Archive for July, 2015

New Delhi: India has demonstrated the capability of launching 1.4 ton class of satellites using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and 2 ton class of satellites using Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk II to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Indian Space Research Organization has taken up the development of a new generation launch vehicle named GSLV Mk III, with capability to launch up to 4 ton class of satellites to GTO. As a part of development, an experimental flight of GSLV Mk III with passive cryogenic stage was successfully launched on 18th December 2014 to validate the critical atmospheric regime of the flight.

The endurance hot test of high thrust indigenous cryogenic engine of GSLV Mk III has been successfully conducted for duration of 800 seconds on 16th July, 2015. After the successful qualification of the integrated cryogenic engine and stage, the first developmental flight of GSLV Mk III is planned.

This information was given by Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), Atomic Energy and Space in reply to unstarred question in Rajya Sabha today.

 Source: Defense News

In a move that will further deepen India-Israel strategic cooperation, Rafael of Israel and India’s Kalyani Group are forming a manufacturing Joint Venture (JV) to produce Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) in India and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will be the system integrator, informed sources told The Hindu.

Spike is a third generation, fire-and-forget, man-portable, anti-tank missile. In all, about 40,000 missiles are required to equip the Army’s 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised regiments.

In October last year the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had cleared the Spike ATGM deal worth Rs. 3,200 crore deal for 8,000 plus missiles, 300 plus launchers and requisite transfer of technology to an Indian firm. The U.S. had lobbied hard for its Javelin missiles with offer of joint development and production of next generations missiles for use by both countries.

The companies are in talks with the Telangana government to procure land to set up a manufacturing facility in Hyderabad as BDL’s missile unit is located there. The JV will conform to the Foreign Direct Investment guidelines with 51% ownership held by the Kalyani Group.

Sources said the plan was to start production in about two years.

Source: The Hindu

NEW DELHI: The defence ministry has decided to shift its mega defence exposition that is attended by top global arms manufacturers to a permanent, seaside venue in Goa from Delhi’s Pragati Maidan and focus specially on the Navy, which is undergoing a major modernisation and expansion drive.

A 150-acre permanent complex is being built in Goa to host the show which attracts top firms from the US, Russia, Israel and Europe, defence ministry officials said.

“We have been in talks with Goa since 2012 when the ITPO ( Indian Trade Promotion Organisation) told us that Pragati Maidan would not be available as a new convention centre is coming up. Recently, the state government confirmed a 150 acre plot where we shall now create new infrastructure,” said a senior official.

The ministry is now pitching DefExpo 2016 as a major international exposition that is expected to attract manufacturers and buyers from across the world. The event could well clash with the popular Singapore Air Show, which is also scheduled in the third week of February, the dates proposed for DefExpo.

“Venues like Singapore and Dubai that are not even major buyers of defence equipment are the meeting point for customers and sellers around the world. We are going to create a world-class expo in Goa that will compete with these shows,” the official said.

The venue has been chosen carefully to ensure that warships and marine products can be displayed. India currently does not have any permanent venue for holding any defence exposition, let alone one with a marine focus.

Officials expressed confidence that a seaside venue can be readied by February. “The limitation of having an expo in Delhi was that there is no space for marine display. Now that the Navy is a major focus area, the new venue will enable greater participation of firms in the defence sector,” the official said.

Source: ET

US defence major Boeing has terminated a contract with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for component supplies to the former’s war and commercial planes being inducted into the Indian Navy.

Boeing’s decision came after repeated reminders to HAL about its “poor quality” of production, sources said, adding that the US company’s move underlined the need for better strategies by India’s policymakers in order to bolster the order books of defence PSUs.

Boeing has over the last few years shifted its component sourcing requirements in India to private companies — Tata Group, Dynamatic Technologies, Rossell Techsys and others.

Under a $4.7-million contract signed with Boeing in 2010, HAL was to provide weapons bay doors for eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft that the former would supply to the Indian Navy.

The contract with HAL for equipment for the P8I, through its avionics division in Hyderabad, was the first P-8I offset package that Boeing had directly executed with India’s largest aerospace company. In addition to its work on the P-8I programme, HAL was to also supply Boeing with gun bay doors and wire harnesses for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and uplock boxes for the 777 commercial airplane.

Boeing refused to comment for this story, while senior HAL officials said although “there were problems” (with the Boeing contract), these would be resolved.

“Boeing is already working with multiple companies in India to fulfil its commitments. We are actively working global sourcing strategies that can help make Boeing more competitive around the world, in addition to building India’s aerospace capabilities and meeting our offset commitments,” Dennis Swanson, vice-president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) in India, had told FE in an interview earlier.

