Posts Tagged ‘semco’

The much touted US pivot/re-balance to the Asia-Pacific has drawn considerable flak of late. From the Syrian chemical weapons use to Russia’s revanchism, the questioning of America’s leadership has seen the pivot naysayers become louder.


The much touted US pivot/re-balance to the Asia-Pacific has drawn considerable flak of late. From the Syrian chemical weapons use to Russia’s revanchism, the questioning of America’s leadership has seen the pivot naysayers become louder. President Obama has firmly recognized the limits of American power. The Commander of the US Pacific Air Forces has admitted that the resources for the pivot haven’t come his way even as the head of the US Pacific Command has made clear America’s inability to conduct amphibious assaults. To top these off, the US Defence Undersecretary for Intelligence has made it known that the US considers the Syrian civil war, Iran and even a vague ‘persistent volatility’ across South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa as greater threats than China.

The Obama administration is therefore caught in a three way struggle: it is persuading China that its re-balancing is not containment, reassuring its Asian allies of its support, and also projecting to the US Congressmen an image of China as a major threat. Senior American commanders have said that they “aren’t going to go to war over a rock” in the South China Sea while Obama has said that all Japanese administered territories (including the Senkakus) are covered under American defence commitments to Japan. Such a US posture is of concern since the strategic ambiguity this policy creates sows doubts about US commitment among its regional allies and also makes it tougher for China to determine where the real red lines drawn by the US lie.

The East Asian nations are today struggling to balance their relations with both China and the US. This balancing act is occurring at a time when India is rapidly accreting military might and is cultivating military contacts with South East Asian nations. India and South East Asia have no contentious issues between them, nor has India been keen for military alliances or basing arrangements. Currently, an East Asia unsure of US commitment is welcoming greater Indian involvement in regional affairs. As long ago as a decade ago, however, it had been postulated that the Indian armed forces are too overextended domestically to pay attention to their neighbourhood. 

Even a decade later, India’s much talked of Look East initiative has been more words than action. Primarily responsible is the fact that none of the burning issues of East Asian politics (a nuclear North Korea, the Taiwan problem and competing territorial claims in the South China Sea) are directly relevant to Indian interests. While the balance of forces tilts towards the US and its allies, the balance of influence is weighing heavier on the side of China by the day. ASEAN’s desire to engage with India, however, should not be interpreted to mean they shall do so at the expense of their relationship with China. India’s Look East initiative was never pursued with the aim of counterbalancing China, and ASEAN would ideally like India to not have antagonistic relations with China. This is so for that would put them in the same balancing dilemma where they are presently caught with respect to the USA and China.

India has always been ambivalent about its take on the US Pivot, a stand attributed to an ongoing tussle between the nationalist and realist elements in the Indian policy elites. In such a context, the rise of Narendra Modi hailing from a right wing Hindu nationalist party holds promise to bring more clarity to this debate. Modi’s first priority is the Indian economy and not extremist ideological agendas. Any analysis of his foreign policy priorities then shall flow from his domestic economic priorities. Given the sparse commentary on foreign policy in the BJP manifesto, hardly a surprise on account of the low priority accorded to foreign policy by the Indian electorate, this is all the more important. Modi has stated that, “I believe a strong economy is the driver of an effective foreign policy.. We have to put our house in order so that the world is attracted to us.” The mere fact that India’s economic relations are likely to shine brighter in the East as compared to a retrenching West shouldn’t be interpreted as an automatic Indian commitment to the US rebalance. Given the blooming Indo-Japanese relationship, though closer alignment between the two in a future where India feels threatened by China, there is a high likelihood of India actively participating in the US re-balance. It is a fact that an unresolved border dispute between India and China that sparked a war in 1962 remains a sore point. Also, China’s low key support of insurgencies in India and its all weather alliance with Pakistan has posed roadblocks for cooperation. China’s opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the UNSC as a permanent member has proven unhelpful as well. As a former Indian foreign secretary remarked “Pakistan is just an enemy, China is the adversary.”

