Ministry of Defence sanctions Rs.1,487 Crore for Indian Army to boost Perimeter Security

NEW DELHI: The defence ministry has sanctioned Rs 1,487 crore to the army to fortify its bases in Jammu and Kashmir, North East and several other places to plug their security gaps and protect them from any terror attacks, official sources said on Saturday.

Clearing the project, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set a deadline of 10 months for the army to carry it out. The army headquarters has been told to monitor implementation of the project, they said.

The sanction to the project comes amid heightened hostilities between Indian and Pakistani armies along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and several terror attack targeting military installations.

Perimeter security will be strengthened at army bases under six commands, the sources said.

A security audit of military bases was carried out on the recommendation of a committee headed by Lieutenant General Philip Campose which was set up after the daring terror attack on the Pathankot air force base in 2016.

The committee was asked to recommend measures to beef up security at the military bases.

Following the security audit, revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) were sent to the commands of all three services to revamp their security management, including putting in place a multi-tier security structure.

A total of 3,000 sensitive bases, including 600 highly sensitive installations of the army, navy and the air force were identified by the forces months after the attack on Pathankot air base.

Separately, in July last year, the government had delegated “substantial” financial powers to the army, the navy and the Indian Air Force to strengthen perimeter security at sensitive bases across the country.

India may discuss with Trump Govt about the use of US-made ATGMs by Pak to target Indian troops

NEW DELHI: India is likely to raise with the Trump administration the use of US-made anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) by Pakistan Army to target Indian troops along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, defence ministry sources indicated today.

The Pakistan Army had used the ATMGs during heavy shelling on an Indian Army team along the LoC in Rajouri district of J-K last Sunday in which four army men including a captain were killed, the sources said.

Army sources had said that the Pakistan Army used 120mm mortars and the ATGMs in the Rajouri attack, adding usually Pakistan uses 80mm mortars to target Indian posts along the LoC.

The security establishment here is understood to have been concerned over use of US-made ATGMs by Pakistan considering the expanding Indo-US strategic ties.

“We are going to raise the issue with them (the US)”, said a source.

The defence and security ties between India and the US have been on an upswing. In June 2016, the US had designated India a “Major Defence Partner” intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.

The Army last week had clearly indicated that it would take retaliatory action against the killing of four army men.

The sources said that Pakistan has been escalating the hostilities along the LoC and in hinterland in J-K to vitiate the atmosphere ahead of panchayat polls in the state.

China operationalises its Stealth Fighter, tests it in Tibet

J-20 fighters is regarded as major breakthrough for China which is moderninsing its military in a big way.

China has operationalised its first stealth aircraft and tested it in the rugged Tibet region for its endurance in high altitude, a development that will have major implications for India.

A video footage from state-run CCTV Channel 7 today showed J-20 fighters joining the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) with Y-20 transport planes and H-6K bombers.

CCTV did not say how many J-20 fighter jets were serving in the air force, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported today.

J-20 fighters is regarded as major breakthrough for China which is moderninsing its military in a big way. It is otherwise mostly reliant on Russian aircraft, including advanced versions of Sukoi like the Indian Airforce.

India is yet to havestealthaircraft which can penetrate through enemy radars.
The airing of the video coincides with the current annual session of China’s Parliament.

Highlighting J-20 features, an official in the PLAAF told media in Zhuhai last year that “J-20 contains many of China’s top technologies instealthaircraft plus other military secrets.”

“The secrets include the J-20’s body shape, the proportion of its wing and body and other secrets as aircraft experts can easily calculate itsstealthparameters from its exterior,” the official was quoted as saying.

However, experts said perhaps a small number of aircraft may have been made ready. Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said that it was likely that just a small number of J-20 jets had been produced due to engine problems.

“The J-20 has not yet entered mass production progress, and now just a few limited aircraft are able to serve in the air force, similar to the Y-20,” he said.

Earlier J-20 which was displayed at China’s biggest air show at Zhuhai last November made waves in India when its photographs at an airport in Tibet were published.

But subsequently the Chinese military has discounted, J-20 will be deployed inTibetalong the India-China border.Reacting to media reports, China’s stealth fighter J-20 spotted at the Daocheng Yading Airport inTibetan article on the PLA website in September last year said the plane will be put into service soon but the ‘China-India border is apparently not the ideal place for its deployment’.

“In addition, the world’s highest airport there does not have a complete set of supporting facilities and such shortage will impede the function of J-20,” the report said.

“J-20 will not be deployed in Daocheng Yading airport as the airport is too close to the border and it is vulnerable to India’s first wave hit. If India is to deploy BrahMos missile on the China-India border, then the Daocheng Yading airport will likely to become its target,” it said.

“Experts pointed out that for India, China is undoubtedly its largest opponent and therefore every move of the Chinese military will touch the nerve of Indian media. However, the Indian military has more movements than China along the China-India border,” it said.

The average height of Tibet Autonomous Region is more than 4,000 m above sea level, for which Tibet is known as the ‘roof of the world’.

AlsoPakistan, the largest importer of Chinese arms has said earlier that it is in talks with China to buy the FC-31 an export variant of the same aircraft.

The FC-31 was briefly flown in the 2014 Zhuhai airshow.

Bombardier employee arrested in Swedish bribery investigation

STOCKHOLM: Swedish prosecutors said on Friday they had arrested an employee of Canadian aircraft and train maker Bombardier employee on suspicion of bribing Azerbaijani officials in a 2013 rail equipment procurement deal.

Prosecutors said a 37-year-old Russian man had been arrested on suspicion of bribery and that several Bombardier employees were suspected of colluding with Azerbaijani officials.

“He denies the accusation,” Cristina Bergner, the man’s lawyer, told Reuters. She declined to give any further comment.

Prosecutors said they had obtained evidence in the form of emails after a raid at Bombardier in Sweden last October.

“Despite the fact that Bombardier was in fifth place in terms of price, they won the 2013 tender when competitors that had offered a better price were disqualified by the rail authority in Azerbaijan,” prosecutors said in a statement.

A Bombardier spokeswoman confirmed an employee had been questioned by police, but declined to give further comment.

“We will cooperate fully with the authorities,” Barbara Grimm, Bombardier’s head of communication for Railway Control Solutions, said.

Prosecutor Thomas Forsberg told Reuters the contract in question was worth $340 million.

He said one of the rail authority employee’s private business became a contracting partner that was offering the tender in a consortium with Bombardier. This Azerbijani company won contracts worth at least $56 million.

A shell company had also bought products for $20 million and then sold them back to the consortium for $104 million, Forsberg said.

Speaking in Texas, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday his government expects Canadian companies to uphold “the highest standards of ethical behaviour”.

In February, Canada’s Liberal government announced C$372.5 million in repayable loans for two Bombardier jet programs in the Montreal-headquartered company’s aerospace division.

“I think it’s very clear that this was an entirely separate issue from where we’ll be investing in Canada, in the investments Bombardier is making in Canadian aerospace,” Trudeau said.

In Montreal, a spokesman for Canada’s second largest pension fund, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, which owns a 30 percent stake in Bombardier’s transportation division, declined to comment on Friday.

China inducts J-20 Stealth Fighter, aims at ‘first class’ Navy

BEIJING: China has put into service its new generation J-20 stealth fighter, a warplane it hopes will narrow the military gap with the United States, as senior naval officers said the country was building a “first class” navy and developing a marine corps.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping modernisation of the country’s armed forces, the largest in the world, including anti-satellite missiles and advanced submarines, seeking to project power far from its shores.

In a report late on Thursday, state television’s military channel confirmed that the J-20 had now entered service, though it gave no other details.

The aircraft was shown in public for the first time in November at the Zhuhai airshow and was first glimpsed by Chinese planespotters in 2010.

However questions remain whether the new Chinese fighter can match the radar-evading properties of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air-to-air combat jet, or the latest strike jet in the US arsenal, Lockheed’s F-35. The F-22, developed for the US Air Force, is the J-20’s closest lookalike.

China showed off another stealth fighter it’s developing, the J-31, at the last Zhuhai airshow in 2014, a show of muscle that coincided with a visit by US President Barack Obama for an Asia-Pacific summit.

China hopes the J-31, still in development, will compete with the US-made F-35 stealth aircraft in the international market, according to state media reports.

Naval Expansion

The navy is another key focus for China.

China’s navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.

With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the US navy.

Wang Weiming, deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the annual meeting of parliament that China is speeding up the development of a marine corps, adding destroyers and frigates and will step up air and sea patrols.

“We will intercept any intruding aircraft and follow every military vessel in areas under our responsibility,” Wang said. “Our sailors should stay vigilant and be able to deal with emergencies at all times.”

China’s second, domestically-developed aircraft carrier is in “good shape” and now awaiting fitting, he added, in comments reported late Thursday.

Experts expect it will enter service around 2020, joining China’s existing, Soviet-built carrier the Liaoning.

Another senior officer, Li Yanming, political commissar of the Navy’s armaments department, said a “first-class navy should be equipped with first-class armaments”, the report added.

Navy arms manufacturing would have “better quantity, quality, scope, and functionality”, Li said, without elaborating.

China’s military ambitions, including taking a more assertive stance in the disputed South China Sea, building artificial islands and ramping up defence spending, have long rattled its neighbours.

China this year initially failed to publicly release its defence budget on the opening day of parliament as it has done in previous years, finally saying a day later on Monday that it would rise by 7 per cent to 1.044 trillion yuan ($151.12 billion).

China’s defence spending amounts to only about a quarter of the US defence budget, though many experts believe its actual spending on the military to be higher than the official figure.

China denies it is a military threat to anyone.

Wang Huayong, deputy political commissar of the Eastern Theatre Command, told Xinhua that Chinese forces are for defensive purposes only.

“The aircraft carrier is still in training and trial stage. The marines remain weak, and the number and quality of long-distance vessels do not meet expectations.”

Cuts in Funds for DRDO forced it to put Major Projects on HOLD

The Standing Committee on Defence said during 2016-17, the projected demand for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) was Rs.18,782.86 crore.

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel today rapped the government for lower allocation of funds to the DRDO, saying it has forced the organisation to put on hold some its “major projects involving futuristic technology”.

It also said that due to the cut in the budget for the ordnance factories, they were not able to produce the equipment as per the orders placed by the army.

The Standing Committee on Defence said during 2016-17, the projected demand for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) was Rs 18,782.86 crore. In the Budgetary Estimate (BE), the DRDO was marked Rs 13,593.78 crore.

Similarly, in 2015-16, the BE allocation was Rs 14,358.49 crore, but in the Revised Estimate (RE) it went down to Rs 12,491.21 crore. The difference between the BE and RE was a sizable Rs 1,867.28 crore.

“The committee note that out of total defence budget, the share of DRDO was 5.79 per cent in 2011-12, which reduced to 5.34 per cent in 2013-14.

“The BE for 2016-17 was 5.46 per cent of the defence budget,” the panel said in its report, which was tabled before the Lok Sabha today.

Expressing concern over the “inadequate” budgetary support for the on going projects and revenue commitments, it said, “major projects involving futuristic technology have been put on hold”.

It also added that the cut in budgetary allocation for the DRDO has an effect of “jeopardising the scientific and technological base” of the defence forces.

The committee also highlighted the issue of lesser allocation for ordnance factories that manufactures arms for the forces.

It also termed as “sorry state of affairs” the wide gap between the BE and the RE. For instance, the BE in 2015-16 was Rs 3,644.30 crore, but in the RE it was allocated Rs 1,752.53 crore.

“This is a sorry state of affairs. The cut applied at the RE stage and mismatch between the projections and actual allocations, Ordnance Factories Board could not produce the equipment as per the orders placed by the army,” the committee said in its report.

“This is reflective of the helplessness of Ordnance Factories,” it said.

BrahMos: India-Russia create History with 450-km version of Supersonic Cruise Missile

Giving a significant edge to India’s defence preparedness and strike capability, an extended range version of the BrahMos cruise missile has been successfully test fired! India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar lauds DRDO for successful test fire of the Supersonic Cruise Missile

CHANDIPUR: India today successfully test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kg, from a test range along the Odisha coast.

The cruise missile was test fired from a mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here at about 11.33 AM, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said.

DRDO tested the latest 450-km range version of the cruise missile days after its chief announced its development at the Aero India 2017. Talking about today’s test, Praveen Pathak, spokesperson of BrahMos Aerospace said, “The extended range BrahMos hit the target with centimetric accuracy. It’s a big leg up for us. With this new version, all three forces, Army, Navy and IAF will have the capability to strike deep into the enemy’s territory.” “This is the first for the world – a supersonic cruise missile with such a high range,” Pathak told.

“It was an excellent launch and a great success,” a senior DRDO scientist associated with this project said. The missile is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kg. The two-stage missile, one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the Army and Navy, while the Air Force version is in final stage of trial, they said.

The Army is already equipped with three regiments of Block III version of Brahmos missiles.

While induction of the first version of Brahmos missile system in the Indian Navy began in 2005 with INS Rajput, it is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army, they said.

After two successful test trials of Brahmos missile from INS Kolkata in June 2014 and February 2015, test firing from INS Kochi on September 30, 2015 had validated the newly commissioned ship’s systems.

The air launch version and the submarine launch version of the missile system are in progress.

The Army has so far placed orders for the BrahMos missile to be deployed by three regiments of the Army and two of them have already been inducted operationally.

BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture, is also in advance stage of test launching the air version of the sophisticated missile system and work on the project is in progress.

DRDO chief S Christopher had said that India and Russia have agreed to the enhancement of BrahMos range to 450 km, and the tentative date for the test of the new version of the supersonic cruise missile is March 10. The new 450-km version is likely to send jitters in Pakistan. The news from Aero India also suggested that China will soon have reason to be wary of Brahmos strike power. S Christopher said that yet another version of the BrahMos is under development, and it will have a range of 800 km! According to S Christopher, the missile will be ready for tests in the next two and a half years.

BrahMos has been developed as part of a joint venture between India and Russia, and the missile had an initial range of 290 km. India has been able to work on increasing the range of the BrahMos missile from its current 290 km after it became a member of the prestigious Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

While the Indian Army and Indian Navy have already inducted the 290-km BrahMos, it is likely to clear the final test for IAF in the first half of this year itself. BrahMos has been integrated on the IAF’s Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft, and according to Sudhir Mishra, the CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace this is the heaviest missile to be flown on that frontline fighter aircraft. Sources in BrahMos Aerospace told that the missile will be test fired from IAF’s Su-30 MKI sometime in April or May.

As pointed out earlier, a missile as heavy as the BrahMos has never been integrated on a frontline fighter jet like Su-30 MKI. This is a first in the world, and is therefore set to give the IAF a big shot in the arm. BrahMos can penetrate into the enemy’s territory and destroy crucial and strategic assets.

In its current form (290-km), the BrahMos has a maximum velocity of 2.8 Mach and cruises at altitudes varying from 10 metres to 15 km. It can be launched in either inclined or vertical configuration based on the type of the ship. The land-attack version of BrahMos is fitted on an mobile autonomous launcher. BrahMos is also capable of being launched from submarine from a depth of 40-50 metres.

China to develop Rocket that can be launched into Space from Aircraft

China will develop rockets that can be launched into space from aircraft, a senior official told the state-run China Daily newspaper, as Beijing aims to send hundreds of satellites into orbit for military, commercial and scientific aims. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology has designed a solid-fuel rocket that could carry a 100 kg (220 lb) payload into low Earth orbit, said Li Tongyu, the head of the agency’s carrier rocket development.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China’s space program, saying it was needed to enhance national security and defense, although its progress still lags behind the United States and Russia. Li said the rockets would be carried by large Y-20 strategic transport planes before being launched and that the academy planned to eventually develop a larger rocket that could carry a 200 kg payload.

“The jet will hold a rocket within its fuselage and release it at a certain altitude. The rocket will be ignited after it leaves the plane,” Li said. Rockets launched from aircraft are an alternative to more traditional ground-launched rockets. They have the benefit of being able to be launched quickly and precisely, without launch range scheduling issues and weather-related delays.

Chinese state media said last month China planned to launch its first cargo spacecraft in April, taking a step toward its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. The United States has previously highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations using space-based assets in a crisis.

Hyderabad University’s ACRHEM gets DRDO support for research

HYDERABAD: University of Hyderabad today said its ACRHEM (Advanced Centre for Research in High Energy Materials) got Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) support for research on high energy materials to the tune of Rs 113 crore.

ACRHEM got over Rs 90 crore funding during the past decade in two phases, UOH said in a release.

“On successful completion of the identified 32 projects under Phase II, the DRDO Headquarters directed the center to put up proposal for Phase-III. The projects proposed in Phase-III were finalised through a series of discussions that involved various DRDO Labs.

“An expert committee recommended the proposals under phase III with 30 specific projects-22 in chemistry and 8 in physics projects – with a budget outlay of Rs 113 crores for the next five years,” it said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar approved the proposal and the DRDO released sanction letter to UoH, said the release.

Advanced Centre of Research in High Energy Materials is an interdisciplinary research effort working towards understanding of theoretical/experimental aspects in the areas of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics of processes, Photonics/Electronics instrumentation involved in High Energy Materials.

ACRHEM is in the process of developing state of the art research facilities and techniques for perceiving the properties of high energy materials (HEMs) through experiments with lasers, theoretical calculations and modeling, synthesis of novel HEMs and nano-energetics. ACRHEM also aims for quality teaching with student-faculty ratio highly favorable for individual attention.

The centre has various ongoing research programs in experimental and theoretical fields to train Ph.D. scholars in the areas of fundamental and applied fields of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics, Materials/Electronics and Photonics instrumentation.

The need for establishing Centre of Excellence by DRDO has been projected long back by Security Advisor to Defence Minister. The outlay for such a centre will be typically expected to be Rs.50 crores over a period of 5 years. DRDO proposes 5 such centres that will include:

  1. The science and synthesis of HEM (for use as explosives and propellants).
  2. The science of polymer physics especially polymer Electronics can emergent and for a variety of military semi conductor devices).
  3. The interaction of microwaves and matter (for stealth).
  4. Nanotechnology based sensors for NBC detection.
  5. Nano optoelectronic devices.

Out of these, for item (a), Advanced Centre for Research on High Energy Materials (ACRHEM) has been established with the University of Hyderabad. We have evolved an Memorandum of collaboration (MOC) exclusively for this centre. Parallely, old MOC of DRDO with Bharathiar Unviersity (BU), Coimbatore has been upgraded as a Centre of Excellence called BU-DRDO Centre for Life Sciences. A separate MOC exists exclusively for it. In order to have effective functioning, SOP was proposed and the same has been approved by SA to RM.

DRDO can advertise through newspaper or website the intent of setting up of such a CE in the fields of relevance. This step would stimulate other competitive agencies to submit proposals. Funding of academic institution for research whose expected outcome was judged to be of use in extant DRDO R&D projects/programmes. Instrumentality was the sponsored research proposal ‘instigated’ by a DRDO labroratory or vetted by it for direct relevance of research outcome(s).

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Maharashtra CM expects $5 bn in Defence, Aerospace investments

Fadnavis made it clear that the fund was not aimed at attracting big industries since big investors have their own mechanism of bringing finance.

MUMBAI: Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to unveil its own defence and aerospace manufacturing policy. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that he expects an investment of $5 billion (approximately Rs 333 crore) in next five years in the sector in Maharashtra.

The state government through the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and with the help of financial agencies like SIDBI, IDBI and others would be raising a fund of Rs 1,000 crore to create a fiscal space for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) willing to work in this sector. Fadnavis made it clear that the fund was not aimed at attracting big industries since big investors have their own mechanism of bringing finance.

Fadnavis along with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, and Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamare met the manufacturers from all over the world who attended a seminar on defence and aerospace manufacturing on Saturday.

Parrikar said that Maharashtra has good amount of defence manufacturing activity with 11 ordnance factories in state and having infrastructure for defence manufacturing in Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad and adjoining areas. He added that availability of skilled manpower, IT base and most importantly law and order situation in the state would be conducive to attract investment in this sector.

CM Fadnavis said that state expects that the investment of $5 billion over next five years would generate employment opportunities to at least one lakh persons.

China hikes Defence Budget to $150 Billion, to step up Indian Ocean missions

The National People’s Congress will also approve China’s defence budget, which will cross $150 billion for the first time. Officials said this year’s budget would rise by about 7 per cent.

