July 31, 2012

DRDO to increase missiles’ range

India's missile power will be enhanced with defence scientists now working towards increasing the range of various missiles. The range of surface-to-air missiles, which is presently 50 km will be increased to 300 km.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also aiming to increase the range of air-to-surface missiles up to 400 km and air-to-air missiles up to 300 km, according to Avinash Chander, DRDO chief controller R&D (missiles and strategic systems) and director Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL).

Avinash Chander who spoke at the silver jubilee celebrations of Hardware-in-loop Simulation (HILS) at the Research Centre Imarat (RCI) here also explained the big plans of DRDO for the future including on the tactical missiles front. He said work was on the 'seek and destroy' class of missiles, smart bombs, underwater cruise missiles. "We are confident that we can make our weaponry capabilities better than world class," he said.

Avinash Chander said the focus was now on having the entire avionics on a chip. "A nano missile with low cost and low weight is what we are aiming for," he said. Former president A P J Abdul Kalam recalled his association with RCI and the purpose for which it was developed. He said RCI was developed on 2,500 acres of land. Kalam drew largely from what he saw during his trips abroad on explaining about the advancements taking place in science. He said nanotechnology held promise for the future and called for convergence of technologies.

In what is called `intelligence bio-science', Kalam said a nano-robot injected into a patient could diagnose the disease and give treatment. The DNA-based nano-robot would then melt into the body. "The industry needs to be ready for such developments," Kalam said.

The former president in particular spoke about what he called `scientific magnanimity' describing how scientists have to be given their due recognition.

RCI director S K Choudhuri explained the advancements in Hardware-in-loop simulation (HILS) and Advanced Simulation Centre (ASC) in the RCI over the years. He also declared open the newly formed Avionics Society of India.

Prof Akopyan, designer general-deputy director general, Moscow Research Institute said they had developed five different types of seekers. He also recalled the long association with RCI over the years. Prof Akopyan's presentation caught the attention of the defence scientific community as he also screened a short film showcasing weaponry set to a background musical score of a 'symphony orchestra we have back home'. 
Times of India

India quietly gate crashes into submarine-launched ballistic missiles club?

India in April yanked open the door of the exclusive ICBM ( intercontinental ballistic missile) club with the first test of Agni-V. Now, if DRDO is to be believed, India has quietly gate-crashed into an even more exclusive club of nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The annual awards function of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on Tuesday will see PM Manmohan Singh hand over the ``technology leadership award'' to a scientist, A K Chakrabarti of the Hyderabad-based DRDL lab, for the ``successful development'' of the country's first SLBM.

``Apart from India, this capability has been acquired only by four nations, the US, Russia, France and China. Now, the SLBM system is ready for induction,'' says the award citation.

Long shrouded in secrecy as a ``black project'', unlike the surface-to-surface nuclear missiles like Agni, the SLBM may now finally come out of the closet. Called different names at different developmental phases, which included ``Sagarika'' for an extended period, the SLBM in question is the ``K-15'' missile with a 750-km strike range.

Celebrations, however, may be a little premature. Much like the over 5,000-km Agni-V that will be fully operational only by 2015 after four-to-five ``repeatable tests'', the K-15 is also still some distance away from being deployed.

While the SLBM may be fully-ready and undergoing production now, as DRDO contends after conducting its test several times from submersible pontoons, its carrier INS Arihant will take at least a year before it's ready for ``deterrent patrols''.

India's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, is still undergoing ``harbor-acceptance trials'' with all its pipelines being cleared and tested meticulously on shore-based steam before its miniature 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor goes ``critical''.

The submarine will then undergo extensive ``sea-acceptance trials'' and test-fire the 10-tonne K-15, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear payload, from the missile silos on its hump.

Only then will India's missing third leg of the nuclear triad - the ability to fire nukes from land, air and sea - be in place. INS Arihant has four silos on its hump to carry either 12 K-15s or four of the 3,500-km range K-4 missiles undergoing tests at the moment. The first two legs revolve around the Agni missiles and fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage-2000s jury-rigged to deliver nuclear warheads.

The sea-based nuclear leg in the shape of SLBMs is much more effective — as also survivable being relatively immune to pre-emptive strikes — than the air or land ones. Nuclear-powered submarines, which are capable of operating silently underwater for months at end, armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are, therefore, considered the most potent and credible leg of the triad.

With even the US and Russia ensuring that two-thirds of the strategic warheads they eventually retain under arms reduction agreements will be SLBMs, India with a clear ``no-first use'' nuclear doctrine needs such survivable second-strike capability to achieve credible strategic deterrence. 

Times of India

Indigenous artillery guns meet parameters; Army orders 100

(Tibune News) : Trials of indigenously produced new artillery guns, meant to replace the Army's inventory of 155 mm Howitzers supplied by AB Bofors around 25 years ago, have been promising. In its assessment of the trials carried out this summer in Rajasthan, the Army has said the guns have met the "stipulated parameters'.
Produced by the Ordnance Factory Board, these guns are 155 mm, 45 calibre howitzers. These look like Bofors and have the capacity to fire up to a distance of 32 km. These guns were tested near Pokhran in Rajasthan during May this year.
Around 100 such guns have been ordered by the Army and are based more or less on the existing Bofors design for which the OFB holds the Transfer of Technology (ToT) licence from the Bofors. Research for the manufacture of a number of variants of the howitzer is underway and is nearing completion.
The Army has expressed keenness to have 155 mm 52 calibre guns which the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will produce. The original AB Bofors-inducted in 1987-is 39 calibre. The "calibre" of a gun is primarily the length of its barrel that helps the ammunition in travelling farther. A 52 calibre gun will fire around 4-5 km more than other variants.
The recently ordered 100 guns of 45 calibre, coupled with 145 ultra-light howitzers (ULH) and the upcoming 52 calibre gun being produced by the DRDO are expected to end the shortage of artillery guns in the Indian Inventory. As part of its artillery modernisation plan, the Army plans to purchase a total of 400 howitzers that can be towed away, along with 180 self-propelled ones and 145 ULH.
Apart from the order placed to the OFB, the Ministry of Defence has okayed the purchase of 145 ULH under a $700-million deal through the foreign military sales (FMS) route between the US and India. Named the M777, these guns weigh just 3,200 kg each and can be slung under a helicopter to be dropped in mountain areas that are inaccessible by road. These guns will be stationed in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh - both facing China.
  • Produced by the Ordnance Factory Board, new artillery guns are 155 mm, 45 calibre howitzers
  • Can fire up to a distance of 32 km
  • These will replace Army's inventory of 155 mm Howitzers supplied by AB Bofors around 25 yrs ago

