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October 30, 2010

The Army's Silver Bullet: But Can It Be Fired?

(By India Today )The army's silver bullet for dealing with China's looming superiority: a new mountain strike corps-32,000 troops equipped with ultra-light howitzers, attack and heavy lift helicopters and an armoured brigade of light tanks. This unique strike formation which will attack over the Himalayas, marks a change in strategy, from defensive to offensive-deterrence. It is the 1.1-million strong Indian army's largest expansion in over 30 years.

That's the easy part. Current acquisition rates mean it will take at least five years to fully equip this equipment-intensive formation. From boots and rifles to artillery, helicopters and night-fighting devices tied in red tape and bureaucratic delays, the army has bought nothing in over a decade. The IAF is down to 32 squadrons from a sanctioned strength of 39.5 combat squadrons and needs at least 55 combat squadrons to repel a simultaneous ChiPak offensive. A similar slowdown affects key road projects along India's border with China along where these divisions will be deployed. The MoD's 11th Plan sounds an alarm: 'develop infrastructure in the Eastern theatre to meet high-level threat from China beyond 2010.' In 2003, India changed its perverse version of the scorched Earth policy-no roads or infrastructure for the North East-lest these be used by Chinese troops to roll in-unveiling strategic road building projects. Seven years later, only nine of these 73 strategic roads have been completed, severely compromising the army's Cold Start strategy for the mountains.

NKorea Jamming Device A New Security Threat


(By Space Daily )A North Korean jamming device capable of disrupting guided weapons poses a fresh threat to South Korea's security, the South's defence chief said on Tuesday. Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young told parliament that the North had imported Russian equipment to jam South Korea's GPS  Global Positioning system) reception.
"North Korea's GPS jamming is seen as a fresh security threat" as it can disrupt guided weapons, he said.
The North is thought to have been responsible for the intermittent failure of GPS receivers on naval and civilian craft along the west coast from August 23 to 25, Kim said on Monday.
He also said the North was capable of jamming GPS  reception over a distance of up to 100 kilometres (60 miles).
"This could impose a serious threat to South Korea's GPS-guided weapons such as missiles and smart weapons," Chae Yeon-Seok, a researcher at the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute, told AFP.
In Iraq, US troops used GPS-guided weapons for precision strikes against tanks on roads without damaging other facilities, he said.
"If GPS signals from satellites are jammed, such weapons would lose directions to deliver warheads to targets," he added.
North Korea has modified Russian equipment to make its own version, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said, adding the regime has been trying to export its GPS interrupter to the Middle East.
The North's GPS interrupter is believed to be effective in preventing US and South Korean GPS-guided bombs and missiles from hitting their target accurately, it said.
The South has pushed for longer-range weaponry to counter the threat from hundreds of North Korean ballistic missiles.
The North has about 600 Scud missiles capable of hitting targets in South Korea, and possibly also able to reach Japanese territory. There are another 200 Rodong-1 missiles which could reach Tokyo.
The North has test-launched intercontinental Taepodong missiles three times.

France ready to build first Mistral warship for Russia in 2013

If Moscow and Paris sign a contract to build Mistral class helicopter carriers for Russia, the first warship may be built in 2013, a top manager of French STX Europe shipbuilder said on Friday.
The shipyards of Saint-Nazaire are seen as the most likely winner in a tender to build amphibious assault warships for the Russian Navy.
"If Russia and France sign the deal, the first Mistral-class vessel may be built in the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire in late 2013-early 2014," said Jacques Hardelay, STX Europe president for operations in France.
He said the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire are able to build two Mistral class warships simultaneously.
"If the contract is signed, then in one year, namely in 2015, Russia would get a second Mistral class warship. Therefore, by 2016 the Russian Navy would have two Mistral class warships," Hardelay said.
"As soon as the contract is signed, we would propose to our Russian colleagues to produce certain components for the first two ships to be built in France. There won't be many [components to be produced] for the first ship, but many more for the second," the official added.
Russia will be able to build its first domestically-produced Mistral class amphibious assault ships in late 2016 or early 2017.
  (By RIA Novosti)

Canada breaks off relations with N Korea

(By RUSNAVY)  Canadian government declared shutting down bilateral relations with North Korea and imposing trade restrictions to Pyongyang. According to Radio Liberty, official Ottawa made this decision in response to torpedoing of S Korean warship caused deaths of dozens servicemen carried out by N Korean Navy early this year.

We recall that in May 2010 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced economical sanctions against DPRK due to the shipwreck of S Korean corvette Cheonan torpedoed by N Korean warship.

In particular, more severe restrictions on trading, investments, and other bilateral relations with DPRK were imposed; all visits of N Korean officials to Canada were canceled.

Canada condemns reckless N Korean regime for outrageous violation of international law and disregard of international obligations, underlined the premier having noted that Canada is about to coordinate its activities with other members of global community.

Early on, Seoul expressed intentions to address the UN Security Council with a request to penalize DPRK for attacking Cheonan. S Korean president Lee Myung-bak said his country would break off all trade relations with the northern neighbor.

The U.S. supported decision of South Korea to stop trade with Pyongyang and called DPRK to rule out of aggressive behavior and apologize for the Cheonan incident.

The S Korean warship sank on March 26. Corvette Cheonan with 104 crewmembers on board was patrolling disputable waters somewhat 20 km away from N Korean border. After an explosion occurred on board, the ship immediately sank. Forty six sailors died.

October 29, 2010

U.S Japan Conduct Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense test

(KAUAI, US (BNS)- Brahmand): Japan, in partnership with the US, has successfully conducted an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) intercept flight test off the coast of Hawaii.

The test, termed a “significant milestone” in the growing cooperation between Japan and the US in the area of missile defence, was conducted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in partnership with the US Navy on Thursday.

During the test, a separating 1,000 km class ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii at 5:06 pm Hawaii time.

The JMSDF warship JS Kirishima, recently upgraded with the Lockheed Martin-made Aegis Weapon System, then launched a Standard Missile -3 (SM-3) Block IA missile. About three minutes later, the missile traced and destroyed the target missile about 100 miles (160 km) above the Pacific Ocean, the US MDA said.

This is the fourth time when a JMSDF ship engaged a ballistic missile target, including three successful intercepts, with the sea-based midcourse engagement capability provided by Aegis BMD, the agency said.

The latest test verified the ballistic missile’s capability to be launched from the recently upgraded JS Kirishima.

US Navy’s Aegis-equipped USS Lake Erie and USS Russell also cooperated to detect, track and conduct a simulated intercept engagement against the same target, the MDA statement said.

The last successful test of the Aegis MDA from Japanese warship JS Myoko was conducted in October 2009. With the latest test, four of Japan’s destroyers are now equipped with the Aegis weapon system.

