February 24, 2018

Indian Air Force wants fighter jet deal worth Rs 1.25L cr to be fast-tracked

Against the backdrop of dwindling fighter squadrons, the Indian Air Force (IAF) feels that its requirement for more than 100 combat aircraft expected to be worth over Rs 1.25 lakh crore should be procured through a government-to-government (G2G) deal to avoid further time delays due to the complex acquisition process involved in it.

The IAF wants the inter-governmental deal as the Defence ministry is of the view that it should not proceed with the single-engine fighter aircraft programme, and initiate a global programme where all fighter aircraft manufacturers would be invited through a competitive tender and the winner would be chosen after extensive trials.

"The IAF wants the acquisition procedure for acquiring the new aircraft to be completed in the shortest possible time and that will be possible only if they are allowed to go for a government-to-government deal with a foreign country.

Even a G2G deal would take four years for the first plane to be delivered, and this would be the only way to end the vicious circle of delays," government sources told Mail Today.

"If the government decides to buy planes through a tender route, it would take a minimum of eight to nine years as at least five years would be required to select a vendor, and then another three would be required for the delivery," they said.

The 36 Rafale planes, which will start getting inducted from next year, were also acquired through an inter-governmental deal with France in 2016.

In the past, the IAF suffered major delays in fulfiling its requirements by going through the normal acquisition process as the UPA's plan to buy 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft dragged on for 10 years due to fears of corruption, and ultimately was scrapped by the NDA government.

On the reasons for not backing the single-engine aircraft programme where 114 planes were to be manufactured indigenously in partnership with either USA or Sweden, sources said there were allegations of favouritism and wrongdoings even before the deal was initiated.

Now, the government is mulling to start a tender afresh, inviting all the major vendors. But the IAF, wants a quick solution to its aircraft strength in view of the phasing out of the MiG-21s and other planes.

"IAF will have 32 Fighter Squadrons and 39 Helicopter Units by 2020," the Defence Ministry had stated in Parliament. The force is finding it difficult to arrest the falling squadron strength due to delays in the induction of the indigenously manufactured LCA Tejas planes.

"10 squadrons of IAF equipped with MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft are scheduled to retire by 2024 on completion of their Total Technical Life," the government said.

Due to lack of inductions in the force, the Su-30MKI has become the mainstay as 11-12 squadrons would be deployed by 2020.


India Locally Develops FSAPDS Ammunition for T-72, T-90 Battle Tanks

The state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has claimed that it conducted a series of trials for at least 10 days, which were very much successful.

New Delhi (Sputnik): India's state-owned Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) has conducted a successful penetration trial of the critically important Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS) ammunition, designed and developed for the Indian Army's T-72 and T-90 main battle tanks.

"The trial results established the penetration capabilities of the indigenously designed FSAPDS ammunition, at par with NATO and Russian tank ammunition," a DRDO document reads.

The ammunition is developed by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, and the trial was conducted between November and December last year.

India, presently, imports FSAPDS for approximately 3,500 T-90 and T-72 tanks, worth over $70 million annually. Since 2012, the Indian Army has been relying on Russia for such critical ammunition, following the blacklisting of the Israeli Military Industry by the Indian government for alleged wrongdoing in military purchases.

"With low cost, low wear and moderate chamber pressures, this ammunition is extremely safe and effective up to combat ranges. The successful trials would pave the way for overcoming the shortage of tank ammunition for T-72 and T-90 Indian Army Main Battle Tanks," DRDO said.

The Indian Army is facing a critical shortage of ammunition for its main battle tanks and plans to import a hundred thousand rounds to meet the immediate requirement, while promoting domestic manufacturing for future needs.

Last year, in June, the Indian Army had issued a detailed tender for the acquisition of one hundred thousand FSAPDS, which can be fired to destroy enemy tanks and infantry combat vehicles.