July 30, 2012

India Successfully Test Fires BrahMos Cruise Missile

The Indian army has successfully test-fired a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a spokesman for BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missile, said on Sunday.
“The test launch aimed to check the work of some new systems installed on the missile,” the spokesman said.
The missile was launched from the Chandipur missile test range in the eastern province of Orissa.
BrahMos Aerospace Ltd, set up in 1998, manufactures supersonic cruise missiles based on the Russian-designed NPO Mashinostroyenie 3M55 Yakhont (SS-N-26).
The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 lbs). It can effectively engage targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.
Sea- and ground-launched versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy.
The flight tests of the airborne version will be completed by the end of 2012.
The Indian Air Force is planning to arm 40 Su-30MKI Flanker-H fighters with BrahMos missiles.
Russia and India have recently agreed to develop hypersonic BrahMos 2 missile capable of flying at speeds of Mach 5-Mach 7.


July 27, 2012

Defence deals: US offers to match India’s ally Russia

(The Tribune) : The US today virtually offered to match India’s 50-year-old ally Russia in matters of multi-billion dollar defence deals. It has offered high-end technology, latest equipment and even a promise to change its stringent technology-transfer rules to accommodate New Delhi’s growing ambitions.
The corner stone is India’s surging defence equipment demand that will induce a spending of around $80 billion over the next 6-7 years.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, USA, Ashton B Carter laid out a plan as he spoke on “Joint Vision for US-India Defense Cooperation” at a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) this afternoon. In the morning, he had called on Defence Minister AK Antony and top-brass of the Defence Ministry.
“We want to knock down any remaining bureaucratic barriers in our defence relationship, and strip away the impediments. We want to set big goals to achieve,” Carter said while addressing Indian audience comprising strategic thinkers and industry representatives.
“India deserves the best military equipment available and we are prepared to help. Practically, we want to be India’s highest-quality and most-trusted long-term supplier of technology,” Carter said without naming Russia, which is dominant in military equipment sales to India. Over the past few years, Russia has leased a nuclear-powered submarine to India; sold a sea-borne aircraft carrier; co-developed a supersonic missile and is now co-developing a new fighter jet and a transport aircraft.
“We are looking at cooperating and not trade. It is not a buyer-seller relationship… India is top priority in our export considerations. New efforts will help us respond more rapidly to India’s requests for US equipment and systems - particularly for more advanced technologies,” Carter said. “We are improving our government’s overall export-control system”, India can make some changes too by raising its FDI ceiling from the present 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
Knowing that India and the US may not see eye-to-eye on many issues, Carter said, “We have long-term interests, if not always common approaches, like Syria and Iran” and went on to suggest “a joint vision for the US-India defence cooperation”.
Carter also clarified on the rebalance the US just announced. It plans to shift its forces eastwards towards the Asia-Pacific region. Both, India and China have not taken kindly to the announcement. He said, “Rebalance is not about China or the United States or India or any other single country or group of countries.”
on offer
  • High-end technology
  • Latest equipment
  • A promise to change US technology-transfer rules

July 24, 2012

India clears $2.4 billion plan to buy cargo planes for Air Force

India's defence ministry on Monday gave its nod for an Indian Air Force (IAF) plan to buy 56 transport planes worth $2.4 billion to augment its cargo fleet, apart from tweaking its defence procurement offsets policy and creating a new agency to execute the same.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister AK Antony, met in Delhi to clear the proposals, ministry sources said.
The 56 transport planes are required by the IAF in place of its ageing Avro planes fleet and the defence ministry will issue a global tender for procuring the same, they said, adding that only the first 16 planes under the deal will be directly procured from the vendor.
The deal winner will have to tie-up with an Indian private or a public sector firm to acquire components for manufacturing the rest 40 planes.
The DAC also cleared the creation of the Defence Offsets Management Agency (DOMA) in place of the existing Defence Offsets Facilitation Agency (DOFA). The new agency will now be under the defence production department, they said.
Among the new offsets policy guidelines approved included transfer of technology and critical technologies as eligible defence offsets, a policy under which any foreign firm winning an Indian defence contract worth over $60 million will have to plough back a minimum of 30% of the deal back in Indian defence, aerospace and homeland security industries and training.


