Archive for June, 2015

`Procurement May Take Six More Months’

Something as basic as proper bulletproof jackets remains a distant dream for Indian soldiers.The Army is yet to get lightweight modular jackets almost a decade after it first demanded these, and six years after the proposal was cleared by the government.

The new jackets, coupled with proper ballistic helmets, were supposed to effectively protect the head, neck, chest, groin and sides of soldiers as well as allow them to move with greater agility during counter-insurgency operations.

It was way back in October 2009 that the defence acquisitions council had given its go-ahead for the acquisition of 1,86,138 such bulletpoof jackets since the Army was short of that number from its authorized holding of 3,53,765 jackets.

Nothing has come out of it till now despite the Army’s existing old and bulky jackets, which provide inadequate protection, approaching the end of their life in a year or so.

Given the operational ur gency , defence minister Manohar Parrikar had last year announced the emergency procurement of 50,000 new jackets. But these, too, are yet to arrive.

“The selection and procurement process is underway after the government sanction… It will take at least another six months,“ said a defence ministry source on Monday .

The bigger case for 1.86 lakh jackets is still at the trial evaluation stage, with six vendors locked in compe tition. Each jacket’s estimated cost was put at around Rs 50,000 when the project was approved, making it a total of around Rs 930 crore. All these jackets were to be inducted by 2012, with another 1.67 lakh jackets to be ordered in the second round.

But revision of technical parameters and re-floating of tenders as well as convoluted defence procurement procedures and politico-bureaucratic apathy have put paid to those plans. Several parliamentary committees have taken an extremely dim view of this “critical shortage“ of bulletproof jackets, slamming the government for “playing with the lives“ of soldiers, as reported by TOI earlier.

Incidentally , as reported by TOI earlier, the longpending quest to acquire new-generation assault rifles for infantry soldiers has also hit a dead end. The 2011 tender for the new assault rifles with interchangeable barrels is now likely to be scrapped.


Source: The Times of India

The Indian Navy’s INS Sindhukirti to undergo final trials before officially re-entering into service with the Indian Navy next month.Indian Navy’s INS Sindhukirti will enter its final full-power trials after a decade-long renovation process.

The attack submarine will officially return into service with the Indian Navy next month, providing a much-needed advantage to India’s limited submarine force.

Sindhukirti is the seventh Sindhughosh-class (Indian name for the Russian Kilo-class) diesel-electric attack submarine in the Indian Navy, which was originally commissioned in 1990. The Sindhukirti entered its upgrade process back in 2006.

India’s Sindhughosh-class submarines were co-developed between India and Russia’s Rosvooruzhenie. The Sindhukirti’s restoration involved extensive modernization.

The Indian government recently cleared an added $8 billion in funding for naval modernization, part of which will go to the construction of six additional nuclear submarines.

Source: Defense News

Fighting without equipment

Posted: June 23, 2015 in Semco Group

The Army’s unconscionable delay in acquiring modern small arms severely compromises the infantry’s operational efficiency, especially in counter-insurgency warfare.

In the last five years, the small arms profile of India’s paramilitary forces has emerged as significantly superior to that of the Army, which continues to struggle to acquire even basic weapons for its infantry units. Since 2010, the Army has operated without a carbine, and has been battling seemingly intractable Ministry of Defence (MoD) bureaucratic processes to procure one. It is also struggling with similar self-defeating and hidebound acquisition procedures to acquire an assault rifle. It is still years away from selecting one, let alone inducting it into service.

Succeeding Army chiefs have declared the procurement of both weapon systems to be ‘top priority’, but years later, following extended trials and interminable evaluations, this priority remains unfulfilled.

On the other hand, the central paramilitary forces have, over the same time frame, inducted a range of modern carbines and assault rifles into service. Undoubtedly, their numbers are fewer than the Army’s, but there is a procedural lesson for the Army in the relative swiftness with which the central paramilitary forces have shortlisted, evaluated, tested, and finally acquired the weapon systems.

