August 31, 2018

Explained: How Approval For 147 New Maritime Helicopters Will Revamp Indian Navy’s Chopper Fleet

Amid a barrage of allegations of corruption from the Congress over the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Saturday (25 August) cleared the procurement of equipment worth Rs 46,000 crore. One of the items cleared for purchase is the Lockheed Martin-manufactured MH-60R maritime helicopter.

In a government-to-government deal with the United States (US), India will procure 24 of these maritime helicopters for around $1.8 billion. The government has also given the go-ahead for acquiring 111 Naval utility helicopters, valued at Rs 21,000 crore. This is a significant development for the Navy and government for several reasons.

One, the MH-60Rs will replace the over three-decade-old British-built Westland Sea King helicopters. The first Sea King helicopter had landed on INS Vikrant, the Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, in July 1971, just months ahead of the 1971 war. India contracted for an improved version of this now-obsolete helicopter – Mk42B Sea King – in 1982. A total of 20 improved Sea Kings, called Harpoons by the Indian Navy, were delivered to India between 1988 and 1992.

The primary role of these helicopters is hunting enemy submarines. But in the 30 years since these helicopters arrived, hunting submarine has become much more difficult. While the capability of these helicopters has largely remained static, submarines have become quieter in the last few decades.

Also, by some accounts, less than 10 of these submarine hunters are now operational. Many destroyers of the Indian Navy, such as the Delhi class, which can house these helicopters, were going to sea without helicopter support because of this shortage. Therefore, the Indian Navy needed a bird that could prey, and prey more efficiently.

When battle ships are deployed far away from home, these helicopters act as the eyes and ears of the crew, as other submarine-hunting platforms like Boeing P-8I Poseidon remain unavailable due to their limited range.The Navy had decided and tried to replace its older Sea Kings for the first time in the year 2000, announcing the Multirole Helicopter contest for 16 helicopters. However, the Navy’s efforts did not bear fruit for almost two decades.

Two, the 111 light naval utility helicopters to be procured will replace around 40 decades-old Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Chetak/Allouette III helicopters currently in service with the Navy. Apart from being equipped for their primary role, the Navy also wants these helicopters to have limited submarine-hunting capability. This will be a significant capability addition in view of the heightened Chinese submarine activity in the Indian Ocean Region.

Three, as Livefist points out, this approval is also the first step towards meeting the Indian Navy’s requirement of 123 medium multirole helicopters to replace its ageing fleet. The Navy has tried to procure these earlier, several times by some accounts, but without success. These helicopters, which will cost around $3 billion, will operate off in-service aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the two upcoming indigenous aircraft carriers Vikrant and Vishal, the three Shivalik-class stealth frigates, the follow-on P-17A frigates (seven in number) as well as current and future destroyer types – Delhi class, Kolkata class, and Visakhapatnam class.
 These 123 helicopters will reportedly be divided into two categories. While one of the two will be a standard multi-role version, the other will be equipped with special operations. The standard multi-role version will be deployed for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic intelligence, search and rescue, external cargo carriage, and limited casualty evacuation. Those meant for special operations will be capable of carrying Marine Commandos for anti-piracy operations, combat search and rescue, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Four, this will be the country’s first project under the strategic partnership (SP) model, which is part of the larger Make-in-India initiative. Under the SP model, a foreign vendor selected to supply a piece of equipment to the Indian armed forces in four categories – fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armoured fighting vehicles or main battle tanks – will have to tie up with a local manufacturer, called the ‘strategic partner’. The original equipment manufacturer will transfer technology to the partner and set up production facilities in the country.

The successful implementation of this procurement model, whose concept was first suggested by the Dhirendra Singh committee in its July 2015 report, is likely to help develop a defence industrial ecosystem in the country. It will also give players in the private sector an opportunity to participate in some big-ticket defence contracts. Given that the government is implementing this for the first time, its future will depend heavily on the success of this deal.

For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which is going into a general election in 2019, the implementation of this policy will come as a major success.With the approval for the pronouncement of 24 MH-60Rs and 111 naval utility helicopters, the number of helicopters that the Navy will be procuring has gone up to 258. This includes the 123 medium multirole helicopters.

In effect, the approval has kick-started a process which will end with the replacement of a very large part of the Navy’s existing helicopter fleet. However, no one is holding their breath as the MoD has just granted an acceptance of necessity – the first step in the long and heavily bureaucratised procurement procedure.


India Inches Closer to NSG Membership

Against the background of intense speculation about U.S. President Donald Trump’s growing indifference to India’s security needs and the landmark India-U.S. Nuclear Cooperation Agreement came the dramatic announcement of the "Tier 1 waiver" for India. This exception from the export control regime will allow the U.S. to export sensitive technology to India without individual licenses or approval from Congress, where anti-India interest groups used to hold them up through filibusters.

The waiver is historic and marks a new stage in the India-U.S. strategic partnership. No other country in the region has ever been granted such a waiver, normally allowed only for the U.S.'s NATO partners or key allies like Japan and South Korea. Only 36 nations currently have this status. It also brings India one step closer to full NSG membership, a goal so tantalizingly close and yet denied because of Chinese intransigence and insistence on linking it with Pakistan's membership.

Commonly referred to as Tier-1 of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Strategic Trade Authorization license exception, the waiver will not only ensure a much required high-tech upgrade for India's lagging defense industry but will also promote the ‘Make in India' initiative. It will bring U.S. defense companies for the first time into India. The competition with other foreign companies already in India, including from France and Russia, will eventually translate into a win-win situation for the country.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross described it as a "very important change" in India's status, noting that "U.S. companies will be able to more efficiently export a much wider range of products to Indian high technology and military customers. India's new status will benefit U.S. manufacturers while continuing to protect our national security.” Also, he added that "it finally reflects India's status as a major defense partner of the U.S."

Ross said this new designation reflects India's membership in three of the four multilateral export control regimes, as well the development of its national export control system. He asserted that U.S. companies will be able to more efficiently export a much wider range of products to Indian high technology and military customers. He said India's new status will benefit U.S. manufacturers while continuing to protect its national security.
 Speaking at a panel discussion of the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum organized by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce, Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna highlighted that the Trump administration's decision acknowledges the security as well as economic relationship between the world's two largest democracies and boosts their defense partnership in a big way.

"It is a sign of trust not only in the relationship but also in India's capabilities as a valued economic and as security partner. It presupposes that India has the multilateral export control regime in place, which would allow the transfer of more sensitive defense technologies and dual-use technologies to India and without the risk of any proliferation," Sarna noted.

India is a member of three of the four international export control regimes including the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Missile Technology Control Regime. These developments, along with the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S., have also strengthened India's case for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. NSG membership is now vital for India since this group controls export and import of high-grade nuclear related technology. India has been repeatedly checkmated by the Chinese veto, cleverly disguised in the plea of equating India and Pakistan's pending membership applications.
 In September 2008, the NSG had approved an exemption allowing its members to conduct nuclear trade with India. Following this, India signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia, France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia and Australia. India continues to participate in international nuclear trade. In arguing for NSG membership, India has portrayed itself as a responsible nuclear power, pointing to its positive record on non-proliferation and consistent support for complete nuclear disarmament.

Ultimately, the Trump administration has given a timely and important signal that India remains a vital strategic partner in the region. Washington demonstrated through the waiver for India (which remains outside the NPT regime) that the country is a vital ally in maintaining international peace and security.

This, in turn, expands India's strategic space, enabling it to leverage its enhanced relationship with the U.S. in order to upgrade its relations with other partners and bringing closer its future NSG membership. It puts India in a category of the major global players and New Delhi as an indispensable destination for leaders across the globe.


August 30, 2018

India, US may sign security agreement during 2-plus-2 dialogue

The decks have been cleared for India and the US to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) with the agreed text of the foundational military agreement sent to the highest level of the Modi government for approval.

