January 31, 2015

India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Agni 5 missile canister version

India on Saturday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed, intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile 'Agni-5', which has a strike range of over 5000 kms and can carry a nuclear warhead of over one tonne, from Wheeler's Island off Odisha coast.
The three stage, solid propellant "missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 8.06 hours," ITR Director M V K V Prasad said.
Prasad told that the canister version of Agni-5 missile was successfully test launched.
"The missile, witnessed a flawless 'auto launch' and detailed results will be known after all data retrieved from different radars and network systems."
An eye-witness said, "The sleek missile, just within a few seconds of its blast-off from the Island launchpad roared majestically into a clear sunny sky leaving behind in its trajectory a trail of thin orange and white column of smoke and within seconds it pierced the sky".
This launch was the third developmental trial of the long range missile. The first test was conducted on 19 April, 2012 and the second test on 15 September, 2013 from the same base.
The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile Agni-5 is capable of striking a range more than 5000 km. It is about 17 meters long, 2 metres wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.
Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the latest one 'AGNI-5', is most advanced having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine, Prasad said.
"Lot of new technologies developed indigenously were successfully tested in the first Agni-5 trial. The very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) had ensured the Missile reach the target point within few meters of accuracy.
"The high speed onboard computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the missile flawlessly," said an official.
India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500 range. After a few more trials, Agni-5 will be inducted into the services.


Aero India spotlight on LCA Tejas Mk.2

With the first production series LCA Tejas Mk.1 handed over to the IAF, and with more in the pipeline this year for squadron service first in Bengaluru and then Sulur in Tamil Nadu, this year’s Aero India will fix the spotlight on the LCA Mk.2.

With final operational clearance on the LCA Mk.1 for the Indian Air Force slated for the end of this year, and with the LCA Navy Mk.1 beginning its carrier compatbility trials successfully, the two Mk.1 programmes are effectively making progress in their final stages of development, clearing space now for attention to the LCA Mk.2, the platform that both the IAF and Indian Navy are looking forward to very keenly.

The proposed platform, powered by the more powerful GE F414 turbofan (a deal that’s finalised but yet to be signed), will be the true replacement of the MiG-21. It will be a more capable aircraft in every way, as first revealed at Aero India 2011. This year at the show in Bengaluru, there will be wide interest in the proposed platform. The Indian Air Force, sources say, has been putting custom pressure on the programme team to commit to better capabilities and timelines, and will be looking to see certain specifics announced or pledged at Aero India.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who visited ADA earlier this month, is said to have expressed the need for far greater indigenous content on the LCA, maintaining that the current 60% level would be unacceptable on the LCA Mk.2. He was assured that project management and development sub-systems meant that the indigenous content percentage on the Mk.2 would be significantly higher from the start.


January 29, 2015

BrahMos to be integrated with Sukhoi by March

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is moving towards an indigenous missile era that will allow India to order surgical strikes destroying targets about 300km away. In a new feat, HAL has completed integration of BrahMos thermonuclear cruise missile with Sukhoi-30MKI after over two years of work, modifying the Russian-made aircraft.

HAL director S Subrahmanyan, who led the project, said the first test flight of the modified Su-30MKI with the BrahMos missile will be conducted in March. HAL chairman RK Tyagi confirmed crucial ground vibration test was completed late 2014.

"The initial requirement is for two Su-30MKIs with BrahMos. The first one will fly in March and we will take up the second one in line," Subrahmanyan said.

The project, first conceived in July-August 2012, seeks to integrate 216 air-version missiles with 42 Sukhoi fighters.

A retired Air Marshal told TOI: "All our fighters have origins in other countries (Mirage in France) and they come with certain configurations. While minor modifications have been carried out in the past, to be able to mount an indigenised cruise missile is an achievement."

He added that this will pave the way for the IAF to look at mini missiles and other crucial weapon systems being integrated.

While the onus of integrating the missile with the aircraft was on BrahMos Aerospace, HAL was asked to complete certain crucial modifications that would allow the missile team to fulfill its responsibility. Asked for a conservative deadline for the integration of second Su-30MKI, HAL sources said it would take about 13 months.
In the last 6-7 months several key assessments/changes, including the stress analysis, modifying load bearing members (components) of the aircraft, dummy missile mounting etc. have been completed. Sources said Russia provided the team with technical consultancy, adding the modifications to the fuselage in order to accommodate the 9-metre-long missile, were among the most challenging tasks.

The HAL team, another director pointed out, experienced a lot of hiccups during the upgradation of the MiG-21BIS which today boasts of four new missiles. "We had to modify the engine to avoid problem of shut-off," he said, adding the experience helped in the Su-30MKI project. 
- timesofindia

India asks Japan if it’s interested in Rs 50,000 crore submarine project

Russia, France, Germany and Spain, all better watch out. They may have to contend with Japan in the race to supply submarines to India. In keeping with their expanding strategic partnership, the Modi government has asked the Shinzo Abe administration whether it would be interested in the over Rs 50,000 crore project to build six stealth submarines in India.

With Japan recently ending its decades old self-imposed arms export embargo, New Delhi has forwarded "a proposal" to Tokyo to "consider the possibility" of making its latest diesel-electric Soryu-class submarines in India, say sources.

This "feeler" dovetails into PM Narendra Modi's strategic outreach to Japan, as well as Australia and the US, since he took over last year. The possible sale of Japanese US-2i ShinMayva amphibious aircraft to the Indian Navy is already being discussed. Australia, too, is considering the Soryu submarines to replace its ageing Collins-class vessels.

The US, on its part, has been pushing for greater defence cooperation among India, Japan and Australia to counter China's assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. The recent Obama-Modi summit led to the "joint strategic vision for Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region" with a direct reference to South China Sea, where China is locked in territorial disputes with its neighbours. Both Japan and Australia are also keen to participate in the annual Indo-US Malabar naval exercise on a regular basis, which has riled China in the past.
But the 4,200-tonne Soryu submarines, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, may not meet Indian requirements. Japan will also be just one of the contenders for the mega programme, called Project-75-India, if it agrees to throw its hat into the ring.

Countries like France (ship-builder DCNS), Germany (HDW), Russia (Rosoboronexport) and Spain (Navantia) are already girding up, with the first three having the experience of building submarines for India.

The six new submarines, with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, are to be built at an Indian shipyard with foreign collaboration. "If Japan is really interested, it will have to form a joint venture with an Indian public/private shipyard," said the source.

The Modi government wants to kick-start Project-75-I, which has not taken off due to politico-bureaucratic apathy since being accorded "acceptance of necessity" in November 2007, in the backdrop of India's rapidly depleting conventional submarine fleet.

A high-level committee, led by Vice Admiral AV Subhedar, is slated to submit a report to the defence ministry next month on the domestic shipyards which are capable of submarine-manufacturing. "The tender or RFP (request for proposal) to the shipyards should be issued this year," he said.

