September 30, 2015

L&T outguns global rivals to bag Rs 5,000-crore Indian Army deal

India is finally set to get its own mobile howitzers that will reverse the longheld Pakistani battlefield edge on artillery guns.  The guns Pakistan have were supplied by the US ostensibly for the 'war on terror'. In a deal that would also fit the 'Make in India' mandate, domestic manufacturer Larsen and Toubro has emerged as the finalist for a $750-million (about Rs 5,000 crore) contract to supply 100 self-propelled artillery guns to the Indian Army.
The 155 mm artillery guns are specially designed for operation in the desert areas bordering Pakistan and have been a longstanding requirement of the Army, officials said. India's concerns over Pakistan acquiring an edge in conventional warfare escalated in 2009 when the US supplied it 115 of the modern M 109A5 cannons as a "reward" for its assistance in the war on the Afghanistan border.  The Army had then accelerated its plans to procure a similar system, but the process dragged on for many years, with the defence ministry finally taking a call on the winner last week.
Sources told ET that the K9 VAJRA-T howitzer, pitched by L&T in partnership with Samsung, has been shortlisted for the contract.  Once signed — the final process could take another six months — the Vajra could be the first new artillery gun to be produced in India since the 1980s when the Bofors was acquired. A parallel effort to procure M777 ultra-light howitzers from the US is under progress.  The Vajra will be produced at L&T's Pune facility and could be considered for exports in the future, along with an expected followon order for more guns for the Army.
The victory is especially sweet for L&T as it was competing in the global category, which was open to all arms vendors around the world.  The Vajra beat its Russian competitor on several technical grounds, including rate of fire, accuracy and mobility trials, officials said. L&T officials, however, refused to comment on the development.  India's artillery modernisation plans have been stuck since the 1980s after the Bofors kickbacks scandal.
Not a single new modern system has been purchased since, seriously limiting the Army's battlefield edge.  Self-propelled guns are vital for their "shoot and scoot" ability as well as a high flexibility of deployment in the battlefield.  While Pakistan managed to procure the American systems in 2009, India's plans for similar systems have been stuck since 1999, with several failed rounds at identifying a gun.


INS Kochi, India's Deadliest Warship, Joins Fleet

INS Kochi, a state-of-the-art Indian Navy destroyer, was commissioned today by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
"The finish of the INS Kochi is good as any foreign ship," Mr Parrikar told reporters after the ceremony.
INS Kochi is the second ship of the Kolkata-class (Project 15A) Guided Missile Destroyers. The contract for three ships of Kolkata class was signed as a follow-on of the legendary Delhi-class Destroyers, which were commissioned into the Navy more than a decade ago, a defence spokesperson said.

Designed by the Navy's in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design, and constructed by Mazagon Dock Ship builders Ltd in Mumbai, the ship is christened after the vibrant port city of Kochi.

Although conceived as follow-on of the earlier Delhi class, this ship is vastly superior and has major advancements in weapons and sensors. The ship incorporates new design concepts for improved survivability, stealth, sea-keeping and manoeuvrability.
With a displacement of 7,500 tons, the majestic ship spanning 164 metres in length and 17 metres at the beam, is propelled by four gas turbines and designed to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The ship has a complement of about 40 officers and 350 sailors. The accommodation and living spaces have been designed with special emphasis on ergonomics and habitability.Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar-transparent deck fittings. A bow mounted sonar dome, the second of its kind in an indigenous naval
platform, has been introduced to enhance sonar acoustic performance, the spokesperson said.

INS Kochi is packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, with a significant indigenous component.

The ship has many lethal weapons to her credit which include the successful fitment of vertically launched missile system for long distance engagement of shore and sea-based targets.

The ship is one of the few warships of the world and the second in the Indian Navy to have Multi-Function Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar to provide target data to Long Range Surface to Air Missile system.

The MF STAR and LR SAM systems are jointly developed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. To protect against incoming air borne and surface threats, at medium and close in range, the ship has 76 mm and 30 mm gun mounts.

The ship can be classified as a 'Network of Networks' as it is equipped with Ship Data Network (SDN), Combat Management System (CMS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS) and Auxiliary Control System (ACS). 

Pakistan-occupied Kashmir wants to be part of India

PM Narendra Modi's style of governance has raised alarm bells for Pakistan as the residents of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) are now openly advocating to be a part of India.
Impressed with the Indian government's response during the 2015 earthquake and 2014 floods, the region is witnessing pro-India sentiment.
Chairman of the Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool, Moulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi, who recently toured PoK said that people residing in the region want to be a part of India.
According to Dehlavi, the people of the region are distressed with growing extremism in Pakistan and want to lead a peaceful life. Given the opportunity, they would want a referendum so that they can vote to join back India.
The chairman of the Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool also said that the people in PoK think have a high opinion about India and, if given a chance, they will definitely opt to be the Indian citizens.
Dehlavi says that people living in Balochistan and Karachi also want to have cordial relations with India.
He further said that the PoK residents are highly impressed with PM Modi's good governance style.
PoK these days is abuzz with pro-freedom slogans and this has made Pakistan nervous. Even the Pakistani media is widely reporting the issue.
On September 7, 2014, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the flood-affected areas of PoK. He was greeted with slogans “Go Nawaz Go”, which reflected the frustration of the people with regard to the apathy of the federal government of Pakistan in dealing with the very critical situation.
Conscious of the deteriorating situation in PoK, PM Modi made an offer of all possible help to the people there, when he visited flood affected area of the Kashmir Valley last year.The PoK people are fed up with the atrocities committed against them by the Pakistani establishment for decades. The region has always been neglected by Islamabad and used for nurturing terror camps.


India seeking technology to build MCMVs

(UPI) -- Indian state-owned company Goa Shipyards Limited is looking for other companies to supply the technology to build 12 mine countermeasure vessels.
GSL was awarded a $5 billion noncompetitive contract to build the vessels in 2014, and has now floated a global expression of interest from companies who are wiling to transfer the technology to build the vessels. Analysts warn this could raise the cost of building the ships, saying it would be cheaper to have them built overseas, according to Defense News.
To acquire the technology, GSL has sent the EOI to Lockheed Martin from the U.S., Kangnam from South Korea, Intermarine from Italy, Navantia from Spain, Thyssenkrupp from Germany, and two Russian shipyards.
The transfer of technology contract is valued at more than $1 billion, however this makes up only 20 percent of the total value of the contract, according to an Indian Navy official. India's Ministry of Defense canceled a 2008 global tender with Kangnam, citing their alleged use of defense agents to pursue the deal is against Indian law.
A mine countermeasure vessel is a naval ship designed to locate and destroy naval mines, combining the role of minesweeper and mine hunter.
India's government formed GSL in 1957 following the country's blockade of Goa. It is used to manufacture warships for the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard. Currently, the company is in the process of modernizing the fleet.

September 28, 2015

India may get US, French cos as partners for building nuclear submarines

For the first time India has options when it comes to finding a partner to build a military nuclear asset. Besides Russia, ship builders from France and the US have started initial conversations with the defence ministry on participating in an Indian effort to build a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines.  Russia has been the traditional ally of India when it comes to sensitive technology and strategic systems.   But a Navy plan for constructing six new nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) to patrol the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond has prompted 'discussions' with the two western nations, sources familiar with the development told ET. The Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared Navy's proposal in February.
 The Indian SSN project — expected to cost over Rs 1 lakh crore — is an ambitious plan to design and produce a nuclear attack boat with the help of the private sector.
If this materialises, it will propel India into a select league of the five nuclear powers that have such a capability. SSNs are nuclear powered submarines, but do not carry nuclear warheads, relying instead on conventional weapons and stealth to hunt ships and other submarines.
The last country to enter this club was China in 1974 with its Han class boats.  Sources told ET that senior representatives from the submarine branch of a leading US conglomerate have met key Indian defence ministry officials regarding the project. The efforts included a top level meeting in July. The discussions have been kept low key given the sensitivity of the project and details are not available.  Similarly, French representatives have also approached the Indian side for exploring avenues for cooperation on the project in the past few months. While the French submarine manufacturer has not commented on the project, the Indian side is interested in the new 'Barracuda' SSN being developed by French ship builder DCNS. A senior DCNS representative refused to take questions on the matter.
 The new nuclear submarine for the French Navy is currently under construction and is expected to start sea trials by next year. The Barracuda was also showcased at the Defence Expo held in New Delhi last year. As reported by ET, India is also in talks with Russia to lease a nuclear attack submarine — a newly built, customised boat that could give engineers a first-hand look at construction technology and process.  Unlike a nuclear missile armed submarines (SSBN) that is designed to carry out a nuclear strike, nuclear propelled attack boats (SSNs) are considered less sensitive, with their primary role being hunting vital enemy naval ships and submarines. While foreign assistance on SSBNs is a complex matter, there have been examples of nations sharing non-nuclear technology for SSNs. France is at present assisting Brazil with its first nuclear submarine project.
 The deal involves France helping Brazil with the non-nuclear components of the submarine, with the South American nation using its own reactor and fuel.  India's first SSBN, the INS Arihant, is currently undergoing sea trials in Vizag. It is expected to carry out a weapons test shortly. The only SSN in service with the Navy at present is the INS Chakra, an Akula class submarine on a 10 year lease from Russia to train Indian crew for such operations.