Ballistic missile defence key area for India-US ties: Carter

(IANS) A joint project on a ballistic missile defence system will be "an important potential area" for an India-US strategic cooperation, a key Obama administration official said here Monday.
US Deputy Secretary for Defence Dr. Ashton B. Carter said at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on day two of his three-day visit to India that he would, however, prefer the two nations first discuss the joint development effort at the strategic level before engaging in technology discussions.
"That is an important potential area for our strategic cooperation. The two sides should discuss it at the strategic level first before discussing technology," Carter said at the interactive session on 'US-India Defence Cooperation: The Way Forward.'
India is already building its own ballistic missile defence system, carrying out its first successful test in 2006 and following it up with several other successful tests to engage targets both within and outside the atmosphere.
The US has already developed the Patriot BMD system and is now engaged in refining this.
--Indo-Asian News Service
ncb/vm/ newstrackindia

July 23, 2012

Jets Make First Landing on Indian Carrier

A MiG-29KUB two-seat naval fighter jet made the first touch-and-go landings last week on the Indian Navy aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, Sevmash shipyard said on Monday.
The ship is currently undergoing sea trials in the Barents Sea off the north coast of Russia.
The jet, piloted by navy test-pilots Col. Nikolai Diorditsa and Mikhail Belyaev, completed several approaches to the carrier and finally made a touch-and-go landing.
The Vikramaditya, formerly the Russian Navy's Admiral Gorshkov, is to be handed over to India after the trials after a much-delayed refit.
The ship was extensively modified to undertake STOBAR (short takeoff but assisted recovery) operations with MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft, as well as receiving new air defense, communications and navigations systems.


Navy to get 7 more indigenous stealth frigates

Defence Minister A K Antony said the Indian Navy will get seven more indigenous stealth frigate warships to give the service a stealthy power punch.

The INS Sahyadri, the last of the three first-generation indigenous stealth frigate, was recently inducted into the Navy.  The first two—INS Shivalik and Satpura—were commissioned in the last two years.

“Contract negotiations are going on for seven more stealth frigates, four of which will be made at Mazgaon Dock Ltd in Mumbai and three in Garden Reach shipbuilder's yard in Kolkata. Once the negotiations are completed, we will take it to the Cabinet,” Antony said. Current economic slowdown will not have any impact on the capital budget for the Defence Ministry.

The next generation warships to made under approximately Rs 50,000 crore Project-17A will have more improved stealth features to further reduce radar signatures and under water radiated noise. They will also have slick appearance and multifunction radar to further bring down detection chances. The weapon platform in the seven ships of next generation will also be compacted in the P-17A ships. They will be armed with an advanced surface-to-air missile being developed jointly by India and Israel as well as Brahmos cruise missile.

The weapon system will be flush-deck mounted that will allow vertical launch of missiles from under the deck, said a navy official involved in designing the ships. Among the three first-generation stealth frigates, the Sahyadri has the minimum number (less than 50) ship liability defects, which will be corrected by the shipyard in the next one year. For Shivalik, the corresponding number was 140.

Five warships
Antony said going by the current order book position every year, the Navy will receive five warships and the service had become a role model for the Army and Air Force when compared on the level of indigenisation in the three services.
All the three new indigenous stealth frigates—Shivalik, Satpura and Sahyadri—will be part of the Eastern Naval Command in Vishakhapatnam, whose strategic importance is growing in the light of China's expanding prominence in the Indian Ocean region.

Limited role
Asked about India's role in the South China Sea where both countries had a face-off in the last two years, Antony said India has a limited role there as far as the security of the sea lanes are concerned. But New Delhi is in favour unhindered passage of its ships and freedom of navigation in international waters

Deccan Herald

July 21, 2012

Russia Offers India Joint GLONASS Development

Russia has offered India joint participation in development of its GLONASS satellite navigation system on an equal basis, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.
"We have offered our Indian counterparts not only use of the Glonass system but also participation in upgrading it. We practically see it as a joint effort. I think our Indian counterparts will be interested in it," said Rogozin, who has special responsilibity for Russia's military-industrial complex.
The Global Navigation Satellite System, which was officially launched in 1993, is a Russian counterpart to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). It fixes the location and speed of surface, sea and air objects to within an accuracy of one meter.
Russia and India have been cooperating on use of GLONASS for more than four years, but Russia has not previously offered equal joint participation in upgrading the system.

RIA Novosti

US accepts India's request for supplying 6 more C-130J planes

The US has accepted India's request for supplying six more C-130J special operations transport aircraft to the IAF and a communication in this regard was given to the Defence Ministry recently.

India had sent a Letter of Request (LoR) to the US government in September last year for procuring six additional C-130J aircraft.

The US government submitted a Letter of Acceptance on April 10 to the Indian Defence Ministry for clearance. Like the first six aircraft, the additional six were also being acquired through foreign military sales (FMS) route, Lockheed Martin officials told PTI here.

India had signed a deal worth $ one billion with the US in 2007 for six aircraft which are deployed at the Hindon air base near here. The deal for the additional six aircraft is also expected to be around $ one billion.

Commenting on the development, Lockheed Martin's India head Roger Rose said, "The C-130Js, which were delivered ahead of schedule and within budget, have performed well for the Indian Air Force (IAF)."

"Lockheed Martin looks forward to continuing our disciplined programme performance by supporting the first six and any additional aircraft the Government of India may order," he added.

The IAF has decided to deploy the additional six aircraft at its base in Panagarh in West Bengal to take care of the requirements of formations deployed in the northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The aircraft will also be used by the Special Forces to carry out operations or rapid deployment in case of incidents such as the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. 

