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January 31, 2018

UK offers India finance for buying Hawk jets; New Delhi not sure about deal


With the proposed purchase of 20 Hawk trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) stalled for years, apparently because of a shortfall of money, British vendor BAE Systems and the UK government have offered New Delhi a line of funding to land a contract for the aircraft, worth an estimated Rs 20-25 billion.

Over the preceding decades, New Delhi has shied away from defence aid, choosing to pay itself for weaponry and defence equipment needed for national defence. In Parliament, the government has stated it is currently a net donor of foreign aid, and that “aid from the UK has fallen steadily from an inflow of Rs 1,710 crore (Rs 17.1 billion) in 2008-09 to a net outflow of Rs 25 lakh (Rs 2.5 million) to the UK in 2016-17”.

But now, with numerous defence purchases held up by capital budget shortfalls, and hundreds of millions in unspent money re-appropriated each year from the defence ministry, London has proposed to finance a Hawk deal through the UK Export Finance organisation.

UK Export Finance says on its website that its mission is “to ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer”.

Under its Direct Lending Facility, UK Export Finance provides loans up to £3 billion to overseas buyers, enabling them to purchase capital goods from UK exporters and, thereby, support employment in the UK. Over the past five years, the organisation has provided £14 billion in support for US exporters.

The UK Export Finance rules permit financing up to 85 per cent of the cost of a procurement. However, it is not clear how much finance was offered in the proposal that was made in a bi-annual dialogue between the two defence ministries.

Defence ministry sources say New Delhi has not yet accepted the offer.

India has earlier signed two contracts with BAE Systems for Hawk trainers: Batch 1 was for 66 trainers in 2004; and Batch 2 for 57 trainers was signed in 2008.

Held up for several years now is Batch 3, for 20 aircraft to equip the IAF’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team.

The British High Commission declined to confirm this development. However, David Woolf, who oversees defence exports for the High Commission in New Delhi stated: “If the Indian government was interested in financing the purchase of Hawk trainers, the UK government would be happy to explore the possibility of financing it through the United Kingdom Export Finance organisation.”

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which would build the 20 Hawks in Bengaluru, BAE Systems, which is the primary vendor, and the defence ministry declined to comment.

India’s defence cooperation with the UK, while not as intense as with the US, has grown steadily. In April, the UK Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon visited India for the India-UK Strategic Defence Dialogue, which facilitates cooperation between the two militaries and defence industries.

In November 2015, the two countries agreed on a Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP). New Delhi and London also cooperate in several Defence Consultative Groups (DCGs).

BAE Systems, which features each year amongst the world’s five biggest defence firms, has done good business in India. Besides the sale of 123 Hawks, the US arm of the company, which is called BAE Inc, bagged a $737-million (Rs 47-billion) contract in November 2016 for supplying 145 ultralight M-777 howitzers to the army.

 business-standard

January 30, 2018

Defence Ministry to stop investing in ordnance factories, DPSUs


In what could spell the death-knell for Ordnance Factory Boards (OFBs) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), the Ministry of Defence has decided that it will not make any further investments in these establishments, while product introduction and creation of additional capacity will have to be undertaken by the private sector.

In an internal policy move, the government has also decided that core military hardware, such as battle tanks, combat vehicles and specialised military trucks, will remain in the domain of the government-owned enterprises. Modernisation, upgrades, repowering, product launches and improvement in operational efficiencies are to be carried out with the help of private players with proven track records in a particular field, Defence Ministry sources told BusinessLine.

The decision is believed to have been taken after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman carried out a major review of the ordnance factories last December, following a move by the Prime Minister’s Office asking the ordnance factories to present reports of their achievements since 2013.

The role of OFBs and DPSUs has traditionally been limited to production, while R&D has been carried out by DRDO. At present, there are 41 factories and 8 DPSUs under OFB that produce a wide range of products for all three services.

Ordnance factories became a priority in India only after the 1962 War, when a need was felt to become self-sufficient in the manufacture of military hardware, including vehicles. One such example is the Vehicle Factory Jabalpur, which was set up in 1969 to meet the transportation needs of the Indian armed forces.


Private players react ::

Private sector players, however, do not seem very enthused by the government’s policy as they believe it will be a waste of national resources if the same model is replicated with identical creation of infrastructure by the private sector.

“This will also mean more investments by the private sector, which is already reeling under pressure due to lack of orders. There are more innovative ways to revive the OFBs and DPSUs. After all, our country has fought wars with product support primarily from these PSUs,” said a top executive from an Indian defence conglomerate, who refused to be identified.

The executive also said that it will not be beneficial in the long-run to hive off the state-run capacities.

One of the reasons why the private sector has not been able to come up in a big way is because the defence market is neither assured nor is there any certainty that the government will come out with big-ticket orders.

Moreover, the cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector is just 2 per cent of the total foreign equity received in the country.

 thehindubusinessline

India plans ballistic protection for under-fire helicopters


India is looking at the procurement and installation of lightweight fibre-based armour plating in the cargo compartments of seven Mi-17V-5 helicopters under a national competitive bidding process, for which results are awaited.

This requirement released last year by the Indian Air Force (IAF) stated that ballistic protection is needed for helicopters being used by paramilitary forces since they are coming under increasing ground fire from 14.5mm ZPU and 12.7mm DShK heavy machine guns plus shoulder-fired man-portable missile systems of domestic insurgents in remote areas.

These helicopters are also used to carry IAF special forces to secure the helicopter and conduct CSAR operations.

Government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been working on an airborne ballistic protection solution for more than seven years based on user requirements, Shephard has learned.

However, according to one engineer, the requirements are very exacting and even unachievable. The MoD expects an armouring solution of 25kg/m² against 12.7mm rounds, which is ‘too light’, he said.

Last year the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) claimed to have achieved an armoured-panel solution for the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) to resist 7.62mm armour-piercing incendiary (API) bullets with a velocity of 636m/s and with an areal density of 28kg/m².

Armoured-panel trials were also conducted against 12.7mm API bullets with a striking velocity of 703m/s at an areal density of 43kg/m².

HAL has received an RfP for 15 limited-production LCHs from the IAF and Indian Army last December and these and subsequent LCHs will need to be armoured.

Meanwhile, Indian company MKU Defence said its advanced-materials Polyshield V6 armouring technology helps save ‘effective payload’ by approximately 40% in armoured helicopters. It has an areal density of only 14.5kg/m² and offers rifle protection as per NIJ Standard-0108.01 Level II.

The company has also armoured more than 300 Indian and 80 Sri Lankan boats against small-arms fire.

 shephardmedia

January 29, 2018

IAF may buy twin-engine refueling jets for USD 1.5 billion


In a move that would help the Centre save money, it is now planning to buy only twin-engine aircraft as the next mid-air refueling planes for the Air Force for which even second-hand planes can be offered by vendors.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is once again moving ahead with its programme to augment its fleet of six Russian four-engine Ilyushin-78 planes which have proved to be force multipliers but are very expensive to operate. The requirement for only twin-engine aircraft by the IAF means that effectively the Russians are out of this deal as they don’t have a plane in this class.

The move to allow secondhand planes with 40 years of life left in them for operations is likely to help the government save almost Rs 3,000 crore at the procurement stage itself.

“The requirement for maintaining only two engines per aircraft against the existing four would also help the IAF and the government save more funds in the long run,” a senior government source told Mail Today here.

Under the new project, the IAF is looking to buy planes such as Boeing 737 or the Airbus 330 which can be modified into tanker planes and can replenish Air Force jets mid-air during exercises and operations to enhance their endurance.

