November 30, 2012

IAF in mountain strike corps to counter Chinese might

Keeping China’s growing military prowess in mind, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will now be part of India’s proposed mountain strike corps that will be based in Uttarakhand and the North-East.
This move came about after the Government turned down the Army’s Rs 60,000-crore proposal seven months back on the grounds that it was too Army-specific and that the three Services should jointly put up the proposal.
The new proposal sent to the Defence Ministry by Chairman Chief of Staff Committee Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne 10 days back projects requirements for combat helicopters, radars, anti-aircraft and anti-missile guns and electronic surveillance equipment.
This is besides the Army’s projection of recruiting nearly 40,000 to 60,000 jawans and officers trained in mountain warfare apart from acquisition of artillery guns, howitzers and long and short range infantry weapons including rifles.
Incidentally, the earlier proposal was drafted by the Army alone after the Government gave an approval in principle more than a year back. However, the Finance Ministry later sent back the proposal to the Defence Ministry and asked it to come up with a joint proposal by the three Services, sources said here on Wednesday.
Explaining the rationale behind the objection on the Army’s proposal, sources said given the magnitude of the project with huge expenditure involved, the Government wanted to avoid a scenario where the IAF and the Navy also put forward their requirements at a later stage. Against this backdrop, the Government asked the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee to draw a joint proposal about the strategy to meet the challenge of China’s growing military prowess and listing their requirements in a synergised manner for the strike corps, officials said.
The new proposal reinforces the need for setting up the corps at the earliest with air elements including combat helicopters to provide cover to advancing troops from enemy and destroy its fortified positions and gun locations.  Moreover, the new plan also gives details of the deployment of frontline IAF fighter jets in forward bases in the North-East and Uttarakhand and requirements to upgrade these bases to aid the proposed corps, sources said.
The Army has already started raising the second mountain division (one division has 10,000 men). The first division was raised a year back for Arunachal Pradesh and these two divisions will form part of the strike corps. The raising of a strike corps is the brainchild of former Army Chief VK Singh. The objective was to launch a counter-offensive in Tibet if China carries out a Kargil-type  adventure.
Moreover, rapid modernisation of China’s armed forces and its vastly superior infrastructure in Tibet and other areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh regions was another reason for this strike corps as China has carried out offensive exercises in Tibet Autonomous Region in the past few years.
Besides these factors, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also expressed reservations about the corps saying such a move may send wrong signals to Beijing and escalate tension in the region.
The PMO felt that China in the last few years has not increased its troop strength along the LAC and any accretions by India will prove counter-productive as both the countries are holding regular dialogue to resolve the vexed boundary dispute. However, the defence establishment maintained that China has improved its military infrastructure backed by excellent sensors and radars and therefore, did not need to have troops on the ground to guard its territory. Enjoying this advantage over India, China has not increased its troop strength in the last few years.
India lacks infrastructure including roads, rail and airfields and has to maintain its presence in the Ladakh region and Arunachal Pradesh throughout the year. While China has built more than a 10,000-km long rail network and airports in the Tibet region and can rush troops and maintain logistical support in case of an eventuality, India is way behind and troops have to be physically present there.

November 29, 2012

China's new fighter jet has 3,000 km range

Chinese fighter jet J-15, which successfully landed on the country's first aircraft carrier, has a range of about 3,000 km without refuelling and strong sea-air combat capability, said an official.
Zhang Junshe, deputy director of the country's Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the People's Daily that the successful takeoff and landing of the J-15 is a clear sign of an increase in the fighting capacity of the aircraft carrier.
Carrier-based aircraft is an important symbol of the fighting capacity of an aircraft carrier, he said.
Zhang said the J-15 is China's first generation of independently developed carrier-based aircraft.
It is a third-generation fighter with strong sea-air combat capability and supersonic speeds. It can carry multiple types of long-range anti-ship and air-to-air missiles.
The J-15 has a range of about 3,000 km without refueling, and thus has strong long-range combat capability, said the media report.
After the successful takeoff and landing of the carrier-based aircraft, the navy will now test other components of the carrier battle group.

Times of India

Israel pips US in anti-tank guided missile supply to India

Israel has upstaged the US in the ongoing race to bag the huge deal to supply third-generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to the Indian Army, in a project which could well be worth $1 billion eventually.

Defence ministry sources said the plan to go in for the American FGM-148 Javelin ATGMs has "virtually been shelved" because of Washington's reluctance to provide full military knowhow - licensed "transfer of technology (ToT)'' - to allow India to indigenously manufacture the "tank killers'' in large numbers after an initial off-the-shelf purchase.

Instead, the Army has already completed extensive trials of the Israeli 'Spike' ATGM, which like Javelin is also a shoulder-launched and fire-and-forget missile, under varied conditions in plains, deserts and mountains. "The staff evaluation is now in progress as the next step in the procurement process,'' said a source.

The Javelin imbroglio has once again rekindled long-held fears in the Indian defence establishment about the US not being a reliable long-term supplier of cutting-edge military technology. India also detests American conditions on "intrusive end-user inspections'' of weapons sold to its armed forces.

The US has notched up military sales worth over $8 billion to India in the last few years, including mega deals for C-130J 'Super Hercules', C-17 Globemaster-III and P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, but they did not involve licensed production in India.

The AGTM project, in contrast, involves ToT since the 1.13-million Army wants to equip all its 356 infantry battalions with the man-portable missiles as an effective counter to Pakistani and Chinese main battle tanks. A bulk of the estimated 2,000 launchers and 24,000 missiles required for this are planned for production by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics (BDL) after getting requisite ToT from the selected foreign vendor.

