May 31, 2012

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd inks pact to make multi-role aircraft

State-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has entered into a contract with Russian firm United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) to manufacture 205 multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) in 15-20 tonne-class for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Russian Air Force (RAF) and other countries.
The Indo-Russian partners have roped in another Russian firm - Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL) - as third partner in the joint venture for the project, the $2.6-billion HAL said in a statement here Tuesday.
According to initial estimates, the RAF will require 100 aircraft, while the IAF 45 and the remaining 60 will be sold to third countries as export.
"The aircraft will be designed for cargo/troop transportation; para-drop/air drop of supplies, including low altitude parachute extraction system," HAL Chairman R.K. Tyagi said in the statement a day after the pact was signed here.
As part of the deal, HAL will design and develop the MTA at its aircraft research and development centre (ARDC) in this tech hub, while its transport aircraft division at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh will manufacture prototypes and commence serial production after the certification process.
"Our primary objective is to achieve self-reliance in design and development and production of an MTA and manage the programme with international collaboration and global suppliers," Tyagi said.
HAL will also share the unspecified development cost of systems and manufacture of components, sub-assemblies and composite structure.
The tripartite contract was based on the inter-government pact signed earlier by the Indian and Russian governments for joint design, development and production of the aircraft on 50:50 cost sharing basis by the joint venture partners.
The joint venture will also work with Russia's aerospace major Rosoboronexport to co-develop the aircraft.
"We will showcase our expertise in designing the aircraft and its systems, manufacturing and flight testing in collaboration with our Russian partners in Moscow and India," Tyagi said.
The Kanpur facility had manufactured transport aircraft such as Avros HS-748 and Dornier Do-228 in the past for the services.
In all, the company manufactured 89 Avros from 1964 to 1984 and 116 Dorniers from 1984 to March 2012.
Two Dorniers were exported to Mauritius, while one export order to Seychelles is under execution.

The Economic Times

Boeing delivers US Navy combat plane with Indian equipment

US aircraft major Boeing has delivered an electronic warfare combat plane to the US Navy fitted with Indian equipment manufactured by defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited.

The Boeing-made EA-18G Growler--a variant of the F-18 fighter aircraft--was delivered to the US Navy with a "BEL- produced cockpit sub-assembly which provides cockpit floodlighting compatible with the aircraft's night vision imaging system (NVIS)," the company said in a release.

The contract to BEL in this regard was awarded by Boeing in March 2011 for working on sub assemblies of F/A-18 Super Hornet cockpit.

"That contract included options to renew annually for up to four years. As a result of BEL's demonstrated performance, Boeing recently exercised an option to renew the contract for another year," the release said.

Commenting on the development, Boeing India Vice President Dennis Swanson said, "BEL's work on P-8I, Super Hornets and Growlers is another example of how Indian companies are becoming a part of the global supply chain while Boeing helps them expand their opportunities across the global aerospace industry."

BEL has produced other parts also for the EA-18 Growler which include a complex-machined stowage panel for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System connector cable and an avionics cooling system fan test switch panel with an NVIS-compatible floodlight assembly.

BEL has also provided 'Identification Friend or Foe' interrogators and communications systems for the Indian Navy's fleet of P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft. 
The Economic Times

May 28, 2012

India test fires Akash missile twice

India on Monday successfully conducted two tests of its medium-range  surface-to-air missile Akash from a defence base in Odisha, an official said. The indigenously developed missile, which has a range of about 27 km and an effective ceiling of 15 km, was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range of Chandipur in the costal district of Balasore, around 230 km from here, as part of the user trials.

"Both the tests were successful," M.V.K.V. Prasad, director of the test range, told IANS. The Akash missile had been successfully tested from the same range Thursday and Saturday.
Akash has a launch weight of 720 kg and carries a 55 kg payload. It can fly at a speed of up to Mach 2.5 and climb up to an altitude of 18 km. It can operate autonomously, and engage and neutralise different aerial targets simultaneously.
It can be launched from static or mobile platforms providing flexible deployment.

Hindustan Times

May 26, 2012

Indian Frigate Sails for Sea Trials in Russia

A Talwar class frigate being built for the Indian Navy at the Yantar Shipyard in Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad departed on Thursday for sea trials, the shipyard said.
The Tarkash is the second in a series of three frigates built under a $1.6-billion contract with India. The first frigate, the Teg, was delivered to India in April 2012, while the third, the Trikand, is still under construction.
“The warship sailed from Kaliningrad to Baltiysk on Thursday,” Yantar spokesman Sergei Mikhailov said. “The first stage of sea trials is scheduled to start at the end of May.”
The spokesman said the frigate must be ready for delivery to the Indian Navy in October.
The new frigates are each armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
They are also equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile system, two Kashtan air-defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers, and an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.
Russia has previously built three Talwar class frigates for India: the INS Talwar (Sword), INS Trishul (Trident), and INS Tabar (Ax).

RIANovosti ..

May 24, 2012

India signs $640-mn deal for 75 Pilatus trainers

(IANS) India Thursday signed a $640 million (Rs.2,900 crore) deal with Swiss firm Pilatus to buy 75 basic trainers for the Indian Air Force (IAF), an official said.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, the country's highest defence and security decision-making body, had earlier deal with Pilatus for its PC-7 turbo-trainer, he said.
The defence ministry had late last year declared the the winner of the contract following rigourous flight trials.
The Pilatus PC-7 beat the Korean Aerospace KT-1 and the American Hawker-Beechcraft T-6C Texan-II planes in the contest to win the deal.
The Pilatus planes will replace IAF's fleet of 125 Hindustan Piston Trainer-32 (HPT-32) planes, along known as Deepak, from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited stable.
India had grounded the HPT-32 fleet in 2009 following a series of crashes. The plane had persistent fuel supply system problem that could not be sorted out, resulting in 108 engine cuts, claiming the lives of 23 pilots.

Yahoo news

Surface-to-air Akash missile test fired successfully

Boosting its air defence shield and revalidating operational efficacy, India today test fired successfully its indigenously-developed surface-to- air Akash missile from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, about 15 km from here.
"The user-specific trial, which formed part of the country's routine air defence exercises, was successful," said a Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) official associated with the Akash missile project.
To revalidate the technology and operational efficacy of the missile, defence forces conducted the trial with logistic support provided by the ITR, the official said. The Akash weapon system was inducted into the armed forces in 2008.
The missile, which has a strike range of 25 km with a warhead of 60 kgs, was test fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex-III of the ITR at about 1108 hours, defence sources said.
"During the trial, the missile was aimed at intercepting a floating object supported by a pilotless target aircraft, flown from launch complex-II, at a definite altitude over the sea," the sources said.
Akash, an anti-aircraft defence system, can simultaneously engage several targets with Rajendra radar developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a DRDO laboratory in Bangalore.
Rajendra does the surveillance, tracks the target, acquires it and guides the missile towards it.
The development of Akash missile took place during 1990s under the country?s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and after many trials, it was inducted into the armed forces.
An air-force version of the Akash missile has also been developed by the DRDO.
Rajendra is a 'passive phased array radar'. It is a multifunction radar, capable of tracking as many as 64 targets and controlling up to 12 missiles simultaneously.
Defence experts have compared Akash missile system with the American MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
They claim that similar to the MIM-104, the Akash is capable of neutralising aerial targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.

