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April 30, 2011

Chinese Buildup Upsets Strategic Balance

(Aviationweek) : Defense analysts and U.S. Navy brass agree—China’s recent successes in developing an anti-ship ballistic missile and a more robust navy have made the powerhouse Asian nation a much greater military force to reckon with.
China’s muscle-flexing, they say, will most certainly upset the balance of power in the region and force the U.S. to rethink its long-term military and geopolitical strategies for Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Opinions diverge, though, over the real implications of China’s growing super-charged military might.
To be sure, the U.S. is unlikely to be so quick to send another aircraft carrier battle group to the Taiwan Strait as it did in 1996 when the USS Nimitz plowed into those waters.
But no one’s certain about China’s true capability—or will—to take out a U.S. carrier. There’s even less certainty about just what China plans to do with its pumped-up military forces. While some feel the Asian leader will expand its reach in a fashion similar to the old Soviet Bloc, others say China will use its growing force to secure the home front, shipping lanes and what it claims to be its national assets.
Certainly, China is determined to protect its homeland and avoid another political collision. The key to that was the development an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM)—the so-called carrier killer, the DF-21D.
Months ago, the missile achieved the equivalent of what for a U.S. weapon would be called initial operational capability (IOC). The Pentagon has played down that milestone a bit, pointing out that the missile is yet truly untested in any battle scenarios, real or simulated; and analysts wonder about the true capability or lethality of the DF-21D.
“Assessing this carrier-killer missile, as with the J-20 fighter, is impossible without knowing more about China’s true [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and network capabilities,” says Richard Aboulafia, analyst and vice president of the Teal Group consultancy. “A platform, or a weapon of any kind, is only as good as the targeting information it receives.”
Christian Le Miere, International Institute for Strategic Studies research fellow for naval forces and maritime security, says: “There are questions about its terminal guidance system. The mobility of the carriers is a problem, but you can fire toward a basket of coordinates and guide the terminal stage. This is why the accuracy of the guidance system is so crucial.”
The Pentagon recently noted in its annual report on China’s military: “The navy is improving its over-the-horizon targeting capability with Sky Wave and Surface Wave OTH radars. OTH radars could be used in conjunction with imagery satellites to assist in locating targets at great distances from [Chinese] shores to support long-range precision strikes, including by anti-ship ballistic missiles.”
With small numbers of carrier groups or ships and a comparable number of Chinese ASBMs to counter, U.S. forces should be fine, says defense analyst John Gresham, an author of several books on military tactics and equipment. But carriers and other ships face greater risks as the Chinese grow the inventory and improve their targeting capability.
The real question, though, is whether China would take a gamble and take out a carrier. As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes in a recent report, the Asian giant has developed too many entanglements—especially financial ties—with the U.S. to commit such an act of war.
“They’re more likely to use those missiles to threaten other ships, ones that are a threat to their shipping lanes” Gresham says. “They’d use a missile to make a point—to send a signal—to, say, a tanker fleet using a transit lane they claim as their own, or some ship that threatens one of their ships.”
The CRS reported: “Some observers say that China may be building, or may want to eventually build, a series of naval and other military bases in the Indian Ocean—a so-called string of pearls—so as to support Chinese naval operations along the sea line of communication linking China to Persian Gulf oil sources.”
And it’s this “string of pearls”—along with the Chinese homeland, Taiwan and rather large, claimed territorial waters—that China has built its navy and missile batteries to protect. The big concern on the minds of many, though, is whether the U.S. and its allies have to worry about China turning those defensive capabilities into an offensive expansion force the way the Soviet Union did during the Cold War.
China, La Miere says, does not have quite the ideological opposition to the U.S. as it did to the former Soviet Union. “So the relationship is very different; but in terms of being a potential strategic competitor to the U.S., then, yes, Washington may well consider China in the future as its greatest challenge since the Cold War.”
As the CRS reported, “Chinese maritime military forces could influence the political evolution of the Pacific, which in turn could affect the ability of the United States to pursue goals relating to various policy issues, both in the Pacific and elsewhere.”

Rafale, Typhoon score on merit

(DeccanChronicle) : Just why has the Indian Air Force (IAF) short-listed the French Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon ahead of four other contenders, including the US F-16 and F/A-18 fighters, for the Rs 42, 000 crore medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract?
The down selection at the end of a prolonged evaluation of the six fighter jets was evidently based on the fact that the Rafale and the Typhoon were the most modern airframes and better equipped compared to F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-16 IN of the US, MiG-35 of Russia, and JAS-39 Gripen of Sweden.
The Rafale and the Typhoon met most of the 630 technical attributes mentioned in the request for proposal (RFP) by the ministry of defence, while the others lacked either in performance or had limitations in terms of future upgrades.
“Rafale figures a notch higher than Typhoon in terms of performance and involves easier adaptability as it is logistically and operationally similar to Mirage-2000, used extensively by our boys during the Kargil conflict in 1999. The French government has also cleared the technology transfer, including the AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar,” sources in the IAF told Deccan Chronicle.
The other discreet offering by Dassault Aviation too made sense: save on the $1.5 billion project to upgrade 52 Mirage-2000 jets by acquiring the Rafale.
Interestingly, all six fighters were in the race till April 17, the deadline for submission of modified offset proposals. The representatives of these firms were informed of the Union government’s decision to relax the offset policy mentioned in the request for proposal (RFP).
The original rider that half the value of the $ 10.5 billion contract be passed on to domestic firms was modified, fixing it at 30 per cent of the deal. “We were all expecting a word on extension of commercial proposals on the last day, April 28, but got to know that only Dassault Aviation and Eurofighter have been invited for discussions,” said a representative of Saab AB.
Those who lost out have made it known that they would raise issues concerning the price and other attributes of Rafale and Typhoon. The two aircraft are said to be the highest priced among those in the contest when looked at from a unit price point of view. Second, the Eurofighter’s AESA radar is still under development. Only the two US fighters have operational AESA radars on them.
If India finally picks the Rafale, it would be only the second air force after the French Air Force to induct these fighters into its fleet.
India has asked Dassault SA and Eurofighter GmbH to hold their price bids until the end of the year. The deal is expected to be signed by March 2012.
The Final Two
Eurofighter Typhoon – Germany/Britain/Italy/Spain
Dassault Rafale -- France
Out of the contest
Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN – USA
Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet – USA
SAAB’s Gripen JAS-39 – Sweden
Mikoyan-Gureywich’s MiG-35 – Russia

U.S. Now Promoting C-17 Sales To India

 (Aviationweek) : A day after U.S. companies were shut out from the competition to secure the Medium Multi-Role iaCombat Aircraft (MMRCA) program for the Indian air force, the Obama administration is promoting the sale of Boeing’s C-17 transport to New Delhi.
The air force had short-listed the C-17 to be its new heavy-lift transport aircraft two years ago. That deal is worth about $4 billion.
“Once this over $4 billion sale is finalized, the economic impact will be felt by 30,000 American workers and 650 American suppliers located in 44 states,” says U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer. He noted that six Lockheed Martin C-130-J planes were delivered to India in February, with several more since. “These sales demonstrate all the best of American manufacturing, technology and workmanship as they have been delivered on time and under budget. We are expecting similar success with the sale of C-17 aircraft,” he adds.
India rejected bids from Boeing and Lockheed Martin for an $11 billion fighter aircraft contract, short-listing the Dassault Aviation Rafale from France and Eurofighter Typhoon for the air force’s technical selection for the 126-aircraft MMRCA program.
Meanwhile, Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar says, “There are lots of opportunities here, and our partnership with India is not just one deal. We are doing significant work with the Indian aerospace industry to develop it as a part of our offset program.”
Boeing is also looking forward to an $850 million Indian contract for Boeing 787 aircraft, the first of which would be delivered to Air India later this year.