With General Bikram Singh identifying infantry modernization as a major thrust area, the Army wants to complete the induction of these 2.5-km range advanced ATGMs by the end of the 12th Plan (2017).

At present, infantry units are making do with second-generation Milan (2-km range) and Konkurs (4-km) ATGMs, produced by BDL under licence from French and Russian companies, which are wire-guided and do not have fire-and-forget capabilities.

Overall, the Army has an "authorized holding'' for over 81,000 different kinds of ATGMs, which are critical to stem enemy armoured attacks, but does not have even half of that number in its inventory.

A part of the deficiency will be met by the induction of the long-delayed indigenous third-generation Nag ATGMs, which are vehicle and helicopter-mounted, with a 4-km strike range. The Army has already placed an initial order for 443 Nag missiles and 13 Namicas (Nag missile tracked carriers).

If Israel, the second-largest defence supplier to India after Russia, does indeed stitch up the ATGM project, it will be the third major missile programme between the two countries. They are already collaborating in two surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, under which deliveries are slated to begin soon.

While the DRDO-Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) project for long-range-SAM to arm Indian warships is worth Rs 2,606 crore, the medium-range-SAM one for IAF is worth Rs 10,076 crore.

From Heron and Searcher UAVs, Harpy and Harop "killer'' drones to Barak anti-missile defence systems and Green Pine radars, Python and Derby air-to-air missiles, Israel notches up military sales to India roughly worth $1 billion every year.

Times of India

IAF to upgrade Su-30MKIs to 'Super Sukhoi' standard

The prowess of IAF's frontline fighter aircraft Su-30MKI is set to get a boost with plans to equip them with missiles having a strike range of around 300 kilometres.
 The plan is to upgrade the first 80 Su-30MKIs to the level 'Super Sukhois' which will have highly advanced radars and weapon systems, IAF sources told PTI here.

Su-30 MKIs have been inducted into IAF in four phases. The ones to be upgraded are from the first phase and the project is likely to be completed in the next three to four years, they said.

The sources said the plan involves equipping the aircraft with long-range stand-off missiles upto the range of 300 km and a request for information (ROI) was issued recently for procuring such a weapon system from global vendors.

The missiles with a range around 300 kms would be in addition to the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which would be carried by around 50 aircraft of the force.

The aircraft would also have the highly-advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar along with the latest avionics systems, they said.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will work with the Russian help under a project expected to cost around Rs 10,900 crore for upgrading the Su-30 MKIs.

IAF has a fleet of around 170 Su-30MKIs and it has plans to procure around 272 of them.

So far, orders for 230 aircraft have been placed and plans are to sign a deal for 42 more during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit next month here, the sources said.

The SU-30s were inducted into the IAF in late 90s and at present six squadrons of the aircraft are in service.

The first squadron was of the Su-30 was of the 'K' variant but later they were also upgraded to the latest MKI version. Till now, the IAF has placed orders for around 280 of these heavy air-superiority aircraft of which over 100 have been inducted.

IAF is already upgrading its two main fighter aircraft fleet of 60 MiG-29s and 50 Mirage planes. It is about to sign an around USD two billion deal with France to modernise its Mirage aircraft. The Jaguar, MiG-27 and MiG-21 fleet have already been upgraded by the force.

PTI/ Zee News

November 28, 2012

LoR for supply of 145 BAE M777 guns issued

After multiple twists and turns, the Indian MoD has finally dispatched a letter of request (LoR) to the Pentagon for the supply of 145 BAE Systems M777 ultra-light howitzer (ULH) guns. The foreign military sales (FMS) deal is expected to be worth roughly $650-million. According to the original notification to the US Congress in 2010, the package also includes laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, the US Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.
The ULHs will be easily transportable by heavy-lift helicopter or transport aircraft—in fact the CH-47F Chinook which the IAF has selected for its heavy helicopter competition is capable of transporting an M777 as an underslung load—one of the many requirements put down by the Indian Army for its light gun requirement. The M777 will be deployable in the Northern and Eastern sectors. The deal carries a 30 per cent offsets requirement.


India Set Delivery Deadline for INS Vikramaditya

Indian defense ministry named the end of 2013 as a deadline for delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya modernized in Russia, reported Defense News referring to Indian defense minister A.K. Antony. As for him, commission of the aircraft carrier has been already delayed for 5 years. The minister did not specify whether any sanctions would be imposed on Russia in case of further delays.

The contract for aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (former Russian Project 11434 aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov) was signed by Russia and India in 2004. Then the contract cost $1.5 bln. India received the carrier for free but paid that money only for the ship's repair and modernization, as well as air wing consisting of fighters MiG-29K/KUB and helicopters Ka-28/31. The parties revised contractual terms in 2009, and the contract cost increased up to $2.3 bln.

It was initially planned that Indian Navy would receive the ship upgraded under Project 11430 in Aug 2008, but delivery dates were postponed many times then. According to the latest agreement, the ship was supposed to arrive in India in Dec 2012, but Russia deferred the ship's delivery to the first half of 2013. The reason was failed trials of Vikramaditya in the Barents Sea when seven out of eight steam boilers broke down due to low-grade thermal insulation.

Indian authorities were planning to impose a $115-mln penalty on Russia for delayed delivery of the aircraft carrier. However, no official claims were made.


November 27, 2012

Indian Mariners Smashed New Russian-Built Frigate in Quay

Under way from Kaliningrad for Baltiysk on frigate INS Tarkash newly built by Yantar shipyard, Indian naval mariners smashed the ship against a quay, eyewitnesses of the incident told Kaliningrad.Ru. Employees of Yantar confirmed that information assuring that the ship had not suffered serious damages.

