October 22, 2016

Taiwan Extending the Range of its Hsiung Feng III Missiles to Reach China

Taiwan looks to double the range of its formidable Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) hypersonic anti-ship missile so this missile can destroy invasion forces of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) that might invade Taiwan before 2020. The exact top speed of the HF-3 is unknown, but some experts believe to be in excess of Mach 10 (12,000 km/h). The HF-3 can carry a nuclear warhead. A speed this fast would make the HF-3 faster than India's BrahMos (touted as the world's fastest anti-ship cruise missile) with a speed of Mach 3 (3,700 km/h) and China's 3M-80MBE anti-ship missile, also with a speed of Mach 3.
China's acquisition of Russia's SS-N-22 Sunburn naval anti-ship missiles (from which the 3M-80MBE is derived), was the major reason Taiwan developed the HF-3. The effectiveness of the HF-3, however, is limited by its short range of 150 kilometers, not enough to cover the 180 kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait separating Taiwan from mainland China. An invasion force from the PLA can traverse the strait in a few hours.
Taiwanese media reports the Republic of China Armed Forces is developing an HF-3 extended range (ER) version of the HF-3. Tests of this ER missile, which will likely have a range exceeding 300 km, are to be completed by late 2017. The new version should enter mass production by 2018. Its longer range means this ER missile can be deployed in the mountains around Taipei to cover the entire Taiwan Strait.
The extended range will also allow the HF-3, which can also be used to destroy land targets, to reach farther inland from the coast of mainland China to attack PLA missile, amphibious and air force units in Fujian threatening Taiwan.
Taiwan published a report in 2015 that said China plans to attack Taiwan before 2020, The new version might also retain the current HF-3's warhead, a 225 kg Self-Forging Fragment, which is a special kind of shaped charge designed to penetrate armor at standoff distances. HF-3 is in large scale volume production under project Chase Wind and is deployed on most missile boats of the Republic of China Navy, as well as mobile land platforms. The HF-3 also arms the ROC Navy's new Tuo Chiang-class corvettes, which are fast, twin-hull and stealthy multi-mission warships. The navy has one operational Tuo Chiang with 11 more on order. This class is armed with a total of 16 anti-ship missiles: eight subsonic Hsiung Feng II and eight hypersonic Hsiung Feng III nuclear warhead- capable missiles.


October 21, 2016

Manohar Parrikar clears Rs 900 crore Army deal with Israel

Manohar Parrikar clears Rs 900 crore Army deal with Israel at the meeting of the Defence Ministry's apex procurement-related decision-making body Defence Acquisition Council in Delhi.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday cleared an Army deal worth Rs 900 crore with Israel for procuring combat radio sets but only after the force assured him that all the future buys for the equipment would be from Indian sources only.
The decision was taken by the minister at the meeting of the Defence Ministry's apex procurement-related decision-making body Defence Acquisition Council here.

"We have asked the Army to buy close to 4,900 sets of Tadiran combat net radios from the Israeli firm Elbit but with an assurance that they would buy the DRDO-developed sets in the future," senior Defence Ministry sources told MAIL TODAY here.
The radio sets are used by the Army for communication between soldiers operating in field areas and battle zones.
The Army had earlier procured the Tadiran communication sets from Israel when the DRDO had not developed its indigenous version in the country. Later, when the Army moved in for procuring 5,000 more of this equipment, the DRDO and Department of Defence Production offered their product for meeting its requirement.
The Army insisted on the Israeli product saying the Indian radio sets would not be able to be used with the existing inventory as their source code was not provided to India by Tel Aviv.

