July 31, 2015

Rafale deal: Here's why there's been a delay

The Rafale deal, rescued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited France in April, has hit a government air pocket. India's insistence that France spend 50% of the value of the Rafale deal in Indian defence sector (called an offset requirement) and pricing issues have meant that India and France have missed the July target of finalising the agreement on purchasing 36 fighter jets.
Officials familiar with Rafale negotiations said higher political intervention may be required to hasten the process. These officials did not want to be identified. While the old Rafale deal — buying 126 aircraft — has been cancelled, progress on buying 36 French jets is stalled because the French say spending 50% of the value of the deal in Indian defence sector will push up the total deal cost for India.
The 36 Rafale jets were offered at just over $200 million each when the PM visited France in April, a price 25% lower than that offered to the UPA government.The French understanding was, officials say, that the standard 30% offset obligation will apply and it will met while creating the infrastructure for Rafale. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, however, has been insisting on 50% offset (he told ET this in an interview published on May 11) and Indian negotiators have been asking for this as well.
The French have argued 50% offset obligation will not allow them to sell the jets at the price agreed upon in Paris in April. The deal size — less than $8 billion, as agreed during Modi's France visit — will also go up, officials say, if the Indian Air Force plan to create two bases for Rafale jets isaccepted. Two bases will require separate, high-cost infrastructure as well as two sets of maintenance, training and armaments storage facilities.  There's also the issue of integrating third country weapon systems in French-made Indian Rafale jets. This integration will also drive up costs.


India, US in process of signing pact for next-gen soldier wear, says defence ministry

 The government today said it is in the process of signing an agreement with the US to collaborate on the next-generation lightweight, protective clothing for soldiers.  The project, titled Next Generation Protection Ensemble (NGPE), is part of one of the four projects that were identified for joint development during President Barack Obama's visit to the country earlier this year.  "The objective of the agreement is to test analyse and compare Chemical Biological (CB) Protection  Technologies to facilitate development of requirements for a wearable protective ensemble capability with the view towards cooperatively developing mutually identified technologies subject to a separate agreement," Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
  He said this agreement has good potential for mutual benefit and to promote and accelerate technology exchange.  It may lead to a separate agreement for cooperatively developing mutually identified technologies, Parrikar said.  Uniform Integrated Protection Ensemble - Increment 2 (UIPE I2), was announced as one of the four pathfinders under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), which seeks to co-develop military equipment. 

identified technologies, Parrikar said.

Uniform Integrated Protection Ensemble - Increment 2 (UIPE I2), was announced as one of the four pathfinders under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), which seeks to co-develop military equipment.

BAE Systems may 'gap' Typhoon production in 2018

 BAE Systems may have to 'gap' production of the Eurofighter Typhoon in 2018, if further near-term orders are not forthcoming, IHS Jane's was told on 28 July.
Speaking at the company's manufacturing facility at Warton, production manager Matt Heritage, said that as the current orderbook stands, Typhoon assembly will have to cease at the end of the current run, although the option remains to restart the line should further orders be secured.
BAE Systems currently has 15 Typhoons in various stages of assembly at Warton, and has a further 35 aircraft to begin manufacturing. With just the final 38 aircraft for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and Saudi Arabia left to build, as well as 12 for Oman (production of which is set to begin at the end of September), as things stand the line will shut down before the end of 2018.
Heritage noted, however, that any shut-down need not be permanent, and that manufacturing could be restarted should more orders be secured. "Both the Hawk and the Tornado had production breaks, with the lines being shut down and then re-started, and this is something that we could certainly do with the Typhoon," he said. With Eurofighter engaged in a number of campaigns worldwide, Heritage said he is optimistic that there is still plenty of scope for sustaining the line out to beyond 2018. Indeed, this was reiterated by BAE Systems, which told IHS Jane's , "A number of opportunities in the international market are being pursued for Typhoon and we believe the aircraft is well-positioned to secure further orders."
Even so, the company is currently engaged in some self-funded work that is designed to maintain its industrial capability for manufacturing aircraft, should the line have to close either permanently or temporarily. The company's engineering personnel could be transferred to the Hawk line, as well as to the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter manufacturing plant at nearby Samlesbury. As well, as Heritage noted, by 2018 development of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) for the UK should be well under way.
Of the remaining production backlog for the Typhoon, BAE Systems expects to have built 24 aircraft by the end of this year, with 18 to follow in 2016, 22 in 2017, and a final four in 2018. While this rate could be slowed down to extend the production run, Heritage explained that the company is working to a customer-driven plan that it needs to discharge.
With BAE Systems building more Typhoons than the rest of the consortium combined, all of the national production lines are expected to have discharged their current orderbooks within about 12 months of each other.
To date, 571 Typhoons (not including the Tranche 3B option) have been ordered by seven nations. Of these, about 440 have been delivered so far. Central to securing further orders is a consortium-wide effort to drive down costs across every aspect of the programme. In terms of production, Heritage said that BAE Systems has been able to take about 20% out of the manufacturing bill and is looking to take out more, noting, "A better price means more chance for exports."


Kalyani group ties up with Rafael to make Spike missiles

 In a move that will further deepen India-Israel strategic cooperation, Rafael of Israel and India’s Kalyani Group are forming a manufacturing joint venture (JV) to produce Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) in India and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will be the system integrator, informed sources told The Hindu .
Spike is a third generation, fire-and-forget, man-portable, anti-tank missile. In all, about 40,000 missiles are required to equip the Army’s 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised regiments.
In October last year the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had cleared the Spike ATGM deal worth Rs. 3,200 crore deal for 8,000 plus missiles, 300 plus launchers and requisite transfer of technology to an Indian firm. The U.S. had lobbied hard for its Javelin missiles with offer of joint development and production of next generations missiles for use by both countries.
The companies are in talks with the Telangana government to procure land to set up a manufacturing facility in Hyderabad as BDL’s missile unit is located there. The JV will conform to the Foreign Direct Investment guidelines with 51% ownership held by the Kalyani Group.
Sources said the plan was to start production in about two years.

the hindu

Government withdraws tender for 126 MMRCA: Parrikar

The multi-billion dollar tender for the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), for which Rafale was shortlisted in 2012, has been withdrawn by the government.
"The Request for Proposal (RFP) issued earlier for the procurement of 126 MMRCA has been withdrawn. In the multi-vendor procurement case, the Rafale aircraft met all the performance characteristics stipulated in the RFP during the evaluation conducted by the Indian Air Force," Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The move comes just months after the Defence Minister indicated that the over USD 20 billion MMRCA tender has virtually been scrapped after the government decided to
purchase 36 Rafales under a government-to-government contract. The talks for the 36 Rafales have already commenced, the Minister said.
Defence sources said that a letter was sent out to the six vendors shortlisted for the RFP, which was for the then biggest aviation contract up for grabs globally, informing that the tender stands withdrawn.
The RFP for the procurement of 126 MMRCA, at a then estimated cost of Rs 42,000 crores, was issued in 2007 to six vendors - Russia's MIG-35 (RAC MiG), Swedish JAS-39 (Gripen), Dassault Rafale (France), American F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin), Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon (made by a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian firms).
Under the terms of purchase, the first 18 MMRCA aircrafts were supposed to come in a 'fly away' condition while the remaining 108 manufactured under Transfer of Technology.
While initially the tender was valued at about USD 10 billion for 126 aircraft, the current price is estimated to be over USD 20 billion.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in April announced purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in fly-away condition from the French government directly, sidestepping the gruelling three-year negotiations for the MMRCA tender.