Industry sources have indicated that since 2014, Boeing has been expressing its dissatisfaction with HAL’s performance and has moved to other firms to meet its requirements. For instance, Dynamatic Technologies and Tata Advanced Materials (TAML) are delivering power and mission equipment cabinets for P-8I aircraft, and TAML is also on contract to provide P-8I auxiliary power unit door fairings. Dynamatic Technologies is on contract to manufacture the aft pylon and cargo ramp assemblies for Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook. Maini and TAL Manufacturing Solutions are on contract to provide C-17 ground support equipment to Boeing.

Boeing is interested in setting up a manufacturing base in India under the ‘Make in India’ programme. It has recently inked a framework agreement with Tata Advanced Systems to collaborate in aerospace and defence manufacturing and potential integrated systems development opportunities, including unmanned aerial vehicles.

Source: Financial Express

The journey of A P J Abdul Kalam as a space scientist began in early 1960s at Thumba, a coastal village near here, which housed India’s first rocket launcher, Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launcher.

Kalam was one of the few young scientists sent by Dr Vikram Sarabhai for training of ‘sounding rockets’ at the National Aeronautics Space Agency in the US. When he reached Thumba in 1964, Kalam had little to fall back on. He had converted a cattle shed at this coast into a laboratory to work on sounding rockets.

In those days, even rocket parts and payloads were transported by bicycle. Kalam, who was not a cyclist, used to hitch a ride with his former colleague R Aravamudan, who was also handpicked by Vikram Sarabhai. Later, Kalam played a key role in transforming the equatorial rocket launcher station into a hub of space technology, when it was renamed Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre after Sarabhai’s death in 1971.

At VSSC, one of the major tasks fulfilled by Kalam was to design, develop and build a satellite launch vehicle called SLV3 to put India’s first satellite, Rohini, into the earth orbit. When the Rohini satellite was successfully launched in 1980, Kalam, as project director, took India into an exclusive member of the Space Club. He worked at VSSC until 1982, when he moved to the DRDO.

Source: Defense News

From easing of norms for arms agents and blacklisting of armament companies to promoting the indigenous industry to enter into defence production in a big way under the “Make in India” policy, the new defence procurement procedure (DPP) will have it all.

But even as an expert panel submitted its recommendations to the defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday, officials said the new DPP will take “at least a couple of months more” to be finalized and promulgated. “The recommendations will be studied and those found acceptable will be incorporated into the new DPP,” said an official.

Parrikar had constituted the expert panel in April, under former home secretary Dhirendra Singh, to submit a report on the various required amendments to the existing 2013 DPP in order to streamline and speed up the entire arms acquisitions procedures.

The panel has made a series of recommendations, which range from nomination of select private sector defence firms as “strategic partners” on par with defence PSUs to pre-audit of deals by the CAG instead of objections being raised at a later stage.

It has also held that arms companies should not be indiscriminately blacklisted if some irregularities arise since such bans often prove counter-productive by derailing military modernisation projects. Instead, there should be a graduated response to penalise the company or individuals involved without impinging on the weapon system or platform chosen after a long selection process.

As was first reported by TOI, after implementing nuanced blacklisting norms, the MoD is now also going to liberalize the hiring of agents or “authorized Indian representatives” by foreign arms companies. Though hiring of agents (not illegal middlemen) is permitted by the DPP since 2001, not more than a handful have come forward to get themselves registered till now due to stringent norms and convoluted procedures.

MoD has already eased the earlier whole-scale blacklisting norms in practice during A K Antony’s tenure as the defence minister. The bans on Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica and Tatra trucks, for instance, have been partially lifted. For instance, while no fresh deals are being inked with Finmeccanica, ongoing contracts are being allowed to continue unhindered.

Source: TNN

BEIJING: The Chinese navy kicked off 10-day military exercises in the disputed South China Sea amid heightened tensions in the region, especially with the US.

Playing down the significance of the exercises, the Chinese military said the drills, which started on Wednesday in the east of Hainan Province, are not directed against neighbours.

“The drills are regular military exercises scheduled in the annual plan, without targeting any other country,” the ministry of national defence said.

“Unlike US military forces that can be trained in wars, Chinese navy strength, which lags behind ground forces, needs to be enhanced via regular drills,” Maj Gen Xu Guangyu, senior consultant at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the state-run Global Times.

The drills will allow the Chinese navy to share more international responsibilities with the US when providing maritime security, especially since the US has slammed China for being a “free rider” in international issues for three decades, said Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan strongly contest China’s claims of sovereignty on almost all of South China Sea. Maritime tensions went up high in the region after the US started backing the five nations to stand up to China’s claims.