That said, Indian steps to militarily hedge against China have been more reactionary than proactive. There is indeed a passionate debate over whether India should contest China militarily on land or sea and the final verdict is not yet clear. What is clear is that India has always gone out of its way to not antagonize China, hence its conspicuous absence from militarized international groupings with a China centric focus. 

The Chinese are optimistic about Modi and certain commentators have noted that both nations are undergoing historic economic transformations, with India hoping to assume China’s present position (assembling and offshoring) and China building an economic model akin to the Japanese/South Korean model (innovation driven high value commodities provider). With a gargantuan demographic dividend baying for jobs and Modi seeking to revamp Indian infrastructure, the Chinese have an optimal candidate in India as they look to channel their funds into higher yielding assets. China is India’s largest trade partner, and an era of strategic cooperation, quite unlike any seen before, may very well find its beginnings under Modi’s premiership.

For China to rake up its territorial conflict with India would force it to redirect resources from its naval, air and missile forces to territorial defence. Given the continuity which characterizes Indian foreign policy thought, dramatic changes should not be immediately expected under Modi. 

A China that doesn’t hinder Indian attempts to carve out its own sphere of influence and swiftly resolves the border dispute would give India good reasons to not engage deeply with the US pivot, at least militarily. China would do well to remember that strategic autonomy, whilst long a cherished end state in Indian foreign policy circles, is not an ironclad necessity (as a glimpse at India’s Cold War history would make clear). As a Prime Minister leading the first ever non-Congress-non-coalition government in India, Modi has a historic mandate and opportunity to shape India’s foreign policy as he sees fit in a manner that will be felt for decades to come.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal.

 Author :Himanil Raina 
Source :
The Minister of Defence of Singapore, Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is on official visit to India, met Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, at South Block, here today. The Singapore Defence Minister was accompanied by the High Commissioner of Singapore in India Mr Lim Thuan Kuan and other officials of the Singapore Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces.

The Indian delegation included Defence Secretary Shri RK Mathur and Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chief of the Staff Committee (CISC) Air Marshal PP Reddy as well as other senior officers of the Ministry of Defence, MEA and Armed Forces. Prior to the meeting, the Singapore Defence Minister laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. He was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour at South Block.

During the meeting, both Ministers expressed satisfaction over the wide ranging and comprehensive defence exchanges between both countries and agreed that the enhancement of defence relationship between the two countries was in the mutual interest.

Both Ministers exchanged views on the global and regional security scenario. In the context of security situation in the Asia Pacific region, both Ministers acknowledged the role of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus framework in promoting dialogue and consensus in the region. Both Ministers noted the commonalities in the security concerns of India and Singapore and acknowledged that there was scope for both countries to continue to work together for peace and stability.

Both Ministers agreed to continue the robust engagements and to continue to work together to further substantiate defence interactions in the areas of mutual benefit.

NEW DELHI: The Army is slowly but surely expanding and modernising its clandestine warfare arm, with two more Para-Special Forces battalions now being raised in tune with its operational doctrine. Navy and IAF, too, are strengthening their Special Forces with specialized weaponry.

But there is still “no forward movement” on the urgent need to bring the country’s diverse Special Forces, which report to disparate authorities, under a single operational command to ensure they can be used as “strategic assets” for larger national security objectives.

Neither the Naresh Chandra taskforce’s strong recommendation for a Special Operations Command (SOC), nor the chiefs of staff committee’s proposal for three additional tri-Service commands – cyber, Special Forces and space – has so far figured on the Modi government’s radar.

“Till there is unity in command and control of Special Forces, at least of the military if not the paramilitary ones, India’s unconventional warfare arm will never get the sharp edge it requires. We have relegated our Special Forces to the tactical and operational domain, instead of focusing on them as strategic assets to be used with decisive effect,” says a top officer.

