Friday, April 30, 2010

Bullet-proof jackets scam: Babu endangered jawans

Press Trust of India, Thursday April 29, 2010, New Delhi A Delhi court on Thursday allowed CBI to quiz in custody a senior Home Ministry official and two others for two days for allegedly accepting Rs 10 lakh as bribe in the purchase of bullet-proof jackets for Central Police Forces. "Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, I deem it proper that the accused are remanded to police custody in the interest of investigation," Additional Sessions Judge O P Saini said while sending the accused to CBI custody till May 1.

Radhey Shyam Sharma, a Indian Railway and Engineering Officer of 1984 batch and R K Gupta and his wife Laveena Gupta, both directors of a Delhi-based company involved in production of defence equipments, are booked under various penal provisions dealing with giving and accepting bribe, conspiracy and misconduct on the part of public servants. Seeking custodial interrogation of the accused, the CBI prosecutor said

India rolls out first indigenous stealth warship

Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service Mumbai , April 29 India has effected a generational shift in its warship-building capability by commissioning INS Shivalik — the first indigenously built stealth frigate that is the biggest in its class in the world. The ship, which is 143 metres long, can tactically fire weapons even before the enemy detects it. The hard-to-detect warship will form a crucial component of the Indian Navy. It is equipped with a mix of Indian, Russian, Israeli and western weapons and sensors.

INS Shivalik, the first of the three new stealth frigates for the Navy, was commissioned by Defence Minister AK Antony at the Mazagon Docks here today. Antony said the two other such ships

Revival of Abandoned Air Fields by IAF

There are 29 abandoned airfields of the Indian Air Force (IAF) spread across eleven states in the country. Review of abandoned airfields for revival is a continuous, ongoing process and is based on the operational assessment / requirement of the IAF.No funds have been allocated nor utilized during 2008-09 and 2009-10 for maintenance and revival of abandoned airfields.

Scorpene Submarines Project hit by 3-year delay

The government on Monday admitted that the mammoth Rs 18,798 crore project to construct six French Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks Ltd in Mumbai had been hit by massive slippages, which in turn would adversely impact Navy's underwater combat capabilities. TOI was the first to report that the project, under which the six submarines were to roll out one per year from December 2012 onwards

India to deploy indigenous coastal surveillance system

An indigenously built coastal surveillance system would be deployed in 46 strategic western and eastern locations in the country from this November to check intrusions from sea and counter such threats, officials said today.Being developed by the Bangalore-based defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), the system includes radars and electro- optic and meteorological sensors and would be mounted on light- houses or towers at these locations, company officials said. "It will give complete operational picture of the sea up to 20 km deep into the sea. So, all targets can be brought into a screen and they can be seen from regional centres," BEL's Director (R&D), I V Sarma told PTI here.

Prince Harry gets ticket to fly Apache helicopters in Afghanistan

Prince Harry could fly Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan, it emerged yesterday, after it was announced that he had passed his army pilot’s course.Lieutenant Wales, as he is known in the Army Air Corps, has been told that he is good enough to fly either the Apache or the Lynx, a battlefield utility helicopter. He has until next week to decide which he prefers.The Apache, one of the most fearsomely armed helicopters in the world, was designed to hunt and destroy tanks. In Afghanistan its ability to take out targets up to two miles away has made it a vital asset in the fight against the Taleban. It is equipped with 16 Hellfire missiles, 76 high-velocity tungsten rockets, four air-to-air missiles and a chain-gun with 1,200 rounds of 30mm ammunition.

Russian S-400 missiles to go into serial production

Russian long range ballistic missiles for S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems will go into serial production in the autumn, a leading missile manufacturer said on Friday.Earlier media reports said the S-400 missile system was incomplete as long range ballistic missiles, among others, had not been adopted for it."On December 26, 2009 the preliminary tests were finished and the missile was put forward for state tests

Russia requests Israeli UAV joint venture

Israel's Ministry of Defence is evaluating a Russian government request for a joint venture production facility in Russia for Israeli developed unmanned air vehicles.Last year Russia purchased Israel Aerospace Industries BirdEye-400 systems. Now Russia wants to buy more Israeli UAVs, such as the IAI Searcher-3 and its Heron

United States to Hand over 2 Upgraded P-3C Orion Aircrafts to Pakistan

The United States will hand over two upgraded P-3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft to Pakistan on Friday to help boost maritime security capability of the key member of the multinational task force.Pakistan will receive the surveillance maritime aircraft in Jacksonville, Florida, at a ceremony, to be attended by Vice Admiral.Shahid Iqbal HI (M), chief of staff Pakistan Navy, Islamabad’s ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani and senior US Naval officers.

Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is alive

Exclusive: Setback for CIA after Pakistan intelligence official admits drone attack failed to kill the Pakistan Taliban commanderThe Taliban leader in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud, survived an American drone strike in January and is alive and well, a senior official with Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency told the Guardian today.Mehsud was reported to have died in a CIA drone strike in South Waziristan in January

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BAE has edge in dogfight over £1bn Iraq order

The Iraqi Government is in talks to buy 24 Hawk trainer jets for up to £1 billion in a deal that would be the country’s first large arms purchase from the UK for more than 20 years.Military insiders have told The Times that officials from the Iraqi Air Force will be in Britain in May and June to test the Hawk, which is used by the Royal Air Force to train fast-jet pilots.The BAE Systems Hawk is being considered alongside jets from Korea and Italy as Iraq starts to rebuild an air force that was destroyed by coalition forces during the Gulf War.The deal could be worth £500 million initially, rising to £1 billion over the life of the aircraft once servicing and maintenance contracts are included.

Second Pakistani Agosta 90B SSK to be retrofitted with MESMA AIP System from 2011

A second Khalid-class (Agosta 90B) submarine of the Pakistan Navy is to be retrofitted with a MESMA (Module d'Energie Sous-Marine Autonome) air independent propulsion (AIP) system from 2011, according to French shipbuilder and systems specialist DCNS.A DCNS spokeswoman told Jane's on 20 April that the MESMA unit would be installed in the 1,760-ton boat during its first long overhaul period in Pakistan.Two of Pakistan's three Khalid-class submarines - PNS Khalid (S 137) and PNS Saad (S 138) - do not yet have AIP, but the spokeswoman was unable to say which of them would receive it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CIA is Using New, Smaller Missiles in Pakistan's Tribal Areas

The CIA is using new, smaller missiles and advanced surveillance techniques to minimize civilian casualties in its targeted killings of suspected insurgents in Pakistan's tribal areas, according to current and former officials in the United States and Pakistan.The technological improvements have resulted in more accurate operations that have provoked relatively little public outrage, the officials said. Pakistan's government has tolerated the airstrikes, which have killed hundreds of suspected insurgents since early 2009, but that support has always been fragile and could quickly evaporate, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

India Delays MRCA

India will miss a deadline tomorrow to complete the world’s biggest fighter-jet purchase in 15 years, risking a possible $1 billion price increase as Boeing Co. and five rival manufacturers resubmit bids.India’s Air Force is still conducting flight trials for competing jets from Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp. and four European companies, two years after accepting price quotes for 126 warplanes that the government said should cost about $10 billion. The bids expire April 28 and the Defense Ministry has asked manufacturers to submit offers for an additional year, its spokesman, Sitanshu Kar, said in a phone interview in New Delhi.

Delivery of three additional HELLAS systems to the Royal Thai Air Force

EADS Defence & Security (DS) has been ordered to equip three additional helicopters of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) with its obstacle warning system. This device, which is known as “HELLAS” (Helicopter Laser Radar), ensures the detection of obstacles that are virtually invisible for pilots, such as high-voltage power lines, thus enabling missions to be carried out even under difficult visibility conditions.Before this, in 2005, Defence Electronics, an integrated activity of DS, already delivered three obstacle warning systems to the Royal Thai Air Force, which have been integrated into Bell 412 helicopters.

French Companies Offer to Make Rafale fighter jets in UAE

A consortium of French aerospace companies hoping to sell as many as 60 Rafale fighter jets to the UAE is offering to set up facilities to make the aircraft in Abu Dhabi.The plane maker Dassault, the aerospace company Thales, the engine maker Snecma, the missile builder MBDA and the avionics maker Sagem make up the French consortium.The companies have issued a proposal to train UAE nationals in aerospace manufacturing and production to handle local production of the jet, according to Major Gen Khalid al Buainnain, the former Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence.

