October 1, 2021

India approves procurement of additional Dhruv helicopters


India's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved the Indian Army's procurement of an additional 25 Dhruv Mk III Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) for INR38.5 billion (USD518 million).

The approval was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi on 29 September alongside the acquisition of munitions and other unspecified defence items. The total value of these procurements is INR131.65 billion, with 87% of this sourced from local industry, the MoD said.

The MoD said the procurement of additional twin-engined Dhruvs will constitute a squadron and will enhance the Indian Army's integral lift capability, indicating that the version to be acquired is utility.

The army operates both utility and armed versions of the helicopter, which is produced by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The company has provided about 80 utility platforms to the Indian Army's Army Aviation Corps (AAC) since 2011.


September 20, 2021

China builds 10 new airbases along the Line of Actual Control


 China appears to have built at least 10 new airbases along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh besides ramping up infrastructure at its exiting airbases close to the Indian frontier, sources in the security establishment have said.

The latest assessment has strengthened the suspicion that the Chinese have been using the time afforded by the ongoing talks with India to buttress their positions in the “occupied” zones in Ladakh.
“Intelligence reports suggest the Chinese have built at least 10 new airbases along the LAC in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. This is very serious considering the 16-month-old border standoff in eastern Ladakh,” a security official attached to the Union home ministry said.

He said the Chinese army had earlier built additional military camps as well as watchtowers with CCTV cameras atop them inside India-claimed lines in Ladakh to monitor Indian troop deployment.

“It’s a matter of extreme concern the way they have been ramping up their military and air force infrastructure close to the LAC and also inside the occupied zones,” the security official said.

“It’s apparent that the Chinese are bolstering their positions while talks are under way to resolve the border standoff.”

The standoff continues in Hot Springs and the Depsang Plains while there have been “partial” disengagements at the Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and Gogra – but with both sides pulling back by an equal distance within India-claimed lines. This means India has ceded additional territory while the Chinese still remain within India-claimed lines, military veterans say.
On the strategically crucial Depsang Plains, the Chinese are said to be entrenched 18km inside India-claimed lines.

Military veterans suspect that China wants to establish a new status quo at the LAC, claiming the territory occupied since May last year as its own. They have flagged with concern the long absence of any reference to “status quo ante” in the official statements issued after each round of talks.

Defence ministry sources said India’s military preparedness along the China frontier was being reviewed regularly. India has carried out mirror deployment at the LAC to match the Chinese, moving in additional troops, artillery and infantry combat vehicles, and is conducting regular aerial surveillance.

“The defence top brass have been conducting regular meetings to discuss infrastructure and capability development along the LAC,” a ministry official said.

India has been building 73 roads of operational significance along the China frontier, he said, but at a far slower pace compared with China’s rapid expansion of military infrastructure in the region.


AUKUS Postscript: France Could Help India with Nuclear Attack Submarine Technology


 The United States (US) seems to have taken urgent measures to stem the narrative of decline that had been triggered by its shambolic departure from Afghanistan.

The announcement of a new security partnership—Australia-UK-US (AUKUS)—which will enable Australia to equip its navy with nuclear propelled attack submarines, is a clear signal to China as well as to the American allies in Asia that Washington is determined about stepping up to meet Beijing’s challenge in the Indo-Pacific region. Though allies in Europe, like France, have reacted bitterly to the news.

As part of the pact, Australia will abandon its US $43 billion plan to build French conventional submarines, and instead build vessels based on US-UK technology. The first vessel is to be built in the erstwhile facilities of the Australian Submarine Corporation near Adelaide by 2040. It is not clear as yet as to which vessel will be made. Given American reluctance to share its prized technology, the likely choice could be the UK’s Astute class.
China was not referred to directly in the remarks of the leaders announcing the AUKUS, but Beijing reacted angrily with its embassy in Washington DC saying that countries should “shake off their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice”.
Broadly, the Biden administration appears to be working along the Indo-Pacific strategy which was formulated by the Trump administration and declassified earlier this year, weeks before Biden’s inauguration. The document posed three principal questions:

First, how to maintain US strategic primacy in the Indo-Pacific and oppose China’s efforts “to establish new, illiberal spheres of influence.” Second, how to prevent North Korea from threatening the US and its allies; and third, how to advance US global economic leadership. The ambitious goal of “denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the first island chain in a conflict” is probably now becoming history.