S-400 Surface to Air Missile – The last Defender

NJS - Security(Magazine ) Editorial Panel
The Triumf S-400 is a new generation of air defense and theater anti-missile weapon developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an evolution of the S-300PMU family.This new system is intended to detect and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 km (2- 2.5 times greater than the previous S-300PMU system). And it has maximum speed up to 12 mach, can easily detect and destroy enemy aircraft and in coming Ballistic and Cruise missiles .
The Triumf system includes radars capable of detecting low-signature targets. and the anti-missile capability of the system has been increased to the limits established by the ABM Treaty demarcation agreements -- it can intercept targets with velocities of up to 4.8 km/sec, corresponding to a ballistic missile range of 3,500 km.
It is important to note that no F/A-18 variant, nor the Joint Strike Fighter, were designed to penetrate the coverage of the S-300P/S-400 systems. The survivability of these aircraft will not be significantly better than that of legacy combat aircraft. and its range is claimed to be at least twice that of the MIM -104 Patriot SAM (Surface to Air missile )system. At present no other SAM’s in world has capable more than Triumf in long range .
Israel and United states has known plan to have airstrikes against Iran , in the name of its nuclear capable . Even though Iran has better capable resources in Surface missiles /Aircrafts/Naval warfare , Israel mainly objected for supply of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Iran, because theses Sam’s have capable to engage any aircraft / missiles from Israel, that could make more difficult for both US & Israel Fighter Jets .

According to Russian sources, the S-400 is capable of detecting and simultaneously engaging six targets and it has flight ceiling of 40 kms with cold launch ejection system. At present Russia Operates 5 battalions as of 2010 and will arm more before 2020.
India already has 6 Sqns of S-300 SAM systems which is less capable than Triumf S-400 in all aspects , India bought these systems in earlier days to defend incoming Pakistani M-11(supplied by china) and other surface to surface missiles , but India so far has not realized the need of S-400 against its dearest Chinese missiles from north east , these things should not realized in war times . India’s AAD is still in development and testing stages ,it takes much more tests to get certify. At least to save our valuable bases close to China
need this type of protection . Even china has more numbers of S-400 and has plans to produce massive numbers for its self defense.

Russia , India to begin design of 5G-fighter in December

Russia is planning to sign in December an agreement with India on the preliminary design of a joint fifth-generation fighter aircraft, a senior Russian aircraft industry official said on Wednesday.
Russian Sukhoi holding and Indian Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) agreed in early 2010 to jointly develop a fifth-generation fighter jet, tentatively dubbed PAK FA.
"An agreement with India on the pre-design of the PAK FA will be signed in December," said Alexei Fyodorov, head of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.
The sides agreed to develop both a single-seat and a two-seat version of the aircraft by 2016, focusing on the single-seat version in the initial stages of development.
The new aircraft will most likely be based on Russia's T-50 prototype fifth-generation fighter, which has already made several test flights and is expected to join the Russian Air Force in 2015.
Russia has been developing its fifth-generation fighter since the 1990s. The current prototype, known as the T-50, was designed by the Sukhoi design bureau and built at a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia's Far East.
Russian officials have already hailed the fighter as "a unique warplane" that combines the capabilities of an air superiority fighter and attack aircraft.
KIEV,  (RIA Novosti)

Sitting Duck 's for India

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Indo-Russian Tactical Transport Aircraft - MRTA

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Russia successfully test launches two ICBMS

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia has successfully launched two inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) from land and naval platforms in order to test the operational capability of deployed missiles.

The RS-12M Topol missile was launched from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia and hit its designated target on the Kura test range in Russia's Far East Kamchatka region, Space Forces spokesman Lt Col Alexei Zolotukhin told ITAR-TASS, Thursday.

The tested missile was in active service from 1987 to 2007 with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo in Ivanovo region, about 240 km northeast of Moscow.

Thursday’s test launch has allowed Russia to extend the service life of Topol missiles to 23 years from initial 10 years.

The Defence Ministry said Thursday that the Russian naval submarine "Bryansk" also test launched the regular 'Sineva' ballistic missile from the submerged position in the Barents Sea.

It noted that the dummy warheads precisely hit the designated targets at Kura range in Kamchatka.(Brahmand)

October 28, 2010

Boom of guns and business battle - Singapore firm speaks out after sikkim trial of us arms

(By The Telegraph) Somewhere in Sikkim this week, the hills are echoing with the thunder of American “flying cannons” firing volley after volley of Indian ammunition — not to start a war with China, but in the hope of winning a Rs 2,900-crore ($650 million) order.
In the Indian Army’s high-altitude firing range, artillery officers are supervising what they call “confirmatory trials” of the BAE Land Systems 155mm/39cal M777 ultra-light howitzers even as the foreign and defence ministries in New Delhi look for a big idea — such as a multi-million-dollar cheque — to add zing to Barack Obama’s India visit.
The deal for the “flying cannons” — so-called because the ultra-light howitzers weighing just about 4.2 tonnes each can be underslung and flown by some helicopters — is already a minor victory for the Pentagon. The M777 uses titanium and aluminium alloys to keep its weight low.
Whether the contract is signed during the presidential visit or not has become secondary. The Singaporean rival vying for the order has complained and cried foul but both the Indian defence ministry and the Pentagon have decided the deal will be pushed through.
The army wants the guns to equip six new Indian artillery regiments — the initial order will be for 145 howitzers — being raised especially for the China border.
Last week, a senior US government official confirmed, two of the BAE Land Systems-made M777 ultra-light howitzers landed in Delhi. They were then flown to Sikkim.
The aircraft carrying the guns overflew Gwalior where a gun of the same category — called the Pegasus, after the winged horse of Greek mythology, has been idled.
The Pegasus is made by Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) that is swinging in the grey area of a blacklist and a ban after the defence ministry asked the CBI to probe its links with former chief of the Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipto Ghosh.
STK’s chief marketing officer, Brigadier General Patrick Choy, has written to the defence ministry more than twice asking for an opportunity to be heard. Now, he does not mind going public.
“Our gun was on the firing line for the trials last year when suddenly it was asked to be withdrawn,” he told The Telegraph over phone from Washington DC. “We have not been given an explanation and our gun is still in India and now we hear that the M777 is being tried,” he said.
“I have written to the MoD (ministry of defence) expressing my frustration — there doesn’t seem to be a level playing field. Why have I been blocked from the competition? But there has been no response,” said Patrick.
But Indian Army officials — and BAE sources — say that the M777 has been ready for trials for long. Last year, one of the trials got deferred after the Indian Army said the Pegasus was yet to be calibrated to fire Indian ammunition.
The government then re-tendered but earlier this year the defence secretary, Pradip Kumar, said India was considering procurement of the M777 through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, a direct government-to-government transaction that effectively bypasses competition.
Even now, as the gun is being evaluated, senior officers call it a “confirmatory trial”, a phrase that conveys both a confirmation of the order and the testing of the guns.
Asked why the test if the order is confirmed, an official said: “We wanted to check its performance in Indian conditions.” The guns were also tried in the Rajasthan desert in summer.
The M777 is used by the US Marine Corps, Canadian and Australian armed forces and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. The Indian Army projected the need for ultra-light howitzers from a lesson learnt in the 1999 Kargil war — to deploy big guns faster in high altitude.
Despite the controversy dogging the process of the selection, the army is simply relieved that the government is inclined to place the order because it has not added a single big gun to its arsenal since the Bofors FH77 in 1987.
In a notification to Congress, the Pentagon’s sales wing has said: “The (M777) howitzers will assist the Indian Army to develop and enhance standardisation and to improve interoperability with US soldiers and Marines who use the M777 as their primary means of indirect fire.”
Needless to say, the Indian order will also generate jobs in the M777’s assembly plant in Mississippi.
BAE Land Systems, that has a joint venture in India with Mahindra & Mahindra, is also in competition with STK for an order of towed howitzers of the 155mm/52cal. BAE has fielded the FH77B05, a modernised version of the Bofors gun that was seen in action in the 1999 Kargil war, and STK was in the competition with its iFH 2000. But a frustrated STK, whose Indian partner is Punj Lloyd, has flown-out the gun that it had brought for the trials to India.

