Monday, January 31, 2011

Air-launched variant of BrahMos soon


An air-to-air variant of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile would be inducted into the Indian Air Force by 2012, said A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of BrahMos Aerospace and chief controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), here on Sunday.

Addressing media persons at the Chennai Science Festival, he said that BrahMos packs in nine times more destructive capacity than any other cruise missile of its class in the world. Much of the missile's blast impact is due to the high velocity that it achieves, which translates into high kinetic energy. Having the capability to travel at three times the speed of sound (Mach 3), it can cover a kilometre in a second. “Work has already commenced on designing a hypersonic missile in collaboration with Russia. It would be able to achieve speeds of Mach 7,” said Mr. Pillai. Delivering a talk on ‘Science in Indian defence' at the science festival, he took the audience, consisting largely of school students, on a tour of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). He gave a historical account of the reasons behind the development of the ballistic missile programme that consists of a battery of five missiles – Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul and Nag.

BrahMos Aerospace to Make Cryogenic Rocket Engines for ISRO


Indo-Russian Joint Venture and cruise missile developers BrahMos Aerospace will manufacture the cryogenic engine once the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) perfects the technology, said a senior official Sunday. The company is also hoping to induct its supersonic cruise missile into the Indian Air Force and develop hypersonic missile in six years' time, chief executive and managing director A.Sivathanu Pillai told reporters in Chennai.

"The ISRO is developing the cryogenic engine to power its GSLV (geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle) rockets. Once ISRO perfects the technology, we will make the engine as the space agency has asked us to do it." Pillai said. The company's wholly owned subsidiary BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvanthapuram Ltd (BATL) that already makes the liquid fuel powered engines and fuel tanks for rockets will make the cryogenic engine, he added.

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India's Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) that holds 50.5 percent stake and Military Industrial Consortium/MPO Machinostroyenia of Russia holding the remaining stake. According to Pillai, $300 million has gone into the venture. Speaking about the supersonic cruise missile for the Indian Air Force, he said it will be ready next year.

Indian Navy scouts for amphibious warfare craft


The Indian Navy is scouting for a mechanised craft to enable troop landings on beaches to augment its amphibious warfare capability. The navy intends to order 10 such craft.

The navy has issued a request for information to global ship-builders to know if they can deliver the craft to India within the specified time frame and also meet its requirements, a senior naval official told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The craft can also be used to ferry military equipment and material between island territories of Andaman and Nicobar on the eastern sea board and Lakshadweep on the western side.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Capability Enhancement for Indian Air Force Jaguar Fleet with MBDA ASRAAMs





MBDA's ASRAAM would provide a significant operational capability enhancement for the Indian Air Force Jaguar fleet in both short and within visual range protection. The weapon system's acquisition ranges are phenomenal and would typically enable a Jaguar pilot to "see", engage and kill the target before it even had the chance to respond. With ASRAAM, the lottery of a close-range dogfight is safely avoided.

Given that the Jaguar will probably be operating at a lower altitude than an in-coming threat, ASRAAM's unmatched speed and 'snap up' capability (the ability of the missile to fire upwards to a very high altitude) is ideally suited to the aircraft’s mission. When combined with a Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS), the aircraft/weapon combination can be used to its full ability.

Because of its sleek, low drag wingless design, proven body lifting techniques and the high speed provided by its 166mm diameter motor, ASRAAM has minimum impact on the desired release envelope. ASRAAM’s high speed also enables rapid and thereby safe separation from the aircraft's 'near field', a major issue when considering risk reduction during the missile integration programme.

France Offers To Sell Iraq Mirage Fighter Jets





France has proposed to sell 18 Mirage fighters to Iraq, which is already negotiating a deal for U.S. F-16s to protect its skies after American forces pull out at the end of this year, the French ambassador said.

He said France was offering the multi-role planes for $1 billion (733 million euros).

Baghdad has been negotiating to buy 18 U.S.-made F-16s, and the cabinet on Jan. 26 authorized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to negotiate the terms of the first payment on the contract, a statement said.

WILL CHINA'S AIRCRAFT CARRIER VARYAG BE AT SEA BEFORE INDIA'S INS VIKRAMADITYA : Expert





After haggling over the escalated price and hiccups experienced, during the conversion of the 44,500 ton Ukrainian built helicopter carrier Admiral Gorshkov into a MiG-29K capable aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy at Severodnisk in Russia, the ship will be handed over in 2013, according to the CNS Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma. The big flat top costing $ 2.3 bill(Rs 9000 crores) named INS Vikramaditya, will then begin the grueling months of engine, machinery, and electronic weapon sea trials and work up of its 1,200 strong ship's company, first to operate the ship as a war fighting machine at sea, and then to embark the fighter squadron planes, on what is called 'landing them on a postage stamp sized deck'. Carrier flying is acknowledged as the acme of professional flying, especially during challenging night landings on moonless nights in rough seas. Only 60 to 70% of pilots make the deck qualification grade. Many pilots get unnerved approaching a dancing deck, when they are expected to fly in with throttles open at over 180 kmph, and thump the 24 ton plus plane down, or open full throttle to go round if they miss one of the three arrestor wires or by chance the tail hook breaks. Arrestor landings are an exhilarating sight to watch, and sailors applaud every catapult like(gullial in Hindi) landing, with claps.

DRDO plans another K-15 missile launch


The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans another test-firing of the K-15 missile from a pontoon off the coast of Visakhapatnam.

Developed under the Sagarika project, the K-15 has been test-fired several times from submerged pontoons off Visakhapatnam.

The pontoon, simulating the conditions of a submarine, will be positioned about 10 to 20 metres below the sea surface. A gas-charged booster will erupt into life, driving the two-stage missile to the surface. The missile's first stage will then ignite and it will climb 20 km in the air before cutting a parabolic path and travelling over a range of 700 km.

Embraer To Roll Out Indian AEW And C On Feb. 21



India’s Embraer-built Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&C) is scheduled for rollout Feb. 21 in Brazil.

A senior defense official confirmed to Aviation Week Jan. 27 that the first flight of the modified EMB-145 is expected around May. “The first EMB-145 will land in India in August 2011 for system integration and subsequent induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF),” the official says.

India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the AEW&C program in October 2004. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) gave the task to the Bengaluru-based Center for Airborne Systems (CABS). The initial project was approved at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore ($396 million) to develop two operational systems and one engineering prototype within 78 months. But the IAF could only finalize the operational requirements in 2007. CCS looked into the delay and extended the probable date of completion to March 2014, while approving funds to carry out additional tasks.

''Hercules'' to be inducted in IAF on Feb 5



Boosting its Special Operationscapabilities, the Indian Air Force will formally induct itsfirst C-130 J ''Hercules'' transport aircraft on February 5.

The aircraft is likely to arrive in the country by theend of this month and would be formally inducted into the IAFat a ceremony at its home base Hindan air base near here onFebruary 5, IAF officials said here.

The first of the six aircraft procured by India under aUSD 970 million deal was handed over to IAF in mid-December.

India: No Plans to Join F-35 program



India has no plans as of now to either join the US-led joint strike fighter (JSF) programme or buy the F-35 `Lightning-II' fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) when it finally becomes operational.

