Monday, May 31, 2010

Boeing Receives 1st F-16 for Conversion into QF-16 Aerial Drone

The first retired F-16 Falcon arrived at Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] Cecil Field facility in Jacksonville on April 22 to begin conversion into a QF-16 aerial drone. Boeing received a $69.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force on March 8 for the first phase of the QF-16 program.
The Boeing-led team, which includes BAE Systems, will begin engineering, manufacturing and development of the full-scale manned and unmanned QF-16s during Phase 1. The drones will be used as aerial targets for newly developed weapons and tactics. They will be a higher-performing aircraft than the QF-4s they will replace.
The team will receive six F-16s during the program’s development phase. After modification to the QF-16 configuration, they will serve as prototypes for engineering tests and evaluation prior to low-rate initial production. Up to 126 QF-16 drones will be converted beginning in 2014.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Indo-Israeli Barak-2 missile successfully test-fired: DRDO chief

The Indo-Israeli Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) was successfully test fired in Israel last fortnight. “The 70-km missile was fired at an electronic target and met with its initial objectives,” DRDO chief Dr Vijay Saraswat said in an exclusive interview with India Today.
The second test of the missile will be held in India sometime later this year. The missile will be integrated by Indian technicians. The LR-SAM area defence missile is being jointly developed by India and Israel under a Rs 2500 crore project which began in 2006. The missile, also called the Barak-2 are to equip the three guided missile destroyers of the Project 15A class. The three destroyers are to join the Indian navy in one year intervals beginning in 2012.
“We will deliver the system to the armed forces in 2013. I am very confident it will be an astounding success,” Dr Saraswat said. A second variant, called the Medium Range SAM (MR-SAM) is being developed for the Indian Air Force under a Rs 10,000 crore project signed in 2009. The MR-SAM is to replace all the IAF’s ageing Soviet-made Pechora SAM missiles. According to naval officials, a 100-km range theatre defence version called the Extended Range SAM is being developed for the four Project 15B destroyers.

BY: India Today Group.

IAF to test Arrow 3 early next year

The Israel Air Force will hold its first test of the Arrow 3, under development by Israel Aerospace Industries, in early 2011, officials said on Wednesday.
Jointly developed by IAI and Boeing in the US, the Arrow 3 will serve as Israel’s top-tier missile defense system, adding another layer of defense to that provided by the Arrow 2, which is already operational and deployed throughout Israel.
The initial test of the Arrow 3 will not include the interception of a mock enemy missile. An interception test will likely take place in 2012.
“The Arrow system can effectively counter all of the missile threats that exist in the region,” said Inbal Kreiss, the Arrow 3 project manager at IAI.
Kreiss, who spoke at the New Tech conference in Airport City on Wednesday, said that IAI was also modifying the existing Arrow missile launcher to accommodate the slightly smaller Arrow 3 interceptor. This will allow the launcher to also fire American-made SM3 missiles, which are currently used by the US Navy on its Aegis missile defense ships.
Meanwhile Wednesday, defense officials said that the $205 million in funding authorized by the US Congress for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system – developed to intercept short-range rockets – would enable the defense establishment to purchase an additional six batteries that could be deployed along the Gaza border.
Rafael has already manufactured two batteries that were delivered to the IAF, which is planning a final conclusive test of the Iron Dome in the coming weeks, following which it will be declared operational.
Officials said that the system could, in a future conflict, be deployed just south of Tel Aviv and along the Mediterranean coast to defend the city against Hamas long-range missiles, such as the Iranian Fajr 5, which it is believed to have obtained since Operation Cast Lead last year.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

REVEALED! Indian UCAV Is A Tongue-Twister: She's Called The "IUSAP"

Revealed possibly for the first time here on LiveFist, India's proposed unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) is being developed under what is called Programme AURA (Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft) and the prototype technology demonstrator being conceptualised goes by the working title Indian Unmanned Strike Aircraft (IUSA) or Indian Unmanned Strike Aircraft Programme (IUSAP). The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Agency (ADA) are currently conducting a feasibility study of two UCAV designs and expects to freeze a concept in 2011. The National Aeronautics Laboratory is also involved in the concept study of the IUSA. While the Nishant and Rustom UAVs have been publicly shown before, the Defence Ministry has asked ADA to keep the IUSAP classified and out of sight as far as possible. I've been told by sources that the first demonstrator is likely to be an all composite swept-wing model, though a lot of design elements haven't been frozen just yet.

Schematics Of India's Light Combat Helicopter

Part of a handout brochure on the day of the inaugural flight.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rust and Roll For F-22; HASC Watches JSF

Rust is not something the average person thinks much about when it comes to designing high-tech weapons. But several years ago I reported on a major missile test defense test that was ruined because a part rusted that helped hold the missile in place before liftoff. And in February the entire F-22 fleet was grounded “due to poorly designed drainage in the cockpit.” The affected parts were ejection seat rods. Congress is worried that similar problems could afflict the Joint Strike Fighter and has requested a report about lessons learned from the F-22’s experience.
Regardless of how lowly rust might seem at first glance, it is a huge problem for the military, costing about $20 billion each year. According to the House Armed Services Committee, roughly $7 billion of that rust is preventable. So, the committee, doing its job of congressional oversight, wants to substantially increase the budget of a little known Pentagon entity, the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight, to improve the military’s ability to stop rust from crippling major weapons systems.
“The Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight has a proven record of successfully reducing corrosion costs, with a 50-to-1 return on investment on the 169 programs that have been implemented through it,” the HASC says in the summary of its bill. So the committee is increasing the office’s budget to a paltry $10.8 million, up from a tiny request of $3.6 million. Doing the math, that should result in a return of $540 million to the taxpayer. Kudos to Daniel Dunmire, director of Corrosion Policy and Oversight.
Of course, there’s usually a rub, and there is a little one this time. The HASC says that it has not yet gotten a “congressionally directed report” from Dunmire about those lessons learned from the F-22’s rust problems:  “The Committee notes that it has yet to receive the congressionally directed report from the Director of Corrosion Policy and Oversight assessing the corrosion control lessons learned from the F-22 Raptor fleet—which was grounded in February 2010 for corrosion on ejection seat rods due to poorly designed drainage in the cockpit—as they apply to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.”
We hear little evidence of congressional irritation and expect the prospect of a bulging purse will only encourage OSD to cough up the report forthwith. Dunmire, who responded promptly to our inquiry about when the report would be done, said it should be ready by August.

MMRCA might be a “STRIKER”

Sources in IAF have informed that, while Indian air force is closely monitoring performance of every aircraft which have come to India for trials, but more closely to weapons testing of the aircraft’s which have been done in India and also in the vendor country. Indian air force wants to induct aircraft which are Multi-role which literally means that Aircraft can perform both role of a fighter aircraft and a ground attack aircraft.
Defence Expert Rajesh Sharma further explains that concept of Multi-role aircraft’s have only came in 1980’s period. Multi-role aircraft’s are designed to perform equally good both in Aerial combat and also in ground strike, but each aircraft is different in performance and design, Combination ratio of Aerial combat and strike platform in each multirole aircraft will not be the same, Even when Sukhoi-30 mki is considered as Multi-role aircraft’s, but its superb aeronautic maneuverability and high AOA (Angle of Attack) makes it more closer to Air superiority fighter then a strike aircraft.
In our previous report we have mentioned that almost half the fleet of Mig-27 will be retired in next five years, and Mig-27 and Jaguar are backbone of the strike fleet in Indian air force. So now it seems that Aircraft with better Strike capability might gain some extra points in the MMRCA competition. don’t have any information in regards to which aircraft is doing better in this capacity but LEH testing with full payload was done to see which aircraft can also be able to carry highest payload in worst weather condition aircraft might encounter in India .