“The IAF would be willing to accept modified planes, which may have been used for passenger operations but have 40 years of life left in airframe and engines to be offered to it for modification into tanker planes,” the source said.

Officials said the Force believes that the new project may also help it peg the budget of the programme between USD 1.5-1.7 billion (Rs 9,538-10,809 crore) instead of the over USD 2-2.3 billion (Rs 12,717-14,625 crore) being estimated earlier.

The IAF project was cancelled twice over the last decade due to cost and other issues. The formal tender or RFP (request for proposal) will be floated after the responses to the RFI are submitted by March 30.

After inducting six Russian origin Ilyushin-78 mid-air refuelling aircraft in 2003-2004, the IAF had first taken up the case for the acquisition of six additional tankers in 2006. The two-engine Airbus A-330 MRTT was twice selected over the four-engine Russian IL-78 in the technical and commercial evaluation.

The RFI specifies that the IAF wants twin-engine aircraft, with a two man crew to ensure fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs, say sources.

The first RFP for the refuelling aircraft issued in 2006 was scrapped in 2010 because the finance ministry expressed “reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price” of the A-330 MRTT.

In the second RFP floated in 2010, both A-330 MRTT and IL-78 cleared the extensive field trials. In the commercial evaluation thereafter, even though the IL-78 was cheaper in the offthe-shelf price, the A-330 MRTT emerged as the L-1 under the new LCC system.

 indiatoday

Indian Navy looking at more P-8I 'submarine killers': Admiral Lanba


The Indian Navy is considering the acquisition of more Boeing P-8I aircraft for surveillance and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), according to Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.

In an interview to the magazine 'India Strategic', Admiral Lanba said that air surveillance capability is an important subset of naval operations and that while the proposal was on the table, he could not disclose the required numbers.

His predecessors have spoken of a requirement of 30 Long-Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, under which the navy has already inducted eight aircraft and placed an order for four more.

Because of the overall tardy process of routine modernisation of the armed forces over the last 30 years, the Indian Navy has not been able to renew its inventory of submarines but the acquisition of the P-8I (I stands for India) has given it a very strong offensive capability to detect and hunt hostile submarines.

In fact, in terms of contemporary weapon technologies, the P-8I, often referred to as the "submarine killer", is perhaps the most advanced system that any of the three Indian services have acquired in recent years. The aircraft was deployed in 2013 by the Indian Navy around the same time the US Navy did.

The Defence Ministry has officially stated that the P-8I is "capable of thrusting a punitive response and maintaining a watch over India's immediate and extended areas of interest".

Asked about the growing number of hostile submarines in the Indian Ocean, nearer home in fact, Admiral Lanba said: "As a professional military force, we constantly evaluate the maritime security environment in our areas of interest. We lay a lot of stress on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). Accordingly, we are fully seized of the presence and likely intentions of all extra-regional forces operating in the Indian Ocean. Our Navy is fully capable and ever ready to meet any challenges that may arise in the maritime domain."

Significantly, the agreement for the P-8Is was signed on January 1, 2009, within a couple of months of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which exposed the vulnerability of the country's maritime defences. The attack, in fact, triggered the government to clear quite a few proposals for the armed forces as well as to review what should be done to ensure security of Indian waters, particularly the coastal belts on the country's eastern and western seaboards.

The Navy is now the nodal agency for coordinating surveillance through satellites and aircraft and a network of police and small boats has also been integrated into the system.

The Navy and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) also operate a number of HAL-made Dornier 228 aircraft, while some proposals for more LRMR and Medium-Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) have been on the table for the last few years.

Observed Admiral Lanba: "Every endeavour is being made to collectively ensure that our maritime security, of which coastal security is an important subset, is adequately strengthened."

"A number of measures have been taken since 26/11 to strengthen maritime, coastal and offshore security by the concerned agencies in the country. These measures broadly include increasing capacity and capabilities of maritime security forces, enhanced surveillance and domain awareness of the maritime zones, increased regulation of maritime activities, streamlining intelligence-sharing between different agencies and strengthening overall maritime governance. There have been significant improvements in the operational response to developing situations at and from the seas," he added.

At the national level, coordination of coastal security-related activities is being carried out by the National Committee for Strengthening Coastal and Maritime Security (NCSCMS).

The Navy had ordered eight P-8I aircraft in 2009 for $2.1 billion along with a training package. Weapons and torpedoes were extra as needed, and then, under the Options Clause, four more aircraft were ordered in August 2016.

The standard delivery schedule begins within three years of signing a contract and making the first payment. Boeing has said that it delivered the first lot of eight aircraft "on time, on cost" and helped set up their base at the INS Rajali Naval Air Station at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.

Boeing had been awarded a three-year contract in June last year for engineering and logistics support for the P-8I fleet. In January 2018, the Navy has been given approximately Rs 2,000 crore (almost $315 million) for a Training Solution along with a 10-year package for comprehensive maintenance service.

The training facility at INS Rajali will be the third of its kind after those in the US and Australia, and will train pilots, observers and ordnance and technical personnel. Spread over 60,000 sq ft, the facility would be completed by 2021.

A Training Simulator to be set up at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology (NIAT), Kochi, for ab-initio training of the technical personnel is part of the package.

Pratyush Kumar, Boeing's India President and Vice President International, had observed after signing the three-year contract last year: "Our team remains focused on executing our commitments to customers on schedule and cost. With this contract, the Indian Navy can be assured of achieving exceptional operational capability and readiness of the P-8I fleet."

Boeing's earlier contract was due to expire in October 2017.

The Indian variant has certain Indian components, including communication software and IFF (Identify Friend or Foe), to align with Indian naval and Air Force aircraft and net-centric systems.

It has 360-degree radar view, thanks to Raytheon's AN/APY-40 forward looking radar's 240-degree coverage and the rest from Telefonics aft-looking radar.

Built on the Boeing 737 frame, the P8-I is capable of detecting and destroying hostile submarines deep under the water. It has 11 hard points for carrying Harpoon anti-shipping missiles and depth charges, and five stations in the weapons bay for Raytheon-supplied Mk-54 torpedoes. Two hard points upfront are for Search and Rescue equipment.

There are five operator stations, and windows for outside views. All the systems are integrated with the onboard Mission Computer and Display System for control and data distribution in high speeds with ultra-high resolution. The APY 10 radar is developed keeping in mind not just the land but waters of the vast oceans as well, be it day or night. It is capable of tracking even small vessels in littoral and high seas environments.

The Indian variant also has the Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) which measures minute variations and disturbances in the earth's magnetic field caused by the underwater movement of steel-encased submarines.

India has already acquired a number of Harpoon Block II missiles for use both by the Navy and IAF, which also conducts maritime patrols.


economictimes

January 27, 2018

Talks on 5th-generation jet project, contract may be signed soon: Russian official


Even as a project on the development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) between India and Russia remains stuck, a top Russian official said the talks are in the "second stage" and a contract document may be signed soon.

In an interview to IANS, Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec Corporation, said that while Russia has traditionally not made single-engine fighter jets, it can join hands with India in making these jets, which India has announced under its new Strategic Partnership model, if it is "invited".

India and Russia have been working on a joint project to develop the fifth generation fighter aircraft, but despite it being in the pipeline for around a decade, a final contract has not yet been signed.

Chemezov said a contract document is likely to be signed in the near future, but did not give any timeline.

"The first stage of the project is completed, now the second stage is under discussion. I think that the contract documents will be signed in the very near future," Chemezov told IANS.

