then a large of number of artillery guns had to be cannibalised to keep the remaining functional. As repeated efforts to buy new heavy artillery failed in the last decade, the Defence Ministry finally dusted out the old licencing agreement and asked the OFB to manufacture these guns. The Gun Carriage Factory (GCF) in Jabalpur is the integrator, though other units made crucial parts.

The GCF has manufactured six prototypes so far. It was the fourth prototype whose barrel burst. The one displayed at DefExpo is the sixth one, which the OFB claimed to have modified.

Bofors is a 155 mm/39 calibre gun whereas Dhanush is a 155 mm/45 calibre. The enhanced calibre imparts a longer firing range. While the original Bofors had a maximum effective range of 27 km, Dhanush can go up to 38 km. Though there was an original plan of developing a 39 calibre howitzer as well, that plan has been shelved for the time being. Dhanush, however, is not alone in the fray. Two private entities, Tata Power and Bharat Forge, have also developed artillery guns.

Deccan Herald

India’s first nuclear submarine and ICBM will be ready for induction next year: DRDO

Seeking to jettison its widespread reputation as a laggard in delivering cutting-edge weapons to armed forces, the Defence Research and Development Organization is planning a flurry of missile and other tests as well as futuristic projects this year.

From spy and combat drones, cyber-security and directed-energy weapons to tests of the two-tier missile shield, the 5,000-km nuclear-capable Agni-V ballistic missile and Nirbhay cruise missile, sea trials of nuclear submarine INS Arihant, final operational clearances for Tejas fighter and Arjun Mark-II tank, DRDO is promising them all.

During the Def-Expo on Friday, DRDO chief Avinash Chander expressed confidence that the Agni-V and INS Arihant, the country's first intercontinental ballistic missile and first SSBN (nuclear-powered submarine armed with nuclear-tipped missiles), would be ready for induction by next year.

There has been some concern over the delay in sea trials of the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, whose 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor went "critical'' on August 10 last year. "The submarine is undergoing the power-raising (in the miniature nuclear reactor) phase, which I am sure will be completed in a month or two. Thereafter, it will go for sea trials. The K-15 missiles (nuclear-tipped with a 750-km strike range) are fully ready and will be tested from the submarine this year," said Chander.
DRDO is also working on a longer range submarine-launched ballistic missile called K-4, with a 3,500-km range, which is likely to be tested for the first time from a submerged pontoon next year.

While the 4,000-km Agni-IV is now ready for induction after completing its three developmental trials, the Agni-V will be tested in a canister-launch version later this year, said Chander.

A canisterized Agni-V, which brings the whole of China within its strike envelope, will allow the armed forces the requisite operational flexibility to swiftly transport and fire the missile from atop a launcher truck. "After two-three trials, Agni-V should be ready for induction by end-2015," said Chander.

On the ballistic missile defence front, the DRDO chief said the final "system configuration" of the two-tier system -- designed to track and destroy ballistic missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere - was now being frozen after seven developmental tests. "It will be tested in its final configuration in a month or so," he said.

But the sprawling DRDO, with over 50 labs and 532 R&D projects worth Rs 47,575 crore under its belt, has often failed to live up to its promises with huge time and cost overruns.

Chander, however, contended that DRDO had undergone an "internal transformation" over the last one year to ensure it becomes dynamic and capable of faster delivery of military hardware and software to the armed forces.

As per recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee report, submitted way back in February 2008, DRDO has been re-organized into seven vertical technology clusters like missiles and strategic systems, aeronautics, armament and combat engineering, life sciences, electronics and communication, naval systems and material sciences. But the key reforms of creating a Defence Technology Commission and a commercial arm are yet to be implemented. - Times of india

February 7, 2014

BrahMos missile successfully fired in salvo mode

Further boosting Navy's firepower, the 290km-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully fired from a naval warship INS Trikand in salvo mode in the Arabian Sea.

"For the first time, the BrahMos cruise missile was fired in salvo mode off the Russian-built warship off the coast of Karnataka with an interval of three seconds off the coast of Goa," a DRDO official said here.

After the successful test last week, eight cruise missiles could be fired in salvo mode in future, the official said.

The two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the Army and Navy, and the Air Force version is in final stage of trial, a defence official said.

While induction of the first version of Brahmos missile system in the Indian Navy commenced from 2005 with INS Rajput, it is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

The Army has so far placed orders for the Brahmos missile to be deployed by three regiments and two of them have already been inducted operationally.

The Defence Ministry has also given a go-ahead to Army to induct a third regiment equipped with the missile system to be deployed in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Brahmos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture company, is also working to develop the air as well as the submarine launch version of the missile system and work on the project is in progress.