Thursday, May 27, 2010

ICBM to be a reality by next year: Saraswat

India is likely to enter the elite club of nations with Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability as the over 5,000 km range Agni-5 missile was expected to become a reality by next year.
“Work is progressing satisfactorily in the development of Agni-5, which is expected to become a reality next year. With this, DRDO would have given India a comprehensive indigenous strategic capability, available with only a few nations of the world,” DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat said at the National Technology Day awards function.
Agni-5 will be the first canistered ballistic missile with range of over 5,000 km into Indian inventory, bringing possible military targets in the whole of China and Pakistan within striking range. The missile is likely to be tested early next year.
Missiles which are capable of being launched from canisters can be fired from multiple platforms and are easily transportable.
Commenting on the Indian missile programme, Mr. Saraswat said, “the success of Agni-3 and other tests have confirmed India’s strategic deterrence capability, which could not have been possible without the preceding developmental efforts in these programmes.”


Russian Armed Forces could receive more than 1,500 combat aircraft and about 200 air defense systems by 2020.

A new state arms procurement program for 2011-2020 will be adopted by the Russian government and signed by the president this fall, a deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.
“The deadline is the third quarter of this year,” Sergei Ivanov told reporters in Moscow.
The draft program stipulates the upgrade of up to 11% of military equipment annually and will allow Russia to increase the share of modern weaponry to 70% by 2020.
Ivanov said the Defense Ministry and all security-related bodies are expected to submit the lists of all necessary armaments within a week to allow the defense industry enterprises to plan their work with an optimal output for the next decade.
According to the draft program, the Russian Armed Forces should receive, in particular, more than 1,500 combat aircraft and about 200 air defense systems by 2020.
Ivanov earlier asked President Dmitry Medvedev to authorize the increase of financing for the defense industry by 100 billion rubles ($3.4 bln) annually to ensure the efficient implementation of the program until 2020.
The Russian military is expected to receive 27 combat jets, over 50 helicopters and five battalions of S-400 air defense systems in 2010 under the current arms procurement program.

BY: RIA Novosti

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Indian Army Scouts For Hovercraft Troop Transports

The Indian Army is looking to acquire an unspecified number of armed military hovercraft, technically Air Cushioned Vehicles Troop Carriage (ACV-TC) for use in the Eastern theatre. The Army wants hovercraft that can cruise at 25-40 knots with 80 fully equipped combat troops (excluding crew) along with their battle loads, three-days of logistics requiremements, and vehicles in lieu of troops when necessary. The Army has specified that contending hovercraft should be able to operate in marshy land, sand bars, mudflats, mangroves, tidal creeks, swamps, weed choked lakes, lagoons, backwaters, islands and coastal areas.


India may soon get its own UAV: HAL chairman

India is likely to come out with its indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the coming two to three years, a top official of the country’s only aircraft manufacturing company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has said.
Talking to media persons on the margins of the inaugural test launch of the Light Combat Helicopter, HAL chairman Ashok Nayak disclosed that work is on for developing India’s very own UAVs.

“There are some projects going on in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO),” Nayak said.
“May be after two to three years, the HAL might come out with India’s own UAV. We have already developed one, Lakshya, but it was on a smaller scale. Now, we are developing the Lakshya’s MAK-II,” he said.
Nayak added that the Lakshya’s MAK-II would be used for ‘air to air practice’, and pointed out that it will not be used for combat or surveillance purposes.
Expressing immense pleasure at the successful test flight of the LCH, which has been developed by the HAL itself, Nayak described it as a very important achievement.
Responding to a question about the time by which the LCH is likely to be ready for induction in the armed forces, Nayak said it would take at least two years.
“It will take 500 flights, two years to get operational clearance, and all the weapon and ammunition system would be tested and after that it would be inducted in the airforce. We strongly believe it’ll be inducted in the India Army also.
BY: Shashank Shantanu

Army for laser-based weapons on its futuristic tanks

Looking to strengthen its armoured capabilities, the Indian Army wants its futuristic Main Battle Tank to be equipped with high-powered lasers for taking on enemy rockets, aircraft and electro-optical sensors.
“High/medium-energy level laser is expected to be a lethality option against rockets, air vehicles, light ground vehicles, antennas of armoured vehicles and electro-optical sensors,” the Army stated in its long-term technology plans submitted to the Defence Ministry.
Officials said concerned DRDO labs are already working in this direction and developing the capability.
They added that these capabilities might be deployed on the Arjun Mk-II project, which was recently cleared by the Defence Ministry after the Army decided to place orders for another 124 Arjun MBTs with the DRDO.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PHOTOS: LCA Tejas PV-2 Makes An Appearance At LCH Inaugural


HAL’s Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) Mock up emerges

Hal at the official First flight of LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) also displayed the full scale mockup of the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH); LUH will be replacing current work horse Chetak, Cheetah of Indian Army and Indian Ari force, Requirements put forward by both the forces are around 384 helicopters.
In latest Mock up it seems that HAL is sticking with Conventional Tail rotor instead of shrouded tail rotor which was first displayed in Aero India 2009 model. Aero India model of LUH had shrouded tail rotor which is also known as Fenestron or Fantail in aviation circle. Our Defence expert Rajesh Sharma told that it might have been done to keep the construction cost lower and ducted fan tail rotor adds weight to helicopter , LUH is supposed to be a 3 ton helicopter powered by a single HAL/Turbomeca Shakti engine. The aircraft will have a range of up to 500km (270nm) and a 500kg (1,100lb) payload. LUH will be used in Higher Attitude region.
Since these requirements are on urgent basis all 384 helicopters will not be sourced from HAL only, around 187 LUHs (126 for the Army and 61 for the Air Force) initially will be sourced from a foreign vendor, Trials for LUH are been carried out at this moment and participating companies are Euro copter with its AS550 Model, Agusta Westland with AW119 and Russia’s Rosoboron export with Kamov-226.
Recent media reports suggest that AW119 LUH from Agusta Westland has been disqualified from the trails for bring a civilian variant to the competition, and reports of again competition heading for cancellation have been reported due to irregularities by vendor companies.

BY:IDRW NEWS NETWORK / PICTURES COPY RIGHT (Pls visit site for High res images)

X-51A Waverider flight planned for May 25

X 51A Waverider hypersonic aircraft 300x252 X 51A Waverider flight
 planned for May 25

