October 31, 2014

French team to visit India to put MMRCA deal on fast track

Alarmed that the much-delayed $20-billion deal for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) may be deferred further, a team of senior officers from France's defence ministry and aircraft manufacturer Dassault are to visit India shortly to expedite the procurement process and to ensure that the deal is on track.
Dassault's Rafale fighter was selected to supplement the Indian Air Force's ageing fleet over competition from the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mikoyan MiG-35 and Saab JAS 39 Gripen..
Sources told FE, “The negotiations for the MMRCA, which is part of the long-term integrated perspective plan (2012-27) with the French company Dassault, is going on but at a very slow pace as it is complicated process. The French government and the company have expressed concern over the delays. And they are keen that the deal gets finalised at the earliest. However, the whole process will take its own time to be completed.”
Citing some hurdles in the final round of negotiations, sources have indicated that besides the costs, it is the clause on transfer of technology that is causing more delays.
Given that Dassault has no foreign customers for the Rafale and badly needs the export orders, careful negotiation could reduce cost, but so far that does not seem to have happened.
As reported by FE earlier, cost has been an issue since the start besides the company’s reluctance to transfer sophisticated technology to India and meet offsets requirements. In the last several months, questions have been raised by Dassault regarding the role of Hindustan Aeronautics in the MMRCA. Moreover, the French company is unwilling to be held liable for the quality, on-time and on-cost delivery of the 108 aircraft to be licence-produced at HAL. However, according to HAL officials, all issues with Dassault have been resolved. As things stand, given Dassault’s financial situation the company cannot afford any business risk.
According to official sources, the negotiations have dragged on for so long also due to issues related to MMRCA’s 50% offset requirement and transfer of technology. The French, it appears, are unwilling to transfer cutting edge technology such as that of the electronically scanned AESA radar while citing lack of maturity of the Indian defence industry to absorb such critical technologies as an excuse.
There is also a strong lobby of small and medium French enterprises that is against industrial offsets and sees it as a threat to the competitiveness of the French defence industry.
It is the Indian Air Force's threat perception in the face of its depleting squadron strength · down from the sanctioned 44 squadrons to about 34 squadrons at present · that led it to look for new aircraft to replace its ageing combat fleet.


Eurofighter can step in if talks with Rafale fails: UK

UK today said the Europe-backed Eurofighter could hold negotiations with India for the supply 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) if the talks for the multi-billion dollar deal with French major Dassault Aviation do not make progress.
Making it clear that his country respects the "position the Indian government has adopted", visiting UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, "Eurofighter has made it very clear that should the negotiations not progress with the French then we are ready to get into negotiations with the Indian government".

Speaking to reporters here, Fallon said UK was "ideally placed to contribute significantly" to India's defence sector.

His comments even though France voiced satisfaction yesterday over the ongoing negotiations for the finalisation of the MMRCA contract, saying it was moving in the "right direction".

French envoy to India Francois Richier had played down the delay in the finalisation of the much-delayed contract for the supply of Rafale fighter planes, saying that such "complex" issues does take time.

The French firm was selected in January 2012 by India for supplying 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force.

The negotiations have lately slowed down over some issues, including the imposition of liquidity damages or penalties for any delays in the supply of the aircraft to be manufactured in the country.

India had selected the French Rafale combat aircraft after an over five-year process where five other firms manufacturing American F/A-18 and F-16, Russian MiG 35, European Eurofighter and Swedish Saab Gripen were also in the race.

However, the process of finalising the contract has been quite slow and still the role and responsibilities to be shared between the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Dassault Aviation have not been fully agreed upon.

Out of the 126 aircraft to be manufactured for the IAF, 18 are proposed to be supplied directly by the French from their facilities in France whereas the remaining 108 are planned to be built in HAL facilities in Bangalore.