Economic times

IAF will get new VIP choppers soon: AK Antony

After the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal was cancelled in the backdrop of corruption allegations, Defence Minister AK Antony on Thursday asserted that IAF will get new VIP choppers soon. He also expressed his concern on naval accidents. "Naval accidents are a matter of concern and Indian Navy is more concerned about it than anybody else," Antony said.
He gave the statement during his visit to Defence Expo in New Delhi.
Antony's remarks came after the UPA government once again faced embarrassment due to the chopper deal with an Italian firm. CNN-IBN had accessed a copy of a letter by key middleman Christian Michel which was produced in an Italian Court.
The letter was written by Michel to the India head of AgustaWestland in March 2008 saying the key aides of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi need to be targeted to push the deal through.
The names of the key aides included - Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, Pranab Mukherjee, Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes, MK Narayanan and Vinay Singh.
Meanwhile, sources in the PMO have assured that action would be taken against those indulging in such slanderous activities.

From a mini BrahMos to faster delivery of subs, armed forces promised the moon

At a time when corruption, slowdown in the economy, lack of decision-making and approaching national election have all but paralysed the government's ability to govern on most fronts, the first day of the eight edition of the DefExpo - India's biggest biannual defence exhibition - saw a surprising, near-robust participation from arms manufacturers, allied marketing and public relations firms, armed forces personnel as well as governmental agencies from multiple nations.
However, far from growing on parameters like number of companies participating as well as gross exhibition area, the present edition has just managed to stay afloat. While defending the show, Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, "Yes, we weren't sure especially since it is an election year. But it has turned out higher and better when compared to the last."
At the India Pavilion, BrahMos the Joint Venture between Indian & Russian governments announced its first ever and successful launch of BrahMos missile fired in salvo, at an interval of 3 seconds. "Last week, for the first time we tried this out from onboard a naval frigate in the Arabian Sea and it worked well. This gives the user the option to fire as many as he may want to, depending on how many missiles he has," said Dr. A Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, BrahMos Aerospace.

That apart, a brand new and smaller, BrahMos Mini - 1.5 ton missile - as compared to the regular 3 ton - was announced by the team. "These missiles, the engines of which we have readied and are now configuring, will have a smaller diameter to fit it into aircrafts as well as torpedo tubes of submarines," announced Dr. Pillai. Another version, BrahMos II - a hypersonic cruise missile with enhanced speed features - too was discussed.
The Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) which is currently building for the Indian Navy its biggest and deadliest assets also promised a faster delivery of these vessels. R. Adm (R) RK Shrawat, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), MDL said, "By the end of March, I am hopeful of being able to deliver to the navy the first ship of Project 15A - the destroyer INS Kolkata which has completed her sea trials for her machines and presently in dry dock condition." When asked about the much-delayed Project 75 for the construction of six Scorpene submarines with assistance from France's DCNS, he replied, "The delay is behind us. Deliveries for critical items have already commenced for the first boat and we are already installing the same into it. I am hopeful that by September 2015, the boat will be launched and in a year thereon, it will be commissioned too. A global Request For Proposal (RFP) for the follow on, Project 75 - India too should be issued in a couple of months."
However, as far as armed forces personnel themselves were concerned, there was a guarded response.
"All of this is fine but where is the delivery? If we look at the army, they have been perpetually crying for artillery which we have not inducted a single piece in nearly three decades. Air Force has just had its Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft team postponed to the next government and navy has its submarine fleet and medium lift helicopter fleet depleting," said a senior officer. He added, "When there is a global tender being called, obviously one will win and the others will not. But if one of those losing parties even write a single, anonymous letter making frivolous allegations, we are ready to stop work and begin probe."

Defence Minister AK Antony at the Defexpo
MMRCA deal will have to wait till the next financial year. He admitted that the ministry had not enough in its coffers to ink the deal.
The Indian Navy is aware and has promised to look into the cause behind the string of accidents which have impacted its assetsBlacklisting of foreign vendors, for alleged corrupt practices, has not affected our modernisation of the armed forces. It may have delayed things a little but we have been able to send across a message that corruption will not be tolerated.
May not completely cleaned the system but yes efforts are on. We had no option but to cancel the VVIP helicopter deal. In other countries, like the US and UK, they impose heavy penalties but our procedure is that of cancelling the entire deal. We will soon come up with an alternative for the helicopters.
We are not militarily involved in Afghanistan. But we are concerned about the fallout of the withdrawal of the NATO forces this year.


February 6, 2014

Saab, Ashok Leyland tie-up for Army's SR-SAM tender

Swedish defence firm Saab Group has tied up with Indian Ashok Leyland for Indian Army's requirement for short-range Surface-to-Air-Missile system tender.

"Saab and Ashok Leyland are teaming to meet the SRSAM requirement with a new solution that combines the Saab BAMSE missile system with Ashok Leyland high-mobility vehicles," a Saab release said here.

The system on offer from Saab and Ashok Leyland is a ground-based air defence missile.
Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the weapon system are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all-weather conditions," it said

Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the weapon system are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all-weather conditions," it said

"Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the weapon system are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all-weather conditions," it said.

Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the weapon system are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all-weather conditions," it said 
 The tie-up brings together two great engineering companies with front-end technologies that together could serve the Indian Army well. The BAMSE is a proven air defence missile system," Saab's India head Lars-Olof Lindgren said.

