June 30, 2015

Dassault's Deal With India Was Important

Amid some controversy, India took to the news with a June announcement of the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation. It was an important move for the nation, which counts China and Pakistan as border ‘mates’.
India, which plans to spend about $100 million on modernizing its defense resources in the next 10 years, has suffered a spate of air fatalities in the past months as a result of an ailing air force.
We spoke with KPMG Partner and India Head of Aerospace and Defence Amber Dubey who says India currently lags behind in defense technology, and it is imperative they keep up.
What is the significance of India ramping up its air defense sector at this particular time?
Amber Dubey: It is not a ramp up, India is fulfilling critical operational requirements – which was long overdue. The fighter aircraft fleet strength is at a critically low level of just 34. The actual fully operational and reliable strength is just 25 squadrons against a sanctioned strength of 42. Several squadrons of MiG 21s and MiG 27s are likely to be phased out soon. That would hurt India’s operational readiness even more. It is not a happy situation.
What gave Dassault the edge on getting this deal?
Dubey: Rafale cleared the technical trials for the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat) competition [launched in 2007, providing a base for one of the biggest defense deals in recent times] and was declared the lowest cost supplier.
It is a tried and  tested aircraft which also has an operational naval version. Mirage 2000 has served the Indian Air Force well. The combined fleet of Dassault’s Mirage (52 aircraft) and Rafale (36 aircraft) from the same supplier could also save on maintenance repair operations costs and provide ease of operations for the entire fleet.
India’s need is for more than 36 Rafales – or modern fighter jets – so do we expect to see the government step up its buying? Or will the private sector will step in here?
The public sector undertakings, especially Hindustan Aeronatuics Limited (HAL) will be the key to deciding whether India buys more foreign or Indian made jets. HAL and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) need to warm up to the Indian private sector to build a robust defense industrial base.
They need to look at the Department of Atomic Energy and the Indian Space Research Organization to understand why India has done so well in the hi-tech fields of nuclear and space programs, despite international sanctions and technology denial by global powers in the past.
In defence tech we still lag behind and are completely dependent on foreign suppliers for India’s security. This has to change. Radical policy and procedural changes are called for.
In the short run, we may need to procure more Rafales, given the Indian Air Force’s significant capability gap currently vis-a-vis China and Pakistan.
Moving forward, is Make in India going to play a role in future aviation or arms contracts?
Dubey: Yes, if we focus on developing our supply chain of large and medium scale designers and manufacturers.
In defence of her borders, India’s capabilities versus those of her neighbours, or other threats?
Dubey: Future wars are going to be smart wars as there is deterrence in terms of nuclear warheads with China and Pakistan.  Capabilities would be defined by technological superiority in terms of unmanned aerial vehicles, missile systems, nex-generation radars, cyber and satellite warfare. 


Army still to get proper bullet-proof jackets a decade after demand

It was way back in October 2009 that the defence acquisitions council had cleared the acquisition of 1,86,138 such bullet-poof jackets.  
Something as basic as proper bullet-proof jackets remains a distant dream for Indian soldiers. The Army is yet to get light-weight modular jackets almost a decade after it first demanded them, and six years after the proposal was cleared by the government.

The new jackets, coupled with proper ballistic helmets, were supposed to effectively protect the head, neck, chest, groin and sides of soldiers as well as allow them to move with greater agility during counter-insurgency operations.
It was way back in October 2009 that the defence acquisitions council had cleared the acquisition of 1,86,138 such bullet-poof jackets since the Army was short of that number from its authorized holding of 3,53,765 jackets. Nothing has come out of it till now despite the Army's existing old and bulky jackets, which provide inadequate protection, themselves fast-approaching the end of their shelf-life in a year or so.

Given the operational urgency, defence minister Manohar Parrikar had last year announced the emergency procurement of 50,000 new jackets. But they, too, are yet to materialize. "The selection/procurement process is underway after the government sanction ... It will take at least another six months," said a defence ministry source on Monday.
The bigger case for 1.86 lakh jackets is still at the trial evaluation stage, with six vendors locked in competition. Each jacket's estimated cost was put at around Rs 50,000 when the project was approved, making it a total of around Rs 930 crore. All these jackets were to be inducted by 2012, with another 1.67 lakh jackets to be ordered in the second round.
But revision of technical parameters and re-floating of tenders as well as convoluted defence procurement procedures and politico-bureaucratic apathy have put paid to those plans. Several parliamentary committees have taken an extremely dim view of this "critical shortage" of bullet-proof jackets, slamming the government for "playing with the lives" of soldiers, as reported by TOI earlier.
The modular jackets are meant to provide "graded levels of protection" depending on the mission to be undertaken. The jacket would weigh less than 4 kg — with a trauma pad with all-around soft armour plate including front, sides, back, collar and neck — for low-risk/threat missions.

The jacket would weight 11.5 kg, with hard armour plates for front, rear, sides, upper arms, groin and throat, in turn, for high-risk missions. "The hard armour plates, in conjunction with the soft ones, are meant to withstand six rounds of 7.62mm x 39mm mild steel core ammunition fired from an AK-47 from 10 metres," said the Army.
Incidentally, as reported by TOI earlier, the long-pending quest to acquire new-generation assault rifles for infantry soldiers has also hit a dead-end. The 2011 tender for the new assault rifles with inter-changeable barrels is now likely to be scrapped.
 - TOI


China could deploy nuclear weapons in Cuba, says report

China could risk a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis by deploying its DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missile to Cuba if the United States decides to deploy tactical nuclear missiles to the Asia-Pacific, according to Fujian-based news portal Taihainet.
Nuclear non-proliferation laws prevent the US from deploying nuclear weapons to South Korea or any members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The nearest deployment it would be able to get to China would be Japan or Australia, both countries where the public does not want such weapons on their soil. The US government is only able to work with them in secret, according to the report.
The deployment of a nuclear weapon in any shape or form to the Asia-Pacific would most likely backfire in the form of anti-American resentment among strategic allies. The only way the US could inch closer to China's soil and prevent a diplomatic crisis would be to deploy the weapons to Guam.
With its own nuclear arsenal, China has various ways to defend against the deployment of American nuclear weapons to the region. One would be to deploy DF-31 ICBM to Cuba, only 145 kilometers away from Florida's Key West. The DF-31 is reported to have a range of 11,200 kilometers. Armed with either neutron or nuclear warheads, the missiles could devastate targets on US soil, according to the report.


