Monday, July 5, 2010

Programme Update: The Indo-French Maitri SR-SAM

Top sources reveal that the Indo-French joint tri-services Short-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (SR-SAM), christened Maitri, is likely to receive formal sanction shortly by the Indian government, with both sides finalising workshare agreements on the programme, initially entered into over three years ago. Described variously as the defunct Trishul point defence missile programme imbued with fresh life, joint work has already begun on the missile, that should see a first test-firing by late 2012. While MBDA and DRDL have awaited formal project sanction, the two agencies have been exchanging data on the Mica and Trishul for the last two years, and are ready to begun building the missile. The vertical launch weapon will have a range of 15-km and will be propelled by a smokeless solid rocket motor.

BAE hails Mantis UAV success, nears Taranis roll-out

BY: Flight International

BAE Systems’ Mantis unmanned air vehicle technology demonstrator has been shipped back to the UK, after completing a successful first flight-test campaign in Australia.
Returned to BAE’s Warton site in Lancashire in mid-June, the Mantis is in rebuild ahead of undergoing further ground-based system development work at the site. However, the company has yet to decide whether its current demonstrator will be flown again.
“Mantis was about demonstrating an end-to-end capability,” says Dave Kershaw, business development and strategy director for Autonomous Systems & Future Capability, part of BAE’s Military Air Systems unit. “The test flights went to show that it could go to the endurance planned.”
The twin turboprop-powered aircraft made an undisclosed number of flights from the Woomera test range in South Australia, including five described as “mission-representative”. Kershaw says these included tasks such as automatically tracking a ground area for targets, and cross-cueing the aircraft’s two on-board payloads: an L-3 Wescam MX-20 electro-optical/infrared camera and BAE’s imagery collection and exploitation system.
One night flight was also made, and BAE also assessed the time needed to prepare the UAV to take off again after completing a sortie. This demonstrated a 30min performance. The 19.8m (65ft) wingspan Mantis made its first flight from Woomera in November 2009.
BAE says a production version of Mantis would be able to fly at altitudes up to 50,000ft and deliver an endurance of over 36h. The design is a potential candidate for the UK Ministry of Defence’s Scavenger requirement, which seeks a persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capability to enter use from around 2015 to 2018.
The MoD is expected to downselect its preferred option for Scavenger in 2012, with possible alternatives including the X-UAS development of EADS Defence & Security’s Talarion UAV, which is already being offered to France, Germany, Spain and Turkey. However, the UK is also looking at whether its requirements could be met under a potential collaboration with the French defence ministry, Kershaw says.
Meanwhile, BAE will roll out its Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator (artist’s impression pictured below) during an event to be staged at its Warton facility on 12 July.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

AIT software for precise UAV landing


The ARMY Institute of Technology (AIT) has developed a software programme which, it claims, increases the precision in landing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by doing away with the need for even a human remote operator.
The institute has developed a MATLAB software programme that not only increases the precision of landing of the UAVs to 97 per cent but even makes it happen automatically without these vehicles being guided by a hand-held remote. The AIT is in touch with the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to get the programme tested on the UAVs. The software has been developed by a team of scientists from the AIT’s electronics and telecommunication department, including Prof J B Jawale, Prof P V Bhat, and independent consultant Mahesh Khadtare.
“The software we have developed increases the precision of the landing of the UAV to 97 per cent and does not need a human operator. This means that the scope of error in landing is only 3 per cent and this will greatly circumvent difficulties in the present landing system of UAV,” said Mahesh Khadtare, the lead scientist of the project. nstead of human operator, the landing of the UAV will be controlled by its inbuilt microprocessor. “The landing of the UAV will be controlled by the microprocessor that will recognise the already stored images of the landing space and accordingly guide the UAV for landing. The webcam of the UAV will take the pictures of landing space for the microprocessor to recognise them,” said Khadtare.
AIT scientists said the software programme which they have developed will not only make the landing of UAVs precise, but also their development more cost effective. “This will be an economical system,” said Prof Bhat.
“There will be no additional increase in the equipment to be fitted to the UAV. The payload will not change. The only thing that needs to be done is to convert the MATLAB software into an equivalent assembling programme for the UAV,” said Khadtare.
He said the present system which is in vogue transmits the images captured by the UAV to its base station where the operator analyses the images and guides the UAV for landing.

