Sunday, 30 September 2012

Indian Army's Red Eagle Div Begins Platinum Celebrations

It is a proud day for Indian Army as well as the nation as its oldest fighting formation, the 4 RAPID(Strike) division also known as the Red Eagle Division celebrates its 74th anniversary and steps into the year of Platinum Glory. The Celebrations started with the remembrance of the brave predecessors of the division at the War Memorial, who have made the supreme sacrifice for the nation. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the division, Major General GS Chandel, Yudh Seva Medal laid wreath at the War Memorial and paid homage to the brave soldiers of the division in presence of Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and jawans.

The Wreath Laying ceremony was followed by a Sainik Sammelan. Maj Gen GS Chandel, YSM, spoke about the division and its exploits right from the time of Second World War upto its operations in the modern era. He brought out that it is the devotion to duty and sacrifice of each soldier that has earned the division a pinnacle position in the annals of military history. He emphasised on the endeavour of each individual to uphold this glorious history of the division with their utmost devotion and dedication to duty. This, he assured, will ensure even greater glory in the days to come.

A brief comparison of the times gone past, the present and the times to come was analysed by the GOC during his address. He enlightened the gathering on tackling the important personal and professional events in life requiring a thoughtful solution. The General was confident in promising that the division will always be prepared for any eventuality threatening the unity, integrity and sovernity of the nation. After the brief address, the GOC took the opportunity to felicitate the jawans who have shown exemplary dedication to their work by giving them prizes. The event culminated with a high tea in which the GOC had an informal interaction with the officers, JCOs and jawans.

All said and done, the celebration of the Red Eagle division as it steps into its 75th year was very well organised and co-ordinated, as can be expected from the oldest division of the Indian Army. The warmth of unity and bonding could be felt in the air throughout the celebrations.

Pakistan SC orders Chinese companies to exit Gwadar Port - NewsX

Time To Keep 24/7 Tabs On Uninvited Guests As Well As On China's Latest DF-16 IRBM & DF-21C MRBM Deployments

Both the Indian Army and Indian Air Force are rushing their respective stocks of manportable air-defence radars to forward locations along the Sino-Indian LAC to keep track of the PLA’s routine airspace transgressions—something that should have been done as far back as 2008. While the IAF’s DRDO-developed and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL)-built S-band Aslesha three-dimensional micro-radars are being deployed at Nyoma, Chushul and Fukche, the Army-specific Bharani manportable radars are being deployed at Demchok and Pangong Tso in Ladakh, as well as at two locations in Uttarakhand. The Aslesha, which weighs 250kg, uses low-probability-of-intercept frequencies to look out for terrain-hugging tactical UAVs and helicopters over mountainous terrain out to 50km. The IAF has to date ordered 21 of them, and first deliveries took place in January 2008. On the other hand, the Bharani is a two-dimensional L-band gapfiller system now in series-production for the Army. It has a range of 40km and can track up to 100 airborne targets. To date, 16 Bharanis—meant to be used in conjunction with VSHORADS/MANPADS—have been ordered, with deliveries beginning this March. Also under delivery are 29 THALES Nederland-developed motorised Reporter tactical control radars for the Army’s upgraded ZU-23 air-defence guns, some of which will.also be deployed at Nyoma, Chushul and Fukche.

Meanwhile, latest photos from China (below) more or less confirm that the People’s Liberation Army’s 2nd Artillery Corps has begun deploying two of its latest India-specific ballistic missiles—DF-21C MRBM and DF-16 IRBM—to hardened missile storage sites at Delingha and Da Qaidam, in Central China, and possibly also at Xiadulla, 98km from the Karakoram mountain pass between Ladakh and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.


The PLA’s Unmanned Dragons

Of the several events that took place on June 30 last year within the People’s Republic of China to coincide with the date of the 90th birthday of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and to demonstrate the CPC’s indispensible role in bringing about the ‘New China’, the one that has enormous national and regional security implications for South Asia was the low-key rollout of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) latest high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle—the Xianglong Soar Dragon—one of three such turbofan-powered UAVs that have been under development since 1999 and have been inducted into service since 2005. The other two remaining HALE UAVs, the WZ-9A (also referred to as the Wuren Zhencha-2000, or WZ-2000) and the Sky Wing (Tian Yi-3), along with the Soar Dragon, are all powered by a single licence-built Ivchenko AI-25TLK twin-shaft medium-bypass turbofan (known locally as WS-11) developed by Ukraine’s Motor Sich, and rated at 3,800lb (16.9kN) thrust. All three HALE UAVs--featuring V-tail configurations have been co-developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Corp (CAC) and the Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corp (GAIC), and are likely to be employed—apart from undertaking intelligence, surveillance, targetting and reconnaissance (ISTR) tasks--as unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) and unmanned radar/communications jammers as well

Presently, all medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) and HALE-UAVs are considered strategic assets and placed under the direct command of the 2nd Department the Central Military Commission’s General Staff Department (GSD). Thus far, 52 new UAVs developed by 70 state-owned R & D institutions have emerged. Three Chinese companies--ASN Technology Group, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), Zhuhai Yintong Energy, Weifan Freesky Aviation Industry Co, and AVIC Defense—account for most of the UAVs and UCAVs built thus far. Presently, ASN Technology is China’s largest UAV manufacturer, with a history of developing UAVs and target drones since 1958. The company works closely with the Xian-based Northwestern Polytechnical University’s UAV Institute, and the Beijing- and Nanjing-based Universities of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing Technology Company, Hebei Electric Power Reconnaissance Design Academy, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Shaanxi Engine Design Institute, GAIC, and the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute.