June 29, 2015

Tejas to test fire Python-5 and Derby Air to Air missiles in July

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is all set undertake critical test flights carrying an array of missiles and bombs to complete its scheduled weapon trials. Top sources with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to this Correspondent that the integration of Russian-made Close Combat Missile (CCM) R-73 has been completed.
The ground integration of the Israeli-made CMM Python-5 too has been completed ahead of the flight trials. The Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile Derby has also been integrated on to the aircraft. Tejas can carry two CCMs with a range of 15 km at the extreme end pods. These missiles can home on to the enemy aircraft based on their heat signature.
The Derby (two missiles) is being integrated on the mid-board-pods of Tejas and they have a range varying between 80 and 100 km. The home-grown fighter carries the laser-guided bomb (LGB) Griffin, which has a range of 5-6 km. Tejas will also carry LGB Paveway, which according to sources, has already demonstrated its capabilities with an accuracy of 1 meter. “These missiles have demonstrated their capabilities to strike with precision during day and night,” says an official.
BVR missiles to be tested in July
The laser-designator pod also has been integrated on to the aircraft. “Tejas can carry drop tanks with 1200-litre and 800-725-litre capacity. The R-73 has completed flight trials in Goa, Jaisalmer and Jamnagar over 10 times. The LGB has been tested for six times now,” the official said. The BVR testes scheduled to be held in May has now been fixed for July at forward bases. “The CCMs and BVRs used on Tejas are capable of SSKP (Single Shot Kill Probability). In a war scenario, the pilot can increase the kill probability by opting for firing both CCMs, or both BVRs together,” the official added. The integration of Russian-made gun for Tejas Gsh-23 has been completed. The gun has been already ground tested at a facility in Nasik.
FOC may spill over to March 2016?
When asked whether Tejas would skip the December 2015 deadline for Final Operational Clearance (FOC), the top MoD official said: “There are still some passing clouds hanging around. But the teams from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) are confident of beating the deadline.” However, another official told this Correspondent that the programme might skip the December deadline by maximum three months. “May be it will spill over to the last quarter of this FY. The FOC will be in by March 2016,” he said.
Refueling probe, nose cone radome awaited
To complete the FOC points, the air-to-air refueling probe from Cobham hasn’t arrived yet. The nose cone quartz radome too is being awaited. There are already some rumours floating around in the corridors of HAL and ADA over the delay in accessing these pending foreign systems. A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official says that they are hopeful of thrashing the issue. “Definitely there are concerns. But, we are hoping to get clarity by July. Hopefully, we should have access to all hardware within a month. We don’t see any more technology challenges after the integration of these pending items,” says the senior DRDO official. ADA says that almost 75 per cent of work related to FOC has been completed. The siblings of Tejas have completed 2971 flights so far logging around 1909 hours, at the time this piece went live on the web.


India’s Upgraded Attack Submarine to Re-Enter Service

The Indian Navy’s INS Sindhukirti to undergo final trials before officially re-entering into service with the Indian Navy next month.Indian Navy’s INS Sindhukirti will enter its final full-power trials after a decade-long renovation process.
The attack submarine will officially return into service with the Indian Navy next month, providing a much-needed advantage to India’s limited submarine force.
Sindhukirti is the seventh Sindhughosh-class (Indian name for the Russian Kilo-class) diesel-electric attack submarine in the Indian Navy, which was originally commissioned in 1990. The Sindhukirti entered its upgrade process back in 2006.
India’s Sindhughosh-class submarines were co-developed between India and Russia’s Rosvooruzhenie. The Sindhukirti’s restoration involved extensive modernization.
The Indian government recently cleared an added $8 billion in funding for naval modernization, part of which will go to the construction of six additional nuclear submarines.


Chinese submarine in Karachi: A worst case scenario for India, and here's what it needs to do

A conventional Chinese submarine docking in Karachi port last month and spending one week there is a disturbing development for India.
While warships are known to dock at foreign ports and sail away after a brief stay and refuelling, submarines are a different ballgame. After aircraft carriers, submarines are the most potent weapon in sea warfare.  The fully loaded and equipped Chinese submarine reportedly spent a full week in Karachi port in the last week of May with entire crew of at least 65 on boardIronically, the Chinese submarine – a Yuan class 335 boat equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) which gives greater stealth and longer duration under-sea capability – had docked in Karachi port on 22 May. This means that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was wrapping up his maiden official visit to China (14-16 May) the Chinese were planning this provocative act.
The political symbolism emanating from the Karachi event is simple. China will stop at nothing in increasing its military might. There is nothing wrong with this, as this is the right of every sovereign nation. India too will have to get its act together and address vital defence issues in double quick time to keep pace with China.
But the problem is that the Karachi episode is a potential harbinger of things to come: China increasing its defence cooperation with Pakistan, and both are India’s arch-rivals.
Obviously the Chinese can’t be oblivious to the enormous outrage the development would trigger in India considering the fact that this was the first ever docking of a Chinese submarine in a Pakistani port.
Without being alarmist, one thing can safely be said in this context. The development accentuates fears of India’s worst case scenario: the joining of hands by the only two neighbours who have fought wars with India since its independence, and projecting a pincer attack threat.
There is nothing much that India can do here. At best India can politely tell China that it is an unnecessary manoeuvre which is best avoidable in future. As for Pakistan, India cannot tell even that much knowing the anti-India mindset of Pakistani security and strategic establishment.
Even a country like Sri Lanka under the leadership of pro-China president Mahinda Rajapaksa had ignored protests from India when a Chinese submarine had docked in Sri Lanka, and another similar incident had happened last year. India heaved a sigh of relief as the new Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated  Rajapaksa in presidential polls earlier this year, announced that his government won’t allow Chinese submarines to dock in Sri Lankan ports.
It is highly unlikely that China would be sensitive to Indian concerns. In any case, no formal reaction from India has come thus far. It is well known that India moves with extreme caution in its dealings with China. Though India might have taken up the matter with China through diplomatic channels, it is unlikely that the Modi government would take this issue in the public domain with a formal reaction.
The only way forward for the Modi government is to expedite the delivery schedule of six submarines that the French are building in India and fast-track the process of acquisition of as many more submarines.
The India-France submarine project is moving at a slow pace and the first of the submarine is expected to be delivered only towards the end of next year. The completion of construction of the rest is likely to stretch up to 2020.The Modi government has recently come out with a Request for Information (RFI), inviting tenders for six more submarines. But it is a long-drawn process and given the pace at which the bureaucracy works, the boats won’t be available before 2025. The government has allocated $8.1 billion for the six submarines to be acquired. There is a strong fear of cost overruns if the project is kept hanging, as it usually happens in India.India presently has just 13 operational submarines at present as against China’s 60. Pakistan, a much smaller country, has eight operational submarines as of now. China is racing ahead in adding more submarines to its fleet and should have 75 submarines by 2020.
What is required off PM Modi is that he needs to do away with the red tape and expedite beefing up India’s submarine strength. This is a worrisome scenario. PM Modi needs to think out of the box. Ten days later he will be off to Russia for attending BRICS summit. The submarine issue should figure high on the talking points when he holds one-to-one talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin.


