February 25, 2017

IAF to float tenders for midair refuellers again after two failed attempts

India is set to launch a fresh hunt for midair refuellers to expand strategic reach of its air force after two failed attempts to induct new tankers.

The Indian Air Force will soon float a tender for at least six midair refuellers that could cost upwards of $2 billion, an air marshal familiar with the development said.

The IAF’s Russian-origin Ilyushin-78 tanker fleet is plagued by maintenance problems and more refuellers are required to stay prepared to counter China in the eastern sector, the three-star officer said.

This will be the third tender for tankers in the last 10 years, with the previous two failing to end up as contracts due to price complications. Ilyushin’s Il-78 and Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) offered by European aerospace corporation EADS competed for the previous tenders. The scope of the competition will be bigger this time.

A four-cornered contest is in the offing with American, Russian, European and Israeli military contractors eyeing the lucrative deal.

“We look forward to taking part in the competition with our KC-46A multi-role tanker and have had various levels of discussions with the IAF. We are following it closely,” said Robert D Schoeffling, senior manager (global sales and marketing), Boeing Military Aircraft.

The US Air Force awarded Boeing a $2.1-billion order for 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft, spare engines and wing air refueling pod kits in January, following a previous order for 19 planes last August. The KC-46A is a Boeing 767-based refueling aircraft. Boeing will build 179 KC-46 tankers for the USAF by 2027.

Israel will also be a new entrant to the competition. Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek Aviation Group has firmed up plans to take part in the contest with its Boeing 767-200 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT).

Bedek’s marketing and business development manager Sharon Katzir said the Israeli firm was in talks with the IAF and would compete for the order.


February 23, 2017

Kashmir an internal affair: EU team

Human rights ‘violations’ in Jammu and Kashmir must be resolved internally in India, says a visiting delegation of Members of European Parliament, accepting that the conflict in the State is an internal Indian matter.
“The reports of breaches of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir have to be settled through Indian institutions. The conflict is a very sensitive issue, we know sensitive it is. Delegations of MEPs visited both sides of Kashmir in 2003-04. This has to be settled through domestic Indian institutions,” said David McAllister, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the EU Parliament, clearly ruling out the need to “internationalise” the Kashmir issue.
Mr. McAllister was responding to a question from The Hindu about a previous visit this week of MEPs, who had warned that human rights agencies were trying to “rake up” the Kashmir issue in the European Parliament.

Visa denial
However, while giving India its full support on the human rights issue, the delegation will take up two other thorny issues: India’s denial of a visa to a member of their delegation, and recent Home Ministry action against NGOs in India.
“As far as the case of our colleague from the U.K. is concerned — Amjad Bashir — he hasn’t been granted a visa on time … I will of course, also address this issue [with the officials we meet],” Mr. McAllister said, ahead of meetings with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh and others on Thursday.
The External Affairs Ministry refused to comment on the diplomatic incident caused by the visa denial.
Mr. Bashir, a British MEP of Pakistani origin, had reportedly taken a strident position on violence in Jammu and Kashmir, calling it a “stain” on India’s “record achievements” in other spheres, when the EU Foreign Affairs Committee met the Indian Ambassador to the EU in Brussels, Manjeev Puri, on February 9.
In a heated exchange Mr. Puri told Mr. Bashir and another member of Pakistani origin, “My suggestion to you would be to tell the country of your birth to stop fomenting terror, stop being an epicentre of global terrorism and stop trying to export it across,” agencies reported.
EU officials confirmed that Mr. Bashir was due to travel with them, but that the Indian High Commission in London had not issued him the papers.
“If I have been banned because of sincerely-held beliefs that is regrettable and counter-productive. Surely the way to solve the long-running problem of Jammu and Kashmir is to have open dialogue and allow a diversity of views — not to ban dissenters from entering the country,” Mr. Bashir was quoted telling Pakistan’s The News.

Curbs on funding
On the issue of NGOs operating in India, the EU delegation said it was concerned about strictures on funding and the functioning of rights organisations, that had also been brought to the EU parliament’s notice.
“Human rights are universal, and we don’t understand why the government wants to block the activities of organisations dealing with human rights. The only restriction can be blocking terror organisations. But when it’s about women’s rights, children’s rights, it’s very important to explain this approach,” said Cristian Dan Preda, MEP, said adding that European governments had funded some of those organisations, and they would discuss this with Minister of Women and Child Welfare Maneka Gandhi.
Mr. Preda is the head of a committee preparing a comprehensive report on political relations between India and the EU, building off their strategic partnership launched in 2004, including the issue of human rights, which the members said were an “integral part” of the EU’s foreign relations. Officials said they had also discussed “security cooperation and counter-terrorism issues” in New Delhi.


State-of-the-Art Defense: One Russia's S-400 Worth Four US Patriot PAC-3

Commenting on reports that have recently appeared in Indian media that New Delhi wants to speed up the delivery of Russia's S-400 air defense system, Russia's military expert Viktor Litovkin explained to Sputnik why many countries are so eager to buy Russia's state-of-the-art systems and why they are winning over their US counterparts.

"India and Russia will start final negotiations on the five firing units of the S-400 air defense system next month," the Mumbai-based daily The Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

If the contract is signed within a year, deliveries worth of $5.8 billion could start by 2019-20.

To speed up the purchase, New Delhi might forego the offset clause, which fits in with the Make in India program and mandates foreign companies to invest at least 30 per cent of the contract value in the Indian aerospace and defense sectors, the outlet says.

Viktor Kladov, director of international cooperation at Rostec, the Russian state-owned company that controls sales of the S-400 system told the newspaper that offsets could delay deliveries by as much as two years.

"As far as I have heard, there is no offset package for the program. It is a strategic project and is very important for the two countries," the outlet quotes him as saying. "Offset packages should not get in the way."

He nevertheless said that Russia would comply if India insisted on an offset package. But, "It may delay delivery by one-two years and that is why a deal with no offsets package is the best choice."

Kladov also commented on the delivery terms of the contract, estimating that signing the deal will take a year and it will take another two years for the delivery.
"The Indian side invited us to negotiations in March. So, if we start negotiations in March, it will take another year to prepare the contract. I do hope it will happen this year or maybe the first half of next year," he said.

Commenting on the upcoming deal, Russian military expert, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin explained to Sputnik why many countries are so eager to buy Russia's state-of-the-art systems and why they are winning over their US analogues.

"It is really the state-of-the-art system of Russia's defense industry. It is a very efficient, high-tech, advanced system," he told Radio Sputnik.

No other country in the world has in their possession such a system, he said. Not even the Americans, he said, who are advertising their armaments all over the world, pushing other countries into purchases.

He further elaborated that the US' most efficient air defense system is the Patriot PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability), but it is not even a match for Russia's S-300, let alone S-400. The expert explained that Patriot PAC-3 missiles are launched from an inclined plane while S-400 missiles are launched vertically and only then take the direction of the approaching target.

Because the Patriot has to be pointing in the direction of the missile, he said, one of Russia's systems can defend an area that would require at least four American ones to cover.

Besides, he said, Russia's S-400, unlike the US system, is able to shoot down any flying objects, cruise and ballistic missiles, fighter jets, bombers and attack aircraft – virtually everything that can fly is threatened by the S-400.

Litovkin also noted that Russia is planning to supply its S-400 system only to India and China, even though many states would like such a system.

"We have made first deliveries to China. But we have sold the system only after the completion of the Russian state program on deliveries of such systems to our Armed Forces. Only afterwards we have supplied the system to China," he said.

The expert said that among those countries who are eager to get Russia's S-400 is Turkey, Algeria and many Middle Eastern countries.

He further noted that the full name of the system is S-400 Triumph, a particularly appropriate name for this system, considering its success to date.


PM Modi clears air defence missile deal with Israel for Rs 17,000 crore

Giving a strong push to India-Israel defence ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cleared a mega deal for the Army worth Rs 17,000 crore to acquire the Medium Range Surface to Air Defence Missile (MR-SAM) system from Israel to protect India's airspace from enemy aircraft and drones.

"In a meeting of the cabinet committee on security headed by the Prime Minister, the proposal for procuring the MR-SAM air defence system for the Army was approved and these would be deployed by the Army," senior government sources told Mail Today.

The air-defence system developed jointly by the DRDO and Israeli Aircraft Industry can shoot down enemy aircraft, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS planes at the strike range between 50 km to 70 km in the sky and will help the country in filling gaps in air defence, the sources informed.