September 26, 2015

US Dominates India’s Arms Bazaar

The Amerian aerospace giant Boeing is to sell 37 military helicopters to India, a major blow to Premier Narendra Modi’s high-profile “Make in India” campaign to wean the country off imported arms.
The deal for 22 Apache AH-64Ds and 15 Chinook CH-47F heavy-lift aircraft, which has been bottlenecked for years because of red tape, will further entrench American presence in the burgeoning Indian defense market, military analysts say.
New Delhi scrambled to get the deal through as Boeing had threatened to ramp up the price after Sept. 30 by nearly 40 percent after holding it steady for nearly six years. The big-ticket purchase will take the tally of defense contracts won by American companies from India to US$10 billion over the past decade.
The transaction will have two components — one with Boeing for the helicopters and a second contract with the US government for the helicopters’ weapons and other equipment. The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter, boasting night vision capability, stealth characteristics and beyond-visual-range missiles. The workhorse CH-47 F Chinook, which has played a crucial role for the US Army and Marines since it came into service in 1951, is a twin-engine equipped with a fully-integrated digital cockpit management system.
Interestingly, the contract comes at a time when Modi is on a visit to New York, where he will meet US President Barack Obama ahead of the United Nations General Assembly. The Indian premier will also travel to Silicon Valley on the West Coast, to hobnob with American IT chiefs and promote India as an attractive business destination to help revive the economy.
Since Modi’s inauguration last May, his nationalist government has approved an assortment of military projects that had stalled under the previous Congress regime, in part over corruption scandals. New Delhi also lifted the cap on foreign investment in the defense industry to 49 percent and bolstered tie-ups between foreign and local companies. The overarching reason behind these multi-million dollar deals lies in geopolitical compulsions, said a ministry of defense official who preferred that his name not be used. 
“India’s hostile neighborhood consists of a nuclear-armed Pakistan and big-spending China,” the official said. “The two are also in a campaign to form an antagonistic nuclear and defense partnership. Already, 54 percent of Chinese arms exports go to Pakistan. So in such an environment, India fears its scarcity of fighter jets, submarines, helicopters and howitzers etc. will reek of a lack of defense preparedness.”
India, now the world’s largest arms importer, expects to spend US$130 billion over the next decade to upgrade its Soviet-era fleets of fighters, sea vessels and war machinery.  The country’s volume of major weapons imports more than doubled between 2009 and 2013 while its share of the volume of international arms imports increased from 7 percent to 14 percent, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
India’s military spending in the draft budget for fiscal 2015 rose 7.7 percent from the previous year to Rs2.46 trillion, equal to about 1.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, roughly 2.7 times the level of fiscal 2007.
Modi’s government is also prioritizing the deregulation of foreign direct investment in the defense sector and attracting private sector resources. Ironically, India’s helicopter deal with the US is in stark contrast to the one New Delhi inked recently with Russia, India’s largest arms supplier. Under the Russian agreement, both New Delhi and Moscow have agreed to manufacture 200 helicopters in India with Russian collaboration as part of intensification and diversification of strategic ties. The agreement is part of the ‘Make in India’ program. 
In the light of the Russian deal, as well as Modi’s push for domestic production, the Boeing chopper pact raises questions about the need for spending such whopping sums on defense acquisition.  “Continued reliance on foreign suppliers exposes India’s lack of a clear-cut vision of its defense industry,” said a former Indian Army officer, Pravesh Bishnoi, who was posted in Ladakh during the Kargil War.
“Even today Russia continues to be one of India’s most significant strategic partners and the biggest arms supplier, grabbing about 75 percent of its weapon imports. The remaining 25 percent is made up of the US and Western European countries, particularly France, Britain and Germany. Do we really need so much equipment? If we do, why not make it at home?”
Given India’s propensity for big-ticket defense purchases, American defense giants such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, are all too thrilled about the vast business potential in Asia’s third largest economy. Unsurprisingly, the US has now emerged as India’s second largest arms supplier, accounting for 7 percent of the total.
Such expensive defense procurement is a double-edged sword, Bishnoi said. “The purchases may have augmented India’s defense capability, but it has scuppered indigenous research as technology has been imported rather than developed here. The domestic industry gains zilch from such deals. On the contrary, it only creates rancor among private players who have been keen to leverage Modi’s ‘Make In India’ mantra.”
Some defense analysts feel that India is “arming without aiming” or ploughing money into military purchases without a serious effort to reinvent its strategy. 
“India is being torn by two conflicting goals: the nationalistic aspiration to produce weapons locally and the urgent need to modernize militarily, said Charat Bharadwaj of the Institute of Defense Studies & Analysis, a New Delhi-based think tank. “Procurement of more mega-weapons to meet traditional security challenges is meaningless without a strategic dimension.”
Adding to the confusion is the government’s ambiguity over what exactly its short-term policy about such imports is going to be. Last August, Modi’s government surprised many by abruptly scrapping the request for global bids to buy helicopters that the defense department had been shopping for over the past 10 years, in favor of manufacturing them domestically. India also reversed two more proposals for buying transport aircraft and submarines and decided to make them at home.
What irritates many is how India’s security interests are being advanced by sacrificing a solid domestic arms-production base because of the country’s dependency on imports from Russia and the US. The biggest gainer seems to be the US. 
Policy analysts say that to be prudent, India should freeze all purchases of mega defense equipment to first strategize its priorities. Cleaning up the defense procurement system, encouraging domestic players to invest at home and building a sound manufacturing base are the way to go. For this India need look no further than its archrival China, which has transformed itself from a major arms importer about 10 years ago to become the world’s third largest exporter. 


Indian Air Force opens up to private development

India is opening up the designs of its first indigenously developed drones to domestic private companies, seeking to spur further technological advances and encourage manufacturing as Prime Minister Narendra Modi modernises the military. Previously secret blueprints for the Rustom drones are being made available under a drive to boost the defence industry, in a break from the past practice of relying on state-run companies, according to Mr K Tamilmani, aeronautical director general at the Defence Research & Development Organisation in New Delhi.
“We’re now talking of sharing everything that we develop,” Mr Tamilmani said in an interview.
“The concept of public-sector defence companies alone making everything that the Indian armed forces needs is gone.”
Modelled on General Atomics’ Predator aircraft, Rustoms are designed for surveillance and target-tracking in areas such as India’s disputed borders with China and Pakistan. Mr Modi’s wider vision is to develop a defence-industrial complex that can improve India’s sometimes poorly equipped forces and curb its reliance on overseas acquisitions.
While Mr Modi has eased restrictions on joint ventures between Indian and foreign defence companies to gain much-needed expertise, Asia’s third-largest economy has a long way to go.
One variant of the Rustom that is already flying will be made by private companies, Mr Tamilmani said in the Sept 9 interview. He declined to identify which businesses the government is talking to.
Taneja Aerospace & Aviation and Trivan Industries make the airframe of another version that is yet to become fully operational, he said, with overall assembly handled by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics, India’s largest defence contractor.
The Rustom drones took between five and 10 years to develop, according to Mr S Christopher, who heads the Defence Research & Development Organisation, which is part of India’s Defence Ministry.
Larsen & Toubro, India’s biggest engineering company, paid a 140-million-rupee (S$3 million) fee this year for an unmanned aircraft that provides aerial targets for training — the first defence technology transfer by the government to the private sector, according to Mr Tamilmani.
Larsen & Toubro can export the product if the government approves, as well as use the existing technology to develop a new vehicle, according to the defence research unit. The Mumbai- based company will pay a royalty for each aircraft made under the deal.Mr Modi’s government has approved US$60 billion (S$85.4 billion) of defence purchases since taking office in May last year, according to Bloomberg data. The Cabinet this week cleared deals for 15 Chinook and 22 Apache helicopters from Boeing for about US$3 billion.