April 29, 2011

Rafael develops 'Silver Sparrow' target missile

(Flight Global) :  Rafael  has developed a new advanced target called the "Silver Sparrow" that will be used as part of Israel's Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile interceptor programme.
The third generation of Rafael's target missiles, the new design follows earlier systems called Black Sparrow and Blue Sparrow. It is intended to test the performance of Israel Aerospace Industries' new Arrow 3 interceptor, which will perform its first fly-out next year.
The Arrow 3 is a totally new missile that will intercept incoming ballistic missiles using a kinetic kill technique, instead of proximity warhead detonation, as used in Israel's current Arrow 2 system.
Little is known about the design of the Arrow 3, but sources have previously said it will be "very energetic" and have "super-manoeuvrability", enabling it to change its trajectory to engage another target detected after launch.
Sources say Israel's Arrow 3s will be deployed in parallel with its Arrow 2 system, and the type of missile launched will be determined by the fire control system.
The need for a longer-range kinetic kill interceptor stems from the threat posed to Israel by the Scud-type missiles with a 216-325nm (400-600km) range that Syria deploys and weapons with a 1,080nm range, such as Iran's Shihab series.
Israel's air force recently fielded its first two batteries of Rafael-produced Iron Dome missiles to protect the country against attack by unguided short-range rockets.

US pressure fails to pull its fighter through IAF test

 (The Times of India) :  From a US versus Europe battle, it has become a Europe versus France tussle. The US did mount a high-voltage campaign over the last four years, with even President Barack Obama making a strong sales pitch for American fighters in the final stages but in the end India went "purely" by the gruelling technical evaluation.

Officials, in fact, said both PM Manmohan Singh and defence minister A K Antony had made it clear that the selection process for the gigantic $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) should be guided solely by IAF's operational requirements, not by "any other extraneous factor", as also the prospect of further modernizing the jets during their 40-year lifespan.

This came even as representatives of only Eurofighter Typhoon (EADS, backed by the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy), French Rafale (Dassault) jets were called to the defence ministry on Thursday to extend the validity of their yet-to-be-opened commercial bids, within two weeks, till December 31.

Rejection letters, in turn, have already been handed over to the other four contenders, American F/A-18 'Super Hornet' (Boeing) and F-16 'Super Viper' (Lockheed Martin), Swedish Gripen (Saab), and Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation).

Though the Europeans were apprehensive that the Americans might use their clout to swing the MMRCA project, like US has done in other defence deals in the past, their fears have now been laid to rest.

The Eurofighter, followed closely by Rafale, "came closest" to meeting the 643 technical attributes specified by India during the long-drawn field trials held by IAF test pilots both in India and abroad under different weather conditions. "The other four fell below the base line of minimum air staff qualitative requirements to be met," said the official.

It is, of course, no secret that India remains unhappy with US for supplying more F-16s to Pakistan on the pretext of the war against terror. Neither is the defence ministry, led by Antony, convinced about the "utility and benefits" of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), the foundational military agreements being pushed by US.

While the absence of CISMOA restricts US from transferring certain high-tech equipment to India, the already-inked End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) gives Washington the right to inspect the military equipment sold to New Delhi as well as puts certain restrictions on their operational use.

Is it any wonder then that India seems to be restricting its military aircraft purchases from the US to transport and reconnaissance planes the like three Business Boeing Jets, six C-130J 'Super Hercules', 12 P-8I Poseidon and 10 C-17 Globemaster-III, which together cost upwards of $8 billion.

Moreover, it's not as if the Eurofighter and Rafale were pushovers despite the geo-political clout of the US. The former is, after all, backed by UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. France, too, has been a long-term defence partner of India and, incidentally, did not impose sanctions after the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.

India Looks At Laser Weapons For Air And Missile Defense

(Aviationweek) : Indian scientists are on the path to develop an airborne missile-intercept system that employs high-powered lasers to destroy missiles during their boost phase.
The Laser Science & Technology Center (Lastec) at India’s secretive Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been building up technologies that can intercept missiles early in their flight.
The weapons will also be utilized for crucial exercises by the country’s armed forces that will involve space security, cybersecurity and hypersonic technology. These futuristic technologies will be incorporated in the Ballistic Missile Defense system being pursued by India.
Last year, DRDO developed an ultra-compact, hand-held laser sensor capable of giving warning in the form of an audio beep as well as a visual indication to the user of any impending laser threat. The device can be used by infantry soldiers in the battlefield and also can be configured as a helmet-mounted system in a modified package.
Recently, India also tested a laser ballistic missile defense system. The laser weapon is capable of producing 25-kw pulses that can destroy a ballistic missile at a range of 7 km (4 mi.). One of these weapons is the air defense dazzler, which can engage enemy aircraft and helicopters at a range of 10 km.
Last year the U.S. conducted a series of tests of high-powered laser weapons on a modified Boeing 747, the ALTB (Airborne Laser Test-Bed), which directs chemical laser energy to destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase.
“While these laser-based technologies will take time to develop and be deployed, the DRDO along with Lastec has mapped out the future course of action in these areas,” a DRDO official says.

April 28, 2011

IAF next gen warplane will be from Europe

Eurofighter, French Dassault shortlisted for MMRCA deal

(The Tribune) : In what is a defining move in the much-talked about $ 10.4-billion deal for the Indian Air Force to buy 126 fighter jets, the Ministry of Defence today effectively shortlisted two European companies.
The ministry today asked the two companies to extend the validity of their commercial bids that are slated to expire tomorrow. The other four contenders in the race have not been asked to extend the validity of their bids indicating that two European companies will form the shortlist for the purchase. “It is shortlisting as only two companies have been invited,” a source said.
A total of the six vendors were competing in the tender for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). Sources said the European consortium’s Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Dassault’s Rafale have been invited extend the commercial bids.
The Tribune was the first to report in these columns on January 11, 2011, saying Eurofighter and Rafale were the top two contenders in the evaluation trails of the IAF.
The other aircraft in the fray - the US Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, US Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-16, Russian MiG-35 and the Swedish SAAB’s Gripen - did not come at the top of the technical evaluation. The warplanes were checked and test flown to quantify 643 parameters in the cold climate of Leh and deserts of Jaisalmer. Weapon testing was carried out in the countries of the manufacturers.
Politically, the move is significant. The European consortium comprises Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy. So far, the European nations had been left out of the “slice” of the multi-billion dollar Indian Defence Budget. The IAF is buying transport planes like the C-130-J and the C-17 in bulk from Lockheed Martin and Boeing, respectively. Both are US companies. Boeing will be supplying the long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the Navy while the IAF is buying its choppers, the MI-17-V, from the Russians. Besides, the Navy is getting a couple of warships built in Russia. Also, the two nations have signed contract to co-develop the fifth generation fighter aircraft for an estimated $30 billion. Italian shipmaker Fincantieri is producing two fleet tankers while French major DCNS is making submarines. The MoD and the IAF also expect that today's move could raise the hackles of the spurned vendors. IAF Chief Air Chief Marshall PV Naik had indicated that by the end of April the shortlisting will be done.

India activates airstrip near Chinese border

(IBN Live ) New Delhi: Wary of the build up of Chinese military infrastructure along its borders, India has silently activated an advanced landing ground (ALG) for its air force transport planes at Dharasu in Uttarakhand to aid in the swift movement of troops during conflicts.
The ALG, at an altitude of 2,950 feet in the Uttarkashi hills bordering China, was made operational in the second half of 2010 without much fanfare with the landing of an AN-32 medium lift transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
This information is contained in the latest issue of 'The Blue Glory', an air headquarters' quarterly news bulletin.
Dharasu was a "professional challenge" for years for the IAF and the "trial landing" of the AN-32 aircraft there was effected by the 12 Squadron of the IAF.
"The ALG is situated in the bowl in hills with restricted approach from both sides. It is at an elevation of 2,950 feet and the usable length of the landing ground is 3,400 feet," the bulletin said.
The landing was achieved under the leadership of Central Air Command senior air staff officer Air Marshal VM Varthaman and 12 Squadron commanding officer, Group Captain SK Indoria, it added.
When Central Air Command spokesperson Group Captain Amit Mahajan was contacted over the phone on Wednesday for further details of the Dharasu ALG opening, he refused to discuss the matter, citing "military" reasons.
When it was pointed out that the information was now in the public domain through the IAF bulletin, Mahajan reacted angrily and said he would not give any more details.
Dharasu's opening for air operations comes two years after India consciously began upgrading and opening ALGs along the 4,057-km-long Sino-Indian line of actual control (LAC).
Apart from military mobilisation, the upgrade of the ALGs would also ensure that the movement of civilians and goods continues when road traffic gets affected during the harsh winter.
Daulat Beg Oldi at the tri-junction of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin, a 38,000 sq km of land in eastern Ladakh occupied by China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war, was the first such ALG to be opened.
The ALG, at the northern-most part of Ladakh at an altitude of 16,200 feet and just nine km away from the LAC, was made operational for AN-32s on May 31, 2008.
Just six months later, the IAF opened Fukche ALG, an old airstrip abandoned after the 1962 war, at an altitude of 13,700 feet, only three km from LAC in the southeastern part of Ladakh on Nov 4, 2008, again with an AN-32 landing.
On Sep 18, 2009, the IAF again carried out a first time landing at Nyoma in southeastern Ladakh, 23 km from the LAC. Nyoma was used as an helicopter base by the IAF prior to the AN-32 landing there.
After reactivating the ALGs in the western and central sectors along the Sino-Indian border, the IAF is also working on upgrading the ALGs on the eastern sector such as Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar, as well as several helipads in Arunachal Pradesh.
Apart from controlling 38,000 sq km of Aksai Chin, China also administers another 5,180 sq km of northern Kashmir ceded by Pakistan under a 1963 pact. China also claims the whole of Arunachal Pradesh state in northeastern India as its own territory.
In recent years, China has build up several air bases in the Tibet region, closer to its borders with India, apart from strengthening the road infrastructure and rail link to the region, to enable quick mobilisation of its troops.
India has responded to the Chinese military build up by strengthening its border roads and air force infrastructure, apart from deploying its front line fighter jets at bases closer to the borders and raising two new mountain divisions for the northeast.

