August 31, 2017

Rafale M v/s. F-18 E/F:- The best Fighter Plane For Indian Navy

The Indian Navy has launched a global search for maritime fighter jets it plans to operate from future aircraft carriers and is awaiting response from top military contractors on what they have to offer.
The navy wants 57 multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF) and the potential order could get bigger with an option clause to buy more jets. The hunt for new deck-based fighters comes at a time when the navy is left with just a solitary aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, following the decommissioning of Viraat on Monday.
The navy issued a request for information for the multi-billion dollar MRCBF project in January, giving aircraft manufacturers a four-month deadline to respond.
By May, the foreign firms have to answer queries on technical parameters, budgetary estimates, likely level of indigenisation, transfer of technology and schedule of deliveries after a contract is inked.
French, Swedish, Russian and American firms are likely to compete for the project to equip India’s future carriers: Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)-I or Vikrant being built at Kochi and IAC-2, which is in a conceptual stage.
The navy has rejected the naval version of the light combat aircraft. It wants a twin-engine fighter with a stronger airframe and landing gear to operate from a flight deck with high-tempo flying cycles.

Cockpit and avionics

F/A-18 Super Hornet:
Te cockpit in the F/A-18E/F is equipped with a touch-sensitive control display and a larger multi-purpose liquid crystal colour display, which shows tactical information, two monochrome displays and a new engine fuel display.
“The Super Hornet has 11 weapon stations.”
Rafale :
The Rafale’s glass cockpit was designed around the principle of data fusion รข€“ a central computer intelligently selects and prioritises information to display to pilots for simpler command and control. Some special cockpit features : hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS)-compatible configuration, direct voice input (DVI) system, wide-angle holographic head-up display (HUD) system, integrated modular avionics (IMA), called MDPU (modular data processing unit).

Radar and sensors

F/A-18 Super Hornet:
The Super Hornet is equipped with the APG-73 radar manufactured by Raytheon. The APG-73 radar has an upgraded processor with increased speed and memory capacity in comparison to the AN/APG-65, which was installed on the earlier builds of the Hornet.
The modes of the APG-73 include air-to-ground tracking, air-to-air velocity search mode, range while search and track while scan.
Raytheon’s AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) fire control radar increases the F/A-18’s air-to-air target detection and tracking range, and provide higher resolution air-to-ground mapping at longer ranges.
F/A-18F aircraft is also fitted with the Raytheon SHARP multi-function reconnaissance pod, which replaces USN Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod (TARPS).
SHARP is capable of simultaneous airborne and ground reconnaissance and has sensors manufactured by Recon/Optical Inc.

 Rafale :
The Rafale is typically outfitted with the Thales RBE2 passive electronically scanned multi-mode radar. Thales claims to have achieved unprecedented levels of situational awareness through the earlier detection and tracking of multiple air targets for close combat and long-range interception, as well as real-time generation of three-dimensional maps for terrain-following and the real-time generation of high resolution ground maps for navigation and targeting.
The RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is planned to replace the existing passively scanned RBE2. The RBE2 AA is reported to deliver a greater detection range, improved reliability and reduced maintenance demands over the preceding radar. By early 2014, the first Air Force front-line squadron will receive Rafales equipped with the AESA radar; the French Navy is slated to receive AESA-equipped Rafales from 2013.
To enable the Rafale to perform in the air supremacy role, it includes several passive sensor systems. The front-sector electro-optical system or Optronique Secteur Frontal (OSF), developed by Thales, is completely integrated within the aircraft and can operate both in the visible and infrared wavelengths. The OSF enables the deployment of infrared missiles such as the MICA at beyond visual range distances. It can also be used for detecting and identifying airborne targets, as well as those on the ground and at sea.


F/A-18 Super Hornet:
The aircraft’s power is provided by two F414-GE-400 turbofan engines from General Electric. The engines are an advanced derivative of the GE F404 engines installed on the Hornet.
The air inlets have been enlarged to provide increased airflow into the engines.
Each engine provides 22,000lb thrust, with afterburn giving a maximum speed in excess of Mach 1.8.

The structural changes to the airframe on the F/E variant of the aircraft increase the internal fuel capacity by 3,600lb, a 33% higher fuel capacity than the F-18C/D variant.
This extends the mission radius by up to 40%.
Rafale :
The Rafale is fitted with the Snecma M88 engine, capable of providing up to 50 kN (11,250 lbf) of dry thrust and 75 kN (16,900 lbf) with afterburners. The M-88 enable the Rafale to supercruise at speeds of up to Mach 1.4 while carrying a loadout of six MBDA MICA air-to-air missiles. As of 2007, a thrust vectoring variant of the engine designated as M88-3D was also under development.
Deep Strike: Both aircraft have similar combat radii, and any significant differences in ferry ranges or the like may benefit the Rafale based on using figures from the ground based Rafale C instead of the carrier based Rafale M. Both aircraft are capable of mounting up to five external fuel tanks. Dassault and Boeing have both studied the potential of adding CFT capability as well. Whatever the case, both aircraft can be described as having more than sufficient range.
With both aircraft being more or less tied for range, we have to look at their long range air-to-ground weaponry. Namely, stand-off missiles, also know as ALCMs. The Rafale equips the impressive SCALP EG (also known as the Storm Shadow) missile, which can deliver a 450kg warhead about 500km away. The Super Hornet’s new AGM-158 JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range) delivers a similar sized warhead, but can do so at roughly twice the range. This give the Rhino a significant advantage here.
Payload: French Air Force versions of the Rafale have a remarkable 14 hard points capable of handling 20,900lbs of ordinance. Of these, four (two wingtip, two flush with the rear fuselage) are usually dedicated to air-to-air missiles, leaving 10 hard points for fuel, bombs, or air-to-ground missiles. The Rafale is capable of handling nuclear ordinance as well.
The Super Hornet is capable of handling a slightly lower, but still impressive 17,750lbs worth of weapons. It is slightly more limited in how it carries it however, with only 11 total hard points, including two wingtip missile rails and two conformal hard points built for the AIM-120 AMRAAM.
With more payload capability combined with additional hard point options, the Rafale wins this round. Advantage: Rafale
Close-air-support: The Rafale and the Super Hornet are both easy to handle at lower speeds and altitudes. As carrier capable aircraft, they have to be. Picking a winner here is difficult, as both aircraft have similar weapon capability, but without a “killer app” like the Brimstone missile. The Rafale might have Brimstone capability in the future, but nothing is certain at the present. What the Rafale does have is the option to equip both rocket pods and a twin 30mm gun pod to supplement its built in 30mm GIAT 30 cannon.
The Super Hornet’s most impressive weapon in the close-air-support arsenal is the precision SDB II (Small Diameter Bomb) which carries a 250lb warhead for minimal collateral damage.
With both fighters being incredibly competent for close-air-support, this one ends up as a draw. Advantage: Tie
First-look, first-kill: Again, these different-looking fighters have remarkably similar capability. Both have similarly sized AESA radars and, with the F/A-18E/F’s fuel tank/IRST in place, both aircraft have modern IRSTs. Neither aircraft is truly “stealth” but both have reduced radar signatures compared to older fighters.
Comparing the aircraft’s EW and countermeasures pose a similar challenge. The Rafale has its famous SPECTRA, which looks to become more impressive in the future. Two infra-red sensors on either side of the tail fin will give the Rafale pilot a near 360 degree view of the airspace. Not to be outdone, Boeing is contemplating installing the EA-18G’s sensors (but not jammers) on the Super Hornet. This would enable the Super Hornet pilot to detect radio emissions not normally detected.