The armed forces, however, are all gung-ho about their own elite forces, even though there is a “joint doctrine for Special Forces operations”. Navy, for instance, is now hunting for new “underwater special purpose crafts” for their marine commandos or “Marcos”, who are modelled on the famed US Navy SEALs. Incidentally, it was SEAL Team Six which killed Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

The Army, in turn, is raising two Para-SF battalions to add to the eight Para-SF and five Para (Airborne) battalions it already has for surveillance, target-designation, out-of-area contingencies, surgical strikes and hit-and-run operations.

semcotech “The raising of the first new Para-SF battalion will be completed by next year, while the second will be in place by 2017-2018,” said an officer. Concurrently, the Army is also stitching up contracts to modernise its existing 13 battalions, each with around 620 soldiers, apart from training them in Chinese and other foreign languages.

The Rs 70 lakh contract for 33 “underwater open-circuit diving equipment” from Sweden, for instance, has already been inked. Then, there is the “controlled aerial delivery system” to drop specialised payloads in designated target areas behind enemy lines.

The equipment being inducted ranges from 5.56mm TAR-21 Tavor assault rifles, 7.62mm Galil sniper rifles, M4A1 carbines, all-terrain multi-utility vehicles and GPS navigation systems to modular acquisition devices, laser range-finders, high-frequency communication sets and combat free-fall parachutes.

Experts, however, contend a tri-Service SOC is the need of the hour to holistically plan and execute “irregular warfare”. Special Forces operations, of course, have to be backed by “actionable intelligence”, which again is still enmeshed in turf wars in India. The armed forces have only two unified commands as of now, one in the military outpost of Andaman and Nicobar archipelago and the Strategic Forces Command to handle nuclear weapons.

Source : TOI

The much-awaited multi-billion Rafale combat aircraft deal with France has moved a step further with the defence ministry finalizing a ‘draft contract’, according to top defence ministry officials.

Rafale was declared the lowest bidder in Janaury 2012 but the deal has not been inked so far on account of escalation in the cost. The Cost Negotiation Committee, which was set up in February 2012 to work out the modalities for the deal has not reached a conclusion after 30 months of negotiations.

The government raised its concerns over this last month, during the visit of French foreign minister Laurent Fabius to New Delhi.

“Yes, we are in the process of finalizing the draft contract for the deal. And we also expect the Cost Negotiation Committee to submit its report soon,” said a senior defence ministry official, who was privy to the developments.

But the official refused to give a time frame for inking the deal. “It is very difficult to predict any date for signing the contract. But, it should happen in the next few months,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.

The Indian Air Force (IAF), which is coping with a depleted combat strength, claims that even if the deal is signed by the end of the year the first lot of Rafale aircraft would arrive only by 2017, by which time the IAF would have to phase out its MiG-21 squadrons.

The likelihood of an early signing is encouraging. Besides, the ruling NDA government has promised to address all the needs of the armed forces to ensure defence preparedness.

According to officials privy to the development, the defence ministry has asked representatives of M/s Dassault Aviation – the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft – to revise the price structure which has gone beyond expected estimates.

Officials claim that when the tender was floated in 2007 the cost of the programme was $12 billion (Rs42,000 crore).When the lowest bidder was declared in January 2012, the cost of the deal shot up to $18 billion (Rs90,000 crore). Now with the inclusion of transfer of technology, the life cycle cost and creation of an assembly line, the deal has climbed to a whopping $20 billion.

The air force is seeking to replace its aging MiG-21s with a modern fighter and the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) fits between India’s high-end Sukhoi-30MKIs and the low-end Tejas LCA lightweight fighter. The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 45 fighter jet squadrons. However, only 30 squadrons are operational as old aircraft have been retired.

Eighteen of the 126 new aircraft are to be purchased directly from Dassault and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture 108 under a licence, at a new facility in Bangalore.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley informed parliament last week that “given the complexity of the procurement case, the process of negotiations with Dassault Aviation on various aspects of the commercial proposal and provisions of draft contract is on.”

Dassault Aviation emerged as L-1 bidder for procurement of the MMRCA based on its quotation.

Source : Defence NEws
The Army’s war waging capability is increasingly handicapped. Concerned with dwindling operational preparedness and operationally hard pressed, it wants to induct advanced technology hardware that it perceives would serve its operational needs optimally.