Indian twitterati express solidarity with Israel ahead of PM Modi's visit

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel, the Indian Twitterati have come up on the social media website to express solidarity with the Jewish state with the hashtag IndiaWithIsrael.
The hashtag, which is trending on Twitter, came to light after ICL Fertilizers, a part of the Israel-based firm ICL, announced that it has signed several contracts for the supply of an aggregate of 835,000 metric tonnes of potash to its customers in India.
It then gained momentum following the Delhi Police's statement that its personnel were being trained by security experts from Israel in handling certain critical situations.
One of the tweets read "you have been regularly tortured by some of your neighbours If we could help, will definitely do it #IndiaWithIsrael,".Another Indian tweeted, "Israel is India's most trusted Middle East ally, and one of its closest friends in the world. #IndiaWithIsrael".
In a historic first, Modi is set to visit Israel later this year, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country.


June 27, 2015

Boost to Make in India: Modi govt awards 56 defence licences to private cos like Mahindra, Tata & Pipavav

The Narendra Modi government has awarded a record 56defence manufacturing permits to private sector entities in the past year, which is more than the 47 licences its predecessor UPA granted in the preceding three years combined and underlines its determination to have indigenous defence production as a cornerstone of its ‘Make in India’ drive.
Data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) shows that a slew of applications, some of which had been pending for more than four years, have been cleared since the BJP government came to power, in what is a major endorsement by it of the Indian private sector’s ability to operate in an arena that has until now been the preserve of foreign vendors and state-run entities. The permits are the first step in the process to enable firms such as Mahindra, Tata and Pipavav to set up production units for major military equipment.The Tatas will now be able to upgrade major fighting units like the T 90 and T 72 tanks of the Indian Army, while Mahindra, which has been steadily expanding its defence business in the past year, has been given permits in a number of areas, including manufacturing naval systems like torpedoes, sea mines and boats.
Subsidiary companies like Mahindra Telephonics Integrated Systems and Tech Mahindra Ltd too have got defence permits.
The permits are not only for the big boys of Indian industry, many of whom have existing defence arms and will be able to diversify their portfolios.. A slew of new small firms are poised to enter the sector based on these clearances. Bullet Proof equipment manufacturer MKU for example will now be able to manufacture night vision devices.
Bangalore-based Dynamatic Technologies has been granted a permit to manufacture Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company (PDOC), which is now being acquired by the Anil Ambani-run Reliance, has got four permits to manufacture items ranging from medium tanks and howitzers to missiles, sensors and torpedoes. Experts said the government had done its bit and it was now up to the corporate sector to run with the baton.
“It is now up to the private sector to leverage these enhanced flexibilities and deliver on the ground,” said Ankur Gupta of Ernst & Young India.
The expedited clearances are part of a series of measures taken by the government over the past year to open up the defence sector.
Since taking charge in May last year, the government has increased the foreign investment limit for the defence sector to 49% and even up to 100% in select cases.
It has already made the process for application online and the validity of the Industrial license has been enhanced to seven years. For smaller items like components, speedy DIPP clearances are already being given.
A new defence procurement policy is expected over the next few weeks that will further clarify complex matters such as the offset policy, blacklisting process as well as a specific route for the Make in India process.

 Economic Times

Germany hopeful of bagging Indian Navy’s submarine project

Hopeful of bagging the Rs 50,000 crore project of the Indian Navy for building six conventional submarines, Germany has said that it has offered some “pretty convincing” business offers to the Indian government for cooperation in the defence sector.
German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner said the P-75(I) project was under discussion and that the matter also came up during German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s visit here last month.
“They did not talk about how this deal should be done.. whether this should be Business-to-Business or Government-to -Government.
But as our Minister said, from these talks, it was a clear sign that there is potential for cooperation in this field (defence) and also in the field of submarines,” he said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event here last night.
German defence major TKMS is offering India its HDW Class 214 vessel and is in talks with leading shipyards in the country for a tie-up.
The Germans are also promising a no-hold barred transfer of technology in line with the Narendra Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ push.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had set up a special committee for the project to identify the shipyards in the country that have the capability and the capacity to build the six submarines.
These shipyards will then tie-up with a foreign firm.Besides the public shipyards, the private players include L&T and Pipavav, in which Anil Ambani-led Reliance group has bought controlling stake.
The committee is expected to submit the report soon.After the Indian government announced a G2G deal with France for 36 Rafale jets, the Germans are hopeful that a deal can be struck faster than earlier.
India currently operates four HDW Type 209 submarines and the first was inducted way back in 1986. Asked about the Rafale deal, Steiner said European economies are so interwoven that if a French company has an economic success, it is very much in German interest as well.


June 26, 2015

DCI is Going to Train the First Indian Navy Scorpene class (Project 75) Submarine Crew

DCI is announcing the signature of a contract with the Indian state shipyard named MDL (Mazagon Docks Limited) to train the first two Indian crew operating Scorpene type submarines. 100 sailors will be trained by DCI (36 per crew, one spare and some Indian would-be instructors who will train the next crew).

