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February 28, 2015

India raises defence budget modestly as it confronts China challenge



(Reuters) - India announced on Saturday a modest 7.9 percent increase in defence spending for the fiscal year starting April 1, suggesting that it will move only gradually with the military's long wish list for fighter jets, ships and artillery.
After years of neglect, India is trying to narrow the military gap with China, which has been building up its fleet of ships and submarines making forays in the Indian Ocean.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, unveiling the federal budget for 2015/16, said defence spending will rise to 2.47 trillion Indian rupees ($40.07 billion). For the current fiscal year, the allocation was 2.29 trillion rupees, a jump of 12 percent over the previous year.
"Defence of every inch of our land is above everything else," Jaitley said.
But the limited rise in the military budget - three-quarters of which is spent on maintaining the world's third largest standing force - means only some new weapons will be ordered this year.
Gurmeet Kanwal, a retired brigadier and fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, a New Delhi think tank with ties to the government, said the state has to make initial downpayments for a range of pending orders.
He listed them as 126 fighter aircraft from Dassault, 197 light helicopters, 145 Ultra-light Howitzers, 15 Apache attack helicopters and 22 CH-47F Chinook medium lift helicopters.
The navy needs new submarines and stealth ships to counter the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean, which New Delhi has long seen as its sphere of influence.
China is expected to authorise robust 2015 defence spending this coming week despite its slowing economy, largely to beef up the navy with anti-submarine ships and develop more aircraft carriers beyond the sole vessel in operation.
Last year, the two giant neighbours were locked in a stand-off on their disputed Himalayan border that cast a shadow on President Xi Jinping's first summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But economic ties have rapidly expanded between the two countries and Modi is expected to visit China later in 2015.

BrahMos-M Weapons to Bolster India's Defense Capability Significantly


The creation of the innovative "mini-BrahMos" missile will allow India to arm its air squadrons and submarines with sophisticated weaponry, bolstering its defense capability significantly.
After Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over the first BrahMos-A missile integrated Su-30MKI aircraft to the Indian Air Force, Indian and Russian designers concentrated on creating the supersonic mini-BrahMos (BrahMos-M) missiles, meant to boost the defense capability of India's Navy and Air Force. "Su-30MKI has become a very lethal weapon delivery platform with the successful integration of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile," emphasized HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju in an official statement on February 19, during the second day of Aero India show at Yelahanka, Bengaluru.
Experts note that currently Su-30MKI aircraft can carry one deadly BrahMos missile, while initially it was expected the fighter jet would be equipped with three such cruise missiles. However, experts say that the missile is too big for a fighter jet.
BrahMos-A is a short-range supersonic cruise missile based on the Russian P-800 Oniks prototype. It can be launched from submarines, ships, aircrafts and land travelling at speed of Mach 3. The missile weighs about 2.5 tons is over 8.5 meters in length. However, designers underscore that the BrahMos-A is too heavy for IAF's MiG-29K fighter jets; on the other hand Indian submarines' missile launchers will require certain modernization to hold BrahMos-A. So far, the creation of a new BrahMos-M will solve that problem. Developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), NPO Mashinostroyeniya of Russia and BrahMos Aerospace the new missile will have lighter weight and smaller diameter in comparison with BrahMos-A; equipped with a compact engine it will reach speeds of Mach 3.3 carrying a payload of 300 kilogram to a range of 300 kilometers. With a weight of 1.4-1.6 tons and a length of 6 meters the BrahMos-M will be a breakthrough, meeting the demands of Indian Navy and Air Force, serving as a "universal" weapon system, military experts emphasize. The missile will boost the military capability of Indian armed forces and bolster the country's defense industry.
Reportedly, BrahMos Aerospace is planning to equip 18 IAF's MiG-29K as well as submarines with 533-mm torpedo tubes with the innovative missiles. India's 40 Su-30MKI will carry both BrahMos-A and BrahMos-M weapons. Military experts note that the new missile will provide New Delhi with a significant competitive advantage in the region, improving its geopolitical positions. Both India and Russia are considering large-scale BrahMos exports; furthermore, the countries have pledged to present the new hypersonic BrahMos version in the nearest future.

sputniknews

US keen on next generation Javelin under DTTI


The US is keen to partner India to jointly develop and manufacture the next generation Javelin anti-tank guided missile under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).

India had in October decided to buy 8,356 Spike anti-tank guided missile and 321 launchers from Israel for Rs 3,200 crore, rejecting US offer of Javelin missiles that Washington was lobbying hard for.

Describing it as a "lost opportunity", American defence sources said US is now keen to incorporate it under the DTTI.

Told that India has already booked Spike, a sources said, "Yes but our understanding is that India would need more. Both can work on Javelin next generation under DTTI."

US was aggressively pushing for Javelin missiles and had last year also offered to co-produce and co-develop the missileIt had initially not agreed to provide critical technologies of the missile demanded by India and had also shown reluctance to make available the missiles for being evaluated by Indian experts in the field trials.