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio: Weather permitting, Air Force officials said the X-51A Waverider will make its first hypersonic flight test attempt May 25 after it is released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the southern coast of California.
The unmanned X-51A is expected to fly autonomously for five minutes, powered by a supersonic combustion scramjet engine, accelerating to about Mach 6 and transmitting vast amounts of data to ground stations before breaking up after splashing down into the Pacific, as planned. There are no plans to recover the flight test vehicle, one of four built.
"In those 300 seconds, we hope to learn more about hypersonic flight with a practical scramjet engine than all previous flight tests combined," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate here.
The longest previous hypersonic scramjet flight test performed by a NASA X-43 in 2004 was faster, but lasted only about 10 seconds and used less logistically supportable hydrogen fuel, Mr. Brink said.
The X-51A program is a collaborative effort by representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with industry partners The Boeing Company and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
The X-51 will depart Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. and be carried aloft under the wing of a B-52 belonging to the Air Force Flight Test Center there. It will be released at approximately 50,000 feet over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range. A solid rocket booster will accelerate the X-51A to approximately Mach 4.5, before being jettisoned.
Then the cruiser's scramjet engine, remarkable because it has virtually no moving parts, will ignite. Burning the same JP-7 jet fuel once used by the SR-71 Blackbird, it will accelerate the X-51A to Mach 6 as it climbs to nearly 70,000 feet. Hypersonic combustion generates intense heat so routing of the engine's own JP-7 fuel will serve to both cool the engine and heat the fuel to optimum operating temperature for combustion.
A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion will aid in transmitting telemetry data to people at both Naval Air Station Point Mugu and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., before it arrives at its final destination: Ridley Mission Control Center at Edwards AFB.
The May 25 hypersonic test will actually be the third time the X-51 has flown, but in each previous instance it has remained attached to the B-52's wing. The first captive carry flight Dec. 9, 2009, verified the B-52's high-altitude performance and handling qualities with the X-51 attached and tested communications and telemetry systems. The other flight, intended essentially as a dress rehearsal for the hypersonic flight, took place earlier this year.
Program officials said this will be the only hypersonic flight attempt this fiscal year, a change from the original test plan which was to fly in December 2009 then three more times in 2010.
A combination of factors, including access to supporting flight test and range assets, was cited as the reason for the pause. Availability of the Air Force Flight Test Center's B-52, which has been in high demand to support a number of other high-priority weapon system tests and is readying to undergo periodic depot-level maintenance later this year, was noted.
"This is an experimental X-plane and it's a complicated test. We knew the original schedule was aggressive and we would need to be flexible," Mr. Brink said. "It's also expensive to keep a staff of engineers and support staff at the ready and then not be able to fly when supporting assets aren't available. So we elected to make only one hypersonic try this spring and then pause for a few months to conserve funding."
Mr. Brink called the test "a major team effort" by AFRL, DARPA, Air Force Flight Test Center, NASA, the U.S. Navy, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
The shark-like shape of the 14-foot long X-51A cruiser gives a hint to the technologies it is designed to explore, Mr. Brink said. Virtually wingless, it is designed to ride its own shockwave, thus the nickname, Waverider. The heart of the system is its Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne SJY61 scramjet engine, but other key technologies that will be demonstrated by the X-51A include thermal protection systems materials, airframe and engine integration, and high-speed stability and control.
Officials said the X-51A program will pave the way to hypersonic weapons and future access to space. Since scramjets are able to burn atmospheric oxygen, they don't need to carry large fuel tanks containing oxidizer like conventional rockets, and are being explored as a way to more efficiently launch payloads into orbit.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LCH marks a new era in Indian combat avionics

The successful test flight of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) on Sunday will would go down in the history of Indian combat avionics as a new era in indigenous development of dedicated fighter helicopters in the country.
The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has been developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The inaugural test flight of the LCH, which is yet to be christened, has made India enter the elite club of countries in the world which have the capability of designing, developing and manufacturing state of the art advanced combat helicopters.
The successful test flight was conducted at the HAL’s airport here, which was witnessed by a number of distinguished guests, and a huge number of people.
Defence Minister A K Antony, his deputy Pallam Raju and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik were to attend the function, but they cancelled their visit after Saturday’s air disaster at Mangalore.
Secretary Defence Production R K Singh, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall P K Barbora, Chairman HAL Ashok Nayak besides many other dignitaries were present on the historic public flight of the LCH.
Describing the LCH as the “Tiger Bird”, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall P K Barbora said: ” It’s a red letter day not only for the HAL but the whole nation. In avionics, the circus must go on,” he said while referring about Saturday’s tragic incident in Mangalore.”
“It is an unveiling of an asset for which the Indian Air Force was desperately looking for. The display was superb. I congratulate the whole HAL team, especially the rotary wing design team,” Air Marshall Barbora said.
He said the LCH has some unmatched combat and stealth features. “This is no mean achievement. There are very few countries that have the capability to build this (LCH) kind of aircraft. I am quite hopeful that the LCH would be ready for induction in the Indian Air Force in coming two to three years,” Air Marshall Barbora added.
The LCH, which weighs 5.8 tonnes, has strike the enemy target moving at a maximum speed of 268 kilometers per hour.
The “Tiger Bird” has been fitted with a 20 mm Turret gun right in the nose, which not only gives it a stunning “fighter” look but also enhances the capability to destroy target with utmost precision.
Due to its narrow fuselage with flat panels
and tandem seating arrangement, in which the pilot and the co-pilot sit behind one another, the LCH is one of most compact fighter helicopter at present.
The glass cockpit, night operation capabilities, along with highly sophisticated mission systems such as the Target Acquistion and Designing System (TADS), Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) and the Infrared (IR) Supressor are only a few out of numerous advance systems fitted in the LCH.
Apart from basic combat roles, the LCH qualifies for several other tasks as well such as the offensive employment in Urban Warfare, Counter Surface Operations (CSFO) and Counter Insurgency operations. By Shashank Shantanu


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Naval forces get ready to operate N-submarine

The navy is firing on all cylinders to get a headstart on operating nuclear submarines, the most complex machines to be ever built. Indian submariners will get a chance to get into the belly of HMS Talent when the British nuclear submarine pulls into Indian waters off the western coast in June.
A senior navy officer said, “The British hunter-killer submarine is armed with the world’s most advanced sonar gear and weaponry. Our crews are looking forward to getting hands-on experience in operating nuclear submarines”
The 280-foot long Talent carries a crew of 122.
The navy hopes to induct its first indigenously-built nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, by the end of 2011. Arihant will complete the sea-leg of India’s nuclear triad and give it enduring nuclear strike and counter-strike capabilities. India can carry out nuclear strikes with fighter planes and land-launched missiles.
The navy is also on the verge of commissioning the K152 Nerpa Akula-II nuclear submarine being leased from Russia for 10 years. The US, Russia, the UK, France and China are the only countries that can deliver nuclear warheads from a submarine.
The officer said, “We’d like to gain as much experience as we can in operating these complex machines. Working alongside other navies helps.”

BY: Hindustan Times

COLUMN: M-MRCA, A Difficult Choice For The IAF

The trial phase of the proposed purchase of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) is nearing completion. Last heard, the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen was not able to take part as the company had brought a different (older?) model for trials supposedly because the new Next Generation model proposed for India was undergoing some trials in Sweden. Whatever the truth, the competition is heating up.

What should be the criteria for the final choice? The IAF strength has dwindled to some 30 squadrons in the last few years. But the effect has been mitigated to some extent by the induction of the Su-30, which, with its multi-role capability, long range and highly advanced avionics and armament suite, is far more capable than the phased out fighters such as the MiG-25, MiG-23 (MF/BN), MiG-21 and some others. In any case the Su-30, Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar combination have proved themselves in many joint exercises with the air forces of Singapore, the UK and US. Does it then mean that simply getting more Su-30s, and according to the Air Chief, some 150 more are being ordered, would make up the shortfall?

The Su-30 is a very large and heavy twin-engined fighter in the 30 ton class (empty weight: 18,400 kg, loaded weight: 24,900 kg, and maximum take-off weight: 38,000 kg), two engines of 131 kN max after burner thrust each) which gives a thrust to weight ratio at loaded weight of 1.07 and 1.15 with 50 per cent fuel. Its price is reportedly in the US$ 34-53 million range. That is not something to be scoffed at. Given such sterling qualities and a long, if at times uneven relationship with its manufacturer, Russia, why is the IAF looking for another fighter?

The main reasons could be to diversify the sources of foreign supply, access Western technologies, work out mutually beneficial Joint Venture (JV) deals and perhaps leverage the buy for larger foreign policy goals. Given the rapidly changing regional geopolitical scenario, the last factor seems critically important. Having set the background straight, let us now look at the six contenders for the MMRCA competition.

All six contenders are equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) airborne radar with only marginal differences in performance. There is also little difference in their armament carrying capacity and, where needed, such changes/modifications should be possible.

The French Dassault Rafale, the European Consortium Eurofighter Typhoon and the American Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet are all twin-engined fighters in the 25-30 ton class. All of them are reportedly very expensive, with reported prices ranging from Euro 48 million for the Rafale to Euro 88 million for the Eurofighter and US$ 58 million for the Super Hornet. Admittedly, these are only notional figures and no vendor/buyer is likely to divulge the real/actual price and the services, equipment, spares/maintenance support that it might include. Would the IAF want to purchase such ‘heavy duty’ and expensive (?) aircraft?