About US$1 billion from the Boeing deals is set to be recycled back to India under a so-called offset rule, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in New Delhi on Wednesday. Boeing, Airbus Group and BAE Systems are among the companies seeking to profit from Mr Modi’s push to improve India’s military. The government is also in talks with Dassault Aviation for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.

The move to transfer technology to private businesses is long overdue, said Mr Amber Dubey, the New Delhi-based head of aerospace at KPMG.

“Our huge import dependence for defence equipment has a lot to do with the systematic sidelining of the private sector,” he said.

 Today Online

India may buy three Russian frigates

India may buy three Project 11356 patrol boats, which are being built for the Russian Navy in the “Baltic Shipyard” Yantar “in Kaliningrad, as Indian Ambassador to Russia Pound Srinivasan Raghavan told “Interfax” on Tuesday.
India may buy three Project 11356 patrol boats, which are being built for the Russian Navy in the “Baltic Shipyard” Yantar “in Kaliningrad, as Indian Ambassador to Russia Pound Srinivasan Raghavan told “Interfax” on Tuesday.
The diplomat said that India would make every effort to resolve the issues for the supply of engines for frigates under construction.
In early September, a source at the plant told “Interfax” that they were talking about a possible transfer of the frigates “Admiral Butakov”, “Admiral Istomin” and “Admiral Kornilov,” to India which were being built at “Yantar”.
According to the source, the complexity in the ships’ completion is associated with the Ukraine’s refusal to supply frigates for power plants. At the same time, according to the source, the Russian engines required for the frigates will be ready before the end of 2017.
At the “Yantar” they are familiar with the Indian side’s requirements, including those regarding the installation of the equipment on the ships, which is produced in India and other countries.


Lockheed shows interest in building F-16s in India

 New F-16 variants come packed with enhancements such as active electronically scanned array radars, improved situational awareness for pilots, better avionics and sensors and increased payload to keep pace with rapidly evolving military requirements.

PM Narendra Modi’s Make in India plan appears to be generating a buzz in the US, with Bethesda-based aerospace major Lockheed Martin indicating interest in building its iconic F-16 fighter plane in the country.

Top sources said during a meeting with Modi in New York on Thursday, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson discussed the possibility of building the fighter planes in India.

The single-engine F-16 took part in India’s multi-billion dollar tender to buy modern warplanes, but the US firm was knocked out of the competition in early stages.

After the Modi-Hewson meeting, ministry of external affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted, “Cleared for takeoff. Marillyn Hewson, Chairman of @LockheedMartin discusses aerospace industry w/ PM @narendramodi.”

Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 4,500 fighters to 28 international customers, including the Pakistan Air Force.

The US firm has introduced several upgraded variants of the fighter that has been around for more than 40 years. New F-16 variants come packed with enhancements such as active electronically scanned array radars, improved situational awareness for pilots, better avionics and sensors and increased payload to keep pace with rapidly evolving military requirements.

India finally scrapped the contract to buy 126 fighter jets and is currently negotiating with France to buy 36 Rafale fighters under a government-to-government sale.

To meet the Indian Air Force’s requirements, the possibilities being explored by New Delhi include going in for large-scale manufacturing of the locally-produced light combat aircraft or building a fighter with foreign collaboration in India.


September 25, 2015

Egypt to Equip its New Mistral-Class Helicopter Carriers With 50 Russian Made Ka-52K Alligators

Egypt, France and Russia have reached an agreement to sell Egypt the two Mistral Helicopter Carriers originally built in France for the Russian Navy. Saudi Arabia is likely to finance the acquisition, as it supported the other arms deals Egypt has struck with France.

Each Mistral vessel is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, up to 1000 troops and 50 armored vehicles.
Egypt is also buying Russian Ka-52K helicopters from the Russian Helicopters Company, Russian news agency TASS reported. These helicopters were originally designed to operate from the vessel in Russian service. The Russian Navy is also expected to buy these helicopters, becoming operational in 2017-2018; Egypt is expected to receive its first helicopters at the same time.

The Egyptian Air Force is already operating 46 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and the Russian made Alligators will provide the Naval air arm a potent strike capability that could be used against insurgents in Northern and Southern Sinai and along the Egypt-Libyan border in Egypt’s Western Desert. It is assumed that one of the Mistrals will serve in the Red Sea, and the other will be positioned in the Mediterranean. According to a source in France’s Ministry of Defense, the ships could be delivered to Egypt in March 2016, after the Egyptian navy crews go through training – the Russian Sputnik site reported.

Russia and France have reached a settlement over the termination of the contract in August 2015. France will refund 950 million euros already paid by Russia, as part of the 1.2 million Euro deal.


Navy heightens underwater monitoring

The struggle for the Arctic is not happening just on the surface, but also under the waters. Scientists are advocating an expansion of boundaries of the Russian shelf in the Arctic Ocean in the relevant UN bodies. While industry prepares to develop the huge reserves of natural resources on the Arctic shelf, the military is preparing to defend this wealth.
To defeat an enemy, it is first necessary to find him. While this is a fairly simple task in the air and on the surface, the only means of detecting objects located underwater; hydro-acoustic stations; are so inferior to common radar, that early detection and destruction of an unseen underwater enemy often requires Herculean efforts.
As a result of the “Struggle for the Arctic,” Russia has been working on the development of a modern long range sonar system, which will allow the military to see and control the underwater environment over several dozen nautical miles.
To protect its military-naval bases, Russia began in the 1950s to build stationary hydro-acoustic stations and systems. These were supposed to detect and monitor the movements of enemy submarines, and to ensure protection of the coastal waters and approaches to coastal infrastructure projects.
In those years, the Soviet Navy placed into service the first such stations, the ‘Volkhov’, which were subsequently shipped to Egypt and China. In the 1960s the Navy acquired the MG-407 and MG-409 stations, as well as the omni-directional station Amur, with an antenna around 20 meters in diametre and a displacement of 500 tons, and the leading-edge station Liman. The latter ensured the reliable detection of an enemy in the vicinity of the North Arctic Ocean’s ice edge (which later became the Liman-M station). The best performing such stations were the stationary Agam and Dnestr-M stations.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the drastic reduction of funding, work in this area either stopped completely, or was drastically curtailed and limited to practical implementation. With the large-scale Russian Armed Forces modernization programme being launched, military leaders again realized the need to monitor the underwater environment in parts of the national maritime borders.
Long-range sonar barrier
The Northern Fleet recently decided to expand the area covered by powerful stationary sonar equipment which, because of antennae located far in the ocean, is able to monitor the underwater environment located even hundreds of nautical miles from the coast. By the year end, sailors of the Northern Fleet will acquire a second stationary sonar system, the MGK-608M, developed by the Atoll Scientific-Research Institute.

Source: Press Photo
According to Russian sources, the remote section of this system will be located 160 km from the coastline and needs just four men to operate. The command post managing it will be located in Severomorsk.
The export version of the MGK-608E complex was successfully demonstrated this summer at the International Maritime Defence Show 2015 in St Petersburg. The system consists of several arrays of antenna, installed on the seabed. These are made up of receiving elements; hydrophones; which can be located at distances from tens to hundreds of kilometres from the coast.
The system also comprises special software and hardware. The brain is able to provide data integration not only underwater, but also in the atmosphere above the surface, as well as information about the air, land, and even space environments. It provides the ability to analyze and manage different situations, including issuing target information to manoeuvring forces. Russia’s Arctic Joint Strategic Command is capable of protecting the country from threats from the north because of these systems.