When the matter reached Parrikar, he insisted that the Army go for the 'under development' product and a roadmap should be fixed for inducting it in the force.
He also asked the Army to ensure that the Israeli firm give source codes of the Tadiran sets so that they can be used with Indian equipment also.
"Two days back, the Army gave a letter to the ministry stating that the Israeli firm has agreed to provide source codes of their equipment to India and it would take indigenous equipment in future. After that the deal was cleared by the DAC on Thursday," the sources revealed.
The Defence Ministry also gave its final nod to the long-pending acquisition of M777 howitzers as now it would be sent to the Finance Ministry for decision on the value of the deal before it reaches the Cabinet Committee on Security for final clearance.
The howitzers have been one of the most critical requirements of the Army which has failed to acquire even a single new artillery gun in the last three decades after the Bofors scandal. The guns would be deployed on the mountainous borders with both China and Pakistan. The meeting also reviewed the progress in various defence deals that have been listed as priority by the Narendra Modi government.


Manohar Parrikar clears purchase of 145 M777 howitzers worth Rs 4500 crore from US

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today cleared the proposals for acquiring 145 M777 155 mm ultra light howitzers from the US.
This is the first time that guns are being purchased for the Army since bofors in 1987. These are light howitzers which can be flown to the mountain areas and will be deployed along the mountainous lines bordering both Pakistan and China.
India will be buying the 155 mm M777 guns at a cost of about Rs 4500 crore. This is first major buy for the Mountain Strike Corps. Earlier gun-maker BAE systems had tied up with India's Mahindra for the deal.
The proposal had been in the pipeline for several years, despite being cleared more than thrice by the Defence Ministry under Parrikar as well as his UPA predecessor, AK Antony.
The Army has not procured a single howitzer ever since the Bofors guns were acquired from Switzerland in the 1980s.
The other important proposal that the DAC may consider is the acquisition of almost 5,000 combat net radio sets for tactical communication of Army troops.
The DAC is to consider if the radio sets should be procured under the Make in India scheme or to be bought from the Israeli firm Elbit, according to the Army proposal.
The Indian Air Force is also likely to put up its proposal to upgrade its unmanned aerial vehicles that would be enhanced to combat platforms under the top secret Project Cheetah.
IAF officials declined to comment on the top secret project, which is likely to cost Rs10,000 crore.


A Second Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine for India?

India may be slated to take delivery of a second Russian nuclear attack submarine in the early 2020s.

Earlier this week, Harsh Pant, one of our regular contributors here at The Diplomat, offered a helpful rundown of the current state of play between India and Russia, old Cold War-era partners that have seen a few recent bumps in their long-standing partnership. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Goa over the weekend, where India was hosting the leaders of the BRICS countries for their annual summit. On the sidelines, Delhi and Moscow concluded a range of important defense agreements. As Pant catalogued:
Russia and India signed a multi-billion dollar deal for S-400 Triumf long-range air defense missile systems, an agreement on building Project 11356 frigates for the Indian Navy, and setting up a Russian-Indian joint venture to produce Kamov Ka-226T helicopters – worth an estimated $10.5 billion.
In addition to the above, it appears that an important development apparently transpired behind the scenes and was not reported widely. Alexei Nikolski of Vedomosti reported on Tuesday that Russia has agreed to lease a second nuclear attack submarine (SSN) to India at a total cost of around $2 billion and that an agreement was signed in Goa. “According to a source in the Russian defense industry, the long discussed lease to transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy was signed in Goa,” he writes.