This 22 month training will start in India as soon as 1st September 2015.

It will take place on land then aboard the first two submarines, built in Bombay by MDL, on dock and at sea. The trials period will be used for this training according to current French Navy standards.

DCI will put in place a 9 submariner team in Bombay. This team will be eager to transfer its know-how concerning modern ship operation.

“With this contract, DCI will deliver to the Indian Navy the ability to operate SCORPENE submarines designed by DCNS. These are arguably the most efficient current conventional submarines. This French know-how, transferred to a major blue water navy, is a strong mutual trust component reinforcing the strategic link between France and India.” declares Rear-Admiral Bruno Nielly, DCI-NAVFCO Director.


Lakshya Successfully Test Flown

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday successfully flight-tested Lakshya, a pilotless target aircraft (PTA) from the launching complex-II of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea here.
Defence sources said the micro-light aircraft fitted with an advanced digital engine controlled by a remote was test flown at about 12.25 pm from the launching complex-II. It was second trial in a week.
A couple of days ago, a similar trial was conducted from the same test range. A defence official said the test was successful as several developments made in the digital version of the unmanned aircraft were validated. “Lakshya, which has already been inducted in the IAF in 2000, is required for evaluation and development trials of surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems,” he said.
Earlier, both the sea and land recovery version of the PTA were test flown successfully several times. The aircraft flew for over 30 minutes during which all the parameters were tested, the defence official informed adding another round of trial may be carried out shortly.
Usually, the flight duration of the six feet long unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is 30 to 35 minutes in air, where after making three to four laps it drops in the ocean. It is later retrieved by a helicopter.
Defence sources added that the test was carried out to check the validity of its engine and duration enhancement. The PTA, a sub-sonic and re-usable aerial target system is remote controlled from the ground and designed to impart training to both air-borne and air-defence pilots.


Light Combat Helicopter clears critical hot weather trials

Bengaluru, June 26: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Friday said that its home-grown Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) completed hot weather trials. The one-week long trials were held at Jodhpur measuring a series of parameters. HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju told OneIndia that the trials were crucial as the programme is inching towards Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) phase. Interestingly, during the tests, expert pilots from the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army were present. Representatives of certification teams were also present.
"The test flights were carried out in the temperature range of 39 to 42 degree Celsius," says Raju. HAL says the third technology demonstrator (TD-3) of LCH, 3 was ferried from Bengaluru to Jodhpur for the trials.

Following are some of the key features tested during the trials:

Temperature survey of engine bay * Temperature survey of hydraulic system * Assessment of performance of helicopter * Verifying the handling qualities and loads at different AUWs (all up weights) * Checking low-speed handling capabilities * Capturing the height-velocity diagram establishment As reported by OneIndia earlier,
 the LCH had completed cold weather flight testing at Leh in February this year. The chopper was HAL's star attraction during Aero India 2015. HAL claims that the chopper would receive its IOC by end of this year and subsequently enter series production. HAL has also set aside Rs 126 crore for the fourth sibling of LCH (TD-4) to propel the testing phase. 
 Some of the key LCH features

* A twin- engine with in the 5.8-ton class * Powered by two Shakti engine * Can carry out dedicated combat roles * Best suited for air defence, anti-tank roles * Perfect for combat search and rescue missions * Loaded with advanced military technology features * Narrow fuselage with tandem seating configuration * Incorporates a number of stealth features * Crashworthy landing gear * Armour protection for better survivability 
OneIndia News

PLA's J-11 fighters likely to be deployed in South China Sea

The tension caused by territorial disputes in the South China Sea seems unlikely to ease in the near future, given the almost-completion of Chinese runways on reclaimed land and Beijing's possible deployment of J-11 fighter jets there, according to a Hong Kong newspaper report.
If China goes ahead, the deployment in the Spratly islands, which China and Taiwan call Nansha, "would dramatically extend the reach of the nation's military beyond its southernmost base at Sanya on Hainan island," said the June 21 report published in the English-language South China Morning Post, citing unnamed analysts.
However, the report said the jets, built based on the Soviet-designed Su-27, would be limited to a defensive role because it is an older model outclassed by aircraft in the US Air Force.
The report said the J-11s have a range of 1,500 kilometers, which can be extended with additional fuel tanks. "Setting up operations on the islands would move the reach of China's air force about 1,000 km further south, and in conjunction with the Liaoning aircraft carrier, take China towards its stated goal of moving away from offshore defense to open-sea protection," it said.
David Tsui, a military expert at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said the J-11s are only enough to defend the seven islands claimed by China in the region but are not sophisticated enough to be used in an attack, the report said.
China's key rival will be the United States, and Beijing knows that if its military uses coercive measures or force to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the US will definitely interfere, Tsui was cited as saying.
"China's first carrier-based jet, the J-15, might be advanced enough to challenge the US F-18, but the People's Liberation Army Air Force's main fighter jets, the J-11 and its variants, cannot compete with the F-22 and F-35 currently deployed by the US," Tsui said.


Goa Shipyard looks at building OPVs armed with missiles

Country's leading defence shipyard, Goa Shipyard Limited has submitted a proposal to the Indian Navy to construct offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) armed with missiles.

"We have submitted a proposal to the Indian Navy that all the future OPVs should be developed with the missile on board. That will give more combat muscle to the vessel. If fitted with missile the pricing of the vessel goes up only by ten per cent," GSL's Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral (retd) Shekhar Mital told PTI today on the sidelines of ongoing "Make in Goa" held jointly by GSL and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

He said GSL has the technology to construct next generation missile boats and missile corvettes which will strengthen Indian Navy's prowess off shore. Mital, the retired Naval officer, said any kind of missiles can be fitted for these OPVs. "We can even have Brahmos on the vessel. Basically, the technology would be surface to surface, which is ship to ship missiles. It won't be surface to air missiles," the CMD said.

The GSL is currently working on Defence Ministry's order of twelve mine countermeasure vessels (MCMV) costing Rs 32,000 crore.