The MiG-35 is a further development of the MiG-29K version that the Indian Navy is now inducting. It was first unveiled at Aero India Show-2007 at Bangalore. While it no doubt has some extra wing area (8-10 per cent?), smokeless (?) and supposedly the latest version of the RD-33 engine fitted in the MiG-29, the Phazotron Zhuk AE- AESA radar with additional provision for the ground attack role, LCD Multi Function Displays (MFD) and possibly the option to fit Western avionics if needed, it is not exactly a proven design nor are its life cycle costs known. Its official price is not known but going by our past experience it is likely to be low.

That leaves us with the F-16 IN Super Viper (F-16 E/F Block 60) described by Lockheed Martin as, “the most advanced and capable F-16 ever,” and the JAS-39 NG Gripen. Both these are relatively lighter aircraft at a maximum all up weight of just 16,000 kg and yet each carries an external/armament load of around 8,000 kg. They are highly manoeuvrable multi-role fighters.

The F-16 has been around for nearly 40 years but it still commands respect among the experts. It is combat proven, has operated in all parts of the world in very demanding conditions and like the freak if admirable design of the venerable MiG-21 and DC-3 Dakota, is destined to be remembered as the best multi-role fighter ever. It comes with conformal external fuel tanks to reduce drag, and the GE F110-132A engine giving a maximum afterburning thrust of 143 kN. About 4400 F-16s have been sold to 25 countries so far. The aircraft has a total accumulated flight time of some 4.5 million hours and hence the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is likely to be very high. Snags and technical problems are likely to be more predictable. It should also help reduce life cycle costs to a large extent. The Saab JAS -39 Gripen is also reportedly as good. It is relatively new on the scene and has an American GE F 414G engine, which means that Sweden would have to get US permission before it is sold to India.

The issue of access to technology and how each vendor fulfils the ‘offset’ commitment is not yet known, but it is reasonable to assume that no country is likely to transfer the latest technologies without necessary safeguards and confidentiality/end-user agreements. The main issue, therefore, is one of continued reliable spares and maintenance support throughout the projected life of at least 30-40 years. Would Lockheed Martin keep the F-16 line open that long? Another sticking point may be that Pakistan also flies the same fighter. But then the Chinese air force (PLAAF) also flies the Su-30 in fairly large numbers and is likely to use them for another 30-40 years and that did not deter India from buying it in 1996. The Gripen has been offered at reduced cost to Bulgaria, so some further bargaining might be possible. The F-16 could also cost India less if the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route is followed but one cannot predict how the Obama administration would handle the deal and, who knows, Lockheed Martin might even transfer the entire production line to India as was once promised in the case of another American fighter the F-5.

There was some talk of the contract being split between two vendors and a separate tender for the AESA radar. This, in my opinion, might have been conjectured to meet the Tejas LCS radar requirements. India is already committed to buying six C-130J, 10 C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft and other equipment from the US and hence it might become somewhat easy to buy additional GE 404 or more powerful engines for the indigenous LCA.

In the final analysis, it seems that the political factor is likely to influence the choice of the MMRCA more heavily than just the performance parameters. As an old fighter pilot, however, I would always pitch for a light, easily manoeuvrable, agile and relatively inexpensive fighter that delivers every time, generates high sortie rates and is easy to maintain and train on a day to day peace time schedule. What counts in war is the number of fighters one can launch every hour, every day, day after day, with full confidence and ease of operation.

(Air Cmde Phadke, a former fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force, is currently Advisor (Research) at the Indian Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) This column appears courtesy the institute | Photo by Shiv Aroor / Laage AFB Germany)
By: Air Commodore (Retd) Ramesh Phadke/LiveFist

Defence Space Vision-2020

India has decided to launch its first dedicated military satellite by 2011 under Defence Space Vision-2020.
Information to this effect was shared by Ministry of Defence that Indian Space Research Organization has assured us the naval satellite, with an around 1,000 nautical mile footprint over Indian Ocean, will be launched as slated… The project cost is Rs 950 crore. IAF and Army satellites will follow in a couple of years.”
The dedicated satellite will help Navy network all its warships, submarines and aircraft among themselves as well as with operational centres ashore through high-speed data-links. “Maritime threats can then be detected and shared in real-time to ensure swift reaction,” said an officer.
Indian armed forces have been already using “dual use” satellites like Cartosat-I, Cartosat-II and Cartosat-IIA, but after this dedicated military satellite they will get dedicated satellites of their own.
In cureent time there are 300 dedicated or dual-use military satellites present in earth space, out of these 150 belonged to US followed by Russia and China.

BY : ABC Live

Friday, May 21, 2010

'Lockheed-Martin's Failure To Respond Has Affected Our Programme Schedule': LCA (Navy) Programme

Top officials associated with the Light Combat Aircraft naval variant (LCA-Navy) have confirmed to LiveFist that Lockheed-Martin's inability to obtain US State Department clearances to consult with the programme have introduced a "significant delay component" into the schedule of the first aircraft roll-out. In the next few days, ADE is likely to officially hire the services of EADS, which lost the original bid in 2009. When contacted about the development, Lockheed-Martin's India spokesperson John W Giese said, "Lockeed-Martin continues to work with the US government to support the Light Combat Aircraft program." Am still awaiting an EADS comment.

The LCA-Navy desperately needs the services of a technological consultant to tweak the platform's landing gear and arrestor hook design configuration and conduct an urgent audit of the work done so far -- in addition to helping solve some critical airframe weight issues.

"There are some issues which need to be dealt with before we can progress. We are at an advanced stage of discussions with EADS and are hoping to stick to our timeline as much as possible," an official said. As reported earlier on LiveFist, the LCA-Navy's first prototype looks forward to a roll out in two months time, followed by three months of rigorous ground tests for confidence. Time is now absolutely critical, and the ADE has set the latter half of December as a window for a possible first flight.

Generation 2.0: Akash Mk-2

Development work for Akash Mk-2 variant has begun, since recently Ministry of Defence officially granted funds and permission for its further development. Lately Akash Mk-1 has successfully demonstrated its ability in recently held user trials and Air force and Indian army has placed orders for procurement of Akash Sam Batteries.
Work on improvement of Akash SAM has been underway for a decade now and newer technology
has been developed and DRDO is confident to field and test new Akash Mk-2 within  3 year period, major changes that Akash MK-2 will have is the range of missile, Army and Air force wants Akash MK-2 to have range of 40 to 60 km from its current range (Akash MK-1) of just 25 km. for that DRDO has been working on using better composite booster with lengthened booster section to achieve the desired range .According to sources DRDO will not have much difficulty in extended range of the Missile system but DRDO will have other set of problems in support systems.
Akash MK-1 is guided by phased array fire control radar called Rajendra BSR (Battery Surveillance Radar) which is PESA radar, while Akash Mk-2 will have a Rajendra derivative AESA radar to perform the same role, AESA radar will give it better tracking, and engagement functions.  Work on AESA variant has begun and almost nearing completion, DRDO is also working on an AESA variant of Rajendra to be used as Weapons locating Radar (WLR); recently developed Rajendra WLR is based on PESA technology.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Generation 2.0: Arjun Mk-2