Beyond-Visual-Range: While both aircraft have a theoretical top speed of Mach 1.8, the Rafale is faster where it counts. Capable of supercruise, the Rafale is just as comfortable going supersonic as is it is subsonic. It that was not enough, the Super Hornet gets considerably draggy when weapons and fuel tanks are mounted. Both aircraft have similar service ceilings, but the Rafale has a much higher rate of climb and can get there much faster. If both aircraft are considered to have similar BVR missiles, than the Rafale has a clear advantage by being able to add more energy to them through speed and altitude.
Then, there is the real kicker. The Rafale will soon be cleared for the MBDA Meteor, while the Super Hornet will stick with the AMRAAM for the foreseeable future. While one could argue about the effectiveness of both missiles’ guidance systems and the like, the big difference here is the Meteor’s ramjet engine. While the ranges might be listed as similar, the Meteor’s ramjet gives it more flexibility and a much larger “no-escape-zone”.
Even without the MBDA Meteor, the Rafale has a clear advantage in long-range combat. It is faster and it climbs better. In air combat, speed + altitude = energy, and energy is life.
Within-visual-range: Assuming both aircraft have IRSTs and decent WVR missiles, like the AIM-9X Sidewinder or the MBDA MICA IR, this one gets a little tougher to call. The Rafale is the acrobat of the two, with better wing loading numbers, a higher thrust-to-weight, and higher g–load numbers. To put it quite simply, it is more agile than the Rhino.
Good thing for the F/A-18E/F that it has its vaunted “nose authority”. This enables it to conduct high AoA (angle of attack) maneuvers and point its missiles where they need to go. The Rhino has the better aim, but the Rafale is the tougher target. Advantage: Tie (if only the Rafale had an HMD!)
Air-to-air winner: The Boeing Super Hornet was originally intended to replace both the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder. Clearly, some air-to-air compromise needed to be made, but the developers seem to have erred more towards the ground attack role. While the Super Hornet is an acceptable air-superiority fighter, it does not have the same balanced approach as the Rafale. As France’s sole front line fighter, the Rafale cannot have any glaring weaknesses. It succeeds in this regard with the exception of one minor detail, a HMD. Even without the HMD, the Rafale is fast enough, agile enough, and powerful enough to handle the Super Hornet. Winner: Rafale
Versatility: The Rafale is marketed as an “Omnirole” fighter, and with good reason. It seems to be equally adept at either the strike or air-superiority roles. While other fighters may be better at one role or the other, the Rafale is possibly the most balanced solution out there. With the carrier capable Rafale M, alongside a choice of either single-seat or two-seat versions, the Rafale can handle just about any role given to it.
Logistics: With a carrier version available, the Rafale should have no problem adapting to rough landing strips or the like. It fuels up using the “probe-and-drogue” aerial refueling system, much like Canada’s current CF-18s. In all, the Rafale would be an easy aircraft to live with… If you do not mind your parts and weapons supply coming strictly from France.
The Super Hornet can go anywhere and do just about anything the CF-18 does. It is slightly larger, but other that that its logistics are the same, if not better. It uses standard American NATO weaponry. Considering that the USN operate the Super Hornet all over the world, it is pretty soon that wherever you are, parts can be made available. Advantage: Super Hornet

 vabbspotter/ Airforce Technology/defenceupdate

Indian Army to Make $ 3Bln Purchase to Build Emergency Reserve

India’s apex auditing body had recently red-flagged gaping deficiencies in the Indian Army’s war wastage reserve claiming that it did not have enough ammunition to last even for ten days if a war breaks out.

The Indian Army has sought an additional fund of approximately $3 billion to purchase spares and ammunitions in addition to the already allocated defense budget. Writing to the defense ministry, the army has laid down its intention to make purchases in a phased manner over several years to plug the deficiencies and to build an emergency reserve.

This comes in the wake of an audit report that pointed out major deficiencies in the Indian Army's war reserve stock. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) had said the Army lacked enough reserve to fight an intense war of ten or more days.

The army intends to make the purchases utilizing the emergency powers of the vice-chief of the army. Reviewing the 2016 Uri attack — a major terrorist attack on security forces at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government had decided to grant unlimited financial powers to the vice-chief of the army to make emergency purchases to make up for critical deficiencies in 46 types of ammunition and spares for 10 types of weapons to build stocks for 10 days of intense fighting.

Such purchases do not need to be cleared by the defense acquisition council, India's apex body for reviewing and approving defense purchases. The policy aims to cut down delays, especially in capital procurements.

India's defense ministry is able to allocate as less as twenty-percent of the total defense budget on capital expenditure (procurements) as most of the allocated budget is taken up by revenue, pensions and committed liabilities.


On Friday, Saab to announce tie-up with Adani to build Gripen fighter in India

The battle lines are becoming clear in the globally watched, multi-billion dollar contest to build 100-200 single-engine fighters in India for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Business Standard learns that, on Friday, Swedish defence and aerospace major, Saab, will announce a partnership with the Adani Group to manufacture defence equipment in India, including Saab’s new Gripen E single-engine, medium fighter if that is chosen by the IAF.
On June 19, at the Paris Air Show, US defence giant Lockheed Martin had signed an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) to jointly build the F-16 Block 70 in India, if the IAF selects the fighter.
Neither the Lockheed-Tata, nor the forthcoming Saab-Adani combines have any assurance yet that their fighter would be chosen. But both combines are positioning themselves and signalling intent that to New Delhi.
Just as Ratan Tata personally attended the signing of the agreement in Paris, Saab’s president and chief executive, Hakan Busckhe, is flying into Delhi from Sweden to make the announcement along with Adani executives.
The competing combines are far ahead of New Delhi, which has not yet initiated procurement by sending vendors a “request for information” (RFI) or “request for proposals” (RFP). So far, the IAF has only sent out a one-page letter to foreign aerospace vendors, asking whether they are interested in building a single-engine fighter in India with an Indian private industry partner.
According to the defence ministry’s “strategic partner” (SP) policy, which will govern this procurement, the ministry is first required to prepare a short list of foreign vendors; and one of private Indian firms that are equipped to build such an aircraft. Then, the chosen companies are required to form partnerships and prepare proposals for evaluation by New Delhi.
While there is near certainty that both Lockheed Martin with its F-16 Block 70, and Saab with its Gripen E, would be selected as foreign vendors, there is less assurance that TASL or the Adani Group would be designated as strategic partners.
After okaying the strategic partnerships, the IAF would then evaluate and choose one of the fighters.
Lockheed Martin has pitched aggressively, stating in a company release that transferring the world’s only F-16 production line from Fort Worth, Texas to India “creates new manufacturing jobs in India, and positions Indian industry at the center of the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world”.
Saab projects an equal confidence, based on its argument that the Gripen E is the world’s most modern fighter and that Swedish industry would transfer technology far more generously to India than Washington would ever permit Lockheed Martin to.
 By Ajai Shukla

Doklam plateau likely to be quickly militarised if Chinese road construction restarts despite Indian, Chinese troop "withdrawal"

On 28 August, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a negotiated withdrawal of Indian troops from the Doklam plateau, where Indian and Chinese soldiers have been deployed since mid-June.
Whereas the Chinese government has consistently insisted on unilateral Indian withdrawal, the Indian government has insisted on simultaneous withdrawal. The Indian ministry noted later on 28 August that Chinese personnel were also withdrawing and this was "almost complete under verification". Associated Press reports cited a ministry official in reporting that both sides had resumed pre-June 16 positions; and Indian NDTV news sources claimed Chinese road construction on the plateau – which precipitated the stand-off – had been suspended.


