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Indian millitary system is a very well organized section of defence that we all feel proud of as Indians. Indian millitary forms the backbone of Indian Defence. Newer and improved weapons are needed by the army to fight back. To make yourself up to date and informed about the new developements of technology in Indian Military, browse through this blog. Know how technology has been highly embraced in our Indian Millitary System.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

British Harrier and Jaguar become work of Art

BY: Fiona Hanson/PA / © Guardian News and Media Limited

An RAF Jaguar that saw service during Desert Storm is displayed belly up on the floor of the gallery


Two warships commissioned into Navy fleet


Giving a boost to Navy’s defence capabilities, two state-of-the-art high-speed warships, INS Cankarso and INS Kondul, were commissioned here on Tuesday into the naval fleet.

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan commissioned the ships in the presence of Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anup Singh and other senior Naval officials.

The indigenously-built ships use water jet propulsion technology and can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots. They will be based in Goa and tasked with the role of detecting, locating and destroying small, fast-moving enemy surface craft engaged in covert operations, a Navy spokesman said.

INS Cankarso and INS Kondul are fitted with 30-mm CRN-91 gun built by Ordnance Factory, Medak, and Igla missiles and set of machine guns ranging from light to heavy. “These features are an improvement over the previous fast attack craft (FAC) ships,” the spokesman said.

These two ships are the first lot of the ten similar ships that the Navy proposed to induct in its fleet. They belong to the Car Nicobar class V and VI in the FAC series.

“In addition to their primary role, the ships will be tasked with the role of policing, anti-smuggling and fisheries protection in India’s coastal waters. In the long run, these ships could help in ensuring stability in India’s maritime zones of responsibility,” the spokesman said.

INS Cankarso is named after an island near Goa while INS Kondul derives its name from an island near Nicobar.

Kolkata-based Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers, headed by Rear-Admiral (Retd) K C Shekar, built these ships in two years.

Water jet technology has rapidly gained acceptance as the leading means of propulsion for all types of high-speed marine craft, including ferries, work boats, patrol crafts and pleasure boats.

Recent advances in water jet technology have put them ahead of conventional propulsion systems in high-speed performance and reliability, the Navy spokesman said.

INS Cankarso is commanded by Arun Bahuguna and INS Kondul by Shashidhar R. Patil. The two ships that have 45 sailors and four officers on board, are equipped with a reverse-osmosis technology drinking water plant and sewerage treatment plant.

Tejas to get “HF” Designation by year end


Last Fighter aircraft to get HF (Hindustan Fighter) Designation was HF-24 Marut , almost five decades ago when Marut first flew in late 50′s , Tejas will get HF Designation by year end at the same time when IOC ( initial operational clearance ) is achieved .

HAL and ADA have send a file containing possible HF designations based on various parameters. Parameters include year of project start ,first roll out, or the first flight it self .

after HF Designation has been granted LCA Tag will be completely dropped and will not be used further officially .

Hindustan is added to every aircraft produced in India for very long time now , even new aircrafts has per their usage are given Designation , Trainer are designated Hindustan Trainer (HT-2) or Hindustan Jet Trainer (HJT-36) , Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT-40) and Hindustan Fighter for a fighter aircraft ,it been long five decades for this designation to be revived .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

U.S. to cooperate with Russia on global missile defense system


The United States is ready to cooperate with Russia toward the creation of a global missile defense system, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia said on Monday.

“We will continue this dialogue so that Russia and we can work together on the creation of a global missile defense system,” John Beyrle said in Russian while speaking to students and staff at a Moscow university.

U.S.-Russia relations have seen a dramatic increase since Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama announced last year a new policy of resetting bilateral ties and overcoming Cold-War era set-backs.

Although Obama scrapped last September earlier plans to deploy missile defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, Washington has not given up on its European missile shield initiative.

In May, the United States opened a temporary military base in northern Poland, just 80 km (50 miles) from the border of Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008 – a move which drew much criticism from Russia.

The United States is also in talks with Bulgaria and Romania on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.

Lockheed to offer fifth generation F-35 fighters to Navy


US defence major Lockheed Martin said on Monday that it will offer its latest fifth generation F-35 fighters to meet Indian Navy’s requirements for carrier-based combat aircraft.

“We have received the Request for Information (RFI) from the Navy seeking information about the F-35 aircraft, which are capable of taking off from aircraft carriers. We are going to offer our aircraft to them,” Lockheed Martin vice president Orville Prins said.

He said presentations had been given to the Indian Navy about both the ‘B’and ‘C’ versions of the aircraft in the recent past.

The B version the F-35 is a short take-off and vertical landing aircraft and the C version is an aircraft carrier-based version.

The Navy, which will acquire the under-construction Indigenous Aircraft Carrier around 2015, is likely to build another larger-size carrier and is looking to procure fighter aircraft for it.

American Boeing, Swedish Saab, European EADS and the French Dassault Aviation are also likely to offer their aircraft to the Navy.

Commenting on other projects of the company in India, Prins said the C-130 J Hercules aircraft are likely to be delivered to the IAF by February next year, two months ahead of the original schedule.

He said IAF is also planning to order six more aircraft as the construction of ground infrastructure is also going on schedule at the Hindan air base near here.

Prins said the IAF has also shown interest in the air to air refuelling tanker-version of the C-130J, which can be offered to it by the company.

The Lockheed official said that talks are on with agencies such as the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for supplying another C-130J variant known as the ‘weather-bird’ WC-130J, which can be used to study cyclones and other weather phenomenon.

He said the aircraft might be brought to India for the next edition of Aero India show in February 2011.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mahindras aim big in defence

By: The Telegraph

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and UK’s BAE Systems will soon start manufacturing the RG-31 — a mine-proof vehicle — in the country for the Indian Army and police forces operating in Maoist strongholds.

Sources in M&M, which has entered the defence automotive business, said the automobile major was also looking at producing the FH77 B05 Advanced Howitzer, already in use in the country.

BAE Systems has supplied 165 mine-proof vehicles to the Indian Army and another 600 to the US, UN and Canadian forces. The monocoque hull of the RG-31, made of welded armour steel, is supposed to protect occupants against anti-tank mines and has a modular interior layout. The vehicle can be configured as an armoured personnel carrier, ambulance and surveillance vehicle. The air-conditioned vehicle can carry up to 10 people.

Maoists have often targeted police vehicles with mines planted deep inside highways and jungle tracks, which normal minesweepers fail to detect. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Bengal have been impacted by Maoist attacks.

Though M&M officials have targeted the army as the principle buyer of the vehicle, the company will also chase possible orders from paramilitary forces as well as limited orders from state police forces, especially specialised anti-Maoist squads such as Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhound.