"Heading for Baltiysk, Indians hit the hull against the mooring wall. However, that affected neither the ship's condition nor the cruise schedule", the press secretary of Yantar shipyard Sergei Mikhailov told Kaliningrad.Ru. As for him, the ship now is under way for Portland and then will set a course for Indian port Mumbai.

Recall that INS Tarkash is the second out of three ships built by Yantar shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia) for Indian Navy. The first frigate, INS Teg was handed over to the client on Apr 27, 2012. The third one, INS Trikand is currently undergoing dockside trials and to be delivered in the summer 2013.

It is noteworthy that construction of the frigate started in 2006 under project of Severnoye Design Bureau. Three analogous Talwar-class frigates were built by Baltiysky Zavod shipyard (St. Petersburg) and joined Indian Navy in 2003-2004.

Project 11356 frigates are designed for searching and destruction of submarines, antiship and antisubmarine warfare, as well as air defenses. Displacement is 4,000 tons; crew is 220 men; operation range is 5,000 nautical miles. The ships are armed with the BrahMos antiship cruise missiles jointly developed by Russia and India.


November 26, 2012

Israel Successfully Tests David's Sling Defense System

(RIA Novosti) - Israel has successfully tested its David's Sling defense system, also known as Magic Wand, local media reported.
Over the past few days, David’s Sling has intercepted a test-fired mid-range missile in its first trial run of the kind, the Haaretz daily reported on Sunday.
David’s Sling’s intercepting missile is an advanced weapon with the possibility of a greater range of activity thanks to its engine, which switches off and on a few times during the flight. The test involved no warhead, with a trial involving a warhead to be held by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the future.
The test brought Israel closer to possessing an active defense shield protecting the country against Islamic militant group Hezbollah’s projectiles, the Jerusalem Post daily reported on Sunday.
The newspaper said the David’s Sling missile defense system, now being developed by Israel’s defense company Rafael and US defense contractor Raytheon, is designed to “fill the gap between Iron Dome’s short-range protection and the Arrow 2 long-range ballistic missile defense program.”
The system, to become operational in 2014, would defend Israel against missiles with a range between 70 kilometers (44 miles) and 300 km (187 miles).
The Jerusalem Post said that according to the IDF, there are some 200,000 rockets and missiles pointed in the direction of Israel from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Wednesday. Both the IDF and the Islamist group praised the deal, in line with which, Israel ended its Operation Pillar of Defense against the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave of 1.7 million that has been governed by Hamas since 2007, and Hamas stopped launching rockets into Israel.
The Pillar of Defense started on November 14 with an airstrike that eliminated the head of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Jabari. The airstrike came after a reported surge in rocket attacks on Israeli border towns from Gaza.

Media: China Performed First Carrier Deck Landing

Chinese fighter for the first time managed to land on the aircraft carrier deck, reported South China Morning Post on Nov 22.

According to the newspaper, fighter J-15 successfully landed on the deck of aircraft carrier Liaoning last Tuesday in Bohai Gulf where the ship passes another trial round, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

It was also reported that the carrier's crew started practicing interaction with air wing only in Oct 2012.

Reportedly, until the last Tuesday, Chinese pilots had been practicing only deck touchdowns and then landed on ground-based airfields. However, that is a normal process of gradual polishing of deck-landing techniques.

At last, the first phase of the exercise was led to its logical end. Obviously, Chinese experts did mount arresters on Liaoning.

An arrester constitutes a thick steel rope extended across the deck and helping to dissipate kinetic energy of a landing airplane. Thanks to that, landing run is shortened to the size of a flight deck.

It is noteworthy that Russia earlier refused to sell arresters to China for its first aircraft carrier which is retrofitted Soviet ship Varyag.

Directors of the Central Research Institute for Marine Engineering and the Proletarsky Zavod declared in 2006 that China was about to buy 4 arresters and that the parties had conducted several rounds of negotiations.

However, it was reported in 2011 that the Kremlin had recommended the institute to shut down all contacts with China, and elite of Russian defense industry had probably decided not to sell arresters to that country.

According to sources of military-oriented magazine Kanwa Asian Defence, China managed to purchase samples of tailhooks for operational training airplane JL-9 and its copy J-15 from Ukraine instead of buying them directly from Russia.

Meanwhile, representatives of Russian defense and foreign ministries answering the questions regarding China's procurement of Russian carrier-building technologies answered that "strategic arms are prohibited for export to China. Aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, and nuclear weapons production technologies fall within the category of strategic arms".

Mastering of the deck-landing technique – the hardest both from the viewpoint of technology and pilotage skills – will let China use this kind of ships to full extent. Aircraft carriers at China's hands may noticeably affect regional balance of force. For one, Japan cautiously watches expansion of Chinese Navy's presence in the Pacific Ocean, especially in the context of recent aggravation of the territorial conflict around the Senkaku Islands.

Recall that the first Chinese aircraft carrier was built on the basis of the ex-Soviet aircraft-carrying cruiser Varyag bought in 1998 from Ukraine at the price of metal scrap. That refurbished ship is expected to serve in Chinese Navy primarily as an experimental base and a training platform for ship-based pilots.

According to Hong Kong sources, China plans to build several ships of this type classified as Admiral Kuznetsov.


Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya to Take Sea in Summer 2013

Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (former Russian Admiral Gorshkov) will resume sea trials early July 2013.

According to Russian Navy Main HQ, the aircraft carrier will take sea on July 3. That event will be preceded by 2-month long underbody examination at the dock of Sevmash shipyard.