The Soryu submarines, incidentally, were inducted into the Japanese maritime self-defence force from 2009 onwards. Already equipped with AIP, Japan is now working to install lithium-ion battery propulsion systems in its next-generation of the Soryu submarines. 
- timesofindia

January 28, 2015

PM may inaugurate Aero India


Prime Minister Narendra Modi may inaugurate Aero India - 2015 in Bengaluru next month.Scheduled to be held between February 18 and 22, the biennial air show, organised by the Defence Ministry, is generally inaugurated by the incumbent defence ministers. This time, however, it would be different as Prime Minister Modi is expected to kickstart the air show, sources said.

With more than 750 companies participating, Modi is likely to make a strong pitch for his “Make in India” campaign in Bengaluru to boost defence manufacturing. The Defence Ministry is modifying the defence procurement procedure (PPP) to make it more industry-friendly. Soon after coming to power, the NDA government freed a large number of defence products from the need to obtain an industrial licence.

Subsequently, the “make” option of the DPP that seeks to promote research and development in the industry with government support and the placement of orders (if R&D is successful), is also being revised to make it more attractive for the private sector.

While five aerobatic teams, including the Flying Bulls Czech Republic, and IAF’s Sarang, will display their skills at the  show, Rafale fighter jets from France and indigenous LCA Tejas are expected to set the Bangalore sky on fire.

deccan herald

January 27, 2015

China buys six S-400 missile battalions from Russia: report

China has purchased six battalions of Russian-built S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to enhance its air defense capability against the United States and its allies in the Western Pacific, reports the Washington-based Strategy Page.
Each battalion has eight launchers, a control center, a radar and 16 missiles available as reloads. A launcher can fire two missiles simultaneously and all equipment is mobile. The cost of each battalion is US$500 million. Originally known as the S-300PMU-3, SA-21 or Triumf, the system was renamed the S-400 because the missile turned out to be far more than just another upgrade of the S-300. Russia deployed its first S-400 battalion in 2010.
The development of the S-400 was undertaken particularly with electronic countermeasures in mind. Compared to its US counterpart, the Patriot system, the S-400 is physically larger and has a longer range but is very expensive, according to the report. With a range of 400 kilometers, the S-400 missile can hit targets at altitudes as high as 31,000 meters and its radar can acquire targets 700 kilometers away.
Two types of missiles are compatible with the S-400. The smaller missile has a shorter range of 120 kilometers. Four of those missiles can be deployed to a launcher, similar to the S-300 systems. The larger missile has two versions as well. One is designed with a range of 250 kilometers while the more expensive one has a range of 400 kilometers.
however, without real combat experience the system's performance still remains unknown, said the report.


US helping India keep tabs on Chinese submarines in Indian Ocean

The United States is regularly updating India on Chinese submarine deployments in the Indian Ocean. Last month, a US drone picked up a Chinese nuclear-powered attack submarine on the surface off Yemen. The information was relayed to the security establishment in New Delhi's South Block. China's deployment of submarines-three in the past year-in the Indian Ocean have worried Indian planners.
This intelligence cooperation with the US assumes significance in the light of the first-ever US-India joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region unveiled in New Delhi by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi, on January 25. China was not mentioned, but the vision document alluded to it by affirming 'the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.'
Indian intelligence officials say they are keen on intelligence relating to terrorism emanating from Pakistan on its western borders and Chinese military activities.
Defence officials in New Delhi said that the Type 091 Han-class was 'running on the surface' accompanied by an escort which appeared to be a replenishment ship. The elderly 1970s vintage Han class attack submarine, is believed to be part of the 19th anti piracy task force that has been in the Gulf of Aden since December 10. This is the third such deployment of a submarine by the PLAN since 2013. Earlier, the docking of a Song-class submarine in Colombo in September and November last year created ripples in New Delhi. The PLAN terms these submarine deployments as routine and part of its anti-piracy patrols, an assertion that naval planners take with a pinch of salt.
Jayadeva Ranade, former joint secretary R&AW expects intelligence on China, particularly naval intelligence, as one area where both India and the US could gainfully cooperate. "The information supplied regarding the Chinese submarine in Colombo and later in the Indian Ocean are examples. I'm sure there is more that has been shared by the US about the route taken by the submarine, capabilities displayed, but I am not too sure whether the exchange of intelligence regarding our land borders with China has increased," he says.


US, India reach ‘breakthrough understanding’ on stalled civil nuke deal

The first fruit of Barack Obama’s trip to India is the “understanding” which may finalize the civil nuclear cooperation agreement of 2008, which was supposed to clear the way for the sale of nuclear fuel and reactors to India.
The new understanding removes both the US demand for tracking its nuclear supplies, and US suppliers’ liability in case of a nuclear accident.
President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi both hailed the New Delhi negotiations as a breakthrough and a new step in US-Indian relations.
The US and India have been in a deadlock for six years, with Washington insisting on tracking any nuclear material it supplied to India. The US president used his executive powers to waive away the measure and agree that from now on, inspections of India’s use of fissile materials by the IAEA will suffice.
“We are committed to moving towards full implementation,” the US leader told journalists at a conference in New Delhi, where the meeting was being held.
For his part, Modi said that “the civil nuclear deal was the centerpiece of our relationship. We worked with a sense of purpose for four months after I visited the US in September last year to make sure the deal is taken forward.”
The US will agree to provide insurance coverage to those companies that want to build nuclear power stations in India.
According to US Ambassador Richard Verma the liability issue is to be resolved through a “memorandum of law within the Indian system” that wouldn’t require change of the Indian law.
“Ultimately it’s up to the companies to go forward, but the two governments came to an understanding,” Richard Verma told the press.
The two countries had signed what became the basis of the current agreement back in 2008. But an obstacle to trade relations was always India’s unwillingness to shield US suppliers from responsibility for accidents, which is part of India’s strict liability law passed in 2010.
Currently, all nuclear power in India is controlled by the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., meaning that the operator itself would lose out in the event of an accident, under the new conditions.
The two leaders admitted at the conference that their partnership still required work and that, according to Modi, “we have to convert a good start into lasting progress. This requires translating vision into sustained action and concrete achievements.”

Joint US-Indian drone production, closer defense ties mulled

Obama and Modi also discussed a 10-year outline for strengthening defense ties between the two countries. Some of the new deals included the joint production of drone aircraft and equipment for Lockheed Martin Corp’s C-130 military transport plane.
On Monday, Obama is scheduled to attend India’s Republic Day parade, which is an annual demonstration of military power. This will mark the first time a US president has attended such an event in India.
The two leaders have also agreed to establish an Obama-Modi hotline, which would be India’s first at such a level. Other deals included financing projects that would increase India’s use of renewable energy to lower its carbon footprint in the world.


January 24, 2015

America's unmanned aerial vehicle 'Raven' will be made in India

India and the US are set to announce joint manufacturing of the Raven unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Bengaluru from later this year, giving New Delhi a slice of the $3 billion order book for the world’s most advanced hand-launched drone.
Under the terms of the deal, to be unveiled during President Barack Obama’s visit to Delhi starting Sunday, the Americans will end production of the 10-km range UAV at a US site and move production to a Bengaluru-based joint venture, which will become global supplier.
Seven countries have lined up to buy the UAV, currently built by US firm AeroVironment, with pending orders totalling $3 billion, a senior government official said. “Not only will the Indian company supply the remaining orders but jointly develop a 18-km extended range UAV with flying endurance increased from four to six hours,” he said.