August 30, 2017

Lockheed Martin, Saab in race to build single-engine fighters for IAF in India

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to release a request for information in the next two months to build single-engine fighter planes that would help scale up its combat capabilities, sources tracking the programme said.

The warplanes will be built by an Indian firm in collaboration with a foreign defence contractor under the defence ministry’s strategic partnership model, which seeks to bring in high-end military technology for manufacturing cutting-edge defence equipment.

A request for information is a standard business process aimed at collecting written information on the capabilities of various suppliers.

US defence contractor Lockheed Martin and Swedish aerospace firm Saab are exploring opportunities to build F-16s and Gripen fighters in India under the project. While Lockheed has proposed to build the latest variant of its fighter – the F-16 Block 70 – in India, Saab has made a similar offer for its Gripen E model. Both firms claim that their upgraded variants come with advanced radars, superior avionics, new weapons, improved situational awareness for pilots, better operational capabilities and low cost per flying hour. They are currently in discussions with the IAF to understand its requirements.

“The discussions we have had so far point to an IAF requirement for around 100 single-engine fighters. But we will also be looking at building hundreds more for other global F-16 customers,” said Abhay Paranjape, Lockheed’s executive director for international business development.

Saab has also made several presentations to the IAF on the Gripen E variant.

The IAF is also working on plans to build twin-engine fighters in the country, considering that the 36 Rafale jets on order may not meet all its requirements. International aerospace firms from America, Europe and Russia are likely to compete for the project. The IAF is also making a case for buying 36 additional Rafales.

The Trump administration is fully backing US military contractors in their quest to set up production lines for single and twin-engine fighter jets in India. “These proposals (for F-16 Block 70 fighters and Boeing F/A-18 jets) will help create and maintain jobs in both countries, and demonstrate the depth of our commitment to defence cooperation,” the US government said in a July report to the Congress. By February 2018, two new undersecretary-level posts will come up in the US department of defence to strengthen the Indo-American military relationship.

US firm Boeing is competing with French, Swedish and Russian firms for a project aimed at supplying 57 deck-based fighters to the Indian navy. The defence ministry is likely to issue a global tender for the project next year.


India's geopolitical status goes up after Doklam standoff ends

The Doklam standoff which was resolved following mutual withdrawal of troops and not the removal of Indian troops unilaterally as demanded by China will have a profound impact on the geopolitical standing of both Delhi and Beijing.

New Delhi, which stood firm amid Beijing’s relentless provocation, sent out a message that it would stand by a friend (Bhutan) in terms of crisis and in the process strengthened its partnership with Asian countries, particularly in South and Southeast Asia.

This stand-off, closely watched by Asian countries, especially those who have territorial and maritime disputes with China, has shown that China’s expansionist ambition is not unstoppable, according to an expert well-versed with Beijing’s foreign policy.

While Japan openly supported India’s position in Doklam, Vietnam and other SE Asian nations, which have been victims of Beijing’s ambitions in South China Sea region, monitored the situation from close quarters. China’s neighbours may now feel encouraged to oppose Beijing’s unjustified territorial demands based on “historical narratives” as well as its aggression. Simultaneously, Beijing’s unilateral initiatives riding on its economic prowess may face some hurdles.

It is not just the immediate and extended neighbours of India and China that monitored the 75-day standoff closely following the warmongering which emanated from Beijing. India’s strategic restraint not only restored the status quo but also enabled to enhance Delhi’s profile in the comity of nations as an emerging power.

However, this will not be the last of Doklam as the Chinese will try again to complete what they began, according to observers. In this backdrop, India decided not to lower its guard in areas close to Doklam as Beijing can up the ante in Doklam or other sectors along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in future. The Indian Army Chief last week warned that PLA could push an increase in transgressions along the 4,057-km-long LAC.

Nonetheless, India’s strong response in Doklam may work to Delhi’s favour as Beijing is known to appreciate powerful nations and blackmail weak ones.

It is also understood that Xi is still is grappling with internal dissent –– the reason why he is currently not in a position to consider hostilities.

It defies logic why China took this action to enter Doklam at a time when the 19th party Congress is round the corner. All party Congresses are important because changes are made in the top echelons of the party, and policies are set forth. The 19th party Congress, however, could be a landmark for Xi as he may try to seek extension beyond his second term in office after 2022. But, in the inner conclaves of the Congress, Xi may be questioned on many issues including the economic downturn, job losses, high price rise, closure of factories and small businesses, and unpaid wages.

The challenge could come from Liu Yunshan who is in charge of literary and propaganda work; hence the official media is under him. Earlier, he had tried to trap Xi in Hong Kong affairs leading to the Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement campaigns.

Similarly, he tried to set up Xi on Taiwan. Xi survived both, but internally he suffered some damage.


August 29, 2017

IAF to Get Another 36 Rafale Combat Aircraft

New Delhi. The Government is likely to approve at least another 36 Rafale Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCAs) very soon.
Details are not known but informed sources told India Strategic that although a decision was just about due, the possibility of more aircraft was also being considered in view of the Indian Navy’s requirement of 57 twin-engine shipboard fighters as also the Government’s Make in India programme. If only 36 Rafales are taken, then it would not be economical to set up their manufacturing infrastructure.
IAF is looking for a mix of about 400 single and twin engine fighters as most of its combat jet inventory is of the 1980s Soviet generation. The Mirage 2000, which was acquired from France after the US gave Pakistan F 16s in 1982, also arrived in IAF squadrons from 1985 onwards.
The nuclear-capable Mirage 2000 though is still formidable and some half a dozen of the nearly 60 have already been upgraded to contemporary standards by Thales, the French company known for making deadly Electronic Warfare (EW) systems. Thales is providing the highly sophisticated EW systems for the Rafales also.
The Indian Navy has expressed specific preference for either the Boeing F/A 18 Super Hornet or Rafale. Both these fighters were designed ab initio for aircraft carriers, and both are on offer for their industrial production in India if the numbers are viable for foreign investment and Transfer of Technology (ToT). Boeing has offered to manufacture the latest variant, Advanced Super Hornet, which is also meant for the US Navy.
Significantly, if the deal is only for 36 more aircraft, then the field would be open for a larger number of twin-engine aircraft for both the IAF and Navy. If the coming deal is for indigenous production for more than 36, then Rafale would become the final choice.
Notably, defence deals are mostly done with strategic advantages in view, besides costs. For instance, in the 1980s, the Government asked Air India to switch its choice from Boeing to Airbus A 320 aircraft as, according to French sources, France gave India some defence technology as a leverage.
It may be recalled that India had opted for the French Rafale in 2015 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris, and an agreement was sealed in New Delhi between the Defence Ministers of the two countries, Mr Manohar Parrikar and his visiting counterpart, Mr Jean Yves Le Drian, in September 2016. The first payment of 15 per cent was immediately made by India to seal the contract.
This deal, which included the cost of the aircraft, IAF-specific modifications, Weapons and Missiles, Operations and Maintenance infrastructure at two places in India’s East and West, and 50 per cent Offsets as investment in India, was pegged at about Euro 7.87 billion (or US$ 8.8 billion).
In the acquisition of another 36 aircraft, or two squadrons of 18 each, the costs should be lower by about Euro 2.5 billion plus or minus – please note this is my guesstimate only – as the expenses for India-specific modifications and infrastructure at two places have already been recovered. Notably, preliminary work in this regard at Ambala in Haryana and Hashimara in West Bengal has begun.
It is not known if in the coming deal there would be an Options clause for more aircraft at the same price in the near future. It was not there in the first purchase, which was acquisition of the 36 aircraft in flyaway condition.
Both these deals are G-to-G or Government to Government, to avoid any unnecessary allegations, which have invariably been a curse for the armed forces in their modernization process over the last about 25 years.
The Offsets clause would translate into construction of a modern defence industrial base as well as some ToT by the Rafale partners, that is, Dassault which builds and integrates the aircraft, Safran which provides the engines and some other onboard systems, Thales which provides the highly advanced EW systems and MBDA, which is supplying the most modern Meteor Air to Air and other missiles.
As an international arms industry standard, delivery of defence systems is 36 months after the first payment.