Nikolski’s report notes that, as expected, the Russian Navy will only transfer the next SSN after repairing and modernizing it, potentially making significant hull modifications to meet Indian specifications. India currently has an inventory of two nuclear powered submarines. The first and oldest is its Russian-made Akula-II-class SSN, dubbed the INS Chakra, which was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2012. The second is the indigenously designed and built ballistic nuclear submarine (SSBN) the INS Arihant, which is also the third leg of India’s nuclear triad. Incidentally, the Arihant was commissioned in August. The current time frame for India taking delivery of another Akula-II submarine point to the second SSN being commissioned sometime in the early 2020s.
Going back to 2014, Moscow had already said that it was ready to consider additional nuclear-powered submarines for lease. While the signing of an agreement remains unconfirmed by official sources, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if it took place in Goa as the Vedomosti report suggests. With China’s People’s Liberation Army-Navy progressively expanding its operations westward into the Indian Ocean region, the Indian Navy needs durable nuclear attack submarines, which are capable of operating for long periods of time without resurfacing.
Overall, India’s long-term submarine construction plan envisages additional SSBNs of the Arihant class and a new generation of indigenously built SSNs. The $2.9 billion Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project that led to the Arihant greatly expanded India’s know-how and comfort in constructing nuclear-powered submarines. However, while Delhi may have the technical expertise necessary, history suggests that bureaucratic delays and corruption could bog down its grand plans for an expansive subsurface fleet. In this sense, simply leasing a Russian SSN off-the-shelf with modifications makes sense as a hedge.
Finally, the conclusion of a deal for a second Akula-II between Delhi and Moscow serves to underline that the defense partnership between the two countries remains robust. Commentators in India and elsewhere have pointed to Delhi’s decision to sign on to a military logistics exchange agreement with the United States and Russia’s consequent decision to hold its first-ever military exercises with Pakistan as pointing to a fraying of the old defense partnership between India and Russia. For instance, Bharat Karnad, an Indian analyst, noted that Delhi would find that “valued Russian platforms like the Akula-II SSN … will be withdrawn” in the aftermath of the U.S.-India Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).
Even if, as Pant observed, Russia’s bilateral relationship with China is causing it to rethink its support for India on the international stage more broadly, the defense relationship between the two countries remains robust.


India-Japan Amphibious Aircraft Deal Moves Forward

New Delhi and Tokyo reportedly have agreed on a price for 12 amphibious search-and-rescue aircraft.

This week, India and Japan have reportedly moved closer toward concluding the first-ever bilateral defense deal between the two countries, unnamed Indian military officials told Defense News. An official with India’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) claims that New Delhi and Tokyo have agreed on a price for 12 ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious search-and-rescue/maritime surveillance aircraft for service in the Indian Navy.
“Japan has offered a price concession of more than 10 percent per aircraft from $133 million per aircraft to around $113 million, and the $1.35 billion government to government deal for US-2 amphibious aircraft is now ready for finalization,” the official told Defense News on the condition of anonymity. Last week, Japanese defense contractor ShinMaywa Industries said that the Indian MOD has still not made an official request for the aircraft.
So far the Indian MOD has only indicated that it would like to purchase two US-2i aircraft in fly-away condition, whereas the remaining ten (sources say that the Indian Navy requirement is pegged at 12-18 aircraft) should be built in India under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. ShinMaywa, however, thinks that license-building ten US-2i is impracticable and too costly given the small number of aircraft.

Consequently, while settling on a price shows some progress, it is far from a done deal, as a spokesperson from Japan’s (MOD) told IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly in early October. “In order to move on to stages of discussion on specific conditions of co-operation [the Japan] Ministry of Defense hopes that the Indian side will establish its procurement policy as soon as possible.” Furthermore, “after India has determined its procurement policy we would like to flexibly respond to requests from India and make our co-operation concrete.”
As the The Diplomat summarized in 2015:
Negotiations for a US-2 sale to India began in Japan under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) governments of Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda. The amphibious aircraft sale issue was swiftly picked up by Abe’s government, which has sought to expand Japan’s role as a defense exporter in Asia. In April 2014, the Abe administration formally altered Japan’s decades-old self-imposed ban on selling arms, which effectively blocked Japanese firms from participating in global defense commerce. (For more background on Japan’s export policies.)
In December 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to deepen defense ties between the two countries specifically naming the US-2i aircraft as a project for future cooperation. Despite that, in March 2016, a senior Japanese government official said that there is no plan for “selling or delivering” the US-2i maritime surveillance aircraft in the immediate future.
“Given its range of 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles), the Indian Navy was tentatively planning to station the USi-2 aircraft off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, from where they would have been able to conduct surveillance patrols of the eastern Indian Ocean region,” I explained elsewhere.
The export of search-and-rescue aircraft would be Japan’s first defense deal in its post-war history.