Last year, the Indian defense ministry had also asked domestic manufacturers to supply ammunition worth $3 billion for the armed forces over the next decade. At present, the government-owned ordnance factories managing 41 manufacturing units and 32 other establishments have a monopoly over the production of ammunition. The Ministry of Defense had floated a tender for domestic private manufacturers for the supply of 125mm armor-piercing types for T-90 and T-72 tanks, 40mm multiple grenade launchers/under-barrel grenade launcher) ammo, 30mm ammunition used by armored infantry carrying vehicles, 122mm Grad rockets for Pinaka series and a bi-modular charge system.

FSAPDS ammunition is the most lethal kinetic energy ammunition, capable of destroying all known tank armor up to direct shooting range. FSAPDS components are sensitive and sophisticated in nature and demand utmost care during their manufacturing and assembly. The dimension and weight accuracy in various components is maintained to very close tolerance limits to achieve the optimal overall performance of the ammunition.


February 23, 2018

IAF An-32 Avionics Upgrade Detailed

As part of the $402-million deal to upgrade 105 Aviant/Antonov An-32 of the Indian Air Force will involve a comprehensive engine and integrated avionics updation that will push the workhorse fleet for at least another two decades.
The upgrade will be undertaken by Antonov/Aviant and IAI jointly. The qualitative requirements as formally listed by the IAF for the upgrade are “extending service life, enhancing operational capabilities, easing workloads on crew and reducing maintenance costs“.
LiveFist has learnt that the avionics of the An-32 will be replaced with an IAI-LAHAV-ELTA developed package, including a full glass cockpit with standard multi-function displays (MFDs) and a control display unit (CDU).
The LAHAV-ELTA avionics package that will go into each IAF An-32 includes a digital moving map, full NVG capability, in-flight mission rehearsal options, head-up display for both pilots (the IAF is still to communicate the the consortium if it wants HUDs for both pilots, one pilot, or none at all) and a significantly new advanced electronic warfare system (EWS), which will feature radar warning receiver, the fourth generation EL/M-2160 missile approach warning system, laser warning receiver and conventional countermeasures. Flight safety features being incorporated into the upgrade will include an advanced Terrain Avoidance Warning System (TAWS) and an Enhanced Traffic Collision Avoidance System (ETCAS), with options for a specialised weather radar.


February 22, 2018

India to again scout for global players for jets

Its fleet of fighter jets dwindling, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to float a fresh global tender inviting military aviation companies to make fighter jets in India.The move comes as the Air Force is now down to 31 squadrons against the need of 42, as mandated by the Cabinet Committee on Security. Each squadron has 16-18 planes. The request for information (RFI), the first step in the tendering process, is being finalised and will be sent out to global players, sources said.
Companies that participated in the now scrapped Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) project will be invited.
The MMRCA project for 126 jets did not fructify and the government, in April 2015, announced the move to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from French major Dassault. 
The MoD and the IAF will keep its options open and not restrict itself to say a “single engine” fighter jet, sources have told The Tribune. The option will be to get a “fighter jet” and it will not specify the number of engines as that then restricts the options.These will be under ‘make in India’ and to get global manufactures to have a production line in India, the project needs adequate numbers with possibility of future expansions.
To speed up matters, the MoD will be looking at new additions made by global players since the MMRCA trials were carried out in 2011. The planes tested then were Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN, US Boeing’s F/A-18IN, Eurofighter Typhoon, French Dassault’s Rafale, Swedish Saab’s Gripen and Russian MiG-35.In past two years, the IAF and the MoD were in talks for a “single engine” fighter jet with two global manufactures.
 However, this has been superseded by the thought process to just focus on  getting additional jets without getting into “single engine” or “twin engine” variants.
The existing production of 123 Tejas fighter jets being made by public sector giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is just taking off and it will take more than a decade for the entire lot to be manufactured. The IAF has the mandate to have 272 Sukhoi 30 MKI in its fleet. The MiG 21s are on their last legs and have to be phased out.