Times of India

Four Navy ships in South China Sea to mark Indian presence

Despite getting out of oil exploration blocks in the South China Sea, India is keen to maintain a strong role for itself in the region.

Four Indian Navy ships, INS Rana, Shakti, Shivalik and Kurmak are currently scudding across the South China Sea on their way to Shanghai, where they will arrive for a goodwill visit in a couple of weeks. This week, two of the four ships -- INS Rana and Shakti -- have been saying hello to the Philippines navy in Subic Bay. Two others, Shivalik and Kurmak, are calling at Haifong in Vietnam. Philippines and China have been on a faceoff in the past few weeks over territorial rights over Scarborough Shoal, in an area that is believed to be energy-rich.

Meanwhile, on May 28, officials from ONGC Videsh (OVL) will meet their counterparts from Petro Vietnam in Hanoi to look at energy cooperation after OVL pulled out from Block 128 in South China Sea. The joint cooperation committee was set up as part of the energy agreement during the visit of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to India in October 2011.

The Indians have paid a $15 million exit fee to Petro Vietnam for getting out of the block. The energy body was initially intended to explore ways of getting OVL the BP stake in South China Sea. As it turned out, the stake went to BP's Russia arm.

But sources said India continues to have a strong interest in South China Sea, because this is key to India's Look East policy. In July, Indian and US officials will hold discussions on a key project in southeast Asia -- an East-West Mekong connectivity corridor. Envisaged as a trilateral project with Japan, this project intends to set up a multi-modal transport and trade corridor from India, traversing Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, ending in Vietnam. Japan has recently stepped up its funding commitments to this corridor.

However, China is much ahead with its own connectivity plans -- although these run north-south -- and has done much to put a grid of connectivity in the Mekong region in southeast Asia.

Apart from naval exercises, India and China are stepping on the gas diplomatically as well. On June 6, foreign minister S M Krishna will travel to Beijing to represent India as an observer at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting. This year, with the prospective presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at the conference, India will have a chance to interact with China on Iran. 

Times of India

Indian Aircraft Carrier Sea Trials Postponed Until June

(RIANovosti) : Sea trials of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier being overhauled for the Indian navy at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia have been postponed until the beginning of June, the shipyard said on Wednesday.
The purchase of the Soviet-built Admiral Gorshkov was agreed in 2005 but delivery to India has been long delayed. The cost of refurbishing the aircraft carrier, to be renamed INS Vikramaditya, has since gone up from $947 million to $2.3 billion.
“The start of the sea trials has been moved to the beginning of June,” a Sevmash spokesman said.
The vessel was originally scheduled to sail for trials in the White Sea and the Barents Sea on May 25.
The delay could have been caused by poor weather forecast in the trials area next week, the official said.
The delivery of the Admiral Gorshkov to the Indian navy is expected in December 2012.

Coast Guard inducts Dornier aircraft

(IBNS) Towards enhancing the operational capability and effective presence in the coastal regions of West Bengal and Odisha, the Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday, inducted a new Dornier aircraft with state-of-art sensors and equipment into its fleet in Kolkata.

 Commander Coast Guard Region (North East), Inspector General KC Pande formally inducted the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built aircraft at a function at the Coast Guard Air Enclave in Dumdum.

The aircraft is third of the series of 12 Dornier aircraft and is equipped with advanced and sophisticated navigational and communication sensors, and equipment.

The aircraft can be configured into various roles such as pollution response, search and rescue, maritime reconnaissance and armament for meeting Coast Guard charter of duties including coastal security.

The induction is part of ongoing expansion plan of Coast Guard to strengthen its fleet.

The aircraft was accepted and ferried from HAL's Kanpur Division by a team led by DIG AK Pokhariyal, Squadron Commander, 700 Squadron (CG). 


India Blooms 

May 23, 2012

Agni-VI to be ready by mid 2014

Before the din that was kicked off after test firing of the much-touted Intercontinental Range Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V was settled down, India is gearing up to go for the maiden development trial of Agni-VI missile within next two years notwithstanding international reactions and pressures.
Being developed by the DRDO, the new generation ICBM Agni-VI will have a strike range of 8,000 km to 10,000 km. A reliable source told ‘The Express’ that the drawing and designing work of the most advanced missile had been started.
“It will be a three-stage missile and taller than the Agni-V. The design is just taking shape and other sub systems are under development. If everything goes as per the programme, the missile will be ready by mid 2014,” said the source.
A scientist associated with the project said unlike the bulky Agni-III, the new generation Agni-VI missile will be more trendy and sleek, so that it can be easily carried to any place and deployed as and when required.
While the length of the missile would be reportedly around 40 meters as against Agni-V’s 17.5 meter, its diameter will be 1.1 meter, which is almost half of Agni-V. The missile’s launch weight would be around 55 tonne.
The Agni-VI is said to be the latest and most advanced version among the Agni series of missiles. It will have the capability to be launched from submarine and from land-based launchers. The DRDO is also working on integrating Agni-V with submarine.
The new missile will also carry more number of warheads than any other versions. While Agni-V can carry up to three nuclear warheads, sources said the next missile in the series can carry even up to 10 nuclear warheads, capable of hitting multiple targets simultaneously.
After the first test launching of 5,000 km range Agni-V missile while many had raised question about its ICBM capabilities, though it can hit the target anywhere in Asia, Africa and Europe except America, the development of Agni-VI would definitely be a befitting reply to them.
Apart from the Agni-VI’s ground version, the DRDO is also simultaneously working out for its underground variant. The submarine launched version of the missile will arm the Arihant class submarines of the Indian Navy. This missile with a strike range of 6,000 kilometers can carry a payload of one tonne.
“We are seriously contemplating to enhance the reach of our strategic missiles. The development of Agni-VI will be a step forward to accomplish the goal. With the present strength we are capable of developing the inter-continental ballistic missiles which can hit targets beyond the range of 10,000 km,” added the scientist.

