Archive for June, 2013


The Indian Air Force has appealed to the Defense Ministry to hasten the light utility helicopters procurement, right after a newly acquired Mi-17 crashed last week during a rescue operation in the flood torn region of the Himalayas.

The IAF has been trying to replace its aging Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which are mostly used for logistics in the upper reaches of northern India.

In 2009, India issued a $900 million LUH tender in which Kamov and Eurocopter are the final two competing.

The fate of the competitions remains undecided by MOD, which has so far given no reasons for the delay despite completing field trials.

A total of 384 helicopters are being procured for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. Of these the current tender is for the purchase of 197 helicopters off the shelf while the remaining 187 would be manufactured in India, by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) under joint partnership.

The helicopters will carry out multiple mission roles including reconnaissance and surveillance, direction of artillery fire, carrying small bodies of troops, nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) monitoring, casualty evacuation, and airborne forward air control missions.

By : Defence News
The INSAT-2E satellite of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) functioned for over 10 years even as its two earth censors failed.

The INSAT-2E satellite of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) functioned for over 10 years even as its two earth censors failed. Except a few key officials of the ISRO, no one knows about the major technological snag developed by the satellite one and a half years after its successful launch in April, 1999. It makes the world know about the technical advancement of the ISRO and the commitment of its workforce.The then scientist in ISRO and presently Director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre M.Y.S. Prasad shared the close-guarded secret with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kakinada (JNTUK) while delivering the third convocation lecture here on Thursday.

“Any satellite requires two censors to function well. When the ISRO developed INSAT-2E and signed a contract with a foreign company to share its services, we have faced a strange situation one night,” Mr. Prasad began the narration. He said the technical snag was identified at 4 a.m. and the then Chairman K. Kasturi Rangan asked Mr. Prasad and a few other scientists to rectify the issue before 7 a.m., as the services of the satellite were required for the airing of national news in Doordarshan.

“We were immersed in the job and finally able to solve the issue before 7 a.m. As the news aired as usual, no one knows about the technical issue.

After that, the satellite worked for 10 years and earned revenue to the tune of Rs. 750 crore to the nation, ” he said in a smile.


“Nasa is providing the deep space navigation and tracking support to this mission during the non-visible period of the Indian Deep Space Network,” said a US state department announcement.

The decision to cooperate was taken at the fourth meeting of the US-India joint working group on civil space co-operation held in Washington on March 21. But the details of the meeting were made public on Monday through the US-India joint fact sheet. Its release coincided with the Indo-US Strategic dialogue, and the talks between Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan and Nasa administrator Charles Bolden in New Delhi.


Nasa will provide support from its facilities at Goldstone in the US, Madrid in Spain and Canberra in Australia.

The teaming up for the Mars mission assumes significance in the context of Bolden calling for strengthened co-operation in this programme, when he addressed Isro staffers nationwide on Tuesday afternoon from the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre.

The American state department document also stated that both countries have “agreed to co-operate in potential future missions to the moon and Mars”.

Isro officials have not ruled out a second mission to Mars, which they said will have more scientific content. TOI has also learnt that Nasa was keen on participating with Isro in the analysis of data from the Methane Sensor For Mars, which is one of the five instruments on board the present Indian Mars orbiter.

But Isro has not given any firm response so far.


US Army Chief Raymond Odierno said he will visit India next month to expand the existing military to military co-operation between the two countries.

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Terming the visit to be an “important relationship for the US”, Odierno today said that he would meet Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh and other defence officials during the visit.

“We will discuss many issues that we have in common to help each other grow as armies,” he said.

Asserting that the US would continue to work and build on areas of common interests Odeirno said, “I will have a chance to go around the visit the Indian army and I am looking forward to that very much”.


India may not allow them to fly fighter jets, when even countries like Pakistan do, but women IAF pilots are proving their mettle by flying high-risk missions on their helicopters to rescue stranded people in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.


