January 31, 2017

India's Proposed Naval Fighter Jet Procurement Could Be Worth US$12 Billion

The Indian Navy’s January 17 RFI for the procurement of 57 naval fighters could be worth US$12 billion for the selected foreign supplier.

India needs the fighter jets for its second aircraft carrier being locally built at the Cochin shipyard. The carrier along with the existing INS Vikramaditya which houses only MiG-29 K fighters are expected to be the bulwark of the Indian Navy’s force projection.

The price of the contract has been estimated on the cost of each carrier borne jet at around US$200 million each if it were a western fighter or under US$100 million if it were to be a Russian jet.

The likely contenders for the contract can be Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, a naval version of the Dassault Rafale, Russian Su-33 that were used in the recent Syrian operations and another Russian-carrier based fighter, the MiG-29K Fulcrum fighter jet. India operates a total of sixteen MiG-29Ks from the carrier INS Vikramaditya and the navy is expected to take deliveries of all 45 MiG-29K fighters, which began in late 2009, this year.

Saab has earlier offered its Sea Gripen, the naval version of Gripen NG to India. The Sea Gripen is intended for both CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Sea Gripen is the only aircraft that fits with the intended RFI’s terms for aircraft which can operate in both CATOBAR and STOBAR take-off and landing systems.

The selection of the aircraft will depend on what launch system will be used aboard the new carries currently under construction.

It is still not clear if the procurement will have a ‘make-in-India’ component or it will be a fully foreign import like the MiG-29K or the recently purchased Dassault Rafale for the Indian Air Force.

The INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, are both fitted with so-called ski-jump assisted Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) launch systems for launching aircraft, whereas the second carrier of the new Vikrant-class, the INS Vishal, will likely use a catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) aircraft launch system, incorporating the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) technology.

In November 2016, Indian Navy revealed INS Vishal planned to be launched by 2030 and not carry MiG-29Ks but a new generation of probably CATOBAR aircraft. This will open up opportunities for competitors, in particular France and the United States, to push their naval combat aircraft, or even other Russian aircraft.

According to the RFI, ‘the aircraft, single- or twin-seat (or available as both), should be able to perform Short Take-off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) or Catapult Take-off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations or both’.

Russian Sukhoi Su-33 single-seat ship-based STOBAR fighter can easily take-off at max load of 32000kg from 110m. The aircraft was used in Syrian operations. Only the Russian MiG-29K and Su-33 are STOBAR configured.

The French Naval Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier with active CATOBAR uses Rafale M fighter jets.

Last April, the US agreed to share catapult technology with India on the new launching and landing systems being installed on the latest US aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

India wants to move to a flat-deck design for its aircraft carriers, former US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had said that the US is "more than willing" to share its catapult technology for launching fighter jets off carriers.


Local Spare Parts Manufacture – to Replace Import?

Russia has granted permission to local defense companies to establish partnerships with Indian defense companies to supply, service and jointly manufacture spares for use by Indian defense forces.
So far, Russian Rosoboronexport is the sole contractor for spares for a variety of Russian defense platforms and weapons in use by the Indian defense forces, which as been the case for the last five decades.
Indian defense companies are not permitted to tie up directly with Russian manufacturing companies for the supply of additional spares, and subsystems and all contracts are routed through Rosoboronexport. “Supply of spares on time and on ‘right price’ has been the main problem with Russian systems, and overall problems of spares is critical,” a top Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) official said.
According to defensenews.com, the Indian Navy is still coping with issues in the procurement of critical spare parts for its Russian submarines, warships and aircraft carriers, missiles, electronic warfare control systems, radar communication tools, and navigation systems.
Shyam Kumar Singh, a retired Indian Navy captain, said: “All sales of military equipment and spares were only through Rosoboronexport. It made the items expensive”.
“The lack of standardization, high cost and variable quality has been the main problem with Russian spares,” Vivek Rae, MoD’s former director general for defense acquisition explained.
India has been negotiating with Russia for a long time to allow direct ties between the suppliers of spares in Russia and Indian companies. “But Rosoboronexport was always reluctant to transfer technology of making spares,” Rae added.
However, Bharat Karnad, a professor of national security studies at the Centre for Policy Research, said that “the Indian armed services/MoD/Department of Defence Production have failed to bring their spares requirements in sync with the Soviet/Russian stores’ indenting and production processes.”
Since the early 1960s, India is estimated to have acquired military equipment worth billions of dollars from Moscow, which now provides for more than 60 percent of the equipment inventory. But the current serviceability state of this equipment, particularly those with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy, is less than 50 percent because of a lack of spares.
The problem is particularly acute in the case of the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft, which is made under license here by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. More than 200 Su-30 fighters are already in service with the IAF. In addition, the IAF and Army Mi-series helicopter fleet also faces a shortage of spares.
Suggesting ways to improve the supply of spares, an IAF official said: “Long-term supply agreements and long-term repair agreements with (Russian) original equipment manufacturers is the solution.”
And the top MoD official offered: “Mandatory spares should be procured for at least two-year requirements except life-critical consumables.” 


January 30, 2017

Tulip: The heaviest mortar in the world

The self-propelled 2S4 Tyulpan (Russian for tulip) is currently the heaviest mortar deployed in the world.
Designed in 1975, it was actively used in the Afghan and Chechen conflicts.
Five crewmen are required to deploy the mortar into firing position. The mortar can swiftly change its location after launching an attack against the enemy.
The 240-mm mortar is capable of destroying fortified buildings and the enemy’s manpower and armour at a distance of up to 20 km.
The 2S4 can fire the 276-pound Smel’chak (Russian for daredevil) shell, which is guided by a separate laser designator.
Russia has over 400 units that are gradually being brought back into service after being stored for a long time.
Dozens of mortars are being used by the Syrian army in the on-going conflict.


Stealth frigates deal with Russia stumbles on costs

The multi-billion dollar deal between India and Russia for four stealth frigates has run into trouble over pricing and local construction with Transfer of Technology (ToT).
India and Russia had signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four additional Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates during bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in October last year. As per the agreement, two ships are to be procured directly from Russia and two to be built in India with Russian assistance.
In the commercial offer submitted later, Russia has quoted about $990 mn for the two ships to be directly imported. For those to be built in India, the commercial offer quoted about $800 mn for “supply of material to ensure construction of the two ships in India” and $51 mn for “supply of project documentation” to ensure their construction. The cost of construction of the two ships in an Indian yard — yet to be identified — was to be arrived at later.
Defence sources said this would steeply push up the overall cost of the two ships and it was seen as a way to ensure that all four ships were imported from Russia. “It will be a serious setback to the Make-in-India initiative,” one official observed.
The basic structures of the two frigates are already ready at Yantar shipyard in Russia and will be finished once the contract is finalised.
The issue was discussed in detail by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) at its meeting on November 7 which “compared the cost differential in the ships to be brought from Russia and those proposed to be built in India,” sources said.
It has been decided that identification of the shipyard to be deferred till the cost for the construction of the ships in India was not cleared.
Officials said the DAC has given approval to initiate cost negotiations for the both parts of the proposal but it was decided that “decision on procurement of two ships from Russia cannot be initiated unless details of ToT, cost etc of balance two ships are found acceptable.”
“The Navy has conveyed its concerns to Russia. They were told that we will either take all four ships or none,” official sources added.
India had earlier procured six frigates of the same class weighing 4,000 tonnes in two different batches.