As per the proposal cleared by the government, the Army will induct over five regiments of the MR-SAM missile which will have around 40 firing units and over 200 missiles of the system. "The delivery of the first system for the Army units will begin in 72 months of the signing of the contract and they would be ready for deployment in field areas by the year 2023," said the sources.

A DRDO laboratory under scientific advisor to defence minister and missile systems head G Sathish Reddy has been instrumental in developing the target homing system with the Israeli firms and involves a lot of make in India element in the programme. India and Israel are jointly developing similar systems for the Air Force and the Navy.

The Air Force had got clearance for its MR-SAM programme in 2009 and the deliveries will begin after delays in the project.

The Navy programme is known as Long Range Surface to Air Missile system (LR-SAM) and would be set on its warships. Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamis Limited will produce the missiles of the system while many other Indian industries like Bharat Electronics Ltd, Larsen and Toubro, TATA group will contribute in the production for many systems and sub-systems in it.

A new production facility to deliver 100 missiles a year has been established for such type of long and medium range surface-to-air missiles at BDL. The Army will deploy these air defence systems to provide protection to vital assets and points across the country.


Another Super Hercules damaged in Ladakh, India now has only four

  • Six Super Hercules were inducted at the Hindon airbase
  • In 2004, the IAF had lost another C-130J in a crash near Gwalior
  • A high-level court of inquiry has been ordered into the mishap
A C-130J 'Super Hercules' aircraft being flown by the commanding officer of the elite 'Veiled Vipers' squadron of IAF has been left badly-damaged after it crashed into a pole and other structures while taxing on the tarmac in the high-altitude Thoise airfield in Ladakh recently.

Sources say the IAF is now conducting a high-level court of inquiry (CoI) into the unusual mishap after relieving the pilot, Group Captain Jasveen Singh Chatrath, of his command of the 77 Squadron (Veiled Vipers) based at Hindon airbase on the outskirts of New Delhi.

The accident has currently left the IAF with only four of the six C-130J tactical airlifters, which are configured for `special operations', inducted from the US from February 2011 onwards. The IAF had earlier lost a C-130J during "a tactical low-level training sortie" after it crashed near Gwalior in March 2014, killing the five personnel on board.

Group Captain Chatrath, along with his co-pilot and weapons systems operator, in turn, was on a night sortie on the C-130J to the military airfield at Thoise, which is the staging area for the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region, when the accident took place on December 13.

The IAF, which has kept the incident under wraps till now, refused to say anything on the matter. Sources, however, said the pilots apparently failed to keep the C-130J on the "centreline of the taxiway" after landing at the airfield at an altitude of over 10,000-feet.

"They mistook another line to be the centreline (which provides obstacle clearance) at the airfield which has restricted space for manoeuvre. One of the wings and propeller of the aircraft then hit the pole and some other objects with great impact. Whether the centreline and other lines were marked properly and all other factors are being examined by the CoI," said a source.

Group Captain Chatrath himself has a good reputation in the IAF for his professional competence, and has held important postings during his career, including project management of the AN-32 aircraft upgrade in Ukraine. "It's a freak accident, which has no bearing on his professional competence," said an officer.

In all, India has ordered 13 C-130Js from the US for over $2.1 billion. While the first six planes were inducted at the Hindon airbase, the rest are earmarked for the second C-130J squadron to be based at Panagarh in West Bengal for the eastern front with China.

In conjunction with 10 C-17 Globemaster-III gigantic aircraft, also acquired from the US for $ 4.1 billion, the C-130Js have provided strategic airlift and power-projection capabilities to India, which can now swiftly transport combat-ready troops and weapons to the border with China in times of conflict.

In August 2013, for instance, a C-130J had for the first time landed at the rudimentary airstrip in Daulat Beg Oldi (eastern Ladakh) at an altitude of 16,614-feet, the highest such advanced landing ground in the world that overlooks the strategic Karakoram Pass and is just about 7-km from the Line of Actual Control with China. The rugged C-17s and C-130Js have also been extensively used for providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief in India as well as the extended neighborhood.


February 21, 2017

Aero India 2017: Russia pitches for Make in India

At the air show in Bengaluru, a confident and assertive Russia displayed over 300 exhibits ranging from static models of fifth generation aircraft to electronic warfare suits, from next generation jet engines to sensors that protect highly sensitive installations.

The just concluded Aero India 2017 International Air Show at the Yelahanka Air Force Station near Bengaluru was no doubt a colourful event displaying the robust aviation industry of the host country, which is poised to become a major air power in the coming decades. We will not talk about contracts signed or those that remained unsigned. This is about the ‘subjective takeaway’ from the five-day event.
More than 750 foreign and domestic participants took part in the biennial event considered Asia's premier air show. This year's event had a special ambiance as foreign vendors were in the fray for bagging hefty orders amid the estimated demand of Indian Air Force (IAF) for 400 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), most of them through Make in India route.
Vying for Indian orders, Lockheed Martin fielded its vintage F-16, piloted by flying officers from the U.S. Pacific Command. The American company promised to shift its assembly plant to India, however, the attention was focused on Swedish SAAB JAS Gripen, the latest single engine MMRCA, which also has expressed readiness to set shop in India.
The latest Russian MiG-35 was on the minds of many Indians after discourse in the social media took a turn in its favour, thanks to comments from Manohar Parrikar. While responding to a question on the F-16, the Indian Defence Minister told Lockheed Martin to “first talk to their government.” He was referring to President Donald Trump's policy of keeping jobs in the U.S.
Although Russia did not display its latest twin engine MiG-35 top-of-the-line MMRCA unveiled on Jan. 27 at RAC MiG's Lukhovitsky plant (Moscow Region), Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has declared Moscow's readiness to produce it in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India programme.
Russia was the biggest foreign participant at Aero India 2017. It has the richest experience in Make in India, beginning from the supersonic MiG-21 over 600 of which were produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Nasik plant under license, to the currant production of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role fighters at the same facility.
The Indo-Russian BrahMos Aerospace JV is a trailblazer for others to follow.
The Russian defence industry had another feather in its cap. The MiG-29 and Su-30SM (equivalent of Indian Sukhois) fighters became “battle proven” during Moscow's Syria campaign.
At the air show in southern India, a confident and assertive Russia displayed over 300 exhibits ranging from static models of fifth generation aircraft to electronic warfare suits, from next generation jet engines to sensors that protect highly sensitive installations.
“Russia pulls out all stops for Aero India 2017. Amid the din, in Hall A at the air show, the Russians showed that they have arrived in force,” leading Bangalore daily the Deccan Chronicle wrote, describing the Russian participation in the air show. 
The 300-strong Russian delegation was led by Vladimir Drozhzhov, Deputy Director General of Federal Service for the Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), which is the top arms export controller. The Russian delegation also included Viktor Kladov, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Rostec defence industry holding and Sergei Goreslavsky, Deputy Chief Executive of Rosoboronexport.
Due to broadly negative coverage of Russia in the mainstream Western media and the troll-infested social media, the joint press conference of the senior officials from Moscow turned out to be a crucial interface for the Indian media in the jam-packed conference hall of the Yelahanka Air Force Station.
Noting that India is Russia's biggest defence partner with total orders worth $4.6 billion executed in 2016, Sergei Goreslavsky said that in view of new upcoming projects the order book would further rise this year.He underscored that Russia was ready to offer the full range of weapons and platforms to India.

BrahMos and MKI

Drozhzhov, who identified the BrahMos joint venture as the most successful example of Make in India, said work on integration of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles on the Su-30MKI platform is proceeding successfully and once the trials are complete, foreign buyers would be offered this missile.
In a first, the Russian Air Force, which also operates Su-30 fighters would also be offered this jointly developed missile, he said.


Frankly speaking, Aero India 2017 was all about India's quest for MMRCA as the original tender for 126 aircraft was scrapped after its winner Dassault Rafale failed to meet its commitments and a stopgap agreement to buy 36 ready to fly fighters was inked. The IAF has asked international manufacturers to express their interest.
Russia is ready to offer its latest MiG-35, and is waiting for the specifications and requirements of the IAF to send a matching order.
“This is a totally new state of the art plane, much more advanced than the prototype sent for the MMRCA tender,” Vice President of the United Aircraft Corporation Alexander Tulyakov said, adding that it was a “totally different aircraft.”
Many experts, who did not want to be named as they would be accused of lobbying for Russia, are of an opinion that with Russia's past record it would be prudent for India to go for a cheaper twin engine MiG-35, which in the long run could also replace the older MiG-29 without drastic logistic and infrastructure expenditures.
The best part is that any defence deal with Russia is politically risk-free, as Moscow never uses sanctions in bilateral relations.