US fighter jets out of MMRCA race: Report

(Zeenews): New Delhi: The bids by American aerospace giants for the coveted USD 10 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal of the Indian Air Force has been declared ineligible after technical evaluation, reports claimed Thursday.

As per the details published by a leading English daily, the government has found Lockheed Martin’s F-16INSuper Viper and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet did not match up with the competition in technical trials.

French Rafale and Eurofighter are the only two fighter aircraft found suitable and have made it to the next round. Russia’s MiG-35 and the Sweden’s Gripen were the other two contenders for the multi-billion deal.
Hence, only Rafale and Eurofighter would be asked to submit commercial bids.

Government’s decision to call only two eligible companies for the next round was impelled by the fact that commercial bids for all six players were to expire by the end of this month. However, the government did have the option of asking all the six contenders to extend their commercial bids and keep the suspense alive.

However, it decided not to prolong the decision making process keeping in mind the deep interest shown by the political establishment of the bidding nations.

The deal was very significant for the US administration with President Barack Obama taking it up took this up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when the former toured India. The Obama administration later wrote a letter to Prime Minister highlighting how much importance it attached to this contract.

The MMRCA deal was discussed at the meeting of the Indo-US Defence Policy Group headed by the Defence Secretary on the Indian side.

Importantly, the Defence Ministry had set a deadline of March next year to complete the entire negotiation process for the MMRCA contract. In view of this deadline, it is imperative for the government to do the technical evaluation and take a decision before the expiry of the commercial bids.

April 27, 2011

'Dump US, be friends with China: Gilani to Karzai'

Washington: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has asked Afghan President Hamid Karzai to dump United States and instead align with China for help in striking a peace deal with Taliban and rebuilding the economy, a media report has claimed.

"The pitch was made at an April 16 meeting in Kabul by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who bluntly told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the Americans had failed them both," the Wall Street Journal reported quoting senior Afghan officials familiar with the meeting.

"Karzai should forget about allowing a long-term US military presence in his country," Gilani said, according to the Afghan officials.
The Journal reported that Pakistan's bid to cut the US out of Afghanistan's future is the clearest sign to date that, as the nearly 10-year war's endgame begins, tensions between Washington and Islamabad threaten to scuttle America's prospects of ending the conflict on its own terms.

The report was immediately denied by Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.

"Reports claiming Gilani-Karzai discussion about Pakistan advising alignment away from US are inaccurate," Haqqani said in his tweet message.

The news report comes within days of publication of secret US cable, released by WikiLeaks, in which top US officials have been quoted as saying that Pakistan's spy agency ISI is a terrorist organisation.

"Afghans in the pro-US camp who shared details of the meeting with The Wall Street Journal said they did so to prompt the US to move faster toward securing the strategic partnership agreement, which is intended to spell out the relationship between the two countries after 2014," the daily said.

"The longer they wait the more time Pakistan has to secure its interests," one of the Afghan officials was quoted as saying.

"Pakistan would not make such demands. But even if they did, the Afghan government would never accept it," Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omar told WSJ.

However, US officials are not taking such development very seriously, the daily reported.

"The US officials sought to play down the significance of the Pakistani proposal. Such overtures were to be expected at the start of any negotiations, they said; the idea of China taking a leading role in Afghanistan was fanciful at best, they noted," it said.

"Yet in a reflection of US concerns about Pakistan's overtures, Commander of the US-led coalition General David Petraeus has met Karzai three times since April 16, in part to reassure the Afghan leader that he has America's support, and to nudge forward progress on the partnership deal," the Journal quoted Afghan and US officials as saying.

Gilani led a delegation of Generals and intelligence chief to Kabul in mid April.

Source : PTI  , Zeenews

Energy Weapons Arm Ships

(Aviationweek) Cannon do not have to be lethal to be useful.
Directed-energy weapons are being paired with traditional kinetic naval weapons to produce an advanced shipboard defense against people, small arms, light boats and unmanned aircraft. Options include non-lethal and low-power effects.
But the new combinations also offer lethal, higher-power capabilities for a much larger target set including enemy air defenses and anti-ship cruise missiles.
Plans include introducing high-power microwave (HPM) devices for counter-electronics attacks and high-energy lasers, say BAE Systems officials, who were in Washington for the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition. Other options are to put the HPM devices into UAVs or small missiles that can be carried by unmanned helicopters like the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout to patrol ahead of and above ships.
The team of BAE Systems as integrator and Boeing, which is supplying the beam director, contends that the technology and platforms, both air and sea, are available and await only the miniaturization of some key components.
The current 15-month program puts a two-phase, 10-kw laser on a ship-mounted, Mk. 38 25-mm cannon. The cannon are being installed on virtually every surface ship in the U.S. Navy. And the laser-supplement program will wrap up with a land-based demonstration. No additional crew is needed to operate the one-man, remote-control, gun and laser system. The laser beam director is installed on the left side of the gun mount and a laser source is located below it. The laser has integrated power conversion and cooling.
The Mk. 38’s current electro-optical/infrared fire-control system would be used for initial detection of small boats, for example, at ranges of roughly 10 km (6.2 mi.). Targeting would then shift to the optics within the laser beam director at 8 km.
“That gives a high-resolution capability to determine how many crewmen there are on a small boat, if they have weapons and what kind of weapons they are,” says John Perry, BAE Systems’ manager of business development for advanced systems. “We then transition to a low-power, eye-safe, green-laser, visual-interruption mode.”
If the threatening behavior continues, there are more options available to the defenders.
“We can switch to the [10-kw] high-energy laser mode and start to engage at 3-4 km,” Perry says. “For a non-lethal engagement, we can target a portion of the boat away from the crew. It could be a radar or a deck-mounted weapon.” Escalating the engagement a bit more, “we could cook off the ammunition—machine-gun rounds, small missiles or rocket-propelled grenades. If it’s [an inflatable] rib boat, we can certainly puncture [air] bladders.”
The amount of time to create effects depends on the target range and material type, and can range from a couple to tens of seconds. The pointing system ensures that the laser beam stays within 3 mm of the aimpoint even with both ships moving in a rough sea.
“For a [10-kw] deck-mounted system like this, in the future we think we can [target] UAVs,” Perry says. “When you get to hundreds of kilowatts [of laser power], you can move into anti-ship, cruise missile defense. Our approach is to get an initial capability out to the fleet to give them a chance to figure out a concept of operations and how it complements kinetics.”
Northrop Grumman also is touting a ship-mounted, high-energy, solid-state laser that has produced “counter-material” effects. During the Maritime Laser Demonstration, which was conducted from the USS Paul Foster between October 2010 and April at the Pacific Ocean Test Range near NAS Point Mugu, Calif., the directed-energy system tracked and damaged moving, remotely piloted small boats.
“Results show that all critical technologies for an operational laser weapon system are mature enough to begin a formal weapon system development program,” says Steve Hixon, vice president for space and directed-energy systems. “Solid-state laser weapons are ready to transition to the fleet.”
The laser was installed on a decommissioned Spruance-class destroyer for the final demonstration, during which it was integrated with the ship’s radar and navigation system. In the final three days of trials, the laser operated more than 35 times in wave heights measuring up to 7.5 ft., says Dan Wildt, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of directed-energy systems.
Part of BAE Systems/Boeing’s air-target plan involves taking external clues from the ship’s radar so the gun/laser system can pick up a track, slew the gun mount and start tracking with optics within the beam director.
Another type of directed energy envisioned for the Mk. 38 gun mount is a BAE Systems-developed, HPM weapon with an anti-electronics attack capability.
By choosing the correct frequency span, HPM “has counter-electronics specific to swarms of small boats where you can stop their engines at [long] range,” Perry says. “Unlike lasers, HPM beams don’t need a lot of accuracy. With a fan [of HPM energy] you can target 10-30 small boats. If you can knock out 50-75% of the engines in a swarm, you can then concentrate on the remainder with lasers or kinetic [cannon].”
HPM weapons built for counter-electronics can disrupt or damage systems such as radars, missile guidance packages and sensor communications. Moreover, cannon have a limited number of rounds on board any ship, while lasers and HPM devices have a bottomless magazine as long as the ship is producing power. For example, 75 kw of ship’s power produced 10 kw of laser energy. Demands on the ship are less for HPM.
“We’ve looked at combining HPM, laser and kinetic weapons as miniaturization improves,” Perry says. “Today that’s a challenge; but you could put a laser on one Mk. 38 mount and an HPM on another and integrate their functionality through a single operator who can toggle the desired effects. Our models show that when we scale up an HPM that can fit on the Mk. 38, we can push the range out to hundreds or thousands of meters. Once you lock onto a target, we have radar apertures—for emitting the HPM—that deploy and focus on the target. The field of view is measured in [single-digit] degrees.”
What’s more, certain frequencies may be modulated so the HPM emitter sweeps through parts of the spectrum to affect specific types of electronics.
“We could have a Fire Scout [unmanned helicopter] out in front of a ship coming into port so it can radiate from above,” Perry says. “HPM can focus large amounts of effective radiated power on a point in space. HPM requires only a couple of seconds of power draw [from the ship] because the pulse width is so short it only requires a few kilowatts.”