The inexorable Chinese build up is posing a challenge to the Trump-era strategy of “dominating all domains outside the first island chain.” The document had focused on India’s role and Australia was only mentioned in passing. Clearly, the Biden assessment is that the situation is more alarming, something that has persuaded it to take what Australian scholar Sam Roggeveen terms an “extraordinary” and “truly historic announcement.”
For the present, while American pressure on China along its coast and in the South China Sea continues apace, the US is now planning on a timescale which could see PLA fleets roam in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Nuclear attack submarines would be an appropriate response, as, indeed, the Indian Navy has also realised.

Just how extraordinary the decision is comes from the fact that the US provided the reactor technology for the first British nuclear propelled submarine in 1958, only because of the shock of the Sputnik launch. The UK had been denied jointly developed nuclear weapons technology in the early 1950s and came up with their own to make an atomic and a thermonuclear bomb. Things changed in the 1960s and American missiles have been standard fitments in British submarines since.

Australia was always seen as a junior partner here, and though the British tested their nuclear weapons in the country, Canberra was kept away from anything to do with nuclear issues. But based on their joint role in World War I, II, and the Vietnam War, Australia, along with Canada, New Zealand, and the UK have worked a global intelligence network that originated in a top secret UK–USA Agreement dating to 1947, which has been modified and refined over time and which features an extremely close level of cooperation between them. AUKUS is being seen as an updating of that old agreement for the needs of the new era
The strategic cooperation between the US, UK, and Australia runs deep. As part of this, the Australians are probably reconciled to taking a hit on their lucrative trade relationship with China. Since Australia is a Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) signatory, it is unlikely that the US will have to modify any laws to go through with the deal. But in recent decades, the Americans have been reticent in offering their nuclear power technology to anyone, let alone that of nuclear propelled submarines. No country till now has been privileged to receive an American submarine—they are all nuclear propelled—and it remains to be seen as to what will be on offer for Australia and what kind of restrictions the US will place on their operations, especially since US submarine reactors currently use nuclear-bomb grade uranium.

Just how does this fit in with Biden’s recent call to Xi Jinping is unclear. Chris Johnson, former CIA and now CSIS, told Axios, “If our President is telling President Xi we want guardrails and we want safety mechanisms around the military activities, but then we amp up the pressure on military, that’s probably going to put an end to any such discussions pretty quickly
The AUKUS announcement coincides with the rising temperatures in the Korean peninsula as well. On September 13, North Korea said it successfully tested strategic cruise missiles. Two days later they fired two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, according to South Korea. But there was a new development in that just before the North Korean ballistic missile event, South Korea tested its first submarine launched ballistic missile. There is a triangular situation here, with the North Koreans seeking to pressure the US with a view of getting relief on economic sanctions, and the South Koreans reaching a point where they are taking things into their own hands, rather than depending on the US.

Taking into account the tensions between China and Japan, we could soon have a situation where South Korea and Japan escalate the situation, with or without the help of the United States. Already, the South Koreans have developed an indigenous capability of making a nuclear-powered submarine.

In recent times, there has been a lot of talk about expanding the UKUSA or Five Eyes grouping to include South Korea. This could well be a prelude to a closer US-South Korea relationship, which has implications for both China and North Korea.

A major downside of the new AUKUS alliance has been the estrangement with another western Indo-Pacific power—France. The cancellation of the US $43 billion project has hit hard, with the French accusing the US and UK of “stabbing them in the back”. An official statement accused the US and UK policy of “an absence of coherence”. It noted that France was the only European nation in the Indo-Pacific with 2 million nationals. Unstated was the fact that it also possessed a an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of some 11 million square kilometres and had been a strong supporter of the Indo-Pacific strategy.

