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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Secret stealth helicopter apparently used in Bin Laden raid

DefPro News

Evidence suggests the helicopters used in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden on Monday were previously unknown stealth variants of the Navy SEALs’ MH-60 Black Hawks. One of the helicopters had to be abandoned at the site. Although much of it was destroyed, parts of the unusual tail section survived intact.

The US military said two ‘Black Hawk’ helicopters were used on the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2. However, an unnamed retired special operations aviator told the Army Times that the helicopters that flew in the Navy SEALs were in fact stealth variants of the special operations MH-60.

“It really didn’t look like a traditional Black Hawk,” the aviator said. It had “hard edges, sort of like an … F-117, you know how they have those distinctive edges and angles - that’s what they had on this one.”

One of the helicopters reportedly clipped a wall as it landed in the compound and was so badly damaged it was unable to take off again. As a result, the SEALs destroyed it to stop their technology falling into the wrong hands - something that is common practice on such high risk missions, especially those in foreign countries. However, the tail section of the helicopter, including its tail rotor, landed on the other side of the compound wall and survived generally intact.

When photographs of the wreckage were distributed on the Internet, experts were baffled as they tried to identify the helicopter. The tail rotor does not resemble any official US military aircraft. It is clearly part of a stealth helicopter, the Shephard Group reports. A ‘hubcap’ on the tail rotor shields the rotor assembly from radar; multiple tail rotor blades provide for a smoother and quieter ride; the silver/white paint deflects heat, and the faceted and smoothed parts of the tail reflect radar signals away from the source antenna. The slightly forward-swept horizontal tailplanes also help to deflect radar returns. According to the Guardian, some of the witnesses living near bin Laden’s compound said they did not hear helicopters until they were almost directly overhead, meaning the helicopters may have had other acoustic dampening features.

The retired special forces aviator who spoke to the Army Times said it made sense that the helicopter did indeed have stealth characteristics as Pakistani authorities had no advanced warning of the mission.

The aviator said the helicopter stealth programme that led to the helicopters used in the bin Laden raid began with the modification of AH-6 Little Bird special operations attack helicopters in the 1980s. At the same time the US Army was developing the Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche stealth helicopter, but this was cancelled in 2004 in order to focus funds on upgrading the existing helicopter fleet and developing unmanned helicopters.

Read More on DefPro 

Russian defense ministry may broadcast live Bulava missile launches


The Russian Defense Ministry plans to broadcast live test launches of the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on its new website, spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Russia plans to resume test launches of Bulava SLBM in June and to conduct at least four test launches this year. If they are successful, the missile will be put in service by yearend.

"We will seek to provide visitors of our website with live broadcast of Bulava missile test launches," Konashenkov said.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.

Osama Bin Laden funny video

MMRCA: mother of all short-lists

News By : Newsclick.in
Source : IDRW

SOURCE :Newsclick.in

Late last week India’s Ministry of Defence announced its much awaited short-list for the multi-billion dollar “mother of all deals” for acquisition of medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA). .Those closely following the acquisition process especially the field trials, have not been too surprised by the down-selection of the Rafale from France and the Eurofighter Typhoon from the European consortium. For about a year, the grapevine had it that these two aircraft had emerged favouritesNevertheless the announcement has churned up a mini-storm, mostly triggered by both the US contenders being rejected. Critical comments from US commentators can be attributed to sheer disappointment, after all $10 billion is not small change! Sections of the Indian strategic commentariat and corporate media too seemed astonished that India had spurned this opportunity to cement the US strategic partnership.

But remarks by some officials also indicated pressure could be mounted on India to somehow allow the US aircraft back into the tender Shaping of the Acquisition Some aspects of this acquisition, and not just its dollar value, make it different from earlier ones. 126 modern fighter aircraft with lifetime support and technology transfer are not going to come cheap. In fact India has already spent more than this on the several recent acquisitions to fill long-pending gaps in defence capability.