October 20, 2016

Lockheed Martin first to respond to invitation to build single-engine fighter in India

On Monday, US defence giant Lockheed Martin became the first international vendor to respond to an Indian Air Force (IAF) letter, soliciting interest in building a single-engine, medium fighter aircraft in India, with full transfer of technology. “We sent our acceptance [to the IAF] earlier this week”, Lockheed Martin’s Randy Howard, who markets the F-16 worldwide, told Business Standard.Meanwhile, Swedish defence corporation, Saab, which was sent a similar invitation, is learnt to be finalising its acceptance. “We will definitely say ‘yes’; most likely by the end of this month”, says a Saab official. As Business Standard reported (October 8, “IAF kicks off contest to make single-engine fighters in India”) the IAFsent out letters last week to top global aerospace vendors, inviting them to build a single-engine fighter in India. Defence ministry sources confirm The Boeing Company has also been approached. UnlikeLockheed Martin and Saab, which are actively marketing single-engine fighters — the F-16 Block 70 and the Gripen E respectively — Boeing has no single-engine fighter to offer. Instead, it has been offering its twin-engine F/A-18 E/F. Nor does Eurofighter, the European consortium that builds the twin-engine Typhoon, whose member firms also reportedly received the IAF inquiry.
The contours of the “single-engine fighter” contest are therefore emerging — Lockheed Martinand Saab seem poised to be the only contenders. As this newspaper reported (August 16, “Gripen, F-16, compete in MMRCA re-run”), both companies had earlier submitted what IAFboss, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, described as “unsolicited offers” for building single-engine fighters in India. Now, with Lockheed Martin having responded positively to the IAF’s inquiry, Saab’s acceptance, when received, will formally kick off a multi-vendor acquisition process.
The F-16 is amongst the older fighters still in frontline service, but Lockheed Martin describes to Business Standard an attractive offer that would make India the F-16 global hub, galvanizing aerospace component fabrication in the country. The offer involves transferring the world’s only F-16 production line from Forth Worth, Texas, to India. Thereafter, every F-16 built, and a large share of the spare parts and sub-systems for every F-16 flying across the globe would come from India. “Our offer is not for just building a hundred F-16s in India; or even another hundred F-16s for the export market.
 The real value would come from the tens of thousands of spare parts, components, sub-systems and systems that would sustain the 3,200-plus F-16s still flying in the US, and in 24 other countries”, says Howard. Intriguingly, that could mean spares and expendables for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet would be sourced largely from India. Lockheed Martin points out that bringing the production line to India would be “a strategic opportunity”.
 In truth, India would have little control over the F-16 components it builds for the global F-16 fleet, including Pakistan’s. Governed by a “global F-16 sustainment programme”, the components would go into a chain of US-controlled warehouses across the globe, from where user air forces would draw their requirements. In discussions with Lockheed Martin officials, it is evident that they are concerned by the negativity in India caused by Pakistan’s long association with the F-16.
Yet the company is banking on an attractive business case to tamp down Indian reservations. For Lockheed Martin, shifting the F-16 line to India would be a double benefit. With the F-16 ending its prodigious production run (of 4,588 F-16s ordered over the years, just 15 remain to be delivered), Lockheed Martin now wants to build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Forth Worth. Yet, an F-16 line is essential, since the US Air Force (USAF) plans to operate its late-model F-16s (Block 40 and Block 50 versions) for another 30 years, till 2045.
Transferring the production line to India would assure Washington that its F-16s would be reliably sustained. Howard argues that F-16 production is not yet closed. Bahrain and other West Asian countries are negotiating purchases and there are potential buyers in former Soviet countries in NATO, Indonesia and Columbia. He holds out the possibility of building these orders in India. It remains unclear how much weightage cost would have in selecting a light fighter for the IAF.Lockheed Martin is confident of offering the cheapest fighter in its class, having more than amortised its production line while building over 4,500 fighters. “Transferring the line to India will make the F-16 even cheaper.
 And that will bring in even more export orders”, predicts Howard, optimistically. There is little clarity, however, on whether Washington or New Delhi would have the casting vote on foreign sales of F-16s built in India. It seems likely that both governments would have to concur on third-party, export sales. Lockheed Martin strongly rejects the notion that the F-16, first built in the 1970s, is obsolescent. Howard points to the Block 70’s battle-proven Northrop Grumman APG-83 airborne electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a key fighter combat system.
 That leverages technologies developed for the F-35’s fifth-generation AESA radar. “Nothing in the world compares with the experience in AESA radars that Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman bring to the table”, argues Howard. To be sure, the F-16 Block 70 is a versatile combat platform. It flies faster, climbs quicker and carries more armament than most fighters in its class.
The “conformal fuel tanks” in late-version F-16s allow long-range operations. With two additional 370-gallon drop tanks and predominantly air-to-air armament, the F-16 has a combat radius of 1,500 kilometres — comparable to the much bigger Rafale. With the heavier air-to-ground weaponry that the F-16 carries for strike missions, the radius of action is still an impressive 700 kilometres. Alongside an aggressive marketing pitch to the IAF, Lockheed Martin is also moving ahead strongly with developing vendors in India, and a supply chain that would feed into an Indian F-16 line. On November 7 and 8, a vendors’ conference is planned in Bengaluru. 