The all-weather, all-terrain, battery-operated UAV is used to make the battlefield more “transparent” and to target enemy armoured columns and personnel. The other technology cleared for transfer to India is the “roll-on, roll-off” intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance module for the Lockheed Martin-manufactured C-130 J transport aircraft to India.
This module converts the transport aircraft into a sophisticated long-range spy machine.  The plane has the ability to land on unprepared short air strips, including paddy fields and has proven its worth as an air ambulance and in special forces operations. India has bought a dozen C-130 J “Hercules” aircraft over the past six years. The transfer of two technologies is expected to feature in the joint statement at the end of Obama’s visit.
According to US diplomatic sources, visiting US under-secretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall reached closure on the two deals during his talks with national security advisor Ajit Doval, principal secretary Nripendra Misra and secretary (defence production) Mohan Kumar.  With President Obama and defence secretary Ashton Carter directing Kendall that India was to be given transformative defence technologies as it was a close strategic partner and ally, the two sides have also identified other defence technologies to be jointly developed and co-produced.
More technologies will be cleared during Kendall’s next visit to India on February 23. That the Americans are keen to partner India is evident from the fact that Kendall has set up a special group under India desk head Duncan Lang to fast-track technology transfer and licensing.


US company proposes artillery gun firm in India


Keeping in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” camp­aign, US arms major BAE Systems has proposed to set up an artillery gun manufacturing unit in India for supplying 145 M777 ultra light weight howitzers to the Indian Army.
Once Indian demands are met, the same manufacturing and testing facility could be used by the foreign firm to feed its existing global customers, including the US, Canada and Australia, as well as prospective ones from South American, Middle Eastern and European armed forces.

“We have already signed a MoU with around 40 Indian companies after assessing their capabilities to support our offset offer and perform assembly, integration and test of the M777. Nearly half of these are micro, small and medium enterprises,” John Kelly, vice-president, business development and strategic planning, BAE Systems, told Deccan Herald. 

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier stated that the central government would look at manufacturing proposals from foreign vendors if the equipment makers involved a large number of Indian small and medium-sized business units. The arms export norms are also being revised.

The ultra light howitzer deal was under the works for several years after successful trials of these guns in the mountains. The Army was planning to utilise the M777 guns for high-altitude warfare in the North-East as well as in Jammu and Kashmir. Compared to the weight of other artillery guns, it is lighter.

Its costing, however, was the bone of contention. In March, 2013, the US government gave an offer and acceptance letter for the same deal at $694 million as the deal was to be done through the foreign military sales route. There was also a proposal on 30 per cent offset for the deal. The US firm, sources said, was now ready to offer the M777 guns at a price, which is 6-8 per cent of the cost it quoted in 2013.

The 2013 proposal did not materialise because the deal expired for want of a response from the Defence Ministry in time. It happened because the US Congress approval had an expiry date. The US government had subsequently taken an approval from the Congress to offer the M-777 deal to India at a ceiling price of $885 million, an increase of 27 per cent.

“The case for procurement of ULH guns through US government has not progressed due to cost issues and because the vendor has not been able to come up with a proposal fully compliant with the offset requirements,” former defence minister Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha in July.

deccan herald

Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag says, ‘Army is fast-tracking modernisation’

The Indian Army has initiated certain “fast-track endeavours” to make up for the delays to fill critical gaps in equipment within two to three years, its chief has said. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag told the defence magazine India Strategic in an interview that it was imperative to maintain the “highest standards of operational preparedness to meet present and emerging challenges” and that “making up for critical deficiency of weapons and equipment is on fast track”.
He identified towed artillery, reconnaissance & surveillance helicopters, 3rd generation missiles, air defence, mechanised forces, assault rifles and protection equipment for infantry soldiers as the key areas requiring immediate attention. The government, he said, was giving full support.
About the much-delayed acquisition of modern artillery guns, Gen. Suhag said the army will have only 155 mm medium-bore guns from now on as part of the artillery “mediumisation” effort. Both “global and indigenous routes are being adopted to hasten the process and ensure that self-sufficiency in gun manufacture is achieved”.
The existing Bofors FH 77 guns, acquired nearly three decades ago, are also being upgraded along with the Soviet-origin M 46 130mm towed guns first inducted some four decades ago.
“Improved firepower in terms of quality and quantity is a pre-requisite for any success in any battle. To this end, mediumisation of the artillery has been on since 2012, with major projects of the 155mm towed gun, 155mm Dhanush (upgraded Bofors) and 155mm tracked (self-propelled) guns at the final stages of evaluation. In addition, the existing 130mm guns are being upgraded indigenously.”
He said the government had already cleared the procurement of 814 155mm mounted gun systems (MGS) through the Buy and Make Indian route. This “mediumisation is likely to commence by 2017-18″.
The army chief also stressed the importance of jointmanship between the three services as also development of capabilities and infrastructure, particularly in the northeastern parts of the country, and enhancement of human resource development.
“There are numerous initiatives at the macro and micro levels to streamline capital procurement procedures to ensure that the capability building of the army is progressed,” Gen. Suhag told the magazine, adding that to keep up with modernisation and indigenisation, there has been regular interaction with the public and private sector industry.
“Interaction in the form of seminars and exhibitions is conducted periodically” and “liaison with industry at all levels of hierarchy is being encouraged to ensure seamless integration with the industry.”
About the much-needed new helicopters to replace the legacy machines, Gen. Suhag observed that “armed helicopters (AH) provide the requisite punch in a short and intense battle with enhanced ability to the commander to look, move and strike
The defence ministry has “vested their responsibility with the army” and their induction will be carried out in due course.
Significantly, said the army chief, “plans to cater for training support and infrastructure for operational and maintenance requirements are already under way.”
It may be noted that the army has projected a requirement of 39 Boeing Apache AH64E helicopters, 13 each for its three strike corps. The Army Aviation Corps is working out the detailed proposal and once approved by the defence ministry, the formal process for their acquisition will start.
Incidentally, the first lot of 22 Apaches are being acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF), and their order is likely to be placed around mid-2015. According to sources, the army will follow the IAF parameters, or Staff Qualitative Requirements (SQRs), and place a follow-on order to cut short the acquisition time.
Gen. Suhag disclosed that the replacement process for the vintage HAL-made Chetak and Cheetah helicopters is already on and a Request for Information (RFI) was recently floated to identify probable Indian companies for their licensed production or indigenous manufacture.
The Army is also looking for newer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence and surveillance role and proposals are under consideration “to enhance the Indian Army holdings”.
The chief pointed out that modernisation of the Infantry Soldier is being accorded top priority to increase weapon lethality, night vision capability, survivability and battlefield mobility in a network centric environment. Critical voids are being filled and procurement of close quarter battle carbines, assault rifles and light machine guns is in an advanced stage. Image intensifiers for night fighting and situational awareness are being acquired and a Request for Proposals (RfP) – or tender – for image intensifier sights for carbines was issued on November 7.
Procurement of body armour items like ballistic helmets and bulletproof jackets is also at an advanced stage.
About air defence, which has a heavy obsolescence, Gen. Suhag said that action is on to upgrade its guns, missiles and radar systems.Efforts were also on to upgrade the in-service equipment of the mechanised forces for night fighting and have better power packs. A key development under way is for induction of future combat vehicle platforms, Gen. Suhag said.


