Posts Tagged ‘defence ministry’

Indian Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur is in Paris Monday and Tuesday to help speed negotiations on the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, an Indian Defence Ministry source said.

NEW DELHI — Indian Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur is in Paris Monday and Tuesday to help speed negotiations on the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, an Indian Defence Ministry source said. A senior official of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is accompanying Mathur, the official said.

In December, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and visiting French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed to fast-track the MMRCA negotiations for the purchase of 126 Dassault Aviation Rafale fighters for US $12 billion. That figure, originally estimated in 2007, is now put at about $20 billion, the MoD source added.

The contract negotiations are on track, the official said, but refused to specify when a deal could be finalized.

“Negotiations can be stretched in big ticket deals like the MMRCA deal,” the official added.

Talks with Dassault began in 2012 after Rafale was down-selected as the preferred aircraft over the Eurofighter Typhoon. Issues relating to the cost of the 108 Rafales to be license-produced by HAL and French guarantees on the delivery schedule have delayed final agreement.

Under terms of purchase, the first 18 aircraft will come in fly-away condition while the remaining 108 will be manufactured under a technology transfer process. Out of the 108 aircraft to be license-produced in India, 74 would be single-seat and 34 twin-seat aircraft.

Even as HAL is finalizing the cost of the Indian-made Rafales, HAL is insisting that Dassault guarantee the delivery schedule because hundreds of spares and subsystems will be supplied by the French.

French officials have said they can assist HAL in the delivery schedule and help lower the cost of the Indian-made Rafales, but cannot give guarantees.

An Indian Air Force official said the MMRCA negotiations would have been finalized long ago if the Indian producer had been a private sector company rather than a state-owned entity.

Source : Defence News
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AHMEDABAD: Defence minister ManoharParrikar said on Sunday that his ministry would come up with defenceprocurement policy (DPP), preferring purchase of equipment made in India, within three months.

Speaking at a seminar ‘Gujarat: Preferred Hub for Defence Production’ during the Vibrant Gujarat summit, the minister said India cannot afford spending $20 billion on defence procurement, and for this, promoting local manufacturing is must and the country will promote private players in this field. “The government hopes to come up with a document in two or three months on a suitable model for defence manufacturing and procurement…We have listed certain items that are not going to be imported from 2016. These will increase later on. But we are coming up with the document in February-March on modified DPP.”

Responding to Gujarat’s keenness on having defence equipment manufacturing facilities, the defence minister said that Gujarat has got an “industrial base and a private line also”, thus for those intending to invest in defence equipment in Gujarat, it would have double advantage. He said that this is the way to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ dream.

Two companies pledged investment for manufacturing defence equipment in Gujarat, and intend to base this industry in North Gujarat districts of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and the border district of Kutch apart from the coastal region. Bharat Forge said it would upgrade facilities for armoured fighting vehicles, defence electronics manufacturing and radar manufacturing facilities.

Defence experts also lauded the gesture of inviting private players to manufacture defence equipments in India. Chairman of Saab India Lars Olaf Lindgren said, “Not only India will benefit with this, foreign companies with expertise in different fields will also gain by partnering with India and Indian companies to manufacture in this country.”

Sanjay Garg, the defence ministry’s joint secretary, said that in the next 7-8 years, the capital budget for modernization of armed forces is going to be $130 billion. This is the perfect condition for any company to come to India.

Source: Defence News

NEW DELHI: India and the US are all set to ink their new 10-year defence framework pact when President Barack Obamacomes visiting as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade on the special invite of Prime Minister NarendraModi.

US undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall will be in town on January 22, just before Obama, to stitch up the loose ends. The new defence framework will be “more ambitious” than the earlier one — which was signed in June 2005 by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterpart Donald Rumsfeld — without impinging on India’s “strategic autonomy”, sources said.

The expansive framework will outline the series of steps to bolster the bilateral defence partnership, ranging from stepping up the scope and intensity of joint military exercises already taking place to advancing shared security interests for regional and global security. Collaboration in intelligence-sharing, maritime security and the drive against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will also figure on the agenda.

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A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Barack Obama (R). Obama will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year on special invitation of PM Modi.

A significant addition will be the incorporation of the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) to augment the ones existing under the overall mechanism of the Defence Policy Group, which chalks out the path for future defence cooperation.