India needs fighters more than factories

Visitors to Aero India this year could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu. Back in 2011, the soundtrack to the show was the roar of fighter aircraft as eager bidders put their jets through their paces.
The noise was much the same this time around, with a number of repeat participants in the air display as the Dassault Rafale, Lockheed Martin F-16 and Saab Gripen all took to the skies.
Added to that was the familiar chatter from salesmen promising combat capability and, crucially, industrial partnerships.
Six years ago, Aero India saw the climax of the country’s medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition for 126 aircraft. This long-running saga had six actors, and featured plot twists and turns worthy of the most serpentine Bollywood epicThe Rafale eventually won, but after years of tortuous negotiations, New Delhi ditched MMRCA altogether over disagreements about technology transfer. Instead, 36 Rafales were ordered in a flyaway condition.
Meanwhile, the fleet of Cold War-era MiGs that MMRCA was supposed to replace have steadily decayed, eroding the air force’s capabilities.
The other fighter that was meant to be a substitute for some of these aging assets, the Hindustan Aeronautics Tejas, has been a poor performer for years.
It is slowly entering service after decades of development. Measured against its own low levels, the Tejas is making progress. However, by international standards it is already obsolete.
This year’s show saw MMRCA veterans battling for several requirements, namely an ill-defined order for up to 100 single-engined fighters, plus a navy request for information for 57 carrier-borne jets.
Expect two things from both deals. First, a clunky MMRCA-style acronym will be applied to each. Second, the industrial participation, and technology transfer, required of manufacturers will be exceedingly high.
Local workshare is not all bad, and highly skilled aerospace jobs are the delight of politicians globally. That said, New Delhi appears to place far too much emphasis on the industrial value of buying fighter aircraft, rather than the military purpose of their acquisition.
Strategic imperatives cannot be comprised for the sake of economic benefit. If India’s new fighter acquisitions fail as dismally as MMRCA, the Indian air force will be staring at obsolescence.
In wartime, a nation’s industrial policies will be cold comfort to a pilot parachuting from a crippled jet.


Army looks to fast track process of acquiring anti-tank missiles for Rudra helicopter

Seeking to provide more firepower to its aviation fleet, the Indian Army is on a hunt for missiles which can be fired from the indigenous ALH Rudra chopper to destroy enemy tanks under the fast track procedure for urgent acquisition.
The Army is moving a proposal worth over Rs 1,300 crore before the crucial meeting of the defence acquisition council to buy a limited number of anti-tank guided missiles from global vendors for its Rudra helicopter, which is a weaponised version of the ALH Dhruv manufactured by the HAL, sources told Mail Today.
The Army is moving a proposal worth over Rs 1,300 crore before the crucial meeting of the defence acquisition council to buy a limited number of anti-tank guided missiles from global vendors for its Rudra helicopter, which is a weaponised version of the ALH Dhruv manufactured by the HAL, sources told Mail Today.
The ATGMs would be fired from helicopters which would be used by both the Army and Air Force and would also be equipped with the indigenous HELINA missiles when they are ready for operational deployment in future.
Sources in the Defence Ministry said the Army needs missiles which can hit enemy tanks at a distance of seven kilometers in all conditions claiming that the indigenous HELINA can't do so but there is doubt whether any foreign-origin missile can achieve the strike distances from a helicopter.

The programme to utilise the weaponised version of the ALH was started over five years ago by the HAL and it handed over the first chopper to the Army in 2013. The force had initiated a tender to procure helicopter-fired ATGMs earlier also in which private firms from Israel, Sweden and France had participated and their trials were also held at foreign locations.
However, none of the vendors could meet the Indian requirement of providing twin-tube missile launchers as world-over the attack helicopters fire from fourtube launchers.
"The previous tender had to be scrapped in 2015 as the twin-tube solutions could not be found and having a four-tube launcher would have resulted in the boom touching the ground while landing as the Rudra is not a genuine attack machine," sources in the Army said.
However, the continuous delays in the project also have resulted in the Army postponing its plans to utilise the choppers in antitank role due to the lack of attack choppers in its inventory. "We are taking clearance from the Defence Ministry under the fast track procedure to buy these ATGMs as they are required urgently for our choppers," Army sources said.
The Indian Army and the Air Force together are looking to acquire a fleet of 76 weaponised Rudra choppers which would be fitted with 70mm guns and rocket pods along with four anti-tank missiles with two each fitted on both sides.
The HELINA missile, is a heli-borne version of the NAG missiles developed in the 1980s.


Russia To Start Deliveries Of KA-226T Helicopters To India In 2019

Russia will start initial deliveries of military helicopters to India in 2019, with assembly and manufacturing to follow in Asia's fastest growing economy, the chief executive of state-owned manufacturer Russian Helicopters said on Monday.

India and Russia signed an agreement in October to jointly manufacture 200 of the KA-226T helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.

Both countries have agreed to cooperate in energy and defence as India seeks to modernise its armed forces and build a nuclear industry and sanctions-hit Russia looks for investment and new markets.

"The joint venture is in process and the first delivery will start in 2019. After-sales service will also be provided in India," said Andrey Boginsky, who took over as CEO in January.

Some 60 helicopters will be delivered to India and the remaining 140 will be assembled or manufactured in India, he said at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

The company has started production of the advanced medium multirole Mi-171A2 helicopter, with four deliveries set for Russia this year, he said.China has shown an interest in the Mi-171A2, he added, without elaborating.

Overall sales in 2017 are expected to grow at least 15 percent as demand for civil helicopters increases.

"We expect to sell 220 helicopters this year," he said compared to 190 sold in 2016. Military helicopters account for two thirds of sales.

"There is demand for civil helicopters and we plan to increase volumes," he said, adding that a key market is Iran, where there is demand from the oil and gas sector.


Another Technology Transfer to India

The opportunity for the transfer of a missile technology to India will be explored within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed with Thales, with the support of the United Kingdom.

India’s Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a government enterprise has signed an MOU with Thales, a French group specialising in defense, to assess the opportunity for the transfer of technology of the STARStreak missile capability to India with the support of the UK.

Through the MoU, Thales and BDL seek to jointly offer a “Make in India” solution to help service growing international demand for this product, according to Thales’s website.

The STARStreak missile is in service in the UK army and has been procured by the defence forces of a number of countries worldwide.

The missile has the capability to defeat any air target, even armoured helicopters as the last line of defence.

The STARStreak, which is the fastest missile in its category, is equipped with three laser-guided darts, which cannot be jammed by any known countermeasure. The missile operates at a speed in excess of Mach 3 to defeat fast-moving threats and those with short unmasking times. The three-dart ‘hittile’ configuration maximises lethality. The highly-accurate laser beam riding guidance enables engagement of low-signature targets and is immune to all known countermeasures.

The missile system has already been integrated with a wide range of Radar, IR Sensors, and Command and Control systems. It can be used in a Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS) role as a single or multi-launcher configuration and is also available integrated into both light and heavy High Mobility Vehicles.

This initiative has the support of UK government, in the spirit of cooperation between the two countries, including under the Indo-UK Defence Equipment Cooperation MoU.

The association will play a strategic role not only in supporting the “Make in India” vision of the India but also in giving a boost to the bilateral relations between India and the UK.

Alex Cresswell, Executive Vice President for Land & Air Systems activities at Thales, said: “We are thankful to the government of the UK for their strong support to this initiative. Sharing technology has been one of the key ingredients of Thales’ strategy for India. We would continue to work in this direction and realise our objective to make in India and export from India through such endeavours.”


To speed up deliveries, Russia's S-400 Air Defence System may come without offset package

The defence ministry may forego the offset clause to speed up deliveries of a Russian air defence system designed to deter Pakistani fighters and provide a missile shield for major cities, said people with knowledge of the matter.

India and Russia will start final negotiations on the S 400 air defence system next month with the deal value pegged at Rs 39,000 crore. The offset clause, which fits in with the Make in India programme, mandates foreign companies to invest at least 30 per cent of the contract value in the Indian aerospace and defence sectors.