China’s annual government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang to Parliament on Sunday signalled a boost to China’s defence capabilities and singled out navy patrols on the high-seas for the first time as an operational priority, amid China’s expanding presence in the Indian Ocean.

Li’s annual work report to the opening session of the National People’s Congress also announced a lower 6.5 per cent GDP growth target for the coming year, besides listing key economic reforms with a focus on restructuring and a push to combat pollution, amid other policies. The GDP target was slightly less than last year’s 6.5-7 per cent figure, with growth in 2016 at 6.7 per cent.

The NPC will also approve China’s defence budget, which will cross $150 billion for the first time. Officials said this year’s budget would rise by about 7 per cent. While Sunday’s budget unusually did not mention the exact figure for the first time, Finance Ministry officials told the Associated Press the proposed figure was 1.044 trillion Yuan or $151 billion.

On Saturday, the NPC’s spokesperson said the budget would increase “by about 7 per cent”, which would take spending past 1 trillion Yuan for the first time. The budget last year was 954 billion Yuan or $146 billion at the then exchange rate.

“We will continue to deepen reforms in national defence and the armed forces,” Li told the Chinese Parliament in his annual address. “We will strengthen maritime and air defence as well as border control and ensure that important operations related to countering terrorism, safeguarding stability, international peacekeeping and providing escort in high seas are well organised.”

Analysts said much of the hike is likely to go to the PLA Navy as it expands its global footprint. Li’s specific invoking of “escort in high seas” underlined this perception, elevating it as an operational priority.

The work report in the past two years did not mention the navy’s high-sea escort missions, officials said. In 2014, the work report said “the armed forces must resolutely carry out their mission of providing disaster relief, countering terrorism, maintaining stability, keeping peace, providing escort and handling emergencies, and actively participate in and support economic development.”

Yin Zhuo, a rear admiral and a senior researcher at the PLA Navy Equipment Research Center, told the Party-run Global Times that “in order to protect China’s territories and overseas interests, China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean. So we need at least five to six aircraft carriers,” he said.

A separate budget report said the government will “support efforts to deepen the reform of national defense and the armed forces, with the aim of building a solid defense and strong armed forces that are commensurate with China’s international standing and are suited to our national security and development interests.”

Indigenously-made INSAS Rifles to ‘retire’, will be replaced by Imported Weapons

After nearly 20 years, the indigenously-manufactured INSAS rifles will be finally ‘retiring’ from the army and replaced by an imported assault rifle to be manufactured in the country later.

The Indian Small Arms System (INSAS), which was inducted in the army in 1988, is likely to be replaced with deadlier assault rifles of higher caliber (7.62×51), official sources said.

The sources said that as many as 18 vendors, including some Indian companies having a tie-up with foreign arms manufacturing firms, have sent in their consent to replace nearly two lakh such rifles used by the army along the borders and in counter-insurgency operations.

The reason for phasing out of INSAS, as cited by experts, was that it was not effective at long range and at best, could only maim the enemy.

The sources said that 7.62×51 assault rifles have already been introduced in the Pakistani army which purchased them from Heckler and Koch, one of the world’s leading small arms manufacturers based in Germany.

The proposal for procuring the new assault rifles was in pre-Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) stage and expected to be completed by the end of the year after putting the process of purchase of these weapons on a fast track.

The sources said that emphasis was being laid on arming the Special Forces of the army in the Northeast as of now and the proposal will come up before the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) soon.

After the new weaponry for the Special Forces aimed at helping them in close-combat situations, the focus will shift to procurement of the assault rifles and replace the INSAS, the sources said.

The foreign vendor would also be required to participate in Transfer of Technology (ToT) so that there is no dearth of ammunition and maintenance of the assault rifles in the country. These weapons can kill the enemy up to an effective range (rpt) range of 500 metres.

The conceptualisation of the INSAS began in early 1980’s before it was finally handed over for production to Ichapur Ordnance Factory in West Bengal. In 1993, the design of the rifle was changed before being introduced in the army in 1996.

The rifle was put to use during the 1999 Kargil war.

India’s enemies nervous as Sukhoi-30 MKI-BrahMos integration gets Closer to Reality

NEW DELHI: If everything goes as per plan, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to become the only air force in the world with a supersonic cruise missile system!

India will achieve this unique capability when IAF’s frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKI will test fire a 2,500 kg BrahMos air-to-ground missile in the coming months. Some reports have claimed that the test firing will be held in April.

The IAF had, last June, flown with a ‘dummy bomb’ and had been preparing for the actual test firing since then.

With a range of over 290 kms, the BrahMos, onboard the Sukhoi-30 MKI, will provide the IAF the lethal capability to strike deep inside enemy territory without the risks involved in entering a heavily defended airspace.

Integration of BrahMos with Su-30 MKI will render the weapon a multi-platform capability, allowing the IAF to deliver a deadly blow to their vital installations from stand-off ranges.

The integration brings a paradigm shift in the capability of the IAF vis-a-vis its adversaries.

The Su-30-Brahmos combination will carry out air combat operations within and beyond visibility range and will provide the IAF with the capability of attacking targets protected by powerful air defence assets.

Around 40 Su-30 MKI aircraft are expected to be modified to make them capable of carrying BrahMos.

As per reports, several other countries in possession of the Su-30 strike fighter are looking to acquiring a lethal weapon system for the Russian-made warplanes.

ISRO, IAF may have to pay for getting precision timings

Plan is to charge Rs 1 crore per location where the service is provided, an NPL official said

The importance of time is instilled and etched in the universe. Many space and aeronautical agencies, railways and banks, etc, depend upon time precision for smooth operations. Every satellite launch and flight operation needs to have precise, accurate timing that is at par with the global standards.

Till now, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were receiving accurate timings free of cost, thanks to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Now, Indian Space Research Organisation and Indian Air Force may have to pay the government for getting accurate timings on par with the global standard for various activities like launch of satellites and flight operations.

So far, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has been extending the service free of cost to ISRO, IAF, Indian Railways, State Bank of India and several other agencies.

The move is aimed at ramping up NPL’s chronometer infrastructure to match global standards.

The NPL, one of the oldest laboratories in the country, maintains five atomic clocks, all synchronised with the atomic clock of the International Bureau of Weight and Measure, France. There are 300 such high precisions clocks across the globe linked to the Bureau in France.

The accuracy of NPL’s chronometer is (+/-) 20 nano seconds, whereas the global accuracy standard is as low as (+/-) 5 nano seconds.

The NPL under the premier Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) held separate meetings with ISRO and IAF last week, conveying its plans to charge them for the services it offers.

The plan is to charge Rs 1 crore per location where the service is provided, an NPL official said.

Discussions are on to either issue a notification or bring in a legislation in this regard.

The NPL will also hold talks with its other customers like State Bank of India, India Railways and the Department of Telecommunications to discuss the issue.

The high precision timing has impact on the lives of people as services by agencies like ISRO, banks, railways and telecom operators use NPL services.

Agencies like ISRO trust the accurate timings during the launch of a satellite. In case of ISRO, timings are sent via satellite. Banks like SBI also subscribe to NPL services as high precision timing is required during forex transactions.

The CSIR, which comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology, plans to have 18 atomic clocks, a norm followed by all developed countries to maintain accuracy. Since several parts of north India fall under seismic zones, it also plans to develop a laboratory in south India.

“At present, we have five atomic clocks and we will get five more by the end of the year. But this is not enough considering the growing demand for accurate timings by subscribers for which we need to maintain quality.

“Secondly, research and developing the system has to be a continuous process to keep in pace with the global standard,” said NPL Director AK Aswal.

He said that under the ‘Dehradun Declaration’ of the CSIR, laboratories have to generate 40 per cent of revenue required on its own.

The NPL also plans to construct a separate building that can accommodate 18-20 atomic clocks and a data centre. This will alone cost Rs 500-600 crore.

“This requires a different kind of building free from any kind of vibration, electro-magnetic disturbances, radiation, humidity and temperature,” said Vijay Narain Ojha, chief scientist and head of Time & Frequency and Electrical & Electronics Meteorology Division.

The upkeep of the existing system is also expensive. The atomic clock requires low temperature without any power fluctuation.

“So, air-conditioners have to be in operation for 365 days a year and 24×7. Maintenance and research also adds to the cost,” Ashish Agarwal, another scientist at in the time and frequency section, said.

Apart from atomic clock, NPL also assists industries, national and other agencies in their developmental tasks by providing precision measurements, calibration, development of devices, processes, and other allied problems related to physics.

About National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory of India, situated in New Delhi, is the measurement standards laboratory of India. It maintains standards of SI units in India and calibrates the national standards of weights and measures.

History of measurement systems in India

One of the most ancient texts of India, Manusmriti, describes among the duties of the king: The king should examine the weights and balances every six months to ensure true measurements and to mark them with the royal stamp.Manusmriti, 8th Chapter, Shloka 403. In the Harappan era, which is nearly 5000 years old, one finds excellent examples of town planning and architecture. The sizes of the bricks were the same all over the region. In the time of Chandragupta Maurya, some 2400 years ago, there was a well – defined system of weights and measures. The government of that time ensured that everybody used the same system. In the Indian medical system, Ayurveda, the units of mass and volume were well defined.

The measurement system during the time of the Mughal emperor, Akbar, the gaz was the measure of length. The gaz was widely used till the introduction of the metric system in India in 1956. During the British period, efforts were made to achieve uniformity in weights and measures. A compromise was reached in the system of measurements which continued till India’s independence in 1947. After independence in 1947, it was realized that for fast industrial growth of the country, it would be necessary to establish a modern measurement system in the country. The Lok Sabha in April 1955 resolved : This house is of the opinion that the Government of India should take necessary steps to introduce uniform weights and measures throughout the country based on metric system.

History of the National Physical Laboratory, India

The National Physical Laboratory, India was set up in 1900) is one of the earliest national laboratories set up under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of NPL on 4 January 1947. Dr. K. S. Krishnan was the first Director of the laboratory. The main building of the laboratory was formally opened by Former Deputy Prime MinisterSardar Vallabhbhai Patel on 21 January 1950. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, inaugurated the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Laboratory on 23 December 1975.

NPL Charter

The main aim of the laboratory is to strengthen and advance physics-based research and development for the overall development of science and technology in the country. In particular its objectives are:

To establish, maintain and improve continuously by research, for the benefit of the nation, National Standards of Measurements and to realize the Units based on International System (Under the subordinate Legislations of Weights and Measures Act 1956,reissued in 1988 under the 1976 Act). To identify and conduct after due consideration, research in areas of physics which are most appropriate to the needsof the nation and for advancement of field

To assist industries, national and other agencies in their developmental tasks by precision measurements, calibration, development of devices, processes, and other allied problems related to physics.

To keep itself informed of and study critically the status of physics.

Maintenance of standards of measurements in India

Each modernized country, including India has a National Metrological Institute (NMI), which maintains the standards of measurements. This responsibility has been given to the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.

Metre

The standard unit of length, metre, is realized by employing a stabilized Helium – Neon laser as a source of light. Its frequency is measured experimentally. From this value of frequency and the internationally accepted value of the speed of light (299,792,458 metres/second), the wavelength is determined using the relation:

Wavelength = Velocity of light / frequency

The nominal value of wavelength, employed at NPL is 633 nanometer. By a sophisticated instrument, known as an optical interferometer, any length can be measured in terms of the wavelength of laser light.

The present level of uncertainty attained at NPL in length measurements is ± 3 × 10−9. However in most measurements, an uncertainty of ± 1 × 10−6 is adequate.

Kilogramme

The Indian national standard of mass, kilogramme, is copy number 57 of the international prototype kilogram supplied by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM : French – Bureau International des Poids et Mesures), Paris. This is a Platinum Iridium cylinder whose mass is measured against the international prototype at BIPM. The NPL also maintains a group of transfer standard kilograms made of non – magnetic stainless steel and nickel – chromium alloy.

The uncertainty in mass measurements at NPL is ± 4.6 × 10−9.

Second

The national standard of time interval, second as well as frequency, is maintained through four parameters, which can be measured most accurately. Therefore, attempts are made to link other physical quantities to time and frequency. The standard maintained at NPL has to be linked to different users. This process, known as dissemination, is carried out in a number of ways. For applications requiring low levels of uncertainty, there is satellite based dissemination service, which utilizes the Indian national satellite, INSAT. Time is also disseminated through TV, radio, and special telephone services. The caesium atomic clocks maintained at NPL are linked to other such instituted all over the world through a set of global positioning satellites.

Ampere

The unit of electric current, ampere, is realized at NPL by measuring volt and Ohm separately.

The uncertainty in measurement of ampere is ± 1 × 10−6.

Kelvin

The standard of temperature is based on the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS – 90). This is based on the assigned temperatures to several fixed points. One of the most fundamental temperatures of these is the triple point of water. At this temperature, ice, water and steam are at equilibrium with each other. This temperature has been assigned the value of 273.16 kelvin. This temperature can be realized, maintained and measured in the laboratory. At present temperature standards maintained at NPL cover a range of 54 to 2,473 kelvin.

The uncertainty in its measure is ± 2.5 × 10−4.

Candela

The unit of luminous intensity, candela, is realized by using an absolute radiometer. For practical work, a group of tungsten incandescent lamps are used.

The level of uncertainty is ± 1.3 × 10−2.

Mole

Experimental work has been initiated to realize mole, the SI unit for amount of substance

Radiation

The NPL does not maintain standards of measurements for ionizing radiations. This is the responsibility of the Homi Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai.

Calibrator of weights and measures

The standards maintained at NPL are periodically compared with standards maintained at other National Metrological Institutes in the world as well as the BIPM in Paris. This exercise ensures that Indian national standards are equivalent to those of the rest of the world.

Any measurement made in a country should be directly or indirectly linked to the national standards of the country, For this purpose, a chain of laboratories are set up in different states of the country. The weights and measures used in daily life are tested in the laboratories and certified. It is the responsibility of the NPL to calibrate the measurement standards in these laboratories at different levels. In this manner, the measurements made in any part of the country are linked to the national standards and through them to the international standards.

The weights and balances used in local markets and other areas are expected to be certified by the Department of Weights and Measures of the local government. Working standards of these local departments should, in turn, be calibrated against the state level standards or any other laboratory which is entitled to do so. The state level laboratories are required to get their standards calibrated from the NPL at the national level which is equivalent to the international standards.

Research

NPL is also involved in research. One of the important research activities undertaken by NPL is to devise the chemical formula for the indelible ink which is being used in the Indian elections to prevent fraudulent voting. This ink, manufactured by the Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited is applied on the finger nail of the voter as an indicator that the voter has already cast his vote.

NPL also have section working on development of biosensors. Currently the Biomedical Instrumentation section is headed by Dr. A. M. Biradar and section is primarily focusing on development of sensor for cholesterol measurement and microfluidic based biosensors.

Dy.Chief of IAF Bhadauria new AOC-in-Chief of Southern Command

Thiruvananthapuram: Deputy Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria has been appointed as the new chief of the Southern Air Command.

He will succeed Air Marshal S Neelakantan.

IAF sources said Bhadauria is expected to assume charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command on Wednesday.

Bhadauria has been serving Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS) since January last year. He has been overseeing the critical procurement process of the IAF. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Bhadauria was commissioned in the IAF in June 1980.

Prior to taking over as DCAS, Air Marshal Bhadauria was Senior Air Staff Officer at Central Air Command of IAF.

With a career spanning over more than 35 years, Bhadauria has commanded a Jaguar Squadron and a premier Air Force base in the South Western Sector.

He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal conferred in 2013 and 2002 respectively.

The Southern Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram and looks after air defence of Southern peninsula.

DMRL and JSHL Sign Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology of High Nitrogen Steel

HYDERABAD: Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad, a premier research laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) signed the Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology of High Nitrogen Steel (HNS) for armour applications here today. Speaking on the occasion the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Subhash Bhamre congratulated DMRL and DRDO for their outstanding achievement in developing a breakthrough technology for armour applications and complimented JSHL for partnering with DRDO. The Minister noted that HNS technology is a step forward towards Army’s quest for lighter and high performance armouring material compared to the currently used materials. He said, it has also the potential for a number of civilian applications and for exports as well. Dr. Bhamre asserted that this is a major step towards achieving the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’ and wished the team a great success in future endeavours. The Minister called upon both public as well as private Industries and Ordnance Factories to use this material extensively in their products.

Chairman DRDO and Secretary DD (R&D) Dr. S Christopher complimented the scientists of DMRL for this achievement which comes as a giant leap forward, towards DRDO’s quest for stronger and high performance defence material. He further said that the Transfer of Technology from defence R&D to industry is aligned with the ‘Make in India’ policy to foster conducive environment for industry’s potential growth in the strategic sectors.

Mr. Abhyuday Jindal, Vice Chairman, JSHL appreciated the team efforts of DRDO to come out with innovative solutions of HNS. He assured that JSHL aims to be a major strategic defence partner in manufacturing of HNS.

Dr. Satish Chandra Sati, Director General (Naval Systems & Materials), while addressing the gathering applauded the DMRL scientists for developing many varieties of steel including HNS which would be of great importance to the industry. Dr. S. Guruprasad, CC R&D (PC &SI) in his welcome address stated that the HNS being a dream material for any researcher should find wide applications for the industry. DMRL has developed and established a number of frontline and path breaking technologies in the areas of metallurgy and material science. HNS is not only tough but also has good strength. In addition to being non magnetic as well as corrosion resistant, the HNS cost is about 40 percent less compared to Rolled Homogenous Armour Steel (RHA). Very few countries in the world have developed this technology of HNS. This material has potential for a number of defence and civil applications like armouring, mine trawls, oil industries etc.

JSHL is a stainless steel manufacturer, with state-of-the-art facility at Hisar (Haryana), backed with strong production facilities including the triplex refining route, which is used for production of HNS.

The programme was also attended by Dr. Sameer V. Kamat, Director, DMRL and several senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Army and JSHL.

Pakistan, Iran discuss matters of regional security, mutual interest

Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss matters of regional security and mutual interest.

Iran Envoy acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s contributions towards regional peace and stability, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a release.

Honardoost also expressed his appreciation for ongoing operation Radd-ul-Fasaad for elimination of terrorism from Pakistan.

While thanking the Ambassador, General Bajwa said that the Pakistan Army greatly values historical relationship between the two brotherly countries which can never be compromised on any cost.

He said that enhanced Pak-Iran bilateral military to military cooperation will have positive impact on regional peace and stability.

PM congratulates Defence Scientists on the successful demonstration of Ballistic Missile Defence capability

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has congratulated the defence scientists on the successful demonstration of India’s ballistic missile defence capability.

“Hearty congratulations to our defence scientists for the successful demonstration of ballistic missile defence capability.

With this, India joins the select group of five nations with such capability- a proud moment for the entire country.”, the Prime Minister said.

Essar Steel develops Special Steel Grades for Defence Applications

Essar Steel has forayed into high-growth defence manufacturing sector by developing steel grades which find application in land and naval defence. The steel company aims to participate in the indigenisation of products used in naval defence.

BHUBANESWAR: Essar Steel has forayed into the high growth defence manufacturing sector by developing steel grades which find applications in land and naval defence. The estimated expenditure in defence sector is projected at over $200 billion over the next five years.

The company has developed several products which are import substitutes as well as innovated to develop indigenous armour plate for ballistic protection.

Essar Steel’s import substitute products have been used in the construction of advanced naval destroyers, offshore patrol vessels and floating docks. They also provide ballistic protection to combat vehicles and battle tanks. In addition, Essar Steel products are used in the construction of Coast Guard vessels and in the repair of naval ships.

The steel company aims to participate in the indigenisation of products used in Naval defence, including naval destroyers, offshore patrol vessels used by both Navy and Coast Guard, rocket launchers, floating docks and submarines. In Land defence, the products are used for battle tanks, motor casing of missiles, mine protected and combat vehicles, military and civil vehicles, artillery guns, morcha and machan.

Alongside growing domestic demand, these products also have a large export potential. Market estimates put the annual demand potential at approximately 0.2 million tonnes, of which 50 per cenr is in flat steel and the remaining in structural steel.

Dillip Oommen, managing director and chief executive officer, Essar Steel, said: “The defence sector is witnessing exponential growth. Essar Steel would like to be a part of this growing segment so we can capitalise on our strengths, which include state-of-the-art manufacturing and product development. We have developed an excellent track record by successfully supplying steel to many defence projects. This has given us the confidence and encouragement to expand our product portfolio for this segment.”