Pakistan could be included in immigration ban list in future, says White House

There is a possibility in the future of including Pakistan in the list of countries from where immigration has been banned, a top White House official indicated on Sunday, acknowledging for the first time that Pakistan was under consideration to be put in that category. “The reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, told CBS News.
Trump has issued a controversial executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia. “Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries,” Priebus said.
This is for the first time that the Trump Administration has publicly acknowledged about considering putting Pakistan into that list. Currently as per the executive order, visitors from countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan are subject to extreme vetting. Priebus said the executive orders were signed after a lot of planning. “We’re not going to advertise to the world that we’re going to put a stop or at least a further vetting on travel in and out of our country from these seven places,” he said. “Some people have suggested, that, well, maybe we should have given everyone a three-day warning.
 But that would just mean that a terrorist would just move up their travel plans by three days. Identifying too many people in these countries and giving them a heads-up in these countries would only potentially flag the executive order for bad order,” Priebus said. “The President has a call with leadership in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and other countries around world. And I’m sure this topic may come up,” he said.Priebus asserted that Americans have to be protected first.
 “These are countries that harbour and train terrorists. These are countries that we want to know who is coming and going in and out of to prevent calamities from happening in this country,” he said.”We’re not willing to be wrong on this subject. President Trump is not willing to take chances on this subject. He was elected president in many respects because people knew that he was going to be tough on immigration from countries that harbour terrorists,” Priebus said. “I can’t imagine too many people out there watching this right now think it’s unreasonable to ask a few more questions from someone traveling in and out of Libya and Yemen before being let loose in the United States. And that’s all this is,” he said.

There is a possibility in the future of including Pakistan in the list of countries from where immigration has been banned, a top White House official indicated on Sunday, acknowledging for the first time that Pakistan was under consideration to be put in that category. “The reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, told CBS News. Trump has issued a controversial executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia. “Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries,” Priebus said. This is for the first time that the Trump Administration has publicly acknowledged about considering putting Pakistan into that list. Currently as per the executive order, visitors from countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan are subject to extreme vetting. Priebus said the executive orders were signed after a lot of planning. “We’re not going to advertise to the world that we’re going to put a stop or at least a further vetting on travel in and out of our country from these seven places,” he said. “Some people have suggested, that, well, maybe we should have given everyone a three-day warning. But that would just mean that a terrorist would just move up their travel plans by three days. Identifying too many people in these countries and giving them a heads-up in these countries would only potentially flag the executive order for bad order,” Priebus said. “The President has a call with leadership in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and other countries around world. And I’m sure this topic may come up,” he said.Priebus asserted that Americans have to be protected first.

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January 28, 2017

Russia and India to develop BrahMos light cruise missile for PAK FA 5th-generation jet

The BrahMos light cruise missile will be mounted both in submarines’ torpedo launchers and on Russia’s fifth-generation T-50 PAK FA (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) fighter jet, CEO and General Designer of the Machine-Building R&D Consortium Alexander Leonov said on Friday. “We are working on the missile’s light version.
 It should fit the size of a torpedo tube and be almost 1.5 times smaller by its weight. It will be possible to mount our airborne missile on a wide range [of aircraft]. Of course, we’ll be developing it, first of all, for the fifth-generation plane but, possibly, it will be mounted on the MiG-35 fighter, although we have not carried out such developments,” he said.
The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the product of Russia’s Machine-Building Research and Development Consortium and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, which set up BrahMos Aerospace joint venture in 1998. The missile’s name comes from the names of two rivers: the Indian Brahmaputra of and the Russian Moscow river. The missile has a range of 290 km and carries a warhead weighing from 200 to 300 kg.

The BrahMos light cruise missile will be mounted both in submarines’ torpedo launchers and on Russia’s fifth-generation T-50 PAK FA (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) fighter jet, CEO and General Designer of the Machine-Building R&D Consortium Alexander Leonov said on Friday. “We are working on the missile’s light version. It should fit the size of a torpedo tube and be almost 1.5 times smaller by its weight. It will be possible to mount our airborne missile on a wide range [of aircraft]. Of course, we’ll be developing it, first of all, for the fifth-generation plane but, possibly, it will be mounted on the MiG-35 fighter, although we have not carried out such developments,” he said. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the product of Russia’s Machine-Building Research and Development Consortium and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, which set up BrahMos Aerospace joint venture in 1998. The missile’s name comes from the names of two rivers: the Indian Brahmaputra of and the Russian Moscow river. The missile has a range of 290 km and carries a warhead weighing from 200 to 300 kg.

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CCI clears Reliance-Dassault JV

Competition Commission today approved the proposed joint venture between Anil Ambani-led group firm Reliance Aerostructure and Rafale-maker Dassault Aviation, one of the major deals in India's private defence industry.

The proposed combination relates to the setting up of a joint venture between Reliance Aero and Dassault -- Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, in which Reliance Aero would hold 51 per cent shares, with the remaining 49 per cent to be held by Dassault.

Fair trade regulator CCI said in a tweet that it has approved setting up of this JV. Deals beyond a certain threshold require approval from CCI, which keeps a tab on unfair business practices across sectors.

The JV, which was announced by the two companies in October last year, aims to be a "key player" in execution of offset contract worth about Rs 22,000 crore as part of the multi-billion euro Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.

The strategic partnership between Dassault and Reliance will also focus on promoting research and development projects under the IDDM programme (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured), a key initiative of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.


Russia to Set Up MiG-29 Fighter Jet After-Sales Service Center in India in 2017

Vice-president of the United Aircraft Corporation for innovations said that Russia will open an after-sales service center in India for maintenance of the MiG-29 fighter jets.Russia will open an after-sales service center in India for maintenance of the MiG-29 fighter jets, Sergey Korotkov, the vice-president of the United Aircraft Corporation for innovations, said Friday.
“We offer the contractual after-sales service to our foreign clients. Beside the delivery of the aircraft, we are ready to create the maintenance centers on the territory of the client … Such a center to service MiG-29 jets is expected to be opened in India in 2017,” Korotkov told reporters.
The MiG-29 fighter jets, developed in the Soviet Union in 1980s, are currently used in 29 countries across the world.


January 27, 2017

Russia looks to sell MiG-35 fighters to India

With the Indian Air Force reportedly looking to relaunch a tender for the purchase of multi-role fighters, a senior official from United Aircraft Corporation is hoping that New Delhi explores buying the newly unveiled MiG-35 4++ generation multipurpose fighter.Russia hopes that an Indian tender for the purchase of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will be relaunched, and that India would consider buying the latest MiG-35 fighter jet, Konstantin Biryulin, Advisor to the President of the United Aircraft Corporation told RIA Novosti on Jan. 27.
Dassault Rafale won India’s 2011 MMRCA tender to supply 126 multi-role fighters.  However, liability and quality assurance issues led to negotiations breaking down with Dassault. In 2016, India purchased 36 Rafale multi-role fighters in fly-away condition.
The Indian Air Force aims to field up to 45 squadrons within the next decade and is woefully short of modern fighters.  Indian media reports suggest that a MMRCA tender will be relaunched.