The S 400 is an advanced air defence system that has already been ordered by China, which is likely to get its first deliveries later this year. India and Russia began talks after the government accepted an air force proposal to purchase five firing units of the system to protect both the northern and eastern borders.

A top Russian official told ET that offsets could delay deliveries by as much as two years.

"As far as I have heard, there is no offset package for the programme. It is a strategic project and is very important for the two countries," said Viktor N Kladov, director of international cooperation at Rostec, the Russian state-owned company that controls sales of the S 400 system. "It should not be played around with some offset packages."

He said Russia would comply if India insisted on an offset package. But, he said, "It may delay delivery by one-two years and that is why a deal with no offsets package is the best choice."

According to analysts, the offset clause typically adds 10-15 per cent to the value of a contract on account of the domestic investment required. Also, the non-compliance rate is very high as companies find it difficult to discharge the offset within the rules.

Sources have told ET that while the defence ministry has approved the purchase of five firing units of the S 400 system for an estimated Rs.39,000 crore, two may be ordered in the initial phase. This could be increased based on performance, they said.

If the contract is signed within a year, deliveries could start by 2019-20.

"One year for the contract plus another two years for delivery. That will be the timeframe," Kladov said. "The Indian side invited us for negotiations in March. So, if we start negotiations in March, it will take another year to prepare for the contract. I do hope it will happen this year or maybe first half of next year."

China will likely get the system this year itself after signing up to be the first export customer. Designed to counter a variety of threats from hypersonic cruise missiles to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), airborne early warning aircraft, stealth fighters and even precision-guided munitions, the S 400 is the latest in a range of air defence systems that have posed a formidable threat to western aircraft across the world.


February 17, 2017

Tata Motors front-runner for Rs 60,000-cr combat vehicle programme

Tata Motors is among the frontrunners for the Defence Ministry’s 60,000-crore Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme.
“This $10-billion FICV programme is mobility-oriented, as is established by the fact that three of the five core technologies and 19 of the 34 critical technologies are mobility related, such as engines, transmission and running gear, which are core to Tata Motors,” said Vernon Noronha, Vice-President, Defence and Government Business, Tata Motors.
The company is also rooting for the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) project that will replace the T-72 battle tank, as well as for the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT), to replace the Army’s main battle tank, the Russian built T-90.
In addition to this, Tata Motors has submitted a proposal to supply 3,200 Tata Safari Stormes as a replacement for the ageing and iconic Maruti Gypsy, the order size for which is pegged at about ₹400 crore.
Said Noronha: “The Tata Safari Storme provides an option of a diesel variant,with a powerful 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine. It also comes with both 4x2 and 4x4 options, which helps the SUV wade through marshy lands, desert, snow, gravel and every kind of terrain in our country.”
While a decision is awaited on these key orders, the company continues to deliver 6x6 high mobility multi-axle trucks, with MHC (material handling crane) based on a larger orders bagged by Tata Motors for over 1,800 such vehicles, received between June 2015 and April 2016.
Order book

With a current order book of 1500 crore, company is buoyed by the new Defence Procurement Policy (DPP).
“The acceptance of single-vendors under certain conditions is a step in the right direction, and will give a good boost to the industry.
“The DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) can now select partners before they design a product, and this helps private firms to exert reverse pressure on DRDO to speed up the developmental process. The policy will prove to be a catalyst with the end beneficiary being the Indian Army,” said Noronha. 


Raytheon signs MoU with TASL for co-production of Stinger missile components


Raytheon Company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) to engage in the co-production of Stinger air defence missile components.
“Our agreement with Tata Advanced Systems deepens our industrial partnership in India with a global technology leader and will expand the range of options and capabilities for US and coalition forces to achieve their missions,” said Duane Gooden, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems Vice-President.
As part of the agreement, TASL will produce components of the Stinger missile in India. Stinger has both surface-to-air and air-to-air applications against a variety of airborne targets.
“This collaboration with Raytheon is in keeping with other partnerships that TASL has with global leaders in the defence and aerospace sector. We look forward to becoming a key contributor to the Stinger missile for India,” said Sukaran Singh, chief executive officer and managing director of TASL.
“We will seek to expand our relationship to other missile systems and technologies, and contribute to the progressive implementation of the ‘Make in India’ initiative to address multiple objectives of the government, such as value-addition, employment, and control over key technologies,” added Singh.
In 2016, India was one of three international customers to order Stinger missiles. India will equip its AH-64 Apache helicopters soon to enter service with the Indian Air Force. 


India and US in talks on F-16 jet factory: Lockheed Martin

U.S. defence company Lockheed Martin said on Thursday that talks were taking place between the United States and the Indian government over its offer of setting up a factory to produce F-16 fighter planes in India.

Lockheed is pushing ahead with its proposal to transfer the F-16 production line to India to supply the Indian air force, but it understands that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration may want to take a fresh look at such plans.

"The conversation at this point has progressed between governments," Randall L Howard, Lockheed's head of F-16 business development, told reporters at an air show in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.

"We have had very strong support up to this point from the U.S. government. We are deferring any concerns over to the two governments as discussions have progressed to the point where requirements need to be more fully articulated," Howard said, adding that Lockheed Martin is fully supportive of those discussions.

Trump's criticism of U.S. auto and drug companies moving manufacturing overseas and then selling goods back to the United States has raised concern over Lockheed's plans, though in this case the factory would supply the Indian military rather than export to the United States.

India's defence ministry issued a request last year asking foreign manufacturers if they were willing to produce a single-engine combat plane in India in collaboration with a local partner as part of the government's drive to build a domestic industrial base and reduce imports.

Sweden's Saab is the other contender, offering to make its Gripen fighter in India.

India's air force desperately needs new planes to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-origin fighters.

indian express

India, Russia to Finalize S-400 Missile Air Defense System Deal in 2017

  • One S-400 regiment is usually divided into two battalions each of which capable of deploying eight launchers and a total of 32 surface-to-air missiles.
Russia is expected to sign a contract with India for the procurement of four to five regiments of Russian-made S-400 Triumf advanced Air Defense Systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) by the end of 2017, according to senior Russian government official.

“Contractual negotiations are ongoing. That is why it is still premature to speak about the number of systems that will be delivered. We hope that the contract for the delivery of S-400 Triumf antiaircraft missile systems will be signed until the end of this year,” Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Vladimir Drozhzhov, told TASS news agency on February 14.

Both countries signed an inter-governmental agreement in Goa, India in October 2016 at the sidelines of the eight BRICS summit. The signing ceremony was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the time, Russian officials expressed hopes that the contract will be finalized in the first quarter of 2017. Unsurprisingly, given India’s slow military procurement process, this date apparently now had to be pushed back.

The Indian Ministry of Defense’s Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) already approved the S-400 purchase in December 2015, which made India the second country after China to purchase the S-400, purportedly one of the most advanced missile air defense systems in the world. The S-400 is capable of engaging a host of targets including ballistic and cruise missiles, bombers operating at high altitudes and stand-off jammer aircraft. It is, however, unclear what missiles the Russia will supply India with.

In comparison to its predecessor, the S-300, the S-400 air defense system features an improved radar system and updated software; it can purportedly can fire four new types of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles in addition to the S-300’s 48N6E, a vertical tube launched, solid fuel, single stage SAM with an estimated range of 150 kilometers (93 miles), and the improved 48N6E2 missile with a reported range of 195 kilometers (121 miles).

One of the S-400’s new missiles is the so-called 40N6 SAM with an estimated operational range of 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) and an altitude of up to 185 kilometers (607,000 feet). The missile is reportedly capable of exo-atmospheric interception of intermediate-range ballistic missile warheads in their terminal phase. However, it is unclear whether the weapon is operational in Russia yet and no images of the 40N6 SAM have surfaced so far.

The S-400 is also armed with an improved variant of the 48N6E2 with an alleged range of 250 kilometers (160 miles). The air defense system can also fire two additional missiles, the 9M96E and 9M96E2 with respective ranges of 40 km (25 miles) and 120 km (75 miles). Improved S-300 air defense systems such as the S-300PMU-2 Favorite (sold to Iran), can purportedly also fire the 9M96E and 9M96E2. The S-400 can purportedly fire missiles at a rate 2.5 times faster than its predecessor, the S-300.

One S-400 regiment is usually divided into two battalions each of which capable of deploying eight launchers and a total of 32 surface-to-air missiles.