January 23, 2015

Russia Ready to Supply India With Anaerobic Submarines


Anaerobic or air-independent submarines, which usually use hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells, are quieter than conventional diesel-electric boats and do not have to surface or use snorkel tubes to breathe air, thereby exposing themselves to detection by radar and other sensors.
Russia could supply the Indian Navy with "stealthy" submarines, equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems if India opens a tender for them, a senior official at Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"The Russian side is ready to supply a foreign client with a submarine refitted to meet any requests for a different exterior and equipment as formulated by the client," the source told RIA Novosti.
In 2007, New Delhi said it was considering expanding its fleet of submarines with diesel-electric subs. One of the key requirements was for the boats to have so-called anaerobic engines.
Air-independent (closed cycle) submarines, which usually use hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells, are quieter than conventional diesel-electric boats and do not have to surface or use snorkel tubes to breathe air, thereby exposing themselves to detection by radar and other sensors.
A Russian design bureau, Rubin, is currently running tests on AIP systems to be installed on the Russian Navy's Lada-class diesel-electric submarines (Project 677) in 2015, with a new class of non-nuclear submarines with AIP engines to enter the construction phase in two years. This comes as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in New Delhi earlier in the day to talk over the countries' joint military-technical ventures with his counterpart, Manohar Parrikar. The ministers have agreed to "fast-track" a host of joint projects, including work on a fifth-generation fighter jet they are building together.
India is Russia's largest military-technical cooperation partner. According to estimates by Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, the country supplied India with $4.78 billion worth of weapons and military equipment in 2013. India also leases Russian hardware, such as the nuclear-powered Akula-class Chakra submarine.


Russia and India are negotiating construction of new frigates - CAWAT

Russia and India are negotiating construction of three additional frigates for the Indian Navy and the lease of a second nuclear submarine, RIA Novosti learned from a spokesperson of the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT).
“Negotiations are under way on the construction of three frigates of the Project 11356 Admiral Grigorovich Class for the Indian Navy at the Yantar Baltic Shipbuilding Plant. The Government of India is also considering leasing a second Russian nuclear submarine, after the first nuclear submarine of the Project 971 Akula Class (formerly Nerpa, Chakra) enters service with the Indian Navy,” said the representative of CAWAT.
He recalled that the first three frigates of the Project 11356 Akula Class were built at the Baltic shipyards in 1999-2004. The second set of three frigates was supplied with advanced weaponry and improved operation performance characteristics. Unlike the first set of three ships, which was equipped with the Club-N Missile Complex, this set of ships was supplied with Russian-Indian supersonic cruise missile systems – using the PJ-10 BrahMos.


Parleys on to push defence deal


India clearly not satisfied with the US allowing just two military-use items under the much-touted Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) is pushing for more as last-minute negotiations are on ahead of US President Barack Obama’s three-day (from January 25 to 27) visit to India. The points-person of both sides, G Mohan Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence Production, and US nominee Frank Kendall, Under-secretary (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) of Defence Department, met in New Delhi today. “A few issues have been discussed and negotiations are on for collaboration and co-development of military equipment is being discussed,” said a source while adding that in international diplomacy it’s a two-way street. 
The US is looking for a graduated baby-step approach to commence the DTTI while India is looking at a licenced-production-style of approach like it does with Russia, its Cold war (1945-1991) military ally. Tanks such as the T-90 and the Sukhoi-30-MKI — both Russian products — are produced in India while a nuclear powered submarine has been leased for ten years to India, to name a few. The Pentagon (Ministry of Defence) has selected just two pieces of equipment out of the original list of 17 that can be made with India. It’s for joint production of hand-held Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs) as well as specialised surveillance and intelligence gathering equipment for the C-130-J transport planes.
 The Indian Air Force has five of these planes in its fleet. The UAV project is said to be the RQ-11 “Raven”, world’s most widely used UAV for tactical surveillance. The US government has rigid controls for larger UAVs to other countries, but for the ‘Raven’ the controls are not that strict. The intelligence gathering equipment includes modules that allow C-130s to be quickly refitted for surveillance and as VIP transporters or hospitals. Since the DTTI was launched in 2012, the US proposed 17 projects for collaboration. India has had reservations as the projects did not have scope for transfer of technology, like it enjoys with the Russians. 


January 22, 2015

India Fast Tracks 5th Generation Fighter Jet Project With Russia

India and Russia on Wednesday agreed to speed up work and iron out hurdles that are holding up the co-production and co-designing of a 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft.

The two nations had in 2012 agreed to jointly design and produce the next generation fighters. Both countries are scheduled to spend US $5.5 billion each towards the cost of designing, infrastructure build-up, prototype development and flight testing. But the UPA Government had failed to operationalise the project.
The decision to fast-track the programme was done in a bilateral meeting between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, at the 14th Meeting of the Indian-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation, which took place in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting in New Delhi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, "We have decided to fast-track many of the issues."

However, the 5th generation fighter being built for the Russian Air Force is already being flight tested in Russia and India has suggested that a fresh Research and Development (R&D) contract would be a waste of time and resources.

Russia has already built five-prototypes in single pilot version. The Indian version is a two-seater, which will acomodate one pilot and a co-pilot who will function as a Weapon Systems Operator (WSO).

Mr Parrikar has also told Russia that India wants the stealth fighter jet to be inducted into the Indian Air Force much before 2024-25 - the date that was fixed for delivery. India plans to build as many as 127 fighters at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facility in Nashik. The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project is estimated to cost $25 billion.

Besides, the two sides have agreed that India will now exchange all information about flight safety protocols being followed on Russian platforms - fighter jets, helicopters and the transport planes - flown by the Indian Air Force.

This information exchange is crucial given the series of accidents in the Indian Air Force, including engine problems in India's mainstay fighter, the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI. Russia had also earlier contested India's claim that the pilot seats of the Su-30 ejected automatically during the last crash in October last year.


BrahMos Launch in March Will Boost India's Air Power

The much-awaited test of the air version of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos will be conducted in March. Earlier planned in December, this nuclear capable world class weapon system is now ready to surprise enemies.The launch has been planned on the sidelines of the visit of Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu to the BrahMos Aerospace Headquarters, said Sudhir Mishra, CEO and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL), on Wednesday.
Informing this over phone from Delhi, Mishra said, “If everything goes according to the programme, the live test flight of the missile will be carried out from Su-30MKI fighter aircraft in March. Both the launcher and missile are ready. Now, interface of the missile with the aircraft is on. There will be a dummy test before the actual drop test,” he said.
Sources said the drop test is likely to be conducted off the Odisha coast while the dummy test will take place in Pokharan.
Jointly developed by India and Russia, the 8.4 metre BrahMos missile, the fastest in the world, has a flight range of 290 km and carries a conventional warhead up to 300 kg, thus delivering with high-precision, devastating power at supersonic speed of Mach-2.8.
Defence scientists are leaving no stone unturned for a copybook launch. If test-fired successfully, BrahMos will be the first weapon system in the world to have such capability. As of now, there is no such weapon available in the world.
Defence sources said the BrahMos Aerospace had to reduce the weight of the air version of the missile as it will be launched from a moving platform. Some modifications were also made in its design to easily integrate it in Sukhoi aircraft.
“Some structural changes were also made to the Sukhoi by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to ensure finest integration. The design changes have been validated through various tests, including the critical ground vibration test,” sources added.


