July 31, 2014

BAE Systems wins IAF ammunition contract

 The Indian Air Force (IAF) acquired 1.41 million rounds of 5.56 mm L15 NATO ammunition from BAE Systems for USD744, 400 in late June for the Israeli Tavor-21 assault rifles used by its Garud special forces.
Industry sources told IHS Jane's that BAE Systems was competing against Israel Weapon Industries, Italy's Fiocchi Munizious, Spain's Expal, and US firm BEL Trading & Consulting for the 5.56 mm ammunition tender.
Official sources said additional 5.56 mm ammunition orders are expected from the Indian Army special forces and the Indian Navy's Marine Commandos, both of which operate Tavor-21 rifles.
India's Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) produces 5.56 mm SS-109 rounds at its Jabalpur unit in central India and even exported small quantities to Israel and Thailand in 2008-09, but domestic production declined drastically soon after.


The Indian-American finger on US nuclear button

In the chronicles of Indian diaspora, Indian-Americans rank right up there, winning accolades for helming Fortune 100 companies, heading elite institutions, and raking in top dollar.

But in what is possibly a first, it has emerged that an Indian-American finger is on the US nuclear launch button, illustrating Washington's vote of confidence in the country's diversity. This, despite an ultranationalist fringe that believes "whiteness is still a proxy for being American," as one writer put it. In other words, you are American only if you are white, as one US lawmaker mistakenly suggested in a recent Congressional hearing, where he assumed Indian-American officials Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar were Indian bureaucrats from New Delhi, ostensibly because of their brown skin.

Lt. Raj Bansal of the US Air Force's 90th Missile Wing is as brown as they come. He is one of the last men standing by ten Minuteman III nuclear missiles and the US President's order to launch them. Burrowed in an underground bunker in a flat, unmarked terrain between Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Lincoln, Nebraska, he and his partner Capt. Joseph Shannon are among the nuclear launch frontiersmen who do 24-hour shifts waiting for that dreaded moment, should it ever come to that, when they will punch in the codes to Armageddon.Lt. Bansal's story emerged when the US Air Force allowed the media a rare glimpse of how America's nuclear arsenal operates following a scandal in which personnel in charge of US nuclear weapons were found cheating — much like how school students cheat in exams — to meet the grades required to display their knowledge of launch codes and other information about the weapons they were handling. Nine officers were fired for cheating and dozens were reprimanded.

Evidently, Lt Bansal was not among them because National Public Radio described his routine on the nuke watch, rather sketchily because much of the drill is still classified. The nuclear complex it described includes a command center with a pool table, a workout room and television, where support staff, including a cook and heavily armed security force, live.
But controls to the missiles themselves are buried 60 feet underground in a room called "the capsule." Protected by an enormous, 2-foot-thick blast door made of 8 tons of solid steel, it said the room is hollowed out like an egg shell, and in the middle, suspended on shock absorbers, hangs the launch control center, a room within a room. It's long and narrow, with a bed at one end and a toilet at the other. In between, two chairs face computer displays.

It is here that Bansal and Shannon, who NPR described as the "final link in a system stretching from the president of the United States to these missiles," work on 24-hour shifts. The missiles themselves are displayed in a grid on the computer console; each missile is just a tiny rectangle on the screen. "It makes the enormousness of the job seem small and abstract. And maybe the people asked to do this need it that way; to let them get on with the day-to-day of keeping the weapons ready," the NPR correspondent observed.

Will they ever get a coded message from the President ordering them to unleash their weapons? Bansal was asked.

"I think it's something everybody thinks about when they get the job," Bansal replied. "I mean you're basically eating most of your meals when you're on alert next to the keys and switches that would cause that act."
The Minuteman III missile systems of the kind Lt Raj Bansal is primed to launch on his nuclear watch is a land-based ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) with a range of nearly 6000 miles. The US has 450 of these, each carrying three thermonuclear warheads with a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons. In other words, each warhead is 15 to 25 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, and can eviscerate even larger cities. Together, the three warheads on Minuteman III will be 100 times as powerful as the one that leveled Nagasaki.

Deployed in 1970, the Minuteman III is also the first MIRV— capable missile — Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicle. Which means each of its warheads can be directed at different targets or cities even though they are on the same missile — in other words, more bang for the buck or more destruction with a single launch while also making it difficult for anti-ballistic missile systems to intercept them.

According to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) the Minuteman III missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews, consisting of two officers, perform around-the-clock alert in the launch control center. A variety of communication systems provide the National Command Authorities with highly reliable, virtually instantaneous direct contact with each launch crew.

India's nuclear posture is so opaque that few people have an idea where the weapons are located or deployed, much less who are the personnel manning them and what the command and control structure looks like.
- Timesofindia

July 30, 2014

IAF receives 6th C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

(Ibnlive) :The Indian Air Force received its sixth C-17 Globemaster III on Monday. The arrival of the new addition to the IAF was recieved by the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley who visited the Palam Airbase in New Delhi and familiarised himself with the aircraft.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha conducted the minister through the aircraft and briefed him on the strategic capability and role of the aircraft. The minister was further given a detailed brief by the Commanding Officer Group Captain BS Reddy.

 The government accorded approval to buy 10 C-17 Globemaster III along with associated equipment for the IAF in June 2011. The first of the 10 aircraft touched down in India on June 18, 2013 and the delivery of all 10 is expected to be completed by December 2014.

Army to let women head combat support units

In a change of policy, the Indian Army has decided to allow women officers to command combat support branches like Army aviation and signal corps from 2015 onwards.

“Our policy on women officers has changed. We have received Defence Minister’s (Arun Jaitley) approval on empowering women officers from 2015 onwards,” top Army sources said here on Sunday.

Currently, women officers are recruited in short service commission and they are not allowed to command combat support unit, in which they work.

Women officers currently work in several branches of all three services, except the combat arms like infantry and armour corps.

As per the new proposal, women officers at the time of recruitment will be given a choice. If they respond positively, they would be groomed and their physical ability will be checked before they are evaluated on par with their male colleagues in the command position. Such women officers will be asked to take up several military courses for the grooming purpose.

Currently, women officers are not allowed to serve in the combat arms of all the three services.

Earlier, the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff and a High Level Tri-Services Committee carried out separate studies on employment of women in Armed Forces in 2006 and 2011 respectively, taking into account role of women in Armed Forces of some other countries. They, however, did not recommend induction of women in combat duties.

 Deccan Herald

US looks forward to enhance military-to-military ties with India

The US is looking forward to enhancing military-to-military relationship with the India, a top American military commander has said.

"We look forward to enhancing our mil-to-mil relationships with India. A couple of years ago, President Barack Obama reiterated that we will need to build a long-term, better and stronger relationship with India, and that includes our mil-to-mil participation," Admiral Samuel Locklear, the leader of American forces in the Pacific told Pentagon reporters at a news conference.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to visit India next month, immediately after fifth India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi this week, which would be co-chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry and India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Hagel's trip to India, the details of which have not been announced so far, is expected to give a big boost to defense ties between the two countries.

"I would recommend that he (Hagel) recognize that - and to relay to his (Indian) counterparts there that we're interested in building closer mil-to-mil relationships," Locklear said in response to a question.

"We have had for a number of years very good relationships between our services, between PACOM and the services there, and we have an ongoing number of exercises that seem to have worked pretty well for our growing partnership. So we look forward to the road ahead. We think it's all positive," he said.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said, "India is an important country in the region. We look forward to continuing to make the relationship stronger and better."

 Defence news

July 29, 2014

India To Sell Partial Stake in HAL

India will sell 10 percent of its 100 percent stake in monopoly military aircraft producer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), a senior Defence Ministry official said. All formalities have been cleared and the 10 percent stake will be put on sale by October, the official said.

HAL, with an annual turnover of US $2.53 billion, is the country’s sole producer of military aircraft. It plans to use money from the sale to finance a $5 billion modernization of the company, said the MoD official.