Path for the development of the Second generation of Arjun Mk-2 has been cleared recently by the Ministry of Defence and funding allocated , while the Army has ordered more  124  Arjun Mk-1 to keep the production line in Avadi busy till the Arjun Mk-2 will start rolling out from 2013-14 onwards . DRDO rather than starting all over again the Arjun MK-2 will have the same design of Arjun MK-1, but major changes are planned for the new generation variant of Arjun Tank to keep up with the new technological changes which are been  incorporated in the MBT’s world over .
Arjun MK-2 will have Battle Field Management System (BFMS) which will enable the tank to get feed from UAV‘s and Helicopters, which then enable the Arjun mk-2 tank crew much aware of their surroundings and better understanding of the battle zone, this will lead to improvement in coordinating with other Friendly tanks in the zone and also avoid Friendly kills, it will also give information regarding enemy tank movement along with their troops and help navigate terrain in the battle zone.
Self-diagnostic system (SDS) will also be added to Arjun Mk-2 which is like a health monitoring system. it will not only  tell the tank crew if it is having any problem but also point out the trouble area , it is also important when Tank has taken multiple hits from different position and from different ammunition after a self-diagnose Tank crew will know exact damage inflicted on the Tank .
Arjun Mk-2 will get a new efficient 1500bhp engine which has been in development by DRDO in India its self, they are reports that a Indian Private industry is also working with DRDO on the Engine development, currently Arjun MK-1 is powered by German supplied 1400bhp engine which is quite old in design and technical parameters but still a powerful and respected engine in the world.
NERA (non-explosive reactive armor) will be added to Arjun Mk-2 this will give the tank additional protection against anti-tank munitions, unlike ERA, NERA will enable tank to take multiple hits anti-tank munitions, but also increase the weight of Arjun MK-2 to 60 tons from its current weight (Arjun MK-1) of 58 tons.
It is much likely that Arjun Mk-2 will also spot Air-conditioning system for the crew, which will be powered from an APU which will draw its power from the Main engine of the Tank; this will enable the tank crew to operate in higher temperature of desert heat without any discomfort to the tank crew, Arjun MK-1 already has hardened electronics that function perfectly even in the Rajasthan summer without requiring any Air-conditioning system.
More changes will take place in Arjun Mk-2, above mentioned are mostly likely changes which will take place in the new variant.

124 More Arjun MK.I ordered by Indian Army

The Army on Monday placed a fresh order for an additional 124 ‘Arjun’ main battle tanks, giving a much-needed fillip to the over three-decade-long DRDO programme.
The new order comes in the wake of reports that Arjun had outdone the Russian-made T-90 tanks during comparative trials in the deserts of Rajasthan earlier this year.
“The Army has decided to place fresh order for an additional home-built 124 Main Battle Tank Arjun. This is over and above the existing order of 124 tanks. The development follows the success of the indigenous MBT Arjun in the recent gruelling desert trials,” a defence ministry spokesperson said here.
The additional 124 MBTs would help the Army to raise two more regiments of the indigenous tanks.
The Army already has a 45-tank-strong regiment comprising Arjuns, which were delivered to the Army by the Avadi-based Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in the middle of last year.
The Army had in 2004 placed its first order for 124 Arjun MBTs, of which nearly 50 have been delivered by the HVF. The defence ministry had last week decided to go in for the development of second-generation of Arjun tanks to give a boost to Defence Research and Development Organisation’s efforts in this regard.
During the desert trials, the Arjuns were pitted against the T-90s.
The DRDO and the HVF for some time now have been complaining that the Arjun production line at Avadi would dry up if fresh orders were not placed and that it could spell the death knell to the 36-year-old project.
The fears of the DRDO and the HVF stemmed from the fact that the Army was not too keen on placing fresh order over and above the existing order, arguing that the technology of Arjun would become outdated in the next 10 years.
Also, the Army’s mechanised forces has started looking out for a futuristic main battle tank (FMBT) be it indigenous or imported.
The Arjun tank project to design and develop an MBT for the Army was approved by the government in 1974 with an aim of giving the required indigenous cutting edge to the mechanised forces.
“After many years of trials and tribulations, the tank has now proved its worth by its superb performance under various circumstances, such as driving cross-country over rugged sand dunes, detecting, observing and quickly engaging targets and accurately hitting targets, both stationary and moving with pinpointed accuracy,” the spokesperson said.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

India to fire over 5000 km range Agni V in 2011

After the successful launch of the Agni II missile, India is all set to test fire its first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, Agni-V, in Mach-April 2011.

Agni V is being designed by adding a third composite stage to the two-stage 3,500-km Agni-III, having a range of over 5000 km to carry multiple warheads and will have countermeasures against anti-ballistic missile systems.

It is a three-stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. Two stages of this missile will be made of composite material. The Agni V will be the first canisterised, road-mobile missile in India.

Buoyed by the success of the Agni II missile, Dr W Selvamurthy, DRDO's Chief Controller Research and Development, said: "We are now working on Agni V, which has a range capacity of more than 5,000 kilometres. It is a strategic missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation."

"It will be ready by next year. We hope during March-April next year. It will be an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile."

The Strategic Force Command on Monday successfully test fired Agni II, an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) with a range of 2000 km, from Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa at 9:18 a.m., meeting all mission objectives.

"Agni II is a strategic missile, which has a range capability of 2,000 km. It can carry a nuclear warhead," said Dr Selvamurthy.

"We have successfully test fired this today. The Strategic Force Command has carried this out. They have done the whole operation themselves and our scientists have been observing the whole operation.

"It has gone very well. All the mission objectives have been successfully met. This has been inducted in the Armed Forces. It was successfully test fired from the Wheeler Island," he added.

The Agni missile is a family of medium to inter-continental range ballistic missiles developed by India. It comprises of Agni I, Agni II, Agni III and Agni V. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)
BY:Bombay News.Net

Agni-II missile test-fired successfully

 Agni-II missile, with a range of 2000 km, was on Monday successfully test-fired by the Army as part of user trial from the Wheelers Island off Orissa coast.
The trial was conducted from a rail mobile system in Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at around 9.15 am, defence sources said soon after the versatile surface-to-surface missile blasted off.
Data relating to various parameters of the mission's objectives was being analysed, the sources said.
Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services and Monday's test was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army with logistic support from various laboratories and personnel of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
A DRDO scientist said it was a training exercise to familiarize the end-users with different operational conditions.
The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and a naval ship located near the impact point in the down range of Bay of Bengal.
The 20-metre long Agni-II is a two stage, solid-propelled ballistic missile. It has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kg over a distance of 2000 km.
Agni-II was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad, the sources said.
The missile is part of the Agni series which includes Agni-I with a 700 km range and Agni-III with a 3,500 km range, they said, adding that Agni-I has already been inducted and Agni-III is in the process of induction.
The first trial of Agni-II was carried out on April 11, 1999. Though some of the subsequent trials were successful, the user trial conducted on May 19, 2009 and the first night trial on November 23, 2009 from Wheelers Island could not meet all the parameters, they added.

Is Air force capable of “Two Front War “

Indian army is already revising its doctrine to fight War in two fronts with China and Pakistan, Army with its 1.13-million strong personnel and recently held war games might have even cemented Army’s doctrine on possible  “Two Front War “ .
But the Question remains will Indian Air force will be able to fight a “Two Front War “, Air force which already has lowest Squadron strength in decades is fighting hard to induct new jets in its arsenal, delays in MMRCA, Tejas has already hit Air force hard, and blunders made in purchase of Hawk AJT’s from Uk has already hit production and pilot training, Grounding whole fleet of HTT-32 basic Trainer by air force has only worsen the situation.
PLAAF  already possess more than 500 Long range 4th generation fighter aircraft like Sukhoi-27k and Sukhoi-30MKK and their Chinese copy of J-11 ,not to forget 150 plus home grown J-10 fighter aircraft ,this itself total ups what IAF has in its current inventory not to forget order generation J-7 (Mig-21 copy) and J-8 variants which PLAAF in large numbers . PAF on other hand with around 400 combat aircraft is still a formidable air force in the region.
Poor radar coverage and fewer fighter aircraft deployment in North Eastern sector will also hamper Air forces role in support of ground troops, while IAF is actually deploying small number of Surface to air missile in the region is consider as baby  steps by many experts which Chinese forces have fortified their side of border with heavy SAM batteries . While border line areas near Pakistan have good radar coverage but due to lack of radars and failure to modernize older ones have left blank spot in the region.
According to Defence Expert Rajesh Sharma IAF might lose 40 % of its fleet in less than a week if both china and Pakistan use their air forces aggressively towards India, According to Mr. Sharma first three days of war will see heavy IAF aircraft lose, If PLAAF is able to destroy major airbase in northern sector Long Range Bombers and Fighter aircraft will be able to bomb many major northern eastern cites even Kolkata will be not be spared.
IAF needs to be Defensive in northern-eastern sector and offensive in western sector ,to achieve that northern-eastern sector needs to be heavy fortified with SAM batteries and better radar coverage and better Aircrafts like Sukhoi-30MKI deployed in large numbers to intercept and PLAAF aircrafts and Drones .