Four steps taken by government to address Indian Army’s ammunition shortage

Acknowledging that the Indian Army is short of critical ammunition, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said the government has taken steps to mitigate the deficiencies.
“The government has taken into consideration the deficiencies in some of the critical ammunition on priority and has also taken effective steps to mitigate the deficiencies to ensure desired level of operational-preparedness commensurate to threat perception in a dynamic strategic scenario,” Parrikar said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
Parrikar said that the C&AG report covers the status till March, 2013. The Defence Minister highlighted additional steps taken to address the ammunition shortage. These are:
NEW DELHI: Acknowledging that the Indian Army is short of critical ammunition, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said the government has taken steps to mitigate the deficiencies.
“The government has taken into consideration the deficiencies in some of the critical ammunition on priority and has also taken effective steps to mitigate the deficiencies to ensure desired level of operational-preparedness commensurate to threat perception in a dynamic strategic scenario,” Parrikar said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
Parrikar said that the C&AG report covers the status till March, 2013. The Defence Minister highlighted additional steps taken to address the ammunition shortage. These are:
1) Second Five Year Ammunition Roll on indent for the period 2014-19 has been placed on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
2) A road map on ammunition has been approved which envisages procurement ex-import and ex-trade to build up adequate targeted stocks in addition to training requirement.
3) An institutionalized mechanism in the form of Working Group to review critical items has been set up.
4) Ammunition with recurring large annual training requirement with high cost has been intimated to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and OFB for indigenous development. Second Five Year Ammunition Roll on indent for the period 2014-19 has been placed on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
 2) A road map on ammunition has been approved which envisages procurement ex-import and ex-trade to build up adequate targeted stocks in addition to training requirement.
3) An institutionalized mechanism in the form of Working Group to review critical items has been set up.
4) Ammunition with recurring large annual training requirement with high cost has been intimated to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and OFB for indigenous development.


July 30, 2015

What does the Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky Aircraft deal mean for India?

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s landmark deal to buy United Technologies Corp.’s Sikorsky Aircraft for over $8 billion could make F-35 fighter jet maker Lockheed also bid in Indian defence deals for military helicopters.
Lockheed Martin agreed to buy Sikorsky unit, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
The acquisition will pave the way for Lockheed Martin to expand its play in India from military fixed-wing platforms to also military rotaries for upcoming tenders like naval utility helicopters and other mission-specific requirements, according to Rahul Gangal, partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a global strategy consulting firm.
Lockheed Martin is competing for an order for more than $2 billion worth of maritime aircraft. “Sikorsky will have a stronger balance sheet, as well as access to complementary product and payload technologies to make stronger product offers to India. India will also find legal structuring of technology transfer and compliance better as both have demonstratable past track record,” Gangal said.
Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland in the US, and Sikorsky are trying to tempt India with an offering that includes the more capable MH-60R helicopter to fight against ships coupled with the basic MH-60S helicopter to help lower costs, Bloomberg reported separately on Monday, quoting George Barton, vice-president for business development at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors.
India is poised to kick off the competition for a contract to make at least 75 naval helicopters.
“The maritime helicopter market is unique in that countries have to protect the sea-lines of communications,” Barton said in an interview to Bloomberg at the Euronaval maritime conference at Le Bourget on the northern outskirts of Paris.
Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky, who developed the MH-60R for the US Navy and sold the system to Australia last year, see Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand among potential buyers, Barton said.
Thailand last year already agreed to buy the MH-60S.
There could be more in the store.
Deba R. Mohanty, chairman and chief executive of defence and technology consultancy Indicia Research and Advisory, pointed out that for Lockheed Martin, this actually asks for a realignment of defence business in India and a next phase of collaborative arrangements between Lockheed Martin and prospective Indian partners is not ruled out.
“Buying out of one global giant by another normally denoted two implications. Firstly, it consolidates business, and thus deeper penetration in global market as a formidable supplier. This is a positive for India. Secondly, it also creates challenges of multilateral diplomacy in arms trade. This also has implication for India,” Mohanty said.
In December last year, the Indian Navy had selected Sikorsky aircraft to fulfill the service’s multipurpose helicopter requirement for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW/ASuW).
Negotiations will now begin to procure 16 S-70B Seahawk helicopters, with an option for eight additional aircraft, along with a complete logistics support and training program, Sikorsky had said in December.
Sikorsky Aircraft is a one of the leaders in the design, manufacture and service of military and commercial helicopters; fixed-wing aircraft; spare parts and maintenance, repair and overhaul services for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft; and civil helicopter operations. Sikorsky helicopters are used by all five branches of the US armed forces, along with military services and commercial operators in 40 nations.
The products of Sikorsky include Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters for defence and S-76 and S-92 helicopters for commercial aviation.
On the other side, Lockheed Martin is the largest US weapons maker.

Boeing ends contract with HAL over ‘poor quality’ of production

US defence major Boeing has terminated a contract with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for component supplies to the former’s war and commercial planes being inducted into the Indian Navy.
Boeing’s decision came after repeated reminders to HAL about its “poor quality” of production, sources said, adding that the US company’s move underlined the need for better strategies by India’s policymakers in order to bolster the order books of defence PSUs.
Boeing has over the last few years shifted its component sourcing requirements in India to private companies — Tata Group, Dynamatic Technologies, Rossell Techsys and others.
Under a $4.7-million contract signed with Boeing in 2010, HAL was to provide weapons bay doors for eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft that the former would supply to the Indian Navy.
The contract with HAL for equipment for the P8I, through its avionics division in Hyderabad, was the first P-8I offset package that Boeing had directly executed with India’s largest aerospace company. In addition to its work on the P-8I programme, HAL was to also supply Boeing with gun bay doors and wire harnesses for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and uplock boxes for the 777 commercial airplane.
Boeing refused to comment for this story, while senior HAL officials said although “there were problems” (with the Boeing contract), these would be resolved.
“Boeing is already working with multiple companies in India to fulfil its commitments. We are actively working global sourcing strategies that can help make Boeing more competitive around the world, in addition to building India’s aerospace capabilities and meeting our offset commitments,” Dennis Swanson, vice-president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) in India, had told FE in an interview earlier.
Industry sources have indicated that since 2014, Boeing has been expressing its dissatisfaction with HAL’s performance and has moved to other firms to meet its requirements. For instance, Dynamatic Technologies and Tata Advanced Materials (TAML) are delivering power and mission equipment cabinets for P-8I aircraft, and TAML is also on contract to provide P-8I auxiliary power unit door fairings. Dynamatic Technologies is on contract to manufacture the aft pylon and cargo ramp assemblies for Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook. Maini and TAL Manufacturing Solutions are on contract to provide C-17 ground support equipment to Boeing.
Boeing is interested in setting up a manufacturing base in India under the ‘Make in India’ programme. It has recently inked a framework agreement with Tata Advanced Systems to collaborate in aerospace and defence manufacturing and potential integrated systems development opportunities, including unmanned aerial vehicles.


July 29, 2015

When UN declared Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's 79th birthday as World Students' Day

Beloved former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, also known as the father of India's military missile program, died on Monday after collapsing while delivering a lecture in Shillong, plunging the entire nation into a state of utter shock.
Kalam, who served as president from 2002 until 2007, was not only a renowned scientist, thinker, philosopher and teacher, but also a winner of numerous prestigious awards and honours.
It was in the year 2010, when the United Nations decided to honour this 'great scientist' on his 79th birth anniversary and declared his birthday on October 15 as the ‘World Students' Day’.
Since then, October 15 is observed as a day for students all around the world. During his lifetime, Dr Kalam had always expressed his wish to be remembered as a teacher by the people.
He was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO by the Government of India.
He was also honoured with 'Bharat Ratna' for his contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.
In 2005, Switzerland also declared May 26 as 'Science Day' to commemorate Dr Kalam’s visit to the European country
A bachelor, the former president was a 'Veena' player and was deeply interested in Carnatic music. He remained a vegetarian all his life.
'Wings of Fire', 'India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium', 'My journey' and 'Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India' are the famous books which Dr Kalam authored.
These highly acclaimed books have been translated in many Indian languages.


Committee wants MoD to look upon private industry as an ally

Stressing on the 'Make in India' initiative, a Ministry of Defence appointed committee has recommended enhanced private sector involvement in materiel procurement by granting manufacturers tax and import concessions. Rahul Bedi reports for Rediff.com
A Ministry of Defence appointed committee has recommended wide-sweeping changes to India's cumbersome materiel procurement and manufacturing procedures, which have long delayed military modernisation.Headed by retired home secretary Dhirendra Singh, the 10-member committee, comprising former service officers and technical experts that was constituted in May, submitted its report to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last week.