The sea trial program will be accomplished in full scale, added the source in Navy HQ.

Previously, official handover of the ship to Indian party was scheduled on Dec 4, 2012. However, a number of defects were found during a trial round in Sept 2012.

The largest ever Russian-Indian military export contract was signed in 2004 providing that Russia would upgrade its aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for Indian Navy at the price of $750 mln. Initially, it was planned to deliver the ship to the client in 2008, but the deadlines were postponed many times due to increasing volume of works. Currently, the contract value is $2.3 bln.

By now, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has passed large-scale modernization at Russian shipyard Sevmash. The ship is equipped with flight deck and takeoff ski-ramp for MiG-29K fighters.


November 23, 2012

India aims to acquire Israel Iron Dome system to counter Pakistan

New Delhi: Indian defence think tanks intend to make India equipped with technology similar to Israel’s Iron Dome in order to counter conventional artillery and short range missile attacks from Pakistan.
For this purpose, Indian planners are keeping a close eye on the performance of Israel’s Iron Dome, which is probably the only deterrent to the rocket attacks.
The Indian military establishment aims to acquire this defence system because of the fact that India is bordered by unfriendly neighbours, a report said.
According to a report, the Indian military officials fear Pakistani groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who could also acquire similar capability like Hamas, which would threaten large groups of Indian population.
The report said that one of the key reasons why few Indian defence planners look for it is the possibility of another conflict with Pakistan, where a defence system like the Iron Dome might be helpful to deter even conventional artillery attacks.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is engaged in talks with their Israeli counterparts for a probable joint development of Iron Dome for India, report stated quoting sources.
“The Israeli team comes and works in our laboratories. Our team goes and works in their laboratories and industries. There is a learning that is taking place which was not there when we buy things and integrate with existing products… In directed energy weapons — we are focusing on fibre laser, high powered micro-waves, etc. We have also started discussions with Iron Dome for co-development (in India),” Dr W Selvamurthy, Chief Controller looking after international cooperation, told Indian newspaper recently.
Iron Dome, produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is considered as the most effective system against short-range missiles such as Fajr V rockets.
The system has been active since 2011 and is believed to have the potency to shoot down rockets and artillery shells with ranges of up to 70 km.

The Newstribe

India test-fires ballistic missile interceptor

India on Friday test-fired a ballistic missile interceptor from a defence base in Odisha as part of its efforts to create a shield against incoming enemy missiles, defence officials said.

The indigenous Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile was fired from Wheeler Island off the
 Odisha coast near Dhamra in Bhadrak district, about 170 km from Bhubaneswar.

The interceptor was fired a few minutes after the target missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district, about 70 km from Wheeler Island.
India is developing the interceptors which have been successfully tested several times in the past, to provide air-shield to important Indian cities against hostile attacks.

 Hindustan Times

Real time trial of interceptor and simulated missiles

The interceptor missile launch scheduled for November 23 from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast will be a novel mission. It will feature an electronically simulated attacker missile coming from a distance of 2,000 km and also a real missile launched from Chandipur in Odisha.
While no interceptor will be fired against the imaginary attacker everything will be simulated up to T minus zero second as if commands were given to bring it down. A real interceptor will take off from the Wheeler Island to bring down the actual missile launched from Chandipur. This interceptor will pounce on the real attacker at a height of 15 km to 16 km in what is called the endo-atomosphere. “This is the first time we will be testing a scenario in real time where everything will be done as if we are launching a missile against an electronic target missile and launch in parallel an actual missile against a real target missile,” said Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The simulated and the real scenarios would be running in parallel. Since no distance of 2,000 km was available in the country from where a real missile, simulating the trajectory of an enemy missile, could be launched, it would be a simulated missile, he added. Two radars will process the simulated and real missiles and assign the launchers to take care of them.
“The Mission Control Centre will process the two missiles and identify in real time which launcher is best suited to fire its missile against which target. Since one of the two attackers is an imaginary [electronically simulated] missile, we will not be firing a missile against that. But we will be going to the point of firing up to T-0,” Mr. Chander said.
The missile trial on November 23 aimed at “a deployable configuration” to intercept multiple adversarial missiles raining down on India. “We are not able to launch live targets simultaneously because of the limitations of range and geometry. That is, since distances are not available, we are not able to fire two target missiles simultaneously,” he explained.
Mr. Chander said: “In a real scenario, multiple ballistic missiles may be coming towards India which need to be handled. Our radars can track more than 200 missiles simultaneously. When multiple launchers are deployed, they can handle multiple missiles fired at us. We should be able to track them, process the signals, identify which is a threat and assign the specific launcher-missile that is best suited to intercept them. So far all our interceptor flight-trials have been one missile against one target … So the forthcoming interceptor mission would give the DRDO team a lot of confidence to simultaneously handle multiple targets.”
The DRDO was trying to get a floating test range [ship], and radars and launchers would be based on that vessel, he said. The ship could be stationed far away and if adversarial missiles were to come from different directions, interceptors could be fired from the ship to handle them.
The November 23 launch is India’s eighth interceptor missile mission. Out of the previous seven missions, six have been successful, signalling that India has a credible ballistic missile defence shield, which is ready to be deployed.

The Hindu

November 21, 2012

Fast-track China border projects: Antony to Army

Reviewing the development of new infrastructure including airfields along the China border in the northeast, defence minister A K Antony on Monday asked the military top brass to go beyond the expected schedules for completion of the projects "in view of the current security scenario".

