May 18, 2022

India halts Ka-31 helicopter deal with Russia


 India has halted negotiations with Russia for the former to acquire 10 Kamov Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters for $520 million, following uncertainties in arms supplies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Indian government indefinitely suspended the negotiations with Rosoboronexport and original equipment manufacturer Russian Helicopters, an Indian Defence Ministry official told Defense New on condition of anonymity. The official, who was not authorized to speak to the press, said the government-to-government deal added that the suspension is due to concerns over Moscow’s ability to execute orders as well as issues related to payment transfers.
Indian Navy officials have said the suspension represents a setback for the service because the Ka-31 helicopters are needed for the country’s second aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which was locally built and will be commissioned in July.

Amit Cowshish, a former financial adviser for acquisitions with the ministry, said the suspension could also be due to geopolitical pressure as the international community condems Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which began Feb. 24. Other factors, he added, could include budgetary constraints and India’s preference to acquire locally developed helicopters.

And a stalemate in negotiations over technical and financial issues could have also played a role, he noted.
India asked to buy Ka-31 helicopters from Russia in May 2019, but the acquisition program faced inordinate delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the platform’s high price tag.

Acquisition talks resumed in February 2022 after negotiators settled on a price of $520 million for 10 Ka-31 helicopters, but the effort hit another snag when officials couldn’t agree on a rupee-ruble currency mechanism.

The MoD official said India’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India, has worked overtime since March 2022 to establish an alternative payment mechanism, but negotiators have been unable to come to an agreement.

Neither ministry nor Navy officials would discuss whether India is exploring alternatives to the airborne early warning craft.

The Navy currently operates 14 Ka-31 helicopters, which were inducted progressively — four in 2003, five in 2005 and five in 2013 — and are dependent on the original equipment manufacturer for spare parts, repairs and overhaul support.


Why China Is Paranoid About the Quad


 India may be nowhere near turning its partnership with the United States into any sort of formal or informal military alliance, but their growing strategic engagement dominates China’s discourse on India. Next week’s Tokyo summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad—a loose grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States—is therefore bound to be of special concern in Beijing.

On the face of it, China’s persistent campaign against India’s ties with the United States, its characterization of the Quad as an “Asian NATO,” and its blistering attacks against the Indo-Pacific geopolitical construct embraced by New Delhi and its partners in the Quad seem unnecessarily alarmist. Its top diplomats have castigated the Quad members for “ganging up in the Asia-Pacific region, creating trilateral and quadrilateral small cliques, and [being] bent on provoking confrontation.” China focusing its outrage on the Quad looks odd considering Beijing has long lived with real U.S. alliances and hard security commitments on its periphery, including U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere.

Two factors, however, help explain China’s aggressive campaign against the Quad and, especially, nascent U.S.-Indian ties.

The most obvious factor is India’s sheer size and potential power to shape China’s strategic periphery. Although China has rarely seen India as a peer competitor, Beijing is acutely conscious that India could create significant problems for China if aligned against it with other powers. Keeping India—a potential superpower—from aligning with the United States is thus a first-order strategic goal for Beijing.
That China’s concerns about a potential U.S.-Indian alignment have recently taken a paranoid turn reminds us of Beijing’s endless rants about New Delhi’s strategic collaboration with Moscow during the 1960s and 1970s. Beijing worried about Russian imperialism aligning with India’s own hegemonic ambitions in South Asia. Chinese leader Mao Zedong was at his vulgar and pithy best in a poem describing the Soviet Union’s relationship with India: “The bear flaunts its claws / Riding the back of the cow.” Then, as now, China did not like to see India’s relations with other powers looking better than its own mostly failed attempts to win allies.
Second, Beijing is playing to the gallery of entrenched anti-American sentiment in New Delhi that insists on Asian solidarity and avoidance of Western coalitions. Although the weight of this sentiment—a product of India’s history of anti-colonialism, quasi-socialism, and Cold War alignment with the Soviet Union—has begun to decline, there are many in the Indian establishment who worry that getting too close to the United States might provoke China. Beijing is betting that its warnings might stoke further unease in New Delhi.