First Deliveries of Israel Aerospace Industries' Multi Function Surveillance & Threat Alert Radar to a foreign customer

(Source : IAI ) Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) delivered it’s first multi function surveillance and threat alert radar (MF- STAR) to a foreign customer. IAI will display a 1:2 scale MF- STAR model at the 22nd International Naval Defense & Maritime Exhibition and Conference, EURONAVAL 2010, October 25 to October 29, 2010 in Paris, France (Booth C24). 
The MF- STAR is an advanced all-weather, day/night radar capable of performing various missions simultaneously such as multiple target tracking and identification, defense munitions guidance, and more. It provides a 360° defense against a wide variety of airborne platforms and munitions. 
The MF-STAR, developed by ELTA Systems Ltd. d an IAI group and subsidiary, is the first fully digital operational naval AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) in the world. Fiber optic cables replaced the waveguide and coax cables which substantially reduced its weight so it can be installed onboard small frigates or corvettes. MF-STAR can create multiple simultaneous beams in different directions. The technology of the radar array electronics is implemented in tiles laid in parallel to the array thus providing significantly reduced antenna weight.
Nissim Hadas, IAI Corporate Vice President and President of ELTA, said:" ELTA has a great reputation producing maritime radar systems for diverse applications. We supply our customers with high quality, cutting edge technology, so their needs are fully satisfied and the challenges they face in different arenas, are answered".

October 27, 2010

Black Sea Fleet to get 18 new warships and renew naval aviation till 2020


Black Sea Fleet (BSF) will receive six Project 22350 frigates, six Project 677 diesel submarines, two Project 11711 large landing ships, four ships of other projects, modernized bombers Su-24M instead of obsolete versions, and ASW aircrafts Il-38 instead of amphibious aircrafts Be-12 till 2020, reports Zerkalo Nedeli referring to Russian Navy Main HQ. (Rusnavy)

Reinforcement of Black Sea Fleet will be conducted under State Arms Program 2011-2020, added the source.

Navy Main HQ previously said that most of BSF ships have been in service for over 35 years, so by 2015 when new ships are commissioned into BSF the whole fleet would be in need of replacement. Being in operation for over 40 years, ASW aircrafts will be subject to decommission by that time.

On Oct 20 Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers signed a document providing that Russia will inform Ukraine about manpower, arms, and strength of Black Sea Fleet. Anatoly Serdiukov pointed out that the significant agreement signed is the first step to renewal of Black Sea Fleet.

Currently, Russian BSF has less than 40 warships, including the fleet's flagship Guard missile cruiser Moskva; two submarines (only B-871 Alrosa is operable); two large ASW ships; three frigates; small missile, landing, reconnaissance ships; seagoing minesweepers, and salvage vessels. BSF naval aviation numbers about 35 aircrafts (Su-24, Su-24MR, Be-12, An-2, An-12, An-26) and 20 helicopters (Ka-27, Mi-14, Mi-8). Fleet manpower numbers about 25,000.

Black Sea Fleet (BSF) is an operational-strategic formation of Russian Navy; its main objective is ensuring Russia's military security in the Black Sea. It is believed that BSF was established on May 13, 1783 when the group of warships from disbanded Azov Flotilla led by Vice Admiral F.A. Klokachev arrived to Akhtiarskaya Harbor. Through over 200 years of its history, Black Sea Fleet took part in many campaigns, including Russo-Turkish wars, French War, the Great Patriotic War. Black Sea Fleet has written glorious pages in Russian Navy's chronicles; they are Battle of Tendra (1790), Battle of Sinop (1853), defense of Sevastopol (1854-1855, 1941-1942) and etc. During the Great Patriotic War BSF conducted 24 landing operations, scuppered 835 and damaged 539 enemy's ships. The breakup of the USSR made a serious strike upon Black Sea Fleet; according to bilateral agreements between Russia and Ukraine signed in 1995 and 1997 Soviet BSF was divided into Russian Black Sea Fleet and Ukrainian Navy. Nowadays, the greater part of the fleet's infrastructure is located in Ukraine. In 2008 Black Sea Fleet participated in Russian-Georgian conflict. Black Sea Fleet HQ is situated in Sevastopol. Some BSF naval bases are Novorossiysk, Sevastopol; under construction are Novorossiysk and Ochamchira (Abkhazia). Since July 17, 2007 BSF Commander is VADM Alexander Kletskov.

France to sell Mistrals to Russia without technological limits

(By Rusnavy)  Builder of Mistral class amphibious assault ships – French state-led company DCNS – is not limited in technology transfer to Russia, reported RIA Novosti citing Pierre Legros, DCNS director.

Some Russian and foreign sources previously reported that Mistral class ships would be sold to Russia without newest control systems.

Mr. Legros said those vessels are going to have the same systems as the French ships have and there are no restrictions.

On the other hand he pointed out that the ships would differ from their French analogs.

In particular, Russian party has already requested to thicken the flight deck for Russian heavy helicopters and provide ice protection by hardening of the ship's hull, said the DCNS director.

French Navy spokesman Hugues d'Argentre said in his turn to RIA Novosti that all systems installed onboard Mistral class ships are made by France but not by the U.S. or other NATO countries.

Russia is about to purchase four Mistral class carriers from France providing that two ships will be constructed in France, and other two – in Russia.

Multirole helicopter carrier Mistral has displacement of 21,000 tons; extreme hull length is 210 meters; max speed is over 18 knots; fuel range is up to 20,000 nautical miles; crew is 160. In addition, the ship is capable to carry up to 450 men.

Air group includes 16 helicopters; six of them can be simultaneously placed on the flight deck. Cargo deck accommodates over 40 tanks or 70 wheeled trucks.