September 24, 2015

Indian Navy, Fourth Largest in the World, But Struggling for Helicopters

The Indian Navy, fourth largest in the world, needs over 100 Multi Role Helicopters or MRHs to be positioned on board its most important warships but is struggling with just two dozen.

These helicopters play a critical role of hunting submarines, take on threats like enemy ships and send early warnings about in-coming aircraft and missiles to the fleet.

The Navy has about 150 warships including two aircraft carriers. But with less than one-third of required number of helicopters available, the Navy is now being forced to "pick and choose" there deployment and tasking helicopters.

"It is matter of serious concern," a top Naval commander told NDTV and accepted "Navy has serious capability gaps."

The Indian Navy has been steadily adding ships to its fleet. It is expected to get another 40-odd ships in the next seven years but acquisition of critical force-multipliers like helicopters are stuck.

Helicopters are critical in modern naval warfare. "They typically fly ahead of the ships, and act as major force multipliers," the senior Naval commander said.

Every major warship is earmarked to carry at least two helicopters on board to be deployed in various roles. But the last Multi Role Helicopter to join the fleet was two decades ago - the British made Sea King - 42 Bravo.Despite being a decade and half, replacements for these are yet come. India is still negotiating to buy 16 US-made Sikorsky S-70B multi-role helicopters.

With the Modi Government's "Make in India" programme - the Indian Navy is now eagerly looking to Indian industry to quickly acquire technology and deliver the helicopters.


Russia Testing New ‘Stealth’ Paint Making Tanks Almost Invisible

Tank crews in Russia’s central Chelyabinsk region are testing an advanced “stealth” paint that ensures low visibility against electronic surveillance systems, a military spokesman said earlier this month.
"The paint combines durability, surface self-decontamination capability, low observability for electronic surveillance devices and enhanced icing resistance," Central Military District spokesman Yaroslav Roschupkin added.Crews of T-72 tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles alongside defense industry personnel are running field tests of the new formula at the Chebarkul training range in Chelyabinsk region, just east of the Ural Mountains.
The “stealth” paint’s color is fully in line with Russian military standards.


India revealing secrets of its predator-like Rustom drone to boost military

India is opening up the designs of its first indigenously developed drones to domestic private companies, seeking to spur further technological advances and encourage manufacturing as Prime Minister Narendra Modi modernizes the military.
Previously secret blueprints for the Rustom drones are being made available under a drive to boost the defence industry, a break from the past practice of relying on state-run companies, according to K. Tamilmani, aeronautical director general at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in New Delhi.
“We’re now talking of sharing everything that we develop,” Tamilmani said in an interview. “The concept of public-sector defence companies alone making everything that the Indian armed forces need is gone.”
Modelled on General Atomics’ US predator aircraft, Rustoms are designed for surveillance and target-tracking in areas such as India’s disputed borders with China and Pakistan. Modi’s wider vision is to develop a defence-industrial complex that can improve India’s sometimes poorly equipped forces and curb its reliance on overseas acquisitions.
While Modi has eased restrictions on joint ventures between Indian and foreign defence companies to gain much-needed expertise, Asia’s third-largest economy has a long way to go.
One variant of the Rustom that’s already flying will be made by private companies, Tamilmani said in the 9 September interview. He declined to identify which businesses the government is talking to.
Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd and Trivan Industries make the airframe of another version that’s yet to become fully operational, he said, with overall assembly handled by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, India’s largest defence contractor.
The Rustom drones took between five and 10 years to develop, according to S. Christopher, who heads the Defense Research and Development Organisation, which is part of India’s Defence Ministry.
Larsen and Toubro Ltd, India’s biggest engineering company, paid a Rs.14 crore fee this year for an unmanned aircraft that provides aerial targets for training—the first defence technology transfer by the government to the private sector, according to Tamilmani.
L&T can export the product if the government approves, as well as use the existing technology to develop a new vehicle, according to the defence research unit. The Mumbai-based company will pay a royalty for each aircraft made under the deal.
Debojyoti Chatterjee, a spokesman for L&T, declined to comment.
$60 billion
Modi’s government has approved $60 billion of defence purchases since taking office in May last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Cabinet this week cleared a deal for 15 Chinook and 22 Apache helicopters from Boeing Co. for about $3 billion.
Boeing, Airbus Group SE and BAE Systems Plc are among the companies seeking to profit from Modi’s push to improve India’s military. The government is also in talks with Dassault Aviation SA for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
The move to transfer technology to private businesses is long overdue, said Amber Dubey, the New Delhi-based head of aerospace at KPMG.
“Our huge import dependence for defence equipment has a lot to do with the systematic sidelining of the private sector,” he said. 


India Gets K-4 SLBM Out Of The Closet

For the first time, India has made the official declaration that its triad of nuclear weapons is in place. This significant announcement was made here today during the annual awards function of the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The veil was lifted off the hitherto secretive K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), when a team of scientists from the Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, was presented a special award for the design and development of the K-4 missile.
The range of this missile is over 3,500 kilometers, and it will be for the foreseeable future India's principal weapon of deterrence which can be fired from under the sea. The K-series of missiles has been nomenclatured after former chief of the DRDO and a popular President of India A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, and will arm the Arihant class nuclear submarines (SSBN). TheAt the event, DRDO Director-General S.Christopher also made an important declaration of intent that the Arihant will be inducted for operational deterrence patrol in 2015-16. It is at present undergoing sea trials.
"It (the K-4) has enabled our nation to achieve the crucial nuclear triad," the DRDO citation stated. It acknowledged significant contributions made by DRDL scientist M.S.R.Prasad and his 62-member team towards the development of this key missile "under the Advance Naval Systems Programme (ANSP)".
The other SLBM in the K series is the K-15, which is reported to have a range of about 750 kilometers. Both the K-4 and the K-15 have been successfully test-fired multiple times from underwater pontoons to establish their capability to exit the water and then hit a target on land.
The underwater deterrence is the most crucial and reliable leg of the nuclear triad, ensuring maximum survivability of nuclear weapons against a decapitating first strike by a nuclear adversary. A robust SLBM is a shot in the arm for India's nuclear deterrence, and gives more credibility to its doctrine of 'No First Use'. 


Air-Independent Propulsion For Last Two Scorpene Submarines Ready: DRDO

India's Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today claimed it has successfully developed the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology, which gives conventionally-powered submarines longer endurance to stay underwater.
This was announced by the DRDO chief Dr.S.Christopher at the annual DRDO Awards function presided over by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and the chiefs of the Indian Navy and the Air Force. Dr.Christopher said the indigenously-developed AIP technology has been demonstrated on a land-based prototype. Talks are on with the French DCNS to examine the possibility of incorporating the AIP plug in the 5th and 6th Scorpene submarines being constructed at Mumbai's Mazagon Docks Limited under a technology transfer.
The technology demonstrator has been developed by the DRDO's Naval Material Research Laboratory (NMRL) at Ambernath in Maharashtra.
If the technology works, it'll rule out import of AIP plugs. AIP is being looked upon as a significant game changer in conventional diesel-electrical submarine operations. AIP-fitted submarines can stay underwater much longer than those without it.
Diesel-electrical submarines have the limitation of having to surface regularly to re-charge batteries. This makes these boats vulnerable to enemy attack. 


Nod for Rs 8,000 crore Air Force radar system

The Cabinet Committee on Security, apart from the $3 billion purchase of Apache and Chinook helicopters from the US, on Tuesday also cleared an almost Rs 8,000 crore project for extension of the IAF's fully-automated air surveillance and defence network to the entire country.

The IAF has already established five nodes of the IACCS (integrated air command and control system) in the western sector facing Pakistan at Barnala (Punjab), Wadsar (Gujarat), Aya Nagar (Delhi), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Ambala (Haryana) with help from defence PSU Bharat Electronics.

Now, as was first reported by TOI, four new major nodes and 10 sub-nodes will come up under Phase-II of the IACCS. While three nodes will be in eastern, central and southern India, the fourth is meant for the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Islands archipelago.

