February 27, 2016

Indian Air Force Has Only 32 Squadrons - Lowest In A Decade

The Indian Air Force has just 32 squadrons of fighters - the lowest in a decade - to guard the Indian skies, top IAF commanders have confirmed to NDTV.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has flagged the worry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and made a detailed presentation recently on the operational difficulties that the IAF faces because of the depletion in fighters.

After the air force de-commissioned three of the aging Russian-made MiG 21 squadrons, bringing down the total number from 34 to 31 fighter squadrons, an additional squadron of the Russian-made Su-30 MKI has been raised.

The Indian Air Force needs at least 42 squadrons of fighters to protect its western and northern borders with Pakistan and China. By 2019 -2020 it will lose another 14 squadrons of the vintage MiG 21s and MiG 27s. There are 16-18 planes in one squadron.The force now depends on Su-30 MKI and MiG 29s, the British-made Jaguar and French-made Mirage 2000s. An upgrade of the Jaguar fighters being carried out by the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL has been delayed by two years.

The government's plan to plug operational gaps by inducting 36 French-made Rafale fighters and with indigenously made Tejas fighters too hasn't come through yet.

Commercial negotiations with France for the Rafale are far from over and although the IAF has agreed to induct Tejas fighters, it is yet to get the first aircraft.

The Tejas - which was showcased at the Baharin air show for the first time this year - has not yet got a Final Operational Clearance (FOC).

The aircraft - in the making for over 3 decades - had several deficiencies, which are now being addressed by HAL in consultation with the IAF.

"Its performance at Baharin was however encouraging and we hope the FOC comes through soon," a senior officer said, adding, the "IAF is ready to induct as many Tejas fighters as possible to plug the gaps."

"Till recently, we were more interested in defending the process of acquisition, then the outcome, and as a result no one really cared about requirements and operational preparedness," the officer said, referring to the decade-long talks to acquire medium multi-role fighters from France, which the Narendra Modi government had to cancel because of severe infirmities in the negotiations.


US close to signing defence deals with India

The U.S. is close to signing three foundational agreements with India in fields of defence and communications that will give a big boost to the bilateral ties, a top American military commander has said. “We were moving out aggressively in technical field with DTTI (Defence Technology and Trade Initiative),” US Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris said in response to a question on India-US defence relationship.
One of those is the LSA — Logistics Support Agreement — which allows us to do the cross servicing — acquisition cross servicing, for example, he said during his testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services.
“Another one is called the CISMOA (Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement), and it involves communications security so that we can be assured that India will protect our communications as we would protect theirs,” Harris said.
The Pacific Command Commander is headed to India next week for a wide range of talks with his Indian counterparts.

‘Asia will be divided if India joins US patrols’

Any move by India to join the US Navy to jointly patrol the disputed South China Sea will be against its national interest, would divide Asian countries and further escalate regional tensions, a state-run Chinese daily said on Friday.
The Chinese media’s reaction came after it was reported in January that the US and India had talked about launching joint naval patrols in the South China Sea for safeguarding freedom of navigation. But India clarified there would be no such patrols and the US also subsequently denied having any such plan.
“Military collaboration between Washington and New Delhi has been heating up in recent years. Nonetheless, the only purpose of the latter to conduct bilateral naval patrols with the former without its interests being hurt is to meet the demand of the largest world power,” an article in the state-run Global Times said on Friday.
“In this way, the US can include India as a ‘vassal state’ like Japan and Australia, which will damage India’s dignity and deter its pursuit to become a great power,” it said.
Playing up India’s concerns over the US’s move to sell F-16 fighters to Pakistan, the article said “even though New Delhi obeys Washington, it’s not likely that it will see the desired return”.
“The White House’s sale of fighter planes to Pakistan provides the latest example,” it said.
“India once mulled over deepening its military cooperation with the US in hope that the latter would cancel the endorsement for its perennial regional rival. But the US has its strategic needs by the sale of weapons and has never changed minds despite India’s long-running objection,” it said.
Playing down reports that India may join joint patrols with the US in the South China Sea where Beijing is locked in a major confrontation, the article said any such move by India would divide Asian countries.
If New Delhi chooses to follow in US’ footsteps, it means the country is taking part in US’ “pivot to Asia” strategy and adopting a major strategic shift, the report said. “This move will inevitably divide Asian nations into two camps.”


February 24, 2016

Parrikar: Get 314 deals cleared in 3-4 months

The defence ministry on Tuesday took stock of the various modernisation projects for the armed forces, holding that arms acquisition proposals worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore were cleared by the NDA government since it assumed office in May 2014.
"Of them, 81schemes have fully matured. Moreover, another 66 schemes worth around Rs 2 lakh crore have been accorded AoN (acceptance of necessity or preliminary approvals) over the last two years," a defence ministry official said.
 After the defence acquisitions council (DAC) meeting chaired by Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday evening, officials said "a letter of intent" had been issued to Goa Shipyard for the Rs 32,000 crore project to construct 12 mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) for the Navy with foreign collaboration. The DAC also cleared the followon order for 619 high-mobility 6x6 vehicles from the Tatas at a cost of Rs 457 crore.

TOI had earlier reported that while the NDA government has indeed set a scorching pace to clear new defence acquisition proposals, the follow-through has been slow to ensure they swiftly lead to inking of actual contracts. At the DAC meeting, Parrikar took note of the fact that despite "concerted efforts" there were 314 cases which had not yet fructified. "Of them, 86 schemes worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore are now close to the final stages of approval. The minister directed all concerned that efforts must be made to get them cleared in the next four to five months," the official said. Parrikar also advised the Army, Navy and IAF to review their acquisition projects which have been pending for long, and are yet to fructify, for their "contemporary relevance".
The three Services will now take forward "only the relevant schemes" and junk the rest after the review. The minister also reviewed proposed capital acquisition proposals and budgetary requirements of the three Services for the next 10 years. "This will be an ongoing exercise to refine and further mature the long-term budgetary planning," the official said.


Defence ministry to review carbine procurement, missile system project with France

A high powered meeting to be steered by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is set to take a fresh look at the stuck close quarter carbine procurement plans of the Indian Army and take stock of the long pending short range surface to air missile system (SRSAM) that is to be jointly developed with France.
The MoD is likely to give a go ahead for a Rs 2300 cr order for constructing a new line of large survey vessels. A detailed update on the Maitri SRSAM project is likely to be discussed at the meeting as well.
Parrikar, who is currently reviewing the defence procurement process, is to be given a detailed briefing on the Close Quarter Carbine project and is also likely to discuss further reforms on the purchase process.
Several projects are expected to come up at the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) meeting on February 23, including a proposal for the construction of four large survey vessels. Sources have told ET that the defence ministry could give a go ahead for the project.
Also to be discussed is the much delayed procurement of new short range carbines for the army. The army has long retired its carbine and has been hunting for replacements for several years without success.
A tender was issued in 2010 to import 44, 600 carbines and trails were competed in 2013 with Beretta, IWI and Colt. However, the project has been stuck since then as only one of the three competitors – Israeli IWI – qualified as the `night sights’ of the other two failed.
A final decision on going ahead with the project is expected shortly with the Army exploring an option to separate `night sights’ with the main contract that will enable at least two of the three competitors to qualify. The sights could then be made separately by BEL. The other option would be to cancel the tender and start the acquisition process afresh.