The Economic Times

July 18, 2012

Navy will float tenders for new copters

he Indian Navy will soon have additional surveillance helicopters with enhanced capabilities, for which the tenders will be sent to potential vendors very soon. American Lockheed Martin will submit its proposal for this new bid, while it pulled out of an older similar one. The surveillance role is currently being fulfilled by the existing Seaking helicopters of 1980s vintage, in service in the Indian Navy, which are old and need to be replaced, for which already 16 multi-role helicopters are going to be finalised soon by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In addition to these 16 new helicopters, one more tender for about 75-100 helicopters will also be floated. It was for the 16 multi-role helicopter deal that Lockheed Martin pulled out as the deal was not under Foreign Military Sale (FMS), and was an open tender. The helicopters will be used in limited intelligence gathering, rescue and search casualty evacuation and surveillance roles.
For the 16 mutil-role helicopters originally there were four contenders namely Eurocopter EC725, the NH90 by the NH Industries, America's Sikorsky's S-70B and Lockheed Martin's integrated MH- 60R. Out of these two have been down-selected — the NH90 by the NH Industries, America's Sikorsky's S-70B, of which one will soon be shortlisted for price negotiations, for the deal worth $1 billion approximately.
In a similar category but with enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities the more than 75 new helicopters will also come as a replacement for the aging Westland Sea Kings, in a deal worth more than $2 billion, with some to be bought, while some to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under license. The Navy had asked for information from potential vendors for this separate second tender.
Sources told this newspaper that the new deal for the more than 75 helicopters will also be an open tender, but Lockheed Martin proposes to bid for this deal with its MH-60R and MH-60S, the air-frame of which will be similar to the Sikorsky's S-70B helicopter. Old Sea Kings are also to be upgraded.
The MoD's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had also cleared the purchase of 56 naval light utility helicopters to replace the existing Chetaks in service, in a deal worth Rs 7000 cr, the tender for which was sent out last year. These light utility helicopters will be twin-engined of modern airframe design and fully integrated advanced avionics to replace the aging fleet of Chetak helicopters, which were inducted about 30-35 years ago. Being able to operate both during day and night, the helicopters will also have the capability to operate in adverse weather conditions, both from shore and off-shore and from small and larger decks, like that of an aircraft carrier.


India urges Russia to induct BrahMos

India on Tuesday urged Russia to induct the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, a successful product of Indio-Russian joint venture, into its Navy.
While the missile has been inducted into the Indian Army and the Navy, Russia has so far kept away from adding it to its inventory.
It had, however, earlier agreed in principle to mount the missile, with a range of 290 km, on two of its ships that would be constructed over the decade.
During the visit of a Russian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to the BrahMos Aerospace in New Delhi on Tuesday, A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of BrahMos, is learnt to have urged him to induct the missile into the Russian naval fleet.
The Russian Deputy Premier was shown the BrahMos Mobile Autonomous Launcher and was briefed by Mr. Pillai on the progress of the joint venture, formed in 1998. 

The Hindu

July 17, 2012

India starts work on second indigenous aircraft carrier

India has started working on its second indigenous aircraft carrier even as the construction of the first one has been marred by delay of over two years.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)-II would be the largest ship in terms of the weight and size to have ever been built by the Navy, Navy sources said. On the delays in the IAC-I, they said against the December 2010 timeline, the Navy was now planning to launch it by the end of this year or early next year.
Sources said delays in the warship project were caused mainly due to problems in its gearbox, they said. The 40,000 tonne IAC-I is being constructed by the Kochin Shipyard in Kerala and is so far the biggest warship project undertaken in the country.
At its now expected induction timeline of 2017, it would be the second largest warship after the Russian-origin Admiral Gorshkov, which is set to arrive in India by March next year.
They said the IAC-I has two very large gear boxes weighing around 90 tonnes each-- the largest-ever to have been handled by the Navy.
Asked about the specifications of the IAC-2, Navy sources said the work was going on and a number of design options were being explored.
Navy sources expressed hope that by the time the IAC-II would be ready, the indigenously-built Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) would also be fully mature for operating on it.
On the Shivalik Class frigate INS Sahyadri to be commissioned in to the Navy on July 21, Navy officials said it was the last ship of its class Project 17. They said the work on the next Project 17A has already started.

IBN Live

Dual use technology issue with India being sorted out: Obama

(The Iindian Express) : Indicating a possible end to the long-standing denial of sophisticated dual use technology to India, President Barack Obama has said that the US Defence Department was working to sort it out.
He maintained that such technology, involving items which have civil and military use, was being given to India and that Pentagon "is working to address those occasional cases where we do not".
Acknowledging that there were "benefits" of providing such technology to New Delhi, Obama said in an interview, "Given all the interests and values we share, I'm confident that we can continue to work through any differences."
Obama's assurance comes in the backdrop of bickering between the two countries over dual use technology which has been denied to India for decades, particularly after it was put on the so-called entities list.
Denial of such technology has hit India's defence and space programmes amid fears in certain circles in the US that the sophisticated technology may be misused for military purposes, particularly nuclear weapons programme.
After Obama's India visit in 2010 the US government had announced the removal of 9 Indian space and defence-related organisations from the entities list.
However, the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) V K Saraswat went public recently with the complaint that though the embargo had been lifted nothing had changed "in practice". There had not not been even a 10 per cent implementation.

July 16, 2012

Indian Navy eyes expansion with three more Russian-made Krivak IV class frigates

Military partnership has been the cornerstone of Indo-Russian ties and the Indian Navy has been using Russian-made frigates. It has been learnt that India and Russia have already held preliminary discussions for the three additional frigates that the navy would purchase from Moscow. The talks on this issue will gain momentum when Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin arrives in Delhi on Tuesday with a jumbo delegation.
"Discussions are at a preliminary stage and it will get concretised in the coming days," said an official speaking on condition of anonymity, refusing to divulge details of the type of frigate and its features at this stage of negotiations.
However, it is understood that these frigates could belong to Krivak IV class of Russia. A Krivak IV class frigate is equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil medium-range air defence system, Club-N supersonic antiship missiles, two Kashtan point defence systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
Russia, it is understood, made the offer to supply three additional frigates. India, which is constructing seven indigenous frigates at Mumbai and Kolkata, is mulling over the proposal.
The issue was discussed last April when the two sides agreed on a roadmap of doables in several areas of military cooperation. This roadmap would be deliberated in details between Rogozin and his Indian interlocutors, officials hinted. His delegation includes Alexander V. Fomin, director of federal service for military and technical cooperation and several key Russian defence industry bosses. The discussions would also focus on supply of spare parts for Russian supplied aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF), development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and much delayed aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
This will be Rogozin's, a close aide of President Vladimir Putin, maiden visit to India. Rogozin who is the co-chairman of Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission on military-technical, trade, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna and defence minister A.K. Antony besides commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma. Russia is taking part in 20 tenders in India, with which it has a military-technical cooperation agreement until 2020.
Last month India received - INS Teg - the first of three the Stealth Talwar frigates it ordered from Russia six years ago. The 3,970 tonne P-17 project Talwar's are 124.5 meter (386 feet) long, carry 24 anti-aircraft and eight anti-ship missiles, four torpedo tubes, as well as a 100mm gun, short range antimissile guns, a helicopter, and anti-submarine weapons (depth charges and missiles).
The ship has a complete set of electronics gear. The crew strength is 180. All of the Talwars are being equipped with eight BrahMos anti-ship missile (range of 290 km) each. The Talwar is a modified version of the Russian Krivak III class.