"The project is very complex, but the work continues, although not so quickly," he said.

India and Russia had inked an inter-governmental pact for the FGFA project in 2007. It was to be based on the Russian Sukhoi-57 or the Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 fighter jet.

In December 2010, India had agreed to pay $295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter, also referred to as Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF).

However, negotiations faced various hurdles in the subsequent years.

After evaluating the first PAK FA T-50 prototype, the Indian Air Force (IAF) wanted more than 40 changes to address, among other things, perceived weaknesses in the plane's engine, stealth, and weapon-carrying capability.

There were several disagreements between New Delhi and Moscow, including on work and cost share, aircraft technology, as well as the number of aircraft to be ordered.

There was also Indian concerns over the extent of transfer of technology, since the aircraft will be developed based on the Russian PAK FA T-50 jet.

A committee was later constituted under Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, which has submitted its report to the Defence Ministry, but the content of the report has not been made public.

Informed sources said the IAF felt the deal was very expensive as the cost of developing four prototype fighter jets would be around $6 billion.

However, in October 2017, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman T. Suvarna Raju backed the India-Russia FGFA programme, saying it will bring home niche technology.

Asked if Russia was interested in participating in making single-engine fighter jets in India under the Strategic Partnership model, Chemezov said Russia would participate if it is "invited".

Chemezov said that traditionally Russia has developed only twin-engine fighter jets, but India and Russia can develop a single-engine fighter together if India invited Russia.

"Russia is very strong in the production of various types of twin-engine aircraft, but at present we do not produce single-engine fighters. And our main twin-engine aircraft, both MiG and Sukhoi, are used by the IAF," he said.

"But if India wants to develop its own one-engine aircraft, and if India is interested in international cooperation to develop this aircraft, Russia and Rostec will be open to cooperation," the Rostec Corporation CEO said.

"Thus, if we are invited to participate in the joint development of a single-engine aircraft, we are ready to do this, as it was done in the past with other Russian-Indian projects. The BrahMos supersonic missile is a good example of such cooperation between the two countries," Chemezov added.

India is looking forward to replacing its fleet of Russian MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft and a process for making single-engine aircraft in the country is expected to be initiated soon under the new Strategic Partnership model.

So far, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and US plane-maker Lockheed Martin have signed an agreement to produce F-16 fighters in India, and Swedish aerospace major Saab and Indian infrastructure conglomerate Adani group have also announced a tie-up. The two are so far the main competitors in the project, for which a Request For Information (RFI) is likely to be issued soon.

economictimes

January 26, 2018

IAF re-launches $2 billion global hunt for acquiring 6 mid-air refuellers



  • The IAF on Thursday issued the RFI (request for Information) for the six flight refuelling aircraft or tankers and associated equipment.
  • The formal tender or RFP (request for proposal) will be floated after the responses to the RFI are submitted by March 30.
  • The IAF urgently needs the six new refuelling aircraft to double the strike range of its fighters and bombers.


The IAF has once again kicked off the over $2 billion procurement project for six desperately-needed mid-air refuelling aircraft to extend the strategic reach of its fighters and bombers after it was cancelled twice over the last decade due to cost and other issues.
The IAF on Thursday issued the RFI (request for Information) for the six flight refuelling aircraft or tankers and associated equipment. The formal tender or RFP (request for proposal) will be floated after the responses to the RFI are submitted by March 30. After inducting six Russian-origin Ilyushin-78 mid-air refuelling aircraft in 2003-2004, the IAF had first taken up the case for the acquisition of six additional tankers in 2006. The two-engine Airbus A-330 MRTT (mid-air refuelling aircraft) was twice selected over the four-engine Russian IL-78 in the technical and commercial evaluation. But both times, issues like the life cycle cost (LCC) methodology used in arriving at the lowest bidder (L-1) as well as pending CBI cases had led to the tenders being scrapped. Interestingly, this time the RFI specifies that the IAF wants twin-engine aircraft, with a two-man crew to ensure fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs, say sources.
This effectively rules out the four-engine IL-78s, leaving the contest open to primarily the Airbus A-330 MRTT and Boeing KC-46A Pegasus. The IAF is ready to even induct second-hand refuelling aircraft if they have adequate operational life left. “Israel will be the main contender for supplying such pre-owned aircraft,” said a source.
The IAF urgently needs the six new refuelling aircraft to double the strike range of its fighters and bombers. While the six IL-78s are based at Agra to support operations against Pakistan, the six new tankers are meant for Panagarh in West Bengal with an eye firmly on China. Panagarh, where the six new C-130J “Super Hercules” tactical airlift aircraft have already been based after the first six at the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of New Delhi, is also going to be the headquarters of the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps being progressively raised by the Army.
The 17 Corps, with two new high-altitude infantry divisions as well as armoured, artillery, air defence, engineer brigades spread from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, will be fully formed with 90,274 soldiers at a cost Rs 64,678 crore by 2021, as earlier reported by TOI. But the first RFP for the refuelling aircraft in 2006 was scrapped in 2010 because the finance ministry expressed “reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price” of the A-330 MRTT. In the second RFP floated in 2010, both A-330 MRTT and IL-78 cleared the extensive field trials. In the commercial evaluation thereafter, even though the IL-78 was cheaper in the off-the-shelf price, the A-330 MRTT emerged as the L-1 under the new LCC system. But questions were raised on the L-1 determination.
The LCC basically identifies the “total cost of ownership” of a particular equipment or aircraft over its entire operational life. This time the IAF is keeping its fingers crossed.

TOI
The IAF has once again kicked off the over $2 billion procurement project for six desperately-needed mid-air refuelling aircraft to extend the strategic reach of its fighters and bombers after it was cancelled twice over the last decade due to cost and other issues. The IAF on Thursday issued the RFI (request for Information) for the six flight refuelling aircraft or tankers and associated equipment. The formal tender or RFP (request for proposal) will be floated after the responses to the RFI are submitted by March 30. After inducting six Russian-origin Ilyushin-78 mid-air refuelling aircraft in 2003-2004, the IAF had first taken up the case for the acquisition of six additional tankers in 2006. The two-engine Airbus A-330 MRTT (mid-air refuelling aircraft) was twice selected over the four-engine Russian IL-78 in the technical and commercial evaluation. But both times, issues like the life cycle cost (LCC) methodology used in arriving at the lowest bidder (L-1) as well as pending CBI cases had led to the tenders being scrapped. Interestingly, this time the RFI specifies that the IAF wants twin-engine aircraft, with a two-man crew to ensure fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs, say sources. This effectively rules out the four-engine IL-78s, leaving the contest open to primarily the Airbus A-330 MRTT and Boeing KC-46A Pegasus. The IAF is ready to even induct second-hand refuelling aircraft if they have adequate operational life left. “Israel will be the main contender for supplying such pre-owned aircraft,” said a source. The IAF urgently needs the six new refuelling aircraft to double the strike range of its fighters and bombers. While the six IL-78s are based at Agra to support operations against Pakistan, the six new tankers are meant for Panagarh in West Bengal with an eye firmly on China. Panagarh, where the six new C-130J “Super Hercules” tactical airlift aircraft have already been based after the first six at the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of New Delhi, is also going to be the headquarters of the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps being progressively raised by the Army. The 17 Corps, with two new high-altitude infantry divisions as well as armoured, artillery, air defence, engineer brigades spread from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, will be fully formed with 90,274 soldiers at a cost Rs 64,678 crore by 2021, as earlier reported by TOI. But the first RFP for the refuelling aircraft in 2006 was scrapped in 2010 because the finance ministry expressed “reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price” of the A-330 MRTT. In the second RFP floated in 2010, both A-330 MRTT and IL-78 cleared the extensive field trials. In the commercial evaluation thereafter, even though the IL-78 was cheaper in the off-the-shelf price, the A-330 MRTT emerged as the L-1 under the new LCC system. But questions were raised on the L-1 determination. The LCC basically identifies the “total cost of ownership” of a particular equipment or aircraft over its entire operational life. This time the IAF is keeping its fingers crossed.

idrw.org .Read more at India No 1 Defence News Website http://idrw.org/iaf-re-launches-2-billion-global-hunt-for-acquiring-6-mid-air-refuellers/ .