PLA Makes Big Investments In Artillery


By Richard D. Fisher, Jr.
Alexandria, Va.(Avaition Week)
The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance 2010 report places China third in the number of artillery systems it fields, after Russia and North Korea. But China doubtless exceeds both in resource commitment and breadth of artillery investments. Credited with an estimated 17,700-plus towed, self-propelled and rocket systems, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has at least 56 artillery systems in use, development or available for export. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps, by contrast, have 8,137-plus artillery pieces of roughly 10 types.
China has had a mixed record of using artillery for military and political-military goals. Its successes, as when it routed Indian forces in 1962 with the high-altitude use of artillery and mortars, have been offset by incidents provoking third-party responses or leading to regional standoffs. Examples include the shelling of islands controlled by Taiwan in 1955-58, resulting in U.S. intervention and a stalemate over the Taiwan Strait. In July, a unit based in the Nanjing military region fired missiles from 300-mm. PHL-03 multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) into the Yellow Sea to show China’s anger at U.S. naval exercises with South Korea. The exercises, a result of China-backed North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonon in March, went ahead anyway.
China’s evolution as an artillery power stems from Soviet and Russian influences dating to the Korean War. Soviet artillery and training improved PLA artillery operations during the war and led to the formation of the first formal artillery command. Soviet aid continued through the 1950s, and by the time of the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s, China was producing copies or modified versions of Soviet pieces.
The PLA makes extensive use of Soviet-origin 152-, 130- and 122-mm. calibers, though Western calibers such as the 155- and 105-mm. are seeing greater use.China purchased the Russian 9A52 Smerch 300-mm. MRL in the 1990s, and the PLA produced a near facsimile in the A-100/PHL-03 MRL. The 155-mm. PLZ-05 self-propelled artillery system that emerged in 2005 bears an uncanny resemblance to the Russian 2S19 MSTA.
In the 1990s, PLA artillery was affected by reforms in strategy (its closest concept to doctrine) and organization. Toward the end of the decade, the PLA was immersed in strategy goals of “informatization” and “mechanization.” The former included the broad application of improving information technologies, which for artillery included new computer-based fire controls and ever-improving digital communication and command linkages. PLA artillery units increasingly include fire-finding counter-battery radar such as the 50-km.-range (31-mi.) SLC-2 and Type 704, and use sophisticated electronic warfare systems such as the Russian SPR-2 radio fuse jammer, a possible Chinese facsimile and possibly a recently revealed artillery radar jammer. Artillery recon vehicles and recon troops feature advanced optronic and digital communication capabilities. In addition, PLA artillery units have sophisticated meteorological capabilities and use muzzle velocity radar to improve accuracy.
Mechanization put renewed emphasis on developing tracked and wheeled self-propelled tubed artillery, with rocket artillery largely truck-mounted. This trend was emphasized in late 2004 when Chinese Communist Party and PLA leader Hu Jintao enunciated the PLA’s new “historic missions,” a euphemism for invasions, which call on the PLA to defend state interests abroad. It is likely that new medium-weight artillery systems based on airmobile armored personnel carriers will follow for these strategic missions.
Organic PLA artillery units have decreased in size, following the pattern of general large-scale troop reductions. When combined with “informatization” advances, this will permit many infantry and armored divisions to be reformed into mechanized brigades. However, in a counter-trend that emphasizes their continued importance, the PLA maintains five independent artillery divisions and 20 independent brigades. Of these, two divisions and six brigades are stationed in the Shenyang and Beijing military regions, for potential Korean contingencies. Three divisions and eight brigades are in the Nanjing, Guangzhou and Jinan military regions, for Taiwan contingencies.
Among artillery systems, mortars include a 60-mm. hand-held system used by infantry and special forces. The new Type 93 60-mm. fixed mortar weighs 22.4 kg. (49.2 lb.) and fires 20 rounds/min. to 5.5 km. There are also fixed W91 and W87 81-mm. mortars that fire to 8 km. and 5.6 km., respectively. The PLA has largely copied Russia’s Vasiliyek 81-mm. automatic mortar, called the W99 or SM-4, which comes in a towed version or mounted in a Hummer-like vehicle. It fires four rounds in 2 sec. out to 6.2 km. The W86 120-mm. towed mortar weighs 206 kg. and fires 20 rounds/min. to 4.7 km.
In 2001, the PLA revealed the PLL-05 mobile mortar, based on the Russian 120-mm. 2S23 NONA-SVK that it purchased in the 1990s, but mounted on a WZ-551 6 X 6 armored personnel carrier (APC). It fires a rocket-assisted round 13.5 km. In 2007, the PLA revealed a laser-guided 120-mm. mortar round, though it is not clear if it is in service.
Towed and self-propelled tubed systems dominate artillery units. The largest number of towed guns are likely the 122-mm. versions. These include the Type-96, based on the Russian D-30, with a 360-deg. traversing base, and the simpler Type-83. Their rocket-assisted rounds have a 27-km. range. The Type‑59 130-mm. towed gun fires a rocket-assisted round 44 km. Of heavy towed artillery, the 152-mm. Type-66, a copy of the Russian D-20, is most numerous and fires rocket-assisted rounds 28 km. In 1999, the PLA revealed the 155‑mm. PLL01/WA 021 towed artillery system, based on the Austrian Noricum GH N-45, which fires a rocket-assisted round 50 km. The PLL01 and the Type‑66 fire 155- and 152-mm. versions of the Russian Krasnopol laser-guided shell.
Self-propelled tubed artillery includes the PLL02, which places the Type-86 100‑mm. gun on a WZ-551 APC. In 2009, the PLA revealed the new Type-07 122-mm. tracked artillery system, which features hull and electronic improvements over the previous Type-89 tracked 122-mm. system. In 2009, photographs appeared on the Internet of the SH-3, a truck-mounted 122-mm. artillery system with digital control systems in a hatch over the cab.
Heavy self-propelled systems include the 155-mm. PLZ-05, which has a version of the PLL01 gun, and appeared in 2005. It is replacing the 152-mm. Type‑83, which entered service in 1983. The PLZ-05 also fires the Krasnopol laser-guided projectile and a rocket-assisted round 50 km., and is capable of flat-trajectory antitank fire. Unconfirmed reports state the PLZ-05 has an automatic gun-loading system and weighs 35 tons.
PLA investments in rocket artillery are impressive. A five-wheel all-terrain vehicle has been modified to carry a 107‑mm. MRL for experimental mechanized special forces units. The tracked Type-89 and more recent Type-90 truck-mounted 122-mm. MRL feature self-contained 40-round rocket reloaders. In addition, the Smerch-derived 12-round PHL-03, which reportedly fires a 150-km.-range missile, is entering increasing numbers of artillery units. The latest AR1A export variant features a modular U.S. MLR system-style 5-round rocket carrier, which speeds reloading. In 2009, Norinco revealed an as yet unidentified truck carrier for this 5-round rocket box, similar to Lockheed Martin’s High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
The PLA is also investing in larger MRL systems. The 400-mm. WS-2D reportedly has a range of 400 km., and one payload features three “killer unmanned aerial vehicles,” according to a Chinese report. An earlier 200-km.-range version, the WS-3, uses navigation satellite guidance to achieve a remarkable 50-meter (164-ft.) circular error probable. The WS family complements the 150-km.-range P-12 and 250-km. B-611M maneuverable navsat-guided short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), which could supplement or replace the PLA’s two brigades of 300‑600-km. DF-11A SRBMs.
New artillery systems are entering amphibious and airborne units for possible missions abroad. PLA marine and army amphibious units are receiving the Type‑07B tracked 122-mm. amphibious artillery system, which places the gun from the Type-07 on a larger hull. Airborne units are equipped with a version of the Type-96 122-mm. gun, but a new tracked airmobile APC may feature a mortar or gun system. The ZBD-09 122‑mm. gun system could eventually feature in airmobile army units. Future artillery systems may feature electromagnetic launch, an area of extensive research. The PLA is also interested in ramjet-powered and stealth-coated artillery shells.

Sagem to provide Sigma navigation system for French Navy’s nuke attack subs

PARIS (BNS): French shipbuilder DCNS has selected the Sigma 40XP inertial navigation systems for the French Navy’s new Suffren class nuclear attack submarines it is building under the Barracuda project.

The Sigma navigation system is designed by defence company Sagem.

The decision came after DCNS witnessed the Sigma 40XP’s “high performance” demonstrated during sea trials conducted by the French Navy using a number of ships including the Monge test and measurement vessel, the Beautemps-Beaupré oceanographic research ship, and Rubis/Amethyste class nuclear attack submarines.

Featuring advanced technologies like laser gyros and sophisticated digital filtering, the Sigma navigation system will be incorporated in the new submarines’ combat system.

It will play a critical role in the success of all tactical missions, as well as navigation in close quarters and weapon systems, including the planned SCALP naval cruise missiles, according to Sagem.