Interminable processes

Ironically, instead of the bigger and more battle-hardened Army setting an example in small arms acquisitions, the opposite has been true, due largely to the central paramilitary forces’ less encumbered acquisition procedures and swifter decision-making processes. Since 2010-2011, the Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have acquired some 34,377 ‘Storm’ MX-4 sub-machine guns from Italy’s Beretta, with under barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) and around 68,000 AK-47 variant assault rifles from Bulgaria’s Arsenal. A follow-on order by the CRPF for 60,000-odd AK-47s is under acquisition. Other central paramilitary forces purchases include 2,540 Tavor X-95 carbines from Israel and over 12, 000 9mm MP-5 sub-machine guns from Germany, some of which have been disbursed to special state police units deployed in counter insurgency operations against Naxalites.

In comparison, the Indian Army’s unending saga of small arms acquisitions makes dismal telling. This is due to utter confusion in determining their qualitative requirements (QRs) and the inherent systemic inefficiencies for which the Army has to assume ownership. This time around, it cannot complain that the MoD deprived its soldiers of basic weaponry.

In December 2010, the Army issued a tender for 44,618 5.56mm close quarter battle (CQB) carbines and 33.6 million rounds of ammunition to replace its World War II vintage submachine guns, which even the Ordnance Factory had stopped producing. The trials featuring three vendors ended in end-2013. But the Army has yet to declare a winner, reportedly due to a handful of senior officers in the interminable procurement chain unduly favouring one carbine over the other for specious, almost laughable, reasons.

The tender requires a carbine weighing no more than 3kg to be capable of firing 600 rounds per minute, to a distance of 200 meters. It also requires the winning model to transfer technology to the Ordnance Factory to licence-build it in order to meet the Army’s requirement for over 2,00,000 CQB carbines. This number is expected to increase manifold.

However, the fear in military circles is that the petty differences in the Army’s selection team could well result in the tender being scrapped altogether. Retendering would take several more years, during which time the Army will have to operate without a carbine.

The assault rifles delay

The assault rifle procurement story is even more incomprehensible and alarming, as the Army is likely to scrap its 2011 tender for 66,000 multi-calibre assault rifles, after four overseas vendors failed to meet its requirements in trials that concluded last November.

The Army’s tender required the modular assault rifles to switch from 7.62x39mm to 5.56x45mm for employment in defensive and suppressive fire roles, merely by changing their barrels and magazines. The selected system was to have replaced the Defence Research and Development Organisation-designed assault rifle, which the Army had stated was ‘operationally inadequate’ in 2010, after using it on sufferance for years.

The shortlisted rifle, like the CQB carbine, was also to be licence-built by the OFB to meet the Army’s immediate operational requirement for over 2,20,000 assault rifles. Four models participated in trials at Bakloh cantonment near Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh and at Hoshairpur in Punjab, from August 2014 onwards. All four rifles failed to meet the Army’s QRs for various reasons.

Official sources indicated that retrials were unlikely, and that after four years of wasted effort, the Army now plans to draw up fresh QRs for a single calibre rifle, in all likelihood a 7.62x39mm, which has a shorter range than its 5.56x45mm calibre equivalent that is in use with most of the world’s armies. It will then send out a request for information for the new rifle, before re-tendering several months later. Thereafter, it will navigate the time-consuming process of technical evaluation, user trials and shortlisting, followed by price negotiations, a process lasting three to four years.

Poor alternative

The MoD is also believed to be considering the alternative proposal of abandoning the import of both the carbine and assault rifle and manufacturing them locally under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ enterprise. But this will also entail time-consuming procedures, necessitating a private or public sector-led joint venture with an overseas original equipment manufacturer, again selected after extensive trials. Such an enterprise would, doubtless, necessitate the import of a certain number of weapon systems before their licensed production by the JV begins much later.

Army officers have warned that such delays severely compromise the operational efficiency of infantry units, especially those deployed in counter-insurgency operations, as they are forced to employ INSAS rifles against the superior weaponry of militants in Kashmir and the Northeast. Meanwhile, even the sniper rifles used in the paramilitary forces are more contemporary and advanced than the Army’s Soviet-era Dragunov SVD gas-operated, semi-automatic models acquired in the 80s.