January 25, 2018

S-400 missile deal being negotiated, don't rush it: Russian official Sergey Chemezov


Even as Russia has started delivery of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile to China, negotiations for the sale to India of the multi-barrel system with a range of between 40 km and 400 km are at an "advanced stage" and should not be hurried up, a top Russian official has said.

In an interview, Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec Corporation, which was formed over a decade ago to consolidate strategically important companies, said it is important not to "rush" with the contract, and give both parties time for the negotiations.

"Discussions on this contract are at an advanced stage. Currently, the technical details of the contract are being discussed," said Chemezov of the deal, pitched to be worth Rs 39,000 crore ($5.5 billion) for "the supply of the most modern equipment for strategic purposes".

"The inter-governmental agreement on this project was signed in Goa just one year ago," Chemezov noted, adding, "It is important not to rush things and give both parties time for negotiations."

The deal was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India in October 2016, and negotiations are being conducted on factors like technology transfer, the final price and training of personnel before the contract is finalised.

According to Indian Defence Ministry officials, the delivery of the missile system will begin two years after the contract is finalised. India had initially planned to buy at least 12 S-400 systems but pared this down to five.

Sources had also said that India was ready to waive the offset clause to speed up the delivery. The clause requires the reinvestment of 30 per cent of the contract's value within the country.

"This is a very complex contract with many technical specifications and variables, as well as pricing conditions, production and delivery schedules. Everything must be carefully coordinated," Chemezov said.

"I am confident that as soon as the negotiations are completed, the contract will be signed. The work is proceeding according to plan and its pace fully meets our expectations," he added.

The S-400 is designed to eliminate flying targets at an altitude of up to 30 km, including those incorporating stealth technologies. It is enough to secure an area roughly the size of the National Capital Territory of Delhi -- almost 1,500 km sq.

A single regiment of the S-400 missile is usually divided into two smaller battalions fielding, with tracking and search radar systems, eight launchers, 112 guided missiles and command and support vehicles.

The missile, which can simultaneously engage up to six targets, has been deployed in Syria, where Russia is targeting the Islamic State.

China had signed a contract for the S-400 in 2014 and, according to Russian news agency TASS, the deliveries have started. Beijing was the first international customer of the missile system.

Apart from China, the missile system has also been bought by Turkey, which has inked a deal for four S-400 batteries for around $2.5 billion.

Russia has said that several other countries, including nations in West Asia and Southeast Asia, have also evinced interest in the S-400.

economictimes

January 24, 2018

5 yrs on, IAF’s special aircraft shelters yet to get Cabinet nod


Over five years after the Air Force projected the requirement of specialised shelters for protection of combat aircraft at strategic airfields, the idea is yet to get past the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

The IAF had taken up a case for construction of 108 new generation hardened aircraft shelters (NGHAS) in 2012, the cost of which was then pegged at Rs5,400 crore. Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the same was accorded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation in December 2012.

The NGHAS is a specialised structure designed to protect combat aircraft from a direct hit by a 2000-pound bomb. All IAF airbases have aircraft shelters spread over a large area where aircraft are parked. Also called “blast pens”, these are tunnel-shaped concrete structures covered with a layer or earth and protective walls near their openings, which are supposed to protect aircraft from the effects of blasts in case of an attack. Most of these have specifications which may not be able to mitigate damage by attacks from the present or future generation of guided missiles or precision munitions that have high penetration capability.

The case for NGHAS is under process for obtaining sanction of the CCS, a recent report by Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence observed, while underlining that with the IAF already being short of combat strength, protection of the existing fleet becomes even more crucial.

A proposal to rework the project in three phases by categorising airfields within a distance of 100 km, 200 km and beyond 200 km from the border, respectively, with a gap of two years in each phase, is under consideration. The first phase would involve construction of 36 NGHAS requiring a cash outflow of Rs270 crore. Pathankot, Srinagar, Udhampur, Bagdogra, Naliya, Hasimara, Jaisalmer and Uttarlai are some of the bases that are located within 100 km of the border.

 tribuneindia

We intend to create far more than an assembly line in India, says Vivek Lall of Lockheed Martin


Despite the overdrive by US-based aerospace giant Lockheed Martin (LM), nothing new has happened for the F-16 Block 70/72 for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The company has offered to move its lone production line of the latest version of fighter aircraft F-16 Block 70/72 to India from Texas to meet Indian and global requirement —with a condition: The IAF has to choose the world’s largest-sold fighter aircraft for its fleet. Due to the retirement of vintage aircraft, the number of squadrons will be going down further by 2021. By then, 11 squadrons of MiG-21 and Mig-27, which are 35 to 45 years old, will be retiring from service. Vivek Lall, vice-president, strategy and business development, is now going to lead the efforts of Lockheed Martin, which has tied up with Tata in India, to push the F-16 Block 70/72. Lall spoke with Huma Siddiqui on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.

What new are you going to offer during your meetings here?
The F-16 Block 70 provides the path to business relationships with LM, the only company in the world that has designed, developed and produced operational fifth-generation fighter aircraft. We plan to introduce two new words into the lexicon of international fighter aircraft manufacturing: “India” and “exclusive.” India-specific state-of-the-art fighter production in India will be exclusive — something that has never before been presented by any other fighter aircraft manufacturer, past or present. There is a significant export market available for Indian made fighters.

The F-16 Block 70 has been termed as old technology that LM is pushing hard for the IAF — what do you plan to do to take the discussions forward, especially as the IAF, to mitigate the shortfall of fighters, is acquiring the indigenous ‘Tejas’ Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)?
The F-16 Block 70 being offered specifically to India is uniquely the best state-of-the-art fighter. No other advanced fourth-generation platform even comes close to matching the record of real-world combat experience and proven operational effectiveness. The India-specific state-of-the-art fighter on offer and its programme’s size, scope and success enables Indian industry to take advantage of unprecedented manufacturing, upgrade and sustainment opportunities well into the future. As you are aware, the IAF is keen on the F-35 and is also not keen on single-engine aircraft… Many of the systems used on the India-specific platform are derived from key lessons learned and technologies from Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and the F-35, the world’s only operational fifth-generation fighters. It is important to note that all three variants of the F-35 are single-engine aircraft.

Like…?
Approximately half of the Indian fighter supply chain will be common with the fifth-generation F-22 and F-35. Technology improvements will also continue to flow between the F-16, F-22 and F-35 for decades, at a fraction of the cost to F-16 operators. Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar on the F-16 Block 70 provides F-16s with fifth-generation fighter radar capabilities by leveraging hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars. The APG-83 radar shares more than 95% software commonality with the F-35 radar and more than 70% hardware commonality.