Biryulin believes that the MiG-35 may evoke the interest of India, which has a range of the MiG aircraft such as the MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29.
The MiG-35 was officially unveiled on Jan. 27.  Russian President Vladimir Putin watched the commencement of flight tests of the aircraft via video conference.
The MiG-35, a 4++ generation multipurpose fighter, is an advanced version of the MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft. It is designed to destroy aircraft as well as moving and stationary ground and surface targets in any weather condition.
Viktor Bondarev, Commander of Russia’s Aerospace Forces said recently that the MiG-35 would replace all Russian light fighters in a phased manner.


Indian Navy Pitches for Three More Multirole Fighter Squadrons

The Indian Navy has finally decided to rest speculation whether it will opt for a home-developed combat jet or import them for its aircraft carriers.

It has sought information from global manufacturers for 57 multi role carrier-borne fighters. "Multi role fighters are intended as day and night capable, all-weather multi-role deck based combat aircraft which can be used for air defense, air-to-surface operations, buddy refueling, reconnaissance and EW missions from Indian Naval aircraft carriers," reads document issued for global suppliers.

Apart from some basic guidelines for procurement, Indian Navy has sought answers on the configuration in 55 pages on a range of issues like electronic warfare capability, endurance and payload. Indian government is desirous of license production of the aircraft after acquiring Transfer of technology in the case.

The Indian Navy has asked global manufacturers questions like whether the twin- seat variant retains all operational attributes of the single seat variant (radar, air to air refueling)?

It also asked for the capability of long/ medium range Beyond Visual Range air to air missiles, short range anti-ship missiles, precision guided munitions and unguided munitions which will be integrated on the aircraft and likely to be offered to Indian Navy.

Indian Navy also wants to know from the global manufacturers whether the aircraft has a swing-role capability for the simultaneous carriage of strike weapons and air-to-air missiles.

"Does the aircraft have capability to operate from both STOBAR (Short Take-off But Arrested Recovery) and CATOBAR (Catapult Take-off But Arrested Recovery) aircraft carriers without any modification to the aircraft?" another question.

Selected aircraft will operate from indigenously developed Vikrant aircraft carrier which will be conventional ski jump based STOBAR layout. Configuration for second aircraft carrier has not yet been finalized.

Swedish Saab has claimed that its single engine Sea Gripen has capability to operate from both STOBAR/CATOBAR. Russian made MiG-29K also operates from STOBAR. Both these fighter will receive major competition from India's own LCA Navy MK2, as it may find favor from Indian government to promote Make in India component.

Only last month, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanma had rung the alarm when he said the indigenous LCA Navy MK-1Tejas was too heavy for aircraft carriers and not fit in current form.

If the Indian Navy wants fighters for CATOBAR, Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault's Rafale M and Lockheed Martin's F-35C will find place in this competition.

However, the winner of the competition will have to invest 30 per cent of commercial value under offset contracts. Request for information indicates that delivery for the aircraft is expected only after 2021; by the time India's LCA NAVY MK-2 may prove to be a tough competitor for offerings by foreign firms.


January 25, 2017

Despite grim trends, hope for more funds to buoy India’s defence

India’s military spending has averaged an annual increase of around 10% during the last three years and the trend of a marginal growth in allocation is likely to reflect in the Union budget this year for the defence sector.

The country’s defence planners and experts believe the spending has not been balanced and falls short of expectations of a military laden with obsolete weapons and equipment ranging from fighter planes, submarines, air defence systems to helicopters.

The military expenditure, excluding defence pensions, went up from Rs 2.29 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2.58 lakh crore in 2016-17. However, the outlay for modernisation dropped from Rs 94,587.95 crore to Rs 87,209.63 crore during the same period, much to the disappointment of the military that is struggling to scale up its capabilities.

From basic gear such as bulletproof vests, night-vision equipment and assault rifles to hi-tech platforms like warplanes and next-generation submarines, several of India’s defence modernisation programmes are making slow progress and facing funding challenge.

The budget has to cater for making payments for defence deals already signed as well as big-ticket contracts likely to be finalised in the short to medium term, experts said. The government has placed orders worth billions of dollars for new fighter jets, attack helicopters, heavy-lift choppers and ultra lightweight howitzers for which staggered payments have to be made.

India’s defence spending is poor measured against the country’s gross domestic product. The budget for 2016-17, excluding pensions, accounts for 1.72% of the GDP, though experts argue it should be in the region of 3% to counter China’s growing military might.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in December, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said he would like India to earmark 3% of its GDP for military spending but added that the target could not be achieved overnight.

Strategic affairs expert Brigadier (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal said at 1.72% of the GDP, the defence budget has been the lowest since the 1962 war with China. “This is grossly inadequate to upgrade the military’s capabilities to deal with the threats and challenges India faces,” Kanwal said.

He said the government must institute a rolling modernisation fund of Rs 1 lakh crore and the defence allocation should be at least 2% of the GDP in the upcoming budget. “It should be gradually raised to 3% if we are to avoid another military debacle.”

Kanwal also flagged concerns about the defence ministry surrendering unspent money almost every year, despite low budgetary allocation. The ministry failed to spend Rs 11,595 crore of its capital budget earmarked for buying new weapons and systems last year, besides over Rs 6,700 crore of the expenditure budget for meeting the military’s day-to-day expenses remained unutilised.

Lieutenant General DB Shekatkar (retd), chairperson of the Shekatkar committee that has submitted its recommendations to the government to sharpen India’s combat edge and dealt with budgetary issues too, said the gradual decline in military spending over the years would impact India’s combat potential and endurance.

“This fact is not hidden from China and Pakistan,” Shekatkar said. “Ideally, the budget should be 3% of the GDP. But if there are financial constraints, it still needs to be around 2.2% in the upcoming budget considering India’s security challenges and the threat of a two-front war,” he said.

Lieutenant General (retd) AS Lamba, a former army vice chief, said the government had cleared the decks for buying a wide range of military equipment and the budget would have to cater for the backlog in modernisation.


India-France sign 'White Shipping Agreement' to share Maritime Intelligence in IOR to check China

India and France has signed White Shipping agreement to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) amid China's expanding naval forays in the area where India wants to establish itself as the net security provider.

The agreement was signed on January 19 here when the two sides held their second dialogue on maritime cooperation for the Indian Ocean Region.

The White Shipping Agreement will be implemented over the next few months enabling Navies of India and France to coordinate their roles in stabilising Indo-Pacific region, persons familiar with the developments indicated. It will enhance Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the region.

The Indo-French dialogue also emphasised on Freedom of Navigation in IOR and Pacific in the backdrop of China's territorial claims and dominance in the South China Sea region.

Delhi and Paris have been coordinating their naval movements and surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region over the last couple of years. France retains interests and assets with territories like Reunion Islands in the IOR. It is no secret that China's expanding interests in IOR with presence in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives has been closely followed by Delhi which has key security and trade interests in the IOR as the biggest country in the region.