The NDA government has identified defence reforms and building a self sustaining defence industrial base as a priority reform sector. To transform this into reality, it is not so much of the government commitment but its ability to take policy decisions and put processes in place by spurring public and private sector investments through higher indigenisation, transfer of technology, simplifying procedures, etc.

The Army’s war waging capability is increasingly handicapped. Concerned with dwindling operational preparedness and operationally hard pressed, it wants to induct advanced technology hardware that it perceives would serve its operational needs optimally.

However its efforts at modernising be it combat or combat support arms are hardly encouraging – plagued by procurement and indigenous production delays and lack of timely planning.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence’s figures reveals that the army’s equipment modernisation is steadily falling. In 2008-09, the army spent 27 paisa of every rupee on capital expenditure. This fell to 24 paisa in 2009-10; 23 paisa in 2010-11; 20 paisa in 2012-13 and just 18 paisa in the last two years.

Indian army’s mechanised fleet comprises T-72 and T72 M1s Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), T-90S MBTs and indigenously produced Arjun MKI tanks. The main issue facing operational efficiency of mechanised forces are two: night fighting capability and ammunition.

Resultantly the army’s ambitious plans to transform from a ‘threat-based to a capability force’ by 2020 are being consistently thwarted as a result of process driven MoD breaucracy and the Army headquarters delays in drawing up credible qualitative requirements.

Army’s Modernization Perspective ::

Let us take the armour first. Indian army’s mechanised fleet comprises T-72 and T72 M1s Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), T-90S MBTs and indigenously produced Arjun MKI tanks. The main issue facing operational efficiency of mechanised forces are two: night fighting capability and ammunition.

In so far as night fighting capability is concerned only the 650-odd Russian T90S MBTs along with indigenously designed Arjun MKI tanks have full solution night fighting capability. T-72 and T72M1s that form the backbone of 59-odd armour regiments along with some 2200 Soviet-designed BMP-II infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) lack night fighting capability. Majority of the T72s await upgrades that will provide them with either full solution thermal imaging fire control systems (TIFCS) or third generation partial solution thermal imaging stand alone systems (TISAS) enabling all weather including night operations. Till date only 620 partial solution TISAS have been acquired.

In terms of armour ammunition there is critical deficiency of anti tank ammunition; 125 mm armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS). Indigenous production is held up on account of black listing of Israeli company, resultantly availability of 125 mm APFSDS including war wastage reserves have dropped to critical levels necessitating urgent imports of around 66,000 rounds from Russia at highly inflated prices.

Next major deficiency is that of Artillery, where no new gun has been inducted in last three decades. Despite years of attempts at modernisation; army’s artillery profile remains beseeched by the inability to decide on the 155 mm gun to replace the 180-odd field artillery regiments employing as many as six different calibres that are fast approaching obsolescence. Even the 32 artillery regiments equipped with 410 FH-77B 155 mm Bofors guns imported in the late 1980s-are reduced to half following cannibalization owing to the non-availability of spares. Upgradation of approximately 200 Soviet 130 mm M-46 carried out jointly by the Ordnance Factory Board and Soltam of Israel has been unsatisfactory resulting in CBI enquiry.

The proposal under the Artillery Rationalisation Plan to acquire by 2020-25 a mix of around 3000-3600; 155mm/39 calibre light weight and 155mm/52 calibre towed, mounted, self-propelled (tracked and wheeled) and ultra light weight 155mm/39 calibre howitzers through imports and local, licensed manufacture have been continually postponed for over a decade. Tenders for almost all these guns have been issued, withdrawn and re-issued, along with several rounds of inconclusive trials. Matters have been further complicated by the MoD completely or partially blacklisting at least four top overseas howitzer manufacturers.

The infantry’s F-INSAS (Future Infantry Soldier as a System) project that includes a fully networked, all-terrain, all-weather personal equipment platform as well as enhanced firepower and mobility for the digitalised battlefield of the future continues to be abnormally behind schedule. Similarly eight-odd Special Forces battalions face an identity crisis, operating without a specialised operational mandate, organisational support or “dedicated budget” resulting in piecemeal and incomplete weapon and equipment packages.