Mital said the GSL currently has order of six OPVs for Indian Coast Guard, Two for Sri Lankan Navy, Two for Mauritian Coast Guard. "The price negotiations has also been completed for five more OPVs for the Coast Guard," he added.

The CMD said that the proposal of fitting missiles on OPVs will not include those vessels which are already under construction or whose price negotiations are done. "If Navy approves, we can do it for the future orders," he added.

Speaking about the MCMVs, Mital said the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the technology transfer for these vessels would be opened in 2-3 months. The actual construction of these vessels will start after three years. He conceded that GSL is exploring the possibility of taking technology from Korean companies.


India’s Armed Drone Fleet

With even Pakistan now sporting an armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed with Chinese assistance, India has decided to accelerate the development of its own weaponized drone fleet. The process of weaponizing an indigenously developed UAV has commenced and the elements required to operate an armed drone fleet, such as a high accuracy satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) and dedicated military communication satellites, are being put in place anyway. Work is also underway on a stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).
Despite this, India still has to make some progress on the collision avoidance technology needed to give its drones the flexibility to use civilian airspace. It will also need to increase satellite bandwidth considerably to increase the tempo of armed UAV flights. In the next few years limited use of drone strikes near India’s borders on terrorist targets may be on the table, in keeping with the emerging Modi-Doval doctrine that authorized the recent cross-border strike in Myanmar.
While the Indian military has long operated Israeli Searcher and Heron drones for C4ISTAR roles and even possesses anti-radiation suicide drones from the same source, it does not as yet have missile firing drones such as the Predator its inventory. India is now looking to change that with its Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) beginning serious work on weaponizing the indigenously developed Rustom-I Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV.
According to the DRDO, it has integrated a locally developed anti-tank missile called the HELINA with the Rustom-I. Taxi trials have been completed, with flight trials expected to commence this year. The idea is to have the weaponized configuration of the Rustom-I ready by the middle of next year. This sudden urgency is perhaps in no small measure due to the recent test-firing of a laser guided missile by Pakistan’s Burraq drone, which was developed with Chinese assistance and which resembles the CASC CH-3 drone.
While integration with missiles such as the HELINA also indicate a potential anti-armor role for the Rustom-I, it could certainly be used in strikes on remote terrorist camps or for that matter on small vessels on the high seas. Indeed, the first military user of the Rustom-I is likely to be the Indian Navy rather than the Indian Army, which still wants certain features added to the Rustom-I before it agrees to induct it.
A key enabler for armed UAV flights in India would be the new domestically developed SBAS called GAGAN, which has already received certification for both en-route navigation as well as precision vertical guidance for assisting planes to land safely and beamed its first signals earlier this year. While GAGAN was designed to assist civil aviation in India, the enhancement of satellite navigation (SATNAV) signals that it provides is obviously available to Indian military users as well. Indeed, Indian defense scientists along with local industry have also developed a lightweight GAGAN receiver module that can be fitted aboard UAVs and is capable of receiving “refined” signals from the American GPS, Russian GLONASS, and Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System which will become fully operational in the near future.
GAGAN is crucial for waypoint navigation of Indian UAVs and will assist them to both “get back home” in the event of a link failure with their ground control stations (GCS) as well as make emergency landings on alternate airfields. Both of these aspects naturally assume even greater importance when a UAV carries on board weapons. Of course, the availability of high quality SATNAV signals are also very important for precision strike purposes.
Indian armed drones in the future will also be able to operate over extended ranges as the Indian military inducts more dedicated military communication satellites. Again, the Indian Navy is a front runner in this department having fully integrated the GSAT-7 communication satellite in its order of battle and used it to network ships and aircrafts in missile firing exercises. GSAT-7 can also relay signals in the Ku-band and this can be used to control Indian UAVs, which will feature a Ku-band transmitter data link. The Indian Air force and Army are meanwhile looking forward to their own joint military communication satellite called GSAT-7A, which will also have Ku-band transponders.
In some ways the stage is being set for the indigenous UCAV program that is currently focused on developing a sufficiently stealthy platform, release of weapons from an internal weapons bay, and materials for all-aspect stealth. The first flight of this UCAV is expected to take place in the early 2020s. By that time, the support elements required to exploit such a system are likely to have matured in India.
GAGAN notwithstanding, Indian armed UAV operations will remain restricted to military airspace until such time that India makes progress on a collision avoidance system. For this technology, India is currently tapping the U.S. and France, but it remains to be seen how much assistance will be forthcoming in this arena. Without a collision avoidance system, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation will obviously not conclude an agreement with the military to allow UAVs to transit civil airspace. Moreover until the Indian military can put up a large enough constellation of military communication satellites, armed drone operations will be somewhat limited in scope and tempo. There will be a reliance on short distance VHF links unless greater satellite bandwidth is made available. This means that Indian armed UAV operations will take place close to Indian airspace in the early years of deployment. It will also limit basing options for Indian armed drones.
In any case, the Rustom-I is not a long-range system and it is perhaps the Rustom-II, still under development and expected to be able to fly for up to 30 hours at a stretch, which will assume the mantle of India’s frontline armed drone in the years ahead. Development of the Rustom-II has been delayed on account of challenges with efficient design as well as the cancellation of export licenses by the U.S. State Department of the American origin actuators that were being used in the Rustom-II. India has now had to develop indigenous replacements for those actuators and the Rustom-II will fly with those this year.
The episode may, however, have catalyzed India’s ongoing bid to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement, both of which seek to restrict the flow of dual-use items that go into UAV development. India had voluntarily chosen to synchronize its export-control regimes with the MTCR in 2008 during the heyday of the Indo-U.S. nuclear civil agreement and is now looking to use its excellent non-proliferation record to ensure that such events do not get in the way of its UAV development programs by formally joining that association.
Indeed, unlike China, India’s armed UAV fleet will essentially be for its own use and not meant for the export market, something that is being signaled via its bid to join the MTCR. Armed drones for India are actually both a symmetric response to what the Chinese and Pakistanis have been doing in this arena as well as a response to asymmetric tactics being used by India’s rivals. Armed drones are intended to expand the response options available to the Indian military as it has to mount more operations to neutralize terrorist elements based out of remote facilities in neighboring countries.
The employment of armed drones for precision strikes will make it easier for the Indian military to neutralize targets of opportunity in scenarios where sending in special forces would be too risky or complicated. Once lightweight UAV specific munitions that minimize collateral damage become available, armed drones could also potentially prosecute targets co-located with civilian hamlets. Overall, the pursuit of armed drones is in consonance with the Modi-Doval doctrine which seeks to position India as a state that is not averse to deploying hard power for national security requirements.