China, of course, has a much longer history of partnership with the United States, beginning under former U.S. President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. In New Delhi, on the other hand, keeping a reasonable distance from Washington has been a long-standing policy. Even as India warmed up to the United States in recent years, New Delhi has insisted that its policy of “strategic autonomy” remains unchanged—currently demonstrated by India’s refusal to join its Quad partners in denouncing Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

Beijing’s obsession with Indian-U.S. relations also stands in contrast to the fact that China has rarely objected to Pakistan’s intensive, formalized military partnership with the United States over the decades. China seems to have no issues reaching out to Pakistan despite the latter’s bilateral military cooperation agreement with the United States and former membership in the Central Treaty Organization and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization—two alliances sponsored by Britain and the United States, respectively, in the 1950s.

Despite occasional hiccups, the U.S. military partnership with Pakistan endured through the decades but drew little criticism from Beijing. When the United States declared Pakistan a major non-NATO ally in 2004, it evoked little protest from China—on the contrary, Beijing continues to celebrate its “all weather” partnership with Islamabad. This stands in sharp contrast to China’s ballistic rhetoric in 2007, when India invited Australia, Japan, and Singapore to join its annual Malabar naval exercises.
Beijing called the event the precursor to the formation of an Asian NATO. 

Chinese propaganda along these lines has had some measure of success in India in the past; the narrative of Washington trying to engineer an Asian NATO resonated with Indian nationalists and leftists who shared the Chinese idea that Asian security must be shaped by Asian powers. In September 2007, Beijing’s campaign against a U.S.-led Asian NATO triggered large-scale protests by the Indian communist parties and played a role in the eventual collapse of the coalition, backed by the left, supporting the Manmohan Singh government.


US Seeks To Wean India From Russia Weapons With Arms-Aid Package


 The US is preparing a military aid package for India to deepen security ties and reduce the country’s dependence on Russian weapons, people familiar with the matter said.

The package under consideration would include foreign military financing of as much as $500 million, according to one person, which would make India one of the largest recipients of such aid behind Israel and Egypt. It’s unclear when the deal would be announced, or what weapons would be included.

The effort is part of a much larger initiative by President Joe Biden’s administration to court India as a long-term security partner, despite its reluctance to criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, according to a senior US official who asked not to be named.

Washington wants to be seen as a reliable partner for India across the board, the official added, and the administration is working with other nations including France to make sure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has the equipment it needs. While India is already diversifying its military platforms away from Russia, the US wants to help make that happen faster, the official said.The major challenge remains how to provide India major platforms like fighter jets, naval ships and battle tanks, the official said, adding that the administration is looking for a breakthrough in one of these areas. The financing package being discussed would do little to make those types of systems -- which can cost billions or tens of billions of dollars -- more affordable, but it would be a significant symbolic sign of support.

India’s Foreign Ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials at the State Department and US embassy in New Delhi didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

India is the world’s largest buyer of Russian weapons, although it has scaled back that relationship of late. Over the past decade, India has bought more than $4 billion worth of military equipment from the US and more than $25 billion from Russia, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which collects data on arms transfers.

India’s dependence on Russia for weapons against neighbours China and Pakistan is a big reason Modi’s government has avoided criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine. As the US, Europe, Australia and Japan piled economic sanctions on Russia, India has held off and instead continued imports of discounted Russian oil.Reliance On Russia

While the US and its allies were initially frustrated with India, they have sought to woo Modi’s government as a key security partner -- including against China in the Indo-Pacific region. Modi is set to join a summit with Biden next week in South Korea. The meeting will include leaders from the Quad, a partnership between the US, India, Japan and Australia that has drawn criticism from China. Modi also received an invitation to join the Group of Seven leaders in Germany next month.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin made the point about China when he spoke at a news conference in April with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Indian Defence Minster Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

“We’re doing all this because the United States supports India as a defence industry leader in the Indo-Pacific and a net provider of security in the region,” Austin said. “And we all understand the challenges that we face there. The People’s Republic of China is seeking to refashion the region and the international system more broadly in ways that serve its interests.”

Links between the US and India have steadily deepened over the past two decades, with the two sides reaching agreements that allow for more interoperability between their military platforms.

 indian defensenews

May 17, 2022

China Enhancing Infrastructure Near Arunachal Border, Says Army


 China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is enhancing its capacities with infrastructure development across the Arunachal Pradesh border, Indian Army Eastern Commander Lt General RP Kalita said on Monday.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command, Lt General RP Kalita, however, said the Indian side is also continuously upgrading its infrastructure and capabilities to deal with any situation which may arise along the border.