US Greenlights Insurance Pool Plan on N-liability

With the third and the last round of talks between officials of India and US on civil nuclear issues underway on Wednesday, high level sources indicated that there has been acceptance of India’s legal position on the liability issue on the ground that a facilitating mechanism in the form of insurance consortium would be put in place at the earliest. According to sources in the know, an understanding has been reached and the US side has climbed down from its earlier stand on contentious clauses in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010
Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to New Delhi, primarily as chief guest for the Republic Day parade, the Indo-US nuclear contact group’s meeting is underway in London. This is the third round.
US firm Westinghouse Electrical Co., which has an agreement to supply reactors to a proposed plant in Gujarat, has been keenly awaiting a resolution of the pending issue. And, sources here indicated that the US officials have come around to accept that the legal framework — which has the Indian Parliament’s stamp — cannot be changed; and details of the insurance pool contributions are being worked out.
It has been conveyed that “it is the maximum that the government is willing to go” to facilitate the civil nuclear power projects to take off with the creation of a $250 million insurance pool. It would mainly be Indian insurers forming a consortium.
The nuclear contact group was set up in 2014 after PM Narendra Modi’s US visit to precisely thrash out differences over clauses in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, seen to be prohibitive by the US and France and even Russia. The suppliers have been particularly wary of the clause that makes them directly liable in case of a nuclear mishap while internationally, it has been cited, it rests not on the supplier but the operator.
In India’s case, it is the government-owned enterprise, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. The other contentious Clause 46, pertains to open-ended liability, in other words it is unlimited liability that the supplier would have to face in the event of a mishap or glitch/fault in equipment. The liability is to be determined on the extent of the damage caused. Since the 2008, 123 Agreement, Indo-US civil nuclear agreement has virtually been in defreeze and according to the government a breakthrough therefore would be a major achievement.
“It is no mean feat that we have managed to impress’’ upon the US side that the liability law cannot be revisited and the insurance consortium proposal as a workable option “is being accepted”.
It was also clarified that for insurance pool will be created with contributions from all stakeholders, not the supplier alone, which in a way would mean that the unlimited liability to be borne by all concerned.
The nuclear contact group comprising of diplomats, officials, as well as trade representatives of NPCIL, Westinghouse and GE, however, discussed a range of issues pertaining to licensing, administration as also the technical aspects.This is apart from the liability clauses.


Obama security: AWACS to be deployed on R-Day


For the first time, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) are likely to be deployed here on the Republic Day for vigil from the skies during the parade where US President Barack Obama will be the Chief Guest.

The AWACS will monitor air space on and around Rajpath where the parade will be witnessed by Obama along with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other dignitaries.

Noting that it will be for the time that AWACS would be deployed for the Republic Day, official sources said the step is being taken in view of the heightened threat perception and apprehensions of aerial attack by terrorists.

The sources said the decision to deploy AWACS was taken at the request of the Americans who wanted India to tighten air space in Delhi when Obama is exposed during the Republic Day celebrations.

The AWAC detects incoming cruise missiles and aircraft from over 400-km away in all-weather conditions, and direction of air defence fighters besides picking up any low flying object which go undetected by normal radars.

AWACS, which has been integrated with Israeli technology on IL-76, will take off one hour before the function and keep circling around the national capital until the US President is out at the venue.

Changes are also being made in the flight path of civilian aircraft on that day in Delhi, with the minimum altitude being raised from 32,000 feet to 35,000 feet.

The Director General of Civil Aviation may issue a 'NOTAM' (Notice to Air Men) for diverting all flights overflying Delhi at the time of the parade.

Earlier, overflying plane above 32,000 feet did not fall in the category of no fly zone but now the height has been raised to 35,000 feet, the sources said.

However, no plane will be flying in the radius of 400 kms of the venue of Rajpath as against 300 kms on earlier occasions, they said.
This means airports adjoining Delhi like Jaipur, Agra and as far as Lucknow or Amritsar may not operate flights when the function will be on in the national capital.

Sticking to the past practice, no plane will land or take off at the Indira Gandhi International Airport during the time when Republic Day will be on at Rajpath.
American officials may also part of all radar stations and control rooms that have been set up for the visit of the US President.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said earlier in the day that "all security arrangements are in place. There will be no problem anywhere."


January 21, 2015

India panders to US demand for air vigil


The Indian Air Force (IAF) has agreed to the US demand of accommodating their security officials to man air defence instruments for securing the national capital's airspace during US President Barack Obama's three-day visit later this week.

“The air defence sensors will be manned jointly for these three days, on the ground as well as in the sky,” sources told Deccan Herald.

The demand from Washington came through the official channel. After consultation between the two sides, the IAF acceded to it.

Obama is expected to arrive in New Delhi in the early hours of Sunday for his second India visit. He will attend bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the same day, and sit in a bulletproof enclosure on Rajpath on January 26 as Republic Day chief guest.

While the US President and First Lady may travel to Agra on the last day of their visit, Obama is also slated to deliver a public lecture at Siri Fort auditorium in the capital the same day.

The Republic Day parade, however, will be the longest duration for which Obama will be present outside at a public function.

US security officials had first proposed to bring their own air defence equipment.
But after consultation with the IAF top brass, they agreed to rely on the latter's sensors, on the condition that they would be monitored by personnel from both sides.

“Several years of exercising together has given them confidence in the IAF air defence systems and the way the IAF operates. The joint operation will continue till Obama leaves,” said a source.  The two main components of the air defence operation involves scanning the sky from the ground to look for any sign of enemy aircraft or missile, and carrying out the same task from a flying aircraft.

As part of Obama's security ring, several US warships are likely to stay put in India's vicinity. “The US frigates are already in the Western Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf,” said an official.

Obama, the first US President to be chief guest on Republic Day, will witness the parade that highlights India's military prowess and cultural diversity for close to two hours.

Men from 61 Cavalry riding their horses will mark the beginning of the parade, and it will end with a flypast by fighter aircraft from the IAF and the Navy.

While women contingents from all three services will march at the ceremony, there will be a special contingent of seven women officers from the Army and three from the IAF who have scaled Mount Everest.

Sixteen Indian states, including four Congress-ruled states and Uttar Pradesh, will showcase their cultural diversity to the visiting dignitary.