Russia successfully tests Sineva SLBM

Russia has successfully test-fired the Sineva submarine-launched ballistic missile from a Delta-IV class submarine, a defense ministry spokesman said.
The missile, lauched from the Yekaterinburg submarine, hit the designated target in time, the source said.
The RSM-54 Sineva (NATO codename SS-N-23 Skiff) is a third-generation liquid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile that entered service with the Russian Navy in July 2007. It has a maximum range of over 10,000 km and can carry four to 10 nuclear warheads, depending on the modification.
The previous Sineva test launch was held in October 2010.
The Russian Navy has seven Delta-IV class submarines in service. They are all deployed in the Northern Fleet.
 (RIA Novosti)

April 26, 2011

Bank Mandiri to Finance Construction of Two Indonesian 40-Meter Missile Boats

State-owned Bank Mandiri will finance the construction of two 40-meter missile boats, worth Rp 65.97 billion (about US$7.65 million), for the Indonesian Navy to help secure Indonesia’s waters.

“The financing, worth Rp 65.97 billion, is given through PT Palindo [ship maker PT Palindo Marine Industry] for two KCR-40s,” Bank Mandiri president director Zulkifli Zaini said in Jakarta on Monday.
Zulkifli said the bank, currently Indonesia’s largest lender by assets, wanted to play an active role in the country’s weaponry development.
“We want to take part in the construction of high-tech missile boats made purely by children of the nation,” he said as quoted by Antara.
(thejakartapost / NavlToday )

April 25, 2011

Combat aircraft deal shortlist to be out soon

(The Financial Express)  : The race for the $10.6-billion contract for 126 medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) is going to gain momentum with the names of the shortlisted candidates expected to be announced by the first week of May. This would follow the concretisation of offset policy by the government which will be released in the next week. The report of the technical evaluation tests of the six aircraft in fray was submitted to the defence ministry in July last year. However, since then the deal has made little progressed even as Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik asserted in February that the deal should be finalized by September.
The ministry sources have told FE the deal is again gathering steam with a concrete offset policy to be in place by April end.
“The shortlisted candidates for the MMRCA deal would be announced by beginning of May,” said a sourcefrom the ministry.
Following the announcement the commercial negotiations for the contract will begin.
The detailed policy is expected to concretise the opening of the civil aviation and internal security in more certain terms, so that there will be no room for confusion. The defence offsets policy is likely to bring in $10 billion during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2007-11).
“The changes are likely to provide invitations to offer offsets proposals to be issued to only those vendors who are validated as technically qualified by the respective service. The shortlisted vendor will be invited for opening of their respective commercial bids,” a source said.
The ministry’s Technical Oversight Committee (ToC) is currently looking at the offset proposals submitted by the contenders for the deal.
Currently, both technical and commercial offset proposals need to be submitted by all vendors competing in a tender. Under the current policy, ToE will examine technical offset proposals, and the commercial offset proposals — submitted as sealed proposals — will be opened only when the respective commercial offer for the vendor is opened.
According to sources, the changes are being designed to help the MMRCA tender process, which is governed by the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2006 and plans to seek a legal route for approval to implement the revision with retrospective effect.
Simultaneously, their proposals for transfer of technology, critical for the rapid development of an Indian capability to build advanced fighters, are also being examined.

IAF scouting for long-range missiles

(TimesofIndia): The Indian Airforce (IAF) is scouting the global arms market for stand-off missiles for its modern fighter jets to shore up their capability to shoot down enemy aircraft beyond visual range, an officer said Monday.

The IAF has issued a request for information (RFI) to global manufacturers of stand-off missiles fitted with light warheads that are capable of hitting enemy planes without engaging them in close dogfights, the officer said here.

"Such missiles become very potent when linked with airborne early warning and control systems (AWACS) that provide inputs on enemy missiles and aircraft beyond visual range. We do possess AWACS and we can make best use of these missiles," the officer added.

The IAF, in its specifications for the missiles, has sought a high-accuracy, precision strike weapon to avoid collateral damage. With a guidance system for both its midcourse and terminal stages after being launched, the missile will be a day-and-night weapon with all-weather operational capability.

Stand-off missiles, which are fired from beyond visual range, allow the fighter jets to remain out of the offensive range of the enemy aircraft.

A ground-based training simulator along with multi-media training packages, dummy training missiles, captive training missile pods and storage-cum-maintenance infrastructure also form part of the system the IAF is searching for.

The IAF's Mig-29 and Sukhoi SU-30 combat jets already operate Russian-origin R-27 medium-to-long-range missiles and the R-77 medium range missiles. The Defence Research and Development Organisation is also developing an air-to-air missile, Astra, with a 100-km range.

The IAF is looking to procure long-range air-to-air missiles at a time when it is increasing the number of Sukhoi aircraft in its fleet, apart from upgrading the MiG-29s.

Will Russia's MiG abandon the Indian race?

RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik : The Indian tender for 126 MMRCAs (medium multi-role combat aircraft) to replace its ageing MiG-21s was announced long ago, but only now is the real intrigue unfolding. Competition between two main rivals - the United States' F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Russia's MiG-35 has been stiff.
The intrigue heightened after Russia announced its MiG-35 would not be on display at an air show in Bangalore. Many experts took the absence of a "real live" MiG as a sign that Russia was pulling out of the race.
Leading entries compared
The Russian and U.S. fighters each have their own strengths. The Super Hornet's design maturity is indeed impressive. It has been in serial production for over 10 years and carries an active phased-array radar (APAR), which is also in serial production. The United States is also in a position to start manufacturing the aircraft for an Indian order at short notice.
The MiG-35's advantages include India's experience of MiG-29s and the fact that maintenance infrastructure for them is in place across the country, as well as Russia's readiness to share production technology with India.
The MiG-35's main shortcoming is its APAR: it is still in development and this is set to continue for a year or two. Also, despite its MiG-29 origins, the MiG-35 still needs refining before it can go into serial production.
Fundamentally, the only thing the MiG-35 shares with the previous MiG-29 family is its appearance. Its equipment and facilities have undergone a radical overhaul. The aircraft is now capable of using the very latest air-to-surface munitions, making it a multi-role fighter, unlike the MiG-29, which is considered an air-supremacy fighter.
The cockpit, in line with the current fashion, is equipped with multi-functional liquid-crystal display screens, while the HOTAS (hands on throttle-and-stick) system allows the pilot to manage all the weapons systems without taking their hands off the aircraft and engine controls.
Vectored-thrust engines make the plane much more maneuverable, increasing its chances of winning in close combat and avoiding long-range missile fire.
The fact that a two-seat version - the MiG-35D - is available, with the same kind of avionics as the single-seater, means that groups consisting of one- and two-seater aircraft can be formed, which are capable of carrying out highly complicated missions. In such formations the two-seaters become command planes, coordinating the moves of a flight or squadron.
Boeing meanwhile ...
Unlike Russia, which decided not to put its MiG-35 on display in Bangalore, the United States has stepped up its activity and unveiled the latest version of the F/A-18, or the Silent Hornet, upscaled with stealth technology.
These warplanes are kitted out with conformal fuel tanks, enhanced performance engines, spherical missile laser warning (SM/LW), enclosed weapons pads and next generation cockpits complete with internal infrared search and tracking systems.
The aircraft on display at the show is the first to be developed as part of the International Super Hornet Roadmap program, which Boeing announced at the Farnborough air show last year. The fighter is being touted as a new generation in the Super Hornet family, which will feature improved combat survivability, situational awareness and performance for customers.
Boeing's vice president Vivek Lall said that if India signs a contract with Boeing under the MMRCA tender it will be able to obtain this technology. "We are creating a platform which will be combat worthy for the next 30 or 40 years," he said.
This announcement is unprecedented for an American company - until now only the United States' closest allies have been granted full access to this kind of technology. All the others had to make do with what they were sold.
Tender results are expected to be announced this summer. They are particularly important for the MiG: should the MiG-35 fail to get an export order, Sukhoi aircraft will be left in a position of unassailable dominance on Russia's combat aviation market.
Despite the unquestioned potential of Sukhoi platforms and their proven quality, such a monopoly is unlikely to be helpful.
The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Iran mounts missiles on hovercrafts

(Press TV) : A senior Iranian naval commander says the country's Army has for the first time equipped the Navy's hovercrafts with long-range missiles.


“Iran is the only country in the world that has fitted its navy's hovercrafts with surface-to-surface missiles,” IRNA quoted Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Moussavi, a top Navy commander, as saying on Saturday.

Rear Admiral Moussavi attached special importance to the installation of such missile systems on the amphibious craft and pointed out, “Regarding the hovercraft's special qualities, including high velocity and versatility..., they can operate in various coastal and naval areas.”

The senior naval commander also referred to the 'comprehensive' researches in the country for the mass production of hovercrafts.

“The deployment of these hovercrafts has boosted the deterrence power of the Islamic Republic's Navy and substantially increased our capacities due to their high speeds,” Rear Admiral Moussavi concluded.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

In January, Iran successfully test-fired the mid-range, surface-to-air Hawk missile, and the Iranian Defense Ministry delivered new cruise missile systems to the Navy.

The systems, designed and manufactured by Iranian experts, are capable of spotting and destroying different targets at sea.

The Navy has successfully test-fired a range of powerful missiles mounted with laser technology, which display high precision and have a range of 45 km (28 miles) to 300 km (186 miles).

GHN/TG/HRF

April 23, 2011

New Designs Suit Tanks For Asymmetric War

(Avaitionweek) : One trend in warfare and asymmetric combat (mostly urban) is the use of main battle tanks (MBTs) in small tactical assault forces. Tank versus tank fighting is virtually nonexistent. Even in high-intensity combat, tankers prefer firing at targets within visual range—2,000-3,000 meters (6,500-9,800 ft.). Longer-distance targets can be attacked with high-precision missiles directed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and laser designation.
Israel is among the countries adapting its MBTs, in this case the Merkava Mk4, for asymmetric combat. Evolving designs will enhance performance in a number of areas, notably firepower, protection, stealth and networked communications. Some tacticians tout the Mk4 as an infantry commander’s dream, for the versatility it can provide in battle when linked with other armored vehicles and dismounted troops.
In Europe, two contractors, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, are working on armor protection and weapon systems for MBTs and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), which not only enhance performance and situational awareness, but give crews more time to make decisions—a key advantage in low-intensity combat.
The trends underway in armored platform design could soon have an influence on battlefield tactics and, in the process, affect the development of a new generation of armored vehicles, including the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle.
One area receiving attention is tank ammunition. Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary MBT developed Lahat, a missile fired through the barrel of a tank, which eliminates expensive retrofit work. Using semi-active laser homing, Lahat can be designated by the firing tank or by an indirect designation, by another tank, UAV, helicopter or forward observers, so that the firing vehicle, using a hull-down position, is less exposed to counter-fire.
Lahat has a range of 8,000 meters when launched from a ground platform, and 13 km (8 mi.) when deployed from a high elevation. The missile’s accuracy is 0.7 meters circular error probable, and at an attack angle of more than 30 deg. penetrates 800 mm (31 in.) of steel armor.
Apart from longer range, higher precision and controlled lethality are guidelines for new munitions. Israel Military Industries’ APAM high-explosive, multipurpose M339 tank round provides one munition for a range of targets and scenarios, decreasing the need for different rounds. The fuse of the APAM is programmable after loading, giving the crew flexibility in targeting choice—antipersonnel, fortification, light armored vehicles, antitank.
Survivability of a tank and crew on a fire-saturated battlefield drove the Merkava’s design. A modular open-platform approach transformed the tank from a vehicle designed to fight other tanks into a versatile platform optimized for a changing battlefield. The Merkava shifts rapidly from low-intensity warfare to high-intensity counter-armor operations. It meets the rising antiarmor missile threat with active protection systems (APS). Mk4s are rolling off the assembly line with Rafael’s Trophy APS as a standard element of the protection suite. The Trophy APS was successfully combat-tested in March, when a Gazan fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at a tank. Elta System’s EL/M 2133 WindGuard sensors detected the projectile and in milliseconds classified the threat as severe and alerted the crew. The Trophy APS tracked the missile. When it was within range, the APS automatically activated the hard-kill countermeasure and destroyed the threat at a safe distance. Longer-distance threats—such as antitank guided missiles—would leave more time for other countermeasures.
The Merkava’s modular design permits changes at acceptable cost as operational requirements shift. Among changes envisioned by the IDF are those that address developments in ammunition, miniaturization of components, elevated observation needs in urban combat, advanced communications, APS radar, new camouflage materials, stealth technologies and enhanced life-support systems for crews.
As part of the evolution of the Merkava family, the MBT chassis is the basis for a family of heavily armored vehicles, designed for multimission operations in high- and low-intensity warfare. The first offshoot is the Namer IFV, which recently entered service and will deploy in large numbers.
Tactical and operational aspects of IDF tank deployment are being debated. Recent conflicts against hybrid opponents, such as Hezbollah, have forced the IDF to rethink the role of heavy forces in combat. The rapidly developing information technology domain presents a significant challenge for designers. The Mk4 is packed with sophisticated electronics, computers and network-centric connections. Rather than having specific processors committed to individual tasks, multiple processors in the Mk4 provide services to applications, each prioritized by parameters such as importance, urgency and process duration. The processors can be located in different areas of the tank and are connected by multiple networks, providing a resilient and survivable infrastructure.
In the past, tanks normally fought and survived within rigid formations. Today, they can operate in looser packs, seamlessly sharing targets, coordinating activities among themselves and cooperating with other elements over the IDF’s new digital C4I network. Each tank is designed as a network-centric system managed by dedicated servers for the turret and hull. It also has a digitally controlled power-distribution system for the turret and all weapon and observation systems. Crewmembers use common workstations, which connect to the tank’s intranet, for operations and to display data.
Enhanced and flexible firepower, ranging from a powerful 120-mm main gun, coaxial and remotely controlled machineguns and semi-automatic mortars, make the latest version of the Mk4 a flexible fighting machine. As the high-pressure gun will probably remain the main armament, extensive research will be invested in munitions technology to enhance the precision of long-range, direct-trajectory fire.
With its combination of firepower, mobility and protection, a Merkava/Namer team at the platoon level could in future operations present unprecedented flexibility for ground commanders. Although this capability has so far only been discussed, a four-vehicle platoon of two Merkava tanks and two Namer IFVs could make a well-balanced combat team, with the redundancy to split into two sub-units without degradation of firepower, especially in urban combat.
Rheinmetall and KMW, meanwhile, are collaborating on the Puma IFV, but disagree on some issues surrounding armor concepts, and in one case have found themselves in conflict. The problem arose with Rheinmetall’s Revolution tank upgrade package, installed as a demonstrator on a Leopard 2A4 tank. Since the Leopard is a KMW product, Rheinmetall is not allowed to refer to Revolution as a Leopard upgrade.
Nevertheless, the Revolution concept shows how technology has changed the tank in the past decade and made it far more relevant to today’s conflicts than it was when those conflicts started. The upgrade includes improved passive protection, but also features an APS with a proprietary defeat mechanism developed by a newly acquired Rheinmetall subsidiary. A state-of-the-art remotely controlled weapon system (RCWS) is on the turret.
Perhaps the most important element of the system is the digital turret. The advent of affordable, high-quality infrared and electro-optical sensors and flat-panel displays, combined with digital maps and networking, eliminates the classic limitation of the tank in situations other than frontal attack—the lack of 360-deg. situational awareness. The RCWS allows pop-up targets to be engaged quickly. The Revolution retains a four-man crew but with flexible tasking. The loader operates the RCWS and can fire the main gun.
KMW has not installed an APS on its own Leopard 2A7 “urban” demonstrator and the company is not a believer in the technology. The 2A7 is protected against multiple RPG shots, KMW says, and it has yet to see an APS that is able to defeat countermeasures such as new RPG systems that fire decoy precursor rounds.
Rheinmetall executives and engineers believe it is not so much that the MBT itself is going through a resurgence, but that its level of protection provides essential options in asymmetric and counterinsurgency operations. Rules of engagement do not favor immediate firepower response to an attack, and the MBT’s level of protection gives the crew time to make decisions.
New armor technology and APS, says Rheinmetall, also make it possible to provide such a level of protection at sub-MBT weights. They argue that the 120-mm weapon is not needed for most vehicles—a 30-mm gun such as that on the Puma, firing PELE (Penetration with Enhanced Lateral Effects) rounds, will be adequate, but could be backed up by a vehicle with a dual-purpose (line-of-sight and high-elevation) 105-mm gun.