The revised defence procurement policy 2016 encourages ‘Make in India’ and supports indigenous manufacturing of defence equipment and spares. The goal is to achieve an indigenisation level of 60 to 70 per cent, against the existing 40 per cent.

Apart from saving foreign exchange for clients, it will bring about self-sufficiency and self-reliance, as well as position the country as an exporter of defence goods. The Union Budget for 2017-18 outlays a defence expenditure of $53.50 billion, up from $30 billion in 2009-10. About 80 to 90 per cent of defence manufacturing in India is dominated by the PSUs and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). However, several big corporate houses in India have also forayed into this sector and have announced partnerships and expansion plans. While Essar Steel has been servicing the defence sector for the past six to seven years, the entry of private players in this sector has enhanced the marketability of its products.

DRDO hands over weapon locating radar to Army

NEW DELHI: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over three of its products for induction into the Indian Army in a formal function here today. The products are namely (i) Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), SWATHI, (ii) NBC Recce vehicle and (iii) NBC Drugs. The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar who presided the function handed over the products to the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on behalf of DRDO.

Addressing the function the Defence Minister congratulated DRDO for the series of recent trials including the interceptor missiles. He complimented DRDO scientists for handing over equipment to the Indian Army. Shri Parrikar said that DRDO, Defence Forces, PSU’s and Private Sector industry’s partnership can be a game changer in the near future.

The Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat after receiving the products complimented the DRDO for achieving another milestone in their continuing success stories. He was optimistic that at this speed, modernisation of Indian Army would move at a much faster pace.

Speaking at the function the DRDO Chairman and Secretary Department of Defence (R&D) Dr. S Christopher said “after Navy and Air Force, time has now come to handover our products to the Army and it is a proud moment for all scientists in DRDO”. He stressed that the co-development approach of involving DRDO, user and the industry would speed up projects.

DRDO has been developing a number of products for the Indian Army in support of their field operations and welfare of soldiers on ground. Many of these products have been inducted and are presently operational in field units. In 2016, the Weapon Locating Radar, NBC Recce Vehicle and a set of NBC Drugs had been successfully tested after extensive evaluation by competent evaluation teams/bodies.

Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), SWATHI, developed by DRDO’s Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), provides fast, automatic and accurate location of all enemy weapons like mortars, shells and rockets firing within in its effective zone of coverage and simultaneously handles multiples projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations. The system is capable of adjusting the fire of our own artillery weapon also. The weapon includes 81mm or higher calibre mortars, 105mm or higher calibre shells and 120mm or higher calibre free flying rockets. Thus WLR has two roles to perform i.e. Weapon Location Mode for enemy Artillery and Direction of Own artillery Fire (DOOAF) Mode for our own Artillery.

The NBC Recce Vehicle Mk-I, is developed by Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) for carrying out post event recce of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contaminated areas. It is capable of collecting solid and liquid samples of biologically contaminated areas, mark the nuclear and chemical contamination zone and transfer the recce data speedily to support formations. On successful development of NBC RV Mk-I in association with DL, Jodhpur, the equipment was approved for induction into the Services.

DRDO’s INMAS is actively engaged in research in the field of radio protectors, de-corporating agents and antidotes for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies, combat casualty care and other life saving drugs. INMAS has carried out extensive research and laboratory trials in the past two decades to develop formulations for use as antidotes and de-corporating agents for CBRN emergencies. Out of the several formulas developed by INMAS, 15 drugs have been identified for induction.

India must be prepared for chemical, biological warfare: Defence Minister

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said India must be well-prepared to deal with chemical and biological warfare in the wake of changing threat perception and security concerns.

Referring to reports of use of chemical weapons in recent terror attacks in Afghanistan, he said India should have an effective system in place to prevent potential consequences against use of chemical or biological weapons.

“The reports which are coming from the southern and northern parts of Afghanistan… I have seen photographs of local population suffering from blisters. At this moment, I don’t have confirmation on this, but the photos were quite disturbing.

“We should be prepared for any kind of warfare,” he said during an event organised by the DRDO.

Echoing Parrikar’s concerns, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the Armed Forces must be prepared for all kinds of threat.

“Although chemical weapons have been banned by the United Nations, it could be used by an adversary,” he said.

Parrikar and Rawat were speaking at an event where the DRDO handed over Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance Vehicle and NBC drugs to the Army.

There were reports which suggested use chemical weapons in certain areas in Northern and Southern Afghanistan as people there had blisters and wounds.

More than a dozen people were killed in near-simultaneous attacks in Kabul yesterday. In the first attack, a suicide car bomber targeted a police station in western Kabul. The explosion was followed by a gunfight between the police and several attackers.

A bomber detonated explosives outside offices of the intelligence service in eastern Kabul in the second attack.

Aircraft carriers ensured India’s influence in Indian Ocean

Written by Liu Kui, a scholar from Naval Equipment Research Institute of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the article, ‘What can China learn from India’s aircraft carrier strategy?’

China can learn from India’s strategy to maintain its influence in the Indian Ocean with early acquisition of aircraft carriers that display deterrence and protect regional and world peace, a Chinese Navy think tank said today.

“Although no large-scale warfare broke out in the Indian Ocean in the past few decades, the Indian Navy is continuously growing in strength, and the existence of aircraft carrier especially deters other countries along the Indian Ocean from violating India’s marginal islands,” an article in China Military Online said.

Written by Liu Kui, a scholar from Naval Equipment Research Institute of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the article, ‘What can China learn from India’s aircraft carrier strategy?’, said “in peacetime, an aircraft carrier is an effective naval vessel that displays deterrence and protects regional and world peace”.

China is a late entrant and its first carrier, a former Soviet Union refit which was launched in 2012, is still undergoing its experimental drills.

With plans for big naval projection in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, China is currently building a second aircraft carrier at feverish pace.

While it was expected to be ready and take few more years to become operational, some reports said it has begun building the third. Meanwhile, it has also developed J-15 aircraft to operate from the carrier deck but its development and mass production was expected to take a few more years.

Unlike China, India has been operating an aircraft carrier since 1961.

INS Vikrant, which was purchased as an incomplete carrier in 1957, played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of the East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1971 before it was decommissioned in 1997.

Its successor INS Virat which was commissioned in 1987 has just been decommissioned this month after an eventful four decades of service. It was succeeded by INS Vikramaditya, a modified version of Russian ship Admiral Gorshikov which became operational in 2013.

The second INS Vikrant being built in Cochin Shipyard was expected to be ready by 2018.

Referring to India’s strategy with aircraft carriers, the

article said “as a major country by the Indian Ocean, India believes its security and prosperity depends on its control of the Indian Ocean”.

“As long as it controls the ocean, it will be able to dominate the ocean and countries along it, and control the vast area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean”.

“Therefore, India was considering the ‘Indian Ocean control strategy’ in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the 21st century, it is determined to build a far-sea attack- oriented navy with air control capability in order to maintain its position as the ‘regional dominator’, counter China’s far-sea naval strength build-up, and guarantee safe and smooth maritime routes in the Indian Ocean,” the article said.

It said though India opted for aircraft carriers earlier, lack of indigenous research and development (R&D) has affected its plans to have three aircraft carriers.

“The Indian Navy’s dream of having three aircraft carriers has fallen flat because it overestimated its R&D capability and the country’s overall strength, and undertook an excessively massive strategy that eventually got stranded.

“India mistook the deterrence of aircraft carrier for combat capability and was possessed with the carrier complex,” it said.

The lessons China can draw from India are that it should attach great importance and provide continuous support to the development of aircraft carriers, the article said.

But at the same time, China should continue to reinforce its innovation and R&D capability, it said.

DRDO successfully test-fires Advanced Air Defence Missile

India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile capable of destroying any incoming enemy ballistic missile at low altitude. This the second time that the missile has been test-fired in less than a month and is part of an effort to put in place a multi-layer missile defence system. “Today’s test launch was conducted in order to validate various parameters of the interceptor in flight mode,” a defence official said, adding that it was a low altitude trial.

The interceptor was engaged against a target which was a Prithvi missile launched from launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore, taking up the trajectory of a hostile ballistic missile. The target missile was launched at about 10.10 hours from Chandipur. After about four minutes the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal, getting signals from tracking radars, roared through its trajectory to destroy the incoming hostile missile in mid-air, in an endo-atmospheric altitude, the official said.

“The mission was excellent and it was a direct hit,” said a scientist of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the official said. The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars, the official added.

On 11 February, an incoming hostile ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted at high altitude, above 50 km of the earth’s atmosphere by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Odisha coast. Earlier, a low altitude (endo-atmospheric) test of AAD missile was successfully test launched on May 15, 2016 from the same base.

S.Korea’s Lotte Group approves land swap for THAAD Missile Defence

South Korea’s Lotte defies China over missile shield. Land deal allowing Seoul to host US Thaad platform follows months of Beijing pressure. China angrily reacts with threats after South Korean missile defence decision.

The board of an affiliate of South Korea’s Lotte Group approved a land swap with the government on Monday that will enable authorities to deploy a controversial U.S. missile defence system, the defence ministry said. South Korea says, it has acquired land to deploy an advanced US missile defence system. South Korean Defence Ministry spokesperson Moon Sang-gyun told a news conference that the ministry signed a land swap deal with the Lotte Group. Under the deal, the ministry has acquired a golf course in Seongju in the country’s south in exchange for state-owned land east of Seoul.

South Korea and the United States have agreed to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system within this year to boost defense capabilities amid North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. China opposes the THAAD deployment in South Korea, saying its advance radar could be used to monitor China’s milita

The government decided last year to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, in response to North Korea’s missile threat, on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul.

South Korea has said it and the United States aim to make the system operational by the end of the year.

China objects to the deployment of the system in South Korea saying it will undermine the regional security balance. hinese state media has reacted with anger and threats of boycotts after the board of an affiliate of South Korea`s Lotte Group approved a land swap with the government that will enable authorities to deploy a US missile defence system.

The government decided last year to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, in response to the North Korean missile threat, on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul.

The board of unlisted Lotte International Co Ltd approved the deal with the government on Monday.

China objects to the deployment in South Korea of the THAAD, which has a powerful radar capable of penetrating Chinese territory, with Beijing saying it is a threat to its security and will do nothing to ease tension with North Korea.

Influential state-run Chinese tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Tuesday that Lotte should be shown the door in China.

“We also propose that Chinese society should coordinate voluntarily in expanding restrictions on South Korean cultural goods and entertainment exports to China, and block them when necessary,” it said in its English-language edition.

The paper`s Chinese version said South Korean cars and cellphones should be targeted as well.

“There are loads of substitutes for South Korean cars and cellphones,” it said.

The WeChat account of the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party`s official People`s Daily said late on Monday that cutting diplomatic ties should also be considered.

“If THAAD is really deployed in South Korea, then China-South Korea relations will face the possibility of getting ready to cut off diplomatic relations,” it said.

The official Xinhua news agency also said in a commentary late on Monday that China “did not welcome this kind of Lotte”.

“Chinese consumers can absolutely say no to this kind of company and their goods based on considerations of `national security`,” it said.

South Korea`s defence ministry said on Tuesday it had signed a land swap deal with Lotte on the golf course in exchange for providing military property. A South Korean military official told Reuters the military would begin installing fences and soldiers would patrol the area.

The Lotte Group said on Feb. 8 Chinese authorities had stopped construction at a multi-billion dollar real estate project in China after a fire inspection, adding to concern in South Korea about damage to commercial relations with the world`s second-largest economy.

Asked if South Korea had demanded the Chinese government suspend any economic retaliation, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said: “We have continuously persuaded China so far and will keep continuing efforts to do so.”

South Korean government officials have said THAAD is a defensive measure against North Korean threats and does not target any other country.

South Korea`s central bank said this month the number of Chinese tourists visiting the tourist island of Jeju had fallen 6.7 percent over the Lunar New Year holiday from last year, partly because of China`s “anti-South Korea measures due to the THAAD deployment decision”.

Indo-Oman Joint Military Exercise to begin from March 6

Indo-Oman ties can be a model for bilateral partnership

In an effort to build bilateral military-to-military relations and skills, a 14-day joint defence exercise ‘Al-Nagah-II’ between the armies of India and Oman will begin in Himachal Pradesh from March 6.

“Indo-Oman Joint Army Exercise ‘AL NAGAH-II 2017’ will be conducted between the Indian and Oman Army from 6 to 19 March in the Dhauladhar Ranges at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh,” PRO, Defence, Jammu, Lt Col Manish Mehta said.

This is the second joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena, the first one was held in Oman in January 2015, he said.

The PRO said the participating troops for this exercise have been drawn from one infantry battalion each from the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.

Approximately 60 troops from both countries will participate in the exercise, he added.

“The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army-to-Army relations and enhance interoperability while exchanging skills and experiences between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman”, he said.

He further said that an added aim of the exercise is to qualitatively enhance knowledge of each other’s military procedures thus increasing the scope for interoperability and better responsiveness to a common threat.

The Indian troops have undergone extensive training on rock craft, slithering, Counter Terrorism or Low Intensity Conflict Operations, in addition to tactical drills of close cordon and house intervention drills to fulfil the mandate of the joint exercise, he said.

“The 14-day exercise with the Royal Army of Oman is scheduled to be conducted in multiple modules in order to achieve complete integration between the two contingents at every stage,” Lt Col Mehta said.

The PRO said that the vast experience and expertise gained by Indian troops in counter insurgency operations holds special importance for the Royal Army of Oman.

Conduct of the joint exercise would therefore set the stage for greater defence cooperation between the two nations, he added.

Ex-M&M partner Navistar to supply Defense Trucks to Pakistan

Navistar, the US-based truck major who had a joint venture with tractor and utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra, has bagged a contract to supply armoured trucks to the Pakistan Army

Navistar, the US-based truck major who had a joint venture with tractor and utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra, has bagged a contract to supply armoured trucks to the Pakistan Army.

The US Department of Defense issued a USD 35 million contract for supplying 40 MaxxPro Dash DXM mine-resistant, armoured trucks to Pakistan.

While Indian companies are ramping up their presence across several armies around the world they are, however, barred from supplying defence products to Pakistan. Exports of passenger vehicles to the neighbouring country, too, are banned.

Mahindra and Navistar had a long running partnership for two joint ventures in India that made trucks, buses and high capacity diesel engines. The JV developed trucks from scratch for the Indian market under the brand Mahindra Navistar.

In 2012, however, the US company expressed its willingness to exit the joint ventures as it wanted to focus on the US market. In the following year M&M purchased Navistar’s stakes in the two JVs for an undisclosed sum.

Break-up of the Mahindra-Navistar JV could be partly attributed to the fact that Navistar wanted to pursue international military contracts including those emerging from Pakistan awarded by the US. Such deals could have progressively created hurdles for M&M’s very own defence ambitions.

Pakistan has been using mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles as part of its claimed counter insurgency operations in the federally administered tribal areas (FATA). Pakistan had sought surplus MRAPs from US stocks in Afghanistan under the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme. However, they failed to materialise.

Mahindra, meanwhile, is aggressively bidding for Indian defence contracts chasing deals meant to serve all the three units Army, Airforce and Navy. The Mumbai-based company has also bid for the mammoth Rs 60,000 crore contract to build 2,600 units of Future Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV). Tata Motors is amongst the other bidders for the project.

Jindal Stainless (Hisar) signs License Agreement with DRDO

The stainless steel maker signed a licence agreement with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to help manufacture high nitrogen steel and becomes the first company in India to commercially produce high nitrogen steel. Jindal Stainless (Hisar) stocks spikes 4% on new agreement with DRDO

HISAR: Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited, country’s largest integrated stainless steel producer, on Wednesday announced its entry into the defence sector by signing the license agreement with Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) for manufacturing high nitrogen steel (HNS) for armour applications.

With this, Jindal Stainless becomes India’s first company to commercially manufacture high nitrogen steel for the defence sector under the transfer of technology from DRDO. The use of HNS will replace the existing import of Rolled Homogenous Armour (RHA), thereby resulting in improved cost efficiency in material acquisition for armour applications by 50 per cent, the company said in a statement.

The company is a comprehensive joint effort, and almost a decade of research and development by JSHL and Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) to develop HNS. This major development will not only accelerate the indigenization process of Indian defence arsenal in line with government’s ‘Make in India’ drive but will also help in easy availability of best material for manufacturing lighter armour vehicles, as import procurement often delays the manufacturing process.

High Nitrogen Steel is corrosion resistant and provides exceptional ballistic/blast protection than the existing material at a much reduced thickness along with longevity which increases the fuel and mass efficiency. HNS exhibits higher energy absorption level, enhances crashworthiness to the entire artillery system and has significantly higher impact values (> 200 Joules at room temperature and > 150 Joules at -40C) as compared to RHA which make HNS a far superior material for blast protection. HNS has passed multiple levels of ballistic tests in different calibers with 8-10 times higher impact/blast protection.

HNS has potential application in all armoured vehicles including Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV), Light Specialty Vehicle (LSV), Light Armoured Multipurpose Vehicle (LAMV), Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), Main Battle Tank (MBT), Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV), Aviation and Naval systems. JSHL is also working to produce additional variants of HNS with enhanced blast and ballistic protection to cater to niche requirements of the Indian Defence sector.

Abhyuday Jindal, Vice Chairman, Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited, said, “We believe HNS will immensely benefit the Indian defence sector, going forward. The hard-work and perseverance of 10 years of JSHL with Ministry of Defence has culminated in a fantastic result for the country in line with PM’s vision of Make in India.”

HNS is manufactured at JSHL unit at Hisar with triplex refining route and manufacturing process has already been optimized for industry scale production to cater to stringent and niche requirements of Indian defence and paramilitary forces. JSHL and DMRL together have developed the Quality Assurance Plan for the High Nitrogen Steel to ensure consistent quality to meet the future demand of HNS.

Jindal Stainless (Hisar) is India’s first stainless steel manufacturing unit. JSHL has its operations integrated, both backward and forward, starting from melting, casting, hot rolling to cold rolling and other value additions. JSHL has a melt capacity of 8,00,000 TPA, one of the largest in India. It is also the world’s largest producer of stainless steel strips for razor blades and India’s largest producer of coin blanks, serving the needs of Indian and international mints.

Shares of Jindal Stainless (Hisar) rose over 4 percent intraday on Wednesday as investors cheered the company’s new agreement with the country’s defence body. The stainless steel maker entered into a licence agreement with the DRDO entails transfer of technology to manufacture high nitrogen steel (HNS) for Armour applications, according to a notification filed to the exchanges by the firm.

The company claims that the use of HNS will replace Armour steel, an existing material which is mostly imported. This, it says, will result into 50 percent cost efficiency in material acquisition. “This development reaffirms our endeavour to achieve higher benchmarks. We look forward to collaborate with Ministry of Defence to achieve greater efficacy of Indian armed forces and then take forward our capabilities,” said Abyuday Jindal, vice-chairman, Jindal Stainless (Hisar).

The company’s management is optimistic on the deal and sees defence opportunity at 30,000-40,000 tonnes in 3-4 years. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Abhyuday Jindal, vice chairman, Jindal Stainless (Hisar) said that steel volumes will increase by 10-15 percent this year. Its capacity utilization currently stands at 100 percent. Additionally, Jindal expected margins for the current year to be at 12-15 percent.

At 12:12 hrs, the stock was quoting at Rs 116.00, up Rs 1.40, or 1.22 percent, on the BSE. It touched a 52-week high of Rs 119.50.

Defence to be biggest business for Reliance Infra, says Anil Ambani

MUMBAI: Defence sector will be the largest business area for Reliance Infra in the next few years, its chairman Anil Ambani has said, seeing opportunities worth Rs 1 lakh crore per annum in acquisitions for the armed forces.

Ambani said the Group’s focus will be to become a leading manufacturer and supplier of advanced weapon platforms and military hardware to meet the requirements of the Navy, Indian Air Force and the Army and also mark the company’s presence across the world.

Briefing over 80 analysts last evening about future plans of his group in the defence sector, the industrialist said there is a huge opportunity for private sector in the defence business as currently India imports 70 per cent of its requirement (in value terms) and accounted for 14 per cent of the global defence imports in 2016.

According to the analysts present at the meet, Ambani also said there is over Rs 70,000 crore worth of offset obligation which is yet to be executed, which is a big playing field for Indian private sector.