How is LM going to participate in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative?
We intend to create far more than an “assembly line” in India. The platform being offered will give Indian industry a unique opportunity to become a part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem. Also, the platform provides unmatched opportunities for Indian companies of all sizes, including micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) and suppliers throughout India, to establish new business relationships with Lockheed Martin and other industry leaders in the US and around the globe.

What is new on offer?
The aircraft brings the most modern avionics, a proven AESA radar and modernised cockpit, advanced weapons, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, auto ground collision avoidance capability, and an advanced engine with an extended service life. Even with the addition of targeting systems and two 2,000 pound (lb) class joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs), the aircraft has a mission radius exceeding 1,300 km — 30 % greater than that of the closest competitor. Also, many of the advances in systems on the aircraft India would get draw directly from key lessons learned from Lockheed Martin’s work on the F-22 and the F-35. The AESA radar is the result of over two decades of investment, use and experience with AESA technology, and it’s fully operational today.

 financialexpress

India, Russia fail to finalize S-400 air-defense deal


India’s ongoing negotiations with Russia for the $5 billion-plus purchase of five S-400 Triumf long-range surface-to-air missile systems are in deadlock yet again.
Indian Ministry of Defence officials, top brass with Russian arms export agency Rosoboronexport, and Almaz-Antey, the original equipment manufacturer and designer, have failed to reach a settlement on the price, training, service support and transfer of technology of the missiles, a top MoD official said.
“Russia is demanding $5.5 billion for the five [S-400] units, very high training fee and refusing to give technology transfer of three types of guided missiles,” the official said, adding that no plan has yet been offered for service and a spares-support package.
Another MoD official said the final contract is not going to be signed anytime soon, and India will not pay more than $4.5 billion for the systems. He noted that the deal would incorporate a Make in India economic policy in regard to the manufacturing of spares, the guided missiles and a life-time service support package.
Rosoboronexport executives were unavailable for comment.
India and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on the sale of the S-400 systems during a bilateral summit in October 2016 in Goa, India, in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The MoD’s apex procurement body, the Defence Acquisition Council, approved in December 2015 the purchase of five S-400s at a cost of about $4.5 billion.
“The service has already carried out two separate rounds of trails in Russia last year, but our air defense personnel have to undergo robust training to successfully operate S-400 Triumf systems before they are inducted,” a senior Indian Air Force official said.

The Russian-built S-400 systems are capable of intercepting and destroying airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and can simultaneously engage up to six targets. Each S-400 comprises tracking and search radar systems, eight launchers, 112 guided missiles, and command and support vehicles.
Another Air Force official said the S-400s will help the service counter ballistic missiles and target stealth aircraft. He added that the system would have three types of guided missiles. He also asserted that an India-owned S-400 would easily overpower Pakistan’s air defense capabilities and prove a match against China’s strategic assets.
India will be the second customer after China to acquire S-400 systems from Russia.
India is currently developing and testing is ballistic missile defense grid that is essentially an anti-missile system. The grids includes indigenously developed Prithvi Air Defence for high-altitude interception (above 75 kilometers) and Advanced Air Defence for low-altitude interception (below 15 kilometers).
In addition, India is developing medium-range surface-to-air missile systems reportedly capable of taking out an incoming missile with its range of more than 70 kilometers.
The state-owned Defence Research and Development Organization is also in talks with Israeli defense companies to develop an anti-cruise missile system, but there are currently no details available.
India is also seeking to develop and acquire systems that can counter ballistic missiles and cover a 2,000- to 5,000-kilometer range.

 defensenews

January 23, 2018

India to upgrade its T-90S's anti-tank guided missile


According to the daily, the Indian Army (IA) intends to integrate "a third-generation missile system" with the T-90S tank that forms the backbone of the service`s tank units. Such a modernization will result in the increase of the tank`s missile firing range from 5,500 m to 8,000 m.

"The upgrade of the existing T-90 tank missile system is in the pipeline and is in different stages of trial evaluation. The upgrade will give us [the IA] an edge over enemies and better operational preparedness," a senior officer at the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S) told the Times of India.

The newspaper says that India`s T-90S tanks are armed with the Invar ATGM that features laser beam-riding guidance. The missile can engage targets at a distance of up to 5,500 m. "The upgraded [missile] system will achieve more depth of penetration as well as hit target at a range of 8,000 m, which would be a big advantage for us [the IA]," another officer at the ACC&S told the Times of India.

The new missile system is expected to be able to engage both static and moving targets in an effective manner. "Since the tanks are now also deployed in high altitude regions, the mobility and strike capability is of great importance. Hence, there is another plan to install a modular engine for the T-90[S] tanks," military sources told the newspaper.

Therefore, the T-90S Bhishma tanks are expected to get new powerpacks also. However, the newspaper did not specify the type of the engine to be integrated with the vehicles. However, several officers of India`s mechanized troops expressed their doubts that such firing range is required. According to them, the experience of recent conflicts apparently shows that main battle tanks engage enemy`s vehicles at a distance of 2,500 m. "Considering past references and terrains, tanks will have to engage targets at a maximum distance of 2.5 km," a military source told the daily.

 armyrecognition

India To Extend Range Of BrahMos Missile To 800 Km, Test The New Variant By Year-End


India is set extend the range of BrahMos cruise missile to 800 kilometres and test the new variant by the end of this year, Hindustan Times has reported.

The range of the missile has already been extended to 400 km from its original range of 290 km and successfully test fired the missile in March 2017. India was able to increase the range of the missile, developed by an Indo-Russian joint venture after it became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Countries which are not members of the MTCR are not allowed to purchase or jointly produce missiles with a range of more than 300 km with countries inside the club. Russia was a member of the group, while India joined it in 2016.

According to the report, the range of air-launched BrahMos will also be extended ro 800 km. The air-launched version of the missile, called BrahMos-A, was successfully test fired from a Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter of the Indian Air Force for the first time against a target in the Bay of Bengal in November 2017. “It will be a significant leap forward for the BrahMos project. Air force fighters will be able to attack targets from increased standoff ranges,” an official said.

“The Sukhoi has a range of 3,600 km. Arming it with an 800-km range missile will increase its reach tremendously, and even more, considering the option of midair refuelling,” he added.

The IAF is slated to receive its first air-launched nuclear-capable BrahMos-A missiles in January 2018, BrahMos Aerospace joint venture co-director Alexander Maxichev told TASS news agency in November 2017.

India plans to modify Su-30MKIs of the IAF to carry the air-launched BrahMos-A, two of which have already undergone structural and software changes.

The effort to arm IAF’s upgraded MiG-29s, Rafale jets and Indian Navy’s MiG-29Ks are also underway. For this, lighter and smaller-diameter versions of the supersonic cruise missile are being developed.

 swarajyamag

January 22, 2018

India begins talks with Russia for Rs 39,000 cr Triumf missile shield deal


Highlights
  • Talks on for acquisition of five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia
  • S-400 can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles, drones at up to 400 km and altitude 30 km
  • All the five S-400 systems will be delivered in 54 months: Defence ministry sources
India has now begun final contract negotiations with Russia for the Rs 39,000 crore (over $5.5 billion) acquisition of five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of up to 400 km and altitude of 30 km.

India wants to conclude the major deal in the 2018-19 financial year, with the first S-400 surface-to-air (SAM) missile system, with its associated battle-management system of command post and launchers, acquisition and engagement radars, and all-terrain transporter-erector-launcher vehicles, slated for delivery two years after the contract is inked.

"All the five S-400 systems, which can even take on medium-range ballistic missiles, apart from cruise missiles, will be delivered in 54 months. The force-multiplier will change the dynamics of air defence in the region," a defence ministry source said.