business standard

Navy urges industry to forge partnership for design, construction of underwater vehicles

Vice Admiral G S Pabby, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, Indian Navy, said here today this is the right time for India to take a major step towards building submarines indigenously by forging a strategic partnership with the Indian industry.
He urged the leading industry houses to grab the opportunity to strengthen Indian's Navy and added that there is a plethora of design and development opportunities available to the private sector in manufacturing of Navy equipment for the future.
He mentioned that the six submarines on offer to the private sector for under P75(I) program was yet another opportunity by MoD to integrate the private sector in strategic defence production.
Vice Admiral Pabby was speaking at a function organized by FICCI where he announced the holding of the International Seminar on 'Current and Future Challenges in Design and Construction of Underwater Vehicles' on November 22, 2016 at Federation House.
The event will be organized by FICCI with active participation of the Indian Navy. Leading design houses are invited and are expected to participate in this niche seminar.
Vice Admiral Pabby said that though India entered the sphere of submarines late but it was able to quickly catch up with the complex technology. Today, Indian Navy is designing and developing many of its equipment indigenously. The Navy has also built need-based operational requirements but is now developing its capabilities and is setting up extensive infrastructure to develop submarines in India. He mentioned that the Indian Navy took a visionary step in 1986 to establish in-house submarine design capability and the proposed seminar coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Directorate of Naval Design (Submarine Design Group).
Rear Admiral CS Rao, NM, DGND (SDG), Indian Navy, presented the scope of seminar which aims to deliberate on unique challenges and complexities of submarine design and construction; with the aim to achieve national competence in submarine design and construction through industrial partnership.
He mentioned that the seminar will be divided in two technical sessions wherein session 1 will focus on self-reliance in design and construction of submarines while session 2 will deliberate on design challenges in platform integration of emerging submarine technologies. During the seminar, the officers of Indian Navy, will present perspectives on the above topics and deliberate on the future requirements to be met by the industry, academia and research and development agencies.
Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that the objective of the international seminar is to emphasize the design capabilities of Indian Navy and other design agencies and to hand hold Indian industry to make the best of the capabilities and how to focus on the future requirements.
He said FICCI is continuously focusing on futuristic technologies and added that in order to fulfil the national aspiration of establishment of strong defence industrial base in country, there is a need to do away with licensed production. India needs to encourage innovations in design to enhance its scientific capabilities which can later be transferred to industries for commercialisation of defence technologies.
The seminar brochure was jointly released by Vice Admiral Pabby, CWP&A, Indian Navy, Rear Admiral CS Rao, NM, DGND (SDG), Dr A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, Mr. Jayant D Patil, Chairman, FICCI Defence and Aerospace Committee, and Mr. Vivek Pandit, Senior Director, Defence and Aerospace, FICCI.