The decks have been cleared for India and the US to sign the much-awaited Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) with the agreed text of the foundational military agreement (one of the three such the US signs with close partners) sent to the highest level of the Modi government for approval.
The agreed text of Comcasa agreement will, after it is vetted, be put up before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for clearance and will be signed during the 2-plus-2 dialogue on September 6 between the Indian and US foreign and defence ministers, Indian and US diplomats familiar with the matter said.
The diplomats, based in New Delhi and Washington DC, added that the agreed text was finalised after a senior Indian government official dashed to the Pentagon last week for final clarifications and additions.
The Comcasa agreement, which has been hanging for the past decade, allows India to operate on high-end secured communication equipment installed on American platforms acquired by Indian armed forces, such as C-130 J, C-17, P-8I aircraft, and Apache and Chinook helicopters.

In some cases, the use of such equipment is a prerequisite to acquiring these platforms, or in exploiting their full potential. It also facilitates interoperability or cooperation with other countries using the equipment.
The first deliveries of Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy lift choppers to India will be done in the second half of 2019. India’s original concern was that the use of such equipment could threaten its own operational independence. The final version is believed to have addressed all such concerns.
While the finalised text of Comcasa is currently being vetted by the national security planners of the Narendra Modi government, India and the US have also decided for the first time to conduct an advanced tri-service humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise off the coast of Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal later this year.“Earlier, bilateral exercises were confined to individual services but it has now been decided that India and US will conduct a joint tri-service exercise. The possibility of holding a tri-service amphibious exercise and a counter-terrorism exercise are also in the pipeline,” said a South Block official who asked not to be identified. India participated in a tri-service human assistance and disaster relief exercise with Russia last year.

After the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared a $1 billion purchase of 24-multi-role Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin helicopters for the Indian Navy through the foreign military sales route, India is planning to send a request for information (RFI) to the US shortly and begin commercial negotiations.
India has also sent an RFI for acquiring National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) from the US at a cost of around $1 billion, and which will make parts of New Delhi impregnable from aerial attacks.
While US secretary of defense James Mattis has dropped the idea of visiting Bengaluru on September 5 due to last-minute engagements, secretary of state Mike Pompeo will reach Delhi the same evening after a five-hour whistle-stop engagement with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.
Both secretaries will meet Prime Minister Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on the sidelines of the 2-plus-2 dialogue with Indo-Pacific maritime security architecture on top of the agenda.

hindustan times

How a CAG report exposed DRDO's mishandling of AEW&CS programme

As the indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS)—aircraft fitted with a radar system—flew over the Rajpath during the 2017 Republic Day parade, India joined an elite group of five countries that had this capability. But, before it could be formally inducted into the Air Force fleet, the ‘Eye in the Sky’ has flown into turbulence.

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, which was recently tabled in Parliament, has made startling observations about the programme, on which the Defence Research and Development Organisation has spent more than Rs 2,500 crore.

The CAG report showed irregularities in the selection of aircraft for the programme. The auditor slammed the DRDO for the cost overrun—the initial cost was Rs 1,800 crore—and its claims about indigenousness. Moreover, preferred vendors were selected to benefit certain companies, said the report. Though the Air Force had accepted the AEW&CS last year, it is yet to get the final operational clearance.

The AEW&CS is a moving surveillance platform, making it difficult for the enemy to locate the exact position of the aircraft. With its long range and detection capabilities, it gives a 360 degree view of the sky and can track many aircraft simultaneously.

China currently has 20 such airborne warning systems, while Pakistan has eight. The Indian Air Force has only three—Israeli Phalcon radar systems mounted on Russian IL-76 aircraft. India had bought the radar systems from Israel in 2004. According to experts, India currently does not have the capability to cover its entire airspace during a war.

A programme to develop an indigenous early warning system was taken up in 1994, but was shut down after a fatal crash. Subsequently, the defence ministry in 1999 approved the import of three airborne warning systems (the ones from Israel) and decided to meet further requirement through indigenous development.

In October 2004, the cabinet committee on security approved indigenous development of AEW&CS at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore. The deadline was April 2011. Under the project, two AEW&CS were to be supplied to the Air Force. DRDO’s Bengaluru-based laboratory, Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS), was the nodal agency for design and development.

Considering the operational importance of this project, the CAG carried out an audit to know whether the system had everything that was promised. K. Subramaniam, principal director of audit, Air Force, recently sent the classified report to Dr S. Christopher, the then secretary of the Department of Defence Research and Development—which found serious irregularities in the programme.

The report has come down heavily on the programme over its claim of indigenousness. Despite the project being called home made, it was only 48 per cent indigenous. The DRDO had claimed it to be 81 per cent. And, the cost of foreign consultancy, about Rs 106 crore, was categorised as indigenous.

The CAG’s observations draw strength from the ongoing CBI investigation into alleged kickbacks in the process of selecting the aircraft. The Embraer EMB-145 aircraft from Brazil was shortlisted for the project in 2007. However, Brazilian media reported that Indian officials were bribed to swing the deal in Embraer’s favour. In 2016, the CBI registered a case against NRI arms dealer Vipin Khanna and two private companies based abroad. The case was about the alleged payment of more than $5.70 million as kickbacks to seal the deal for the aircraft.

The CAG report also pointed out inadequacies in management, which stretched the development period to 13 years. “And, the operational requirements, instead of being based on the functional needs of the Air Force, were being adjusted according to the aircraft that was ‘pre-selected’. It took seven years to finalise the operational requirements,” said the report.

During the design and development stage, some operational parameters were compromised because of the Embraer’s limitations. Also, there was no competitive bidding while selecting the aircraft. The Embraer was shortlisted through a nomination. Notably, several aircraft, such as the IL-76, and models from Gulfstream, Bombardier and Boeing were available at the time.

“The justification given for the selection of EMB-145 was not tenable,” the CAG observed. “No objective assessment of the merits and demerits of available options was done. The selection of EMB-145 was arbitrary and based on preconceived preference.”

Initial operational requirements stipulated that the system should be able to operate from high-altitude locations like Leh to have a much deeper view into the Chinese army’s activities. As the EMB-145 was incapable of doing so, claims the report, the Air Force had to drop this requirement in February 2006.

The report also said that the Air Force officials working with the DRDO reiterated that Embraer was not the suitable aircraft.

The CAG also criticised the project for the way the pilots were trained. “From the scrutiny of the expenditure on training, the audit found that the training commenced in June 2007. At this point, the procurement contract for EMB-145 was yet to be awarded and negotiations were underway between the CABS and M/s Embraer. Therefore, training of pilots on an aircraft even before finalising its purchase is highly unjustified,” CAG pointed out. Six pilots were trained abroad at a cost of Rs 23 crore.

Of the 18 requirements specified by the Air Force, AEW&CS could not fully achieve ten important ones. Despite this, the Air Force accepted the first system in February 2017.

“Since EMB-145 was selected, the weight of the mission system had to be adjusted to the optimum payload capacity of EMB-145, which was 3,000kg. The radar along with its associated systems, which was to be mounted on the fuselage, had to be limited to 1,500 kilos due to structural limitations,” the CAG said.

The probable date of completion was revised four times and the final date of completion was extended by over six years, said the report. The Air Force kept changing its requirements. In the middle of the programme, the Air Force demanded air-to-air refuelling and a de-icing system. It led to a delay of nearly two years.

Christopher, who was the head of CABS, said the repeated modifications in the operational requirement by the Air Force played a major role in the delay of the project. “It is all recorded in official documents and no one can find fault with me for it,” he said. “However, I believe that operational requirements is a prerogative of the user and you, as a developer of the equipment, cannot challenge it.”

Regarding the aircraft, he said, “Embraer was a well-proven aircraft. The decision to buy Embraer was taken in consultation with the then IAF chief S. Krishnaswamy. Four countries were using this platform as AWACS—the generic term for such a system. Moreover, the IAF decided that it has to be a turbo jet, not propellant. Turbo engine gives them the desired speed and efficiency.”

When contacted, Krishnaswamy said the selection of aircraft was purely DRDO’s decision. “The IAF was using Embraer for its VVIP fleet and thought of commonality if it is selected for AEW&CS. Since AEW&CS was DRDO’s project and budget was allocated to them, the final decision for selecting aircraft was DRDO’s only,” he said, adding that any modification in the operational requirements was a collective decision of the Air Force and the DRDO.


DRDO wants to sell super radar technology for fighter jets to industry, invites applications

India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) wants to sell tech that it says it has developed for a `super radar’ for fighter jet aircraft and has asked the Indian Industry to submit proposals for transfer of technology (ToT).

The Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) has said that it is ready with its “Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR)” technology and has four licenses to offer to the Indian industry. The lab has asked interested companies to submit their profiles to apply for the project.

The AESAR is a key requirement for all future jet fighter purchases by India, with efforts also on to integrate it to the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas that are on order by the Indian Air Force. In a recent note, DRDO has said that its fire control Radar can be configured for use on any fighter class aircraft and has sought Expression of Interest (EOI) from prospective bidders.

“Active phased array technology in the Radar enables user to achieve high mission reliability with multi-target tracking capability. The radar operational modes are designed to assist the fighter pilot in the execution of various combat missions in air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea operations,” the DRDO note says.

AESA radars are at the heart of modern fighter aircraft and are integrated on all cutting edge jets like the Dassault Rafale and Boeing F/A 18 besides the fifth generation F 22 and F 35 fleet. These radars enable jets to detect enemy targets from a standoff distance without getting exposed. They can also track and target multiple threats simultaneously, giving one jet the ability to take down several targets. An AESA radar will also be a defining parameter for the upcoming contest to supply 110 fighter jets to India under a Make in India scheme.
 Israeli company ELTA is equipping 58 of the Indian Air Force Jaguar jets with AESA radars as part of the upgrade plan. No other Indian Air Force fighter had the AESA radar yet but India is processing a global tender for AESA radars for a new fleet of 83 LCA MK 1A fighters for which also ELTA has been down selected.

The integration of an AESA radar was a key parameter for the air force to clear the order for 83 LCA Mk 1A fighters, after years of blocking the indigenous fighter on concerns that it would not be combat worthy.


August 29, 2018

From Su-57 to Project 75I: Why India Views Russia as Essential Strategic Partner

While the US is openly wooing India, there are no signs that New Delhi is going to give up its longstanding defense collaboration with Russia. Speaking to Sputnik, Indian analysts emphasized the country's "strategic autonomy" as New Delhi's major priority and presumed that the US's apparent plan to bring India into NATO’s fold would fail.

Having granted India a waiver under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), Washington made it clear that it wanted New Delhi to "reduce inventory of Russian-produced major defense equipment and advanced conventional weapons." However, India appears to be determined to continue defense cooperation with Moscow. Thus, Russia has tossed its hat into the ring of India's tender for the supply of 111 light multipurpose naval utility helicopters (NUH) and is currently taking part in New Delhi's Project 75I tendering procedure that envisages the procurement of six conventional submarines. It seems that the US might not be happy with the bolstering of Russo-Indian military collaboration.

Meanwhile, Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 fifth generation stealth multi-role fighter was publicly demonstrated at the latest Army 2018 International Military Technical Forum. Two of these warplanes will be soon delivered to the armed forces. All in all, the Russian Aerospace Forces will get 15 Su-57 fighters in the near future. Still, the designers will continue developing the aircraft. It is expected that the jet will have enhanced artificial intelligence capabilities.
Russia and India have jointly developed the new stealth fighter, previously known as the T-50 or PAK-FA, under the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft program (FGFA) for about 10 years. Reportedly, the Indian Air Force was not quite satisfied with the initial version of the plane's engine. However, the latest trials of Russia's cutting-edge Saturn "izdeliye 30" engines, which boost the Su-57's maneuverability and provide it with supersonic speed, have indicated that Russian designers are working against the clock to keep the aircraft up to date and on par with foreign analogues. Meanwhile, India's own fifth-generation fighter is reportedly expected to make its maiden flight in 2032.

Amrita Dhillon, a foreign affairs analyst and founding editor of New Delhi-based Kootneeti magazine, and retired Maj. Gen. Rajiv Narayanan, shared their views with Sputnik on the issue of Russo-Indian defense cooperation.

Sputnik: What was behind supposed frictions between India and Russia over the joint fifth-generation stealth fighter project? What about India's own fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)?

Maj Gen Narayanan: There were a few issues that India was concerned with: a) a lack of sharing technology and security codes that would have ensured continued dependency on Russia — something that went against the grain of "Make in India"; b) there were doubts over the levels of stealth it would provide and over the competitiveness [of the Su-57] among stealth aircraft in service of other nations because of production delays; c) the issue of engines and the need for their servicing in Russia at very short intervals was also problem.

The AMCA is a work in progress as a multi-modal project that is looking at public, private and joint-venture (JV) modes to fast-track its development.

Sputnik: What do you think about Russia's chances of winning the ongoing Project 75-India tender on six diesel-electric submarines in India? What do you know about the tender? Indian military blog India Defense Research Wing has suggested that the US may throw sand into the gears of a potential Russo-Indian deal. What's your take on that?

Maj Gen Narayanan: The Project 75-India is the follow-on project to the Project 75 Kalvari Class submarines (based on the French Scorpene Class submarines). These submarines would have advanced air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. India intends to make all six submarines under this project in Indian dockyards.

There are only four countries in the fray: France, Germany, Spain and Russia. As the Indian Navy has the necessary expertise in using and sustaining Russian submarines, and now the French submarines, it would be difficult to say which way the deal swings. Indian Armed forces now use the "life-cycle" costs approach to make the best deal. As such it all depends on who meets the technical and commercial requirements of the Indian Navy.

India follows the concept of "strategic autonomy" and keeps in mind its strategic and core interests. To ascribe the capability of the US to dictate on India's core interests would be grossly incorrect. India also looks at Russia as its essential strategic partner. The waiver for procurement of S-400 systems from Russia is a case in point. The Project 75-India would go to the country that best meets the needs of the Indian Navy.
Sputnik: The Trump administration has recently granted Strategic Trade Authorization-1 status to India. India has become the third Asian nation to receive this status from the US after Japan and South Korea. What does this development mean for India? Is the US trying to bring New Delhi into NATO's fold, in your opinion?

Amrita Dhillon: India appears to be a big beneficiary of STA-1. It will boost the countries' cooperation in the areas of civil space, defense and other high technology sectors. However, in my view, the Trump administration's decision to put India in STA-1 from STA-2 is more business oriented. It is designed to remove the Congress and Senate limitations of conducting defense trade with India and makeover the failed Lockheed Martin deal over Rafale.

Another reason in my view is the mid-term elections, which will be held in November. Being the largest defense market, India will be an outstanding force in driving jobs in the US (something on what the Trump administration is focused). This also indicates clearly that India has all the qualities to fit in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), where China is blocking its entry.

Being a non-NATO country, India will follow its national interests. This is a little known fact that the Indian Navy is the only warfare service branch in the world which integrates American sensors with Soviet era technology. So, going into the NATO fold will never be an option for India by any means.


New 111 naval utility helicopters to enable tech transfer

The Defence Ministry is shortly expected to release project-specific implementation guidelines for the 111 naval utility helicopters to be procured under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model. However, foreign companies say there is still some clarity required on crucial legal, liability and technology transfer issues.

“There are two important issues that need clarity. One is legal. We can’t sell a submarine or fighter jet to a private company. Global regulations do not allow that. It has to be to a government-owned company. So, there has to be a government-to-government component in the end,” a top executive of a foreign company said.

Large infrastructure ::

For the first time, under the SP model, Indian private companies will get to tie up with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and build major defence platforms in India under technology transfer. So far, it was defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) which played the lead role.

The other issue, he said, was about the liability of the end product. “For us to stand guarantee to the finished product built by a local company is a problem. There has to be a back-end mechanism to enable us,” he said.

This liability issue was one of the major reasons the earlier medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal for 126 jets got derailed at the contract negotiation stage, after Dassault Aviation refused to stand guarantee to the aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).

Another senior executive observed that there is large infrastructure already present in the country with DPSUs and this must be utilised for the benefit of both the country as well as form a business sense.

“We hope to try and use that. There is no point reinventing everything. It will be risk mitigating for everyone,” he said.

There is need for some clarity from the MoD on production transfer and technology transfer as well, the executive added.

In July-end, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the general as well as project-specific implementation guidelines for the naval helicopters that would lay emphasis on transfer of technology and high absorption of indigenous content. The guidelines and the qualification guidelines are yet to be communicated to the industry.