Iranian navy plane flies near USS Eisenhower in Gulf of Oman

An Iranian navy plane that approached a U.S. aircraft carrier last week was flying as low as 300 feet as it neared the USS Eisenhower, U.S. military officials said Wednesday.The incident, first reported by CNN on Tuesday, came as Iran was beginning a series of military exercises last week meant to show off their military prowess.The Eisenhower was on duty in the Gulf of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea, in support of the Afghanistan war efforts, when the Iranian maritime patrol aircraft flew within 1,000 yards of the vessel, according to military officials.While the encounter was not threatening, it was unusual.

Rivals Join For Next Stage Of PAK FA Engine

Russia’s two engine manufacturers are to collaborate on the next stage of engine development for the Sukhoi T-50 fifth-generation fighter after years of going head-to-head as rivals.The Moscow-based Salut and United Engine Corp. (UEC) have agreed to work jointly on the so-called second-stage engine for the T-50 being developed to meet the air force’s PAK FA requirement.

Second Saab-2000 ERIEYE AEW&C Arrived in Pakistan

The Saab-2000 ERIEYE AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) aircraft, purchased by Pakistan, finally arrived in the country on Saturday.The first such aircraft of the originally four contracted by Pakistan was acquired in December last year, while the second aircraft landed safely at an Operational Base of the PAF.PAF sources have informed that this new entry would soon be inducted formally in PAF squadron, while remaining two would also be handed over to Pakistan soon.

Royal Malaysian Navy plans to expand fleet

The grounding and training provided for our submariners are of such high quality that Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) crew were invited to serve with the French navy.RMN chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said the exposure given to its submariners was so thorough that the French navy was willing to have them aboard their submarines."This shows the level of competency our crew have attained, and the credibility they have achieved during their stint in France."

Moscow to consult Kiev on upgrading Russian fleet in Crimea

Russia will seek Ukraine's opinion on any moves to modernize its navy in Crimea, Russian Navy chief Vladimir Vysotsky said on Tuesday.The Ukrainian and Russian parliaments on Tuesday ratified a deal to extend the lease on a Russian naval base in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017. In return, Ukraine will receive a 30% discount on Russian natural

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Picture of woman officer accused of spying for Pak

Gilani, Singh likely to meet in Bhutan Gilani, Singh likely to meet in Bhutan NEW DELHI: A female diplomat working in the Indian embassy in Islamabad has been arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan, police and the foreign ministry said Tuesday.“We have reason to believe that an official in the High Commission of India in Islamabad had been passing information to the Pakistani intelligence agencies,” foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters.

Pakistan Navy Clarifies News about Prchase of USS Mclnerney

The Naval Headquarters has clarified a news item published on 21 April, 2010, in The News pertaining to transfer of guided missile frigate from the US to the Pakistan Navy.Denying that Pakistan will have to pay $78 million for the purchase of 30 years old frigate, the headquarters, in a press release on Monday, said that as a matter of fact the guided missile frigate USS Mclnerney would be transferred from the US to Pakistan Navy under Foreign Military Funding (FMF). The FMF is allocated to all the three services of Armed Forces through Joint Services Headquarters.

Qatari Navy Buys Block-3 Exocets

The Qatari Navy is to equip its Vita-class patrol boats with MBDA's latest version of the Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missile. No value has been given for the deal.The four 56-meter patrol vessels, built by the British in the 1990s, already carry an earlier version of the weapon.

South Korean Navy Suspends its fleet of Lynx helicopters

The South Korean Navy has suspended its fleet of Lynx anti-submarine helicopters following the back-to-back crashes of two of them last week.The service ordered emergency safety inspections of the British helicopters, a Navy official said April 19. Investigators are looking into the cause of the crashes at the same time, he said.The Navy had operated 25 Lynx helicopters modified for anti-submarine and surface warfare.

Taiwan Exercise Focuses on Possible China Assault

 Taiwan's military has lifted the veil on how it would respond to a massive Chinese air attack, showing that the island still takes the risk of war very seriously despite improving ties.On April 27, journalists were invited for the first time to a drill simulating aerial assaults on Taiwan's major air bases and testing the military's ability to recover quickly from such a shock.The maneuvers, staged at a military air base near Hualien city in eastern Taiwan, played out a scenario in which runways were bombed by waves of bombers or missiles from the mainland."The drill is aimed to test our ability to repair runways as soon as possible so that fighter jets can take off should the air base be attacked," Taiwanese air force spokesman Lt. Gen. Pan Kung-hsiao

India To Buy 50 Utility Copters for Navy

The Indian Navy has issued a request for information (RfI) to four companies to purchase 50 light utility helicopters.The RfI was sent to France's Eurocopter, Italy's AgustaWestland, the United States' Bell Helicopter and Russia's Kamov Co. The helicopters are intended to replace aging Chetak helicopters bought 30 years ago.The planned naval purchase is in addition to the procurement, initiated last year, of 384 light utility helicopters for the Air Force and

Mahindra intends to add bigger wings to aviation biz

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the automobile manufacturer which has recently also entered the aviation sector, has ideas of replicating the global success of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer.The company acquired a stake of more than two-thirds in two Australian aerospace companies last month, to expand its aircraft and aerospace component manufacturing business.Speaking on the sidelines of a truck launch made by M&M at the Delhi Auto Expo, vice-chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra said: “We have our feet firmly planted on the ground, but we have our dreams and they are not limited. There have been instances abroad, like Embraer, who have made it big in the aviation space.”

M&M is looking at establishing itself as a premier aircraft manufacturer, as well as a supplier of high-precision aircraft components. It has formed a wholly-owned unit named Mahindra Aerospace for the purpose. The company has already built and delivered executive private aircraft, which can seat five people in comfort, to Jordan-based Seabird Aviation. Post the acquisition of the two recently acquired companies, M&M hopes to build 20-seater executive jets, with an aim of selling 25-30 such aircraft every month.M&M executives say they hope to sell about 475 aircraft globally in the next five

Mahindra acquires 2 Australian Aerospace companies

India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.said Tuesday it has acquired a 75.1% stake each in two Australian aerospace companies for INR1.75 billion (US$37.4 million) to expand its aircraft and aerospace-component manufacturing business.Mahindra & Mahindra has bought two small Australian firms to build its aerospace capacity so it can compete for large orders from airline manufacturers modernising Indian defence forces.The company on Tuesday said it and India’s Kotak Private Equity had bought majority stakes in component firm Aerostaff Australia and aircraft maker Gippsland Aeronautics for 1.75 billion rupees ($37.5 million)......................LINK

IAe, Bell offer 412EP to Indonesian army

Indonesia's army plans to add 24 utility helicopters, with Indonesian Aerospace and Bell Helicopter teaming for the pitch.The army wants to have two squadrons of utility helicopters, totalling 24 aircraft, plus 18 attack helicopters, say industry sources.For the utility helicopter requirement, state-owned aircraft-maker IAe is putting forward the Bell 412EP.Indonesia's army has 31 412HP/SPs already in use, as listed in Flightglobal's HeliCAS database. IAe manufactured the airframes, which the army took delivery of between the late 1980s and the

HAL and BEL have jointly won a bid to design and build Rustom UAV

State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) have jointly won a bid to design and build Rustom, an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, for India’s defence research agency.HAL and BEL edged out private firms in the race for the project—the first Indian military aircraft programme to invite the private sector to design and build a plane. Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) and Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd were the other contenders.Rustom would be a medium-altitude, long-endurance aircraft, to be designed to fly at least 250km at a stretch.

It’s the third large Indian defence project in the race for which private firms lost out to public sector rivals. India opened up defence equipment development and manufacturing to the private sector in 2002 in a move aimed at stepping up indigenization of military equipment. India still imports nearly 70% of its weapons and aircraft.In the US, the government encourages private sector firms such as Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. to compete for military projects and funds only the development cost of planes and weapon systems.

“HAL-BEL gave us a clear road map for manufacture,” said Prahlada, chief controller of research and development at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He goes by one name.In 2008, HAL was preferred over Godrej, L&T and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd to build Saras, a 14-seat passenger plane, by National Aerospace Laboratories after its main customer, the Indian Air Force, insisted on the military plane maker.