St Petersburg enterprise to supply arresting gear for INS Vikrant

The Proletarski Zavod will supply arresting gear and breaking machines for the aircraft carrier that will be commissioned in 2018.
St. Petersburg’s Proletarski Zavod  (Proletarian Factory) will supply arresting gears and breaking machines for the under construction INS Vikrant aircraft carrier. The Russian enterprise has already supplied similar equipment for the INS Vikramaditya, Yury Skorikov, the factory’s general director told Tass.
“A contract has been signed with the Indian side. We are making arresting gears for the Vikrant aircraft carrier,” Skorikov said. He added that the enterprise is now considering an agreement on post-guarantee servicing of the arresting gears that are already found in the Vikramaditya since the basic time period of the warranty has already run out.
“We’ve already put braking machines on the Vikramaditya and are manufacturing them for the Vikrant aircraft carrier. Presumably the breaking machines for the Vikrant will be supplied in 2015,” Skorikov said.
The St. Petersburg enterprise also produces arresting gears for naval aviation pilot training complexes in Yeysk, Russia as well as in the Indian state of Goa. “Four arresting gears were delivered to Yeysk and the first machine has already been installed,” said Skorikov. “Deliveries were completed in 2013. Right now the equipment is being mounted.”
Proletarski Zavod is one of the oldest machine-building enterprises in St Petersburg. It specialises in marine and power engineering. According to its website, ship mechanisms, systems and complexes, that in certain cases do not have any analogues in home industry, are created at the factory.
The INS Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier built in India. The ship was “launched” in 2013 and construction is expected to be completed by 2016. The first ship of the Vikrant class of aircraft carriers is expected to be commissioned in 2018. Work is currently going on in the Cochin Shipyard in the Indian state of Kerala.The aircraft carrier is 262 metres long and 60 metres wide, and displaces about 40,000 metric tons. The deck will be able to accommodate 30 aircrafts and is expected to host MiG 29K and Tejas aircrafts, as well as Kamov Ka-31 aircrafts. India will keep a squadron of 17 MiG 29s on the INS Vikrant to protect its eastern seaboard. Russia will deliver the second squadron of aircraft meant for the indigenous aircraft carrier by 2015.


October 30, 2014

Draft of multi-billion dollar deal for 126 IAF fighter jets ready

The draft agreement of the mega multi-billion dollar deal for proposed acquisition of 126 Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) with French company Dassault “running into 15,000 pages is almost ready,” sources said on Wednesday, indicating that inking of the proposed deal could be the next biggest step by the Modi government in the defence sector.
Sources said the proposed deal could be inked by the end of this year or early next year adding that “negotiations are proceeding well” between India and France.


Rafale Jet Deal with France Next on Modi Government's Radar

After clearing defence acquisitions of over Rs 1 lakh crore, the much awaited multi-billion French Rafale combat aircraft deal is expected to be next on the agenda for the Narendra Modi Government on defence procurement.
According to a top official of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) privy to the development, over two years of negotiations between French firm Dassault and the Ministry is almost complete and a decision is likely to be taken soon, for which a voluminous draft agreement of over 15,000 pages between the Dassault and IAF has already been prepared.
“The contract negotiations committee has almost completed its task and would submit its report very soon. And we expect a final decision on the deal by the end of next month,” said a top official from the Ministry. A source said a decision is likely after Defence Secretary RK Mathur returns from the US. Meanwhile, French Ambassador S E M Fran├žois Richier said here, “The negotiations are progressing well.” Recalling that there were statements made by Indian defence officials in the recent past about the progress and recent visit by the CEO of French Dassault Aviation SA, makers of Rafale, Richier added, “It is a signal that it is moving in the right direction.”
Although Rafale was declared lowest bidder in January 2012, the deal has not been inked so far due to cost escalation. And the cost negotiation committee, which was set up in February 2012 to work out the modalities for the deal, has not reached a conclusion after 30 months of negotiations.
An official said, “The final negotiation for the upgradation of Mirage took three years. This is a very big contract, complex,” he said adding, “it takes time”.
Recently, during French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ visit to India in July, New Delhi had raised serious concerns over cost escalation of the fighter jet deal.
Officials claim that in 2007, when the tender was floated, the cost of the programme was $12 billion (Rs 42,000 crore). When the lowest bidder was declared in January 2012, the cost of the deal shot up to $18 billion (Rs 90,000 crore). And now with inclusion of transfer of technology, life cycle cost and creating Assembly line, the deal has crossed a whopping $20 billion.
The Air Force is seeking to replace its ageing MiG-21s with a modern fighter and MMRCA fits between India’s high-end Sukhoi-30MKIs and its low-end Tejas LCA lightweight fighter.

 - newindianexpress

BrahMos Mini planned for Navy, Air Force

A new, lighter version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos called BrahMos-M (Mini) weighing around 1.5 tonnes is being planned for use by the Navy and the Air Force. “BrahMos Aerospace is currently getting the user requirements to finalise the configuration,” said Sudhir Mishra, CEO and MD of BrahMos Corporation (BA).
Once inducted into the Navy, the Mini can be launched from submarines torpedo tubes. For the Air Force a mini version means a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile compatible with future platforms namely, the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) and Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).
When questioned about test firing the air launched variant from a modified Su-30MKI aircraft, Mr. Mishra told The Hindu that work was progressing to complete the test firing by April-May 2015.
The submarine variant which was test fired from a submerged pontoon was a technology demonstration to the Indian Navy. Further, developmental trials will happen only when the Navy evinces an interest which they haven’t yet, partly due to non-availability of platforms.