By David Eshel, Bill Sweetman

After combat drones, India eyes solar-powered UAVs capable of flying for a fortnight

(Timesofindia) : After launching development of stealth UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles),India is now also looking at designing solar-powered spydrones which can cruise in the sky for several days at a time.

The high-altitude, long endurance (HALE) solar-powered UAV will not just reduce Indian military's carbon footprint but more importantly provide a cost-effective and flexible 24x7 ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) platform akin to "a pseudo-satellite" orbiting closer to the ground.

"Yes, Army and IAF have asked us to develop the solar-powered HALE UAV. Initial work is in progress for such a drone which can undertake a 15-day continuous flight over 30,000-feet," DRDO's chief controller R&D (aeronautics) Dr Prahlada told TOI.

The drone will harvest solar energy during the day, storing it in fuel cells to provide power for electric motors for night flying. "Solar efficiency is low but we are looking at a payload of around 50 kg (sensors, cameras etc). We will seek some collaboration from either US or European companies," said Dr Prahlada.

This comes at a time when several international aviation majors are doing cutting-edge research on solar UAVs. Boeing, for instance, is developing a UAV with a 400-feet wingspan, called Solar Eagle, which can operate continuously for an astonishing five years. It is being described as a "zero-maintenance, launch-and-leave UAV".

With remotely-piloted spy as well as combat drones being seen as major force-multipliers or game-changers in modern-day warfare, DRDO has launched a series of UAV programmes for Indian armed forces, which have largely depended on Israeli drones like Searchers and Herons till now.

As was first reported by TOI recently, this includes the secretive AURA (autonomous unmanned research aircraft) programme to develop UCAVs capable of firing missiles, bombs and PGMs (precision-guided munitions).

The Cabinet Committee on Security has also now cleared a Rs 1,500 crore DRDO project to develop the Rustom-H MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) drone, capable of operating for 24 hours with a 350-kg payload. "Its first flight will take place in two years," said Dr Prahlada.

Then, of course, there is the smaller Rustom-I drone, with an 8-12 hour endurance and a 100-kg payload, as well as the already-developed Nishant UAV, which has a 4.5 hour endurance level.

Army, in fact, has projected a requirement of seven "troops" (akin to squadrons) of Rustom drones. As for Nishants, Dr Prahlada said, "Army has already inducted four such drones, which can be launched from hydro-pneumatic launchers without the need of runways, while eight more are being manufactured."

"Nishants can carry electro-optical, electronic intelligence and communication intelligence payloads. Since they can also be used for counter-insurgency operations, the home ministry has also expressed interest in seeing their operations," he added.

With DRDO working on the entire spectrum ranging from hand-held mini to full-fledged combat drones, a dedicated aeronautical test range from them is also coming up at Challakere, around 220 km from Bangalore. "It will be fully operational in two years," he said.

India Likely To Award Trainer Contract In Third Quarter

(Aviationweek) : India is poised to shortlist a manufacturer to provide much-needed basic trainer aircraft.
The contenders — Grob’s G-120 TP, Embraer’s EMB-312 Super Tucano, Korea Aerospace Industries’ KT-1, Finmeccanica’s M-311 and Pilatus’ PC-7 — emerged following a request for proposals issued in early 2010. The deal is estimated to cost $1 billion.
“The flight trials [of the competitors] have been completed and we are assessing the evaluation made by the Indian air force,” an Indian defense ministry official says. “We expect to award a contract in the third quarter of 2011 and the [deliveries] are expected to commence some time [in] 2012.”
India is seeking to procure 75 aircraft off the shelf, with 106 to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) under a joint venture agreement.
The selected manufacturer will be required to deliver an initial batch of 12 aircraft within two years of signing the contract. The project is aimed at replacing HAL’s HPT-32 Deepak aircraft, which were grounded following several crashes due to technical glitches.
“We are in urgent need of trainer jets for our pilots,” the official says. The air force has been without a basic trainer jet since July 2009.
India’s arms build-up has been hampered by a series of delayed or canceled deals. Analysts say that a delay in awarding the contract for basic trainers could deflate profits for both the bidders as well as the prime domestic recipients of offset work.
Under defense ministry procurement procedures, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that win Indian contracts must support the Indian industrial base by purchasing defense goods and services locally, as well as other direct and indirect investments in defense manufacturing and R&D infrastructure. Offset levels begin at 30% of the contract value and may be higher in certain cases.
The addition of Hawk 132 Advanced Jet Trainers and Intermediate Jet Trainers also is part of the air force’s flight training modernization. Last July, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce signed an agreement valued at ₤700 million ($1.1 billion) to supply Hawk trainers to India.
The deal for 57 aircraft was signed with HAL at the company’s headquarters in Bengaluru during the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron. The order is valued at more than ₤500 million for BAE and as much as ₤200 million for Rolls-Royce.
An earlier order for 66 BAE trainers took two decades to negotiate and was hampered by a lack of parts. The deal was finally signed in 2004, and 24 of these airplanes were completed in December 2009. Of the remaining 42 to be built by HAL, 10 have been delivered, and the entire batch is expected to be completed by 2012.

April 22, 2011

Indonesian Navy successfully tests Russian anti-ship missile

The Indonesian Navy has successfully tested a Russian-made anti-ship missile for the first time, the Antara national news agency reported on Thursday.
The  Yakhont anti-ship missile was launched on Wednesday from the Van Speijk class frigate, Oswald Siahaan, during naval exercises in the Indian Ocean. Russian observers oversaw the drills, which involved 12 ships and over 1,000 personnel.
It took six minutes for the missile to cover 250 nautical miles and destroy a designated target.
"The target ship was hit [by the missile] and sank," Navy spokesman Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said. "We bought these missiles a long time ago, and have finally tested them."
Indonesia bought an undisclosed number of Russian SS-N-26 Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles for $1.2-million apiece in 2007 to replace Harpoon missiles on its frigates.
The missile has a maximum range of 300 kilometers when cruising at high altitude. It flies at low level during the terminal phase, and between 5 and 15 meters in altitude.