GSL looks at S Korean expertise for defence project

In what promises to be a game changer and provide enormous employment opportunities, Goa Shipyard will identify and initiate discussions between South Korean defence and marine ancillary units and Indian, especially Goan firms, chairman and managing director Shekhar Mital said. The collaboration will be aimed towards the building of the 32,000 crore Mine Counter Measure Vessel project, which the Ministry of Defence allotted to Goa Shipyard Limited in early March.

Goa Shipyard will also look to take advantage of South Korea's supply-chain efficiency by sending more orders for pumps, deck machinery and other equipment to South Korean manufacturers instead of European firms which is expected to reduce costs by 15%-20%, Mital stated.

"In a way, we will have to spoon feed, but, we also need to sit down and seriously discuss how we can take this initiative forward," Mital said. Mital was referring to the two-day convention organized by Confederation of Indian Industries for South Korean defence and marine ancillary units that was held at Dona Paula.

The convention was attended by 28 South Korean firms and 60 local industry representatives. Industry heavyweights from South Korea like Samsung Thales, Lignex1, Kangnam Corp as well as head of special projects and engineering systems L&T shipyard SVS Chary, advisor for Pipavav shipyard admiral R M Bhatia were present.

"The biggest success has been that we have been able to bring all stakeholders on a single platform to make this 'Make in Goa' a reality... and there will be a significant tangible benefit," Mital said.

The South Korean delegation will pay a visit to the Vasco-based shipyard's premises to get an overview of the facilities and infrastructure available. Mital cautioned Indian companies from expecting any special concessions or preferences. "There are no freebies. We have to look at our processes and be competitive. We are exposed to where the best of technology is available," he added.

Besides working on the mine-sweeper project, the defence public sector unit has also submitted its bid for the ambitious hovercraft project for the Indian Army.
- timesofindia

June 25, 2015

Why the Indian Air Force has a high crash rate

More than 200 Sukhoi Flankers currently form the core of the Indian Air Force’s strike element, for a planned force of over 272 Su-30 fighter-bombers. India received the initial batch of Sukhois in 2002. The first of these aircraft crashed in 2009, and since then five more have crashed.
Now let’s look at the Sukhois in other air forces.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has 150 Flankers of Russian origin and 229 Chinese knockoffs. That’s a total of 379 aircraft, for an eventual figure of 400 Russian made Flankers, derivatives and illegal copies. And yet the PLAAF has lost fewer Sukhoi in crashes. Are the Chinese Sukhois better maintained, better built or are Chinese pilots simply playing it safe? More on that in a moment.
The Russian Air Force has a total of 438 Flankers. Again, the Russian Sukhois don’t tumble out of the air at a rate close to the IAF’s. Similarly, there have been no reports of Flankers of the Vietnamese and Indonesian air forces being involved in crashes.Why the Flanker force matters
The IAF calls the Su-30 its “air dominance” fighter for a good reason. The arrival of the Sukhoi has decisively tilted the balance of power in favour of the IAF in the region. The Flanker’s super-maneuverability, its armoury of advanced beyond visual range missiles and extraordinary range of 3000 km (extendable to 8000 km with aerial refuelling) are aspects that make it the wolf of the skies.
The Su-30 is also equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which gives it greater long-range reconnaissance capabilities. Armed with the SAR pod, the IAF Sukhois are known to engage in aggressive patrols along the China-India and India-Pakistan borders.
Considering the Flanker’s hunter killer reputation, anyone who questions its capability is clearly living under a rock.
So what explains the loss of six IAF Flankers in crashes? Let’s go into the various probable causes and also dissect the theories floating out there.
Crash No.1: 30 April 2009
The first ever Su-30MKI crashes in the Pokhran region, Rajasthan. The IAF’s Court of Inquiry establishes Wing Commander Vishwas Munje mistakenly switched off the warplane’s fly-by-wire system.
Crash No.2: 30 November 2009
Sukhoi crashes near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, after a fire warning. An IAF investigation attributes it to accidental ingestion of a foreign object in the engine intake.
Crash No.3: 13 December 2011
Aircraft crashes 20 km from Pune. IAF says the crash is due to a malfunction in the fly-by-wire system.
Crash No.4: 19 February 2013
Aircraft’s right wing explodes over Pokhran, shortly after completing a training mission.
Crash No.5: 14 October 2013
Fly-by-wire system malfunctions yet again and the Sukhoi goes down near Pune. Russian experts blame pilot error but the IAF says the Court of Inquiry is yet to pinpoint exact reason.
Crash No.6: 19 May 2015
Su-30MKI flying from Tezpur in Assam develops a technical snag and the pilot is forced to abandon the aircraft. Cause is yet to be established.
Now that you have a good idea of what exactly happened in those six crashes, let’s look at the possible reasons why jet fighters crash in India.
Possible reason No.1: Intense training
The IAF is one of the few air forces in the world that conduct intense, year-round training. Benjamin Lambeth of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says the IAF trains for a "high intensity, high stakes" conflict. Keeping in mind the possibility of a two-front war, the IAF puts its pilots and aircraft through the wringer.
Mock air combat can involve hundreds of aircraft flying thousands of kilometres. During such a war game in 2013, Sukhois flew 1800-km bombing missions from Chabua in Assam to the western front, with mid-air refuelling. In fact, IAF pilots are known to lead missions over 10 hours in their Sukhois.
Such training places a great deal of stress on aircraft, pilots and air crews, which means potentially more accidents. But that’s the way the IAF trains for war. In fact, a former air force chief has gone on record that he would rather lose pilots during training than during war.
The strategy has been amply rewarded. In the 1971 War, for instance, the IAF was able to conduct a wide range of missions – troop support; air combat; deep penetration strikes; para-dropping behind enemy lines; feints to draw enemy fighters away from the actual target; bombing; and reconnaissance.
In contrast, the Pakistan Air Force, which was solely focused on air combat, was blown out of the subcontinent’s skies within the first week of the war. Those PAF aircraft that survived took refuge at Iranian air bases or in concrete bunkers, refusing to offer a fight.
Similarly, the PLAAF has nearly 2,000 planes, but only a fraction of the peace-time accident rate. According to Foreign Policy, this suggests Chinese pilots are not spending sufficient time in the air or training under pressure. “(Chinese) pilots are neither trusted nor properly trained. Drills are regimented, centrally controlled, and divorced from realistic combat conditions.”