Russian Helicopters to test Ka-52K for resistance to electromagnetic interference

Moscow. The experts of the “Russian Helicopters” holding (part of Rostec State Corporation) will, within the framework of testing the Ka-52K ship reconnaissance and combat helicopter, test the airborne equipment of the machine for resistance to electromagnetic interference.
Currently, one of the preproduction samples of the Ka-52K is being prepared for testing external electromagnetic field resistance of airborne avionics and chains with aerial weapons. The second sample is undergoing preliminary tests in the airfield-based conditions; and another one is used for testing the new inertial navigation system.
“The Ka-52K helicopter is currently going through the final stages of tests, and the holding is ready to start its serial production in the next few years. The development of this machine was ordered by the Ministry of Defense, and the possibility of using the Ka-52K helicopters on the basis of not only Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser, but also frigates and large anti-submarine ships adapted to single and group stationing of helicopters is currently under consideration. Besides, the Ministry of Defense has decided that the Ka-52K should be used on the perspective domestic helicopter carriers,” stresses Andrey Boginsky, CEO of the “Russian helicopters” holding.
The Ka-52K helicopter continues the product line of “marine” helicopters developed by the Kamov construction bureau. It is intended for patrolling, providing fire support for troop landings, solving tasks of anti-airborne defense at the frontline and at tactical depth, at any time and weather. The modern avionics provides the helicopter with navigation in the absence of landmarks at the sea.
The Ka-52K differs from the basic model due to its abbreviated folding wing that was modernized to make place for heavy weapons, and to the blade folding mechanism; this will allow it to be placed in the hold compactly. The reduced size of the Ka-52K ship-based helicopters allow increasing the maximum number of helicopters placed on the ship. An armored cockpit and the use of a catapult system that is unique to the world helicopter industry provide the pilots with the maximum level of safety that cannot be provided by any foreign helicopter of this class.
The use of corrosion-resistant materials is another important feature of the Ka-52K, as the machine is to be operated in wet maritime climate. The helicopter has a single-point fueling system and an upgraded air conditioning system which ensures ventilation of immersion suits of crew members. Besides, the Ka-52K has a short-range radiotechnical navigation system which was not used by the basic model.


India to get 10 military copters from Russia in first tranche

Russia plans to deliver 10 Kamov Ka-226T military helicopters to India in a first tranche as part of a $1-billion deal, under which India will procure 200 such copters from that country. It expects the Indian Defence Ministry to make the first tranche of payment by the year-end.

“We plan to deliver the first shipment of 10 helicopters after we receive the first payment. We are still in discussions with the Indian Ministry of Defence as to when the first payment will be made. We hope it will be made by this year,” Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky told BusinessLine in an interview.

$1-billion deal ::

Under the $1-billion deal in which India will be buying 200 Ka-226Ts from Russia, 60 will be procured in fly-away condition while 140 will be produced in India in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Last week, HAL officials visited Moscow to have a meeting with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s sole defence trade agency. They discussed the payment timeline, localisation of Ka-226T, location of the proposed manufacturing plant and terms for transfer of technology (ToT).

“So far our team has gone to six locations in India and we are yet to finalise where we want to build the plant. We have to choose the best...it depends on the rent prices, etc. We have an inter-governmental agreement, according to which we will be sending 60 helicopters to India in fly away condition while the remaining 140 will be manufactured in India,” added Boginsky.

He further said HAL has sought 50 per cent ToT. However, the matter is still under discussion. HAL’s French partner Safran will also have to roped in for this because the system of Ka-226T has been produced by it, he added.

“From our side, we are ready because it is necessary to make a roadmap and it depends on HAL,” he said.

Looking for partners ::

Russian Helicopters is also scouting for joint ventures with some of India’s leading private defence firms such as Mahindra Defence Systems and Bharat Forge for the Kamov project.

“We need the expertise of local companies for after-sales issues and spare parts. We are in talks with Mahindra and Bharat Forge, which are interested in cooperating with us in this project,” said Boginsky.

Russian Helicopters is also planning to build a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) plant for the Kamov helicopters in India.

Boginky said that the company expects additional orders of Kamov helicopters from India.

“There is a possibility to increase the number of helicopters to more than 200 in future. The Indian Army needs this kind of helicopters. So both governments agreed to 200, but the partnership has an option of increasing the number. We have made a naval version of KA-226T and we are ready to offer that to India,” he said.

In December 2015, at the Indo-Russia summit in Moscow, an inter-governmental agreement was signed for implementation of the project for production of KA-226T helicopters in India.


India Begins Production of Missile Equipped LCH to be Deployed at Chinese Border

The 5.8 ton helicopter will provide crucial air support to the armed forces deployed along the Chinese border as it has the power to carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at altitudes of 20,000 meters in the difficult Himalayan terrain.

India's state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has begun production of light combat helicopters (LCH) which are equipped with a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket, air to air missile, electro optical pod and helmet pointing system.

The production formally commenced on Saturday in Bengaluru in the presence of Defense Minister Arun Jaitley. The LCH is entirely locally designed and developed by HAL.

"The LCH has demonstrated the capability to land and take off from Siachen range with considerable load, fuel, and weapons that are beyond the capacity of any other combat helicopter," HAL said in a statement.

In November this year, Indian defense ministry had approved a fund of approximately $450 million for the procurement of 15 LCHs as a "limited series production" (LSP) order. The light combat helicopter is pegged at around $35 million per unit which is less than half the cost of American AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

The helicopter is also lighter in comparison to the Apache. The only challenge before HAL is to fit the helicopter with sophisticated fire control radar like that of Apache. HAL has assured that the design for such radar would be complete when the delivery of the LCH would start for the Indian Army.

"We are moving in the right direction in evolving ourselves into a major manufacturing hub. In this context today's experience has been encouraging", Arun Jaitley said.

The twin-engine LCH features narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/ weapon system operator. It is powered by French Safran-designed helicopter engines Shakti. Shakti is the Indian designation for the Safran's Ardiden 1, co-developed with HAL and produced under license.

"The helicopter has indigenous state of the art technologies like integrated dynamic system, bearing less tail rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge-less main rotor, armor protection and stealth features from visual, aural, radar and IR signatures," HAL added.


Pakistan confirms it has suspended talks, visits with US 'in protest' against Trump's criticism

Pakistan suspended bilateral talks and visits with the US "as a mark of protest over the recent anti-Pakistan diatribe by US President Donald Trump", said top government sources to Dawn newspaper.

Pakistani government officials meanwhile told another newspaper, Nation, that the country will likely not engage in any open talks with Washington before prime minister Shahid Abbasi's visit to the US next month to attend the United Nations General Assembly session.

Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif is said to have told the country's senate yesterday that Islamabad postponing a top US official's visit to the country, purportedly until a "mutually convenient time", was in reality an act of protest.

Similarly, his own visit to the US, that was scheduled for last week and that he postponed, was also done because Islamabad is seriously miffed with Trump last week blasting Pakistan for hosting terror safe havens.

Pakistan's senate has constituted a special committee to frame how it will react to what it believes is US bullying. A resolution on this is expected to be passed by the Pakistani senate on Wednesday, said Pakistani media.

While announcing his administration's revamped Afghanistan policy last week, Trump minced no words when he called out Pakistan for giving "safe havens to agents of chaos, violence and terror". He further suggested that military and other aid to Pakistan is at stake if it does not clamp down on terror.

"That will have to change and that will change immediately...We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," said the US President.

Trump also said he envisages a significant role for India in its new Afghanistan strategy, another policy point Pakistan is extremely sore about.

Minister Asif told the Pakistani senate yesterday that the country "envisaged no military role for India in Afghanistan." He's said to have told a senate committee "that India would not be allowed to use Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan."


Boeing to deliver made-in-India Apache helicopters next year

Boeing Co. will start manufacturing and handing over made in India Apache AH-64E multi-role attack helicopter fuselages from next year, the company said on Monday.

India bought 22 Apaches and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters worth $3 billion for the Indian Air Force (IAF) under a government-to-government deal with the US in 2015.

This month it ordered six additional Apache AH-64E helicopters valued at Rs4,168 crore for the Indian Army.

Boeing will make the helicopter fuselage at Tata Advanced Systems’ Hyderabad facility which will be ready by end of the year and the fuselage will then be taken to the US for fitting before being sent to customers. While the first Apaches for Indian Air Force will be delivered in 2019 and are being built in the US and other places, the Indian Army Apache will be made locally.

“We are ahead of schedule,” said Pratyush Kumar, president of Boeing India, referring to the production with the Tata firm, said at a press briefing in the capital on Monday. Boeing has won contracts worth about $14 billion from India over the past few years, including for the supply of C17 Globemaster transport planes, Harpoon missiles, P-8 anti-submarine warfare jets, Apaches and Chinooks.

In lieu of that, it has an offset obligation to source products and services worth about 30% of the contract value from India. A lot of work being undertaken by Indian firms is the result of this offset, but Boeing stresses that it is here for the long term. Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, told Mint in an interview last month that the firm was casting its “anchor deep into India” and more announcements are likely soon.

The next target for Boeing is to clinch an Indian Navy deal. Boeing’s F-18, French Rafale, Swedish Saab Sea Gripen, Russian MiG-29K are contenders for a proposed $15 billion purchase of 57 fighter aircraft by the Indian Navy. Boeing expects movement on the deal by next year.

“We submitted our RFI (request for information) in May and from what we understand they will evaluate the RFP (request for proposal) by end of this year and perhaps come up with RFP or EOI (expression of interest) sometime early next year,” Boeing’s Kumar said.

Boeing said it has evaluated 400 suppliers who could supply to a F-18 line that could come up in India if it wins the order. The current line in St Louis, US, will not be shut down.

With respect to concerns over whether F-18s will be compatible with Indian aircraft carriers which are mostly of Russian origin, Boeing said simulations had been conducted and it was sure the planes would be able to use the carriers and with a “meaningful” weapons payload.

The actual trials are still some time away.

India was the world’s fifth highest defence spender in 2016 with a total expenditure of $55.9 billion, up 8.5% from the previous year, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.


Indian troops can swiftly intervene if China attempts to build road at Doklam again

  • From the Doka La post, the Indian soldiers will continue to keep a hawk-eye on the Doklam bowl.
  • "Our soldiers can swiftly intervene if the PLA once again tries to change the status quo," said a source.
  • On June 16, the Army came down from Doka La to prevent Chinese troops from constructing the road in Doklam.
Indian troops are now once again sitting pretty in a militarily advantageous position at their Doka La outpost on the Sikkim border, having almost completed their withdrawal from the Doklam face-off site by Monday evening.

From the Doka La post, the Indian soldiers will continue to keep a hawk-eye on the Doklam bowl - which is Bhutanese territory but claimed by China - less than 500 meters away down the ridge slope.

"Our soldiers sit on the top, hold the ridge and can swiftly intervene, as they pro-actively did in mid-June, if the People's Liberation Army once again tries to unilaterally change the status quo by constructing a road near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction," said a source.

The defence establishment here believes it has unequivocally proved its point to China that it will not allow the PLA to extend its motorable track towards the Jampheri (Zomplri) Ridge, which is "militarily very sensitive" because it overlooks India's vulnerable Siliguri corridor or the "Chicken's Neck" area.

It was on June 16 that Indian soldiers had come down from Doka La to physically prevent Chinese troops, armed with heavy earth-moving equipment, from constructing the road in the Doklam area, which is disputed between Beijing and Thimphu.

Earlier, on June 5/6, Chinese troops had destroyed two of the old unmanned "self-help bunkers" constructed ahead of the watershed at Doklam by the Indian Army to strengthen its defences long ago.

Despite China's belligerent rhetoric, which was backed by PLA moving at least three divisions (15,000 soldiers each) as well as armoured, artillery and air defence brigades towards southern Tibet, India quietly stood its ground without making jingoistic noises for over 70 days.

Apart from the 350 soldiers at the actual face-off site over 11,000-feet in altitude, India also operationally activated its three infantry mountain divisions as well as IAF airbases in the region. To underline its resolve, another 3,000 soldiers were moved forward by early-July to reinforce the over 6,000 soldiers already deployed in eastern and north-eastern Sikkim, as was then reported by TOI.

"It paid off. Neither China, nor India wanted war. We have no problems with China sending patrols to the area, like it has been doing for years. While Chinese troops frequently patrol till the Torsa Nala, they even go up till the Bhutanese Army's Chela post once in three-four years," said a source.

But what irked India this time was China's attempt to extend the road towards the Jampheri Ridge and usurp the Doklam bowl to add strategic depth to its narrow Chumbi Valley, which juts in between Sikkim and Bhutan.

"India came to Bhutan's aid after China tried to bully the small country into submission despite 24 rounds of talks on the disputed territories between them since the mid-1980s," said the source.

"China should have also respected the agreement between the Indian and Chinese special representatives in 2012 that the tri-junction boundary points will be finalized in consultation with Bhutan," he said.


India to announce road map for single-engine fighter program

To accelerate the Make in India initiative under the strategic partnership model, the ruling National Democratic Alliance will formally issue a request for information next month to Lockheed Martin of the U.S. and Saab of Sweden to manufacture single-engine fighters in collaboration with a private company in the India.

The Ministry of Defence will float a request for information, or RFI, to Lockheed Martin for its F-16 Block 70 and Saab for its Gripen E next month, a senior MoD official said.

Under the new strategic partnership, or SP, model the two companies will be asked to submit offers of the single-engine fighters’ air power capabilities, the offer for India-specific technology transfer, indigenous solutions for the program and the offer for building an ecosystem for the program in the country, said a senior Indian Air force official.

“We have chosen both F-16 Block 70 and Gripen E because both single-engine fighters are fully upgraded, fully tested and are in full use,” the IAF official added.

Both Lockheed Martin and Saab will be given three months to respond to the RFI, which will then be evaluated by an IAF expert committee and the final selection will be made early next year, the IAF official added.

Likewise, an expression of interest, or EOI, will be issued to domestic companies in the next three to four months, who will, in turn, tie-up with overseas original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to build around 120 single engine fighters, initially costing around $18 billion under the strategic partnership model, an MoD official noted.