Mountain Warfare Against China: US Plans to Sell 145 Guns to India

The United States submitted a letter of acceptance to India’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) approving the procurement of 145 M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers for the Indian Army, The Times of India reports.
According to sources within India’s MOD, the Pentagon’s letter of acceptance, submitted under the U.S. foreign military sales (FMS) program, will lead to a government-to-government contract within the next 180 days, should New Delhi accept the offer.
The $700 million deal has been in the making since 2008. It suffered from repeated delays and was close to being scrapped until the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi revived negotiations with the U.S. government and the defense contractor BAE Systems, the producer of the M777 155 mm 39-caliber towed gun, last year.
The Pentagon’s offer for the 145 lightweight howitzers–next to outlining delivery schedules, technical, material, and spares support–also includes a 30 percent offset clause under the “Make in India” initiative. This mandatory offset requires that 30 percent (around $210 million) of the contract value needs to be reinvested back into India’s indigenous aviation or defense sector.
“While the first lot will be delivered directly, the bulk of the 145 howitzers (manufactured by BAE Systems) will be assembled in India over three years,” according to a MOD source.
BAE Systems announced last week that it will partner with the Indian company Mahindra to fulfil the requirements of the “Make in India” clause and offer a higher degree of indigenization on the M777 lightweight howitzers.
“As a founding partner of defense manufacturing in India, BAE Systems is pleased to partner with Mahindra on our offer to develop an Assembly, Integration and Test facility in India. The facility is a fundamental part of the M777 production line,” said a representative of BAE Systems.
“A domestic Assembly, Integration and Test facility will enable the Indian Army to access maintenance, spares and support for the M777 locally. We will continue to support the two Governments to progress to contract agreement so that we may begin the process of ‘Make in India’ for M777.”
The M777 allegedly is the world’s first 155 millimeter howitzer weighing less than 10,000 pounds (4,218 kilograms). Partly made of titanium, the gun can be airlifted swiftly to high-altitude terrain and is ideally suited for mountain warfare. The M777 has a firing range of up to 25 kilometers.
The Indian Army plans to induct the new gun into its new 17 Mountain Strike Corps, which is to be stood up by 2021. The new corps, intended to counter China’s growing capabilities, originally was supposed to have a strength of 90,274 men. However, in April 2015, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar announced that he would cut the size of the corps by more than half, to 35,000.
The Indian military has not been able to procure a new howitzer since 1987, despite the known utility of artillery in mountain warfare as seen in the 1999 Kargil War with Pakistan. As I reported previously, the Indian army’s 1999 Field Artillery Rationalization Plan aimed to acquire 2,800-3,000 155 mm/52-caliber guns of all kinds and 155 mm/39-caliber lightweight howitzers by 2027.


Brazil looks to sell its basic trainers to IAF

Brazil’s Embraer company will be showcasing its basic trainer A-29 ‘Super Tucano’ at the forthcoming DefExpo in Goa for the first time.
Keeping in mind that the Super Tucano’s role will not be limited to training alone, the company has equipped the A-29 (the Super Tucano version for the Brazilian Air Force) with systems designed not only to comply with basic requirements, but also to keep pace with the continual changes taking place in the aircraft’s potential operating theatres.
Talking to FE, Brazilian ambassador to India Tovar da Silva Nunes said, “Embraer is already present in India and we will be getting the A 29 Super Tucano for the DefExpo next month.”
Embraer has been present in India both in the defence and civil sector, the envoy pointed out. According to an officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF), “It will be interesting if the Super Tucan light attack trainer is considered for atleast evaluating. While the plane is not very expensive it can be used by the armed forces carrying out counter insurgency operations.”
The A-29 of the Embraer is a powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of light air support (LAS) missions, even operating from unimproved runways. With more than 130 weapons configurations certified, it is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared and laser system technologies, as well as secure radio systems with data links and unrivalled munitions capacity.
“The Super Tucano is the only combat proven and fully operational light attack/advanced training aircraft in the global market. This makes it highly reliable and allows for an excellent cost-benefit ratio for a wide range of military missions, even operating from unpaved runways and in hostile environments,” said Nunes.
With more than 140 certified load configurations, it is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic,
infrared and laser system technologies, as well as secure radio systems with data links and unrivalled munitions capacity.
The Super Tucano is proving to be an innovative and cost-effective solution for demanding military organizations around the world. It is ideal for the missions and operational environment faced by a host of nations. The A-29 Super Tucano is currently used by twelve air forces in three continents. It was also selected by the US Air Force  for its LAS programme.


February 22, 2016

India set to seal major power deal in Bangladesh, beating China

* A major breakthrough for India in Bangladesh
* India, China regional rivalry heating up
* Indian govt offers easy financing for power plant
* Bangladesh seen as part of China's "String of Pearls"
By Sankalp Phartiyal and Ruma Paul
NEW DELHI/DHAKA Feb 22 (Reuters) - A state-run Indian firm is poised to seal a contract to build a $1.6 billion power plant in Bangladesh, beating out a Chinese competitor in the latest commercial tussle between the region's two dominant powers.
After China's recent success in pushing development projects in Sri Lanka, a breakthrough in Bangladesh would be welcome news for Indian officials who have long fretted over Beijing's encroachment on to territory it considers its own back yard.
India believes Bangladesh is a part of a "String of Pearls" China is building across the Indian Ocean that stretches from Gwadar port in Pakistan to Djibouti on the African coast where it is building a naval base.
After years of negotiations, India's Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) will sign a contract to build a 1,320-megawatt (MW) thermal power station in Khulna in southern Bangladesh on Feb. 28, officials in New Delhi and Dhaka said.
China's Harbin Electric International Company Ltd, which has power projects in Iran, Turkey and Indonesia among others, lost the bid on technical grounds, said a Bangladesh official, speaking on condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to talk to journalists.
But Anwarul Azim, a spokesman for the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited, a joint venture set up to build the coal-fired plant, said BHEL was the lowest bidder.
The Indian government's external lending arm, the Exim Bank, has backed up BHEL's offer with nearly 70 percent funding of the project's costs at a soft interest rate of around 1 percent above Libor, the leading global benchmark for pricing transactions, an Indian government official said.
He declined to be named, saying the two sides were about to seal the contract.
On Friday, Libor stood at 1.13 percent for a dollar loan for a year.
"Exim is very positive about it, very bullish about it and looking to taking this forward," David Rasquinha, the bank's deputy managing director, told Reuters of the Khulna project.
It would be the biggest foreign project by an Indian power firm, eclipsing a plant already built in Rwanda and a planned one in Sri Lanka.
Officials at China's Harbin who dealt with the bid were not immediately available for comment.
But an employee in the after-sale service department said: "The company has been involved in many such tenders, it is very normal - either we win or lose the bids."