All procurements under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted empowered project committees (EPC) to ensure timely execution, the Ministry said. Apart from the helicopters, the projects to be processed under the SP model are fighter aircraft, P-75I submarines and armoured vehicles.

The Hindu

F-22 'DNA': Why Lockheed Martin's New F-16 Block 70 Could Be Truly Deadly

Lockheed Martin has received a massive $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. government to produce 16 advanced F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcons for Bahrain.

F-22 ‘DNA’: Why Lockheed Martin’s New F-16 Block 70 Could Be Truly Deadly The F-16 will still be flying for decades to come. There are still 3,000 operational F-16s are flying around the world with more than 25 different air forces. At least jets will have to be upgraded to the Block 70 standard as time goes on. The future is still bright for the F-16.

Lockheed Martin has received a massive $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. government to produce 16 advanced F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcons for Bahrain.

The “undefinitized contract action award” means that the Royal Bahraini Air Force will become the first operator of the most advanced and capable version of F-16 ever designed.

Moreover, unlike previous versions of the F-16—which were built in Fort Worth, Texas—these new “Vipers” are to be manufactured in Greenville, South Carolina.

With production of Lockheed Martin’s stealthy new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ramping up while Fighting Falcon production is ramping down, the company was compelled to move the F-16 line to a smaller plant that could handle lower volumes. Nonetheless, the move represents a new beginning for the F-16, which is still expected to generate strong sales over the coming years.

“We value our long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Bahrain and look forward to beginning production activities on their first Block 70 aircraft at our facility in Greenville,” Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Program, said. “This sale highlights the significant, growing demand we see for new production F-16s around the globe.”

Lockheed Martin has invested significantly in the new South Carolina F-16 plant. The company expects that F-16 production at the site will create somewhere between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville.
The company also notes that F-16 production supports hundreds of U.S.-based Lockheed Martin engineering, procurement, sustainment and customer support jobs and thousands of U.S. supplier jobs. Indeed, 450 U.S. suppliers in 42 states currently support the F-16 supply chain.

Lockheed Martin has good reason to be optimistic about securing further F-16 sales. The Block 70 version of the venerable F-16 is a capable warplane by any measure and draws much of its technology from its more advanced F-35 stablemate. But while the F-35 is a much more advanced and capable warplane than any version of the F-16, not every country needs a Joint Strike Fighter or is even cleared to receive the stealth fighter. In those situations, the F-16 Block 70 might be the most capable fighter aircraft available to those U.S. allies.

At the core of the F-16 Block 70 is the Northrop Grumman APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, which is based on technology leveraged from the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 and can track more than 20 targets simultaneously.The radar can also generate 1ft resolution synthetic aperture radar maps and has a range greater than 160 nautical miles against ground targets.

The jet also has a new state of the art electronic warfare system.

The Block 70 jet features a modernized cockpit with a new Center Pedestal Display (CPD) that provides tactical imagery on a high-resolution 6”x 8” screen. The new display will allow pilots to take full advantage of the Block 70’s new sensors.

The cockpit also has provisions for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) display, which lets pilot take full advantage of the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder. Further, a new automatic ground collision avoidance system helps to prevent pilots from crashing the aircraft.

The F-16V has an upgraded airframe with an extended structural service life of 12,000 hours and can carry conformal fuel tanks.To push the aircraft around the sky, Lockheed says that the new Block 70 jet features an “advanced engine.” While Lockheed Martin did not specify which engine, given the Block 70 designation, the aircraft will most likely be powered by a General Electric F110-GE-132 rated at 32,500 lbf (144 kN) of afterburning thrust.

Lockheed Martin also boasts about the F-16V’s capability to carry a vast arsenal of weapons.
“Lockheed Martin has more than 36 years of weapon integration experience with the F-16,” the company states. “No other organization can match this weapons integration experience. In concert with the U.S. Air Force and multiple F-16 Foreign Military Sales customers, Lockheed Martin has certified more than 3,300 carriage and release configurations for greater than 180 weapon and store types.
Our experience as a weapon integrator has enabled the F-16 to be one of the most versatile multirole fighters ever.”The F-16 will still be flying for decades to come. There are still 3,000 operational F-16s are flying around the world with more than 25 different air forces. At least jets will have to be upgraded to the Block 70 standard as time goes on. The future is still bright for the F-16.


August 27, 2018

Attari-Wagah border to get India’s first truck scanner

From mid-October, all trucks from Pakistan entering India via the Attari-Wagah border will be scanned in the country’s first Full Body Truck Scanner (FBTS) at the Integrated Check Post (ICP).

The Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) will be stalling the scanner, measuring 32 ft x 15 ft, will be imported from the US. The scanner will be kept in an enclosed structure with thick walls in compliance with the recommendations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

The Centre is spending Rs 23 crore to put in place the powerful scanner that will search for contraband items such as drugs and weapons. Also, 108 high-definition CCTVs are being installed at the 130-acre ICP at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Paver blocks have been installed in 13,000 square feet of area for concretising this open perch for keeping gypsum, cement, soda ash and dry fruit. Two sheds covering 10,000 sq ft of area have already come up.

Rough estimates suggest that 130 trucks cross border to and from Pakistan daily through this border the Attari-Wagah border. Currently, trucks are checked manually which is a tedious process. Besides Attari, these full body truck scanners will also be installed at Petrapole on the India-Bangladesh border, Raxaul on the India-Nepal border, Uri-Salambad and Poonch-Chakan Da Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir. “The project was to be completed by September but was delayed due to rains,” an official said.


PoK residents protest lack of schools and colleges, say Pakistan guilty of tax loot

Voice of dissent in several parts of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) have been repeatedly rising in the face of what many locals say is an indifferent attitude of Islamabad. The most-recent protest was organised in Tarar Khel where locals rued lack of basic infrastructure despite paying taxes.

News agency ANI reports that anti-Pakistan protests were organised here with people asking why they are being ignored. "Basic infrastructure like schools and colleges are our right and not a favour by those who are ruling. Taxes we pay go into pockets of those in power," a protestor said. "PM after PM only make false promises."

This is hardly the first or the only accusation levelled at Islamabad by people living in PoK. Recent months have seen protest marches being taken out in which people have demanded a number of amenities like better medical facilities, proper administration and access to clean water. In fact, a large number of residents of Muzzafarabad earlier this month even accused Pakistan of waging water war on them, saying that water from Neelum River in PoK is being diverted to the country's Punjab province. They have also been protesting against the proposed construction of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project.

Then there are accusations that Pakistani forces have repeatedly resorted to brutalities to clamp down voices raised in protest. Last month, large protests were carried out against Pakistani Army in at least two cities of PoK.


Anti-submarine rocket developed by ARDE with extended range of 8.5km

The armament research and development establishment (ARDE) in association with the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has developed an extended range anti-submarine rocket (ASR) with a maximum range of 8.5km for the Indian Navy.

Both laboratories are under the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

KM Rajan, the director of ARDE told TOI on Sunday, “We have recently demonstrated a new rocket technology to the Navy, who have issued a set of qualitative requirements to be achieved during our internal trials. We will be handing over the rocket to the Navy for their user trials after achieving the target of their qualitative requirements.”

Currently, the navy has vintage Russian rocket RGB-60 with a maximum range of 5.3km, which is an unguided area weapon for combating submarines. These rockets are fired from the RBU 6000 rocket launcher, which is fitted on-board certain Indian Naval Ships including the R-Class, Delhi Class and Talwar Class of Navy ships.

A senior DRDO scientist, who did not wish to be named, told TOI, “The Indian navy wants an extended range anti-submarine rocket which can engage an enemy’s submarine from a distance of 8km. Accordingly, a group of scientists worked on the project and developed the rocket according to the requirements of the navy. Now, we are working on the qualitative requirements that the Navy has prescribed.”

An anti-submarine officer of the Indian navy said, “Firing torpedoes to engage the enemy submarine is considered as a deliberate attack and it can be costly if the attack fails. Therefore, the rockets are mainly seen as an ‘urgent attack weapon’, which can be fired as a single or in salvo to disrupt the movement of the submarines. Therefore, the role of the rocket is as crucial as torpedoes.”