"We cannot have two types of FGFA. We have already launched preliminary work for our FGFA after inking the $295 million preliminary design contract (PDC) with Russia last month,'' said a top defence ministry official on Friday.

This comes in the wake of comments made by a top Pentagon official, undersecretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics Ashton Carter, in Washington that the US was open to Indian participation in its JSF project.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kaveri engine to power fifth generation fighter aircraft


Under development for over two decades, the indigenous fighter jet engine ‘Kaveri’ will be used for powering the home-grown fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

Being developed by DRDO’s Gas Turbine research Establishment (GTRE), the Kaveri was initially being developed for the LCA Tejas programme but now it will be used on the AMCA, which is expected to be ready by 2016-17, senior officials told PTI here.

The AMCA is a twin-engine indigenous fighter aircraft programme for which initial sanctions have already been accorded by the Defence Ministry, they added.

Pakistan warns against India nuclear support

Pakistan warned on Tuesday that growing international support for rival India's nuclear program would force Islamabad to bolster its deterrence and destabilize the region.

In the opening session of the 2011 Conference on Disarmament, Pakistan's ambassador Zamir Akram sharply criticised reported moves to bring its neighbor into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and other bodies that allow trade in nuclear materials, including for weapons.

"Apart from undermining the validity and sanctity of the international non-proliferation regime, these measures shall further destabilize security in South Asia," Akram said.

Taiwan calls for US fighter jets, cites China stealth plane



A top Taiwanese official has renewed calls for Washington to sell the island advanced aircraft in the wake of China's development of its first stealth plane, a report said Wednesday.

Parliamentary speaker Wang Jin-pyng warned that China could upset regional and global order by developing the J-20 jet, the state Central News Agency said.

He urged Washington to provide Taiwan with advanced fighter jets to counter a serious imbalance between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait due to China's rapid military expansion, the report said.

Germany to take fewer A400M planes



Germany will take delivery of only 40 of the 53 Airbus A400M military transport planes it has ordered, the parliamentary budget committee decided Wednesday, in a further blow to the troubled project.

Deputies signed off on the revised project, which will see Germany maintain its order of 53 planes but then sell on 13 of them to another client, a parliamentary source said.

There was no mention of the potential buyer for the unwanted planes in Germany's order but Airbus Military will be charged with selling them on.

Iraqi Army Aviation Adds Four Mi-171E Helicopters to Inventory



The Iraq Army Aviation Command accepted delivery of four new Mi-171E helicopters at its headquarters in Taji, as two were delivered Jan. 16 followed two more Jan. 23.

This latest delivery brings Iraq Army Aviation Command’s total inventory of Mi-171E helicopters to 14, as part of a foreign-military-sales purchase made by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The delivery was part of an ongoing deal coordinated with the help of U.S. Forces-Iraq’s Iraq Security Assistance Mission.

During Operation New Dawn, U.S. forces will continue to advise, train, assist and equip the Iraqi security forces, conduct partnered counterterrorism operations, and support and protect civilian and military efforts focused on developing Iraqi civil and institutional capacity.

China's Project 022 Fast Attack Craft


The Chinese Navy's Project 022 class is, despite its innovative hull design, a classic missile-armed fast attack craft. It is designed for the sole purpose of delivering eight anti-ship missiles to a specified naval target and has virtually no capability outside that area. Its design makes it unsuitable for patrol duties, while its short operational radius limits its applicability to maritime policing work.

In military roles, it is virtually defenseless against air attack and would have to rely on speed and agility to survive in a hostile environment. Craft in this general category were once in great vogue, but experience has shown that they are not an effective military unit outside very limited and specific areas. However, the Chinese Navy happens to have one of those limited and specific areas as a primary operational requirement. Thus, in its specific geostrategic situation, the Project 022 is a viable and effective craft.

The Chinese Navy has gone to significant lengths to reduce the investment in any single Project 022 class FAC-M to a minimum. This does not just apply to equipment standards, austere though they are, but to manpower. The Project 022 has a crew of 12 to 14 sailors, less than half that of similar craft. At a unit cost of an estimated $50 million each, the Chinese could afford both the financial and manpower commitment needed to operate a very large fleet of these craft. Construction is expected to exceed 100 hulls and may well go beyond that point.

USAF Plans to Deploy New Radar



The Electronic Systems Center's Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar program is finalizing one step and heading for the next in its development.

"3DELRR will be the primary ground-based long-range radar for tracking aircraft and ballistic missile threats in theater," said Maj. Brian McDonald, 3DELRR program manager. "It will replace the Air Force's current radar, the TPS-75, as the air surveillance asset used by the Joint Forces Air Component Commander for controlling theater air operations as the airspace control authority and area air defense commander."

Because the TPS-75 was built more than 20 years ago, challenges are occurring with performance and sustainment. In addition, the command and control community has an ever-evolving need to accurately see small targets in stressing environmental conditions, such as weather, terrain and bird flocks, and to see theater ballistic missiles.

Saab Delivers nEUROn Fuselage to Dassault Aviation



Saab AB (Sweden) officially delivered the front and central fuselage sections of the nEUROn European UCAV technology demonstrator to the Prime contractor, Dassault Aviation (France).

For both companies, this delivery constitutes an important milestone after six years of acquisition, sharing and strengthening of know how in the fields of technology and program cooperation. Both companies express their satisfaction about this success that will culminate in nEUROn’s maiden flight in mid-2012 to be followed by several flight test campaigns.

The Saab fuselage section will be transported from Linköping to Istres where it will meet the rear fuselage section already delivered in mid-January by HAI (Greece). The structural elements built by the other partners will rapidly converge towards Istres (France): the ordnance release pantograph by RUAG (Switzerland) will arrive end of February; the two half wings by EADS-CASA (Spain) will arrive beginning of March; the two weapon bay doors by Alenia (Italy) will arrive end of March; and the three landing gear doors by Saab will arrive in April. In addition, several stealthiness-related parts will be delivered by Dassault Aviation between January and March.

F-15E Flies with New Radar System



Officials took a step forward in the F-15E Strike Eagle's continuous technological evolution as the Air Force's most versatile combat aircraft here Jan. 18.

Officials from the 46th Test Wing launched the fourth generation fighter for the first time with a new and improved radar system, the APG-82(V)1.

The APG-82 uses active electronically scanned array radar technology composed of numerous small solid-state transmit and receive modules. The standard radar, APG-70, is a mechanically scanned array housed in the nose of the aircraft. Although the current F-15E radar has undergone numerous updates and upgrades, it is still the same system the aircraft had on its maiden flight more than 24 years ago.

Israeli Army Introduces New 120mm Tank Round



The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Armored Corps positioned along the Gaza Strip were recently equipped with IMI's new High Explosive Multi-Purpose (HE-MP) M339 tank round (in Hebrew: Kalanit).

The advanced tank round has been developed by IMI as a response to an urgent request of the IDF Armored Corps based on lessons learned in the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the 2008 Cast Lead Operation.

The unique, state-of-the-art tank round is designed for the Merkava Mk3 and Mk4 and worldwide Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) equipped with 120mm smooth bore guns.