9% hike in defence budget allocation likely this year

India’s defence budget is likely to see a modest hike of 9% to Rs 2.68 lakh crore in 2016-17 while thepension bill alone may go up by over Rs 80, 000 crore.
Further the defence ministry is likely to surrender Rs 12,400 crore, or 16% of the Rs 77,406 crore earmarked for acquisitions under the capital head since several projects could not be processed on time by the three service headquarters, officials told ET.
If pensions and civil expenses of the ministry are also counted, the budget for 2016-17 will increase about 13% to Rs 3.5 lakh crore from Rs 3.1 lakh crore. The pension bill is set to zoom in the next fiscal owing to the expected implementation of the one rank, one pension plan. The total payout for the current fiscal is still unclear.
In 2015-16, Rs 77,406 crore of the Rs 93,675 crore allocated to the defence ministry was earmarked for acquisition of weapon systems for the three forces. The forces have not been able to exhaust their committed liabilities this year in some cases. Officials said this happened because the payments for previous procurements are to be disbursed after reaching certain milestones such as the delivery of a weapon system or a developmental achievement. “In some cases, deliveries or milestones could not be ensured on time by the departments.
This has resulted in some funds for committed liabilities also lapsing,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity. The government has brought in several reforms this year to speed up the acquisition process.


India emerges as world’s largest arms importer, yet again

India has yet again emerged as the world’s largest buyer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for some 14 per cent of all such international imports, while Russia continues to hold a dominant position, accounting for some 70 per cent of all military equipment supplies to New Delhi.
Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia are the next four biggest global importers.
These trends have emerged from a report released on Monday by the Sweden-based think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The assessment was done for a five-year period (2011-2015).
Titled ‘Trends in international arms transfers-2015’, it says, “India was the largest importer of major arms in 2011–15, accounting for 14 per cent of the global total.”
Comparing two five years blocks – that is between 2006–10 and 2011–15 – the report says “imports (by India) increased by 90 per cent”.
During the period 2011–15 India’s imports were three times greater than those of either of its regional rivals: China and Pakistan. “A major reason for the high-level of imports is that India’s arms industry has so far largely failed to produce competitive indigenously designed weapons”, said the report. “During the period 2011–15 Russia supplied 70 per cent of India’s arms imports, the USA 14 per cent and Israel 4.5 per cent”.
The SIPRI predicts, “based on existing orders and weapons, Russia will remain, by a significant distance, the main supplier of major arms to India for the foreseeable future”.
Acquisitions from the US are a break with in the recent past. During the period studied by SIPRI, India procured fighter jets, a sea-borne  aircraft  carrier and  Mi-17-V5 helicopters from Russia; specialised transport planes, the C-130-J Super Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster along with maritime surveillance planes the Boeing P8-I from the US; UAV’s and radars from Israel.
The bigger story is, however, China, which, in a sign of an omnipresent threat, has been helping Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma in ramping up military prowess. China is now the third largest exporter of weapons ahead of traditional manufacturers Germany, France and UK. Its biggest benefactors are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma — all having a shared boundary with India and could potentially cause trouble for New Delhi. The three countries accounted for 71 per cent of Beijing’s exports during 2011-2015.
New Delhi sees China’s exports to countries around India as a part of its long-term strategy of having a ‘string of pearls’ — a kind of military toe-hold in countries around India.
The five biggest exporters in five year block period 2011-2015 were the US, Russia, China, France and Germany. The US and Russia remained by far the largest exporters, accounting for 33 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, of all global trade.

 Tribune News

February 17, 2016

Entire J&K including PoK is integral part of India: UK MP

A UK lawmaker Tuesday said that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including parts “illegally controlled” by Pakistan, were integral part of India. “State of Jammu and Kashmir in totality is part of India an integral part of India and it needs to be reunited and should come under the dominion of India,” UK Member parliament and leader of ruling conservative party Robert John Blackman told reporters in Jammu during a meet the press function organized by the Press Club of Jammu.
Blackman said Pakistan must vacate the territory of Jammu and Kashmir “illegally occupied” by that country.
“The erstwhile ruler of Jammu and Kashmir had signed instrument of accession with India and given the control of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir to India, it is Pakistan which illegally occupied its territory which it should hand back to India through negotiation,” he said.
Blackman said that as both the countries were nuclear power, so there was no question of both the nations for going on war for Kashmir, but Pakistan must itself vacate the territory and hand it over to India.
The lawmaker from the Harrow East constituency in England said that in the past Pakistan lobby had strong presence in the UK parliament but things have changed and people like him who are “friends of India” have been started speaking about India.
He said that the ties between India and the United Kingdom have grown stronger even since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the reins of power in India and his last year’s “historic visit” to UK has further strengthened the bond.
Invoking the Gujarat model of development he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision to develop India as an economic and military power of the east and United Kingdom was ready to provide all possible support to India for attaining the goal.
He said Modi has been working tirelessly to take India to “greater heights”, he said.
He said India has been a victim of terrorism originating from Pakistani soil and it should take measures to rein in the “forces” that spread terrorism in countries like India.
Asked why UK does not declare Pakistan as a terrorist state, Blackman said he cannot speak on behalf of the UK government, but he was aware of the terrorist attacks that India faced and that originated from the Pakistani soil.
He said that UK government was aware of the terrorism being faced by India and it stands shoulder to shoulder with India to combat terrorism.


We are building jet engines: Baba Kalyani

Baba Kalyani, chairman and managing director of Bharat Forge, was visibly excited when Defence MinisterManohar Parrikar dropped in at his stall on Monday during the Make in India Week in Mumbai. On display was the Bharat 52, a long range artillery gun developed by the company. In an interview to Swaraj Baggonkar, he explains what Bharat Forge is doing in defence. Edited excerpts.
What are your plans for the defence business?
We are going in the direction that uses our core knowledge — material, material transformation, forging, machining, assembly, sub-systems. That’s where our expertise lies.
What are your investment plans?
We have a joint venture with SAAB for air defencesystems and a plant is coming up near Hyderabad.
What are your capabilities?
By building the artillery gun, we demonstrated our engineering capability. We are building jet engines — small ones, not as big as those by Rolls -Royce — for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Is the jet engine indigenous?
The UAV engine we are doing indigenously. I have told my engineers in Pune that I want to see the engine in one year.
How much is your focus on the defence business?
Quite a lot. Take the gun programme, for instance. There are four programmes under procurement: the towed gun, conversion of the 130mm to 155mm, ultra-light howitzer, and the mounted gun. We are participating in all four programmes. I am sure we will win at least two.
Is the government moving as fast as companies would have liked?
Our defence minister is a very dynamic person. He is driving the ministry in the direction of the prime minister wants, which is indigenous capability.
Will Bharat Forge look for expertise outside India?
We are already in technical alliances. We have three joint ventures; we may go in for more. You can’t do everything yourself, it is not possible. There is involvement of electronics, radar and all kinds of things. We do not have that technology, at least not today. Anything to do with metal–forging, fabrication or machining–we can do. But, the idea is you make a product that is 95 per cent indigenous.
What will be the investment on all this?
Our strategy is to create building blocks for guns, air defence, aero engines and components. Artillery we can make entirely ourselves. As far as air defence systems are concerned, we are creating a hub in Hyderabad. In aero engines, we are making components for Rolls-Royce, Boeing and others.