Considering the importance of the Indian Ocean Region and the increasing sighting of foreign submarines in the Indian Ocean, the officer said, it is need of the hour to have an extended range rocket which can engage hostile submarines from further away.


August 25, 2018

Defence Ministry clears proposals worth Rs 46000 crore

The Defence Acquisition Council, in a major decision, cleared long pending proposals worth Rs 46,000 crore today. It approved procurement of 111 Utility Helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 21,000 crores which is the first project under the MoD’s Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing significant fillip to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme.

The DAC also granted approval to a few other proposals amounting to approximately Rs. 24,879 crores, which included approval for procurement of 150 numbers of Indigenously Designed and Developed 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems for the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs 3,364 crores. These guns have been indigenously designed & developed by DRDO and will be manufactured by production agencies, as nominated by DRDO. They are likely to be the mainstay of Artillery in the near future.

To enhance the capability of Indian Navy, approval has also been granted for procurement of Anti-Submarine capable, 24 in number Multi Role Helicopters, which are an integral part of the frontline warships like the Aircraft Carriers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes. Availability of MRH with the Navy would plug the existing capability gap.

In addition, procurement of 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile Systems was also cleared by the DAC. Of these, 10 systems will be indigenously developed. These systems will boost the self-defence capability of ships against anti-ship missiles.


India, Russia defence trade tries to beat US sanctions amid hurdles

India and Russia are finding ways to work around US imposed financial sanctions on Moscow but challenges remain on big defence contracts, including the `39,000 crore deal for S-400 air defence system that is expected to be inked later this year.

Though India has obtained exemptions from the US Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), financial sanctions that prevent money to be transferred for weapons purchases from Russia are still in effect, casting a shadow on at least three defence contracts likely to be finalized during a bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin in October.

India has paid for defence hardware from Russia in dollars but with that route now closed, a limited transfer will be made — referred to as the Rupee-Rouble trade. However given the large volume of defence purchases, the domestic currency trade may not be adequate for all buys.

“We are in the process of solving financial issues (due to sanctions). We are open to finding new ways on how to go about that. There can be a number of options, one being trade in national currencies. At least for some part (of the payments),” Dmitry Shugaev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, that oversees military exports to India told ET.

As reported by ET, India has to transfer in excess of $2 billion to Russia for the purchase of military equipment and spares, currently halted by sanctions. Even critical payments like a $15 million transfer to repair the damaged INS Chakra nuclear submarine are frozen.

While there could be a solution for paying legacy contracts, new deals are likely to face higher scrutiny from the banking system impacted by the US sanctions. The absence of a permanent solution could impact at least three deals in advance stages of negotiations and domestic currency trade will not be able to cover the full volume of payments.

Besides the S-400 missile shield, talks are in the final stages to produce the AK-103 assault rifles in India with the Ordnance Factory Board. Yet another contract at the signing stage is the $1 billion contract for 48 new Mi-17V-5 choppers, which could be bought in two batches. Yet another deal for purchasing four new frigates from Russia – two of which would be built at Goa – is expected to take longer for negotiations to conclude.

The two nations are struggling to find banks that would run the risk of facing US sanctions for transferring money. On the Indian side, the banks being talked with include Vijaya Bank and Indian Bank while on the Russian side, its largest banking entityinIndia, Sberbank has been approached.


August 24, 2018

Russia offers to upgrade Indian Su-30MKI along with its own Su-30SM

Russia has offered to upgrade the Indian Air Force (IAF) Su-30MKI fighter jets along with the improvement programme of the Russian Air Force's Su-30SM aircraft.

Such a move would lead to cost effectiveness and bring in some technologies and systems which have been planned for the Su-30SM aircraft, said A.A. Mikheev, General Director of Russian Arms exporter, Rosoboronexport here on Friday.

A part of the IAF Su-30MKI fleet was approaching its mid-life overhaul period and carrying out the upgrade programme together with the overhaul would save time and money, he said during an interaction with journalists.

Among the additions and improvements proposed to the Indian Ministry of Defence as part of the Su-30MKI upgrade are a new radar, avionics and communication systems besides some improvements to its engine.

Russia has a contract with India to supply 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets of which over three-fourths have been assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics LimitedNSE -1.56 % (HAL) and provided to the IAF.

The Su-30MKI is currently the front-line fighter jet of the IAF but its superiority would be challenged by the more modern Rafale jet when the French aircraft will begin to be inducted into the IAF in the 2019-20 timeframe.


Light Combat Aircraft’s 20 sorties get Navy on board

After the agonising suspense over Aero India, here’s some good news for Bengaluru – and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Navy programme, which had more or less been relegated to the hangars, has done a star turnaround and the Indian Navy is now fully backing it.

The programme was grounded since March 2017 following reports that the Indian Navy had rejected it as the LCA Navy did not meet the its requirements (it was said to overweight to operate on aircraft carriers).

However, on July 23, LCA Naval Prototype (NP-2) took to the skies once again indicating that the programme has been revived.

According to the flight log book of the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Agency, which is the nodal design and development agency of the LCA programme, since July 23, the aircraft has done 22 test sorties. (When the NP-2 took to the skies on July 23, it was the 56th flight of the aircraft and as on August 21, the LCA Navy has done 78 flights.)

Not just that. What impressed the Indian Navy was the fact after the naval LCA programme was rejuvenated a month ago, it achieved a significant milestone – the arrestor hook system worked perfectly at the Shore Based Test Facility, INS Hansa Goa. (The arrestor hook on the aircraft, coupled with the elastic arresting wire on the aircraft carrier help the jet land on a very short stretch).

This milestone was significant as it enabled India to join a select club of nations for having the capability of deck landing of fighter aircraft. US, Europe, Russia and China have that same capability.

The LCA Naval programme commenced in 2003 and the first flight of the first prototype NP-1 was in 2012, and the maiden flight of the NP-2 was in 2015.

The NP-2, a single-seat fighter, is one of the two technology demonstrators of the LCA Navy programme with the other one being the NP-1, a two-seat trainer aircraft. The two technology demonstrators have been so far developed and both are Mark 1 (MK1) versions.

In 2016, questions were raised about the future of the LCA’s naval variant after Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had stated that the aircraft was not suited for its aircraft carriers and that it was looking at alternative aircraft.

However, now the Indian Navy now says that it fully supports the programme and that it never abandoned it.

“The navy supports the programme 100 per cent. The aircraft has always been a requirement for the navy. By the end of 2019, the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant is expected to begin sea trials and will be commissioned a couple of years thereafter. We want aircraft on top of it and we want the LCA Navy to be there,” a source in the Indian Navy said.

However, the source admitted that the LCA prototype at its present avatar does not meet the carrier capability requirements and that more work needs to be done before it is accepted by it.

“The current prototype NP-2’s engine is not powerful enough. There are questions which need to be answered whether it can take off and land with weapons. However, we fully support the project. The challenge at hand is whether the LCA Navy will make it to aircraft carrier when the sea trials starts. It is in this context that a request for proposal (RFP) will be issued by the navy for procuring 57 multi-role combat jets,” the source added.

Globally there are six jets which meets the Indian Navy’s demand -- Rafale, F-18 Super Hornet, MiG-29 K, F-35 B, F-35 C and Gripen.

Technical Features of the Aircraft ::

- The LCA will operate from an aircraft carrier with a concept of Ski-jump Take off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR).
- Aircraft gets airborne over a ski jump in about 200 m and lands over 90 m using an arrester hook engaging an arrester wire on the ship.
- Derived from the Air Force version, it is a longitudinally unstable fly-by-wire aircraft, making it an agile war machine.
- Flight Control system is augmented with Leading Edge Vortex Controller (LEVCON) aiding reduction in approach speed for carrier landing.
- Auto throttle function reduces pilot load by maintaining constant angle of attack during the critical phase of a flare-less carrier landing
- Fuel dump system enables safe landing by reducing weight during emergency landing after launch.


NAL bags Rs 100 crore contract from HAL to supply equipment for Tejas

HAL, the manufacturer of Tejas fighter aircraft, has given a contract of Rs 100 crore to National Aerospace Laboratory to supply equipment for the Light Combat Aircraft, NAL Director Jitendra Jadhav said today.