Israel Aerospace signs Indian missile and UAV deals

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. has signed three strategic cooperation agreements with Indian companies for joint development and production in IAI's main spheres of activity in that country: missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), air defense systems, and chairs for military and civilian aircraft.

The agreements were inked by IAI CEO Joseph Weiss, who is attending the Aero India exhibition in India that opened yesterday in Bangalore. 11 Israeli companies are exhibiting developments and products in aeronautics systems in a pavilion set up by the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority (SIBAT). Ministry of Defense director general Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Adam and SIBAT head Brigadier General (res.) Michel Ben-Baruch inaugurated the pavilion at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which is regarded as one of the world's most prestigious weapons exhibitions.

One of the new agreements signed involves a partnership with the defense arm of India's Kalyani Strategic Systems group. Under the agreement, the two companies will establish a joint company for developing, producing, and marketing air defense systems, lightweight munitions, and special purpose munitions. IAI has vast knowledge and experience in air defense systems and special-purpose munitions, and sells such systems produced by its subsidiary in Yehud.

These precision-guided munitions are launched at targets by UAVs after spending a long time circling above the target, at the command of their operators. IAI is involved in air defense systems in India through a partnership with Indian Ministry of Defense research and development agency in the Barak 8 defensive missile development program.

IAI also signed an agreement with Indian company Dynamatic Technologies Limited (DTL) involving production, assembly, maintenance, and support in ventures relating to mini-UAVs. The new agreement includes the transfer of information pertaining to the assembly of IAI's mini-UAVs in India. DTL will be the chief contractor for defense groups in India.

IAI signed another agreement with Taneja Aerospace & Aviation Limited (TAAL) involving joint production of chairs for military and civilian aircraft. Under this agreement, IAI's Golan Industries subsidiary will develop innovative aircraft seats. Production will take place in India in accordance with the made in India policy led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This policy requires international companies to rearrange their business in the Indian market through partnerships with local companies.

Weiss said, "These cooperative efforts will enable us to maintain our position in India and expand our business there in the future. He added, "We will move a substantial part of our UAV business to India. We will complete jointly with DTL in the upcoming tender to be published in India for a UAV deal. At the same time, we will also continue to invest in air defense and missiles in India in cooperation with the Kalyani group."

Defense sources predicted that IAI's new agreements would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the future, due to IAI's greater access to procurement tenders to be published in India in the coming years. "The potential of these agreements is vast. They reflect the adaptation of IAI's business to the Indian market based on a strategy of partnerships in future tenders," Weiss concluded.


Boeing hopes to find middle path for F-18 fighter jet sales to India

Boeing Company which is trying to sell its F-18 fighter jets to the Indian Navy is trying to work out a middle path that will satisfy the domestic manufacturing demands of both US and India, a top company executive said.

“We are willing to work with both Indian Navy and the US government to find a solution that works for everybody–that’s compelling when it comes to technological cooperation and industrial cooperation but that meets the objectives of both the governments,” Thom Breckenridge, vice-president, global sales, Boeing (India) told Mint.

The Indian Navy on 25 January put out a request for information (RFI) for 57 fighter planes to be submitted by May, and Boeing is pitching its F-18s. Meanwhile, rival Lockheed Martin with its F-16s is vying for a much bigger single-engine jet order for the Indian Air Force. Lockheed Martin has said it was reviewing clearances granted by Obama administration to make its F-16 jets in India, as the Donald Trump administration in US is keen to push US manufacturing.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has already held long meetings with Trump administration officials that were widely publicized. It is not clear if this matter was raised during those meetings.

“I am not going to comment on company’s discussions with the administration. I would say the company is in dialogue with the US government and we look forward to continuing the conversation with them as and when this particular opportunity moves forward,” Breckenridge said.

While the RFI does not specify requirements to manufacture F-18s in India, Boeing feels India will ask for it over time.

Under its planned strategic partnership model—recently proposed for the IAF order—India will select private local companies to exclusively manufacture military equipment for a specified period. The Indian partner will be identified through a model prescribed by a government committee, while the foreign partner will be chosen on criteria such as transfer of technology and the financial pitch.

“There is a reference to licence production, there are couple of references not directly to Make in India,” Breckenridge said, “There is no specific requirement yet but in the future, when the Indian Navy gets to the point they are releasing an RFP (request for proposal) or further down the process, we can expect to see some requirements.”

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has made it clear that no relaxations will be granted.

“This question you have to put to Boeing, Lockheed,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the 11th Aero India Show in Bengaluru on Tuesday. “What I am saying is what I want—I want it to be Made in India. Export to third nation is an additional bonus (and) if someone wants to shift the facility from somewhere else or whether he sets up a new one—it is his choice. I am in no way concerned with it.”

To a question on whether the F-18 be compatible with India’s aircraft carriers, some of them Russian, Boeing said it is working with Indian Navy.

“We need to continue to discuss with Navy to learn more about existing carriers but based on what we know so far, based on the modelling we have done, we feel confident,” he said, adding, “We will definitely compete; we can’t say we will win or not, but I do think we have a very good case. It was designed for carrier-based operations. It is operating in US Navy as a frontline fighter. We have done 700 deliveries of F-18. It has scale, low costs to maintain, and it has life ahead of it with continued investments out to 2040.”


Indian Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa expresses interest in Mi-38

Indian Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa has expressed interest in the Russian Mi-38 helicopter, TASS reported on Feb. 15 citing a Russian Helicopters spokesperson.
During the Aero India 2017 air show, Dhanoa inspected Mi-38 and Ka-226T helicopters, expressing particular interest in the Mi-38.
The multipurpose Mi-38 helicopter can be used for the transporting goods and passengers. It can also be used as a search-and-rescue helicopter and a flying hospital.


February 16, 2017

Indian Air Force Su-30MKIs to Get Su-35 Engines After Modernization

Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI operated by the Indian Air Force after modernization will get the AL-41F turbofan engines designed for 4++ generation aircraft currently being installed on the Su-35 fighters, United Engine Corporation CEO Alexander Artyuhov said Wednesday. “Speaking of the modernization of the Su-30MKI aircraft in terms of the engine, we have developed the engine AL-41F1C, it is being installed on the Su-35. This engine is exhibited at our stand and can be used for the Su-30MKI,” Artyuhov said during press conference at Aero India 2017. He added that the engine was significantly superior than its predecessors.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI super-maneuverable fighter jet is a version of the Su-30MK developed for India by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. The Indian Air Force has a fleet of over 200 Russia-designed aircraft built under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The 11th edition of the Aero India exhibition will be held until 18 February. The expo is attended by over 750 companies from India and around the world.

Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI operated by the Indian Air Force after modernization will get the AL-41F turbofan engines designed for 4++ generation aircraft currently being installed on the Su-35 fighters, United Engine Corporation CEO Alexander Artyuhov said Wednesday. “Speaking of the modernization of the Su-30MKI aircraft in terms of the engine, we have developed the engine AL-41F1C, it is being installed on the Su-35. This engine is exhibited at our stand and can be used for the Su-30MKI,” Artyuhov said during press conference at Aero India 2017. He added that the engine was significantly superior than its predecessors. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI super-maneuverable fighter jet is a version of the Su-30MK developed for India by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. The Indian Air Force has a fleet of over 200 Russia-designed aircraft built under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The 11th edition of the Aero India exhibition will be held until 18 February. The expo is attended by over 750 companies from India and around the world.

idrw.org . Read more at India No 1 Defence News Website , Kindly don't paste our work in other websites http://idrw.org/indian-air-force-su-30mkis-to-get-su-35-engines-after-modernization/ .
Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI operated by the Indian Air Force after modernization will get the AL-41F turbofan engines designed for 4++ generation aircraft currently being installed on the Su-35 fighters, United Engine Corporation CEO Alexander Artyuhov said Wednesday. “Speaking of the modernization of the Su-30MKI aircraft in terms of the engine, we have developed the engine AL-41F1C, it is being installed on the Su-35. This engine is exhibited at our stand and can be used for the Su-30MKI,” Artyuhov said during press conference at Aero India 2017. He added that the engine was significantly superior than its predecessors. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI super-maneuverable fighter jet is a version of the Su-30MK developed for India by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. The Indian Air Force has a fleet of over 200 Russia-designed aircraft built under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The 11th edition of the Aero India exhibition will be held until 18 February. The expo is attended by over 750 companies from India and around the world.

idrw.org . Read more at India No 1 Defence News Website , Kindly don't paste our work in other websites http://idrw.org/indian-air-force-su-30mkis-to-get-su-35-engines-after-modernization/ .