The navigation system has been fitted in a number of surface vessels and submarines developed by over 30 navies worldwide.

Sagem has also been contracted to provide the DAS air-surface optronic and radar detection system on the Suffren class nuke subs.
(Source : Brahmand)

US hopes to clinch major defence deals during Obama's Nov visit

By Financialexpress :  The US is eying a major chunk of the Indian defence pie and President Barack Obama will seize the opportunity during his visit to catapult his country to one of the top three arms exporting nations in the world.
The focal point of Obama's visit, besides easing of export controls on sensitive dual-use technology, would be co-operation in space and defence deals, the main ones being Patriot ground-based missile defence programme, high frequency radars for monitoring cross-border movement, coast guard equipment and highly-sensitive sensors for the home ministry, Also sought will be a contract for the purchase of C17 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft, procurement of four more P81 maritime reconnaissance aircraft and GE engines for light combat aircraft (LCA).
Talking to FE, Michael Krepon, co-founder of Stimson Centre, Washington DC, said, " I expect a loosening of export controls for high-tech cooperation. India is making rather large defence deals with Russia. By comparison, Indo-US defense cooperation implementing agreements continue to be mired in red tape. It's the Indian bureaucracy, not the Pentagon, which appears to be the reluctant party."
Mathew Hoey, a former senior research associate at the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, said, "For the US, a slot among the top arms exporters to India, would be possible if the last remaining export controls between India and the US defence industry are removed. Due to India's experiences with cost overruns and delays related to high value military exchanges with Russia, India might find itself looking to the US as an alternative to Russian military technology."
Serious competition between the US and Russian defence industries can be expected, especially with billions of dollars on the line. Interestingly, this competitiveness is noticeable in the visits that are following that of President Obama in November . These visits include those of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev in December.
American defence industry players are increasingly looking at the East to establish manufacturing bases in order to take advantage of the region's growing engineering design and low-cost manufacturing capabilities.
As leading US defence contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing face a decrease in missile defense spending on the part of the Pentagon, these losses can be supplemented by India. In the case of Raytheon, a senior company official overseeing the Patriot ground-based missile defence programme stated in July, "A number of exchanges have taken place between the governments of India and the US and classified information has been given to India about the Patriot missile programme."
This is indicative of the Patriot system being a focal point and it is expected that the visiting President might take steps to facilitate India's acquisition of the Patriot system during the forthcoming visit.
A recent report by AMCHAM - KPMG focuses on the improving landscape for US business and Indo-US commercial enterprise in the Indian defence sector. The report highlights the growing proximity between the defence establishments of the two countries in light of the renewed warmth in Indo-US political relations and the large exposure of US defence companies to Indian defence requirements, which is creating unique opportunities for the two countries to jointly explore growth avenues in this sector.
The increasing convergence between Indian and US defence establishments is manifested in the signing of several major procurement contracts between the two countries, including procurement contracts for 12 P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft worth over $ 3 billion, 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers worth $647 million, F414-GE-INS6 engines for the LCA worth $ 650 million, 24 Harpoon Block II naval surface missiles for $170 million, 6 Martin C-130J 'Super Hercules' aircraft for Indian Special Forces worth $ 1 billion and six UH-3H Sea King troop carrying helicopters for $88 million. Together, these have created offset obligations of over $1 billion, which now account for 42% of all international offset obligations created since the Defence Procurement Policy made offsets mandatory, thus creating significant opportunities for collaboration between Indian and US firms.
Lockheed Martin is exerting pressure on the Obama administration and has been in discussions with the defence ministry in New Delhi in an effort to supply the Indian armed forces with what is seen as the most advanced and successful missile defence technology in the US military's portfolio — the Aegis Combat System (ACS).
According to Boston-based Hoey, "India's desire to purchase the means to enhance their logistical capability have been attained in part by closing a deal in 2008 to purchase six C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft valued at nearly $1billion — this deal included "spare engines, related equipment, and operational and maintenance training. "
This heavy lift logistical capability will be complemented by India moving closer to adding 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft in the country's largest military transaction yet. According to Vivek Lall, vice-president and country head, Boeing Defence, Space and Security, "The negotiations are going well between the two governments for the C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft." The value of the deal has been estimated to be around $5.8 billion.
Boeing's P-8I Maritime Aircraft for the Indian Navy has been designed to conduct ELINT and anti-submarine warfare and not only incorporates Indian developed design features, but also Indian built subsystems

Russia's new-generation frigate to be floated out on Friday

The Admiral Sergei Gorshkov frigate will be floated out on Friday, a Russian Navy spokesman said.
"It is planned that the sea trials of the ship constructed using the latest methods in shipbuilding will begin in 2011," the spokesman said.
The warship is part of an upgrade program of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.
The Admiral Sergei Gorshkov class frigate is capable of carrying out long-range strikes, anti-submarine warfare and air defense missions in distant maritime zones.
The Russian Navy said earlier it plans to build 20-30 frigates of this class in the future to supplement all four of its fleets.

MOSCOW,  (RIA Novosti)

Enhanced Merlin takes to the air

(By Flight Global) The first upgraded AgustaWestland Merlin Mk2 helicopter has made its initial flight two months ahead of schedule, say the airframer and Lockheed Martin UK - Integrated Systems.
The 35min flight from AgustaWestland's Yeovil plant in southwest England went as planned, say the companies. Initial flight tests will focus on testing the new avionics, aircraft management systems, cockpit displays, communications and navigational systems.
Under the 2006 £750 million ($1.13 billion) Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP) the two companies are upgrading 30 Merlin Mk1s for the UK Royal Navy. The MCSP is designed to improve mission capabilities through the inclusion of an open system architecture, enhancements to the mission system processing capability, plus improvements to the helicopter's radar and sonar as well as new large-area touch-screen flat panel displays.
Four trials aircraft will be used to put the new systems through their paces. The bulk of test flying will take place at Yeovil, with the aircraft due to be transferred to Qinetiq at Boscombe Down in late 2011 for further mission system evaluation and release to service trials.
Full-rate conversion will start at Yeovil in early 2012 with the Mk2 entering service in 2013 and achieving full operational capability the following year.

October 26, 2010

Indian Army Conducts Trials of BAE Systems M777 Howitzers reports Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India quotes unnamed American government officials saying that India was keen on buying 145 M777 howitzers from the United States and the guns were put on trial in India last week. With India's artillery procurements getting delayed, New Delhi had expressed its interest to the US to buy the guns for which US Congress approval had been sought.

"We are now moving towards more military sales" they added. The officials also noted that the Indo-U.S. military relationship was "matured and well evolved," and not based on one transaction. "It is based on exchanges. This is not a relationship, it is partnership," they said, pointing out that U.S. military exercises with India was the "biggest" the Americans held. India's Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces hold frequent exercises with the US counterparts.

The M777 howitzer is a towed artillery piece manufactured by BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems division. Prime contract management is based in Barrow-in-Furness in the UK as well as manufacture and assembly of the titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and testing of the weapon is undertaken at BAE's facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.   
(source : India Defense)

United States Commits $12.5 billion for Super Military Base in the Pacific

(By India Defense) : The US is building a $12.5 billion super military base on the Pacific island of Guam in an attempt to contain China's rapid military expansion. The expansion will include a dock for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile defence system, live-fire training sites and the expansion of the island's airbase. It will be the largest investment in a military base in the western Pacific since the Second World War, and the biggest spend on naval infrastructure in decades.