The technology developed by NAL, a laboratory under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, was used in realising primary air-frame components of LCA - like fin, rudder, wing spars and fairings, centre fuselage and main landing gear components.

"Composite technology is one of the critical technologies that make the LCA a 4th generation fighter aircraft. The challenges were to develop the co-cured complex components indigenously during the time of technology denials and sanctions from other countries. Moreover, the autoclaves necessary for processing composite materials were also developed indigenously by CSIR-NAL," NAL said.

Girish Sahni, director general of CSIR, said the usage of composites has led to an overall weight reduction of about 20 per cent in the air-frame.

"It is a matter of pride for the country that LCA's percentage deployment of composites is one of the highest among contemporary aircraft of its class anywhere in the world. This order of Rs 100 crore plus value is a major achievement for CSIR," Sahni said.

The Tejas LCA is a supersonic, single-seat, single-engine multirole light fighter aircraft. Built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), it was inducted into the Indian Air Force in July 2016.

NAL is also in the process of indigenously manufacturing Saras, an aircraft for civil and military use.


August 23, 2018

Congress slams Centre on low defence spending

The Congress, pointing at the Parliament Estimate Committee's Report on Defence Production and Procurement, questioned the Centre on the declining defence spend. The report, submitted in the recently-concluded Monsoon session, states that defence spend currently stands at the lowest since 1962 when the Indo-China war was fought.

"The committee noted that defence expenditure as a percentage of total Central government expenditure has declined from 13 per cent in 2014-15 to 12 per cent in 2017-18. Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP has ranged between 2 per cent in 2014-15 to 1.6 per cent in 2017-18. The defence expenditure at 1.6 per cent of GDP in 2017-18 was the lowest since 1962 when the India-China war was fought. The committee stated that in the current geopolitical scenario, India cannot afford complacency with regard to defence preparedness," reads the report. In the Committee, which is headed by former BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi, 16 of the 30 members are from the BJP.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that in the lack of a robust foreign policy by the NDA-led Centre, India's neighbours are closing in. "Pakistan is indemnified by China. Nepal has been pushed into the Chinese corner by ill-conceived economic blockade carried out by the Narendra Modi government. The Yameen Government in Maldives threatens India regularly, saying withdraw your military personnel. There is a Chinese Port in Sri Lanka -- the Hambantota Harbour. The entire waterfront of Colombo is being built by a Chinese company for about $1.4 billion. So the Chinese threat is real," said Tewari.

Tewari questioned the government's intent on defence preparedness in light of the declining spend. He also asked the government whether it dropped the proposal cleared by the previous UPA government with regard to the raising of the 17 Strike Corps, also called the Mountain Strike Corp. "If this is true, the country would like to know why it has been done and under whose pressure has this decision been taken," said Tewari.


Rafale: Reliance files defamation suit against Cong

Anil Ambani-led Reliance group on Wednesday filed defamation suits against several Congress leaders, who levelled allegations against the company in connection with the controversial defence deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a government-to-government contract.

The leaders who have been dragged to the court include Randeep Surjewala, Ashok Chavan, Sanjay Nirupam, Anurag Narayan Singh, Oommen Chandy, Shaktisinh Gohil, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Sunil Jakhar and Priyanka Chaturvedi.

In a letter sent to Congress media coordinator Sanjiv Singh, a law firm representing Reliance said allegations made by Congress leaders were “false, frivolous, misleading and derogatory” in nature that created a “negative image about the company in the minds of the public and resulted in defamation of the clients.”

“Since they (Congress leaders) failed to comply with the legal notices sent to them, our clients (three Reliance group companies) were constrained to file separate defamation suits against them that are currently pending before the courts,” it says.

In his response, Gohil said, “Prime Minister Modi is scared of corruption. If attempts are made to scare the Congress party, our president (Gandhi) has asked party members to not be scared. Rafale is a monumental scam under Modi. Being a responsible political party, we are presenting publicly available facts, which was also discussed in the Parliament.”

“The manner and the fashion in which ‘Bhrashtachar Ka Khel Rafale’ has unveiled before this country wherein a loss of over Rs. 41,000 crore has been cost to public exchequer; a company belonging to a friend of the Prime Minister has been given a contract worth Rs 30,000 crore after snatching it from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited – a public sector company – were all discussed. It was decided that the corruption scams of Modi Government particularly the Rafale scam will be taken to people of India,” said Surjewala.

The letter was sent by Mumbai-based firm Mulla & Mulla, and Craigie Blunt & Caroe on behalf of Reliance Infrastructure Limited, Reliance Defence Limited and Reliance Aerostructure Limited, belonging to Reliance Group of companies led by Anil Ambani.

“It appears that a vilification campaign is being carried out by (Congress) leaders at the instances of corporate rivals to deliberately besmirch our client's (Reliance) good name and reputation and undermine and prejudicially affect the commercial interests of their large family of shareholders for petty personal and political gains,” says the letter.

“Freedom of expression and speech should not be mistaken as a license to behave irresponsibly and make false, frivolous, misleading and distorted statements to suit your political interest. Political leaders should release statements based only on irrefutable evidence which have been gathered after due inquiry and verification from the concerned source,” reads the notice.

The legal notice comes days after Reliance chairman Anil Ambani's second letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in which the industrialist described allegations on the Rafale deal as “baseless, ill-informed and unfortunate.”

The controversy over the defence deal has its genesis in a series of allegations levelled by Gandhi and several other leaders, who described the purchase as a big scam that was done in violation of government procedures to benefit companies like Reliance.

Last Saturday, Congress announced drafting a plan for a massive nation-wide campaign on the Rafale deal to “expose” Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “personal role” in re-negotiating the fighter jet contract, benefitting the businessmen. Gandhi has tasked a six-member team led by senior leader S Jaipal Reddy to conduct an extensive month-long campaign across the country to highlight the alleged irregularities in the fighter aircraft purchase from France.

The controversy surfaces at a time when the Defence Ministry plans to buy 110 more additional fighter jets for the Indian Air Force through a global tender.


How Agni-V induction will enhance India’s nuclear deterrence

Recent reports suggest that India’s Agni-V intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a strike range of 5000kms is ready for induction. The Indian military has always been careful in choosing its words right and any acquisition of weapon systems during peace time is termed as ‘induction’ by the Indian armed forces. Deployment is a more aggressive term that relates to a war time or crisis situation. The missile has the capability of striking the northernmost parts of China and can carry nuclear warheads. Thus, it is a deterrent against China’s nuclear capabilities.

Standoffs between India and China are not uncommon. In addition, China’s nuclear policy is clear on the fact that its ‘no-first use’ policy only holds true as long as the territory does not belong to them. China has kept open the option of using nuclear weapons first in a territory they consider their own. Thus concerns remain alive regarding the ‘first-use’ of nuclear weapons in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian state which China considers to be a part of its territory. Hence, India’s nuclear deterrence needs to be credible enough to deter China from attacking any Indian territory with nuclear weapons.

New Delhi has been very careful to restrict the range of the missile at the moment to 5000km by keeping the missile’s flight trajectory a depressed one. A depressed and lofted trajectory result in the reduction of range of the missile. There are also reports that the range of the missile was purposely restricted to an IRBM capability due to diplomatic pressures from the United States, though these reports have been denied by the government of India.

Agni-V in future would be equipped with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs). MIRVs are multiple warheads fitted on a single re-entry vehicle. These warheads are miniaturised nuclear warheads rather than a single warhead. Such systems enable a ballistic missile to evade enemy missile defence system. The missile like the other ones in the Agni category missile system is a solid-propellant missile system that is mobile.

One of the key improvements in the Agni-V system is its ability to be canister launched. Canister launched system indicates that missiles could be mated with their warheads. There is a concern therefore that canister launched missile could indicate that India could make a shift from its ‘recessed deterrence posture’ to a ‘ready deterrent posture’. Recessed deterrence posture is a posture in which missiles are not mated with their warheads while in ready deterrent posture the warheads are mated with their delivery systems. Recessed deterrence posture puts lesser burden on the command and control of the nuclear forces, hence, managing a ready deterrent posture could be a challenge for the nuclear command and control in India. However, canister launched missiles can be preserved for years.