India's final commercial negotiations with Russia after extensive field trials come at a time when China has already begun to get deliveries of six S-400 batteries - designated 'SA-21 Growler' by NATO - under a $3 billion deal inked in 2014.

There were, however, reports that some auxiliary components of the S-400 systems being shipped to China from Russia were damaged in a storm last week. Russia, which has deployed the S-400 in Crimea for airspace protection along the Ukraine border, is also set to sell the air defence systems to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

India can deploy the highly-mobile S-400 system to protect a city during war, or even use it to neutralise Pakistan's short-range Nasr (Hatf-IX) nuclear missiles. Pakistan often recklessly brandishes its Nasr missiles as a battlefield counter to India's 'Cold Start' strategy of swift, high-intensity conventional attacks into enemy territory.

With long-range radars to track 100 to 300 targets simultaneously, the S-400 has different kinds of supersonic and hypersonic missiles to intercept incoming aerial threats at different ranges. The system's cost depends on the configuration a customer wants. India, for instance, is mainly going in for long-range (120-370-km) interception missiles.

TOI was the first to report in October 2015 that the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) was finalising the game-changing acquisition of the S-400 systems to plug major operational gaps in airspace defence.

After clearance from the DAC in December that year, the Modi-Putin summit in Goa in October 2016 led to inking of inter-governmental agreements for five S-400 systems, four Grigorivich-class frigates and 200 Kamov-226T light helicopters, while the two also sealed the lease of a second nuclear-powered submarine after INS Chakra, all together worth around $10.5 billion, as was then reported by TOI.

When the S-400 contract is actually inked, it will be among the largest-ever deals with Russia. The other big deals include the ones for 272 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters (over $12 billion) and INS Vikramaditya ($2.33 billion for the aircraft carrier and another $2 billion for 45 MiG-29Ks to operate from its deck).

TOI

January 20, 2018

Pakistan's ace in poker match with US: Afghan air routes


As bad as President Donald Trump describes US-Pakistani ties today, they can get far worse.

Over 16 years that included hundreds of deadly US drone strikes, Osama bin Laden's killing on Pakistani soil and accusations Pakistan helps insurgents that kill Americans, the reluctant allies never reached one point of no return: Pakistan closing the air routes to Afghanistan.

It's an action that could all but cripple the US-backed military fight against the Taliban. It could also be tantamount to Pakistan going to war with the United States.

Even if such a step is seen as unlikely by most officials and observers, Pakistan's ability to shape the destiny of America's longest war is a reminder of how much leverage the country maintains at a time Trump is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance.

"There's some suggestion that we have all of the cards in our hands," said Richard Olson, a former US ambassador to Pakistan. "But we don't. The leverage is strong on the Pakistan side as well and arguably stronger than our side."

Trump's re-commitment of US forces to the fight in Afghanistan makes the stakes high for his administration. The top US diplomat for South Asia, Alice Wells, made a low-key visit to Islamabad this week, suggesting both sides want to prevent a breach in ties.

Pakistan's cooperation is needed not only to reduce violence in its northern neighbor. It's also critical to any hope of a political settlement with the Afghan Taliban after decades of conflict.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said the US doesn't expect Pakistan to cut off supply routes. Even so, the US is seeking out alternatives, a senior administration official said, without elaborating on what those routes might be.

The Pentagon wouldn't discuss the issue, citing operational security, other than to say military planners develop "multiple supply chain contingencies" to sustain their mission.

The administration official, who wasn't authorised to comment by name and demanded anonymity, said it would be "very difficult" but not impossible for the US to get military equipment into Afghanistan if the Pakistan route is shut down.

Restrictions limit what types of supplies can flow through the Northern Distribution Network in Central Asia, set up during the Obama administration amid concerns about relying solely on Pakistan.

economictimes

January 19, 2018

Boost for NSG membership, India joins Australia Group


After gaining entry into two export control regimes - MTCR and Wassenaar, India today joined the Australia Group (AG), which seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.

"On 19 January 2018 India formally became the 43rd member of the Australia Group (AG), the cooperative and voluntary group of countries working to counter the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by states or terrorist groups," the AG said in a release.

India is now a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and now the Australia Group, three of four non-proliferation regimes. The only one remaining is the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which is stonewalled due Chinese objections.

Reacting to India's entry to the group, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Ravish Kumar said it would be "mutually beneficial and to help in non proliferation".

He said the AG membership will help in establishing India's credentials further.

Australian Group is a cooperative and voluntary group of countries working to counter the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons by states or terrorist groups. In December, India gained entry into WA.

India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016 and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) last year.

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies is a multilateral export control regime.

economictimes

Russia begins delivery of S-400 missile systems to China


Moscow has begun the delivery of the S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems to China under the 2014 contract, a source close to the Russian system of military cooperation told TASS on Thursday.

"The implementation of the contract has begun, the first shipment has been sent to China," the source said.

According to the source, the shipment includes a control station, a radar station, energy and support equipment, spare parts, various tools and other elements of the S-400 system.

The source also said that the contact with China stipulated neither technology transfer nor licensed production.

In 2017, Russia trained a group of Chinese military servicemen to use the S-400 systems.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation has declined to provide any comments.
Contract with China

In November 2014, it was announced that Russia and China had signed a contract on S-400 supplies, and in November 2015, Russian Presidential Aide on Military Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin confirmed the contract. In June 2016, head of Russia’s Rostec State Corporation Sergei Chemezov said that the Chinese Army would receive the S-400 systems no sooner than 2018. On December 7, 2017, Chemezov said that the delivery would begin in the near future.

China is the first foreign purchaser of these air defense systems, while the second one is Turkey. In July 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that "certain documents" concerning the purchase of the S-400 systems had been signed. On September 12, 2017, Russia confirmed that a contract had been made. Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase the S-400 Triumf systems.

S-400 system ::

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 complex can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

At present, only Russia’s Armed Forces are equipped with the S-400 systems. There are plans to supply them to four countries - China, Turkey, India and Saudi Arabia.

tass

Jharkhand Offers Infrastructure For Manufacturing Of F-16 Fighter Aircrafts


Jharkhand has proposed to play a key role in setting up manufacturing units of US-based F-16 fighter aircraft in India. Chief Minister of Jharkhand Raghubar Das has offered infrastructure to facilitate manufacturing and maintenance units near Jamshedpur in the state.

In the backdrop of the recent accord between American manufacturer of F-16 Fighter Aircraft, Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced System Limited to shift the production line of the fighter aircraft from Fort Worth in USA to India, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand has sent a letter to Chairman of Tata Sons, N. Chandrasekharan expressing his keen desire to provide infrastructure in the State for the purpose. In his letter, the Chief Minister has offered Chakulia and Dhalbhumgarh airfield complex under East Singhbhum district (Jamshedpur) to set up the assembly line and ancillary facilities for the F-16 fighter aircrafts in India. The two airfields were developed during World War II as air bases for the Royal Air Force and US Air Force.

The airport at Chakulia -- with two runways of 2.3 km each -- and the one at Dalbhumgarh -- with two 1.73 km runways – claim to have connectivity with Kolkata, Mumbai, Ranchi and Haldia port through rail and road transport. The Chief Minister has also written a similar letter to the former Chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata to set up the Production Line of F-16 in the State, reminding him about major contributions by his company in the past for the development of Jharkhand.