For the sake of India's security, our defence R&D capabilities need a major shake-up


The evidence of failures in our Defence R&D and manufacturing eco system are myriad. 
A country that has a proud aviation heritage spanning several decades is forced to buy trainer aircraft from Switzerland, a country otherwise known for chocolates and watches!
The Navy is given an aircraft carrier – almost a decade behind schedule and billions of dollars over-budget. 
When delivered it also lacked any air defence systems, as the PM reportedly found out when he first visited it! 
The Tejas fighter aircraft takes 30 years and we are still counting as it is still being putting through its paces by HAL. 
We have still to have successfully design an Indian jet engine to power our fighters! 
On the other end of the spectrum, soldiers have to sometimes buy their own shoes and uniforms because what’s produced by the Government Ordinance boards are substandard. 
I can go on and on! 
India faces some of the biggest challenges that any nation faces in terms of its security. 
We have a porous coastline and borders along with the embrace of several neighbours that are determined to cook up a constant stew of terrorism and keep the country on the boil! 
Keeping our country secure is critical for our economic development and growth. 
But to do so in the current inefficient way of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) product development and acquisition is unsustainable and unaffordable! 
Finally, questions are being asked and solutions being sought to breathtaking amounts of money being spent on imports over the last several decades, that still leave our forces under equipped and under-prepared. 

That the MoD needs a real shake up is stating the obvious.
Fundamental changes are required in planning, procurement and contracting. 
Most importantly it is the R&D and manufacturing segments that need real restructuring – especially given the Government’s ‘Make in India’ focus. 
The MoD’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and its doctrine of research need a rethink. 
The MoD’s manufacturing and domestic capability also need a rethink and re-architecting. 
It is obvious there’s something really wrong if a country that could design jet fighters way back in the ‘60s isn’t able after 30 years, to get the Tejas fighter jet deployed. 
In fact, we are now having to negotiate a $25 billion dollar deal with France. 
The concept of centralised labs like DRDO that are distant from commercial manufacturing and product companies are a relic of the past. 
There is no modern technology eco-system where product development is separate from the manufacturing units, as an ivory tower with little or no accountability!

Technology development and product development in today’s age need to be integrated – both from a point of view of product and solution development, as also from a commercial cost standpoint. 
That the DRDO head must be also the Defence Minister’s scientific advisor, creates a holy cow around the DRDO and perpetuates an inefficient monopoly, in innovation and design. 
That a deep restructuring of the DRDO is required is obvious to many, including those in the DRDO who are impatient with the culture of ‘Government R&D’. 
Technology and development need cultures of risk taking, exploration and innovation! 
The current DRDO is a far cry from that as can be seen by long delays and cost overruns in projects! 
For those who argue that R&D and design don’t belong in the government sector, I present to them ISRO’s world class accomplishments. 
Imagine if DRDO was in charge of R&D for ISRO and ISRO was simply the launching entity. We would still be worrying about launching our first satellite! 
The DRDO structure harks back to the days when there were technology embargos against India and DRDO was the way to channel technologies from friendly governments. 
The restructuring and the new DRDO must start with a separation of the DRDO head from the scientific advisor to the Defence Minister’s role. 
DRDO itself must be made into different labs – that specialise in specific critical futuristic technologies. DRDO needs to be right-sized and focus only on technologies. 
Conventional product technologies should be moved into DPSUs as their R&D wings like BEL, BDL, HAL etc. 
DRDO must also seed and encourage private R&D labs for joint ownership of Intellectual Properties (IP). 
The DRDO finally must be driven by commercial considerations. 
Like most design labs, their measure of achievements should be the number of Intellectual Properties they can create and sell to various companies DPSUs and private companies – Indian and foreign. 
Because the test of a technology development is how it is adopted by commercial product/ platform companies. 
Simultaneously, the network of Defence PSUs must be restructured and overhauled. 
Their status of Navratnas notwithstanding, they have to be transformed into modern, cutting edge technology companies.
Their government linkages should give them advantages vis-a-vis access to capital but everything else should be as is for other capability driven companies in the country. 
This restructuring of DPSUs is critical to creating a starting point for the ‘Make in India’ strategy.

From this form of restructuring and leadership can emerge a new energised DRDO – a new entity called DRDO labs perhaps – at the centre of an energetic ecosystem of innovation and creativity in the security space in our country. 
This is vital for all young engineers and scientists, looking to build careers in science and technology. 
This changed DRDO, along with revitalised and reorganised DPSUs, and the energies of the private companies (domestic and foreign) are the three building blocks to Make in India successful for the defence and security sector! 
Changing the DRDO head should be the beginning of a process of restructuring and reform if the Narendra Modi Government and, especially Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, want to shake up the defence and security sectors as part of transforming India for its future.

Daily mail/The writer is a Rajya Sabha MP

India to lease second nuclear submarine from Russia

India is on course to acquire a second nuclear-powered submarine on lease from Russia to bolster its depleted underwater combat arm as well as train its sailors in the complex art of operating such vessels.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar indicated this possibility on Tuesday on being asked whether India was planning to acquire another Akula-II class nuclear submarine from Russia after President Vladimir Putin's visit here last week.

India had inducted the first Akula-II submarine, christened INS Chakra, on a 10-year lease from Russia in April 2012, under a secret around $1 billion deal inked way back in January 2004.
 India and Russia have been holding talks on leasing another mothballed Akula-II submarine named "Irbis'', the full construction of which also could not be completed due to financial problems after the USSR broke up in the early-1990s, as earlier reported by TOI.

"It's an open secret. We are discussing the possibility of extending the current lease or of taking another submarine on lease. This will help us in training," said Parrikar, after paying homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti on Vijay Diwas.

This comes a day after India's first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant began its sea-trials off Visakhapatnam. It will take "10-12 months" for the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant to be ready for induction, said Parrikar.

The difference between INS Arihant and these 8,000-tonne Akula submarines is that the latter are not armed with nuclear-tipped or long-range missiles due to international treaties. INS Arihant, during its long-drawn sea trials, will also have to test-fire its nuclear-tipped K-15 ballistic missiles before it can become fully-operational.

While not meant for "nuclear deterrent patrols", INS Chakra can be "a potent hunter-killer'' of enemy submarines and warships as well as undertake swift intelligence-gathering operations, apart from being equipped with land-attack conventional cruise missiles. In this, the leased submarine has added some much-needed muscle to India's depleting fleet of 13 ageing diesel-electric submarines, only half of them which are currently operational.

INS Chakra also serves as a training platform for INS Arihant and its two follow-on sister SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines armed with ballistic missiles) being built at the shipbuilding centre at Vizag.

The next SSBN, INS Aridhaman, is also now ready for "launch" into water, while the third called S-4 is at an advanced fabrication stage in the building blocks. The Navy is also pursuing the proposed project to build six SSNs (nuclear-powered attack submarines without ballistic missiles) at Vizag, as earlier reported by TOI.

Nuclear submarines can operate at high speeds for long distances, and do not have to surface or "snorkel" every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries like diesel-electric submarines.