Compared to earlier aircraft acquisitions by India, the MMRCA deal has taken less time, although most international articles on the deal continue to comment on the long, tortuous process involved. The initial Request for Information (RFI) for the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) as it was then called was put out in 2001, so the process has taken 10 years. The Request for Proposals (RfP) was expected to be issued in December 2005 but was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in August 2007. In contrast, India took over 20 years before finally purchasing Jaguar strike aircraft, and over 20 years again before finally acquiring Hawk trainers, both from the UK. Clearly India has been more purposeful with the MMCRA.
This is largely because the Indian Air Force (IAF) is faced with a huge assets crunch and has determinedly pushed MoD towards a timely and effective decision. Against sanctioned strength of 39.5 squadrons, each with 18 aircraft, the IAF has seen its strength dwindle to 30 squadrons expected to go further down to 27 during 2012-17 due to attrition of older aircraft, leaving the defence forces badly depleted. 

The indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) expected to replace the bread-and-butter MiG21, has been long overdue, forcing the IAF to keep dwindling numbers of MiG21s active long past their expiry date through increasingly desperate measures. With no suitable advanced trainers, and fresh pilots going straight from basic training to the demanding MiGs, India has paid a horrendous cost in human life in MiG crashes. The induction of Sukhoi 30 MKIs starting from 200? staved off the immediate crisis and in the face of continued delays in the LCA programme, India ordered an additional 56 Su30s on top of the initial 140 including local production.

The MRCA RfI was floated initially with the idea of filling the gap between the low-end LCAs whenever inducted and the air superiority Su30s. Three developments since then have hugely influenced the MRCA acquisition.

First, the IAF in particular and the defence forces as a whole have embarked on a large-scale modernization. Second, this led the IAF to re-conceptualize its future fleet and scale-up its requirement from an MRCA to an M-MRCA, that is, from a light-weight aircraft to a heavier fighter that could carry more weaponry and undertake both air defence and ground attack roles. The IAF now saw its future fleet as comprising the LCA, a few Jaguar strike aircraft and multi-role lightweight Mirage 2000s, the heavier Su30 MKIs for air superiority and 4th Generation MMRCAs, complemented by Hawk advanced trainers and a forthcoming new indigenous basic jet trainer. A contract for co-development of a 5th Generation fighter with the Sukhoi bureau completed the picture. 

This vision and corresponding procurement processes were now driven more by the user service. Third, India was now prepared to flex its economic and political muscle in the international arms bazaar. India had fashioned an offsets system to ensure that foreign vendors spend 30-50% of order value within India on local production thus boosting domestic industrial capability.

As a result, between the initial RfI and the RfP, the nature of the acquisition had undergone a significant change, in terms of both the type of aircraft and the conditions that the supplier would have to fulfill.
Dropped Bidders Given the shift in the IAF requirement, the lighter more air-to-air contenders could actually have been dropped earlier itself, but perhaps the IAF wanted a closer look at different options.

The F-16’s latest Block 70 version from US defence contractor Lockheed Martin, is an excellent proven platform. Apart from being lightweight, however, it is ultimately a 40 year old plane that has been phased out from the US Air Force and whose assembly line is scheduled to shut down unless the Indian order had revived it. Under similar circumstances, having realized the IAF preference, the Mirage 2000 was withdrawn from the Indian tender by Dassault as early as 2006. The US in contrast pushed for the inclusion of both American contenders in the tender belatedly, in the afterglow of the Indo-US nuclear deal and blossoming strategic partnership, prompting some wags to say “123 = 126”! The Americans did not deem it an important factor that F-16s, albeit of the earlier Block 50/52, were in service with Pakistan since the 1970s. 

Lockheed Martin, with virtually no industrial or business links in India, would also have found it very difficult to meet the 50% offset requirement. It was either extreme US naivety or arrogance to think that India would salivate and jump to buy anything the US put on the table, or do so out of sheer gratitude.

The JAS-39 Saab Gripen NG from Sweden, made with some collaboration with UK’s BAE Systems, also does not really fit the MMRCA profile. However, the Gripen NG is a contemporary 4th generation aircraft with superb handling characteristics, and is a heavier more powerful version than earlier models. Like other Swedish fighters, it is designed to operate from short runways or even roads, a useful feature in India’s Himalayan airfields. It also uses a variant of the same GE-414 engine that the LCA is now configured with but, with Boeing’s F/A-18 also using this engine, the US may mount pressure against its Swedish rival as it did when it prevented Sweden from selling the Viggen fighter to India in the 1970s because it had a US-made engine that it did not want India to get!