Officials said its recommendations would be incorporated into the Defence Procurement Procedure-2015 -- the eighth edition after the first DPP-2002 -- that the MoD is likely to release by the year-end.

Parrikar has promised that the revised document will be more comprehensive than the previous 351-page DPP-2013, which for many domestic and overseas vendors, is difficult to fully comprehend.

The final DPP-2015 version will follow extensive consultations within the MoD and also with related departments associated with the final document, like the law, finance and industries ministries, officials said. 
Industry sources said the 200-page report, prepared after interaction with the services and local and overseas defence company executives, stresses the 'Make in India' initiative to promote indigenous defence production through enhanced private sector involvement. It aims to achieve this by granting private manufacturers tax and import concessions, similar to those hitherto enjoyed by inefficient State-owned entities that have monopolised India's defence-industrial sector for decades.

These include the 39 Ordnance Factory Board plants and nine Defence Public Sector Units.

The committee has suggested that the MoD accord the private sector 'strategic partner' status for varied military programmes in a structured and permanent arrangement, given its agility, efficiency, innovation and modern management practices.

This propensity, it states, applies particularly to absorption of technology from overseas original equipment manufacturers via joint ventures, which the committee believes the private, not the public sector, is better equipped to manage.

The committee reportedly advises the MoD not to look upon private Indian industry as a 'competitor,' but an 'ally,' regularly sharing with it information regarding the services overall requirements and programmes.
 Private industry has welcomed these suggestions, but is believed to be at variance with the committee over its proposal that the MoD restrict each 'strategic partner' to a solitary system or platform type.

They argue that this would neutralise their multiple technical capabilities developed at great expense over time and restrict their expansion, as would the recommended ban on cross-holdings by them, without prior government permission.

The committee is believed to have suggested compressing the entire military acquisition process into a shorter time frame -- it can take up to a decade or longer for contracts to be completed -- and urged the military to formulate 'realistic' qualitative requirements for equipment.

The services, especially the Indian Army, are prone to framing over ambitious QRs for weapons and related systems, which simply do not exist anywhere in the world.

According to Parliament's Standing Committee on defence report in 2012, as many as 41 of the army tenders were withdrawn or terminated in recent years, due to unrealistic QRs. This has left the force in a shambolic state, with regard to even basic equipment like assault rifles and carbines for its nearly 360 infantry units.According to the committee the current practice of terminating a tender, simply because there is only one vendor available, needs reviewing, as does the procedure of selecting the lowest bidder or L1.


Obama mourns Kalam, calls him an inspiration to millions around the world

US President Barack Obama has condoled the death of former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam describing him as an advocate for stronger US-India relations, and who worked to deepen the two countries' space cooperation.
"A scientist and statesman, Kalam rose from humble beginnings to become one of India's most accomplished leaders, earning esteem at home and abroad," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Extending his "deepest condolences to the people of India" on behalf of the American people, Obama noted Kalam's "tenure as India's 11th president witnessed. "An advocate for stronger US-India relations, Kalam worked to deepen our space cooperation, forging links with NASA during a 1962 visit to the United States," he said.
"Suitably named athe People's President, his humility and dedication to public service served as an inspiration to millions of Indians and admirers around the world."
Meanwhile, the US media highlighted his role in advancing India's nuclear, space and missile programmes.
The influential New York Times in an obit said Kalam's "role in advancing India's nuclear programmes made him one of his country's most beloved figures".
"Kalam's celebrity could be traced to 1998, when India detonated five nuclear devices in the northwestern desert, to widespread international condemnation," it said.
"Described at the time as an 'impish, shaggy-haired bachelor' of 66, he was one of the most exuberant boosters of the country's nuclear programme," the Times said.
"Kalam spent a little time outside India. For him, it was a point of pride that India had developed its bomb without much help from foreign powers. And he described himself as thoroughly Indian," the Times said.
"I am completely indigenous!" he told the newspaper in 1998, it recalled.
Time magazine described Kalam as "one of India's most renowned rocket scientists who served as the nation's 11th president".
Kalam, it recalled told TIME in a 1998 interview that he developed an early fascination with flight while growing up on the south Indian isle of Rameswaram.
"Then there were a lot of birds on the island," he was quoted as saying, "and I used to watch their beautiful flight paths. That got me interested in aeronautics."
The Washington Post noted Kalam was "a scientist who was known as the father of the country's military missile programme".
"He was credited with helping develop his country's first space satellites," it said. "In the 1980s, he helped design the nuclear-capable Prithvi and Agni ballistic missiles."
"He played a crucial role when India tested its nuclear weapons in 1998," the Post said noting, "The test resulted in sanctions against the country but helped elevate Kalam's to the status of folk hero in his country."
Several Indian-American organisations have also offered condolences on the death of "India's missile man".
The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) said along with the Indian-American community it mourns the "loss of our beloved and eminent scientist" who "was an irreplaceable role model for the young and passionate of India".


France aiming for two more Rafale deals by early 2016

Reuters) - France is confident of winning two more foreign orders for its Rafale fighter jet by the beginning of next year as it seeks to extend a spate of recent export successes, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
After failing for years to win an order for its warplane, France has sold 24 Rafales each to Egypt and Qatar in recent months and is in talks to finalise the sale of another 36 to India.
"There should be two other export contracts for the Rafale by the beginning of next year," not including India, the source said.
"The most advanced discussions are with Malaysia and the UAE," the source added.
In a further development, the source said that France was negotiating with India for options to supply further aircraft on top of the 36 Rafales the country has provisionally agreed to buy.
In April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had ordered 36 "ready-to-fly" Rafale fighters to modernise his country's warplane fleet, dealing directly with the French government after three years of inconclusive negotiations with the plane's manufacturer, Dassault.
India has signalled any further purchases will come though government channels, raising doubts over the future of the stalled commercial negotiations with Dassault for 126 jets
The recent spate of Rafale export orders has shaken up the global defence market and given fresh momentum to the French warplane as available production slots begin to dwindle.
Analysts and diplomats say the appetite for the jets has also risen as a result of the United States' diminishing influence in the Arab world along with wider security concerns.
However, Dassault still faces tough competition from U.S. and European rivals.
Kuwait is expected to announce soon an order for 28 Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, a $3 billion-plus deal that will keep the jets' St. Louis production line running well into 2019, according to people familiar with the deal. .
Malaysia, which wants to replace its fleet of Russian MiG-29 fighters, is looking at the Rafale, the F/A-18, Swedish firm Saab's Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
While a Malaysian decision had been expected this year, aviation industry executives have warned that fiscal troubles due to lower oil and commodities prices could lead to delays in placing the order.
Indonesia, which needs to replace ageing U.S.-built F-5s, is reported to be studying the Rafale, Eurofighter and Russia's Sukhoi Su-35 as well as Sweden's Gripen and the Lockheed Martin F-16. The Eurofighter consortium comprises Airbus Group , representing Germany and Spain, Italy's Finmeccanica and Britain's BAE Systems.