"We need to go beyond the PDCs (proposed date of completion) in view of the current security scenario," Antony told a meeting to review infrastructure development on the northeast border. The meeting was attended by chiefs of the Army and IAF, defence secretary, the chief of BRO (Border Roads Organisation) and other senior officials.

Antony did not discuss the leadership change in China or any other specific inputs that may indicate any further sharpening of Chinese attitude along the border. However, his warning to the top brass is a clear sign of the Indian establishment's increasing worry over the secretive rise of Chinese military power without any clarity about its intents and future plans.

"Now that the initial teething issues have been overcome to a large extent there is a need to give a push to the ongoing infrastructural projects in northeast," an official quoted Antony as saying. He asked the forces and other agencies to move forward in a time bound manner.

The minister setup a monitoring committee under the vice-chief of the IAF, and comprising representatives from the MoD and other arms, to constantly monitor the revival of advance landing grounds and other airfields. While eight advanced landing grounds are under revival in the northeast, over 30 airfields primarily for helicopter operations are also being developed or revived.

Antony ordered a separate review meeting with BRO top brass of their projects in the region. Presently, India is undertaking construction of 73 roads in all three sectors bordering China. Of them, 29 roads in Arunachal were to be completed by 2012 but only eight are ready, sources said. Monday's meeting focussed on the northeast, especially Arunachal Pradesh.

Antony asked minister of state for defence Jitendra Singh to take up all issues related to environmental clearances and other bottlenecks with states and departments concerned. 

Times of India

November 20, 2012

Russian-Built Frigate Left for India

Frigate INS Tarkash built by Yantar shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia) left the yard for India.

Being officially handed over to Indian Navy on Nov 9, frigate INS Tarkash (F46) left Yantar shipyard on Nov 14 and headed for Baltiysk port. There the Indian ship replenished all supplies needed for long-range cruise and laid a course for Mumbai on Saturday, Nov 17.

"Except for the crew, there is an aftersales service team onboard the ship. They are representatives of the shipyard and contracting companies manufactured arms and equipment", reports ITAR-TASS referring to the shipyard's press service.

During the 1.5-month long cruise and throughout the one-year guarantee period, specialists will control operation of the ship's systems and eliminate defects, if needed.

At present, Yantar continues building of the third ship in series for Indian Navy. Frigate INS Trikand (F50) will be delivered to the client in June 2013. The ship is currently passing dockside trials.

Project 11356 frigates developed by Severnoye Design Bureau are designed for naval warfare in remote sea zones independently and within task units as escort ships. Their combat capabilities make possible to search and hunt enemy submarines, carry out antiship, antiaircraft and antisubmarine defenses at sea, support inshore campaigns and assist in landing assault operations.


November 19, 2012

Russia Developing 200-km Range Rocket System

 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is developing new long-range multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) with improved guidance that could allow them to strike targets up to 120 miles (200 km) away, the Defense Ministry's artillery spokesman said on Monday.
"We have the military-technical potential to create a new generation of MLRS with a range of 200 km," Lt. Col. Nikolai Donyushkin said.
Russia's artillery currently deploys the 122-mm Grad, 220-mm Uragan, and 300-mm Smerch rocket systems and the improved Tornado-S, Tornado-G, and Uragan 1-M are currently undergoing state acceptance trials. The army is in the process of receiving up to 30 Tornado-G systems this year, replacing the BM-21 Grad.
The improved Tornado-S is being upgraded with the special GLONASS satellite navigation system used in the Smerch missile system, Donyushkin said. The Tornado-S will have guided rocket rounds enabling it to fire out to 72 miles (120 km).
"The Tornado-S will have a longer range and increased effectiveness thanks to greater accuracy and the use of new warhead payloads and a reduced launch readiness time of just three minutes," he said.
The army is gradually moving toward a new level of capability for deploying precision use of long-range rocket artillery, he said.
"Massed use of high-precision weapons makes it possible to be certain of destroying high-value targets before they can be used on the battlefield by main-force groups. Fewer rounds need to be fired, simplifying logistics," he added.

Military upgrade: Mini UAVs sought for infantry units

The Indian Army has outlined plans to beef up the reconnaissance capabilities of its infantry battalions with mini unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) small enough for soldiers to carry, deploy and recover.

A key component of the infantry modernisation plan is to equip more than 350 battalions with three mini UAVs each to help soldiers launch offensive and defensive operations, army sources said.

The US, British and Israeli armies have been relying on such small-sized surveillance systems for sometime now. Equipped with electronic sensors, man-portable UAVs are used for capturing and relaying images of the tactical battle area to improve the situational awareness of soldiers.
The army is looking at buying mini UAVs with an operating range of eight to 10 km and flight endurance exceeding three hours, the sources revealed.
Ramping up the infantry's surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with more than 1,000 mini UAVs could cost as much as Rs. 150 crore. That's not much of a price to keep soldiers out of harm's way, a senior officer said.
"Mini UAVs come with huge operational advantages as we can look deeper without sending out a patrol. Quicker flow of information will help commanders take more accurate decisions," said an infantry battalion commander, who did not wish to be named.
He said such systems would also offset the challenges posed by hard terrain conditions in forward areas. More than 120 infantry battalions are guarding our borders or involved in counter-terrorism operations in difficult areas.
The mini UAV project - one of the 80 modernisation schemes being given impetus by army chief General Bikram Singh - is expected to be implemented within the 12th Plan (2012-2017).
Mini UAVs are not confined to just military applications. These lightweight systems, which can be launched in 15 minutes, could be valuable for an army that is frequently called upon to provide humanitarian aid.