The hindu

Brazil chooses Gripen over Rafale

Brazil's decision to buy the Swedish JAS-39E/F Gripen (or Gripen NG) has opened a tantalising possibility for India's defence ministry (MoD), which is frustrated after 33 months of negotiations with French company, Dassault on the proposed purchase of 126 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).

On Monday, Swedish defence giant, Saab, which builds the Gripen, announced Brazil had signed a contract for 36 Gripen NG fighters for $5.475 billion.

Brazil chose the Gripen NG over the Rafale (Dassault, France) and the F/A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, USA).

Brazil will now ask Saab to develop the Sea Gripen, says defence analyst, INS Jane's. Twenty-four of these "navalised" fighters will equip Brazil's aircraft carrier, Sao Paulo.

IHS Jane's also highlights the Indian Navy's need for the Sea Gripen for two carriers that Cochin Shipyard is building - the 40,000-tonne INS Vikrant and a larger, yet unnamed, successor referred to as the Future Indigenous Carrier.

So far, the Indian Navy had planned to fly a naval version of the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) - the Naval Tejas - from these carriers. However, the Naval Tejas, which the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing, may not be ready for service by 2018, when the Vikrant will be commissioned.

The Sea Gripen constitutes a new option as the Vikrant's light fighter. The navy already has a medium fighter, the MiG-29K, on order from Russia.

Indian analysts, like Manoj Joshi of Observer Research Foundation, say buying the Sea Gripen would let the DRDO engage Saab as a design partner for the Naval Tejas and Tejas Mark II, both advanced versions of the current Tejas Mark I.

In 2011, then DRDO chief V K Saraswat had approached Saab to collaborate in developing the Tejas Mark II. In 2012, the DRDO and Saab held detailed discussions. In January 2013, Saab was issued a Request for Proposal, which the DRDO examined and discussed. Yet, nothing came of it.

The DRDO's interest in Saab stems from the numerous technical parallels between the Tejas and the Gripen. Both are light fighters in the 14-tonne class. Whilst developing the Gripen NG, Saab changed the engine to the more powerful General Electric F-414 turbofan, and added more fuel; which is exactly what the DRDO proposes for the LCA Mark II. Fitting the bulkier, heavier F-414 into the Tejas would require re-engineering of the fuselage; a problem that Saab has promised to solve.

"The greatest benefit to the Tejas Mark II could be from the Gripen's superb networking. Aerial combat is no longer about eye-catching aerobatics; it is about data links; networking, and cockpit avionics, which is Saab's strength," says Joshi.

The DRDO was also hoping to learn from Saab's maintenance philosophy, which has made the Gripen the world's most easy-to-maintain fighter. According to independent estimations, the Gripen requires three to five man-hours of maintenance per flight hour. That means, after an hour-long mission, 6-10 technicians require only 30 minutes to put the fighter back in the air.

In contrast, the Rafale is estimated to require 15 maintenance man-hours per flight hour; while the F-35 Lightening II requires 30-35 man-hours.

According to a Jane's study, the operating cost of the Gripen is $4,700 per hour. The Rafale is thrice as expensive, at $15,000 per hour.

"The Tejas Mark I has not been designed with operational availability in mind. It is a maintenance nightmare, with sub-systems inaccessible. The Tejas Mark II will need Saab's help in radically re-engineered these," says a DRDO engineer.

Senior Saab officials say, off the record, they are keen to partner India in developing the Tejas Mark II. They say the Tejas Mark II, built cheaply in large numbers, would eliminate the need for a heavy, costly, highly sophisticated fighter like the Rafale. Saab sees major profit in co-developing the Tejas Mark II.

Brazil's contract for 36 Gripen NGs comes on top of Stockholm's decision to buy 60 of these fighters for the Swedish Air Force.

In 2011, Switzerland too had selected the Gripen over the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon. However, in an astonishing, nationwide referendum on the proposed $3.5-billion purchase, the Swiss people voted to spend the money instead on education, transport and pensions.

The current version of the Gripen NG, the Gripen D, is currently in operational service with the Swedish, Czech, Hungarian, South African and Royal Thai Air Forces, and also with the UK Empire Test Pilots' School.