“Across the Line of Actual Control in Tibet region, a lot of infrastructure development is going on. The other side is constantly upgrading their road, rail and air connectivity so that they are in a better position to respond to a situation or mobilise forces,” he said at a presser.

The Chinese authorities have built border villages close to the LAC that can be used for dual purposes, Kalita said.

“We are continuously monitoring the situation. We are also upgrading our infrastructure and capabilities as well as the mechanism to handle the situation. These have put us in a robust position,” he added.


April 26, 2022

As threat grows, IAF seeks hand-held, one-man system to shoot down drones


Self-contained system should be man portable and be operable by a single person besides having a range greater than 300 metre and capable of repeated use in quick succession
Amidst growing threat posed by unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the Indian Air Force has chalked out a requirement for a hand held, easy to use system that can shoot down rouge drones.The sixth edition of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC-6), launched by the Defence Minister on April 22, calls upon the industry to develop a hand held, hard kill, counter-UAS system. DISC is a platform under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence that offers specific projects to the industry, particularly start-ups, to develop technological solution and products for the armed forces.

According to parameters listed in the document, the self-contained system should be man portable and be operable by a single person besides having a range greater than 300 metre and capable of repeated use in quick succession.Further, it should not require any special skills and training for neutralizing the drone and the provision of aiming and neutralising should be very simple and achievable with minimum training.

The system is meant to intercept and destroy small low flying drones that have miniscule radar, thermal or acoustic signature and are primarily used for surveillance and cross border smuggling or can be used to carry out a terror strike, as was experienced at the Pathankot airbase in Punjablast year.
Punjab and Jammu regions remain vulnerable. 

According to data available with the Border Security Force, there were 100 drone sightings along the western border in 2021, out of which 67 were in Punjab followed by 24 in the JammuSector. This year there havealready been over half a dozen engagements with drones, with some reports claiming that an IED that exploded nearJammu on the day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally is believed to have been dropped by a drone.

While the capability to detect and counter large unmanned aerial vehicles exits, detection of small drones is very difficult and at present depends primarily on visual sightings or audio hearing. Troops engage small drones with standard rifles, which is difficult.Two basic options to neutralize drones are the soft kill, which relies on jamming or hacking the target drone’s radio signals, or the hard kill which requires the drone to be physically destroyed by ordnance or lasers.

The armed forces as well as paramilitary and police organisations are laying great stress on the induction of anti-drone systems. Besides procurement of some foreign systems, several projects are underway to develop different indigenous systems to counter various types to drones.Over the past few years, there have been several reported instances where drones have been used to smuggle arms and ammunition as well as narcotics into India. Employment of drones for surveillance and recce in border areas is also a regular feature. Border guarding forces have been modifying their operating procedures to tackle hostile drones.


Boeing plans to fly 2 Super Hornet aircraft to India; All you need to know


Boeing is in talks with top Defence officials in the country about F/A-18 Super Hornet, P-8I, F-15EX, KC-46 tanker as India plans to boost its defence capabilities.

 Boeing is planning to fly two Super Hornet fighter aircraft for an operational demonstration to Goa before its potential buyer the Indian Navy this summer. According to the news agency PTI, Boeing's India Business Development Alain Garcia made a strong sales pitch for F/A-18 Super Hornet. Gracia said the Super Hornet aircraft has been specifically designed from its inception for carrier operations, can operate from the Indian Navy aircraft carriers, and will meet or exceed the STOBAR performance requirements of the Indian Navy.

 STOBAR (short take-off but arrested recovery or short take-off, barrier-arrested recovery) is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Boeing is in talks with top Defence officials in the country about F/A-18 Super Hornet, P-8I, F-15EX, KC-46 tanker for aerial refueling and ISR capabilities as India plans to boost its defence capabilities.


Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet;

1. According to a senior Boeing executive, the Super Hornet is suited to protect India's maritime interests. He said the Super Hornet and P-8I will open up opportunities for greater interoperability between the two navies for a secure Indo-Pacific.

2. The Block III Super Hornet comes with advanced networking and open architecture design that allows it to work jointly with the Indian Navy's P-8I and other US-origin assets and rapidly accept new technology to stay ahead of emerging threats

3. The US Navy operates more than 800 Super Hornets and EA-18 Growlers, the electronic attack version of the F/A-18.

4. Super Hornet F/A-18E weighs 14,552 kg, with a maximum takeoff weight of 9,937 kg. It flies at Mach 1.6 speed, which means 65% faster than the speed of sound. At present, the US, Australia, and Kuwait have F/A-18 Super Hornet customers.