Indian ballistic missile defense system to be test fired in August


The indigenously developed ballistic missile defence system will be test fired in August this year, a top defence official said on Thursday.
“Now the (ballistic missile defence system) test is going to be conducted in the month of August during which we will try to intercept a missile at altitudes of 15-20 kilometres,” DRDO chief V K Saraswat told reporters here.
The ballistic missile defence system is being developed by the premier Defence Research and Development Organisation to thwart an enemy missile attack.
Referring to the failed test of the system on March 15, he said, “The anti-missile system is a two-tiered system where you first launch the target missile and then you launch the hit missile. Since the target was not launched as planned, the anti ballistic missile system did not trigger.”
Saraswat said that the DRDO was taking precautions to prevent any failure in the August test.
“Whenever there is a deviation, we will always take precautions. This is part of our development process,” he said.
India plans to deploy the first phase of the missile shield by 2012 after completing a series of trials and evaluating its target range.
Two different missiles have been developed as part of the system for endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric interception of an incoming ballistic missiles.
Replying to a query on the Indo-Israeli joint venture to develop a medium range surface-to-air missile, the DRDO chief said, “More than 70 per cent of the content in the missile being developed with Israel would be indigenous.”
Noting that the programme was going ahead smoothly, Saraswat said that agencies such as the BDL, the BEL and the DRDO have been designated for the project.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

India's AEW&C Programme Gets Ready For Platform Flight Tests

Have just received a detailed briefing on the test phase of India's AEW&C programme. In a few months, the first of three modified EMB-145 platforms will begin a routine of flight tests for basic performance and handling. This preliminary testing will be carried out in Brazil by Embraer and a team from the Indian Air Force's Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in association with Brazil's Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil and India's CEMILAC.

The first flight test aircraft, which is set to make its first flight later this year, will be integrated with a Dorsal Unit (DoU) containing dummy electronics, ECS, IFR, auxiliary power units, internal fuel tanks, SATCOMs and antennae. India's Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) -- the laboratory spearheading the programme -- has already supplied Embraer with a dorsal unit (with dummy electronics) and a Ku-band SATCOM dome, while the Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), CABS and the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) have shipped in antennae for ESM, CSM and U/VHF.

While the EMB-145 with the configuration above will undergo flight tests in Brazil, the configuration for ferry to India in August 2011 will be the aircraft with only the dorsal pylon (minus the unit), ECS, IFR, APUs and internal fuel tanks.

Once the first aircraft reaches India, it will undergo a rigorous flight testing schedule by CABS, ASTE and CEMILAC in association with Embraer. After a few flights in India, the aircraft will be integrated with a dorsal unit with real electronics and other mission system equipment, including operator workstations (five), avionics racks, rest crew seating, seats and cabling.

On June 23, EADS Defence & Security announced that it had been awarded a contract to supply consultancy services to CABS for developing the AEW&C's system architecture with particular regard to certification and mission equipment optimisation.

HAL's Chopper School Lifts Off

The Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (HATSOFF), the joint venture owned equally by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and CAE, today announced that its Bell 412 full-mission simulator has been certified to Level D, the highest qualification for flight simulators, by India's Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Photos Courtesy HAL

EuroHawk Makes First Flight

The Euro Hawk® unmanned reconnaissance aircraft takes off for its maiden flight June 29, 2010 from Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility.

Photo Courtesy EADS

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Race for `mother of all deals’ for 126 fighters gets hotter

The race for the “mother of all defence deals”, the $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for IAF, is getting hotter.
Defence ministry sources said the technical evaluation report of the gruelling field trials, during which the six foreign fighters in contention were tested by IAF pilots both in India and abroad under different weather conditions, was “virtually ready” now.
“IAF is likely to submit the exhaustive report by next week. Subsequently, a shortlist of the fighters which have done well in the field evaluation test and the staff evaluation will be made,” said a source.
The commercial bids submitted by the six aviation majors — American F/A-18 `Super Hornet’ (Boeing) and F-16 `Falcon’ (Lockheed Martin), Swedish Gripen (Saab), French Rafale (Dassault), Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation) and Eurofighter Typhoon (consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies) — will be opened, examined and compared only after that.
This will be the first time that “life-cycle costs” will be taken into account rather than just pitching for the lowest bidder. The “direct acquisition cost”, the cost of operating the fighters over a 40-year period, with 6,000 hours of flying, and the cost of the ToT will all be taken into account to arrive at a “verifiable cost model” for the commercial evaluation.
Complex negotiations on the 50% offsets specified in the contract, under which the selected foreign vendor will be required to plough half of the contract forex value back into India, will also have to be conducted.
IAF is keeping its fingers crossed that the actual contract, under which 18 jets will be bought off-the-shelf and the rest will be manufactured in India under transfer of technology to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, is inked within a year.
IAF obviously wants to get the fighters as soon as possible, grappling as it is with a sharp fall in the number of its fighter squadrons (each has 12 to 18 jets), which is down to just 32 from even the “sanctioned” strength of 39.5.