It may be recalled that India and France firmed up cooperation on sharing of radars in the Indian Ocean during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Paris in 2015. While India is setting up a grid of coastal surveillance radars in the IOR that will enable it to monitor, among other things, the increasing Chinese presence in the area, France has interest in sharing data from surveillance systems on its Indian Ocean territories.

French territories in the region include Mayotte, besides military bases in UAE and Djibouti.

India's coastal surveillance radars have been set up in Sri Lanka (6), Mauritius (8) and Seychelles (1) as well as in Maldives. Beijing has been seeking to expand its footprints in the IOR as part of the grand Maritime Silk Route under overarching Belt & Road Initiative, according to experts who have followed these developments closely. Besides Beijing wants to safeguard the Sea Lanes of Communication through which its trade passes amid growing incidents of piracy along Africa's Eastern coast. Seychelles has been viewed by China as a possible replenishment port for navy ships taking part in anti-piracy operations in the region.

The Indian Navy has been following the Chinese anti-piracy movements in the region with some concern, given the fact that Beijing has steadily increased the size and frequency of its deployments. The recent trend of China sending nuclear attack submarines for anti-piracy missions - akin to using an elephant gun to hunt mice - has left little doubt that the presence is here to stay and surveillance is key to India's strategic interests.


DRDO's 70-km-long Pinaka multi-rocket launch is latest boost to Indian Army's armoury

Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher can be used to carry out surgical strikes even without crossing the border.
The Indian Army has a new weapon to flaunt, with Defence Research and Development Organisition (DRDO) having developed a multiple rocket launcher - Pinaka for it with a range of 70kms.
Pinaka rockets will be bought for an estimated cost of Rs 40 crore for 22 regiments of multi-barrel rockets launchers.
  1. Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher system is an indigenous weapon system designed and developed by DRDO and produced in collaboration with L&T and Tata Power SED in India only.
  2. The system was used effectively in Kargil war.
  3. DRDO on Tuesday tested a new version of the rockets which can be guided to land bang on enemy targets.
  4. It can be used to carry out surgical strikes even without crossing the border.
  5. It will also help in reducing the weapon system requirements for the Army.
  6. It can also help reduce requirements for imported Russian Smerch long range rocket systems.
  7. Army has already inducted 10 regiments of the Pinaka missiles in its artillery wing.
  8. Missile deployed on both Pakistan and China borders.

January 24, 2017

No Torpedoes for India's Second Scorpene Submarine

India has launched the second French Scorpene-class submarine, but the Khanderi will not be equipped with torpedoes because the $200 million tender to buy them remains undecided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) since it was created five years ago.
The MoD has put on hold the acquisition of 98 Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes, to be mounted on Scorpene submarines from WASS, a subsidiary of Italian firm Leonardo.
Plans to procure Black Shark torpedoes for the Indian Navy from WASS was canceled in May, an MoD spokesman confirmed with Defense News last year. The decision came in the wake of corruption charges involving another subsidiary of Leonardo, AgustaWestland and the Indian National Congress political party.
With the Khanderi's launch on Thursday, the sub is set to undergo rigorous trials until the end of the year. When the trials are over, the sub will be commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Khanderi, an Indian Navy official explained.
The MoD expects the sub to be delivered to the Navy by mid-2017.
"The force strength of submarines is very low at this point. The reason for this situation is the closure of Shisumar (German HDW) class project and delay in the Scorpene project. The existing submarines are less than 25 years old. With this background, launch of the second submarine at [state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited] MDL is of great importance," retired Indian Navy Captain Shyam Kumar Singh offered.
However, Anil Jai Singh, a retired Indian Navy commodore and defense analyst, believes there is still room for improvement in India's submarine industry. "Submarine construction in India will truly come of age when we are able to design and build our own submarines. The first two Scorpene submarines have been built in India to complete specifications provided by DCNS France. In this case, most of the submarine is imported with some indigenous content," he said.
The Khanderi is part of six Scorpene-class submarines being built by MDL under a $3.5 billion contract signed in 2004 between India and DCNS of France.
The Scorpene-building program is behind by more than three years and its cost has escalated by more than $1 billion. The first of the six Scorpene-class subs, Kalvari, is at sea but is yet to be officially inducted, the Indian Navy official noted.
The program's delay has been attributed by MoD officials to low-level absorption of complex technology during its early years, augmentation of MDL infrastructure and procurement of MDL-purchased material.
An Australian newspaper on Aug. 24, 2016, reported that thousands of pages of presumably secret submarine documents were on the loose. The news threatened the operational security of India’s new Scorpene-class submarines, prompting India's MoD to decide against mounting French air-independent propulsion systems on the last of the two Scorpene subs, leaving the possibility of additional orders remote.
"Considering the time frame of first submarine to be commissioned by 2018 and optimistically one every year, the current program will go on till 2023. Placement of further orders with old specifications may not be prudent at this stage," Singh said.
The strength of the Indian Navy's submarines has dwindled from a total of 21 submarines in the 1980s to 13 conventional submarines plus one homemade Arihant-class nuclear submarine and one Russian Akula-class submarine operating on lease. China, in comparison, has a strength of 65 subs, which "is a matter concern," the Indian Navy official said.

Disappointing private industry, MoD handing Rs 5,000 crore BMP-2 upgrade to Ordnance Factory Board

On Tuesday, in a negative signal that will resonate discouragingly through India’s private defence industry, the ministry of defence (MoD) plans to kill competitive tendering for a Rs 5,000 crore project to upgrade the army’s 1,500 BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles (ICVs). Instead the project is being gifted to the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), without competition.
Capable private firms like Larsen & Toubro, Tata Motors, the Mahindras, Reliance Defence and Alpha Design Technology Ltd (ADTL) are being entrusted with designing, developing and manufacturing a high-tech Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) for the army, a “Make in India” contract about to be awarded. But they have been eliminated, without explanation, from the relatively simple task of upgrading the BMP-2 to grant it a lease of life until the FICV enters service.
This despite repeated assurances from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that he will treat private defence firms as partners on par with defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and the OFB. Successive Defence Procurement Policies (DPPs) have promised a “level playing field” for the private sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has exhorted private industry to spearhead “Make in India” in defence.
Despite the MoD’s “nomination” of the OFB for the BMP-2 upgrade, private defence firms are fighting to remain in the fray. On Friday, industry chamber, Ficci, wrote to the MoD, requesting permission for industry to present its case at a crucial Tuesday meeting of the Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorization Higher Committee (SCAPCHC), which will rule on who will upgrade the BMP-2.
After silence from the ministry, industry representatives met MoD officials on Monday afternoon to press their case. Sources say permission has been granted.
“If the ministry hands the OFB the BMP-2 upgrade on a platter, it will prove what we have always feared --- that we will always get step-motherly treatment because there is no political will to expose the DPSUs and OFB to market competition”, says a private industry CEO, bitterly.
The BMP-2, which the Indian Army calls the Sarath, is a tracked, armoured vehicle that carries three crewmembers and a “stick” of seven fully armed infantrymen. It can move cross-country at 45 kilometres per hour, keeping up with tanks and providing mechanised formations with mobile infantry to occupy the ground that tanks overrun.
Since the BMP-2 upgrade was first announced last March, it was to be a competitive programme featuring the private sector. Between March-June 2016, the army issued four separate Requests for Information (RFIs), soliciting interest from private firms in fitting the BMP-2 with a new, more powerful engine than its current 300 Horse Power engine; increasing its firepower with newer, more capable gun controls and electronics; and fitting a more modern, accurate anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) than the old Konkurs missiles it currently carries.
More than 20 private defence companies responded to the RFIs of May-June 2016, many of them having already built up technological capabilities and infrastructure for the FICV development project, a separate Rs 50,000 crore tender under the “Make” category. They offered to upgrade the BMPs within three years, with indigenisation of at least 50 per cent. Yet, these were ruled out to make way for the OFB.
Contacted by Business Standard to explain the rationale for privileging the OFB, the MoD has not responded.
Meanwhile, since late 2015, the army has pursued a separate proposal to indigenously upgrade the BMP-2’s power pack --- which includes the engine and transmission. It is unclear how, if at all, this relates to the current BMP-2 upgrade project.
India has operated BMP-1 and BMP-2 ICVs since the early 1980s. Russia has been persuading New Delhi to buy its readily available new BMP-3 ICV, rather than going in for the FICV. But the MoD has stuck to the path of indigenisation.
“The opportunity to upgrade the BMP-2 will hone our abilities to deliver the FICV. We will request the MoD one last time on Tuesday to provide a level playing field to the private sector, as successive DPPs have stipulated”, says a private sector official.