F/A 18 Super Hornet will fit the bill for IAF, says U.S

As the race for the IAF bid to procure 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft enters the home stretch, the United States Navy vouched for the versatility of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, one of the six aircraft in competition, with features closer to a fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
The Indian Air Force is scheduled to complete flight evaluation trials during the month with the last of the six competitors. The Super Hornet from the Boeing stable has gone through all three phases of trial across different weather conditions in India and weapons at the manufacturers’ locations.
The Naval Air Station, Oceana here in the U.S. southeast coast, has under its wing 17 operating squadrons of these fighter jets including 10 Super Hornet squadrons that fly from both the land base and the aircraft carrier.
Emphasising that F/A18 would continue to be the U.S. Navy’s workhorse even after the induction of the futuristic F-35, Cmdr Mike Gusko said the new version would complement the existing fleet of Super Hornets, which would continue to serve well beyond 2035.
He said the aircraft could operate from dry, wet and icy runways, an ability fitting in with the overall requirements of the IAF.
The Block-II aircraft (Super Hornet) comes with ability to operate in all-weather providing air defence superiority, precision attack, close-air support, and an advanced radar for weapons system.
Apart from combat manoeuvrability and unlimited angle of attack, which its test pilots demonstrated to the visiting group, it had the active electronically scanned array radar (AESA), the Navy official said. The AESA radar is being upgraded and the version would be on offer.
The Commanding Officer of the Center for Aviation Technical Training Unit, Cdr John Wood, said the NAS, Oceana facility also had both maintenance and training establishment, with the latter running courses for fresh recruits to advanced level staff of varying durations.
The simulator-assisted training establishment brings the technicians closest to understanding the intricate wiring pattern and design, breaking it into segments and guiding them through electronic and printed manuals.
Bret Marks, programme manager for F/A 18 India, said the IAF would get two of the training units in India as part of the deal with the option of buying a third one and an offer to train trainers here. Of the 126 aircraft, the IAF is looking for 80 single-seaters and the rest with tandem operated cockpit. Boeing offers F/A-18 E in the first category and F/A-18 F in the other.

Attack helicopter evaluation trials likely in summer

With the Indian Air Force embarking on modernisation, the skies over different parts of the country will witness yet another high-profile test with evaluations of attack helicopters due to start this summer.
Seeking to get off the mark, Boeing is fielding the AH-64D Apache helicopter for the trials, Dean Millsap, regional director, Asia Pacific International Business Development, told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.
Mr. Millisap said an IAF team was due to arrive in the United States and thereafter dates for the trials in different weather conditions would be finalised. Boeing is among the international companies that responded to the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the IAF last year for supply of 22 attack helicopters.
These will replace the Russian-made attack helicopters being operated by the IAF. Boeing is also offering Chinooks, its tandem rotor, twin engine, heavy lift twin rotor helicopters. The deal is estimated to be around $ 2 billion.
The Boeing representative told the journalists, after a tour of the facility where Chinooks are manufactured, that in the case of Apache, India would get the Block 3 helicopter, the same version that was being acquired by the U.S. Air Force.
Since 1984, over 1,700 Apache attack helicopters have been manufactured and Block 3 came on the assembly line last year equipped with improved target detection, increased situational awareness and survivability. One of the features, he said, was connectivity with unmanned aerial vehicles.
The present-day Apache helicopters can perform multimissions, including with fire-and-forget missiles, auxiliary fuel tanks, air-to-air missiles, crashworthy structure, advanced sensors, advanced targeting sight and integrated electronic maintenance.
Boeing is also augmenting its manufacturing facility to meet its orders by ramping up production from 4.5 Chinooks a month to six by 2011. The company is in the race for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft and has completed a set of trials.


Defence ministry copter deal faces another hurdle

The procurement of 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters has run into trouble again. If reports emanating from the defence ministry are any indication, the copter purchase process will be halted and tender cancelled.
The reason cited for imminent cancellation is deviations shown by the choppers fielded by the contenders in the trials.
This will be the second time when the tender will be cancelled, the first being in December 2007. The tender was re-issued in July 2008, but after two years of government efforts to take the process ahead, it will meet the same fate. With the helicopter inventory of the Army diminishing, procurement of these choppers is critical for operational necessity and defence preparedness.
The defence ministry had prepared ground for cancellation of the Rs3,000-crore deal tender in 2007 when the Central Vigilance Commission asked it to explain the cancellation following an objection by former national security advisor MK Narayanan.
The report indicated that the procurement process did not follow set guidelines. The fresh global tender went to five companies namely the Russian Rosoboronexport (ROE) for Kamovs, two manufacturers from the US — Bell and Sikorsky, European consortium’s EADS’ Eurocopter and Anglo-Italian Agusta Westland. Only three firms Eurocopter, ROE and Augusta Westland qualified for trials.
The helicopter model offered by Eurocopter was unable to perform high altitude hover-out-of-ground-effect (HOGE). The problem with ROE’s Kamov was that the engine to be fitted on Kamov 226T will be Arrius 2G1 which is not yet certified. While Agusta Westland, was facing serious problems with the MoD due to misunderstanding on a nomenclature issue.
The new helicopters will replace the aging 1970s vintage Chetaks and Cheetahs, and will be for high altitude, surveillance and logistics.

BY:Suman Sharma / DNA

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fresh user trial of Agni-II on Monday from Wheeler’s Island off Orissa coast

After two failures in a row, a flight test of Agni-II, nuclear weapon capable intermediate range surface-to-surface missile, is scheduled to be conducted from the Wheeler’s Island off the Orissa coast on May 17.A team from the Strategic Forces Command will conduct the “user trial” of the 2,000 km plus range weapon system.
It will be picked up randomly from the production lot since the missile has already been inducted.
Defence Research and Development Organisation officials told The Hindu that the test was meant to re-establish confidence and confirm the missile’s readiness in the wake of two failed flight tests in May and November last year.
On both the occasions, Agni-II tumbled into the sea after losing its speed and deviating from its flight path, just before the separation of the second stage of the missile. The two trials were carried out by Strategic Forces Command personnel as part of user training exercise.
The officials attributed the failure during the previous tests to “quality-related problems” and said there was “no fundamental flaw” with the design.
With the successful test-firing of the 3,500-km plus range Agni-III in February and the 700-km range Agni-I in March this year, this would be the first time that all the three Agni class of missiles will be tested in such a short time.
The two-stage solid-propelled, Agni-II is 21 metres tall and capable of carrying a payload of one tonne to a distance of 2,000 km.
It has a special navigation system to improve accuracy and a manoeuvring re-entry vehicle enabling it to change course during re-entry.
It is also equipped with anti-ballistic missile defence counter measures.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

197 Light Chopper Competition Hots Up, Summer Trials Start Next Week

With winter trials and maintenance evaluation trials (METs) done, India's $600-million Reconnaisance & Surveillance Helicopter (RSH) competition enters the third phase next week, involving summer trials. The three helicopters involved in the trials -- the Eurocopter Fennec (See photo from Leh trials in February), the AgustaWestland AW119 and the Kamov Ka-226T. The summer trials are to be completed by June. Eurocopter goes first, followed by Kamov.
BY: LiveFist

Finally, Govt Orders Full Revamp Of DRDO, Formally Sanctions Mark-II Versions Of MBT Arjun & Akash SAM

More than three years after the Indian Express special series on the woeful state of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) by me and Express senior editor Amitav Ranjan, the government has finally managed to order a comprehensive restructuring plan for the beleaguered organization with immediate effect. It was our 8-part special front-page series, titled Delayed Research Derailed Organisation in late 2006 which set the ball rolling. For starters, it compelled the government to set up a committee in February 2007, chaired by Former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Dr. P Rama Rao to review and suggest measures to improve the functioning of DRDO. After years of stiff resistance from some quarters in DRDO, the revamp plan has finally been pushed through.