October 19, 2016

MTCR benefit: India, Russia to develop 600-km range cruise missiles that can cover entire Pakistan

India’s offensive capacity, especially against Pakistan, is set to take a huge step forward with New Delhi and Moscow deciding to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 600 km-plus range and an ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy. This range enables these missiles to strike anywhere within Pakistan. That Russia can work with India to produce these missiles is thanks to New Delhi joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June this year. MTCR guidelines prohibit its members from transfer, sale or joint production of missiles beyond 300-km range with countries outside the club. Brahmos’ current range is 300 km, which makes it difficult to hit targets deep inside Pakistan. India has ballistic missiles with longer range than the next generation Brahmos.
 But Brahmos’ ability to take down specific targets, even well-protected ones, makes it a potential game changer in any conflict with Pakistan. Ballistic missiles are powered for the initial half of their flight path and they use gravity to complete their trajectory. But cruise missiles are powered throughout. This makes a cruise missile like Brahmos similar to a pilot-less fighter jet that can be maneuvered in flight, programmed to attack targets from any angle and evade enemy missile defence systems. Brahmos can, for example, take down terror camps or hideouts even in mountain areas, where natural protection makes any other offensive action, bar crossing the border, ineffective.
The Indo-Russian agreement, signed during the bilateral summit at Goa, also includes development of missiles with smaller range that can be fired from submarines and aircraft. The deal was not made public at the summit — where other projects like sale of frigates and the S-400 air defence system purchase — were announced. Vladimir Putin told journalists from his country that the missile deal has also been signed. “We have also agreed to improve the Brahmos missile, which will be land, air and sea launched. We will also work to increase its range. And we will work together on a fifth-generation aircraft,” Putin said, without sharing details.
ET spoke with several senior Indian officials involved in negotiations. They confirmed that a pact to double the range of the Brahmos missile was finalised. These officials spoke on the condition they not be identified. They also said producing longer-range Brahmos will not be tough because no fundamental reworking is involved in increasing the range. India, post its MTCR membership, is also pursuing export options for its 300-km range Brahmos. Vietnam has expressed interest in the missile system.

Economic times

October 18, 2016

India could get delivery of the S-400 in 2020

After several big ticket defence deals, including purchase of five S-400 air defence shields, were signed at the 17th India-Russia summit, it appears an agreement on a joint India-Russia fifth generation fighter aircraft is near completion.

Russia could begin shipping the S-400 ‘Triumf’ anti- aircraft missile defence systems to India in 2020, Sergey Chemezov, head of the state corporation Rostec informed reporters attending the BRICS summit in Goa.
He was briefing reporters on Saturday, October 15, after the 17th India-Russia summit between President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw a slew of agreements being signed, including one on India’s purchase of five S-400 air defence systems.
“Today, an intergovernmental agreement was signed, under which the Russian side has undertaken to deliver the S-400s –one of the latest and most modern missile defence systems. We will now begin preparing the contracts, and hope that in the first half of 2017, we will complete and sign these, and then begin production. I think that deliveries will start some time in 2020,” he said.
Chemezov also stated that the contract to build the fifth generation Russian-Indian fighter jets could be signed before the end of the year.
“This is a fifth generation aircraft that will be created in collaboration with an Indian company. In some ways, it will be similar to the FGFA, but it will n vertheless be an independent, new, modern aircraft. We have almost resolved all the negotiating issues and are ready for signing, only the formalities remain. I hope that before the end of the year, the contract will be signed,” he said.