Europe Divided Over China Arms Sales

Britain is on a collision course with the European Union over the sale of arms to China. Since the Beijing government crackdown on protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989, EU member states have been banned from selling goods that could be used by the Chinese military.

China’s new J-20 stealth fighter roars along the runway and takes to the skies, the maiden test-flight of a plane designed to rival the United States’ radar-eluding aircraft.

Images of the flight, leaked on the Internet and subsequently confirmed as genuine by the Beijing government, have focused attention on China’s military modernization.

The European Union banned the sale of military technology to China following the crackdown on dissidents in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Canada Signs Deal For New Radar Systems



Thales Canada announced that it has been awarded the Tactical Control Radar contract by the Department of National Defence. Thales will supply and integrate two Ground Master 400 (GM 400) radars deployable with a suite of communications and operator control systems.

“We are pleased to deliver on The Government of Canada’s challenging requirements with our Ground Master radar that provides accurate detection against a vast array of modern-day threats while maintaining a high level of mobility,” said Paul Kahn, Thales Canada President and CEO. “This builds on our 40 year track record of providing world-class sensor systems to the Canadian Forces as highlighted by our recent award to Thales Canada for SMART-S radars for the Canadian Navy’s Halifax class frigates.”

The GM 400 is a 3-D long-range air defence radar, offering detection from very high to very low altitudes. It tracks a wide range of targets from highly manoeuvrable low-flying tactical aircraft to unconventional smaller targets such as UAVs, ensuring an excellent wide-area air picture.

U.S. Pledges Help For Philippine Navy



The United States said Jan. 27 it would help boost the Philippines' capacity to patrol its waters as part of a larger goal of keeping vital Asian sea lanes open amid the rise of China.

The pledge came from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell on the first day of an inaugural security dialogue between the two allies.

"One of the subjects for discussions tomorrow will be the bilateral steps that (we) can take to increase the Philippines' maritime capacity," Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Indian Navy sailing ship INS Sudarshini hits water


INS Sudarshini, Indian Navy's second sail training ship commissioned in its fleet which was in a ceremony held at port town of Vasco.

Indian Navy has named its new sailing ship as INS Sudarshini on commissioning at a later date. The ship is a follow on class of INS Tarangini. Sudarshini means “Beautiful Lady.” Smt Letha Sushil, her self a sudarshini, spouse of Vice Admiral KN Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Southern Naval Command launched Navy’s next sail training ship at Goa Shipyard today.

INS Tarangani, named after waves is a three-masted Barque in sailing parlance i.e. square rigged on the Fore and Main masts

and fore and aft rigged on Mizzen mast. The ship has been designed by Mr. Colin Muddie, a famous Naval Architect and yacht designer of U.K. and built by Goa Shipyard Ltd. Reputed firms from U.K have supplied the sailing rig.

INS Tarangini was commissioned on 11 Nov 1997, and is primarily meant for the sail training of cadets. She also conducts sail training capsules for cadets of the National Defence Academy, Naval Academy and INS Shivaji, the training establishment for technical cadets.

F-22 Raptor, 'smartest fighter' likely at Aero India


The world’s most advanced combat aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, is likely to make a rare appearance outside the US during the upcoming Aero India show in Bangalore next month. This will be the first appearance of the stealth fighter, which is also the only operational fifth generation fighter aircraft in the world, in India and its third participation at an international air show.

Final details are being worked out by the US, but sources said that two of the fighters are set to be flown in for the air show that begins on February 9 and will be showcased as a static display. Defence Ministry officials confirmed that the fighter is likely to make its Indian debut at the air show, making the latest edition of the Aero India the grandest ever.

While it was inducted into the US military in 2005, the stealth aircraft has rarely been seen outside its country and has made appearances only at limited air shows, the first being at Farnborough in 2008. According to a release by the US State department, the only other participation has been at an air show in Chile last year. However, the fighter has also carried out flying demonstrations at the Dubai air show. Its participation at the Aero India would take it up by several notches in the international order of air shows.

US lifts ban on ISRO, DRDO

The United States on Monday removed several Indian government defense-related companies, including four subsidiaries each of DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organisation) and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), from the so-called Entity List, in an effort to drive hi-tech trade and forge closer strategic ties with India.

With this, the 13-year old squeeze on export of high-tech, dual-use items to the Indian defence and space entities, imposed after India's nuclear tests in 1998, comes to an end. "Today's action marks a significant milestone in reinforcing the US-India strategic partnership and moving forward with export control reforms that will facilitate high technology trade and cooperation," U.S Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement after the administration issued a federal notification removing the curbs.

The lifting of curbs, described by the administration as the "first steps" to implement the export control policy initiatives announced by President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Singh on November 8, 2010, precedes a visit to New Delhi on February 6 of Secretary Locke, who is leading 24 U.S. businesses on a high-tech trade mission to India hoping to snag billions of dollars of export orders. It also comes on the eve of India's Republic Day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

K-15 test rescheduled to Jan 31

The DRDO has rescheduled the test-firing of submarine launched ballistic missile ( SLBM) K-15 to January 31. It was supposed to be test-fired from an underwater platform off the Vishakhapatnam coast on January 20. “The test was first scheduled on January 16, but was postponed to January 20. Now it has again been rescheduled to January 31 due to delay in arrangements. It is a coordinated exercise of both land and Navy personnel,” a source said.

“India can join the league of five nations, Russia, US, France, Britain and China, with the successful launch of the K-15 missile. These countries already possess advanced missiles that can be launched from a submarine,” sources said.

The indigenously developed K-15 or the B-05 missile are 10 metres in length, one metre in diameter and weighs ten tonnes with a strike range of around 700 km.

India getting ready to match PLA firepower


In an effort to meet the challenge of growing military might of China, the Government has given the nod to some key projects, including creation of a new artillery division, a special forces unit and purchase of three aircraft for long-range reconnaissance.

The raising of a new artillery division (each division has more than 200 long-range guns) will be completed by the end of 2011 while the special forces unit, also to be raised and trained in the same time span, will aim to perform strategic role behind enemy lines in case of hostility. The three reconnaissance aircraft will be acquired, most probably from Israel, by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), sources said.

The nod for these crucial steps came two weeks back, sources said, adding that the artillery division and the special forces unit will work alongside two mountain divisions which were created last year. Each division has 10,000 soldiers and they are specially trained for mountain warfare on the eastern front.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Embraer to Refurbish Brazilian AMX Fighters



Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force – FAB (Comando da Aeronáutica – COMAER) have signed a contract to overhaul 43 AMX jet fighters. This deal complements the previous contract to modernize AMX fighters signed in 2003.

“We’re very proud to support the Brazilian Air Force in keeping this strategic aircraft fully operational,” explains Orlando José Ferreira Neto, Commercial Vice President, Embraer Defense and Security. “With this new contract, we will be able to more adequately get the aircraft prepared and ready for their subsequent modernization program, under an ongoing contract, so as to ensure a more efficient and steady flow for the fighters’ overall updating process and to expedite their return to operation.”

The original modernization contract focuses on an upgrade of the electronic systems of the AMX jets, called the A-1 by the FAB. This new agreement deals with a structural overhaul and the repair and substitution of other outdated equipment.