What Does This Mean for India?

All these developments have lessons for India, which has been moving in its own systematic manner to develop capabilities that can challenge any future Chinese aggression in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy has more or less set aside its second indigenous aircraft carrier project and has decided to go in for six nuclear powered attack submarines. Currently, India leases one such vessel from Russia.

India built the Arihant—both the vessel and the reactor which powers it—with Russian help. There is a school of thinking that suggests that India, which now has substantial experience in fabricating the Arihant type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), could convert these into attack vessels (SSN) as well. But being a ballistic missile submarine, its top speed is just about 18-20 knots per hour submerged. An attack submarine should ideally have top speeds of 30-35 knots. A more powerful reactor would require design changes as well as higher stress tolerance for its hull and components.

Given that the quality of the US-UK-Australia relationship is very different from that with India, neither Washington nor London is likely to easily hand over any technology to us. Both have technology that is hugely superior, and the reactors of its latest submarines don’t need to be fueled for their lifetime, whereas the Arihant will have to be taken to a drydock, cut open, and refueled every six to seven years.

But if not the US or UK, perhaps the French could be an option, though they would be very expensive. But maybe France would like to get back on an Indo-Pacific project and this wouldn’t be the first time they would be helping India to get defence technology that the US has been reluctant to provide. In the last couple of years, Indian naval leaders have explored various options as well as the French offer for technology of their Barracuda class. France is already helping India make the Kalvari class conventional submarines. Then, of course, the Russians are always there.

And where does it leave the Quad? That’s a million-dollar question. If the March summit statement is anything to go by, the Quad has a distinct non-military role in American strategy. Washington seems to have decided, that the best military option right now is to rely on a Cold War-type alliance whose core will be its most trusted partners.


Helina, Dhruvastra ATGMs successfully test fired


 The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully carried out joint user trials of indigenously developed Helina and Dhruvastra Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) in the desert.
Helina is the Army variant and Dhruvastra is the Air Force variant of the ALH.
“The Helina and Dhruvastra are third generation, Lock-on-Before-Launch (LOBL) fire and forget ATGMs that can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode. The system has all-weather day-and-night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as with explosive reactive armour,” the DRDO said in a statement on Friday. “It is one of the most-advanced anti-tank weapons in the world. Now, the missile systems are ready for induction,” it stated.
On the trials conducted, DRDO said that five missions were carried out for evaluating the missile capabilities in minimum and maximum range and the missiles were fired in hover and maximum forward flight against realistic static and moving targets.
“Some missions were carried out with warheads against derelict tanks. A mission was carried out against a moving target from a forward flying helicopter,” 

the hindu

September 16, 2021

Boost to IAF’s air defence with new missile system for aerial threats


 The Indian Air Force received its first MRSAM system which can destroy aircraft from a distance of 110 kilometres and launch 24 missiles on 16 targets simultaneously.
he Indian Air Force received its first Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) system on Thursday. The missile system can destroy aircraft from a distance of 110 kilometres and is capable of launching 24 missiles on 16 targets simultaneously.

The system has been jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with Israel Aerospace Industries in line with ‘Make in India’ mantra, aimed at self-reliance in defence production.

The induction comes at a time when the Indian forces are looking to ramp up their capabilities against unconventional warfare that includes the use of drones. This is the first of the 18 firing units that will be handed over to the Indian Air Force.
Capabilities of MRSAM

Fitted with Israel’s Barak missile, the system is supersonic, which means it can travel at a lightning pace exceeding the speed of sound. It is designed to intercept targets like aircraft, missiles and other munitions.

The system can be transported in a short time, making it difficult for the adversary to mark its presence on the ground.

The missile is powered by an indigenously developed rocket motor and control system for achieving high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase.The missile system also has a short response time against traditional and advanced threats that are capable of covering a large area.