British Harrier and Jaguar become work of Art

BY: Fiona Hanson/PA / © Guardian News and Media Limited
An RAF Jaguar that saw service during Desert Storm is displayed belly up on the floor of the gallery
Sea Harrier

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Two warships commissioned into Navy fleet


Giving a boost to Navy’s defence capabilities, two state-of-the-art high-speed warships, INS Cankarso and INS Kondul, were commissioned here on Tuesday into the naval fleet.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan commissioned the ships in the presence of Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anup Singh and other senior Naval officials.
The indigenously-built ships use water jet propulsion technology and can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots. They will be based in Goa and tasked with the role of detecting, locating and destroying small, fast-moving enemy surface craft engaged in covert operations, a Navy spokesman said.
INS Cankarso and INS Kondul are fitted with 30-mm CRN-91 gun built by Ordnance Factory, Medak, and Igla missiles and set of machine guns ranging from light to heavy. “These features are an improvement over the previous fast attack craft (FAC) ships,” the spokesman said.
These two ships are the first lot of the ten similar ships that the Navy proposed to induct in its fleet. They belong to the Car Nicobar class V and VI in the FAC series.
“In addition to their primary role, the ships will be tasked with the role of policing, anti-smuggling and fisheries protection in India’s coastal waters. In the long run, these ships could help in ensuring stability in India’s maritime zones of responsibility,” the spokesman said.
INS Cankarso is named after an island near Goa while INS Kondul derives its name from an island near Nicobar.
Kolkata-based Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers, headed by Rear-Admiral (Retd) K C Shekar, built these ships in two years.
Water jet technology has rapidly gained acceptance as the leading means of propulsion for all types of high-speed marine craft, including ferries, work boats, patrol crafts and pleasure boats.
Recent advances in water jet technology have put them ahead of conventional propulsion systems in high-speed performance and reliability, the Navy spokesman said.
INS Cankarso is commanded by Arun Bahuguna and INS Kondul by Shashidhar R. Patil. The two ships that have 45 sailors and four officers on board, are equipped with a reverse-osmosis technology drinking water plant and sewerage treatment plant.