The government, however, has no plans to privatize HAL by selling over 50 percent of its stake in the company, the MoD official clarified.

HAL needs extra funds to add manufacturing facilities to produce the fighter aircraft that will be selected by the Indian Air Force for its $12 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft program. The Rafale has been downselected and contract negotiations are underway.

HAL has also tied up with Sukhoi to develop a fifth-generation fighter aircraft for which HAL will need to set up separate production lines. HAL will need another production line for serial production of the homemade Light Combat Aircraft, which is likely to be inducted this year.

Currently, HAL is the license producer of the British-made Hawk advanced jet trainer and the Russian-made Sukhoi fighter aircraft.

HAL also manufacturers helicopters, aircraft and UAVs, and is developing an indigenous light utility helicopter.


Indian Air Force continues to order and modernize its Su-30 MKI's

India’s SU-30MKI fighter-bombers are the pride of its fleet. Below them, India’s local Tejas LCA lightweight fighter program aims to fill its low-end fighter needs, and the $10+ billion M-MRCA competition is negotiating to buy France’s Rafale as an intermediate tier.

India isn’t neglecting its high end SU-30s, though. Initial SU-30MK and MKI aircraft have all been upgraded to the full SU-30MKI Phase 3 standard, and the upgraded “Super 30″ standard aims to keep Sukhoi’s planes on top. Meanwhile, production continues, and India is becoming a regional resource for SU-27/30 Flanker family support.

India’s Flanker Fleet ::
India originally received standard SU-30MKs, while its government and industry worked with the Russians to develop the more advanced SU-30MKI, complete with innovations like thrust-vectoring engines and canard foreplanes. The Su-30MKI ended up using electronic systems from a variety of countries: a Russian NIIP N-011 radar and long-range IRST sensor, French navigation and heads-up display systems from Thales, Israeli electronic warfare systems and LITENING advanced targeting pods, and Indian computers and ancillary avionics systems.

Earlier-model SU-30MK aircraft and crews performed very well at an American Red Flag exercise in 2008, and the RAF’s evident respect for the SU-30 MKIs in the 2007 Indra Dhanush exercise is equally instructive. The Russians were intrigued enough to turn a version with different electronics into their new export standard (SU-30MKA/MKM), and even the Russian VVS has begin buying “SU-30SM” fighters.

So far, India has ordered 272 SU-30s in 4 stages:

1. 50 SU-30MK and MKIs ordered directly from Russia in 1996. The SU-30MKs were reportedly modernized to a basic SU-30MKI standard.
2. Another 40 SU-30MKIs, ordered direct in 2007. These machines have reportedly been upgraded to the “Phase 3″ standard.
3. A license-build deal with India’s HAL that aims to produce up to 140 more SU-30MKI Phase 3 planes from 2013-2017
4. An improved set of 42 HAL-built SU-30MKI “Super 30s”. A preliminary order was reportedly signed in 2011, but the final deal waited until December 2012.

The Super 30 represents the next evolution for the SU-30MKI. Upgrades are reported to include a new radar (probably AESA, and likely Phazotron’s Zhuk-AE), improved onboard computers, upgraded electronic warfare systems, and the ability to fire the air-launched version of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

India may eventually upgrade its earlier models to this standard. For now, they represent the tail end of HAL’s assembly schedule, as the assembly of standard SU-30MKIs continues. The big challenge for HAL is to keep that expansion going, by meeting India’s production targets.Based on 3rd party sources, IAF SU-30MKI squadrons currently comprise:

2 Wing’s 20 Sqn. “Lightnings” & 30 Sqn. “Rhinos”, at Lohegaon AFS in Pune (W)
11 Wing’s 2 Sqn. “Winged Arrows”, based at Tezpur AFS (NE, near Tibet)
15 Wing’s 8 Sqn. “Eight Pursuits” & 24 Sqn. “Hawks”, at Bareilly AFS (NC, near W Nepal)
14 Wing’s 102 Sqn. “Trisonics”, at Guwahati AFS (NE, near Tibet)
34 Wing’s 31 Sqn. “Lions”, at Halwara AFS in Punjab (NW)
45 Wing’s 21 Sqn. “Ankush”, based at Sirsa AFS in Haryana (NW, pending, MiG-21 conversion)
The IAF was scheduled to raise its 8th SU-30 squadron by December 2012 at Sirsa, close to the Pakistani border, but public sources don’t show that yet. This is part of a larger balancing of India’s force structure. Initial SU-30 MKI squadron deployments had been focused near the Chinese border, but the new deployment will even things out.

A squadron will also reportedly be based at the new airfield in Thanjavur, across from Sri Lanka. The airfield required extensive refurbishment, and was formally opened in May 2013. Its SU-30MKIs will offer India comfortable strike coverage of Sri Lanka, including the major southern port of Hambantota that’s being built with a great deal of Chinese help.


IAF LCA squadron awaits first aircraft after fresh delay

More than seven months after it was cleared for being flown by IAF pilots, the entry of the first LCA Tejas in its newly-raised squadron in Bangalore is still awaited as the project has been delayed yet again.

IAF has raised its 45 Squadron at Bangalore for allowing its pilots to fly the aircraft and was supposed to induct the first Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in March this year.

But the schedule has now been shifted to coming September, sources said here.

The delay is also understood to have pushed backed the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft from December this year to March 2015.

Flight manuals, the aircraft manual and other basic documents required by pilots to operate the aircraft are also not yet ready, the sources added.

The aircraft received its Initial Operational Clearance ( IOCBSE -0.72 %) last year on December 20 after which Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was supposed to supply two Limited Series Production LCA's to IAF, sources said.

The LCA programme, cleared in August 1983 at a cost of Rs 560 crore to replace the ageing MiG-21s in IAF's combat fleet, has missed several deadlines.

Asked about the delays, a HAL spokesperson said that as far as the production of LCAs was concerned, "HAL is on the right path and there is no delivery issue at this stage."

He said the HAL LCA Project Group has now been upgraded to a full-fledged division to look after production in a systematic way with more investments.

"The new initiative will help enhance the rate of production and reduce production cycle-times by incorporating several advanced defence aerospace technologies," the spokesperson said.


July 28, 2014

China enters Indian territory in Ladakh again, Opposition targets PM Modi

 China has dared India again with another incursion in Ladakh. The Chinese Army has set up tents inside the Indian territory in Demchok in Ladakh.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Thupstan Chhewang said that the Chinese Army has destroyed nomads' tents in the area and have tried to erect their tents. The incursion happened on Friday.

"It is a very serious issue, I am in touch with the sarpanch of the area," Chhewang said.
"It's important to see if they come and go and they stay in our territory. Right from the beginning we have faced problems of trespassing due to lack of a clearly marked border," said BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
The Congress has hit out at the Modi government over the latest incursion. "It's unfortunate that since this government has come into power there have been many Chinese incursions, where is the coercive diplomacy? Where is the muscular diplomacy that they used to talk about," asked Congress leader Manish Tewari.
"The government should protest against this. Any such border related issue must be resolved immediately, and it should be ensured that nothing of the sort happens again in the future," said NCP leader Tariq Anwar.
Repeated incidents take place because of differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control. This incursion comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS summit in Brazil that his government was committed to solving the border dispute with India.
- IBN live

69 percent of military requirements sourced from Indian companies'

Sixty-nine percent of the military requirements in the last three years were sourced from Indian public and private sector companies, the Lok Sabha was informed Friday.

Detailing the methodology for assessing indigenous content of equipment, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said this had been arrived at, as indicated by the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013, by excluding from the total cost the following elements at all stages of manufacturing/production/assembly:

* Direct costs (including freight/transportation and insurance) of all material, components, sub-assemblies, assemblies and products imported into India

* Direct and indirect costs of all services obtained from non-Indian entities/citizens

* All licence fees, royalties, technical fees and other fees/payments paid out of India by whatever term/phrase referred to in contracts/agreements made by vendors/sub-vendors

* Taxes, duties, cesses, octroi and any other statutory levies in India of this nature

The data furnished is for the years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Inderjit Singh said defence requirements are currently met 'both through indigenous sources as well as imports. While efforts are being made to enhance domestic production to meet the requirements, imports are being resorted to take care of urgent requirements of equipment/weapons and other products required... for which the domestic production is non-existent or inadequate'.