By progressive integration of all airborne and ground-based civilian and military radars around the country, the aim is to ensure any intrusion by a hostile aircraft, helicopter, drone or micro-light can be detected and tackled as soon as it takes place. "The composite air picture will be available in real-time at centralised locations and the national command post," said a source.

Some of the new nodes will be located in underground complexes to improve survivability in face of enemy attacks, even as the entire IACCS infrastructure is also being upgraded with advanced early-warning, jam-resistant radars and the like. 

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spends night 2 km from China border

An unexpected 7-hour road trip along the Indus on the Indo-China border and a surprise night stay at a forward border post just a couple of kilometers from Actual Line of Control, Home Minister Rajnath Singh made the most of bad weather on his Ladakh trip.  On Tuesday morning, heavy clouds would not allow his chopper to take off for visits to BOPs Chushul, Hot Spring and Chungtash and a boat patrol on Pangong Lake before returning to Leh for a night stay.
 "The option was to sit in Leh or fly back to Delhi. The ITBP offered a road trip to Dungti BOP but it would be a 7-hour journey with bad road patches. The HM said he was game," a close aide of the minister told ET.  Singh has Z-plus cover from NSG and an Advance Security Liaison is done before his visits - the new schedule and an inclusion of a night stay at Dungti BOP hence was a security surprise too. "We would not have been able to do so in Srinagar. But Ladakh is a sanitized zone. The local SP and NSG accompanied him," the aide said. At Dungti BOP, HM slept in a modest room - the Chinese BOP can be seen at a distance of 2 kilometers.
 "We believe he is the first HM to stay the night at an advance border post," his aides say. They add that the unplanned road trip enabled the HM to assess the most important facet - poor condition of roads on China border. At a mid-way halt at Tagyarmale BOP, the HM found the post had no electricity and he had to address jawans in light provided by his convoy's headlights. There was no mobile connectivity at Tagyarmale and Dungti.  Singh would now press to fast-track construction of the Leh-Demchowk road and the Leh-Chushul-Luma road.


September 23, 2015

Shrugging off Chinese 'concerns', government allows US search missions in Arunachal

(economictimes): The eight-member crew of 'Hot as Hell' may get the posthumous honour that they deserve. The US B-24 bomber disappeared in Arunachal Pradesh on a supply run from Kunming, China, to Chabua, Assam, on January 25, 1944, with an eight-member crew on board.

The chances of their remains being recovered have vastly improved with the Modi government allowing the US military to resume search missions in Arunachal Pradesh for the remains of servicemen who died in World War II. That marks a reversal from the position of the United Progressive Alliance regime, which had halted such operations in the northeastern state in 2009 over "concerns" raised by China.

Specialised teams from the US, trained to identify and transport the remains of its soldiers who have fallen in combat throughout the world, are expected to visit several identified sites in Arunachal.

Many American planes crashed in Arunachal Pradesh during the war while on supply missions into China. An estimated 416 aircrew are missing in India from the war. Most are believed to have gone down in Arunachal as transport planes battled bad weather and the Himalayas — a treacherous route known as 'The Hump' — to cross into China in support of the war against Japan.

"Specialised identification and recovery teams from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) will arrive in India shortly to search for Americans that remain unaccounted for from World War II," a US Embassy spokesperson told ET. (POW/MIA stands for prisoner of war/missing in action.)

The US has engaged in recovery missions across the world to bring back its war dead but efforts in Arunachal hit a roadblock after the UPA government put a stop to it in 2009, reasoning that the territory was sensitive due to "strategic, internal political, ecological and anthropological reasons". However, recovery missions in other parts of India have continued.


The Arunachal Pradesh curb was lifted after a fresh request was made by the US to the Modi government. That's come as a big relief to family members of the war dead who have been pushing for this.

"The Embassy of the United States of America and DPAA worked with the government of India to coordinate this opportunity for the agency to work in Arunachal Pradesh, searching for US personnel missing from World War II," the spokesperson said. Officials said the Modi government found the previous administration's reasoning invalid.

China claims the territory of Arunachal Pradesh for itself and several of the crash sites are close to the border. Officials familiar with the matter said operations were halted in 2009 largely due to objections raised by China against allowing US military teams into the state.

Family members of the WW II missing in Arunachal Pradesh had come together to lobby for lifting the ban.

"While this moratorium has been in effect, at least two relatives of the Arunachal missing have died, including a nephew of 'Hot as Hell' co-pilot Sheldon Chambers and a brother of bombardier Robert Eugene Oxford," Gary Zaetz, who leads the grouping, told ET. The B-24's crew included Gary's uncle Irwin Zaetz. The crash site of the aircraft in Arunachal was only discovered in December 2006.

Swiss Aircraft for Chennai's IAF Station

The first fleet of the Swiss made flight training aircraft Pilatus PC-7 is expected to arrive at the Tambaram Indian Air-Force station within two months, officials at the station said on Tuesday.  The aircrafts, which have propeller type engines, are already in operation at the Dundigal training station near Hyderabad for the past one year. Once they make their entry at the Tambaram station, the currently-in-use Kiran fleet of aircraft will be gradually phased out, officials stated.
For this, Pilatus has already installed a flight simulator inside the sprawling campus, where newly inducted pilots are given training under various conditions like hail, rain or even in conditions where the aircraft is just about to crash.
A live demonstration of the simulator was given to media persons, as a part of a friendly interaction organised by the IAF ahead of their 83rd anniversary celebrations which will culminate on October 8. The simulator, which looks like a video-game but is only more real, recreates the actual flying conditions as well as the terrain around the Tambaram air-force base almost exactly, instructors said. It is monitored by an Instructor Operating Station (IOS), which is in-charge of the different flying conditions that the new recruits would have to master before being given charge of an actual aircraft.
Currently hangars are under-construction inside the air-force station which will be used to house the fleet of Pilatus aircraft when they arrive.


US supports India’s membership to MTCR

The US has supported India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) that would enable it to share sensitive missile technologies like armed drone with New Delhi.  “The US side affirms its support for India’s membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime at its upcoming plenary, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and in the other global nonproliferation export control regimes,” said a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue at the State Department on Tuesday.Early this year, India had formally applied for the membership of MTCR, a club of 34 countries that controls trade in missile and space technology. 
A membership of MTCR would bring India closer to technology control regimes that it had fought and worked around for decades to build its missile and space programmes. The next plenary of MTCR is schedule to held now.  Building on the conclusion of their 10-year Defense Framework Agreement, both sides expressed satisfaction with progress on Defense Technology and Trade Initiative pathfinder projects, including the establishment of the Working Groups on Aircraft Carrier Technology and Jet Engine, and the growing cooperation between US and Indian defense industries through the ‘Make in India’ initiative.  Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to visit the US this fall.  Honoring the memory of victims of terrorism from around the globe, including citizens of India and the US on 26/11 and on 9/11, the two sides resolved to deepen cooperation to prevent terrorism, endorsing a Joint Declaration on Combating Terrorism to expand their partnership, it said.


September 22, 2015

India clears $2.5 billion deal for US military helicopters

India’s cabinet on Tuesday cleared the purchase of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing in a deal worth around $2.5 billion ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

The deal is expected to further boost growing defence ties between India and the US. The new helicopters are meant to replace the military's ageing Soviet-origin helicopters.

“Both have been cleared, the total cost is $2.5 billion,” a defence ministry source told Reuters after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the deal.

Modi’s visit to the US is aimed at drumming up investments into India. He will leave for the US on Wednesday to attend the UN General Assembly.

Many in the defence sector had expected the deal, pending since 2013, to be signed during US defence secretary Ashton Carter’s visit in June this year. The two sides have finalised cost negotiations.

The deal for the Apache is "a hybrid one", with one contract to be signed with Boeing for the helicopter and another with the US government for weapons, radars and the electronic warfare suite.

The US has been pushing for this contract as it will bolster American presence in India’s lucrative defence market. US companies have bagged defence contracts from India worth around $10 billion over the last decade, including those for P-8I maritime surveillance planes and C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster-III transport aircraft.