“We are also looking at bringing in a battle tank for the army through our joint venture with BAE but bringing in restricted technology will be possible if we are able to offer them a 49 per cent stake in the venture,” M&M sources said.

At present, FDI rules allow foreign investors a 26 per cent stake in Indian defence. The M&M-BAE venture is complying with the norm.

However, the commerce ministry has put forward a proposal to increase FDI in defence to 74 per cent, a move which domestic firms such as the Mahindras, L&T and the Tatas have opposed.

They maintain that a 49 per cent stake will suffice to attract top firms in defence business and join Indian partners.

M&M has entered the lucrative defence automotive sector with Defence Land Systems Ltd — the joint venture with BAE — and the manufacturing of bullet-proof and customised vehicles. Among others, it makes the Rakshak, a bullet-proof Scorpio, and Marksman, a customised war vehicle.

The joint venture is expected to make an initial investment of $21.25 million over three years. Defence Land Systems India will have a facility in Faridabad, just outside Delhi.

Air Force says DRDO stalling Tejas fighter engine

By: Business Standard

IAF feels DRDO fronting for French engine, citing ‘joint development’.

India’s Tejas light fighter is failing to meet performance targets, largely because of an underpowered engine. And, the Indian Air Force (IAF) believes the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is actively stalling the process of choosing a new engine.

A furious IAF, which urgently needs the Tejas to replace its retiring MiG-21 squadrons, has complained in writing to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The IAF report says that even as the Aeronautical Development Agency, or ADA — which oversees the Tejas programme — is choosing between two powerful, modern engines from the global market, the DRDO has confused the issue by throwing up a third option: An offer to resurrect its failed Kaveri engine programme, this time in partnership with French engine-maker, Snecma.

The IAF report, currently with the highest levels of the MoD, makes two points. First, since the DRDO has been unable, for over two decades, to deliver a Kaveri engine that can power the Tejas, the ongoing procurement — of either the General Electric (GE) F-414, or the Eurojet EJ200 engine — should go ahead.

The IAF’s second objection is even more damning for the DRDO: Snecma, the IAF charges, has already developed the heart of the engine it is offering, an uprated derivative of the M88-2 engine that powers the French Rafale fighter. The DRDO, therefore, will not co-develop the engine, but merely provide Snecma with an indigenous stamp. In reality, the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), the DRDO laboratory that has laboured for decades on the Kaveri, will hardly participate in any “joint development”.

Further, says a top IAF source, a Kaveri engine based on Snecma’s new core will leave the Tejas short of performance, providing barely 83-85 Kilonewtons (KN) of maximum thrust. In contrast, the GE and Eurojet engines already short-listed for selection provide 90-96 KN, a significant advantage. The source says sneaking in the underpowered Kaveri-Snecma engine through the GTRE back door will damage the LCA project.

For the IAF, the performance of the new engine is crucial. It has agreed to accept the Tejas into service as soon as the fighter obtains its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) in December, even though the Tejas does not yet fly, climb, turn or accelerate fast enough. The IAF’s accommodation is based on a promise from the ADA that a new, more powerful engine will overcome all the Tejas’ current performance shortfalls.

Senior IAF officers explain that the DRDO needs the Tejas project to endorse the Kaveri-Snecma engine because Snecma insists on a minimum assured order of 300 engines as a precondition for partnering GTRE in “joint development”. Since India’s futuristic Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) — the other potential user of a Kaveri-Snecma engine — has not yet been sanctioned, only the Tejas programme, with some 120-140 fighters planned, provides the numbers needed for satisfying Snecma.

The IAF will buy two squadrons (42 fighters) of Tejas Mark 1, which use older GE F-404 engines. In addition, five squadrons (110 fighters) of Tejas Mark 2 are planned, which will be powered by a new engine. Given that each Tejas could go through 2-3 engines during its lifetime, the LCA Mk 2 will actually need 200-300 of the new engines.

Contacted by Business Standard, the DRDO declined to comment on the subject.

Business Standard has already reported (December 12, 2009, “Kaveri engine comes alive; will power Indian fighters”) that the MoD is backing Kaveri-Snecma as a new engine for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). That report was corroborated on May 13 by Defence Minister A K Antony, who told Parliament that the Kaveri “requires to be optimised for lower weight and higher performance so that it can be used for the Tejas and possibly for Indian next generation combat Aircraft.”

But there are mixed signals from the establishment. In the same statement, Antony also talked about the possibility of engine import. And the ADA chief, P S Subramaniam, has told Business Standard: “There are many Tejas already flying that will soon need new engines and we will use the Kaveri-Snecma engines for those. The Tejas Mark 2 will be powered by either GE F-414 or the EJ200.”

According to ADA sources, both the GE and Eurojet engines have fully met the technical requirements for the Tejas Mk 2. The Eurojet EJ200 is the more modern, lighter, flexible engine and has impressed the IAF. The GE F-414 is significantly heavier, but provides more power. The Indian tender for 99 engines (plus options) demands that all engines after the first 10 be built in India.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rs 15,000 crore Sukhoi deal cleared

By: Times of India
The Cabinet Committee on Security earlier this month quietly cleared one of the biggest defence orders of recent times.

The almost Rs 15,000 crore order for an additional 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters would add up the total number of these modern Russian fighters for Indian Air Force to 272.

When the entire Sukhoi-30 MKIs, including the 42, are delivered to IAF by around 2018, it would become the single largest type of fighters in service, marking a huge technological transition from the dominance of MIG-21 fighters today.

A senior official said the CCS cleared the new order in the first week of June.

By the time HAL begins manufacture of the 42 aircraft sometime in 2014, each of them would cost in the range of Rs 350 crore, according to present day projections.

The new order for Sukhoi-30 MKIs comes even as attention is fully on the tender floated by the Air Force for $10 billion worth 126 MMRCA (medium multi role combat aircraft). But by the time the MMRCA enters the service, it would be the Sukhoi-30 MKI that would actually be the dominant fighter of the Air Force. And the combined contract value of SU-30 MKIs would be more than double that of the MMRCA.

The Su-30 MKI was originally contracted in 1996, when the Russian military-industrial complex was in a shambles after the Soviet Union collapsed. Its design and capabilities, however, continues to impress globally.

The initial contract was for 50 fighters, at $1.46 billion. Over the years, the numbers kept increasing. In 2000, the government contracted the licenced production of 140 of these highly advanced fighters by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Then another 40 were added to the contract.

The present order for 42 fighters was originally supposed to be 40, but two more were added to the order book to make up for the two crashed fighters. A senior official said that HAL is expected to complete all the SU-30 MKI orders by 2016-17 period.