Defence news

July 26, 2014

India to Get Two More Missile Test Facilities

New Delhi: India will set up two more missile test range facilities, one each in Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, parliament was informed on Friday.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that there was no proposal to set up a Missile Launcher Project in the newly formed state of Telangana.

But the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had identified Rutland Island in Andaman and Nagayalanka in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh for setting up missile test range facilities. 

July 25, 2014

Swedish Gripen First for Meteor Missile

Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
The final two missile integration firings were conducted on the Vidsel test range in northern Sweden last March. One was from low altitude and one from high altitude, and both were fired while the launch aircraft was maneuvering. The firings demonstrated a long engagement range; engagement of maneuvering targets; aircraft/missile datalink functionality; and missile seeker performance, Saab reported. “Sweden now has a head start in developing strategies to use this capability in air combat,” said Tobias Andersson, the company’s project manager for Meteor integration.
Meteor integration forms part of the MS20 upgrade to the Gripen C/D, now undergoing operational test and evaluation and slated to enter service with the Swedish air force next year.


Indian PM’s upcoming visit to Japan: A new alliance in the making?

Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to make a visit to Japan in mid-August to meet with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. Two previous meetings between Modi and Abe took place in 2007 and 2012. The two leaders are known to havea close personal relationship and similar views on economic and foreign policy.

The meeting between Abe and Modi was initially scheduled for July, but it was later postponed because of its overlap with the first Budget Session in India. Although political considerations concerning China’s reaction may have played a role in this postponement, media reports suggest Modi is still planning to visit Japan before he departs for the U.S. in September; therefore he is determined to make Japan the target for his first major overseas visit after inauguration. Moreover, Modi made it clear with his recent public statements that one of the highest priorities for his government is boosting cooperation and consolidating friendship with Japan.

In Modi’s first significant overseas visit to come, the two pro-business, assertive, and nationalist leaders will discuss possible fields of mutual cooperation regarding economy and security. Among these fields are civilian nuclear energy, infrastructure projects in India to be funded by Japanese construction and engineering firms, and Japanese investments in the Indian market. Japan’s future arms sales to India, defense cooperation, and policies aimed at hedging China’s increased power and assertiveness in the region are also expected to be among the headline topics brought to the table.

Nuclear energy tops the agenda

As Japan wants to maximize its industrial and infrastructure-related exports under Abe, nuclear energy sales offer an unmatched potential in this regard. Japanese firms produce key components for nuclear reactors, and Japanese PM Abe is determined to build numerous reactors and sign lucrative contracts with countries which wish to take advantage of Japanese experience in this field.

Even though the Japanese public is utterly sensitive to the nuclear issue, the Abe administration today has the capacity and willingness to convince the country of the reliability and profitability of nuclear cooperation with a key partner like India for Japan’s best interests in the 21st century. In this respect, Abe can start by explaining to the Japanese parliament, i.e. Diet, that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a prominent international body which was initially established as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests, will also back his decision to pursue nuclear cooperation with India, as its members, including the U.S., are all confident of India’s goodwill.

Indeed, over $60 billion worth of nuclear contracts in India are currently on hold because a civilian nuclear agreement is yet to be concluded between Tokyo and New Delhi. Therefore if Modi and Abe can come to terms in the nuclear energy field, the floodgates will be opened for joint construction and engineering projects.

Another stumbling blockon the road to cooperation is the patchy and insufficiently implemented, complex legal framework covering the subject of nuclear cooperation. Foreign nuclear vendors investing in India are vulnerable to the local government’s predation and the central government’s arbitrary measures which can inhibit their profitability and threaten their businesses at large. Liability is a major source of concern for potential nuclear investors in India, and all that these companies have for assurance is a single clause in contracts that they’ve signed with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. In this respect, Modi’s government needs to insulate foreign investors from intrusions if it wishes to develop the country’s prospects for foreign direct investment and nuclear cooperation in particular.

Security cooperation

Washington has long been pushing Japan to tolerate nuclear tests by India, despite the fact that itis not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), in a bid to establish acounterweight in Asia that it can rely on in the face ofa rising China. A bloc of nuclear allies surrounding China, cooperating in various defense-related fields, possibly including nuclear energy, is perceived in both Washington and Tokyo as themain pillar of a hedging policy against China in the region. It is also in this vein that Abe wants to develop the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Japan, India, the U.S., and Australia.

Both New Delhi and Tokyo are of the opinion that defense cooperation and arms deals constitute a promising field in which their countries can conclude lucrative deals and develop the mutual trust which will cement a long-term partnership. And thanks to Japanese PM Abe’s recent lifting of the self-imposed ban on Japanese arms sales, Japanese production of military equipment ready for export is flourishing. The selling of navy-related items such as amphibious vehicles, maritime reconnaissance and rescue planes, and submarines, which are produced byJapan and demanded by India,bears the potential to boost bilateral relations and pave the way for further security cooperation.

It is a fact that at this juncture, India seems unwilling to, and incapableof involving itself in a macro-scale security cooperationindirectly targeting a country as large and strong as China right next-door. Nevertheless, India is disturbed by China’s alliance with its arch-rival Pakistan, its extensive claims in the South China Sea, its naval ports popping up all over the maritime region surrounding the Indian Ocean, also known as the ‘ring of pearls’,and the decades-old border dispute between the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Therefore rising competition between the two, especially over the maritime region surrounding Southeast Asia, can compel India under Modi to adopt a more rigid stance in the years to come.


Japan needs to close 'bargain' F-35 deal soon: report

With US F-35s grounded over potential oil leaks and potential buyers retreating and cutting their intended orders, it is crucial for Lockheed Martin to persuade Japan to complete its purchase of the the stealth fighters as soon as possible, says the China Youth Daily.
Dave Scott, Lockheed Martin's director of international customer engagement for F-35s, in an interview with Fuji Television Network dismissed claims that the Russian T-50 and Chinese J-20 qualify as fifth-generation fighters. The US F-35 is the only fifth-generation fighter aircraft that deserves Japanese investment, he said.
Scott said the essential element of fifth-generation fighter aircraft lies not only in their stealth capability but also in the integration of the sensor fusion that allows a boost of 5%-10% to its thrust, 5% to its military rating and 25% to its fuel efficiency. These factors combine to increase its combat radius by 25%-30% and durability by 30%-40%. He further emphasized that new engines and the Multifunction Advanced Data Link developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) — initially planned for sixth-generation fighter aircraft — have instead been adopted and integrated into the F-35, making the plane an ideal bargain for Japan.
The Japanese government is worried about the development cost of the F-35, which has reached US$200 million a plane and is still escalating. Scott has promised that the F-35A negotiated between Japan and Lockheed Martin costs only US$65 million a plane. To Japan, this is like buying a fifth-generation fighter at a fourth-generation price.
Addressing Japan's greatest concern, Russia's T-50 and China's J-20, Scott referred to a report by AFRL that claimed the F-35 is able to outperform its rivals effortlessly by reducing 30%-70% of the fuel load and increasing the supersonic cruising radius by 50%. He also referred to a statement from Boeing, manufacturer of the F/A-18E Hornet, claiming that the T-50 and J-20 as not completely fifth-generation planes.
Scott also refuted the claim that F-35 relies too heavily on stealth. The helmet-mounted display system that provides the pilot with full 360 degree-vision, Scott said, is something that an F-16 pilot totally lacks. Despite a US$460 billion budget from the US Ministry of Defense over the next decade, the Pentagon has insisted on replacing old fighter aircraft with the F-35. This, according to Scott, fully demonstrates the desirability of the plane.
With permission from the US government, Lockheed Martin has proposed to move the final assembly and maintenance of major parts to Japan. The US has also agreed that some parts of the F-35 may be produced in Japan. Scott argued that the F-35's technology will greatly benefit the aviation industry in Japan, citing Italy as the sole other country owning licenses for final assembly and evaluation. Scott also promised training for Japanese pilots and maintenance staff.