India Today

India, US close to inking over $600 mlln jet engine deal

India and the US are close to signing a deal worth over $600 million for supplying 99 jet engines that would be used in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' being developed by the DRDO. Around two years ago, India had selected the American company General Electric over its rival European Eurojet 2000 for the LCA Mark II programme expected to be ready around 2014-15. 

Negotiations with the US firm over various issues involved in the deal, including price and transfer of technology, have been held and it is hoped that the deal for these engines to be fitted on the LCA Mark II would be signed soon, Defence sources told PTI here.
As per the contract, the order could be for 99 engines initially but India will have the option of order for another 100 engines in the future.
The engine on offer for the LCA Mark II is GE F-414 engine, which are more powerful that the GE F-404 engines fitted in the first batch of LCAs that the Indian Air Force would receive in near future.
The need for changing the existing engines in the LCAs was felt after the IAF found out that the GE-404 engines were not providing enough power to the aircraft and more powerful engines were needed for the purpose.
The DRDO is developing the LCA Mk II to meet the Indian Air Force requirements and it will have latest technological equipment including the latest Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) radar and would be able to carry more payload than the LCA Mk I.
Last month, the trials of the LCA Mk I were carried out in Pokharan desert firing range where laser-guided bombs and other weapon systems were tried.
As per the current plans, the IAF will induct two squadrons of the LCA Mk I and then the delivery of LCA Mk II aircraft would done.

Hindustan Times

July 13, 2012

Work on submarine launched BrahMos in final stages

The work on launch of submarine variant of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was in the final stages, a top official of the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace said today.

"Yes we are on the job and it is in the final stages," BrahMos Aerospace CEO and MD Dr A Sivathanu Pillai told reporters here when asked about the submarine launched-missile.

Sea and ground-launched versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy. The flight tests of the airborne version will be completed by the end of 2012.

Pillai said the Hypersonic version of Brahmos-2 cruise missile will be ready for launch in another five years.

With the research on propulsion of scramjet underway, the hypersonic missile, with four times speed that the present Supersonic missile, would be ready for induction into Indian forces by 2017.

With a 300 million Dollars investment, the company, a Indo-Russian joint venture, was doing a business of five billion dollars at present, he said.

However, he said the company would think of large scale exports only after meeting the requirements of Indian armed forces. 

Economic Times

July 11, 2012

Path clear for Rafale fighter deal: Antony

India’s hunt for acquisition of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) is coming to a close with the defence ministry giving the  green signal to the evaluation process that led to selection of the French Rafale fighter. The plane was chosen as it was the lowest bidder on the basis of its lifecycle cost and technology transfer. The total deal is worth $20 billion (Rs 1.12 lakh crore) with options for further purchases.

Replying to a letter written on February 27, 2012 by TDP Rajya Sabha member MV Mysura Reddy alleging manipulation of the MMRCA evaluation process, defence minister AK Antony said: "The issues raised by you were examined by independent monitors who have concluded that the approach and methodology adopted by the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) in the evaluation of the commercial proposals thus far, have been reasonable and appropriate and within the terms of the Request for Proposals (RFR) and Defence Procurement Procedure, 2006."
The Indian Air Force on January 31 had declared Rafale as the preferred bidder, overriding the claims of the multi-nation Eurofighter. According to negotiations, 18 Rafale fighters will arrive in India from mid-2015, with another 108 to be built in India under collaboration.
As reported in the Hindustan Times, Reddy had written to Antony stating: "The alleged manipulation of the evaluation process in picking the (Rafale), which resulted in the decision to procure 126 MMRCA has raised serious apprehensions not only across the country but also worldwide. If a proper decision is not taken, the country's credibility will be at stake."
Two days later, Antony ordered an inquiry into all the points raised by Reddy.
Talking to HT after receiving Antony's final response on Monday evening in Hyderabad, Reddy said he was not satisfied with the reply. "I will wait for the report after the defence ministry has examined the finalised CNC recommendations as promised by the defence minister," he said.

Hindustan Times

Tail of all C-130Js to be made in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is poised to become a blip on the world’s defence map soon when the Tata Advanced Systems unit will start rolling out spare parts for the C-130J, the special operations aircraft made by the US that is presently in service in 15 countries. The Hyderabad factory will become operational over the next year now that Tata Advanced Systems has entered into a joint venture with Lockheed Martin. The US aerospace major has supplied six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) the contract for which mandates Lockheed to invest 30 per cent of the deal within the country.
“The factory will manufacture replacement centre wing boxes and tail sections for every new C-130 J sold around the world. Beginning August, all C-130Js sold to any country will be built in Hyderabad,” Lockheed Martin’s India head Roger M Rose told Express. Designed for special operations, the four-engine C-130J can land troops behind enemy lines. Capable of operating from a short runway, it can also operate in pitch dark conditions.
Tata Advanced Systems holds 74 per cent of the stake in the joint venture (JV), and Lockheed 26 per cent--the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit allowed in defence sector. Tata Advanced Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons with focus on providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence, homeland security and disaster management. 