The US has been hard-selling a score of “transformative defence technologies” for co-development and co-production with India under the DTTI, which range from the next-generation of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopters to long-endurance UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and 127mm warship guns, as reported by TOI earlier.

But the Modi government has already chosen an initial off-the-shelf purchase of Israeli Spike ATGMs, with 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles, for Rs 3,200 crore. Sources said India will initially choose only a couple of “simpler projects” from the ones being offered by the US to kick-off the DTTI process and then ascertain how they actually materialise on the ground.

Towards this, South Block is looking at technologies being offered by those American armament companies who already have Indian partners and will bring in FDI. “The technologies that come initially should also be open to being exported for long-term sustainability of such projects,” said a source.

As for exercises, the two sides are poised to upgrade their annual Malabar naval exercise. India has largely restricted Malabar to a bilateral one with the US after China protested against its 2007 edition in the Bay of Bengal since they were expanded to include the Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies as well.

The 18th edition of Malabar held last year, however, included Japan for the third time after 2007 and 2009. Now, Australia is also showing keenness to join Malabar on a regular basis.

Source : TOI

NEW DELHI: India and the US are all set to ink their new 10-year defence framework pact when President Barack Obama comes visiting as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade on the special invite of Prime Minister NarendraModi.

NEW DELHI: India and the US are all set to ink their new 10-year defence framework pact when President Barack Obama comes visiting as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade on the special invite of Prime Minister NarendraModi.

US undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall will be in town on January 22, just before Obama, to stitch up the loose ends. The new defence framework will be “more ambitious” than the earlier one — which was signed in June 2005 by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterpart Donald Rumsfeld — without impinging on India’s “strategic autonomy”, sources said.

The expansive framework will outline the series of steps to bolster the bilateral defence partnership, ranging from stepping up the scope and intensity of joint military exercises already taking place to advancing shared security interests for regional and global security. Collaboration in intelligence-sharing, maritime security and the drive against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will also figure on the agenda.

READ ALSO: Officials slog to get most from Obama visit

A significant addition will be the incorporation of the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) to augment the ones existing under the overall mechanism of the Defence Policy Group, which chalks out the path for future defence cooperation.

The US has been hard-selling a score of “transformative defence technologies” for co-development and co-production with India under the DTTI, which range from the next-generation of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopters to long-endurance UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and 127mm warship guns, as reported by TOI earlier.

But the Modi government has already chosen an initial off-the-shelf purchase of Israeli Spike ATGMs, with 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles, for Rs 3,200 crore. Sources said India will initially choose only a couple of “simpler projects” from the ones being offered by the US to kick-off the DTTI process and then ascertain how they actually materialise on the ground.

Towards this, South Block is looking at technologies being offered by those American armament companies who already have Indian partners and will bring in FDI. “The technologies that come initially should also be open to being exported for long-term sustainability of such projects,” said a source.

As for exercises, the two sides are poised to upgrade their annual Malabar naval exercise. India has largely restricted Malabar to a bilateral one with the US after China protested against its 2007 edition in the Bay of Bengal since they were expanded to include the Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies as well.

The 18th edition of Malabar held last year, however, included Japan for the third time after 2007 and 2009. Now, Australia is also showing keenness to join Malabar on a regular basis.

Source : Defence NEws
With new emphasis to kick-start manufacturing of military hardware in India, the Defence Ministry is modifying internal rules to allow private companies exporting their wares to friendly nations.

With new emphasis to kick-start manufacturing of military hardware in India, the Defence Ministry is modifying internal rules to allow private companies exporting their wares to friendly nations.

“We would be deregulating certain aspects of export conditions. There are too many bottlenecks,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said here last week.

Since he took over as the defence minister two months ago, Parrikar cleared defence projects worth Rs 75,000 crore, out of which projects worth Rs 65,000 crore involve manufacturing in India.

The involvement of the micro, small and medium (MSME) industries sector, too, is being reviewed. Parrikar said his ministry would move an approach note in January, seeking to streamline the processes required to increase participation of the private sector.

The minister met industry captains at a one-on-one interaction in Goa last week, listening to their problems and priorities. Those who attended the meeting include Baba Kalyani of Bharat Forge, Larsen and Toubro, Tata Advanced Systems, Godrej and Boyce, Ashok Leyland, Punj Lloyd, Alpha Design Technologies, Zen Technologies, Data Patterns, Dempo and Pipavav Shipyard.