IAF to induct 6th C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft

The IAF will induct its sixth C-17 Globemaster heavy lift transport aircraft on Monday at the Palam air base here in the presence of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. India had signed a deal for ten such aircraft with the US through foreign military sale route and five aircraft have already joined the fleet. 
The contract is worth over Rs 24,000 crore. This aircraft can carry 70 tonnes of load besides more than 200 troops and can land at unmetalled air strips in remote areas including high altitude sectors of Ladakh.  Incidentally, this aircraft due to arrive here on Saturday is carrying a World War two vintage fighter plane Harvard from London. The IAF in 2008 was given the go-ahead to resurrect vintage aircraft and a British firm was awarded the contract for making these planes airworthy like Tiger Moth, Wapiti, Lysander, Tempest and Spitfire and Hurricane.  A Tiger Moth plane is now part of IAF’s ceremonial aerial displays.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force will induct its sixth C-17 Globemasterheavylift transport aircraft on Monday at the Palam air base here.

India had signed a deal for procuring 10 C-17 aircraft from the US under a deal worth around Rs 24,000 crore for augmenting its capability to supply loads and troops to the border areas.

The sixth aircraft would be inducted in presence of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, IAF officials said.

Ja ..

Japan to Showcase Seaplane to Navy

The Japanese Navy will showcase before the Indian Navy a seaplane and its operations during the ongoing trilateral Malabar maritime exercise, also involving the US Navy, off Nagasaki’s Port Sasebo in western Pacific Ocean.
The seaplane, which the Navy wants to procure and deploy in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for maritime patrol, is built by Japanese firm ShinMaywa. US-2, as the amphibious plane is called, can take off from and land on water and is a suitable platform for operations between island territories. The Japanese Navy would operate the US-2 sea-plane during the Malabar exercise, a Navy officer said here in New Delhi.
The Indian Navy is keen on getting around 20 of these sea-planes.During the exercise, the Navy personnel from India, the US and Japan would interact between Thursday to Saturday at Port Sasebo and later their warships would venture to the deep sea for at-sea training.
The Japanese Navy would also deploy two destroyers along with a P3C Orion maritime reconnaissance plane during the exercise.


July 24, 2014

China tests terminal high altitude missile defense system

China's defense ministry has revealed that the People's Liberation Army test-fired a new type of air defense missile with similar capability to the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on July 23, according to Global Times, a paper published under the auspices of the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.
A Chinese military expert told the Global Times anonymously that there are essentially three kinds of air defense systems in service. The first, including the US Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 and the Russian-built S-300 and S-400 is designed to intercept targets in the lower atmosphere. Because the attack range of these missiles is only between 20-30 kilometers, they are mostly designed to intercept short-range ballistic missiles.
Taking the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system as an example, the expert said that the second kind of air defense system is designed to intercept targets between 180-200 kilometers away. Israel's Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 midcourse missiles are the third kind of air defense system particularly used against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles with altitude above 200 kilometers.

China is probably testing a second kind of missile similar to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense of the United States because the PLA did not mention terms such as midcourse in its official statement. However, the expert pointed out that it is too early to reach any conclusion since it will take a large amount of testing for China to complete the design of its first midcourse defense system with the capability to intercept targets from space.China tested its ground-based midcourse defense system twice in 2010 and 2013, the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolitan Daily reported. The Chinese defense ministry said the system was not designed to launch an offensive against another country but only to defend China from attack.


J-20 may begin small-scale production in 2017

The J-20, China's first fifth-generation stealth fighter designed by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, may enter production on a small scale in 2017, after the completion of the aircraft's test flights, according to the Wuhan-based Hubei Daily.
Citing the test flight of the fourth prototype of the J-20 with the serial number 2012 earlier this month, the Hubei Daily said that the development of Chinese stealth fighters has become more mature. It took a year for the second prototype of the J-20 to complete its test flight after the first one, however, it took the 2012 prototype only four months to complete this procedure after the third aircraft–bearing the serial number 2011–completed a test flight.
If between three and four J-20 prototypes are able to conduct test flights together this year, the article predicted that the stealth fighter may begin its production on a small scale by 2017.
Japan recently displayed a video clip of its fifth-generation stealth fighter, known as the Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin, to the public. Many consider the aircraft Japan's answer to China's J-20, should tensions over territorial claims in the East China Sea escalate into a open conflict.
The state-run Global Times said that Shinshin is only designed to give Japanese people more confidence in the face of a rising China. As Japan cannot build its own third-generation fighter without permission from the United States, the paper said that Shinshin is unlikely to play a major role in aerial combat against China. Shao Yonglin, a military expert told the paper that the US will impose some limitations on the Shinshin.


High costs leave little for defence equipment

The Rs 2,29,000 crore that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated for defence in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government's first Budget on July 10, a mere two per cent rise over the last government's interim allocation in February, would have disappointed those who were reading too literally the BJP's manifesto and nationalist rhetoric in the run-up to the general elections in May.

This would also have disappointed the military, which was allocated just 80 per cent of its projected requirement of Rs 2,85,202 crore.

The modest allocation would suggest that the government anticipates a benign security environment in the region, notwithstanding the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization troop drawdown in Afghanistan by end-2014.

Instead of placing defence allocations on a trajectory towards 2.5-3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) which national security hardliners have argued for, Jaitley allocated just 1.78 per cent of GDP, only marginally higher than the interim Budget's 52-year low of 1.74 per cent. This will amount to 12.75 per cent of the central government spending this year. (MILITARY ALLOCATION AND SPENDING)

In fact, the defence spending actually amounts to 2.55 per cent of GDP if one takes into account several expenditures that are not included in the defence budget, but which most countries count as defence spending.

These hidden expenditures include (see chart 1) Rs 3,639 crore allocated to the defence ministry itself (Demand no. 20), and Rs 51,000 crore earmarked for defence pensions (Demand no. 21). It includes Rs 8,737 crore allocated to the department of atomic energy (Demand no. 4), which develops, builds and stores India's nuclear weapons. It includes Rs 37,322 crore spent on border forces and counter-insurgency forces like the Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Assam Rifles (Demand no. 55). Finally, it includes Rs 6,673 crore allocated to the Border Defence Management Board that builds strategic roads for the military (Demand no. 83).

Counting these allocations, defence expenditure is actually Rs 3,36,371 crore, a full Rs 1,07,371 crore higher than the stated allocation. This amounts to 2.55 per cent of GDP.

Of the stated budget (see chart 2), the army gets roughly half (49.5 per cent); the air force almost a quarter (23 per cent); while the remaining quarter is shared between the navy (16 per cent), the Defence Research &D evelopment Organisation (DRDO), the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and others.

The big gainer this year is DRDO, which has seen funding rise from about five per cent to 6.5 per cent of the defence budget. Its capital budget has been raised by almost 60 per cent to Rs 9,298 crore. This signals strong ministry support to indigenisation projects under way, such as the Tejas Mark II fighter; the Arjun Mark II tank; the Sagarika submarine launched ballistic missile and a major new project to develop a 155 millimetre/52 calibre towed howitzer.

Worryingly, the modernisation budget (Rs 94,588 crore) remains significantly lower than the revenue budget (Rs 1,34,412 crore), with a capital-to-revenue ratio of just 41:59. The army spends just 18 per cent of its budget on equipment. In contrast, the navy and air force spend a healthy 61-62 per cent of their budget on capital expenditure, i.e. new warships, aircraft, weapons and ammunition.