October 29, 2014

India readies for full-fledged test of indigenous ICB

India is readying for the full-fledged test-firing from a canister of an indigenous long-range missile that carries a one-tonne nuclear warhead and can target cities as far as Beijing.
The previous two launches of the 5,000 km Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with dummy warheads have been from open mobile launchers. The canisterised version has a much longer shelf-life, with the container being made of special steel that absorbs the blast of the takeoff.
"The test will happen by the end of November or early December. It will be another feather in the cap of Indian missile scientists," an official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that developed the 50-tonne missile told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"We have already successfully fired two dummy missiles, and we are confident that the canister launch will be successful," the official added. The dummy missiles tested were of exact mass and height as the Agni-5, but without the warhead.
According to the official, in the launch, a gas generator inside the canister ejects the missile up to a height of about 30 metres. A motor is then ignited to fire the missile.
As the launch process happens inside a canister, it takes away the need of a jet deflector on the launcher that is otherwise needed for redirecting the high energy exhaust.
The strength of the surface of the launch pad is not a critical factor either, making it possible to launch the missile from anywhere.
In addition to giving the user more flexibility, a canister-based missile offers the option to launch at a very short notice and with less manpower.
"Canister launch provides the missile a quick reaction stop-and-launch system," the official said.
"As the missile is sealed in a canister, there is no impact on the outside environment. This protects the missile, and many pre-checks are not needed, making the launch process shorter," the official added.
The Agni-5 is the most advanced version of the Agni, or Fire, series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that started in the 1960s.
Before this, DRDO scientists successfully conducted from an underwater pontoon the K-15 ballistic missile that will be used to arm the Indian Navy's submarines.


China to buy 5,000 Russian air-to-air missiles: Japanese report

China is likely to purchase 5,000 R-73 and R-77 air-to-air missiles from Russia, writes Toshiyuki Roku, retired commander of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Air Development and Test Command, in an article for the Tokyo-based Japan Military Review.
Since China's domestic air-to-air missiles such as the PL-12, the SD-10A and the PL-9C were designed based on technology from Ukraine and are still unable to compete against US counterparts, the People's Liberation Army realizes that it needs the more advanced Russian missiles to go head to head against the US and Japan in any potential future air combat, Roku wrote. He said China has already bought 1,500 R-77 missiles and 3,300 R-73 missiles from Russia.
Roku said the R-73 short-range missile developed in 1985 was considered the most powerful air-to-air missile during the Cold War, superior to the AIM-9M air-to-air missiles used by NATO air forces from 1982. The R-77 medium-range air-to-air missile designed in 1992 has similar capabilities to the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile of the United States.
Before it receives F-35A fighters from the United States, Roku suggested that the JASDF develop or purchase new missiles to maintain aerial superiority in the skies over the East China Sea. Japan's main air-to-air missiles are the AAM-4 short-range and the AAM-5 medium-range missiles, which Roku said had both been upgraded in Japan. He also drew attention to the development of Chinese medium-range air-to-air missile with Ramjet.


Poland is interested in an Indo-Israeli naval air defense systems

                                          INS Kolkata clearly showing the MF-STAR dome.
Israel and India are positioning the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) as an affordable area defense system that can be integrated on all surface vessels - including corvettes and medium missile boats.

Israel and India are positioning the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) as an affordable area defense system that can be integrated on all surface vessels - including corvettes and medium missile boats.
The INS Lahav (Saar V class) corvette was upgraded with the MF-STAR ADIR phased array radar, providing the vessel a critical sensor for the defense of Israel’s offshore gas drilling rigs located in the EEZ, at the range of Gaza rockets and Hezbollah Yakhont anti-ship missiles. The Navy has  successfully deployed the corvettes fitted with the new radar to defend offshore sites. The navy also intercepted targets representative of the current threats, using enhanced BARAK I missiles. Future weapons, such as Barak 8, C-DOME and David’s Sling will provide even more hermetic defense from such threats. Photo: Israel Navy
The two countries have teamed to co-develop and market the area defense system which is considered more compact and affordable than comparable naval air defense systems of European and US origin.
Poland considered the acquisition of seven 1,900 ton Gawron class corvettes based on the Meko A-100. This project was cancelled in 2012 over financial constraints but in 2013 it was decided to restart part of the program and complete at least one Gawron hull by 2016. The current plan calls for the maintenance and capability expansion of the current naval force, tasked primarily with coastal defense. Among the platforms considered for this fleet are three 1,900 ton corvettes, which potentially could be candidates for the Indo-Israeli integrated naval air-defense system.
If poland agrees to the proposal it would become the fourth customer of the system – as the Barak 8 system has already booked multi-billion dollars worth firm orders. Among the launch customers were the Indian and Israel navies, the Indian Air Force and Azeri ministry of defense, which included 75 of the missiles as part of an arms deal worth $1.6 billion signed with Israel in 2011.
Compared to other advanced air defense missile systems, Barak 8 / MRSAM would fit well in new and existing ships, as it comes in a 9” diameter canisters – compared to the 21” standard matching the VL-41 launcher.
The offer comes as the Barak-8 system is moving into the final qualification testing toward the end of 2014, to equip the leading naval vessels of the Israeli and Indian navies.

