Posts Tagged ‘Defense’

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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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
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: 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

The Defence Ministry has issued a fresh tender for buying 20 Hawk trainer aircraft for around Rs 2,000 crore after the original file related to the procurement went missing leading to delays in the acquisition process.

A fresh Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued to the state-owned HAL for procuring 20 additional Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft for Air Force’s Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), Defence Ministry sources said here.The original file related to the tender had gone missing and the process had to be restarted by the Government, they said.

The defence ministry has taken a serious view of the lapses on part of the officials handling the file and an inquiry has been ordered, officials said.

Disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against officials who are found responsible for the lapses, they said.

India has, so far, placed orders for 123 Hawks with the British BAE Systems in two phases. The first order for 66 aircraft was placed by India in 2004, of which more than 40 have already arrived. The second order for 57 aircraft was placed in June last year.

Source : Defence News

When commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman circulated a detailed cabinet note on FDI in defence within two days of assuming office, hopes went up.

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However, they were dashed in less than two weeks when the defence minister (also the finance minister) Arun Jaitley capped defence FDI at 49%.

India is one of the four countries to have placed their flags on the Moon. It is also the first country to enter the Mars orbit in its very first attempt. The country’s success in the highly complex space and nuclear technology is in sharp contrast to its dubious distinction as the world’s largest importer of defence technology. India imports 70% of its defence equipment. The remaining 30%, produced by the defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), uses many imported components. A key reason behind this abysmal state of affairs is the sidelining of India’s private sector, where the best of India’s scientists, engineers and managers work.

Almost three decades back, China decided to create a fighting force that can ‘hit early, strike hard and fight a nuclear war’. It gradually scaled down its military by a whopping 1.7 million personnel, shifted funds to its Navy and Air Force and started focusing on space, cyber and nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) warfare. India is still in a ‘primetime television debate’ mode. Our capital budget for defence and homeland security—worth over $250 billion over the next decade—cannot be frittered away on imports. Instead, it provides us an ideal platform to create our own defence industrial base (DIB).

The range of defence technology is so complex that even the US has 100% subsidiaries of foreign defence companies like Airbus, BAE, Saab, Rolls-Royce, etc, albeit subject to several checks and balances like the Special Security Agreement (SSA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The Eurofighter Typhoon programme is a collaboration between the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. These countries, incidentally, fought two World Wars between them. The collaboration has created over 100,000 jobs across 400 companies in Europe. India will have to collaborate with the global and Indian private sector to build its DIB. It would be naive to think that we can bridge the huge technological gap all by ourselves.

According to government data, the FDI limit of 26% brought in a paltry investment of $5 million in defence in the last 13 years, while India imported equipment worth several billion dollars. We, perhaps, were under the illusion that global majors will hand over restricted technologies, developed over decades after burning billions of dollars, for a mere 26% stake. Sadly, the 49% limit is no different.

Today, over 100 days after the new limit was announced, there have been no major FDI announcements. An FDI limit of 74% with adequate checks and balances could have opened the floodgates.

There is an option for 100% FDI linked to the subjective concept of state-of-the-art technology. It may create interpretation issues, delays, misuse and legal disputes. To win defence tenders, global OEMs will transfer such technology to India anyway over time. The lack of interest on the part of global OEMs over 49% FDI creates a strange dilemma. If the world’s best manufacturer of, say, surface-to-air missiles decides not to participate in an MoD tender, will we then turn to the second-best? What if the said manufacturer sells his technology to China or Pakistan? We need to create a win-win situation that encourages the best players to come willingly to India.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has demonstrated the benefits of collaborating with the Indian private sector. The DPSUs and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), on the contrary, have generally had a dismissive or condescending attitude.

The US equivalent of DRDO is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Led by Delhi-born American scientist Arati Prabhakar, it has just 140 technical professional and no labs. It depends on American industry, universities, government laboratories and individuals to develop cutting edge technology for the US’s defence. DRDO, in sharp contrast, has 52 laboratories and over 30,000 staff. DPSUs need to be privatised over a period of time. The armed forces in the US and the EU almost entirely depend on the private sector for arms, ammunition and other supplies. It is a strange fallacy that an entity is trustworthy only if it belongs to the government sector. It is time to move on!

The FDI limit in defence manufacturing is just one of the many roadblocks that need to be demolished. Others include our flawed procurement procedure, infrastructure problems for manufacturing (land, utilities, local permissions, etc), skill shortage and lack of fiscal incentives. The term ‘ownership and control’ receives disproportionate importance in India. It is in India’s long-term interest to have global OEMs manufacture components in India through 74%-owned subsidiaries than at facilities in their home country over which India has zero ‘ownership and control’.

There are smarter ways by which the government can ‘control’ the subsidiaries of foreign OEMs than through majority ‘ownership’ by Indian companies. These include conditions related to nationality of CEO and members of the Board of Directors, local employment (say, 90-100%), local value addition (say, at least 20%), export controls and exit restrictions, etc. We also need to overhaul our policies related to defence licences, offsets and exports. The revised list of licensed products still contains the phrase ‘parts and accessories thereof’ that beg greater clarity. Services like research, design, prototype development, quality checks, IT, training, MRO, etc, and dual-use products need to be encouraged.

For a strong DIB, Indian companies need to enter the global supply chain. The Tata-Sikorsky JV, the sole supplier of the S-92 helicopter cabins to Sikorsky, is a shining example.

We are proud of our forces. India’s growing stature and its volatile neighbourhood put a large responsibility on them. They deserve the very best in terms of technology, finance and infrastructure. The West sees India as a counterbalance to an increasingly belligerent China and an unstable Pakistan. India’s democracy, free judiciary and media, large market, young talent, and apolitical military make it an ideal strategic partner.