He further said that Reliance Group’s entry into defence sector is driven by the government’s Make in India and Skill India policies, which provide a large opportunity for the group.

“There are opportunities worth Rs 15 lakh core over the next 15 years in the defence sector across Air Force, Navy, Army and integrated security. That means there is a business opportunity of Rs 1 lakh crore per annum in the Indian defence sector,” according to a presentation made at the meet.

It was the first time ever that Ambani or his group hosted an analyst meet for defence business.

“In the years to come, defence will emerge the largest business of Reliance Infrastructure. Contrary to the general perception, defence is not a capital intensive business. It has medium to light capital intensity,” Ambani told the analysts.

There are more than 2,000 people in Reliance Defence at present including a 200-strong management team.

The Reliance Group’s defence play started with the acquisition of Gujarat-based Pipavav Shipyard about two years ago. This remains the largest acquisition in the defence sector in India so far.

Pipavav Shipyard has now been renamed as Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd (RDEL). It owns the largest dry dock in the country.

According to the analysts, the group has pegged the current order book of RDEL at Rs 5,700 crore which would be completed by January 2021. This include five naval offshore patrol vessels, one cadet training ship, normal refits of naval ships Jamuna, Savitri and Deepak; offshore supply vessels, two oil rigs, one Panamax Bulk Carriers and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs).

Besides, RDEL has submitted bids for two prestigious programmes of Indian Navy, whose combined value is Rs 30,000 crore and bids are expected to open in next few weeks, the analysts said, while quoting from the presentation at the meet.

Reliance Infrastructure, the listed entity from the group, also said in a regulatory filing today that an analyst meet was held on Monday to give update on its defence business plans.

Sharing ‘key highlights’ of the presentation made at the analyst meet, the company said the global defence market is estimated at $1.8 trillion and India with a spending of $51 billion in the year 2016 has moved up to 4th position from 6th position in the year 2015.

Recently, the Reliance Group also entered into a joint venture with Dassault Aviation of France to execute the largest offset obligation against the 36 Rafale fighter jets bought by India.

For this, the company is setting up manufacturing facilities in Mihan SEZ in Nagpur.

Reliance Defence plans to have a separate strategic focus on common defence technologies like Radars, electro-optics, underwater systems, missiles and guided weapons, avionics and communication and electronic warfare.

RDEL also plans to participate in two programmes worth Rs 30,000 crore for which bids will be submitted in 2017 and orders will come in 2018. These include Next Generation Missile Vessels (worth Rs 12,000 crore) and Next Generation Corvette (worth Rs 17,500 crore).

According to the presentation, other Navy projects where RDEL is well positioned to participate are two Indigenous Aircraft Carriers (Rs 90,000 crore) and 12 submarines (Rs 1,20,000 crore).

Besides, RDEL is also targeting non-defence opportunities for its shipyard with c combined order value of Rs 15,000 crore, which takes the total targeted business opportunity for the company in next 3-5 years to Rs 2,85,000 crore.

On opportunities in the aerospace sector, the group said more than Rs 5 lakh crore of Indian Aerospace programs are expected to awarded in the next 15 years and Reliance Defence has taken a lead in this segment.

“Rafale Offset Contract, largest ever in India, to be the nucleus of Aerospace eco-system in the country.

“Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited is to be a key player along with more than 100 SMEs and MSMEs in meeting the offset obligation of approximately Rs 30,000 crore for ‘Rafael 36’ contract,” it said while adding that the JV is expected to execute additional orders of Rafael Fighter Aircraft, if awarded, for Indian Armed Forces under ‘Make in India’.

India test-fires Supersonic Missile Interceptor; gives major boost to Defence indigenisation

India’s missile defence system takes a major leap. DRDO test-fires homegrown Supersonic Interceptor Missile which had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking, homing capabilities & sophisticated radars. Pakistan fears that the test will disturb the regional balance of power.

BALASORE: India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile capable of destroying any incoming enemy ballistic missile at low altitude.

This the second time that the missile has been test-fired in less than a month and is part of an effort to put in place a multi-layer missile defence system.

“Today’s test launch was conducted in order to validate various parameters of the interceptor in flight mode,” a defence official said, adding that it was a low altitude trial.

The interceptor was engaged against a target which was a Prithvi missile launched from launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore, taking up the trajectory of a hostile ballistic missile.

The target missile was launched at about 10.10 hours from Chandipur.

After about four minutes the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal, getting signals from tracking radars, roared through its trajectory to destroy the incoming hostile missile in mid-air, in an endo-atmospheric altitude, the official said.

“The mission was excellent and it was a direct hit,” said a scientist of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).

The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the official said.

The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars, the official added.

On 11 February, an incoming hostile ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted at high altitude, above 50 km of the earth’s atmosphere by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Odisha coast.

Earlier, a low altitude (endo-atmospheric) test of AAD missile was successfully test launched on May 15, 2016 from the same base.

India’s Defence Sector witnessing Renewed Interest by Indian Corporates

Defence manufacturing may have been the thrust area for the Make In India programme of the National Democratic Alliance government, but a closer look at the numbers suggest that the push point is yet to be reached.

The government’s capital spending in the sector is expected to be just about Rs 75 crore more this year, over Rs 71,675 crore in 2015-16, indicating defence procurement has not really picked up.

It is not that policy initiatives are missing or delayed.

In March 2016, the defence ministry came out with the defence procurement procedure, which set a priority scale for purchases in which “buy global”, implying imports, is last in preference. The priority is for buying Indian (indigenously designed, developed and manufactured).

Last Friday, the Indian Navy concluded the first contract under the ‘buy and make’ (Indian) category. The Rs 200-crore order went to Nova Integrated Systems, a fully-owned subsidiary of Tata Advanced System, to indigenously manufacture surface surveillance radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark.

It was quite a paradox, however, that the new offset policy announced last year raised the contract threshold for compulsory domestic procurement from Rs 300 crore to Rs 2,000 crore.

This was done since the companies were finding it hard to source from India. The offset stipulation requires that 30 per cent of components for a contract should be procured locally.

The government estimates that the contractual offset obligation in the next five to six years will create a business of Rs 29,500 crore in India, which will enhance domestic capabilities. Capital acquisitions so far, whether directly procured from foreign original equipment manufacturers or through licence production through public sector undertakings, have been import-dependent.

In the Budget of 2017-18, the overall defence allocation at Rs 2,74,114 crore, excluding pension, has increased by a mere 6.2 per cent as compared to the Budget of 2016-17.

Of this, Rs 86,488 crore has been allocated for defence capital expenditure, which is used for procurement.

According to group captain (retd) Vinay Kaushal, a fellow with the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, capital expenditure in the last four years has been nearly constant at around Rs 80,000 crore.

Kaushal says that since 2007 the shortfall in revenue allocations is being met by dipping into the capital budget under a policy called Capital Budget Revenue Procedure. This, he says, has put the system in a vicious circle.

“Slowing the pace of replacement of legacy systems means sustaining the same at higher maintenance costs. Higher maintenance costs result in greater amounts being pinched from the capital budget under CBRP, thus, leaving a lower budget for modernisation.”

Besides, committed liabilities towards stage payments of existing contracts being the first charge means fewer contracts for new schemes.

“This has slowed down defence capability building,” he says.

The new procurement policy nonetheless has spurred major domestic engineering and infrastructure companies into joining hands with foreign companies and announcing defence-manufacturing plans.

Whether it is Larsen & Toubro, the Tatas, the Mahindras, Reliance Defence & Engg, Reliance Infrastructure or the Kalyani Group, companies have lined up manufacturing programmes.

Kaushal, however, says the investment being made is not in greenfield facilities.

According to one industry estimate, most companies have individually invested less than Rs 1,000 crore in developing production capabilities. L&T, that last week announced a joint venture with France’s MBDA, the world’s largest missile systems maker, is using nine of its existing manufacturing units for defence equipment.

“It is under consideration that two of our existing factories could be used with the possibility of a new factory. It is all subject to volumes,” says Jayant D Patil, Senior Vice-President and Head, Defence and Aerospace, L&T.

India seeks Homemade Electronic Warfare suites for Russian Helos

NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force is turning to domestic companies to build electronic warfare suites for its fleet of Russian Mi-17V-5 helicopters.
“We will submit a new proposal in the next three months to Ministry of Defence to seek project approval to source around 200 EW suites [that] cost around $100 million from domestic companies” a senior Air Force official said.
“Supply of complete set of EW suites appears to be beyond the capability of any single [Indian] company,” said retired Air Force air marshal and defense analyst Daljit Singh.
However, the domestic companies will need to tie up with overseas original equipment manufacturers to build EW suites, said a senior MoD official, adding that the “MoD is hopeful that the domestic companies will be able to supply the suites for the [Russian] helicopters.”
“There are a number of Indian companies currently carrying out research in manufacturing some EW components, but a tie-up with foreign Industries is inevitable,” Singh said.
State enterprises Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, and private companies Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power SED, Mahindra Defence Systems, and Data Patterns are scouting to enter into EW market for this particular project.
The overseas companies likely to team up with the domestic companies to manufacture the suites include BAE Systems of the U.K., Saab of Sweden, Selex of Italy, Elbit of Israel, Thales of France, Terma of Denmark, and Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon of the United States.
“Locally made EW equipment are very crucial for the IAF as every weapon system employed in hostile environment would require a shield of self-protection, without which any Air Force would suffer unacceptable attrition,” Singh said.
An Air Force official disclosed that the EW suites for the Mi-17V-5 helicopters will include radar warning receivers, missile approach warning systems and countermeasure dispensing systems. Additionally, some of the helos would also be integrated with laser warning receivers and directed infrared countermeasure systems.
Giving details of the EW suites, the Air Force official said the radar warning receivers would provide the capability to intercept, identify and prioritize multiple airborne and ground-based threats.
The missile approach warning systems would provide the capability to detect, identify, warn and prioritize air-to-air and ground-to-air threats to the pilot while the directed infrared countermeasure systems would counter threats in all bands of infrared and ultraviolet.
The Air Force currently has a fleet of about 150 Mi-17V-5 helicopters procured from Russia since 2008 in different phases. “The Mi-17V-5 makes up the backbone of the IAF’s transport helicopter fleet,” the Air Force official said.

US, Russia Military Chiefs meet in Azerbaijan

The top military commanders from the US and Russia today held their first meeting since Donald Trump became president, as Moscow warned Washington against trying any strongarm tactics.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford held talks with his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, as both sides have mooted potential cooperation against Islamic State jihadists.

Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement that the two generals “exchanged opinions regarding the condition of Russian-American relations” and on the security situation around the globe.

They also determined areas for cooperation in “increasing the security of military activity, decreasing tensions and the risks of accidents,” the statement said.

Relations between Russia and the US have slumped to their lowest point since the Cold War over Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine, and military ties are limited to a system aimed at avoiding clashes in the air over Syria.

Trump has repeatedly held out the prospect of cooperating with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State group, a goal that the Kremlin has long been pushing for.

The United States insisted, however, that today’s meeting between the military bosses was not political in nature and had been planned for months.

The talks took place as Trump’s administration battles to fend off reports that aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence during the presidential campaign last year.

Ahead of the meeting, Russia’s defence minister also hit out at Washington with a warning not to try to negotiate with Moscow “from a position of strength”

“We are ready to restore cooperation with the Pentagon,” minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement.

“But attempts to build a dialogue from a position of strength in relation to Russia have no prospects.”

Shoigu was responding to a comment to NATO by new Pentagon chief James Mattis yesterday in which he said Washington wanted to make sure its diplomats had the upper hand in any talks with Russia.

“We remain open to opportunities to restore a cooperative relationship with Moscow, while being realistic in our expectations and ensuring our diplomats negotiate from a position of strength,” Mattis said in Brussels.

Indian Army has Free Hand in dealing with citizens of J&K aiding militants: Parrikar

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has come out in support of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat a day after he issued a stern warning to civilians who obstruct military’s anti-terror operations in Kashmir, reports India Today.

While stressing that the Army has a free hand in dealing with locals who help militants, Parrikar clarified that the Army did not treat “every Kashmiri on the street as a terror sympathiser.”

Army chief Bipin Rawat on Wednesday warned those attacking security forces during anti-militancy operations of “tough action”.

The stern message from Rawat came a day after three soldiers faced heavy stone-pelting at Parray Mohalla of Bandipore in north Kashmir when they were about to launch an operation against militants holed up there.

Alerted by the stone-pelters, the militants got an opportunity to fire hand grenades and empty a few magazines from AK-rifles into the advancing troopers, leaving three jawans dead and some others, including a Commanding officer of CRPF, injured. One terrorist managed to flee the area.

General Rawat said security forces in Jammu and Kashmir were facing higher casualties due to the manner in which the local population was preventing them from conducting the operations and “at times even supporting the terrorists to escape”.

“We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism, displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them,” he said.

“They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue,” the Army Chief told reporters, sending out a stern message to those who support militants.

Rawat’s assertion came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he paid last respects in New Delhi to three of the four soldiers, including a major, who were killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir earlier this week.

Neutralise the Separatists to claim complete dominance on J&K

Frustrated after the effectiveness of Indian Army’s September 2016 surgical strikes, subsequent decimation of over 20 Pakistan army posts along the Line of Control, and the Modi government’s demonetisation measure, which abruptly halted for four months rioting/stone-pelting, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) urged its lackeys—the separatists—in Kashmir Valley to intensify their operations against the security forces.

Scores of Rs 500 and Rs.1000 denomination notes allegedly sent by ISI to separatists and their wide network of agents, transported and stored even in gas cylinders, for organising/financing agitations, rioting/stone-pelting, lobbing grenades, among other acts of rebellion, became waste-paper overnight. But the lull did not last for very long. Terror funding got ‘remonetised’ by fresh fake currency distributed by the ISI and terrorist-backed bank robberies. Once again, there have been disturbing reports about security forces being surrounded and even stoned by mobs in areas where anti-terrorist operations were on and which actually assisting terrorists to escape.

From January to December 2016, there were ten major incidents in various parts of the valley, of Kashmiri public, particularly youth, stymieing operations by Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu Kashmir Police (JKP) by agitating, stone-pelting, and even firing from arms stolen or illegally provided to them. Of these, there were three incidents after ‘remonetising’, from late November to December. January 2017 was an exceptionally cold month with excessive snow inhibiting terrorist activity. In February, there have been at least five incidents of instigating locals to heckle the security forces during their anti-terrorist operations. Another indicator of ISI/separatists upping the ante this year is that while in the first 45 days of 2015 and 2016, ten terrorists each were killed, in the same period this year, the figure has gone up to 22.

However, what is most alarming is the aggressive interference of the local populace reaching new levels. On February 14, when late Major Satish Dahiya and his detachment of troops were fighting against terrorists, the heckling during the operation rose to the extent that the ambulance in which a seriously injured Major Dahiya was being evacuated was stopped and delayed by the interfering crowd. Eventually, troops had to open fire on the unrelenting crowd to extricate the ambulance, but the delay resulted in Major Dahiya losing his life before reaching the 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.

October 14 was a day when two major encounters occurred. In the first encounter, a top commander of Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba (LeT) and three soldiers were killed, while 11 security forces personnel and a civilian were injured in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Based on certain reports about the presence of a group of four LeT militants at Parray Mohalla in Hajin, a joint operation was launched by the army, CRPF, and Jammu and Kashmir Police. As the security forces were laying a cordon around the village, they came under heavy fire from the hiding militants in which 15 security personnel, including Major Thapa of 13 Rashtriya Rifles and Commandant Chetan Cheetah of 45 Battalion CRPF were injured and in retaliatory action, one terrorist was killed. The second encounter was the one led by Major Dahiya.

It is indeed very ironic that the same Kashmir valley populace which was helped by the Army during calamities, and who often benefited from the Army’s welfare programmes have been motivated by separatists loyal to Pakistan to stymie Indian security forces anti-terror operations.

The agitators, predominantly youth, whose education the separatists have calculatedly tried to destroy and whose lives they are now playing with, are probably not aware of the repetition of the cycle of Pakistan army/ISI severely damaging the interests of their parents’ generation in the late 1980s onwards and how stability was brought back by the Army. The same pattern with some more sinister modifications is now being repeated. And this time it is not only stone-pelting but also shouting slogans supporting Pakistan and the ISIS, with much waving of flags of both.

For the first time, many next of the kin of Indian Army martyrs of anti-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir have collectively raised their voices to protest that the Army must be supported and not terrorists.

On February 15, when Army Chief General Bipin Rawat paid tribute to the mortal remains of Major Dahiya and his fallen comrades at Air Force Station Palam, New Delhi, he minced no words in saying that the army will be constrained to respond.

Reportedly, fresh intelligence inputs suggest that protesters are likely to use petrol bombs to attack security forces, which can cause much greater damage to property and life. Even women are instigated to resort to this more violent form of protest against the security forces. Jammu and Kashmir government issued an advisory for people of the state to stay away from encounter locations with the aim of preventing mobs from assembling there and obstructing the Army and other security forces in counter-terror operations and indulging in stone-pelting to shield terrorists/help them escape. A Divisional Commissioner of the state was reportedly stating that “Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be strictly enforced around encounter sites”.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar came out in support of General Rawat’s statement warning those attacking security forces during anti-militancy operations of “tough action”. Rawat said, “Those supporting terror activities are being given an opportunity to join the national mainstream, but if they continue with their acts, security forces will come down hard on them.” Parrikar had said, “In CICT (Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism) operations, the government has given a total, a free hand to the Army to crack down on terrorists. Anyone who obstructs is obviously trying to help terrorists. Those who obstruct the operations are trying to protect the terrorists, and his [General Rawat’s] comment is based on that. In these matters, the decision to act will be of the commanding officer or the officer who is on the spot. It cannot be generalised,” Parrikar was quoted in media reports. General Rawat stated that Kashmiri youths creating hurdles in counter-terror operations or displaying Pakistan or ISIS flags would be treated as anti-national. It is evident that such elements which have also obstructed security forces anti-terror operations resulting in avoidable deaths of security personnel and worse, even helped terrorists escape, may have to be dealt with accordingly.

Politics heated up and degenerated yet again after Defence Minister Parrikar backed the Army Chief’s remarks. Following the surgical strikes Opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi had made some derogatory and ridiculous statements doubting the strikes. This time also, the same party members appear to be sympathising with the terrorists and their helpers rather than express concern for many officers and soldiers/security forces personnel who have lost their lives or sustained severe injuries.

Replying to a query on the Army chief’s remarks, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said that restraint should be adopted by security forces while dealing with people in the state. After BJP had accused Congress of speaking the language of separatists and playing politics over Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s remarks that affected the morale of jawans, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hit back, saying, “Please tell if their morale wasn’t affected as 188 jawans were martyred in 30 months in terror attacks, but Modiji couldn’t contain Pakistan”. The BJP had earlier accused the Congress of speaking in the voice of separatists and politicising the Army for “lowly political gains” while defending Rawat’s statement on tough action against locals hampering counter-militancy operations in Kashmir. Other Opposition parties have also slammed the Centre’s handling of the situation in Kashmir. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “This government’s Kashmir policy is a complete failure”. National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal said, “This wanton killing, licence to kill has hurt the psyche of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and will only serve to alienate them from New Delhi.” The latest to join the terror sympathisers’ bandwagon has been former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah, who came up with some howlers. The development has even left the PDP and BJP, the two ruling parties in the Jammu and Kashmir government, speaking in different voices. PDP leader Sartaj Madani said, “The Army Chief should not have said what he did. We are only interested in embracing those Kashmiri youth, who have drifted away from us and feel alienated.”

What none of the “holier than thou” sounding apologists/hypocrisies have failed to acknowledge or state is what the Pakistan supporting Kashmiri separatists have done: continuously and unabatedly to ruin the Valley and its youth by organising and funding stone pelting, agitations, etc and that too after destroying over 32 schools in the state, apart from adversely causing much damage to education by calling bandhs/shutdowns in the past years.

There should be no doubt in New Delhi or Srinagar that no amount of anti-terror operations will stop or reduce Pakistan supported terror in the Valley until all the separatists and their intricate network are not neutralised. For that, separatists need to be jailed separated from the Valley.

No more War Games with Pakistan: Russia

NEW DELHI: In a significant decision, the Russian Government has decided not to hold any more bilateral military exercises with Pakistan. The decision was taken by Moscow given the strong reactions from India after Russia conducted a counter-terrorism military exercise with Pakistan in that country just about the time when India conducted surgical strikes along the Line of Control. Russian sources also clarified that they believe Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism and Moscow will strongly support India in its fight against terrorism.