Meet Squadron leader Khushboo Gupta, who has already flown over 55 sorties in her Cheetah helicopter to the Kedarnath valley and beyond. “The experience is very challenging… flying at 11,500 feet altitude is not easy, often with bad weather and poor visibility. But we in the IAF are trained for such missions and keep flight safety on the top of our minds,” Gupta told TOI.

Flight Lieutenant Tanya Srinivas, with barely two-and-a-half years of service as an “air warrior”, is also gung-ho about the tasks ahead. “I have flown earlier in deserts, plains and hills. But this operation is specially challenging… IAF gives you the opportunity to help people in emergency situations,” she said.

Interestingly, the husbands of both the women are also helicopter pilots engaged in the ongoing Operation Rahat, the largest airlift of people and relief supplies undertaken by the IAF.

But while Khushboo and Tanya are operating their Cheetahs from Gauchar, their husbands Squadron Leaders S K Pradhan and Vikram Thiagaraman, respectively, are flying their larger Mi-17 helicopters from Dehradun as their base.

“It’s good both of us can contribute to the massive effort underway… the devastation is staggering and on a very big scale,” said Khushboo, who was commissioned into IAF six years ago. The unfortunate crash of a Mi-17-V5 helicopter north of Gaurikund on Tuesday afternoon is unlikely to dampen this robust enthusiasm despite the loss of friends and comrades.

Acting both as the pilot and co-pilot as per mission requirements, Khushboo has evacuated over 90 people from Jungle Chetti and other places. “We are operating in areas where bigger helicopters like Mi-17s cannot go. Landing the Cheetah in restricted spaces is very demanding. But it’s very satisfying and rewarding to see smiles on the faces of the people we rescue,” she said.

Given the overwhelming male-dominant environs of the armed forces, “women air warriors” like Khushboo and Tanya have often beaten their male counterparts in military aviation skills to reach where they have by the sheer dint of hard work and enthusiasm.

While women pilots are not yet allowed to fly fighter jets, they have been taking to the skies in helicopters and transport aircraft in IAF for over a decade now. Of the around 1,000 women officers in IAF as of now, around 80 are pilots.

Incidentally, the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters of the armed forces were first inducted in the 1970s based on the design of French ‘Alouettes’ and ‘Lama SA-315′. Over 250 of them were subsequently manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) till the 1980s. “These helicopters do not have modern avionics and navigational aids, nor advanced electrically-driven instruments. So, it’s basically visual flying by the-seat-of-your-pants,” said another pilot.


With the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Dassault Aviation ironing out differences over the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), the supply of the Rafale aircraft is expected to begin in 2016-17.

According to a report in US-based Defense Update — a portal on military technology and defence news — French defence minister Jean-Yves Drain will visit India soon to conclude the MMRCA contract so that the supply of the first batch of aircraft can begin in 2016-17.

During the on-going Paris Air Show, HAL brass met with the top executives of Dassault Aviation to review the progress of the ongoing projects. “Both the teams expressed satisfaction on the work already achieved by the integrated teams and renewed their commitment towards successful completion of the various projects,” said a recent statement from HAL.

India’s plan to buy 126 fighter-jets from Dassault has been delayed even though the company won the fiercely fought bid two years ago. There have been reports that the deal has been delayed as Dassault and the government has not been able to finalise the role of HAL in the deal.

According to the deal, Dassault will provide 18 of the 126 aircraft in fly-away condition and the remaining are to be manufactured by the HAL. Media reports have stated that Dassault Aviation wants two contracts to be signed, one for the aircraft manufactured by it and another for the aircraft to be build by the HAL.

That apart, in the past, the French aircraft manufacturer has also expressed doubts over the technological and manufacturing capability of the HAL.


The Indian Navy’s indigenously built aircraft carrier, which is under construction at the Cochin Shipyard, will be launched on August 12 by Union Defence Minister A. K. Antony.

The carrier will be floated out of the shipyard on August 12 and taken to the repair dock to carry out remaining work. The hull work for the vessel will be over by June next year, by when the ship will be ready for trials. The vessel will be inducted into the Navy by January 2018, Commodore K. Subramaniam, Chairman and Managing Director, Cochin Shipyard, said.