HAL has been steadily stepping up its Sukhoi-30 MKI delivery schedules. While last year it delivered 23 of these fighters, this year it is expected to produce 28. HAL has already supplied 74 of these fighters.

Friday, June 25, 2010

C-130J Hercules ready for flight test


C-130J Super Hercules, a major force multiplier, is ready for flight test, its American manufacturer Lockheed Martin said on Friday.

The Indian Air Force purchased six C-130J-30s in the early 2008 at a cost of $1.059 billion. The painting of the first of the six Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules has been completed at the company’s Marietta, Georgia, facility.

The aircraft, the world’s most advanced airlifter, will be delivered by the year-end, the company said.
The programme for India includes training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spare parts, and ground support and test equipment.

Also included is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities. The six C-130Js will give the Indian Army and Air Force new special operations capabilities.

First Indian C-130J in Indian Color

LiveFist : India’s LCA AESA Radar Programme Detailed

Air-to-Air: Multi-target detection and tracking / Multi target ACM (Air-to-Air combat mode) / High resolution raid assessment

Air-to-Ground: High Resolution mapping (SAR mode) / AGR – Air to Ground Ranging / RBM – Real Beam mapping / DBS – Doppler Beam Sharpening / Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) / Ground Moving Target Tracking (GMTT) / Terrain Avoidance (TA)

Air-to-Sea: Sea search and multi target tracking / Range Signature (RS) / Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR)

As I’ve reported here before, the development partner that LRDE identifies will be responsible for “detailed design, development and realisation” of (a) antenna panel constisting of main antenna, guard antenna and sidelobe cancellation antenna, (b) transmit/receive modules/groups, (c) RF distribution network consisting of RF manifold/combiners, RF interface, (d) antenna/beam control chain consisting of T/R control and T/R group control, and (e) array calibration/BITE among other areas.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Russian Sukhoi-34 fighter bomber successfully accomplished a non-stop 6-thousand-kilometre test flight

A wing of latest Russian Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers has successfully accomplished a non-stop 6-thousand-kilometre test flight from the region of Lipetsk south of Moscow to the region of Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East. The Sukhoi-34’s predecessor in the niche, the Sukhoi-24, cannot fly further than 3 thousand kilometres.

The Sukhoi-34 is a two-seater with a length of 22 metres and a wingspan of 14.7 metres. The maximum speed is 19 hundred kilometres an hour.
By: Voice of Russia

Sachin Tendulkar set to become IAF officer

Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar will add another feather to his hat. The master batsman is set to become the first cricketer to work with the Indian Air Force.

After much debate, the Indian Air Force finalised plans to make Tendulkar honorary Group Captain of the Indian Air Force.

The Air Force has forwarded the necessary documents for formalities to the Defence Ministry. But the Prime Minister’s Office and the President will have to give their consent before any official announcement is made.

LCA Tejas MK-II updates

Sources close to idrw.org have informed that Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is currently working on two different design variant for Tejas MK-2, while major changes in both the design are wings position in terms of alignment to make the aircraft more aero dynamic and also to reduce drag, Tejas MK-2 will also have design changes to its fuselage and will have a bigger wing to carry heaver payload, Tejas Mk-2 will also be able to carry more internal fuel due to improvement in fuselage design and wing.

Engine update:

Final negotiations for purchase of new engines for Tejas MK-2 has begun and decision will be soon made public, while both engine manufactures have promised that their engine will easily be integrated with Tejas MK-2 airframe ,but both have asked for 2 years to make some minor changes to the engines and have already provided details regarding this to ADA and HAL , changes mostly likely be change in position of gear box and other pipe systems , once contract is signed modified engines will be delivered by 2012 year end or 2013 and integration into airframe might take place by 2013 year end and first flight might take place by 2014 year end or early 2015 .

Naval Tejas:

Indian Navy have already asked for new engines for the Naval Tejas, and only NP-1 and NP-2 will be powered by General Electric F404-IN20 engine which also powers Tejas MK-1 variant of Indian air force, while Indian Navy other than engine change has not made any change to their original ASR, so most probably Navy will go with Tejas MK-1 Naval Prototype design with higher trust engine rather than Tejas MK-2 design.

Indian Navy Stealth Frigate Tarkash Launched

A Russian shipyard took out of dry dock on Wednesday the second of three frigates being built for India’s Navy, a Yantar spokesman said.

The ceremony for the Tarkash frigate in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad was attended by senior Russian and Indian military and civilian officials.

The first of three Project 11356 frigates, named the Teg, was floated out last November. The third frigate, Trikand is due to be delivered in 2011-12.

The warships will become modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for the Indian Navy under a $1.6 billion contract signed in July 2006.

The new frigates will be armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.

They will be also equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile system, two Kashtan air-defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers, and an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Negotiations for Tejas aircraft engines soon

Eurojet EJ200



GTX Kaveri Engine

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is set to start commercial negotiations with aircraft engine makers Eurojet Turbo GmbH and General Electric Aviation for 99 aircraft engines for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

The two engine manufacturers had been shortlisted after expressions of interest for an alternate engine for the LCA were issued last year. Eurojet, a European consortium, is offering its EJ200 engine, which powers the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter plane while the American firm has put in bids for its GE F414 engine used in the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Superhornet. The new engine will power the Mark II variant of the Tejas, which currently runs on F-404 engines made by GE.

“Soon, we should be starting commercial negotiations, probably in a couple of weeks,” said PS Subramanyam, director, ADA. “The technical evaluation is over. I think both of them (companies) are good candidates.” The Tejas aircraft ,with its current engine and configuration, is expected to be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) from March next year with state-run military plane maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd supplying 20 planes initially. The proposal for a second batch of 20 planes has been cleared by the defence ministry and negotiations are on, Subramanyam said.

The IAF has indicated the need for five squadrons of the Mark-II, which will feature the alternate, more powerful engine and upgraded electronics. “Wherever there is obsolescence setting in, in terms ofadvancement of electronics, we are going for state-of-the-art electronics in the Mark-II,” said Subramanyam. Even as the process of procurement of engines is on, ADA has begun two tracks of design based on the shortlisted engines so as to not lose time, he added. Meanwhile, a proposal by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to co-develop the indigenous Kaveri engine with French engine house Snecma, is under consideration.

An upgraded and more powerful Kaveri engine is being seen initially as a replacement engine for the first batch of Tejas aircraft, Subramanyam added.

“Every aircraft in its lifetime needs two replacements. Some of those engines are already looking for that. By the time Kaveri gets developed and demonstrated, those engines can start coming as replacement engines for the first 20, 40 (aircraft),” he said. “There is full scope of what their profile is. It is very clear in our mind. The Kaveri engine profile for the next 30 years has a very strong dovetailing into the LCA programme,” he added.