US has already sold equipment worth Rs 60,000 crore in the past 10 years to India but none of these weapon sales programme is about joint production or co-development and does not include transfer of technology.

However, in a change of attitude, US has agreed with with India on joint development and production of defence systems.

Under DTTI, which was firmed up during US President Barack Obama's visit, both countries agreed on four "pathfinder projects".

These are next generation Raven Minis UAVs, roll on and roll off kits for C-130, mobile electric hybrid power source and Uniform Integrated Protection Ensemble Increment 2.

Both countries also agreed on a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology besides designing and development of jet engine technology.

businessstandard

February 27, 2015

Delay on Rafale deal to give FGFA shot in the arm


With uncertainty looming large over the signing of multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal, finalization of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) deal is likely to gather pace. The government had signed a joint development programme for FGFA with Russia.
According to sources in the know, the FGFA programme is once again high on the agenda of the ministry of defence. The ministry had put the deal on the backburner. It, however, went on full speed to finalise the MMRCA (multi-role medium range combat aircraft) programme and Rafale of Dassault from France was shortlisted.
However, the Rafale deal is still not finalised and the need for having a modern fighter jet with advanced avionics by the Indian Air Force led to a fresh thinking over the FGFA deal, though it is not a substitute for MMRCA, the highly-placed sources in the IAF told Business Standard on the sidelines of Aero India last week.
"The Indian Air Force is keen on the FGFA. It has already been built by the Russians. India only needs to customise it to the specifications of IAF," said Air Marshal (retired) B K Pandey.
With the Rafale deal now looking far from being a done deal, Pandey said IAF may be in for trouble. It may again have to turn to Sukhoi for the Su-30s as it's a proven platform and India has developed enough expertise on the aircraft as to even do an overhaul, he added.
While the Su-30 may not be a fifth generation fighter, if it's bought again, it could come loaded with fifth generation avionics. "For the IAF too it's more convenient," said a senior IAF officer. "Its pilots are familiar with the aircraft," he said.
India and Russia had signed an agreement in October 2007 for the co-development and manufacture of the FGFA, and Russia's Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) were appointed the prime contractors for the project. India is to co-develop the FGFA where the project envisages building of 144 aircraft with the total project cost being about $35 billion. The aircraft is being co-developed by Russian and Indian specialists based on Russia's PAK FA, with due account of Indian requirements.

India is currently working on two co-design defence projects with Russia -- the FGFA and the Multi-role Transport Aircraft, which is already said to be in a detailed design stage.
Indian delegations have paid numerous visits to Russia -- to both the Sukhoi design bureau in Moscow and the plant in Komsomotsk-on-Amur where the construction of the early T-50 prototypes had been underway from December, 2007.
In September 2010, it was reported that India and Russia had agreed on a preliminary design contract for the FGFA where each country invests $6 billion on its development. The HAL is to get three Russian prototypes for re-design and testing in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and is scheduled to hand over the first series produced aircraft to the IAF in 2019.
But, on speaking to people privy to the newest developments regarding the negotiations, Business Standard has learnt "the price negotiations are going on" and that "till the project is finalised, nothing can be said". According to the sources, so far 17 rounds of negotiations have been held between India and Russia over the FGFA programme.
Meanwhile, Rafale, according to sources, could get one last chance when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits France this year.

business standard

India's Submarine Fleet Faces Further Delays

This week, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar announced that the induction of the first of six Scorpene-class submarines will have to be delayed to an unspecified future date. Back in November 2014, the Indian Defense Ministry still maintained that the first vessel would be delivered in September 2016. This new delay, however, makes the on-schedule delivery highly unlikely.
The 1,750-ton, 67-meter Scorpene-class — capable of diving up to a depth of 300 meters —will be equipped with SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles. The class is supposed to fulfill a wide range of missions sets for the Indian Navy including anti-surface  and anti-submarine warfare, special operations, intelligence gathering, minelaying, area surveillance, and strikes against land-based targets, according to naval-technology.com.
New Delhi assigns particular importance to building up a modern fleet of submarines. One reason is that the South Asian nation wants to be able to project power deep into the Indian Ocean and dissuade the presence of Chinese military vessels. Another rationale is Pakistan’s effort to upgrade its submarine fleet.
Chietigj Bajpaee, an expert on the Indian military at King’s College in London summarizes New Delhi’s efforts to date:
“The Indian Navy also has a particular focus on enhancing the country’s submarine fleet with the construction of Scorpenes from France, the leasing of submarines from Russia, and upgrades to India’s Russian and German-made submarines. The development of Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarines has also completed the development of India’s nuclear triad.”
In October 2005, a $4.16 billion contract (known as Project 75) was awarded to the French industrial group DCNS  to build six Franco-Spanish Scorpene-class diesel attack submarines (with an option to build six more) at the Mazagon Docks in Mumbai, India. The deal involved extensive technology transfer agreements. However, so far, not a single submarine has been delivered. According to India’s defense minister, this week’s delay is caused by Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) facing difficulties procuring certain materials from foreign vendors.
India’s submarine fleet is in a state of crisis. Readiness rates are below 40 percent and some vessels (especially the SSK U209 class) need urgent upgrades. On paper, the fleet currently consists of 16 boats: ten Russian SSK Kilo (Sindhugosh) Class, four locally built SSK U209 (Shishumar) Class, a leased nuclear-powered SSN from Russia (INS Chakra), and the INS Arihant ballistic missile submarine (which only began sea trials in December) . However, according to local media reports, the number of active duty subs is now down to 13 diesel-electric submarines and the nuclear-powered INS Chakra.
Nevertheless, the Indian Navy is rated as NATO-quality, according to U.S. naval officers who conducted joint drills with Indian squadrons.
The Indian government has allocated approximately $16 billion for the expansion of its naval forces. India is already the world’s largest weapon’s importer (in 2013, New Delhi spent $6 billion on buying equipment), largely due to a moribund domestic defense industry. India is expected to spend $100 billion over the next decade on a defense upgrade program.
 thediplomat