The army's massive manpower accounts for its high revenue spend, and this is set to grow. Defying the global trend of army downsizing, two recently raised mountain divisions and a planned mountain strike corps will raise the army's numbers from 1.2 million to almost 1.3 million.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence figures' reveal that the army's equipment modernisation is steadily falling. In 2008-09, the army spent 27 paisa of each rupee on capital expenditure. This fell to 24p in 2009-10; 23p in 2010-11; 20p in 2012-13 and just 18p in the last two years.

This army's payroll of Rs 65,808 crore this year (see chart 3) will consume almost 60 per cent of its entire budget, leaving just one-third that amount for new equipment. This is so even after doubling the army's capital allocation from Rs 10,749 crore last year to Rs 20,665 crore this year (see chart 4). As the cost-of-living index rises, so too will military salaries; the seventh pay commission will raise them even higher.

Aircraft acquisitions are also lagging, due to the air force's dependence on expensive foreign purchases. Its capital budget is down from Rs 36,017 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 31,818 crore this year. With most of this pre-allocated for equipment bought in preceding years, little is left for buying the Rafale fighter, which the defence ministry is negotiating with French vendor, Dassault. With the Rafale's contract value estimated at Rs 80-1,00,000 crore, the signing advance would be Rs 10-15,000 crore. Additional allocations would be needed for the contract to be signed this year.

The navy's capital allocation has been raised from Rs 19,600 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 22,312 crore this year. A major capital procurement this year will be the Rs 45,000-crore contract for seven Project 17A stealth frigates that two public sector shipyards will build - Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai, and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata.

In his Budget speech, Jaitley also announced that the foreign direct investment cap in defence would be raised from 26 per cent to 49 per cent. While adding a reformist patina to an otherwise unremarkable defence budget, this was really a policy announcement, unconnected with defence allocations.

Business standard

July 23, 2014

India halts warship imports

On July 12tht the Indian Navy received the first (INS Kamorta) of three Indian made corvettes. These are the first locally built modern surface warships for India. The Kamortas are 3,100 ton ships that are 109 meters (355 feet) long and have a top speed of 59 kilometers an hour. They are optimized for anti-submarine warfare and are armed with a 76.2mm gun, two 30mm multi-barrel anti-missile autocannon, two multi (12) barrel 212mm anti-submarine rocket launchers, 16 Barak anti-missile/aircraft missiles and six torpedo tubes. It has a hull mounted sonar and carries a helicopter that can be armed with four anti-submarine torpedoes. The ship has stealthy features (small radar signature and more difficult for submarine sonar to detect as well.) The INS Kmorta is to enter service in August.

In 2012-13 Russia delivered the last of three Talwar class frigates. These are the last surface ships India is buying abroad. India ordered these three ships (for $1.6 billion) in 2006. The 4,000 ton P-17 project Talwar's are 124.5 meters (386 feet) long, carry 24 anti-aircraft and eight anti-ship missiles, four torpedo tubes, as well as a 100mm gun, short range anti-missile autocannon, a helicopter, and anti-submarine weapons (rockets and missiles). The ship has a very complete set of electronics gear, except for a troublesome Indian sonar. There is a crew of 180. All of the Talwars are equipped with eight Indian BrahMos anti-ship missile each. The Talwar is a modified version of the Russian Krivak IV design.

The P-17A "stealth" frigates are the same size as the original three Talwars India ordered in the 1990s. The Stealthy Talwars have their superstructure changed so as to reduce the radar signature (making the ship less likely to show up on enemy radars). Improved weapons and electronics are installed as well, making it a more formidable warship than the original Talwars. India is not ordering any more warships from Russia, as it has developed the capability to build what it needs locally. This now includes aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines as well as aircraft carriers, frigates and corvettes. 
Defence news

Rafale deal: Govt says Dassault's ToT offer compliant

The proposal submitted by French firm Dassault Aviation in the multi-billion dollar combat aircarft deal for Transfer of Technology has been found to be fully compliant to the requirements specified in the tender, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

"The Request for Proposal for procurement of MMRCA is included in a full section on ToT requirements. The offer of Dassault Aviation for ToT is compliant to the requirements specified in the RFP," Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said in a written reply to a queryIndia is holding contract negotiations with the French firm, which was selected as the lowest bidder by the Government in 2012, for supplying 126 Rafale multirole combat aircraft to the IAF.

In reply to a query on VVIP choppers, the Minister said the Directorate of Enforcement has registered a case under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2012 and under Foreign Exchange Management Act in the matter.

The contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the IAF by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland was scrapped by the Defence Ministry on January 1 on "grounds of breach of provisions of the Pre-Contract Integrity Pact and breach of terms of contract by the AWIL", Jaitley said.

Answering another query, the Defence Minister said the Government was planning to "amend the Works of Defence Act, 1903".

The act gives details about the use of land inside and outside the cantonments and defence installations.

The Minister said the draft bill has been sent to the various stakeholders under the Defence Ministry.

Business standard

India exercises option for six more Hercules transport aircraft

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has exercised its options for a further six Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft under a USD564.7 million contract modification announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 18 July.
The deal includes field service representatives and three years of post-delivery support after the first aircraft delivery, and is set to run to 30 April 2020. Once delivered, these new aircraft will be based at Panagargh in eastern India, the proposed headquarters of the Indian Army's new XVII Mountain Strike Corps.
India received the first of its initial batch of six C-130J-30 aircraft in February 2011, with the remaining five arriving in-country by September of that year. Operated by the specially formed 77 Squadron at Hindon Airbase, near New Delhi, these aircraft are used primarily for special forces operations. In August 2013 a C-130J-30 demonstrated the type's ability to support Indian military operations in the far north of the country when it landed on the world's highest airstrip in the Himalayan Ladakh region bordering China.
With six aircraft already in service, the IAF signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the additional six platforms in December 2013. The total value of these six new platforms, including engines, spares, and support is USD1.1 billion, bringing the cumulative value of India's C-130J-30 buy to USD2.06 billion.

In May 2014 an IAF C-130J-30 crashed on take-off near Gwalior, around 370 km southwest of New Delhi, killing all five crew members. Official sources ascribed the cause of that incident to wake turbulence, rather than any mechanical fault with the aircraft.

The IAF's contract to procure additional C-130J-30 platforms is part of a wider recapitalisation and build-up of India's airlift capability. Over recent years, the country has signed for 10 (and received 8 to date) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft, and is developing with Russia a tactical twin-engined jet transport aircraft, known as the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA).
Also, the IAF has received 12 Dornier Do-228 light transport aircraft manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and has launched a competition to buy 56 light/medium tactical transport aircraft. The frontrunners for that requirement are the Airbus DS C295 and Alenia Aermacchi C-27J aircraft. Finally, in 2009 the IAF signed a USD398 million contract with Ukrspetsexport, the Ukrainian state defence export agency, to upgrade the IAF's fleet of Antonov An-32 'Cline' transport aircraft to extend their service lives from 20 to 40 years.


July 22, 2014

Defence could be sunrise industry for Indian firms in the next decade

Defence could be the sunrise industry of the next decade for Indian companies, according to a report released by Edelweiss Securities Ltd on 18 July. And Indian conglomerates such as the Tata group, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), and Mahindra Group are increasingly forging partnerships with global defence companies, and are “heavily enhancing production bases in the defence and aerospace businesses as India is on the cusp of a major spending drive to modernise its armed forces”, the report said.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to reduce import dependence in defence equipment, India’s likely defence outlay is estimated at $248 billion over the next 10 years, according to the report. In the budget unveiled on 10 July, the government proposed to raise the foreign direct investment limit in defence production to 49% from 26%.

On Saturday, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that the government cleared procurement proposals worth over Rs.21,000 crore and also approved a project for the production of transport aircraft, which is open only to Indian private sector companies. Among the major proposals to receive approval is a Rs.9,000 crore tender to provide five fleet support ships for the Indian Navy, for which the request for proposal (RFP) would be issued to all public and private sector shipyards, defence ministry officials said.