Airbus team coming, Rafale deal by March end, say sources

Even as India is to discuss again France the $22 billion deal to supply 126 Dassault Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force, a big team from Airbus is set to land in India on January 21, ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit. The timing of the visit is significant, say informed sources.
Airbus which had held 46.32 per cent of Dassault Aviation, had sold 8 per cent of the company back to Dassault for $979 million late last year, said sources, adding that most of the parts of the Rafale fighter jets would come from Airbus. Top officials visiting India at this time is aimed at ensuring France’s credibility as a reliable supplier of weapons, according to sources.
Costly delay

The Rafales deal has been hanging fire ever since Dassault Aviation won the contract in 2007. The original conditions had implied production of the initial 18 aircraft in France, with the remaining 108 to be manufactured at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility, under a technology transfer agreement.
“The $22 billion order is not the problem. The work share pattern of the 108 aircraft to be made in India is the bone of contention,” said an official in the know, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Of the 108 aircraft, will HAL manufacture 100 per cent, or 60 per cent, or 30 per cent of each jet, it is being worked out. Since there are several other Indian manufacturers who would supply and manufacture the rest of the parts, their names and work shares are all being sorted out,” said the official.
Sources said that both sides have been haggling over clauses in the proposed contract. While Dassault has offered the latest version of the Rafale, fighter, the F3R for nearly double the price of the F3 version it had originally bid for in the Indian fighter aircraft competition, India has also been insisting on over licensed production, and that the aircraft should be assembled in India.
Another official insisted that the Rafale deal was nearing a solution since, “out of the four major contracts, three are signed and in the dock. One contract is in the last stages.” The official added that the spate of visits to India by the French authorities recently also pointed to a deal closure, “since several Indian sub contractors have already been identified by the French authorities during their visit to India in February and March last year.”
High tech platform

Rafale has been termed the most advanced combat aircraft of its generation, and draws on sophisticated onboard electronic systems to carry out a wide range of missions. Thales provides equipment and systems, including avionics, that together account for approximately one third of the total value of each Rafale.
Thales is a global player in electronics and systems serving the defence and aerospace sector. “The new generation Thales AFSA RBE2 radar is the largest sensor on board the Rafale. The RBE2, Europe’s first Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, takes combat system performance to a new level,” said Antoine Caput, Vice President and Country Director, Thales in India, speaking about the capabilities of the RBE2, a multirole radar developed for the Rafale combat aircraft.
Sources have indicated that the Rafale deal could be sealed by March 31. The Thales India Country Director refused comment. 


BAE’s US arm to shift Howitzer assembly here

Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India, the US arm of the London-headquartered BAE Systems has offered to transfer its entire M777 155mm/39-calibre ultra lightweight Howitzer (ULH) assembly line from the US to India to revive the stalled sale of 145 guns to the Indian Army.
The proposal had hit an impasse last year over offsets and price issues as it also involved direct import of the Howitzers from the US in a foreign military sales route (FMS) under the buy (global) category of the Indian Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP).
The new offer is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and will be on the agenda of delegation-level talks between the two sides. The gun has been extensively tested and evaluated in India previously. The proposal has been scrutinised in nine meetings of the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) and eight versions of the offset proposals have been submitted to the Indian government for approval till October 2013.
indiaThe US leader, during his meeting with Modi, is expected to pitch for scaling up India-US defense trade and push for Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), which was launched in 2012 and 2013 by his new defense secretary-nominee Ashton B Carter.
John Kelly, BAE System’s vice-president for business development and strategic planning platforms and services land systems and armament, who is spearheading the renewed campaign for sale of the M777 guns to India, confirmed: “We have offered to bring the gun’s assembly, integration and testing to India.”
The proposal also involves increasing the indigenous component of the gun. But the quantity that India orders should be significantly larger for this offer to be more attractive. “If the quantity is higher, then we have more opportunity for indigenisation and that’s what we are working through at the moment,” he said. Last year in July, the then defence minister Arun Jaitley had told the Parliament, “The case for procurement of ultra-light howitzer guns through the US government has not progressed due to cost issues and because the vendor has not been able to come up with a proposal fully compliant to the offset requirements.”
The ministry of defence (MoD) declared that the earlier offsets proposal from BAE Systems was non-compliant because the BAE Systems-owned US subsidiary, which manufactures the gun at Watervliet, New York, was not taking responsibility for the mandated 30 % offsets.
The stalled proposal involved sister companies under the BAE Systems’ group umbrella for fulfilling the then $209 million offsets on behalf of BAE Systems, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. But the MoD insisted on offsets being implemented by the prime for the contract.
The problem now seems to be resolved. “With regards to the possible Foreign Military Sale of the M777 Ultra-Lightweight Howitzers between the the two countries, the US government will contract with BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Limited and with other wholly owned subsidiaries of BAE Systems for the purposes of supporting our offset obligations,” a BAE Systems official later clarified.
This suggests that under the fresh bid, BAE Systems Global Combat Systems will be the prime for the contract, which will actually be signed by the US Department of Defense (DoD). The US Department of Defence (DoD) which underwrites the deal with India, has also accepted the “clarifications” and BAE Systems has identified 40 Indian Offsets Partners with a wide geographical spread to execute the offsets obligations..
The other problem over “cost issues” appears exaggerated due to a misunderstanding. The first offer, which stated a $697-million price, expired in October 2013. This necessitated the matter being referred to the US Congress for the second time for approval, which was done in August 2013. This Congressional notification provides a five-year validity to the offer, a BAE Systems official said.
“The Congressional approval left a generous headroom by stipulating a price ceiling of $885 million. This was wrongly seen as the new price, which is unlikely to hit that ceiling. We’ll keep the price within the 6-8 % boundary,” said Kelly, suggesting a new price to be close to $750 million.
The renewed offer to shift the assembly line to India involves Transfer of Technology to a chosen local partner, Kelly said. All local players, including the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), could be considered. The technological challenge involves the use of Titanium. The FMS proposal does not envisage a joint venture, he said. Significantly, the gun barrel of the American gun cannot be made in India. This is barred by the Berry Amendment, a Congressional Act in the US.


January 20, 2015

Know about 'Air Force One', the Boeing 747-200B Jumbo that carries the US President

United States President Barack Obama will visit India to attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest on January 26. The special aircraft, Air Force One of the 'The Flying White House' that carries the President the United States is a customized Boeing 747-200B Jumbo and has a bomb proof windshield. US military has two such aircrafts which cost $250 million each.
Flying at the highest speed of 630 kms per hour the airplane can fly for a range of 12550 kms and has a sitting capacity of 102. The estimated amount spent every hour to maintain and fly this aircraft is $100,000.
Protected from even electromagnetic interference caused by a nuclear blast, the aircraft is equipped with advanced and secure communications equipment, and also houses electronics to ensure failsafe functioning.
The aircraft has President's 'Flying Oval Office' that enables the US President to launch a nuclear attack in case of emergency. The satellite communication enables the President to connect with any world leader.
The aircraft's presidential suite houses a bedroom, dressing room, shower and is fitted with a personal gym. Separate suites house staff, secret service agents and advisers. The aircraft has 85 telephones, 19 LCD screens and hi-tech communication systems.
The hi-tech defence systems includes Electric Defence System to jam enemy radar and deflect enemy missiles, mirror ball defence to dazzle infra-red missile guidance systems and chaff and flares pod used to confuse heat seaking missiles.
Adding to the technical specification of the Air Force One, the aircraft also has armour plating to withstand nuclear blast, armoured glass on all windows to withstand bullets and rockets. The whole aircraft is designed to withstand air and ground attack.
The dining room with kitchen has two food preparation galleys and the kitchen staff can feed 100 people with 2000 meals. The aircraft also has a senior staff meeting room along with other offices and press quarters.