The induction ceremony took place in Jaisalmer where Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO G Satheesh Reddy handed over the system to Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday.

“I have full faith that in time to come, not only our defence sector will be self-reliant, but it will be a hub for defence manufacturing across the world. The road to reach there goes through programmes like this. With the handing over of MRSAM system to IAF, we have taken a giant leap towards achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will prove to be a game changer in the air-defence system,” Rajnath Singh said.

During the event, DRDO and IAI officials demonstrated the capabilities of MRSAM system, as part of On-Site Acceptance Test (OSAT).

Earlier, the Indian Navy had received another version of the MRSAM and now the Indian Army’s requirements are also likely to be expedited.
“The project was delayed, but all issues could be resolved. The next project of MRSAM for the army will also speed up,” DRDO chairman Dr G Sateesh Reddy said.
On the occasion, Rajnath Singh remembered former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, terming him a "visionary who paved the way for self-reliance in defence sector, especially in the missile development programme.
"Around 30 years ago, Dr Kalam initiated the Integrated Missile Development Programme at a time when scientists were facing various restrictions in the field of technology. Despite all this, the success of the programme not only ensured self-reliance in missile development, but also thwarted possibility of any cross-border threat," the defense minister added.
Boaz Levy, the president of Israel Aerospace Industries said this was a result of great teamwork between India and Israel.


What Is BrahMos And How It Helps India Maintain Missile Supremacy?


 A new manufacturing unit for the BrahMos missile is set to come up in the Uttar Pradesh Defence Corridor. The supersonic cruise missile is one of India’s most potent strategic defence assets.
The new missile factory will reportedly be located near Lucknow and will be set up in a 200-acre area with an investment of Rs 300 crore. Apart from missile manufacturing, the facility will also engage in research and development activities.
More than 100 BrahMos missiles will be made over the next three years in a project that will not just create thousands of jobs but will also be immensely significant in India’s future defence strategies.

1. Jointly Developed By India And Russia
The state-of-the-art cruise missiles are designed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroeyenia. The name BrahMos is a comes from combining the names of India’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva rivers.

2. Strategic Importance To India
The world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, BrahMos is a part of the arsenal of all three arms of the Indian defence forces - Army, Navy, and Air Force. Several versions of BrahMos exist which can be fired from land, from water via warships and submarines and from air via the Sukhoi-30 fighter jets. The Indian Navy and Army have had BrahMos capabilities since 2005 and 2007 respectively. In 2019, version entered service with the Air Force.

3. BrahMos Missile Details
It is a two-stage missile with ranges 290 kilometres in the earliest versions to around 400 kilometres with the newer versions. The first stage is a solid propellant booster while the second is a liquid ramjet. Versions with higher ranges up to 1000 kilometres are currently under development. Sukhoi-30s armed with BrahMos missiles and having a range of 1,500 kilometres act as a key tool of strategic deterrence to hostile neighbours across land borders as well as India’s ocean waters.

4. Next-Gen BrahMos
The BrahMos Aerospace JV which proposed the missile manufacturing unit to the UP government, is also developing a next-gen hypersonic version, BrahMos-II. This missile will reportedly have a speed in excess of Mach 7–8 along with extended range. The UP government has also signalled intent for a production unit for the next-gen BrahMos missiles to also come up in the state’s Defence Corridor.


OIC hostage to Pak, no right to talk Kashmir: India at UN


 India today took on Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) for their observations on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir.
“It has become a habit for Pakistan to misuse the platforms provided by the council to propagate its false and malicious propaganda against my country,” said senior Indian diplomat Pawan Bhide.
 The OIC has “helplessly” allowed itself to be held hostage by Pakistan, which holds the chairmanship of their Geneva chapter, to “serve its own agenda”, said Bhide in response to statements by Pakistan and the OIC at the ongoing 48th session of the Human Rights Council. Bhide said Pakistan was attempting to divert the council’s attention from serious human rights violations being perpetrated by its government and accused it of failing to protect the rights of its minorities, including Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Ahmadiyas. 