Adding to the Infantry’s woes is the shortages of credible assault rifles (ARs), carbines, ballistic helmets, lightweight bullet proof jackets and night vision devices. These are largely produced indigenously. Last year the MoD issued a global tender for 66,000, 5.56 mm ARs for an estimated $ 700 million to replace the locally designed Indian Small Arms System (INSAS). The eventual requirement for the proposed AR is expected to be around 2 million units for use not only by the army but also the paramilitary forces and the numerous provincial police forces in a project estimated to cost around $3 billion.

Other infantry shortages include; close quarter battle carbines, general purpose machine guns, light-weight anti-materiel rifles, mine protected vehicles, snow scooters for use at heights above 21,000 feet in Siachen, 390,000 ballistic helmets, over 30,000 third generation NVDs, 180,000 lightweight bullet proof jackets together with other assorted ordnance including new generation grenades.

Similar is the story of air defence. The bulk of the army’s air defence guns – Bofors L 70s and the Soviet Zu-23-2s and ZUS-23-4s and missiles like the Russian OSA-AK and Kradvat – date back 30-40 years and need replacing. The Army Aviation also faces similar shortages. There is an urgent need to replace obsolete aviation assets like the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. Acquisition of 197 helicopters under the Army Aviation Corps Vision 2017 was postponed after the procurement of Eurocopter AS 550 C3 Fennec was scrapped in November 2007. Four years later after trials, evaluation and negotiation the contract is under re-assessment featuring Russia’s Kamov 226 and Eurocopter’s AS 550 models, with little chance of early conclusion.

Addressing Army’s Modernization Needs ::

The major issue that emerges is how will the army get out of the vicious cycle of delays in procurement, and get its modernisation plans back on track. Is it feasible to undertake an all encompassing procurement backed by indigenous production taking the transfer of technology (TOT) route? What are the likely constraints?

Let us take a look at the budgetary support first? The Defence Budget for 2014-15 has an allocation of Rs. 2, 29,000 crores ($38 billion) an increase of 12 per cent over the previous year’s allocation. The capital outlay is Rs.94, 588 crores ($15.7 billion), and the remaining allocation of Rs. 1, 34,412 crores is the revenue outlay. The sub allocation of capital outlay to Army is Rs. 20, 655 crores, Navy Rs. 22, 312 crores, Air force Rs. 31,818 crores, DRDO Rs.9298 crores and modernization of Ordnance Factories (OFs) Rs. 1, 207 crores. While the figures might look impressive it needs to be noted that fairly large amount of capital outlays get consumed by committed liabilities leaving fairly modest amounts for new procurements.

Second, even if the money was available how can the army make up such huge shortages in any acceptable time frame? Procurement procedures, deciding on vendors for transfer of technology, issues regarding off sets, participation of the private sector and above all skill development are long drawn process which in the best case can take anything from 5 to 7 years.

To deal with the problem two critical aspects need to be addressed: One, the nature of future threats both in short-and-medium-to-long-terms basis. If the trigger for conflicts is likely to be unacceptable provocation requiring immediate military response; this requires basic level of preparedness and modernization to deal with such contingencies. Two, the long-term capability needs require a more nuanced and detailed induction perspective more attuned to R&D, technology transfers and indigenous production, etc. The essential take away from the above analysis is two-fold – laying down induction priorities and tri service synergy.

[Author Brigadier (Retd.) Arun Sahgal, PhD, is Deputy Director Research and Head, Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation, at the United Service Institution of India. He is a member of National Task Force on Net Assessment and Simulation, under the NSCS, Government of India.]

Source : Defence News
(Reuters) – India has offered to significantly increase an order for U.S. attack helicopters, Indian officials said, as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began a visit to New Delhi on Thursday aimed at boosting defence and strategic ties.