The missile is reported to use advanced gyroscopes and accelerometers that can improve the accuracy of the missile system. Carbon-to-carbon composites ensure that the payload inside is safe amid the high temperature. The missile has been constantly test fired in order to ensure its operational readiness.

Induction of the missile into India's nuclear arsenal would clearly signal that the country is moving towards a ‘credible minimum deterrence’ posture whereby it is developing nuclear deterrent capability that can strengthen deterrence against both Pakistan and China.

However, according to the Cold War literature, MIRVs have always been first strike weapon systems. MIRVs on Agni-V can convey a message to China that India has given up on its ‘no-first use’ doctrine, which is highly debated considering that Pakistan does not adopt a ‘no-first use’ doctrine.

However, no-first use doctrine by both China and India keeps the nuclear threshold high between the two countries. Hence, it is very important that India is able to convey to China that MIRVs would not be used as a first strike weapon system but only as a deterrent, ensuring India’s counter-strike and second strike capability.

Should the United States fear the Agni-V?

India has built up a successful partnership with the United States in the recent times. It is also a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD). India’s relevance in the Indo-Pacific region is well fathomed by the United States as it sees India as a partner that could help counter the Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

In fact in 2012, when India test-fired Agni-V, the United States hardly raised any criticisms against India for doing so. Though the United States urged India to “exercise restraint” on their nuclear capability, the former also praised India then for its strong non-proliferation record. Of course, the United States realised that India would attain capabilities that could reach targets in China so as to keep the Chinese concerned.
How it affects China?

Having a country whose nuclear capability may put its security at stake does not make the Chinese comfortable. In fact, in 2012, China’s Global Times, a daily that has close connections with the Chinese Communist Party had expressed concerns, “India should not overestimate its strength. Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China, that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China.”

Agni-V is a China specific nuclear deterrent and the decision to induct the missile just within a year after the Doklam standoff is a clear indication to China to not mess with India. The tough stance during the crisis from India’s side helped it gain a diplomatic victory over China. However, there is always a possibility of another Doklam-type standoff between the two countries. Thus, India now needs to be prepared with a credible nuclear deterrence. In the near future, India’s nuclear capability could probably coerce China to agree to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) that China has been blocking for years, despite the West now showing positive signs of India’s entry into the NSG.

Agni-V would surely prove its mettle as a weapon system that enhances India’s nuclear deterrence but could also become a diplomatic weapon that could ensure India’s ability for coercive diplomacy vis-à-vis China.


Quad brains against China bases in IOR

As India and China are set to hold bilateral talks between two Defence Ministers here on Thursday, four think tanks of the Quad group, comprising Australia, India, Japan and the US, has urged their partner countries to oppose the establishment of permanent Chinese military bases in the strategically-important Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

India plays a major role in ensuring peace in the IOR as it is strategically important for the country. Keeping this factor in mind, India took the initiative a decade back in forming Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a group of littoral countries located in the IOR. The group meets regularly to review issues like maritime security, terrorism and other related issues.

Over the last few years, China has vastly improved its maritime prowess and is now making efforts to mark its presence in the IOR. Its warships and submarines now regularly pass through the sea lanes of this region as bulk of fuel and energy trade to sustain China’s economy have to take these lanes.

The report of think tanks of Quadrilateral countries, released on Wednesday, comes at a time when India and China are taking steps to ensure peace between the two countries and the bilateral talks between visiting Chinese Defence Minister Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman are crucial. These parleys come a year after a 73-day standoff between the Armies of China and India in Doklam in Sikkim sector. The issue was resolved after the intervention at the highest level between the two countries.

Giving at least 20 policy recommendations for the Quad countries, the group of four think tanks, including Sasakawa Peace Foundation (Japan), Vivekananda India Foundation, Australia National University, and Sasakawa Peace Foundation (USA), also proposed to have independent security and economic policies.

The four think tanks formed the “Quadripartite Commission on Indian Ocean Regional Security”.

They suggested the Quad nations should work in the IOR by supporting high-quality alternatives to unilateral Chinese investments and “political alignments with regional objectives” with the objective of having independent security and economic policies.

The Indo-Pacific has been witnessing China muscling in, especially in the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea that has multiple claimants. China has also been aggressively wooing developing countries with infrastructure projects which have been dubbed by critics as debt traps.

One of the suggestions for the US and Japan was also to consider participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to encourage high standards for projects involving China and to build their economic cooperation with others, including Australia and Japan.

“Australia, India, Japan and the US should work with partner countries to oppose establishment of permanent Chinese military bases in the IOR. This should include demonstrating to China that its security needs can be met through cooperation and consultation with other nations and without recourse to a disruptive unilateral military presence,” a recommendation said.

They also suggested that India, the US and Japan should invite Australia to participate in the currently trilateral maritime exercise. The report said “Australia, India, Japan and the US should enhance sea land defence capabilities in the Indian Ocean. Each nation will need to make judgement about its capabilities based on its interests. For instance, naval fleet will need to evolve to allow increasingly long-range operations. This may require consideration in Japan of new options such as nuclear propulsion for its submarines.”
 The report also suggests that the Quad countries should cooperate with and support the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the IONS, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and other regional framework in the Indian Ocean and South Asia.

Quad is a grouping of four countries to pursue their common interest in the Indo-Pacific. The leaders of the four countries met at Manila in November last year to hold their first talks. In June, senior officials of the Quad countries held their second consultative meeting in Singapore on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations senior officials meeting. Hideki Asari, the deputy chief of the Mission of Japan, who was also present at the event, said the officials agreed to meet regularly to deepen the discussion on various issues.


Indo Russian Helicopter Pvt Ltd (IRHL) , a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Russian Helicopters, will submit a proposal to supply 200 Ka-226T helicopters in a few days. According to Andrey Boginsky, CEO of Russian Helicopters, the Indian Defence Ministry has extended the deadline for submitting RFP for 200 Ks-226T helicopters, which had earlier been set for August 1. Boginsky was addressing the media at the Army2018 military forum here earlier this week. Russian Helicopters and HAL are now working on crafting a detailed business plan that will identify the order of localisation activities, size of investments from both parties, and preparation of the manufacturing site in India. HAL had earlier offered a site at Tumakuru in Karnataka for the manufacture of Kamov helicopters. Localisation plan :: Boginsky said Russian Helicopters and its suppliers in Russia have identified the time required for localisation in India. “Right now the four parties — which includes our company and our suppliers, HAL and potential suppliers in India — are having a dialogue regarding localisation for various components, how ready those companies are (to take up localisation works) in terms of site, workforce and technologies. “So we are actively preparing to start the project even though the contract is not yet signed,” he said. He added that the joint venture is considering to involve Indian private companies in the localisation programme as many of them have the necessary capabilities. According to sources, the contract is expected to be signed in October, during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India. Indo-Russian agreement :: The intergovernmental agreement between India and Russia signed back in 2016 has a clause for up to 50 per cent localisation of manufacturing. According to Boginsky, the project for localisation of manufacturing of the Kamov helicopters in India will get more clarity once the contract is signed.

Indo Russian Helicopter Pvt Ltd (IRHL) , a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Russian Helicopters, will submit a proposal to supply 200 Ka-226T helicopters in a few days.

According to Andrey Boginsky, CEO of Russian Helicopters, the Indian Defence Ministry has extended the deadline for submitting RFP for 200 Ks-226T helicopters, which had earlier been set for August 1.

Boginsky was addressing the media at the Army2018 military forum here earlier this week.

Russian Helicopters and HAL are now working on crafting a detailed business plan that will identify the order of localisation activities, size of investments from both parties, and preparation of the manufacturing site in India. HAL had earlier offered a site at Tumakuru in Karnataka for the manufacture of Kamov helicopters.

Localisation plan ::

Boginsky said Russian Helicopters and its suppliers in Russia have identified the time required for localisation in India.

“Right now the four parties — which includes our company and our suppliers, HAL and potential suppliers in India — are having a dialogue regarding localisation for various components, how ready those companies are (to take up localisation works) in terms of site, workforce and technologies.

“So we are actively preparing to start the project even though the contract is not yet signed,” he said.

He added that the joint venture is considering to involve Indian private companies in the localisation programme as many of them have the necessary capabilities.

According to sources, the contract is expected to be signed in October, during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India.