“This is our first JV in India and it will strengthen our foothold in the Indian defence market,” said Roger, beaming about the fact that his company delivered six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to IAF well before deadline. The IAF had signed the $1 billion deal for the six aircraft in 2008.
The factory is being set up in a special economic zone (SEZ) at Adibhatla near Hyderabad along with Tata’s two other JVs. Tata Advanced Systems also has a JV with Sikorsky Aerospace Services to manufacture helicopter cabins with with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. That unit will manufacture cabins for all S-92 helicopters. Another JV with Israeli Air Force Technologies named NOVA has been allotted 30 acres land in the SEZ.

IBN Live

July 10, 2012

DRDO, Army working on futuristic artillery gun

That the Indian Army's artillery regiments are in desperate need of a makeover is well known. But the process of modernisation and upgrade has moved at a glacial pace. The only new weapon in sight is the M777 light howitzer which has been cleared for procurement from BAE Systems in the US. The DRDO has now stepped in, reviving an old artillery project that had been shut down some years ago owing to the Army's lack of interest in an indigenous project.
Working this time with the Army's full backing, the DRDO has begun work on a new 155mm 45-calibre gun that could take a decade to develop and field. Dr S Sundaresh, head of the team for the new artillery project, said in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN that the gun would comprise certain high-end technologies that could require a foreign collaborator.

We are proposing to develop a futuristic gun in consultation with the Army. We are in dialogue with the Army for some of the new technologies we are proposing to introduce into this gun, for example a special coating for the barrel to enhance its life, the smart recoil system with rheological fluid or an electrical drive to elevate and traverse the gun. We are in dialogue with the Army to finalise the Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirements (PSQR) hopefully in the next couple of months. We have already started design work and will modify the design to suit the PSQR.
Since these are new technologies, we expect in about four to five years time we should be ready with a prototype for user trials, followed by summer and winter trials. Production could commence in about nine to 10 years' time. So the development cycle is 5-7 years including evaluation by the Army.

We want to try new technology in the area of recoil. The standard recoil systems are hydro-pneumatic but we are looking at an electro rheological liquid which has adaptive viscosity characteristics. So it will have adaptive damping, you will get a smooth consistent recoil no matter what the weight of the shell and what range you are firing at. That makes for a more reliable recoil system. The PSQRs demand new technology such as barrel coating. So the plan is to first build the barrel using current technologies and then try coating. Once that barrel development technology has matured, we can add new technologies and improve its performance. A number of foreign firms are willing to offer the coating technology. We are in dialogue but nothing has been firmed up yet. In order to cut down on time, we may get the technology from abroad, especially about the barrel coating and the recoilless system.

Basically, both tanks and non-rocket artillery have rifled guns but when you look at the length of the barrel, the artillery gun barrels are much longer than tank barrels. The artillery shell is heavier, so the force of recoil is heavier. Accordingly, you require a proper recoil mechanism and a muzzle brake system.

Nobody else in the world is developing a new gun. BAE Systems Bofors, Denel and Singapore Technologies have developed technologies for the guns they built. Nexter of France has also done the same but no serious development is taking place in terms of new guns. All guns are being produced with existing technology, so we will be the only country taking up this development. We have a large requirement and even if we take up development today, we can meet our requirements 10 years from now for a state-of-the-art gun system.
The Ordnance Factory Board is working on a gun based on the ToT documents received from Bofors. So they will be building a 155mm 39-calibre gun as well as a 155mm 45-calibre one. DRDO is helping them with the 45-calibre barrel design and external ballistics.

Self propelled guns are now at the RFP stage and we have teamed up with BEML for the Army tender. BEML is taking the turret from the Czech firm Zusana and the same will be integrated on the Arjun tank chassis. Hopefully trials will commence within a year.

IBN Live

Indian Navy to commission a warship and a base ship

The Indian Navy is going to boast its powers with the commissioning of two ships in the coming week. The two ships are 'INS Tanaji' (a base depot ship) and the second is the warship 'INS Sahyadri'.
Defence officials said the commissioning ceremony of the Base Depot Ship 'INS Tanaji' will be held at the Mankhurd Naval Base Station. Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, Chief of Naval Staff will be the Chief Guest on the occasion. The ceremony will held at 8 am on July 10. "The so called 'Base Depot Ship', will look after berthing and ship lift facilities and will add punch and power to the Indian Navy," said the officials.

Meanwhile, the commissioning ceremony of naval warship 'Sahyadri' will be held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. The ceremony will held at 2pm on July 21. AK Antony, Raksha Mantri, will be the Chief Guest on the occasion. "INS Sahyadri will be the third ship of the Shivalik class of stealth frigates," said Indian Defence Chief PRO Manohar Nambiar.
Officials said that INS Sahyadri finished its construction at Mazagon Dock Limited. The keel for INS Sahyadri was laid on March 17, 2003. She was launched on May 27, 2005 and will be commissioned on July 21.
The Project 17 warships are christened after hill ranges in India and the 4,900-tonne vessels are one of the most advanced design with stealth features in the Indian Navy stable. "The MDL had laid the keel of INS Sahyadri in March 2003 and launched it in the water in May 2005. The warship had gone out into the Arabian Sea for sea trials earlier this year. India plans to build seven more warships of this class in the future as a follow-on Project-17A," said the officials.
The Shivalik class frigates are 142-metre long, 17-metre wide warships that run on two Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines and two GE LM2500+ boost turbines in combined diesel or gas (CODOG) configuration

Times of India

India finalizing mega stealth frigates’ project for over Rs 50,000 crore

India's mammoth over Rs 50,000 crore plan to construct seven advanced stealth frigates, with all weapon and missile systems under the hull for a lower radar ``signature'', is finally gathering some momentum now in tune with the overall strategy to build a futuristic blue-water Navy indigenously. This major plan, codenamed ``Project-17A'', will be a strong booster dose for defence shipyards since it will be shared between Mazagon Docks (MDL) at Mumbai and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) at Kolkata.