February 15, 2017

India Set To Test Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile

A key American partner, India, is set to conduct another missile test that will have a wide range of consequences on regional dynamics for years to come.

India’s new K-4 nuclear-capable, submarine-launched ballistic missile is expected to have a range of 3,500 kilometers, a serious improvement over its current operational missile of the same kind.

When coupled with India’s burgeoning nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine program, India is set to seriously increase its second-strike capability in the coming years.

This trend aligns with India’s ongoing efforts to modernize its military with particular focus on naval power. A heftier military capability will extend India’s national influence and potentially rival China.

India’s current operational submarine-launched ballistic missile, the K-15, has a range of approximately 750 kilometers and was designed to be used by the INS Arihant, India’s first indigenously built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.

While the Arihant is primarily a training platform that will be used to train crews for future nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, it is also capable of conducting deterrence patrols. India currently has plans to build up to five nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines of a similar design in the future.

Based on the Arihant’s design, these will most likely be used in naval bastions, with cover provided by other naval vessels and aircraft in the Bay of Bengal or near the Andaman and Nicobar islands. These submarines lack the necessary speed and stealth capabilities to effectively defend themselves against hostile attack submarines.

That is why the increased range of the K-4 is so significant. It would give India the capability to strike targets in China or Pakistan from the Bay of Bengal in the event of war. India is also expected to increase naval facilities on the Andaman and Nicobar islands for this purpose.

Some have argued that this new capability from India could lead to more destabilization and conflict in the region rather than less, forcing an arms race in anti-submarine weapons or adding a destabilizing element to future crises.

While that may be the case, second-strike capability is a priority for India due to its policy of “no first use” with its nuclear arsenal. In order to maintain deterrence, it has to ensure that its arsenal cannot be neutralized by a preemptive strike.

Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines have secured this capability for the U.S., Soviet Union/Russia, and China for years, and India seems set to cultivate this technology for its own security.

As the U.S. looks to India to play a more active role in the Asia-Pacific region, this growth in capability will enhance India’s ability to step into that role, further increasing the potential of the U.S.-India strategic partnership.


New Delhi set to sign off on A330 AEW&C platform

New Delhi’s Defence Research Development Organisation is awaiting final approvals for its Airbus A330-200 based Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft.

The acquisition awaits approval by the Cabinet Committee for Security, say officials familiar with the requirement.

Initially two aircraft will be acquired. There will be a follow on order for four additional aircraft.

The A330 platform was selected in 2015 following a request for proposals from the DRDO. Boeing did not reply to the RFP.

The aircraft will be fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar housed in an external radome.

“This aircraft gives us 360 degree coverage, while the EMB-145 only offers 240 degrees coverage with its plank array,” says the official.

New Delhi acquired three EMB-145s, which were fitted with an indigenously produced radar. The Indian Air Force officially inducted the type at this year’s Aero India.

The A330 platform, designated as AWACS (I), will have 11 operators, as opposed to five aboard the EMB-145. The extra space aboard the aircraft will house an auxiliary power unit and provide accommodation for additional operators.

Endurance will be nine hours, compared with five for the Embraer platform. The official says that no accommodation will be made to equip AWACS (I) with the ability to be refuelled in the air.

In a press briefing, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that New Delhi’s relative weakness in AEW&C assets is something that needs to be rectified.

In addition to its EMB-145s, the Indian air force also operates three Ilyushin Il-76s equipped with IAI’s Phalcon radar


MiG ready to discuss maximum possible localization in India, says CEO

JSC Russian Aircraft Corp. MiG, the maker of the MiG fighter aircraft, is looking to step up its presence in India and contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India programme, Ilya Tarasenko, chief executive officer said in an interview. Edited excerpts from an interview:

Russian Aircraft Corp. has long historical ties with the Indian defence forces. How do you evaluate this cooperation, what lies ahead?

We have been partners with India for several decades. As you know, the legendary MiG-21 fighters are still operated by the IAF and their life cycle has been extended till 2025. This is one of the examples of our close partnership based on long experience. Today we can confirm that we have reached the stage of cooperation when we can offer a very significant level of localization of our aircraft systems, including setting up production of various components and units. Together with the Indian colleagues we have this experience in upgrading MiG-29 fighters.

Indian Navy has announced a tender for 57 multi-role carrier borne fighters. Will you bid for this?

Let me start with saying that in 2016 we successfully completed a contract with the Indian Navy for the supply of 45 MiG-29K/KUB. This aircraft system has proved its worth both in the Indian and Russian Navy. As you know, MiG-29K/KUB fighters took an active role in the Syrian conflict and showed their efficiency in combat performance receiving high marks from the Command and Navy pilots. It should also be noted that equipment of the Navy with aircraft systems that are already in operation is economically more efficient due to the already existing support infrastructure and lack of the need to retrain operating and support personnel. Having in mind this experience in the Russian Navy and recommendations from our pilots that have already mastered this aircraft system, I can confidently say that MiG-29K/KUB is an optimal carrier-borne multi-role fighter for the Navy’s purposes.

The Russian media says Moscow is ready to offer India its latest MiG-35 fighters. Your comments.

For sure, MiG-35 is an aircraft that the Indian Air Force is interested in, in terms of the cost-efficiency ratio. We are ready to negotiate with our Indian partners all issues related to supply of this aircraft system. Moreover, we are ready to make a notable contribution to the implementation of the ‘Make in India’ programme announced by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. It means that we are ready to discuss maximum possible localization.

Our corporation has already earned a good reputation in this respect with the MiG-29 fighter modernization programme to the latest UPG version that is implemented at HAL’s (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) facilities in Nashik. Russia may supply a certain number of finished aircraft and then switch to kit deliveries for the aircraft systems to be manufactured in the territory of India along with establishing local production of components.

Over the years we have established a basis for succession in military cooperation with India. It secures a notable economic advantage for MiG-35 making its operation 20% cheaper as compared to rivals.

What would be the terms of the MiG-35 deal?

An answer to this question we will be jointly reaching together with our Indian colleagues through negotiations on the supply terms of this aircraft system. I would like to state that we are not offering a single product. Our proposal includes a comprehensive solution that includes the aircraft proper, an automated training system with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as an after-sale service programme.

Will your strategic partnership be in parts’ supply or localized manufacturing?

We have designed offset programmes that include use of local air force base, specialist training and creation of new jobs, as well as modern technology transfer, joint R&D projects and setting up licensed production. Besides aircraft supply, RSK MiG provides flying and ground personnel training and retraining at our own premises or in the customer’s country.


Airbus Helicopters scouting for manufacturing site in India

Europe’s Airbus Helicopters, which has a joint venture with Mahindra Defence to make military helicopters in India, has started transferring the know-how required for making helicopters even as the request for proposal for Indian Navy’s utility helicopter programme is still pending. The company has also started scouting for a site to set up a full-fledged manufacturing facility for the venture, company’s top officials said in an interview here on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th Aero India show.

Indian Navy requires 100 units of twin-engine medium-sized utility helicopters to serve the Indian waters.

The programme is likely to follow the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category.

“We have been discussing with Mahindra for a long time—everything from business agreement to a business plan and marketing the project,” said Pierre de Bausset, president and managing director of Airbus India. He pointed that even as a lot will depend on the JV winning the contract from the Indian Navy, the company has started the preparatory work, which includes “transferring the know-how”.

Ashish Ashraf, vice-president industry development, strategic partnerships and offsets, Airbus group India, said the company has been able to transfer some of the structural packages to Mahindra, which has got them to start making parts small assemblies and components for the helicopter.

“Not only does it prepare Mahindra for the big activity, it also helps develop a small chain of small and medium scale enterprises that will feed into the AS565 MBe Panther line,” said Ashraf adding that the company has narrowed down seven to eight states for a manufacturing site, which it is evaluating for feasibility. The JV, said Bausset, will go beyond the Panther and make range of helicopters that can address varied needs of the armed forces. “The whole idea is long term,” he said.

In July 2016, Airbus Helicopters awarded a contract to Mahindra Aero structures Ltd to make airframe parts for the Panther military chopper. These parts are made at Mahindra’s facility near Bengaluru shipped directly to the Airbus helicopter production line in Marignane, France, where they are integrated with the rest of the airframe assembly.

Under its planned strategic partnership model, India will select private Indian firms to exclusively manufacture military equipment for a specified period.