Hindustan Times

November 17, 2012

Pakistan’s war games in full swing, BSF steps up vigil

Pakistan's military exercise 'Azam-e-Nav 4' is at its peak in which 10,000 soldiers are participating. The exercise started in October first week.

The Indian Army too has started its regular Army exercise 'Operation Alert' in a few areas in the Thar Desert which will continue till December first week.

Border Security Force, meanwhile, has stepped up the vigilance after Pakistan army's war exercise began, some 20-30 km from the international border adjoining Jaisalmer-Bikaner. The movement of vehicles of Pakistan army has increased along the border.

According to sources, the Pak army is running trials of Al-Khalid tanks, which have been assembled with the help of China. These tanks use Chinese engines while the spare parts are sourced from Spain.

Pakistan army chief General Kayani also reached the exercise area recently said sources. He reviewed the exercise and motivated participating soldiers.

Soldiers are also undertaking maintenance of bunkers and learning strategic defense techniques.

Times of India

November 14, 2012

India to Buy Three More Russian Frigates

Vice Premier Dmitry Rogozin reported to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that India was about to purchase three additional Project 11356 frigates, reports ITAR-TASS. According to Rogozin, the parties are negotiating about the contract terms. India decided to buy additional frigates because it was satisfied with the quality of five ships of this class previously delivered to the national navy.

Russia and India signed the contract for the first three Project 11356 frigates late in 90's. First two ships, INS Talwar and INS Trishul joined Indian Navy in Nov 2000, and the third one, INS Tabar – in May 2001. India purchased the second trio of such frigates in 2006 for $1.5 bln. First two ships, INS Teg and INS Tarkash were commissioned into Indian Navy in Apr and Nov 2012 respectively. India expects to receive the last frigate named INS Trikand in June 2013.

Therefore, if India signs a contract for other three Project 11356 frigates, number of such ships within Indian Navy would grow up to nine.

Displacing 4,000 tons and being 124.8-meter long, Project 11356 frigates are capable to accelerate up to 30 knots and have operating range of 4,500 nautical miles. The frigates are equipped with gun mounts, antiaircraft gun/missile systems, torpedo tubes, and antiship missiles Club-N. Ships of the second lot are armed with antiship missile system BrahMos.


Army places Rs. 700-crore orders for versatile device

                              It can act as a range-finder, camera, GPS and compass
The Army has placed orders worth Rs. 700 crore for a novel versatile device developed by the Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehra Dun. The Integrated Multi-Function Sight (IMFS) can be used for surveillance and speedy engagement of targets, among other functions.
The IRDE is a laboratory that comes under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Ravi Gupta, Director of Public Interface, DRDO, said the IMFS was an amalgam of a thermal imager, a laser range-finder, colour charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera, a global positioning system (GPS) and a digital magnetic compass.
The range-finder can compute the location co-ordinates of a target. The thermal imager is a night-vision device, while the CCD camera is capable of executing a digital imaging of the target. The GPS is another independent system in the IMFS.
“As its name suggests, it is an integration of various devices” and can perform multiple functions, said Mr. Gupta. With its diminutive size — just over a foot long and weighing 3.5 kg — the device could offer a big advantage in the battlefield, he said.The IRDE designs and develops, among others, state-of-the-art night vision devices and thermal imagers, compact laser-based instruments, integrated electro-optical surveillance and fire control systems.

The Hindu

November 12, 2012

State to assemble BrahMos air version

The world's heaviest supersonic air-to-ground missile will be made in Kerala. The integration of the air version of supersonic missiles is all set to begin at BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL).

The integration complex, where missile parts from various defence research and development centres will be pieced together, will produce 12 missiles a year. The 2.5-tonne air version will be fitted on Sukhoi fighters.

The Su-30s are being redesigned to enable them to carry the heavy missiles. The missile will be fitted on the belly of the aircraft. The launcher has also been designed and made at BATL.

Structural changes will have to be made on the aircraft to equip it to carry such heavy missile. Russian and Indian experts are preparing separate structural plans, sources said. The two plans, sources said, will be studied by a joint team of Indo-Russian defence scientists and a single plan of action adopted.

The Su-30s will be redesigned at the Nasik unit of the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited. Missiles integrated in Thiruvananthapuram will be taken to Nasik and they will be fired from the Su-30s at the Chandipur range in Odisha. "It will be fired to test its air-to-ground and air-to-sea precision,'' said Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, CEO & MD of BrahMos Aerospace.

The IAF has placed an order for more than 40 missiles. The plan, sources said, is to raise two Su-30 squadrons as specialized BrahMos strike teams. This is seen as a key strategic combination as it blends the speed and agility of Sukhois with the supersonic character of BrahMos.

Preliminary work on the missiles has already begun at BATL. Defence minister A K Antony will dedicate the facility on November 14. 