In Israel, Barak 8 will be deployed on three Eilat class corvettes, the first vessel – INS Lahav has already been equipped with the systems’ MF-STAR (ADIR) multi-functional phased array radar and Barak 8 weapon control system. In India, the lead ship of the Project-15A destroyer INS Kolkata, has been equipped with a wedged dome-shaped MF-STAR on its main mast, along with three 8 stack Barak 8 launchers below deck, each mounting eight missiles. The second and third vessels of this class, INS Kochi and INS Chennai, will also receive the new system.
While parts of the Barak 8 system are already installed on the lead ship of the Project 15A class, INS Kolkata, the 48 canisters installed on the destroyer will remain empty until fully tested missiles are delivered, hopefully by the end of 2015.
The systems will also become standard on the enhanced Kolkata class – Project 15B 7,200 ton vessels. Construction of the lead ship of this class, INS Bengaluru, will begin in 2016. By 2018 LRSAM systems will also be installed on India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier – INS Vikrant
These will be the primary requirement for a new class of offshore patrol vessel the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) is requesting from naval shipbuilders. IMOD has recently published an international request for proposal (RFP) for the supply of four such vessels; they are likely to be equipped with air defense systems such as Barak 8, to provide a ‘protective umbrella’ against coastal defense missiles such as the Russian P-800 Yakhont that is likely to be fielded by Hezbollah in Lebanon, or Iranian C-704 thought to be supplied to Hamas in Gaza.
The weapon is optimised to defeat all types of aerial targets, from guided weapons, sea skimming and cruise missiles, including the high supersonic missiles such as the P-800 Yakhont to manned and unmanned aircraft.

defence update

Tata, Airbus team up to bid for IAF aircraft deal

In the first big boost to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) on Tuesday announced a joint bid for a government contract to supply military aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The IAF is looking to replace its fleet of 56 Avro aircraft while the JV will supply the Airbus’ C295 medium transport aircraft, a joint statement said. If the combine wins the bid, Airbus would supply 16 planes while the remaining 40 would be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TAS) in India.
If the Airbus-TASL combine bags the order, it would be a big next step for the Tata Group firm, which thus far has been a supplier of components for Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin. It would be the first time that the firm would be building an aircraft from scratch at its unit in India.

 indian Express

HAL to supply 12 Do-228 MSAs to Indian Navy

Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will supply 12 Dornier Do-228 maritime surveillance and patrol aircraft (MSA) to the Indian navy in a deal estimated at $310 million.
The Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for HAL’s proposal to supply the type to the navy was granted earlier this week by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) led by defence minister Arun Jaitley.
“HAL will respond to a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) expected to be issued early next year”, says a company spokesperson. Deliveries are to begin from 2016 and the new aircraft will be produced at HAL’s Transport Aircraft Division (TAD) in Kanpur, where 124 of the type have been produced since 1984.
Maritime surveillance and patrol variants of the Do-228 have been modified by HAL to cater for a host of equipment demanded by the navy including surveillance radar, FLIR (forward looking infrared), ESM (electronic support measures), satellite communications, data links, speech secrecy equipment, TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system), among others.
It is not clear if the new aircraft will receive the full glass cockpit and improvements such as digital auto-pilot, upgraded avionics and other systems, displayed by the airframer during Aero India in early 2013.
The latest order is a further indication of the new government’s support for manufacturing defence products in India. In July, HAL received approval to supply of 32 Dhruv Mk III helicopters split equally between India’s navy and coast guard in a deal worth $1.19 billion.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that the Indian navy has 26 Do-228 aircraft in service, 15 -200s and 11 -100s. Of these, 25 were built locally by HAL, while a single -200 was produced by Fairchild/Dornier.


Indian Army team wins gold medal at a prestigious event in UK

An Indian Army team has won the gold medal in the prestigious Cambrian Patrol held in the UK beating more than 140 participants.

Exercise Cambrian Patrol is an annual international military patrolling event that makes its participating units cover a 80km course in less than 48 hours while performing numerous types of military exercises placed throughout the rugged Cambrian Mountains and swamp lands of mid-Wales in UK.

Indian Army team of 8 Garwhal Rifles won Gold Medal in the competition held from October 17-26.

Cambrian Patrol was first set up more than 40 years ago, by a group of Welsh Territorial Army soldiers who designed the training event to feature long-distance marching across the Cambrian Mountains culminating in firing.