First Latvian SWATH Patrol Boat Launched


The first SWATH@A&R-type Patrol Boat worldwide was christened today at Abeking & Rasmussen Shipyard in Lemwerder. Mrs. Nellija Kleinberga, Mayor of the Latvian town Skrunda, dropped the bottle of champagne onto the bow and named the vessel “SKRUNDA”.

“SKRUNDA” is the first vessel of a series of five well proven 25m SWATH@A&R design of Abeking & Rasmussen. In co-operation with Riga Shipyard, the vessels are being built in Riga and Lemwerder.

The new vessels feature a modular mission bay at the fore ship. By fitting appropriate mission payloads, such as a diving module or a MCM module, the capabilities of the vessels can be enhanced flexibly.

Lockheed Martin to Demonstrate Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)



Lockheed Martin has received two contracts totaling $218 million for the Demonstration Phase of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program.

The program encompasses the rapid development and demonstration of two distinct variants of the LRASM missile: LRASM-A is a stealthy air-launched variation and LRASM-B is a high-speed ship-launched missile.

Lockheed Martin's LRASM-A team received a $60.3 million cost plus fixed fee contract to execute two air-launched demonstrations, leveraging its Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) experience and demonstrating Navy and Air Force tactical aircraft employment.

IAF to get dedicated communication satellite this year



The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon get its first dedicated communication satellite for networking its sensors and weapon platforms, which will help in upgrading its war-fighting capabilities.

"We are going to soon get a dedicated satellite for communications... Satellites are common to all three services but under network centric issues, they are primarily for addressing communications," assistant chief of air staff air vice marshal M Matheswaran said in New Delhi.

He was responding to queries about plans to get a dedicated satellite for communications to achieve network centricity in the IAF.

Indian Navy accelerates Nuclear Submarine programme


The Indian Navy has begun construction of second and third of its nuclear submarines, speeding up the indigenous underwater capability programme.

According to well placed sources, while work on Arihant, the first nuclear submarine that was launched in 2010, was going on as scheduled, construction of the hull and sub components of the remaining two submarines was also underway. Considerable experience has been built from the development of Arihant, and the successive two submarines would be successively more potent with more power and punch.

The Indian Navy also hopes to get the nuclear powered K-152 Nerpa from Russia around March 2011, and that would help Indian officers and seamen in gaining renewed experience in operating nuclear vessels. Indian crews are already training on board the vessel, an Akula-II class 12,000 tonne submarine.

Boeing withdraws from Indian midair tanker tender

Boeing has withdrawn from the midair tanker competiton floated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in September 2010.

That leaves only the European Airbus A330 MRTT and the Russian IL 78 in the fray for supplying six midair refuelers to the IAF, which may actually buy a few more aircraft on follow-on orders later.

At present, IAF flies six IL 78 tankers, which are doing well but are of old technology and IAF is looking for newer, better options. In fact, the Airbus 330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) had won the competition earlier but as it was regarded as too expensive, re-tendering was ordered.

Marine tanks prepare for their first missions in Afghanistan


Early versions of the tank shaped the battlefields of World War I, and more sophisticated versions helped quickly end the Gulf War for the U.S. Now tanks have landed in Afghanistan to help bring security to Helmand province.

Marines with Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), began preparing for upcoming missions by sighting-in the main cannon and machine guns on their M1A1 Abrams tanks during a firing range exercise at Camp Leatherneck, Jan. 13.

The tanks, which were flown here from Kuwait, are not the vehicles the Marines have trained with and some preparation must be done before they are ready for combat, said Capt. Daniel Hughes, commanding officer of Delta Co., 1st Tanks.

China Restores Soviet Aircraft Carrier: Expert


China has nearly finished restoring an old Soviet aircraft carrier bought in 1998, which will be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously built ship, an expert said Jan. 19.

The Varyag, a Kuznetsov-class carrier, was originally built for the Soviet navy, but construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Its immense armored hull, with no engine, electrics or propeller, was bought by China in 1998 and towed from Ukraine's Black Sea coast to China.

Russian Bomber Planes Intercepted In Dutch Airspace


Two Russian bombers were intercepted by Dutch F-16 planes last night. The Russians had flown into Dutch airspace; it is not clear why the Russian planes were there.

The F-16s were ordered to monitor the movements of the Bear Tu-95 planes. Before they entered Dutch airspace, the Russians were escorted by the Norwegian and Danish air forces.

The F-16s followed the Russian planes until the British air force took over above the British Isles.

It is not known why the Russians were flying in Dutch airspace without identifying themselves.

Indian Navy Denies Seeking Three More Scorpene submarines




The Indian navy has denied it is looking at a follow-on order for three additional Scorpene submarines, despite a statement from an industry official to the contrary.

India ordered six Scorpene diesel-electric attack submarines under the Indian navy’s project dubbed P75. The subs are being assembled by a joint venture between French shipbuilder DCNS and the Mumbai shipyard Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL).

Patrick Boissier, chairman and CEO of DCNS, who was a part of the delegation accompanying French President Nicolas Sarkozy on his recent visit to India, had said discussions were on with the ministry of defense and Indian navy for a possible future order for subs equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. A Request for Proposal is expected in 2011.

India to showcase attack copter at Aero India 2011


India’s first indigenous attack helicopter, the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) developed by HAL and due for induction into the Indian Air Force by 2012-13 , will make its first flight during Aero India from February 9 to 13. Its first test flight was in March last year.

The second and third flights were in April and May 2010 and as of now, over 20 test flights have checked various parameters. These have paved the way for testing with weapons.

While the first prototype could fly at the air show, the second prototype, which will be weaponized, is expected to be unveiled too. Two more prototypes are under construction. HAL commenced work on the LCH in 2006.

S. Korea, Russia In Arms Technology Transfer Talks

South Korea has been negotiating with Russia to receive advanced defense technology as part of debt repayments, officials said Jan. 18.

Russia has so far provided South Korea with weapons worth $740 million as a way of repaying about $1.3 billion in debts dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.

Seoul is now in talks on the transfer of cutting-edge technology from Moscow, the South's Defence Acquisition Programme Administration said.

Taiwan tests missiles as U.S., China meet



Taiwan tested 19 missiles Tuesday on the eve of a summit meeting between U.S. President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, officials said.

The timing of the exercise, a day before Obama is to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington, was widely seen as coincidental, The New York Times reported.

Taiwanese government officials said the date for the missile exercise was decided on before the dates for Hu's trip were known.

Elbit Selling Hermes Drones to Brazilian Air Force



Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems said Jan. 19 that it will supply the Brazilian Air Force with unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Hermes 450 drones will be supplied by Elbit's Brazilian subsidiary, Aeroeletronica Ltd.

The deal is part of efforts by the Brazilian Air Force "to establish independent Unmanned Aircraft Systems capabilities," the company said.

Bolivia Set To Receive 6 Karakorum Combat Jets From China



Bolivia is set to receive six Chinese-made combat aircraft to be used to fight drug trafficking, the head of the Bolivian Air Force said Jan. 18.

Air Force Commander Gen. Tito Gandarilla told local journalists that the K-8 Karakorum jets are scheduled to be delivered in April, at a cost of $58 million.