The Chinese drills came after increasing tensions in the waters caused by a spate of incidents involving the US, Japan and the Philippines.

The Philippines navy is quietly reinforcing the hull and deck of a rusting ship it ran aground on Ren’ai Reef that China claims in the South China Sea, state-run Xinhua news agency had reported last week.

Philippine foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said the ship is “for the safety of its personnel and safety of navigation.”

According to a CNN report in May, a US surveillance aircraft received eight warnings from the Chinese navy, asking the plane to leave as it swooped over some of the islets of the Nansha Islands chain in the South China Sea.

The US and Japan also conducted separate military drills with the Philippines in the South China Sea in June, signalling two major countries’ support for Manila.

Dismissing speculation that the drills conducted by the Chinese navy have been aimed at the three countries, Xu said the drills cannot be hastily conducted to respond to recent incidents since the navy has to prepare a drill for a long time in order to fully test the navy’s weapons and tactics.

Wang Xiaopeng, a maritime border expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that the speculation is intended to “internationalize” South China Sea issues and to “hype the China threat theory”.

In 2013, the Philippines filed an arbitration case to The Hague questioning the maritime boundaries claimed by China.

China’s ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua called on the Philippines yesterday to withdraw the case in The Hague and to return to bilateral negotiations.

Source: PTI

  • The government has eased several bureaucratic hurdles in export regulations and done away with a provision that demanded multiple assurances by foreign governments even for the sale of components and parts by Indian entities.
  • The Manohar Parrikar-led defence ministry has come up with a new set of rules for exports for both the private and public sector that does away with the controversial ‘ultimate end user’ certificate clause for parts and components of military equipment and opens up sectors.
  • With the new rules, Indian players will now need certifications only from the immediate buyer of the component and these measures would help make Indian suppliers more competitive.
  • The ministry has also mandated a definite time line of two to four weeks for the issuance of no objections certificates for defence exports.
  • The defence ministry has made it easier to export specific defence products like armoured equipment, weapon control systems, countermeasure equipment, engines, underwater detection devices and military software.

Source : ET

NEW DELHI: A recent visit by an advanced Chinese Yuan-class submarine to Karachi after traversing the Arabian Sea worried Indian authorities concerned about China’s growing undersea-warfare capabilities — more than four times as large as India’s.

The submarine, with 65 crew, spent a week in Karachi, refuelling and restocking, before sailing back to China. Yuan-class submarines are diesel-electric, but unlike Indian conventional submarines, which must surface to “breathe” and charge batteries, they are capable of staying submerged for weeks.

India now plans to lease a second nuclear attack submarine from Russia and the government has just approved a Rs 90,000-crore ($14 billion) plan to build six nuclear attack submarines in Vishakapatnam. But as Vice Admiral P Murugesan, the vice chief of naval staff, told The Economic Times last week: “We have started work, but we are still at the pen-to-paper stage.”

India is rushing to counter China by building conventional and nuclear submarines with German, French and Russian help. But China’s lead is large and growing and it plans to export its undersea expertise.

Particularly disconcerting for India are reports that China plans to sell eight Yuan-class submarines to Pakistan, at a time when Indian submarine forces are, according to this report, in “a state of crisis” and the country jittery about Chinese submarine power.

A conventional Chinese submarine berthed at Colombo’s port twice during 2014, sparking concern in India, leading to a Sri Lankan assurance it would not do anything against Indian interests.

India has 14 submarines — including one nuclear attack submarine, INS Chakra, leased from Russia in 2012 for 10 years — against China’s 68 and Pakistan’s five.

Most of India’s conventional submarines are more than 20 years old and are reaching the end of their service life, according to this report by the parliamentary standing committee on defence (2014-15), which said it was “dismayed” at the “snails-pace” of commissioning naval vessels.

The Indian Navy has commissioned two submarines and de-commissioned five over the last 15 years, defence minister Manohar Parikkar said in a reply in the Rajya Sabha.

China launched or commissioned more than 60 naval ships and craft in 2014. A similar number is expected through the end of 2015.

The Indian Navy has 141 vessels, including 127 surface ships and 14 submarines. The Chinese navy has more than 300 surface combatants, submarines, amphibious ships and missile-armed patrol craft.

The Chinese submarine force currently includes 59 conventional or diesel-electric attack submarines and nine nuclear submarines. Of these nine, five are nuclear attack vessels and four are ballistic-missile submarines.