The aim of the exercise is to test leadership, self-discipline, courage, physical endurance and determination.

The competition consists of teams of eight men patrolling across some of the most unforgiving terrain. The tests are over two days with no sleep or rest. Some tests which are undergone are - firing of personal weapons, hurdle-crossing, first aid and casualty evacuation, recognition of aircraft vehicles and equipment, artillery target indication, patrol techniques, handling prisoners of war, tactical river/stream crossing, ambush/anti ambush drills among others.

Many of the teams that enter do not finish, those that do earn one of four distinctions - gold medal, silver medal, bronze medal or passing, a statement by the Army said.

In the past, the Indian Army team of 4/9 Gorkha Rifles had won the gold medal in 2010.


October 28, 2014

12,000 ITBP personnel to be deployed along China border

Against the backdrop of over 300 transgressions by the Chinese army along the line of actual control till August this year, the government has given an in-principle approval for induction of nearly 12,000 personnel in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, a force which guards the 3,488km-long India-China border.

The 12 new battalions (12,000 personnel) will be recruited mainly for deployment at 54 new border outposts (BoPs) that will be set along LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, official sources said here.

The setting up of new posts, announced by home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday last, will bolster the presence of ITBP along the strategic frontier in Arunachal Pradesh which has witnessed incursion attempts from Chinese side because of large gaps between two border posts.

Terming the incursion as "transgression", the government had informed Rajya Sabha in August this year that Chinese army has transgressed the border 334 times this year and a total of 1,278 times between 2010-13.

Chinese army transgressed the border 334 times till August 4, this year. The number of such incidents stood at 411 in 2013, 426 in 2012 and 213 in 2011, Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had said on the floor of the House.

The sources now said an in-principle approval has been granted by the Union home ministry after the ITBP had submitted a detailed plan that it would require to raise additional 12 battalions to man these new locations.

The present strength of the ITBP is 62 battalions and 58 of them are deployed along the India-China border and remaining four in Naxalite-hit areas.
"An in-principle approval has been made in this regard," a senior home ministry official said and added that after a final approval, large scale recruitment will be carried out in a phased manner over a period of five years.

Apart from setting up of 54 new border outposts, the home minister had also announced a Rs 175 crore package for beefing up infrastructure along the border in Arunachal Pradesh.
- timesofindia

To Counter China, Indian BrahMos Missiles, Patrol Boats for Vietnam?

Will India sell military hardware, including BrahMos cruise missiles, to Vietnam? The move, which will definitely be viewed as hostile by China, will be the key point of discussion during Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's two day visit to India, which starts today. Equipping Vietnam - which is at the forefront of the escalating confrontation in South China Sea - with BrahMos may be interpreted by Beijing as a direct military intervention. BrahMos is primarily an anti-ship missile.
 Developed jointly with Russia, it is being manufactured by India.The previous UPA government had refused to sell military hardware to Vietnam.
The question that confronts the Narendra Modi-led NDA government now is whether it would bite the bullet.Despite objections from China and the dispute about territorial limits in the South China Sea, India has fished in troubled waters, acquiring two oil blocks from Vietnam. And though China claims they are within its territorial waters, India has persisted with the exploration despite finding them commercially unviable.As New Delhi widens the arc of its "Look- East" policy - building long-term strategic engagement in trade and military - Vietnam is emerging as one of key pillars.

Last month, days before Chinese President Xi Jinping visited India, India had extended extended a $100 million (around Rs. 600 crore) export credit to Vietnam for defence deals during the visit of President Pranab Mukerjee to Vietnam.

At the end of his four-day visit, the two countries, in a joint statement, said the credit line would allow increased defence cooperation and the details of what Vietnam would buy from India will soon be finalised. Although New Delhi is tightlipped, sources said Vietnam is interested in buying Off-Shore Patrol (OPVs) vessels from India too. It is understood Vietnam wants four OPVs, which would be used to police the South China Seas.

India is already training the Vietnam Navy personnel in - among other things - operating the Russian-origin Kilo-class submarine. So far it has trained over 500 personnel of the Vietnamese Navy. But Hanoi wants more.

In addition, India and Vietnam could arrive at an agreement to launch Vietnam's satellites into space. India is also keen on establishing a satellite tracking, data reception and processing centre in Ho Chi Minh city.


India to Build 54 New Border Posts In Arunachal, China Reacts

China today warned India against taking any action that may "complicate or exaggerate" the boundary issue after India announced plans to build 54 new border posts in Arunachal Pradesh on October 24.