In the meeting, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the industry representatives suggested no programmes be tendered under the “make” procedure of the Defence Ministry until there was clarity on its final form.

Ever since the “make” provision was introduced in the defence procurement procedure in 2008, there is no major project under this category, which involves developing design capability and intellectual property in the country.

The industry leaders pointed out the Defence Ministry’s “make” procedure was different from the prime minister’s “Make in India” initiative, which is about boosting manufacturing.

In June, the defence manufacturing sector was opened up for the private sector, as the need to obtain industrial licence to produce a large number of components and sub-systems required in military hardware was done away with.

The relaxation was extended to heavy engineering techniques like “casting” and “forging”, which can enable private firms to caste the hull of submarines and forge the barrels of artillery guns in future.

However, manufacturing of tanks and armoured vehicles, aircraft, warships and a large number of arms and ammunition for the Army, Air Force and Navy will remain a “no go area”.

Parrikar said under the “make” category, the government would first identify the products and then fund 80 per cent of the development costs.

“We are now considering 100 per cent of the development cost, provided there is 20 per cent contribution from the MSME sector. The plan is to create a supply chain to take indigenisation up to 70 per cent,” Parrikar added.

Source : Defence News
India-Israel ties, which have been improving steadily in last few years, is now out in the open under the Modi government, according to Israel’s new Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.

India-Israel ties, which have been improving steadily in last few years, is now out in the open under the Modi government, according to Israel’s new Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.

Both countries have now more visibility in relations and tiesare more talked about in open under the current the BJP-ledgovernment compared to the last decade, he said, adding that while bilateral relations have been productive in the past decade and growing across sectors, there is more visibility in partnership and it is more talked about in the open in the recent months.

Carmon pointed out that when Prime Ministers of the two countries met on sidelines of UN summit last September, it was the first time that PMs of two countries were meeting in last 10 years.

It may be recalled that the last Prime Minister level contact was established when Ariel Sharon visited India in 2003 with A B Vajpayee as PM. In fact he has been the only Israeli PM to have visited India so far. No Indian PM has ever made a trip to Israel.

Visits by senior ministers to each other’s country since last May also contributed to the visibility in ties. The Israeli envoy pointed out that Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently had a productive visit to Israel. More senior ministers from two countries will travel soon to each other countries.

“Our agriculture minister is travelling to Vibrant Gujarat where Israel will be represented in a major way. Our NSA was here to meet cross section of people in October. Nevertheless, we need to realize these are important steps but there is still much work that can be done in many fields,” Carmon noted. Israel along with UAE and Bahrain will make country presentations at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit during January 11-13.

Sources said that during the past 10 years, mostly junior level ministers from India visited Israel except visits by erstwhile Foreign Minister SM Krishna and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

Source : Defence News
Modernisation of the armed forces got a whopping Rs.1.23 lakh crore (Rs.1.23 trillion/$19 billion) boost in the year just ending, but worrisome gaps – the failure to close a deal to replace a combat jet inducted in the 1960s and a crippling shortage of “fighting-rank” officers – remain.

Modernisation of the armed forces got a whopping Rs.1.23 lakh crore (Rs.1.23 trillion/$19 billion) boost in the year just ending, but worrisome gaps – the failure to close a deal to replace a combat jet inducted in the 1960s and a crippling shortage of “fighting-rank” officers – remain.

That the funding came in the first six months of the new BJP-led government was indicative of its determination to overcome almost a decade of sloth caused by A.K. Antony’s bid to keep his image “clean” while he was defence minister (till May).

The funds were cleared by five meetings of the Defence Acquisiton Council – four chaired by Arun Jaitley when he held additional charge of the ministry and one by Manohar Parrikar. The monies will go towards the purchase of six stealth submarines (Rs.50,000 crore), “Spike” Israeli anti-tank guided missiles (Rs.3,200 crore), two midget submarines (Rs.2,017 crore), 12 Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft (Rs.1,850 crore), 363 BMP-II infantry combat vehicles (Rs.1,800 crore), ship-borne Russian Uran missiles (Rs.1,436 crore), 1,768 railway wagons (Rs.740 crore) and 1,761 vehicle-mounted radio relay containers (Rs.660) crore, among others.

Much of this, for instance the submarines and the Dorniers, will be made within the country and will majorly take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Other positives during the year included raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector from 25 percent to 49 percent, the indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant heading out for sea trials, and beginning of series production of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft.