BEL was selected in March this year to build the Indian Army’s tactical communication system, a contract of at least $1 billion (Rs4,450 crore). It was to be the biggest military project till date thrown open to domestic private companies. Seven firms, including L&T, the Tatas and Roltas Thales Ltd, a joint venture of Roltas India Ltd and France’s Thales Group, bid for the contract.

“This is a disappointment for us since we had been told that the projects would be open for participation by the private sector on a competitive basis,” said M.V. Kotwal, vice-president for the aerospace and defence business at L&T, India’s largest engineering firm. “Otherwise we would not have spent the time and efforts in preparing for the bids. Detailed plans for execution had also been presented as required,” he said.

L&T, which makes submarines and ships for the Indian Navy, bid for all the three contracts. TASL did not respond to emails for comment.A defence ministry official, who is familiar with two of the three projects mentioned, said decisions were taken in favour of the defence public sector undertakings after assessing the capability of vendors for specific projects. He did not want to be named due to the sensitive nature of the business. An HAL official, who did not want to be named, said though the firm had been invited for technical talks, the Aeronautical Development Establishment, a DRDO agency, is yet to place an order.

In the Rustom contract, firms need to invest Rs400 crore in prototypes and trials that could take at least a decade, but there was no guarantee of an order from the armed forces once it is completed, said one official at a private firm who did not want to be named or his company to be identified. An HAL official confirmed this.“If there is no assurance of an order, why should the private industry come forward and invest? We know it takes time to profit, but at least we don’t want to lose money,” the same company official said.

Analysts say that it would take time for the defence ministry to involve private participation in equipment design and manufacturing.“The process does take a little time. There are efforts made in DPP (the defence procurement procedure) to involve private industry. But I think much more can be done,” said N.S. Sisodia, director general of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. He did not comment on individual contracts.The defence ministry has brought in a made-in-India category in its latest DPP, which favours local firms in defence equipment design and manufacturing.

Pakistan links defence export drive with private sector growth

Pakistan is aiming to increase defence exports as part of a campaign to drive the expansion of its private sector and provide much-needed support to state-owned enterprises under increasing pressure from the demands of the 'war on terror', the head of Pakistan's Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO) has told Jane's .

Major General Muhammad Ijaz Hussain Awan, director general of DEPO, said at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) Exhibition and Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 19 April that defence exports of Pakistan-made equipment had grown to more than USD400 million annually by 2009 and that continued growth is being targeted in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. According to Jane's analysis, the growth in exports represents a rise of around 300 per cent over the past decade.

"Security-related products such as protection equipment, bullet-proof jackets and bullet-proof vehicles are proving successful in these markets. In the short term these preventive and security-related products are regarded as key for our exports," said Gen Awan.

In the longer term, he said that larger, more advanced platforms - such as the JF-17 combat fighter aircraft that Pakistan has developed with China - will be marketed."The JF-17 is in the initial stages and we will not meet the full requirements of the Pakistan armed forces for another decade. But once we are done and our own needs are fulfilled then we can start looking for exports."

Gen Awan attributed the growth of Pakistan's exports to a number of factors. "The strengths of Pakistan equipment include the international quality of Pakistan equipment, which is ensured by ISO standards. The second is that we have no political strings attached to defence deals: we are not a country that has a political axe to grind.

"We can also assure a supply of back-up spares and service support and we are internationally competitive in terms of providing quality at a cost effective price. Another important factor is that we are not looking for cash flow only: we can have barter trade where we sell something and in turn buy something back instead of taking hard cash and this makes the buyer that [much] more agreeable."

Gen Awan added that while the vast majority of exports are manufactured by state-owned firms - such as Heavy Industries Taxila, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex - the private sector was being encouraged to expand its capabilities through partnerships with companies in Pakistan and abroad to increase exports.The benefit of such a campaign, he stressed, is also aimed at supporting state-owned firms in supplying equipment to Pakistan's armed forces, which are fighting the war on terror.

The need for this support was highlighted in March 2010 when the POF, which specialises in the production of rifles, machine guns, mortars, ammunition and explosives, requested a government grant of USD250 million to modernise its facilities and help meet a growing production backlog.The POF made the recommendation to the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production. Lieutenant General Javed Ashraf, chairman of the committee, told Jane's at the time that "outdated manufacturing processes" had so far caused POF to turn away production orders worth around USD500 million.

While Gen Awan would not comment on the condition of the POF, he did emphasise that state-owned defence companies were coming under increasing pressure to fulfil the requirements of the country's armed forces."The war on terror is going on in our neighbourhood and we have a very sizeable army - around 100,000 strong - committed to these operations," he said. "Products are being used too much and [are] far too quickly being wasted in war, and [state-owned companies] are under pressure to produce enough equipment to meet the requirements. Of course, if the private sector can chip in it would reduce this pressure.

"We are capable of sustaining this but to reduce the pressure it is better to get the private sector on board. Of course [state-owned companies] do need resources because 'the richer the better' but these companies were initially funded and organised to sustain the Pakistan armed forces in a conventional and predictable conflict for a limited period, because a conventional war does not continue for years and years and years.

"But this war on terror is a menace that is lingering since 9/11. It is now nearly 10 years and we still don't know when the end will come. This prolonged engagement is a consistent and constant drain on industry resources. To meet this requirement and to keep the factories churning out the equipment you need a high level of resources."

The private sector, said Gen Awan, could provide some of these resources by establishing more partnerships with state-owned firms. "Now we are evolving a policy of first encouraging the private sector to invest in research and technology and meet the requirements of the Pakistan armed forces and then to focus on exports," he said."We are trying to encourage the private sector to form joint ventures and public private partnerships essentially with other Pakistan companies but if some foreign company is interested in coming in we have not closed our doors to anyone."

The French dis-connection

The Nuclear Security Conference ended in Washington on April 13 with a final communique comprising 12 points to ensure security of nuclear material and prevention of nuclear proliferation. Australia and France tried to influence the Summit by their respective suspensions of contracted material that was to be provided to Pakistan. In the time leading to the Nuclear Security Summit, the Australian Defence Minister John Faulkner employed a rarely used anti-WMD law, last used 14 years ago, that prevented GBC, an Australian manufacturer of scientific equipment, to export two contracted spectrophotometers to a Pakistani company. France, true to its traditional double dealing, duplicity and equivocation, put on hold the provision of $1.6 bn contract for provision of JF-17 Thunder aircraft parts in the same time-frame.

The Khaleej Times, in its publication of 2nd April 2010, quoted Reuters and Le monde as having reported that France had decided to suspend the sale of electronics and missiles — the first section of a six billion Euro contract — under pressure from India. Whether the French move was to appease India to win multi-billion dollar fighter aircraft deal or to force Pakistan to cancel the intended purchase of German-made 214 submarines and buy French made Agosta or Scorpene submarines instead, is yet to come to fore. Moreover, there is a possibility of US pressurising France that any technology provided to support the JF-17 Thunder aircraft fighter might be pirated across to China, an axiom that may not hold good any longer as China has crossed requisite technological barriers much earlier to be categorised as a dependable supplier of weaponry to the world. The latest demonstrations of China’s newest aircraft, J-10, in front of defence attaches is a testament of its technological ascendancy in the region.

While most reports that appeared in the press, including that of Reuters, say that the suspension of sale of high tech equipment o Pakistan attributed to the latter’s inability to pay for the deal and pressure from India despite the fact that New Delhi has reportedly conveyed to the French authorities that it is no more interested in purchasing more submarines from France. However, the bait for purchase of high tech aircraft is still dangling. The French ambassador in India had made it clear to a meeting of French companies during a dinner at the recently concluded DEFEXPO-2010 that France faces tough competition in India and they need to work hard and stick together to win it big in India. It has worked already as the specially constituted Indian price committee has reportedly given a go ahead to sign a contract worth $2.2 billion for upgradation of 52 Mirage-2000 aircraft held in its inventory by France. The formal signing will take place during French President Sarkozy’s visit to New Delhi later in the year.

Despite defence relations between Pakistan and France spanning over forty years, the military relationship between two countries has seen lots of highs and lows, though lows have been observed more than often. The reliability of France as a dependable supplier of contracted material to Pakistan places it at number two after the United States that has also turned its back on defence contracts signed with Pakistan a bit too often. Cancellation of F-16 aircraft deal, holding on to millions of dollars paid by the government for purchase of the aircraft and then finally compensating Pakistan with wheat, is one of such episodes.