Thousands of women and girls from minority communities have been subjected to abductions, forced marriages and conversions in Pakistan and its occupied territories. The impunity with which such abuses have been carried out exposes the hollowness of Pakistan’s commitment to human rights.
 “Pakistan is a country that has been globally recognised as a country openly supporting, training, financing and arming terrorists, including UN-proscribed terrorists, as a matter of state policy,” said the Indian diplomat. Bhide also said the OIC had no locus standi to comment on India’s internal affairs. “It’s for the members of the OIC to decide if it is in their interest to allow Pakistan to do so,” he posed.



September 9, 2021

India to produce BrahMos-NG cruise missile


 According to information published by TASS on September 7, 2021, a new generation of the BrahMos cruise missile (BrahMos-NG) will be produced at a plant near Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh, India), Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told during his business visit to the region.
BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile produced by BrahMos Aerospace Russian-Indian joint venture. It was designed by the Russian NPO Mashinostroeniya (a subsidiary of the Tactical Missiles Corporation, KTRV) and DRDO. The first test launch took place in 2001. The Indian Air Force, Navy and Ground Forces are armed with BrahMos.
Two new Project 11356 Talwar-class frigates being built at the Goa Shipyard Limited plant under Russian license are planned to be armed with the BrahMos.
The BrahMos missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.

 It operates on the ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters.

The missile carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kg.
BrahMos-NG (Next Generation) is a mini version based on the existing BrahMos, will have same 290 km range and Mach 3.5 speed but it will weigh around 1.5 tons, 5 metres in length and 50 cm in diameter, making BrahMos-NG 50 percent lighter and three metres shorter than its predecessor.
The Talwar-class frigates or Project 11356 are a class of stealth guided missile frigates designed and built by Russia for the Indian Navy.

 The Talwar-class guided missile frigates are the improved versions of the Krivak III-class (Project 1135) frigates used by the Russian Coast Guard. The design has been further developed as the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate for the Russian Navy. Six ships were built in two batches between 1999 and 2013.


Private Firm TATA To Make 40 Out of 56 Transport Aircraft For Indian Air Force


 The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the purchase of 56 C-295 MW cargo planes for the Indian Air Force on Wednesday.
Within 48 months of signing the contract, 16 aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain, and TATA Consortium will produce 40 aircraft in India within ten years.
This is the first initiative of its sort in which a commercial company will produce a military aircraft in India.
In a statement, the government stated, "All 56 aircraft will be equipped with an indigenous electronic warfare suite."
This is the first initiative of its sort in which a commercial company will produce a military aircraft in India.
According to the government, the project will enhance India's aerospace ecosystem by involving various MSMEs from throughout the country in the production of aeroplane parts.
According to the ministry, the project will improve India's aerospace industry by including various small and medium-sized businesses in the production of aeroplane parts.
According to the statement, the program is intended to create 600 high-skilled jobs directly, over 3,000 indirect jobs, and an additional 3000 medium-skilled job prospects.
The government thinks that the project will help reduce defence import dependency while simultaneously increasing exports.
The C-295MW aircraft, which has a payload of 5-10 tonnes and is equipped with modern equipment, would replace the IAF's old Avro aircraft, according to the military ministry.
The aircraft includes a rear ramp door for quick response and cargo and troop paradropping.


July 9, 2021

The killer drones are here. Get ready


In the Terminator movies, a relentless super-robot tracked and attempted to kill human targets. A few decades later, killer robots are openly sold and deployed in the field of battle. These killer robots — flying drones — are cheaper and probably a lot less discriminating than the movie models. The Chinese-made drones that Pakistani terrorists used to attack the Indian Air Force station in Jammu were destructive enough, but a newer generation of drones poses a greater threat. The Turkish-made Kargu-2 model of killer drone can allegedly autonomously track and kill specific targets on the basis of facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

A United Nations report claims that that model has been used to mount autonomous attacks on human targets. These drones hunted down retreating military convoys and attacked them indiscriminately, without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munitions, a true “fire, forget and find” capability.