If sources privy to the CM secretariat at Ranchi are to be believed, the Chief Minister recently held a meeting with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too to impress upon the US defence giant Lockheed Martin to set up its units in Jharkhand. Acting upon the CM’s request, the Defence Minister is said to have elicited Tatas’ views on the matter.

With a possible objective to bid for the $ 12-billion fighter jet deal that the defence ministry is contemplating, Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) have signed an agreement for the joint production of the F-16 Block 70 fighter jet in India. In the light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ endeavour, foreign aircraft manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Saab of Sweden have been left with no option except to forge tie-ups with Indian partners to obtain order for hundreds of aircraft required by Indian Air Force to replace decades-old Soviet-era fleet. Sweden’s Saab is the other contender that has evinced interests to supply the Indian Air Force, offering to make its Gripen fighter in India.

However, in order to ward off the possible wrath of US President Donald Trump -- who has been campaigning against US investments abroad and pressing for creation of jobs in USA instead -- Lockheed Martin and Tatas have come out with a press statement that shifting production line to India would still retain jobs in the United States. In a joint statement the firms said, “F-16 production in India supports thousands of Lockheed Martin and F-16 supplier jobs in the U.S., creates new manufacturing jobs in India, and positions Indian industry at the center of the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world.’ The statement further said ‘This unprecedented F-16 production partnership between the world’s largest defence contractor and India’s premier industrial house provides India the opportunity to produce, operate and export F-16 Block 70 aircraft, the newest and most advanced version of the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter”.

Lockheed Martin has said that the agreement with TASL was prompted by the past performance of the company while manufacturing airframe components for the C-130J airlifter and the S-92 helicopter. In a press statement, Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice-President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, claimed ‘Our partnership significantly strengthens the F-16 ‘Make in India’ offer, creates and maintains numerous new job opportunities in India and the US, and brings the world’s most combat-proven multi-role fighter aircraft to India.”

The US defence giant is, however, believed to be contemplating a major decision to move the production of its F-16 combat jets to India for want of substantial supply orders for the jets from the Pentagon as the US is learnt to have opted for fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike fighters.

To top it all, in view of receiving the accolade for setting up manufacturing units of the world famous F-16 aircraft that serve more than 35 countries with the production of new fleets and upgrading the existing fleet of over 3500 across the world as well, other States are unlikely to lag behind Jharkhand to rope in the defence giants. Telengana and Andhra Pradesh are reported to have initiated talks with the manufacturer and started lobbying in the corridor of powers with their claim to provide the best infrastructure for the production line of the aircrafts in their respective states.

 businessworld

Entire China could soon be within India’s N-strike zone


India is a step away from gate-crashing into the super exclusive club of countries with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with the successful "first pre-induction trial" of Agni-V that, with a range of over 5,000 km, brings all of Asia and China within its nuclear strike capability.

The range of the missile places parts of Europe and Africa within reach but India's security concerns are closer home. Sources said India's most formidable missile will undergo one more pre-induction trial "within this year" before it is inducted into the Agni-V regiment already raised by the Tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with the requisite command and control structures.

Once that happens, India will rub shoulders with countries the US, UK, Russia, China and France. While a belligerent North Korea over the last six-seven months has rattled US with tests of its two new ICBMs - Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 - expert opinion is divided whether they are fully-operational and deployed as of now.

On Thursday, in its first pre-induction trial conducted by the SFC, the 17-metre Agni-V was launched from a canister atop the road-mobile launcher from the Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast at 9.53am. The three-stage missile zoomed to a height of over 600-km in its parabolic trajectory and then splashed down around 4,900-km away towards Australia in the Indian Ocean barely 19 minutes later.

The missile's canister-launch version makes it deadlier because it gives the armed forces the requisite operational flexibility to swiftly transport and fire the missile from anywhere they want. "Since the missile is already mated with its nuclear warhead before being sealed in the canister, it drastically cuts down the response or reaction time for a retaliatory strike...only the authorised electronic codes have to be fed to unlock and prime it for launch," said a source.

India, of course, wants a credible strategic deterrent against an aggressive and expansionist China, which has a large arsenal of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. The SFC already has regiments of the Prithvi-II (350-km), Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km) & Agni-III (3,000-km) missiles, which are mainly meant to deter Pakistan from any misadventure. The Agni-IV (4,000-km) and Agni-V (over 5,000-km), in turn, have been developed with China in mind.

Designed to carry a 1.5-tonne nuclear warhead, Agni-V has been tested four times in "developmental or experimental trials" earlier.

The missile was tested in an "open configuration" in April 2012 and September 2013, while it was test-fired from hermetically sealed canisters mounted on transport-cum-tilting launcher trucks in January 2015 and December 2016.

"The missile's flight performance was monitored by radars, range stations and tracking systems all through the mission. All mission objectives were successfully met. This successful test of Agni-V reaffirms the country's indigenous missile capabilities and further strengthens our credible deterrence," said a defence ministry official.

Though the DRDO has often proclaimed it can develop missiles with strike ranges of 10,000km to match the Chinese DF-31A (11,200km) and DF-41 (14,500km) missiles, the Indian defence establishment believes Agni-V is sufficient to take care of existing threat perceptions. There is, however, interest in ongoing DRDO work on developing "manoeuvring warheads or intelligent reentry vehicles" to defeat enemy ballistic missile defence systems, as well as MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) for the Agni missiles. An MIRV payload means one missile can carry several warheads, each for different targets.

TOI

China a disruptive force in Indo-Pacific region: US Pacific Command chief


US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris on Thursday called China a "disruptive force" in the Indo-Pacific region, while Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba pointed out towards increasing presence of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean.

Mistrust for China figured prominently at a multilateral diplomacy and defence forum here, with representatives from India, US, Japan and Indonesia pointing out towards the lack of transparency on China's part, and its growing attempts to change status quo unilaterally.

In a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue being organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here, Admiral Harris said: "I believe the reality is that China is a disruptive transitional force in the Indo-Pacific. They are the owner of the trust deficit that we all have spent the last hour or so talking about."

He however added that China has also played an important role in humanitarian and disaster relief operations, anti-piracy operations as well as against terrorism.

"There are common threats in the region for sure. We can all work together to overcome them, including China.

"But how defensive Vietnam, is and rightly so when China sends a major oil research platform in Vietnam's legitimate exclusive economic zone..." he said, adding examples from nations like Malaysia and others where China has attempted to change status quo in terms of territory," he said.

Admiral Lanba said Chinese naval ships have maintained their presence in the Indian Ocean Region since last ten years.

"Since 2008, there has been a sea change in deployment of PLA Navy. They stepped out of the western Pacific, crossed the first island chain and have been operating in the IOR."

He said on an average, they have an anti-piracy group in the IOR which consists of a tanker, two frigates and three or four research vessels.

Lanba also mentioned China's overseas base at Djibouti, and port in Sri Lanka's Hambantota, adding: "There is no Chinese naval presence, that is what we have been promised. I think that is what the Chinese pattern is going to be in the near term."

Japan Self-Defense Forces' Joint Staff chief, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano said China was unilaterally trying to change the status quo.

"What we are concerned about is that in the East and South China sea, China has been neglecting international law and tries to change status quo unilaterally," he said, suggesting China be isolated if it continues in its ways.

"One Road, One Belt should be economic initiative but it has military aspects as well and I also think it may be difficult to change the Chinese policy which has been promoting its military action by neglecting international law.

"But if we create an environment that if China continues these actions, the country could be isolated... this is important thing I think," he said.

Dino Patti Djalal, Founder of Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, said his country was uncomfortable with China's attempt to claim its waters.