 (RIA Novosti)

Obama approves use of drones against Gaddafi troops

U.S. President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed Predator drones against troops loyal to embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said.
"The president has said that where we have some unique capabilities, he is willing to use those," he said during a Pentagon news conference on Thursday. "And in fact he has approved the use of armed Predators."
Two U.S. drones, armed with Hellfire missiles, carried out their first sortie on Thursday, but turned back because of bad weather, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General James Cartwright, told journalists.
Gates said the United States was planning to send neither ground forces, nor military instructors to help Libyan rebels fight Gaddafi, saying that "there was never any lack of clarity about the limits on the U.S. role here."
"The United States has significant commitments in places other than the Middle East," he said.
The command of an international military operation against Gaddafi, initially led by the United States, was shifted to NATO in late March.
Despite dozens of flights carried out by NATO aircraft against Gaddafi's forces, the government troops maintain their combat capability and continue to pound poorly-equipped rebels with heavy artillery and rocket fire.

 (RIA Novosti)

April 21, 2011

Indian Army to Conduct Vijaya Bhava War Games in Rajasthan

To practice its war-fighting concepts and doctrines, the Indian Army will hold a massive war-game codenamed 'Vijaya Bhava' along the Pakistan border in first week of May. "The Division-level (around 15,000 troops) exercise would be held in the deserts of Western Rajasthan where the elements of the elite 2 Strike Corps and other formations will take part," Army sources said.

Sources said the exercise would be held "well inside" the border where all fighting arms of the Indian Army including the artillery, armored columns including tanks and mechanized vehicles will take part.

As part of war-fighting arrangements, the Indian Army has put its three Strike Corps, which are supposed to strike and enter enemy territories in case of war, under three different commands.

The Army will evolve and practice battlefield tactics for different warfare scenarios for a conventional conflict with the adversaries. Defence Minister A K Antony will also visit the area of exercise in Rajasthan.

In the aftermath of Operation Parakram in 2001, the Indian Army has evolved a doctrine which calls for a rapid and quite mobilization of troops to the fronts from hinterland and continuous efforts have been made to cut the time taken for movement of formations.

Source - PTI  ,  Indiadefense

Russia to deliver more S-300 air defense systems to Belarus

Russia will continue deliveries of S-300 air defense systems to Belarus, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Wednesday.
Belarus has several battalions equipped with Russian-made S-300 air defense systems on combat duty as part of the Russian-Belarusian integrated air defense network.
"We have completed the first stage of modernization of the Belarusian S-300 air defense systems and agreed to intensify work on further deliveries of these systems to Belarus," Serdyukov said after a meeting of Russian and Belarusian defense officials in Minsk.
Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement in February 2009 on the joint protection of the Russia-Belarus Union State's airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air defense network.
"We are strengthening this network," Serdyukov said.
Modernized versions of S-300 have a maximum engagement range of up to 150 kilometers (93 miles).

(RIA Novosti)

IAF to deploy 2 Su-30 squadrons in SWAC

(Timesofindia) :  The  Indian Air Force is strengthening itself towards dealing with any sort of threats specially from Pakistan and China, air marshal A.K Gogai, AOC-in-C of South West Air Command (SWAC) said here on Wednesday.

Gogoi, who was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, his first after taking over the command of SWAC, said the base here, the headquarters of SWAC, will have a permanent squadron of SU-30 fighter in the next two years.

On deployment of the Akash missile, the medium range surface-to-air missile developed by DRDO, Gogoi said two squadrons armed with these missiles are set to be deployed, of which one will be at the SWAC region in Pune.

The other will be at Gwalior, he said, adding, "Besides this, six more squadrons will be deployed in the region to check any threat from China."

The air marshal also said the IAF, which is facing shortage of aircraft, is expecting an increase in the number of fighters after 2012.

"The number of aircraft squadrons is going down so some bases do not have the required squadrons. Only after 2012, when we start to increase the number of squadrons, we can expect permanent basing," Gogoi said referring to the absence of permanent installation of aircraft squadrons at many air bases.

He also informed that the SWAC is in the process of strengthening surveillance by inducting a few state-of-the-art Medium Power Radars (MPR). "The SWAC will be the first air command to have this modern radar technology," Gogoi said. The MPR has been developed with a view to detect small targets at ranges greater than 300 km. "We have already received it and are in the process of making it functional in Gujarat," he said on the last of his visit here.

Gogoi further said proposals are on to develop the Deesa airport as a full-fledged air base. "Considering the strategic importance of this base and the development taking place around it, we have mooted a proposal to the defence ministry worth over Rs. 3,000 crore as first phase to strengthen the infrastructure of this base and we are going to push this proposal during the commanders' conference scheduled shortly," he said. Deesa like Phalodi air base, is close to the Pakistan border.

"Earlier, the air chief marshal addressed all Air Warriors, DSC personnel, NCs (E) and civilians of the station. During his address, he emphasized on the current security scenario of the nation and advised all air warriors to be more vigilant towards this aspect," defence spokesperson S D Goswami said.

Goswami said Gogoi was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in 1973. He has flown over 3000 hours on various aircraft, and is a qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat Leader. Gogoi was the director general air (Operations) at Air HQ prior to his current appointment. He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal, Goswami added.

April 20, 2011

Pak missile aims at India's 'Cold Start' doctrine

(Zeenews) : Islamabad: Pakistan's new short-range nuclear-capable Hatf-9 missile is primarily aimed at deterring India's Cold Start military doctrine that envisages quick thrusts by small integrated battle groups in the event of hostilities, experts and analysts here have claimed.

The Hatf-9 or Nasr, described as a missile with a range of 60 km and designed to carry "nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy", was tested for the first time at an undisclosed location yesterday.

The missile will be deployed with a mobile multi-barrel launch system that has "shoot and scoot attributes", or the ability to fire at a target and immediately relocate to another position to avoid enemy counter-fire.

The new system is primarily aimed at deterring India's Cold Start doctrine, for which the Indian army has created integrated battle groups comprising infantry and mechanised elements that could be quickly mobilised and used for launching rapid thrusts into Pakistani territory in the event of hostilities, claimed an analyst who did not want to be named.
The Hatf-9 missile system is a tactical nuclear weapons and "low-yield battlefield deterrent" capable of inflicting damage on mechanised forces such as armed brigades and divisions, military sources told The Express Tribune newspaper.

With the development of the Hatf-9's shoot and scoot capability, "Indian planners will now be deterred from considering options of limited war", the military sources said.

The Pakistani military had formulated its "new war fighting concept" in response to India's Cold Start doctrine, the Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying.

The development of the Hatf-9 is also being seen as a major achievement in terms of miniaturisation of nuclear warheads, the daily reported.

Another analyst, who did not want to be named, said that weapons like the Hatf-9 missile will limit the space for "limited war under a nuclear umbrella".

However, the analyst noted that the military may have to use such a system within Pakistani territory in the event of an Indian thrust and this could have adverse consequences, such as nuclear fallout or the radiation hazard from an atomic blast.

Pakistan has often criticised India's Cold Start doctrine, which Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani once described as a "very offensive" strategy.

The Foreign Office too has described the doctrine as "irrational" while the Army had pledged that it would take steps to counter the strategy.

In a statement issued after yesterday's test, the Pakistani military said the Hatf-9 had been developed to "add deterrence value to Pakistan's strategic weapons development programme at shorter ranges".

The statement added: "This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats."