The arrival and rapid proliferation of killer drones is no surprise. For decades, consumer technology has been outpacing military adoption of advanced technologies. Because a drone is essentially a smartphone with rotors attached, today’s affordable consumer drones are a product of the rapid development of smartphone technologies. Making access to the third dimension essentially free and creating commercial opportunities, drones can now deliver groceries and medical supplies to your doorstep.

But endowing drones with human-like cognitive abilities, through AI, will make powerful targeted weapons available to rogue militaries, terrorists, and rampaging teenagers, at a fraction of the cost of the fancy drones that the United States (US) government flies. And unless we take steps to stop this, instructions to turn cheap off-the-shelf drones into automated killers will be posted on the internet.

To date, AI has struggled to provide an accurate identification of objects and faces in the field. It is easily confused when an image is slightly modified by adding text. An image-recognition system that was trained to identify an apple as a fruit was tricked into identifying an apple as an iPod, simply by taping to the apple a piece of paper with the word “iPod” printed on it. Protesters in Hong Kong have used paint on their faces to confound the government facial-recognition efforts. Environmental factors, such as fog, rain, snow, and bright light, too can dramatically reduce the accuracy of AI-using recognition systems.

This may allow forces to adopt relatively simple countermeasures to confound current drone recognition systems, but to actors who already place a low value on collateral damage and innocent victims, such accuracy is a lesser concern than it is to human rights activists and others concerned about the loss of innocent lives.

The effectiveness of drones in zeroing in on targets enables their deployment as new weapons of mass destruction. A swarm of drones bearing explosives and dive-bombing a sports event or any densely populated urban area could kill numerous people and would be hard to stop.

Various companies are now selling drone countermeasure systems with different strategies to stop rogue flying objects, and advanced militaries have already deployed electronic countermeasures to interrupt the control systems of drones. But, so far, shooting down even one drone remains a challenge. Israel recently demonstrated an impressive flying laser that can vaporise drones, but shooting down an entire swarm of them is well beyond our capabilities. And simply blocking communication to the drones is not enough; it may be critical to be able to safely bring them to earth in order to avert random chaos and harm.

To a group intent on causing significant damage, autonomous drones open a field of possibilities. Imagine attacks on 100 different locations on a single day; the effects of the Mumbai or World Trade Centre terrorist attacks would pale in comparison.

India is reportedly looking to procure Israeli anti-drone SMASH-2000 Plus systems, among the most advanced defensive weapons in the world. But even these are obsolete technologies: They can’t protect the country from swarms of drones or from attacks launched within cities.

Asymmetrical warfare disproportionately benefits the forces of chaos rather than the forces of liberty. We require a global moratorium on killer robots of all kinds, including unmanned aerial vehicles. But this is not likely to happen because countries making this new wave of autonomous flying weapons are marketing their wares heavily. The US and China have both refused to back calls for a ban on the development and production of fully autonomous weapons, and so are providing a cover of tacit, putative legitimacy for weapons-makers and governments deploying the drones in the field.

In order to be able to establish a defence against such possibilities, India must put its own scientists and innovators on war-footing. India has the skill and doesn’t need to look abroad; even Indian teenagers can assemble drones and write sophisticated AI systems. The Defence Research and Development Organisation has some systems in development, but the government should dramatically increase funding in research and start-ups and have its military, industry, and academia work together. It should make the development of defensive technologies a national priority, just as China has in developing destructive weapons and surveillance systems.