India is the fifth country in the world to design and construct an air defence ship. The yard has been working with the navy for over seven years in building this vessel, he said.

Describing the construction of the carrier as a significant achievement for the yard, he said this was the most challenging task that it had undertaken so far. According to Subramaniam, this is the first time the yard is constructing a warship.

As the specifications for commercial vessels and warships are different, there are only a few yards in the country where both can be constructed.

The shipyard had signed the contract for the construction of the aircraft carrier with the Navy in 2007 and the keel was laid in February 2009.

Subramaniam pointed out that negotiations with the navy for the second phase of the aircraft carrier are complete and the contract will be signed after getting Cabinet approval. The design of the ship is happening along with its construction, so the shipyard is hopeful of delivering the vessel by 2018, he said.

Sources say that the aircraft carrier, which weighs 40,000 tonnes and has 20,000 tonnes of steel, is estimated to cost $4-5 billion.


Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has ordered 107 Sigma 95 navigation systems kits from Sagem (Safran) for the Indian Air Force’s combat aircraft.

Developed and produced by Sagem, Sigma 95 is an autonomous hybrid inertial navigation system combining laser gyros and GPS/Glonass* satellite navigation. It ensures high-precision navigation and broad operational flexibility for both combat and special-mission aircraft.

Two-thirds of the systems in this order will be manufactured in India by HAL, further cementing the partnership agreement on navigation systems signed by Sagem and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Sagem is a leading supplier of inertial navigation systems for Indian combat aircraft, warships and weapon systems. Nearly 500 combat aircraft deployed by the Indian air force and navy are now fitted with Sagem equipment. The systems in this latest order will join the Sigma 95 systems already in service on India’s combat aircraft.

Produced in Sagem’s Montluçon plant in the Auvergne region of south-central France, Sagem’s navigation systems are deployed on some of the world’s latest miliary aircraft, including the Rafale fighter, A400M military transport, NH90 helicopter and EC725 Caracal helicopters used by special forces.



Noting that cyber attacks could cause destruction on an unprecedented scale, former President A P J Abdul Kalam today stressed on the need to equip future officers of armed forces to envisage and combat technology-driven warfare.

“The whole war environment will be a network centric warfare and it could be electronically controlled. Sometimes space encounters, deep sea encounters and ballistic missile encounters.

“The winner of future warfare will be the officer who can visualise the strength of the enemy not based on the earlier war but based on the current capacities and technology advancements in the global scenario,” Kalam said, after the convocation ceremony at the Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) here.

“Our armed forces officers will have to get trained in virtual reality-based, simulated warfares of all the terrains and extreme conditions of the warfare,” he said.

The key to becoming a strong nation is to have economic and military strength together, he said.

“India is capable of technological advancements. We have developed expertise along with technology in remote-sensing, communication satellites, strategic missile system, electronic warfare system, LCA, naval system among others.

“There is a need to integrate all the technologies and build an indigenous system which will meet the needs of the defence services of our country,” he said.

Referring to cyber warfare and challenges, he said in an electronically-connected world, many nations will be endangered in future due to cyber war which can create destruction effortlessly at the speed of light that even Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and other nuclear weapons can become insignificant.

“Nowadays, nations have electronically connected in all the economic, defence and national security establishments which would be the target for cyber attacks during a conflict or to create instabilities,” he said, adding that a country can get defeated without a missile or aircraft attack just through intelligence cyber war.

Kalam said, “In technology-centric crimes and war, the crime may originate from a strange place outside the nation shores and may damage the organisational wealth which will be in digital form.”

If information is not handled in a secure way, it can be intercepted and even modified, he said and stressed the need to put in place a system which can detect vulnerabilities and respond to the security loopholes dynamically in the event of cyber attacks.

Along with different kinds of warfare, the tools of war have also changed to economic competition, control of market forces, essential items like energy, he said, adding that in the next two decades, anti-ballistic defence systems are going to be a major force.