UK firm completes submarine rescue system for Indian Navy

(PTI) A Scotland-based company has announced the completion of a new submarine rescue system due to be delivered to the Indian Navy next month.
JFD has a contract worth 193 million pounds with the Indian Navy for the supply of two complete "flyaway submarine rescue systems," including Deep Search and Rescue Vehicles (DSRV), Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS) equipment, Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) systems, and all logistics and support equipment required to operate the service.
The first set of equipment has been designed, manufactured, integrated and ready for testing by JFD prior to shipping next month for final commissioning and trials. The remaining set of certified systems are due to be delivered to the Indian Navy in June.
"India is an important strategic partner and we encourage further cooperation between the Indian armed forces and innovative UK companies," said Simon Everest, the Head of the UK governments Department for International Trades Defence and Security Organisation ahead of a completion ceremony at JFDs Renfrew Manufacturing Facility in Scotland on Friday.
The ceremony will mark a world-first in the final integration of a complete submarine rescue system within a single manufacturing facility, enabling engineers to test in-situ how each component part will integrate in order to deliver the optimum submarine rescue capability, the company said.
JFDs so-called third-generation rescue system incorporates an innovative new system design and tightly integrated components to ensure time-to-first-rescue (TTFR) �?? the time measured between system deployment and commencement of the rescue �?? is minimised.
In the event of an accident, this maximises the chances of a successful rescue, which is crucial in protecting the lives of submariners.
According to Giovanni Corbetta, Managing Director, JFD, speed and reliability is key in conducting safe and effective submarine rescue operations to ensure that the submariners are reached as quickly as possible to minimise the risk the situation poses to their lives.
The reliability with which any "flyaway" submarine rescue system can be deployed must be carefully balanced with its effectiveness and capability once onsite. It is essential that the system has the capability to conduct safe rescue operations in any given circumstance and under widely variable conditions, including sea states and depths.
The third generation system represents a step-change in real world submarine rescue capability, and has been specifically designed to provide a comprehensive and highly capable submarine rescue service while ensuring the system is as quick and simple to mobilise as possible to maximise the chances of a successful rescue, he added.
The JFD team has already begun conducting in-depth training with local teams of engineers in India to operate and maintain the systems.
JFD provides sub-sea rescue services, solutions products, engineering services and training to 80 countries and 33 of the worlds navies including the UKs Royal Navy


February 21, 2018

China upgrades air defence along Indian border: Report

  • According to report, China is upgrading air defence along the LAC to "confront any threat from India".
  • China has also recently commissioned its stealth fighter, the J-20, which is the first in the region.
  • India and China have been trying to reset their ties after last year's 73-day standoff in Doklam.
China is upgrading air defence of its Western Theatre Command, which looks after the security along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), to "confront any threat from India", an official media report quoted a military expert as saying.

The Chinese military has released photographs of a J-10 fighter jet - a lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft - along with J-11 - a single-seat, twin-engine fighter jet - flying over the high-altitude plateau in western China during the current Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holiday, state-run Global Times reported on Tuesday.

The jets are attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Western Theatre Command, the website of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) said.

China has also recently commissioned its stealth fighter, the J-20, which is first in the region.

The Western Theatre Command is mainly responsible for mountain warfare at the border area with India. The LAC stretches to 3,488-km including the high altitude Tibetan plateau.

India and China have been trying to reset their ties after last year's 73-day standoff between the two sides at Doklam+ in Sikkim section of boundary.

It is significant for China to strengthen control of airspace over the mountainous region, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

"Strengthening the 3.5-generation fighter jets or even stationing more advanced fighters in the Western Theatre Command has been urgent for the PLA," Song said, adding that such upgrades have been usually first conducted in south and east theatre commands.

Considering that India possesses 3rd-generation fighter jets, China's stationing of its 3.5-generation jets would be able to deal with any current threat from India, Song said.