“For better trust and understanding we do not plan to repeat such exercises with Pakistan as it was not received well in India,” highly-placed sources in the Russian Government told The Pioneer.

Russia conducted its first-ever military exercise with Pakistan, called Druzhba 2016. Pakistani media claimed that the exercise was to be held in Rattu in Gilgit Baltistan area of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, which was promptly denied by Russia, saying the military exercise was planned in advance to be held at Special Forces Academy in Cherat which was nowhere close to POK. Russia claimed the exercise was meant to improve efficiency of its own security forces in mountainous areas and counter-terror operations, apart from making an assessment of the situation in Pakistan.

“The Russia-Pak joint military exercise coincided with an attack in Uri, which of course was not good. But who knew that this barbaric attack would be happening around the same time,” said a Russian official.

“From our side this military exercise was directed to see how Pakistan can tackle terror problems and their level of preparedness. We know several terrorists live in Pakistan who attempt to harm India from time to time. We do not want Pakistan to be a breeding ground for terrorism. We wanted to be on the spot to assess the situation and correct it if possible,” the source added.

At the same time, ISIS is a big concern for Russia which believes that it can take help from Taliban or other terror groups in the region. “We do not want Afghanistan to have terror launch pads against Russia,” sources said.

They pointed out that late Russian Ambassador Alexander M Kadakin was the first to react against the heinous terror attacks in India and support surgical strikes.

However, the exercise took place shortly after the terror attack on India’s military camp in Uri in Jammu & Kashmir and its timing was also close to surgical strikes by Indian Special Forces against Pakistan-based terrorist launching pads along the LoC.

Ahead of India-Russia annual bilateral Summit in Goa last year, India conveyed its opposition to Russia over the joint exercises with Pakistan. “We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan which is a State that sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of State policy is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems,” Indian Ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran reportedly told Russian authorities while apprising them of Indian sensitivities.

The Russian side also expressed displeasure over the stories “planted” in Pakistani media to create fissures in India-Russia relationship. “Our relationship with India has been historically special and it will remain special. Nothing can come in between the two nations. There should be no doubt anywhere about this. Our priorities are clear and we will work for the interest of India,” said the source adding the time-tested relationship will stand the test of time.

Meanwhile, defending Russia’s move to supply four transport helicopters to Pakistan, sources said these are for humanitarian purpose and Russia will keep an eye if they are used in offensive operations. Officials also dismissed reports about Russia supplying Su-35 fighter planes to Pakistan or having any involvement in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Australia, Indonesia restore full Military ties, see progress on Trade

JAKARTA: Australia and Indonesia said on Sunday that full military ties between the two countries had been restored, after Indonesia’s military suspended cooperation in January because of “insulting” teaching material found at an Australian base.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who arrived in Australia on Saturday for his first visit as president.

“President Widodo and I have agreed to full restoration of defence cooperation, training exchanges and activities,” Turnbull said at a news conference in Sydney.

Widodo’s visit to Australia comes less than two months after military ties were suspended, an event that sparked a minor diplomatic spat and led to an apology from Australia’s army chief in February. Military cooperation between the two countries has ranged from joint training and counterterrorism cooperation to border protection.

The “insulting” material suggested that Indonesia’s Papua province should be independent and mocked the nation’s state ideology.

Indonesia and Australia have a history of patchy ties, but both leaders were keen on Sunday to emphasise their commitment to a strong relationship.

“That robust relationship can be established when both countries have respect for each other’s territorial integrity, non-interference into the domestic affairs of each other and the ability to develop a mutually beneficial partnership,” Widodo said.

While the primary focus of the visit was on security and economic issues, including the finalisation of a bilateral free trade deal by the end of the year, talks touched on tourism, cyber security and social links.

Widodo met Australian business leaders on Saturday, telling them that investor confidence in Indonesia was strong and reassuring them that Indonesia was a stable country in which to do business.

Following one-on-one talks, Turnbull said tariffs would be cut for Australian sugar and Indonesian pesticides and herbicides. He also praised changes to the export rules for live Australian cattle.

Widodo told The Australian newspaper this week he would like to see joint patrols with Australia in the South China Sea if they did not further inflame tensions with China.

China – which claims almost the entire sea region – irked Indonesia last year by saying the two countries had “overlapping claims” to waters close to them, an area Indonesia calls the Natuna Sea.

The leaders stopped short of announcing joint patrols on Sunday, but stressed the importance of resolving disputes peacefully and in accordance to international law.

“As maritime nations and trading nations, Australia and Indonesia are natural partners with common interests,” Turnbull said.

Collaboration on counterterrorism, especially the return of foreign fighters from the Syrian and Iraq conflict zone, would continue, Turnbull said.

Trump picks Gen H.R.McMaster as new National Security Adviser: All you need to know about the US Military Strategist

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has tapped Army lieutenant general HR McMaster, a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker, as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.

Trump, by appointing McMaster, is hoping to course correct after his first pick resigned and his second turned down the vital post.

Trump announced the counterinsurgency strategist’s appointment at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, ending a one-week search to replace Michael Flynn, who lasted less than a month on the job.

Trump described McMaster as “man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience. He is highly respected by everyone in the military and we’re very honoured to have him.”

Sitting next to Trump for the announcement, McMaster said he was honoured to take on the role and added that he looks forward to “doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people.”

The president later in a series of tweets announced the general’s appointment to the post of national security adviser.

The president’s choice further elevates the influence of military officers in the new administration. Trump, who has no military or foreign policy experience, has shown a strong preference for putting generals in top roles.

In this case, he tapped an active-duty officer for a post that’s sometimes used as a counterweight to the Pentagon. McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals, in Trump’s inner circle of national security advisers.

The White House said Monday McMaster plans to remain on active military duty.

He will take on the challenge of leading a National Security Council that has not adjusted smoothly to Trump’s leadership. The president suggested he does not trust holdovers from the Obama administration and complained about leaks to reporters. His decision to put his top political adviser on the senior committee of the National Security Council drew sharp criticism.

On Friday, the head of the council’s Western Hemisphere division was fired after he criticised Trump’s policies and his inner circle of advisers.

Trump said McMaster would work in a “very, very special” collaboration with Keith Kellogg, a retired three-star general who had served as acting national security advisor since Flynn resigned a week ago.

Trump said will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff. He also said he would be asking John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, to work with them in a “somewhat different capacity”.

The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

A soldier-scholar and creative thinker

The 54-year-old McMaster is known for his criticism of the US military’s handling of Vietnam War and his own service as a commander in northern Iraq in 2005.

McMaster is viewed as soldier-scholar and creative thinker. He has a doctoral degree in history from the University of North Carolina and has been heavily involved in the Army’s efforts to shape its future force and its way of preparing for war. He is the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, a sort of military think tank, at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Outside of the Army, he may be best known for his 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, a searing indictment of the US government’s mishandling of the Vietnam War and an analysis of what he called the “lies that led to Vietnam.” The book earned him a reputation for being willing to speak truth to power.

McMaster commanded troops in both American wars in Iraq — in 1991, when he fought in a storied tank battle known as the Battle for 73 Easting, and again in 2005-2006 in one of the most violent periods of the insurgency that developed after the US-led invasion in 2003.

He is credited with using innovative approaches to countering the insurgency in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar when he commanded the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He later served as a special adviser to the top US commander in Iraq.

Appointment of McMaster in capacity of national security adviser

McMaster was Trump’s second choice to replace Flynn, who has been under FBI investigation for his contacts with Russian officials. Trump dismissed Flynn last week after revelations that the adviser had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his discussion with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the presidential transition. Trump said in a news conference Thursday that he was disappointed by how Flynn had treated Pence but did not believe Flynn had done anything wrong by having the conversations.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm Robert Harward, turned down the offer, amid a wrangling over lower-level National Security Council appointments and a meandering Trump press conference.

Trump announced his choice sitting between McMaster and Kellogg in a luxurious living room at the resort property. The president told reporters that Pence had been involved in the process, but he did not elaborate.

Trump brought four candidates for the position to Mar-a-Lago over the weekend for in-person interviews, Kellogg; John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations; McMaster and the superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point, Lt Gen Robert Caslen.

McMaster called the appointment a “privilege”.

McMaster on Russia

It was not clear how closely McMaster’s and Trump’s views align. On Russia, McMaster appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.

In remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in May 2016, McMaster said Russia managed to annexe Crimea and intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine “at zero cost” from the international community.

McMaster said Moscow’s broader goal is to “collapse the post-Cold War security, economic and political order in Europe and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.”

In his current role, McMaster has been studying the way Russia developed and executed its campaigns in Crimea and Ukraine, where it used what some call “hybrid warfare” — part political, part disinformation, part military.

Reaction to the appointment 

Sen John McCain, an increasingly vocal Trump critic, called McMaster an “outstanding” choice.

“He is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability. He knows how to succeed,” he said in a statement. “I give President Trump great credit for this decision, as well as his national security Cabinet choices.”

McCain tweeted:

Former president Barack Obama’s last national security advisor, Susan Rice, congratulated McMaster on his appointment. “I wish you every success,” she said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was prompt to praise McMaster’s “history of questioning the status quo and infusing fresh thinking and new approaches into military affairs.”

His experience in Iraq’s Tal Afar is likely to come in useful as US and allied forces attempt to retake nearby Mosul from the Islamic State group.

In the path of Kissinger

The post of national security advisor is a crucial, if discreet, engine for White House power and the smooth functioning of government.

Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell are among those who previously held the post.

The national security advisor manages hundreds of staff members, arbitrates between sometimes feuding government departments, balances foreign policy and military policy and ensures the president’s national security agenda gets implemented.

Current and former staffers fear that under Trump the council is currently being bypassed as political aides like strategist Steve Bannon seize the agenda.

They point to an ill-conceived ban on travellers from seven majority-Muslim nations that further complicated counterterrorism partnerships in the Middle East and sullied America’s image abroad, but was ultimately struck down by US courts.

If policy is “being done over dinner with the president, or in Steve Bannon’s office or haphazardly via email or phone calls” said Loren DeJonge Schulman — a veteran of Barack Obama’s NSC — then “they are shooting themselves in the foot because you can’t implement foreign policy from the White House.”

“This is something that President Obama learned, this is something that every administration goes through,” she told AFP.

“Being on Fox News and announcing a policy doesn’t mean that policy is going to be executed.”

Current NSC spokesman Michael Anton said that although the full NSC — chaired by Trump — had not met since he became president, the deputies and principals committee had.

Peter Feaver, a veteran of George W Bush’s national security council, said that under current circumstances the administration could struggle to handle crises that have both diplomatic and military components.

“Some kind of crisis will be more challenging for this team until they fix their process,” he said.

The more difficult potential problems “that would stress them would be (those where) you have to integration across cabinet, departments and agencies,” Feaver added.

Donald Trump likely to boost Military Spending in upcoming Budget

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defence Department spending and drastic cuts to domestic agencies, according to administration officials.

A day before delivering a high-stakes address on Tuesday to a joint session of Congress, Trump will demand a budget with billions of dollars in reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department, according to the officials with direct knowledge of the plan. Social safety net programmes, aside from the big entitlement programs for retirees, would also be hit hard, the New York Times reported.

The budget plan, a numerical sketch that will probably be substantially altered by House and Senate Republicans – and opposed by congressional Democrats – will be Trump’s first big step into a legislative fray he has largely avoided during the first 40 days of his administration, according to the daily.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said that Trump’s first budget would not touch Social Security or Medicare.

Trump’s policy on entitlement reform is unclear, and his administration has not proposed a way to salvage Social Security and Medicare, the most expensive piece of the federal budget, or refuel trust funds expected to run dry in less than 20 years, The Hill magazine reported.

Instead, Trump’s plan to pay down the nearly $20 trillion national debt rests on bolstering economic growth through tax cuts and deregulation. Trump’s team is also considering tax cuts without equivalent spending cuts, but insist lower corporate taxes will fuel domestic manufacturing and investment.

The budget will predict 2.4 per cent growth in 2017, according to the New York Times. That is more than the 1.6 per cent former President Barack Obama’s administration average but below the 4 per cent to 6 per cent growth Trump promised on the campaign trail.

Mnuchin said the administration would like to complete comprehensive tax reform by August, an ambitious goal given the jam-packed legislative calendar.

The White House and Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling around March 16 and fund the government by the end April 28.

China confirms ‘joint counter-terrorism’ operations with Afghanistan, but ‘not with military’

BEIJING: China has confirmed that it is helping Afghanistan conduct joint law enforcement operations in the border areas of that country to counter terrorism, after initially being in a state of denial about the sightings of Chinese military vehicles moving around inside Afghanistan.

The disclosure about joint counter-terrorism operations between Chinese and Afghani law enforcement personnel was made by Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman of the People?s Liberation Army (PLA) late last week.

When asked about reports of Chinese troops being inside Afghanistan at a defence ministry press conference last Thursday, the Financial Times quoted him, as first denying any military involvement, but thereafter adding that ?the law enforcement authorities of the two sides have conducted joint law enforcement operations in border areas to fight against terrorism?.

An official transcript of those remarks was made available to the media on Friday.

?The report that the Chinese military patrolled in Afghanistan is false,? he said.

An effort Friday to clarify whether there were any Chinese non-military patrols on the Afghan side of the border was met with the same response.

Experts, however, are of the view that in a place like Afghanistan, references to law enforcement and military patrols are rather blurred in terms.

The Financial Times quoted analyst Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), as saying that the first photos of Chinese military vehicles were published on November 3 by Wion, an Indian news website.

Wion, Bronk was quoted, as saying, reported the presence of these vehicles in the Wakhan corridor, a mountainous strip of land between the Pamir and Karakoram mountain ranges that extends all the way to the border with China.

This month, the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, a think-tank, claimed it had ?overwhelming evidence?, including statements of diplomats, as well as of an unnamed Chinese official, that Chinese troops were patrolling inside Afghanistan.

However, according to the FT, the article also cited a denial by Sediq Sediqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan?s ministry of internal affairs.

Bronk also said a denial by Beijing that the Chinese military was involved should not be seen as ruling out a military-style operation by the police.

He said published photos of the alleged patrols showed two types of Chinese vehicles ? the Dongfeng EQ 2050, similar to the US Humvee, and the Norinco VP 11, a mine resistant vehicle.

Both are military vehicles, claimed Bronk that could be used in a law enforcement capacity.

According to the report, there could be several factors for China to deepen its involvement in Afghanistan are several.

Chief among them is Beijing?s fear and concern of the spread Islamic extremism. A second factor is more economical i.e. Chinese investments in mining and hydrocarbons sectors across Afghanistan at concessional rates. A third factor is the desire to secure its western periphery as the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.

?China’s main focus is counter-terrorism,? Andrew Small, an expert on China at the German Marshall Fund, was quoted by the FT, as saying, adding that of particular concern to Beijing would be the separatist Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which is headquartered in the Afghan province of Badakhshan that lies adjacent to China.

According to the FT report, if an agreement on joint patrolling exists, it would not be the first such arrangement of an extra-territorial law enforcement that China has had with a border state.

Since December 2011, China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand have completed dozens of joint police patrols along the Mekong River, aiming to crack down on crime in the region.

Anil Ambani group keen on setting up Shipyard in AP for producing Defence Ships and Submarines

VISAKHAPATNAM: Reliance (Anil Ambani group) is still keen on setting up a shipyard in Andhra Pradesh for producing defence ships and submarines and the AP government is actively pursuing the proposal, according to Kartikeya Mishra, Director of Industries.

He said in an interview here on Friday that the MoU had been signed during the last CII partnership summit in February, 2016, by the AP Government and Reliance (Anil Ambani group) for setting up the ₹5,000-crore unit, probably in Visakhapatnam district.

Scotching speculation in the local media that the Reliance group was asking for a number of sops and incentives, raising doubts over the project, Mishra said there was no room for such misgivings.

“We are still in the negotiation stage and the best deal, favouring both the parties, will be worked out. Both Reliance and the state government are serious about the project and it may take final shape during the upcoming CII Partnership Summit next week,” he said.

On the MoUs signed during the CII Partnership Summit in 2016, Mishra said that about 15 per cent of the MoUs signed had been realised. The rest are being pursued in right earnest.

For the past two years, about 11,000 industrial permissions or licences had been granted in the state and 97 per cent of them were cleared in two or three weeks under the single-window clearance system, he said.

Hindustan Shipyard Ltd to get Submarine Sindhuvir for retrofitting in April 2017

Lady luck to smile on premier shipyard in the next fiscal

VISAKHAPATNAM: After completing the challenging task of retrofitting INS Sindhukirti and delivering it to the Navy last year, the Hindustan Shipyard Limited is all set to get another Russia-made Sindhughosh-class submarine INS Sindhuvir for refit.

INS Sindhuvir is expected to reach here in March and the retrofitting will start in April. The HSL has expertise for submarine repair with the creation of the specialised facility with an investment of Rs.50 crore.

“We will complete the prestigious task of delivering a completely refurbished INS Sindhuvir in two years as it has been awarded to us on nomination basis by the Ministry of Defence in recognition of our proven track-record in submarine repair,” HSL Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral L.V. Sarat Babu (retired) told on Saturday.

The HSL, which made a turnaround with a net profit of Rs.19 crore last year, has also bagged the order for construction of two Strategic Operating Vessels with swimmer delivery vessels attached to it. The orders are of the value of Rs. 3,000 crore.

Fleet Support Ships

Asked to comment on the status of the contract for construction of five Fleet Support Ships worth Rs.9,000 crore to Rs.10,000 crore, the CMD said they were awaiting clearance from the government for a tie-up with the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd of South Korea. The HSL has already signed MoU with the world’s largest shipbuilder and the issue of mutual cooperation figured during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Hyundai last year. Rear Admiral (retired) Sarat Babu said they were also in the race for bagging order for construction of two Landing Platform Docks as they had been given the opportunity to compete with the quotation given by the L-1 bidder in the global tenders.

Cochin Shipyard Ltd Dry Dock gets Wild Life Board clearance

The project will enable Cochin Shipyard Ltd. to construct mammoth vessels

COCHIN: The State Wild Life Board (SWLB) has cleared the dry dock project of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

The board cleared the proposal at its meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. The green signal from the board was required as it was proposed near the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary here.

The project site is 3.5 km away from the bird sanctuary. The holding was lying as a waste land, and huge buildings have come up near the site, it was reported at the board meeting.

The setting up of the project at the site will in no way affect the eco-system and bird habitat of Mangalavanam, it was reported.

The dry dock will enable CSL to construct mammoth vessels such as LNG carrying vessels and aircraft carriers.

Trenching and removal of earth will also have to be carried out for setting up the facility. The proposal had been long pending before the board.

The project had earlier been cleared by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The facility is estimated to cost Rs.1,700 crore.

Off shore patrol vessel ‘ICGS Shaunak’ commissioned

The 105M Offshore Petrol Vessel “ICGS SHAUNAK” Built By Goa Shipyard Limited is Dedicated to Nation by Hon,Ble Railway Minister

PANAJI: Indian Coast Guard today commissioned ‘Shaunak’, the fourth ship in the series of six off shore patrol vessels (OPV) in South Goa’s Vasco. The maritime security of India has got another significant fillip with the induction of the fourth in the series of the new 105M Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) “ICGS SHAUNAK” in the Indian Coast Guard, built by Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) using its in-house design. Hon’ble Railway Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu dedicated ICGS “SHAUNAK”, the largest and most advanced new generation OPV to the Nation at an impressive ceremony held at GSL on 21st February 2017 in the distinguished presence of Director General Coast Guard Rajendra Singh and other dignitaries.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu commissioned the ship in presence of senior Indian Coast Guard officials, including Director General Rajendra Singh.

“The 105-metre-long OPV has been designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Ltd and is fitted with the state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machineries,” a Coast Guard spokesperson said.

The feature ofthe vessel includes 30 mm CRN naval gun, integrated bridge system, integrated machinery control system, power management system and high power external fire fighting system.

The ship is designed to carry one twin engine light helicopterand five high speed boats, including two quick reaction inflatable boats for swift boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol.

The spokesperson said that the ship is also capable of carrying pollution response equipment to control oil spill at sea.

The ship on joining coast guard fleet will be based at Visakhapatnam and deploy extensively for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance and other duties as enshrined in Coast Guard charter to safeguard the maritime interests of India.