China's position on the boundary question is consistent and clear, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in an e-mail response to the news agency Press Trust of India. China, he said, was committed to finding a solution "through friendly negotiation as soon as possible" and working together to safeguard peace and tranquility.But "pending the final settlement of the boundary question, we hope the Indian side could refrain from taking any action that may complicate or exaggerate the question," Mr Hua said.

On October 15, China had objected to India's plans to build a 2000-km road along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. The road from Mago-Thingbu in Tawang to Vijaynagar in Changlang district is meant to match China's infrastructure development. "Before the border problem is solved, we hope the Indian side will not take any action that could further complicate the relevant issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei had said.

"We should jointly safeguard the peace and tranquility of the border area and create favourable conditions for the final settlement of the border issue," he had added.

In response, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said nobody should "threaten or warn India". "India has grown in strength. Both sides should resolve the border issue through dialogue," he had said
Subsequently, officials from India and China held the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination held a meeting in New Delhi, during which the two sides discussed a host of issues relating to the management of the boundary and keeping peace along the border.

Last month, India and China agreed to pull back troops ranged against each other in Ladakh, ending their biggest face-off on the border in a year.

Will look into Vietnam offer of oil blocks in South China Sea: India

India has said it is examining Vietnam’s offer of additional oil blocks in the South China Sea. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is scheduled to arrive in the country Monday for a two-day visit.
During the October 27-28 visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sign bilateral agreements. He will also visit Bodh Gaya and meet Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi.
“Vietnam has offered some oil blocks in South China Sea. We are examining it and if they are commercially viable for us we will take that into account and proceed further,” the Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson said Friday.
Asked whether China’s concern on India’s presence in the South China Sea will be an impediment in the country accepting Vietnam’s offer of five additional oil blocks, he said, “India and Vietnam relationship is not contingent on other countries. Our relationship is a bilateral one and we focus on those bilateral issues.”
ONGC Videsh Ltd has operations in number of oil blocks in South China Sea which were offered to it by Vietnam. China and Vietnam have an acrimonious relationship due to their stand-off over the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. China has been objecting to India’s oil exploration projects in the disputed waters.
A Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed between ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to that country last month.
The LoI is aimed at further consolidating cooperation between India and Vietnam in energy sector and pave the way for future collaboration between the two countries.
Enhancing economic relations is going to dominate the discussions between Modi and Tan. Observing that the two countries have exceeded their trade target set for 2015 ahead of schedule, officials said the two sides have mature defence and security cooperation architecture.
“We are working on those targets and the targets will be decided by the Prime Ministers when they meet,” officials said, when asked if the trade target will be revised given that both countries have already achieved US$7 billion trade target set for 2015.
Tan, accompanied by a delegation of 50 businessmen, will hold talks with the top Indian leadership on strategic bilateral issues of security and energy as well as regional matters. Both sides are likely to sign at least a dozen pacts to boost cooperation in sectors like energy, infrastructure, trade and tourism during Tan’s visit.
Modi invites ideas on Australia visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday invited ideas from everyone on his upcoming visit to Australia. He asked people to send their suggestions on mygov.in. Modi posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter: “During my Australia visit in November I would be attending a variety of programmes, including an interaction with the Indian community there. I want to hear ideas and thoughts from all of you, including friends in Australia and the Indian community there on my visit.” “Participate in this MyGov Open Forum and share your ideas on what you feel are important issues for my Australia visit,” he tweeted. He will be visiting Australia later next month to attend the G20 summit.


India has said it is examining Vietnam’s offer of additional oil blocks in the South China Sea. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is scheduled to arrive in the country Monday for a two-day visit.
During the October 27-28 visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sign bilateral agreements. He will also visit Bodh Gaya and meet Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi.
“Vietnam has offered some oil blocks in South China Sea. We are examining it and if they are commercially viable for us we will take that into account and proceed further,” the Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson said Friday.
Asked whether China’s concern on India’s presence in the South China Sea will be an impediment in the country accepting Vietnam’s offer of five additional oil blocks, he said, “India and Vietnam relationship is not contingent on other countries. Our relationship is a bilateral one and we focus on those bilateral issues.”
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/will-look-into-vietnam-offer-of-oil-blocks-in-south-china-sea-india/#sthash.Ph5V0ZpQ.dpuf
India has said it is examining Vietnam’s offer of additional oil blocks in the South China Sea. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is scheduled to arrive in the country Monday for a two-day visit.
During the October 27-28 visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sign bilateral agreements. He will also visit Bodh Gaya and meet Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi.
“Vietnam has offered some oil blocks in South China Sea. We are examining it and if they are commercially viable for us we will take that into account and proceed further,” the Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson said Friday.
Asked whether China’s concern on India’s presence in the South China Sea will be an impediment in the country accepting Vietnam’s offer of five additional oil blocks, he said, “India and Vietnam relationship is not contingent on other countries. Our relationship is a bilateral one and we focus on those bilateral issues.”
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/will-look-into-vietnam-offer-of-oil-blocks-in-south-china-sea-india/#sthash.Ph5V0ZpQ.dpuf