Attempts to import around 1,000 sniper rifles for the Army’s Special Forces in 2010-11 under the Fast Track Procurement route proved fruitless and have been abandoned, even though the requirement remains a priority. An Army team led by a two-star officer conducted comparative trials in Israel (for IWI’s semi-automatic Galil sniper rifle), Finland (for Beretta’s SAKO TRG-22/24 bolt action model) and the U.S. (for Sig Sauers 3000 magazine-fed rifle), but with no results.

Unfortunately, even such specialist rifles, which can potentially alter not only the course of battles and politics but even history, remain victims of Army apathy.

(Rahul Bedi is a defence analyst.)

Source:The Hindu

Three of the 12 AgustaWestland helicopters have been gathering dust at the Palam Air Base in New Delhi

Hitting a dead-end, the CBI is likely to close the probe into alleged kickbacks in the deal to buy 12 AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopters to ferry VVIPs. All that is left of the whole scam is an unfinished probe, a scrapped contract and destroyed reputations. With the closure in sight without pinning down those who were allegedly bribed, the Indian Air Force is back to square one struggling to figure out how to manage safe transport for the country’s high and mighty.

Time has come full circle since the Rs 3,600 crore contract was scrapped two years ago after Italian prosecutors got the whiff of corruption in the dealings of the top executives of Finmeccanica, the parent company of Anglo-Italian AgustaWestland.

The case in Italy was closed last year and its obvious ramifications were felt in India where the CBI struggled to move in the absence of evidence despite booking a host of individuals including former IAF chef SP Tyagi and his cousins among others who allegedly took money to swing the deal in favour of the helicopter-maker.

India has recovered more than what it paid, around Rs 1,800 crore, as the first installment for the contract. Three of the 12 helicopters that were delivered have been gathering dust at IAF’s Palam air base in Delhi, neatly covered.

The IAF is only the custodian of these tri-engine helicopters and its manufacturer has gone into arbitration to settle the dispute. The pilots who were trained to fly these helicopters have returned to other assignments. The IAF has drawn out six newly acquired Mi-17V5 helicopters for VVIP use. These will replace the ageing Mi-8s which were declared unsafe for dignitaries. Under the old scheme, the Mi-8s would have made way for AW-101s.

Since Mi-17V5s were not meant for VVIP use, certain modifications are being carried out to make it compatible for carrying top dignitaries.

Source: Indian Defense News

NEW DELHI: India is slowly but steadily building a fully-automated surveillance network to make its airspace, which still has many gaping holes in central and peninsular mainland as well as island territories, as secure as possible in the years ahead.

By progressive integration of all airborne and ground-based civilian and military radars around the country, the aim is to ensure any intrusion by a hostile aircraft, helicopter, drone or micro-light is detected as soon as it takes place.

“This, in turn, will make it possible to swiftly launch counter-measures, which can range from scrambling of fighters to surface-to-air missiles and guns coming into play. This proposed total fusion of sensors and shooters, which is still some distance away, will help minimise the reaction time,” said a source.

Towards this end, the IAF has already established five nodes of the automated air defence network with data links or the IACCS (integrated air command and control system) at Barnala (Punjab), Wadsar (Gujarat), Aya Nagar (Delhi), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Ambala (Haryana) with help from defence PSU Bharat Electronics.

Under Phase-II of the IACCS, approved by the defence acquisitions council for Rs 7,160 crore, four new major nodes and 10 sub-nodes will now come up. While three nodes will be in eastern, central and southern India, the fourth is meant for the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Island archipelago.

“Some will be located in underground complexes to improve survivability in face of enemy attacks. The entire IACCS infrastructure is being upgraded, which include advanced early-warning and jam-resistant radars. The proposed launch of the dedicated IAF-Army satellite will also help in this,” said the source.

The wide array of new radars being gradually inducted range from ground-based medium power, low level and light weight radars to “eyes in the skies” in the shape of additional AWACS (airborne warning & control systems) and Aerostat radars.

“The first medium-power radar, for instance, was inducted in Naliya around four years ago,” said a source. Interestingly, the plan also includes specialised rugged mountain radars meant for high-altitude areas bordering China, which can pick up even small aircraft from a distance of 300 to 400 km away.

Some civilian radars are already linked to the IAF network, which includes the ones controlled by the Airports Authority of India at Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. “IAF does not control air traffic but the real-time radar picture is available to it,” said the source.