It was the 70s when the French backtracked from a commitment and cancelled a nuclear reprocessing plant that had been signed between the two countries. The move had incurred a heavy financial loss on the country as Pakistan had already spent Rs 5 billion plus on the civil works besides procurement of some related components in advance of the then would be reprocessing plant. We again saw another backtracking of France from another nuclear deal that was signed between the French government and Mohtarma Benazir’s government for the provision of 600 MW nuclear powerplant. Then it was 1999 when the French government crudely did not allow for 15 days the Pakistani submarine PNS Khalid, the one paid fully for, to sail out from its port of Toulon. That probably was the darkest hour of the relationship between the two countries. Had it not been the company that manufactured the submarine which refused to bear the incurring costs for holding the submarine, the stalemate might have continued for some time more. Then came the backtracking from Mistral missile deal for the Pakistan Air Force. Latest in the series of duplicity, especially with respect to Pakistan, has been the hold up of military hardware for Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder aircraft. Though the country remains grateful for whatever hardware it provided and continues to provide but one feels that France should have come out more clearly on the subject rather than making statements that carried dual messages with respect to the latest back tracking on yet another deal.

Notwithstanding the global acknowledgement of Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, the rhetoric from across the eastern borders continues to belittle Pakistan. Thanks God, the world has come to realise somewhat the game behind such rhetoric. The West eyes to benefit from India’s decade-old huge allocations for buying military and nuclear hardware and in the process India manages to successfully exploit their desire to win contracts to blackmail them on Pakistan related issues. So a little bit pampering does not bring any harm to nobody. Barrack Obama’s reality check on Pakistan’s safe nuclear programme is enough to clear the murky perceptions whoever had tried to exploit it in the past.

The apparent surrendering to the Indian blackmail (interestingly visiting Indian blogs congratulating the government on successful blocking the sale of hardware to Pakistan can be found in abundance on the internet) on its offer of refurbishment of its aging Mirage-2000 worth billions of dollars saddens a large segment of Pakistani society that keeps a watch on various defence related business developments in the region. By traditional backtracking on supply of equipment and other hardware, France loses its stature as a neutral or political sovereign nation that has policies of its own.

France, a country that has always been held in the high esteem by Pakistani diaspora, needs to do more on its status as a dependable supplier of contracted hardware or else it risks the chances to be categorised as a time serving supplier and friend. France is too important a country for Pakistan wherein the latter always values its ties with it. These ties must prosper for the benefit of both the countries. Both the countries are scheduled to engage each other at the highest level in the second half of the year.

Prime Minister Gilani’s visit dates to France are being rescheduled and President Sarkozy is scheduled to visit Pakistan this autumn wherein cooperation in civil nuclear energy between the countries would be outlined. The French president’s visit may be tied up with his visit to India, which as per Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman, is scheduled for the last quarter of this year.

Short supply of fleet haunts Navy

Just after the 1962 war with China, the centre zeroed in on the optimal level of naval fleet strength for securing India. Nearly half a century down the line, the navy still has not been able to achieve that level.

The emergency committee of the Union Cabinet had accepted a force level of 138 ships for navy in 1964. The current strength level is 129 ships including vintage submarines, which in any case are being phased out. The navy currently has 37 major war vessels (carrier, destroyers, frigates), 16 submarines, 59 minor war vessels and 17 auxiliary ships. Another minor vessel – an anti-submarine warfare corvette – was launched in the water from Kolkata on Monday. The vessel will be inducted after sea trials.

The submarine fleet is the worst lot among all warships. It is not only down in numbers but the serviceability of these is down to half. Navy officials admit that induction of submarines has not kept pace with the de-induction schedule.

Senior officers have told a Parliamentary panel that the Centre approved a 30 year long term submarine plan in 1999, which entails construction of 24 modern conventional diesel-electric submarines by 2030. Following the 1999 plan, the navy signed a Rs 15000 crore ($ 3 billion) deal in 2005 with French company DCNS to build six submarines at Mazgaon dock in Mumbai. The first submarine was to delivered by 2012.

This programme is lagging behind schedule due to protracted delay in supply. The delivery is now expected to commence in 2015 and the entire fleet should be available by 2018, a navy official told the committee. The Navy, meanwhile, is looking for a shipyard to start building the second line of six conventional submarines with foreign collaboration. The remaining 12 are likely to be completely indigenous.

The much awaited naval satellite is set to be launched between December 2010 and March 2011. The Rs 950 crore satellite, being developed by ISRO, will not only enhance connectivity between various ships and shore-based command units, but also improve navy’s surveillance

Navy to procure new Light Utility Helicopters

The Navy has initiated the process for procurement of new Light Utility Helicopters(LUHs) to replace its ageing fleet of Chetak choppers."We are on the look out for a twin-engined helicopter of modern airframe design and fully integrated advanced avionics to replace our existing fleet of Chetak helicopters, which were inducted about 30-35 years ago," Navy officials said here. The Navy recently issued a global Request For Information (RFI) for an unspecified number of new LUHs, asking the vendors to reply within next three weeks with details of their products.

The next step, the global Request for Proposal (RFP), is expected to be issued by the middle of this year to chopper majors like the European consortium Eurocopter, Italian Agusta Westland and the Russian Kamov. These companies are already taking part in the field trials of the USD 600 million tender to supply 197 LUHs for replacing the French-origin Cheetah/ Chetak fleet of the Army and the Air Force.

The IAF and the Army will get 384 LUHs over the next decade, of which 197 would be procured from foreign vendors and the remaining would be indigenously produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. As per the RFI, the Navy wants the helicopters to have controls for two pilots but it should be capable of being operated by single pilot also.

"The new choppers would be used to carry out search and rescue, casualty evacuation, observation and surveillance and limited electronic intelligence gathering," officials said. The choppers should have the capability to carry out anti-submarine warfare attack with torpedoes and depth charges besides anti-terrorism and anti-piracy roles.

The Navy wants twin-engine choppers to provide more survivability to its crew while flying over maritime zone. The helicopters will be used for both shore-based and offshore operations and the Navy has specified they should be capable of operating from small decks and larger decks (up to aircraft carrier) in adverse weather by day and night. It also wants the choppers to be operated from snow-covered surface, sleet, sand, water and slush...................LINK

Indo-US naval wargames begin in Arabian Sea

 The ten-day long Indo-US wargames began on Friday in the Arabian Sea, strengthening the relationships between the two navies to maintain peace and stability.The thrust of the Malabar CY 10 exercise this year would be on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Firings, Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Submarine Operations.Malabar CY 10, conducted from April 23 to May 2, is the fourteenth series of the Malabar round of exercise. The US Navy's frontline units of 7th fleet and Indian Navy's Western Fleet are participating in the exercise.

The scope of Malabar exercise includes diverse range of operational activities at sea. During Malabar CY 10, the US Navy will be represented by ships from CTF 70 of the USN 7th Fleet which is based at Yokosuka, Japan.The CTF will include the Cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), Destroyers USS Chaffee (DDG 90), USS Lassen (DDG 82) and Frigate USS Curts (FFG 38). In addition, one Los Angeles class nuclear powered submarine, USS Annapolis (SSN 760), two P3C Orion aircraft and a 28-member US Navy Special Forces team will also participate in the exercise.

INS Mysore, an indigenous Delhi Class guided missile destroyer and three guided missile frigates, INS Godavari, INS Brahmaputra and INS Tabar, will represent the Indian Navy. In addition, one Shishumar class submarine, INS Shankush, Sea Harrier fighters, other fixed and rotary wing aircraft are also scheduled to participate in the bilateral exercise.

"Naval cooperation between India and the US epitomises the long-term strategic relationship between both countries. Both navies have, over the years, undertaken diverse bilateral activities such as training exchanges, information exchange, and technical cooperation."Our nations have significant convergence of interests, especially in the maintenance of maritime security," said a statement released by the Indian Navy.The annual Malabar series of exercises commenced in 1992. Thirteen such exercises have been held so far..............LINK

Indian C-130Js Under Build At Lockheed's Marietta Hercules Factory

Photos Courtesy Lockheed-Martin

Thales to upgrade IAF's MiG-29s with IFF system

French defence major Thales will provide the sensors complaint with NATO standards for Identifying Friend or Foe (IFF) on MiG-29 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force to be upgraded in Russia."Russian Aircraft Corporation, MiG (RSK-MiG), has chosen Thales to provide the IFF-1 Combined Interrogator Transponder (CIT) and Cryptographic National Secure Mode (NSM) as part of the retrofit for the Indian Air Force's MiG-29 multi-role fighter aircraft," a press release from the French firm said here Thursday.