India all set for $1.3 bn worth defence deal with Japan


 

Lastly it was in 2013, that India and Japan discussed over US-2i aircraft including technology transfer and license production. Besides the negotiation, the JWG was also directed by the Indian and Japanese governments to hold responsibility of developing Indian aircraft industry through the latest deal.
In a direct government-government deal without any contenders along, India is all set for a defence deal with Japan, in view of strengthening its naval power in Asia-Pacific region.
According to an Indian Defence News report, India would soon   acquire a massive ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft from Japan as part of their expanding bilateral strategic partnership.
In this regard, the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) chaired by the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, is expected to propose empowerment of the Joint Working Group (JWG) to negotiate the purchase of around $1.3 billion for at least 12-stretcher capacitated US-2i aircraft.
It is on ‘Acceptance on Necessity’ that the Indian Navy is stepping ahead for US-2i aircraft and may also require additional five such planes on board, say the defence sources.
Lastly it was in 2013, that India and Japan discussed over US-2i aircraft including technology transfer and license production. Besides the negotiation, the JWG was also directed by the Indian and Japanese governments to hold responsibility of developing Indian aircraft industry through the latest deal.
Prior to this, the Indian government in January 2015, had also asked the Japanese administration to consider fielding its Soryu-class submarines for the Rs 50,000 crore worth project to build six stealth submarines in India, for which France, Russia and Germany are the other contenders.
Australia also expressed its willingness to replace its ageing Collins-class vessels with Soryu-class submarines.
As an unique aircraft that has been basically designed for air-sea search and rescue operations, the US-2i aircraft is capable of transporting 30 combat-soldiers at a time to the hot zones and can also land heavy equipments to the warships even on high seas.
The deployment of this aircraft will definitely strengthen India’s naval power in critical regions like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, say the defence sources.
Besides this, India already has Indian Naval Ship Baaz at Campbell Bay on Great Nicobar Island, which only provides India with a commanding presence in the Bay of Bengal, but also serves as peeper into East and South East Asia.
Things seems to be going good for Indo-Japan defence cooperation post the Japanese government lifted its
five-decade-old arms export ban, which holds a strategic importance for both the countries in combating the challenges from China.
 
 thedollarbusiness

BEL, Tata consortiums win Rs50,000 crore defence contract



State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and information technology (IT) solutions company Rolta India Ltd on Thursday said the ministry of defence had selected their consortium as a development agency for the battlefield management system (BMS) project worth over Rs.50,000 crore. The BMS project, categorized as a “Make” programme under the defence procurement procedure (DPP), will be one of the largest indigenous solutions offered to Indian defence, Bharat Electronics said in a statement. This project is meant to deliver command and control capabilities to the fighting echelons, operating at the forward edge of the tactical battle area at the battalion and combat group levels, it said. These systems typically track the location of units and pass on data so that friendly units and command centres can keep track of what’s going on. On Thursday, in a separate statement, Tata Power Co. Ltd said its strategic engineering division (Tata Power SED), in a consortium with Larsen and Toubro Ltd, is one of the two selected development agencies for the BMS project. Tata Power SED leads the consortium. The government has asked both Bharat Electronics and Tata Power to start working on the design of the BMS, a Bharat Electronics executive said. “The details of sharing of work and other modalities are not known at this point of time,” he said, requesting anonymity.

The BMS project will be one of the largest solutions to be indigenously manufactured for Indian defence forces, Bharat Electronics said in a statement. The defence ministry expects the defence budget to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% to touch $64 billion in 2019-20, according to KPMG India, a consultancy firm. The growth will primarily be driven by capital expenditure—the component of the defence budget used for the creation of assets and expenditure on procurement of new equipment. India will see a total defence budget allocation of $620 billion between 2013-14 and 2019-22, of which 50% will be on capital expenditure, according to a February report by lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and financial services company Centrum Capital Ltd. The annual opportunity for Indian firms—both state-owned and private—is expected to reach $41 billion by fiscal year 2022 and $168 billion cumulatively, it said.