Nuclear-powered submarines are of two types: attack submarines (SSN) and fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

Attack submarines are smaller and faster compared to their ballistic-missile counterparts. SSNs are designed to attack enemy ships and submarines using torpedoes and shore facilities with cruise missiles with conventional high-explosive warheads. SSBNs carry ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

India’s first nuclear submarine was leased in 1988 from the Russian navy and returned in 1991. The present nuclear submarine, INS Chakra, is considered one of the deadliest non-American attack boats in the world.

India has nine Sindhughosh-class or Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines. They were built under a contract between Russia’s Rosvooruzhenie and the Indian defence ministry. The other four are German-made Shishumar-class diesel-electric submarines (Type 1500).

India plans to add 15 submarines: six conventional French-designed vessels, build six nuclear attack boats and three nuclear ballistic-missile submarines.

The plan to build six French-designed Scorpene-class submarines is called Project 75. The first diesel-electric submarine of this class — INS Kalvari — was launched on April 6, 2015 and is expected to be inducted into the Navy by 2016. The other five will be delivered by 2020.

The Scorpene is a state-of-the-art conventional submarine which incorporates advanced stealth characteristics that make detection difficult. The submarine features anti-ship missiles and advanced torpedoes.

India’s first indigenously built nuclear-propelled strategic submarine, INS Arihant (destroyer of the enemy), was launched in 2009 and is currently under trial. The SSBN gives India a nuclear triad of missiles that can be launched by air, from land and under the sea.

Another indigenous SSBN, INS Aridhaman, is also under construction, and work on a third will start soon, according to this report.

China already has three Jin-class SSBNs in service, according to this report, and may have eight in service by 2020.

To counter China’s growing submarine clout, the defence ministry on July 14, 2015, cleared a proposal to purchase four more US-built P-8I long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) maritime patrol aircraft.

India already has six such aircraft, according to this report.

In May 2015, INS Kavaratti, a fourth indigenously-built ASW corvette, was launched. It has state-of-art weapons and sensors, including a medium-range gun, torpedo tube, rocket launchers and a helicopter.

India is in the process of finalising a contract with the US’s Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for 16 S-70B ASW choppers. The deal has been pending for the last 15 years.

Most Indian ships lack ASW helicopters at a time of China’s growing under-sea dominance.

Source: IANS

NEW DELHI: Ministers should stay out of defence deals — generals should be allowed to take the call. This radical proposal has come from a ministry of defence (MoD) panel tasked to review India’s defence acquisition procedures.

The panel, led by former home secretary Dhirender Singh, also recommends Indian private sector leadership in high-value and key defence areas like manufacturing warshipsaircraft and armoured fighting vehicles.
On its proposal to keep the political class out of defence purchases, including the biggest deals, the panel says: “Whereas primacy is accorded to the political executive in all decision-making and especially on strategic national security issues, in matters of defence systems and equipment based on user preference and tactical and operational doctrines, the Armed Forces must have a decisive role.”

ET has reviewed the full draft report of the panel.

MoD will take these suggestions into consideration while finalising a new procurement policy that’s expected within three months. Currently, the armed service HQs have a financial power to decide purchases of up to Rs 100 crore.
Deals above this ceiling need the clearance of either MoD or the cabinet committee of security. The panel also recommends, again radically, that a specialised external procurement agency staffed by specialists with long tenures be set up for defence purchases.

“We are strongly of the opinion that steps should be initiated without further ado, to set up a specialised structure outside the formal structure of the ministry of defence… a major objective would also be to operate it in a manner so as to serve the purpose of ‘self reliance’ in defence industry,” the panel says.

The report makes a number of suggestions on incentivising private sector participation in defence manufacturing. These include tax breaks for companies, a common testing facility for projects under development, a cap on the liability of private entities for defence products and export permissions for those holding industrial licences.

The panel also suggests strategic partnerships with the private sector for complex weapons systems like missiles in the categories of anti-ship, air defence, air to air; air to surface, anti-submarine and land attack. It also says Indian companies should be allowed to form partnerships with foreign defence manufacturers for projects that are strategically vital and high value – over Rs 10,000 crore.

ET View
Keep Netas In Panel
The MoD panel is wrong. Politicians must have a say in the biggest arms purchase deals because in a democracy, elected governments must be accountable for spending tens of thousands of crores of public money.

Military seniors in any case will have a say on the technical aspects of a major purchase, say, fighter aircraft. But the final call also requires political judgment – relations with potential suppliers, larger foreign policy calls. A big defence deal is too complicated a thing to be left to generals alone.

Source: ET Bureau