IBN Live

May 22, 2012

Plans To Strike Iran 'Ready' Says U.S. Israel Envoy

U.S. plans for a possible military strike on Iran are ready and the option is “fully available”, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said, days before Tehran resumes talks with world powers which suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear arms.
Like Israel, the United States has said it considers military force a last resort to prevent Iran using its uranium enrichment to make a bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is for purely civilian purposes.
“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force,” Ambassador Dan Shapiro said in remarks about Iran aired by Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday.
“But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available - not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready,” said Shapiro, who the radio station said had spoken on Tuesday.
The United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany have been using sanctions and negotiations to try to persuade Iran to curb its uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for reactors, medical isotopes, and, at higher levels of purification, fissile material for warheads.
New talks opened in Istanbul last month and resume on May 23 in Baghdad.
Israel, which is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, feels threatened by the prospect of its arch-foe Iran going nuclear and has hinted it could launch preemptive war.
But many analysts believe the United States alone has the military clout to do lasting damage to Iran’s nuclear program.
In January, Shapiro told an Israeli newspaper the United States was “guaranteeing that the military option is ready and available to the president at the moment he decides to use it”.
 U.S. lawmakers are considering additional legislation that would increase pressure on Iran, with further measures to punish foreign companies for dealing with Iran in any capacity.


IAF To Go With Honeywell Engine For Jaguar?

On April 11, India's Parliamentary consultative committee on defence visited HAL's Engine Division hangars in Bangalore as part of an introduction to the company's facilities, current work and future plans. On display for the visiting group, which includes members of India's Parliament, was a mock-up Honeywell F125 IN turbofan, under the section "Future Engine Programmes". The F125 IN, as you know, is on offer as a replacement engine for the IAF's Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft fleet.

Last year, the Indian government scrapped the Jaguar re-engine effort after Rolls-Royce pulled out, leaving a single-vendor situation -- an unviable position in competitive contracting. While HAL has been known to jump the gun before, it is possible that the government is negotiating a foreign military sales (FMS) contract for the new Honeywell engines, and sidestepping another competition. Last year, the IAF had ruled out the proposition of an engine upgrade (which is what Rolls-Royce's offer effectively was), leaving only Honeywell in the reckoning. I'll get more details on this.


May 21, 2012

Akash trial put off to May 22

The user specific trial of Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) Akash,� scheduled for Sunday, would now be conducted on May 22.
The trial would be carried out from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast.
A defence official said the Indian armed force would test fire two rounds of Akash missiles on May 22 and May 24. All eyes are on the fresh trial of the missile as it was earlier discarded by the Army due to reported faults in the system.
However, after a series of rectifications and advancement the missile was inducted in the Army and Air Force.
“We have a window from May 20 to 25 for the tests. Preparation has not been� completed yet but we hope that everything will be ready by May 22. We have four missiles with us, but would carry out two rounds of tests,” an official told The Express.

IBN Live

May 19, 2012

Panetta to seal Apache deal during June 6 visit

Exactly a week before Indo-US strategic dialogue in Washington, US defence secretary Leon Panetta is coming to the Capital on June 6 to discuss long term defence cooperation and seal the big ticket $1.4 billion worth sale of 22 Apache Longbow attack helicopters to India.

Government sources said Panetta will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his Indian counterpart AK Antony as well as other senior leaders of the UPA government. Principal deputy assistant secretary of defence Dr Peter Lavoy was in Dehi today and briefed India about the Nato summit in Chicago on Afghanistan.
Secretary Panetta during his day long visit will share Pentagon's perception of political developments in China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, his main focus is going to be post 2014 scenario in Afghanistan after America withdraws from Kabul.
Both India and US are committed to a long term commitment to Afghanistan in order to have stablility in the regional neighbourhood. Panetta will be flying into India after attending the Shangri La dialogue in Singapore.
While the defence secretary will discuss long term defence cooperation with India, he will  also ensure that the Apache deal is sealed during his visit. Pursued by India for the past two years, the Apache 64D II is possibily the best attack helicopter and has had a proven record in Iraq and Afghanistan operations. As of now, the two sides are trying to close the offsets part of the deal.
Terrorism is also going to be on the agenda for the bilateral talks with Panetta. A key player of Obama administration and a former CIA chief, he may also share the inside information about the US operation that took out Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan last May.

Hindustan Times

May 18, 2012

Wipro close to bagging Rs 960-cr contract from IAF

The defence ministry had issued the request for proposals (RFP) in 2008. Around 14 Indian and global IT companies, including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Wipro and HCL, were said to be in the fray.
The sources said Wipro had bid for the contract as a system integrator for the project, with IBM as the original equipment manufacturer. Wipro will be responsible for the supply, installation, integration and maintenance of servers, and storage for the project, while IBM will supply the necessary hardware.
Anand Sankaran, senior vice-president and business head - India, Middle East & Africa of Wipro’s IT business, declined to comment. The IAF spokesperson could not be reached, despite repeated attempts.
The IAF intends to set up an enterprise-wide, web-based and centralised online e-maintenance management system. This will help in configuration management, fleet planning and management, maintenance repair and overhaul, along with the supply chain management of the IAF’s entire fleet of aircraft, radars, missiles and other equipment.
According to the terms of the RFP, the system will first be implemented centrally and then be gradually rolled out in 170 locations, covering about 550 units of the IAF with a user base of 70,000.
“IT is at the heart of any defence platform these days. Other than the latest warfare and training, Indian defence forces’ drive for modernisation requires a 21st century network-centric command, control, communication and intelligence structure. Thus, this conversion to a digital age, coupled with the drive to increase indigenisation, is bound to open up new opportunities for Indian IT companies,” said Rajiv Chib, associate director - aerospace and defence, PwC India.
IAF is increasingly seen using technologies to make its processes simpler. Earlier, TCS had implemented an integrated materials management online system for the IAF to electronically manage its inventory, spares, weapons and other systems. In collaboration with Cisco, HCL Infosystems and BSNL, the IAF has also launched air force network for Rs 1,077 crore.
The IAF contract is expected to alleviate Wipro’s concerns regarding the domestic market.


May 17, 2012

India-made artillery guns to be ready soon

Two types of indigenously manufactured howitzers for the Indian Army will be ready for trials by December 2012 and by June 2013, Government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
In a written reply to the House, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "As per the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) decision of October 2011, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is to manufacture 155mm howitzers." The OFBs have been asked to manufacture "two prototypes of 155mm/39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns" and the "upgraded version of 155 mm/45 calibre howitzers guns", he said.
On timelines for trials of these indigenous guns, Antony said that the two prototypes of 155mm/39 calibre howitzers will be ready by December 2012, followed by two samples of the upgraded 155mm/45 calibre guns by June 2013. 
On Transfer of Technology (ToT) with the Swedish firm which supplied the 155mm/39 calibre Bofors guns, Antony said, "India had entered into license agreement with AB Bofors, Sweden for indigenous manufacture of 155mm/39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns and its ammunition."
Replying to a question on rules regarding entry of Army units in the capital after Operation Bluestar in 1984, the Defence Minister said that no specific amendments were made in the policy in this regard.
"No specific amendment in the rules/policy related to entry of Army units in the capital region of the country has been made in response to events in 1984 including operation Bluestar," Antony said.
He was asked whether "the government had modified the rules regarding entry of Army units in the capital region after Army revolt as a result of Operation Blue Star in 1984". On the training movements of the force, he said these are based on the advance schedules prepared by the Army Headquarters.
On entry of Army units into the NCR during Republic Day, Antony said, "Army units including those posted outside the NCR are nominated for participation in Republic Day Parade. The nominated Army units/contingents enter the Capital Region during Republic Day preparations."
Replying to a question on the on-going probe in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters, the Minister denied that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been asked to look into the allegations of kickback by the vendors.
On complaints of embezzlement against Cantonment Board officials, Antony said, "A complaint dated Feb 2012 regarding embezzlement of fund concerning EPF/ESI and Service Tax of workers engaged through outsourcing by the officials of Delhi Cantonment Board has been received." The matter is under examination in the Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE), he told the House.