The helicopter deal survived over 10 price extensions from the American side, with the last one being for a month.The contract will include clauses for follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches and four more Chinooks. Both helicopters have been used in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq and had beaten off competition from Russia, which offered the Mi-28N Night Hunter and Mi-26 heavy lift helicopters.

The 22 Apache AH 64D Longbow is one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, featuring all-weather and night fighting abilities. It can track up to 128 targets in less than a minute and engage 16. It also has stealth characteristics, advanced sensors and beyond-visual-range missiles.
India is also expected to acquire Hellfire missiles and rockets for the helicopters.


India turns to Israel for armed drones as Pakistan, China build fleets

India has accelerated plans to buy drones from Israel that can be armed, defence sources said, allowing the military to carry out strikes overseas with less risk to personnel.
The news comes weeks after long-time rival Pakistan first reported using a home-made drone in combat when it attacked terrorists on its soil, raising the prospect of a new front in the nuclear-armed neighbours' stand-off over Kashmir that has twice spilled into war.India has accelerated plans to buy drones from Israel that can be armed, defence sources said, allowing the military to carry out strikes overseas with less risk to personnel.
The news comes weeks after long-time rival Pakistan first reported using a home-made drone in combat when it attacked terrorists on its soil, raising the prospect of a new front in the nuclear-armed neighbours' stand-off over Kashmir that has twice spilled into war.
The plan to acquire Israeli Herons was first conceived three years ago, but in January the military wrote to the government asking for speedy delivery, the sources said, as Pakistan and China develop their own drone warfare capabilities.
India has already deployed Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) along the rugged mountains of Kashmir for surveillance, as well as on the disputed border with China where the two armies have faced off against each other.
In September, the Indian government approved the air force's request to acquire 10 Heron TP drones from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) that can be fitted with weapons to engage targets on the ground, an air force official with knowledge of the matter said.
He added that he expected the agreement to be inked soon. The Indian Defence Ministry declined to comment.
The plan to buy Herons in a deal estimated at $400 million would open the option of covert cross-border strikes.
Currently the two armies exchange fire across the de facto Kashmir border at times of tension, but do not cross the Line of Control (LoC) by land or air.
"It's risky, but armed UAVs can be used for counter insurgency operations internally as well across the borders; sneak attacks on terrorist hideouts in mountainous terrain, perhaps," said an army officer in the defence planning staff.
Gurmeet Kanwal, a former head of the government-funded Centre for Land Warfare Studies in New Delhi, said the armed Herons due to enter Indian service by late 2016 will give the air force deep-strike capability.
The United States has carried out hundreds of drone strikes inside Pakistan, targeting al Qaeda and other militants in its northwest. Pakistan has allowed such targeted killings, even though it complains about them in public.
Indian drones, in contrast, face being shot down as soon as they show up on Pakistani radars, the army officer and Kanwal said.
Deniability would be essential in any use of armed drones by India and Pakistan across their bitterly contested border, said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a leading weapons proliferation expert in Pakistan.
"It is likely that drones would be used in a surreptitious mode close to the LoC, far away from populated areas," he said.
In July, the Pakistan army said it had shot down a small Indian spy drone in Kashmir. India did not comment.
Michael Kugelman, South Asia specialist at the Washington DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, said the arrival of lethal drones in the region could heighten mutual suspicion at a time when ties are strained.
"Pakistan might worry that India could use an armed drone to attack terrorist safe havens in Pakistan or to target a specific terrorist there."
"India might worry that Pakistan will now be tempted to add drones to its repertoire of asymmetric warfare tactics it has used against India."
Only the United States, Israel and Britain are known to have used armed drones in combat, although more than 70 countries have UAVs with surveillance capabilities, according to New America, a Washington D.C.-based think-tank.
China has no public strategy for armed drone development, but it has poured resources into UAVs and has shown them off at exhibitions. Chinese combat drones still lag far behind the Israeli-made ones in terms of capability, military experts say.
A delegation from state-owned IAI has been holding talks with the Indian defence ministry to determine the possibility of local manufacture of the Heron TP as part of the "Make-in-India" programme, IHS Jane's said.
Israel does not confirm or deny using or producing armed drones. IAI declined comment on the proposed sale of the Herons, as did Israel's Defence Ministry, which oversees such arms exports.
IAI is one of several Israeli companies manufacturing drones or related technologies.
At least one of them has sold armed drones to a foreign country other than India, a person involved in the deal said, without elaborating on the client, model or manufacturer of the aircraft.
Such deals are handled directly between the governments of Israel and the purchasing country, with mutual secrecy agreements, the person added.
It is not clear what kind of weapons will be fitted to the Heron TPs that India plans to buy.
India has been trying to develop its own combat drone, but the defence research organisation has struggled to integrate a missile onto the proposed Rustom series of UAVs.
David Harari, a retired IAI engineer and Israel Prize winner for his pioneering work in drone development, said India could mount its own weaponry on an Israeli supplied drone, helped by close technological cooperation between the two countries.

ibn news

September 21, 2015

Boeing AH-64D New Helis for India :: Close to Deal After Threats From Boeing, US Army?

India has an epic story of purchasing – or, rather, non-purchasing – attack helicopters for its military needs. Now, the country is reportedly close to strike a bargain with a US manufacturer for a purchase of its world famous choppers.

The country’s finance ministry has given the green light to sign a contract with Boeing for acquisition of 22 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, The Hindustan Times daily reports.

“We have conveyed our no objections to the deal being considered by the CCS [Cabinet Committee on Security],” said an unnamed senior finance ministry official, according to the Indian newspaper.

The initial process of buying the choppers started back in 2009 and was expected to be finalized by 2012. Boeing was so passionate to sell its helicopters to India, that it froze prices ever since. Now, the bureaucratic gear wheel has started rolling as the American defense major manufacturer along with the US Army Security Assistance Command reportedly said it will raise prices for Apaches by 40 percent from September 30th this year if the Indian government does not to make up its mind by this date.

In addition to the state-of-the-art American attack helicopters, which come with Hellfire missiles and 8,000 rockets, India will get 15 CH-47 Chinook heavy deployment helicopters, also produced by Boeing. The total price of the deal is expected to reach $3.1 billion.

The final decision of the government is due to be announced after the deal is cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security next Tuesday.


Pakistan eying Sukhoi-35 fighter planes as part of defence deal from Russia, says report

Pakistan is negotiating with Russia on acquiring an unspecified number of Su-35 'Flanker-E' multi-role fighter aircraft in potentially the largest military deal between the two Cold War-era adversaries, according to a leading defence weekly.
Pakistan Air Force has discussed buying Sukhoi-35 'Flanker-E' fighter aircraft from Russia in potentially the largest defence deal between the two countries, but a final decision is yet to be made, IHS Jane's quoted a senior Pakistani government official as saying.
The official was responding to Russian media reports that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had said talks were underway for an unspecified number of Su-35s, which follow a recent agreement to provide Mi-35M 'Hind E' attack helicopters to Pakistan.
While the official said "it's too early to say if a deal will conclude and the terms", the fact that discussions have taken place shows Russia's willingness to sell advanced hardware with Pakistan despite Moscow's longstanding ties with India.
The official said Pakistan's interest in the Su-35 was driven by the PAF's need for a twin-engine fighter "that can fly for a longer range than the JF-17 and penetrate more deeply into the enemy's territory".
The PAF currently flies a mixed fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s, Dassault Mirage-5s, Chinese-manufactured F-7s, and the JF-17 Thunder, which is jointly produced by China and Pakistan.
Islamabad is eager to improve its ties with Moscow to diversify its military options in the event of any stalemate in ties with Washington, Pakistani media reported.
The Mi-35M chopper deal was signed during the visit of army chief General Raheel Sharif to Russia in June when he met top defence officials.
The two countries last year signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defence ties and vowed to translate their relationship in "tangible" terms during Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit to Islamabad. Shoigu was the first Russian defence minister to visit Pakistan in 45 years.

pti /  firstpost

September 19, 2015

India under Modi: Pew survey shows national pride has never been this high since Bangladesh war