US plans to sell M777 howitzers to India; deal to involve ‘Make in India’ component

The US has finalised a proposal to sell M777 ultra-light howitzers to India under a direct government-to-government deal, with Washington expected to send a formal ‘Letter of Acceptance’ this week. The light artillery gun deal, worth over $700 million, will also involve a significant ‘Make in India’ component with Mahindra expected to bag a major share of the work contract.
Sources have told ET that the LOA, which is the final step from the US in a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract like this, has been finalised and is to be presented to South Block this week. This would be followed by an acceptance from the Indian side and subsequently transfer of an advance after which deliveries of 145 guns would commence.
At least two M777 light howitzers are expected to be delivered to India this year as part of the deal so that the army can generate its ‘range tables’ – a calibration for the various types of Indian made ammunition that the guns would fire once in service.
The deal for M777 howitzers under the FMS route has been in process since 2008 and has seen several ups and downs, including the possibility of being scrapped. The contract was revived last year by the Modi government under a new deal that included aMake in India component.


February 15, 2016

Boeing Gives More Work to India

Boeing and India’s Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) recently announced a joint venture that will manufacture aerostructures–initially for the AH-64 Apache helicopter. This followed a promise made by Boeing Chairman James McNerney when he visited India last summer. He spoke of partnerships and wanting to keep the initiative of manufacturing in India to continue, with Boeing as an involved partner. “I want to play,” he said.

In July, the two companies announced a strategic aerospace partnership to support the “Make in India” movement and collaborate on integrated systems-development opportunities, including unmanned aerial vehicles. The facility will be located at Hyderabad where TASL already has a components factory, and another facility where it manufactures cabins for Sikorsky’s S-92 helicopters. An industry official said that with 110 of the cabins delivered, Tier 1 supplier TASL is expected to draw on its experience as it works to supply materials for Boeing fuselages.
McNerney said Boeing was “much closer to having final assembly [of] Apache or Chinook helicopters [in India],” and AIN has found that India is likely to get some contracts for the Chinooks as well as Boeing’s MDhelicopters division.
Rahul Gangal, partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, told AIN, “This move signifies the increasing strength of India as a global supply hub in aerostructures. It also puts TASL in the next league of global aerospace Tier 1s.”
Boeing is furthering its commitment to accelerate its partnership with India, said Chris Chadwick, President andCEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Sukaran Singh, managing director and CEO of TASL said in a statement that the company has the added advantage of taking on manufacturing and assembly of both aircraft and helicopters, “making it well-positioned for large-scale systems integration work in India’s aerospace and defense sector.”
Other Tata group companies, Tata Advanced Materials Ltd and TAL Manufacturing Solutions, have delivered power and mission equipment cabinets and auxiliary power unit door fairings for the P-8I long-range maritime surveillance aircraft and floor beams for the Boeing 787-9.


Amid Pakistan row, India considers proposal to manufacture F-16 fighter jets under ‘Make in India’

Even as controversy has erupted on the transfer of eight F 16s to Pakistan by the US, Delhi has been considering a proposal to manufacture the fighter jets under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. In several recent meetings, including a high-level interaction in November last year in Washington, the aircraft have been offered for local production – both to meet Indian requirements and for exports.
The Lockheed Martin (LM) manufactured F 16 is one of the several fighters that has been proposed to be manufactured in India and is being actively pushed by Washington, senior officials told ET. It is also understood that LM had even raised the possibility of local manufacture during the meeting of one of its top executives with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.
India has showed its displeasure at the recent decision by Washington to transfer eight of the Block 52 variants of the fighter to Pakistan. It is still unclear on what impact this would have on proposals to manufacture US origin jets in India – defence giant Boeing has also shown keen interest in building F/A 18 Super Hornet fighters under the Make in Indiaplan.
The offer to make the F 16 in India was for a more advanced variant of the fighter that is being sold to Pakistan and was termed as the F 16 IN Super Viper. The aircraft was in contention of the now scrapped medium multirole combat aircraft contract for the Indian air force but was disqualified on technical grounds.
Besides the F/A 18 Super Hornet and the F 16IN Super Viper, the Indian government is considering at least two more proposals to make fighter jets in India. One offer on the table is from Sweden’s SAAB to transfer the Gripen fighter line to India. Another is a proposal by Airbus to create a ‘Eurofighter City’ in India that would produce its Eurofighter jet and generate thousands of jobs.


Saab offers to make Gripen in India, with transfer of technology

Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab AB is ready to develop, manufacture and undertake the final assembly of its fighter jet Gripen in India, said Hakan Buskhe, president and chief executive, in an interview. “We could, with true ToT (transfer of technology), provide Indian Air Force with an Indian-built combat aircraft of the future, with technology of Gripen E (multi-role aircraft),” said Buskhe, who is in Mumbai to attend the Make in India week that began on 13 February. Edited excerpts:
India has cancelled the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender. What are the future prospects for Saab in India?
Gripen is the world’s leading single-engine aircraft and is of interest for the Indian government; and our true technology transfer programme fits very well into the government of India’s programme, Make in India. If there is an interest for Gripen, Gripen will be developed, produced and finally assembled in India.
Would you be open to manufacture Gripen fighter aircraft in India? If yes, what are the conditions?
Saab is not only offering to set up a base here but also help in the development of aerospace capability for the next 100 years. We could, with true ToT (transfer of technology), provide Indian Air Force with an Indian-built combat aircraft of the future, with technology of Gripen E. Saab has a ready-made blueprint for India that meets every aspect of India’s ambitions: an aircraft that is ahead of its contemporaries, a platform for building future aircraft based on what Indian engineers have already learned from various programmes and, most importantly, a ready-to roll “India Make Plan”.
Could you elaborate on ToT?
We are offering real technology transfer. Sweden does not attach strings to its high technology. Saab is committed to India and will deliver the best industrial cooperation and technology transfer over the life of the programme—providing what India’s armed forces and industry wants and needs. That is totally in line with the Make in India Initiative.
What is the kind of strategy adopted by Saab in India? What are the updates on existing joint ventures?
We have participated in a number of programmes with various arms of the defence forces and are quite pleased with the progress. We are quite confident our prospects in the two large air defence programmes—VHSORAD (very short-range air defence) and SRSAM (short range surface-to-air missile) where we have successfully completed the trials. We are now waiting for the next steps.
Saab has a wide portfolio of products and we are in dialogue with the armed forces and homeland security forces for a whole range of sophisticated equipment, including avionics, air defence systems, advanced surveillance and foliage penetrating radars, camouflage, battle management systems, ground combat systems, naval and coast guard systems, electronic warfare systems and communication equipment, among others.
Saab is currently pursuing many individual opportunities in the requirements of the Indian defence forces.
Who are your partners in India?
We work closely with partners such as Bharat Electronics Ltd, Hindustand Aeronautics Ltd and Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd. Saab has a partnership with Indianeye Security Pvt. Ltd for supplying Agile Tactical Engagement Simulation (ATES) equipment to Indian armed forces, paramilitary, special forces and police.
Saab and Bharat Forge Ltd have signed an agreement to work together on the Indian Army air defence project VSHORAD. Also, Saab and Ashok Leyland Ltd have entered into an agreement to work together as partner for the Indian Army Air Defence project for the SRSAM based on the Saab BAMSE (ground based missile) system. Ashok Leyland will deliver high mobility vehicles for the BAMSE/SRSAM solution.
In 2012, Saab, in collaboration with Elcome Marine Services Pvt. Ltd (of Navi Mumbai), implemented the National Automatic Identification System on the Indian coastline for India’s Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL). The project involved setting up of sensors and equipment to help secure the entire Indian coastline.
Saab is also working with many suppliers of machinery and composite parts in India, including CIM Tools Pvt. Ltd (of Bengaluru), Tata Advanced Material Ltd and Aequs Pvt Ltd (former QUEST Global Manufacturing). These companies play a very valuable role in helping Saab develop, industrialize and manufacture complex airframe assemblies for Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. Our joint venture with Aequs manufactures and supplies assemblies for the global commercial aero structures market.
Saab India Technologies has set up the Saab India Technology Centre, a research and development centre, in partnership with Tech Mahindra Ltd in Hyderabad. It forms an important bridge for the transfer of the latest in defence technologies between India and Sweden.
These alliances will go a long way in helping Saab fulfil its vision—of becoming a true and genuine partner to India’s defence industry. We are committed to true transfer of technology and investing in the future of Indian defence industry and here to stay for the long haul to build an indigenous defence industry in India.
Any plans to buy equity stake in Indian companies?
Equity is a way of building business, not a means to deliver on a programme only. We have done that in the past and will of course communicate it if we do that in the future.
Why is India is an attractive market?
India is an attractive market for us just as there are other markets where Saab sees good opportunity, including Brazil, many countries in Europe and all of Asia-Pacific.
There is of course special promise in the Indian market given the large and varied requirement for modernization of equipment in tandem with the Make in India programme.
For instance, India will be the engine for the aerospace industry in the next half a century. Not merely for military aircraft but for virtually every category of aerospace: military and civilian helicopters and aircraft; unmanned aerial vehicles for military and homeland security purposes and so forth. We are equally convinced that in the decade ahead, India will have its own home-grown large aerospace company.
India is one of the most interesting markets for Saab. Additionally Saab has operations in 34 countries and have sold our products and solutions to over 100 countries in the world.