Apparently referring to India's acquisition of Rafale fighter jets from France, Song said, "with India importing new jets, China will continue strengthening its fighter jets in the Western Theatre Command."

Since he took over power in 2013, President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has been pressing the PLA to step up live firing drills to win local wars.


All stakeholders want to fast-track submarine plans: Rahul Kumar Shrawat, Naval Group in India, CMD

In an interview with ET, Rear Admiral Rahul Kumar Shrawat (retd), who recently took over as the chairman and managing director of Naval Group in India tells Shaurya Gurung about the firm’s plans to meet the Indian Navy’s requirements such as Project-75 India submarine programme, second indigenous aircraft carrier, IAC-2 and indigenisation of its F21 torpedo.


What are your plans for Naval Group in India?
Naval Group is fully committed to support Indian Navy’s acquisition of weapon platforms and weapons. To be specific, we are looking at Project 75-India programne, Landing Platform Docks and the third aircraft carrier IAC-2. For weapons, we are involved with the Indian Navy on the F21 torpedo. All the details have been shared and the Navy has been invited to witness certain trials of the torpedo. This torpedo has been cleared for induction in the Barracuda SSN (nuclear-powered submarine) of the French Navy and is being offered to Indian Navy.

Can you elaborate on Naval Group’s offer for IAC-2?
This programme is at the initial design stage, wherein the propulsion system is being decided. My knowledge says that the Navy is perhaps looking at full electric propulsion system. Its design can be provided by Naval Group.

What is the status of Project 75-India project?
We have responded to the Request for Information (RFI). These submarines are to be built as per the Strategic Partnership model. There is a wish of all stakeholders that the programme should move at a fast pace. Authorities have to select foreign partners and the Indian shipyards and have to marry the two. I only feel it will take time.

Will MDL and Naval Group collaboration continue for Project 75-I?
For Naval Group, MDL is a very valuable partner. The level of absorption of technology by MDL has proved to be successful. On the third Scorpene submarine (Karanj) the construction was done by MDL on their own with little support from Naval Group. This means they are becoming more selfreliant. It also demonstrates the success of Transfer-of-Technology. Naval Group will look at MDL as a capable shipyard with whom we will like to partner in future programmes. So Project-75-India is one. The ecosystem of building submarines in India has got into top gear through the Scorpene programme. Nurturing this ecosystem is the need of the hour. It is very difficult to build this capability.

What is the status of torpedoes for Scorpene submarines?
We responded to RFI. Simultaneously, Naval Group is also identifying suitable Indian partners, who could contribute towards the indigenisation of F21 torpedo in India. We are looking at MSMEs.


Defence council clears order of combat vehicles worth Rs 1,850 cr

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today approved capital acquisiti on proposals worth Rs 1,850 crore, which primarily includes procuring Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV) for the army, the defence ministry said.

The capital acquisitions includes the procurement of an “essential quantity” of the ICVs, which will be BMP-2/2k, for the mechanised infantry and other arms and services. It will come at an estimated cost of over Rs 1,125 crore from the Ordnance Factory Board.

“The procurement will meet the operational requirements of troops in rapid deployment of the mechanised forces,” said the ministry.

In view of the Indian Navy’s hydrographic operations in the Indian Ocean Region, the DAC also approved the procurement of one survey training vessel for meeting the navy’s growing hydrographic needs at ports, harbours and the exclusive economic zone. “The construction of the vessel under Buy Indian-IDDM by Indian shipyards at an estimated cost of Rs 626 crore,” said the ministry.


February 20, 2018

Everything you need to know about Russia’s Su-35 multirole fighter jet

Ten years ago, a prototype of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter jet performed its debut flight on February 19, 2008.

The Su-35 is Russia’s generation 4++ multirole supersonic super-maneuverable fighter jet developed as a follow-up of Su-27 one-seat planes.