India plans to put 5 satellites into orbit next month

India plans to put five remote-sensing satellites into orbit in the first half of next month after fixing a rocket “anomaly” that forced it to delay launches in May.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will carry India’s Cartosat-2B, Algeria’s ALSAT-2A and two small satellites from the University of Toronto, PS Veeraraghavan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said over the phone on Thursday from the southern city of Thiruvananthapuram. The fifth unit will be a one-kilogram satellite built by Indian students, he said.

The agency, based in Thiruvananthapuram, has corrected the anomaly which was in the second stage of the rocket, according to Mr Veeraraghavan. The delay had disrupted India’s challenge to China, Japan, and South Korea as it competes for commercial-satellite launches.

In April, India also failed in its bid to join a group of five nations using their own rocket technology to launch large satellites into higher orbits when scientists lost control of the 50-meter (164 feet) GSLV-D3 spacecraft minutes after blastoff. “The reasons for the failure are still being analysed and we expect a report in a month’s time,” said Mr Veeraraghavan.

India is planning a $2.5 billion unmanned mission to space by 2015 and is slated to launch a second unmanned moon craft, Chandrayaan II, at a cost of $87.5 million before March 2013. India launched its first space rocket in 1963 and its first satellite in 1975. The country’s satellite program consists of 21 orbiters, of which 11 are currently in service.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Prithvi-II missile launch successful; 4th flight in 8 months

Prithvi-II missile was successfully launched at 0650 hrs from launch complex III at Chandipur on 18th June, 2010. The entire operations for the launch were carried out by Armed forces. It was a text book launch and met all the mission objectives. The terminal phase of flight and the events were monitored by Down range ships located near the impact point. All the operations for the mission were reviewed by Dr VK Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri, DG & Secretary DRDO. Programme Director Mr VLN Rao, Project Directors Mr Adalat Ali & Mr DS Reddy and Maj Gen Phillip Compose were present during the mission. It is the fourth successful PRITHVI-II flight within a period of 8 months.

Chinese Nuclear Deal with Pakistan Could hit Ties: India

Russia to Buy 50 Fifth-Generation PAK FA Fighters After 2016

Russia's Defense Ministry will order at least 50 fifth-generation fighters from 2016, a senior official said on Thursday."At the first stage, there will be dozens of planes, more than 50," said Vladimir Popovkin, deputy defense minister for arms procurement.He was on hand as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin observed the test flight of a prototype fighter and later talked to the pilot, Sergei Bogdan, who said it was the fighter's 16th test flight and more would follow shortly.Popovkin said that based on the outcome of initial tests, the Defense Ministry would purchase the first six to 10 aircraft after 2012.

Russia to Offer Turkey S-300 and S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile Systems

Russia is ready to participate in a tender to offer Turkey S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, the state-controlled arms exporter said on Wednesday.The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1, has a range of over 150 kilometers (over 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making it effective in warding off air strikes.The S-400 (SA-21 Growler) is capable of simultaneously engaging six targets to a range of 400 km (250 miles) and an altitude up to 30 kilometers, including aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.

Read More

UAV INDIA: First Ever Impressions Of AURA, India's UCAV

By LiveFist:

What you're looking at here are the first ever manifestations of what India's UCAV, codenamed AURA, could look like. These are images from an official presentation (see slide) by India's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) director PS Krishnan, outlining AURA (Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft), a programme that was nameless and obscure in the public domain before it was reported on here on LiveFist and on Headlines Today. As you can see from the slide, the ADE describes the AURA as a "self defending" high speed reconnaisance UAV with a "weapon firing capability", which seems a typically laboured way of describing the obvious. With the programme still in its project definition stage, the images used in the slide above are likely just representative (the tacky flag-on-underbelly routine a-la Lockheed Nighthawk with stars and stripes), though it's a definite indication of how the programme's scientists are thinking. It's all fully in line with what former DRDO chief controller for Aeronautics said in 2007: that India's combat drone would be a stealthy flying-wing concept aircraft with internal weapons and a turbofan engine.

Lockheed Martin’s SMSS Vehicle Demonstrates Autonomous Performance For Logistics Centers

DefPro News

Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently proved in a series of demonstration tests that its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicle can perform detailed logistics tasks without human control. The testing was conducted at the Lockheed Martin facility in Littleton, CO, for several military attendees.

The SMSS vehicle performed all autonomous operations flawlessly, including:

• mcorrectly following a road network,

• safely maneuvering through a building complex,

• avoiding obstacles inserted in its path, including mannequins simulating people,

• following a person using only optical tracking, exercising real-time obstacle avoidance, and

• navigating to a person who issued a “come-to-me” command.

SMSS also demonstrated its ease of operability in real-time controller-to-controller hand-offs, allowing different operators to take control of the vehicle as it arrived at new locations. Operators also disengaged autonomy and went on board the vehicle to control it manually, showcasing user options in commanding the system.

“These demonstrations exemplify how the military can benefit from SMSS as an autonomous logistics vehicle to move parts, tools and materiel around fixed installations,” said Don Nimblett, senior Business Development manager for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “SMSS has proved through performance that our approach to autonomy is flexible and adaptable to a variety of platforms and missions. We’ve already proved the advantages SMSS can bring in the field through U.S. Army-funded Warfighter experiments. These recent trials showed how SMSS can perform in crowded, limited environments transporting tons of cargo.”

Attendees who witnessed the demonstration included representatives from the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Solider Requirements Division, Combined Arms Support Command, Training and Doctrine Command Accelerated Capabilities Division, Rapid Equipping Force, Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force’s 60th Maintenance Group.

The SMSS was initially developed as a Lockheed Martin initiative to lighten the load for light infantry Soldiers and Marines. A highly mobile 6x6 vehicle, SMSS can carry 1,200 pounds of gear for a 9- to 13-person squad, and it can accompany the squad on many missions through heavy terrain. The fully loaded SMSS can be sling-loaded under a UH-60L helicopter, or carried internally in a CH-47/53 helicopter. The robotic capabilities and autonomy utilized on SMSS are also applicable to a much broader range of robotic applications, missions and vehicles.

Tank Trouble: Arjuns uphill road

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Russia launched a new nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine

Russia on Tuesday launches a new nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine after a short delay caused by technical reasons, the Sevmash shipyard said.

The construction of the Severodvinsk, the first Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class submarine, began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk but has since been dogged by financial setbacks. Russia planned to float out the submarine on May 7 to mark the 65th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in May 1945.

Last year, work started on the second sub in the series, the Kazan, which will feature more advanced equipment and weaponry. Russian experts believe that the commissioning of Graney class would significantly increase combatcapabilities of the Russian Navy.