Earlier, the former President conferred degrees and awards to the engineering graduates. A total of 22 officers of 92 Degree Engineering Course and 22 officers of 19 Technical Entry Scheme Course were awarded Bachelor of Technology Degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi during the convocation ceremony.

MCEME Commandant Lt Gen S M Mehta also spoke on the occasion.


It was in June 2001 when a new missile designated PJ-10 was first test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), it was un-announced and development was kept a secret but India had gate crashed into Cruise missile club, that missile  later went on to be called “BrahMos “

BrahMos-1: Since its first firing, new Indo-Russian developed Supersonic cruise missile with range of 290 km was first dubbed as “Carrier Killer “since it was primarily an anti-ship missile, later variants like MK3 were developed  keeping in mind requirements of Indian army , BrahMos-1 is already serving in Indian army and Indian navy .

BrahMos-1 ALCM :  Airforce specific air launched BrahMos has been in development for some time now and DRDO is working with Sukhoi Bureau  the makers of Sukhoi 30 for its integration ,  it is confirmed that around 20 New Sukhoi Su 30 MKI which will procured from Russia will have major structural modifications which will enable it to fire BrahMos , DRDO  also revealed that they are working on a smaller and lighter variant of BrahMos which can be carried by other aircrafts without going through such modification but till now no test of such missiles have been carried out yet .

BrahMos-1 SLCM : India on 20 March 2013 successfully test fired anti-ship variant for the first time from a submerged pontoon near Visakhapattanam at the coast of Bay of Bengal  , once India’s Nuclear submarine INS Arihant completes its sea trails and enters Weapons testing phase submarine variant of BrahMos -1 will be tested .

BrahMos-II: India and Russia once again have commenced development of second BrahMos series of cruise missiles. BrahMos-II is expected to have a range of 290 kilometres (180 mi) and a speed of Mach 7, DRDO has showcased a scaled down model of BrahMos-II at Aero India 2013, Missile has a different Design which makes it completely a new missile.  New scramjet air breathing jet engine for BrahMos-II has been tested by DRDO for short duration and first test firing of the missile will take place in 2017 according to Sivathanu Pillai, chief executive officer of the Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace .

Nirbhay: India’s first Subsonic cruise missile which was test fired in March this year had partial success and DRDO is gearing up to have another test flight by year end, Nirbhay (Fearless) is nuclear-armed subsonic cruise missile with reported range of 1000km, first requirement of subsonic cruise missile was put forward by Indian army few years back, which wanted a low cost terrain hugging missile to carry out deep strikes, after MOD approval DRDO started working on Nirbhay project. Nirbhay like BrahMos will be operated by all three Service of Indian Military.

Nirbhay ALCM:  Airforce specific variant of Nirbhay will come minus the solid-rocket booster and will be integrated with 20 Modified Sukhoi Su 30 MKI, first launch flight of ALCM variant is likely by 2015 and DRDO will also be working on a shorter and lighter ALCM variant with lesser range to be carried by other fighter aircrafts of Indian air force.

Nirbhay SLCM : Submarine launched variant of Nirbhay will be ready at around 2015 and first launch might take place from submerged pontoon and later will see integration with Arihant class submarines .

LRCM:  DRDO is supposedly working on a new missile designated Long-Range Cruise Missile (LRCM), according to few details which were made public missile will have range of 600 km and will be powered by ramjet engines, DRDO slides shows design which has Air Intakes, unlike BrahMos, missile resembles French developed ASMP-A which is powered by a ramjet engine and has speeds up to Mach 3. DRDO has not confirmed or denied existence of such project in public domain but has been tight lipped about its development.  It is a clear indication that missile will borrow highly from the technology developed for BrahMos since BrahMos lacks in range due to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) restrictions , India plans to overcome range restriction  by development of LRCM.  Since not much detail is available in public domain some experts are suggesting that project might have been scrapped or DRDO wants to maintain some secrecy around the project.