Aircraft’s designing and tests ::

The work on the Su-27’s modification capable of detecting and striking ground targets (i.e. the work on the full-fledged multirole fighter jet) began at the Sukhoi Design Bureau back in the mid-1980s. The plane was named the Su-27M (the T-10M). It was furnished with new radio-electronic equipment (including a rear facing radar), armament, electronic warfare (EW) systems, multifunctional displays in the pilot’s cockpit, an aerial refueling system and other devices.

The first flight of the Su-27M (which was shortly renamed as the Su-35) took place on April 1, 1992. The Su-35 was on display at various international airshows and was offered for export but it did not find prospective buyers. The serial production of new fighter jets did not begin due to economic problems.

Some new technical solutions used in the Su-27M were later incorporated in Su-30 fighter jets of various types and the Su-37 aircraft.

The work on the one-seat multirole fighter jet as a derivative of the Su-27 plane restarted in the mid-2000s. The designers installed new avionics, the Irbis radar with a passive phased antenna array and more powerful engines with thrust vectoring on the aircraft. The fighter jet was also furnished with a new onboard information and control system.

The T-10BM performed its debut flight on February 19, 2008. The fighter jet has been serial-produced at the Gagarin Aviation Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In 2009, a contract was signed for the delivery of 48 fighter jets of this type to Russia’s Aerospace Force. The contract was fully discharged in 2015, after which Russia’s military placed an order for 50 more planes.

The fighter jet was accepted for service in Russia’s Aerospace Force in 2017. By today, about 70 such planes have been delivered to operational Aerospace Force units. From 2015, these fighter jets made part of Russia’s air task force in Syria.

Fighter jet’s characteristics ::

By its aerodynamic design, the Su-35 is a two-engine high-wing aircraft featuring retractable tricycle gear with the nose gear strut. The Su-35 is equipped with two AL-41F1S turbojet engines with an afterburner thrust of 14,500 kgf each. The plane has a length of 21.95 meters, a wingspan of 14.75 meter and a height of 5.92 meters.

The fighter jet has a maximum takeoff weight of 34,500 kg, a maximum speed of 2,500 km/h (2.35 Mach), a maximum flying range of 3,600 km without external fuel tanks and 4,500 km with external fuel tanks. The fighter jet has a service ceiling of 18,000 meters. The fighter’s radar can detect targets at a distance of up to 400 km and track 30 air targets at a time. The crew consists of one pilot.

The fighter jet’s service life assigned by its manufacturer is 6,000 hours or 30 years and the term of its engine operation is 4,000 hours.

Armament ::

The fighter jet’s 12 hardpoints can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and also rockets and air bombs of various calibers. The aircraft has a maximum weapons payload of 8 tonnes. It is armed with a GSh-30-1 30mm gun (with an ammunition load of 150 rounds).

Export deliveries ::

On November 19, 2015, Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec announced that it had signed a contract for the delivery of 24 Su-35 fighters to China. According to media reports, 14 aircraft had been delivered by early 2018.

Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov told the media on February 20, 2017 that the United Arab Emirates had signed a letter of intent with Russia on the purchase of Su-35 planes.

Indonesian media outlets reported in February 2018 that Russia had signed a contract for the delivery of 11 Su-35 fighters to Indonesia.

Air incidents ::

According to open sources, one incident occurred with this type of aircraft without any victims. On April 26, 2009, a prototype of the Su-35 plane skidded off the runway during its speedy run and received considerable damage. The test pilot ejected to safety.