Ashok Leyland Vice-Chairman V Sumantran said "we are pleased to announce this cooperation with Saab and together we are able to offer the Indian defence forces... Our Super-Stallion 8x8 platform will offer the best
combination of performance and reliability.
Economic times

"Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the weapon system are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all-weather conditions," it said.

"Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the weapon system are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all-weather conditions," it said.

February 5, 2014

Second test of Nirbhay cruise missile in February

A year after India’s own Tomahawk class cruise missile Nirbhay test failed, scientists are ready for the second trial by the end of this month.
“We plan to launch Nirbhay by February end. It is a Tomahawk class missile but I will not disclose the range,” Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to the Defence Minister told Deccan Herald on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress here. The long-range all weather subsonic cruise missile is India’s answer to the US Tomahawk, which was introduced first in the 1970 but underwent several modifications later. Used by the US Navy and Royal Navy, the missile reportedly has a range between 1,300 and 1,700 km.

Nirbhay is understood to have a range of 1,000 km, though there is no official confirmation. Once ready, the Navy would be the first user of this missile. Asked the reasons for delay in the project, which is in the developmental phase for many years, Chander said, “Nirbhay is a typical model of how we should not do project R&D. Earlier it was piecemeal work, but new thrust has been provided to this project.”

The missiles maiden test in March failed as it deviated from its pre-determined path after a few minutes, threatening the east coast. Subsequently, scientists at the control room of Interim Test Range, Chandipur, had to terminate its course forcing the surface-hugging cruise missile to explode midair over Bay of Bengal.

“Scientists have identified that inertial navigation system has malfunctioned and corrective design and modifications are being implemented,” Defence Minister A K Antony informed Parliament in May.

The director-general of Defence Research and Development Organisation also confirmed the existence of India’s second nuclear-powered submarine, which is under construction at a military dockyard in Visakhapatnam for several years now. “The first submarine (Arihant) took 18 years. We hope to have the second submarine, which is under development, in 12 years,” he said.

The submarine launched ballistic missile (K-15) for Arihant is fully ready after several successful trials from underwater pontoons. When the Arihant goes for a sea trial shortly, it will carry the ballistic missile completing India’s nuclear triad or second-strike capability from the land, air and sea in case of a nuclear attack.

Deccan Herald

Airbus Mulls India Assembly for C295 Plane in Military Pitch

Airbus Group NV (AIR), aiming to pitch its C295 plane to the Indian Air Force, said it may set up a local assembly line for the military transport aircraft as it seeks to boost business outside the U.S. and Europe.
The planemaker will bid for the Indian contract next month, Christian Scherer, head of marketing and sales at Airbus Defense & Space, said by e-mail. India, the world’s largest arms importer, invited bids last year for 56 transport planes to replace its aging fleet of Avro aircraft.
“Clearly at present we have minimal revenues from the Indian defense market but the potential is enormous,” Scherer said. The C295 “has tremendous potential for industrial collaboration including the possibility of a final assembly line in India.”
Airbus is also eyeing an Indian Coast Guard order for transport aircraft, and plans to offer either the C295 or the smaller CN235, Scherer said. Over the past decade, India has boosted spending on upgrading military equipment as the nation looks beyond its traditional rivalry with Pakistan.
Scherer said Airbus is now “very close” to finalizing a contract to supply air-to-air refueling aircraft to the Indian military, a deal potentially valued at more than $1 billion. The company was named preferred bidder to supply six tankers, which are modified A330 passenger jets, in January last year.

Rafale Planes

Indian defense orders often face years of delays. In 2012, the government chose Dassault Aviation SA (AM) to supply at least 126 Rafale combat planes after initiating the purchase plan about five years earlier. A final accord has yet to be signed. In January, the nation scrapped a $753 million deal to buy helicopters from AgustaWestland following a 15-month corruption investigation.
India is always going to be a challenge for international players,” Scherer said. “Naturally the defense business has its unique complexities, but I think we understand the Indian system much better today.”
Airbus will display its C295, as well as radars and missile warning systems at the Defexpo India exhibition in New Delhi starting tomorrow. More than 600 companies will participate in the four-day event.
Asia’s third-largest economy has tripled its military outlay over the past 10 years, and in 2013, the nation had the seventh-largest defense budget in the world. India is increasingly looking beyond Russia to modernize its military, turning to countries including the U.S. to buy arms.
The country is purchasing 10 C-17 transport planes, valued at about $5.8 billion, making it the largest operator of the aircraft after the U.S.

Rules Relaxed

The country is also buying eight P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft made by Chicago-based Boeing Co. (BA) as well as six Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) C-130J transport aircraft valued at about $1.2 billion.
India in 2012 eased its so-called offset policy to allow more time for foreign defense companies to meet rules. Norms for mandatory local purchases by overseas suppliers were also relaxed, according to the Ministry of Defense.
The government is also working to boost local production of defense gear with a goal to raise the proportion of equipment built at home to 75 percent from about 30 percent in the next 10 years.
Scherer said Airbus provided technical advice through India’s Defence Research and Development Organization on the nation’s light combat aircraft project. The plane won initial operational clearance in December, paving the way for its induction into service.

-   bloomberg