February 11, 2016

India in talks for 2nd nuke sub lease: Russian envoy

In a bid to bolster its Defence and strategic reserves, India is in talks with Russia for buying various military products. Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin told The Pioneer that the two sides are actively negotiating on the purchase of S-400 Russian air defence missiles for protection of Indian cities from any possible attacks from outside. Besides, India is negotiating for taking on lease another nuclear submarine from Russia. India is also looking at buying
some more MiG 29K fighters for INS Vikramaditya, India’s largest Naval ship and aircraft carrier, bought from Russia, the envoy said.
Speaking on the eve of Russia’s Diplomats’ Day, Kadakin said India-Russia defence relationship has been on a constant rise over the years. The ambassador added that India-Russia relationship is independent of their relations with other countries, and it remains on a stable and strong footing. “We do not feel jealous when India acquires military hardware from other countries for its strategic needs. India is a superpower in the making and we have worked always with India in military, industry and scientific areas to see it as strong as it is today,” Kadakin said.
“Please name a country that can lease a nuclear submarine,” he added to underline Russia’s partnership with India. India is one of the six countries in the world apart from Russia, the United States of America, China, the United Kingdom and France to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.
This is the first time there has been an official confirmation about lease of second nuke submarine even though speculation is rife about India seeking another one from Russia after the success of INS Chakra, the Akula Class submarine that has been on lease from Russia for ten years. “The hull of the submarine is ready but it has to be refurbished as per Indian needs after the talks are concluded,” Kadakin said on the second nuclear submarine.
INS Chakra was inducted into Indian Navy about four years back. Satisfied with its performance, India is now looking at adding more to its fleet. Already India-made nuke-powered sub INS Arihant is undergoing sea trials. INS Arihant is made with technical support from Russia and India plans to make more such in future.
Kadakin said an agreement is also being worked out for making spare parts of Sukhoi aircraft in India. Besides, Russia will soon open at least four service centres in India for the Su-30 MKI jets to help resolve the maintenance issues of the plane. As of now Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) runs the only overhauling facility for the Sukhois in India. India has about 200 Su-30 MKI jets. Kadakin said an agreement for service centre is being finalised and will be announced soon.
Interestingly, India’s shopping list has a lot of Make in India component in it. “Our Defence relationship is completely in tune with Make in India Sukhoi spare parts will be made in India. Besides, India and Russia have already concluded a deal for Kamov Ka-226 helicopters. Russia will help India produce 200 of these machines through HAL,” Kadakin said.
Apart from strengthening India’s military capacity, Kadakin said Russia is also working its way with Pakistan to prevent cross border terror attacks on India. “We have tried to influence Pakistan to check trans-border terrorism and have spent a lot of energy in directing its efforts in the right direction. We want Pakistan to play much more proactive role in fighting terrorism,” Kadakin said.
Allaying Indian concerns on Russia selling four Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan, Kadakin said Russia will not do even “one milimetre of action” that is detrimental to its “old and strategic partnership” with India. “There should be no worries for India. India has received 151 of Mi-17 helicopters and will be producing several more,” the envoy said.


India, Russia revive 5th-generation fighter aircraft talks; Kamov cost negotiations begin

After a hiatus of nearly a year, India and Russia have revived talks on the much-delayed fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Alsom cost negotiations for the joint production of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters have begun.

A high level Russian delegation is in town to hold negotiations on both the projects, high-level defence sources said. "We have got the clearance to restart the talks. Accordingly, a Russian team is here and cost negotiations began yesterday," the sources said.

India has already pumped in about $290 million into the project but it got delayed because the IAF had some issues. Russia has made a new offer on the delivery of Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) fighter jets to India under the joint FGFA initiative. Under the new offer, India will have to pay $3.7 billion, instead of $6 billion, for the technological know-how and three prototypes of PAK-FA fighters. In 2010, India had agreed to pay $295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter.

The code name of the project in India is perspective multirole fighter (PMF).The Russian delegation will also hold talks with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 200 Kamov 226T light helicopters to replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak, in a deal estimated to be worth $1 billion under the "Make in India" initiative.
 The defence ministry had in August last year scrapped a scam-tainted tender worth over Rs 6,000 crore to procure 197 light utility helicopters for Army and Air Force to replace the fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers, which are used to move troops and equipment to high-altitude locations like Siachen.

Following Russia's offer to manufacture Kamov in India, the defence acquisition council, chaired by defence minister Manohar Parrikar, accepted it.

Though the initial order is only for 200 helicopters, it is likely to be increased later on.


Indo-Russian Kamov chopper JV may rope in private players, Bharat Forge likely contender to make engines

An Indo-Russian joint venture to produce a new series of light military choppers in India is likely to rope in at least one private sector partner for the $1-billion project, with Pune based Bharat Forge emerging as a likely contender to manufacture engines.
With talks on the joint production of over 200 Kamov Ka 226 chopper progressing after an agreement was inked during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow in December, officials have said that there is scope for one or two private sector companies to contribute.
A senior team from Russian Helicopters is currently in New Delhi to sort out technical and financial aspects of the deal which will provide the army much-needed light choppers for operations in high altitude areas like the Siachen glacier where antiquated aircraft like theCheetah helicopters are still operating.