Addressing the gathering, Director General Coast Guard Rajendra Singh highlighted the strong symbiotic relationship of mutual cooperation between Goa Shipyard and Coast Guard and stated that the excellent quality of the OPVs delivered by GSL are testimony to its innate capability and strong commitment to Customers, which has gone a long way in assisting Coast Guard achieve its Capital Expansion plan.

ADG K Natrajan, Commander Western Seaboard, FOGA RAdm. Puneet Bahl, Directors Mr S P Raikar, Mr T N Sudhakar, Cmde B B Nagpal and Senior Officials of GSL and Coast Guard, Government, were also present during the Commissioning ceremony.

How the Indian Navy destroyed the Ghazi just before 1971 War

The sinking of the Pakistan submarine Ghazi just before the 1971 War has remained an enigma for 45 years. As The Ghazi Attack releases nationwide on February 17, Vipin Vijayan dives deep into the naval mystery.

The USS Diablo (AGSS-479) that went to be rechristened as the PNS Ghazi. Photograph: Lieutenant Commander Tomme J Lambertson (retd)/US Navy

The S-130 submarine was the crown jewel of the Pakistan navy.

Having spent nearly two decades scanning the depths for the US navy, the USS Diablo had been falling off the radar with technologically superior machines outpacing it. But it wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

It would, in the course of time, script a most intriguing chapter in naval history.

By the time the Diablo (Spanish for devil) parked itself at Pearl Harbour, the curtain had almost been pulled over World War II. It embarked on its first ever war patrol to Saipan, which Japan considered its last line of defence at the time in August 1945, but was diverted on course to the American naval base of Guam.

By the early 1960s, the Diablo had been relegated to the level of a research submarine though it retained its combat potential.

Then the Kennedy administration gave it a new lease of life by upgrading its sonar, replacing the old diesel auxiliary with an electrical plant, installing a new air-conditioning unit. The boat though lost its deck guns in the process.

Around this time, the Pakistan navy had been lobbying hard with the US to bolster its arsenal against India.

The Diablo was to join the Pakistan navy — cleared for transfer on lease for four years with the options of a renewal or purchase — thus making it the first submarine to be operated by a South Asian navy.

Its Mark-14 torpedoes on board were a threat to any warship in the region.

New Delhi had every reason to worry.

The Ghazi returns to Karachi in 1970 from Golchuk, Turkey, after undergoing an extended refit.

The PNS Ghazi sailed into Karachi on September 4, 1964, with Commander Karamat Rahman Niazi as its commanding officer.

Prior to the hand over, Pakistan naval officers underwent training in submarine operations on board the USS Angler.

The seven officers and 69 men on board the Ghazi kept shadowing Indian warships in the Arabian Sea over the course of next few months.

And then, in September 1965, India and Pakistan went to war.

Through the duration of the war, the Ghazi silently moved in the depths unchallenged.

Its target was India’s aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant.

But with the Vikrant undergoing refits at the naval dockyard in Bombay, the Ghazi had to contend with monitoring other Indian warships.

Yet the orders to unleash its firepower would not come through… not until the fag end of the war.

Indian fighter jets had been buzzing over Karachi at will, guided by the radar station at Dwarka in Jamnagar district, Gujarat.

The Pakistani war-room devised a plan that could signify a turning point in the war.

The plan was dual pronged — one involving sending Pakistan naval ships to bombard Dwarka, the other involving the Ghazi to take out Indian warships that would sail out of Bombay to respond to the attack.

A fleet of seven ships — the PNS Babur, PNS Khaibar, PNS Badr, PNS Jahangir, PNS Alamgir, PNS Shah Jahan and the PNS Tipu Sultan — bombarded Dwarka as the Ghazi kept watch for Indian naval activity.

According to Pakistani records, the Ghazi sighted two Indian warships at periscope depth in the third week of September.

Commander Niazi identified one of the targets as the INS Brahmaputra and ordered torpedoes to be fired at the vessel. The Pakistanis claimed that three torpedoes slammed into the Brahmaputra and caused extensive damage to it.

But Indian Navy records say the attack on the Brahmaputra did not happen.

The Ghazi returned home, claiming success; its commanding officer and crew were bestowed with battle honours — for an attack it never executed.

The crew operating in the submarine’s forward torpedo room.

Following the 1965 war, US-imposed sanctions prevented the Ghazi from securing the American spares it needed for repairs and refit.

Desperate for spares, Islamabad signed a pact with Turkey — with the blessings of the Americans nonetheless — to refit and upgrade the boat’s onboard equipment at a cost of $1.5 million (the cost in 1967) at the Gulchuk shipyard.

After repairs, the Ghazi returned to Karachi in April 1970.

India and Pakistan were at loggerheads in 1971 after millions of refugees fled East Pakistan for India to escape the Pakistan army’s genocidal rampage in East Pakistan.

War was inevitable.

Naval planners relocated the Vikrant carrier group to the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.

Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan, who served as the general officer commanding, East Pakistan during the 1965 war and later as the first commandant of the Pakistan military academy, in his book Story of the Pakistan Army wrote, ‘The navy ordered the submarines to slip out of harbour quietly on various dates between November 14 and 22. They were allocated patrol areas covering the west coast of India, while the Ghazi was despatched to the Bay of Bengal with the primary objective of locating the Indian aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, which was reported to be operating in the area.’

Ghazi‘s deployment to the Bay of Bengal must be regarded as a measure taken to rectify a strategic posture that was getting increasingly out of step with military realities.’

‘Our response to Indian military deployments around East Pakistan was a series of ad hoc measures, taken from time to time, as a reaction to the Indian build-up,’ the late major general wrote.

‘Despatch of the Ghazi to India’s eastern seaboard, not part of the original plans, was one such step taken on the insistence of our military high command to reinforce the Eastern Command. There was pressure on the Pakistan navy to extend the sphere of its operations into the Bay of Bengal increased with the growth of Indian and Indian-inspired naval activities in and/around East Pakistan.’

The Ghazi, under commander Zafar Muhammed Khan, set sail on November 14, 1971.

The INS Vikrant sailing off the Bay of Bengal in 1973.

Indian intelligence had anticipated the move.

It had tapped a submarine signal off the Sri Lankan coast around November 19.

With no other submarine in the Pakistani navy arsenal capable of undertaking a voyage that long, it was abundantly clear that the Ghazi was out on the prowl.

The confirmation of the Ghazi threat came when a warship intercepted a signal addressed to the naval authorities in Chittagong, East Pakistan, requesting lubrication oil only used by submarines and minesweepers.

Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan, then the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command during the 1971 war, decided that the Ghazi threat had to be dealt with once and for all.

‘The problem of the Vikrant‘s security was a serious one and brought forth several headaches.

‘By very careful appreciation of the submarine threat, by analyzing data such as endurance, distance factors, base facilities, etc we had come to the definite conclusion that the enemy was bound to deploy the submarine Ghazi against us in the Bay of Bengal with the sole aim of destroying our aircraft carrier.’

‘The threat from the Ghazi was a considerable one. Apart from the lethal advantage at the pre-emptive stage, the Vikrant‘s approximate position would become known once she commenced operating aircraft in the vicinity of the East Bengal coast.’

‘We decided that in preparing our plan, we would rely much more on deception and other measures against the Ghazi. We had to find some place to crouch in, to spring into action at the shortest notice.’

‘After embarking the remaining aircraft of Seahawks, Alizes and Alouettes, the fleet left Madras on Saturday, November 13 for an unknown destination which I shall call ‘Port X-Ray’, for reasons of security.’

‘Port X-Ray was a totally uninhabited place with no means of communication with the outside world and it was well protected and in the form of a lagoon. Having sailed the fleet away to safety, the major task was to deceive the enemy into thinking that the Vikrant was where she was not and lure the Ghazi to where we could attack her.’

‘I spoke to the naval officer-in-charge, Madras on the telephone and told him that the Vikrant, now off Visakhapatnam, would be arriving at Madras and would require an alongside berth, provisions and other logistic needs.’

The headquarters at Madras was bewildered that Vice Admiral Krishnan would discuss such sensitive military matters on a civilian telephone line but nonetheless carried out his orders.

Vice Admiral Krishnan was hoping that the Pakistanis had found a way to intercept the call and presume that Vikrant was still anchored at Vizag.

The next move was to lay the trap.

The destroyer INS Rajput, commanded by Captain Inder Singh, was selected as the decoy ship.

Vice Admiral Krishnan had briefed him about the mission and directed him to leave Vizag harbour after refuelling with all navigational aids switched off.

The destroyer then began broadcasting a massive volume of encrypted radio traffic like an aircraft carrier would.

The trick worked.

On November 25, naval intelligence intercepted a Pakistani navy message from a submarine commodore in Karachi stating that the aircraft carrier was very much in Visakhapatnam.

The next day, the Ghazi was to give its mission report to its naval HQ. But the radio never buzzed.

The crew of the PNS Ghazi at their stations.

A week had passed, yet the Pakistani establishment received no news from the Ghazi.

On December 3, 1971, Pakistan launched operation Chengiz Khan — a large preemptive airstrike from West Pakistan against targets in northwestern India.

The attack was thwarted by the alert Indian Air Force who had been preparing for a sudden strike.

The war had begun, but the Ghazi had totally gone off the radar.

The news came on the intervening night of December 3-4.

In his book, Vice Admiral Krishnan wrote, ‘The Rajput sailed before midnight of 3/4 December and, on clearing harbour, proceeded along the narrow channel.’

‘Having got clear, the commanding officer saw what he thought was a severe disturbance in the water, about half a mile ahead. He rightly assumed that this might be a submarine diving. He closed the spot at speed and dropped at the position two charges.’

‘It has been subsequently established that the position where the charges were dropped was so close to the position of the wreck of the Ghazi that some damage to the latter is a very high probability.’

‘The Rajput, on completion of her mission, proceeded on her course in order to carry out her main mission.’

‘A little later, a very loud explosion was heard by the coast battery who reported the same to the maritime operations room.’

‘The time of this explosion was 0015 hours. The clock recovered from the Ghazi showed that it had stopped functioning at the same time.’

‘Several thousand people waiting to hear the prime minister’s broadcast to the nation also heard the explosion and many came out thinking that it was an earthquake.’

‘As per our arrangement with them, some fishermen reported oil patches and some flotsam.’

‘The command diving team were rushed to the spot and commenced detailed investigations.’

‘The divers established that there was a definite submerged object some distance out seawards, at a depth of 150 feet of water and that it was a probable submarine.’

‘Even though there were a number of floating objects picked up, there was nothing to indicate the identity of the submarine.’

‘Everything had American markings. I told the Chief of the Naval Staff that personally I was convinced that we had bagged the Ghazi.’

‘By Sunday, December 5, we were able to establish from the silhouette and other characteristics that the submarine was in fact the Ghazi.’

But there was no means of ingress into the submarine as all entry hatches from the conning tower aft were tightly screwed down from the inside.

The Indian Navy released an official confirmation on December 9 that the Ghazi had been destroyed.

The Pakistanis intercepted Captain Singh’s relay message on December 4 to Vice Admiral Krishnan stating that he had sunk a Pakistani submarine.

It, however, refused to believe that the pride of its navy had been sunk.

To this day, Pakistan believes the Ghazi strayed into a minefield it had itself laid two days ago.

According to the Pakistani sequence of events, the Ghazi commenced laying a small minefield east of Vizag harbour on December 2-3, 1971.

Then at daybreak on December 3, it headed out to deeper water to search for the Vikrant.

Not finding it, the Ghazi returned to the Visakhapatnam harbour mouth area at sunset to resume laying the minefield.

As the lights ashore were blacked out, the Ghazi may have misjudged her position and doubled back into her own minefield around midnight; about 10 to 15 minutes before the INS Rajput‘s depth charging.

To date, what really happened to the Ghazi remains a mystery.

Today, the submarine lies embedded in the Vizag seabed about 1.5 nautical miles from the breakwaters.

Vice Admiral G M Hiranandani (retd), in his book Transition to Triumph, summarises: ‘The truth about the Ghazi, which remains on what the submarine community calls the ‘eternal parole’, lies somewhere between the Indian and Pakistani versions of the sinking but no one knows exactly where.’

Cochin Shipyard not to be privatized: Centre

Describing CSL as “a premium shipyard” in the country, Union Minister of State for Transport, Highways and Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya said the CSL will get priority in getting government orders to build more ships for various government departments including defence.

COCHIN: Union Government, which holds 100 per cent stake in the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), today said the PSU will not be privatised.

Describing CSL as “a premium shipyard” in the country, Union Minister of State for Transport, Highways and Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya said the CSL will get priority in getting government orders to build more ships for various government departments including defence.

“Cochin Shipyard is a premium shipyard – a profit-making government-owned ship-building company. It is a 100 per cent government-owned ship building company. Cochin Shipyard will not be privatised,” he told reporters here.

The Minister said this in response to questions regarding the government’s plan for public offer for CSL.

The minister, who reviewed the functioning of Cochin Shipyard and had a brief meeting with officials, said the shipyard, which is the “exporter of ships to West, Europe and the US while serving the strategic interests of the
Nation, is a pride of India.”

He inspected India’s first Aircraft Carrier under construction at Cochin Shipyard Ltd.   Mandaviya also interacted with METI (Maritime Environmental Training Institute) Trainees during his visit to “world class Ship Building Workshop” here.

The net worth of the CSL as on March 31 was Rs 1,838 crore. The profit after tax of the company was Rs 276 crore respectively.

Reliance Defence & Engg bags Rs.916 crore Contract from Indian Coast Guard

Reliance’s shipyard has the largest dry-dock with expertise in modular construction technology

MUMBAI: Industrialist Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence on Monday said it has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence for the design and construction of 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard valued at Rs 916 crore, the company said on Monday.

These ships are medium range, high speed vessels, and primarily used for patrol within the exclusive economic zone, costal surveillance, and anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, search and rescue operations. They also support front-line warships in the hour of need.

Virtually all the private sector and public sector Shipyards had bid for the project, including Larsen and Toubro, Cochin Shipyard, Goa Shipyard, and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers.

“This is the first time, a private sector shipyard has been awarded a contract to design and build such class of ships for the Indian armed forces. Reliance Defence will be developing the design in-house,” a regulatory filing by the company said.

Reliance’s shipyard has the largest dry-dock in the country with considerable expertise in modular construction technology for building large ships for both commercial usage and the navy.

US Navy selects Reliance Defence & Engg to undertake Repair & Maintenance works

Reliance Defence signs agreement to maintain US Navy’s 7th Fleet ships. Over 100 ships of US Navy’s Seventh Fleet will avail services at Reliance Shipyard at Pipavav. Reliance Shipyard is the first in India to receive MSRA Certification to undertake such operations

PIPAVAV: Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RInfra) controlled Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has signed the Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with US Navy. Earlier in January 2017, the Reliance Shipyard was qualified by US Navy as an approved contractor to perform complex repair and alternation services for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet vessels operating in the region.

Reliance Shipyard at Pipavav, Gujarat is the first shipyard in India to have received MSRA certification to undertake servicing and repairing works for the vessels of Seventh Fleet. The fleet has about 100 vessels of different types including auxiliaries. Currently, the vessels of US Navy’s Seventh Fleet visit Singapore or Japan for such works.

“Reliance Shipyard has been selected after a detailed site survey by US Government representatives in end October 2016. This selection by the US Navy is a true recognition of the world-class facility, processes and the high standard of capability of Reliance Shipyard,” said RInfra in a press release.

Reliance Defence and Engineering has a large ship building /repair infrastructure in India; it has one of the largest dry dock in the world. The company is the first private sector company in India to obtain the licence and contract to build Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for Indian Navy. The shipyard has the only modular shipbuilding facility in India with a capacity to build fully fabricated and outfitted blocks. The fabrication facility spread over 2.1 million sq ft has an annual capacity of 144,000 tonne.

Hindustan Shipyard Ltd delivers Tug

VISAKHAPATNAM: Jyeshta, a 50-tonne tug designed and built at Hindustan Shipyard here for the Kandla port, was flagged off by CMD of the shipyard Rear Admiral (retd.) L.V. Sarat Babu here on Thursday on its voyage to the Gujarat port where it would be commissioned later.

The first of the 50-tonne Bollard pull tug, Jyeshta, was sent to Kandla after it has successfully completed its sea trials. It is capable of developing a 50-tonne pull force and can cruise at a speed of 12 knots, according to a press release. The tug in its maiden voyage will undertake a non-stop 2200 nautical mile run.

Directors, officers and employees of HSL bid farewell to the tug at the jetty.

This is the 179th vessel built by HSL since its inception and fifth vessel being delivered in this calendar year. The second of the 50-tonne Bollard pull tug Krittika will be delivered at Kandla Port Trust shortly.

Iran successfully tests Advanced indigenously-made Guided Missile System

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday successfully tested an advanced indigenously-made guided missile system during ongoing military manoeuvres staged by the Navy in waters south of the country.

Dehlaviyeh, laser-guided anti-ship missiles, was first tested to destroy simulated hostile targets, according to Iran’s news agency Tasnim.

The latest Iranian cruise missile, dubbed Nasir, was also launched and successfully hit its targets, Iranian Defence Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan said on Monday, reported Efe news.

The last phase of the military drills, Velayat 95, began on Sunday in a vast area stretching from the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, to the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Iran said the aim of such manoeuvres is defensive and aimed at improving its capabilities in the fight against terrorism and piracy.

It was reported back in 2012 that Iran had based the Dehlaviyeh on a Russian anti-tank missile.

The ranges of the latest versions were not given.

Indian Navy awards Contract to Tata Advanced System’s arm for Radars

Navy seals deal to procure over two dozens surveillance radars. Nova Integrated Systems, along with Denmark-based Terma, will make surface surveillance radars!

NEW DELHI: Indian Navy has signed a contract with Nova Integrated Systems Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Advanced System Ltd, for procurement of surface surveillance radars (SSR). This is the first contract concluded under the Buy and Make (Indian) Category, in line with the government’s Make in India initiative. Nova Integrated Systems will indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Denmark-based Terma.

The contract marks the entry of Indian private industry in production of hi-tech sensors for the Indian Navy. Procurement of SSR is a part of Indian Navy’s plan for modernisation of its fleets, and these radars will also be installed onboard the ships under construction. “The government’s drive to modernise the Armed Forces and build an Indian defence industrial base with participation of private industry gets a major boost with the signing of this contract,” said Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a press release yesterday.

In February 2015, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and Terma entered into an agreement to establish a development center in Noida for design & development of combat management systems and collaboration on surface surveillance radars (SSR).

Headquartered at Aarhus (Denmark), Terma Group develops products and systems for defense, non-defense and security applications, including command and control systems, radar systems, self-protection systems for aircraft, space technology, and aerostructures for the aircraft industry.

Tata Advanced Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, focuses on providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence and homeland security. It has capabilities throughout the entire aerospace value chain from design to full aircraft assembly, and is well positioned in other areas that include missiles, radars, unmanned aerial systems, command and control systems, optronics and homeland security.

China to ramp up funding for PLA Navy in upcoming Defence Budget to check US Dominance of the High Seas

J-15 fighters from China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier conduct a drill in an area of South China Sea

BEIJING: The PLA Navy is likely to secure significant new funding in China’s upcoming defence budget as Beijing seeks to check U.S. dominance of the high seas and step up its own projection of power around the globe.

China’s navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.

Now, with President Donald Trump promising a U.S. shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.

“It’s opportunity in crisis,” said a Beijing-based Asian diplomat, of China’s recent naval moves. “China fears Trump will turn on them eventually as he’s so unpredictable and it’s getting ready.”

Beijing does not give a breakdown for how much it spends on the navy, and the overall official defence spending figures it gives – 954.35 billion yuan ($139 billion) for 2016 – likely understates its investment, according to diplomats.

China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea

China unveils the defence budget for this year at next month’s annual meeting of parliament, a closely watched figure around the region and in Washington, for clues to China’s intentions.

China surprised last year with its lowest increase in six years, 7.6 percent, the first single-digit rise since 2010, following a nearly unbroken two-decade run of double-digit jumps.

“Certainly, the PLA Navy has really been the beneficiary of a lot of this new spending in the past 15 years,” said Richard Bitzinger, Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“We don’t how much they spend on the navy, but simply extrapolating from the quantity and the quality of things that are coming out of their shipyards, it’s pretty amazing.”