Indian Army To Use Micro Devices For Movement Of Terrorists

The Indian Army plans to use micro audio bugs, video devices, other micro devices and new age gadgets to keep a watch on terrorist hideouts, meeting places and activities. Says Army on the possible uses of nanotechnology products in the ˜Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap for the Defence Ministry.
It contemplates to use nanotechnology applications to develop nano security devices. Being a future manufacturing technology, nano tech will make most products lighter, stronger, cleaner, less expensive and smaller in size. This and many interesting uses and possibilities of nano products in future are featured in the first anniversary issue of ˜Nano Digest’, India’s first magazine on Nanotechnology published from Hyderabad city. The magazine is just hit the market.
Another interesting piece of news is about the development of world’s most powerful microscope, which is now up and running at the University of Texas at San Antonio in USA. The JEOL transmission electron microscope, model JEM-ARM200F, will propel the development of new cancer therapies and disease treatments by allowing nanotechnology researchers to see samples magnified 20 million times its original size. This is certainly a remarkable progress.
This new and the most powerful microscope can herald new chapter in cancer treatment to pinpoint and burn away the damaged cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells. It will also be used to study Alzheimer’s disease to develop new materials and for other applications.
What is Nanotech? It is not known well so far in India though mention of it was made in 1959. It is the study of controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. One nanometer (nm) is one billionth, or 10 to the power of minus 9 of the meter. To put it more simply, a centimeter is one-hundredth of a meter, a millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter, and a micrometer is one-millionth of a meter, but all of these are still huge compared to the nanoscale. A nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter, smaller than the wavelength of visible light and a hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair. Nanotechnology is a technology with future full of promises.
The first anniversary issue features a cover story on the need for patenting of scientific discoveries is just hit the market. In an exclusive article, it presented the need and urgency to safeguard India’s scientific findings in this world of piracy and cheating. The cover article presents the guidelines and thorough information about the need for patenting of scientific discoveries. Among other features, the issue also has an exclusive article written by Prof. R. Tenne of Israel. A thought provoking article on the way from lab to market is presented for Indian scientists to get inspired. The issue also delves in Nanocomputing, Analytical & Measuring Instruments for Nanotechnology, Nanotech Courses, Nano Lab Alerts, Nanomedicine Updates and others. All in all, an issue worth preserving.
The annual issue also discusses about many advancements in nanoscience. One such an eye opener is how highly lethal venom of cone snail helps in medicine. The highly lethal venom contained in cone snails found in coastal waters near coral reefs when extracted and administered via nanotechnologic methods can potentially be used as a safe and effective alternative to highly addictive morphine based medications.
The only of its kind of magazine in India on Nanotechnology was launched last June. Nano Messiah, world’s great scientist and Father of Indian Nanotechnology Prof. C.N.R. Rao launched it then. One year down the lane, Nano Digest emerged as premier magazine with well over 8000 readership.
Who says ˜No-no to Nano�. The encouraging support magazine receiving from month to month over the last one year proves that Nano is happening in India. Many who felt that market was not ripe for such a magazine proved otherwise, said K.Jayadev, Editor of Nano Digest English monthly. It also dispelled the myth that journalists do not understand technology. Hence, they shouldn’t publish a technology magazine was the opinion of the industry. But, Nano Digest proved that journalists too can edit and produce technology magazine, informed Jayadev.
We wanted to develop a popular magazine, which would decipher technology, inform and educate people about this lesser known science. Nano Digest has been popularizing nanoscience and technology over the past one year. Today Nano Digest has become a platform for many to talk about their experiments and findings; about new products and discoveries; about their curriculum, conferences. Today Nano Digest is the one-stop source for information on Nano Science in India, declared Mr. K. Hari Prasad, Publisher of Nano Digest.
In a short time Nano Digest forged partnerships with many International organisations and particiapated in Conferences like Nanotech India in Kochi, ICE in New Delhi, Indo-US workshop in Hyderabad, ICONSAT in Mumbai, ICONN in Chennai and many others. Among its subscribers are IITs, IIScs, JNCASR (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research), most of Universities, CSIR Institute, Engineering Colleges, etc. across the country.
Many Industry Stalwarts, who’s-who of Nanotechnology in India and abroad, Nano Scientists, Nano Industry captains contribute articles regularly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

U.S. to cooperate with Russia on global missile defense system

The United States is ready to cooperate with Russia toward the creation of a global missile defense system, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia said on Monday.
“We will continue this dialogue so that Russia and we can work together on the creation of a global missile defense system,” John Beyrle said in Russian while speaking to students and staff at a Moscow university.
U.S.-Russia relations have seen a dramatic increase since Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama announced last year a new policy of resetting bilateral ties and overcoming Cold-War era set-backs.
Although Obama scrapped last September earlier plans to deploy missile defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, Washington has not given up on its European missile shield initiative.
In May, the United States opened a temporary military base in northern Poland, just 80 km (50 miles) from the border of Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008 – a move which drew much criticism from Russia.
The United States is also in talks with Bulgaria and Romania on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.
BY : RIA Novosti