The WZ-9A from the CAC/GAIC combine was unveiled in November 2000 at the Airshow China expo in Zhuhai. Having a length of 7.5 metres, wingspan of 9.8 metres, 1.7-tonne maximum takeoff weight, cruise speed of 800kph, combat radius of 800km, endurance of 3 hours, and a service ceiling of 18,000 metres, it also features radar cross-section reduction features, including a flat-bottomed surface blended seamlessly with long swept-wings. Its maiden flight took place on December 26, 2003, following which its on-board 80kg ISTR mission avionics/sensor payload began being flight-tested from August 2004. Although the aircraft has smaller dimensions, it is intended to fly at a service ceiling of 18,000 metres with a reported maximum speed of 800km/h for a total endurance of only 3 hours. The mission payload includes an X-band KLC-6 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) developed by China’s CETC International. A single WS-11 turbofan sits on top of the tail section, with its intake shielded by the wing section and its exhaust nozzle shielded by two V-shaped tailfins extending 40° outwards to reduce both radar and infra-red signatures. A large satallite communications antenna is located inside its head-bulge for real-time transmission of images and ELINT data back to its ground control station. The WZ-9A also carries a chin-mounted turret containing a thermal imager. It entered limited service with the PLA’s GSD in 2007 and conducts only strategic reconnaissance missions. An improved version of the UAV, known as WZ-9B, was unveilled in November 2006 and is now being developed as a stealthy HALE-UCAV and will be armed with internally mounted precision-guided munitions like the FT and LT family of small-diameter bombs, AKD-10 laser-guided anti-armour missiles, and TY-90 within-visual-range air combat missiles. Yet another variant of the WZ-9A is an as yet unnamed operational turboprop-powered strategic ISTR platform featuring 66-feet wingspan and a horizontal stabiliser linking canted outward twin-tails. The first flying prototype was rolled out in October 2008, and its maiden flight took place in November 2009.

The Sky Wing (Tian Yi-3) UAV, optimised for tactical ISTR tasks, was unveilled in November 2006. A functional prototype had been built by April 2008, and its maiden flight took place in September 2008. Built by the CAC/GAIC combine, it has a length of 7.5 metres, wingspan of 9.8 metres, maximum takeoff weight of 1.7 tonnes (including an 80kg mission payload, cruise speed of 800kph, service ceiling of 59,000 feet, and a loiter time of 3 hours. The box-wing Xianglong Soar Dragon UAV was first revealed in November 2006 by the  Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute. It is 14.3 metres long, has a 25-metre wingspan, takeoff weight of 7,500kg with a payload of 650kg, cruise speed of 750kph, cruise range of 7,000km, and a cruise altitude of 18km. Maiden flight of the Xianglong Soar Dragon was successfully conducted on November 7, 2009 at 12:21pm at the Anshun airport and lasted 18 minutes. The Soar Dragon’s joined wing and tail configuration considerably increases the UAV’s range and payload and produce better handling at high altitudes. Joined wings—a subset of closed-wing systems—comprise a sweptback forward wing and a forward-swept aft wing. In the Soar Dragon the rear wing is higher than the forward wing to reduce the effect of the forward wing’s downwash on the rear wing’s lifting qualities. The rear wing has a shorter span than the front wing and its downturned tips meet the front wing at a part-span point. Advocates of the joined wing claim that its advantages stem from the fact that the front and rear wings are structurally cross-braced. This allows a higher aspect ratio while keeping down weight and staying within flutter limits. A higher aspect ratio reduces drag due to lift, and because the wings are both slender and short-span (relative to a single wing with equivalent lift) the wing chords are short, which makes it easier to achieve laminar flow. The joined wing also can reduce trim drag. It is believed that the Soar Dragon will an ISTR platform optimised for broad area maritime surveillance and for providing over-the-horizon targetting information for long-range anti-ship cruise missiles.  
Yet another MALE-UCAV now being promoted for export is AVIC Defense’s Pterodactyl-1 medium-extended long-endurance UCAV, which was developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design & Research Institute, and has undergone a series of flight trials, including weapons launches, since late 2009. Powered by a 700kgf-thrust turbofan, the Pterodactyl-1’s total payload capacity is 200kg, of which the FLIR turret or even a SAR weighs about 100kg, leaving 100kg of weapons (like two AKD-10 missiles) to be carried under each wing. The UCAV is 9.05 metres long and 2.77 metres high, with a 14-metre wingspan. Maximum takeoff weight is 1,100kg, maximum endurance is 20 hours, maximum operating altitude is 5,000 metres, maximum range is 4,000km, and maximum cruise speed is 280kph.