``The CNC (contract negotiation committee) is currently underway for P-17A, which has already been approved by the defence ministry. The contract will be awarded after the final nod from the Cabinet Committee on Security. While MDL will build four, GRSE will construct the other three,'' said a source.

This comes even as the third and the final stealth frigate INS Sahyadri built by MDL, under the long-delayed ``Project-17'' at a cost of Rs 8,101 crore, is now all set to be commissioned on July 21.

Defence minister A K Antony will be travelling to Mumbai to commission the frigate, commanded by Captain S Vatsayan, like he did for the first two INS Shivalik and INS Satpura in 2010 and 2011. The seven new frigates will be ``longer, broader, faster and stealthier'' than the three 6,100-tonne Shivalik-class frigates that have a range of 5,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 18 knots.

``The new frigates will also have the 290-km BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, apart from other advanced weapons and sensors, for a greater offensive punch in all the three dimensions (air, surface and underwater),'' said the source.

Both MDL and GRSE are undergoing modernisation, with new modular yards and 250-300 tonne goliath cranes, to enable ``integrated modular construction'' of the P-17A frigates in ``compressed shipbuilding time-frames''. ``The shipyards will also tie-up with a foreign know-how provider,'' he said.

The Navy is increasingly turning ``stealthy'' since surprise and deception are crucial in modern-day warfare. The three Talwar-class stealth frigates (Talwar, Trishul and Tabar) inducted from Russia in 2003-2004 as well as the Shivalik-class warships have already boosted the Navy's combat capabilities due to their ``vastly-reduced'' radar, infra-red, noise, frequency and magnetic ``signatures'' to beat enemy detection systems.

The force, of course, has also recently inducted another stealth frigate, the 3,970-tonne INS Teg, with two more (Tarkash and Trikhand) to follow in 2012-2013, under the $1.15 billion contract inked with Russia in 2006.

These three frigates and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov), to be inducted from Russia in early-2013 under a revised refit cost of $2.33 billion, in fact, are the only warships among the 50 already ordered by Navy that will come from abroad.

All the rest are being manufactured in India, with naval designers here also achieving proficiency in designing stealth warships. With the ``Maritime Capability Perspective Plan for 2012-2027'' pegging the number of major warships required at about 150, contracts for another 45 warships are in the pipeline to add to the 50 already on order. 
Times of India

July 7, 2012

Light Combat Helicopter undergoing sea trials off Chennai

BANGALORE: Another milestone is round the corner for the indigenous attack helicopter currently under development.

The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which was developed by the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), is currently undergoing sea-level trials off Chennai.

The trials commenced last week and will last for about 10 more days.

The trials will evaluate effects of flying the chopper at sea-level.

The Indian Air Force and the Army together are looking at inducting 150 LCHs in the future.

The trials are overseen by Wing Commander Unni Pillai, chief test pilot, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He said the second prototype or Technology Demonstrator (TD-2) of the LCH were being subjected to various tests at the sea-level conditions.

Sea trials are part of the process of testing the effectiveness of the aircraft at various altitudes and temperature conditions.

"All the earlier trials were carried out in and around Bangalore which is about 3,000 feet above sea level. Now we are testing the helicopter at the altitude at about 500 feet above sea-level. The performance of the helicopter has been good and so far there have been no surprises," said Pillai.

The LCH is a derivative of Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) and will be adding teeth to the already existing fleet of Mi-35 and Mi-25 attack helicopters. This sea trials come at a time when IAF is in the process of acquiring Boeing's Apache Longbow advanced attack helicopters.

HAL sources say the performance of the LCH is on par with any other attack helicopter including Apache.

  -  Times of India

July 6, 2012

Mahindra & Mahindra may bid for Hawker Beechcraft

Mahindra & Mahindra, India's biggest tractor and utility vehicle maker, may be considering a bid for Hawker Beechcraft; the bankrupt aircraft maker, Bloomberg said on Wednesday.
Hawker Beechcraft, part owned by Goldman Sachs Group, is on the selling block and the agency said that the Indian automobile firm with manufacturing interests in turbo prop aircrafts may be a likely suitor.

Hemant Luthra, who heads Mahindra Systech, declined to comment on the speculation. "We are small players in the business of turbo prop aircraft and we have been watching what's happening with Hawker Beechcraft , which is in the public domain.
Apart from this we don't want to comment," he added. M&M entered the aerospace industry in 2009 by acquiring Aerostaff Australia, a component manufacturer, and Gippsland Aeronautics, a maker of turboprop aircraft.
Hawker, which makes the Beechcraft King Air turboprop and Hawker 4000 business jet, filed a reorganisation plan in the US Bankruptcy Court on June 30 that would give control of the company to secured creditors who hold debt valued at almost $922 million.
According to reports, investment banker Perella Weinberg Partners developed a list of more than 35 bidders, which was further shortlisted to six bidders.