The Super Hornet has an affordable acquisition cost and also costs less per flight hour to operate than any other tactical aircraft in the US forces inventory, including single-engine fighters.

Maria Laine, vice president of Boeing's International Business Development, said that India is one of Boeing's enduring partners where "we have made strategic investments and will continue to do so in the future".

The company has 3,500 employees in India and more than 7,000 people working with its supply chain partners.

"We are proud to support the many missions of the Indian armed forces that operate multiple Boeing aircraft...," she said.

“In support of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India, Boeing sources over USD 1 billion from India, and Boeing's Indian supply chain partners are exporting products made in India for the global aerospace market," the company said.

 Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), the joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems, has been producing aero-structures for Boeing's AH-64 Apache helicopter and recently delivered its 140th AH-64 Apache fuselage from its 14,000 square metres state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad.

TBAL is also manufacturing 737 Vertical Fin structures, a complex structural part, on a new production line that will utilize cutting-edge robotics and automation, said the Boeing official.


April 4, 2022

Kashmir: Indian forces seal infiltration routes opened due to melting snow



Braving the harshest winter season on the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir, Indian security forces have been guarding the border facing sub-zero temperatures. And now with the melting of snow on the higher reaches of northern Kashmir, the vigil on the traditional infiltration routes has been increased to foil any infiltration bids. 

The security forces have inputs that more than 350 terrorists are waiting across the border in various terror launch pads to cross over to the Kashmir Valley. Security forces also believe that a lot of 'fanatic warriors' from Afghanistan can be sent to Kashmir, but the forces are ready to tackle any such issue. All the high-ranking officers of Army and BSF are making special visits to LoC to take stock of the situation on ground zero.

"After the snow has started to melt on these higher reaches. We have increased the vigil on those areas which are prone to infiltrations. Our sources say that around 125-150 terrorists are waiting across the border to infiltrate. Army and Border Security Force (BSF) have made sure the terrorists are neutralised and situation is very peaceful in the valley. There is a possibility of fanatic warriors trying to infiltrate from across the border," said Raja Babu Singh, Inspector General (IG0, BSF, Kashmir Frontier. 

The jawans guarding the border have been given all new technology equipment which include sophisticated weapons, surveillance cameras with night vigil, drones and thermal imaging tracers. The patrolling has also been increased across the LoC. 


Indian Army inducts Russian Igla-S MANPADS


 The Army, which has for long been looking for new man portable air defence systems, has inducted a small number of Igla-S systems recently bought from Russia under emergency procurement, according to defence sources. However, a much larger contract for Igla-S systems under the Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) deal is still pending and under review by the Defence Ministry.
“The contract was signed in December 2020 and the equipment was delivered by December 2021. This includes 24 launchers, 216 missiles and testing equipment,” one of the sources said.

The procurement was done through the Vice Chiefs emergency financial powers given to the Services for the first time after the Balakot air strike in February 2019 and further extended after the standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh in May 2020. Under this, Services can procure weapons systems upto ₹300 crores on an urgent basis without any further clearances.

In the backdrop of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine and the Western sanctions, India and Russia are working out modalities to utilise the Rupee-Rouble route in a large way for trade and payments. The Ministry is also assessing the impact it would have on the timely execution of deals as well as steady supplies of spares and supportThe larger VSHORAD deal which began in 2010 and saw several rounds of trials and re-trials is still pending.

This deal which was close to conclusion is now under review as part of the overall relook at all direct import deals by the Defence Ministry. Deliberations are still continuing on the larger VSHORAD deal, another defence source said.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for VSHORAD was issued in October 2010 for over 5,000 missiles, 258 single launchers and 258 multi-launchers. Five contenders responded and eventually three made it to the trials - MBDA of France, Rosoboronexport of Russia and SAAB of Sweden. Eventually all three companies were declared technically compliant in 2017 and Igla-S was declared the lowest bidder in November 2018.

While the benchmark price arrived at by the Army was just over $2 bn, Rosoboronexport’s bid was much lower at around $1.47 bn, SAAB at about $2.6 bn, and MBDA at about $3.68 bn. This led to much deliberation within the Ministry as the Russian bid was much lower compared to the benchmark price. The deal also saw several allegations of deviations in procedures with some of the vendors sending protest letters..As per requirements, the VSHORAD should have a maximum range of 6 km, altitude of 3 km along with all-weather capability and will replace the existing Igla in service which is in urgent need of replacement. VSHORAD is the soldier’s last line of defence against enemy combat aircraft and helicopters in the multilayered air defence network.