  Ajai Shukla

DRDO outlines future MBT requirements

Further details have emerged about India's plans for the main battle tank (MBT) element of the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) programme.

Requirements for the main armament, powerpack, and mission systems have been revealed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles 2017 conference in London, Dr U. Solomon of the DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) highlighted some of the new requirements for the MBT design, which is intended to replace the Indian Army's fleet of T-72M1 'Ajeya' MBTs and is scheduled to enter service from the early 2020s.
Previously identified as having a requirement for a 120 mm main gun, the MBT is now set to be armed with a 125 mm gun, third-generation anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW), and an air-defence machine gun. It is planned that the main gun will have the capacity to fire guided munitions, with these understood to be Israel Aerospace Industries' Laser Homing Attack or Laser Homing Anti-Tan (LAHAT) missile. Other ammunition will include programmable airburst munitions and armour-piercing, fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) natures.
The turret design will be unmanned, with the three-person crew seated in suspended seats below the turret - a configuration that is intended to enhance protection against underbelly blasts from mines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The Bharat powerpack - set to replace the existing powerpacks of the Arjun Mk I and Mk II MBTs, as well as power the future MBT - is identified as a 2,200 kg unit powered by DHPP-A fuel. This is intended to operate at altitudes of up to 16,400 ft and temperatures as low as -20° Celsius. This requirement is likely a reflection of the Indian Army's need to operate in mountainous areas, particularly when deployed along India's border with Pakistan.
A dynamic track tension adjuster will also enable the MBT to maintain ground traction when crossing obstacles and soft or rough terrain.


January 19, 2017

Relationship with Pakistan extraordinarily complicated: US

Describing the US' relationship with Pakistan as extraordinarily complicated, the outgoing Obama administration has hoped that President-elect Donald Trump would deepen counter-terrorism cooperation with the country to make America a safer place.

"Obviously, the United States has an extraordinarily complicated relationship, particularly when it comes to national security with Pakistan," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.

"There are some areas where the United States and Pakistan have been able to effectively cooperate to counter terrorism and to fight extremism, and that's served the interest of both countries, and obviously, tragically, Pakistan is a country where many victims of terrorism have been claimed," he said.

He said that Obama is certainly interested and hopeful that the next administration will be able to deepen that cooperation with Pakistan as it would enhance security in Pakistan and make America safer too.

Responding to a question on Afghanistan, Earnest said it will be the kind of issue that historians spend a lot of time looking at when evaluating President Obama's presidency.

"What President Obama promised to do when taking office was to refocus our attention on the threat from Al-Qaeda that emanates in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and President Obama put in place a strategy, working closely with his national security team at the state department and the intelligence community, and of course the Department of Defense," he said.

"Over the course of several years, in part relying on some new capabilities, succeeded in decimating core al-Qaida that previously menaced the United States from hideouts in the Afghanistan- Pakistan region," he added.

But the threat in that region of the world has not been eliminated and there continue to be a smaller number of US service members keeping us safe, engaging in counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, Earnest said. "They're also working closely with thousands of troops from our NATO partners who are also there doing the same thing," he said.

"And I know there has been a question raised about how important a role NATO has played when it comes to counter-terrorism. You have to look no further than Afghanistan to assess just how valuable a contribution that they have made to that effort," he added. Asserting that the situation in Afghanistan continues to be a concern, Earnest said the President would acknowledge that it is an area where the US has made important progress that has made the American people safer.

"...but there's still important work to be done in this region of the world and this is a responsibility that the incoming President will assume," he said.


India Has Just Bought $3 Billion Worth Of Emergency Weapons And Ammunition

In a move with tremendous strategic import, India has been on a secretive weapons shopping spree on an emergency footing, buying up anti-tank missiles, tank engines, rocket launchers and various kinds of ammunition, from Israel and Russia. The purchases amount to more than $3 billion, persons close to the development said, asking not to be named. Deliveries have begun even as new orders are still being placed.
From Russia, India has bought a few thousand anti-tank guided missiles, several T-90 tank engines and critical tank components. The Russia-made T-90 is the Indian Army's mainstay battle tank. The Russia list also includes multi-barrel rocket launchers that operate with the artillery against advancing columns and soft skinned targets, and large quantity of various kinds of ammunition.
From Israel, India is getting sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles and several thousand missiles, mainly for the Indian Navy.
HuffPost India is withholding the exact nature and quantity of the arms and ammunition because of its sensitive nature. But to give a broad idea, the purchases are to shore up the stocks of the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. They include high explosive bombs, protective armour for troop-carrying vehicles and tanks, and anti-personnel grenade launchers, among other things.
Top sources in the government confirmed that two separate teams of an "empowered committee" led by senior officials were rushed to Russia and Israel towards the close of 2016 to make these "off-the-shelf purchases"—a procedure of buying resorted to only when there is an emergency. Empowered committees can take on-the-spot decisions to buy and negotiate prices, cutting down lengthy negotiation processes.
Much of the equipment that India decided to buy is now on its way. They are being airlifted in special flights from various ports in Russia and Israel to India.
Top military sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity cited the situation across the border and the aggressive maneuvering by the Pakistan military after the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by the Indian Special Forces as reasons for the emergency purchases. "It is wise to be prepared," a senior officer said. Others senior officials accepted that stocks of some very critical war fighting items need to be increased. "The emergency purchases are aimed at replenishing and maintaining a minimum level of preparedness for any eventuality," a senior official at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
The MoD did not offer a comment for this article.
Speaking to the media earlier this month, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat had said that level of "hollowness" in the Indian Army—a military term to describe both lack of stocks of critical items and obsolescence in weapon platforms—"in case of a two-front war is of concern." A two-front war is a situation where India will have to engage Pakistan and China simultaneously. He went on to add that the military was comfortably stocked to handle the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has also given more financial powers to the military to buy critical equipment, he said.Sources also said that another empowered committee is headed to Russia to procure items for Indian Air Force. The Indian Air Force too suffers from hollowness and deficiencies.