RAPID DEVELOPMENT

Still image from United States Navy video purportedly shows Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands

The Chinese navy, once generally limited to coastal operations, has developed rapidly under President Xi Jinping’s ambitious military modernisation.

It commissioned 18 ships in 2016, including missile destroyers, corvettes and guided missile frigates, according to state media.

Barely a week goes by without an announcement of some new piece of equipment, including an electronic reconnaissance ship put into service in January.

Still, the PLA Navy significantly lags the United States, which operates 10 aircraft carriers to China’s one, the Soviet-era Liaoning.

Xu Guangyu, a retired major general in the People’s Liberation Army now senior adviser to the government-run China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said China was keenly aware of the U.S. ability to project power at sea.

“It’s like a marathon and we’re falling behind. We need to step on the gas,” Xu said.

Trump has vowed to increase the U.S. Navy to 350 ships from the current 290 as part of “one of the “greatest military buildups in American history”, a move aides say is needed to counter China’s rise as a military power.

China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea

“We’ve known this is a 15-20 year project and every year they get closer to being a blue-water navy with global aspirations,” said a U.S. administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“What you have seen this last year and what I think you will see with the new budget is that they are moving ahead with the short-term goal of being the premier naval force in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, with the mid-term goal, of extending all the way to the Indian Ocean.”

In January, China appointed new navy chief, Shen Jinlong, to lead that push.

Shen has enjoyed a meteoric rise and is close to Xi, diplomatic and leadership sources say.

“The navy has gotten very lucky with Shen,” said a Chinese official close to the military, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Now they know for certain their support goes all the way to the top.”

Recent PLA Navy missions have included visits to Gulf states, where the United States has traditionally protected sea lanes, and to the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, in what the state-run website StrongChina called Shen’s “first show of force against the United States, Japan and Taiwan”.

Last month, a Chinese submarine docked at a port in Malaysia’s Sabah state, which lies on the South China Sea, only the second confirmed visit of a Chinese submarine to a foreign port, according to state media.

The submarine had come from supporting anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, where China has been learning valuable lessons about overseas naval operations since 2008.

Chinese warships have also been calling at ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, unnerving regional rival India.

“It’s power projection,” said a Beijing-based Western diplomat, of China’s navy.

($1 = 6.8640 Chinese yuan)

Balochistan is in state of war – Pakistan’s Terrorist Army forcefully displaces people in name of CPEC

Baloch activist Javed Mengal has said Balochistan is in state of war and added that the Terrorist Pakistan Army is forcefully displacing people from their land in name of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The aim of our protests is to tell the Chinese government that the investment which they have done in the region in name of CPEC, Pakistan Army in name of the same project is displacing people forcefully from their land on the route of the CPEC in the region,? Mengal told ANI.

He said a curfew was imposed in the region along the routes of CPEC to show to the world that there is peace in the region when two containers loaded with project goods were arriving in Pakistan from China.

But, Balochistan is in state of war, he said.

The resistance against the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reached London, when Baloch and Sindhi activists staged a protest outside the Chinese embassy on Tuesday.

Organised by the World Baloch Organisation, and led by Javed Mengal, the protesters shouted slogans against both China and Pakistan.

The Baloch were joined by Sindhi activists from the World Sindhi Congress.

The protesters were carrying banners saying “China Hands-off Balochistan”, “Stop Baloch Genocide” and “No to CPEC”.

People across Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) are raising concerns over 51.5 billion dollar China-led, multi-layered infrastructure project, which aims to connect Kashgar, in China’s western province of Xinjiang, with the port of Gwadar in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

The road and rail network under the project traverses through Gilgit Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, before terminating in Balochictan.

Though touted by the Pakistan government as a `game changer’ there has been a relentless wave of opposition to the project from the local population in many parts of the country.

Some of the key project of the CPEC are being undertaken in Balochistan. Chief among them is the development of the Gwadar Port.

However, as China accelerates work on the port project and other aspects of the CPEC, opposition among the local people against them is mounting.

Baloch nationalist groups in the province, who have for years been demanding independence and have frequently clashed with the Pakistani army and establishment, have also called the opposition of the project.

People in the resource-rich province strongly believe that the CPEC will only result in the economic exploitation of Balochistan, with the people being reduced to a minority in their own land.

Morale of Indian Army at all time high: Amit Shah

MAHARAJGANJ: After the formation of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the Indian Army’s morale got a massive boost and is now at an all time high, BJP chief Amit Shah said today.

“Earlier indiscriminate firing used to have been initiated by Pakistan, and also ended by that country. Today, Pakistan resorts to indiscriminate firing, but the final answer is given by India,” he told an election meeting here.

“A ‘goli’ (bullet) comes from there (Pakistan), and it is retaliated with a ‘gola’ (artillery shell,” the BJP chief said, adding no one has any right to insult jawans.

Urging the voters to give an overwhelming mandate to the BJP in the UP polls, Shah said the party, on coming to power, would ban all slaughter houses in the state and take a tough stand on land mafia.

J&K: Four killed as Militants ambush Army Convoy

SRINAGAR: Three soldiers and a woman were killed while five army personnel were injured as militants ambushed an army convoy in Shopian district of Kashmir today.

Two officers — Lt Colonel Mukesh Jha and Major Amardeep Singh – are among the five injured Army personnel.

A police official said the militants attacked the security forces party which was going for a cordon and search operation in Chittargam area of Shopian.

He said three army personnel were killed in the attack while a woman – Jana begum – died after getting hit by a stray bullet.

PLA delegation from China visits India

Chinese PLA delegation holds talks with army officials

NEW DELHI: A 15-member delegation from Western Theatre Command of People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China led by Major General Zhao Jin Song is on a five-day visit to India from February 21 to 26. Song is the Vice Chief of Staff of Headquarter Western Theatre Command, Chengdu, China.

The Chinese delegation met the senior Indian Army officers dealing with border issues at Army Headquarters on Tuesday. The two sides exchanged views on wide ranging issues and agreed that peace and tranquility on the border is an important guarantor for development and continued growth of bilateral relations.  They also discussed the importance of having regular bilateral exchanges and additional Border Personnel Meeting points. The delegation from China will also visit Agra and Kolkata in the upcoming days.

Sources said the issue of setting up a hotline between New Delhi and Beijing was also discussed in the meeting. The Indian and Chinese armies had conducted a joint training exercise in Pune in November.In Beijing, India and China today held their upgraded strategic dialogue in an effort to shore up bilateral ties hit by China’s reluctance to support India’s NSG bid as well as a UN ban on terror group JeM chief Masood Azhar.

Syrian Army advances against Islamic State near Aleppo

The Syrian army and its allies made a sudden advance on Saturday and Sunday into areas held by Islamic State in northwest Syria, a war monitor said, as the jihadist group retreated after losing the city of al-Bab to Turkey-backed rebels on Thursday.

The eastwards advance in an area south of al-Bab has extended Syrian army control across 14 villages and brought it within 25km (15 miles) of Lake Assad, the stretch of the Euphrates above the Tabqa dam.

Islamic State’s holdings in northwest Syria have been eviscerated over recent months by successive advances by three different, rival forces: Syrian Kurdish groups backed by the United States, the Turkey-backed rebels, and the army.

By taking Islamic State territory south of al-Bab, the army is preventing any possible move by Turkey and the rebel groups it supports to expand southwards, and is moving closer to regaining control of water supplies for Aleppo.

Fighting in the area is continuing as the army and its allies advance, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said on Sunday.

Islamic State’s loss of al-Bab after weeks of bitter street fighting marks the group’s effective departure from northwest Syria, once one of its most fearsome strongholds, and an area of importance because of its location on the Turkish border.

Steady advances since 2015 by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led alliance of armed groups, had already pushed Islamic State from much of the frontier by the middle of last year and have since then threatened its stronghold in Raqqa.

Turkey’s entry into Syria’s civil war via the Euphrates Shield campaign in support of rebel groups fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army was intended both to push Islamic State from the border and to stop Kurdish expansion there.

Maiden Anti-Ship Missile firing by IL-38 SD hits Target in TROPEX-17

IL 38 SD aircraft has undertaken this maiden firing post modification and midlife upgrade

MUMBAI: Indian Navy said on Wednesday that the maiden anti-ship missile firing by llyushin 38 Sea Dragon (IL-38 SD) was successful.

According to officials, the IL 38 SD, a Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, carried out a successful anti-ship missile firing, ex-Goa.

This was part of the ongoing Theater level Readiness and Operational Exercise (Tropex-17). “The missile hit the target ship in the Arabian Sea,” says an official.

IL 38 SD aircraft has undertaken this maiden firing post modification and midlife upgrade.

“By successfully penetrating the target, the aircraft has demonstrated its highly potent anti-ship missile attack capability,” says the official.

Navy says the development ratifies Indian Navy’s ability to ensure long range sea denial around Indian sub-continent.

IL-38 SD aircraft are based at Goa and is placed under the Headquarters, Western Naval Command.

Tropex-17 spans across Arabian Sea and North Central Indian Ocean. It serves as an opportunity to validate the Indian Navy’s Concepts of Operation.

Over 60 ships, five submarines and more than 70 naval aircraft are participating this year. In addition, a large number of Indian Air Force assets including Su-30 MKI, Jaguars, AWACS and C130J Hercules are part of the mission. Marine Commandoes, Army Special Forces, including Airborne Assault and Combat Free Fall teams too are part of the exercise.

TROPEX Naval Exercise with IAF, Army ends along the Western Seaboard

TROPEX 17 assumes special significance in the backdrop of the current security scenario, being aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard.

NEW DELHI: The Theatre-level Readiness and Operational Exercise, conducted to test combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Navy, the Air Force, the Army and the Coast Guard, has concluded.

A BrahMos is fired from Indian Navy’s P15A destroyer INS Chennai

A month-long naval exercise put to test the combat readiness of the Navy, the IAF and the Army with over 45 ships and 70 aircraft taking part, it was announced on Sunday.

The Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (Tropex) started on January 24 and concluded on February 23. It was conducted along the Western seaboard.

The aim of the month-long exercise, which was carried out across the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea and the North Central Indian Ocean, was to test the combat readiness of the forces to deal with any possible threat.

As a part of the exercise, niche capabilities of the Marine Commandoes (MARCOs) and Army Special Forces, including Airborne Assault and Combat Free Fall were undertaken from IAF C-130 aircraft.

Naval forces, while enforcing sea and airspace control all around the affected islands, undertook beaching and heli-borne operations for landing of follow-on forces.

A Panther on the prowl in the Indian Ocean

“The exercise provided an apt-opportunity to test the combat capabilities… and strengthened inter-operability and joint operations in complex conflict situation,” an official statement said.

Tropex, in complete coordination with the Army and the Indian Air Force, took place in phases to test the various facets of war-fighting and joint combat capabilities of the armed forces.

“The 2017 edition of Tropex included the conduct of largescale ‘Out of Area Contingency’ in island territory, which saw participation of all three services and their special forces,” the statement said.

An alert seaman watching enemy movements

“The interaction of the forces helped validate operational war fighting concepts and provided valuable lessons to sharpen combat skills.”

The previous edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2015.

“TROPEX 2017 assumes great significance in the backdrop of current security scenario. The exercise provided an apt-opportunity to test the combat capability of the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard, and strengthened inter-operability and joint operations in complex conflict situation,” the defence ministry said.

During debrief of the exercise, CNS and Chief of Army Staff discussed various options to further enhance the effectiveness of the joint exercise, the ministry said. It said the exercise will also strengthen inter- operability and joint operations in a complex environment. “The CNS during his address to the Fleet congratulated the men for keeping the fleet combat ready at all times and executing all assigned tasks in a most professional manner. “CNS also mentioned that training during peacetime has to be at par with how we would Fight during war and emphasised on taking bold decisions with due cognisance to risks involved and ensuring safety of men and material,” said the Defence Ministry statement.

MiG29K makes a perfect landing on board INS Vikramaditya

Over 45 ships from both the Western and Eastern Naval Commands, five submarines including the nuclear powered Chakra, 50 Naval aircraft, 11 ships from the Coast Guard, troops from the Army and 20 aircraft from the Air Force including Su-30s and Jaguars participated in the exercise from January 24 to February 23.

“The exercise, in complete coordination with the Army and Air Force, was conducted in phases to test the various facets of war-fighting and joint combat capabilities of the armed forces to respond to given threat situations,” the ministry said.

Indian Army will regain Upper Hand against Terrorists, say experts

SRINAGAR, J&K:  The Indian Army has a major challenge in Jammu and Kashmir this year — to bring down its casualties which saw a steep rise last year compared to previous years. Experts said that the changing tactics of the militants, which include attacks on military installations and provoking civilians during gun battles, pose new challenges.

In the latest incident, three soldiers and a civilian were killed on Thursday when troops returning from a search operation in Kungnoo village were attacked by militants in Shopian district. The attack was owned up by Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest militant group in the state.

The trend picked up last year when, on January 2, terrorists belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad attacked the Indian Air Force Station at Pathankot in Punjab leading to the deaths of seven security personnel and four terrorists.

Later during the year, on 18 September, an army camp at Uri was attacked by four terrorists leading to the death of 19 soldiers.

In the last one year, multiple attacks on military installations and convoys have taken place. This has raised many questions on the effectiveness of the well-established procedures and drills of the security forces in the Valley.

Data on the ratio of casualties of the security forces against the terrorists shows this is tilting in favour of the security forces — though the numbers are rising.

According to the data available with the South Asian Terrorism Portal, in 2012, 17 security personnel died while 84 terrorists were killed. The numbers the next were 61 and 100, respectively. The figures for 2014-2015 were 51/110 and 41/113, respectively. Last year 165 militants were killed against 88 casualty suffered by the security personnel.

Speaking on this trend, Lt General Ata Hasnain (retd), a former commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, told IANS “This is a temporary affair and will average out later. Momentarily it has got skewed due to 2016, when the army had high casualties.”

“The reason was the re-adoption of fedayeen (suicide) methods by the terror groups, targeting of soft targets such as convoys by choosing to seek contact rather than avoid contact,” Hasnain said.

Defence analyst and author Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (retd) said: “I think better-trained and well-armed militants are being pushed across into India. Militants are targeting camps and army convoys and there is a shift in focus.”

On the strategy of the militants to attack camps and convoys, Kanwal said: “There are always gaps and well-trained terrorists, who are patient and watch the convoy security drills for a few days, can always find gaps and can select the ambush points.”

Army convoys in the Valley are governed by well-established road opening procedures carried out every morning.

Speaking on the new strategy employed by the militants, Lt General SL Narasimhan (retd), the former commander of 3 Corps, said: “This is an action-reaction game. Tactics keep changing. When terrorists cannot attack the forward posts, they attack rear. They try to keep finding the weak spots.”

Asked whether the recent developments in the Valley meant that the militants had gained the upper hand against the security forces, Narasimhan said: “Army Training Command and all the field formations, down to battalion level, analyse the operations and implement the lessons learned.”

“These are on-and-off affairs. This is a cycle. I am sure security forces will find an answer for this,” Narsimhan concluded.

Islamic Pakistan Army Militants targets Civilians in an Operation in Balochistan: BRP

Four killed in Islamic Pakistan Army Militants barbaric operation in Balochistan; houses set on fire, bodies recovered in mass grave

GENEVA: Central Spokesman for Baloch Republican Party Mohammad Bugti, has said that the Pakistani Army’s continuous military operation throughout the past week has set a new example of brutality in history.

“Pakistani army is constantly shelling over the civilian population by using deadly gunship helicopters; As part of its ongoing military operation in Dera Bugti, Pakistani army has killed and dumped another Baloch identified as Rehman s/o Mirzian Bugti, 80, in Pasheni region in Dera Bugti here on Saturday.” He said.

He further said that five members of Rehman Bugt’s family were also killed and dumped by the Pakistani army in same area of Dera Bugti. The victims include two elder sons of slain Rehman Bugti, who were identified as Malgh and Dost Ali and grandsons; Nawaz Gul s/o Malgh Bugti, Ali sher s/o Dost Ali and a woman identified as the wife of Nasiwan Bugti.

Bugti noted that 15 more civilians, belonging to the family of Rehman Bugti, are wounded, and among them is a pregnant woman who gave a birth to her child in a half-death condition.

All the injured people remained helpless and in desperate need of help in a mountainous area of Pasheni where there is no medical treatment.

“Pakistani Army have completely sealed entrance and exit points of the affected area and continue the bombardment from the air and ground; civilians casualties are feared to rise, the confirmed death toll are 16, including women and children, and over 30 are wounded. Moreover, the Pakistani army burnt to ashes more than 200 house while looting large numbers of farm animals, such as cow, sheep, goat, and camel,” He said.

Bugti has appealed to the international human right organizations to take effective and immediate measures to stop further killing of Baloch innocents at the hands of the Pakistani army.

India tests new 100km-range Smart Weapon

CHANDIPUR: India on Saturday successfully tested the smart anti-airfield weapon system, capable of engaging ground targets in a range of 100 km from a fighter aircraft, at the integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha.

SAAW, an indigenously designed and developed 120 kg class smart weapon, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, is a light-weight high precision guided bomb and a world class weapons system, a DRDO statement said.

The captive and release trials were tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at ITR during the entire duration of the flight.

The performance of all systems was satisfactory with all the mission objectives achieved, the statement said.

The government sanctioned the Rs 56.58 crore SAAW project in September 2013.

In May, the DRDO conducted the first test on the weapon system from the IAF Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft.

France to send Contingent to help Army in Niger

France is to send a contingent of counter-terror forces within three days to help the army in Niger after militants ambushed a military patrol killing 16. The defence ministry said, the decision was taken following a request from President Mahamadou Issoufou after Wednesday’s attack near the border with Mali.

A French military source said it would include 50 to 80 troops, most of them special forces, who would be operational in the area. They would be equipped with aerial support capacity to provide backup for Niger forces on the ground.

The deadly ambush, which took place in an area some 200 kilometres north of the capital, Niamey, also wounded another 18 Niger troops, with the army blaming terrorist elements.

HAL bags Israeli order for Boeing Cargo Doors

BENGALURU: State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been selected by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for further supply of the Boeing 737 Main Deck Cargo Door.

The contract to this effect was signed at Aero India 2017 in Bengaluru on Friday. “This reflects the confidence reposed by our valued customer,” said T Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director of HAL.

HAL has already manufactured and supplied IAI more than 30 such Main Deck Cargo Doors for the Boeing 737. Appreciating the timely delivery and quality, IAI has placed further orders.

R Kaveri Renganathan, chief executive, Bangalore Complex, HAL, and Eli Alfassi, executive vice-president, sales and marketing, IAI, signed the contract at the air show.

AAI, HAL among profit-making PSUs to be listed soon

142 of 169 unlisted public sector undertakings are profitable, but only 47 are trading on bourses

NEW DELHI: With market listing of PSUs coming to a standstill in the last two years, the government has finally decided to crack the whip.

It is soon coming out with guidelines that would make it mandatory for unlisted profit-making PSUs to complete the process of listing at stock exchanges within a stipulated time frame.

Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), state-owned banks and other companies, where the government indirectly holds a majority share, together account for nearly 12 per cent of BSE’s total market capitalisation as on January 31.

Data show that there are a total of 169 unlisted PSUs, of which 142 are profit making. But only 47 have so far been listed.

Now the effort will be to bring the most profitable among the unlisted entities first for listing. This could include all the five general insurance companies where listing has already been cleared by the cabinet.

It would include Airport Authority of India (AAI), Hi­ndustan Aeronautics (HAL), few Railway sector companies, subsidiaries of Coal India and country’s sole overseas focused oil and gas entity, ONGC Videsh (OVL).

Disinvestment secretary Neeraj Kumar Gupta confirmed to Financial Chronicle that his ministry is pre­pa­r­ing norms to ensure listing of profit-making PSUs in a time-bound manner. Small state-owned firms would be exempted from compliance with envisaged regulations.

Though the government is going all out to see that the listing process goes through unhindered, its track record has been far from smooth.

The UPA government had in 2009 decided that all unlisted CPSEs, which have made a profit in the past 3 years and with a positive net worth, should get listed on bourses in compliance with guidelines laid down by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

This was taken up again in 2013 and later picked up by the Modi government in the following year. In 2014, it was stipulated that all listed PSUs raise their minimum public shareholding to 25 per cent by August 21, 2017.

But data shows that just six PSUs have got listed in the past 8 years.