IBN Live

May 16, 2012

Indian Navy MiG-29K Fighters Ready for Deck Stationing

Fifteen Indian Navy's MiG-29K fighters are completely prepared for deck flights on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya which is to join Indian Navy in Dec 2012, reported Indian defense ministry's website.

All materials and equipment required for use of the new aircraft carrier are ready in full.

In addition, Indian Navy ordered 29 new fighters MiG-29K from Russia, and have applied interim overhaul to available aircraft Sea Harrier.

This information was provided by Indian defense minister A.K. Antony on May 14 in reply to request of MP Rama regarding combat readiness of Indian Navy's aircraft component.


May 15, 2012

Govt clears procurement projects of over Rs 7,000 crore

Speeding up the military modernisation process, the defence ministry on Friday cleared procurement projects worth over Rs 7,000 crore including the long-pending acquisition of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers from the US under a Rs 3,000-crore deal.
The decision to go ahead with the procurement of 145 M777 howitzers from the US under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route and several other items was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony.

The DAC also cleared a proposal to procure over 65 radars for the L-70 air defence guns which will be worth over Rs 3,000 crore, Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.
The projects approved by the DAC will now be put up before the Finance Ministry for clearance before they are taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for final approval.
The Ultra Light Howitzers of 155 mm (39 caliber) were being acquired for deployment in high altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, the sources said, adding that this would be the first acquisition of howitzers by the Army in the last 26 years.
After the Bofors controversy in 1986, no new gun has been procured by the Army for its artillery.
The M777 guns, manufactured by the BAE Systems of the US, can be airlifted easily and be used for quick deployment of assets in mountainous regions.
The go-ahead for procurement of these guns had been cleared by a high-level committee headed by DRDO chief V K Saraswat.
The other projects of the Army cleared by the DAC included procurement of simulators for T-90 tanks worth over Rs 300 crore and 300 water tankers worth Rs 90 crore.
The list of items cleared today by the Defence Ministry includes hardware for the artillery, armoured and the air defence arms of the Army.
Army Chief Gen V K Singh had raised questions about the preparedness of his force in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and mentioned all the above three arms which were facing critical shortage of equipment.
The DAC also cleared a proposal of the Navy to build a new cadet training ship worth Rs 480 crore and a joint Air Force and Army proposal for 300 aerial targets worth Rs 350 crore, the sources said.

Times of India

Vikramaditya to Get Israeli-made Barak Missile System

Buildup plans of the Indian military may possibly result in new contracts with Israeli defense companies. India purchased Russian aircraft carrier and is going to receive her in 2013. The carrier can be armed with some weapons not stipulated in the contract with Moscow.

Perhaps, the question is Barak SAM systems and electronic warfare aids for large ship protection. According to Israeli press, Indian defense ministry has additional procurement plans making possible to tie contracts with some Israeli defense-oriented companies.

Some of systems presently operated by Israeli warships are among the world's most up-to-date hardware including missile/torpedo/air defense systems.

As is known, other European countries will also strive to take advantage of growing Indian Navy. According to various sources, Israel will face severe competition. Russia will try to increase volume of sales as well.


May 14, 2012

After Agni-V, Nirbhay on test bed

After the successful launch of Agni-V, the nation can look forward to the first flight test of the indigenously developed subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay.
Avinash Chander, chief controller (missiles and strategic systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation, while speaking to this newspaper, said that although the exact date for the first flight test of Nirbhay is yet to be decided, it would definitely be sometime later this year.
Officials at the Defence Research and Development Organisation disclosed that Nirbhay has a range of 750 km to 1,000 km and its first flight test will be launched from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore in Odisha.
Nirbhay is capable of carrying nearly two dozen different warheads as per the requirements in the field and can be launched from multiple platforms including air, land and sea. It is a two stage missile being developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Nirbhay uses an inertial navigation system for guidance and is capable of choosing one particular target amongst multiple targets. So far only Su-30 MKI has been equipped with Brahmos supersonic cruise missile and Astra medium-range air-to-air missile. Sources said that this subsonic cruise missile will be inducted into all the three defence forces: the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The air-launched version of Nirbhay for Su-30MKI aircraft of the Indian Air Force, would further accentuate the range and strike capability. Specifically designed for Su-30 MKI, this cruise missile is equipped with ‘loitering’ capabilities and is going to enhance the Indian/Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by covering more distance.
Except for its engine, Nirbhay has been developed indigenously. Sources also disclosed that the Tatas are building the carrier or launch vehicle for Nirbhay.

- Deccan Chronicle

May 12, 2012

India clears $660 million deal for artillery guns

The Indian Army got a shot in the arm today with the defence ministry clearing its long-pending $660 million (Rs.3,000 crore) proposal to buy 145 ultra-light howitzer guns to add teeth to its ageing inventory.

This is the first time the army is buying artillery guns in 27 years, since the Bofors guns payoff scandal broke out in the late 1980s.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, cleared the deal for the M777 BAE Systems guns that will be bought through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of the US government.

The purchase comes in the wake of Indian Army chief Gen. V K Singh writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March highlighting the gaps in its preparedness. 