Economic Times

July 4, 2012

Mazagon Dock may split order among 4

The need to hasten implementation and avoid any further confrontation with other shipbuilding companies may see Mazagon Dock, India’s largest defence shipyard, split its ambitious Rs 1-lakh-crore naval order book among four major Indian private shipbuilders. After Pipapav Defence, Mazagon is considering similar joint ventures with L&T, ABG Shipyard and Bharati Shipyard, say people in the know.
Pipavav and Mazagon have already agreed on collaboration, but the agreement between the two does not have any exclusivity clause. “Pipavav is the preferred partner, but Mazagon may also explore roping in others, considering the strategic nature of national security,” said a senior official from one of these shipbuilding companies, on condition of anonymity.
 So far, however, no written communication has been issued to this effect.
Last year, Mazagon had invited private shipbuilders to partner it in executing the mega warship orders, already delayed by seven-eight years. It had Mazagon had shortlisted four of the eight companies interested, before choosing Pipavav as the partner. The three companies that lost out complained to the defence ministry, alleging opaqueness in Pipavav’s selection. The ministry put the joint venture on hold, saying fresh guidelines would be issued in this regard. However, in May, the ministry gave its approval to the Pipavav-Mazagon joint venture.
However, considering the enormity of the contract, it may be difficult for just one vendor, Pipavav, to carry out the Navy warships projects of Rs 1 lakh crore. Therefore, Mazagon Dock is considering forming joint ventures with each of the four companies approved by the ministry to carry out the defence orders and expressions of interest for these would be invited soon. A Mazagon Dock official, on condition of anonymity, told Business Standard, “The plan is very fluid at the moment, but details are being worked out.”
Mazagon Dock did not reply to a query sent to it.
The procedure being considered is now possible, after the government had removed the ‘exclusivity’ norm, making such joint ventures open for all government-approved defence shipbuilders—BG Shipyard, Bharati Shipyard, L&T and Pipavav.
An official from one of the shipbuilders said, “This is definitely a good opportunity for us to get a share of this large order. It’s impossible for a joint venture to complete the order in the given timeframe. With multiple ventures and the work being split, the process would gain speed.”
As on March 31, ABG Shipyard had an order book of Rs 16,000 crore, to be executed over three-five years. Pipavav has an order book of about Rs 7,000 crore, while Bharati Shipyard’s order book stands at Rs 6,500 crore. With the Mazagon order book of Rs 1 lakh crore being split between the four companies, the revenue and profitability of these companies would get a boost, albeit over a long period of time.
The Mazagon projects would also help private shipbuilders boost revenue, aiding the shipping sector, which is recording a scarcity in new orders. The ministry’s nod to the Mazagon-Pipavav joint venture has also cleared the path for other government-owned defence shipyards like Hindustan Shipyard, Cochin Shipyard and Garden Reach Works in Kolkata to seek similar joint ventures for defence orders. The overall defence order book is estimated at a whopping Rs 1,60,000 crore, to be delivered over four-five years.

Business Standard

July 3, 2012

Army closer to getting attack helicopters, as India eyes China threat

Defence Minister A K Antony today directed that the Indian Army deploy extra man power in the North East as fast as possible. He asked the Army to prepare to induct more attack helicopters into the force. The Defence Minister was reviewing the modernisation of the Indian Army.

Modernisation of the Indian Army has been in sharp focus since the letter of the former chief, General V K Singh, to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was leaked to the media. General Singh's letter had pointed to severe deficiencies in equipment and systems.

Sources said that Mr Antony, reviewing the Army's modernisation programme, also asked the Army to step-up on the infrastructure development in the North East. Besides this, the Minister also reviewed the process of acquisition of artillery guns and asked the Army to reform its acquisition process.
 Mr Antony also reviewed new measures taken to increase and improve ammunition storage systems in the North East. Besides this, he also asked the Army to prioritise and focus on critical areas to plug existing gaps. The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Defence including the Defence Secretary Sashikant Sharma and Secretary Defence Production Shekhar Agarwal.


July 2, 2012

Defence laboratory designs heli-portable composite bridges

If manueuvrability is what matters the most in a battlefield, there is reason to cheer. Moving a step ahead of the armoured vehicle/truck launched bridging systems, the Research and Development Engineers (R&DE), a city-based DRDO laboratory, has been in talks with the Army to put to use the composite bridges, which it says are heli-portable. The laboratory, which has been working on composite structures, has developed a five- and 10-m composite-bridging system — the lighter weights of which can make feasible the option of heli-portability of bridging systems.
“We completed the fabrication of 10-m composite bridge around six months ago. While a few tests have been conducted, the rest are under way. The success of the 10-m bridging system will pave the way for the 26-m bridge, which should be developed next year. We developed the five-metre composite bridges three years ago, which means that we have the technology. We are in discussion with the Army about the heli-portability of the system — which is its best use,” said Dr S Guruprasad, director, R&DE.
According to the R & DE officials, here is how the composite bridges are better — the five-metre long and four-metre wide bridge developed by the laboratory three years ago is 30 per cent lighter than the aluminium bridge and costs approximately the same. It weighs 1.2 tonnes and is designed for Military Load Class (MLC)-70 (capacity to sustain 70 tonnes of load). Each tread way of the bridge with a deck-I girder configuration is monocoque without joints. Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Moulding (VARTM) process has been used to manufacture the bridge. What makes the composite bridges smart are the fibre optic sensors, which are embedded in it, say R& DE officials.
“Composites normally use glass or carbon fibre and epoxy resins for bonding. In Agni-V, the third stage was made of composites. R&DE has developed the applications of composites in design, development of structures for the Army and naval applications such as all composite single span bridges, armoured vehicles with integral ceramic composite hull, among others,” said Air Commodore (retd) Raghubir Singh of Institute of Defence Scientists and Technologists.
The fabrication and designing of the composite bridges has been done in-house by the laboratory, which has earlier developed the Sarvatra Bridging System and the Bridge Laying Tank (BLT T- 72) on the T- 72 chassis. “The laboratory has been working in-house on the composites. However, once we enter the production stage, private partners do the transfer of technology,” Guruprasad said.

The Indian Express