The IAF has three squadrons of MiG-29, numbering about 60 aircraft, which are currently under the upgrade programme.The IFF CIT will allow the IAF's MiG-29 fighter aircraft to be interoperable with Western military aircraft so as to avoid friendly fire.The cryptographic mode will equip India with the first national secure identification capability for protecting its own assets.

Under the latest contract, Thales would deliver the first IFF CIT to MiG this year and the initial building block of a comprehensive secure identification capability in mid-2011.The 'TSB 2500' IFF CIT is an advanced system compliant with the latest NATO standards.Some 16,000 units of IFF equipment have been installed on board more than 100 types of platforms worldwide including airborne, ground and naval platforms, the Thales said.

Thales will supply the IAF's MiG-29 fighter aircraft with 'TOTEM-3000' new generation Inertial Navigation and Global Positioning System.Thales, in addition line-fit, supplies the Indian Navy's newly built MiG-29KUB aircraft with the Topsight E helmet-mounted sight and display (HMSD), for which it successfully completed integration phase in November 2009.

"This decisive phase marks the end of qualification for the Topsight-E HMSD, which is now fully integrated to the MiG-29K/KUB cockpit, including ejection seat and weapon delivery and navigation system," it said.
Thales' cooperation with MiG started in 1993 when Sextant decided to design and supply a full avionics suite for the Russian Advanced Trainer MiG-AT. This opened up new cooperation on programmes such as the MiG-21 and MiG-29 upgrades..................PTI

Defence goods worth Rs. 20,000 crore made in the last three years

Amidst the discussions on the further investments in the upgradation of machineries as far as Indian defence industry was concerned and also hiking the limit for the FDI in the industry, the Government has recently confirmed the fact that Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has produced defence goods worth over a whopping Rs. 20,560 crore in the past three years for the Indian defence personnel.

Minister of State for Defence, M M Pallam Raju has recently shared the fact that the OFB has made goods worth over Rs. 20,000 crore in the past three years and keeping in mind the increased requirements of the Army and the Home Ministry, the OFB needs to look at increasing the current production levels.According to the planned investments in the 11th and 12th Plan period, the money earmarked for the up-gradation of machineries at the OFB if to the tune of Rs. 3,807.5 crores.In fact, it may be noted here that companies like French Thales, British BAE Systems, Israeli Elta along with three Mauritian companies have invested over Rs. 400 million in the Indian Defence sector with the investments coming in as FDI.

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Trainees For Stint In Pakistan

The Air Force Training College (KTU) in Kepala Batas will send four trainee pilots for training at Pakistan's air force college of flying in Risalpur. Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief Datuk Seri Rodzali Daud said the trainees would be leaving for the one year Pakistan training stint next month."Trainees who pass will be deployed to fly our fleet including Hawk jet trainer aircraft," he told reporters after presenting wings at a passing out parade in Kepala Batas near here on Saturday.Rodzali said the trainees picked for the Pakistan stint were the best adding it was was looking for similar opportunities in India, South Africa and Italy.The Pakistan stint would be the first for trainee pilots as previously only trainers were sent abroad.
Lieut Adibah Abu who won the Nuri Cup for best overall helicopter trainee was obviously proud as she had beaten a group of men.The Negeri Sembilan lass hopes to fly the Eurocopter EC725 helicopter which would replace the ageing Nuri.

China is about to buy Russian air cushion ships

Rosoboronexport holds consultations with China at defense show DSA 2010 about possible buying of Russian Zubr- and Murena-type air cushion landing ships, reported Monday RIA Novosti referring to Alexei Kozlov, representative of Rosoboronexport's Department for the Navy. "Speaking of air cushion ships, we've negotiated with China. Although this talks had no results yet, consultations with Chinese party are in progress", pointed out Kozlov. Russia had previously delivered four Project 12322 Zubr air cushion landing ships to Greece. These unique ships have no analogs in the world and have excellently proved themselves in the Aegean

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chinese Military Seeks to Extend Its Naval Power

The Chinese military is seeking to project naval power well beyond the Chinese coast, from the oil ports of the Middle East to the shipping lanes of the Pacific, where the United States Navy has long reigned as the dominant force, military officials and analysts say.

China calls the new strategy “far sea defense,” and the speed with which it is building long-range capabilities has surprised foreign military officials.

The strategy is a sharp break from the traditional, narrower doctrine of preparing for war over the self-governing island of Taiwan or defending the Chinese coast. Now, Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country’s economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China

Former Royal Navy Falklands’ Patrols Sold to Bangladesh

Two former Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels built by Hall Russell in Aberdeen and which for years were on Falkland Islands service have been sold to Bangladesh's navy.

HMS Leeds Castle and HMS Dumbarton Castle entered service in 1982 and protected the fishing fleets and oil and gas fields in the North Sea before long-term duty guarding the Falkland Islands after the war. Ship repair yard A&P Tyne will overhaul the vessels and will train 66 Bangladeshi sailors to operate them.

The ships, fitted with flight decks capable of supporting Sea King helicopters, have been laid up in Portsmouth Naval Base since their retirement from service in 2005. They will be towed up to Tyneside next month to undergo a massive

Iran Shows Off Its Weapons

Pentagon officials judge Iran’s Army Day parade to be part posturing and part concept demonstration. But they also contend that Tehran is making progress in its weapon programs that have armed the country with a force of 1,000 ballistic missiles with ranges of 90-1,200 mi.

“Both the surface-to-air missile equipment and stealth aircraft mockups [in the April 18 display] are judged to be bogus,” says a senior Pentagon official. “During the parade they displayed two stealth aircraft mockups, one manned and one remotely piloted aircraft. They are likely [variants of] the Safreh Mahi (Flatfish or Stingray) design, which Iran announced it was testing last

US Congress notified on C-17 aircraft sale to India

The US plans to sell 10 Boeing C-17 transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at an estimated cost of 5.8 billion dollars and has notified its Congress for commencing negotiations. The notification by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency on the sale was submitted to the US Congress on April 22, according to an official release here today. "This is an important step forward in the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process and is a necessary pre-requisite to negotiations on the deal," the release from the US embassy said. After hearing of the notification, US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer said today, "The potential sale of C-17s strengthens the growing partnership between our two countries demonstrates our enduring commitment to sharing the world''s best technology with

Russian military wages war on Siberian ice

Russian military helicopters dropped ten bombs in Siberia in their annual offensive against ice-choked rivers, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday. Massive blocks of ice often form dams in narrow areas of Russian rivers in spring, sometimes causing some of Russia's vast rivers to swell beyond their banks. Two Mi-8 helicopters were dispatched over the weekend to deal with an ice dam under a highway bridge some 180 from the West Siberian city of

India says to have fifth-generation jets in 2018

India will introduce an advanced fighter jet it is building with Russia in 2018, a move that will bring sophistication to its air power but could also spark unease among neighbours China and Pakistan. New Delhi has watched warily as China has made rapid strides in defence, worried that Beijing's long-term strategy for the region could involve encircling India. Indian military commanders have stressed greater firepower as a counter-measure, particularly for the air force. The fifth generation fighter aircraft joint project with Russia is part of that

RNZAF UH-1 crashed

Three people are dead after an Air Force Iroquois helicopter crashed north of Wellington and a fourth is in hospital with serious injuries. The helicopter came down early this morning at Pukerua Bay, near the Paekakariki Hill Road. It was travelling from the RNZAF's base at Ohakea to Anzac Day commemorations in

Iran Guards to deploy 'Attack drone' by next March

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that by March next year it will deploy a domestically manufactured drone capable of carrying out air strikes. "The super advanced bomber drone, manufactured by the Revolutionary Guards, will be operational in the second half of this year," Guards Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said referring to the Iranian year ending on March 20,

Pakistan to receive first of eight US decommissioned frigates in August news

Pakistan is due to receive a refurbished American frigate USS McInerney by 31 August this year. The transfer is part of a $65 million deal signed with the United States government in October 2008. The contract for the "hot transfer" of the USS McInerney, a Perry-class guided missile frigate, was signed by senior officials of the two countries here on Tuesday. As part of the agreement the Pakistan Navy takes over the vessel on 31 August and subsequently commissions it as PNS Alamgir sometime next year.