However, Guam residents fear the build-up could hurt their ecosystem and tourism-dependent economy. Estimates suggest that the island's population will rise by almost 50 per cent from its current 173,000 at the peak of construction. It will eventually house 19,000 Marines who will be relocated from the Japanese island of Okinawa, where the US force has become unpopular.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that this could trigger serious water shortages. The EPA said that dredging the harbor to allow an aircraft carrier to berth would damage 71 acres of pristine coral reefs. EPA's report said the build-up would "exacerbate existing substandard environmental conditions on Guam". Local residents' concerns, however, have been sidelined by the US-China strategic competition. China has significantly expanded its fleet during the past decade, seeking to deter the US from intervening militarily in any future conflict over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, and to project power across disputed territories in the gas and oil-rich South China Sea.

Beijing's naval build-up is also intended secure the sea lanes from the Middle East, from where China will import an estimated 70-80 per cent of its oil needs by 2035 supplies it fears US could choke in the event of a conflict. China has therefore invested in what are called its "string of pearls" a network of bases strung along the Indian Ocean rim, like Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan and in developing a navy which can operate far from home.

Experts agree China does not currently have the capability to challenge US supremacy in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. "China has a large appetite", says Carl Ungerer, an analyst at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, "but it hasn't got enough teeth".

But China clearly intends to add bite to its naval arsenal. The country has acquired several modern Russian-made submarines and destroyers. Its shipyards are building new nuclear-powered submarines, as well as an aircraft carrier. There have also been reports that China is planning to test a new type of ballistic missile, the Dong Feng 21D, which would effectively render US carriers defenceless.

"China's charm offensive is over", says Ian Storey, an expert at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, "and its given way to what you might call an adolescent foreign policy. The country's flexing its muscles, letting us know it won't be pushed around".

The US is also investing another £126 million on upgrading infrastructure at the British-owned Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia, 700 miles south of Sri Lanka. Key among the upgrades at Diego Garcia, which are due for completion in 2013, will be the capability to repair a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine which can carry up to 154 cruise missiles striking power equivalent to that of an entire US aircraft carrier battle group.

Diego Garcia, which has served as a launch-pad for air strikes on Iraq and Afghanistan, is already home to one third of what the US navy calls its Afloat Prepositioned Force equipment kept on standby to support military deployment anywhere in the world.

October 25, 2010

Eurofighter Supervisory Board meets in New Delhi for the first time

(Frontier India ) Eurofighter has upped its ante on the IAF MMRCA contract. For its long-term cooperation with India, the Supervisory Board of Eurofighter GmbH is meeting in New Delhi the first time. CEOs from Eurofighter partner companies which includes EADS, BAE Systems and Alenia Aeronautica are visiting New Delhi from 25th to 26th October 2010.
The Supervisory Board will support the ongoing Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) campaign and propose to the potential Indian partners additional opportunities for industrial and technological cooperation Bernhard Gerwert, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Eurofighter GmbH and CEO of EADS subsidiary Cassidian Air Systems, says “The Eurofighter Supervisory Board is meeting in New Delhi to underline the importance we attach to integrating India into the programme as a true and equal industrial partner. Even ahead of any contract, we are ready to engage India’s defence and aerospace industry in joint production and research & development (R&D) for Eurofighter Typhoon.” The Eurofighter Supervisory Board members meeting in India also includes Christopher Boardman, Managing Director Typhoon Mission Support & International Programmes of BAE Systems, Enrique Barrientos, CEO Cassidian Spain, and Maurizio de Mitri, Senior Vice President Commercial Defence Aircraft of Alenia Aeronautica.

October 23, 2010

India to induct Northrop Grumman developed MQ-8 Fire Scout


(BY: IDRW NEWS NETWORK)
Government of India has requested Government of United states of America for possible sale of Northrop Grumman developed MQ-8 Fire Scout through foreign military sale (FMS) .
MQ-8 Fire Scout to support Indian army in counter insurgency operation in various parts of India , and it also be inducted into Indian navy  for sea based patrolling from Naval Ships .
Indian Navy plans to use them for checking smuggling , Pirates and illegal fishing in Indian territorial waters ,while Indian army will use them to provide accurate reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting support.
MQ-8 Fire Scout has been already inducted in Us army and Us Navy and if the deal goes through India will be first export customer for MQ-8 Fire Scout .
MQ-8 Fire Scout features four-blade main rotor with payloads of up to 700 pounds (320 kg) for short-range missions.MQ-8 Fire Scout is equipped with one  Rolls-Royce 250 which gives it Max take of weight of 1,430 kg .
MQ-8 Fire Scout can be armed with senors as per user requirements . MQ-8 Fire Scout is vertical takeoff & landing (VTOL) aircraft , and operates just like a mini-helicopter .

October 22, 2010

Russia to produce 150 Bulava missiles before 2020 - expert


 (By RIA Novosti) Russia will need to build more than 150 Bulava ballistic missiles in the next decade, an expert on the Russian arms industry said on Friday.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine, told RIA Novosti that at least 124 missiles would be required for the eight Borey class nuclear-powered submarines that will enter service over the next decade, and a further 30 or 40 will have to be set aside for test launches.
In order to reach that goal, the capacities of the only plant producing Bulava missiles, near the town of Votkinsk in the Urals, will have to be increased, he said.
The development of the Bulava has been beset by problems, but the latest test launch was successful.
The missile, which was fired from the Dmitry Donskoy submarine in the White Sea on October 7, hit its designated target in the Kura test range in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka region.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30), a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), has officially suffered seven failures in 13 tests.
Test launches were put on hold after a failed launch on December 9, 2009, which was caused by a defective engine nozzle.
Two more test launches are planned before the end of the year: one from the Dmitry Donskoy sub, and the other from Russia's newest strategic nuclear-powered submarine, the Borey class Yury Dolgoruky.

U.S. To Sell F-15s With AESA To Saudi Arabia

By Aviation Week :  U.S. State and Defense department officials are detailing a long-expected foreign military sale to Saudi Arabia, including 84 new Boeing F-15SA “Saudi Advanced” fighters with APG-63(v)3 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, as well as upgrades to 70 existing F-15s.
The total package — four separate deals amounting to no more than $60 billion if fully approved and purchased — includes several fighter and helicopter missiles, bombs and precision munitions, dozens of AH-64D Block III Apache helos, 72 UH-60M Black Hawks, 36 AH-6i light attack helos, 12 MD-530F light turbine helos, aircraft engines, spares, radars, and other items and systems. Besides Boeing, major providers include Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, MD Helicopters, General Electric and ITT.
State Department officials say the deals collectively represent a strategic alignment with the U.S., especially the U.S. Army and Air Force, and would run 15-20 years. They also claim there is no “high-level” Israeli opposition and that the Obama administration move has enough key congressional support to carry through.
Regarding that point, Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state at the bureau of political-military affairs, told reporters Oct. 20 that as part of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s notification to Congress of the new deals, administration officials have had “adequate” consultations with oversight lawmakers.
Congress, nonetheless, has frowned on Saudi sales before, with opposition coming from a broader set of lawmakers than only those on foreign affairs and military committees (Aerospace DAILY, April 29, 2008). Support for Israel is a common, bipartisan campaign issue and previous deals have run into opposition for the level of technology being sold to Arab countries.
Still, congressional action blocking such sales is rare and hard to codify into deal-breaking opposition. Lawmakers can block a foreign military sale by passing a verbatim Joint Resolution of Disapproval in both chambers during the same session of Congress.
But even if there is widespread opposition to the Saudi sales, this session of Congress may find it difficult to pass disapproval legislation because lawmakers do not reconvene until mid-November, after elections that could see political power shift on Capitol Hill. Once back, lawmakers face an almost historic level of unfinished business, including regular appropriations across the whole U.S. government.
U.S. armament of allies in the Persian Gulf against Iran has burgeoned since the George W. Bush administration announced the buildup in the summer of 2007 (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 16, 2008).