There has, however, been an excruciating delay in IACCS, a critical operational requirement first mooted by IAF in 1998. But much like the maritime surveillance network picked up speed after the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai punched holes in the country’s coastal security architecture in 2008, the IACCS is now finally getting the attention it deserves.

Source: TNN

Over the last three decades the army has first ignored, and then opposed the indigenous Arjun tank, designed by theDefence R&D Organisation (DRDO). Now, this fight has entered a second generation, with the army scuttling the DRDO’s proposal to design the next-generation Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT).

In a blow aimed at the FMBT proposal, the army has floated a global Request for Information (RFI) asking global tank manufacturers to submit proposals to design a “new generation, state-of-the-art combat vehicle platform” for India.

The new tank will not just replace the army’s 2414 obsolescent T-72 tanks, but also constitute a “base platform” that would be modified into 10 other variants, including tracked and wheeled light tanks; bridge laying and trawl tanks; a mobile platform for artillery and air defence guns; a combat engineering vehicle, and even a tracked ambulance.
This proposal has been named the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) project. Army sources say this name has been selected to clearly differentiate it from the DRDO’s FMBT project, which will no longer be supported.

The FRCV proposal RFI originates from the “Directorate General of Mechanised Forces” (DGMF). Dated June 10, it was posted on the internet a few days later.

FRCV is a direct blow to “Make in India”, replacing not just the indigenous FMBT project but potentially also the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project that is being tendered shortly to Indian vendors under the “Make” category of the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP).

FRCV would divert lakhs of crores of rupees from Indian to foreign vendors. The FMBT project – which the government told Parliament on December 6, 2010, would be completed by 2020 – could itself be worth Rs 1,50,000 crore. This includes about Rs 25,000 crore for designing, development and testing, and replacing the army’s 2,500-odd T-72 variants for about Rs 50 crore a tank.

Replacing the army’s 2,600 BMP-II infantry combat vehicles would cost another Rs 50,000 crore. Currently the indigenous FICV project covers this replacement.

The new FRCV proposal has several dubious firsts. Unprecedentedly it lays down no specifications for the new tank, leaving it to the foreign designer to propose its form and capabilities. The RFI vaguely states that the “design must cater for ‘future’ battlefield environment and technological possibilities”.

Traditionally, buyers of military equipment specify precisely what they need, placing the onus on the vendor to meet those requirements. In the case of tanks, users specify weight, the guns and missiles they want, their strike ranges, how much armour protection is needed, etc. However, in the FRCV, only a “broad design philosophy” will be specified to the vendors.

“Tanks are not designed by philosophers, but by engineers. The military needs to translate its operational philosophy into weapon systems, and to clearly specify to designers the capabilities that are needed. The problem is the generals themselves can’t agree what they want, and so they want the designer to tell them,” says a senior officer involved in the FRCV process.

Business Standard learns that a key reason for this lack of consensus within the armoured corps (which operates tanks) is that, for a decade, each of its director generals has brought his own ideas, overruling the ideas of his predecessors.

A second problem with the RFI is that it violates the DPP in the process it lays out for designing, developing and manufacturing the FRCV. The three-stage process envisaged is: (a) an international design competition, with vendors “asked to submit detailed designs based on the FRCV design philosophy”. A ministry selection committee would select the best design; (b) development of a prototype by “nominated” development agencies (DAs), separate from the designer, but with the designer’s “close involvement”; (c) the bulk manufacture of the FRCV by “one/two nominated Production Agencies.

There has been no such case in recorded procurement history where one agency has designed a product, another has developed the prototype, and a third has carried out mass manufacture. Defence vendors only undergo costly and laborious design and development when they are confident of making profits through bulk manufacture.

Since there is no provision in the DPP for the proposed three-stage process, the ministry’s apex Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) would have to sanction a DPP deviation. Civil servants in the ministry say there is little chance of that, given that the DRDO, confident after building the Arjun, would steadfastly oppose a foreign-led process.

“We will support the DRDO, since this involves “Make in India,” a senior defence ministry official told Business Standard. The army’s future tank programme seems poised for significant delays.