PTI

BAE Systems upgrades Hawk trainer to near-front line status

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) BAE Systems has upgraded to near-front line status its Hawk jet trainer, an aircraft the Indian Air Force (IAF) is in the process of inducting.
‘Fast jet pilot training is now more representative of flying front line aircraft than ever before,’ the company said in a statement on the software upgrade now being installed on the Hawk TMk2 of the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The upgrade, referred to as ‘Operational Capability 2 (OC2)’, is ‘a significant and sophisticated enhancement to the existing software on the RAF’s Hawk TMk2. Designed and developed by BAE Systems engineers, work to install the new software upgrades on the Hawk TMk2 has commenced at RAF Valley, Anglesey’, the statement said.
The software provides the Hawk with simulated radar and sensor capability including a radar warning receiver, defensive aids, and an enhanced weapons suite including medium range air-to-air missiles.
‘With the new upgrade the aircraft can also simulate the threat posed by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile site. OC2 is fully integrated with mission planning and debrief systems, which allow the student pilot to plan, train and fly simulated missions using synthetic radar.
‘The pilot can also carry out virtual operational manoeuvres to defeat threats using synthetic weapons,’ the statement said.
The upgrade ‘will enable the trainee pilot to train longer in a Hawk before moving their training to front line operational aircraft such as the Tornado, Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II, better preparing the trainee pilots of the future at an affordable cost,’ the statement said.
Over 900 Hawk aircraft have been sold, or are on order to date and the aircraft is currently helping produce highly trained pilots across 25 countries.
The IAF is in the process of inducting 106 Hawks, about half of which have been received.

: (NewsOne)

Cassidian Works With India on AEWC Aircraft

(Avaitionweek): The Indian defense ministry’s Center for Airborne Systems (CABS) has engaged EADS defense unit Cassidian to help with the system integration and flight testing of India’s Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) platform.
The AEW&C is scheduled to be integrated on a modified Embraer EMB-145 aircraft later this year. The Indian air force is set to commission three AEW&C platforms by 2013, with the first flight expected this May.
A senior CABS official tells Aviation Week that Cassidian was brought in as a consultant in January. “Many complex systems will have integration issues and get bogged down by protracted flight testing and evaluation,” the official says. “We hope to dovetail the experience of the Cassidian team into the program so as to compress time schedules.”
The Cassidian team is expected to stay with CABS until the end of the program. “They are helping us in evolving [the] most optimized ways of testing the systems,” the official says. “While airborne systems [must] be flown and tested, a majority of them can also be proven on [the] ground. The Cassidian team is involved with the [upgrade] of NATO’s early warning platform and hence comes with rich experience.”
CABS’ parent organization, the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), wants a minimum number of test flights to be undertaken when the EMB-145 finally arrives in India. “Our interactions with the Embraer team have increased following the rollout of the first EMB-145 platform this February. We want to ensure that there won’t be any more delays,” the official adds.
Cassidian has been working with DRDO since 2006, undertaking projects for the Defense Avionics Research Establishment and later CABS. In February, Cassidian inaugurated an engineering center in Bengaluru employing more than 100 Indian engineers. This was the first defense-oriented engineering center to be operated by a foreign company in India.
According to Cassidian, the Indian center will be at the forefront of engineering and system development, developing its core competencies in radar, protection systems, avionics, engineering information technology, 3D visual simulation, aerostructures, and aerospace modeling and simulation.

Interest Grows In Dual-Mode Brimstone

(Avaitionweek) : The operational success the U.K. Royal Air Force has had with MBDA’s dual-mode Brimstone is driving U.S. and French interest in the munition, says the RAF’s assistant chief of the air staff, Air Vice Marshal Baz North.
The dual-mode weapon has been among the main munitions the RAF Tornado GR4 has been relying on during Libya operations.
The initial discussions with the French have begun, although they are at an early stage.
Still unclear is which French and U.S. platforms might launch the weapons. Dual-mode Brimstone is a Hellfire-class weapon, which should ease integration on new aircraft.
The dual-mode Brimstone has been used so heavily that inventory has become a concern—the weapon is modified out of a large existing stock of regular Brimstones. However, a senior NATO official notes that no missions have been scrapped owing to munitions shortages.
Although the dual-mode Brimstone has been well received, the U.K. for now has no plans to accelerate its fielding on the other U.K. fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon. So far, the defense ministry has yet to award an integration contract for that weapon.

After Pakistan missile test, India flexes muscle

(Timesofindia) : Diplomatic re-engagement may have begun afresh but both sides are keeping their powder dry. The 1.13-million strong Indian Army is honing its war-fighting machinery with a major combat exercise, codenamed "Vijayee Bhava'' (Be Victorious), in the Thar desert to practice "high tempo'' operations to cut across the border.

Squeamish for long with India's "pro-active conventional war strategy'', or what is colloquially dubbed the "cold start'' doctrine, Pakistan in turn test-fired a new nuclear-capable ballistic missile Hatf-IX on Tuesday.

Given that Hatf-IX has a strike range of only 60 km, it is clearly intended for brandishing as a "battlefield nuclear weapon'' to deter Indian armoured forces from launching rapid thrusts into its territory.

"Pakistan already has the long and medium range Shaheen and Ghauri series of missiles, acquired with help of China and North Korea, to act as the delivery mechanism for strategic nuclear weapons,'' said a senior Indian official.

"So, with this new missile, Islamabad seems to be looking at tactical nuclear deterrence against advancing enemy formations. But it is being foolhardy if it thinks nuclear weapons are war-fighting weapons,'' he added.

India, of course, has its own nuclear and missile plans. It may be steadfast about adhering to a "no first-use'' of nuclear weapons but has made it amply clear that a nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be "massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage''.

The "Vijayee Bhava'' exercise, of course, is more conventional in nature, even though the combat manoeuvres may be simulated under "a  NBC (nuclear, chemical, biological) overhang''.

The exercise, which will enter its peak phase in early-May, is being primarily conducted by the armoured corps-intensive 2 Corps, considered to be the most crucial of Army's three principal "strike'' formations tasked with virtually cutting Pakistan into two during a full-fledged war, said sources.

Incidentally, the 2 Corps based in Ambala is aptly called the `Kharga Corps', taking its name and formation sign from the deadly scythe wielded by Goddess Kali to vanquish enemies.

"In 2009, the 2 Corps had conducted the `Hind Shakti' exercise to fine-tune the pro-active strategy, which is all about mobilizing fast and hitting hard at several border points to catch the enemy unawares and gain momentum,'' said a source.

"The `Vijayee Bhava' exercise, which will also include elements from other Western Army Command (WAC) formations like the Jalandhar-based 11 Corps, will further validate operational concepts,'' he added.

With hundreds of tanks, artillery guns and over 30,000 soldiers, the exercise geared for "network-centric operations'' will see the extensive use of satellite imagery, helicopter-borne surveillance systems, spy drones and a wide array of land-based radars to "achieve battlefield transparency''.

As reported by TOI earlier, after Operation Parakram in 2002 took almost a month to reach D-Day readiness, India has reorganized Army formations all along the western front to enable a more swift and powerful offensive punch.

It was under this overall plan that the South-Western Command (SWAC) was created at Jaipur in 2005 as the Army's sixth operational command. With the Mathura-based 1 `Strike' Corps and Bhatinda-based 10 `Pivot' Corps under it, SWAC is responsible for offensive operations on the western front in conjunction with the Western Army Command (Chandimandir), which controls the 2 `Strike' Corps.

The Northern and Southern Army Commands, with the latter having the Bhopal-based 21 `Strike' Corps, at Udhampur and Pune respectively, will of course also play a crucial part in the event of a war but it will be SWAC and WAC which will assume the pivotal roles.

Moreover, both the western and southwestern commands of IAF have also stepped up coordination with the different Army commands in the western theatre to synergize efforts to build "an integrated and organic'' air-land war-fighting machinery.

April 19, 2011

Taiwan Plans to Build new ‘Stealth’ Warship

(NavalToday) : Taiwan plans to build a new ‘stealth’ warship armed with guided-missiles next year in response to China’s naval build-up, a top military officer and a lawmaker said on Monday.

Construction of the prototype of the 500-tonne corvette is due to start in 2012 for completion in 2014, deputy defence minister Lin Yu-pao said in answer to a question by Kuomintang party legislator Lin Yu-fang at parliament.
The warship, which the navy says is harder to detect on radar, is expected to emerge after China puts into service its first battle carrier group, the legislator said.
The twin-hulled boat will be armed with up to eight home-grown Hsiung-feng II ship-to-ship missiles and eight other more lethal Hsiung-feng III anti-ship supersonic missiles.
The remarks came as China has been restoring The Varyag, an old Soviet aircraft carrier bought in 1998.
The aircraft carrier will be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously-built ship, according to Andrei Chang, head of the Kanwa Information Centre, which monitors China’s military
(straitstimes)