Indo-Russian agreement ::

The intergovernmental agreement between India and Russia signed back in 2016 has a clause for up to 50 per cent localisation of manufacturing.

According to Boginsky, the project for localisation of manufacturing of the Kamov helicopters in India will get more clarity once the contract is signed.


August 22, 2018

F-16 Exports Could Begin Within Five Years Of Establishing A Production Line In India: Vivek Lall

Vivek Lall, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin has recently been appointed by US President Donald Trump as an advisor to the key federal aviation committee which provides guidance to the US government on the future of the airspace system. Recently, Cambridge (UK) listed him as one of only 2,000 “outstanding scientists” of the 20th century. Lall, a renowned aerospace leader, has played key roles in some of the major defence deals between India and the US. He proposed that setting up F-16 (fighter jet) production line in India will herald a robust ecosystem of aerospace in India. Manish Kumar Jha spoke to Lall on a range of issues including cementing India’s position in the global aerospace ecosystem.


You have has been appointed to a key federal aviation advisory committee by the US President. As an Indian-American, what does this mean to you?
It is a great honour for me. I would be representing the viewpoints of defence technology organisations in the NextGen Advisory Committee of the Department of Transportation. The committee advises the American government on issues including, but not limited to, nextgen investment priorities, capability deployment timing, equipage incentives, specific technologies and deployments such as datacomm, national airspace system performance metrics, and airspace design initiatives.

You said: “There are a lot of technologies that come into the F-16 from F-35 and F-22, including the latest radar on these platforms”, and that “it is a contemporary, state-of-the-art platform”. What are the elements that make it contemporary?
The F-16 Block 70 on offer to India is a completely different animal. Block 70 mission systems are completely new and leverage technologies from the F-35. For example, the F-16 offer includes an operational, combat-proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 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. This provides a direct long term benefit from sharing technology refresh capabilities and costs across multiple platforms. Benefits extend beyond the radar itself as approximately half of the F-16’s supply chain is also common with the fifth Generation F-22 and F-35. Block 70 operational capabilities are enhanced by an advanced datalink, targeting pod and weapons, precision GPS navigation; and the innovative, life-saving automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS).

You also talked about the huge export potential of providng over 200 F-16s to the global market if India chooses the aircraft. Could you elaborate on the real-time possibility of doing this in India?
Exports of F-16 could begin within five years of establishing a production line in India. Lockheed Martin has significant experience in setting up such global production facilities and, based on our proven track record, we are confident that once given the go-ahead we will be able to rapidly implement a fully functioning F-16 production line in India. An F-16 selection positions India to benefit from the significant surge in interest in the Block 70, which today includes opportunities totaling more than 200 aircraft in approximately 10 countries outside of India.

India may decide it needs a “high-low mix” of fighters for the various tactical and unconventional situation. With Washington deeply valuing its strategic ties with New Delhi and F-35 poised to become the global standard for multi-role tactical aircraft, could there be a mix of F-16 and F-35 for India?
Any discussions regarding potential new F-35 customers begin at the government-to-government level. It is not our place to speak on behalf of the US government or the government of India. That said, a US-India F-16 partnership would certainly indicate that both countries are prepared to collaborate on advanced defence technologies, including but not limited to fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules has been a coveted programme for the Indian defence ecosystem. University-level collaboration has also been initiated with DRDO in India, providing grants. What has been the outcome so far?
The C-130 programme represents a strong legacy of partnership between the US and India. The Super Hercules is also part of India’s C-130J Roll-On/Roll-Off University Design Challenge. Through this initiative, Lockheed Martin provides research grants for teams from Indian universities to work with local industry partners and mentors from India’s DRDO to develop design specifications for proposed modules that could be used on a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft.

Lockheed Martin continues to actively support numerous initiatives, alongside government of India, promoting innovation and growth in India, including Make in India, Skill India, Startup India and the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP). We have been a proud sponsor and supporter of the IIGP since 2007 and the IIGP continues to prove itself as a hallmark model of government and industry working hand-in-hand to unleash the power and potential of Indian innovators. The 2018 edition of the IIGP 2.0 was launched on 21 March has already met with early success. Five of the 2017 winners have begun to market their products in India and overseas. Two others have conducted field trials, while three have successfully created a proof of concept and product validation.

Through this experience, can you share your perspective in the context of aviation and defence about the quality of R&D that Indian universities are capable of?
The quality of R&D at Indian universities is world-class and there are indeed tremendous opportunities for universities to play a larger role in further developing India’s aviation and defence future. Indian industry and technology are also playing a key part. We are engaging with these and other stakeholders in India to unleash the potential of Indian innovation.

To boost innovation, design and research in India, what is the model that should be applied? What can the government do more?
Public-private partnerships are a successful model. Having government, industry, academia and others at the table helps align everyone toward a common strategic goal and leverages the unique strength of each stakeholder.

The navy requires at least 123 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRH) and had released a global request for information for the same in August 2017. Lockheed Martin‘s MH-60Romeo is already the frontrunner. What is the status now?
Now that India’s procurement options have been opened up to include the MH-60R, we are looking for ways to leverage that active production line to expedite delivery to the Indian Navy. The MH-60R provides a vital capability for the Indian Navy in the Indo-Pacific region. The significant investments made in the MH-60R by the US Navy and industry provide the unique assurance that it has undertaken the most rigorous testing. The US Navy has a robust roadmap to add capabilities to the MH-60R as the aircraft will be in their fleet for several decades. With over 450 anti-submarine warfare capable Seahawks flying around the world and millions of flight hours, the expertise Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin is able to offer is unmatched.


'Japan Ready To Give India A Fair Consideration’ Concerns On US'

India will be the first country to receive the much sought-after ShinMaywa US-2 amphibian aircraft, capable of taking off from a runway as short as 280 metres. It’s multi-role capability includes search-rescue mission and ocean surveillance. In a freewheeling chat with ShinMaywa Industries India GM, Commodore Abhijit Sinha (retd), BW Businessworld’s Manish Kumar Jha explores the nuances of the $1.65 billion deal and why it has been stuck so far.


India and Japan have been mulling over the methodology for procuring the amphibian aircraft US-2 for the Indian Navy. What has delayed the purchase?
The process of acquisition of amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy began way back in 2011 when the Indian Navy issued a Request for Information (RFI). Japan’s ShinMaywa Industries responded to the RFI, paving the way for cooperation between India and Japan in defence. The unique capabilities of the US-2 aircraft clearly made it an interesting acquisition. The possibility of procuring the US -2 was discussed at Annual Summit Meetings over the years.

Defence cooperation between India and Japan has till date been limited to the Inter-services Joint Exercise (Malabar, JIMEX etc.), participation in seminars and training courses. However, in recent years bonhomie between the two nations on maritime security, terrorism, threat perception in the IOR and SCS and defence cooperation has increased. Both governments have been cautious in their discussions.

If the US -2 acquisition fructifies, it will be the first military hardware procurement from Japan by India. For Japan, this will be the first sale of military hardware to any Third World country. However, since India and Japan are using the government-to-government route for the first time, the pace understandably has been slow and deliberate.

This aircraft comes with a big price tag, which has been a concern for India. Japan has apparently been assuring India of a ‘fair consideration’ on all issues related to the project, including the cost.

Is ShinMaywa’s collaboration with the Mahindra Group only for the US-2 offsets, or does it go beyond?
ShinMaywa Industries believes in supporting their customers as per their requirement. We have at the moment signed an MoU primarily to set up a MRO facility for US-2 and other associated work, but it can grow much beyond that. We are also open to providing any kind of maintenance support that the Indian Navy or the Ministry of Defence may require from us.

Do you see greater India-Japan defence partnership and more collaboration among their defence industries?
Initiatives taken in the recent past by Tokyo, which include creation of a National Security Council that would serve as the command centre for Japan’s diplomatic and security policies and adoption of a National Security Strategy, are evidence of a paradigm shift in Japan’s security concerns.The new strategy highlights the importance of Japan as a contributor to peace, rather than as a passive player hoping someone else would take care of its defence interests.

Sharing military technology, taboo till recently, has been eased by new principles adopted by Japan. India, being the first to be impacted by Japan’s changed policy will hopefully, benefit in a major way.