The aircraft, bought through a loan from China, will be the first of their kind for Bolivia, which currently has only training and freight aircraft.

McKeon: China Got Stealth Technology From Russia



China got the technology for its first stealth fighter jet from Russia, a senior U.S. lawmaker said Jan. 18, one week after the airplane apparently made its maiden flight.

"My understanding is that they built it on information that they received from Russia, from a Russian plane, that they were able to copy," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon told reporters.

McKeon, a Republican, said he hoped to "hear more" on the issue from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was on a visit to Beijing when Chinese state media published photographs of the J-20 fighter in the skies over southwestern China.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

India plan's to have a Cold Start Doctrine



The Indian Army unveiled its new war doctrine, A strategy developed by the Indian military to fight a lightning and limited war with Pakistan without crossing nuclear red lines. Thereafter, the new war doctrine was circulated to all the Army Commands for discussion and comments at formation levels. In tandem, the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) and the Army War College were tasked to fine-tune the operational concepts of the doctrine.

Cold Start involves the deployment of battle groups inside Pakistan within 72 hours of a Mumbai-style attack to carry out a punitive operation without threatening the survival of the Pakistani state and triggering a nuclear confrontation.

It flows from the Indian government's slow-footed response to an attack on parliament in 2001, which was also traced back to Pakistani militant groups, when it took months for the large, lumbering army to deploy on the borders.

India to pay almost three times more than Pak for US Harpoons


The defence ministry is set to procure 21 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles and its five training varieties of ATM 84L Harpoon Block II from the US government for a total of $ 200 million (approximately Rs 909 crore).

But this price is about 200 per cent more than what Pakistan paid four years ago for the same missiles, the Harpoon Block II. While the average unit cost of the missiles for India is a little less than $ 8 million (approximately Rs 36 crore), Islamabad paid only about $ 3 million (approximately Rs 13 crore) per unit. Pakistan's consignment of 130 units had cost $ 370 million (approximately Rs 1,682 crore).

While the defence ministry refused to comment on the deal in response to a written questionnaire, the US government's Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the US Congress about the impending deal under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme.

Pakistani aircraft detected flying close to Indian air space: IAF

Two Pakistani aircraft today flew close to the international border in the Jammu sector, triggering an air defence alert of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The two low-flying Pakistani light aircraft were detected close to Indian territory and were sighted by BSF troops deployed in the RS Pura Sector in Jammu, IAF sources said.

"Their movement and approach were picked up by our sensors and radars," they said.

Thought the aircraft were flying in Pakistani territory, it was a breach of agreement between the two sides barring flying of fixed-wing aircraft in 10km area from each side of the international boundary, they said.

DRDO Develops CSS For Quicker Pilot Ejection

The time taken by a pilot to eject from his aircraft during emergencies has been reduced to a few milliseconds, thanks to a system developed by the DRDO laboratories in Pune. The Canopy Severance System (CSS), fitted to the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), is not only quicker but safer too, say DRDO officials.

According to them, other aircraft have a canopy jettison system which is mechanical and takes longer to be operational. In this, the entire canopy of the cockpit flies off and could result in injury to the pilot. The indigenously developed CSS, however, uses explosives and allows just a portion of the canopy to be severed. This minimizes the chance of injury during flight, said a communication from DRDO laboratories. Cockpit canopy removal or destruction is a vital part of the escape process. "Ejection usually takes 14 seconds but with the new system, it would take a pilot just 20 milliseconds to eject from the aircraft," a DRDO spokesperson told TOI.

"The CSS of the Tejas aircraft is based on a high explosive. It can also be operated from outside the aircraft, especially when the pilot is unconscious due to injury or in the event of a crash-landing," he said. "The system has been developed using technologies available in India. Therefore, it is cost effective," he added.

The Armament Research & Development Establishment and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory also played a major role in developing the system. The Aeronautical Development Agency is developing the LCA in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautical Limited."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Indian Army may finally induct howitzers in 2011



The Army may finally exorcise its Bofors ghost this year by inducting its first-ever 155mm howitzers since the infamous scandal in the mid-1980s completely derailed its artillery modernisation plan.

"I am very hopeful that we should be able to see some induction of one type of artillery gun this year itself. For others, there are certain trials in progress and certain RFPs (request for proposals) in the pipeline,'' said Army chief Gen V K Singh.

The first gun to be inducted is likely to be the M-777 ultra-light howitzers, 145 of which India will buy from US in a direct government-to-government deal worth $647 million under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

Arjun Mark II ready for summer and winter trials this year


Within a year of the government approving a project for an upgraded indigenous main battle tank (MBT), India’s defence research agency has readied a Mark II version that will undergo summer and winter trials this year.The defence ministry had last May given its nod to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the Arjun MkII MBT which would have enhanced features over the first lot of 124 tanks that have been delivered to the army over the last two years.

‘The Arjun MkII tanks will go for summer trials this year and later for winter trials at the end of 2011,’ a defence ministry official said here Monday.

The army is already operating two regiments of Arjun tanks in the western sector and has placed an order for an additional 124 – two regiments – of the 58-tonne tanks from the Avadi-based manufacturer, Heavy Vehicles Factory.

MBDA to display missiles for Indian Armed Forces at Aero India 2011



MBDA is bringing in missile power at the Aero India 2011. Proposed in the frame of Mirage 2000 upgrade program, MICA air-to-air missile will also be displayed on MBDA stall. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. It is sometimes referred to as the silent interceptor as it is extremely hard to defend against.

For the Indian Air Force MMRCA missile solutions, MBDA is displaying Meteor, Dual Mode Brimstone, Taurus KEPD 350 and SCALP/Storm Shadow. MBDA is offering them for the three European aircraft options lined up for the IAF’s MMRCA competition, Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Gripen.

MBDA says that Meteor, if procured, the IAF will benefit from a performance that will ensure launch aircraft survivability while minimising missile usage and, therefore, whole life cost.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Russian and Indian Navy Discuss Training of Indian Crew for Vikramaditya


Admiral Vladimir Sergeevich Vysotskiy, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy is visiting India from 17 -19 Jan 11 at the invitation of Admiral Nirmal Verma, Chief of Naval Staff. After paying homage to the martyrs at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, the Admiral called on Admiral Nirmal Verma.

The two Admirals had discussions on issues of common interest ranging from the maritime environment in the IOR, operational philosophies of the two navies, ongoing projects of Indian Navy and mutual training exchanges. Discussions on ongoing projects included detailed deliberations on the training of Indian Naval personnel for the operation of aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, scheduled to commence later this year. Whilst discussing the maritime environment, specific emphasis was laid on the growing threat of piracy in the IOR and various possibilities for the two navies to co-operate. Other matters discussed included possibilities for instituting Navy-to-Navy interactions with 'staff talks' and the feasibility of enhancing the scope of the INDRA exercises between the Indian Navy and the Russian Navy.

India and Russia share deep historical linkages for over fifty years and in recent years defence relations between the two countries have transformed into a strategic partnership with various joint developmental programmes. Indian Navy and Russian Navy have regularly conducted joint exercises named 'INDRA' since 2003. Five exercises have been held so far. The last exercise INDRA 09/01 was conducted off Goa and INS Beas made a port call at St Petersburg.