“It is the newest generation of the Russian submarine fleet, which rightfully meets the demands of the 21st century,” said Vladimir Pyalov, chief designer of the Malakhit design bureau.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the port of Severodvinsk to attend the official float-out ceremony.

Graney class nuclear submarines are designed to launch a variety of long-range cruise missiles (up to 3,100 miles or 5,000 km) with nuclear warheads, and effectively engage submarines, surface warships and land-based targets. The submarine’s armament includes 24 cruise missiles, including the 3M51 Alfa SLCM, the SS-NX-26 Oniks SLCM or the SS-N-21 Granat/Sampson SLCM. It is also equipped with eight torpedo launchers, as well as mines and anti-ship missiles such as SS-N-16 Stallion.

The Severodvinsk is expected to enter service with the Russian Navy by late 2010 – early 2011.

Russia, India may jointly make Glonass, GPS navigation devices

Russia and India might establish a joint venture to produce navigation equipment for GPS and its Russian equivalent Glonass, the head of the Russian federal satellite navigation operator said on Tuesday.

Glonass – the Global Navigation Satellite System – is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

“We are actively working on a project to establish a joint venture on Indian territory to produce various navigation equipment. In March a group of our negotiators will head there for another round of talks,” said Aledxander Gurko, CEO of Navigation and Information Systems (NIS).

Russia currently has a total of 22 Glonass satellites in orbit, but only 16 of them are operational. The system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.

The Glonass navigation satellite system is expected to start operating worldwide by the end of 2010. As soon as global operations are launched, India will be able to use the civilian signal, allowing users to determine their position to within five to 15 meters.

India’s access to a more precise military signal is yet to be approved by the heads of the two states.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would discuss cooperation in the Glonass project with Indian officials during his forthcoming visit to New Delhi in the first half of March.

Grob Aircraft targets 181 trainers for IAF


As pilot Klaus Plasa lifts his 70-year-old, grey-green Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter off the runway, clapping breaks out among the aficionados of historic aircraft that crowd Berlin’s ILA 2010, the world’s oldest air show. The Me-109, which delights the crowd with its aerobatics, is the legendary Luftwaffe (German Air Force) fighter that memorably clashed with Royal Air Force Spitfires in the skies of England during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Close on Plasa’s heels flies a restored Messerschmitt Me-262, the world’s first jet-engine fighter and unmatched in aerial combat when it entered Luftwaffe service in 1944. Historians believe, had Hitler not waited two years for the fighter’s design to be absolutely perfect, the Me-262 might have won the air war for the Germans.

While these World War II fighters held crowds spellbound at the ILA 2010, which wound up on Sunday, Indian visitors focused on another small aircraft that could soon fly the skies of India: The Grob-120TP, which has been offered as a basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Its German manufacturer, Grob Aircraft, submitted a tender in April along with Embraer of Brazil; Pilatus of Switzerland; Raytheon of the US; Finmeccanica of Italy; and Korea Aerospace Industries for the Indianpurchase of 75 trainer aircraft.

While these 75 trainers are being procured, Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will design and manufacture an additional 106 basic trainers, dubbed the Hindustan Turbo Trainer — 40 (HTT-40). In building the HTT-40, HAL plans to leverage its experience in designing a more advanced trainer, the Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), which is currently being test flown.

All this stems from a major crisis in the basic training of IAF pilots, caused by the grounding of its entirefleet of notoriously unreliable HPT-32 Deepak trainers. In recent years, 19 IAF pilots have died in 17 Deepak crashes, mostly caused by the engine shutting down due to fuel supply interruptions.

The Deepak, like most other basic trainers worldwide, comes without ejection seats but, so desperate is the need to keep the training going that IAF has even proposed fitting each Deepak with a Ballistic Recovery System — a giant parachute that can safely bring down a stalled aircraft slowly with the crew still in their seats.

But the search for a new trainer has begun in the earnest and Grob’s aggressive two-pronged strategy targets not just the 75 trainers in the tender, but the 106 trainers that HAL proposes to build as well.

Grob’s strategy: Surprise HAL with the technological excellence of the Grob-120TP; and then — when HAL realises that it cannot match the Grob trainer — offer HAL a substantial partnership in Grob’s global supply chain in exchange for letting Grob supply an additional 106 Grob-120TP aircraft.

Given HAL’s technological excellence in manufacturing composites cheaply, Grob is happy to source from HAL. IAF will be happy with a single basic trainer that is already training Israeli, French, German and Canadian air force pilots, rather than waiting for an untried HAL trainer. And, HAL would have eliminated developmental risks, while obtaining an assured customer.

“For HAL to supply 106 aircraft to the Indian Air Force is one thing, but producing fifty, sixty, seventy components for us, for the global market, over a long period of time, is another thing,” says Johann Heitzmann, CEO of Grob Aircraft.

“Depending upon the outcome of the tender for the first 75 aircraft, all the participants will have to go and look at the cards one more tim0e and see what they sense.”

Technologically, Grob is on solid ground; the Grob-120TP is two generations ahead of the Deepak and is the world’s lightest trainer with ejection seats for both pilots. The Grob-120TP’s digital glass cockpit, built by Israeli company, Elta, allows rookie pilots to fly mission-specific sorties that were only possible earlier in advanced trainers.

Finally, Grob claims this trainer, built entirely of maintenance-free, lightweight composites, is half the price of its rivals and three times cheaper to fly and maintain. Sources indicate that the Grob-120TP has been offered to India for $3-4 million apiece.

“We are going to completely surprise everyone when they open the tender bids and see how affordable this aircraft is,” promises Andrew Martin of Martin-Baker, the company that fitted the Grob-120TP with ejection seats. “Every hour in another trainer is probably the cost of 10-15 hours in a Grob… I am sure this will strike a chord with the IAF HQ.”

While these claims will be tested by IAF during user trials in September and October, the second prong of Grob’s strategy will become evident when it submits offsets proposals on July16. Besides sourcing composite airframe components from HAL, a JV already created between HAL and Elbit — called HALBIT Avionics Ltd — is likely to produce a large part of the Grob-120TP’s avionics.

IAF fighter pilots undergo three stages of training. Basic, or Stage-1 training was done on the Deepak; to replace these trainers, IAF is buying a new aircraft.

Stage-2 training is done on the Kiran Mark 1, which will be replaced by the Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in Bangalore. Stage-3 training, just before pilots join their frontline fighter squadrons, is done on the Kiran Mark 2, which is being currently superseded by the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer.