A statement from the MoD today said, "To give a major boost to Defence Research in the country and to ensure effective participation of the private sector in Defence technology, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today approved a series of measures that will transform and revitalise the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – in form and substance."

According to the statement, the key measures include the establishment of a Defence Technology Commission with the Defence Minister as its Chairman, de-centralisation of DRDO management, making DRDO a leaner organisation by merging some DRDO laboratories with other public funded institutions with similar disciplines, interest and administrative system, engagement of an eminent Human Resource (HR) expert as consultant to revamp the entire HR structure of DRDO and establishment of a commercial arm of DRDO.

Significantly, the decisions also include continuation of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for design and development of combat aircraft, continuation of the Kaveri aero-engine programme, development of MBT Arjun Mk-II and Akash Mk-II by DRDO and selection of industry partners by DRDO through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism.

The recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee together with DRDO's views and the report were extensively deliberated upon by the three Services and the Defence Ministry. The Defence Minister Shri Antony had subsequently constituted a committee on June 25, 2009 under the Chairmanship of the Defence Secretary, to consider the responses and the suggestions made by various stakeholders on the recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee and to arrive at a set of acceptable recommendations. The committee chaired by the Defence Secretary met on five occasions and gave its recommendations to the Defence Minister.

Decentralisation of DRDO Management
The decentralisation of DRDO management will be achieved through formation of technology domain based centres or clusters of laboratories headed by Directors General. Seven centres will be created based on functionalities and technology domains. It will be the responsibility of the Directors General to ensure timely execution of major programmes and encouragement of research in laboratories. DRDO will also ensure full autonomy to all laboratories as far as S&T initiatives are concerned. While empowering the Directors of the laboratories, DRDO will put in a mechanism in place to ensure the accountability of the laboratory Directors.

Leaner DRDO
One of the major recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee was to make DRDO leaner by merging some of its laboratories with other public funded institutions have similar discipline, interests and administrative systems. Some of these ecommendations of the Committee have been accepted by the Defence Minister.

Restructuring of DRDO
The present Director General of DRDO will be redesignated as Chairman, DRDO. Directors General at centres and CCsR&D at Headquarters will report to Chairman, DRDO, who would be the head of the organisation. The Chairman will head the DRDO Management Council having seven Directors General and four CCsR&D at Headquarters and Additional Financial Advisor (R&D) as members. Financial Advisors at the appropriate levels would report to Directors General / Lab Directors to ensure accountability.

Revamping of DRDO's HR Structure
DRDO will now hire an eminent HR expert as Consultant to revamp the whole HR structure. The Consultant will be entrusted with the task to examine issues such as selection and tenure of Directors and avenues for the induction of talented persons, independently spotted by the Lab Directors and the heads of centres, including filling up of wastage vacancies.

Commercial Arm of DRDO
A new Commercial Arm of DRDO would be created by DRDO as a Private Limited Company with a seed capital of about Rs. 2 crores. The commercial arm would deal only with the spin-off products and technologies meant for civilian use. It will not take up any manufacturing activity. For any production activity the services of public or private sector industry will be utilised.
BY: LiveFist

Indian MOD issues RFI for 60 man-portable target designators

The Indian MOD has issued an RFI to procure 60 light weight portable target laser designators(LWPTD) to carry out laser designation missions by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The LWPTD are to be man-portable.
The last date for responding to the RFI has been fixed for May 25 and the bidders are to subject their equipment to a trial on a ‘no cost and no commitment’ basis as is the standard practice of the Indian MOD’s procurement system and the offers are to be valid for a period of 18 months from the date of submission.
In case the procurement process carries forward beyond 18 months, the bidders can put in a fresh bid at an increased cost if felt necessary.

All bids received will be evaluated by the technical evaluations committee of the IAF and only the successfully evaluated bidders will be invited for field trails.
The successful bidder is expected to meet the guidelines of the Indian Defence procurement policy which includes 30% offsets.
Technical requirements: Configuration should be man portable and have LRF, Laser Designator compatible with a NATO laser kits including Pave way and Griffin Laser kits.
Laser Designation LOS range upto 10 km. Should have capability selectable PRF codes from 0 to 20 pps.
TI Sight Should have good optical cameras with adequate Field of View for recognition of combat vehicles and troops. Position fixation Capability to fix own Position and give locations of target systems with high degree of accuracy. Life Total Technical Life of more than 10 years.
Companies such as Thales, a global leader in defence electronics and several Israeli firms manufacture target designators.

Chinese naval J-11s spotted in the open

A British magazine said on Monday that new Chinese single- and twin-seat J-11 fighters are probably being produced for the People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF).
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, some pictures posted this month on Chinese military websites showed J-11s outside the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation factory.
The J-11s are in a very light grey livery consistent with the PLANAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKK2 fighters, 24 (one regiment) of which were delivered in 2004, Jane’s said.
The single-seat fighters, a new variant of the J-11B and designated as J-11BH, are the modified version of Sukhoi’s Su-27SK. A version of the twin-seat J-11BS, which will reportedly be called J-11BSH in PLANAF service, can also be seen in these pictures, the magazine added.
Russia had expressed dissatisfaction on China’s “appropriation” of Sukhoi’s design, and Moscow also expressed doubt about whether China could copy the Su-27SK or go on to produce improved versions.
The J-11B has a slightly lighter airframe than the Russian original, and there is speculation that the J-11B is possibly made by greater use of composites, and new Chinese-designed radar.
Chinese-designed air-to-air missiles like the radar-guided Luoyang PL-12 are also equipped on the J-11B. There are also some indications that the J-11B may soon be equipped with a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that is also likely to be used by the new Chengdu J-10B.
Recent images also suggest that the PLA Air Force J-11Bs may receive the Chinese-designed Shenyang WS-10A Taihang high-performance turbofan, which has been a major objective for China’s aerospace sector since the 1990s.
It is not clear if the new J-11s will take the place of China’s older Shenyang J-8B/D fighters. Compared with the J-8, J-11BH can provide PLANAF a new platform with significantly greater combat potential.
The PLANAF J-11s will probably have a potent anti-ship capability to supplement the army’s five regiments of Xian JH-7/A strike fighters.
BY: Global Times

Iran warship tests home-built torpedo: report

Iranian warship the Jamaran on Sunday test-fired a home-built torpedo for the first time as part of ongoing naval war games in the Gulf, state television’s website reported.”This torpedo is anti-submarine and when it is fired from the warship, it automatically hunts for the submarine and destroys it,” navy commander Arya Hassani was quoted as saying.The report said the torpedo was fired from the Iran-built Jamaran, which was deployed earlier this year. It has a displacement of around 1,400 tonnes and is equipped for electronic warfare.
On Wednesday the Islamic republic’s navy began eight days of manoeuvres in the Gulf, Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean covering an area of 250,000 square kilometres (around 97,000 square miles).The drill comes weeks after a similar exercise by the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Gulf and in the key oil route of Strait of Hormuz.Iran’s armed forces regularly conduct such drills, often test-firing what they say are home-built missiles.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

South Korea's Push for the UAV

    The Korean MALE should operate with flight specifications similar to those of the US Air Force's MQ-1 Predator (pictured).