After Vihang Netra, SMEs float first mini-UAV



Within two years of developing the Vihang Netra, India’s first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the private sector built for the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment, a DRDO lab, a conglomeration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is now ready with the country’s first, hand-launched mini-UAV— E-5.

Pune-based DEMA Mechatronic Technologies Pvt. Ltd (DMT) the manufacturing arm of the Defence Electronics Manufacturers Association (DEMA), which played a crucial role in the Vihang Netra exercise, has come up with the E-5, which was successfully tested on December 27 at the Gliding Centre in Hadapsar.

“This is the first time a UAV has been developed by a professional body and that too for being offered off-the-shelf. Traditionally, defence procurement is a laid down procedure that involves placing requirements followed by research, development and handing over. This time, we decided to develop the product and approach the Armed Forces with it. The UAV is ready and depending upon the end-user, which in this case could be the Armed Forces as well as paramilitary forces, we would customise the product further," said D S Kamlapurkar, former president, DEMA.

Call to speed up Indo-Russian fighter project


Russia and India should speed up work on their joint fifth-generation fighter plane to meet the challenge from the Chinese rival unveiled earlier this week, said a leading military expert.

“The Chinese prototype of a fifth-generation aircraft, J-20, appears to be a long-range strike aircraft and as such it will pose a potential threat to India,” said analyst Konstantin Makienko of the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST).

China's stealth fighter made its first 15-minute flight on Tuesday over an airfield in the south-western city of Chengdu. Mr. Makienko called the test flight an “unquestionable success” for the Chinese defence industry.

Britain wants to cooperate with India in Navy ship building

Britain Friday said it wanted to extend cooperation with India in the field of naval ship building.

"There is a considerable scope. There are common things like the way we build ships in the UK. The way we operate is common with the way India does. We do think that naval area is one where there are immense opportunities," British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg told reporters here.

India and the UK have had a long Navy-to-Navy relationship as both the aircraft carriers which the Indian Navy has operated were earlier in service with the British Navy.

India, which has embarked on a major modernisation plan for its armed forces, has emerged as a favourite with various defence equipment-manufacturing countries with its plan of spending over USD 100 billion on defence in the next ten years.

Indian Army to be lethal, agile force with two-front war capability

The Indian Army Friday said it was going through a transformation to emerge as a 'lethal, agile and networked' force capable of meeting challenges on both the western and eastern fronts with Pakistan and China.

Army Chief General V.K. Singh said it was planning new acquisitions and reforms in its command and control structure that would ensure it 'plugs the gaps' in its operational capability and at the same time be able to take 'quicker, effective decisions' to be responsive to situations.

For that purpose, the army was now thinking aloud on integrating its 'strategic force elements' into a single command, under which its offensive Strike Corps are placed, apart from restructuring its formation headquarters, including the army headquarters.

India’s MMRCA trials help Russian aerial refueling tanker bid


Flight trials of the six contenders for India’s Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender have had an unusual side effect on the race to sell India aerial refueling aircraft. Asked to prove aerial refueling capability, the contenders, F-16, Gripen, Rafale, F/A 18, MiG-35 and Eurofighter have had no option but use the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s existing tanker, the Il-86 mid-air refueler to prove that their aircraft is capable of meeting IAF’s requirements as regarding aerial refuelling.

The Il-86 is a contender in India’s re-floated bid to buy fresh aerial refueling tankers. Fresh bids are due later this month and the besides the Il-86, the other likely contenders are the Airbus A-330 MRTT and the Boeing KC-X. The success of the MMRCA aerial refueling tests means that the IL-76 tanker will have a stronger case due to the fact that its capability has been proven on all the MMRCA bidders, one of which will be eventually selected.

In fact, the MMRCA contenders had to make major modifications to their aerial refueling systems to match the IL-76’s fuel pipe mating and locking systems to prove that the their aircraft can be refueled in mid-air.

US likely to lift ban on ISRO, DRDO soon

The US, which imposed curbs on trade with defence entities like ISRO and DRDO following India's nuclear tests in 1998, has set in motion regulatory changes to lift the ban soon, thus fulfilling a commitment made by President Barack Obama.

A formal notification to lift the ban by the US Department of Commerce for this purpose is in advanced stage, top US officials said.

"These regulatory changes will begin the transformation of the bilateral export control policies to realise the full potential of the strategic partnership between our two countries," Eric Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for Industry and Security, US Department of Commerce, told PTI.

Indian Astronauts Must Wait For A Better Rocket


The 2010 Christmas Day failure of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle was a sad blow to India's space program. ISRO, India's space agency, lost a rocket and a major satellite. There's an obvious need to plan a replacement for the lost bird, and debug the problems that caused the failure. Beyond this, there could be further implications. The loss of this rocket will have an influence on India's fledgling human spaceflight program.

India announced plans for a space capsule in 2008, and planning has gone on without much comment ever since. The capsule is a blunt, conical spacecraft with a cylindrical service module. It's designed to carry up to three astronauts. The generically dubbed "orbital vehicle" is designed to be launched by a modified version of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, the same rocket that recently failed.

Sadly, this is not the first time that GLSV has failed. Out of a total of seven launches, only two are judged to be complete successes. Four were unquestionable failures (including both of the launch attempts in 2010). One 2007 flight is judged to be a partial failure, placing a satellite in the wrong orbit.

Eurofighter ahead in IAF deal


The buzz has started about which new ‘fighter bird’ will rule the Indian skies as well as those of enemy. The Eurofighter aircraft, it seems, has emerged the winner after a long ‘dogfight’ among six foreign 4.5th generation jet planes to clinch over $10-billion Indian Air Force deal for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). The second runner-up is said to be the French fighter Rafale.

Despite the aggressive business-oriented visit of US President Barack Obama recently, two major competing American military aircraft makers, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, have lost their pitch.

Growing Indo-US strategic relations have not helped the American diplomatic and arms lobbies to get either of the two planes touch the winning mark. India had shortlisted six aircraft: American Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN ‘Super Viper’, US Boeing’s ‘Super Hornet’ F/A-18IN, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV (EADS)’ Eurofighter Typhoon - EADS is a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italy firms - French D'assault's Rafale, Swedish Saab’s Gripen, and Russian MiG-35. The MMRCAs induction is likely to start by 2015.

India Unveils New Defense Production Policy, Procurement Procedures

With a view to achieve substantive self reliance in design, development and production of defence equipment, weapon systems and platforms, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony unveiled the first ever Defence Production Policy (DPrP) here today.

The policy also aims at creating conditions conducive for the private industries to play an active role to achieve the objective. DPrP will act as a catalyst to enhance potential of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for indigenisation as also for broadening the defence research and development base of the country.

Releasing the document, Shri Antony said the Policy aims to achieve maximum synergy among the Armed Forces, DPSUs, OFBs, Indian Industry and Research and Development institutions. The function was attended among others by the Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju, Defence Secretary, Shri Pradeep Kumar, Secretary Defence Production, Shri Raj Kumar Singh and the DG Acquisition Shri Vivek Rae.