The Economic Times

May 11, 2012

India clears $600-mn deal for air force trainers

The cabinet Thursday gave the Indian Air Force to buy 75 basic trainer planes from a Swiss firm under a long due deal worth $640 million (Rs.2,900 crore), an official said.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, the country's highest defence and security decision-making body, gave the clearance for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to sign the deal with Swiss manufacturer Pilatus for its PC-7 turbo trainer plane, the official said here.The defence ministry had cleared the plane as the winner of the contract late last year following a rigourous flight trials.
Pilatus' PC-7 beat Korean Aerospace KT-1 and American Hawker-Beechcraft T-6C Texan-II planes in the contest to win the deal.The Pilatus planes are to replace IAF's fleet of 125 Hindustan Piston Trainer-32 (HPT-32) planes, along known as Deepak, from the Hindustan Aeronautics limited stable.
India had grounded the fleet of HPT-32 in 2009 following a series of crashes. The plane had persistent fuel supply system problem that could not be sorted out, resulting in 108 engine cuts, claiming the lives of 23 pilots.
(IANS) / punjab newsline

May 10, 2012

French Scorpene submarines to roll out in 2015: Antony

NEW DELHIl Defence minister A K Antony on Wednesday assured the Rajya Sabha that the first French Scorpene submarines will roll out of Mazagon Docks in June 2015.
The minister said all the six submarines under Project-75 were being constructed concurrently at MDL. The sixth submarine is scheduled for delivery in September 2018.
The over Rs 23,000 crore project, of course, is running three years behind schedule, with the Navy grappling with just 14 ageing diesel-electric submarines at present. Moreover, the defence ministry is yet to launch the long-delayed Project-75India, under which the Navy hopes to acquire six advanced stealth submarines.
These submarines, armed with both land attack missiles as well as air-independent propulsion for greater endurance, will come for over Rs 50,000 crore.
Antony, on his part, said, "Modernisation of the submarine fleet is being undertaken on a progressive basis to maintain combat worthiness."
"The equipment/systems that have undergone/are undergoing modernization are combat system, sensors, navigation complex, communication suite and auxiliary equipment," he added.

Times of India

May 9, 2012

India Raising Offensive Corps for China Border: Antony

Admitting the "mistake" of not developing capabilities on the borders with China, Government today said it is gearing up through a slew of steps to tackle the changing threat perception including the formation of an offensive Corps.

Defence Minister A K Antony pitched for a hike of around Rs 45,000 crore in defence budget as he observed that the allocation of Rs 1,93, 407 crore was not sufficient to meet the growing challenges.

Terming the growing military ties between Pakistan and China as a "cause of worry", he said the armed forces have been issued a new directive to change their strategy to meet the challenges.

"Threat perception today is not similar to the threat perception ten or twenty years ago. Dynamic changes are taking place. But I assure the House that we are also changing our strategy," he said in reply to a discussion on performance of his Ministry in the Rajya Sabha.

"Now we have given a new directive to our armed forces to meet the new challenges in the context of the new threat perception faced by the country," the Defence Minister said.

Observing that China had developed military infrastructure in Tibet and India should have also done so in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and other parts of the country, he said, "In the past we did not perform our duty. That is our mistake. Now we have learnt our lessons."

On the need for hike in defence budget, Antony said, "After analysis of the threat perception, we have found that the picture is problematic. We will need to have a second look at the defence budget....

"We have been given Rs 1.93 lakh crore this year but as per the estimated requirement of the armed forces, we would want Rs 2.39 lakh crore. We want Rs 45,716 crore more. I have asked the Government to provide us more money."

On steps taken by the Government to strengthen defence capabilities, Antony said, "Under 12th Defence Plan, we have sent a proposal to Finance Ministry to raise an offensive Corps with two special divisions and it is in final stages. The force-level has been increased substantially."

He said the Government had earlier approved raising of two mountain divisions along with a Special Forces battalion, an artillery brigade and an armoured regiment for deployment in the northeast sector.

Taking part in the discussion, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said a new axis has emerged between China and Pakistan in the last few years which was evident from China's altered stand on Jammu and Kashmir and its involvement in building at least two nuclear reactors for Pakistan.

The BJP leader said in terms of these changing geo-strategic realities, "our defence strategy has to be planned, particularly when you find Chinese troops present in PoK and in other areas.

"The kind of military cooperation between the two countries which is going on, the kind of road building across our border which is going on," Jaitley said.


City to be hub for naval warfare systems soon

With an initial investment of Rs 100 crore, the 74:26 joint venture between Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Israeli major Rafael Advanced Defence Systems will lead to setting up of a 4-5 acre naval warfare systems manufacturing facility in the city. The JV is expected to be operational by July. Once fully operational by financial year 2013-14, it is expected to reach an annual turnover of about Rs 200- 250 crore from the development of naval systems.
The JV aims at expanding the portfolio of Mahindra's already existing Naval Systems Facility towards developing critical and sophisticated naval systems.
In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, Brigadier (retd) Khutub Hai, chief executive, Mahindra Defence Systems said, "The Naval Systems Facility is a separate company, fully owned subsidy of Mahindra. We have been looking around for an international partner for a strategic venture in naval systems. Last year, we finalised the talks with Rafael. The MoU was signed in March. We have applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for approval which should materialise in about a couple of weeks. Rafael will invest 26 per cent of the initial investment and then it will be a JV."
The JV is expected to expand the existing portfolio of the Naval Systems Facility from sea mines and the company's legacy - Anti Torpedo Defence System (ATDS) - to more sophisticated ATDS for submarine and surface ship besides electronic warfare (EW) systems. "It is a high-technology driven system and requirements are likely to come up for the Indian Navy soon. We want to position ourselves as one of the leading suppliers of this system. We are also working on a range of naval EW systems. Rafael will bring in Unmanned Surface Vehicle. In Phase I, we will focus on a range of naval warfare systems besides our own legacy product. In the second phase, if we are selected by the MoD for manufacturing Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), some products from Rafael such as remote controlled weapon station, active protections system will also come to the JV," said Hai.
The JV will transform the current facility of the Naval Systems Division from existing 31,000 sq feet rented location in Chinchwad to an all new facility likely to be spread over 4-5 acres with a shop-floor of about 40,000 sq feet in the first phase. The exact location is yet to be finalised.

- Indian Express

May 8, 2012

IAF to get fifth gen fighters only after 2019

In a strong reality check on the status of India’s fifth generation fighters, Defence Minister A K Antony has indicated that the aircraft is not likely to enter service in this decade, saying it is scheduled to get certified only by 2019.
While both Antony and Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne have said in the past that the fighters will be ready to enter service by 2017, the minister informed Parliament on Monday that series production would start only after the aircraft gets certification.
Antony said the detailed roadmap of the development of the fighters had been carried out with Russia — the lead partner in the programme — and the aircraft was now “scheduled to be certified by 2019, following which series production will start”. This means the fighters will not enter service till the early part of the next decade.
This delay will come as a jolt to the Indian Air Force that has been expecting the fighters by 2017-18. In fact, India has not yet gone beyond signing the preliminary design contract of the fighters with Russia. Antony said an agreement on the research and development phase would be signed with Russia this year.
The fighters made their first public appearance at the Moscow Air Show in 2011. Engineers of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited have started work on its Indian version that will have two pilots unlike the Russian fighters.
There is a sense of urgency to develop the aircraft given that China has progressed on the J 20 — its indigenous new generation fighters

The Indian Express

May 7, 2012

DRDO to test indigenous scram jet engine next year

NEW DELHI Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will test the indigenously developed scram jet engine next year, according to DRDO chief VK Saraswat.

“We have demonstrated the performance of a scram jet engine operating at Mach six speed (six times the speed of sound),” he said in an interview given to Doordarshan.