October 27, 2014

Five Homegrown Missiles Lined up for Tests in Nov

The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army has started preparations for a series of user trials of indigenously developed weapons systems from November 9. The missiles lined up for tests include nuclear capable Agni-II, Prithvi-II and Agni-III.
Defence sources said apart from the user trials, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also preparing for two experimental trials of its long range missiles - Agni-V and Agni-IV. Both the missions assume significance as their successful tests would pave the way for their induction in the armed forces and serial production.
While Agni-II has been planned to be test fired on November 9, Prithvi-II is scheduled for November 14. Though the schedules for the rest three missiles of the Agni series have not been fixed, sources informed that these weapon systems would be tested between November 24 and December 30.
Preparations are on in full swing at both the test facilities of the DRDO at Chandipur and Wheeler Island. All the Agni series of missiles would be fired from the Wheeler Island and the Prithvi-II would be launched from Chandipur test range. User trials would be conducted by the SFC personnel with logistic support from the DRDO.
Prithvi-II has a strike range of 350 km and the capability to carry 500-kg warhead. It is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engine and uses Advanced Inertial Guidance System (AIGS) with manoeuvring trajectory.
Similarly, 3,000-km range Agni-III is a short and two-stage missile. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing around 1.5 tonnes.
After two successful test-firings of Agni-V from land-based mobile launchers, the DRDO is looking forward to the first canister-launch of the missile. It is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes.


India conveys concern at China presence in Sri Lanka

India has expressed serious concern to Sri Lanka over China’s increasing military presence on the island, it is reliably learnt.
Official sources in New Delhi told The Hindu that Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s India visit last week was for a meeting in this connection. The Defence Secretary, who is the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, met National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. “The meeting was held to raise the issue of a Chinese submarine calling at a Sri Lankan port last month. It is of serious concern to India's national security,” said a senior official, who requested anonymity.
Changzheng 2, a nuclear-powered submarine, docked at the Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd on September 15. It was the first such submarine to visit Sri Lanka, the Sunday Times reported. Before its arrival, two Chinese naval vessels had docked in Colombo from September 7 to 13, it said.
China and Sri Lanka have strong ties, with China investing heavily in infrastructure projects on the island. China is also its vocal supporter at the Human Rights Council, where 23 countries voted in favour of an international inquiry into Sri Lanka’s rights record in 2014. India had abstained. 

The Hindu

No softlanding in sight for $20-bn Rafale deal

The wait for the $20-billion 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force is going to get longer due to budgetary constraints and the delay in concluding the negotiations with the French company Dassault.
Though the talks with Dassault have been going on for two years now, IAF chief Arup Raha has admitted that it would take another three to four years before the first squadron of Rafale aircraft could be raised. This effectively means a timeframe of 2015-16 if there is no further delay in signing the agreement.
Speaking to FE on conditions of anonymity, an officer who has been part of the negotiating team, said, “While the negotiations with the French company are on track, there are several other agencies involved in this project and it will be another few months before the negotiations are complete. Which means this deal will not be done this fiscal ended March 2015.”
Also, sources have indicated that there could be budgetary issues too as the Modi government is more focused on social programmes. Hence paying the first instalment of the deal could be a problem too. When the approval for procuring the 126 aircraft was given by the previous NDA regime in 2000, the cost pegged was at around $10 billion, since then the prices have gone up.
This fiscal’s R2.24-lakh-crore interim defence budget, especially the R89,588-crore capital expenditure for new assets, has not factored in the 15% down payment that needs to be immediately made if the MMRCA deal is inked.
‘’After one-and-a-half decade of that approval, the cost of the combat machines has gone up, including inflation and the rupee-euro conversion rates. While the government has benchmarked the likely price of the machines and the cost increase factored in, the necessary approvals for budgetary provisions for the planes would need a fresh sanction,” explained a senior IAF officer.
It is uncertain if the contract would be signed within the current fiscal even if negotiations were completed by late next month and all issues relating to technology transfer from Dassault were taken care off and papers readied by December.
It has been more than two years, since Rafale beat its closest competitor Eurofighter Typhoon from the consortium — then called EADS Cassidian. When French foreign minister Laurent Fabius was in Delhi recently, the Indian response to his efforts to push the deal through was lukewarm, say officials.
One of the major reasons