October 21, 2010

Boeing confident with Indian Super Hornet bid

Boeing is optimistic it will make the shortlist for India's medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement in 2011 with its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, says Rick McCrary, capture team manager for its Defense, Space & Security business unit.
With India having completed in-country flight evaluations of the six candidate airframes, McCrary believes a shortlist will be issued next year to narrow the field, most likely after the Aero India air show in Bangalore.
"I think it will be the heavy twins," he says, referring to the Super Hornet and rival offers with the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and RSK MiG-35. "They're looking for more serious medium combat aircraft, in weight and performance," he says.

Lockheed Martin and Saab are also pursuing the MMRCA contract offering their single-engined F-16IN and Gripen NG designs.
The Indian air force is seeking an initial 126 aircraft, with an option for 50% more at the same unit price, but McCrary says the service could eventually need up to 400 of the winning design. "They've got a huge air force, but it's ageing," he notes.
Deliveries will start within 36 months of a contract award, which is expected to be made in 2012. The first 18 aircraft will be completed by the successful bidder before final assembly and manufacturing responsibilities are progressively transferred to India. "This is a 20-year programme," McCrary notes.
In the case of Boeing, the company would first transfer final assembly and test of the Super Hornet for India from its St Louis site in Missouri and then "work back from there."
McCrary says New Delhi's recent selection of GE Aviation's F414 engine - which also powers the Super Hornet - for the MkII version of its Tejas light combat aircraft could help Boeing's bid for MMRCA. "We think they're disconnected, but would certainly like to think there's some synergy there."
Boeing also continues to answer requests for information about the Super Hornet from the United Arab Emirates about its new fighter requirement. France is also pursuing a proposed sale of its Rafale to the UAE's air force. (Flightglobal)

India to launch its aircraft carrier till the year is over

India has completed assembling the main part of Vikrant class perspective aircraft carrier with displacement of 40,000 tons, reports DNA India. In particular, 2 out of 21 blocks are ready in full, as well as sections for a powerplant and diesel generators. Expectedly, Cochin shipyard will launch the ship till the end of 2010.

Keel-laying of the Indian aircraft carrier was held in Feb 2009 when the government ratified appropriation of funds for the carrier construction. The project has been developed since 2003. The ship is assembled under so-called module principle when each section is built separately. All works are subdivided into 2 phases. The first one is hull construction; the second one is final fitting-out.

According to the project, length of the Indian aircraft carrier will make 260 meters, beam – 60 meters. American-made gas turbines LM 2500 (General Electric) will be used as a powerplant. The ship will have max speed of 28 knots. Air group of INS Vikrant will include 29 deck-based fighters and 10 helicopters (either Ka-31 or HAL Dhruv). In total, it is planned to build two Vikrant class aircraft carriers. Supposedly, the first one will be delivered to Indian Navy by 2013.  (Rusnavy)

Viliuchinsk base expects first Bulava-armed Borei class subs

Pacific Fleet (PF) naval base Viliuchinsk (Kamchatka) is fully ready to accommodate new Project 955 Borei SSBNs, reported RIA Novosti citing Igor Korotchenko, member of social council at Russian defense ministry and editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine.

Thirteenth test launch of SLBM Bulava was successfully conducted on Oct 7, 2010. Once Bulava test program is completed, the missile will be commissioned in 2010-2011. Afterwards, the lead sub of the project SSBN Yury Dolgoruky will be able to conduct interfleet cruise from Severodvinsk to PF – the sub's permanent basing site.

"Expecting arrival of Project 955 SSBN Yury Dolgoruky armed with 16 SLBMs Bulava, quayside zone of Viliuchinsk base was radically rebuilt. In addition, technical protection of basing infrastructure was arranged, the base has been supplied with advanced communication systems, training center has been modernized with new simulators", said Korotchenko.

According to him, after fitting-out and required cycle of trials, other submarines of the project will be also based there as well as at Northern Fleet bases.

At present, Project 955 subs Alexander Nevsky, Vladimir Monomakh, and Svyatitel Nikolai (first two are at high technological readiness level) are at Sevmash shipyard (Severodvinsk) in various phases of completion.

The core of PF nuclear force presently consists of four Project 667BDR submarines – SSBN K-44 Ryazan, SSBN K-211 Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, SSBN K-223 Podolsk, and SSBN K-443 Svyatoi Georgy Pobedonosets; their service life is reaching a 30-year old limit, noted Korotchenko.

He emphasized that in accordance with the top-level decision, main basing site of 16th Submarine Squadron and social infrastructure of Viliuchinsk are being reconstructed and modernized. PF officers' club, base sailor's club, medium general education school, two nursery schools, squadron's HQ building, sports center "Ocean", garrison hospital with polyclinic have been already put into operation. Several apartment buildings are being currently constructed.

All buildings were constructed with regard to seismic requirements and capable to stand 9-10 class earthquakes, pointed out the interviewee.

According to Russian Navy Command's plans, Project 955 submarines are to become the basis of Russia's naval strategic force after 2018 when currently operable submarines of Project 941 Akula (on NATO classification – Typhoon), Project 667BDR Calmar (Delta-III), and Project 667BDRM Murena (Delta-IV) are decommissioned.

SSBN Yury Dolgoruky was developed by Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering; designers applied Soviet-designed materials for subs of this project. "The idea to use hulls of the previous generations made it possible to resolve problem of metals and notably reduce sub construction costs", reported the bureau's press service.

Contract cost of SSBN Yury Dolgoruky made RUR 23 bln, including 9 bln for project development and 14 bln for the sub construction.

SSBN Yury Dolgoruky (Project 955 Borei) has displacement of 14,700/24,000 tons; test depth is 450 meters; speed is 15/29 knots; crew is 107 (55 commissioned). (By Rusnavy)

Russia's Pacific Fleet ready to receive Borey class submarines

A Pacific Fleet's naval base in Vilyuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula is fully prepared to host Russia's new Borey class strategic nuclear-powered submarines, a Russian military analyst said on Tuesday.
Borey class submarines, with the capacity to carry 12 Bulava ballistic missiles, are expected to constitute the core of Russia's strategic submarine fleet after 2018.
"Prior to the arrival of the Yury Dolgoruky submarine in Vilyuchinsk, all piers and main facilities at the base have been rebuilt, new security and communications systems have been introduced, and the training center has been modernized," said Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Defense Ministry's Public Council.
The Yury Dolgoruky, which has completed sea trials in the White Sea, is expected to enter service with the Russian Navy in the near future, pending the outcome of the Bulava testing.
Three other Borey class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky, the Vladimir Monomakh, and Svyatitel Nikolai (St. Nicholas) are in different stages of completion. Russia is planning to build eight of these subs by 2015.
Strategic submarines of the Pacific Fleet are included into the 16th Squadron, based in Vilyuchinsk.
The squadron includes four Delta III class subs - K-211 Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, K-223 Podolsk, K-433 Sv. Georgiy Pobedonosets, and K-44 Ryazan, which was transferred to Vilyuchinsk from the Northern Fleet.
These submarines carry the D-16R missile system with 16 R-29R (SS-N-18) missiles and are being gradually withdrawn from service.
 (RIA Novosti)

October 19, 2010

Airbus Military offers A330 MRTT aircraft to India

(PTI-brahmand): As India seeks to buy new air-to-air refuellers to boost its strategic reach, European defence major EADS has announced it would offer its new state-of-the-art A330 MRTT “at competitive prices” for the reopened multi-billion dollar contract.