February 10, 2016

‘Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit working at ISI’s behest’

 Describing the meeting between Abdul Basit and Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the national capital as a ‘conspiracy’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday alleged that Pakistan’s High Commissioner is working at the behest of the ISI.
 Expressing his disappointment over the meeting, BJP leader Ravinder Raina said the Pakistan High Commission’s office in Delhi is gradually becoming a den of ‘anti-national’ activities.“Pakistan has been exposed due to the deposition of Headley. Whatever the ISI wants, only that happens in Pakistan. Somewhere, even Basit is working at the behest of the ISI. We won’t tolerate this. I see a conspiracy behind this meeting. This is ridiculous and unacceptable. I will request the Centre to take stern action,” Raina told ANI.
“The meeting is unfortunate. Everyone knows the role of Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Jammu for the last 25-30 years. He is an agent of Pakistan. He is responsible for many murders and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Raina also alleged that even Basit’s credentials are not right, adding that the office of the Pakistan High Commission should be shut without any further delay.
“It is our appeal to the Central Government to probe this and take strict action.
The Pakistan High Commissioner has nothing to do in India. His office should be shut. Pakistan has become a den of terrorists. We should make a policy to destroy the terrorist organisations in Pakistan,” he added.
The Pakistani envoy earlier in the day called on Geelani to inquire about his health and also discussed the issue of Kashmir.
During the meeting, Geelani extended his appreciation towards Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement on account of Kashmir solidarity day.
Geelani alleged that India was trying hard to ‘suppress’ the voices of the people of Kashmir.
Basit assured him that Pakistan would continue to extend ‘moral, political and diplomatic support’ to the people of Kashmir.
The High Commissioner also expressed hope that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute would be settled between Pakistan and India through a dialogue in accordance with the aspirations of the people of the state.
India had earlier called off the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan twice over Basit’s meetings with the separatists.

India Puts Final Touches on $3b Military Deals With Israel

 Before this time next year, Israel is likely to be one of India’s top three arms suppliers.New Delhi is putting the final touches on a package of bilateral military deals and projects planned with Israel totaling $3 billion.
Three of the deals are ready for a final vote by India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) ahead of the first state visit to Israel by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this year. “It should be cleared by the CCS within a month or so,” said an India Ministry of Defense source.

Among the contracts are the sale of 164 ‘Litening-4? or laser-designation pods for IAF fighters like the Sukhoi30-MKIs and Jaguars, and 250 advanced ‘Spice’ precision stand-off bombs capable of taking out fortified enemy underground command centers.
The two countries are still negotiating over the cost for 321 ‘Spike’ anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems and 8,356 missiles, according to the Economic Times. The ATGMs have a strike range of more than 2.5 kilometers and fire-and-forget capability. The Indian Army wants to equip all its 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanized infantry units with ‘Spike’ ATGMs. According to the report, the project would involve an initial off-the-shelf induction followed by large-scale indigenous manufacture by Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL) to equip India’s 1.18-million strong military.
There is also a proposed initial order between DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for an MR-SAM regiment. The systems come with 16 firing units that feature multifunction surveillance and threat-tracking radars as well as weapon control systems. These too will be subsequently produced in bulk by BDL.
If the deals are signed, Israel will be confirmed as one of India’s top three arms suppliers, according to Defense Ministry sources.


Bharat Forge arm forms JV with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

 Auto component major Bharat Forge arm Kalyani Strategic Systems today entered into a joint venture partnership with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to bid for defence programmes in India, including infantry combat vehicle BMP II upgrade.
The joint venture company Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd will look to address programmes in relation to BMP II upgrade, tactical control systems, other advanced systems and other such programmes floated or to be floated by the Ministry of Defence, Bharat Forge said in a BSE filing.
The company, however, did not share details of the JV such as stake holding between the partners.
Bharat Forge has been a key supplier of components to the Indian defence establishment for over 30 years. It has stated that it would focus on capturing opportunity arising out of Make in India initiative of the government through supply of critical components in both defense and aerospace sector.
Rafael develops and manufactures advanced defense systems for the Israeli defense forces and the defense establishment, as well as for foreign customers around the world. It is among the top defence firms in Israel.


February 4, 2016

Rs 37,000 crore of defence ministry’s modernisation budget remains unutilised; army worst spender

Even though several major defence purchases are in their advanced stages, the defence ministry is struggling to exhaust its modernisation funds with almost 40% of the capital budget unspent as the financial year enters its last quarter.
Latest expenditure data with ET show that over Rs 37,000 crore of the defence ministry’s modernisation budget remainsunutilised as of December-end, with the Army struggling the most, having spent only 45% of its capital allocation. In 2014-15 too, the ministry could not spend 22% of the initially allocatedRs 80,545-crore capital budget for the three armed forces.
Eventually, the balance Rs 18,200 crore under the capital head was used mainly for revenue expenses. Of the three forces, the army seems to be the laggard, having failed to exhaust half its modernisation budget.The ministry now faces a situation where a part of its funds earmarked for new purchases and upgrades are likely to be shifted either to the revenue head or returned to the central kitty, in what would be a dent to modernisation efforts.
Official spending numbers obtained by ET indicate that the defence ministry could fall short of its target of signing deals worth over Rs 1 lakh crore. The air force has been able to spend funds at a good pace, with 73% of its Rs 33,657-crore capital budget exhausted.DRDO, meanwhile, has spent 64% of its Rs 7,788-crore allocation. Officials believe the air force may end up overshooting its budget and could pull in funds earmarked for the army and navy.
With several major projects stuck — the M777 howitzer purchase and selfpropelled howitzers, for example — the army is at the bottom of the spending list. Only 45% of its Rs 27,227-crore capital budget has been exhausted till the end of December. The Navy fares slightly better, having spent 57% of its Rs 25,003-crore allocation.
The numbers also reflect an increasing concern on the part of the private sector over the government’s ability to go ahead with major ‘Make in India’ projects that require firm orders.
While there have been several policy changes which have been welcomed by the industry, the lack of substantial orders has been a spoiler.


BEL to showcase gen-next naval systems at IFR

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) will be hitting the shores of R K Beach in Visakhapatnam with a host of gen-next gadgets during the International Fleet Review (IFR2016) set to begin tomorrow. BEL says these home-grown equipment will be part of Maritime Exhibition (MAREX), organised as part of the IFR, being conducted by the Indian Navy.
Dr Ajith T Kalghatgi, Director (R&D) BEL, told OneIndia that at IFR, in addition to exhibiting the company's commitment towards Indian Navy, India's home-grown military might will be on display. "We are participating at IFR2016 with a host of radars, sensors and electronic warfare systems," Dr Kalghargi said. Here's a look the BEL products that will be showcased during the IFR2016. • Hull Mounted Sonar (HUMSA), an advanced active-cum-passive integrated sonar suite which can be fitted on a variety of naval platforms and customised for both small and large ships. • Under Water Communication System (USC), whichprovides a communication channel between surface ships and submarines.