Once INS Arihant is commissioned about two years from now, it would complete India’s nuclear triad of strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

India has for long been working on a missile defence shield and this would get a further boost with the construction, under wraps at Visakhapatnam, of a stealth vessel armed with an Aegis type system that employs powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.

A defence ministry source said this vessel would patrol the seas between Mumbai and Jamnagar to protect both India’s commercial capital and the country’s largest oil refinery.

As for the combat jet, it was in 2012 that the Indian Air Force (IAF) zeroed in on French aviation major Dasault’s Rafale after a six-aircraft competition for a $20 billion deal for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) to replace its Soviet-era MiG-21 jets that have been crashing with maddening regularity.

The tender itself was floated in 2007 and the six aircraft shortlisted in 2010, but there has been concrete action only in the last two years due to protracted price negotiations and differences in calculating life-cycle costs and factoring in the cost of transferring technology.

One fallout has been the alarming reduction in the IAF squadrons (16+2 aircraft each) to 25 from its sanctioned strength of 39.

“It’s not just a case of depleting squadrons. The Rafale dates from the mid-1980s and even assuming the deal is clinched this year, by the time the last of the jets are inducted, the technology will be more than 40 years old,” an officer involved in the selection process told IANS, declining to be identified on the ground he was not authorised to speak to the media.

While the initial lot of 18 aircraft (one squadron) will come in fly-away condition, the remaining will be progressively manufactured in the country by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The number could eventually go up to 200 as there is a provision for a 50 percent hike as a follow-on order.

On the officer front, the Indian Army, which is authorised 48,000, is short of 7,764 lieutenant colonels, majors, captains and lieutenants, considered the “fighting rank” officers. The Indian Navy is short of 1,499 lieutenant commanders, lieutenants and sub-lieutenants against its authorised strength of 9,000, and the IAF short of 357 wing commanders, squadron leaders, flight lieutenants and flying officers against its authorised strength of 12,000 officers.

The first quarter of the year saw a nasty hiccup with Admiral D.K. Joshi putting in his papers as the Indian Navy chief after a series of mishaps, including the sinking of a submarine in Mumbai harbour after an explosion and a fire aboard another.

As the year progressed, the chill in the India-Russia defence ties became more pronounced, with New Delhi clearly stating, ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit earlier this month, that it could not indefinitely wait for a fifth-generation stealth fighter, an understanding on which was reached during Antony’s visit to Moscow in 2007.

Russia’s decision to deepen its military ties was another matter of concern but not entirely unexpected. After all, the US has overtaken Russia as India’s principal source of armaments and other military hardware – in the last three years, this country made purchases worth Rs.32,615 crore from the US, against Rs.25,364 crore from Russia.

“This has been caused by the changing global paradigm and the trend will continue with both India and the US saying they want to put the past behind them and move ahead. Also, don’t forget that ‘Make in India’ has a better chance of moving forward with the US than with Russia,” the defence ministry source told IANS.

Source : Defence News
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Sunday said that the agency has set its sight to make India self-sufficient in producing defence equipment ranging from missiles, manned and unmanned aircrafts to sensors among others.

“The DRDO had been depending on the indigenisation of the weapon system. We have now taken on five new missions to make sure that we have cutting-edge capabilities,” Director General Dr Avinash Chander told ANI.

“We are making ourselves totally self-reliant in making our own missiles; manned and unmanned aircrafts to dominate the skies; go into modernising the army with better mobility. We are also looking at providing state of the art sensors, communication radars and sonar,” he added.

Dr Chander also said that the agency has taken major strides in ensuring that weapons are delivered to the armed forces on time to meet their immediate requirements.

“The DRDO is the prime organisation for designing indigenous defence systems. In that context, we have a major role to indigenise the systems and develop our own technologies. We have taken major initiatives to make sure that we deliver the immediate weapons on time and giving the cutting edge capabilities,” he said.

Source : Defence News

NEW DELHI: The Modi government is cranking up clearances for long-pending projects considered critical to plug gaps in India’s operational military capabilities. If the first two meetings of the defence acquisitions council (DAC) cleared proposals worth Rs 40,000 crore, the third one on Saturday gave the nod to projects totalling around Rs 80,000 crore. 