 By Cyril Altmeyer

IAF asks HAL to stop work on jet trainer

In a setback for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Indian Air Force (IAF) has asked the state-owned firm to stop its efforts to produce the Intermediate Jet Trainers (IJT). This comes close on the heels of the recent accident of the advanced jet trainer Hawk, which is currently being produced at HAL under licence from BAE Systems, UK.
“While an inquiry has been ordered for the Hawk accident, the HAL is failing in its IJT R&D  (research and development) where the timelines have been revised at least thrice if not more. The company has already taken close to R630 crore from the government (for the IJT venture). The IAF has now lost its patience and has conveyed the same to  both the ministry of defence and the HAL,” revealed sources privy to the matter on conditions of anonymity.
Under the timeline indicated by HAL earlier, the IJTs were to be inducted in the IAF this year. However, a lot of tests of the machine are still not done. Also, issues related to the specifications given by the customer (IAF) have not been met with, the sources said.
However, responding to FE’s queries, a senior official in HAL said: “The majority of the tests have been completed in the case of the IJT except spin test and armament trials for operational clearance later this year. And this will be followed up by the spinning of the aircraft, which will happen anytime now.”
Interestingly, since 1997, the IJT has been under development but still no fixed date for final operational clearance is in sight, which made the IAF’s frustration soar. “And the IAF is not happy being forced to wait for these machines as it is hampering the training programme,” an official said. The IJT is aimed at providing high-speed training for IAF pilots entering the second stage of training. Fresh cadets begin flight training in a basic trainer aircraft (BTA) and then on an IJT, before moving on to an advanced jet trainer (AJT) to finally learn the art of combat flying.
With the induction of the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 and the British Hawk, IAF’s basic and advanced trainer requirements are taken care of. The problem is the mid-level training — the IJT.
Meanwhile, with the customer not willing to wait for the IJT, the ministry of defence has already floated an expression of interest (EoI) seeking information from global firms to procure intermediate jet trainers. The EoIs have been sent to Russia’s Yakovlev; Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi; Korea Aerospace Industries of South Korea; Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Beechcraft of the US; and Saab of Sweden.
The MoD stand comes even though it had decided that only state-owned monopoly HAL will meet the service’s future basic trainer requirements through its HTT-40 trainer, which is still under development. However, to meet the air force’s immediate needs, until the homemade HTT-40 is inducted, MoD has ordered another 38 Swiss-made Pilatus PC-7 Mark-IIs to top the 75 ordered by the outgoing government in 2012.


Submarine Killers: India's $61 Billion Warning to China

In a dock opening onto the Hooghly River near central Kolkata, one of India’s most lethal new weapons is going through a final outfit.
The Kadmatt is a submarine killer, bristling with technology to sniff out and destroy underwater predators. It’s the second of four warships in India’s first dedicated anti-submarine force -- a key part of plans to spend at least $61 billion on expanding the navy’s size by about half in 12 years.
The build-up is mostly aimed at deterring China from establishing a foothold in the Indian Ocean. It also serves another goal: Transforming India’s warship-building industry into an exporting force that can supply the region, including U.S. partners in Asia wary of China’s increased assertiveness.
“India’s naval build-up is certainly occurring in the context of India moving towards a greater alignment with U.S. and its allies to balance China,” said David Brewster, a specialist in Indo-Pacific security at the Australian National University in Canberra. “India wants to be able to demonstrate that Beijing’s activities in South Asia do not come without a cost, and Delhi is also able to play in China’s neighborhood.”
China showed its growing naval prowess when it deployed a nuclear-powered submarine to patrol the Indian Ocean for the first time last year, while a diesel-powered one docked twice in Sri Lanka. India says another Chinese submarine docked in May and July in Pakistan, which is reportedly looking to buy eight submarines in what would be China’s biggest arms export deal.

Obama Help

The U.S.’s Seventh Fleet has patrolled Asia’s waters since World War II and is backing India’s naval expansion. On a January visit to New Delhi, President Barack Obama pledged to explore ways of sharing aircraft carrier technology. The two countries also flagged the need to safeguard maritime security in the South China Sea, where neither has territorial claims.
India’s present fleet of 137 ships falls far short of the more than 300 vessels in China, which has Asia’s biggest navy. China boasts at least 62 submarines, including four capable of firing nuclear ballistic missiles, according to the Pentagon.
“We would like to have the Moon,” Navy Vice Chief P. Murugesan told reporters on July 14, acknowledging that its goal of a 200-ship navy by 2027 was ambitious.
The vessels on India’s wish list show Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intent on expanding the navy’s influence from Africa to the Western Pacific. Most of them will be made in India, a sign that moves to upgrade the country’s shipyards are starting to pay off for the world’s biggest importer of weapons.

100 Warships

India plans to add at least 100 new warships, including two aircraft carriers, as well as three nuclear powered submarines capable of firing nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. It will also tender for submarine-rescue vessels, a first for a navy that’s operated submarines for four decades.
“What we are seeing here is a significant ramping up of blue-water capacity,” said Collin Koh Swee Lean, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. The expansion would help maintain India’s regional naval supremacy and project power, he said.
Part of that strategy involves overseas sales. India recently made its first ever warship export to the island nation of Mauritius. The patrol vessel was built by Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd., one of four government-run shipyards.
The same company is bidding to win a Philippine tender for warships, and last year India agreed to sell Vietnam four offshore patrol boats. Both nations compete with China for territory in disputed waters.

Billionaire Invests

India wants to produce all of the components on its naval vessels domestically by 2030, Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan said this month. Now it only makes about a third of weapons and sensors, and about 60 percent of propulsion systems.
To make that happen, Dhowan wants private firms involved. Billionaire Anil Ambani said this month his Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group Ltd. would make a 50 billion rupee ($780 million) investment in a shipyard on India’s western coastline.
While India is capable of building warships, it relies on the U.S., Russia and Europe for technology and lags the world’s bigger players, according to Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
“India does not have a very glorious record in defense manufacturing, and certainly not for exports,” he said. “Things may change for the better with the private sector.”
India is also reaching out to the region. It’s boosting ties with Mauritius and Seychelles, and has offered to help Myanmar modernize its navy. India is also hosting naval exercises with the U.S. and Japan later this year, and holding its first-ever drills with Australia in September.
Chinese experts led by Defense Ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Yang Yujun told Indian media this month that clashes are possible if India views the adjacent ocean as its “backyard.”
“India wants to take a leadership role in the Indian Ocean and ultimately become the predominant naval power,” ANU’s Brewster said. “Its moves reflect an instinctive view among many in Delhi that if the Indian Ocean is not actually India’s Ocean, then in an ideal world it ought to be.”


July 28, 2015

Maybe India should consider the Eurofighter?