DRDO gears up for maiden canister-based trial of Agni-V

India is all set to carry out the first canister-based trial of the 5,000 km-plus nuclear weapons capable Agni-V Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast on January 31.
Pre-mission activities were in full swing at Wheeler Island for the crucial test when the missile would be fired in the “final induction configuration”, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources told The Hindu on Monday.
In view of the long range of the missile, the radars, telemetry and electro-optical tracking systems would be spread out and deployed in a way that there would be “repeatability” of data, the sources added.
High-end telemetry system
A sophisticated high-end telemetry system would be exercised for its full capacity to capture data.
After the successful trial of Agni-V for the second time in September, 2013, DRDO Director General and Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Avinash Chander had then announced that the next launch would be canister-based.
First stage
As a prelude to the actual launch, DRDO missile technologists had in the past conducted ‘Missile Ejection Test’ from a canister in simulated conditions on two occasions when various parameters that would have to be met during the actual trial were validated.
The first stage of the three-stage solid fuelled Agni-V would be ignited at a height of 25-30 metres during the actual launch after a gas generator at the bottom of the canister provides force equivalent to 300-370 tonnes to push the missile to that height.
DRDO sources said the major advantage of canister was that it would provide operational flexibility to the user to launch the missile from anywhere as also easy and safer transportation.
The missile would be inducted after one or two more trials to test the robustness of the system.
A few tests would be enough for a large system, the sources added.
India joined an elite club of nations which possess ICBMs after the maiden launch of Agni-V ended in a roaring success on April 19, 2012. 

The hindu

5th-gen Jet, Mini Missile on agenda as Russian Defence Minister heads to Delhi

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoygu will arrive here tomorrow on a three-day visit to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and review the ongoing cooperation and future prospects in the crucial sector.

During the talks, the Russian side is expected to raise the issue of the much-delayed joint production of a Fifth- Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and BrahMos mini-missile.

It is also expected to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer last month to produce the 'Kamov' military helicopters in India, among other things.

The question of a possible lease of a second nuclear submarine from Russia could also come up in the meeting that is being held just days ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to the country.

Currently, India operates an 8,140-tonne Akula Class submarine -- renamed the INS Chakra -- which was leased in 2011 from Russia for a period of 10 years.

The issues would feature as part of discussions as the two counterparts chair the 13th meeting of the Russian-Indian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC).

"The two ministers will review the progress made so far and the future scope," defence sources said.

One of the most important deals in the works between India and Russia at present is the FGFA. A Russian team was in the national capital last month to discuss the deal and iron out any differences.

India has said that the basic prototype of the plane is already flying and the Indian version had just a few variations, hence a full-fledged R&D contract would be a waste of time and resources, official sources said.

The preliminary design agreement on the FGFA had been signed in 2010 between HAL and the Russian Sukhoi Design Bureau to build the jet for use by both countries.

But the final R&D contract, which was to be signed by 2012, is still to be finalised. The contract would pave the way for prototype development and flight testing.

Russia is also expected to push for a key deal for the joint development of a BrahMos 'mini missile'. However, sources said that a tripartite agreement in this regard is unlikely to be signed between DRDO, NPOM lab of Russia and BrahMos Aerospace.

The Russian Minister will also be visiting the BrahMos aerospace centre in the national capital.

The mini missile will have a speed of Mach 3.5 and can carry a payload of 300-kg up to a range of 290-km. In terms of size, it will be about half that of the present missile, which is around 10-metres long.

BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture firm set up in 1998, feels that the new missile could be inducted into service by 2017 and there would be a huge market for it in India and Russia and among friendly foreign countries.

The BrahMos missile can be launched from land, air and marine-based platforms.

While the army and navy have already started inducting land and sea-based Brahmos missile systems, the air launch variant is set for trials soon.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defence Minister will also be visiting Agra.

During Putin's visit last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that even though India's options have increased, Russia will remain the country's "most important" defence partner.

Modi had also proposed that Russia should locate manufacturing facilities in India for spares and components of defence equipment procured from it and said that Putin had responded "very positively" to the request.

India remains Russia's largest partner in the military- technical cooperation sphere.

Nearly 70 per cent of the weapons and military equipment used by the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy is either Russian or came from the erstwhile Soviet Union.


January 17, 2015

India may seek other suppliers if US will not sell drones: Senator

India may buy unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, from other countries if the United States does not ease current export restrictions on such aircraft, a key Democratic senator said on Friday.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who will join President Barack Obama during a trip to India on January 26, said he was concerned that other countries could rush in to sell India the equipment it desires if the United States drags its feet.
"This is going to be a space ... where other countries are moving very quickly too," he told an event hosted by the nonprofit Atlantic Council. "If the Indians can't find a partner with the United States, they'll find one somewhere else.US aerospace and arms companies have been pressing the US government for years to ease current tight restrictions on foreign sales of unmanned vehicles, arguing that other countries such as Israel are overtaking the United States in drone sales.
India, which is modernizing its military, is a big and growing market for US weapons makers who are seeking foreign sales to help offset declines in US defense spending.
Warner said he hoped that unmanned aircraft would be included as part of a broad US push to expand defense ties with India but said he was not aware of any specific initiatives to be announced during Obama's visit.
US and Indian officials are trying to work out pilot projects for joint production of drones and other weapons as part of the US-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), a source familiar with the effort said.
One drone project involves the RQ-11 "Raven" built by AeroVironment Inc, a small US firm, but Northrop Grumman Corp, Textron Systems, a unit of Textron Inc and General Atomics, a privately held firm, are also seeking permission to sell their unmanned systems to India.
The US government strictly controls foreign sales of larger UAVs but has approved sales of unarmed systems such as the Raven, which are used purely for surveillance to a range of countries, including Uzbekistan, according to a US source.
Warner said he expected some announcements about joint defense projects during Obama's visit but said he had not been briefed on specific deals.
US officials are weighing options as they seek to expand defense ties with India as Washington grows concerned about the extent of Pakistan's efforts to crack down on militants.


Home Ministry approves warm high-altitude shelters for ITBP personnel in chilly terrains


The home ministry has approved purchase of high-altitude shelters, of the kind used in the US, for Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel posted in the inhospitable terrain along the India-China border.

These high-altitude shelters, with heating systems backed by diesel generators and interior lighting, will be a blessing for the paramilitary force which serves in sub-freezing temperatures in rudimentary border outposts.

According to a senior official, the ministry is looking for private manufacturers to provide trials of highaltitude shelters in field conditions at forward border outposts in Ladakh.

The ministry has decided that the shelters must meet the US Berry Amendments, a US law which mandates that the highest quality materials and components are used for manufacturering the shelters.
"This is because the shelters used in high altitudes have to meet the specific conditions posed by altitude, peculiar weather, lack of oxygen, hostile environment and psychological impact of these on human mind (psychokinesis)," says a home ministry document, which approved such shelters for the ITBP personnel.

As many as 81% of ITBP's border posts along the 3,488 km mountainous border with China are located above 9,000 feet and 46% of the border outposts get completely cut off  for several months during the winter.

There are 32 ITBP outposts located between 9,000 and 12,000 feet, 57 outposts are located between 12,000 and 15,000 feet and 24 outposts are located above 15,000 feet, with the highest outpost in Sikkim at 18,600 feet. Most posts see sub-zero temperatures. The ministry has also specified that these shelters should be easy to relocate quickly.