Theoretical projections place the top speed of a scramjet between Mach 12 (15,000 kmph) and Mach 24 (29,000 kmph), according to Wikipedia.

The fastest air-breathing aircraft is a SCRAM jet design, the NASA X-43A, which reached Mach 9.8. For comparison, the second fastest air-breathing aircraft, the manned SR-71 Blackbird, has a cruising speed of Mach 3.2.

After the successful launch of Agni-5 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), India is all set to develop reusable rockets which will combine the technologies of both ballistic and cruise missiles.

On the range of Agni-5 missile, which was successfully test-fired recently off Odisha coast, he said with moderate modifications, “it can be extended to any range which is of our interest.”

On the technological capability available with the agency, he said: “DRDO has built the necessary technologies, production infrastructure and design capability for developing a booster or a sustainer.

“We have the capability to develop a re-entry nose cone which can withstand higher temperature and velocity.”

Reacting to reports that India does not possess sufficient indigenous technology for missile guidance systems, Saraswat said Agni-5 has used a completely indigenous and high precision missile guidance system with “0.001 degrees of per hour accuracy.”

On criticism that DRDO sometimes does not live up to expectations, he said the agency was as good as its counterparts in advanced countries.

“The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), F-18 and Eurofighter took similar number of years and cost wise they were three times more than what we have put in our LCA,” he said.

On the development of the Kaveri engine, Saraswat said it has performed well and was, “flown on an IL-76 aircraft in Russia for 55 hours of successful flight. We are going to upgrade it so that it can be used in India’s LCA Mark-II and future systems.”

-- Oman Tribune

India's missile defence shield ready: Defence Research and Development Organisation

(NDTV) : India has developed its own missile defence shield which can be put in place at short notice to protect at least two cities, bringing the country at par with an elite group of few nations. The shield, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has been tested successfully and an incoming ballistic missile with the range of up to 2,000 kms can be destroyed.

"The Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield is now mature. We are ready to put phase one in place and it can be put in very short time," DRDO chief V K Saraswat told PTI in an interview.

He said the shield, as part of phase one of the programme, can be put in place in two cities in the country, where the infrastructure is available. However, the two places have not yet been identified and the selection will be made at the political level. The DRDO used variants of Prithvi missiles as simulated targets and successfully intercepted missiles in test-firings.
 The system was first test-fired in November 2006 elevating India into the elite club of countries to have successfully developed an Anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia and Israel.

"We have carried out six successful launches and demonstrated the capability for 2,000 km targets. We have demonstrated it in two layers that is endo-atmospheric (inside the Earth's atmosphere) and exo-atmospheric (outside the Earth's atmosphere)," Mr Saraswat said.

The DRDO chief said the Indian missile defence system is comparable with the US Patriot 3 system, which was successfully used during the 1990 Gulf War against Iraq.

He said all the elements such as long-range radars and tracking devices, real-time datalink and mission control system required for the missile system have been "realised" successfully.

Under the phase two of the project, the premier defence research agency would upgrade the system to handle ballistic missiles with range of 5,000 km. This phase is expected to be ready by 2016.

The system required for phase-II of the project is being developed, he said, adding that for this purpose, ships are being built from where the target missiles would be launched.

Talking about the advancement of the system, he said the missile defence shield has been "automated" to an extent where human intervention would be required only if the mission has to be aborted.

As part of its efforts to protect itself from enemy missiles, India is developing this two-tier BMD which can intercept enemy missiles at altitudes of 80 km and 150 km.

The DRDO is thinking of intercepting the missiles at higher altitudes as it would give it more response time in case the first attempt is a miss and the second layer of the system can be put into action.

May 5, 2012

U.S. Launches Advanced Military Communications Satellite

The United States Air Force has launched an advanced communications satellite, the second in a new satellite network designed to improve U.S. ability to control its military forces around the globe, the Space.com online portal reported.
An Atlas 5 rocket carrying the Advanced Extremely High Frequency 2 (AEHF 2) satellite on board blasted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2:42 pm local time (18:42 GMT) on Friday.
The $1.7-billion satellite is part of the AEHF network, which could ultimately include up to six spacecraft. The system is a follow-on to the U.S. military's current Milstar system of five satellites, the first of which was launched in 1994.
The spacecraft is expected to reach its designated orbit, about 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) up, within approximately three months.
The launch was originally scheduled for May 3, but was postponed because of a flow problem in one of the Atlas 5's systems, the report said.
The first AEHF satellite was launched in August 2010, but didn’t reach orbit until October 2011, some 11 months behind schedule, because of a problem with its propulsion system.

RIA Novosti

Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea May Pose Nuclear Threat to Russia

A nuclear-armed Iran, Pakistan and North Korea could potentially trigger regional chain reactions that ultimately threaten Russia's security, the former director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, said.
“Even if Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are not Russian adversaries, their current and projected nuclear potential could destabilize the regional situation. It could trigger a chain reaction of proliferation (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) that gives rise to a new missile threat for Russia,”

Trubnikov said in an article included in the digest for an international conference on missile defense in Moscow.
History shows that relations with unstable states and radical regimes can rapidly deteriorate and their nuclear potential could become a real threat to Russian national security, Trubnikov said.
That is why Russia needs to work toward mutual understanding with the United States and NATO on the issue of missile defense, he said.

RIA Novosti

Korean Protest Dismissed, Indian Trainer Deal With Pilatus On Track

A deal with Pilatus for 75 PC-7 Mk.2 basic trainer aircraft is expected to be approved shortly, with India's apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) scrutinizing the final contract. A formal protest by Korea Aerospace, whose KT-1 trainer was runner-up in the final toss-up, was dismissed by the MoD. In Parliament yesterday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said, "The proposal for procurement of Basic Trainer Aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) is awaiting consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The proposal regarding the selection procedure of the Pilatus Trainer Aircraft has been progressed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure. A representation submitted by M/s Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), one of the bidders, has been found to be devoid of merit."

The IAF currently has 114 HAL HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers, all grounded since July 2009 owing to critical technical problems and flight safety issues. In a Parliamentary Standing Committee report released this week, the MoD gave testimony saying, "The Air Force is procuring 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) for its Stage-I (ab-initio) flying training requirement. PC-7 Mk-II Turbo Prop aircraft of M/s Pilatus, Switzerland has been short-listed and contract negotiations have been completed. The case is being processed for CCS approval.  The delivery of the aircraft is  scheduled to commence 15 months after signing of the contract. 24 aircraft are expected to be delivered within 25 months, which will enable basic training to commence on these new aircraft.  Two simulators for BTA are planned to be procured. 106 BTA are planned to be designed and developed by HAL along with 3 simulators. Induction is planned to commence from 2016."