What a difference a few years makes. In 2011 the Rafale had no foreign orders. India had been proclaiming the Rafale the “best aircraft for India” for some 5 years by then and declared it the L1 bidder in the tender for the 126 MMRCA with the Eurofighter Typhoon as the L2. India only negotiated purchase price with the L1 bidder because those were the rules of the tender and we have now come to this point where the price has increased so much that India has scrapped the tender and is only considering buying 36 aircraft for now under government to government with France.
Earlier this year Egypt ordered 24 Rafale and Qatar ordered 24 Rafale so France is no longer under any pressure to obtain sales orders. In fact it is now the opposite i.e. if India actually places the order then France will not be able to make the delivery anytime soon. Yes of course Dassault says it will increase the production to 3 aircraft per month, but given that such an aircraft uses parts procured from various vendors, can they really triple the production from 1 aircraft per month to 3 aircraft a month so easily? So all this creates the opportunity or necessity for raising the price of the Rafale.Now if you look at the Eurofighter Typhoon you will see that it is still the same as 2011 i.e. it has no export orders. The Eurofighter is a consortium including countries of UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain and they obviously are not thrilled at the idea that the Rafale is getting all these export orders while the Typhoon has got none so far. Moreover, in the aircraft industry, when one player gets a lot of orders it starts to have a snowball effect. India already said that the Typhoon would meet its requirements, after all it was designated as the L2 bidder. So this leads to the obvious question of why India does not buy the Typhoon instead of or in addition to the Rafale.
If you tell the Indian Air Force that you will buy 60 Rafale and 60 Typhoon then the IAF will respond that it will create a lot of logistics problems with maintaining the aircraft and procuring spare parts and training of pilots and they of course would be correct.   In return, the politicians will point out that if you buy from a single vendor the cost will always be high whereas if you buy from multiple vendors then going forward you will reach a point where the vendors will compete with each other on price for future orders and not only that in the event of a war, you are not relying on the capabilities of a single aircraft but rather a combination of aircraft to protect your country, so you can make a valid argument that using a variety of aircraft may be a logistics nightmare, but will make the country safer and it will in the long run, wind up costing the same.
Truth be told the IAF has a soft spot for the Rafale because the IAF has the older Dassault Mirage 2000 and they just like the design style of the Dassault aircraft. Also the Rafale was designed from day one with the idea of landing on an aircraft carrier and since India being a peninsula wants to have aircraft carriers, the Rafale is the best choice. But that still does not mean that you cannnot operate both the Rafale and the Typhoon, after all India is a big country and needs a lot of aircraft to protect itself.
So India is reaching a point where it seems the best choice is to buy something from every single vendor. India already buys aircraft from Russia, France, USA and so far the IAF says that is OK because all these aircraft perform different roles, but now maybe the IAF needs to get used to the idea that you will have a plurality of aircraft performing the same role and that it needs to perform the logistics of pilot training, aircraft maintenace and deploying the different aircraft suitably. In other words India needs to abandon the idea that for each role the IAF will have a large number of aircraft which are all identical and instead embrace the idea that no single vendor can be relied upon to give you exactly what you want at the price you can afford and so you have to buy smaller numbers of aircraft from the all the vendors and try to make a working solution that meets all the requirements.
There has been the constant drumbeat in the background of getting foreign help to develop indigenous designs, but I tend to think that is unrealistic. Look at the players involved and try to guess at their motive to help India develop combat fighter aircraft. The Russians, the French, the Americans and the Eurofighter consortium all have their own offering tailor fit to India’s MMRCA requirement and there is no incentive for them to help India develop combat fighter aircraft, and so the only name that crops up periodically is Saab of Sweden.
The Saab offering i.e. the next generation Gripen has only one engine (yes, it is true the American F-16 has only one engine but that is a much bigger engine than the GE F-414 that Saab will be using in the next generation Gripen) is not actually as heavy an aircraft as the other aircraft considered for the MMRCA tender. So that is why Saab really might be interested in helping India develop light combat fighter aircraft but you can take it for granted that Saab is not going help design an actual competitor to the next generation Gripen. It is for that reason and that reason alone that the help offered by Saab may not be of a substantive value to India. Also in a strange way one gets the feeling that the Saab design philosophy is different than the other vendors, because the other vendors are designing combat aircraft, but it seems as if Saab considers the Gripen as an engineering project, so it delivers a superb engineering product but is it really capable of standing up to the other combat aircraft? Of course Sweden is the land of the Vikings, but the next generation Gripen is not the Viking of the combat aircraft community.
In summary India needs to open itself to the possibility of multiple combat aircraft occupying the same role, with the belief that the defense needs are so high that there is room for multiple aircraft to co-exist and still be economically viable. Trying to use only one aircraft per role is unrealistic until the day that India makes its own combat aircraft.


Gurdaspur terror attack: Time to dust up the KPS Gill doctrine to deal with it

The terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, which at the time of writing was still to be brought to a successful conclusion, proves two things: one, Pakistan is keen to revive terrorism in Punjab even while stoking it again in Jammu & Kashmir; and two, the Indian government should stop believing that appeasement as a strategy works with either the terrorists or their Pakistani sponsors.
Terrorism was killed in Punjab by KPS Gill’s strong retaliatory tactics against Khalistani killers; it is being emboldened again now by the weak Akali response to latent Sikh militancy. The Akalis are shamelessly playing Sikh identity politics and have done everything to communalise issues relating to the hanging of two convicted Khalistani terrorists – Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death for the assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh, and Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, convicted for acts of terror in Delhi and elsewhere.
Both of them should have been hanged long ago. The delay is costing us lives. It is also time to polish up the Gill Doctrine, the doctrine that killed terrorism in Punjab in the 1990s.
While Bhullar’s death sentence was commuted to life by the Supreme Court for reasons related to delays in his execution, Rajoana’s execution has been delayed thanks to pressure from Punjab politicians. The BJP, which partners the Akalis in Punjab, has been muted in its response to calls for executing Rajoana. Even Congress politicians have been weak-kneed about hanging Rajoana and Bhullar even though it was their CM who was killed by the terrorists.
If today the hanging of yet another terror convict – Yakub Menon, for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts – is hanging fire and being politicised and communalised, it is because the centre has been unable to follow the law and execute Rajoana and Bhullar in time, not to speak of the three killers of Rajiv Gandhi, who might actually end up walking free after a commutation of their death sentence.
India cannot afford to be a weak state when it comes to executing terrorists. The three templates from which it can draw the right lessons are the Indira Gandhi response to the killing of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in Birmingham in 1984 by Kashmiri separatists who demanded the release of Mohammad Maqbool Butt, then awaiting execution for terrorist acts. As soon as Mhatre was killed, Indira rejected the mercy petition of Butt and he was hanged. Earlier, Kashmiri separatists were emboldened by the Farooq Abdullah government’s inability to deal with rising militancy in the valley.The second template was the NDA government’s decision to release three terrorists in return for the safety of the 176 passengers aboard a hijacked Indian Airlines plane that was taken to Kandahar in 1999. As public pressure for the return of the passengers was built up in India, the Vajpayee government caved in and released three terrorists – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Omar Saeed Shaikh, and Maulana Masood Azhar. Since their release the three have been boosting terrorism against India, and have also been implicated in some global terrorists acts, including the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl and the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers.
The point is giving in to terrorists is not a solution ever. It only makes the next terrorist act worse.
The third template is KPS Gill’s use of rough-and-ready methods to eliminate terrorism in Punjab by responding aggressively to provocations. Even as the army was withdrawn from counter-terror operations in Punjab, Gill forged the Punjab Police into a fighting force and defeated Khalistani terrorism.
Prem Mahadevan, in a paper now accessible on the South Asian Terrorism Portal, had this to say about Gill’s success: “The defeat of politico-religious terrorism in the Indian state of Punjab represented a spectacular counter-terrorist success. For the first time in history, the security forces of a democracy were able to comprehensively defeat a terrorist movement instead of just containing it. No political compromises were made, no ‘root causes’ were addressed. Yet, terrorism disappeared from Punjab with a swiftness and permanence that continues to surprise many.”
Mahadevan explains the Gill formula thus: “At the core of the Gill Doctrine lies the view that terrorism has mutated from being merely a tactic of political rebellion, as it was in the 1970s, to an entirely new way of waging warfare. Counter-terrorism in the closing decades of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st cannot be denigrated as a mere ‘law and order’ issue. Instead, it is the major challenge to the security of individual nation-states, precisely because it is still being mistaken as an appendage to popular insurgency.”
Given Pakistan’s sponsorship of anti-India terror, Mahadevan says the Gill doctrine rightly decided that using minimal force against terrorists armed by the Pakistani military cannot work. Instead, counter-terror policies should aim to use force “proportional to the threat posed by each particular terrorist movement.”
It is clear that of the three templates, one failed (Vajpayee’s buckling to terrorist demands), while two others were more effective, especially Gill’s in Punjab.
This tells us two simple things: if the recrudescence of terror in Punjab is not squashed immediately with an iron hand, it will find new sustenance from weak-kneed Akali politicians. The BJP-led central government should read the riot act to its partner in Punjab. Secondly, the enemy is Pakistan, which is arming terrorists of all kind in Kashmir, Punjab and the rest of India. No softly-softly approach will work with Pakistan.
Defeating Pakistan’s designs calls for a tough stance not only against Khalistani terrorists, but also those who are waiting on death row for past acts of terror. It is time to hang Balwant Singh Rajoana. Keeping him in jail will only embolden terrorists who will assume that India is incapable of acting in its own interests.