India’s ruling NDA government unveiled the SP policy in May, which allows major private defense companies to be nominated as entities to manufacture major defense platforms in partnership with OEMs.

Under this policy, nominated private entities will build submarines, helicopters, single-engine fighters and armored vehicles and battle tanks in India in the next 20 years.

An MoD official explained, “This is a very important and complex program, and the government, therefore, will have to prepare a full proof policy so that it moves forward without any glitches and cost overruns, keeping in mind that the Indian Air Force gets the latest single-engine fighters for the next 30 to 35 years.”

We aim to ink the contract in the next three to four years and will ensure that India-specific single-engine fighter will start to be produced in the country by a private company in the next eight years, he added.

After evaluation of the EOI offer from private companies, the MoD will select two or three private players to build single-engine fighters in India.

A request of proposal or tender will be issued in the next 16 months to the selected private player who will, in turn, will tie-up with selected foreign OEMs to manufacture this fighter in India.

Both Indian players and foreign OEMs will be free to forge either a joint venture or equity partnership to execute this program in India.

A CEO of a private defense company who requested not to be named said: “This is indeed a very encouraging move by the government, because both private players and foreign OEMs were apprehensive about this program as no time frame was spelled out by the MoD.”


F18s compatible with Indian naval carrier fleet: Boeing

Global defence equipment major Boeing on Monday said that its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft is compatible with India's current naval carrier platforms and that they can be produced in the country under the government's "Make in India" initiative.

"Analytical and (computer) simulations have shown that the F/A-18 is compatible with the current carrier fleet of the Indian Navy. The results of the test have been submitted in response to a global RFI issued by the Navy," said Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India.

Presently, the Indian Navy's aircraft carriers' utilise "ski-jump ramps" for fighter aircraft to take-off.

Kumar spoke to IANS on the sidelines of a briefing over F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft which was held here. Boeing has filed its response to a global RFI (request for information) floated by the Indian Navy earlier this year.

Boeing is considered to be one of the major contenders for the supply of 57 carrier-borne fighter aircraft required by the Indian Navy. Company executives told IANS that the F/A-18 Super Hornet was designed for carrier operations and is "the world's pre-eminent carrier capable aircraft" with a defined US Navy flight plan to outpace threats into the 2040s.

The Indian Navy initiated the bid and issued a "RFI for Procurement of Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighter for The Indian Navy" on January 31, 2017.

According to Kumar, apart from the advanced technologies, the aircraft comes with an overall life cycle cost which is more reasonable than other contenders in the bid.

"The overall life cycle cost is far lower than others," Kumar said. "The Super Hornet has the lowest cost per flight hour which is even lower than Lockheed Martin's F-16."

Dan Gillian, Vice President of F/A-18 and EA Programmes, Boeing, observed that a platform like the "Super Hornet" under the "Make in India" programme will help the Indian industry to position itself for the manufacture of "Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft" (AMCA).

"Boeing can provide the capability needed for the Indian Navy to build its next generation carrier air wing. It can also provide the industrial base right here behind that capability," Gillian said.

"When we look across the globe at quality, capability and cost - India is an obvious partner. We have been building F/A-18 aerostructures and assemblies in India because it makes good business sense to do so."

"The Super Hornet represents 21st century capability for the Indian defence forces, and industrial capability where we have evaluated 400 suppliers for the fighter campaign and have done a deep assessment on the capability of over 160 Indian suppliers," Kumar said. "We have quadrupled our sourcing from India and currently source $1 billion from India."

Gillian mentioned that the Super Hornet is ahead of its competitors because of its affordability, survivability, built-in stealth, smarter weapons and being combat proven.

Currently, the Indian Navy has two aircraft carriers -- INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat -- which are based in the Indian Ocean Region. It operates the Russian built MIG 29-K fighter aircraft from these platforms.


August 28, 2017

Doklam standoff end in sight: India, China begin to pull troops out from site, says MEA

  • The MEA is calling this process the 'Doklam Disengagement Understanding'
  • India and China have been keeping diplomatic channels open ever since the border incursion by China on June 16
  • Over this period of time, New Delhi has conveyed its views to Beijing                                                                                                                                                                                                  There may be an end in sight to the Doklam standoff indicated the external affairs ministry (MEA) on Monday as it announced that both Indian and Chinese troops are slowly being pulled out from the face-off site.

    "...expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going," said a statement from the ministry.

    The MEA is calling this process the 'Doklam Disengagement Understanding' and it comes after weeks of sustained diplomacy.

    The move comes ahead of the Brics summit, which will be attended by leaders from five countries, including PM Narendra Modi, in the Chinese city of Xiamen in early September. It also comes before a crucial 19th party congress in China where Xi Jinping expects to be "cleared" for another five years, after which he will choose the core group of leaders who will rule China, also for the next five years. India and China have been keeping diplomatic channels open ever since the border incursion by China on June 16, in what's called the tri-junction area at Doklam, which is in Bhutan. This, despite strident rhetoric, especially from China, and especially from its state-backed media. The external affairs ministry said that over this period of time, New Delhi has conveyed its views to Beijing.

    "In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests," the ministry's statement added.  TOI reported in early August that there were indications the Chinese could be winding down their offensive posture on the plateau where they had brought troops and heavy machinery to build a road on Bhutanese territory. Government sources said diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff had achieved satisfactory progress, but hastened to add that it would be premature to rush to a judgment about China's intent.

    "They appeared to have lowered the ante on the ground, but we are keeping our fingers crossed," a senior official told TOI, making it clear that India would not relent on its demand for simultaneous withdrawal by both countries.

    Still, Beijing and its media's strident rhetoric continued unabated.

    Just last week, China intensified its criticism of India on Thursday while discussing reports that India was building a road between Marsimik la to Hot Spring in Ladakh sector. Also last week, China issued a travel advisory for its citizens in India or coming to India. It cautioned its citizens against infectious diseases and natural disasters."There frequently occurred natural disasters, traffic accidents and infectious diseases in India (sic),"said the advisory.

    This was Beijing's second advisory to its citizens and suggested an attempt to create a scare and reduce the flow of Chinese tourists to India in the hope that New Delhi will come under pressure. China rarely issues advisories to its citizens concerning countries in Africa and Asia which are subject to a lot more natural disasters and infectious diseases.

'US supports 'return of status quo' on Doklam issue'

Hopeful that India and China can negotiate a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Doklam standoff, a senior Trump official has said the US "supports return of status quo" of the tri-junction point.

The US is concerned about "sovereignty issues and adherence to international law" amidst increased tension between the two Asian giants, said a senior administration official.

"We are monitoring the (Doklam) situation very carefully. We are concerned. We hope that the two sides can negotiate a peaceful resolution to the issue. We support return to the status quo," a senior administration official told PTI.
"We're also concerned about Bhutanese sovereignty issues. We're concerned in general terms about sovereignty issues and adherence to international law. I think that certainly pertains to this particular issue," said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity, given the sensitive nature of confrontation between India and China.

Even as China- both its officials and the state-sponsored media- have increased its rhetoric over the past few months, which at times is seen as entering the domain of threatening; New Delhi, which has taken a mature and strong stand against Beijing, according to experts, is believed has not reached out to Washington on this issue.

However, as a close friend the US has been closely monitoring the situation.