Times of India

India in Talks with Russia to Upgrade Sukhoi Combat Jet Fleet

(IANS): India has opened talks with Russia to upgrade its fleet of air superiority Sukhoi Su-30s with a new radar and avionics to make the fighters more lethal than what they already are. The upgrades are likely to begin in 2015.
However, a debate is currently in progress between the two nations on India getting full access to all software and equipment design of the new systems that will be integrated on the upgraded Sukhois, a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officer told IANS.
"We have begun talks with Russia on modifying the Sukhois and giving them the latest technologies," the officer said of the combat jets that were first inducted by IAF in 1997.
The planes, considered to be in the heavy category of fighter aircraft, are the most advanced the IAF has and is the frontline plane for all forms of airborne warfare.
"The modified Sukhoi will be an entirely new plane in terms of radar and avionics," said the officer, who is in the know of the discussions with Russia.
"We are currently holding a dialogue with Russia for full access to software and design of equipment to be integrated to the aircraft," he added.
India has raised eight of the 14 planned Sukhoi squadrons till now with the ninth squadron planned for raising in Sirsa, Haryana, in December.
Six months from then, India will raise its 10th Sukhoi squadron in the Punjab sector under the Western Air Command.
This will be the third and fourth Su-30MKI squadron of the IAF to be deployed close to the Pakistan border in two years, after Jodhpur in Rajasthan in October 2011 and Halwara in Punjab in September 2012.
It also plans to raise two more squadrons in the eastern sector, adding to the existing two squadrons there.
Besides, four more Sukhoi squadrons will be raised by 2015, completing the entire 272-plane complement of the fleet.
After the raising of these squadrons, India will start upgrading the fleet beginning with the first 50 Sukhois it had inducted in 1997.
India has till now lost three Sukhoi planes in crashes - the first one in April 2009, the second in November 2009 and the third in December 2011. While two IAF pilots were killed in the first accident, two pilots each bailed out to safety in the second and third crashes.
The twin-seater Sukhois are also being modified for carrying the India-Russia joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.


November 10, 2012

INS Tarkash, second stealth frigate, commissioned into Indian Navy

INS Tarkash, the second of the three stealth frigates constructed at Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad, Russia, was commissioned and inducted into the Navy by Vice-Admiral Shekhar Kumar Sinha, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, at Kaliningrad on Friday .
Indian Ambassador to the Russian Federation Ajai Malhotra, senior government officials of Russia, senior officials of the Indian and Russian Navies and industry representatives also attended the commissioning ceremony, according to reports received here at the Ministry of Defence.
A bolster
The induction of the second in the series of the multirole stealth frigate with an advanced combat suite and an optimal blend of Russian and Indian cutting-edge technologies, not only bolsters the Indian Navy’s role as a key facilitator in promoting peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region, but also embodies the dynamic character of Indo-Russian military technical cooperation, officials have said.
The array of weapons and sensors onboard the ship include the supersonic BrahMos missile system, advanced surface-to-air missile system, upgraded 100mm medium range gun, optically controlled 30 mm close-in weapon system, torpedoes, rocket launchers and advanced electronic warfare/communication suite.
“The frigate is commanded by Captain Antony George, an ‘anti submarine warfare’ specialist. It will join the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy by this December- end,” officials said. 

The Hindu

November 9, 2012

India to buy M777 light artillery

The defense ministry has issued a Letter of Request to the US Government for the procurement of 145 pieces of M777 light howitzers, manufactured by BAE Systems.The Indian Ministry of Defense has issued a Letter of Request to the US Government for the procurement of 145 pieces of light artillery. The howitzers, manufactured by BAE Systems, are to be purchased through a government-to-government Foreign Military Sale (FMS).
 The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had issued a notification to the US Congress on January 22, 2010, for the possible sale of these artillery pieces to India for an approximate amount of USD 647 million. The DSCA statement that followed, noted the sale to include ‘possible sale of 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers with Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS), warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.’

Significantly, the proposed sale did not originally envisage any offset requirements, as evidenced by the DSCA statement noting, ‘There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.’
But StratPost has learned that in the last few months, the US Government has agreed to the Indian demand for compliance with the 30 percent offset requirement stipulated by the Indian Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP).
 The DSCA statement listed the principal contractors to be BAE of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Watervliet Arsenal of Watervliet, New York; Seiler Instrument Company of St Louis, Missouri; Triumph Actuation Systems of Bloomfield, Connecticut; Taylor Devices of North Tonawanda, New York; Hutchinson Industries of Trenton, New Jersey; and Selex, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Interestingly, India is now on track to get the complete pair shown in this picture, with the defense ministry also having marked the Boeing Chinook as the lowest, technically qualified bid, L1, over the Russian Mi-26, for the Indian Air Force (IAF) procurement of 15 heavy lift helicopters. StratPost understands there was much surprise at the opening of the bids as Boeing appeared to have scored over the Russian bid on both life cycle cost as well as fly-away cost.
 But India also has other aircraft that can transport the howitzer, including the C-130J Super Hercules, the IL-76 and the soon to be acquired, C-17 Globemaster III.


Russia Set to Hand India another Missile Frigate

(RIA Novosti) :  The second of three stealth frigates that Russia builds for India at the Yantar Shipyard in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad will be handed over to the Indian Navy on Friday.
Sergei Mikhailov, a spokesman for the Yantar Shipyard, the solemn ceremony of delivering the warship will be held in Kaliningrad and be attended by high-ranking military officers both from Russia and India.
Russia and India signed a $1.6 billion contract on construction of three modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for India in 2006. The first frigate, INS Teg, joined the Indian Navy on April 27.
The last in the series of three frigates, The Trikand, currently undergoes dock trials and after it completes sea trials in the Baltic Sea will join the Indian Navy in the summer of 2013.
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 previously built three Talwar class frigates for India - INS Talwar (Sword), INS Trishul (Trident), and INS Tabar (Axe).

November 6, 2012

India, Russia Sign Tank Missile Contracts

(RIA Novosti) :  India and Russia have signed two contracts for the delivery of Russian antitank missiles, a source close to the Indian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
The source confirmed that these contracts had been signed, but declined to give any details.
Local media reports have suggested that Russia will deliver 25,000 Invar missiles for India’s T-90 tanks and 10,000 Konkurs antitank missiles, worth an estimated $240 million.
Citing sources in the Indian government, local media earlier reported that India would buy 10,000 Invar missiles from Russian manufacturers and that a further 15,000 missiles will be manufactured under license in India.
Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh said in March that some units had only three or four days of tank ammunition left.