Missile Man Fuelled Chandrayaan, Mangalyaan Ideas

CHENNAI: He was popularly known as the ‘Missile Man’, but though unknown to many, former President APJ Abdul Kalam was one of the key figures who inspired the Indian Space Research Organisation into taking up its missions to Moon and Mars.
Paying tributes to the veteran, ISRO director Mayilsami Annadurai said it was Kalam who inspired him during the Moon and Mars mission. “My first interaction with him was during an international conference where we discussed Chandrayaan. Dr Kalam then said ‘Find a way on how can you go to Moon’,” recalled Annadurai.
“Although he could not make it to Sriharikota during the Moon mission, I invited him again on November 14, the day the satellite reached the moon. And he was there,” he said.
However, there was a twist. “Rather than celebrating the success, he just asked ‘What next’. That resulted in the Mars Mission. For that mission, he was at Sriharikota a day before the launch,” recounted the space scientist. On a personal note, Mayilsamy rued that Kalam, who promised to visit him in Bangalore after he assumed office, will now no more be visiting him.
Meanwhile, mourning the death of his ‘good friend’ whom he had known for the past 50 years, Srinivasan, one of the brains behind the Indian nuclear programme, said Kalam was the coordinator for Pokharan II tests as DRDO wanted to test the launch vehicles. He was with DRDO then, said Srinivasan.
He also recounted the memories he shared with the former President as a scientist, and said Kalam was two years his junior when he joined Department of Atomic Energy, Mumbai.
“He later went on to do great things in the space department and was intrumental in developing the satellite launch vehicle although his initial experiment was a failure. This failure was turned into a success and now we have the Agni missiles developed by him,” said Srinivasan.
Srinivasan said Kalam never lost his temper and was a man of vision. He was a vegetarian and his favourite meal was idli, curd rice and sambar. “He invited my wife and I to Rashtrapati Bhavan and showed us the garden,” he recalled.
Prabhat Kumar, former director of Bhavini, said Kalam showed great interest in development of 500 megawatt Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) in Kalpakkam, which is an important milestone for India’s three-stage nuclear power programme.
“He had visited the PFBR complex twice. Once when he was President and once after he laid down his office,” Kumar recalled.

 The New Indian Express

July 27, 2015

Why the Air Force Has to Wait Another 5 Years for Indigenously-Built Tejas Fighter

                                                                                                   Gripen NG
It has been 32 years in the making but it will be least another five years before the indigenously-built fighter jet Tejas (Mark -II) can be deployed in a combat role, a top Indian Air Force  official told NDTV.

This is bad news for India which was hoping to induct the Tejas in large numbers to make-up for its ageing fighter fleet. India will have to decommission about 14 Squadrons of MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters by 2022.

Top IAF officials told NDTV that Tejas (Mark -II) will be fitted with the GE - 414 engine instead of the existing GE- 404 engine to give the aircraft more thrust. "But that would require major changes in the airframe, the lengthy of aircraft will have to increased, air intake vents of the engine re-designed -and ballast - or weight - added to tail section of existing airframe  to stabilize the aircraft," the officer told NDTV.

The aircraft will also be fitted with an  improved  radar to give it the capability to take on targets that are beyond visual range (BVR). The IAF wants Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars. The current version of the aircraft cannot fire missiles at BVR targets.

The Tejas (Mark -I) - the current version which doesn't meet Indian Air Force's combat requirements - is unlikely to get its crucial Final Operational Clearance (FOC) this December, as planned. "There are still some issues that need to sorted and the FOC will be delayed," the officer said.

Recently India opted to buy 36 - about two squadrons - French-built Rafale fighters to plug the growing gaps in capability created by aging and retiring jets. "It is a pragmatic decision"  the Rafales will give the IAF some maneuvering room while the Tejas is further refined," the officer added.

Despite pressure to induct fighters in large numbers, the IAF plans to induct about 40 Tejas (Mark-I) fighters in the next few years and use it mainly for training purposes. "As we see it, it is better to wait and get a good fighter then going for Mark-I in its current state of development" the officer added.


New microwave radiation gun to take down drones

A new weapon, developed in Russia, operates on the principle of microwave radiation. The gun’s creators say it can take down drones and missiles from a range of around 10 km.
Russia has developed a gun that operates on the principle of microwave radiation, the United Instruments Corporation (UIC) said in mid-June. The new weapon is capable of disabling enemy aircraft, drones and precision-guided weapons such as cruise missiles, according to its creators.
The microwave gun was created at the Moscow Radio Engineering Institute, which is a military-run institution The device is able to operate at a range of around 10 km. From such a distance, the gun can disable a drone or a cruise missile.
“The gun has a powerful relativistic generator and mirror antenna, control and monitoring system and transmission system, deployed on the chassis of an anti-aircraft Buk missile launcher,” a source in the defense industry told TASS. “When installed on a special platform, the microwave gun has a 360-degree defensive capability.”
No analogues in the world
The super-high-frequency radiation emitted by the gun simply fries the electronic brains of drones, cruise missile warheads and combat aircraft.
“In terms of technical specifications, this weapon has no known analogues in the world,”  a defence industry source told TASS. However, he did not disclose the exact characteristics. The microwave gun was shown only to military specialists at a closed event during the Army-2015 defense industry show, held outside of Moscow in mid-June. weapon, experts are skeptical of the possibility of creating a microwave gun with such characteristics.
“To burn chips with microwave radiation from a distance of 10 km, the power source should be comparable with that of a nuclear explosion,” Associate Professor of the MEPhI National Research Nuclear University, Alexander Kuzovlev, told RIR. “In addition, this beam of radiation is very difficult to focus. At large distances, it always dissipates inversely proportional to the square of the distance, and the normal operation of the complex is possible only in conditions of perfect visibility.”
The former chief of the Russian Air Force's anti-aircraft missile troops, retired Lieutenant-General Alexander Gorkov told the Svobodnaya Pressa website that it is quite difficult to put into practice the idea of a microwave gun that would reach the target at a distance of 10 km.
Gorkov said similar developments were also conducted during the Soviet and post-Soviet period, “but they were suspended because they did not find further use.”
In September 2001, at the LIMA-2001 International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in Malaysia, Russia demonstrated a project, which caused a great stir in military circles. It was listed in the register of exhibits as the Ranets-E mobile microwave radiation complex project.
The uniqueness of the Ranets was in its “non-lethality.” It is a weapon that disables enemy equipment, but does not destroy it physically.
The Ranets functioned like the microwave gun that is now being developed. It had a powerful directional beam of electromagnetic radiation and caused short circuits in electrical equipment and disabled sensitive electronics.
The stated specifications of the Ranets was almost identical to the new microwave gun. The complex weighing 5 tons was supposed to hit the enemy electronics within a radius of 10 km and had a defensive capability of up to 60 degrees vertically and 360 degrees horizontally.
However, despite its obvious advantages, the Ranets-E has not gone into service, even 15 years after the demonstration in Langkawi.

- rbth

Iran nuclear deal may give India strategic edge over China: Duowei

India could end up an unlikely winner from the Iran nuclear deal to the detriment of China, says Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet.
On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 — the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany — finally sealed the historic deal on Iran's nuclear program, signaling that the years of sanctions and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran were coming to an end.
According to Duowei, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf in particular will be the regions most immediately affected by the deal, though the impact will extend to Central Asia and beyond to Russia, India and China. Apart from Iran and its regional allies, the biggest beneficiary of the deal will likely be India, but only if New Delhi plays its cards right, Duowei said.
Citing Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Duowei claims that the nuclear deal and the thawing of relations between Tehran and Washington could benefit New Delhi's plans to enter Iran's energy market and boost ties with the Central Asia republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
India intends to play a bigger role in the region not just for security reasons but also so it can gain access to oil resources in the Caspian Sea, the report said. After the signing of the nuclear deal, Tehran recommended that New Delhi develop the port of Chabahar in southeastern Iran to provide India with a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia. This also helps Iran realize its dream linking up with Aghanistan and Tajikstan by creating a Tehran-Herat-Dushanbe axis, the report added.
Duowei notes that Chabahar can be regarded as India's reponse to China's development of the Gwadar Port in Pakistan, reflecting the mistrust and strategic competition between the two countries. If India can obtain a foothold in Central Asia it would give New Delhi a strategic edge over Beijing, which has placed a heavy emphasis on the region due to its ambitious "Belt and Road" initiative to boost connectivity and cooperation among countries in Eurasia.