India’s defence helicopter market historically has been dominated by Russian and French origin platforms, which have been produced under a licensing agreement by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

The need to modernize the ageing fleet of helicopters and fighter jets under the make in India programme with the proposed strategic partnership model, has been wooing global firms to India as an investment destination.


India, Russia close in on chopper deal: Report

Russia is close to finalising a deal to build helicopters in India, an executive said Tuesday, a move that would boost Narendra Modi`s ambitions to manufacture defence hardware locally.

India is the world`s top defence importer and is seeking to revamp its Soviet-era military equipment against an increasingly assertive China.

Prime Minister Modi has been encouraging foreign firms to work with local contractors under a "Make in India" campaign, to reduce India`s reliance on costly imports.

Russia and India first flagged plans for a joint partnership to build Kamov helicopters -- a twin-engine chopper used for military and civilian purposes -- in 2015.

But India has increasingly turned to the United States and France, rather than traditional ally Russia, for its military hardware in recent years.

Two Russian firms -- Russian Helicopters and state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport -- are on the brink of finalising a joint venture with India`s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, according to reports.

Viktor Kladov from Rostec, the parent company of Rosoboronexport, said the joint venture would be completed in "one to two months".
"We have conducted multiple negotiations, most recently in January this year," Kladov was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

"The document work for the joint venture has been completed and they have been sent for registration with the relevant government bodies."
The helicopters will replace India`s ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

President Vladimir Putin has been seeking to seal deals with India to help revive Russia`s recession-hit economy, following sliding oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Kladov said he hoped the Kamov choppers would eventually be exported to India`s neighbours once the production line was up and running.

"These helicopters are versatile and modular, so they can be used in military, search and rescue, medical and transport tasks," he said.

"It is possible that the regional market, the neighbouring countries may be interested and the choppers can become export products on their own."


February 14, 2017

IAF inducts first indigenously developed surveillance plane

The Indian Air Force inducted its first indigenously developed airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, mounted on a Brazilian Embraer-145 jet, on Tuesday ramping up its capability to detect enemy aircraft and missiles.

The Netra AEW&C system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and has a range of around 200 km.

The aircraft was handed over to the IAF on the opening day of Asia’s largest air show Aero India-2017, more than six years behind schedule. Over 550 defence and aerospace firms, including 279 foreign companies, are taking part in the biennial event being held at the Yelahanka air force base.

“The induction of the AEW&C aircraft is the highlight of the airshow for the air force. We need to swiftly scale up our airborne surveillance capabilities,” a senior IAF officer said.

India inked a $208-million contract for three Brazil-built Embraer-145 planes in 2008 as part of a DRDO programme to scale up the IAF’s AEW&C capabilities. The deal was in the news last year due to kickback allegations.

The IAF currently operates three Israeli Phalcon airborne warning and control system (AWACS) mounted on Russian IL-76 heavy-lift planes and there are plans to buy two more. The system has a range of 400km. The numbers are not enough to cover the eastern and western sectors during offensive operations.

In 2015, the defence ministry accorded its acceptance of necessity, the first step towards making an acquisition, for a $760-million project involving mounting two such indigenously developed surveillance systems on the European Airbus A330 platform.

India is considering a proposal to buy a total of six A330 aircraft on which the AWACS may be mounted, taking the value of the deal to around $2.5 billion. The first such aircraft could be inducted by 2025.

The radar system to detect far-off targets will be developed by the DRDO. Airbus Defence & Space was the only bidder for the AWACS India programme, making it the first single vendor project to be cleared by the NDA government.

The AWACS is a robust monitoring system that provides 360-degree coverage, compared to AEW&C’s 240-degree capability. The AWACS also has better range and endurance.

hindustan times

Indian Airforce capable of countering PLAF, Rafale will give a technological edge - IAF Chief

India is capable of countering new generation Chinese fighters and is creating new infrastructure on the border to boost capabilities, including a new fighter jet base in east Ladakh, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa tells Economic Times in a wideranging interview. The air chief feels that the Make in India initiative will arm the air force against future threats and has confidence in the abilities of the private sector to deliver. Excerpts:

What is your assessment on the capability of the two fifth generation Chinese fighter jets?

We have some of the latest aircraft in our inventory positioned in our eastern sector to tackle our adversary’s air power. The Chinese 5th generation aircraft have just been tested out and it will take time for them to realise their full potential. Our air defence architecture is capable of detecting intrusions and have the requisite combat assets, ground and air to counter the threat from them. With the acquisition of the Rafale, our capability in terms of combat air assets will vastly improve and will be in a position to greatly increase the asymmetry in combat potential over the adversary. We are also in the process of building our capacities to acquire more state of art combat and combat support assets. A substantial portion of this would be procured through the ‘Make in India’ route.

What are the Air Force plans for augmentation of infrastructure in the border areas?

Our operational capability is dependent on equipment, training, procedures, infrastructure availability and plans based on our analysis of the adversary. We have quite a few bases in our eastern sector operating frontline squadrons. These bases are being modernised with the latest facilities to undertake fullscale operations. Special shelters are being build over these structures to provide for passive air defence and they are progressing at a fast pace. We have quite a few bases in our eastern sector operating frontline squadrons. These bases are being modernised with the latest facilities to undertake fullscale operations. Special shelters are being build over these structures to provide for passive air defence and they are progressing at a fast pace. On the northern front, trial landings by transport aircraft have been carried out by our aircraft at Nyoma air base and its development into a fighter aircraft base is part of the IAF’s plan in the near future.

India is looking at partnering a private player for a new fighter jet line under the Make in India plan. What kind of technology is being looked at?

The main objective of Make in India initiative in aerospace sector is not only to manufacture these aircraft in the country but to harness key technologies essential for manufacturing defence equipment in the country. The technology capability transfer being sought is to enable us to unilaterally design develop and manufacture top of the line fighter aircraft in the country. This will have multiple spinoffs -technology infusion will boost the R&D sector, is likely to revive some of the stagnated design and development projects and will also assist in future fighter development programmes.

The air force has been looking at force enhancers. What mix of capability enhancers are planned in coming years?

We already have three AWACS aircraft on the IL-76 platform operational and a case for the procurement of two additional AWACS is at CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) approval stage. The flight trials for indigenous AEW&C aircraft is in the final stages and the system is likely to be inducted soon. Apart from these, DRDO has chalked out a roadmap for development of indigenous AWACS on Airbus A330 platform and we expect the first two indigenous AWACS to be inducted in the IAF by 2025. IAF was pursuing the case for Flight Refueller Aircraft (FRA). After the withdrawal of RFP, we are now exploring available options in order to ensure that this critical capability is available to us in the earliest possible timeframe.

The Indian industry has some capacity to manufacture aerial bombs and other ammunition domestically, would the air force look at them as a source?
Procurement of weapons has a recurring cost and indigenisation in the field of weapons is one of the priorities of IAF. IAF is closely involved in design and development of weapons undertaken by DRDO and we also carry out flight trials of all these weapons. We have identified certain weapons that can be designed and manufactured by the private sector.

One criticism is that the F-16 jets being offered to India are similar to the ones being operated by Pakistan. Is this a matter of concern?

At present, there is no case for procurement of the F-16 aircraft under process. However, the F-16 jets offered to India during the bids for 126 MMRCA were more advanced than the versions being operated by PAF. There are significant differences in the two variants and the one offered to India by Lockheed Martin have superior capabilities. This was not a matter of concern during the selection process.


Jawans to soon get lightweight helmets with better endurance

Army men will soon be wearing lightweight helmets thanks to a deal struck between a Kanpur-based defence manufacturer company and the Ministry of Defence. They will manufacture 1.58 lakh ultra lightweight helmets for jawans. The deal worth Rs 180 crores has been awarded to MKU Industries.

The helmets will be nearly one kilo lesser than the old ones and will not contain any bolts. The helmets have the ability to bear the impact of 9mm ammunition fired from short range. They will be delivered to the Indian Army over the next three years in phases.

Rajesh Gupta the senior manager of MKU Industries, said, “The deal was made in December 2016. The production of the modern helmets has already begun. The helmet’s name is ‘Mukut’. Of the 1.58 lakh helmets, 30 per cent will have communication systems that will be exclusively for commandos. The Union government’s decision will lessen the burden on jawans. The previous helmets were made of steel, heavy and not soldier-friendly.”