A PLAAF fighter pilot would most likely be reprimanded if he deviated from the flight plan set by his commanders. Losing a plane would be cause enough for a court martial.
Thankfully, the IAF does not believe in having robots but values superior training and innovativeness. IAF pilots have truly internalised what Sergei Dolgushin, a Russian Air Force ace with 24 victories in WWII, said is a prerequisite to be a successful fighter pilot: “A love of hunting, a great desire to be the top dog”.
Possible reason No.2: Harsh environment
Harsh is normal in India. Tropical India is an unforgiving environment for any aircraft. The hot air means aircraft engines produce less thrust and the wing produce less lift compared to similar aircraft flying in European skies. Sun baked runways are also known to impact landing safety. These are factors IAF pilots have to live with.
Bird hits are another huge factor in aircraft accidents over India. The IAF attributes around 10 per cent of accidents to bird hits. Most IAF bases are located near populated areas, where birds are a constant menace.
The situation has got so dire that the IAF last year issued global bids to four companies for 45 bird detection and monitoring radar systems to be installed at airports and air bases across India.
Possible reason No.3: Missing trainers
According to figures released by the Ministry of Defence in March 2013, the IAF was losing the equivalent of one fighter squadron (approximately 18 fighters) in accidents every two years. This was primarily because of the lack of adequate number of trainers.
Rookie fighter pilots begin on basic trainers, then move on to intermediate jet trainers (IJTs) before finally graduating to advanced jet trainers (AJTs). These three stages are critical elements of fighter pilot training and any shortcuts will certainly lead to disaster.
But what was happening was that in the absence of an AJT, rookie pilots were moving straight from the IJT to frontline warplanes such as the MiG-21. The upshot – young pilots died at an alarming rate.
With the induction of the Swiss Pilatus basic trainer and Hawk AJT from Britain, the crashes have come down – but not stopped.
Possible reason No.4: Shoddy maintenance
India is notorious for its ‘chalta hai’ or ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude. In this backdrop, shoddy maintenance could well be a factor. Although the IAF is known for its high standards, those standards are largely of its pilots; maintenance crews may not share that quality. Of late, there have been a number of incidents reported widely in the media about IAF ground crew involved in all sorts of serious crimes. The IAF should look at establishing an elite division of ground crews to service its high-end aircraft.
Possible reason No.5: Depleted air force
The IAF’s fleet strength is currently down to 34 squadrons or around 600 warplanes. The sanctioned number is 42 squadrons. In a country as vast as India, with multiple threats, such depletion in fighter aircraft means fewer aircraft have to perform more missions to get the same job done. It also means less down time in maintenance hangars. This is where India quickly needs to induct more locally built Tejas interceptors and more locally assembled Su-30s.
Silver lining
The good news is that aircraft crashes in the IAF have shown a declining trend over the last three years. From a high of 30 in fiscal 2011-12, they declined to six in 2012-13 and an equal number in 2013-14.
The IAF is now looking to improve overall fleet serviceability. The air force recently told a parliamentary committee that fleet-wide serviceability stood at 60-65 per cent, but could be increased to 77-80 per cent, provided spares were made available.
During a visit to Bangalore in December, IAF chief ACM Arup Raha said: “Budgets remain a constraint, especially the revenue budget, to maintain spares for the aircraft to maintain high operational readiness.”
While the IAF is clearly doing its best under the circumstances, it needs to do better. Bringing the crash rate down to US or European air force levels should be the goal. Losing a Sukhoi each year is akin to burning Rs 350 crore in cash.


Why the Indonesian air force wants the Su-35

The Indonesian air force has asked Jakarta to greenlight the purchase of advanced Russian Su-35 fighters. Here’s why it’s a sensible decision.
The Indonesian air force wants to replace its outdated American built F-5 fighters with the brand new Russian Su-35 Super Flanker, but the country’s political leadership is unable to act quickly because the U.S. is pitching in with its F-16 and F-18 jets.
The Indonesians operate both American F-16s and Russian made Flankers – five Su-27s and 11 Su-30s. How Russian aircraft ended up in the air force of an American ally is interesting. “Indonesia’s turn toward Russian fighters stemmed partly from necessity,” explains Defense Industry Daily (DID).. Its 12 remaining F-16A/Bs and 16 remaining F-5E/F fighters experienced severe maintenance problems in the wake of a U.S. embargo.”
The embargo was imposed after Australia started meddling in Indonesia’s civil war in East Timor, and the U.S. accused Jakarta of human rights violations.
In order to address the problems created by the U.S. embargo, in 2003 Indonesia signed a $192 million contract with Russia to supply Sukhoi multi-role fighters through Rosoboronexport. The induction of Russian fighters gave the Southeast Asian country some sort of parity with its neighbors, including China and Australia.
Four years later, at the MAKS 2007 air show in Moscow, Indonesia and Russia signed a follow-up $300 million deal to supply more Sukhoi Flankers. What makes Indonesia’s purchase of Russian military hardware remarkable is that it is happening in the backdrop of close security cooperation between Washington and Jakarta. “It does not reflect Indonesia's current geopolitical orientation. It is certainly a tribute to the attractiveness of the Sukhoi aircraft,” says foreign affair commentator Martin Sieff of UPI.
According to DID, both the Su-27 SK and Su-30 variants the Indonesians are currently flying “share the Sukhoi Flanker family’s combination of long range, large payloads, and air to air performance that can match any American fighter except the F-22A Raptor. Those capabilities, and Russia’s policy of avoiding political conditions on its weapon sales, nudged Indonesia into a tilt toward Russia as a weapons supplier”.
The arrival of the Sukhois has evened the odds in the Asia Pacific theatre. Australian pilots, who considered themselves top guns flying their F-18 Hornets, are now having to faceoff with the Flankers that are superior in almost every aspect. According to Air Power Australia, “The acquisition of Russian designed Sukhoi Su-27SK and Su-30MK series fighters by most regional nations now presents an environment where the F/A-18A/B/F is outclassed in all key performance parameters by widely available fighters.”