The DAC, chaired by Arun Jaitley on Saturday, gave the green signal to long-term projects like the Rs 50,000 crore project to build six new stealth submarines with foreign collaboration in India as well as deals for anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), “midget submarines” for special covert operations, Dornier aircraft, Russian Uran missiles for warships and the like. 

Significantly, it rejected the American “Javelin” ATGM offer despite the hard-sell by US defence secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to India in August. Instead, it approved the purchase of the Israeli “Spike” tank-killing missiles, which had already been extensively trial-evaluated by the Indian Army last year. The likelihood of all this happening was first reported by TOI in its Thursday edition.

“National security is of paramount concern for the government. All hurdles and bottlenecks in the procurement process should be addressed expeditiously so that the pace of acquisitions is not stymied,” said Jaitley. 

The speed of clearances contrasted starkly with the feet-dragging under UPA on filling critical needs of armed forces. 

Take the project for the six new-generation submarines, which are to be armed with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance. Grappling with just 13 ageing diesel-electric submarines, the Navy has been crying hoarse for this project to get underway ever since it gained “acceptance of necessity” way back in November 2007. 

But with the UPA government forming committee after committee to review the plan, which earlier included importing two of the six submarines to save time, even the global tender for the mammoth project could not be issued for the last seven years. It will take seven to eight years for the first of these submarines to roll out once the contract is inked. 

The DAC has now decided that a committee will identify within six to eight weeks the public and private Indian shipyards that have the potential to indigenously build the six submarines in line with Modi’s “Make in India” policy. The RFP (request for proposal) will then be issued to the “compliant” shipyards, which in turn will tie up with a foreign collaborator, to submit their bids. 

Incidentally, defence PSU Mazagon Docks is already building the French Scorpene submarines, while the private sector L&T shipyard is helping in the construction of the country’s nuclear-powered submarines. Both, therefore, stand a better chance than the others in bagging the big project. 

The project for the third-generation ATGMs, with fire-and-forget capabilities, will also be a major one. The DAC on Saturday cleared an initial off-the-shelf purchase of 321 Israeli Spike launchers and 8,356 missiles for Rs 3,200 crore. 

This is to be followed by transfer of technology to defence PSU Bharat Dynamics for large-scale indigenous manufacture since the Indian Army wants to equip all its 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units with these tank-killers. The Army is currently saddled with just second-generation ATGMs, and that too with a crippling 50% shortage in launchers and missiles. In all, the ATGM project would cost around Rs 20,000 crore. 

Another significant clearance was for the acquisition of two midget submarines or “chariots” for Rs 2,017 crore. These “underwater special purpose crafts” will be used for covert operations to land elite naval marine commandos or “Marcos” on enemy shores or installations.

Source : TOI

NEW DELHI: French aircraft giant Airbus is likely to tie up with the Tatas to manufacture transport planes for the defence sector, sources familiar with the development told TOI.

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India Air Force has plans to replace its Avros aircraft, and the Airbus-Tata combine is one among several groups that are expected to bid for the contract. An email sent to a Tata Sons spokesperson did not elicit any response.

Several Indian companies ranging from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries to the Mahindras and Bharat Forge have entered the defence industry but the Tata Group seems to have taken an early lead in a segment hitherto dominated by imports.

The government has embarked on a “Make in India” campaign to ensure that the country emerges as a global hub for low-cost quality manufacturing; the defence sector is a key element in this strategy.

In August the Union cabinet approved raising the FDI in the sensitive defence sector and opened up railway infrastructure to foreign firms. The cabinet had also decided that FDI beyond 49% would be allowed in state-of-the art defence equipment manufacturing, with technology transfer under Indian control and management.

Technically, this means 100% FDI is allowed, but sources said this has been the position since 2002. As a safeguard, the Cabinet Committee on Security will approve such proposals. Sources also said that FDI up to 24% would be allowed via the automatic route.

Headquartered in Toulouse, Airbus has had close links with India, a key market for planes, for a while now. In 1988, Airbus struck a deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian PSU to manufacture passenger doors for the A320 aircraft. In addition, Airbus India Engineering in Bangalore employs 350 local engineers working in engineering design and innovation activities; the number working directly or indirectly on Airbus programmes has reached some 5,000 Indian jobs, according to the company’s website.

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, is the strategic aerospace and defence arm of the Tata group. It has a tie-up with US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky.

Source : Defence News