First FELIN Soldier Systems Delivered to the French Army

The versatility of the FELIN will revolutionise French Army operations

This makes it the worldwide first future soldier system to enter service with armed forces and go into series production: the first of a total of 22,588 ordered FELIN future soldier systems have now been handed over to the French Army. Early this week, the French Armament Procurement Agency (Direction générale de l'armement, DGA) announced that it delivered the first 90 systems of the FELIN (fantassin à équipements et liaisons integers) system to the French Army in late May. The systems have been handed over to the French Infantry School’s FELIN training centre to provide basic training on the system to French army instructors.

Being one of the largest and most advanced soldier modernisation programmes, the value of the entire French FELIN programme, including development, industrialization, production and initial support, is estimated at approximately €1 billion ($1.5 billion). FELIN is designed to enhance all the dismounted soldier's operational functions: protection, observation, C4I, weapons use, mobility and support.

To reach last month’s important milestone, the pre-production series of the FELIN systems, manufactured by prime contractor Sagem DS (Safran Group) and its industrial partners, underwent thorough testing and evaluation in various locations in France (et al. mountainous and urban terrain) as well as in French Guiana (tropical jungle conditions) and Djibouti (desert conditions and NBC equipment testing) during the past years. The Technical/Operational Evaluation (EVTO) of 358 FELIN units was carried out by by four regiments – battle-hardened units who have all seen combat in Afghanistan –, including the “Marche du Tchad” Regiment, the 13th Mountain Infantry Battalion and the naval infantry’s 8th Paratrooper Regiment.

Tradition meets Innovation

Having successfully completed the evaluation phase and further boosted by a order for an additional 16,454 FELIN equipment suites in late 2009 bringing the total to the impressive number of 22,588 systems, FELIN is now on track to revolutionise the warfare capabilities of French infantrymen. According to Sagem, 190 modifications were carried out as a result of the evaluation phase in order to fully meet the operational requirements of the French Army.

The Sarrebourg-based 1st Infantry Regiment will be the first combat unit designated to introduce the FELIN into operational service. The first equipment suites are scheduled to join the regiment in September 2010. With a history of some five centuries, the “1er d'infanterie” is Europe’s oldest regiment and has seen deployment to various military operations around the world in recent years, including to the Gulf region, Ruanda, Chad, the Balkan, Côte d'Ivoire and Afghanistan. As of September 2010 its capabilities and flexibility in demanding military operations is to be brought to a new level with FELIN.

The 1st Infantry Regiment will then be followed before the end of the year by the 13th Mountain Infantry Battalion, based in Chambéry. Starting in 2011, four regiments per year will be equipped, with deliveries to be completed by 2015.

“There’s no comparison”

As Colonel Laurent Barraco, the DGA program director, explains, “The DGA, French Army and Sagem's obsession was the ergonomics when handling matériel and software. For example, FELIN's C4I can reverse operational postures both day and night.”

The weapons of the FELIN system include the Famas assault rifle, the FRF2 precision rifle and the Minimi. In terms of performance, “The FAMAS rifle has a firing range enhanced from 300m to 500m during the day and from 150m to 400m at night. We put a section equipped with FELIN in face-to-face simulated combat, by day and by night, with another outfitted with today's equipment: there’s no comparison,” explains Colonel Rey, head of the French Army's FELIN program in its Technical Section.

The FELIN generally comprises ten fields of equipment and armament, including clothing and protection, ballistic, riot and NBC protection, FAMAS configurations, infrared binoculars, information network terminal, head gear, dismounted soldier information system, and the vehicle integration kit. The FELIN solution offers 13 configurations for the driver of an armoured personnel carrier to the operator of the MILAN light anti-tank missile system and from the platoon leader to the army corps commander.

News by:
Nicolas von KospothManaging Editor

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

F-35 vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire

The jet that’s supposed to make up more than 90 percent of America’s combat aviation fleet may have become a lot easier to shoot down.

Lockheed Martin, makers of the Joint Strike Fighter, has been under huge pressure to stabilize the jet’s skyrocketing costs. Production prices have nearly doubled on what was supposed to be an “affordable” fighter. R&D money is up another 40 percent. Some analysts predict the program could run as much as $388 billion for 2,400 jets.

So Lockheed decided “to trim 11 pounds and $1.4 million from each aircraft by removing shutoff valves for engine coolant and hydraulic lines and five of six dry bay fire-suppression systems,” according to InsideDefense.com.

But those cuts made it much harder for the Joint Strike Fighter to withstand a hit from an anti-aircraft weapon. “When you have something full of fuel under high pressure, some of it very hot, flowing close to hot metal parts and 270 VDC electrical components, your shutoff and check valves and fire suppression in the dry bays (places fuel will spray into) are your only defense,” a knowledgeable observer notes.

Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s chief weapons tester, recommended in a letter to Congress last month “that these features be reinstated.” The amount saved by trimming these components, he noted, would be more than made up, if just two aircraft were lost.

“Live-fire ballistic testing has demonstrated that the JSF is vulnerable,” added Lt. Gen. George Trautman, the Marines’ deputy commandant for aviation.

Now, one of the JSF’s now selling points was that it wouldn’t have to worry to much about taking on anti-aircraft fire; the jet would be so stealthy that the ground-to-air guns would never find it. But according to a report published by Air Power Australia, the plane is easier to spot than originally advertised. In fact, it is “demonstrably not a true stealth aircraft.”

Locheed says a recent “technological breakthrough” has fixed all that: a fiber mat that can blend stealthy qualities right into the composite skin of the aircraft.

And in an e-mail to Danger Room, Lockheed spokesman John Kent basically said the Pentagon tester was all wrong about the plane’s vulnerability.

“Rigorous combat analysis revealed that the survivability improvements afforded by the engine fuses and fire extinguishing features were very small,” Kent wrote. “These changes were thoroughly reviewed by the F-35 Operational Advisory Group and approved through the joint JSF Executive Steering Board, which includes membership from all nine JSF partner counties. All agreed that the weight saved by the elimination of these components would be better utilized in maintaining the performance capabilities of the aircraft. The present design meets the JSFPO’s expectations for vulnerability.”

Well, yeah. That’s true. “With the exception of a 30mm high-explosive incendiary round typically associated with light anti-aircraft artillery,” Trautman wrote. Like the kind Russia has, and sells all around the world.

India’s nuclear deterrence lacks capability: Analyst


India’s nuclear deterrence lacks capability and the country needs to build up its stockpile of fissile material to correct this, a leading defence analyst said Monday.

“We need to build up our fissile material stockpiles because our deterrence lacks capability,” Brig. (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal said at a seminar here on “Nuclear Arsenals post 2010″ organised by the Indian Navy-funded National Maritime Foundation.

Kanwal noted in this context that India lacked nuclear submarines capable of launching SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) that are considered the most credible form of deterrence in case of a nuclear attack.