New F-16s to let PAF to carry out night-time attacks: Qamar

With the induction of the latest version of the F-16 aircraft into the Pakistani fleet, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has gained the capability to carry out all-weather night-time operations, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said on Sunday.
Addressing the formal handing-over ceremony of the three Block 52 version F-16 aircraft provided by the US at the newly-developed base near Jacobabad, Qamar said the new aircraft would not only overcome Pakistan’s existing limitations of precision night operations, but would also enable the PAF to meet its goals more effectively.
“The mission of the PAF is to maintain peace with honour in the region; should this primary effort of maintaining peace fail, we will use our resources including these aircraft to defend our country against any internal or external threats,” he said.
General Norton A Schwartz, the United States Air Force (USAF) chief of staff, visited Pakistan especially to attend the handing-over ceremony.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson, Vice Admiral Michael LeFever – the US Defence Representative in Pakistan – along with other senior PAF, USAF, civil and military officials were also present on the occasion. Qamar termed the handing over of the aircraft to Pakistan a “happy augury” as the deal for the supply of these aircraft by the US was signed back in 2006, but it became controversial at the hands of critics on both sides. However, he said the deal had matured of late following efforts put in by the “good people” living in the two friendly countries.
Power balance: Later, talking to reporters, he said other countries in the region already had such aircraft in their fleet and the balance of power in the region has been restored now that Pakistan has acquired the latest F-16 jets. As far as the overhauling of PAF’s existing F-16 aircraft is concerned, he said that initially, 14 aircraft from the existing PAF fleet would be upgraded with US assistance.
Ally: Meanwhile, Patterson said that the induction of three advanced F-16s into the PAF fleet was a symbolic and tangible demonstration of a strong US-Pakistan partnership and Washington’s commitment to stand by Islamabad in the longer run as an important ally and friend.
“Our two countries today share a deep and broad partnership, which is growing to encompass nearly every element of government-to-government cooperation. Under the Strategic Dialogue established by Hillary Clinton and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the two nations are working together on economic development, trade and energy, on healthcare and education, on science, technology and agriculture. Our governments share a vision of partnership today, which is unprecedented in the history of our bilateral relationship…” she said.
BY: Daily Times

Monday, June 28, 2010

INS Delhi DDG Visits Colombo In Support Of Indian Navy Chief Visit

Photos Courtesy Sri Lanka Navy

Lighter, safer grenades for forces

The defence services will soon be equipped with slimmer, lighter, safer and modulated grenades, which don’t explode before time.
Deciding to gradually phase out the existing M-36 hand grenades, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently placed an order for 10 lakh newly-developed hand grenades for the Ordnance factory board. Developed by the Terminal Ballistic Research Lab of DRDO in Chandigarh, the multimode hand grenades would be replacing the archaic ones of the World War II vintage.
According to scientists, the advantage of these hand explosives would be that unlike the existing ones, which can accidentally explode without even the safety pin being removed, these have detachable parts and cannot go off on their own.
“The new design will overcome the safety defect in existing explosives, which explode much before time. Unlike the older version, this weapon can also be airdropped with precision,” said Dr Satish Kumar, director of TBRL.
The missile, which has been tested in temperatures ranging between minus 20 degree Celsius and 55 degree Celsius during trials conducted at Kargil and Tangdhar and in hot dry conditions of Pokhran in Rajasthan, have been now approved for largescale manufacture. “Its modular and lightweight design translates into better operational preparedness as the soldier can carry more of these, use them according to combat conditions and airdrop them precisely on the enemy,” Dr Kumar pointed out.
Another significant aspect of this new product is that the time delay for the explosion — time taken to go off after the pin is pulled out to activate —, is a mere three seconds. “The time factor has seldom been this precise in earlier designs, and led to explosions occurring much before time, resulting in casualities. The multimode overcomes this limitation,” the director added.
“We are half-way to coming up with another version which has an electronic fuse and is lighter,” he said.
A similar model of grenades for paramilitary forces is also in the pipeline.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dassault Reiterates Pitch To IAF For 40 Fast-Track Rafales

Senior Dassault officials in France briefed visiting Indian Air Force AOC-in-C Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal KK Nowhar, about the Rafale and reiterated the company's willingness/ability to rapidly supply 40 Rafales to the IAF as a stopgap ahead of the MMRCA competition results. Dassault's pitch plays on the IAF squadron depletions, and the assertion that none of the other MMRCA contenders can deliver new jets as quickly as it can. The offer is a reiteration of what French prez Nicolas Sarkozy brought with him when he visited India in January 2008 -- ostensibly to help the IAF maintain its combat edge in the face of a possible delay in the outcome of the MMRCA competition. French Air Force Rafales did not participate in the just concluded Garuda-2010 air exercise, though it has been decided that four Rafales will fly to India at the end of next year for Garuda-2011.