Modi's leadership brought India, US closer; Obama worked hard for India's NSG bid


The outgoing US Ambassador Richard Verma, had some positive things to say about the US-India relations during President Obama's tenure.

In less than two days, Richard Verma will step down as the US ambassador to India. In a special episode of To The Point and his only farewell interview to television, the departing ambassador spoke to Karan Thapar of India Today. Verma shared his two-years' experience in India, his successes as well as the unfinished tasks, the journey that lay ahead, the challenges and how he feels the state of relationship between the US and India is as he steps down from ambassador's post.Verma stressed particularly on two big breakthroughs during his tenure that brought the two countries together - Clean energy and climate change deal and the improvement of India-US economic and trade relationship. The Paris climate agreement, said Verma, stood out as one of the signature global agreements India and the US were able to achieve together.
"If you were to ask President Obama today, how did we achieve Paris deal, he would say it is because of the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi bringing on a number of countries. His work together, closely with Prime Minister Modi..that was a breakthrough. No one thought this was possible to have the US and India to come together the way they did. Also, in this area, was our breakthrough in civil nuclear cooperation. It was a breakthrough that got past the liability issue," said Verma.

TOUGH LINE WITH PAKISTAN ON TERROR"The threat and the scourge of terror is one of our chief security threat of the day, confronting the United States, India and the people of Pakistan and the broader region. No one nation can stop it on its own. It's a collective response and takes law enforcement, intel, military, economic and social tools. We are working on all of that front. On specific regional issues, we have taken a very tough line with Pakistan over the need to shut down safe havens, hold the perpetrators accountable. We have been very tough and new restrictions put on the Haqqani network, LeT and JeM. We have worked with our Indian colleagues in United Nations to put additional sanctions on terrorist leaders," said Verma.

INCREDIBLE HONOUR"I never thought it was awkward. It's been an enormous sense of pride for me, particularly because I was able to travel back to Jalandhar in Punjab where my mother and grandmother were raised, or to DAV college where my father went to school. It wasn't that long ago that our family was here in this country, surviving every day like everyone else, uncertain of what the future might hold, but I also the impact they had on their community. I went to the government girls school where my grandmother taught at across from a slum area in Jalandhar. I went to the flat where my grandmother lived, where I went and stayed with her. We had no running water inside. We had one TV on the block. No refrigerator or a stove, other than an open fire pit in the kitchen. Those are my memories, and to come back 50 years later in this capacity, to represent the United States, represent the president, I know what a long shot that is," he said.
CLASSIC IMMIGRANT STORY "Mine is a classic immigrant story. I'm so proud of that. I also know I didn't get here on my own. I asked my dad, why did you leave India in 1963, you didn't have to go. I left because of you. I wanted you to have more opportunities and better future. They worked so hard there and here in India. For me to be able to come back is an incredible honour," said Verma.


January 18, 2017

To counter China-Pakistan axis, India must join hands with US, Japan, Australia, Vietnam

Membership of NSG is not a farewell gift for the outgoing American Administration to hand out to India' said China on 16 Jan 2017. This country China with double standards was responsible for handing over nuclear bomb design to Pakistan and later on testing the Pakistani bomb in its own facilities.

Now, it is putting in technical hurdles in the path of India becoming a full-fledged NSG member. We should also not forget that twice in 2016, China blocked the process of declaring Pakistani jihadi Masood Azhar and his organisation Jaish-e- Mohammad as terrorists in the UN. They are responsible for last year's Pathankot air base attack in India. 
 China is hell bent on supporting Pakistan at any cost. Reason is that Pakistan has sold its soul to China in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor agreement in which China is investing $46bn. In actual fact China is investing only 11 billion dollars from its coffers. The rest of 35 billion dollars are coming from Chinese PSUs for which Pakistan will have to pay 27% interest. This interest rate is so high that even Pakistan's current generation, their children and children's children will not be able to pay back this money.
In other words, Pakistan will be a Chinese colony for generations to come. China is so confident of its investments in Pakistan that it has gifted two battle ships to Pakistani navy to guards the Gawadar port. Two more ships are also coming. In a futuristic perspective, Pakistan will also be getting eight submarines from China. The deal has been signed almost a year back.
All said and done, now India has no option but to expand its Navy at a fast pace. The current level of 137 ships with Indian Navy should rise to 200 at the earliest. At the same time it must join hands with US, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and anybody else who wants to counter China-Pakistan axis in Indian Ocean, South and East China Sea as also Arabian ocean.
Let us not forget that China is already patrolling Indian Ocean on the pretext of anti-piracy activity. It is also ringing up India by establishing bases called ring of pearls in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Myanmar.


India needs to work on 2 more military pacts: US Commander

A top US military Commander on Wednesday said India and the US need to work on two more military agreements in addition to the logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA), which was signed in October last year. Admiral Harry B. Harris who heads the US Pacific Command (PACOM) was delivering the Raisina Dialogue ‘The new normal’ in New Delhi. The Ministry of External Affairs organised the dialogue in collaboration with the think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
 “The LEMOA allows us to work together. This is one of the three foundational agreements. I want us to work on the other two,” the Admiral said. “One is called the CISMOA. It deals with communication inter-operatability and second one called the BECA is on geo-spatial mapping. The foundational agreements are important as India has to set the pace and we will be with you," the Admiral said while adding that “Where we have come the past 15 years is an example but we have to overcome some areas we have to be persistent”. He cited defence technology trade initiative (DTTI) saying it allows us to work together.  “The US and India can script the new normal as our partnership will be defining moment of 21st century. The US India relationship is not to balance China,” he said. 
“We both are uniquely poised in the region to script the new normal,” the PACOM Commander said. He said a hindrance to free flow of navigation in Indian Ocean can disrupt economies. The threat to freedom of navigation is the biggest threat, he said later while answering a question. “Freedom of navigation is not a privilege that can be withdrawn. India accepted a ruling to resolve the maritime dispute with Bangladesh,” he said. “The threat of Islamic State (IS) is big threat we have seen fighters return to their home country can be dangerous. The IS wants to carry out attacks in this country. The way IS is spreading, we need to work together. A nuclear tipped missile in the hands of North Korea is a threat to US and its allies,” the US Commander said.