Speaking of the HPT-32 grounding and the genesis of the basic trainer procurement programme, the IAF told the Committee. "In July, 2009, we had a very unfortunate accident on the HPT-32, which was our basic trainer. This involved two very senior qualified Flying Instructors.About the HPT-32, because of no satisfactory response from the original equipment manufacturer of the engines, we found that we had no option but to ground those aircraft till such time we did get a very satisfactory answer. This aircraft has got a very adverse gliding characteristic. In case, the aircraft is not able to restart the engine in the air, then it is very dangerous for pilot. Here, we had two senior qualified Flying Instructors not able to pull off a safe landing. So, the Air Force had no option but to ground these aircraft. The process of getting this basic trainer aircraft started immediately thereafter."

Speaking of the Korean protest and certain "anonymous" complaints, the IAF's testimony continues: "Finally, there were only three aircrafts, which were short-listed. This entire process finished in January 2011 on approval of the Staff Evaluation Report by the Ministry. What happened after that was this. There were a couple of letters. There were some anonymous letters, some actual representations from one of the losing vendors. Therefore, it was felt appropriate in this case to have it thoroughly examined and the Ministry did that. It took some time. So, if you look at it, the time lost was, actually after submission of the report in 2011. If this had not interfered with the procurement process, I believe by end of 2011, by the last quarter, we would have certainly signed the contract. The intervening delay was only because of this reason."

The Standing Committee, in its comments, has noted: "[The Air Force] has reached to a critical stage with regard to trainer aircraft and simulators. The grounding of HPT-32 and the ageing of Kiran aircraft has further worsened the situation thereby compromising the training requirement of our pilots. The Committee are of the firm view that there is an urgent need to address the aforesaid issue immediately. The option of having aircraft on lease from the countries where we have signed the contract as well as sending our pilots to the manufacturer country from which we are buying trainer aircraft emerged as option during the course of deliberations by the Committee. The Committee emphasize that all these options need to be explored by the Air Force as well as the Ministry of Defence. Moreover, all the support by way of outlay should be provided by the Government. Not only that it should be ensured that the procurement procedures are put on fast track by addressing the various hurdles encountered at various stages so as to ensure that the Air Force at any cost get the Pilatus PC-7 Mark-II aircraft by the December next year as stated by the representative of Air Force during the course of deliberations so as to address the urgent and immediate need of Basic Trainer Aircraft for Air Force."

- Livefist

Agni V is India's satellite killer

India now has the capability to target and destroy space satellites in orbit. "Today, we have developed all the building blocks for an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability," scientific adviser to the defence minister and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Vijay Saraswat told India Today. This capability has given India a deterrent against China. In January 2007, a Chinese A-sat missile destroyed an unused weather satellite.
The test opened a new flank of vulnerability in India's $12 billion (Rs.60,000 crore) space infrastructure. India has 10 satellites including the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) new Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) 1. Launched on April 26, the spy satellite can identify one-metre wide objects from space. China's alarming test spurred India's quest for a similar satellite-killing system.
The successful April 19 trial of 5,500 km-Agni V Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile that Saraswat calls a "game changer", is another step towards the capability to target objects in space. The missile scaled a height of 600 km before re-entering the atmosphere. "DRDO will field a full-fledged ASAT weapon based on Agni and ad-2 ballistic missile interceptor by 2014," says a top government source who does not want to be named. This weapon is unlikely to be publicly tested.
This was confirmed by Saraswat who says that India will not test this capability through the destruction of a satellite. Such a test risked showering lethal debris in space that could damage existing satellites. Instead, India's ASAT capability would be fine-tuned through simulated electronic tests.

Most military satellites orbit up to 2,000 km above the earth's surface in low earth orbit (LEO). Seeking to guide India's responses to this emerging threat, Space Security Coordination Group (SSCG) was set up in 2010. Chaired by the National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, SSCG involved representatives of DRDO, Indian Air Force (IAF) and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). Besides laying down the Government's space policy, this body will also coordinate response on an international code of conduct in space.
The US responded to the Chinese test by downing an unused satellite in 2008. In June 2010, the US indicated that they would consider a new treaty for restrictions on space-based weapons. A new treaty would foreclose India's options for testing asat weapons. Indian analysts say it could lead to a new restrictive regime on space weapons, like the present treaties on testing and possession of nuclear weapons and long range ballistic missiles. The SSCG has directed DRDO to accelerate its ASAT capability.
Another key ASAT milestone capability will be reached with the first test of a PDV interceptor later this year. This slender two-stage missile can destroy incoming ballistic missiles at an altitude of 150 km. The Ballistic Missile Defence (BMsD) project that aims to protect the country from hostile ballistic missiles has, in fact, developed the three critical elements required to destroy satellites. A long range radar able to detect them and a missile that can inject a 'kill vehicle' or warhead into an orbit that actually homes in to destroy it. All these elements have been developed under the BMD programme.
The DRDO's Long Range Tracking Radar can scan targets over 600 km away. The 'kill vehicle' has been developed as part of the ballistic missile system. It has both electronic and radio-frequency guidance that can home in on ballistic missiles and satellites. 'Unlike a ballistic missile, a satellite has a predictive path. A satellite has a diameter of 1 meter while our BMD system can track and destroy targets less than 0.1 metres,' says Saraswat.

www.indiatoday.in \ MSN News

May 3, 2012

India to Test Own Hypersonic Ramjet

India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) will hold trials of domestically-developed hypersonic combustion ramjet in 2013, reports PTI referring to DRDO director Vijay Kumar Saraswat. According to him, the propulsion system will be capable to work at speeds six times higher than sound speed. Saraswat declined to give any details of the prospective project.

Presently, India is developing a hypersonic missile capable to accelerate up to six Mach numbers. The project is developed by Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos. The new ammunition will be based on supersonic cruise missile BrahMos already operated by Indian Army. In its turn, BrahMos missile is based on Russian cruise missile Onyx.

Today, active development works on hypersonic vehicles are held by the US, Russia, and Brazil. In particular, American planemaker Boeing jointly with US Air Force is developing hypersonic missile X-51A Waverider accelerating up to six Mach numbers. Besides, Lockheed Martin designs hypersonic vehicle Falcon HTV-2. In its turn, Brazil is developing missile 14-X also supposed to fly at speeds exceeding six Mach numbers.

As was reported late in Aug 2011, Russia's Tactical Missiles Corporation had started research works on a hypersonic missile project. According to the company's chief designer Boris Obnosov, Russian missile will be capable to fly at speeds 12-13 times as high as sound speed.

Besides, it is considered that the Baranov Aircraft Engine Building Institute is also engaged in development of hypersonic vehicle Igla under Project Holod-2. Its deputy director Valentin Solonin told AviaPORT on Apr 22, 2012 that the institute was researching integration of a ramjet and an airframe.

"We research effective compression, combustion, and expansion processes occurring in hypersonic vehicle's propulsion plant, and consider its integration with the airframe. Also, we actively study thermal states of ramjet and airframe. Since the inside temperature makes 2,600-2,700 degrees Celsius and the flight is quite continuous, there are some problems regarding thermal state", Solonin said.