"We hope that India and China can find a negotiated solution to return to a peaceful state of affairs in the area. We are just watching it very carefully and we are in conversation with the Indian government about the issues. We stand ready to help if that is desired. But, for the time being, we're monitoring the situation carefully," the official said.
The senior administration official, in response to a question, however quickly clarified that there has been no such request from India and there is no such intention on the part of the United States as well. "Well, you know, I think it's for India and China to decide if that was necessary. I think for the time being the US is monitoring the situation very closely and very carefully," the official said.

"So, if there's anything the US can do to help that situation, we stand ready to assist," he added.


Jaitley inaugurates light combat helicopter manufacture in HAL

On Saturday in Bengaluru, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley underlined the growing capabilities of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) by inaugurating the production of the indigenous design Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which HAL has designed, developed and will now manufacture.
On November 7, 2016, the defence ministry had cleared a Rs 2,911 procurement of 15 LCHs as a “limited series production” (LSP) order – a little under Rs 200 crore per helicopter. But top HAL sources tell Business Standard the final cost would work out to Rs 231 crore per LCH at 2017-18 prices.
This is less than half the cost of the AH-64E Apache attack helicopters the Indian Air Force (IAF) has bought from Boeing, USA. The Apache is more heavily armed and armoured and has the sophisticated Longbow fire control radar. The LCH does not yet have radar, but HAL intends to develops one before mass production begins.
HAL is building the 15 LSP choppers at its Bengaluru helicopter complex. However, the army has committed to ordering 114 LCHs, and the air force another 65, which could be built at an upcoming helicopter production facility in Tumkur.
HAL has custom-designed the 5.8 tonne LCH to provide fire support to the army at mountainous deployment areas on the northern borders, which can be as high as 6,000 metres (almost 20,000 feet).
At these rarefied altitudes, where the shortage of oxygen prevents troops from carrying heavy weapons into battle, the LCH will provide crucial fire support with its 20 millimetre turret gun, 70 millimetre rockets and, to be incorporated later, a guided missile.
“The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range (sic) with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter”, stated HAL on Saturday.
Highlighting the LCH’s versatility, HAL stated: “The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.”
The superb high-altitude performance of the LCH, like that of its precursor in service, the Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH), stems from twin Shakti engines, designed for HAL by French helicopter engine maker Turbomeca (now Safran Helicopter Engines), and built in Bengaluru. While the Shakti’s performance at low altitudes is comparable to other engines of its size, it outperforms them significantly at altitudes above 5,000 feet.
The LCH has a narrow fuselage, in which two pilots sit one-behind-the-other in an armoured cockpit that can protect them from small arms firing. Like the Dhruv ALH, on which many of the LCH’s flying technologies were tested, the new attack helicopter has a hinge-less main rotor, a bearing-less tail rotor, integrated dynamic system, crashworthy landing gear and a smart all-glass cockpit.
The LCH’s weapons and sensors were developed and tested on an armed variant of the Dhruv, called the Rudra. HAL’s chairman, T Suvarna Raju, says this evolutionary approach drastically cut down on the LCH’s development time.
The current order does not include a provision for “performance based logistics” (PBL), which constitute an HAL guarantee that a specified percentage of the fleet is available at all times.
As Business Standard reported on March 30 (In a first, HAL assures 75% availability of Dhruv fleet) HAL signed its first PBL contract for the Dhruv, requiring it to position maintenance teams in up to 40 army aviation bases and two maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hubs in the north and east, from where repair teams could respond to maintenance requests from aviation bases.
Hawk trainer upgrade
Jaitley also inaugurated an HAL-BAE Systems development programme that aims to enhance the Hawk trainer aircraft from an advanced jet trainer (AJT) into a combat-capable platform that “is capable of delivering precise munitions, including air to ground and close combat weapons”, according to HAL.
Unlike most fighter aircraft, including the Tejas, the Hawk cannot fly at supersonic speeds. Yet, there is a need for lower-performance combat aircraft that can fly and manoeuvre in valleys to support army soldiers in an environment where there is no major enemy air threat.
While the IAF has not yet committed to buying the so-called “combatised Hawk”, the presence of Jaitley at the dedication ceremony is significant. 


Jaitley hands over long-range surface-to-air missile to Navy

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday handed over the Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) jointly developed by India and Israel, to the Indian Navy, at Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) here.

LRSAM is an advanced combat suit for missile defence against air targets and missiles, and has full capabilities of air and surface surveillance, threat alert and fire control.

Public sector BDL is the missile production agency for the three armed forces.

On a day of hectic activity, the minister also dedicated a first-of-i-s kind 50-tonne Rocket Motor Static Test Facility. The 48-crore facility for SAM (surface-to-air missile) will support the design and vendor development activities needed for production of missiles.

These efforts were hitherto shouldered by the Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO as the development agency.

BDL is now equipped to take the responsibility on its own, which has been actively guided for realisation and establishment by DRDO.

Later, Jaitley inaugurated the ASTRA Manufacturing Unit at the BDL’s Bhanur unit. The ASTRA weapon system is an indigenously developed air-to-air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile developed by the DRDO.

Comprising a launcher and a missile, it is designed as a BVR missile with a range of 110 km in head-on mode and 20 km in tail-chase mode.

BVR missiles are the latest in air-to-air combat. BDL has been designated as the Lead Integrator by the DRDO.

 Manufacturing centre ::

The minister also performed the ground breaking of the phase II of the manufacturing facilities of BDL at Ibrahimpatnam. BDL had acquired 632 acres of land from the State government to establish manufacturing, testing and storage facilities for advanced weapon systems of MRSAM (Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles) and QRSAM (Quick-Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile).

The ₹522-crore facility will be the PSU’s future weapon realisation and delivery centre.

The facilities will meet the future needs of missile testing, and is in line with DRDO labs.

It can be offered to other vendors of propellant and other sub-systems for development and production as a national asset.


Kashmiri pandits demand homeland, revocation of Art 370

Panun Kashmir, a representative body of migrant Kashmiri Pandits, today demanded revocation of the contentious Article 370 which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and the creation of a separate homeland for the community within the state.

At the body's annual national convention here, several resolutions were passed which besides revocation of Article 370, also called for political reorganisation of the state and creation of a centrally-administered union territory north and east of the Jhelum river for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, a statement said.

Pledging to continue its struggle for a homeland, the delegates unanimously adopted the resolution seeking abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution.

"A resolve was made to support all efforts leading to repealing of the Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution. Panun Kashmir realises that unless Article 370 is abolished, the movement for repeated partitions of India will remain alive and potent," the statement said.

Former BJP leader Hari Om termed Article 35A as a "discriminatory and unconstitutional provision" and cautioned the government and people against settling of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi Muslims in Jammu region.

"The ongoing demographic attrition in Jammu needs to be reversed at every cost, as Jammu is the backbone of the nation in the state," he said.

Convener of Panun Kashmir, Agnishekhar called upon the youth of the community to keep working on "novel instrumentalities of struggle" for a homeland in exile, and to awaken the world against the "Jehad" being unleashed.


August 26, 2017

India Yet to Decide on Buying French Jets, Signing FGFA Deal With Russia

Indian authorities currently considering the purchase of French Dassault Rafale fighter jets and the development of the joint Russia-India fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project have not yet decided on going ahead with either of the options, a source in the Indian Ministry of Defense told the Times of India newspaper Saturday.

Media reported on Thursday that the Indian Air Force was planning a new purchase of 36 French Rafale fighters on top of last year's deal on an identical number of aircraft.

"No final decision as yet has been taken on either the 36 more Rafales or the FGFA project," the source said.