The majority of the proposals cleared would involve only Indian public and private sector firms and are aimed at increasing the indigenization of military hardware, PTI reported. The Indian defence sector will be a significant opportunity for both foreign and domestic players, given the government’s intent to promote the domestic defence industry via a fresh dose of defence reforms. he minimum opportunity for domestic entities is worth $75 billion, given the 30% offset requirement, the Edelweiss report said. India’s defence offset policy mandates that foreign contractors source components and systems from local vendors for at least 30% of the value of orders worth more than Rs.300 crore that they get from India. Other industry experts have a similar view.

According to KPMG, the defence ministry expects the defence budget to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% to touch $64 billion in the financial year 2020. The growth will primarily be driven by capital expenditure, the component of the defence budget used for creation of assets and expenditure on procurement of new equipment. The offset opportunities are expected to be around $15 billion within the next 10-15 years, assuming that the proposed acquisitions which are under different stages are completed on time, according to KPMG.

“The new BJP-led government’s manifesto explicitly envisages India as an exporter of defence equipment over the next decade. The government has done away with the requirement of licences for defence manufacturing for all but 16 items. Further, in Budget 2014-15, it has increased FDI (foreign direct investment) in defence to 49% and also enhanced capital expenditure budget by 20%,” the Edelweiss report said. Domestic defence manufacturing is dominated by defence public sector undertakings (DPSU) and Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), which together have an 80-90% share of domestic defence manufacturing.

However, various private sector companies have been involved in a small way with several defence projects over the past years. Larsen & Toubro, the Tata group, Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Ltd, among others, have tied up with global defence companies and have created infrastructure required to take on bigger roles in the defence space.

“These companies are yet to make a significant impact given the tardy processes involved in bagging defence orders...(However,) we believe defence could be the sunrise industry of the next decade for Indian companies,” the Edelweiss Securities report said. For instance, Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL has been nurturing its ambitions in the defence space over the past few years and is likely to be a formidable entity in the aerospace business with several tie-ups in place, according to the research report.

The report said RIL is currently incubating the defence business, which looks promising. RIL did not offer any comments for the story. RIL had set up two defence subsidiaries—Reliance Aerospace Technologies and Reliance Security Solutions—in 2011. The group is set to enter the defence space by investing and signing new deals with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) primarily towards offset arrangement of defence equipment, the report said. RIL had recently signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation (France) for medium-multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) towards the offsets clause. RIL has also signed agreements with Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co. of the US and Siemens AG of Germany for homeland security systems.

Rival Tata group has also further fortified its presence in the defence space. “Chairman Cyrus Mistry’s strategy is to increase the Tata group’s footprint in the sectors opened up by the government, namely, defence and aerospace,” the Edelweiss report said. In June, Mint had reported that the $100 billion Tata group’s strategic aerospace and defence arm, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), has scaled up operations across its seven lines of manufacturing and was preparing to bid for building full aircraft in the next three to five years.

To start with, TASL is eyeing a defence ministry contract to manufacture 56 military transport planes to replace an ageing fleet of Avro jets with the Indian Air Force at an estimated cost of Rs.11,900 crore. The Mahindra Group began its Mahindra Defense Systems division in 2000; this was later carved out as a separate company in July 2012. The group expects most of the projects to come from artillery systems and armoured vehicles. It hopes to ramp up revenues to $430 million by FY16E from the current $51 million.

- Defence news

July 21, 2014

Modi govt clears private sector entry into military transport aircraft project

Signaling the end of defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics' monopoly in the domestic aerospace arena, the Modi government on Saturday gave the formal nod for the Indian private sector to tie up with a foreign collaborator to supply 56 transport aircraft to the IAF.

TOI on Wednesday had reported that the defence acquisitions council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Arun Jaitley, would clear the proposed Rs 13,000 crore project in its meeting on Saturday.

The project had been put on hold by the previous UPA regime after the then heavy industries & public enterprises minister Praful Patel and the strong PSU lobby in October 2013 had vehemently opposed the move to virtually keep state-run units like HAL and BEML out of the mega programme.

But brushing all this aside, Jaitley on Saturday said the project, under which the selected foreign aviation company will partner with an Indian Production Agency (IPA), would help make the Indian private sector "a player" in aircraft-manufacturing and lead to "capacity-building" domestically.

The DAC, attended by the three Service chiefs, defence secretary, DRDO chief and others, on Saturday also cleared other proposals worth over s 21,000 crore. This included five fleet support ships for Navy (Rs 9,000 crore), five offshore patrol vessels (Rs 2,000 crore) and five fast patrol vessels (Rs 360 crore) for Coast Guard, all of which will be constructed in domestic shipyards.The meeting also cleared acquisition of 32 indigenous Dhruv advanced light helicopters for the Navy and Coast Guard at a cost of Rs 7,000 crore from HAL, which will include maintenance, as well as search-and-rescue equipment worth Rs 900 crore for the armed forces.

But the clear take-away was the transport aircraft project. Under it, the first 16 aircraft will be bought from the foreign OEM (original equipment manufacturer), while the rest 40 will be manufactured by the IPA to replace the ageing Avro fleet of IAFThe tender or RFP (request for proposal) has been issued to over 10 global aviation majors like Embraer, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Ilyushin, Casa, Saab, Alenia Aeronautica and STE Ukraine, who have to choose their IPAs based on qualification criteria stipulated in the tender. The bid submission date has now been extended to August 28.

Indian companies like the Tatas, Reliance, Mahindra and L&T, incidentally, have long been eager to join the aviation sector. There has been some concern over the project's financial viability but MoD officials say the selected IPA could go on to manufacture the aircraft for the civil aviation sector as well after fulfilling IAF's requirement.

HAL, on its part, has an overflowing order book with several production lines in operation currently. These range from production of Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, Tejas light combat aircraft and upgrades of MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s as well as proposed ones like the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to acquire 126 Rafale jets.

Times of india

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Ends Public Sector Monopoly in Aircraft Production, Woos Private Sector

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today ended the monopoly of the public sector over aircraft production in the first meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council after the BJP-led government came to power in May.

In a bold move -- which was incidentally first proposed by the United Progressive Alliance government -- the minister today cleared the manufacture of 56 transport aircraft in India and debarred public sector giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL from participating in the process.

The 56 aircraft will replace the vintage AVRO aircraft that still play a critical role in transporting man and material over short distances and combat support. The British-built AVROs were first manufactured before World War -II.

By barring HAL - which has failed to meet delivery schedules of several projects and which is also handling multiple orders - the government hopes to provide an impetus to the private sector to enter defence equipment production.

The civilian spin-offs of manufacturing a light-transport aircraft is expected to be lucrative for the private sector. The manufacturer will be allowed to use the platform for civilian purposes like ferrying passengers and cargo over short distances.

Nearly eight manufacturers including Russia's Illusion, Ukraine's Antonov, European Consortium EADS CASA, (Airbus Industry associate), Italian Alenia Aermachhi, Unites States' Boeing and Lockheed Martin have responded to the tender.

According to the tender, the foreign manufacturer is required to tie up with an Indian partner and establish a production facility with an airfield adjacent to it in India to win the contract.

"This is a significant project in which the private sector will be the sole player and will lead to capacity building," said Mr Jaitley.

The policy to allow only the private sector to participate in this process was framed by Mr Jaitley's predecessor A K Antony. But he could not go ahead with it after his Cabinet colleague, and Minister for Heavy Industries Praful Patel, objected to the exclusion of HAL.

The newly-formed BJP government cleared the policy after legal opinion overruled Mr Patel's objection.

Several Indian private companies are also eager to enter defense aerospace; foremost among them are Tata, Reliance and Mahindra & Mahindra.

In another crucial policy decision, Mr Jaitley also cleared the manufacture of five fleet support vessels in India for the Indian Navy. Each vessel will cost nearly Rs. 1,800 crore for the exchequer.

The fleet support vessels -- also called auxiliary support ships -- provide long legs to Navy warships for Blue-water operations carrying fuel, spares and ammunition for the fleet.