The Apache gunships and a deal for Chinook helicopters, both built by Boeing, will top the agenda in Hagel’s talks on Friday with the new administration led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India has offered a follow-on order of 39 AH-64D Apache helicopters in addition to the 22 now being negotiated, a Defence Ministry official said. The sides have been wrangling over the price of the gunships, however, with the initial deal having been estimated to be worth $1.4 billion.

The two countries have rapidly expanded military and business ties in recent years, despite discord over issues such as intellectual property rights and market access.

Washington is keen to step up cooperation across the board, seeing India as a strategic partner in the face of an increasingly powerful and assertive China.

According to defence research firm IHS Jane’s, India was the top foreign buyer of U.S. arms last year. An Apache deal would be the first big military contract since Modi’s government took office in May.

Hagel’s trip follows one by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week and is part of the build-up to talks between Modi and President Barack Obama in Washington in September.

Hagel’s talks will also cover military exercises and co-production and co-development of armaments and the renewal of a 10-year defence cooperation agreement that runs until 2015.

Hagel said the purpose of his visit went beyond arms sales.

“Our interests are varied and common – stability, security, economics, possibilities, freedom,” he said en route to India. “I’ll be there, working, yes, our specific issues, but it’s larger … than that.”


Hagel said Asia-Pacific was a region of great opportunities, but also of challenges. “We need partners. We need relationships. That’s the kind of world we live in, and that’s the kind of world that we’re going to be living in.”

Speaking to reporters on his plane, Hagel was asked about India’s apparent reluctance to be seen as a full U.S. ally and he replied that Washington was “mindful” of India’s tradition as a independent, non-aligned state.

“We’re not trying to change that,” he said. “But…we have common interests, and…we think there’s more potential to build on those common interests.”

U.S. officials say there is the potential for billions of dollars of new arms sales in the next few years and hope Modi can overcome bureaucratic obstacles that have held up some.

Last month, India’s cabinet cleared a proposal to allow 49 percent foreign participation in the defence industry, up from a current cap of 26 percent.

Hagel said he would be looking at whether there would be the potential to go beyond 49 per cent something U.S. defence firms want before allowing technology transfers India craves.

The initial batch of Apache helicopters is meant to replace the Indian Air Force’s ageing fleet of Soviet-era aircraft and will be armed with Hellfire and Stinger missiles.

The Indian Army has separately requested a fleet of at least 39 of these attack aircraft, some of which will be deployed as part of a new mountain division it is raising along the disputed border with China, an army official said.

“The point is we are looking at 60 to 70 pieces eventually, so the expectation is the vendor will factor that in, in the price negotiations,” said the defence ministry official, who asked not to be identified in line with ministry policy.

U.S. defence sales to India have grown from the low hundreds of millions of dollars in the decade to 2008 to more than $9 billion since that year.

Source :

NEW DELHI: Israel, better watch out! The US is going all out to shoot down the Israeli ‘Spike’ antitank guided missile (ATGM) with its own “Javelin” missile in the lucrative Indian arms market. Given the huge size of the Indian ATGM project, upwards of $3 billion, Israel is sure to strike back.

But for now, the US seems to have gained the upper hand. After earlier being rebuffed by India for not agreeing to “full” transfer of technology (ToT), the US is now promising to not only “co-produce” the third-generation Javelin ATGMs, but also “co-develop” its fourth-generation version.

“This is an unprecedented offer that we have made only to India, and no one else,” said visiting US defence secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday, a day after hard-selling joint development and production of advanced weapon systems to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Arun Jaitley.

There are already over a dozen such proposals from the US on the table, ranging from the Javelin, MH-60 Romeo multirole helicopters and “big data cybersecurity” to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), mine-scattering systems and warship guns, which will now be taken forward by the revived bilateral Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), as earlier reported by TOI.

US marines carry Javelin missiles close to the Iraqi border in Kuwait in the morning of March 18, 2003 after George W Bush, the-then US president, gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq. (Getty Images photo)

“I will play an active role in expanding the DTTI because it’s the centerpiece of our defence partnership … As our interests align, so should our armed forces and defence systems. Bureaucratic red-tape must not bound the limits of our partnership,” said Hagel.