IAC MOD C, an integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Fire Control System for surface ships. • Advanced Composite Communication System (ACCS), an IP-based new generation Integrated Communication System designed to provide external and internal communication for modern warships. • Mareech Missile Fire Control System, an advanced Torpedo Defence System for surface ships. • USHUS, an Integrated Submarine Sonar System. • LYNX UX Gun Fire Control System, a quick reaction, multi-sensor, multiple weapon, for short/medium/long range defence against air/surface/shore targets. • Surface Surveillance Radar for detection and tracking of sea surface and air targets and missiles. • Coastal Surveillance System, a chain of Remote Sensor Stations to provide security cover for coastline. • 2D L-Band Air Surveillance Radar (RAWL-02 Mk II A), a long range air surveillance radar for use onboard large and medium naval ships. • RAWL 03, a multi-function active phased array radar with Solid State Transreceiver for land and naval applications • Software Defined Radio for the Indian Navy. • Link II MoD I Communication System, which establishes Wide Area Network among Naval units (aircraft, ships, submarines, shore establishments, etc) over radio circuits and SATCOM for exchange of tactical data to achieve a common operational picture across platforms.

• ESM for small, medium & large class of ships and submarines. • Light Weight ESM system for helicopters. • Revathi, a 3D Surveillance Radar for use onboard ships for detecting air and surface targets. • Combat Management System (CMS). • Stabilised Optronic Pedestal Mk-II, a day and night surveillance and fire control system that includes a Colour TV Daylight Camera, 3rd generation 3-5 μm FLIR sensor, Laser Range Finder and automatic tracking capabilities, and command and control capabilities. • CoMPASS (Compact Multi Purpose Advanced Stabilized System), a day-and-night surveillance system.
 OneIndia News

Russian choppers a favourite with Indian armed forces

The predominantly Soviet and Russian weaponry that India’s military fired, flew and sailed since the late 1970s has gradually made way for equipment from the United States, France, the UK and, now, even Israel. Yet, in the field of helicopters, Russia reigns supreme.

On Wednesday, Moscow announced delivery of its final batch of three Mi-17V-5 medium lift helicopters, completing delivery of a $3-billion contract for 151 Mi-17V-5 helicopters.

With these delivered, the Russian Helicopters plant in Kazan is gearing up for another impending $1.1-billion contract for supplying 48 more Mi-17V-5 helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Meanwhile, in December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin agreed that Russian Helicopters would build and supply at least 200 Kamov-226T light helicopters for India. That contract is currently being negotiated.

Russia dominates the global helicopter market with rotorcraft renowned for their ruggedness and low cost. According to Russian Helicopters, 8,500 of its choppers are in service worldwide, in over 100 countries. As on 2014, Russian Helicopters built 24 per cent of the world’s military helicopters; 35 per cent of all combat helicopters; and 50 per cent of the medium-heavy transport helicopters.

Last year, for the first time, India signed contracts worth $3-billion for American helicopters — including 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook multi-mission heavy lift helicopters. These would be delivered over the next three years.

Even so, in terms of sheer numbers, Russian Mi-series helicopters have always been the backbone of the IAF chopper fleet. Starting from the 1960s, the IAF bought 110 Mi-4 helicopters, then 128 Mi-8, and finally 160 Mi-17s, totalling up to almost 400 helicopters. In addition, the IAF will now operate almost 200 Mi-17V-5s.

India also bought one squadron of the heavy-lift Mi-26 helicopter, which will soon be replaced by the Chinook CH-47F. The IAF also operated two squadrons of Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters, which the Apache AH-64E will replace.

Besides the IAF, the Indian Navy has also been a big user of Russian helicopters. A range of naval warships, including the new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, embarks the Kamov-28 and Kamov-31 helicopters, which carry out anti-submarine operations and airborne early warning respectively.

Encouragingly, the biggest competitor to Russian Helicopters for Indian military orders is Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The Indian aerospace giant has built four successful light helicopters — the Dhruv Advanced Light helicopter; the Rudra, a Dhruv fitted with weaponry; the light combat helicopter; and the coming light utility helicopter. Once these are fully inducted, India’s military will fly more than 600 indigenous choppers.

The Mi-17V-5, is a more powerful version of the Mi-17 that entered service in the 1980s, with better avionics and night flying ability. The new helicopter is being used to transport troops; supply Indian army outposts on the remote Himalayan border that are unconnected by road, and even transport VIPs.

In 2008, India had signed a contract for 80 Mi-17V-5s; followed by three additional contracts in 2012-13 for 71 more helicopters.

Russian helicopters fly in the Mi-17V-5 in ready-to-assemble kits, and Indian technicians put them together at the IAF depot in Chandigarh. 


February 3, 2016

Indian Helicopters donated to Afghanistan hailed by US

The three Mi-35 Indian multi-role helicopters donated to Afghanistan have made a big difference in the offensive against militants in the war-torn country, the outgoing commander of US forces in Afghanistan has said. The three helicopters were donated during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kabul in December last year.

"They do have three Mi-35s (sic) - really Mi-24s and Mi-35s from India. They'll have a fourth one coming in pretty soon that will add to their inventory," General John Campbell told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan yesterday.The Mi-35, a comprehensive upgrade of the Mi-24, is a versatile helicopter gunship with troop carrying capabilities.

In January, three multi-role Mi-35 attack helicopters donated by India were inducted into the Afghan Air Force, giving the country's security forces a much-needed lethal teeth against militant groups like the Taliban.
The Indian gift to Afghanistan has been hailed by the people and government of Afghanistan, and also by the US.

Campbell's remarks on India's donation of attack helicopters came in response to a question from Congressman Rob Wittman who wanted to know about the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.

Campbell, who has commanded US and international forces in Afghanistan for the past 18 months, is expected to retire. Lieutenant General John Nicholson has been chosen by President Barack Obama to replace Campbell.


Boeing wants to manufacture F18 fighter jets in India, multi-billion dollar deal on the anvil

Boeing has shown keen interest to make F/A-18 fighter jets in India, as a part of PM Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' scheme.

The manufacturing of F/A-18 fighter jets, which are a mainstay of the US navy, can seal a multi-billion contract from Boeing that is regarded as one of the world's biggest military spenders.

"We are taking a hard look at the opportunity for the F18 fighter jet as an area where we can build industrial capacity, supply chain partnerships, technical depth, design and manufacturing capability in India, providing an operational capability that is useful for Indian defence forces," said Boeing chief executive officer Dennis A Muilenburg, adding 'Make in India' is an enabler aligned with that strategy.Boeing is banking on the delay of Rafale jets, which won over F/A-18.

"Our intent here is to build an industrial framework for the long run that builds on the aerospace investments being made not only by programme, but also by long-term industrial capacity that is globally competitive," said Muilenburg.

The Indian government wants to give fillip to Make in India are end the country's dependency on foreign arms makers.

Boeing is also in talks with SpiceJet that will likely translate into a large plane order.

- businessinsider

France Pitches For Naval Version Of Rafale

As India and France work on the deal for 36 Rafale jets for the IAF, a high-level team of Dassault Aviation met senior officials, pitching for the naval version of the fighter plane for the country's next indigenous aircraft carrier - Vishal.

Sources in the know said the team from France gave a detailed presentation to senior Navy officers on various aspects of the naval version and the benefits it would offer with two arms of defence forces using Rafale fighter jets.

The Air Force is set to acquire 36 Rafale aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation under agovernment-to government deal.

The development comes when the Navy is in the 'design phase' of the next aircraft carrier project.