Why India–Vietnam Military Relations Disturb China – Analysis

The Chinese official newspaper, the Global Times (January 11) in an article entitled “Indian arms same to Hanoi disturbing if aimed at China”, warned New Delhi that India must desist from doing to China what China does to India.
The Chinese official article was in response to Indian media reports on discussions between Indian and Vietnam on supplying India made Akash surface-to-air missiles to (25 Km range) to Vietnam.
Some Indian media speculated that this agreement could be a reaction to China arming India’s neighbours especially Pakistan which has fought at least three wars with India, and engaged in regular terrorist attacks against India, sometimes with China’s blessings.
China’s propaganda establishment must understand how the free Indian media functions. They attack the government and criticise even the prime minister. In China, this is unthinkable. The print media, television channels and radio have to follow the line laid down by the communist Party and the government. Any perceived misdemeanour is treated harshly. Therefore, the Chinese commentators must listen to what the Indian government says.
Having said that, Indian journalist, commentators and members of think tanks are not fools. They understand what is happening around and the rising threat from China. The Indians are not blind, the Global Times should know.
The Global Times article further warns that if the Indian government “genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing it will only create disturbance in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed.” It also warns India against creating alliances or partnerships with some countries at the exclusion of some others, or else its development will be hurt severely. If India wants to grow as a great power it needs more cooperation with others.
The article advises or even warns India to forget about competition with China and for bids it to expanding its footprints and influence especially in areas over which China claims suzerainty historically. Because it then goes on to suggest that India should join China’s Belt and Road initiative which will not only promote the development of the region but also “solve the India-Pakistan contradictions”. Basically, be a ‘good boy’ and subservient to China.
The article was completely silent on what China has been doing in Pakistan over the decades since 1976. China helped construct Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, which was openly centred against India. China gave Pakistan the blueprint for a nuclear bomb; Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb was tested in China’s Lop Nor nuclear testing site. China set up all of Pakistan’s nuclear enrichment and plutonium plants.
The papers that Alpha Project (at King’s College, London) published last year, reveals several Chinese entities involved in clandestinely providing Pakistan with advanced nuclear weapons technology, components and material. It may also be recalled that in the 1990s Chinese front companies were used to procure heavy earth moving equipment to dig siles for parking securely nuclear weapons/warheads.
 Lastly, no one can forget the clandestine supply of 5000 ring magnets to Pakistan in 1995 required for Uranium enrichment.
In 1991-92, China supplied Pakistan with the M-11 nuclear capable missiles (range=300 km), capable of reaching New Delhi. This was followed by massive transfer of technology, material and expertise for Pakistan’s medium range nuclear capable missiles. The supply of battle ships, aircraft, conventional missiles, submarines and other weapons are arming the Pakistani military. These are not play things. Most importantly, the Chinese Navy is deploying a naval detachment at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port paid for and built by China.
The Global Times may like to reply whether China’s militarization of Pakistan, including with nuclear weapons, were “responsible” acts as they claim? Incrementally, Beijing created a nuclear flash point in South Asia, debilitating moves by India towards reconciliation with Pakistan and fighting international terrorism. India’s move to list Pakistan based terrorist Masood Azhar in the UN Committee has only encouraged Pakistan’s deep state to continue with their foreign policy laced with terrorism with countries like Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh.
Beijing leaders must realise that their double-edged policy on Pakistan sponsored terrorism has not gone down well with SAARC member countries. These countries declined to attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan last year on this very ground.
With the release of its white paper “China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation” (state Council Information Office, January 11), Beijing unveiled its hegemonic map of the region. Although primarily aimed at US President-elect and his incoming administration, the blue-print indirectly targets countries like India, which in China’s political ecology, does not belong to the Asia-Pacific region. But the new definition of “Indo-Pacific region” challenges the antiquated nomenclature.
The white paper cautions “some small and medium-sized countries uphold US hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region, but in fact, it is at the cost of their own interests”.
For years the Chinese officials propaganda machinery tried to spread apprehension among India’s neighbours including in South East Asia about New Delhi’s hegemonic ambition. Periodically, India was warned that if India entered Central Asia and South East Asia with seriousness especially military relations than “China will not sit idly by”. This is being acted upon in the India-Vietnam military relations case.
The white paper makes another critical statement that “the country will build a strong national defence force that, is commensurate with China’s international standing”. This is a shift from its earlier position that its defence build-up was based on its own defence needs. This new position is a significant shift, in tune with their super power status quest. Divide the world in China’s domain and the US domain.Such a division cannot be allowed for a new cold war with Chinese characteristics. India is neither countering China nor encircling China. The people of India will not allow their government to cede India’s interests based on international laws. China cannot hold India back from its destiny.


After Waiting For Decades, Army Jawans To Finally Get Their First Modern Helmet

For the first time ever, each and every jawan of the Indian Army will be equipped with a world-class helmet, an essential piece of kit that can be the difference between life and death during military operations. NDTV has learnt that an Indian company, the Kanpur-based MKU Industries has been contracted to manufacture 1.58 lakh helmets in a deal worth Rs. 170 and 180 crore, and the production of the new helmets is now beginning. This is the first large scale order of helmets by the Army in more than two decades.

The new helmets will be delivered within three years by MKU Industries, which is a world leader in the manufacture of body armour (bulletproof jackets and helmets) which it exports to armed forces around the world.
The new helmets are designed to bear the impact of 9 mm ammunition fired from a short range. This meets the global standard for protection among leading armed forces. They are also designed to be comfortable and many of them can be integrated with communications devices.  More than a decade back, the Indian Army's elite para special forces were equipped with an Israeli OR-201 helmet made of Glass Reinforced Plastic. However, regular soldiers in infantry formations had to make do with heavy domestically-made helmets which were not comfortable to wear during combat situations. A unique and often preferred solution for Indian Army soldiers, particularly during counter-insurgency operations, is wearing a bulletproof 'patka', though these have severe limitations since they offer protection only on the forehead and the back of the head. In addition to this, they weigh more than 2.5 kilograms.

In March last year, the government signed an 'emergency contract' to purchase 50,000 new bulletproof jackets from Tata Advanced Materials Limited after a delay of more than 10 years. This is a stand-in acquisition - the Army is in the process of evaluating far more advanced jackets which can provide soldiers a greater degree of protection from enemy bullets or shrapnel in the battlefield.


January 13, 2017

More Rafales for India Still Likely

Contrary to some previous indications, India is considering an additional 36 Dassault Rafales, a senior Ministry of Defence official said. The contract is likely to be signed in 2019 with deliveries to start by 2022, when the existing $8.8 billion order for 36 Rafales is completed, AIN has learned from sources close to the long-running procurement process. The two orders would add five squadrons of new fourth-generation fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
What seems to have been disjointed planning for future fighters in India is now becoming clearer. India has recently been exploring again the local production of a foreign fighter with OEMs under its “Make in India” policy, this time a single-engine design. But that does not preclude buying more twin-engine Rafales, nor their production in India, it seems. Late last year, Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier told the French newspaper Sud Ouest that “we have the will and the strategy to establish ourselves in India.” There is a 50-percent offset stipulation in the first contract for 36 Rafales, that Dassault will partly fulfill by establishing a parts production and support facility with its local partner, the Reliance Group. “This would be [further] developed if other contracts were signed,” Trappier said. In the protracted and eventually abandoned negotiations for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement, only 18 Rafales would have been produced in France, with the other 108 assembled in India.
The Indian Navy is also likely to view with favor the carrier-capable Rafale-M on grounds of commonality, having recently rejected the naval version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) because of excess weight and other factors.
On January 3, Indian defense minister Manohar Parrikar said that the single-engine fighter would be a government-to-government project, that would include some aircraft in fly-away condition and the rest produced in India. The company that offers the best technology deal and financial terms will get the contract, he said. “During the current year, the decision, tender and closure should tentatively be over,” he added.
The Saab Gripen and Lockheed Martin F-16 are both in the fray, both OEMs having indicated an interest in transferring their entire manufacturing and assembly lines to India. The chosen fighter would supplement the LCA Mk1, 83 of which have been ordered by the IAF. But according to a retired IAF official, “The LCA has no deterrent capability. It is more of a matter of optics.”
Saab has offered to provide help with an improved LCA Mk II. This could be fitted with the same GE F414 engine that powers the Gripen E/F, the version that Saab has confirmed it would offer to India. The LCA Mk1 has a GE 404 engine, which does not provide enough power. And while any Gripen E/Fs sold to the IAF would carry the Leonardo (ex-Selex) AESA radar as standard, Saab is separately offering for the LCA, the new radar technology that it is developing at Gothenberg.
India’s military has too many aircraft types that do not make maintenance and spares cost effective. To overcome this, the MoD has formed a committee to explore synergies in procurement,” Kabir Bogra, associate partner at Delhi-based law firm Khaitan & Co. told