Sources told NDTV that the Navy expects to induct the five vessels over the next decade.

All the five vessels will be built in India and the private sector will also be allowed to compete for the tender.


July 19, 2014

Defence projects worth Rs. 21,000 crore cleared

The government on Saturday cleared defence procurement proposals worth over Rs 21,000 crore and also okayed a project for the production of transport aircraft, which is open only to Indian private sector companies.
Among the major proposals to receive approval is a Rs 9,000 crore tender to provide five fleet support ships for the Navy, for which the request for proposal (RFP) would be issued to all public and private sector shipyards, Defence Ministry officials said.
Chairing his first meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said, “There are many proposals in the pipeline for the defence forces and, today, we have tried to expedite quite a few of them.”
Thus, a proposal for supply of 32 HAL-built Advanced Light Helicopter, ‘Dhruv’, to the Coast Guard and the Navy at a cost of Rs 7,000 crore was also okayed, officials said.
Under the proposal, HAL will supply 16 helicopters each to the Coast Guard and the Navy and also provide maintenance for the machines to ensure the “highest level of operational maintenance and efficiency”.
DAC also cleared an IAF proposal for issuance of a tender for construction of 56 transport aircraft by private industry players to replace the force’s fleet of Avro aircraft, they said.
As per the proposal, private Indian defence companies such as Tata and Mahindra would be issued tender and they would build the aircraft in partnership with foreign firms.
The meeting also cleared the procurement of five fast patrol vessels (FPV) and offshore patrol vessels (OPV) each for the Coast Guard at the cost of Rs 2,360 crore.
The FPVs and OPVs would be built by the state-owned GRSE and Goa Shipyards Ltd, respectively, officials said.
A proposal to procure search and rescue (SAR) equipment for the three services at a cost of Rs 900 crore, too, received the green light. 

The Hindu

Airbus offers IAF upgraded A-330 tanker

Airbus will offer the upgraded A-330 MRTT Enhanced variant to the IAF, which has selected Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines for the aircraft.European aerospace and defense giant Airbus is offering a new variant of its A-330 tanker to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The company has upgraded the Airbus A-330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) model, with a new green aircraft configuration, which has new structural packs, aerodynamic packs, new Power-8 computers with new displays and avionics pack.
There is also a line-up of military modifications which includes an upgrades to the Mission System, MPS, Boom Upgrade 3, Boom Visual System, IFF M5/ADS-B besides an improved industrialization process.
Antonio Caramazana, Vice President and Head of Military Derivatives Programs at Airbus Defence & Space said during a media visit to the the company’s facility at Getafe in Spain, “All of these upgrades will be available to all the new customers,” ‘including India’.
He said the prototype for this latest variant, known as the A-330 MRTT Enhanced, would start conversion around October 2015 with flight tests beginning July 2016.
The new variant would likely be ready for delivery by late 2017, said Caramazana. He said they would configure all future aircraft to the ‘Enhanced’ variant, saying it was ‘cheaper to have one version’. Caramazana also said there would no significant difference in cost, as there would be only a single variant line.
“The internal cost is something that we are working with. The point for India initially is – the aircraft is the basic aircraft and as we are evolving the aircraft, it will be for us cheaper to continue having one version rather than two versions. So we will be moving on with the new configuration and all of them will be with the new configuration and the cost is not efficient to have two lines. Airbus will stop producing the current configuration. So all the aircraft that Airbus will deliver from April-May next year – all of them with the new (configuration), so all the future aircraft will be enhanced,” said Caramazana.
Since the IAF’s MRTT aircraft will have FRUs (Fuselage Refueling Units) instead of a Boom, those upgrades would obviously not apply to Indian aircraft. However, the IFF (Identification Friend and Foe) upgrade will make it compliant with civilian regulations, something which is mandatory by the year 2019, and also subject to licensing approval by the US government.
But Airbus continues its wait for the Indian Air Force (IAF) order for six A-330 MRTT aircraft.
The aircraft was selected by the IAF after a competition with the Russian IL-78. The IAF already operates six of the Russian aircraft. The tender was held twice, because the finance ministry raised questions about the costs of the IAF selection of the Airbus aircraft, the first time in 2010.
The IAF selected the A-330 again in 2013, after taking Life Cycle Cost into consideration but the defense ministry has not taken the order process forward since and Airbus officials say they’ve been waiting for word from them.
Caramazana said, “We were expecting the contract by the end of last year – beginning of this year – before the elections. We did achieve the L1 grade. We did the flight test trial also in India in 2012. We were renegotiating with the air force the contract and the contract is already fully negotiated and pre-signed by us. We were waiting for the final political step. The air force is very keen in getting the A-330 MRTT in contract – they are very keen in getting a new modern, western aircraft to be able to do air transport and refueling operations in India.”
They also say they’re hoping the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will provide new impetus to the acquisition. Airbus representatives also told StratPost that the president of the company met with Modi before the elections.
Caramazana added, “The aircraft is the right solution for the air force. The selection was already done a year and a half ago. And the contract is already full negotiated and should be coming with the new political government – to have it cleared with the new political government.”
Caramazana also clarified that the IAF has selected the Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines to power their MRTT aircraft. Airbus had provided the IAF a choice of two engines, with the other being the GE CF-6 engine. Rolls Royce was in the news in India recently when a controversy broke out over their alleged use of a commission agent.
The newly reorganized Airbus Defence & Space is also participating in a contest to replace 56 Avro aircraft of the IAF with its C-295 aircraft.

Correction: An earlier version of this piece quoted Antonio Caramazana as saying, “And our new president (of) Airbus has already met the new prime minister – the new elected prime minister right after the elections and there is a sense of positiveness in terms of getting the A-330 MRTT in contract. So we are hopeful on that.”
Airbus representatives have since clarified that Mr. Caramazana spoke in error and that the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi took place before and not after the elections.

 - stratpost

July 18, 2014

IAF Planes Tender Limited to Private Sector

The Ministry of Defence is all set to approve its earlier proposal to involve only Indian private sector firms in the manufacture of a replacement for 56 Avros transport planes.

At its first-ever meet under the new government on Saturday, the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley-headed Defence Acquisition Council will give its nod for the tendering process. The tendering process had got stuck in November following objections from then Heavy Industries Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel and some others over keeping out Public Sector Undertakings such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

The high-level panel is also set to approve the extension of the bidding process for this key Indian Air Force acquisition till August 28.

In 2013, the UPA government gave approval to acquire 56 new transport planes worth `15,000 crore, of which 16 would be bought off the shelf from a foreign vendor, and the rest would be produced by an Indian company at its domestic facilities, following a technology transfer from the original equipment manufacturer.

The new cargo planes will replace the IAF’s near-obsolete fleet of Avro planes.

Among the foreign original equipment manufacturers that have got the tender papers are Ilyushin of Russia, Antonov of Ukraine, European consortium’s Airbus, Brazilian Embraer, Italian major Finmeccanica’s Alenia Aermacchi, American firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin and Swedish Saab. One of the unstated intention behind the government keeping this tender an “Indian private sector only” venture is to establish an domestic competitor to HAL, which has the only aviation manufacturing facility in the country.

Foreign original equipment manufacturers are to tie up with Indian companies. The ministry, under A K Antony, had decided to review its ‘private sector only’ tender to build 56 military transport planes. It had also extended the last date for the submission of bids by foreign original equipment manufacturers till a call was taken on including public sector companies as production agencies.

- Defence news

Indian Navy gets largest indigenous patrol vessel INS Sumitra

The largest indigenously- developed offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra was on Thursday delivered to the Indian Navy here by the state-owned Goa Shipyard Limited delivered.

The warship delivered to the Navy was the fourth in the series of 105-metre vessels built by the shipyard for the Navy and the third to be delivered in the last 10 months.

"The vessel was handed over by GSL chief Rear Admiral (Retd) Shekhar Mital to the Commanding Officer-Designate of the warship Commander Milind Mokashi," a GSL release said.