-  livemint

State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and information technology (IT) solutions company Rolta India Ltd on Thursday said the ministry of defence had selected their consortium as a development agency for the battlefield management system (BMS) project worth over Rs.50,000 crore. The BMS project, categorized as a “Make” programme under the defence procurement procedure (DPP), will be one of the largest indigenous solutions offered to Indian defence, Bharat Electronics said in a statement. This project is meant to deliver command and control capabilities to the fighting echelons, operating at the forward edge of the tactical battle area at the battalion and combat group levels, it said. These systems typically track the location of units and pass on data so that friendly units and command centres can keep track of what’s going on. On Thursday, in a separate statement, Tata Power Co. Ltd said its strategic engineering division (Tata Power SED), in a consortium with Larsen and Toubro Ltd, is one of the two selected development agencies for the BMS project. Tata Power SED leads the consortium. The government has asked both Bharat Electronics and Tata Power to start working on the design of the BMS, a Bharat Electronics executive said. “The details of sharing of work and other modalities are not known at this point of time,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Companies/qEBUh5ZtcAQ3ZPGHIdGeEK/BEL-Rolta-win-Rs50000-crore-defence-contract.html?utm_source=copy

February 26, 2015

The Sticking Points of India's $12 Billion Rafale Fighter Jet Deal


New Delhi:  The 12 billion dollar discussions centred on whether India will buy 126 Rafale fighter jets from France have made some progress, sources said today, a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Delhi.
Major kinks remain in need of ironing, but are unlikely to be deal-breakers, said sources involved in the talks, though they cautioned that it's unlikely that the deal will be signed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Paris in April.  However, by that time, some officials who are part of the negotiating process are hopeful that a statement of intent can be agreed upon by both the Indian and French governments for the contract that has been stalled for nearly three years.
The plan is for France to supply 18 fully-made fighter jets to India, with the other 108 being produced by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautica Limited (HAL) in Bangalore.  There is an option for India to acquire 63 more Rafale jets.
Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer, has concerns about the carbon-fibre composite material that would be used by HAL to form the skin of the Rafale fighter.  Though HAL prides itself in having mastered the use of these composites (which are also used on the indigenous Tejas fighter plane), HAL uses a manual technique.  Dassault, on the other hand, uses an automated and much quicker process to manufacture super-critical carbon-fibre composite structures such as the wings of the Rafale.  HAL and Dassault will now need to arrive at a consensus on how best to speedily develop carbo-composites to ensure that the time-frame for the manufacture of Rafale fighters is met.  A slower process by HAL could mean that Dassault's delivery deadlines for the Rafale will not be met.
French negotiators have indicated that that while they are obliged to train Indian engineers on the assembly of key components of the Rafale fighter, they need specific assurances to ensure that the engineers they train remain deployed and committed to the manufacture of the Rafale, again, to ensure that the jets are manufactured and delivered on time to the Indian Air Force.
 The Rafale's primary sensor, the RBE-2 Airborne Electronically Scanned Array, is manufactured in state-of-the-art laboratories in France to exceptionally rigid production and quality standards.  HAL's avionics labs, which presently work on radars for the Air Force's Sukhoi 30 have different standards and technologies in place.  French sources say HAL engineers will need a change in the work culture and the  avionics labs in Bangalore will need upgrading to meet the French standards. This is, again, not seen as a deal breaker, but the French have flagged  a concern that the modernization of HAL's technology could be  a time-consuming process
While the Ministry of Defence may be aware of HAL's limitations, the government is clear that these are issues that need to be negotiated between Rafale and HAL and that its primary concern is the eventual delivery and performance of the Rafale fighter according to its advertised design specifications. NDTV has learned that the first batch of Rafale fighters assembled in India would take approximately 44 months to be manufactured, though this time-frame is likely to be reduced as HAL gains in experience and systems are fine-tuned.  The final, fully made-in-India examples of the jet would likely be constructed quicker.
Hindustan Aeronautics, for its part, is positive about its capabilities in manufacturing the Rafale fighter.  At Aero India, Asia's largest air show, last week, the new HAL chairman Suvarna Raju told reporters that HAL "is the lead production agency for the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (ie the Rafale) which gives us [the rights] for manufacture and testing.  We don't want others to stand guarantee for our product." This would be welcome news for Dassault as it seeks to close the Rafale deal, negotiations for which have continued for more than three years. The Dassault Rafale was shortlisted by the Indian Air Force as its fighter of choice in a fly-off involving some of the world's leading fighters in 2011.  For years, the Air Force has made it clear, that the induction of the Rafale is imperative to ensure that its dwindling fleet strength is replenished with modern aircraft to counter the rapidly modernising Chinese and Pakistani Air Forces.