The Republic of Korea (ROK) continues to be a major defence and security ally in the Pacific region. The country maintains the sixth-largest military force in the world. As Korea moves towards operational control transfer and continued defence modernisation, it continues to have a good portion of its budget devoted to acquisition and purchase of defence equipment and materiel.
Although there has been a slowdown on several defence projects due to the recent sluggishness in the economy, the country continues a trend of ensuring that the defence budget is the least impacted during the budgeting progress. The ROK continues to set priorities related to command and control, C4I and other platforms such as unmanned aerial vehicles and other similar systems.
The current political trend in Korea is to establish a robust defence, and to maintain a diversified military. President Lee identified defence technology as one of the stimulus sectors to help the country out of the recent recession. The defence sector is very important to the ROK's development. The government allocated $23.8bn for 2009 for defence expenditures. This is a considerable amount compared to other ministry and agency budgets for other government entities. The 2009 defence budget contained requests of $6.89bn for the FIP (force improvement programme). For 2010, the ROK Ministry of National Defence (MND) requested $24.7bn, a budget increase of 3.8%.
The ROK Government emphasises defence reform for 2020 as well as a standalone defence capability and it continues to maximise indigenous production, diversify defence suppliers and acquire as much technology as possible.
Development of a UAV is one of the ROK Army's force improvement plans to significantly advance Korean aerospace technology. Accordingly, the UAV industry, especially large projects, are led and supported by government.
Excluding some low lying plains in the south-western region of the peninsula, approximately 70% of the Republic of Korea is mountainous. Multipurpose UAVs that are designed for particular terrain would be required for both military and commercial (homeland security) purposes. Demand for UAV platforms is increasing as the ROK continues to develop into a multirole regional defence force not just structured for any potential North / South threat on the peninsula.
Korea's UAV development history began in 1978 when Hanam Machinery developed remote-controlled unmanned target UAVs. Later from 1990 to 1999, the Agency for Defence Development (ADD) and KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) co-developed fixed-wing UAVs, through which the Agency for Defence Development (ADD) first established technology for jet propelled decoy UAVs. Night Intruder is considered the first advanced UAV – the ROK Army currently uses it to meet their mission requirements.
"The ROK continues to set priorities related to command and control, C4I and UAVs."
Various projects related to the UAV are continuously being worked upon by the ROK Government. Currently, KARI is leading the technology development of Korea's UAV industry and to commercialise it for mobile communication and meteorological observation. Academic-industrial cooperation is also very active for the development of miniature aerial vehicles (MAVs). Interest in UAV development in Korea is closely linked to the ROK seeing the benefits of UAV flight operations – the US used UAVs heavily in the Iraq War.Currently, the Korean Government is pursuing various UAV projects.
Three projects are currently in operation:

Stand-in surveillance UAV
KUS-7 and KUS-9 are Korea's stand-in surveillance UAVs for which Korean Air completed its programme development in 2009. Flight characteristics of the KUS-7 include three-hour endurance with a 50km flight range. The KUS-9 is an upgraded platform with an eight-hour flight capability and real-time data transmission.

MALE (medium-altitude long-endurance) UAV
In early December 2008, the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) announced that Korean Air had been chosen as the primary developer of a medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV project that will commence flight and surveillance mission after 2016. The development contract to build the nation's unmanned aircraft systems covers both civilian and military applications.
With assistance from foreign defence firms, Korean Air will devise and integrate the aircraft's fuselage and other related systems, including a ground-control station and mission equipment package, in mission from a maximum altitude of 50,000ft (flight level 500) for over 24 hours. The Korean MALE should operate with flight specifications similar to those of the US Air Force's MQ-1 Predator.

Smart UAV development project
The ROK Government selected UAV development as one of its 21st-century frontier projects related to aerospace technology development. The Smart UAV development programme, which is based on VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) and high-speed UAV development, has begun. This programme is key for Korea to achieve its goal to become one of the leading countries in the world UAV market within ten years. The programme was launched in July 2002 as one of the Frontier R&D programmes granted by the government.
The Smart UAV system is a next-generation intelligent UAV system acquiring real-time imagery information in distant places day and night. It is composed of tilt-rotor air vehicles capable of vertical take-off and landing and high-speed flight, mission payloads, data links, a ground control station and ground support equipment. The air vehicles adopt state-of the-art technologies such as fully autonomous flights, collision detection and avoidance, health monitoring and restoration, and active adaptive controls.The first stage of the Smart UAV project lasted from June 2002 to March 2005 and included the establishment of design, core technologies through R&D on VTOL and high-speed UAVs. The second stage was production of test flight. The development project has now been in its third stage since April 2009, and the programme will be complete by March 2012. It focuses on anti-collision sensor development, self-diagnosis systems and communication / data link systems.
"Demand for UAV platforms is increasing as the ROK continues to develop into a multirole regional defence force."
The ROK Government committed $91.7m for the completion of this project through phase three. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) is the designated organisation of the Smart UAV project. As it emerges into its third stage, KARI seeks to develop tilt-rotor aircraft technology for the UAV. The end objective would be to produce tilt-rotor manned aircraft.
The ROK seeks to develop medium-altitude UAVs through local production, while it plans to directly procure foreign-made high-altitude long-endurance UAVs.
Below is a summary of the projects related to UAV development in Korea.

Stand-in surveillance UAV development
  • Project timeframe: 2004-2009
  • Cost: $6.7m
  • Leading government agency: Ministry of Knowledge Economy
  • Executive agency: Korean Air
  • Prime contractor: Korean Air
Smart UAV technology development
  • Project timeframe: 2002-2012
  • Cost: $91.7m
  • Leading government agency: Ministry of Knowledge Economy
  • Executive agency: KARI
  • Prime contractor: Various
MALE (Medium Altitude long endurance) UAV development
  • Project timeframe: 2009-2016
  • Cost: $375m
  • Leading government agency: DAPA
  • Executive agency: ADD
  • Prime contractor: Korean Air
There are ROK Army operates 15 UAVs. Korea will increase that number to 200 by 2020. It is expected that Korea's UAV industry will focus on R&D until 2010, and the production of UAVs to meet military and civil demand afterwards.
It is early to estimate the local market size of the Korean UAV industry, but it is expected to increase to $4bn by 2020, among which military demand accounts for 62.5% or $2.5bn. There are several key local companies in the UAV industry, most of which have accumulated their technology know-how through the production of aircraft, aircraft parts and system integration.

The key Korean manufacturers include:

KAI: Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) dominates the Korean aerospace industry. As one of the leading aerospace manufacturers in Korea, KAI entered into a co-development agreement with ADD in 2001 for reconnaissance, battlefield surveillance and target acquisition, and unmanned aerial vehicle development and production from 1991 to 2004. KAI plans to diversify the type of UAVs through development of decoy UAVs and dual-use UAVs and eventually export these platforms to other countries."Various projects related to the UAV are continuously being worked upon by the ROK Government."

Korean Air: The Korean company exhibited the KUS-9 at the Seoul Air Show (ADEX) 2009. In 2008, Korean Air was designated a developer of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV. The programme is projected to be completed by 2016. $375m has been budgeted for the development of MALE.Other key local manufactures include Samsung Thales for UAV electronic optical tracing systems (EOTS) and Ucon Systems for unmanned parafoil delivery systems. DAPA selected Ucon Systems for the development of MAVs (miniature aerial vehicles).Relevant government agencies of the ROK intend indigenous production of UAV systems. The government is looking toward local production as export controls may limit certain technologies from the major US and EU UAV technology leaders whether it is ITAR controls or other international agreements like the missile technology control regime (MTCR). Greater self-reliance on technology development would lead to a higher level of certainty related to technology available for Korea's UAV projects.
Currently, gas turbines and reciprocating compressors are used for UAV engines. But other power sources such as batteries, solar cells and fuel cells will be used in coming years. Technology for engines, precision sensors (CCD/IR sensors) and inertial sensors are still a long way off being developed, and Korea will depend on foreign technology / products for some time to come.
Due to production using similar parts and components to aircraft, there is no statistical data that can separate the demand for UAV parts and components from those of the entire aerospace industry. Major Korean aerospace manufacturers are the developers of UAV systems. As such, these same companies are also customers for commercial / defence products from the US. The majority of core parts and components originate from the US and other Western Nato countries
Due to the ROK Government's "indigenous development policy", importation of completed UAV units is very limited. However, most major US aerospace companies provide parts and components to Korea. US companies are also leading suppliers in the import market.