MiGs try to conquer India

India’s problem with its aging Air Force fleet is that it requires new fighter jets soon. The MiG-35 is best suited to meet India’s requirements and will be invited to participate in the tendering process in the near future.
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG will offer the Indian Defence Ministry its latest MiG-35, so that it can participate in a tender to supply medium fighter jets. New Delhi is planning to announce the tender and seek expressions of interest in the near future. Earlier, in 2015, India rejected the ‘MiG 35’, opting for the French Rafale. The Indian Air Force is now organizing the tender, and planning to replace its 200 MiG-21 and MiG-27 airplanes.
In addition to the RAC MiG, those invited to participate in the tendering process are the Swedish company SAAB – with the Gripen NG aircraft, and the American Lockheed Martin – with the “Indian” version of the F-16. A major requirement for tender participants – is maximum localization of production of the fighter aircraft in India.
“The United Aircraft Corporation and RAC MiG will participate in the upcoming IAF tender,” Izvestia learned from the UAC. “We just need to wait for the official technical specifications from the Indian government and the invitation. After that, we will prepare and send a package of documents with our proposals to New Delhi,” the UAC representative said.

New Delhi is currently formulating the technical specifications which, in the form of an RFP (Request for Proposals), will be sent to selected companies participating in the tender. This will be the formal launch of the new tender. According to information from sources in the military and diplomatic circles, Indian representatives, as early as this summer, turned to Russia with a request to describe the possible packaging arrangement of the MiG-35, which the United Aircraft Corporation will be ready to offer in the tender.
According to the source, Russia has sent India an expanded list of equipment and weapons, which included electronic warfare stations, suspended opto-electronic sighting containers, a wide range of aircraft weapons, including air-air and air-land missiles, as well as high-precision bombs.
All members of the future tender had met between 2000 and 2015, during a similar competition for the right to supply 126 fighter jets worth $10 billion. In the course of this long tender, the MiG-35 beat the F-16IN and the Gripen NG, but lost out to the French Rafale. However, due to the high prices, India could not buy one hundred, but only 36 fighters. India did not receive the Rafale production technologies and localization of production in Indian enterprises, as promised.
Andrey Frolov, an expert, told Izvestia that the announcement of a new tender could be interpreted as the public recognition by India that the modernization problem of a rapidly aging Air Force fleet has not been solved.
“Now we are seeing a split in the year 2000 tender,” said Frolov. “The Rafale has been purchased, but the first aircraft will be delivered no earlier than 2019. India's own fighter jet, the Tejas, is apparently not ready yet. And now, in a situation of mass write-offs of the MiG-21 and MiG-27 airplanes, something needs to be done urgently with the domestic fleet.”   
Frolov said the outcome of the new tender was difficult to predict. There are some difficulties with all the aircraft invited to participate in the tender. Sweden is prepared to share production technologies of the Gripen fighter, but there are not many Swedish parts in this aircraft. The main components are purchased from the United States and Europe with which they would have to negotiate for permission to localize production in a third country.
Another problem with the Gripen is that, for the production of a new fighter jet, the SAAB Company will be forced to remove parts from aircraft already with the Swedish Air Force. A scandal has recently erupted on this issue in Sweden – the essence of which was the question: does it make sense to “cannibalize” the existing fighter fleet for the production of new aircraft, or is it better to invest in the development and production of a more advanced fighter aircraft? The new aircraft from Saab is scheduled to appear in 2019 which, as in the case of the Rafale, does not solve the current problems of the Indian Air Force.
“With the American F-16 things are easier,” said Frolov. “Its production line in the USA is scheduled for closing in 2017, and Washington could, theoretically, transfer it to India.
In practice, however, Americans have never yet transferred technologies to manufacture their own weapons and military equipment to any other country. Especially since the onboard equipment of this latest version of the aircraft, the F-16 Blok 52/57, includes a radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA), which is considered as the key know-how in the design of modern fighters.
Ivan Konovalov, Head of the Centre for Strategic Trend Studies, believes the MiG-35 is the only aircraft with which the Indian military should not have any issues.
“The aircraft participated in the last tender and showed excellent results,” said Konovalov. “The MiG lost out to the French Rafale for political, rather than technical reasons. The formal reason for the choice in favour of the French aircraft was the fact that, under Indian legislation, the Indian military cannot buy weapons and military equipment from only one supplier. And at that time, Russia had already signed several major contracts to supply India with Su-30MKI fighters and naval MiG-29K/KUB planes.”