Global Observer Makes First Hydrogen-Powered Flight





The Global Observer unmanned aircraft system successfully completed its first flight powered by the aircraft's hydrogen-fueled propulsion system here Jan. 6.

This milestone marks the beginning of high-altitude, long-endurance flight testing for the demonstration and operational utility phase of this Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program.

"Global Observer has moved quickly from development and testing toward demonstrating mission-ready, affordable persistence," said Tim Conver, the chairman and chief executive officer for AeroVironment, Inc., the maker of the system.

Israel tested Stuxnet on Iran, with US help: report


US and Israeli intelligence services collaborated to develop a destructive computer worm to sabotage Iran's efforts to make a nuclear bomb, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The newspaper quoted intelligence and military experts as saying Israel has tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, which apparently shut down a fifth of Iran's nuclear centrifuges in November and helped delay its ability to make its first nuclear weapons.

The testing took place at the heavily guarded Dimona complex in the Negev desert housing the Middle East's sole, albeit undeclared nuclear weapons program. Experts and officials told the Times the effort to create Stuxnet was a US-Israeli project with the help, knowingly or not, of Britain and Germany.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saab, BEL Joint Venture for Coastal Surveillance; Giraffe AMBs, Arthur Radars On Offer







Mr. Inderjit Sial, Country Head of Saab -- a leading Swedish defense company, confirmed that they have tied up with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for enhancing India's coastal security, surveillance and coverage capabilities.

The two companies have also formed a Joint Venture which would produce and market Giraffe / Sea Giraffe AMB (Agile Multi Beam) and the Arthur WLS (Weapon Locating System) radars.

"It is a $16 million contract awarded to SAAB by Director General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL). Estimated duration of entire project would be 18 months. We are executing this contract jointly with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

We have formed a JV with BEL for production and marketing of Giraffe/Sea Giraffe AMB. In addition to Giraffe we also offer ARTHUR."
-- Mr. Inderjit Sial, Country Head, Saab

Israel bars AESA radar export to India

The Israeli defence ministry has blocked the potential export sale of Israel Aerospace Industries' EL/M-2052 active electronically scanned array radar to a number of countries, with its action having an immediate impact on the Indian market.

The restrictions were imposed following pressure from the US administration, which has outlined its concerns to Israel several times in the past two years.

Washington's position is driven by an assumption that exporting IAI's advanced radar would undermine the sale of US-made systems on the international stage, sources say.

Chinese Leaders Surprised by J-20 Fighter Test



A senior U.S. defense official says China’s civilian leaders did not know about Tuesday’s first flight test of the country’s new fighter jet when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked about it during a meeting with President Hu Jintao.

The situation raised concerns among U.S. officials, coming during the secretary’s high-profile visit and just a week before President Hu meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said when Secretary Gates asked about the test during a meeting with President Hu Tuesday afternoon, "it was clear that none of the civilians in the room had been informed." President Hu is a civilian, and he is also chairman of the country’s Central Military Commission.

US, China to Resume, Extend Military Relations

The United States and China are world powers that need to cooperate, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

At a news conference with after their meeting at the Bayi Building, Gates and Gen. Liang Guanglie, China’s minister of national defense, spoke of the importance of strong, reliable military-to-military contacts between the nations.

“Our two nations now have an extraordinary opportunity to define our relationship not by the obstacles that at times divide us, but by the opportunities that exist to foster greater cooperation and bring us closer together,” Gates said.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

China Conducts First Flight Test of J-20





The Chinese fighter test aircraft, unofficially called J-20, has completed its first flight as a video was released.

Photos of the J-20 flying show it remaining in a tight pattern with its undercarriage extended.

A two-seat J-10 fighter acted as chase plane for the J-20 during the flight, which has been awaited since the big fighter began taxi tests at Chengdu in December (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 4).

Germany, Italy want U.S. support for MEADS





Germany and Italy have asked U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to continue supporting the Medium Extended Air Defense System, endangered because of budget pressures.
"We know he's been contacted by the German and Italian counterparts, asking for support for MEADS," Mike Trotsky, vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems at Lockheed Martin, was quoted as saying by Defensenews.com. "They've already garnered support for MEADS in their respective countries and have the funding available, so we're waiting for Secretary Gates to make his decision and we're assuming he'll make a decision to continue."

Funded by the United States, Germany and Italy, MEADS is aimed at developing a replacement for the aging Patriot and Nike Hercules missile systems. The program is one of several that may be cut due to growing pressure on defense budgets.

The U.S. Congress has withheld 75 percent of money earmarked for MEADS in the 2011 budget until the Pentagon provides reasons why it should continue.

British company developing invisible tanks

British military scientists say they're working to develop an army of invisible tanks ready for use on the battlefield within five years.
The armored vehicles will use a technology known as "e-camouflage" that would let images on the vehicle's hull change to match their environment, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Sophisticated electronic sensors attached the tank's hull would project images of the surrounding environment back on the outside of the vehicle, helping it blend into the landscape and evade attack, the report said.

Until recently such ideas were thought to be the stuff of science fiction, but scientists at the British defense company BAE Systems now think near invisibility will soon become reality.

Chinese troops 'threaten' Indians in disputed area

India on Monday said Chinese troops had threatened Indian workers in an area of the Himalayas claimed by both countries, in the latest sign of long-standing cross-border friction.
Indian army chief General V.K. Singh told reporters that the workers were illegally building a shelter at Demchok in the Ladakh region of Indian Kashmir when the Chinese military patrol threatened them in September or October.

The borders between India and China have been the subject of 14 rounds of fruitless talks since 1962, when the two nations fought a brief but a brutal war over the issue.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said the Chinese troops told the builders to stop work and shouted at them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Russia To Develop New Heavy ICBM By 2020



Russia's state arms procurement program through 2020 provides for the development of a new heavy ballistic missile, a leading missile designer said on Monday.

The final decision should be made in 2012-13 by the expert community, not solely the Defense Ministry, said Yury Solomonov of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), the developer of the troubled Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile.

"This matter is beyond the Defense Ministry's competence. It is a matter of state importance," he said.

Iraq To Buy 26 Billion Dollars Worth Of Armaments From USA


Iraq will buy armaments worth $13 billion from the United States by 2013 and will spend another $13 bn on weapons later, a Baghdad newspaper reported citing an Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman.

Al Ittihad quoted Major General Mohammed Al Askari as saying that Iraq has already concluded a contract worth more than $13 bn with the United States.

The money will be used to buy aircraft, helicopters, tanks, other armored vehicles, warships and missiles, to enter service with the Iraqi defense and interior ministries.

China leads: What does the Indian aircraft making lack?


As India grows, it is scaling new aspirations in technology. And not surprisingly it is China again whose meteoric rise has now spurred India to reach another milestone—have our very own commercial jetliner.

India did show promise when NAL came out with the Saras in 2008. But serial production has been delayed over several technical problems, and then came the bombshell—our neighbour has not just developed but now starting serial production of its commercial aircraft.

China might have stolen a march, but India seemed to be back on track last year. In May 2010, the government decided to plough ahead with the RTA 70 project, which aims to develop a indigenous regional transport aircraft. Saras set the platform—the hope was to chisel it into something bigger.