''Hot transfers'' take place immediately after a ship decommissions, that is when it is still floating. This, as opposed to ''cold transfers'' which take place long after a ship has been docked at a storage facility for any length of time. Commissioned in 1979, this old frigate has now been substantially refurbished as an anti-submarine platform. On full completion of the refurbishment programme in January next year, the vessel then sails to Pakistan to join the country's naval fleet. Pakistani officials described the deal to acquire the warship a major "milestone" towards further strengthening the wide-ranging Pakistan-US relationship.

"The successful completion of this contract will pave the way for acquisition of more vessels of the same class for the Pakistan Navy to raise a squadron of eight Perry-class frigates," a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy said.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates were designed primarily as anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare guided-missile warships that would provide open-ocean escort of amphibious warfare ships and merchant ship convoys in moderate threat environments in a potential war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries in the 1970s and '80s. The addition of the Naval Tactical Display System, LAMPS helicopters, and the Tactical Towed Array System (TACTAS) provides these warships a combat capability far beyond what they were originally designed to do. They are well-suited for the littoral regions..............LINK

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Abu Dhai MAR and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Establish Strategic Partnership

Abu Dhabi MAR, the international shipbuilding group based in Abu Dhabi, and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems have signed a contract for the sale of Blohm + Voss to Abu Dhabi MAR. The contract includes the acquisition of Blohm + Voss Shipyards in Hamburg and the civil shipbuilding facilities of the former HDW Gaarden including employees in Kiel. Abu Dhabi MAR will also acquire an 80% stake in each of Blohm + Voss Repair and Blohm + Voss Industries, both of Hamburg. The parties also agreed on the formation of a 50:50 strategic partnership for the design and program management of naval vessels.

The two companies had already signed a memorandum of understanding on this in October 2009. Abu Dhabi MAR, a holding company based in Abu Dhabi, is a fast-growing international shipbuilding group. The company has capacity for the construction of naval ships and civil ships up to a length of 200 meters. The holding company is jointly owned by the Al Ain International Group (70%) and Privinvest (30%). H.E. Ahmed Darwish Al Marar is Chairman of the Abu Dhabi MAR Group and Iskandar Safa its Managing Director. The company has orders in hand of more than 1 billion euros. The shipbuilding group currently has 2,000 employees worldwide.......................LINK

Chinese Submarines, Destroyers Spotted in High Seas near Okinawa

Two Chinese submarines and eight destroyers were spotted by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force on Saturday in the high seas between the main island of Okinawa and Miyako Island in the southernmost prefecture, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said Tuesday. The defense chief said the Chinese submarines and destroyers were navigating southeastward, adding that Tokyo has never before confirmed such a large number of Chinese vessels near Japan. "We will investigate whether (China) has any intention against our nation" by dispatching the vessels, Kitazawa said. The Joint Staff Office of the Self-Defense Forces later said that Chinese submarines were seen on the sea surface near Japan for the first time and that Beijing had not notified Tokyo of the fleet navigation in the East China Sea toward the Pacific

Russia delays launch of new nuclear submarine

Russia will not float out a new nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine as planned on May 7 due to technical reasons, a source in the shipbuilding industry said on Tuesday.Construction of the Severodvinsk, the first Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class submarine, began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk but has since been dogged by financial setbacks. Russia planned to float out the submarine on May 7 to mark the 65th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in May

Taiwan Displays Plans For Missile-Carrying Corvette

Taiwan has unveiled the first images of a high-tech missile corvette specifically designed to counter the threat of China acquiring an aircraft carrier, officials and media said April 12. A computerized graphic of the 1,000-ton "carrier killer," which has so far been kept secret from the public, has gone on display at Taipei's military museum, run by the defense ministry. The vessel will be capable of cruising at speeds of up to 34 miles (55 kilometers) per hour and boast technologies helping it to evade radar detection, the Taipei-based Apple Daily reported, citing military officials. The Taiwanese Navy hopes to arm the corvette with Taiwan's home-grown Hsiungfeng III supersonic ship-to-ship missile, according to the

Turkish indigenous Patrol Boat P1200 launched

Gujarat police to procure 4000 INSAS rifles

In a bid to equip its police force with modern weapons, Gujarat police would be acquiring 4000 Indian Small Arms System (INSAS)rifles in October this year. "We procured 2,000 INSAS rifles in 2008-09 and will be getting 4,000 more in coming October. INSAS rifles are mostly used by BSF, CRPF and para military forces," a state home department official said. He also said that the state's pending demand for 12 more marine police stations is likely to be approved by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Currently, there are 10 marine police stations in the state, along the 1600-km-long coast line.

On various plans to strengthen the state's security apparatus, the official said that in last two years, around 5,000 posts in the police force have been created with the addition of State Reserved Police (SRP) battalions. "We created around 5,000 new posts in the force. Moreover, we will add four more chetak commando units next year," he said. "Currently, we have two Chetak commando units, which is based on NSG model and two more will be added this year while we plan to double it by next year, and then the commando units will be spread across the state and stationed in Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat," he said.

Each chetak commando unit has 120 commandos which are trained extensively. "One commando unit is under training at Jodhpur and subsequently, that unit will be sent for advanced training in jungle warfare," the official said, adding "we strictly follow the age and physical fitness standards in the commando units."PTI

In defence, take your time but hurry

On the art of gun fighting, American Old West cowboy Wild Bill Hickock said, “Take your time in a hurry.” India’s defence procurement authorities would also do well to heed the legendary gunfighter’s advice. While defence bids need to be carefully scrutinised, decisions need to be made fast and contracts signed quickly, lest we lose out to other countries. With global annual military expenditure topping $1,500 billion, and even though every fiscal India’s defence ministry returns big amounts of the budget allocation back to the government, India is the largest emerging economy arms importers with the exception of China.

India also has a vast amount of unused defence production and development capability. We must ensure that this is fully utilised. This would require the support of armed forces, bureaucracy and industries, both in private and public sectors. Foreign tie-ups are a must in this day and age, but tech transfer and local production are equally essential. Following the 1999 Kargil War, India signed arms deals worth $50 billion in the span of a decade —for fighter planes, warships, tanks, missiles, radars etc. In the past three years alone, the defence ministry signed contracts worth Rs 1,35,000 crore. Purchases include jet fighters, warships, submarines, radars, tanks, missiles, weapon systems and platforms, mostly from France, Russia, Israel and the US. But the government really needs to loosen its FDI policy—which is stuck at 49% in the defence

BHEL units to up biz from Defence

The two major units of country’s largest power and transmission equipment manufacturer, state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) are planning to re-enter defence business. The units — Tiruchirappalli (Tiruchy) and Ranipet — are planning to produce battle tanks, missile launchers and water desalination facilities for submarines. It may be noted that the Ranipet unit also supplies fuel tankers for space exploration projects. Recently B P Rao, chairman and managing director of BHEL said, “Talks are on for supplying certain type of equipment for the armed forces.” BHEL is working on supplying heavy duty 127-mm guns to the Navy. BHEL supplies 76-mm guns to Navy. Following this, A Chandrababu, general manager in-charge, BHEL Ranipet unit, which manufactures boiler auxiliaries, told Business Standard that the unit has initiated dialogues with the Navy and is also looking to re-enter the defence business in a “big way”

Programs, Finance, new MD for Bangalore Complex, Rolls Royce JV

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has announced a 10% growth in sales for the year 2009-10 at Rs. 11,415 cr (~US$2.6b) and 12% growth in Profit before Tax at Rs 2,617 cr. The order book has increased by over Rs 12,000cr during the year with new orders for domestic and export projects.One of the major achievements for the Company during the year has been the maiden flight on the Technology Demonstrator of the indigenously designed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) took place on 29 Mar 2010. A new military variant, ALH Mk III, was introduced during the year. This is powered by the Shakti engine and is intended for the IAF /Army to meet their high altitude operational requirements. This is being followed by an armed variant ALH MK IV which is presently undergoing weapon trials. HAL expects to sell up to 175 LCHs to the armed forces.HAL has also ventured into design and development of a Light Utility Helicopter which gives HAL an edge in offering total solution to its customers in light helicopters in the 2 to 6 ton category.