INS Sumitra, which is Navy's largest Offshore Patrol Vessel, is fitted with large number of state-of-the-art indigenous electronic, communication and weapon systems, it said.

The vessel will help meet the increasing requirements of the Navy for undertaking ocean surveillance and surface warfare operations in order to prevent infiltration and transgression of maritime sovereignty and is suitable for monitoring sea lanes of communication, defence of offshore oil installations and other critical offshore national assets.

"The vessel can be deployed for escorting high value ships and fleet support operations," it said. The first three of the 105-metre series of vessels include the INS Saryu, INS Sunayana and INS Sumedha.

Defence news

July 17, 2014

Russia says no to technology transfer for Smerch rockets

The Army faces a peculiar situation in strengthening its offensive weaponry. While the Russians have backed out of providing technology transfer for rockets used in the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), the Finance Ministry has refused to import the same rockets.

As of now, the Army is left with Smerch rockets for less than half-a-day in a battle. The Smrech, an effective domination weapon, is tasked with the three Strike Corps - head quartered at Ambala, Mathura and Bhopal, respectively. The Army has 62 such launchers, which move in squadrons with Strike Crops and have the capacity to hit targets at 70-80 km away, allowing the Infantry and tanks to move forward in case of an assault. These rockets can neutralise enemy troop concentrations, command posts, artillery and missile locations.

Sources said Russia had expressed reservation to meet Indian conditions to indigenise the production of rockets, allowing the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to produce them here. In August 2012, an MoU was signed between the OFB and Russian companies — Rosoboronexport and Splav "SPA" to manufacture five versions of Smerch Rockets.

The Russian side has expressed reservations on allowing technology transfer. The worried Army moved a fresh case through the Ministry of Defence to import rockets. The Finance Ministry turned it down, saying that the original permission was given for local production and a fresh permission has to be sought for importing the rockets.

Sources said a fresh case had been taken up, but till then the Army had to wait for the rockets.

Each year, India displays the Smerch in the Republic Day parade to showcase its might. These have been acquired at a cost of Rs 2,600 crore. So far, rockets for the launchers are purchased from Russia.

India is so dependent on Russia that international think tank — the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)-— observed in its report in March 2014 that the major supplier of arms to India between 2009-13 was Russia — accounting for 75 per cent of Indian imports. 
Defence news

Ladakh: Chinese troops make incursion attempt

Chinese troops made a fresh attempt to violate the border with India in Chumar area in Ladakh on Sunday and retreated only after ITBP and Army jawans formed a human wall to block their incursion bid.

Chumar, located 300 km east of Leh, has been an epicentre of heightened activities of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) who had been making increased attempts to enter through this region, official sources said today.

Giving details of the incursion bid, the sources said that nine PLA soldiers first reached the border area at 07:00am on March 16 and were stopped by the jawans which was followed by the customary banner drill.

However, in no time 10 more PLA personnel arrived on the scene riding horses and joined their colleagues to make attempts to move ahead into the Indian territory.

Chinese troops made repeated assertions that it was their territory and they were headed towards to Tible area, five km deep into the Indian territory, the sources said.

Explaining their action, the troops told the Indian jawans that they were ordered by the PLA headquarters to conduct a reconnaissance in Tible area, the sources added.

However, more Indian troops joined in and Chinese troops made a retreat by 09:00am hours the same day, the sources said. During the onset of winter, Chumar has witnessed frequent incursion attempts by the Chinese troops who also have been adopting ?assertive posturing?. This area has a defined International Border with China.

On earlier occasions this year, Chinese troops had even attempted to break a human wall of Indian jawans during the banner drill.

Chumar has been an issue for China which claims it to be its own territory and have been frequenting it with helicopter incursions almost every year. In 2012, it dropped some of the soldiers of PLA in this region and dismantled the makeshift storage tents of the Army and ITBP.

The area is not accessible from the Chinese side whereas the Indian side has a road almost to the last point on which the Army can carry loads up to nine tonnes.

Chumar had become a flash point during the fortnight long stand-off last year in Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) last year as the Chinese side had objected to overhead bunkers erected by the Indian side. As part of an agreement reached at the flag meeting to end the stand-off from April-May 2013 at DBO, Indian side had to dismantle some overhead bunkers in Chumar.

Again, Chumar witnessed Chinese troops walking away with an Army surveillance camera on June 17 which was meant for keeping an eye on the PLA troops patrolling there. The same camera was returned after a few days.
- Defence news

July 16, 2014

General comparision between Dassault Rafale vs Sukhoi SU-35

The contract between Russia and China for delivery of advanced multi-role Su-35 fighters will be signed this year. India also expected to order Rafale from france , if every thing goes in right path.
Here is some important comparision between Dassault Rafale against Russian Su 35, both are 4+ technology with Aesa radar. 

                                        Overall rating table (source : Aviatia)
BVR Rating
Armament 7.8/10 8.1/10
Technology 7.7/10 8.1/10
Avionics 8.0/10 8.2/10
Maneuverability 9.5/10 8.4/10
Rate of Climb max. 300 m/s – 60k ft/min max. 280 m/s – 55k ft/min
Thrust/Weight 1.13 1.10
Service Ceiling 17 km – 55k ft 18 km – 59k ft
Speed 2.00 Mach 2.25 Mach
Fuel Economy 0.27 km/l – 0.63 NM/gallon 0.19 km/l – 0.44 NM/gallon
Unit Cost 90.000.000 USD 65.000.000 USD
Overall Rating very good very good
BVR Armament Comparison
BVR AAM missile MBDA Meteor Vympel R-77M
Year in 2013 1998
Range (mile) 62 99
Range (km) 100 160
Range (NM) 54 86
Speed (mph) 2640 2970
Speed (km/h) 4248 4779
Speed (Mach) 4 4,5
Weight (lb) 407 497
Weight (kg) 185 226
Unit Cost $1.600.000 Unknown
BVR Rating  90%  80%
Dogfight (armament: only cannon)
Cannon GIAT 30M/719B GSh-30-1
Caliber (mm) 30 mm 30 mm
Rate of Fire (rpm) 2500 rpm 1800 rpm
Muzzle Velocity (m/s) 1025 m/s 850 m/s
Size Point (10% to 30%) 30% NO
Maneuverability (x/10) 9,5 8,4
Thrust/Weight Ratio 1,13 1,10
Total Points 65 33
Probability of winning 66% 34%
 General data table
Length 15.27 m – 50 ft 1 in 21.90 m – 72 ft 10 in
Wingspan 10.80 m – 35 ft 4 in 15.30 m – 50 ft 3 in
Height 5.30 m – 17 ft 3 in 5.90 m – 19 ft 4 in
Weight 10,100 kg – 22,6k lb 18,500 kg – 41k lb
Power 2 x 75 kN – 17k lbf 2 x 142 kN – 32k lbf
1 × 30 mm GIAT 30/719B cannon (125 rounds) 1 × 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon (150 rounds)
MBDA MICA IR/EM (AAM missile) Vympel R-27R, R-27ER, R-27T (AAM missile)
Magic II (AAM missile) Vympel R-27ET, R-27EP, R-27AE (AAM missile)
MBDA Meteor (AAM missile) Vympel R-77, R-77M1, R-77T (AAM missile)
MBDA Apache (AGM missile) Vympel R-73E, R-73M, R-74M (AAM missile)
SCALP EG (AGM missile) Kh-31A, Kh-31P Anti-radiation (AGM missile)
AASM (AGM missile) Kh-59 (AGM missile)
AM 39 Exocet (AGM missile) Kh-29T, Kh-29L (AGM missile)
ASMP-A (nuclear AGM missile) KAB-500L, KAB-1500 (bomb)
Paveway II (bomb) FAB-250, FAB-500 (bomb)

LGB-250 (bomb)

B-13, S-13 (rocket)

B-8, S-8 (rocket)

S-25LD, S-250 (rocket)