July 25, 2015

Negotiations for setting Rafale price commenced

 Negotiating teams of India and France constituted to finalise the terms and conditions procurement of 36 Rafale fighters have commenced the talks, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar informed the Rajya Sabha today.
"Government of India would like to acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible," Mr Parrikar said in a written reply.
India's decision to buy the aircraft off the shelf was conveyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the French President Franois Hollande during his visit to France in April this year as the protracted contract negotiation talks under the original deal for procuring 126 fighters had failed to reach its logical conclusion.
"The two leaders agreed to conclude an Inter-Governmental Agreement for supply of the aircraft on terms that would be better than conveyed by Dassault Aviation as part of a separate process underway, the delivery would be in time-frame that would be compatible with the operational requirement of IAF; and that the aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by Indian Air Force, and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France," said the Defence Minister.
Talking about the requirement of fighter aircraft in IAF, he said this is periodically reviewed to ensure that the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are met.
"The IAF is in the process of inducting additional Su-30 MKI aircraft manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), which is manufactured indigenously by HAL," he said, adding that these inductions would augment the operational strength of the IAF.


LRSAM to be test-fired in India in Oct: BDL Chief

The Long Range Surface Air Missile (LR-SAM) will be tested-fired in India, coming October. LRSAM, also known as Barak-8, being co-developed by India and Israel had already been successfully flight-tested against a flying target in Israel in November 2014. ADVERTISEMENT Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have joined hands for developing LRSAM, which has a range of 70 km.
Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) V Udaya Bhaskar told defence journalists on the sidelines of the two-day Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Summit (ADMS 2015) that the LRSAM project is moving in the ‘right direction.' "The programme has been going on for the last five to six years. The missile will have its Indian leg of trial in October. The current trials are for Navy and we will conduct parallel ground trials for the Air Force and Army variants as well," Udaya Bhaskar said.
Mass production likely from next year He said BDL hopes to enter into mass production of LRSAMs from next year onwards, depending upon the outcome of the final trials. "There are a lot of tactical weapon requirements coming up. The success of Akash Weapon System (AWS) has given a big boost for indigenization for SAM (Surface to Air Missile) programmes," Udaya Bhaskar said. BDL presently has three manufacturing units situated in Hyderabad, Medak district (Telangana) and at Visakhapatnam (AP). The fourth unit is coming up in Amravati district of Maharashtra. "We plan to produce Very Short Range Air Defence Missile (VSHORAD) at the Amravati plant. The fifth unit is coming up in Ibrahimpatnam (Telangana) exclusively for SAM project. We are ready to join hands with private partners to take up high-end weapon systems," Udaya Bhaskar added. He said the current orderbook of BDL stood at in excess of Rs Rs 16000 crore. Adding more teeth to Indian Navy DRDO officials had told OneIndia earlier that once cleared for operations, the LRSAMs will be fitted on the P-15 A Kolkata Class guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. The missile's first ballistic flight test (short-range) was successfully conducted in Israel in May 2010. The first control navigation test of the missile was conducted in 2012. As per the original plan, initial short-range tests are to be held in Israel and the long-range ones in India.
The LRSAM project was sanctioned in January 2006 with an initial funding of Rs 2,606.02 crore.


July 24, 2015

Pakistan to Buy 8 Submarines From China: Report

Pakistan will buy eight submarines from China in a multi-billion dollar deal that will boost Pakistani navy's maritime capabilities, media reported today.

An agreement was reached in Islamabad during a meeting between Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Xu Ziqin, President of state-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Company Limited (SCOC) -- the trade arm of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.

The two sides in-principle agreed on the sale of eight submarines that China will provide to Pakistan Navy, The Express Tribune reported.

Sources in the finance ministry, however, said the deal is subject to final review form higher authorities in Beijing, following which a formal agreement will be signed.

They also said that Pakistan would make payments in four instalments and the delivery will be made in coming years.

According to a vague statement issued by the finance ministry after the meeting, Dar said the visit by the CSOC delegation to Pakistan would strengthen bilateral economic and defence cooperation.

"Pakistan and China have reached an understanding on matters of defence cooperation relating to Pakistan Navy," the statement said.

"Financial arrangements to this effect were also concluded," it added.

The statement quoted Xu thanking Dar for his contribution in concluding the arrangements, saying it was reflective of the "deep-rooted" China-Pakistan friendship.

The reports of submarines deal was in the air since the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan in April.

It was reported then that the contract could be worth USD 4 billion to USD 5 billion, the biggest arms export deal for Communist China.

Pakistan has been negotiating the purchase of submarines from China since 2011. No details were, however, given about the type of the submarines.

But there have been reports that Yuan-class Type-041 diesel-electric submarines were being considered.

The-Type 041 'Yuan' class is described by IHS Jane's Fighting Ships as a diesel electric attack submarine, potentially with stirling air independent propulsion.

Last month, Pakistan and China signed an agreement for construction of six patrol vessels for Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).

China is Pakistan's biggest supplier of military hardware, which includes battle tanks, naval ships as well as fighter jets. The two jointly manufacture J-17 Thunder warplane.


Will not allow Chinese military bases, Maldives assures India

The Maldives government’s move to allow foreign ownership of its islands will not affect India’s strategic interests, said Maldives President Abdullah Yameen.
The Maldives government’s move to allow foreign ownership of its islands will not affect India’s strategic interests, said Maldives President Abdullah Yameen on Thursday, after ratifying the constitutional amendment on freeholds that could benefit countries like China, that are eager to build land holdings in the Indian ocean. “Our sovereignty is not on offer," the new Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb told The Hindu in an exclusive interview, adding, "We don’t want to give any of our neighbours, including India..any cause for concern. We don’t want to be in a position when we become a threat to our neighbours.”
Blaming the opposition parties in the Maldives for raising concerns over the law, Mr. Adeeb said, "The opposition wants to say they will come and run military bases, but that is not the reality. We are looking at projects like Singapore's Marina Bay Sands or Dubai’s Palm islands. We are not looking at strategic projects."
Mr. Adeeb, who was sworn in on Wednesday also disclosed that the Maldives was trying to “create the environment” for PM Narendra Modi to visit the Maldives, after he cancelled the trip in March, and said that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was expected to visit. While the MEA didn’t confirm any dates for Mr. Jaishankar’s visit there, a senior official told The Hindu the Foreign Secretary “may make a visit soon.”
The conciliatory statements from Male come a day after India raised concerns over the land law amendment that was passed overnight on Tuesday by the Maldivian People’s Majlis (parliament). To a question from The Hindu about whether the concerns had been addressed, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “The government watches closely all issues that pertain to India’s national security. In the context [of the Maldives], I would refer you to the text of President Yameen’s statement on the issue today.” In his statement, President Yameen specifically referred to India’s objections to China building military bases, or using reclaimed islands for them, as it is accused of doing in the South China Sea.
"The Maldivian government has given assurances to the Indian government and our neighbouring countries as well to keep the Indian Ocean a demilitarised zone,” Mr. Yameen said. The MEA’s remarks indicate that India is willing to accept the Maldivian President’s assurances at face value for now. However it is clear that given the parameters laid out for land ownership, including investments of over 1 billion dollars for projects where 70% of the land has been reclaimed, China will be the obvious beneficiary.
President Xi Jinping’s 21st century new “Maritime Silk Route” hinges on projects in the Maldives, and during his visit to the Maldives in September 2014, Mr. Xi discussed several big projects, like the 1.5 Km “China-Maldives friendship bridge” project connecting Male with the airport island Hulhule. Moreover, with more than a million tourists last year, Chinese nationals now account for the largest arrivals in these tourism-dependent islands, and Chinese hotel and resort chains, who so far were only allowed to lease not own lands, will be keen to move in. “Even if there isn’t a military base being planned, it is China that will benefit the most at present,” said one diplomat.
In sharp contrast, India has seen a dip in its relations with the Maldives, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his visit there as part of his “Sagar Yatra” in the Indian ocean this March. The Indian decision came over internal disturbances in the Maldives over the arrest and rough treatment of former President Mohammad Nasheed. Since then, the government has kept its communications with Male at low-ebb, and even when PM Modi telephoned his counterparts in Islamic SAARC countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to wish them for the Ramzaan month in June, he didn’t called President Yameen. It remains to be seen whether President Yameen’s recent moves for reconciliation with Mr. Nasheed and his party the MDP will evoke a thaw from India, beginning with a visit from FS Jaishankar who has visited all SAARC nations except the Maldives so far.
Since July 1st, the Maldivian government has held at least three rounds of talks with MDP representatives, and extended Mr. Nasheed’s house-arrest as he serves a 13-year jail term on terrorism charges. On Wednesday, President Yameen also sacked his vice-president Jameel Ahmed, a known Nasheed-baiter who belonged to the pro-Sharia DHQ party, and replaced him with his 34-year old tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb instead. “We are trying for a political reconciliation,” Mr. Adeeb told The Hindu, confirming that the government’s prosecutor-general would now assist Mr. Nasheed with his appeal against his sentence.
As a result of the talks, the Nasheed’s MDP party surprised all by backing both the appointment of the new vice president as well as the amendment for land ownership in parliament. The moves also come even as the the Maldives prepares to celebrate its 50th independence day anniversary, and speculation has risen of a deal to free Mr. Nasheed if a political reconciliation, that India has been urging, comes through. 