Photo by Juan Antonio Cifuentes

Boeing applies to export F-15SE to South Korea

Boeing has applied for an export licence to brief South Korea on sensitive details of a stealthier version of the F-15E that is within a few months of its first flight.
The US government approved an export policy in the second quarter for the F-15SE Silent Eagle after Boeing submitted details of its radar cross-section about six months earlier, says Brad Jones, Boeing programme director for F-15 development programmes.
The export policy allows Boeing to request an export licence for specific customers, with South Korea as the first in queue, Jones says. The F-15SE is competing against the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for a contract in South Korea.
Boeing has backed down from previous statements comparing the frontal-aspect radar cross-section of the F-15SE to an international release standard for the F-35.
However, Jones confirms that Boeing’s original briefing chart – claiming the F-15SE provides frontal-aspect stealth offered by fifth-generation fighters – remains accurate.
Boeing unveiled the F-15SE in March 2009. The redesign adds conformal weapons bays, stealth techniques, fly-by-wire and canted tails to the F-15E configuration, providing a “first-day-of-war” stealth capability.
Lockheed and F-35 programme officials, however, have criticised Boeing’s assertions that the F-15SE offers equivalent front-aspect stealth as the JSF, and denied that an international release standard exists for F-35 stealth characteristics.
Boeing plans to conduct three flights of the F-15SE in the third quarter, including one missile shot from the newly added conformal weapons bay.
BY: Flight International

The Stealth In India's Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)

The official CAD images above, from the Advanced Projects & Technologies (AP&T) directorate of India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) provide further perspective on the low-observable design elements that are known to be going into India's Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), known for a while now to be a stealth aircraft concept. Serpentine air intakes (with minimum flow distortion and robust pressure recovery) and internal weapons bays, depicted in the images above, are some of the most critical nose-on low observability design elements going into the programme.

As part of the multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) currently on for the AMCA -- a wind tunnel model of which was first publicly displayed at AeroIndia 2009 -- that design-based stealth features will include further optimized airframe shaping, edge matching, body conforming antennae and a low IR signature through nozzle design, engine bay cooling and work on reduced exhaust temperature. RAMs, RAPs, special coatings for polycarbonate canopy and precision manufacturing will all be part of the effort to make the AMCA India's first stealth airplane.

With aerodynamic design optimisation near complete, the AMCA's broad specifications are final. The aicraft will have a weight of 16-18 tons [16-18 tons with 2-tons of internal weapons and 4-tons of internal fuel with a combat ceiling of 15-km, max speed of 1.8-Mach at 11-km. The AMCA will be powered by 2 x 90KN engines with vectored nozzles. For the record, the official ADA document that will finally be processed this year by the government towards formal project launch describes the AMCA as a "multirole combat aircraft for air superiority, point air defence, deep penetration/strike, special missions".


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Exercise Garuda Wraps Up

By Shiv Aroor

Friday, June 25, 2010

First Indian C-130J in Full Color

The first Lockheed Martin  C-130J Super Hercules for India has completed painting at the company’s Marietta, Ga., facility. The aircraft now enters flight test in preparation for delivery at the end of the year. The program for India includes six C-130Js, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spare parts, and ground support and test equipment. Also included is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities.

FIRST LOOK: India's Mini Gas Turbine Engine For UAV/UCAV Programme

Here it is -- India's indigenous minaturised gas turbine technology demonstrator for UAVs/UCAVs. The Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) has completed preliminary design, configuration and analysis of the engine, under development ostensibly to power AURA, India's stealth UCAV concept. Will update this post with specifications and more photographs in a few days.

PHOTOS: Indian Navy Stealth Frigate Tarkash Launched

The second of the three follow on Talwar-class stealth frigates being built by Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad, Russia was ceremoniously launched on 23 Jun 10 by Mrs Ramma Dewan, wife of Vice Admiral D K Dewan, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff. The launching ceremony was attended by Governer of Kaliningrad Region, The Commander-in-Chief of Baltic Fleet of Russian Federation and other senior dignitaries from the Russian side in addition to Senior Indian Navy officers posted in Russia.

The frigate, christened Tarkash during the ceremony, belongs to the elite Talwar Class of ships, three of which namely Talwar, Trishul and Tabar are already in service with the Indian Navy. The first follow on ship, christened Teg was launched on 27 Nov 09. These frigates have been constructed to suit Indian Navy's specific requirements and are highly potent platforms. Their mission in Navy spans the entire spectrum of Naval warfare, viz Air, Surface and Sub-surface. The ships are capable of operating in Blue waters, and are at the forefront of the Indian Navy task forces.