NDTV

Airbus Helicopters pitches ‘Make in India’ chopper JV


Airbus Helicopters is planning a joint venture for the production of helicopters with an Indian partner, which will have a majority stake controlled by the European company, formerly known as Eurocopter.
The company’s Vice President for Sales and Customer Relations in India, Rainer Farid, told StratPost at Aero India 2015 that they have ‘initiated the process’ for identifying and tying up with an Indian partner for the proposed JV before getting approval from the Indian government.
Farid says his company anticipates a requirement for more than 250 helicopters with both, the Indian Navy’s requirement for 123 Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH) as well as a future Indian Army requirement for over 150 Tactical Transport Helicopter under the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan. According to him, both these requirements could be met by Airbus Helicopters’ EC725.
The EC725 is a medium lift helicopter in the 11-ton class, which recently underwent Field Evaluation Trials (FET) for the Indian Coast Guard tender for 14 shore-based helicopters.
The NMRH requirement envisages Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), Search and Rescue (SAR) and ELINT roles, as well as, special operations, while the army’s Tactical Transport Helicopter requirement would mostly be for transport in battlefield conditions with a larger cabin that could accommodate 25-28 troops.
Airbus Helicopters’ proposal anticipates setting up a manufacturing facility under the joint venture to service both of these requirements. According to Farid all of this makes a ‘good case to manufacture in India’ and would also match the requirements of the Indian government’s new ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Farid cited his company’s experience in Brazil where he said a multi-service order for more than 50 helicopters was met by EC725 with ‘same type, different configurations’ with a ‘condition for local manufacture of all the aircraft’.
Farid also said his company would be looking to have a controlling stake of ‘over 51 percent’ in the joint venture. This, he says, is because of the imperatives of production management, quality assurance issues and for building a global supply chain. “We would have to convince our suppliers to transfer technology to India,” he said, while adding that they still have to decide on the Indian partner.
Significantly, the US helicopter manufacturer, Sikorsky, already has a joint venture with India’s Tata to build cabins for the S-92 helicopter at Hyderabad. Sikorsky’s S-70B Seahawk was also selected by the Indian Navy last December for a USD 1 billion order for 16 Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) after a process that stretched around seven years.
But there are significant differences between the earlier MRH tender and the anticipated NMRH RFP, including increased capability and roles but most notably, a requirement to factor in Life Cycle Cost into the exercise.
The Indian Navy faces a severe shortage of helicopters with its continuing induction of new warships. As of now, the navy has 42 vessels on order in addition to the warships already in service, most of which will require between 01-02 helicopters on board. The navy currently uses the Chetak (Alouette III), Ka-28, Sea King, Ka-31 and the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
Eurocopter, now Airbus Helicopters, was also frustrated when a long-pending tender for 197 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopters (RSH) (also referred to as Light Utility Helicopters) was withdrawn by the Indian defense ministry, after a process that took place over more than a decade, in which they fielded the AS550 C3 Fennec. Russian Helicopters had also bid for the order with their Ka-226T.
This came after the tender had earlier been won by Eurocopter in 2007, but was withdrawn before the order was placed.
The defense ministry issued a fresh Request For Information (RFI) for the RSH last October.
Rainer Farid told StratPost that they plan to compete for the order again and this time the proposed joint venture would lead their bid. His company is also going to compete for an order for Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) to replace the Chetak, with their AS565 MBe Panther.

stratpost

India to acquire Harpoons for HDW submarines


The new order for the Indian Navy's four HDW Type-209 submarines is expected to cost an estimated USD 200 million and the planned purchase is currently waiting on the US government's Letter of Acceptance (LoA).
The Indian government has sent a Letter of Request (LoR) to the US government for the purchase of 22 Harpoon missiles for the Indian Navy’s Shishumar-class of submarines.
India has already ordered 26 Harpoon missiles for the eight Indian Navy P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft for an estimated USD 200 million and 24 Harpoon missiles for the Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar aircraft in an order worth USD 170 million.
Dennis Swanson, the head of India operations for Boeing Defense Space and Security, the prime contractor for Harpoon missiles, told StratPost, “We see significant potential for the Harpoon’s capabilities to be applied on other platforms by the Indian armed forces.”
While India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is to integrate the missiles on to the Jaguar, Boeing will integrate them on to the P-8I aircraft, itself.
The new order for the Indian Navy’s four Shishumar-class (HDW Type-209) submarines is expected to cost an estimated USD 200 million and the planned purchase is currently waiting on the US government’s Letter of Acceptance (LoA).
The order will include ’12 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II Encapsulated Missiles, 10 UTM-84L Harpoon Encapsulated Training missiles, 2 Encapsulated Harpoon certification training vehicles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, US Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support’, according to notification issued by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to the US Congress

 stratpost

India Considering Russian Shipyard for Construction of Advanced Warship


(Sputnik) — India is considering whether to place an order for four more warships with Russia's Yantar shipyard that has already built six frigates for the Indian Navy, the shipyard's acting chief executive told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"We will explore the possibility of new orders to build [vessels] for the Indian fleet. In any case, India has already said it is interested in acquiring four more advanced modified ships," Oleg Shumakov, acting CEO of Yantar shipyard, located in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea, said.
 Representatives of the shipyard are expected to discuss the question of future contracts during talks in India later in February, Shumakov added.
He described the shipyard's experience in building Talwar-class frigates for the Indian Navy as "fruitful and mutually beneficial."
In July 2014, the shipbuilding firm delivered the last of the three guided missile frigates to India, in accordance with a $1.6-billion contract signed in 2006. Each frigate was armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, jointly developed by Russia and India.