As Rear Admiral (retd) K. Raja Menon put it, an SLBM “is the most stabilising element of a second strike capability” in case of a nuclear attack.

India has repeatedly said that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in case of a war withPakistan but experts point out that given its limited delivery capabilities of delivering these from the air or from the ground, this would make the country vulnerable in case of war.

Urging greater transparency in the decision making process on building a credible deterrence against a nuclear attack, he deprecated the fact that the armed forces were kept out of the process.

“The armed forces stay out of the discussions because they take their lead from their political masters. Transparency leads to greater credibility,” maintained Kanwal, who heads the Indian Army-funded think tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

Bharat Karnad, another analyst, concurred with Kanwal.

“Much of the strategising (on countering a nuclear threat) is done outside of the armed forces. But then, the Indian military mirrors the political confusion in the country,” he said.

“There is too much of nuancing rather than getting about making a deterrent a deterrent,” he added.

First IAF AWACS begins official flying

Parijat Gaur's Splendid LCA Tejas Rendition

From LiveFist

Tejas squadron to be rasied in Bangalore before moving to Sulur; LSP-3 & PV-3 back after successful hot-weather trials

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will form the first squadron of the light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bangalore next year before it is moved to Sulur, IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P.K. Barbora tells AVIATION WEEK. (Sulur is located near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.) The initial formation of the LCA squadron in Bangalore is primarily due to IAF’s proximity to the aircraft’s designer, the Aeronautical Development Agency; its manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL); and IAF’s test pilots’ unit, the Aircraft System Testing Establishment. In addition, the National Flight Test Center (NFTC), which is monitoring all LCA-related flying activities, is also within HAL’s military airport. "Training becomes easier in Bangalore for the IAF pilots on the new platform. In addition, any teething problems that the pilots might face while getting accustomed to Tejas can be sorted out before they move to Sulur,” an NFTC source says.

Phase-II hot-weather trials over: Meanwhile, Tejas crossed a significant hurdle when two LCAs successfully performed in hot-weather trials (HWTs) at Nagpur last week. Sources told AVIATION WEEK that the week-long HWTs were part of Tejas’ phase II schedule. The first phase was completed in 2008. “All new systems onboard and avionics were tested with temperatures varying from 40 to 45 degrees Celsius (104 to 114 deg. F.). We had absolutely no issues with these flights, and both platforms rose to the occasion and performed as expected. We had close to 10 flights as part of the trials,” a source says. Confirming the successful HWTs, P.S. Subramanyam, program director for combat aircraft and director of the Aeronautics Development Agency, says that one limited series production-3 aircraft and another prototype vehicle-3 from the Tejas fleet were part of the HWTs at Nagpur.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some beautiful pics of PAKFA!!!!!!!

And finally Indian Version of PAKFA

Russian-Indian work on 5G fighter to go ahead without extra deal

Russian aircraft holding Sukhoi has no plans to sign additional agreements creating a joint venture with its Indian partners in the production of a fifth-generation fighter, the general director said on Friday.

Russian Sukhoi holding and Indian Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) agreed in early 2010 to jointly develop a fifth-generation stealth fighter jet.

Sukhoi head Mikhail Pogosyan had said that an additional agreement would be signed specifying the Indian role in the project, but on Friday he said that the Russian company hoped work would begin soon without any such deal.

“We don’t plan to sign a joint venture. We have agreed on joint work with our Indian colleagues,” Pogosyan said.

He said the joint work could be carried out under the current agreement.

“We will do our part of the work, our Indian counterparts theirs,” Pogosyan said. “At the initial stage it is not necessary to have a joint venture.”

Earlier, HAL was reported to be seeking a 25% share in design and development in the project.

Russia has been developing its fifth-generation fighter since the 1990s. The current prototype, known as the T-50, was designed by the Sukhoi design bureau and built at a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia’s Far East.

Russian officials have already hailed the fighter as “a unique warplane” that combines the capabilities of an air superiority fighter and attack aircraft.

BY : RIA Novosti

Supersonic fighter is on its way

BY: The Indian Express Limited

India’s fighter strength has been declining in the recent years, as the MiG-21s that comprises the bulk of its fleet are lost in crashes, or retired due to age and wear. While the buzz might be around the multi-billion dollar medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal for the purchase of 126 fighter planes for which American, Russian, French, Swedish and European fighter makers are hot in the race, but that still leaves replacement of the MiG-21 fleet.

In such a scenario, the news that Tejas, India’s second indigenous jet fighter design, after the HF-24 Marut of the 1950s, successfully undertook its maiden test flight this month, has brought cheers to the country’s defence establishment. With this successful flight, the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) programme is close to the initial operations clearance, which is expected to be completed by December this year, according to Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The remaining effort will mostly revolve around flight testing and demonstration of sensors and weapon performance. In a nutshell: After long delays, Tejas is scheduled for induction into Indian Air Force (IAF) service in December, 2010.

Tejas is being built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy. The LCA was designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in Bangalore. The IAF has a requirement of 140 single-seat fighters and 20 two-seat LCA trainers for squadron service in the next 10 years. It has ordered 20 LCAs, which are scheduled to be delivered by 2013. Development is underway for the naval version of the LCA, which can be operated from an aircraft carrier. Two naval prototypes will be manufactured and flown to obtain clearance for deck operations.

Tracing its history, the LCA project was sanctioned in 1982 with a budget of Rs 560 crore to develop a F-16 class fighter aircraft to replace MiG-21 fighters in the IAF. Analysts inform that close to Rs 6,000 crore has been spent in the country’s efforts to upgrade its national defence capabilities through home-made production of fighter planes.

Tejas is claimed to be the world’s smallest, light weight, multi-role combat aircraft designed to meet the requirements of Indian Air Force as its frontline multi-mission single-seat tactical aircraft to replace the MiG-21 series of aircraft. The Tejas design has been configured to match the demands of modern combat scenario such as speed, acceleration, maneuverability and agility. The LCA integrates modern design concepts like static instability, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated avionics, glass cockpit, primary composite structure, multi-mode radar, microprocessor based utility and brake management systems.

Senior scientists from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) have been involved in the development and flight test planning of the newly integrated flight control software which was used by the test aircraft.

According to PS Subramanyam, programme director, ADA, the Tejas team is now heading to central India to carry out hot weather trials.

Designed as a single-engine tactical fighter, Tejas has a compound delta-wing platform to achieve weight reductions. The wing design, combined with a blended-wing body, delivers high performance. The design allows the aircraft to be integrated with guided air-to-surface and anti-ship weapons for multi-role and multi-mission capabilities. The fuselage is a thin walled and integrally stiffened structure, designed to sustain internal pressure without stiffener debonding. It features complex shapes and contours using integral structures in large scale.