On development in Fixed Wing category HAL stated:

The Intermediate Jet Trainer project progressed well with successful integration of the new Russian engine AL-55I. Operational clearance for the IJT is expected to be achieved shortly. In parallel, the first batch of Limited Series Production aircraft is also getting ready for delivery to IAF. Follow on orders for IJT has already been received at Rs 6,180 Crs.

Preliminary studies are underway to launch development of a new indigenous Basic Turboprop trainer to replace the HPT-32 aircraft.

HAL secured an order in Dec 2009 for DARIN III upgrade of Jaguar aircraft worth Rs 3100 Crores & the program has been well

India wants fleet of Israeli Harop killer UAVs

India is seeking to acquire Israeli killer drones for use against insurgents but possibly against terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well. Now New Delhi wants to muster at least 25-30 of the armed unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, one of its key arms suppliers and a global leader in unmanned aerial vehicle technology. Until now, most of India's UAV acquisitions have been surveillance and reconnaissance variants such as Heron drones built by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems. But, Asia Times Online says, "Israeli arms suppliers have been briefed by New Delhi that future UAV fleets to India should comprise a 'bigger dose' of attack UAVs."

So, "in keeping with new threat dimensions," the Indian air force is looking to induct Israeli Harop killer UAVs from 2011 onward. "Other sections of the armed forces are likely to follow." The Harop, or Harpy 2, is a UCAV developed by the Malat division of IAI. But rather than carry air-to-ground missiles, this hunter-killer UAV is designed to be the weapon itself by self-destructing into its targets. These are primarily intended to knock out air defenses. The Harop has a range of 625 miles and an endurance time of six hours. It carries a 51-pound

India moves to expand strategic Karwar naval base

India is finally going in for a major expansion of its newest naval base at Karwar in coastal Karnataka, which provides it "strategic depth" on the western seaboard and will house aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines in the future. This comes after a long delay since the ambitious `Project Seabird' to build the futuristic Karwar naval base was first approved by the government way back in 1985 at an initial cost of Rs 350 crore. Budgetary constraints derailed the project for a decade before a truncated Phase-I was approved in 1995, with the work finally commencing in 1999 with a Rs 2,500 crore fund allocation. "Phase-I is now fully complete. We have 10 warships based there. Now, the detailed project report for Phase-II is in the final stages. After approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security, construction will begin next year,'' Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told TOI. Navy will be able to berth 25 to 30 big warships at Karwar after Phase-II gets over by 2017, he added. The base will also house a wide variety of smaller ships, including 10 of the 80 fast-interceptor craft of Sagar Prahari Bal, the specialised force being raised for coastal security after the 26/11 terror attacks on

Steel and Dust - 46 SAR Exercises in India

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Peru postpones purchase of MBT-2000 tanks

Defense Minister, Rafael Rey Rey, announced it will recommend to the Council of National Defense delaying the purchase of tanks MBT-2000, arguing that they give priority to the acquisition of equipment for counterinsurgency operations in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers (VRAE), where remnants of the Shining Path operates, and border surveillance in the region of Putumayo. In the medium term plans to purchase, among others, at least four helicopters Mi-17 Hip H and 18 EMB-314 aircraft (A-29) Super Tucano, and an undisclosed number of transport planes and a system satellite communications.

The announcement of the postponement of the acquisition of MBT-2000 is a setback for the army of Peru, who only months earlier had announced the purchase, after a lengthy evaluation process, about 120 copies for a total 750 million dollars. Moreover, the PRC won five, which were displayed during the military parade held last December in Lima. The MBT-2000 has a length of 10.07 m., width of 3.5 and a height of 2.4, and its weight is 48 tons in combat.

It is powered by a diesel engine of 1,200 hp 6TD Ukrainian manufacturing, which gives a maximum speed of 65 km / h. and a range of 450 km. The main armament of the tank manned by three personnel (tank commander, gunner and driver) is a 125 mm cannon. Smooth-bore, equipped with 39 missiles and can perform, thanks to its automatic loader, up to 8 rounds per minute, with an estimated effective range of 3,000 m. The secondary is made up of two guns: one of 12.7 mm. with 500 rounds and a 7.62 x 54R equipped with 2500 (Alejo Marchessini correspondent edef Group in Peru)

Indian Army to purchase more Arjun tanks

The success of the indigenous Arjun main battle tank (MBT) in desert trials last month is generating additional army orders for a tank that is emerging as a notable research and development (R&D) success. Meanwhile, the Arjun is becoming more capable; the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which designed the Arjun, says that all future Arjuns will incorporate major improvements, including the ability to fire missiles. Business Standard had reported (Arjun tank outruns, outguns T-90, March 25, 2010) that the Arjun tank had conclusively outperformed the Russian T-90 — the army’s current frontline MBT — in trials conducted in early March by the Bikaner-based 180 Armoured Brigade. The army is still evaluating that trial report to decide how many additional Arjuns it should order, over and above the existing order of 124 tanks. But, the question before the army is no longer whether to order more Arjuns; rather, it is how many to order? Highly placed Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources confirm that the army is moving away from its staunch opposition to the

Indian Army orders Akash Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile

The Army has finally agreed to acquire the indigenous two-stage ramjet ‘Akash’ missile. The ‘in-principle’ agreement came at a meeting in the Defence Ministry last week. While the Army has given its nod, induction will depend on the delivery schedule Bharat Dynamics Limited, which makes the missile, is able to maintain. For, the public sector undertaking is already processing orders for six additional squadrons from the Indian Air Force.Top sources in the Ministry said Army Chief General V.K. Singh gave his ‘in-principle’ agreement at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council. The meeting also gave its final clearance for acquisition of Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) from the United States through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.In 2008, the IAF placed orders for two squadrons of the Akash Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MR-SAM) for Rs. 1,222 crore. This was the first-ever contract from the defence services for an indigenous tactical weapon system of this class.In February this year, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced that the council had cleared an additional six squadrons of MR-SAM for the IAF at a cost of Rs. 5,000

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kuwaiti MPs warn of grilling over French Rafale jets

KUWAIT CITY — An Islamist bloc in Kuwait's parliament opposed to a planned purchase of French-made Rafale warplanes on Sunday warned it will grill senior officials if the deal is signed.
"Signing the purchase agreement means we will grill whoever is responsible for authorising the deal," spokesman for the Reform and Development Bloc Faisal al-Muslim told a press conference. He would not say, however, whether the prime minister or defence minister are among the officials the bloc plans to call to account if the multi-billion-dollar deal to purchase between 14 and 28 Rafale jets goes ahead.Last month, Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah said the Rafale deal remained a priority for Kuwait. In November, the emirate's parliament voted unanimously to ask the independent Audit Bureau to probe three planned arms deals with the United States and France that one lawmaker said were worth billions of dollars. The deals include the planned purchase of an unspecified number of US-made Hercules transport aircraft and an ammunition factory, as well as the Rafale

IAF to Upgrade Mirages-2000H

Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said that upgrading old Mirage fighter aircraft is a better option than buying new fighter planes. When asked why Air Force was spending millions of dollars in upgrading old Mirages as the money could well be used in buying new Sukhois, Naik said, "When you buy an (fighter) aircraft it is not only the aircraft that you buy, you spend money in training people, erecting infrastructure, logistics, spares supply and life time support." "The residual life of the 50 odd Mirages that are left is another 20 years. If I throw them away I have wasted 20 years of that residual life. But upgrading them, with the infrastructure already available, seems a better option, considering the life time cost," he added. He further said that when you upgrade an aircraft the cost is higher than 50 per cent of the original cost.