A tsunami of euphoria and optimism is sweeping India. Indians are finally feeling that they are getting the deserved respect on the world stage, that their country is in safe hands and the future of their children is bright.
The source of their optimism is the source of their faith: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, they believe, is taking India in the right direction and will ensure that the country's economic situation will improve a lot in one year.
Even Rahul Gandhi and his mother are benefitting from the surge in positive sentiments. The Gandhi scion is seen much more favourably by Indians than a few months ago, though his ratings (62%) remain way behind the PM's (87%). While the PM's ratings have gone up by nine points, Rahul's have gone up by 12. But then Rahul had a smaller base to begin with.
The mood of the nation has been revealed by a survey conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre among 2,452 respondents between April 6 and May 19, 2015. It was released on September 17, the PM's birthday.
Much has changed since Pew spoke to Indians about their country and politicians. Since May, the BJP has been attacked because of the revelations that some of its senior leaders had close links with Lalit Modi; the PM himself has been forced to withdraw the Land Acquisition bill and some of his key reforms have been thwarted by a recalcitrant Opposition.
Four months is a long time in politics, especially when they coincide with the end of the honeymoon period of a government. The Bihar elections, where Modi and his brand of development politics that was in currency during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, will perhaps give us an updated report-card on the government's performance and people's verdict.
Yet, there is not much to doubt that India has given up on the PM or the mood has changed significantly since the BJP swept into power in 2014. Modi still inspires hopes, dreams of achche din and visions of India's dominance on the world stage.
The Pew survey reminds us that Indians have shrugged off their cynicism, negativity, self-doubt and distrust of politicians after a long time. Arguably, the last time they felt so confident about a leader was in the initial years of Rajiv Gandhi's tenure. And the previous instance of a comparable surge in pride and self-respect was after the victory over Bangladesh. Naturally, it is an enormous opportunity for Modi to take advantage of the prevailing mood and implement some of his reforms and ideas.
The survey, however, raises a few red flags. Only 25% of the respondents were pleased with Modi's handling of the India-Pakistan relations; a huge contrast with the 66% score on his US diplomacy. "Despite visits to India by both Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, and Modi's reciprocal visits to Russia and China, just 39% approve of the prime minister's (Modi's) handling of relations with China and only 37% approve of his dealings with Russia," according to the survey.
There might be a reality-check embedded for Indians in another survey conducted simultaneously by Pew. Since Modi's arrival, the belief that India gets the respect it deserves is up 12 percentage points. But, do people outside India also think so?
Pew asked 10,000 people in 10 Asian countries how much they trust Modi, Japan's PM Shinzo Abe and Jinping to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs."Overall Modi suffers from a lack of recognition. A quarter or more of respondents in six countries surveyed voiced no opinion about him as a leader," according to the survey among Asians.


1965 Indo-Pak War, Indian Army's performance surprised the world

(ANI): During the last fortnight, we have been a witness to the recollection of various battles fought during the India -Pakistan War of 1965. The display at India Gate gives us a vivid account of those operations.
The war had followed the conflict in Kutch earlier that year, as well as the massive infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir in the summer and the invasion of Chaamb -Jaurian on September 1.
The Indian Army tried its best to halt the advance of the Pakistan Army in Chhamb. The Indian Air Force also tried to stop the invading Pakistanis, but suffered heavy losses.
India responded by invading Pakistan on September 6. The thrust was towards Lahore from three directions, from Wagah to Dograi on the Grand Trunk Road, from Harike-Khalra to Burki and Khem Karan-Kasur Axis.
Though posted in Shillong and on leave, I joined duty. Posted as public relations officer for the Lahore Sector with my office in Amritsar, I had the opportunity of covering the war in that sector.
The war was not expected to conclude the way it did by many experts in the West. To start with, many analysts thought that by attacking India in the Chhamb sector, Pakistan had played an ace. Western press correspondents, who went with the forward echelons of the Pakistan Army, wrote glowing reports of its performance.
The impression was that Pakistan Army and Air Force was better equipped. The impression was that the Patton tanks were invincible as compared to World War II vintage Shermans and Centurions that India had. The Sabres and supersonic Starfighter of the PAF were considered far superior to the Indian Vampires and Mysteres. So also the B-57 Bombers to the Canberras and Hunters that the Indian Air Force had. No one thought of the dimunitive Gnat, which proved to be more than its weight during the war
To start with, there was a great deal of criticism of India for not giving access to the theatre of war to the press, particularly the foreign press, during the war. Much of the criticism was based on the precedent when India kept the media at arms length during the 1962 operations against China.
It took almost a week for the Government of India to give access to the media to the theatre of operations. I had the privilege of covering the attack by the Pakistan Air Force on Kalaikunda I was passing through Kharagpur, when the attack was in progress. I got down at the station and rushed to the base at Kalaikunda, and could take a picture of the Pakistan Air Force aircraft shot down by us. My Director, G.G. Mirchandani, appreciated my effort and posted me to Amritsar.
I boarded an Indian Air Force aircraft going from Barrackpore to Delhi, got myself briefed and proceeded to Amritsar. During the rest of the war, I was on the move, along the road to Khem Karan, Burki, and on the Wagh -Lahore Axis. The formation in charge of the operations was the II Corps, commanded by Lt.Gen. Jogi Dhillon.
I had the opportunity of taking press parties to Burki, and showing them Burki village, which was captured by us. I also took media persons and got briefed by Brigadier Theograj of the 2nd Armoured Brigade, as to how we were able to water the fields and make easy targets of the Patton tanks, which got bogged down. Lt. Col A.S. Vaidya and Lt Col Salim Caleb, who commanded armoured regiments briefed us on how they were able to attack the Pattons. Both of them won the Maha Vir Chakra.
The Pakistan Army, which had made advances into Khem Karan, saw fierce battles at Asal Uttar. The Armoured Division of the Pakistan Army withdrew and moved to Sialkot where we had opened a new front.
I had met Lt.Col. Desmond Hayde, the Commanding Officer of the 3 Battalion of the Jat Regiment, who had reached Dograi on the 6th of September. But, as the supporting troops did not reach, he had to fall back. He told me that he planned to recapture Dograi on 22nd September evening.
We had heard that the war was going to conclude soon after midnight on September 22 as per the resolution of the Security Council of September 20
I decided to go to the Wagah on the previous day. As I drove, I heard shells whizzing past. As the evening approached, heavy shelling stated and I was invited by a unit commander to come to his dug-out , which I did. I was advised that returning to Amritsar was out of question because of the heavy shelling.
At dawn, I drove to Dograi unsure about the outcome of the battle. As I reached Dograi, I was told that we had succeeded in pushing the Pakistanis beyond the Icchogil Canal after a fierce battle. One witnessed devastation all round. At Dograi, I witnessed some Pakistani trucks being loaded with the dead bodies of Pakistan soldiers. The stench was overpowering.
Around noon, some well-clad civilians from Amritsar drove down from Amritsar. They were joined soon by some pyjama-kurta clad persons from Lahore. They seemed to know each other and the usual warm greetings and hugs followed. A Pakistan Junior Commissioned Officer, who was supervising the collection of Pakistani dead solders, could not hide his anguish When he saw the civilians hug one another, and he remarked to me: "Major Saheb, these people make us fight and kill each other, but see what they are doing."
Through wireless, I had contacted my office in Amritsar and sent a message to Delhi. Media representatives were flown to cover the events.
War over, one felt that public interest would also fade. But the number of press correspondents visiting the area was on the upswing. Dogri, Burki, Asal Uttar continued to be generate news stores. The Western Press was keen to find out why the Patton tanks suffered the fate they did. A visit to Patton Nagar near Bhikhiwind was a must for the foreign press. 

yahoo news

France extends support to India's stake in UNSC

France has pledged support for India's claim to permanent membership at the Security Council.

This was conveyed by the French side to the Indian government, official sources said.

They said France has also welcomed India's engagement in the UN peace-keeping operations expressing the view that the world would be less safe without Indian soldiers.

France reaffirmed its commitment to issues of international peace and security, especially counter-terrorism. It also registered its opposition to atrocities against humans and destruction of heritage property.

The French support comes as a boost to India's agenda of UN reforms and its ambitions for a place in the UN Security Council.