Japan's 'submarine killer' tantalizes West

Japan's state-of-the-art maritime patrol aircraft has been attracting increasing attention, not only from its key ally, the U.S., but also from Europe amid growing concerns about movements by Russian submarines.The P-1, built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for Japan's Self-Defense Forces, is the country's first domestically made anti-submarine patrol plane.
     Its main mission is to conduct maritime warning and surveillance activities. The aircraft is dubbed a "submarine killer" because it is capable of detecting and attacking submarines that cannot be perceived with the naked eye.
     The Maritime Self-Defense Force has about 10 P-1 planes deployed at Atsugi Air Base in Kanagawa Prefecture. They have so far been operating on a trial basis. Full-scale operations are scheduled to begin during the current fiscal year.
      P-1s are priced at about 20 billion yen ($163 million) each. The Defense Ministry plans to procure five per year starting in 2018 and eventually deploy a total of some 70.
     On June 25 the MSDF showed a P-1 to the media for the first time, describing its improvements over the P-3, Japan's current mainstay maritime patrol plane.
     The P-1 has color radar screens, making it easier to detect and track the movements of suspicious vessels, and its sonobuoy, a device used to gather acoustic data and locate submarines, also offers higher performance.
     Moreover, the P-1 is a jet, while the P-3 is a propeller plane, giving the new plane a maximum speed about 30% faster than its predecessor. The P-1 also has a range of about 8,000km, compared with the P-3's approximately 6,600km.
U.S. expectations
The U.S. military is stepping up its surveillance activities in the South China Sea, flying its P-8 state-of-the-art maritime patrol aircraft, in response to China's moves to build military footholds on reclaimed land.


INS Sindhurakshak likely to be converted into training platform

 INS Sindhurakshak, the submarine that sank in the naval dockyard in Mumbai in 2013 killing 18 of its crew, is likely to be converted into a training platform for Naval divers.
Ten months after the ill-fated Russian-made Kilo-class submarine sank on August 14, 2013, it was raised with the help of the Indian arm of US-based M/S Resolve Marine.
"The Navy is still in the process of analysing what should be done with the submarine. This submarine will not be disposed off as scrap for sure. One of the option being looked into is to convert it into a training platform for divers," defence sources said.
Currently, there are different Boards that are looking into the various options for the submarine. One another option is to convert it into a memorial or even a museum, the sources said.
The sinking was the Indian navy's biggest peacetime loss of a potent platform.
The Navy has still not written off the submarine which is being counted among the nine Kilo-class subs that the force operates.
"There is a huge process that one has to go through before something is written off. Various studies and cost calculations are done," the sources said.
They added that even for converting it into a training platform, lot of logistical issues are there.
The government has said that the explosion on board INS Sindhurakshak was "probably induced" during the process of arming of the torpedoes and cannot be blamed on anyone.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the accident cannot be blamed on anyone since none of the officers or sailors present inside the submarines survived.

PTI/ zeenew

July 23, 2015

BAE Systems slashes cost of Typhoon fighter jets

British defence giant BAE Systems has cut down the cost of producing a Typhoon fighter jet by 20 per cent over the past five years and slowed its production rate as part of its efforts to woo potential buyers, including India.

The firm, which was a contender to supply 126 multi-role fighters to India, is seeking to win export customers as it closes in on providing the 160 jets ordered by UK's Ministry of Defence, according to a report in The Telegraph.

So far the Royal Air Force (RAF) has taken delivery of 129 of the twin-engine planes which, according to government data, cost 87 million pounds each.

Typhoon has struggled to win export orders in the past.

India is almost certain to buy French company Dassault's Rafale fighter, but BAE and its partners are campaigning to win new customers in the Gulf including Kuwait and for Saudi Arabia.
BAE and its German, Italian and Spanish partners in the fighter are "aggressively campaigning to win more customers."

Other countries targeted include Malaysia, while Belgium, Denmark and Finland have all made inquiries about the jet.

In a briefing at the Royal International Air Tattoo, in Fairford, Glos, the company, RAF and ministers said that the jet was being upgraded from a "multi-role" to a "swing role" jet, with greater capabilities that make it more attractive to potential buyers.

A swing role jet is able to switch while in flight from being a strike aircraft attacking targets on the ground with bombs and missiles to a fighter capable of taking on other jets.

The Typhoon was in competition to secure an order from the Indian Air Force seeking to upgrade its outdated Russian MiGs with modern Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

However, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France in April, India agreed to buy 36 Rafale fighters in fly-away conditions.

And yesterday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Rafale combat planes and associated systems and weapons would be delivered in the same configuration as had been tested and approved by the Indian Air Force.

He also said the fighter jets would be delivered with a longer maintenance responsibility by France.


India protested U.S. sales: Sushma

The hardware includes 15 AH-1Z attack helicopters, 1,000 Hellfire missiles, targeting & positioning systems
India has “conveyed concerns” to the U.S. over its approval of military sales including attack helicopters and Hellfire missiles worth nearly a billion dollars to Pakistan, the government said on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question in Parliament, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India had “noted” the State Department’s decision to go ahead with the defence sales, which were announced in April this year. The sales included 15 AH-1Z attack helicopters, 1,000 Hellfire missiles, engines, targeting and positioning systems and other equipment worth $952 million.
“The government has consistently conveyed to the U.S. that it must take into account India-U.S. relations and the impact on India’s security in deciding its military assistance to Pakistan,” Ms. Swaraj said.
MEA sources told The Hindu that the concerns had been conveyed at “various levels, both to the State Department and to the White House”, without disclosing exact dates, or what the U.S. response was.
The government’s statement is the first time that India has articulated its objections over sales to Pakistan quite so clearly. The decision to arm Pakistan was particularly upsetting as President Obama had announced an accompanying aid outlay of $1 billion for the year, as well as a six-fold increase in FMF or Foreign Military Financing to $265 million within days of visiting India in January this year.
‘Not for offensive capabilities’
To questions about the announcement of the added military sales, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf had said they were not meant for offensive capabilities. “They are for internal counter-terrorism uses inside Pakistan — so to be very clear about that, going after terrorists inside their own country,” Ms. Harf said on April 8 this year. A recent Congressional report has also disclosed that the U.S. has given military hardware, including F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan amounting to $5.4 billion since the 9/11 terror attacks.
In her statement, Ms. Swaraj said the government “keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on national interest and takes necessary steps to safeguard it.”
India also took up China’s announcement of a $46 billion package for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, that included funding development projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing in May, and Ms. Swaraj had raised concerns over the Russian offer of Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan when she met Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin in 2014.
The Pakistan government has criticised India for expressing such concerns in the past.