India is seeking to buy six more air-to-air refueller to augment its fleet of six Russian IL-78 tankers and the European consortium Airbus Military said it would offer its new Multi-role Transport Tanker aircraft A330 MRTT “at competitive prices.”

The European tanker would come with Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), a technology which only the Americans have so far. The ARBS system enables refueling even in adverse weather and day or night.

It uses the stereoscopic vision and laser based infrared lighting system – a distinct advantage for India as it is set to acquire 126 advanced fighters.

“The Russian refuellers with IAF don’t have this capability,” Airbus officials said.

“We are offering the new A330 MRTT as it provides the best value for money,” said Peter Scoffham, Vice President, Defence Capability Marketing for Airbus Military.

“No other aircraft comes close to A300 MRTT as aircrafts designed in 1970s cannot be compared with those being built now,” Scoffham told PTI at the Airbus Military facility in Getafe, a metropolitan area in southern zone of Spanish city of Madrid.

“The new technology on offer to India bridges the gap between strategic and tactical tanker,” he said, adding “it would be at competitive prices.”

India has so far relied on the Russian technology in acquiring its first air tankers, but the defence planners are now insisting that the IAF be armed with the most updated technology.

India has issued Fresh Request for Proposals (RFP) for six in-flight refuelling aircraft, reviving the tender worth around Rs 6,000 crore that was cancelled in January this year.

Besides Airbus, America’s Boeing and the Russians too are in the contention for one of the biggest military tenders to be floated by India.

Even as Scoffham refused to give details of the new RFP, he said “India has emerged as one of the largest defence markets in the world,” and like all other major defence industries, “Airbus Military is looking to India to sell its products which are the best in its categories.”

A300 MRTT has comprehensive AAR system, including both Hose and Drogue and the ARBS.

Following its last-minute failure to ink the lucrative deal earlier this year, Airbus Military, a business unit of Airbus responsible for all military transport aircraft, said the civil and military certification for the A330 MRTT strengthens its case.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) had almost bagged the contract earlier, but the Indian finance ministry had reservations labelling the contract as “too expensive.”

Israel to deploy third Arrow ballistic missile defence battery

TEL AVIV (BNS): The third Arrow ballistic missile defence battery of Israel Air Force will soon become operational to join the aerial defence "umbrella” provided by the IAF's Cherev Magen (“Defencive Sword”) unit,  a media report said.

According to the Israel Defence Forces' journal Bamachaneh, the ground-to-air system would be fielded in the near future at an unidentified location in the nation's center.

The chosen location will give best defence against long-range threats coming from multiple directions.

The battery would be equipped with new interceptors that provide increased accuracy than older weapons.

The third battery will also be equipped with Oren Adir radar, which is said to have a greater detection range than previous systems and increased capabilities for determining the kind of missile that might be heading toward Israel.

The Israeli Air Force is raising activity levels against the threat of long-range missiles.

ISI heavily involved in Mumbai terror attacks: UK report

(PTI) London: The ISI was heavily involved in preparations for the Mumbai terror attacks, according to classified Indian government documents obtained by a UK newspaper.

The 'The Guardian' said that a 109-page report into the interrogation of key suspect David Headley, a Pakistani-American terrorist arrested last year and detained in the US, makes detailed claims of ISI support for the attacks.

"Under questioning, Headley described dozens of meetings between officers of the main Pakistani military intelligence service, the ISI, and senior militants from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) group responsible for the Mumbai attacks", the report said.

Headley reportedly claimed that a key motivation for the ISI in aiding the attacks was to bolster militant organisations with strong links to the Pakistani state and security establishment who were being marginalised by more extreme radical groups.

Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani, reportedly told the investigators that the ISI hoped the Mumbai attack would slow or stop growing "integration" between groups active in Jammu and Kashmir, with whom the agency had maintained a long relationship, and "Taliban-based outfits" in Pakistan and Afghanistan which were a threat to the Pakistani state.

"The ISI had no ambiguity in understanding the necessity to strike India," Headley is reported to have said.

The aim of the agency was "controlling further split in the Kashmir-based outfits, providing them a sense of achievement and shifting the theatre of violence from the domestic soil of Pakistan to India". According to the report, Headley described meeting once with a "Colonel Kamran" from the military intelligence service and having a series of meetings with a "Major Iqbal" and a "Major Sameer Ali".

A fellow conspirator was handled by a Colonel Shah, he claimed.

Headley also alleged that he was given USD 25,000 by his ISI handler to finance one of eight surveillance missions in India.

"However, Headley describes the ISI director general, Lt General Shuja Pasha, visiting a key senior militant from LeT in prison after the attacks in a bid "to understand" the operation, implying that, as many western security agencies suspect, the top ranks of the agency were unaware of at least the scale of the planned strike", the report said.

An ISI spokesman told The Guardian that the accusations of the agency's involvement in the Mumbai attacks were "baseless"

October 18, 2010

Army on Weapon Buying Spree

(By Deccan Chronicle)

India to set up radar sensors along coastlines

(PTI) The Centre has launched a Rs. 350-crore project to set up radar sensors along the country’s coastlines for surveillance to prevent terrorists from entering the nation to repeat the Mumbai-type attack.

The chain of radar sensors along the entire 7517-km coastline, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep is being set up by the Coast Guard under a Home Ministry scheme.

The radar sensors will be fitted on light houses at 46 locations, out of which 36 are in mainland, six in Lakshadweep Islands and four in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Radar sensors use Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave to reliably detect moving or stationary objects even in extreme weather conditions.

“The government has been on continuing basis reviewing security arrangements of our coastline in the light of emerging challenges, including from terrorists. The decision to set up a chain of radar sensors has been taken to strengthen the coastal security,” an official said.

As part of the overall coastal security, the Navy has been designated as the authority responsible for overall maritime security which includes coastal and offshore security.

The Indian Coast Guard is additionally designated as the authority responsible for coastal security in territorial waters, including areas patrolled by State Coastal Police.

The first phase of the Coastal Security Scheme provides for setting up of 73 coastal police stations, 97 check posts, 58 outposts and 30 operational barracks, equipped with 204 vessels and vehicles in the nine coastal states and four coastal Union Territories.

Last month, the government had approved the second phase of the coastal security scheme to be implemented from April 1, 2011 at a cost of Rs. 1100 crore.

The Ministry of Shipping has also been mandated to streamline the process of registration of all types of vessels - fishing as well as non-fishing - and also to ensure fitting of navigational and communication equipment on these boats.

Of India’s total coastline, 5423 km is along the mainland and 2094 km in the Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.