LCA Tejas handed over to Indian Air force



The much awaited the India’s own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’, was handed over to the IAF by Defence minister, A K Antony. LCA tejas has cleared the Initial Operational Clearance. IAF will now be able to fly the aircraft under its own colors and it will contribute to Final Operational Clearance (FOC). The FOC is expected to be achieved by the end of 2012. IAF intends to deploy the aircraft at one of its bases in Bangalore. This will enable DRDO support for ironing out the “teething problems” associated with induction of a new aircraft. IAF has announced to form first LCA squadrons at its Sulur air base near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

The day was not without controversy. IAF Chief was misunderstood as saying that it was not a Fourth Generation aircraft. Air Chief Marshal PV Naik later clarified that it was a fourth generation aircraft. He said that some systems and maneuvers have to be finalized leading to the FOC.

IAF plans to induct two squadrons in IOC mode by the middle of 2011. The IAF has already placed the orders for 40 LCAs in March 2005. The first 40 LCAs are powered by the American General Electric GE-F404 engines. The value of these 40 aircraft is estimated around Rs. 7,000 crore.

France transferring Submarine Technolgy to India


According to Patrick Boissier, Chairman and CEO of DCNS, which is executing India’s biggest submarine building programme for six diesel-electric Scorpene submarines, said that India’s Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) had already “absorbed the demanding technologies associated with hull fabrication” and that hulls for the first two submarines had been completed.

The delivery of the advanced combat systems for the first submarine would also be complete soon.
Boissier, who was in New Delhi as part of French Pressident Nicolas Sarkozy’s delegation, said that “construction of hulls for the third and fourth submarines was in progress while the frame to receive the hull of the fifth submarine is under manufacture.”

Boissier observed that Asia would see a staggering growth in the number of submarines in the next 10 years, and various countries in the region could acquire some 100 submarines. There were naval defence opportunities both in South-east Asia and the Arab Gulf region.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

India to have own satellite navigation system soon: ISRO

India will shortly join a select group of nations having its own satellite navigation system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) offering position, navigation and timing (PNT) services, an official of India's space agency said Wednesday.

"The IRNSS is a constellation of seven satellites - to be increased to 11 later - to offer PNT services that could be used by various organisations globally or regionally," said Suresh V. Kibe of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Speaking at the 98th Indian Science Congress held at SRM University in Kattankulathur near here, Kibe said there are two operational space navigation systems in the world -- US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) belonging to Russia.

Isreal's Elbit Wins $260M Turret Order from Brazil



Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that its Brazilian subsidiary, Aeroeletronica Ltda. ("AEL") was awarded a framework contract, valued at up to 440 million Brazilian Reals (approximately $260 million) for the supply of UT30 BR 30 mm Unmanned Turrets to the Brazilian Army's Land Forces, as part of the Guarani Project.

This award follows an award of a contract to Elbit Systems in 2009 to supply several Unmanned Turrets in an open tender in which leading global manufacturers took part.

The contract calls for Elbit Systems' UT30 BR to be installed onboard a few hundred of Iveco 6x6 APCs, according to a schedule and a multi-year funding profile to be defined by the parties.

A Chinese View of the J-20 Stealth Fighter



The rumored prototype of China's "J-20 stealth fighter jet" has created a stir over the nation's defensive advancements, but analysts suggest that any such program would simply reflect the country's industrial military progress.

Pictures of the alleged fourth-generation jet fighter, equivalent to a fifth-generation craft under Western classifications, have been circulating on the Internet since mid-December.

The US-based Aviation Week magazine reported Monday that the prototype was undergoing high-speed tests late last week at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute's airfield in Sichuan Province.

South Korea Publishes Defense White Paper



The paper also said that the North now has 4,100 tanks, 200 more than 2008, and has constantly been developing new submarine models as well as ballistic missiles and chemical warfare agents to upgrade its capabilities in asymmetric warfare.

"We have explained overall South Korean defense policy in detail regarding security conditions including North Korean threat, basis for defense policy, omnidirectional military combat readiness, period adjustment to the wartime operational command transition and defense reform," said Chang Gwang-il, deputy minister for policy at the ministry. "As the military unveils more transparent defense to the public, we expect that people can gain deep understanding and trust toward the military."

The white paper said that North Korean special forces could infiltrate rear region of South Korea and attack major targets, assassinate key figures and stir the region.

British Frigate Supports French Carrier into Gulf


HMS Cumberland has continued her operations over the Christmas and New Year period in support of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle by escorting her through the Strait of Hormuz early Boxing Day morning (26 December 2010).

While most people in Britain were sleeping off the Christmas Day excess, HMS Cumberland led the French carrier group through the vital Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf.

The British frigate had been acting in support of Charles de Gaulle in the Indian Ocean while she conducted air operations into Afghanistan over the Christmas period. Cumberland's duties with the French will continue in the Gulf.

Cumberland's Christmas tasking afforded her crew little opportunity to relax and enjoy the festivities, although, in traditional fashion, roast turkey and all the trimmings was served to the sailors by Cumberland's Captain and officers. Captain Steve Dainton, Captain of HMS Cumberland, said:

Friday, January 7, 2011

IAI to help India develop unmanned Dhruv


Israel Aerospace Industries and Hindustan Aeronautics are co-operating to enable the transition of the Indian-developed Dhruv advanced light helicopter into an unmanned maritime rotorcraft.

Already involved in the Dhruv programme, IAI has developed an integrated helicopter avionics suite that would give the type a day and night observation capability, observation and targeting and electronic warfare equipment and a flexible weapons carrying system.

The Indian navy wants an unmanned version of the Dhruv, having criticised the performance of early production examples of the type. The service operates five examples, as listed in Flightglobal's HeliCAS database.

SAAB 340 MSA, SAAB 2000 MPA Offered for Indian Navy Maritime Surveillance Requirements



Swedish defense major Saab has confirmed to India Defence (indiadefence.in) that the SAAB 340 Maritime Security Aircraft and the SAAB 2000 Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft have been offered to the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy respectively to meet the security and surveillance requirements across India's vast coastline.

"We have already made a presentation to Coast Guard for SAAB 340 Maritime Security Aircraft as a contender for Mid-Tier Maritime Patrol (MTMP) aircraft program and are waiting for further updates from them."

India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier will be ready in 2014




Defence minister A K Antony on Tuesday expressed the hope that the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, that is being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard Limited, would be ready for the final launch in 2014.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying function for the National Institute for Research and Development of Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH), at nearby Chaliyam, said that the inspite of the presence of Navy's from nearly 18 countries including USA, Russia, France, Germany, England and India, the piracy in the Indian ocean had not come down.

'It is not possible to say that the Somalian pirates alone are behind these acts. There are certain forces that are helping these pirates', he opined.

India, France to begin Varuna-2010 naval exercise




An armada of the Indian and French navies comprising aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers and frigates will get together in the Arabian Sea on January 7 to kick start the seven-day bilateral naval exercise called Varuna 10.

"The scope of the Varuna-2010 includes the entire gamut of maritime operations ranging from aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarine warfare operations and maritime interdiction operations exercises," Commander PVS Satish, spokesperson of the Indian Navy, told newspersons on Thursday.