The Indian Defense Ministry reportedly maintains that the purchase of French aircraft would be cheaper than the development of the FGFA project with Russia. The possible new purchase of Rafale jets is estimated by Indian specialists at around 60% of the first purchase amounting to $9.39 billion.

According to the outlet, the Indian Air Force is planning to use infrastructure at the Hasimara and Ambala airbases to accommodate the additional Rafale fighters.

"This will cut down the induction costs of the 36 additional fighters," the source explained.

The Indian-French deal of the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft was signed in September 2016. The Rafale jets agreement was announced in April 2015 during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Paris, but negotiations on pricing have protracted. Initially, India planned to purchase 126 Rafales, but later the sides agreed on only 36 aircraft.

Under the Russian-Indian FGFA project, both sides would invest $4 billion each at the developmental stage, while the total cost of constructing 127 fighter jets is estimated to amount to $25 billion. In late July, Sergey Chemezov, the general director of Russia's Rostec state corporation, said that the contract on FGFA will be signed shortly.


India to Put BrahMos Hypersonic Missile Into Service After Tests in Indian Ocean

The tests of an aviation modification of BrahMos missile will take place in the Indian Ocean in the end of September - in the beginning of October, according to the statement of Praveen Pathak, the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture executive.

 New Delhi will put the aviation modification of the Russian-Indian BrahMos cruise missile into service after tests in the Indian Ocean in September-October, Praveen Pathak, the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture executive, told Sputnik on Friday.
"In the end of September — in the beginning of October, the tests of an aviation modification of BrahMos missile will take place in the Indian Ocean, where it should hit a target in the sea and, later, it will be put into service," Pathak said.
 The official added that the tests of BrahMos would be carried out with the use of Su-30MKI fighter jets.
BrahMos, a word combining Brahmaputra and Moscow, is a name for a missile created within the framework of the joint efforts of both India and Russia. The missile can carry a conventional warhead of up to 660 pounds. BrahMos missiles can be launched from warships and submarines as well as from aircraft and land-based launchers.

Indian Navy to Have Submarine Hunter Aircraft aboard All Its Warships

Indian naval satellite GSAT-7 and long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I had tracked 13 Chinese naval ships in the Indian Ocean over the last three months. India is also skeptical as China’s submarine deals with Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Pakistan would mean an increased number of Chinese ships floating overwhelmingly close to its littorals.
New Delhi (Sputnik) As part of India’s ongoing mission to up its naval quotient, the Indian Navy has said that the 111 utility helicopters it intends to purchase from abroad would have submarine hunter capabilities.
According to sources, the Indian Navy is particularly interested in a design provided by one among the contending manufacturers of Russia, Europe, & the US. As per the design, the five-ton twin-engine naval utility helicopters (NUH) with wheeled landing gear and blade fold capability will have sub-surface targeting feature.
The Indian Navy has made it clear that fully configured versions of the NUH should also be capable of light anti-submarine warfare apart from the standard roles of search and rescue, observation and electronic intelligence, and anti-piracy missions.
The Indian Navy has also asked the original manufacturers to clearly indicate which torpedoes will be compatible with the helicopters?
 “Will the torpedo be capable of detection and classification and engaging of submarines coated with anechoic materials, and transiting at less than 4 knots; will the torpedo have a high probability of hit (above 80 per cent) in torpedo countermeasure environment and will the torpedo be capable of navigating to ensure target acquisition with more than 50% probability, at 70% of the maximum engagement range of the torpedo?” the Indian Navy has asked.
 These helicopters will replace the aging fleet of 40 Chetak helicopters which are meant for logistics and search & rescue operations.
However, the major challenge before the Indian defense ministry is that the purchase will be made under the newly formulated strategic partnership (SP) model. “The defense procurement plan has merely outlined the framework of this initiative. Identifying a strategic partner, nominating it for helicopter manufacturer is in itself challenging,” Commodore Anil Jai Singh, former Indian Navy officer and vice president of Indian Maritime Foundation says.
Nevertheless, it is being expected that Indian government would not take much time to finalize the deal as there is a deficiency to the extent of 100 integral helicopters on existing ships. Indian warships such as INS Chennai, INS Kochi, and INS Delhi are moving without new helicopters. Indian Navy expects delivery of the light utility helicopters from 2024 onwards. 
“The Navy had tried to procure the helicopters almost three years ago as well. At that time there was no SP model and yet for one reason or the other, the procurement got delayed. Thus I do not believe that the SP model will lead to any further delays in the acquisition of the said platforms,”
 Another concern would be the selection of Indian defense companies (SP). “Yes, the Indian private sector has never had the opportunity to build and supply a ‘complete’ helicopter. However, companies such as Dynamatics and TASL (Tata group) have been making entire helicopter cabins for several years now. Thus, there is a significant experience that resides in the private sector and with the progress of the SP model, these capabilities and confidence will only grow,” Ankur Gupta added.
Indian Navy has been extremely vocal about its concerns over regular visits of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean Region.


Russian MoD Decides to Buy 'Terminator' Combat Vehicles – Here's Why

With the Russian Defense Ministry having already announced its decision to purchase the first batch of the BMPT, an advanced tank support combat vehicle, Sputnik looks into why they like this vehicle so much.
Currently, there are two versions of the vehicle based on the T-72 battle tank chassis — "the Terminator 1" and "the Terminator 2." They're both earmarked for export and haven't been purchased by the Russian Defense Ministry.
The BMPT-72 is fitted with a state-of-the-art guided weapons system and is capable of destroying enemy infantry vehicles, tanks and other armored objects, as well as helicopters.The vehicle is armed with two 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons that can be loaded with 850 rounds of ammunition, four laser-guided Ataka-T anti-tank missile systems and one coaxial machine gun with a remote reloading mechanism.
The BMPT also carries four launchers for 9M120-1 (or 9M120-1F/4) guided anti-tank missiles, which are capable of hitting their target at a distance of up to six kilometers. Moreover, there are two AG-17D automatic grenade launchers.
The vehicle, which has a crew of three, can survive in different climates and zones, including urban areas, and in any light conditions.
The Terminator 2 is equipped with night vision, a laser range finder, as well as an integrated laser controlled missile guidance system. It can detect targets within a five-kilometer range, day or night.
RIA Novosti expert Andrey Stanavov believes that "the BMPT-72 being put on service at the Russian Armed Forces' tank units will form part of an armored assault riot police, where each member will be tasked with his own mission."
"In this new possible unit, tanks will destroy buildings and enemy armored vehicles, while the BMPT will obliterate manpower, anti-tank complexes and lightly armored targets. At the same time, 'the Terminators' can act independently, supporting infantry, protecting facilities and accompanying military columns. Additionally, the BMPT is capable of launching pinpoint strikes on terrorists based on upper floors of buildings," according to Stananov.
Despite the evident uniqueness of the BMPT, the Russian Defense Ministry had to think twice before giving the go-ahead for these vehicles entering service at the country's army.
Experts pointed to the military's conservative stance which prevented them from understanding how to the BMPT can be effectively used.In late July, there were media reports that the BMPT-72 had been spotted at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria. It was demonstrated for Syrian President Bashar Assad by Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov during Assad's visit to the military site.
The pictures released after Assad's visit to Hmeymim show the latest version of the BMPT-72 in desert camo, partly covered with a camouflage net.  Apparently, the machine is part of the Russian forces involved in protecting the base, alongside T-90 tanks.
"As the recent experience has shown, the BMPT-72 successfully passed its Syrian test and is currently ready to join the ranks of the Russian Armed Forces," Stanavov concluded.