The glass cockpit is equipped with a head-up display (HUD) and two multifunction displays (MFDs) that provide the required information to the pilot.

The HUD displays critical information required in close combat situations. The modern avionics systems and an effective pilot-vehicle interface are installed in the cockpit. The hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) concept ensures the availability of all flight controls during adverse conditions.

Among others, Tejas features an integrated digital avionics suite, configured around the MIL-STD-1553B bus system. The 32-bit mission computer (MC) can perform mission-oriented computations, flight management, reconfiguration/redundancy management and in-flight system self tests.

On the weapons side, Tejas is claimed to be a precision weapon launch platform with seven hardpoints to carry a range of air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, unguided rockets and conventional/retarded bombs. The air-to-air missiles include Astra BVRAAM, Vympel R-77 and R-73. The air-to-surface missiles are Kh-59ME TV guided stand-off missile and Kh-59MK laser-guided stand-off missile.

A 23mm twin-barrel GSh-23 cannon is also mounted on the fighter aircraft.

The advanced multimode radar (MMR) track-while-scan feature allows the tracking and engaging of multiple targets simultaneously. It also provides ground mapping and look-down shoot-down capabilities. The sensor suite provides threat detection, and a low visual signature that helps the aircraft to perform better in close air combat environments. The LCA can also be fitted with additional sensors for guidance, navigation and reconnaissance purposes.

Most importantly, Tejas is powered by a General Electric F404-GE-IN20 turbofan engine. The engine is rated to…supply 53.9kN dry thrust and 85kN thrust with afterburn. Fuel tanks are integrated into the fuselage and wings, and auxiliary fuel tanks of 800lt and 1,200lt can be fitted under fuselage to extend the range. An in-flight refuelling probe is also fitted to the starboard side to further extend Tejas’s range and endurance. India’s efforts to become self-reliant by taking up home production of Tejas aircraft were marred by hitches in the development phase. Through the use of modern design techniques, the indigenous effort might take to the skies soon.

Nag hits a moving target in 3.2 seconds

Anti-tank missile Nag on Sunday was successfully test-fired from the Army’s Field Firing Range at Shamirpet, near here. This time it hit a moving object. Last Sunday (June 6), it destroyed a stationary target and proved its capability of destroying a target at a close range of 500 metres in three seconds.

This Sunday, Nag smashed the moving target in 3.2 seconds after its launch at 10.30 a.m., a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official told TheHindu.

The test-firing was conducted by missile scientists from the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) after the Army requested for a close range launch on a moving target. The missile punched a hole as it pierced through the target, which was specially developed by Hyderabad-based DeltaTechnologies in collaboration with DRDL.

Director of Research Centre Imarat (RCI), S.K. Ray, RCI Associate Director S.K. Chaudhuri, Director of Missile Systems Quality Assurance Agency Commodore S. Patel and other DRDO officials were present.

With the land version of the missile already proving a maximum range of four km in the user trials held in the last two years in Rajasthan, the official said Nag had a higher lock-on before launch (LOBL) range compared to contemporary third generation anti-tank missiles. As the missile is expected to be cleared for induction by the Army after the final validation trials next month, the pre-production process was on at Bharat Dynamics Limited here.

Equipped with an active Imaging Infra-red (IIR) seeker to make it highly accurate, the missile has top-attack capability to defeat the armour of modern-day tanks. The missile carries a highly potent HEAT (high explosive anti-tank) warhead and could be launched during both day and night.

The official said the first flight-test of air-borne version of Nag, called HELINA, was expected to be conducted by the year-end. Having lock-on after launch capability, the air-borne variant would be deployed on Advanced Light Helicopters.

Friday, June 11, 2010

AURA: India's UCAV Programme

Deep inside a non-descript building in Bangalore’s Vimanapura area, Indian military scientists are working hard to define the country’s first unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), one of India’s least known government-sponsored defence programmes. Still classified and “off the books”, the programme is steeped in conceptualizing a robotic drone aircraft that can autonomously seek, identify and destroy targets with on-board guided weapons.

According to information made available for the first time, the project has a typically evasive name – AURA, for Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft. But the working title of the drone aircraft itself leaves nothing to the imagination – Indian Unmanned Strike Aircraft Programme (IUSAP). In other words, a pilotless bomber.

The AURA programme is currently under the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), and led by aerospace scientist Biju Uthup, who has worked with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA Tejas) programme in several capacities. Sources reveal that the AURA team is currently conducting a detailed feasibility study of possible parameters under which the aircraft will finally be built. The plan is to develop the IUSAP as a tactical stealth aircraft built largely with composites, and capable of delivering laser-guided strike weapons.

Air Marshal (Retd) Tej Asthana, India’s first Strategic Forces commander says, “We must encourage the programme, and ensure that it stays as Indian as possible. We cannot import UCAVs. It is important for us to have a programme like this to get us in line with the best in the world.”

The AURA programme is, to be fair, still only a concept, and therefore well behind a large number of global combat drone programmes that are either fully operational or near, the most famous of them being the American MQ-1 Predator hunter-killer drone that has garnered a fearsome name for itself as America’s weapon of choice along the Durand Line.

“It would have been prudent if we had started a programme like this 20 years ago,” says Air Marshal (Retd) Padamjit Ahluwalia, who once headed the Air Force’s sword arm Western Air Command. “This is an aircraft that will use artificial intelligence for actual weapon delivery. It is a great thing that it is indigenous, because believe me, no country that has this technology will give it to us. We must make sure we get the sensors and weapons bang-on.”

The parameters of the IUSAP, like range, cruising altitude and sensor/weapon specifications are still unknown, and probably still undefined. Another element that will need thorough working out is the degree of autonomy such an aircraft can be given. For instance, all attack decisions on the American Predators operating in Pakistan are taken by ground controllers.

Former Air Force Chief, FH Major says, “We could have the finest autonomous pilotless vehicles. But that last minute decision to go for the target, abandon or reframe a mission will be difficult for a UCAV. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have huge scope.”

India currently operates unarmed Israel-built drones restricted to surveillance and intelligence-gathering duties, and has ordered a limited number of Harop loitering "kamikaze drones" from the same source. For the AURA programme, there are several challenges still ahead apart from the flying vehicle itself. These include on-board electronics, sensors, guidance systems, and of course, strike weapons that can be used on the platform.

With government funds to be spent on the AURA programme, there are seasoned skeptics as well. Former Air Force Chief, S Krishnaswamy, who flew combat missions in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, “Such research is definitely necessary, but the more we venture into unknown areas the greater the risk of time and cost overruns. We should ask ourselves if such a systems fits in with our requirement at this time. There should be safeguards to ensure it doesn’t turn into another joke like the Light Combat Aircraft.”
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