The Union budget 2017-18 had stated the government’s plan to bring guidelines for mandatory listing of profitable PSUs. “Profit ma­king large and medium sized CPSEs – no point listing sm­all ones – should list. They should open up for public scrutiny and higher transparency. They should compete in the market and establish themselves for whatever worth they can command in the market,” Gupta told PTI on Wednesday.

In the process, they will have access to capital market for expansion of business activity and not rely merely on their own resources, whi­ch is a government investm­e­nt, he said. “This policy indicates that government has the intention to complete these processes in a time bo­u­nd manner,” he said, add­ing the listing process has two parts – internal process and the actual transaction – that is, initial public offering (IPO) and listing.

While the administrative ministries do not have much of a problem, it’s the CPSEs, which say that they will be exposed to higher accountability, transparency, much wider disclosure norms and big set of compliance, he sa­id. “So there is an inertia not to get into that,” he added.

The disinvestment secretary said that administrative ministries would have to shoulder responsibilities in getting the companies ready for listing, which has to be done “prudently and at the right time.”

Although he did not indicate the timeframe the government is looking at for listing them, another senior official said the process “should not take more than one to two years, at max, three years.”

2nd prototype of HTT-40 to fly in March; innovations propel project

The PT-2 has almost completed the equipping process and will be on static display area during Aero India 2017. Nobody believed in our abilities, but we did & proved: Team HTT-40.
Prashant Singh Bhadoria, Deputy Project Manager of HTT-40 (left) and Suresh Kumar, Head of Aerodynamics Group

BENGALURU: The conference hall at Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) was packed to its capacity. In conversation with DefenceNews were some of the bright aerospace engineers and designers of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) sharing their story of struggle, sacrifice and success building their dream flying machine — the Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40).

Amidst readying the HTT-40 PT-1 for its maiden sky party at the upcoming Aero India-17 and PT-2 for the static display, the team was enthusiastic in sharing some of the untold stories building the BTA (Basic Trainer Aircraft). Interestingly, the average age of HTT-40 team is only 35 years.

Leading from the front was the passionate plane-maker in Prashant Singh Bhadoria, Deputy Project Manager of HTT-40. The promising youngster hailing from Nanded, was humble enough to take-off by saying but for the commitment shown by his team, HTT-40 wouldn’t have reached a stage it has jettisoned now.

“The going was tough. Really tough. We had to motivate ourselves all the time. But, we had the full backing of our seniors and the top management. I think in military aviation the challenges are multitude. We have buried the past and believed in the future. The rest is history now,” says Prashant, whose aggression and passion were one notch up than Virat Kholi!

The second prototype (PT-2) of Basic Trainer Aircraft HTT-40 from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is expected to have its maiden flight next month. During a visit to the facilities of Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC), this Correspondent witnessed hectic activities as a prelude to its maiden flight.

The PT-2 has almost completed the equipping process. It will be on static display area during Aero India 2017 with a fully functional cockpit and powered-on LRUs.

“From removal of the fuselage to entire process of equipping is completed in one-and-a-half-months, which is a great achievement compared to any aerospace standards. We achieved it due to the modular technology being adopted for the project,” Prashant Singh Bhadoria, Deputy Project Manager, HTT-40, told.

Started with HAL’s internal funding of Rs 500 crore, the HTT-40 project got the ahead for detailed design in August 2013. The detailed design was completed in 21 months (May 2015) and the BTA had its maiden flight in May 2016.

Many improvisations on PT-1 already

Suresh Kumar, Head of Aerodynamics Group and Project Manager of HTT-40 said the platform completed 32 flights, logging a cumulative of 25 hours, so far.

“We did many gradual improvisations on PT-1 since its first flight. The fuel system has been converted into a fully pressurised one. Also the rudder was modified to address sensitivity issues. The ECS system was adapted to reduce the cockpit noise to optimum,” says Suresh, who has served HAL for over 30 years now.

On PT-1 the ailerons have been fitted with balance tabs to give a more comfortable feel while doing lateral maneuvers like the 360 degree roll. The flap angles have been optimised for better take off and landing characteristics.

On a specific query on the feedback the young HTT-40 team got from the pilots, Sanjiv Shukla, General Manager (ARDC) said the response has been positive.

“The aircraft handling is very easy and the pilot-vehicle interface has been simplified for the trainer. The glass cockpit gives them a fighter-class effect and the display symbology is user-friendly,” says Shukla.

Based on the pilot inputs, the rudder sensitivity and control harmony has been improvised.

“The glide ratio has already been achieved. The climb rates and the landing and take-off performances also have exceeded expectations,” says Shukla.

The ARDC team is excited as PT-1 will be debuting at Aero India 2017, displaying some of its acrobatic maneuvers. The SOPs for both PT-1 and PT-2 are the same.

Production team had a say from beginning

On the new design and manufacturing philosophies adopted, D K Venkatesh, Director, (Engineering, R&D) said the entire project is based on digital mock up.

“Our focus has been on rigorous simulation and ground testing in order to reduce the development time. The design for manufacturability theme has been the central focus. The production jigs have been set up using laser trackers with 50 microns accuracy. Metal tooling has been adapted for all sheet metal parts. The aircraft looming has been done on bench completely,” says Venkatesh.

He said every drawing was production-vetted. “Any design and development has issues. We have to experience it. We have to overcome it. This young team has made all of us proud,” says Venkatesh.

The project witnessed a mid-programme engine change issue, due to procurement challenges.  The non participation of various suppliers due to the doubts surrounding HTT-40, had forced ARDC to absorb LRUs from existing projects.

Team had tough time keeping the morale high

“This, however, was a blessing in disguise as system commonality was helpful in cutting the development and procurement time lines. The project time lines were very challenging. The air surrounding the project during the launch phase too was not inspiring. It was difficult to keep the moral high but at the end of the day the company leadership ensured that the project stayed on track and achieved its milestones,” says Prashant, who recently bagged the Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Award instituted by AeSI national chapter.

HAL now says that the next prototype (PT-3) will be design optimised with reduced weight. Also the PT-3 will be in line with the final SOP made along with the production agency. Plans are also afoot for weaponised variant (PT-4) in future, especially keeping the likely need of Indian Army. The target set for achieving certification is December 2018.

HAL Chief Raju pats the young team

On the tricky stall and spin tests for HTT-40, HAL says lessons from Intermediate Jet Trainer would come handy.

With HTT-40 boasting of far advanced systems than those on Pilatus, currently being inducted in Indian Air Force, HAL says the indigenous content and design rights will go a long way in maintaining the aircraft for over the next three decades.

HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju refuses to take any credit for the success of HTT-40 project so far.

“The boys slogged day in and out. They muted themselves from what the world thought about the project. This is again another management lesson we all can keep in mind. Always focus on your tasks. If you are sure you will achieve it. And, nothing else matters. HTT-40 tells you that story,” says Raju, who has been playing the role of a mentor for the team.

Prashant-Suresh combo inspired the team

Prashant represents the new face of HAL, who believes in their strengths rather than brooding over what a DPSU is not all about. Most importantly, it was evident that Team HTT-40 owned HAL. Rather, they said they are HAL.

“Through this project we got challenges and opportunities in equal measure. The learning was phenomenal. The team work was outstanding. The sacrifices were innumerable. And the result, was priceless,” says Prashant, who hands over the baton to the rest of the team members.

Prashant’s boss and HTT-40 Project Manager Suresh Kumar, who is also the Head of Aerodynamics Group, was another face of HAL that was refreshing. Suresh, the senior-most member, who was part of Kiran, IJT, Saras and Tejas projects, says his team emerged successfully from the jaws of defeat.

“I will see HTT-40 in IAF Squadron before retirement. I too learned a lot being part of this young team. It not only knocked off some 10-15 years from my life, but gave a new perspective to missions. The team’s enthusiasm is infectious,” says Suresh.

HTT-40 team members say the Suresh-Prashant combo set many benchmarks in project management.

Sumesh, A S, Senior Manager with Structural Assembly while sharing the challenges of fuel tank assembly and engine installation, said the project demolished the disconnect between the designers and shop floor. “We bridged the gap and there was better synergy at all levels,” he adds.

Pawan Gowra, Manager, Sheet Metal Shop, says concurrent manufacturing was the key to the mission.

“It helped reducing time and we could assess the actual requirement at a faster pace,” says Pawan. “And, getting home-cooked food and sharing with all too helped to increase the bonding,” he adds.

Only mission mattered to the team: Sanjiv Shukla

Sanjiv Shukla, General Manager, ARDC, felt the young lot had no fear in taking on the challenges head on.

“The HTT-40 team has set many new working philosophies that will be difficult to be broken now. They have showed all of us, mission mattered all the time,” says Shukla.

Ajith K, Deputy Manager, Electrical Design, said he couldn’t believe when HTT-40 flew for the first time.

“There was joy, satisfaction, relief and belief when our baby was flying,” he said. Ajith also narrated how the team members worked for 20 hours some days even dispelling fear of being hit by dengue, which is prevalent in Bengaluru.

“Some of the team members were worried about mosquito bites. And, we told them mosquitoes that bite in the night won’t spread dengue,” Ajith said, with team bursting into laughter.

The team played a rare video of HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju addressing them from with the HTT-40 cockpit late night. “It was truly inspiring,” adds Ajith.

If your aircraft is talking, then you don’t have to talk: Prashant

Prashant chips in again saying aggression was the key while taking tough decisions.

“You have to be ready to take risks. We had to prove our detractors wrong. If your aircraft is talking, then you don’t have to talk. We are now very focused on the spin and stall trials as well,” says Prashant.

Chandrashekar V, Senior Manager, Aerodynamics, says they could predict the thrust and drag characteristics of the aircraft perfectly before the first flight.

“We had detailed CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) studies. We were able accurately assess many results in advance,” he says.

Jeevan says unique procurement methods sticking to the rules helped the project, while Gopalakrishnan terms the HTT-40 experience as one of the most inspiring lessons in his life.

D K Venkatesh, Director, (Engineering, R&D), HAL

 

Reliance partnership in Rafale deal offset: Not a threat, says HAL

The joint venture between the French company that manufactures Rafale fighter jets and Ambani’s Reliance was announced in 2016 with contract being valued at a whopping Rs 30,000 crore.

BENGALURU: HAL’s Chairman and managing Director T Suvarna Raju on Wednesday said that Dassault aviation making Anil Ambani’s reliance their offset partner in India did not come as a worry to HAL. The joint venture between the French company that manufactures Rafale fighter jets and Ambani’s Reliance was announced in 2016 with contract being valued at a whopping Rs 30,000 crore.

“I am not aware of such a joint venture or if government has made reliance a offset partner. Even if there were one, it doesn’t come as a threat to HAL. We have showcased our capacity and capability in this very Aero show with the line up of indigenous aircrafts displays. It does not come as a worry to us and it is no threat,” he said.

Speaking further on India’s push to only buy defence products from foreign firms where India will be made a strategic partner, HAL claimed that it may not be in the run. “HAL has been India’s primary contributor as far as defence manufacturing is concerned for close to seven decades. The government may consider other player to become strategic partners in future deals with foreign firms,” Raju said.

France Dassault Aviation entered into partnership with Reliance group to execute offsets for the contract it signed up with India for 36 Rafale fighter jets in 2016. The joint venture called ‘Dassault Reliance Aerospace’ was jointly announced by the Chiefs of both companies. Reliance had termed it the largest offset contract to be executed by any defence company in India till date with the contract being valued upto Rs 30,000 crore.

While the entire deal between India and France for 36 Rafale jets is worth Rs 59,000 crore, the deal comes with a rider of 50 percent offset clause that will extend for seven years to be executed by the French company and its partners in India.

Russia to modernize five Military Airfields

Russia will upgrade five military airports in the country’s southwest and the Far East in the coming three years, Russian Aerospace Forces Commander Viktor Bondarev said.

“We plan to conduct research this year and start to renovate the Ukrainka airfield in the Amur region next year,” Bondarev was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying on Saturday.

The infrastructure overhaul comes amid increased military presence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization near Russian borders and renewed Pacific islands disputes with Japan.

Overhaul is already underway at the Step airfield in Zabaikalsky, at Mozdok and at Baltimor, said the commander, adding that the reconstruction of the Engels airbase near Saratov is already in its second phase.

All the upgrade work will be completed by the end of 2019, he added.

The airfields modernization is part of a large-scale rearmament program between 2010 to 2020, which is expected to cost Russia enormous funds.

Terrorists in PoK beware! IAF’s Jaguars just got Deadlier

The DARIN-III navigation attack system allows a Jaguar pilot to feed in the coordinates of targets deep inside enemy territory, says Ajai Shukla.

BANGALORE: The Indian Air Force took a vital step last week towards boosting its dwindling fleet of combat aircraft.

As MiG-21s and MiG-27s retire, forcing the IAF to close down squadrons, a new avionics upgrade for the nuclear-capable Jaguar strike fighter will let it fly for another two decades.

This is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s new DARIN-III ‘navigation attack’ system that allows the Jaguar to do pinpoint bombing.

The DARIN-III allows a pilot to feed in the coordinates of targets deep inside enemy territory.

Once airborne, the computer’s inertial navigation system directs the pilot to the target, telling him when to releases his weapons precisely.

IAF’s deputy chief, Air Marshal R K S Bhadauria, flew a Jaguar equipped with DARIN-III in HAL Bengaluru, after which he accorded ‘initial operational clearance’ of the upgraded system.

The IAF’s six Jaguar squadrons (20 fighters in each) are deployed in Ambala, Jamnagar and Gorakhpur.

Termed ‘deep penetration strike aircraft,’ the Jaguar destroys surface targets like terrorist camps, air bases and warships with its on-board weaponry, including ‘new generation laser guided bombs’; and the lethal Textron CBU-105 ‘sensor fuzed weapons’, bought in 2010 from America.

This effective tank-buster breaks up into many ‘smart bomblets’ that guide themselves to the tanks and penetrate their turrets from above.

The 120 twin-engine Jaguars will also get new engines supplied by US major, Honeywell, for an estimated $3 billion (over Rs 20,587 crore/Rs 205.87 billion)).

Each Honeywell F-125N engine delivers 43.8 KiloNewtons (kN) of thrust, significantly higher than the 32.5 kN of the Jaguar’s current Rolls-Royce engines.

Powerful engines are essential for swift ingress into enemy territory and a quick escape after a strike.

Enemy radars that pick up the Jaguars would scramble fighters to intercept them.

To deal with these, the Jaguar will be fitted with the EL/M-2052 radar, supplied by Israeli company Elta.

This active electronically scanned array radar allows pilots to simultaneously track enemy fighters, guide missiles towards them, while also jamming enemy communications and radar.

While the Jaguar is primarily a strike fighter, its new AESA radar, coupled with a good air-to-air missile, would provide it a formidable capability against attacking enemy fighters.

Currently, 60 Jaguars — half the fleet — will be equipped with DARIN-III and the EL/M-2052 AESA radar.

The Jaguar provides a remarkable story of how indigenous upgrades are cheaply modernising, and extending the life of, a foreign-origin aircraft.

In 1978, India signed a $1 billion deal for 160 Jaguars, manufactured by Anglo-French company, SEPECAT.

The first 40 aircraft, which were supplied in flyaway condition, came with an outdated navigation and weapon-aiming sub-system.

As HAL began manufacturing the Jaguar, an Indo-French co-development team began upgrading the avionics to DARIN.

From 1982, all Jaguars built at HAL had DARIN systems.

Buoyed by that achievement, the IAF and HAL decided in the 1990s to upgrade the DARIN. The result was the superb, entirely indigenous, DARIN-II, which guides the Jaguar blind, literally to the touchdown point on the runway.

“Even in Ambala’s infamous winter fogs, when you couldn’t see your hand if you extended your arm in front of you, the Jaguars were landing and taking off easily,” says a new retired Jaguar pilot.

The 60-odd Jaguars with DARIN-II will continue to operate that system, while the other 60, which still have the original DARIN, will now be upgraded to DARIN-III.

The IAF is currently the world’s only Jaguar operator.

IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, stated in October that the upgraded Jaguars would remain in service for the next 15 to 20 years.

HAL makes progress on disinvestment

BENGALURU: Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has made progress on disinvestment activity of the company based on the government approval of 10% of the shareholding in 2013, the aviation firm’s Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju said.

At the Aero India 2017, he said progress has been made on identification of Book Running Lead Managers and preparation of draft red herring prospectus. Necessary documents are in place, he added.

“…10% of the equity capital that is 3.615 crore of equity at the face value of Rs 10 would be considered for the IPO, the valuation will be done by the BRLMS and the other financial experts. We are awaiting the valuations from them,” Raju said.

He said the option of buyback of 25% of share capital and reserves of the company has been executed through which the company has contributed over Rs 5,000 crore to the government exchequer.

HAL Bags IAI Orders for Supply of Boeing Main Deck Cargo Door

BENGALURU: HAL has been selected by Israel Aerospace Industries for further supply of Boeing 737 Main Deck Cargo Door.

A contract to this effect was signed at Aero India today.

“This reflects the confidence reposed by our valued customer,” HAL CMD T Suvarna Raju said in a statement here.

HAL has already manufactured and supplied more than 30 of 737 Main Deck Cargo Doors to IAI. Appreciating the timely delivery and quality, IAI has placed further orders, it added.

IAF Chief flies indigenous Tejas Fighter in Bengaluru

BENGALURU: The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, on Tuesday flew a trainer version of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) over the city under a cloudy sky, an official said.

“Air Chief Marshal Raha flew in the twin-seater Tejas trainer (Pilot Version-6) for 30 minutes to check its capabilities and landed safely at the HAL airport, with IAF Group Captain M. Rangachari,” IAF spokesman Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee told here.

Air Chief Marshal Raha became the first IAF chief to fly the home-grown fighter, designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and built by defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) here.

“It is my first sortie in Tejas, it is a good aircraft to fly and fit for induction into our fleet for operations”, Air Chief Marshal Raha told air warriors at the IAF’s Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) at the defence airport.

HAL spokesman Gopal Sutar told that Air Chief Marshal Raha piloted the aircraft during the 30-minute sortie and conducted aerial manoeuvres to check its versatility.

“The air chief also carried out manoeuvers in the flying envelope of the aircraft, simulated air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks and assessed the advanced modes of the radar and helmet mounted display sight,” Sutar said in a statement.

The deputy IAF chief, Air Marshal S.B.P. Sinha, flew the Tejas in September 2014.

“It is a moral boosting gesture from the IAF chief and reposes great confidence of our valuable customer in our abilities”, said HAL chairman T. Suvarna Raju on the occasion.

As an experienced fighter pilot, Air Chief Marshal Raha, 61, is a qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat leader with 3,400 years of flying experience.

He also took salute at the graduation ceremony of the 38th flight test course of ASTE, where the IAF conducts flight testing of aircraft and integrates weapons and systems into its aircraft fleet.

The test pilots’ school is one of the six of its kind in the world, where test pilots and flight test engineers are trained for the IAF.

Indigenous fighter aircraft like LCA and Advanced light Helicopter (ALH) of HAL and Airborne Early Warning and Communication (AEWC) aircraft of the DRDO’s Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) are test flown by pilots trained at the ASTE school.

Air Chief Marshal Raha also opened the LCA paint hangar and visited the aircraft’s production line facility in the state-run complex, located in the tech city’s eastern suburbs.

The IAF, which plans to induct 120 Tejas fighters, including 100 of modified versions in its frontline fleet, will initially receive four from HAL to raise its first LCA squadron this year.

A proposal for doubling production of Tejas – to 16 from eight per annum is being processed. The cost of its capacity expansion (Rs.1,259 crore) will be shared by HAL (50 percent) and 25 percent each by IAF and Indian Navy.

Though IAF gave the initial operational clearance (IOC) to fly Tejas by its pilots in December 2013, it is yet to give the final operation clearance (FOC) for induction as it is waiting for certification of its trials, including use of various weapons for target hits.

The IAF wants to induct Tejas into its fleet to replace its ageing Soviet-era MiG-21 fleet.

As a fourth generation aircraft, Tejas can fly at 1,350 km per hour and is comparable to the world’s best fighters, including French Mirage 2000, American F-16 and Swedish Gripen.

As a single-engined, multi-role supersonic fighter, Tejas weighs 8.5 tonnes and can carry three tonnes of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, laser guided bombs, guns, conventional/retarded bombs and beyond visual range missiles.