Source: Business Standard

NEW DELHI — A policy move being considered by the Indian Ministry of Defence could help overseas defense companies meet their offset obligations and close defense contracts being held up by uncompleted offset documents, an MoD source said.

An internal MoD committee has recommend that defense contracts not be delayed merely on grounds of incomplete offset documents if the company is working to fulfill the offset obligations during the execution of the defense project.

The recommendation is likely to be accepted and a policy change to this effect could be announced within a month, the MoD source said.

Overseas defense companies are required to discharge offsets of at least 30 percent of the total value of the contract. These obligations can be fulfilled either through transfer of technology, direct purchase of components and systems from the defense industry, or by creating specific manufacturing facilities and investing in skill development and training.

Overseas companies find it difficult to find Indian entities with which they can tie up to meet the offset obligations, delaying finalization of the contracts.

Among the major defense contracts that have been held back because of incomplete offset documents is the purchase of 145 M-777 light howitzers from the US subsidiary of BAE Systems, the MoD source said. If enacted, the policy change would help clear a more than $600 million deal from the subsidiary.

“The overseas defense companies are finding it difficult to close their offset fulfillment obligations and put up necessary documentations because they find it difficult to identify the companies from whom they can buy systems and components to meet offset obligations,” an executive of a foreign defense company operating in India said.

“The Indian defense industry is still in its early stage of maturity and not many companies can produce quality goods which can be bought by the overseas companies,” the executive said.

Overseas defense companies struggling to execute the offsets have had to pay fines, the MoD source said.Between 2008 and 2014, overseas companies have been able to fulfill only half of the $1.3 billion worth of offset obligations, the source added.

Ankur Gupta , defense analyst with Ernst & Young India, agreed that fulfilling offsets is challenging.

“Under the present conditions, it is very challenging,” Gupta said. “The Defense Offset Management Wing [DOMW], the organization responsible for management of offsets, wants the most intricate project details upfront from the original equipment manufacturer. In almost all cases this is not possible as the offset work is easily five to seven years from starting, and once it starts, it will continue for another five to seven years. Thus, to give all details almost 12-15 years prior is not possible.”

While the mandatory offset obligations equal at least 30 percent of the total contract value, sometimes, as in the case of the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal, the offset obligations are pegged up to 50 percent of the total contract. This would mean around $10 billion assuming the total contract of the MMRCA deal to be about $20 billion.

Meeting a $10 billion obligation in just one contract could be a difficult task, the executive of the overseas company said.

Relaxation of the offset policy could help the original equipment manufacturers by easing delayed defense contracts, but these policy changes would not guarantee that offsets would be met more easily, defense analysts said.

“The laws of the land are quite clear and simple in such matters; the Defense Procurement Procedures and India’s central bank Reserve Bank of India rules are foremost and the DOMW should just acquaint itself with them and only ask for that documentation instead of everything else under the sun,” Gupta said. “The current offset policy is simple, transparent and has evolved over time. What is lacking is the accountability in its implementation and this cannot be solved by simply revising the policy yet again.”

Source:  Defense News

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s primed to be a packed year ahead for the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with upcoming flight-test of the missile aboard a modified Su-30 MKI of the Air Force and the prospect of the Indian Army raising two more BrahMos missile regiments.

The BrahMos air-launched version will be flight-tested aboard the IAF’s Su-30 MKI fighter in 2015 itself, Sudhir K Mishra, CEO and managing director of Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL), told ‘Express’ during a recent visit to the company’s Thiruvananthapuram unit.

“The Nasik division of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has completed the modification of Su-30 MKI for carrying BrahMos missiles. We are planning to test the missile this year itself once it has been integrated to the fighter,” Mishra said. “It will take about four to five months to complete the instrument flight test, the dummy test and the actual flight,” he said.

BAPL has so far handed over more than 100 BrahMos missiles to the 4th BrahMos missile regiment of the Army. “We are also looking at the possibility of raising the 5th and 6th BrahMos regiments,” Mishra said. Other plans, including fitting six ships of the Indian Navy with the 290-km missile, are on the anvil.

In May, the army had successfully tested an advanced version of the missile with steep-diving capability.