February 19, 2018

Order for T-14 MBTs, T-15 heavy IFVs for extended trials confirmed by Russian MoD

Key Points

  • An order for two battalions of T-14 MBTs and a battalion of T-15 heavy IFVs has been confirmed by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov
  • A decision on series production of Armata-based platforms is due to be made after 2020 once trials of the vehicles are complete
An order placed by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for two battalions of T-14 main battle tanks (MBTs) and a battalion of T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) has been confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
“It’s no secret that we already have a contract for trials and combat operations: two battalions of Armata tanks and one battalion of heavy infantry fighting vehicles,” Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov was quoted as saying by the MoD during a tour of the Uralvagonzavod factory in Nizhny Tagil on 9 February.
Reporting on the current status of the Armata programme, which is part of Russia’s State Armaments Programme (SAP) 2012–2020, Borisov said state trials would begin this year and continue until the end of 2019.
By 2020 development and trials of the AFVs will be complete, according to Borisov, after which a decision on substantial series-production contracts will be made. This appears to be good news for the Armata programme, which was previously reported to be in jeopardy after Russian defence funds were diverted into the modernisation of older armoured vehicles.
During his tour of Uralvagonzavod Borisov also commented that work on a new type of ammunition for the T-14 is close to completion. No details were given, but it is possible that this was a reference to the ‘Vacuum’ round, which is a sub-calibre armour-piercing projectile.


HAL engages with local firms over Dhruv production

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has approached domestic private-sector companies to build under licence the civilian version of its Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
HAL said on 16 February that it has invited expressions of interest (EOI) from local firms with a view to identifying a partner to which HAL will transfer technologies and knowhow to support the licenced-manufacturing proposal.
HAL added that that offer, which it claimed is unprecedented in India, is intended to support New Delhi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Acting as design authority and original equipment manufacturer, HAL said the offer is positioned to support anticipated expanding requirements for utility helicopters across several sectors in Indian and export markets.
According to the EOI, the selected partner would have capability to licence-produce the Dhruv in “shorter time spans” as well as provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the helicopters over their 20-year life span. HAL said it would provide the selected local firm with technologies, skills, technical assistance, and licencing rights.
HAL said its selected partner must have at least five years’ experience in the aerospace/engineering sector, including in manufacturing and assembly, and have a net worth of INR20 billion (USD310 million) and a minimum annual turnover of INR25 billion.


February 17, 2018

NPOL’s torpedo defence system to equip Navy

Defence council clears purchase worth Rs.850 crore

An advanced system developed by a consortium of Indian Defence laboratories led by the Thrikkakara-based Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) to defend naval ships against torpedo attack will now be integrated on as many as 30 ships operated by the Indian Navy.
While 11 ships will be equipped with the full system, named Maareech Advanced Torpedo Decoy System, the remaining will get just the torpedo countermeasure capability that’s part of it.

Acquisition cleared

The Defence Acquisition Council, led by Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman, on Tuesday cleared acquisition of the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and non-ASW variants of the system which will be manufactured by Bharat Electronics. Initially, systems worth ₹850 crore will be acquired to arm warships.
Two systems are already functional on INS Ganga and Gomati which were used for user evaluation trials of the indigenously-developed systems.
“The survival capability of a ship is greater if the attacking torpedo can be detected early and also at a range equal to or more than the escape range of the platform under attack. A fully integrated Maareech system has both torpedo detection and countermeasure capability,’’ said R. Rajesh, NPOL scientist and spokesperson.

Tactical advantage

‘‘Also, the system offers tactical advantage by classification of the torpedo along with localisation and target motion parameters. The escape solutions are then evolved which will advise the crew of the ship on the most appropriate manoeuvre and countermeasure actions necessary to defeat the threat,” said Mr. Rajesh.
Besides the NPOL, Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science and Technological Laboratory was involved in developing the system. The torpedo defence sonar that is part of Maareech was developed by a team led by project director K. Ajith Kumar, NPOL scientist.

Major milestone

S. Kedarnath Shenoy, NPOL director, said that the induction of Maareech would be a major milestone for naval research and development as it would be the first time the indigenously designed towed array sonar system would be arming Indian warships.
With this, the NPOL has now successfully developed multiple configurations of sonars such as hull mounted sonars for ships, submarine sonar systems, towed array sonars and airborne dunking sonar systems for the Navy.