But the US will have to contend with Israel, even though it has now displaced the latter as the second-biggest arms supplier to India after Russia. The Indian defence acquisitions council, in fact, had almost finalized the Israeli Spike ATGMs for clearance late last year, after a series of field trials, before the US muscled its way into the race once again.

A rocket from a shoulder fired Javelin missile explodes on a mock target during an army fire power demonstration at Range Control, High Range on September 4, 2009 in Townsville, Australia. (Getty Images photo)

The urgent need for third-generation shoulder-fired ATGMs, which are “fire and forget” missiles, for the 1.13-million strong Indian Army cannot be overstated. The force has a huge shortfall of 44,000 ATGMs of different types, half its authorized inventory at present. Both Pakistan and China, the latter with third-generation ATGMs, are far ahead in the capability to halt and destroy enemy armoured attacks.

The force is currently saddled with second-generation Milan (2km range) and Konkurs (4km) ATGMs, produced by Defence PSU Bharat Dynamics under licence from French and Russian companies. “Being wire-guided, they have to be directed to the target. They are not fire-and-forget missiles,” said an officer.

Moreover, the indigenous third-generation Nag ATGMs, which are vehicle and helicopter-mounted with a 4-km strike range, are still not operational despite being in the making for over 20 years. The Army has already placed an initial order for 443 Nag missiles and 13 Namicas (Nag missile-tracked carriers).

Source : TOI

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has exercised its options for a further six Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft under a USD564.7 million contract modification announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 18 July.

The deal includes field service representatives and three years of post-delivery support after the first aircraft delivery, and is set to run to 30 April 2020. Once delivered, these new aircraft will be based at Panagargh in eastern India, the proposed headquarters of the Indian Army’s new XVII Mountain Strike Corps.India received the first of its initial batch of six C-130J-30 aircraft in February 2011, with the remaining five arriving in-country by September of that year. Operated by the specially formed 77 Squadron at Hindon Airbase, near New Delhi, these aircraft are used primarily for special forces operations. In August 2013 a C-130J-30 demonstrated the type’s ability to support Indian military operations in the far north of the country when it landed on the world’s highest airstrip in the Himalayan Ladakh region bordering China.

With six aircraft already in service, the IAF signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the additional six platforms in December 2013. The total value of these six new platforms, including engines, spares, and support is USD1.1 billion, bringing the cumulative value of India’s C-130J-30 buy to USD2.06 billion.

In May 2014 an IAF C-130J-30 crashed on take-off near Gwalior, around 370 km southwest of New Delhi, killing all five crew members. Official sources ascribed the cause of that incident to wake turbulence, rather than any mechanical fault with the aircraft.

The IAF’s contract to procure additional C-130J-30 platforms is part of a wider recapitalisation and build-up of India’s airlift capability. Over recent years, the country has signed for 10 (and received 8 to date) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft, and is developing with Russia a tactical twin-engined jet transport aircraft, known as the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA).

Also, the IAF has received 12 Dornier Do-228 light transport aircraft manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and has launched a competition to buy 56 light/medium tactical transport aircraft. The frontrunners for that requirement are the Airbus DS C295 and Alenia Aermacchi C-27J aircraft. Finally, in 2009 the IAF signed a USD398 million contract with Ukrspetsexport, the Ukrainian state defence export agency, to upgrade the IAF’s fleet of Antonov An-32 ‘Cline’ transport aircraft to extend their service lives from 20 to 40 years.

Source : Defence News
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to reduce import dependence in defence equipment, India’s likely defence outlay is estimated at $248 billion over the next 10 years, according to the report.

  • Mumbai: Defence could be the sunrise industry of the next decade for Indian companies, according to a report released by Edelweiss Securities Ltd on 18 July. And Indian conglomerates such as the Tata group, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), and Mahindra Group are increasingly forging partnerships with global defence companies, and are “heavily enhancing production bases in the defence and aerospace businesses as India is on the cusp of a major spending drive to modernise its armed forces”, the report said. 
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to reduce import dependence in defence equipment, India’s likely defence outlay is estimated at $248 billion over the next 10 years, according to the report. In the budget unveiled on 10 July, the government proposed to raise the foreign direct investment limit in defence production to 49% from 26%. 