"As far as Air Force is concerned there is one great asset we can use for coastal security and that is the UAVs (Unmanned Ariel Vehicles). They are already being used in areas like Haraminala," he added. He said IAF they had used UAVs in the naxal affected areas 3-4 years ago. "We have used these in Raipur and Jagdalpur. But the problem in these areas is that they are covered by jungles. So, as far as visual clues are concerned, we can't get there as there is a thick forest cover." The Air Chief Marshal further said that new bases are being thought of and the old bases are being strengthened to accept new aircraft. "Trials of two aircraft are still left, by end of April we will be completing all the trials after that about 2-3 months to complete the report and then we will be submitting it to the government," he

India Developing Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile 'Nirbhay': DRDO

BANGALORE: India is developing a sub-sonic 1,000-km range cruise missile "Nirbhay" which can be used for a "variety of applications", a top military scientist said today.The 1000-kg "missile is getting into some shape", Dr V K Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation said.He also said the flight-trial of air-to-air missile 'Astra', having a range of 45 to 100 km, is on the cards.Saraswat was delivering the keynote address at a national convention on 'The Frontiers of Aeronautical Technologies', organised by the Aeronautical Society of India here."We need to develop (loitering missiles)", he said. Saraswat made a strong push for deploying space-based sensors to keep tab on "adversaries" and gather intelligence via-a-vis defence surveillance...........................LINK

India Working on Anti-Satellite Sstem

With the focus of the Indian military is increasingly shifting towards space-based technologies, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already put in place the building blocks of an anti-satellite system that can put the country on par with China, DRDO chief VK Saraswat said on Sunday.Speaking at the national conference on frontiers of aeronautical technologies in Bangalore, he said “We have a few building blocks of space-based technologies and some more will be ready in the coming years,” said Saraswat who is also the scientific advisor to the defence ministry.The laser based space sensors and exo-atmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) programmes of DRDO act as perfect combination to track the space-based attacker and guide the ballistic missile system to target it..................................LINK

India to Re-Test Ballistic Missile Defence Shield

India will conduct afresh the trial of its tactical ballistic missile in June to build a credible defence shield for intercepting and destroying incoming missiles, a top defence scientist said."We will conduct a flight test of the anti-missile system again in June to build the ballistic missile defence shield against incoming medium- or long-range missiles," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) director-general VK Saraswat said here.Admitting that the earlier test conducted on March 15 at the integrated test facility on Wheeler Island off Orissa failed when one of the two rockets involved in the trial deviated off the course, Saraswat said investigation into the incident revealed that the system did not work and the target was missed due to fuel leakage."Analysis of the earlier trial revealed that there was a leakage in the target missile leading to system failure. We are rectifying it to ensure the next flight test in June will hit the target and demonstrate our advance capability in developing the missile defence shield against any adversary missile attack," Saraswat said on the sidelines of an

Iran Says Starts Making New Anti-Aircraft Missile

Iran has started production of a new ground-to-air missile system, Iranian media have reported, amid persistent speculation that Israel might attack the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities."The range of this defense system [missile] is more than 40 kilometers and it is able to pursue and hit the enemy's airplanes and helicopters on a smart basis and at supersonic speed," Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said, without specifying how the missile compared to previous such weapons.Najjar was quoted by Iran's Fars News Agency three days after Israel issued contradictory signals on whether it might bomb Iran, with its foreign minister saying there were no such plans and the defense minister saying all options were

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tejas to be stationed at new IAF base in Rajasthan

Ajay Banerjee/TNS New Delhi, April 10 India’s self-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be based at the IAF’s brand new forward-operating base at Phalodi in Rajasthan. Medium-lift choppers, Mi-17s will also be stationed at the base which will be 102 km from the India-Pakistan border, said sources. Uniquely, the new air base that was inaugurated four days ago is the first forward-operating airbase to be commissioned by the IAF in more than two decades. The first lot of the LCA -- a squadron of 20 aircraft -- is scheduled to be handed over to the IAF in 11 months from now. The second squadron will follow a year later -- both are being built at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) unit at Bangalore. Once handed over to the IAF, the LCA’s first base, briefly, will be at a station in South India, from where the fighters will move in batches to Phalodi, the sources said. Moving planes in small batches is a normal IAF procedure. Phalodi has the capacity to handle other aircraft besides deep penetration

Indian air force orders Harop loitering munitions

The Indian air force is to purchase Israel Aerospace Industries' Harop loitering munition system, with deliveries next year.Suitable for launch from a variety of platforms, the long-endurance Harop has tactical unmanned air vehicle-type capabilities, including an electro-optical/infrared seeker providing 360° coverage. The aircraft can search for, detect and attack high-value mobile, time-critical and moving targets at land or sea, and with pinpoint accuracy from long range, IAI says.Each Harop system comprises transportable launchers and a mission control shelter that provides a man-in-the-loop function to approve engagements or abort attacks in real time to avoid collateral damage. The system can be used across a range of scenarios, from low- to high-intensity conflicts, urban warfare and counter-terror

IAF vice-chief prefers reverse engg to build defence systems

IAF Vice-Chief Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora today suggested India should go the Chinese way by gathering technical data to produce defence equipment through reverse engineering.Addressing a gathering at a convention of The Frontiers of Aeronautical Technologies and 61st AGM in Bangalore, Air Marshal Babora said, “Do reverse engineering. Don't be scared. Our neighbours are already doing it. If someone does not give you, and you want it, do reverse engineering.”His comments, however, might not go down well with Americans and Europeans, who are finding it hard to protect their intellectual property

Ukraine offers to co-develop transport aircraft with India

New Delhi: In a bid to strengthen their military ties, Ukraine has offered to jointly develop a medium weight transport aircraft with India."Ukraine has offered to jointly produce a 10-12 tonne class weight aircraft with us based on their already existing Antonov-148 commercial aircraft and the proposal is being considered by the government," defence ministry officials told PTI.The payload carrying capacity of the proposed aircraft -- An-178, offered by the Ukrainians to the Indian Air Force, will be between that of the C-130J and the force's workhorse An-32 aircraft, they added.The C-130J Hercules, which will be delivered to India in the first quarter next year, can carry around 20 tonnes and the An-32s can carry a payload of around six tonnes.

If the Ukrainian proposal is approved, this will be the second such co-development programme for transport aircraft after India and Russia signed a contract for developing the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) few years back.The Ukrainian government has also offered to manufacture and export the proposed aircraft to friendly countries, officials said.The IAF already operates a fleet of over 100 Ukrainian An-32 aircraft fleet, which are currently being upgraded in the country's capital Kiev and used to operate the An-12 aircraft, which could carry around 15 tonnes.During the Soviet era, facilities to develop transport aircraft were based in Ukraine and Kiev has maintained the facilities even after its break-up from the erstwhile USSR in the 90s.

In the recent past, the IAF has taken several measures to augment its transport aircraft fleet, which mainly consists of Ilyushin 76 and An-32 aircraft.To bridge the gap between payload capabilities of the two aircraft, IAF will procure 12 20 tonne C-130Js from America at over $1.5 billion and co-develop the MTA with Russia.It also plans to procure around 10 C-17 strategic lift aircraft from the US, which can carry over 70 tonnes of load.


India requests deal for three more AEW aircraft

India has requested a proposal from Israel Aerospace Industries to supply another three Ilyushin Il-76-based airborne early warning aircraft.Worth a potential $1.5 billion, a new deal would follow New Delhi's previous order for three Il-76s modified by IAI's Elta Systems subsidiary. It would also stem from a defence ministry to further bolster the Indian air force's AEW capabilities.The service should receive its second AEW aircraft in mid-2010 under the original contract, with the third to follow next year. Roles for the type include the tactical surveillance of airborne targets, and performing electronic intelligence-gathering

Saturday, April 10, 2010

India, US to Enhance Submarine Rescue Measures

Away from the glamour of the forthcoming Malabar naval wargames and battling terrorism-piracy on the high seas, India and US are now on course to enhance measures to rescue Indian sailors if they get trapped deep underwater in a disabled submarine. Even as the US chief of naval operations Admiral Gary Roughead is slated to hold talks with defence minister A K Antony, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and other top military brass next week, India is looking to extend the scope of US Navy's "global submarine rescue fly-away kit service" for its requirements. When India had first inked the contract for the rescue service in 1997, with an initial payment of $734,443, it was meant to be more of an interim measure till Navy acquired DSRVs (deep submergence rescue vessels) of its own.

Under the agreement with US, the American navy is supposed to fly either a DSRV or a 'submarine rescue chamber' to an Indian port or airport nearest to the mishap site within 72 hours. Sources said discussions during Admiral Roughead's visit will, of course, also focus on the Malabar wargames, to be held on the western seaboard off Goa with Indian and American warships and submarines from April 22 to May 2, and ways to further bolster 'interoperability' between the two navies.

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