Sources said India had written to four countries, including France, seeking proposals for the design of the aircraft carrier that will have over 50 planes on board.While India currently operates two aircraft carriers-INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat-- the latter is set to be decommissioned soon. The country's first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant is already under construction in Kochi and is scheduled to be handed over to the Navy by end of 2018.

The Navy will deploy MiG 29K fighter aircraft on Vikrant. However, it is not clear if it will stick to MiG 29K or go in for a new aircraft for Vishal.

As per the Navy's plan, Vishal would be a 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier, about 300 metres in length and around 70 metres in width. While the exact propulsion system for it has not been decided yet, sources indicated it could well be a nuclear apparatus.


February 1, 2016

New radar system for PAK FA fighter

Russia's fifth-generation PAK FA fighter jet is likely to get a photonics-based radar system in the early 2020s, which can view stealth aircraft at distances beyond the range of air-to-air missiles.
 A working model of the new radar, radio-optical phased array antenna (ROFAR), being developed by the state-owned Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET), should be ready in 2018.
The main advantage of ROFAR is the width of its transmission frequency. While the transmission frequency of a modern radar system is 10 GHz, with ROFAR it can reach 100 GHz.

How does ROFAR work?

"In practice, this means that ROFAR can produce a detailed 3D image of what is happening hundreds of kilometres away. For example, at 400 kilometers it can not only see a person, but even recognize their face", said Vladimir Mikheyev, Advisor to KRET's First Deputy CEO.
According to KRET, the future ROFAR will be half the weight of the conventional radar system currently being developed for the fifth-generation fighter. Simultaneously, the resolution will be ten times better, making it possible to "virtually get a TV picture in the radar range".

Additional advantages

The use of radio-frequency photonic technology enables a significant reduction of aircraft visibility within the infrared spectrum, and of fuel consumption. This is possible because of the high efficiency of the future radar system, which will produce several times less heat. The developers will not have to include an additional powerful cooling system, which would significantly increase the mass of the product, and require electricity generated by the aircraft's engines at the cost of burning fuel.
It will not be possible to block ROFAR through high-power jamming. For jammers, the range of the electronic warfare system must be greater than that of the radio receiver, which is physically impossible with photonics-based radar.
If the ROFAR project is successfully completed, the technology will not only be used for airborne radar systems. According to Mikheyev, equipping Russian naval ships with ROFAR would make it possible to reduce the weight of on-board antenna systems by around 80-85%.
 A fly in the ointment
The announcements from the Russian manufacturers sound optimistic, but economic realities, shortcomings in organization and management, and difficulties with training and recruiting personnel may hinder implementation of these ideas. Russia still has problems mass-producing airborne active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems like those the U.S. has, not only on its fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft, but also on its latest fourth-generation F-16 and F-15 fighters. The only Russian AESA radar system, Zhuk-A, designed for the MiG-35, was first unveiled in 2009 but was still at the testing stage at the end of 2015.
The Russian government has allocated 680 million rubles (less than $10 million) to the entire ROFAR program. In comparison, the U.S. Department of Defence allocated $110 million dollars in photonics in 2014, and plans to raise at least as much from private investors.
Not only Russia and the U.S.A. are involved in this technology race. Scientists from Italy unveiled a working model of a photonics-based radar system in March 2013. And Jean-Loïc Galle, Executive Vice-President at France's Thales Group, said the company is stepping up work in this area.
With such global competition, the announcements from Russia's KRET that working technology is to be built in the near future sound almost like a challenge, and represent a further test of the mettle of Russia's defence 

106 upgraded Tejas jets to replace MiGs

The Ministry of Defence has decided to locally produce 106 upgraded Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” jets to replace the ageing fleet of MiG fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The “Tejas Mark 1-A” will have 43 improvements over the existing Tejas currently being test-flown by the IAF for various parameters and slated for final operation clearance in March. The existing project is running years behind schedule. Sources told The Tribune that a decision has been taken to produce 106 “Tejas Mark 1-A” jets and the same has been conveyed to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), besides the manufacturer — Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a public sector undertaking owned by MoD. The MoD has set a 2018 deadline for the first aircraft to be ready with a target to complete its production by 2022-2023. In September, new specifications were agreed upon and the IAF accepted 43 modifications that could be carried out without changing the existing design.
  On the list of modifications are five major improvements, including an AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar, which the HAL will co-develop with Israel firm Elta; air-to-air refuelling facility; externally fitted self-protection jammer to prevent incoming enemy missiles from homing in using radar signature; and a new layout, involving 27 modifications, of internal systems to iron out maintenance issues. The plane will be 1,000 kg lighter than the existing version, which currently weighs 6,500 kg, but will use the same engine — General Electric’s 404. “The power of the engine is more than enough,” said a senior functionary. Fitting the newer and more powerful GE-414 engine would entail fresh design and airframe studies. 
The HAL has been asked to produce 16 jets annually and a Rs 1,252-crore modernisation plan has been okayed to ramp up capacities from the present six-seven planes annually.The decision will go a long way in keeping the IAF battle-ready.  The upgraded jets will fill the void created by MiG-21s and MiG-27s that will be phased out by 2022. There are 260 Soviet-era single-engine MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets in the IAF fleet. The air force needs 400 jets over the next 10 years.


DRDO Gears up for Canister Launch of Agni-V

 The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is preparing for the second canisterised launch of India’s most potent home-grown surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile Agni-V.  Sources said preparations have begun at the Abdul Kalam Island test facility for the test scheduled in the last week of February. As the missile has to traverse across the Indian Ocean, all logistic issues are to be fixed prior to the launch. The missile has a strike range of more than 5,000 km, the longest one in the arsenal.
A defence official associated with the mission said since Agni-V is a complex system and the attempt is to fire it from a canister, scientists are on the job to achieve greater accuracy. “The missile will be fired from the confines of its canister, a hermetically-sealed airtight container mounted on a road-mobile Tatra truck,” he said.
According to DRDO, the missile is among the best in its class in the world with its advanced ring-laser gyros, composite rocket motors and highly accurate micro-navigation systems and inertial navigation systems.
As Agni-V incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance, its accuracy level is far higher than 700-km range Agni-I, 2,000-km range Agni-II and 3,000-km range Agni-III.
The canister-launch system will give the armed forces the requisite operational flexibility to promptly transport the ballistic missile and launch it from a place of their choice. The DRDO is also working on the canister version of other Agni series of missiles including Agni-I, Agni-III and Agni-IV, the official informed.
So far three tests of Agni-V, including one canister version, have been conducted. The missile will be inducted in the armed forces after two to three more tests. “The next focus will be more on multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) and manoeuvring warheads to defeat enemy ballistic missile defence systems,” said a DRDO scientist.
With MIRV features each missile can be capable of carrying two to 10 separate nuclear warheads and each warhead can be assigned to a different target, hundreds of kms away from each other and alternatively, two or more warheads can be assigned to one target.
Developed by the DRDO, the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V can target all of Asia and parts of Africa and Europe. It is part of the Agni series of missiles developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).  The three-stage, 17-metre tall, two-metre wide Agni-V, weighing 50 tonnes, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes. Capable of destroying enemy satellites, this missile flies at a speed of Mach 24.