A source in the ministry said, “This is the first large-scale order of helmets by the Army in more than two decades. Over a decade ago, Indian Army’s elite para special forces were given Israeli OR-201 helmets made with glass reinforced plastic.”


February 13, 2017

Why licensed Kalashnikovs could be the solution to India's rifle woes

Mikhail Kalashnikov had set the bar so high in 1947 that it’s difficult if not impossible for modern small-arms designers to achieve an evolutionary leap over the AK-47 assault rifle. If Russia has allowed India to licence produce submarines and Sukhois, then there should be no obstacle in the way of licence producing a rifle.
The Indian Army has decided to end its experiment with the glitch prone Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56 mm rifle and go for a brand new 7.62 mm calibre weapon. As part of its massive modernisation drive that will re-quip entire divisions with high-end weapons and over a million troops with advanced personal arms, the army says unlike previous failed attempts, this time it’s aiming in the right direction.
The Indian small arms project has suffered too many misfires because the generals wanted the equivalent of the Star Wars Blaster. Had the army kept its general staff qualitative requirements (GSQRs) at a realistic level, Indian soldiers wouldn’t be saddled with a malfunctioning rifle. According to Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, “The Indian Army's dream personal weapon of twin calibre capability with changeable barrels to cater for different calibres has resulted in the acute delay in the final decision. There appears to be no takers for this variety which the General Staff had desired.”
Clearly, reinventing the rifle is a futile exercise. Mikhail Kalashnikov had set the bar so high in 1947 that it’s difficult if not impossible for modern small-arms designers to achieve an evolutionary leap over the AK-47 assault rifle. The larger 7.62 mm calibre that the Indian Army is now seeking is incidentally the same as the AK, buttressing the Russian weapon’s reputation as the most reliable – and copied – weapon in modern history.
In fact, until the 1980s, Indian soldiers were more or less happy with the locally made 7.62 mm Self Loading Rifle. The situation cratered when the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) instead of improving a tolerably good rifle, offered to design a new one. The army's impossible demands combined with the DRDO's over-reach proved fatal to the success of the INSAS project.
Military historian Timothy D. Hoyt explains in Military Industry and Regional Defense Policy - India, Iraq and Israel: "In the early 1980s, DRDO made a commitment to develop a new series of 5.56 mm small arms for the Indian armed forces called the INSAS. Both Heckler & Koch of Germany and Steyr of Austria offered to provide for India's immediate needs and transfer technology worth $4.5 million for free. These offers were declined and DRDO spent the next decade, and approximately Rs 2 billion (about $100 million in 1990), reinventing a family of small arms based heavily on Steyr and H&K technology. In the meantime, India imported AK-47 rifles from former Warsaw Pact nations to fill requirements. The INSAS finally entered service in the late 1990s.”

How not to make a rifle

Although the INSAS was more accurate than an AK-47, it flopped because of reliability issues. Indian soldiers hated it. In particular, it repeatedly jammed during the Kargil War, leading to emergency imports of tens of thousands of AK-47. The chief reason that Indian Ordnance Board (IOB) factories – which make INSAS rifles – churn out shoddy weapons is that they are not run by weapons professionals but bureaucrats of the Indian Administrative Service. Soldiers and officers with battlefield experience, especially in the area of urban warfare, are not involved in weapons design nor is their opinion sought.
The INSAS rifles designed by the IOB lack finish and look amateurish, clearly not meant for one of the largest fighting forces in the world. According to the website, Indians For Guns, the designers have tried to copy the AK-47 and AK-74, with parts scaled down from the larger Russian rifles. There’s plastic everywhere, including the magazine, causing it to crack or jam when used in extreme cold conditions. “The crude scratching that passed off as lettering was too shallow and the lazy (workers) at the factory simply squished some white enamel over the general areas and didn't even bother to wipe off the excess.”
To be sure, there is no lack of ingenuity in the defence forces. As the army wades through its procurement bureaucracy, a soldier has modified the INSASrifle, reducing its overall length and weight, allowing corner shot capability. "The modified  weapon is more stable while firing, compact, easy to carry and has better accuracy," a source told NDTV.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was so impressed that he gave the soldier – whose identity remains secret – an "innovation certificate". It's sad that innovators like this soldier remain unsung and are unlikely to be absorbed into the defence industry. India must acknowledge the value of soldier technocrats. Kalashnikov, for instance, designed the AK-47 based on his knowledge of the shortcomings of the Russian rifle versus the German standard issue small-arms of World War II.

Licensed production

Having a Made in India assault rifle would be brilliant, but in the past four decades India hasn’t demonstrated such capability. Until the Defence Ministry infuses some professionalism into the IOB, it shouldn’t try and reverse engineer the world’s simplest rifle. On the other hand, India has successfully licence produced weapons since the 1960s. These include high-performance aircraft such as the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27, MiG-29, Jaguar and Sukhoi Su-30MKI, as well as Russian tanks, field guns, anti-aircraft weapons, armoured personal carriers and destroyers.
According to Hoyt, "Licensed production adequately responds to most military needs, provides leverage against supply blackmail by external powers, and demonstrates Indian military and industrial capabilities. Only a few countries are capable of manufacturing supersonic aircraft or large surface warships, or sophisticated diesel attack submarines. Indian industrial capability therefore reflects India's self-image as a growing power and a great nation."
Till such time India is able to develop a world class rifle, the Defence Ministry needs to steer the army in the direction of licence production.

Russian small-arms developments

Considering the size of Indian security apparatus - a million army soldiers plus hundreds of thousands of paramilitary troops - there won't be shortage of foreign partners. If Russia has allowed India to licence produce submarines and Sukhois, then there should be no obstacle in the way of licence producing a rifle. Moscow also seems to have the edge - in technology - over western manufacturers. It has redesigned its entire family of small arms based on information and lessons gained from low-intensity counter-insurgency – such as in Chechnya. Much of the design and development has involved extensive coordination between elements of the Russian military.
Unlike India, Russian (and western) weapons manufacturers employ the ladder approach – incremental improvements in successive generation of weapons. For instance, the standard Russian Army small arm is the AK-74 - a lighter and improved version of the AK-47. Since the mid-1970s the Russians have made further modifications to the gas block and barrel, resulting in the AK-15, an even more reliable gun than the AK-74.
In a declassified CIA report, the agency compares a range of small arms used by Russian, American, British, French and West German armies and concludes that Russian weapons are clearly "superior to their counterpart NATO weapons". While western weapons performed poorly in delivering automatic fire, the Russian designs packed functionality and reliability in a light package.
The report, published in the CIA’s Military Thought journal, is a must read for the Indian Army brass which is about to take a decision on the 7.62 mm calibre rifle. “This cartridge will kill a soldier at ranges of up to 1500 metres and with full reliability penetrate a helmet or armoured vest at ranges of from 600 and 900 metres," says the US report.

Life after Excalibur: Growing calibre

The Excalibur was supposed to be the IOB’s silver bullet that would erase the memory of the failed INSAS. It had a number of improvements, including two settings, single shot or automatic, thus ditching the INSAS' three-round burst, which caused it to jam during battle. It also had reduced recoil. And yet it was junked, demonstrating that India's defence planners aren't adopting the ladder approach.
Perhaps the only good thing about the demise of the INSAS is that its comparatively smaller 5.56 mm calibre round may have been a liability in modern warfare.
The Indian Army had long subscribed to the western military wisdom that the 5.56 mm rifle is better suited for war because it generally injures an enemy soldier, thereby tying down two of his mates who would carry him to safety. On the other hand, the 7.62mm bullet usually causes death, thereby eliminating only one soldier from the battlefield.
The current thinking makes a 180-degree turn. Firstly, soldiers don’t pick up a fallen comrade during a charge. For, that would not only slow down the charge but also expose the rescuers to hostile fire. No army in the world teaches such tactics to its soldiers and it is therefore surprising that such ‘wisdom’ prevailed for so long.
Secondly, the 7.62 mm rifle is ideal in counter-insurgency warfare because it is better to take out terrorists before they come close for suicide bombing. Also, terrorists don’t stop to rescue a fallen terrorist.
The Indian Army’s decision to switch to a higher calibre rifle shows that the brass may have woken up to the realities of the modern battlefield. As Lt Gen Hasnain says, “Let us hope that with renewed interest in a new family of weapons and slippages now causing virtual panic, the senior hierarchy will finally come to a decision on a subject which should be considered as important as the acquisition of aircraft, tanks and guns.”