The features of the follow-on ships have been upgraded to a higher level of sophistication with the experience gained by the Navy in operation of the first three ships. 'Tarkash', which means 'Quiver', will also carry supersonic Brahmos missile system with vertical launch capability, which is an Indo-Russian joint venture. True to its name, Tarkash carries cutting edge weaponry which includes advanced Surface to Air missiles, 100 mm Caliber Guns (artillery), Close Range Guns, Torpedos, Rocket Launchers and associated Fire Control Systems. The ship will also carry one Russian built Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopter Ka-31.

The ship is powered by four powerful Gas Turbines giving it a top speed of 30 knots. The vessel is fitted with state-of-the-art Navigation, Communication and Electronic Warfare Equipment. It is also equipped with highly advanced Radar and Sonar systems for early detection and warning. 'Tarkash' is scheduled to join the Indian Navy in the second half of 2011, post commissioning in Russia.

Photos Courtesy Indian Navy / DPR Defence

Thursday, June 24, 2010

UAV INDIA Part 3: India's Unmanned Aircraft Vision

The first slide you see shows an unmanned network centric battlefield scenario 2020 and is possibly the first such depiction by the Indian military research establishment (the Phantom Ray and Neuron are representative!). The second slide depicts India's UAV roadmap as it stands today, seen here on LiveFist for the first time. Apart from the AURA, every other Indian UAV platform is either in trials or in some stage of prototype development. DRDO is now developing a Mk-II Nishant with higher endurance and service ceiling and an Mk-II Lakshya target drone with more autonomous features.

Copyright ADE/DRDO

LiveFist : India’s LCA AESA Radar Programme Detailed


Air-to-Air: Multi-target detection and tracking / Multi target ACM (Air-to-Air combat mode) / High resolution raid assessment
Air-to-Ground: High Resolution mapping (SAR mode) / AGR – Air to Ground Ranging / RBM – Real Beam Mapping / DBS – Doppler Beam Sharpening / Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) / Ground Moving Target Tracking (GMTT) / Terrain Avoidance (TA)
Air-to-Sea: Sea search and multi target tracking / Range Signature (RS) / Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR)
As I’ve reported here before, the development partner that LRDE identifies will be responsible for “detailed design, development and realisation” of (a) antenna panel constisting of main antenna, guard antenna and sidelobe cancellation antenna, (b) transmit/receive modules/groups, (c) RF distribution network consisting of RF manifold/combiners, RF interface, (d) antenna/beam control chain consisting of T/R control and T/R group control, and (e) array calibration/BITE among other areas.


Sources close to have informed that Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is currently working on two different design variant for Tejas MK-2, while major changes in both the design are wings position in terms of alignment to make the aircraft more aero dynamic and also to reduce drag, Tejas MK-2 will also have design changes to its fuselage and will have a bigger wing to carry heaver payload, Tejas Mk-2 will also be able to carry more internal fuel due to improvement in fuselage design and wing.
Engine update:
Final negotiations for purchase of new engines for Tejas MK-2 has begun and decision will be soon made public, while both engine manufactures have promised that their engine will  easily be integrated with Tejas MK-2 airframe ,but both have asked for 2 years to make some minor changes to the engines and have already provided details regarding this to ADA and HAL , changes mostly likely be change in position of gear box and other pipe systems , once contract is signed modified engines will be delivered by 2012 year end or 2013 and integration into airframe might take place by 2013 year end and first flight might take place by 2014 year end or early 2015 .
Naval Tejas:
Indian Navy have already asked for new engines for the Naval Tejas, and only NP-1 and NP-2 will be powered by General Electric F404-IN20 engine which also powers Tejas MK-1 variant of Indian air force, while Indian Navy other than engine change has not made any change to their original ASR, so most probably Navy will go with Tejas MK-1 Naval Prototype design with higher trust engine rather than Tejas MK-2 design.