In addition to the Igla-S, the Army variant of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) being jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) completed trials earlier this month and is now ready for induction. The maiden launch of MRSAM Army Version was conducted in December 2020.

Air Defence functions in three levels – gun/missile system, medium range, and high range. Within this the Air Defence guns are of two types, AD Gun Missile system, AD self propelled guns. The Army is looking for AD guns in both the categories. In the medium segment, it has the indigenous Akash SAM while MRSAM fits in the high range.

The Hindu

April 1, 2022

Rafael Unveils SPIKE ER2 5th Generation Extended Range Missile - Video Footage

 SPIKE ER2 5th Generation Extended Range Missile


Russian Foreign Min Lavrov in Delhi, To Call on PM Modi & Meet Jaishankar Today


 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday, 31 March – a day ahead of his interaction and meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar, respectively.

He is scheduled to meet Modi and Jaishankar today, as per Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

This is the first high-level visit from Russia since the country went to war with Ukraine.

The foreign minister was received at the airport by an Indian delegation, the Ministry of External Affairs indicated, posting a video on Twitter.
The visit comes even as the United States on Wednesday, 29 March, criticised India for attempting to undermine western sanctions by considering a trade proposal from Moscow. As per a Bloomberg report, which cites sources, Russia is offering huge discounts to India on its oil amid mounting sanctions from West.

Lavrov is expected to discuss Russia's crude oil offer to India, rupee-rouble payments, and arms deals during his visit.

His two-day-long visit will coincide with British foreign secretary Liz Truss's trip to India and US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh's trip to India.

The Russian foreign minister is among the people sanctioned by the United States government.


March 29, 2022

"Target Destroyed, Direct Hit": India Test-Fires Surface-To-Air Missile


 "MRSAM-Army missile system flight was test fired from ITR Balasore, Odisha at around 1030 hours and intercepted a high-speed aerial target at long range," the DRDO said in a Koo post. Indian Army on Sunday successfully carried out the test firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile air defence system off the coast of Odisha's Balasore, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) informed today.

"MRSAM-Army missile system flight was test fired from ITR Balasore, Odisha at around 1030 hours and intercepted a high-speed aerial target at long range," the DRDO said in a Koo post.As per the DRDO, the target was destroyed by the missile in a direct hit.


Indian Army gets Sako TRG-42 sniper rifles for soldiers deployed along LoC


  The Sako .338 TRG-42 sniper rifles, designed and developed by the Finnish gun maker SAKO, have a better range, firepower, and telescopic sights than those possessed by the adversary
The Indian Army has inducted the Sako .338 TRG-42 sniper rifles from Finland for soldiers deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

"The latest sniper rifles have been inducted into the army. They are using it now, a senior official told PTI.

The Sako .338 TRG-42 sniper rifles have a better range, firepower, and telescopic sights than those possessed by the adversary, the official said.

The move is to make the snipers more lethal amid a change in operational dynamics along the LoC, the official said.
Sniping has been a bigger challenge for the troops patrolling forward areas along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, said the official.

Between 2018 and 2019, there was a sudden increase in the number of sniping incidents along the LoC and IB prompting armed forces to induct better sniper rifles and train its snipers against such attacks.

The Sako rifles have replaced the .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT by Beretta, and the .50 Calibre M95 by Barrett, which were inducted in the Indian army in 2019 and 2020. These rifles, made in Italy and America, had replaced the ageing Russian Dragunov, the mainstay of Indian soldiers.

First procured in the 1990s, the Dragunovs have slowly fallen behind contemporary sniper rifles which offer improved sights and mounts, increased accuracy, and a strike range of over 1 kilometre.

The Sako TRG-42 sniper rifle is a bolt-action sniper rifle designed and developed by the Finnish gun maker SAKO.
The rifle is designed to fire powerful .338 Lapua Magnum-sized cartridges. and weighs at 6.55 kgs without ammunition. It has an effective range of 1,500 metres, the official said.

"It is considered one of the most accurate and trustworthy weapons worldwide, he said.

The Army has sanctioned a team of 10 snipers, selected from the Indian Army's units and regimental centres for the job, the official added.