BEL’s ‘future’ soldier is wired and smart


A gun-toting soldier, “fully loaded” and wearing an ultra-thick vest, an “electronic” backpack and an unusual wrist band and helmet, stood prominently during the recent Aero India exposition here.
The life-size early model of the “intelligent soldier” is kitted out with a dozen communication and intelligence devices. Put in a war zone, he can connect with commanders in real time and is fully aware of his own moves and those of his team and enemy.
e-enabled, intelligent
Such an e-enabled intelligent soldier has no market on its own, but can eventually be part of a complete system for battle or security forces, said S.K. Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Electronics Ltd, which is its developer.
Future battlefield programmes, Mr. Sharma said, will need the smart soldier as a crucial entity.
BEL started developing the soldier elements two years ago and has demonstrated the prototype to potential users.
Battlefield management
The defence electronics company has also bid for a comprehensive, networked Battlefield Management System (BMS) for the Army, along with software company Rolta India, Bengaluru. Evaluation is on for the project, which is worth several thousand crores of rupees, and which involves half a dozen contenders.
The BMS is a ‘Make’ project funded up to 80 per cent by the government. It may be a couple of years before we know who will get to do it.
thehindu

Obama endorses India’s bid for UNSC permanent membership: White House

"I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member: Obama in Parliament speech.

United States President Barack Obama endorses India’s candidature as a permanent member of the reformed United Nations Security Council, the White House has said.
“As it relates to India’s membership in the security council, I know the President endorsed that...the Security Council in the context of a variety of other important reforms to the operations of the United Nations,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.
Mr. Earnest said he had no updates on the status of the ongoing reforms of the UN or efforts to bring about some of those reforms.
During his India visit last month, Mr. Obama had reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.
“I can say today in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member,” Mr. Obama had said in his speech in Parliament. 

the hindu

Why private shipyards make for good acquisitions

Media reports in recent days have claimed that Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd, the first Indian company outside of state control to get a licence to build warships for the Indian Navy, and ABG Shipyard Ltd are in play. Mint learns that a deal involving Pipavav may be announced as early as the end of this week. And ABG’s chief financial officer and executive director Dhananjay Datar confirmed that the company is open to selling a stake to a strategic investor and that this move is being led by its lenders. But why are private shipyards suddenly in the news? And why does everyone want a piece of them? Cash-rich companies looking to expand their defence divisions are looking to buy out firms that have already put the infrastructure in place, say analysts. Their interest has been stoked by the National Democratic Alliance’s “Make in India” campaign and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s statements about the manufacture of defence equipment being at the core of this initiative. “The government is said to be planning a $250 billion naval spend in the next decade. The Prime Minister has been making the right noises. Many see this as an opportunity,” said the promoter of a private yard on India’s western coast. The person spoke on condition of anonymity. It helps that both Pipavav and ABG have debt woes. Pipavav had Rs.4,962.06 crore debt on its books as of September 2014 and ABG Rs.6,128 crore. “The JLF (joint lenders’ forum) has asked Pipavav Defence to bring in more equity for the restructuring plan to go through, since the company’s creditworthiness had gone down. So a strategic partner coming in is good news. Once the investor buys a majority share in the company, lenders can think of extending further loans,” said a senior banker at a state-owned bank that had loaned money to Pipavav Defence who asked that neither he nor his bank be identified. “We have asked our lenders what deal they can offer in terms of money involved and the stake to be sold. We have not committed on anything,” Datar of ABG said. Bhavesh Gandhi, founder, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Pipavav Defence, did not reply to messages seeking comment. Two people familiar with the development who asked not to identified said that the Munjals of the Hero Group, and the Mahindra Group, which has interests in the defence equipment business, are in the race to pick up a 51% stake in Pipavav. Neither wanted to be identified. A spokesperson for the Hero Group declined comment. A spokesperson for the Mahindra Group too declined comment. On 18 February, the Hero Group, which controls India’s largest scooter and motorcycle maker, sold a 3.5% stake in its flagship Hero MotoCorp Ltd to raise funds to diversify into other business areas. The group sold seven million shares of Hero MotoCorp for as much as $306 million. The sale proceeds would be utilized to fund new growth opportunities, the group said in a statement last Wednesday. “The Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ platform has opened up new vistas, some in very high growth areas, and the Hero Group—with its experience, scale of operations and brand equity—is uniquely placed to leverage these emerging opportunities,” Hero said in a statement. The deal size for the Pipavav transaction would be in excess of Rs.3,300 crore, one of the two people said. He added that the Gandhi family that controls the company would retain a significant interest in it after the deal. Last week, Prime Minister Modi said at the Aero India show in Bengaluru that the country imports nearly 60% of its defence equipment, spending tens of billions of dollars on such purchases. Even a 20-25% reduction in imports could create an additional 100,000-120,000 highly skilled jobs in India, he added. Asking Indian defence companies to manufacture locally, Modi said that if India could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% currently to 70% in the next five years, the output of the Indian defence industry would double. That puts Pipavav, ABG, and L&T Shipbuilding Ltd in a sweet spot. All have licences to build warships. Newcomers seeking to tap this opportunity will first have to build a yard from scratch and then apply to the government for a licence to build warships. “All this will take at least 10 years if not more,” the shipyard promoter quoted earlier added. It is far easier to buy into the opportunity, he said. On 17 February, the cabinet committee on security approved plans to build six nuclear-powered submarines and seven stealth warships at a cost of about Rs.1 trillion. The Indian Navy is currently assessing the capability of all the three yards to build six modern conventional submarines through technology transfer from a foreign collaborator in a deal estimated at Rs.50,000 crore. For yards struggling to raise working capital to execute existing contracts, this could be an opportune situation, said the chief executive of another shipyard on the western coast, adding that existing promoters may no longer have the ability to bring in more equity. “Suddenly our yard has become very valuable. There is a huge potential for defence orders; but money has to be put in to achieve that potential,” he said on condition of anonymity. Lenders with outstanding loans to these troubled yards—some of whom are in the process of restructuring their debts—are keen on bringing in strategic investors to financially strengthen these firms. A second banker at another state-owned bank said promoters of Pipavav Defence cannot restructure its Rs.7,000 crore debt unless it gets some fresh equity. “They have to bring in a strategic partner soon,” said the banker, who didn’t want to be named. On Wednesday, The Economic Times reported that promoters of ABG Shipyard are in talks with domestic and foreign investors including the Mahindra Group to sell a strategic stake. Later in the day, the shipyard said no such negotiations were taking place with the Mahindra Group.