Ordering of 155/52 self-propelled gun in final stages: Parrikar

After successfully completing field trials of indigenously-developed howitzer Dhanush, another self-propelled gun 155/52 is in the final stages of being ordered, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

The 155mm/45-calibre Dhanush howitzer has been tested and field trials have been completed, he said at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Gandhinagar.

Also, the 'Pinaka' rocket, which used as an area destruction weapon that can virtually decimate 900 square metres of area, has been tested for 65 km range on Thursday, he said.

"That gives a tremendous boost to the capability of the armed forces once it goes in production. So why do we need to get worried about technology beingUS-engineered," he said.

Indian army has not had a new 155mm artillery gun inducted since the Bofors scandal of 1987. 'Dhanush', also known as 'desi Bofors', is indigenously-developed 155mm gun with 45 calibre having advanced features with a strike range of 38 km. The towed howitzer 'Dhanush' has larger range than 27-km of the imported Bofors.

"India after more than 30 years has successfully developed its own gun. No new artillery gun was introduced for 30 years in the Army. For the first time we have successfully developed and tested, field trial has been completed for Dhanush which is 155/45 Howitzer. Another self-propelled gun, 155/52 is in the final stages of being ordered," he said.

More than 50 per cent of the components of the self- propelled gun, being made by a joint venture of Larsen & Toubro and Samsung of Korea, are made in India, he said.

"The first lot will be ordered probably in the current financial year. This is one of the Make in India project. It is one step ahead of the Make in India. It is designed, developed and Made in India," he said.

Stating that India needs "to go a few steps further", he said these few steps further possibly would come through "a very strategic chapter in DPP (Defence Procurement Procedure, i.e, strategic partner. Which we expect to come out very soon. That will be a game changer for big time manufacturing in India and I expect it to be operational very soon.

Later talking to reporters, Parrikar said Dhanush is a gun manufactured by Ordinance Factory Board. The concept is based on the Bofors gun.

"Bofors gun was 155/39, this is 155/45 and larger range. First six guns have been sent for trial and it has been successfully trialled and so we asked for manufacturing them."

At the Summit, the minister said there is lot of potential for exports. "For the first time Ordinance items have been identified for private sector manufacturing and we are in the process of finalising the items as well as terms and conditions."

Initial tender has already been floated and RFI has already been floated and extensive discussion with industry has taken place.

Exports, he said, have grown 3-4 times but it is not adequate.

"India does need Ordinance Factory Board because in defence sometimes you have to keep capacities idle only on condition that you have to suddenly ramp it up. It's very difficult task for a private sector to be kept holding because the interest payment becomes a problem. There is a requirement of Ordinance factory," he said.

Parrikar said licensing procedures have been relaxed. "Offsets are piling up at a very fast pace. They are almost more than $8 billion and I expect it to very soon touch $8-10 billion in the next 10 years."

January 12, 2017

China likely to pressure Vietnam leader to stop missile deal with India

Vietnam leader Nguyen Phu Trong, who arrives in Beijing on Thursday, will be under pressure to call off reported negotiations with India for purchase of a missile system, sources said. The Indian media has reported that Hanoi is in discussion with Indian authorities to purchase the Akash surface-to-air missile system from New Delhi.

China, which has emerged as a major arms seller, is reluctant to allow another Asian nation to enter into competition, sources said. This is one reason why Beijing has been objecting to India's entry into Nuclear Suppliers' Group, which has the potential of enlarging India's nuclear industry. The focus of Nguyen's talks with Chinese leaders is regional security ahead of the Donald Trump presidency in the United States, which has caused a lot of strain in Beijing. Any move to buy military equipment from India would make Beijing very nervous, sources said.

"If the Indian government genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing, it will only create disturbances in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed," Global Times, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a commentary on Wednesday. On the face of it, China does not mind military ties between Vietnam and India, it said. "Yet such ties should be built for the sake of peace and stability in the region, rather than stirring up troubles or anxiety for others," the paper said betraying the concerns in Beijing.

India provided Vietnam a credit line of $500 million for buying military equipment during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Hanoi in September last year. India is already training the Vietnam Navy personnel in operating the Russian-origin Kilo-class submarine. The government has also asked BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the BrahMos missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries topped by Vietnam.

The Beijing-based paper did not mention the fact that China has been arming Pakistan, which has no other reason to accumulate arms other than planning to use against India, with sophisticated military equipment. But it rapped countries who feel comfortable about dealing with India. "Due to geopolitical factors, some nations have been cozying up to India over the years, which to a large extent contributed to India's fruitful development," it said. "New Delhi understands that the best strategy for itself is to continue its collaboration with all parties, instead of picking a side and turning hostile to one another. Otherwise, it might not only turn others' troubles to its own puzzles, but also suffer enormous losses of development opportunities," the commentary said hoping to dissuade India from signing up Hanoi on the missile deal.

Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and other leaders during his four-day visit to China. He is also expected to discuss the South China Sea dispute. Vietnam is one of the half a dozen countries disputing Chinese claims to much of the South China Sea islands. "In the past two months, tensions have ratcheted up in the Asia-Pacific region and around the globe, and this will deeply influence the relations between Vietnam and China, the US, and the Southeast Asian nation," Zhuang Guotu, dean of the School for Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University told the local media. "So in this trip, Nguyen is expected to ascertain the actual situation of China and find a way of developing bilateral relations that both sides can accept," he said.

"India has a dream to grow into a great power. But under today's international circumstances, it will be extraordinarily hard to achieve the goal on its own. What India needs is more pragmatic cooperation with other countries," Global Times added.


Khanderi launched in water: 10 interesting features

Khanderi, the second Kalvari class Scorpene submarine, was launched into water - or 'undocked' - by the Union minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) today. The submarine will undergo rigorous tests and trials on the surface and underwater before it is commissioned into the Indian Navy as "INS Khanderi" at the end of the year in December.

Here's a look at some of its special features:
10. As per Indian Navy tradition, ships and submarines of the Navy are brought alive again after decommissioning. The first ship "Khanderi" was commissioned on December 6, 1968 and decommissioned in October 1989, before it was "reincarnated" by MDL as a powerful predator for the deep waters, to guard the vast maritime interests and territories of Ind