Flash! Textron Begins CBU-105 Weapon Deliveries To India

(Livefist) : U.S. firm Textron Defense Systems has begun deliveries of 512 CBU-105 sensor fuzed munitions to India. The company began deliveries of the weapon system to the U.S. Air Force in September -- it is a foreign military sale (FMS) to India and therefore needs to be routed through the applicable U.S. service -- and will complete deliveries by the end of the year. Deliveries to the Indian Air Force by the U.S. Air Force are likely to begin early 2013.

A 2010 government to government contract worth $257.73-million 
was cleared after India expressed interest in the weapon in 2008. Textron announced the contract win and began production for the Indian order in February 2011. The weapon is likely to be deployed from the IAF's Jaguar strike aircraft and Su-30MKI air dominance fighters.

As a result of treaties on cluster munitions that India and the US are not signatories to, India's interest in the CBU-105 has been perceived as controversial, though the Indian government has persistently committed to the use of such weapons only against military targets.

November 5, 2012

Army set to try more lethal T-90 tank

(The Tribune) :  The Army is in the process of getting a new and more lethal version of the Russian origin T-90 tank. The Armoured Corps will soon get the latest version of these tanks that will aide quicker retaliation and have gadgets to automatically track targets among its improved features.
A total of 236 of the latest version of the tanks have been ordered, said top sources, while explaining that additional features will be incorporated on the existing T-90 platform with no change in the engine or its traction. However, there is no immediate plan to upgrade the existing fleet of such tanks spread across 20 regiments.
The T-90, along with the upgraded T-72 tanks, form the bulwark of India’s defensive and offensive capability along the sensitive Western border with Pakistan. Two regiments of the indigenous ‘Arjun’ tank have been added at 12 Corps Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD)-operated Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) at Avadi on the outskirts of Chennai that licence-produces the T-90 in India has been tasked with adding the technical goodies to the existing platform. Work has already started on it, a source confirmed.
The key change will be a modern targeting system with an automatic target tracker. The gunner inside the tank has to “lock-on” a target. Once that is done, onboard computers keep a track of the target in a 360° radius. Fire can be directed at the target as and when. At present, the gunner has a tough time keeping track of the moving target while the tank is in motion.
The new version of the tank will also have a “correction input device”. This will assess all prevailing factors such as distance of target, height and temperature of the barrel and correct the line and trajectory of fire on its own.
The third incorporation will be a new muzzle reference system. At present, the front muzzle on the barrel of the tank needs to be aligned afresh each time the barrel position is lowered. The latest version of the T-90 will have a system by which the tank barrel will re-align itself to its earlier-programmed reference point, sources explained.
The add-ons are aimed at faster retaliation in the battlefield after the enemy has been spotted and will save precious time consumed on re-aligning and re-assessing the distance of targets.
The new tanks will also have an improved thermal imager that will give sharper pictures at nighttime from a distance of 3-4 km. The new thermal imager will pick up variations in temperatures of an advancing vehicle or human being and help the tank-commander better understand the looming threat. Existing thermal imagers do not detect variations in temperature.
The Indian upgrade is in line with that undertaken by Russia. At this year’s Def-Expo, the Russians had for the first time unveiled the ‘T-90-MS’, which has earned the sobriquet of “flying tank” in military circles. The tank showcased the latest turret with the ‘Kalina’ modernised targeting system that is integrated with the squad commander’s control system. It even had a more powerful engine.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had cleared a proposal to buy 10,000 Invar missiles for the T-90 tanks on October 18. Some of these will be purchased from Russian manufacturers whereas the remaining would be license-produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under the transfer of technology (ToT) agreement.

Coming soon
  • The additional features will be incorporated into the existing T-90 model with no change in the engine or its traction
  • A total of 236 latest Russian origin tanks have been ordered
  • The Heavy Vehicle Factory on the outskirts of Chennai has started adding the technical goodies to the existing platform

Army helicopters to get UV missile warning systems

Plans are afoot to equip helicopters of the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) with ultra-violet (UV)-based missile approach warning systems.
These systems, which have certain advantages over similar radar or infra-red-based detectors, are meant to warn pilots of an incoming missile to enable them to take counter-measures.
Defence public sector undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is set to take up the project for developing the UV-based systems. “We are at the stage of contract negotiations with the Army,” BEL Director HN Ramakrisha told The Tribune here today.
“Deliveries will be done in 12 to 18 months after the contract is finalised,” he added. The estimated value of the contract is over Rs 350 crore.
UV-based systems provide early warning by detecting the UV energy produced by an incoming missile’s smoke plume and computing its distance and direction. These are stated to be better than IR systems at low attitudes and in cluttered environments, besides having a much lower probability of false alarms. These are also simpler than radar or IR systems and have low life cycle costs.
The Army plans to initially equip its fleet of Chetaks, which are meant for liaison, search- and-rescue and aerial recce, with UV systems though these can also be retrofitted on the Cheetahs and Dhruvs at a later stage.
These systems are primarily meant for warning against shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles. So far only the US, Israel, Germany and Sweden have such systems.
Developing missile warning systems for the Army also assumes significance in the backdrop of the government’s recent decision to give the Army control of all attack helicopters. The Mi25/35 helicopter gunships and some squadrons of Chetak helicopters outfitted with anti-tank missiles, though meant to support ground operations, are operated by the Air Force. Future acquisitions of attack helicopters will also be the Army’s domain.  

The Tribune