On foreign customers lining up for the missile, Mishra said that it was up to the Centre to decide. “The BAPL is ready to meet any production order, subject to the Government of India approval. It is for the government to decide where to export and whom to export it to,” he said. The Russian government has absolutely no problem with such orders, he said.

Source: Defence News

French drone-maker LH Aviation on Friday signed an MoU with Indian OIS Advanced Technologies for the manufacturing of tactical drones in India, at the ongoing Paris Air Show. The companies will collaborate for setting up a manufacturing plant through an industrial license. This will allow a hundred drones intended for the Indian market to be produced locally.

The LH-D is a multi-sensor tactical UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) with automatic take-off and landing capabilities. UAVs are generally used for military or non-military security missions.

The drone is a new kind of product, which can also be reconfigured as a manned controlled version or a conventional aircraft called OPV (optionally piloted vehicle), LH Aviation CEO Sebastien Lefebvre told HT.

Declining to comment on financial details of the deal, Lefebvre said the cost per UAV is generally about 4 million euros, including the global system, which includes transfer of technology, consumables and services.

The MoU has been signed for drones with a payload of 280 kg with an autonomy of 24 hours. These drones run at a speed of 61-185 knots and can be deployed quickly as they have removable wings. They can also be sent into any field of operation and be ready in less than one hour.

The operating cost of the drone is below 80 euros per hour of flight.

“Our relationship with LH Aviation has enabled us to bring a flexible, advanced technology  medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV platform, which can be customised for Indian requirements,” OIS-AT chairman Sanjay Bhandari said.

Source: Hindustan Times

NEW DELHI:The United Arab Emirates has approached the Indian Space Research Organisation to launch its Mars mission in 2020, the government said on Monday. The discussion in this regard is on.

This comes as the ISRO basks in the glory of the country’s successful Mars Orbiter Mission at a budget of Rs 450 crore.

“India has entered into space marketing and we will be launching commercial satellites for many other countries,” said Union Minister of State for Department of Space Jitendra Singh here.

He said the images sent by Mars Orbiter Mission were being taken by other countries as well.

Department of Space Secretary and ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said the agency is in the process of validating and analysing the discoveries made by the mission.

“We have a working arrangement with NASA. We are also in discussion with CNES (French space agency). Recently, we had a discussion with the UAE. It wants to have a Mars Mission for 2020. So they are interested in making use of the expertise available here,” he said.

The launch date for the UAE’s Mars mission, dubbed the Hope Probe, is sometime around July 2020. It is expected to arrive on Mars just in time to coincide with the UAE’s 50th anniversary of independence.

The government also announced that it would do the first test of the reusable rocket launch vehicle technology for low cost access to space in September. The winged vehicle would take off like a rocket and land like an aircraft.

“This is in its initial stages. Multiple experiments need to be completed. The first launch is in September and this will help improve cost effectiveness. It will reduce the cost by one-tenth. The launch vehicle will be landing first time in the ocean and the ultimate attempt is to make it land at an air-strip at Sriharikota,” said Kumar.

The ISRO would also launch Astrosat, the country’s first dedicated satellite for astronomy, by September.

It would complete the launch of two satellites of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) series next year and three satellites in the subsequent year.

On the manned mission to moon, Kumar said it is yet to get a formal approval from the government.

The Indian space agency , meanwhile, is working on key technologies for the moon mission.

Reuse, CUT COST ::
India will test its Reusable Launch Vehicle tech demonstrator (RLV-TD) in September. An RLV takes off on the back of a rocket and lands like an aircraft

Step 1 ::
Hypersonic Flight Experiment will see RLV-TD launch by a solid booster rocket. The rocket will fall into sea after the launch, while the RLV will move forth and make a splashdown in the ocean in a controlled op

Step 2 ::
Landing Experiment test for RLV’s turbofan engine. After the launch, the RLV-TD re-enters the atmosphere at hypersonic speed. Aerodynamic breaking decelerates the entire process. The engine then makes a turn towards launch site and land horizontally on a runway.

Step 3 ::
Return Flight Experiment involves the RLV-TD launch into orbit and then its de-orbiting back to the runway

Step 4 ::
Scramjet Propulsion Experiment tests the performance of an RLV-TD fitted with airbreathing scramjet engine.

Source: Defense News