Counter-terrorism was also discussed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Francois Hollande when he visited France earlier this year.

economic times

Ahead of Modi's visit, India set to buy choppers worth $3bn from US

The finance ministry has finally given a green signal to acquisition of 22 Apache attack and 15 Chinook heavy deployment helicopters worth $3.1 billion from US defence major Boeing after a delay of nearly three years and 13 price extensions.
The deal is expected to cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) next Tuesday, before Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on his United Nations General Assembly visit to New York.
With Boeing and US Army Security Assistance Command threatening to escalate the price after September 30 by nearly 40% after holding it steady since 2009, finance minister Arun Jaitley, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval put their heads together this week.
“We have conveyed our no objections to the deal being considered by the CCS,” said a senior finance ministry official.
India plans to purchase 22 Apache AH 64D Longbow helicopters with purchase option of another 11 at the cost of $2 billion. This state-of-the-art attack helicopter will be acquired with Hell Fire missiles and around 8,000 rockets.
The helicopter has night vision capability, stealth characteristics and beyond visual range missiles.
Apart from this, India will acquire 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters with options of another six at the cost of $1.1 billion. A twin-rotor helicopter, Chinook has proved its worth in US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and will be used by Indian Air Force for rapid insertion of troops in high altitude areas.
India has vintage attack and heavy deployment helicopters only on paper.
The acquisition process of the two helicopters was started in 2009 and was expected to be completed by December 2012. However, due to bureaucratic delays both in the defence ministry and finance ministry, the acquisition has been virtually hanging fire since 2013, following completion of all negotiations.


September 18, 2015

Su-35s for Pak: Pie in the sky

There are a number of reasons why the Russian ‘offer’ to sell the Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighter to Pakistan is headed for a crash landing.
 s Russia planning to win friends in Pakistan and lose influence in India? If Russia sells the advanced Su-35 fighter aircraft to Pakistan, it is likely to lead to a major diplomatic rift with India. So why did Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov make the statement that Russia and Pakistan were “negotiating for the delivery of an unspecified number of Su-35 jets” to Islamabad?
The best case scenario is that Russia is keen to ensure India’s return to its fold. As India enters into an increasing number of defence partnerships with Russia’s rivals, particularly Israel and the US, but also France and the UK, Moscow believes two can play the game. It is in this backdrop that Russia has entered into a defence cooperation agreement with Pakistan.
Another reason could be that the judgement of some Kremlin players is clouded by the pressure of economic sanctions and they would like to grab a larger share of the global arms market in which Russia traditionally has been a leader. However, this possibility can be discounted as western sanctions have not had the intended impact. Despite an unfavourable geopolitical climate in 2010-14, Russia accounted for 27 per cent of the global arms market, with approximately $14 billion in exports. In fact, Rosoboronexport, Russia’s weapons export cartel, has orders exceeding $40 billion on its books.
Russia’s offer to Pakistan could, therefore, be in the same category as the forever-on-hold S-300 sale to Iran. Moscow has attempted to squeeze diplomatic concessions from the US and Israel as payoff for withholding the air-defence system from Tehran.
Likewise, the Russia-Pakistan talks over the Su-35 could be a ploy to get India fully on board the PAK-FA stealth fighter programme. The Indian Air Force (IAF) was originally committed to buy 200 of these fifth generation fighters but has since cut back the planned buys to 127. Now India wants to buy these jets directly off the production line from Russia rather than jointly develop the aircraft.
Perhaps the Russians believe that Pakistan’s possession of the Su-35 could scare India to buy larger number of the PAK-FA. India may also be forced to purchase other advanced Russian weapons as sops for blocking the Sukhoi sale.
What can the Su-35 do?
With around 60 MiG-29s and a Su-30 fleet projected at 300, India currently enjoys an enormous advantage over Pakistan. While India would like to maintain this edge, the Su-35 will make a dent – albeit a slight one – in the IAF’s advantage. Although the much larger IAF, with its AWACS force multipliers, would easily tackle the Super Flanker, the presence of a brand new fighter – that is more powerful than anything in the IAF – could cause some anxiety among India’s war planners.
According to Pakistani analyst and former PAF pilot Kaiser Tufail, the Su-35 being a twin-engine aircraft with an extremely long range, would help Pakistan “have a significant and potent presence in the Arabian Sea”.
He adds: “These fighters would also allow unhindered patrolling by naval (long range maritime patrol aircraft), as well as providing top cover to our fleet at sea....Essentially, I see it as a guarantor of maritime security as far as the airspace is concerned.”
To be sure, the Su-35 will be a game changer only if wielded in sufficient numbers and in sync with other air defence assets and missiles. But Pakistan is unlikely to order more than two squadrons of the Su-35 because of the expenses of operating a heavy fighter. The Super Flanker burns as much fuel per hour as an entire Karachi neighbourhood. Plus, twin engines would mean double the maintenance time of a single-engine F-16 in the PAF fleet.
Diplomatic powwow
How serious is the offer? Ryabkov is a junior minister in Russian cabinet. But making an offer to a financially insolvent client – that is also an exporter of terror – is one thing. Making it stick is a different ball game. Approval for the sale will have to go through several rungs of the Russian parliament Duma and the military, plus there are higher powers in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle who can overrule Ryabkov. So there’s every possibility that the Su-35 for Pakistan will end up being the equivalent of the S-300 for Iran.
However, in the highly unlikely scenario that the Su-35 wears Pakistani colours, Russia can say goodbye to its largest buyer. Although Russia was the second largest arms exporter in the world during the period 2010-14, it was less diversified than the US. According to SIPRI, “Three countries; India, China and Algeria; accounted for almost 60 per cent of total Russian exports.” India alone accounted for 39 per cent.
In contrast, the US which led with 31 per cent, had Korea as its top buyer at just 9 per cent. The US therefore had a better spread than Russia.
So without India, Russia’s arms exports will atrophy. And although the likes of Algeria, Indonesia and Malaysia continue to be steady buyers of Russian weapons, the flows to these countries are a trickle rather than a torrent. No country offers Russia such a long-term market as India.
India was also the first international customer for the MiG 29, and in fact expressed interested in it during its development in the early 1980s. Again, the IAF was among the first air forces in the world to induct the Su-27/30. India’s early investment in the PAK-FA project is enough indication of its seriousness in the project.
In the backdrop it seems unlikely Russia will go ahead with ramping defence ties with Pakistan beyond a few helicopter gunships.
Stopping the Kozyrevs
It was under Andrei Kozyrev’s watch that India diversified away from Russia. Kozyrev (Russian foreign minister from 1990 to 1996), who sought close ties with the West, had declared after the Soviet Union was dissolved that the new Russia would no longer give special importance to India and would in fact treat India and Pakistan as equals. So basically, the country that was indirectly responsible for the deaths of 15,000 Soviet lives during the Afghanistan War was preferred by him over friendly India.
Deepa Ollapally of George Washington University writes in the paper ‘Indo-Russian Strategic Relations: New Choices and Constraints’, “Kozyrev relegated India to a secondary role. During this initial phase, which was to last until 1996, India was forced to take the initiative to try to build new bridges to the Duma and utilise earlier Soviet lobbies. India was able to exploit lobbies against Kozyrev's tilt which had formed in the Russian Federation presidential apparatus. It was aided by such figures such as Vladimir Lukin who called for greater attention to be paid to old allies.”
“However, then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao had no choice but to diversify India's security links as its most crucial erstwhile ally continued to labour in confusion and anxiety over its economic and political status, with no clear signal regarding its foreign policy preferences.”
Kozyrev currently lives in Miami where he has acquired money and a nice tan. He slams Putin to the delight of his American backers. The thing India and Russia must do is sidestep or sideline such actors and keep the phone lines open. For, just as there are a few Indian leaders wanting closer ties with the West at Moscow’s expense, there are some Russian leaders who cannot see the importance of having India on their side.
According to Ryabkov, increasing military cooperation between Islamabad and Moscow would not negatively impact Russia's ties with India. His statements would vindicate Rao’s decision to wean India away from over-dependence on Russia. Compared with Rao, current Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to the right leaning RSS, which is pro-American. He is unlikely to treat such an issue lightly.