IAF Deployment across India

Adampur AFS: 8 Wing’s 47 Black Archers sqn & 223 Tridents sqn with MiG-29B-12s

Ambala AFS: 7 Wing’s 3 Cobras, 5 Tuskers & 14 Bulls sqns with MiG-21 Bison & Jaguar IS
Bareilly AFS: 15 Wing’s 8 Eight Pursoots & 24 Hunting Hawks sqns with Su-30MKI

Bhatinda AFS: 34 Wing’s 17 Golden Arrows sqn with Su-30MKI

Bhuj AFS: 27 Wing’s 15 Flying Lancers Sqn with MiG-21 Bison

Gorakhpur AFS: 17 Wing’s 16 Black Cobras sqn & 27 Flaming Arrows sqn with Jaguar IS

Chabua AFS: 14 Wing’s 102 Trisonics sqn with Su-30MKI

Gwalior AFS: 40 Wing’s 1 Tigers sqn, 7 Battleaxes sqn & 9 Wolfpack sqn with Mirage 2000H/TH

Halwara AFS: 34 Wing’s 22 Swifts sqn with MiG-27UPG & 220 Desert Tigers sqn with Su-30MKI

Hashimara AFS: 16 Wing’s 222 Tigersharks sqn with MiG-27UPG

Jamnagar AFS: 33 Wing’s 6 Dragons sqn with Jaguar IM & 28 First Supersonics sqn with MiG-29B-12

Jodhpur AFS: 32 Wing’s 10 Winged Daggers sqn, 29 Scorpions sqn & 37 Panthers sqn with MiG-27UPG, 32 Thunderbirds sqn with MiG-21 Bison & 31 Lions sqn with Su-30MKI

Kalaikunda AFS: 5 Wing’s 18 Flying Bullets sqn with MiG-27M

Pathankot AFS: 18 Wing’s 26 Warriors sqn with MiG-21 Bison, 108 Hawkeyes sqn with MiG-21M & 125 Gladiators HU with Mi-25/Mi-35P

Pune/Lohegaon AFS: 2 Wing’s 20 Lightnings sqn & 30 Rhinos sqn with Su-30MKI

Naliya AFS: 12 FBSU’s 45 Flying Daggers sqn with MiG-21 Bison & 101 Falcons sqn with MiG-21M

Sirsa AFS: 45 Wing’s 21 Ankush sqn with MiG-21 Bison

Srinagar AFS: 1 Wing’s 51 Sword Arms sqn with MiG-21 Bison

Phalodi/Suratgarh AFS: 35 Wing’s 23 Panthers sqn with MiG-21 Bison & 104 Firebirds HU with Mi-35P

Tezpur AFS: 11 Wing’s 2 Winged Arrows sqn with Su-30MKI

Uttarlai AFS: 5 FBSU’s 4 Oorials sqn with MiG-21 Bison
The above accounts for 3 Sqns with MiG-29B-12, 9 Sqns with MiG-21 Bison, 2 Sqns with MiG-21M Type 88 (due for decommissioning later this year, following which the squadrons will convert to Su-30MKIs), 4 Sqns with Jaguar IS, 1 Sqn with Jaguar IM, 9 Sqns with Su-30MKIs, 3 Sqns with Mirage 2000H/TH, 3 Sqns with MiG-27UPG, 2 Sqns with MiG-27M, making a total of 36 squadrons. Although the sanctioned strength of the IAF is 42 combat aircraft squadrons (which is due for increase to 50 squadrons by 2024, at least on paper), the IAF’s operational strength till 2005 stood at 39.5 combat aircraft squadrons.

Presently, 470 combat aircraft, inclusive of reserves, belong to the MiG family, including 122 MiG-21 Bison, 40 MiG-27UPGs, 105 MiG-27Ms and 63 MiG-29B-12s now being upgraded to UPG standard. Su-30MKI deliveries now stand at 162 units. Add to that the 120 Jaguar IS that will undergo a deep upgrade, plus 51 Mirage 2000H/THs that too will be upgraded, plus the 10 existing Jaguar IMs and two Tejas Mk1 squadrons with 40 aircraft, and one derives a total of 916 units. To be ordered are another 40 Su-30MKIs, 189 Rafales, 83 Tejas Mk2s and 214 FGFAs. Consequently, by 2020, the projected IAF fleet of combat aircraft can be estimated to include 311 Su-30MKIs, 54 Rafales, 63 MiG-29UPGs, 51 Mirage 2000UPGs, 120 Jaguar IS(UPG), 40 MiG-27UPGs, 10 Jaguar IMs, 40 Tejas Mk1s, 24 Tejas Mk2s and 24 FGFAs, making for a grand total of 737 units, which will be just enough to equip 40 squadrons.
The shortfall could well have been minimised had the IAF in 2005 decided to undertake a deep upgrade for its 145 MiG-27Ms by re-engining each of them with AL-31F turbofans and equipping them with DARIN 3-type mission avionics, which would have extended their service lives by 20 years. This alone would have ensured that the IAF would, by 2020, have 46 combat aircraft-equipped squadrons.