India To Roll Out Tejas Naval Variant Soon

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft’s (LCA) naval prototype (NP-1) will be rolled out for the first time on July 6 here in Bengaluru, with Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Nirmal Verma on hand, sources tell AVIATION WEEK.
The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which is in charge of the design and development of Tejas variants, and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), ADA’s principal partner and main manufacturer, are currently giving the aircraft a final structural fine-tuning at HAL’s Aircraft Research and Development Center.
“The rollout of the aircraft signals that the platform is structurally complete, equipment installed, and plumbing and wiring completed,” a source says. “It will be on its wheels and can be moved by assisted power. A rollout is also a precursor to the next phase of ground-based system integration testing, engine ground run, taxi trials and the first flight.”
The NP-1 will have almost the same system architecture as the Tejas Indian air force trainer version.
The NP-1 trainer is scheduled to make its first flight by the end of this year and the NP-2 fighter one year after that. Both can operate from an aircraft carrier with the ski-jump takeoff and arrested recovery concept.
“The aircraft will get airborne in about 200 meters over the ski jump on the ship, [versus] a land-based takeoff run of about 800 meters,” a source says. “Landing on the ship is with an arrester hook on the aircraft engaging an arrester wire on the ship. The aircraft then stops in 90 meters, which is about 1/10th of land-based stopping distance. This makes the Tejas naval program extremely challenging, and we are happy with what the Naval Project Team based out of Bangalore has done so far.”
The 14-member NPT is headed by Cmd. C.D. Balaji (ret.), program director for LCA Navy, operating out of ADA.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) sanctioned development of LCA Navy in April 2003, and in December 2009 the CCS also approved a Mark-II version with a new engine. NP-1 will fly with a GE-404 power-plant, with 40% of the funding coming from the Indian navy and 60% from the Defense Research and Development Organization. The Tejas naval variant will replace the aging fleet of Sea Harriers, and the navy is said to have made an initial commitment to 50 Tejas after the platform proves its mettle.

Exercise Garuda Enters Final Phase, Su-30MKIs Swing Roled!

IAF Statement: The exercise Garuda 2010, presently underway at Istres Air Base in France, between the air forces of India France and Singapore has entered its final phase today. Over 60 missions have been successfully flown and the exercise would conclude on 25 Jun 2010.

During the exercise, the six IAF SU-30MKI along with the Mirage-2000-5 and Rafale and the F-16 were engaged in various air defence manoeuvres such as implementation of "no fly zones" and large force engagements during day and night. The SU-30 also took part in the high value air borne asset protection as well as their protection busting missions. The IL-78 refuellers of the IAF and the KC-135 refuellers of the French Air Force also participated in various missions carrying out cross refuelling (i,e, refuelling the fighters of the other air forces). Refuelling denials were practised making these missions more difficult.

A unique feature to which the SU-30 were subjected was the "swing roles". In this type of missions, the same aircraft is simultaneously put to offensive as well as defensive roles. The E-3 AWACS provided the radar coverage during the Ex. The IAF special forces team "Garud" have so far carried out two jumps each by day and night along with the French special forces. Our IL-76 is undertaking the task of these drops.

Air Mshl KK Nowhar of the IAF who visited the contingent involved in the Garuda-2010 said - " Our participation in the Ex has reinforced the manner in which we conduct our operations. It has also helped us refine our doctrine. In future, there is a slim chance that a country would operate in isolation especially in a co-operative defence scenario. Thus knowing each others best practices in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures is the main objective of this exercise, which is also a part of the on-going Indo-French Defence Cooperation".

According to Air Attaché, Embassy of India, France, Air Cmde SK Ghotia who is also the chief coordinator of the IAF-FAF Cooperation, Garuda-2010 is a milestone in the Indo-French defence cooperation. This has been the widest scope ever accomplished between three nations. The Ex brought together the best fighting machines of the world such as the Sukhois, F16s, Rafale and Mirage-2000-5. Our pilots flew in these cockpits and has gained tremendous learning experience. The engineers, technicians and all other members of the team have also benefitted substantially from the exercise.

The intensity of the Ex has been increased gradually to enhance the understanding of the contingent members beginning with basic One-Vs-One missions and limited BVR capabilities, and then progressing to multi-aircraft strikes and counter air missions with complete BVR capability, and concluding with Large Force Engagement sorties. The IAF contingent is expected to return back to India by July 03, 2010.

Photos Courtesy Indian Air Force / DPR Defence/Shiv Aroor