Indian Navy to Induct Seven Multirole Next Generation Corvettes From 2023

The Indian Navy begins its preparation to build seven ‘Next Generation Corvettes’ at Indian shipyards that would be capable of offensive surface to surface missile attacks, and anti-submarine warfare operations. According to specifications provided by the Indian Navy, the ship will have a range of not less than 4,000 nm, and will be capable of sailing at 27 knots.
 The India Navy requires all seven corvettes from 2023. The 120 meter long single hull corvettes, or small warships, will have low radar, acoustic, magnetic, visual and infra-red signatures. “The ship should carry a minimum of 8 surface-to-surface missiles and should be able to engage sea skimming missiles, flying 3-5 m above sea level, up to maximum speed of Mach 3. Active towed array sonar, two light weight torpedo launcher should be fitted to the corvettes,” reads the Navy’s document. The Indian Navy has specified that should be one multi-function surveillance and threat alert radar in the warships for early warning and target identification.
 There are presently more than 50 ships and submarines under construction in India. India has already built four anti-submarine warfare corvettes under Project-28, the first of which was handed over to the Indian Navy in 2014. This was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd with 90 percent indigenization.


Pakistan Navy Submarine Force to Equal the Indian Navy’s in Numbers with Purchase of 8 Chinese Subs

Pakistan has finalized a deal to acquire eight Chinese-made S20 diesel-electric submarines for the Pakistan Navy, making this class of submarine the most numerous in the navy's Submarine Service Force (SSF) and giving the SSF numerical parity with its opposite number in India.
 Under the deal with China, four of the ultra-quiet subs will be made at the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) while the remaining four will be built in China. Four of the subs will be delivered by 2023 with the remainder by 2028.  The eight S20s will be capable of firing anti-ship missiles (ASMs) while submerged, an advantage enjoyed by its three sister submarines in the Khalid-class and two in the Agosta-70 class. The addition of the eight S20s will bring to 13 the number of modern submarines in the SSF.  The Khalid class can fire French-made Exocet missiles while the Agosta 70A subs can unleash United States Harpoon missiles. The S20s will most likely fire Chinese-made ASMs.  The original Chinese version of the S20, the Type 041 Yuan-class, can fire YJ-8 ASMs. The export version of the YJ-8, the C-802, was used by Yemeni Houthi rebels to attack a U.S. Navy destroyer three times this month in the Red Sea. All the C-802s missed their target.
 The Type-041's torpedo armament includes Yu-4 (SAET-50) passive homing and Yu-3 (SET-65E) active/passive homing torpedoes.  The Type-041 is the quietest submarine in the People's Liberation Army Navy Submarine Force. The Type-041 is also known as the Type-039A in the PLAN, which operates 28 of these subs.  The 13 submarines in the SSF should be enough to deny the Indian Navy unrestricted operations in the Arabian Sea.  In contrast, the Indian Navy operates 14 submarines: 1 Chakra (Akula II)-class; 9 Sindhughosh (Russian Kilo)-class and 4 Shishumar (German Type 209/1500)-class.  Pakistan will pay up to $5 billion for the eight S20s. The Pakistan Navy is upgrading its undersea warfare capabilities in the face of an equal upgrading being undertaken by India.