May 2, 2012

The world's most economical missile programme?

The recent launch of the Agni 5, the intercontinental ballistic missile, makes it a good time to look at how the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is managing its finances and funding for ambitious projects.
IndiaSpend carried out a 10-year study of available figures and found DRDO seemingly achieved a lot, with little. While we can’t establish direct time and cost correlations between the Rs 70,009-crore spend (including establishment costs) over a decade on DRDO and all the expenses on actually developing or testing missiles, it should come close.
 The fact is for approximately $14 billion in 10 years, India has seemingly developed various kinds of missiles, drones, radar systems and carried out all kinds of research and upgradation on armaments and fighting gear.
USA missile spends
In contrast, USA’s unmanned aerial vehicle projects, the UAV Predator and the UAV Reaper, alone have a total project cost of $2.38 billion and $11.8 billion, respectively. On the other hand, the Trident II, has a total programme cost of $39 billion, the Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missile has a cost of $6.8 billion and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) has a total project cost of $5.7 billion, according to www.costofwar.com.
Once again, both the UAV and the missiles may be chalk and cheese comparisons when it comes to capability and a host of other defence-related parameters. So, the idea is to provide contrasts, not compare in absolutes.
 DRDO financials
On the other hand, the total value (Defence Ministry’s Annual Report 2011-2012) of the systems/technologies/ products that the DRDO has included in the defence services or is in the process of inclusion is computed at Rs 1,30,000 crore, or $26 billion, till now.
The DRDO’s mandate is to design, develop and produce state of the art weapon systems and allied equipment for the defence services, as well as provide technology solutions. This year, its budget is Rs 10,636 crore, including salaries for its staff and other miscellaneous expenses, as well as the capital outlay. Heads like pays and allowances of personnel, stores, and training account for Rs 5,996 crore in 2012-13.
The capital outlay, meant for modernisation and development, is effectively Rs 4,640 crore, an increase of Rs 12 crore over last year, when it was Rs 4,628 crore. Interestingly, the actual expenditure in 2010-11 was Rs 4,965. Thus, in 2011-2012 there was a decrease of Rs 337 crore.
DRDO & others
The pension budget for the three services (Army, Navy, Air Force) in 2012-13 is Rs 38,973 crore. The salary budget for these services is Rs 55,838 crore. The capital outlay for these three services in this year’s Budget is Rs 57,893 crore, just for components like land, construction, aircraft and aero engines, heavy & medium vehicles and other constructions.
DRDO’s revenue expenditure, on the other hand, is paltry, which is normal keeping in mind its manpower. DRDO’s pays and allowances is only Rs 2,237 crore, while training gets Rs 15 crore. ‘Research and development’ gets Rs 1,150 crore. However, the capital outlay is Rs 4,640 crore, which seems a lot less than compared to its requirement.
A few achievements this year are outlined below:
Missile systems
  • Surface-to-surface Prithvi II missile was successfully flight tested, that too, with accuracy on June 9, 2011. We already have three versions of Prithvi, with ranges of 150 km, 250 km and 350 km.
  • Agni I successfully flight tested on December 1, 2011, and Agni II on September 30, 2011. Agni IV was test-fired on November 15, 2011, and Agni V was successfully launched last week.
  • Long-range, surface-to-air missile, a joint initiative between the Navy and Israel, is complete and under delivery.
  • Medium-range surface-to-air missile, an initiative between the Air Force and IAI, Israel, was developed.
  • Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile is developed for the Army, Navy and Air Force and already installed in four ships. It is also being installed in five more naval ships. The installation of Brahmos in Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter planes is in progress.
  • The indigenously developed Astra Missile is completed, and flight trials on Sukhoi 30 MKI’s are completed.
  • Surface-to-surface missile Prahaar successfully flight tested on July, 21 2011, and has achieved terminal accuracy.
  • Helina, an anti-tank missile for advanced light helicopters, undertook a flight trial on October 17, 2011.
  • Shaurya Missile, with a range of 700 km, was launched on September 24, 2011, and has achieved accuracy.
All these missiles have been successfully flight-tested during the year. Prithvi and Shaurya are examples of a few missiles that have been upgraded from previous versions.
The Integrated Guided Missile Development Progr-amme, another important agenda of the DRDO and the brain child of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, was aimed at self sufficiency and had secured approval in 1983.
Agni, Prithvi, Trishul, Nag and Akash are the missiles completed under this programme. Finally, in January 2008, the programme was closed, as the goal of achieving self reliance in missile technology was achieved. Most of the achievements this year are upgradation in technology and strength.

  • The medium-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Rustom I was indigenously developed and has seen successful flight tests.
  • The Airborne Early Warning and Control System was indigenously produced and took its first flight on December 6, 2011. It includes active electronic and radar scanning antenna and is considered a major milestone. India is now one of the select countries that have this system.
  • Rohini, the three-dimensional surveillance radar system, was developed for the Air Force. It is built in accordance with the latest digital technology and would increase airspace awareness manifold.
  • Revathi, another surveillance radar system, is developed for Navy with highly optimised structure and accuracy.
    These are a few important achievements of the DRDO in 2011. However, the list does not end here. The specialty of DRDO lies on other aspects of the defence services as well.
  • Data Analysis and Pattern Recognition has been developed and handed to the Navy. This is aimed at creating a database that would analyse data mining and statistical testing.
  • Varuna, an interceptor, has been installed and given to the Navy. It can detect and intercept the activity of 500 radar emitters simultaneously.
  • Stride, a convoy jammer system is developed and used by the Army and paramilitary forces. It can prevent detonation of radio controlled improvised explosive devices or IEDs.
  • 110 Arjun Tanks have been handed to the Army till now, compared with the 124 demanded previously. A total of 90 per cent of the Arjun Tanks were indigenously developed at the Indian Ordinance Factory in Avadi, Chennai, by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment, a wing of the DRDO. It is estimated to cost approximately Rs 2,500 crore. The remaining 14 tanks would be handed over by mid- 2012.
  • Power output of T 72 tanks has been upgraded from 780 hp to 1,000 hp to enhance mobility.
  • INSAS rifle and LMGs have been redesigned to increase lethality. The Army has already carried out user trials.
The DRDO has been achieving its targets every year. This is evident if you take a look at the ministry’s Annual Report 2011-2012, which speaks of achievements in 2010. For instance, in 2010, the DRDO had successfully tested three missiles, the Dhanush, the Akash and the Nag.
However there are allegations of time and cost overruns against the DRDO. For instance, a report says the IGMDP was sanctioned Rs 389 crore for developing five missiles. But till 2007, only two were ready and required an additional Rs 1,770 crore. With the stress on ‘buy and make Indian’, the push is on private Indian manufacturers and defence public sector undertakings. The technology for such measures is provided by the DRDO, but with a small budget.

Business Standard