Read More on IDRW

Arjun Mk-2 will be 90% Indigenous


ndia’s locally developed Main battle tank which has been heavy criticized for been using high percentage of imported components then the locally developed technologies will see high percentage of local technology in its new avatar Arjun MK-2 which will hit its production by 2014 .

Arjun MK-2 will field locally developed new and improved 1500 hp engine, replacing its German engine which features in the Arjun Mk-1, new variant will also have performance improvement in areas like automatic target locating, tracking and destruction.

DRDO confirms that remaining 10 % of the imported contents will mostly consistent of Hydraulic and electronics systems, like Laser Warning Control System (LWCS) which will be of Israeli origin, DRDO plans to make more improvements in Arjun MK-2 to carry out urban warfare effectively.

Indian army has already raised its first Arjun regiment in 2009and will have first 124 Arjun Mk-1 variant and has already confirmed orders for more 124 Arjun MK-2 and numbers will go up to 500 Arjun MBT till new Main Battle Tank known as Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT) currently under development by DRDO hits production in 2020 .

DRDO has already told media that Arjun MkII tanks will go for summer trials this year and later for winter trials at the end of 2011and DRDO has 93 upgrades lined up for the new tank but first batch of Arjun Mk-2 will get 56 upgrades and later (around 80 MBT) will get all 93 planned upgrades, this has been done to keep the production line running and later first batch will get remaining upgrades too.

Chinese presense in Siachen, army alert

Source : Hindustan Times

he Indian army has sent a note of caution ahead of India-Pakistan talks this month that Pakistan should be offered  no concessions on Siachen glacier as the heavy presence of the Chinese troops in Karokaram has added to already existing dangers there. It has been made clear that “no risks” Can betaken at this stage. The biggest danger, according to the highly placed sources in the army is that there was no guarantee of “Pakistan not repeating what it did in early 1980s when it set its footprints on the glacier”. 

The Army’s  apprehensions have widened with the increasing presence of Chinese troops in Karokram. The Chinese are in complete control of Karokram highway that links Pakistan with China. It has been read as a serious situation. Sources said that,the army’s Northern Command  whose troops guard the 72 sq km  glacier at the height ranging from 18,000 to 21,000 feet above sea level , in its latest assessment has  pointed to the new factors that have come into play in the neighbhourhood of the glacier.

Apart from insisting that Pakistan acknowledge the Actual ground Position Line, better known as AGPL, and exchange of maps, it has been suggested that Chinese presence in Karokaram highway should also be taken into account while talking of Siachen and its demilitarization. While Pakistan has been refusing the acknowledgment of the AGPL and exchange of maps, it has been insisting on the demilitarization of glacier.

It is believed that Pakistan’s insistence that Siachen should be demilitarised  is connected with its future  plans on  Siachen glacier with the active assistance of the Chinese troops. Much before the Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. K T Parnaik  voiced his apprehensions that about the presence of the Chinese troops along the Line of Control, the American newspaper New York Times revealed it all.

” It is difficult to reclaim the things by moving out of  barracks when ever the contingency may arise,”  is a line of caution that has been conveyed in the context of apprehensions .

The demilitarization of Siachen glacier, the highest battleground in the world, could prove strategically suicidal for India  as Pakistan has  breached trust  time and again, at the glacier and Kargil. Although  it is said in the army circles that  a decision on the demilitarization of the  glacier  is upto the Government, but militarily the need of the hour is  to maintain Indian army footprints over there to foil Pakistan’s designs. What if Pakistani troops occupy the glacier?,” it is being asked.

It has been pointed out that the cost of evicting Pakistan that time would  cannot be imagined in terms of lives , logistics and money. That’s simply unthinkable the sources said. Siachen and consequently Kargil, were a manifestation of breach of trust.
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