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Media reports in recent days have claimed that Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd, the first Indian company outside of state control to get a licence to build warships for the Indian Navy, and ABG Shipyard Ltd are in play. Mint learns that a deal involving Pipavav may be announced as early as the end of this week. And ABG’s chief financial officer and executive director Dhananjay Datar confirmed that the company is open to selling a stake to a strategic investor and that this move is being led by its lenders. But why are private shipyards suddenly in the news? And why does everyone want a piece of them? Cash-rich companies looking to expand their defence divisions are looking to buy out firms that have already put the infrastructure in place, say analysts. 
Their interest has been stoked by the National Democratic Alliance’s “Make in India” campaign and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s statements about the manufacture of defence equipment being at the core of this initiative. “The government is said to be planning a $250 billion naval spend in the next decade. The Prime Minister has been making the right noises. Many see this as an opportunity,” said the promoter of a private yard on India’s western coast. The person spoke on condition of anonymity. It helps that both Pipavav and ABG have debt woes. Pipavav had Rs.4,962.06 crore debt on its books as of September 2014 and ABG Rs.6,128 crore. 
“The JLF (joint lenders’ forum) has asked Pipavav Defence to bring in more equity for the restructuring plan to go through, since the company’s creditworthiness had gone down. So a strategic partner coming in is good news. Once the investor buys a majority share in the company, lenders can think of extending further loans,” said a senior banker at a state-owned bank that had loaned money to Pipavav Defence who asked that neither he nor his bank be identified. “We have asked our lenders what deal they can offer in terms of money involved and the stake to be sold. 
We have not committed on anything,” Datar of ABG said. Bhavesh Gandhi, founder, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Pipavav Defence, did not reply to messages seeking comment. Two people familiar with the development who asked not to identified said that the Munjals of the Hero Group, and the Mahindra Group, which has interests in the defence equipment business, are in the race to pick up a 51% stake in Pipavav. Neither wanted to be identified. A spokesperson for the Hero Group declined comment. A spokesperson for the Mahindra Group too declined comment. On 18 February, the Hero Group, which controls India’s largest scooter and motorcycle maker, sold a 3.5% stake in its flagship Hero MotoCorp Ltd to raise funds to diversify into other business areas.
 The group sold seven million shares of Hero MotoCorp for as much as $306 million. The sale proceeds would be utilized to fund new growth opportunities, the group said in a statement last Wednesday. “The Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ platform has opened up new vistas, some in very high growth areas, and the Hero Group—with its experience, scale of operations and brand equity—is uniquely placed to leverage these emerging opportunities,” Hero said in a statement. The deal size for the Pipavav transaction would be in excess of Rs.3,300 crore, one of the two people said. 
He added that the Gandhi family that controls the company would retain a significant interest in it after the deal. Last week, Prime Minister Modi said at the Aero India show in Bengaluru that the country imports nearly 60% of its defence equipment, spending tens of billions of dollars on such purchases. Even a 20-25% reduction in imports could create an additional 100,000-120,000 highly skilled jobs in India, he added. Asking Indian defence companies to manufacture locally, Modi said that if India could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% currently to 70% in the next five years, the output of the Indian defence industry would double. 
That puts Pipavav, ABG, and L&T Shipbuilding Ltd in a sweet spot. All have licences to build warships. Newcomers seeking to tap this opportunity will first have to build a yard from scratch and then apply to the government for a licence to build warships. “All this will take at least 10 years if not more,” the shipyard promoter quoted earlier added. It is far easier to buy into the opportunity, he said. On 17 February, the cabinet committee on security approved plans to build six nuclear-powered submarines and seven stealth warships at a cost of about Rs.1 trillion. 
The Indian Navy is currently assessing the capability of all the three yards to build six modern conventional submarines through technology transfer from a foreign collaborator in a deal estimated at Rs.50,000 crore. For yards struggling to raise working capital to execute existing contracts, this could be an opportune situation, said the chief executive of another shipyard on the western coast, adding that existing promoters may no longer have the ability to bring in more equity. “Suddenly our yard has become very valuable. There is a huge potential for defence orders; but money has to be put in to achieve that potential,” he said on condition of anonymity. 
Lenders with outstanding loans to these troubled yards—some of whom are in the process of restructuring their debts—are keen on bringing in strategic investors to financially strengthen these firms. A second banker at another state-owned bank said promoters of Pipavav Defence cannot restructure its Rs.7,000 crore debt unless it gets some fresh equity. “They have to bring in a strategic partner soon,” said the banker, who didn’t want to be named. On Wednesday, The Economic Times reported that promoters of ABG Shipyard are in talks with domestic and foreign investors including the Mahindra Group to sell a strategic stake. Later in the day, the shipyard said no such negotiations were taking place with the Mahindra Group