"For the first time in Indonesia's history, China is claiming our waters and we are not very comfortable with that. How do we get China to build more trust and prove its good intentions?" he asked.

"(China should) comply with norms, don't treat your neighbours as you are the big brother, treat us as your friends, the region belongs to us," he said.

China's growing aggression in the South China sea and increased presence of its warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean have been a concern, with several experts fearing it could lead to rise of a global scale conflict.

Admiral Lanba had recently cited the presence of as many as 14 Chinese naval ships in the Indian Ocean around August 2016, and had also questioned China's stand of deploying submarines for anti-piracy operations.

economic times

January 18, 2018

India Successfully Test-Fires Agni-5 Ballistic Missile: All You Need To Know




India successfully test-fired nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni-5 Ballistic Missile today, boosting indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence strength of the country. Agni-5 is the most advanced missile in the Agni series with a strike range of over 5,000 kilometres. Agni-5 was test-fired at about 9:54 am from launch pad number 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island, off Odisha coast. During the test-fire, the sophisticated missile travelled for 19 minutes and covered 4,900 km. With the first testing of Agni-5, India had become a part of the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs or inter-continental ballistic missiles in 2012.
Here are 10 Facts about Agni-V Ballistic Missile:
  1. Agni-5 is most advanced missile in the Agni series with new technologies incorporated in it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. It has a range of over 5,000 km. 
  2. The redundant Navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) had ensured the missile reached the target point within few metres of accuracy, said an official of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
  3. After four successful developmental trials, this was the first user associate test of Agni-5 missile, sources said.
  4. Agni-5 missile has a high speed on-board computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus. Its path is precisely directed by the advanced on-board computer and inertial navigation system.
  5. The three-stage, 17-metre tall, two-metre wide Agni-5 missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes.
  6. The missile so programmed that after reaching the peak of its trajectory it will turn towards Earth to continue its journey towards the intended target with an increased speed due to the attraction of the earth s gravitational pull, DRDO official said.
  7. The first two successful flights of Agni-5 missile in 2012 and 2013 were in open configuration. Agni-5 has higher reliability, longer shelf life, less maintenance and enhanced mobility.
  8. At present, Agni series missiles that India has in its armoury are: Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.
  9. The first test of Agni-5 was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second on September 15, 2013, the third on January 31, 2015 and fourth trial on December 26, 2016 from the same base.
  10. With testing of Agni-5, India had become a part of the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs or inter-continental ballistic missiles after US, Britain, Russia, China and France.
      ndtv

Defence ministry simplifies private firms’ role in developing weapons prototypes


In an initiative that is being welcomed by small private defence firms, Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday simplified the “Make II” procedure, which is a framework for defence firms to develop and build equipment the military has announced it wants.
The “Make I” procedure is aimed at large, expensive projects like the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle. It provides for private industry consortia to develop such platforms, with the ministry reimbursing up to 90 per cent of the cost incurred.
In contrast, “Make II” is an industry-funded initiative for small projects that do not incur a heavy development cost. It allows private companies to develop equipment that the military has publicly stated it requires, in a document called the “Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap” (TPCR), which is posted on the defence ministry website.
Now, aiming to make the “Make II” process more practical for private firms, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) announced it has “simplified the procedure to make it industry friendly, with minimal government control.”
“The salient aspects of the revised procedure will now allow Ministry of Defence to accept suo-motu proposals from the industry and also allows start-ups to develop equipment for Indian Armed Forces”, said the announcement.
The first change involves broadening the playing field and allowing more companies access. While the earlier “Make II” procedure provided for shortlisting only two vendors to develop prototype equipment, now multiple vendors can participate.
The second change involves relaxing the eligibility criteria for private firms to participate in prototype development projects. According to the ministry, “The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects has been relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria.”
Thirdly, the “Make II” procedure has been simplified and decentralised. “The vendor will not be required to submit Detailed Project Report. After accord of approval… [by the DAC], all clearances will be accorded at Service HQ (SHQ) level”, announced the MoD. 
            
To hand-hold small scale firms and start-ups that might be technologically gifted but managerial novices, “SHQs will now setup project facilitation teams to act as the primary interface between the SHQ and the industry during the design and development stage. These teams would provide technical inputs, trial infrastructure and other facilities as required by the vendor”, announced the MoD.
Service headquarters have now been given greater flexibility. “Even if a single individual or firm offers innovative solutions, the SHQ will now have the option to accept and process the vendor’s development initiative. SHQs will be allowed to hire domain experts/consultants from private sector to increase outreach and enhance awareness among the industry”, the DAC decided. 
Finally, the DAC addressed the biggest bugbear for private firms, which is that even successful design work sometimes does not bring in orders for the product they have developed. The DAC decided today: “Most importantly, there will be no foreclosure of project after the project is sanctioned, except on default by the vendor, to ensure that the successful vendor has assured orders.”
Private defence industry has welcomed these announcements. “These changes are in line with what industry has been requesting. We are hopeful the ministry will implement these changes quickly and kick off the first “Make II” project within a few months to build confidence within industry”, says Jayant Patil, who heads the heavy engineering division in L&T.
 
    ajaishukla

Defence ministry clears Rs 35.47 billion rifle buy under “fast track” process


The defence ministry has gone back to the start line in procuring a basic weapon for the army’s infantry battalions – the footsoldiers who make up the bulk of the army, defend or capture territory in war and carry out counter-insurgency duties in peace.
After an earlier procurement was aborted last year after years of fruitless trials, the defence ministry announced on Tuesday its go-ahead for re-starting the procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines, worth an estimated Rs 3,547 crore (Rs 35.47 billion).
This is a fraction of the one million rifles and carbines that will be needed to re-equip the entire army. However, the ministry said it would “enable the Defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders.”
The ministry’s apex procurement body, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, cleared this procurement under the “fast track basis”, which requires a contract to be concluded in less than six months and delivery of weapons within a year of signing the contract.
As this newspaper first reported (November 4, Infantry to get foreign rifles, others to get ‘made in India’), the army – struggling to make do with a strained procurement budget – decided against importing the army’s entire requirement of 800,000 assault rifles. Instead, it would cut costs by importing only 250,000 assault rifles for about Rs 200,000 each; and ask the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to design and build the remaining 550,000 rifles in the country. An indigenous rifle, it is estimated, would cost less than half the price of an imported one.
On Friday, army chief General Bipin Rawat explained that some high-quality assault rifles would have to be imported in order to “empower the infantry soldier”, who fights eyeball-to-eyeball with the enemy.
It is still unclear whether the remaining 1,77,600 assault rifles needed for frontline infantry would be imported, or manufactured in India with technology transferred by a foreign vendor. Rawat raised that possibility, stating: “Let us see if this imported weapon can subsequently be manufactured in India also by our own industry.”
Meanwhile, the DRDO is continuing perfecting the indigenous INSAS 1C rifle, and the OFB is separately developing another rifle it calls the Ghatak. These weapons are still to pass army trials.
Once these new weapons are introduced, the army will simultaneously juggle two different weapon philosophies. The frontline infantry’s heavy 7.62 x 51 millimetre rifle will be optimised for conventional war, with a longer range and heavier bullets that kill or completely incapacitate enemy soldiers that they strike. These rifles will also be equipped with reflex sights and modern night vision sights.
The indigenous weapons that will arm soldiers other than frontline infantry, will be lighter 5.56 x 45 millimetre weapons, optimised for counter-insurgency operations, with smaller bullets that soldiers can carry in larger numbers.

    ajaishukla