In anticipating the Covid-19 pandemic, India was complacent. We have long known about the dangers of genetic engineering and the possibility of lab accidents, yet did not halt China’s reckless research or prepare bio-defences against it. Yes, the rest of the world was equally complacent. But in failing to anticipate the development of artificially intelligent killer drones, that mitigating circumstance will offer no help and no excuse


Govt can evaluate splitting P75I submarine contract between two bidders: Mazagon Shipbuilders


L&T likely to be the second partner, if the govt decides to share the project. It takes eight years from the awarding of the contract to the handing over of the first submarine. Splitting the project between two firms can cut down delivery time. Given the geopolitical situation, the govt may not like the project to be delayed.
India’s order for six conventional submarines, costing Rs 43,000 crore, could go to two companies instead of one, given the current geopolitical situation, a top official of one of India’s submarine makers has claimed.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the construction of the Project P 75 (I) submarines under the strategic partnership model is expected to be issued in July. The Defence Acquisition Council has given the go-ahead for the same in June.
The order will go either to Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL) or Larsen & Toubro (L&T) -- the two domestic companies which have to partner with one of the five international original equipment manufacturers (OEM).
If the government looks at the possibility of having parallel production of more than just one submarine at a time this would dramatically reduce the time required to produce the vessels.
Narayan Prasad, Chairman and Managing Director, said: “In the current geopolitical scenario, if the government concludes that the threat perception in the Indian Ocean Region and the South China Sea is so pronounced that they need parallel production of these vessels in a shorter horizon, such concepts can also be conceived. I can’t rule it out.”
“At any point of time, when the government decides that (MDL and L&T) can join (forces), there could be a cross transfer of technology to quickly build the submarines. We can examine those possibilities, and that is a huge potential. We will not be able to rule it out completely,” Prasad added.
It would take about eight years from the awarding of contract to the handing over the first submarine to the Indian Navy. The delivery of the remaining submarines will be done at an interval of 12-15 months. If the order is split between MDL and L&T, it would substantially cut down the delivery period.
The five global OEMs are Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp, France’s Naval Group, Spain’s Navantia and South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. These companies were shortlisted by an empowered committee last year.
“After the RFP floated, they will give about four months’ time for bid submission. This is a very complex program, in which there is a field evaluation trial of a new technology called air independent propulsion system. All the five technology partners are located in five different countries, so this will take a certain amount of time,” Prasad added.
These conventional diesel-electric submarines are bigger than the six Scorpene-class submarines manufactured by MDL in Mumbai. Three such Scorpene submarines (P75) have been handed over to the Indian Navy while the fourth, INS Vela, is set to join the forces before the end of FY22.


June 27, 2021

IAF Shows Interests in Procuring SPICE 250 ER with AI


Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, the manufacturer of SPICE Precision guided bombs, had unveiled a new member of the air-to-surface munition family, with the addition of an integrated turbojet engine at the Aero India exhibition in Bengaluru, earlier this year and was offered to the Indian air force (IAF).

The new variant dubbed SPICE 250 ER (Extended Range) that incorporates a miniature turbojet engine with an internal JP-8/10 fuel system, providing the weapon a range of at least 150 km, while retaining the same mission-planning system, aircraft interfaces, and aircrew operation. SPICE 250 ER also now comes with autonomous electro-optic Scene-Matching Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithms that use advanced AI and deep-learning technologies to specific target characteristics ahead of the strike. Each SPICE 250 ER can home-in on the pre-defined target, either autonomously or with a human-in-the-loop, aided by the ATR algorithm.

idrw.org has been told that the Indian air force (IAF) is interested in the weapons system and asked for more information from Rafael Systems, which also includes the demonstration of the SPICE 250 ER sometime in near future. Rafael is pitching SPICE 250 ER for IAF’s existing fighter fleet that includes Mirage-2000, Su-30MKI, and LCA-Tejas.

India’s HAL also is working with a Private defense start-up for the development of a subsonic cruise missile that can drop miniature warhead and return to the base, but it won’t be ready for trials for the next 3-4 years and might take another 3 years before it is cleared for production, that creates a window for IAF to procure some units of SPICE 250 ER to act as a cheaper option to the more expensive SCALP long-range sub-sonic cruise missile that is pretty much exclusive only to the IAF’s Rafale fighter fleet.