livemint

February 25, 2015

Rafale Deal on Track, PM Modi to Take Final Call

New Delhi:  French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar appear to have sorted out one of the key issues holding up the estimated $15 billion deal to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. A final decision is expected to be taken before Prime Minister Narendra Modi before his visit to France in April.

The deal, billed by some as one of biggest defence procurement by any country in a long time, has been on hold for almost a year over the issue of producing the planes here.Of the 126 jets, 18 are to be purchased ready-made from France. The rest are to be manufactured by the Bengaluru-based Defence Public Sector Unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as part of the government's initiative for defence manufacturing in India.
  The French defence manufacturing giant Dassault was hesitant to guarantee the quality of the jets produced in India, since it does not control the process. More importantly, Dassault estimates that the jets can be produced faster, with fewer man hours, than calculated by HAL, which can keep the cost down.

  HAL has countered that Indian labour isn't as productive as in France and also, the level of automation here is less. Senior Defence Ministry Officials told NDTV the first issue - that of guaranteeing the quality of aircraft produced in India - has been settled. India has given Dassault the option of physically inspecting the jets and guaranteeing the quality. Alternatively, Dassault is free to take a counter-guarantee from HAL on the process and quality of inputs.
  The second issue - the man hours and the cost -- is now between the two companies to sort out. It will be reflected in the report of the crucial Cost Negotiating Committee, which will be submitted to the ministry shortly. Mr Parrikar recently said he would not want to comment on the  progress of the deal since it could influence the report. India had decided to buy the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft in 2012 over rival offers from the United States, Europe and Russia. The deal was initially worth $12 billion but is now estimated to have jumped to around $15 billion.

 ndtv

BEA in talks to weaponise Indian Hawks


The Indian Air Force (IAF) is in negotiations with BAE Systems to weaponise its fleet of Hawk Mk 132 advanced jet trainers (AJTs) so they could be deployed on strike co-ordinated armed reconnaissance and close air support missions.

BAE Systems officials told IHS Jane's at Aero India 2015 that the IAF is evaluating the feasibility of integrating its largely licence-built Hawk Mk 132s with a range of weapon systems that are fitted onto its SEPECAT Jaguar fighters.

According to Dave Corfield, head of Hawk India, this included MBDA's Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles, Rafael Litening targeting pods, and a range of smart weapons.

He said the IAF was also assessing the possibility of equipping the Hawks with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, which turns an unguided 70 mm rocket into a precision laser-guided weapon.

The IAF issued a request for information for such a system in 2014 to which, in addition to BAE Systems, an Israeli and US vendor responded.

"We are in talks not only with the IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL] [which has been licence building Hawks since 2007-08], but also the Ministry of Defence [MoD] on arming the AJTs," Corfield said.

By 2016-17 the IAF will operate 106 Hawks and the Indian Navy another 17, making India the largest operator of the type. The IAF plans to acquire another 20 Hawks for its aerobatics team, disbanded in February 2011 after its HAL-built Surya Kiran HJT-16 Mk I and Mk II aircraft were diverted to train fighter pilots.

Alongside, the IAF is examining an offer by BAE Systems and Israel's Elbit to equip the Hawks with virtual training systems of major combat aircraft.

BAE officials said these would simulate radar, weapons, and electronic warfare systems of MiG-29s, Mirage-2000Hs, and Su-30MKIs - the platforms to which trainee fighter pilots graduate.

IAF fighter pilots begin their instruction on Pilatus PC-7 Mk II tandem-seat basic turboprop trainers for 55 hours before moving onto the Kiran HJT-16 Mk I and Mk II intermediate jet trainers for another 70 hours. Thereafter, they graduate to Hawk Mk 132s for two 'semesters' of 135 hours before going on to operate fighters.

 IHS Jane's