The time is ripe to bring in bold reforms that make India a great investment destination for global defence majors. Their JVs with Indian industry will enhance India’s self-reliance, conserve foreign exchange and boost our manufacturing sector. Other roadblocks related to policy, procedures, infrastructure and mindset also need to be demolished. India should aim at exporting a world-class fighter jet designed and built by Indian hands by 2025.

Source : Defence News

It’s not every day that the nation witnesses historic moments! With ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully entering the red planet’s orbit, India has become the first country in the world to have achieved this feat in its maiden attempt.

It’s not every day that the nation witnesses historic moments! With ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully entering the red planet’s orbit, India has become the first country in the world to have achieved this feat in its maiden attempt.

Through its journey since November 5, 2013 when PSLV-C25 lifted off from Sriharikota with the spacecraft in its nosecone, MOM has had a perfect journey.

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Nail-biting minutes marked the run-up to success and the MOM’s journey was marked with several crucial heart-stopping moments. We take a look at some important details of the mission:

1] Significantly reduced cost ::
The Mars mission, as planned by ISRO, was a sophisticated exercise. Compared to other Mars missions, ISRO had a smaller rocket and payload.

This reduced the cost (Rs 450 crore) significantly but increased the mission’s complexity. Other Mars missions are not planned this way.
2] Complicated Task ::
The Maven spacecraft of NASA, which reached Mars a few days before ISRO’s orbiter, was on its way to the red planet directly after launch. All it required was a fiveminute push from the powerful upper stage of the rocket, just 27 minutes after lift-off.

ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission, on the other hand, required repeated firings of the satellite thrusters and intricate manoeuvres before it could begin its journey to Mars.
3] Injection Operation ::
At 7.17 AM on September 24, the 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) sizzled with life as it burnt along with the thrusters to slow down the MOM spacecraft to be captured by the Red Planet.

Mars Orbiter Insertion was carried out automatically by commands loaded onto the spacecraft after its velocity was slowed down from 22.1 km per second to 4.4 km per second to be captured by the Martian orbit.
4] First sign of Success ::
At the time of MOM’s orbital insertion, its signals took about 12 minutes and 28 seconds to travel to Earth for reception by NASA’s Deep Space Network Stations in Canberra and Goldstone that relayed the data in real time to ISRO’s station.

The first sign of success in the final moments came when ISRO announced that burn of engines on India’s Mars orbiter had been confirmed.
5] Launch was complex too ::
The launch was complex too. The PSLV rocket had a long coast of 25 minutes between the third and fourth stage, during which all engines were shut off.

Once in orbit around the earth, the satellite had six orbit-raising manoeuvres that together lasted for 25 days before it left the earth’s grasp.
6] First Litmus Test ::
The first litmus test came on September 22, when it was to carry out time-tagged commands to reignite its main engine which had been idling for about 300 days since it left the Earth orbit on December 1, 2013.

MOM did this in style, burning for the designated four seconds to show that the engine is in fine shape.
7] What it will Do ::
As it goes around Mars on an elliptical orbit with the closest point around 420km and the farthest around 80,000km, MOM will employ five equipment that collectively weight 15kg to do scientific studies.

The Lyman alpha photometer would measure the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen in the upper Martian atmosphere to understand previous presence of water on the red planet.
8] Sensors on-board ::
A methane sensor will look for sources of the gas. While the Mars colour camera clicks away, a thermal infrared spectrometer will study heat emission, minerals and soil on Mars.

The Indian mission will be watched more closely, given that it’s looking for methane, which could be proof of life. Nasa’s ‘Curiosity’ was unable to detect methane.
9] First images of Earth ::
Last year, the Mars orbiter spacecraft’s first images of Earth were released by Isro. Isro released one image taken on November 19 which captures the Indian subcontinent.

It was taken using its Mars Colour Camera (MCC) from 67,975km with a resolution of 3.53km per pixel. The image was taken as part the payload testing activity.
10] Achievement on Global Stage ::
Before India, various countries have launched Mars missions, but out of the 51 attempts, only 21 were successful. India now joins the Martian club that comprises the US, Russia and the European Space Agency.

Only the European Space Agency has got its orbiter right in the first attempt (Mars Express in 2003), but India can claim a first since the agency is a conglomeration of several countries.

Source : Defence News

NEW DELHI: The Indian armed forces have projected a combined requirement of 440 light utility helicopters which will now be manufactured indigenously involving the state-owned HAL and private sector firms in partnership with foreign players.

The IAF, Army and the Navy require 440 choppers and these would be now manufactured within India including the HAL, private sector firms and foreign players, Defence Ministry officials said here.

 

 

The armed forces had projected their requirements to the Defence Ministry before the government scrapped a Rs 6,000 crore tender to procure 197 such helicopters for the Army and the Air Force, they said.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has already started a project in Tumkur, Karnataka for building light helicopters, which will have capability to lift 2.5 tonnes payload.

Last Friday, the Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had scrapped the scam-tainted tender for procuring the choppers to replace the vintage fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers used to move troops and equipment to high-altitude locations like Siachen.

The DAC decided to retract from the tender for procuring these choppers and the Indian industry would be given the opportunity to produce around 400 such choppers for the requirements of the armed forces.

In line with NDA government’s plan to develop the indigenous industry, the government decision is expected to generate business worth over Rs 40,0000 crore for the local industry in the defence sector, they said.

This is the second time in seven years that the tender has been scrapped in which European Eurocopter and Russian Kamov were competing and it had been on hold for the past over two years due to an ongoing CBI probe and other allegations of wrongdoings in the trial process.

Source: Defence News