Technological leap forward

The Su-35 Super Flanker, which the Indonesia air force is eyeing, is certainly more advanced. Sukhoi classifies it as a 4++ generation aircraft, which places it just below fifth generation stealth aircraft. Compared with the F-16 and F-18, which are based on 1970s technology, the Su-35 is only just entering the Russian Air Force. China has also inked a multi-billion deal to acquire 24 Super Flankers, and Chinese pilots have begun arriving in Russia for training.
According to Air Force Technology, the Su-35 “has high maneuverability (+9g) with a high angle of attack, and is equipped with high-capability weapon systems that contribute to the new aircraft's exceptional dogfighting capability. The maximum level speed is 2,390km/h or Mach 2.25.”
The magazine says the Su-35 is capable of carrying numerous air-to-air, air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles. It also says the airplane can be armed with various guided bombs, and that its sensors “can detect and track up to 30 airborne targets with a radar cross section (RCS) of 3m² at ranges of 400km using track-while-scan mode”.
Reporting for Aviation Week from the 2013 Paris Air Show, legendary aviation writer Bill Sweetman writes that the high agility demonstrated by the Sukhoi Su-35 is rooted in a Russian concept in which close-range, low-speed air combat remains important.
“The aircraft, equipped with three-axis thrust-vectoring and fully integrated flight and propulsion control, performed maneuvers here which no other operational fighter can match,” Sweetman writes.
Sweetman then quotes Sukhoi chief test pilot Sergey Bogdan: “Most of the fighters we have available today with vectored thrust, the Su-30MKI and MKM, can perform these maneuvers. Where this aircraft is different is that it has more thrust, so when it performs the 'bell' maneuver, it can stand still, with afterburning on, and can sustain flight at 120-140 kph.”
The emphasis on “supermaneuverability” runs counter to much western air combat doctrine, which stresses high speed, the avoidance of the slower “merge” and tactics that do not lose the aircraft's energy. Bogdan, however, says supermaneuverability can be essential.
“The classical air combat starts at high speed, but if you miss on the first shot—and the probability is there because there are maneuvers to avoid missiles—the combat will be more prolonged,” he says. “After maneuvering, the aircraft will be at a lower speed, but both aircraft may be in a position where they cannot shoot. But supermaneuverability allows an aircraft to turn within three seconds and take another shot.”
As for the doctrine that energy should be conserved, Bogdan notes: “The theory of air combat has always evolved. In the 1940s and 1950s, the first priority was height, then speed, then maneuver and then firepower. Then with the third and fourth generation, it was speed, then height and then maneuver. Supermaneuverability adds to this. It's the knife in the soldier's pocket.”
And despite not having any stealth capability, the Su-35 can under certain conditions become invisible to enemy radar. Sweetman explains that the “rapid change in velocity can cause a Doppler fire-control radar to break lock. The maneuver is more useful on the Su-35S because the pilot can fly the aircraft out in any direction”.

Future proofing

With Australia planning to acquire 72 F-35 stealth fighters by the end of this decade, Indonesia needs to look at counter measures. Russia’s T-50 seems like the most ideal candidate but in the meantime the Su-35 can fill the interim and also take on the F-35 threat.
Dave Majumdar of the National Interest says a US Air Force official with experience on the F-35 believes the Su-35 could pose a serious challenge for the new American jet. The F-35 was built primarily as a strike fighter and does not have the sheer speed or altitude capability of the Su-35 or F-22. “The Su's ability to go high and fast is a big concern, including for F-35,” the Air Force official said.
According to Majumdar, “As an air-superiority fighter, its major advantages are its combination of high altitude capability and blistering speed—which allow the fighter to impart the maximum possible amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles.
“The Su-35 would be launching its weapons from high supersonic speeds around Mach 1.5 at altitudes greater than 45,000 ft; the F-35 would primarily be operating in the 30,000-ft range at speeds around Mach 0.9.”
Sergey Ptichkin of Rossiyskaya Gazeta says the Su-35S is almost identical to the Russian T-50 in terms of the on board electronics suite, control systems and armament. “Therefore it will not prove difficult for pilots to convert to the classic fifth generation fighter with its obligatory stealth technology: any pilot who has assimilated the Su-35S can easily convert to the T-50,” he says.
The upshot: Indonesian pilots will have had a head start when it comes to flying fifth generation stealth aircraft in the next decade.

Training with the aces

In October 2013, India agreed to train and support the Indonesian air force in operating its fleet of Sukhoi fighters. According to the agreement, which was arrived at during the Indian defence minister’s trip to Jakarta, India and Indonesia will cooperate in the areas of training, technical help and spares support.
In the past Jakarta had a pact with China to train its pilots and provide technical support for its Flanker fleet. But Jakarta has now veered round to the view that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is an ideal mentor. For, the IAF has earned a worldwide reputation as a dogfight duke after beating the powerful US Air Force in a series of Cope India air exercises. Plus, in three wars – in 1965, 1971 and 1999 – it routed the Pakistan Air Force.
If Indonesia decides to grow its Flanker force, ample support is available in the region.

No strings attached

The most pressing argument to go with Russian weapons is that unlike other major powers, Moscow has never imposed an embargo in the midst of a conflict. After all, to first sell weapons to a country and then apply a choke on supplies during war is like a stab in the back. The US embargo during the East Timor crisis was clearly aimed at giving the Australians the advantage. In any future crisis involving Indonesia and Australia, the outcome won’t be markedly different. The Indonesian political leadership might well consider that when they take a final call on the fighter purchase.