On Saturday, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that the government cleared procurement proposals worth over Rs.21,000 crore and also approved a project for the production of transport aircraft, which is open only to Indian private sector companies. Among the major proposals to receive approval is a Rs.9,000 crore tender to provide five fleet support ships for the Indian Navy, for which the request for proposal (RFP) would be issued to all public and private sector shipyards, defence ministry officials said. 

The majority of the proposals cleared would involve only Indian public and private sector firms and are aimed at increasing the indigenization of military hardware, PTI reported. The Indian defence sector will be a significant opportunity for both foreign and domestic players, given the government’s intent to promote the domestic defence industry via a fresh dose of defence reforms. 

The minimum opportunity for domestic entities is worth $75 billion, given the 30% offset requirement, the Edelweiss report said. India’s defence offset policy mandates that foreign contractors source components and systems from local vendors for at least 30% of the value of orders worth more than Rs.300 crore that they get from India. Other industry experts have a similar view. 

According to KPMG, the defence ministry expects the defence budget to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% to touch $64 billion in the financial year 2020. The growth will primarily be driven by capital expenditure, the component of the defence budget used for creation of assets and expenditure on procurement of new equipment. The offset opportunities are expected to be around $15 billion within the next 10-15 years, assuming that the proposed acquisitions which are under different stages are completed on time, according to KPMG. 

“The new BJP-led government’s manifesto explicitly envisages India as an exporter of defence equipment over the next decade. The government has done away with the requirement of licences for defence manufacturing for all but 16 items. Further, in Budget 2014-15, it has increased FDI (foreign direct investment) in defence to 49% and also enhanced capital expenditure budget by 20%,” the Edelweiss report said. Domestic defence manufacturing is dominated by defence public sector undertakings (DPSU) and Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), which together have an 80-90% share of domestic defence manufacturing. 

However, various private sector companies have been involved in a small way with several defence projects over the past years. Larsen & Toubro, the Tata group, Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Ltd, among others, have tied up with global defence companies and have created infrastructure required to take on bigger roles in the defence space. 

“These companies are yet to make a significant impact given the tardy processes involved in bagging defence orders…(However,) we believe defence could be the sunrise industry of the next decade for Indian companies,” the Edelweiss Securities report said. For instance, Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL has been nurturing its ambitions in the defence space over the past few years and is likely to be a formidable entity in the aerospace business with several tie-ups in place, according to the research report. 

The report said RIL is currently incubating the defence business, which looks promising. RIL did not offer any comments for the story. RIL had set up two defence subsidiaries—Reliance Aerospace Technologies and Reliance Security Solutions—in 2011. The group is set to enter the defence space by investing and signing new deals with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) primarily towards offset arrangement of defence equipment, the report said. RIL had recently signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation (France) for medium-multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) towards the offsets clause. RIL has also signed agreements with Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co. of the US and Siemens AG of Germany for homeland security systems. 

Rival Tata group has also further fortified its presence in the defence space. “Chairman Cyrus Mistry’s strategy is to increase the Tata group’s footprint in the sectors opened up by the government, namely, defence and aerospace,” the Edelweiss report said. In June, Mint had reported that the $100 billion Tata group’s strategic aerospace and defence arm, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), has scaled up operations across its seven lines of manufacturing and was preparing to bid for building full aircraft in the next three to five years. 

To start with, TASL is eyeing a defence ministry contract to manufacture 56 military transport planes to replace an ageing fleet of Avro jets with the Indian Air Force at an estimated cost of Rs.11,900 crore. The Mahindra Group began its Mahindra Defense Systems division in 2000; this was later carved out as a separate company in July 2012. The group expects most of the projects to come from artillery systems and armoured vehicles. It hopes to ramp up revenues to $430 million by FY16E from the current $51 million.

Source : Defense News