Wednesday, 31 October 2012

President’s Standard for Vadodara-based IAF squadron 25

The 25 squadron of Indian Air Force (IAF) that had recently relocated base to Vadodara from Chandigarh has been awarded the prestigious President’s Standard. The squadron is presently serving the South Western Air Command and is also called ‘Himalayan Eagles’.
The squadron has been awarded the President’s Standard for its contribution spanning over five decades since its formation in 1963 at Chandigarh. It was awarded the squadron crest by President of India on December 2, 1969.
The squadron played a vital role in Indo-Pak conflicts in 1965 and 1971. More recently, it was involved in Operation Vijay in Kargil and Operation Parakram. The squadron will be presented the President’s Standard in December at the Air Force Station, Sulur.

After Army, CRPF plans air wing; to hire two choppers

In a move that could be a precursor to the CRPF raising its own air wing, the para-military force is hiring two choppers for troop movement in Maoist-dominated areas in nine states. So far, the CRPF has been relying on either the Indian Air Force or the Border Security Force who have their own air wing for troop movement and lifting injured during operations.
The CRPF has sent a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking their nod to hire two choppers for operational purposes. The para-military force has already raised its intelligence wing and has hired 2,000 people for the purpose of information gathering.
“We have already forwarded a proposal to Ministry of Home Affairs for hiring two helicopters which will be maintained and controlled by the CRPF. As of now mostly two types of helicopters are being used – MI17 and Dhurv.
We have experienced problems with MI17 since it cannot fly in the cloudy weather and it has delayed deployment in the past,” CRPF DG Pranav Sahay told reporters at the 73rd annual press conference.
Sahay was confident that the ministry will give a go ahead to their proposal.
As of now, CRPF has 75 battalions, including 9 special commondo force ‘CoBRA’, deployed in Maoist-affected areas. There had been difference of opinion between the Air Force and the CRPF over emergency sorties.
For instance, in a recent Jharkhand encounter, Air Force’s MI17 roped in for the evacuation of injured was delayed because of bad weather. Later, BSF’s Dhruv flew and airlifted injured personnel to a hospital in Ranchi.
The CRPF believes that helichopters will give advantage to the force in thick jungles of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand in launching counter attack against the Maoists. Also, they will be able to save lives of injured personnel.
The biggest para-military force is also strengthening its intelligence wing, formed four months ago, after Bijapur encounter controversy where they allegedly killed innocent tribal villagers.
The CRPF DG said so far they have recruited 2000 intelligence personnel at various ranks under its own unit.
“The separate unit was formed four months back. On an average each battalion now has 8 intelligence personnel attached to it. They primarily coordinate with state and central intelligence units. It also generates intelligence for proposed operation,” Sahay said.

India lost war with China but won Arunachal’s heart

Writers and historians say India lost the 1962 Sino-Indian War to the invading Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the erstwhile North Eastern Frontier Agency(Nefa), now Arunachal Pradesh. But, not many people are aware that despite the defeat, Indian nationalism in the form of Hindi won a long-drawn war of language crisis in the state.
“Hum Chini ke haath ladai to haar gaye, lekin Hindustan ke liye jung jeete the. (We lost the war in the hands of the Chinese, but we won it for India),” says 47-year-old Tsering Wange, adviser of Arunachal Pradesh Tour Operators Association, in Bomdila, which was the headquarters of Kameng sector during the war.

Born after the 1962 war, Wange, who’s a new generation entrepreneur, feels the war was in fact a blessing in disguise for the various Arunachali tribes who hardly understood each other before 1962.
With an area of 83,743 sq km and a population of 13.82 lakh as per the 2011 census, Arunachal Pradesh is inhabited by 26 major tribes and over 100 sub-tribes.
The war changed the course of India’s history and, eventually, Arunachal Pradesh was born. As on today, Indian nationalism runs high among the people of Arunachal in the entire trouble-torn northeast.

Before the war, Arunachal tribes would learn Assamese in order to be able to communicate with each other and to carry out trade with the people of the Brahmaputra valley. But as New Delhi troops were pumped into Nefa, the locals had to learn Hindi to interact with the soldiers of the Indian Army and the Border Road Task Force (BRTF) employees, who were mainly from the Hindi heartland, explains 63-year-old Dorjee Tsering, who runs a private school called Guru Padma Sambhava Memorial School, at Bomdila.

As the Army did not have porters during the war, they took the help of tribal villagers to carry food and ammunition. Soon, the tribals started picking up Hindi from them. The administrative officers and teachers who first landed in Nefa were also from Hindi-speaking states and this led to Arunachal residents adopting Hindi as their second language.

At present, Hindi has become the lingua-franca of several Arunachal tribes. The debates in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly take place in Hindi. Arunachal is the only state outside the country’s Hindi heartland to use the language in the assembly.
“We are proud that the people of Arunachal speak better Hindi than any other non-Hindi speaking state in the south, east or northeast. People from the state can communicate better than other northeast natives when they travel to Delhi, Mumbai and other northern states,” says Lhakpa Tsering, a border roads contractor from Dirang village.

The 39-year-old Lhakpa, a Monpa tribal, said the older generation of Arunachal natives, before the 1962 war, was better versed with Assamese. But the post-1962 generation prefers Hindi to Assamese. “I speak in Hindi when I interact with my friends from other Arunachal tribes,” he adds.
D K Thongdok, a former minister and author of the book ‘War on Buddha, a book on Chinese Aggression, 1962′, informs that the war led to the birth of Arunachal Pradesh in 1972, with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi making it a Union territory. Arunachal attained statehood later, in 1987, when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister.

“The war brought all the different tribes of Nefa together and the sufferings experienced by the civilians during the war led to resentment among people against Chinese. Indian nationalism ran high among the tribals, uniting them. People saw how the Indian jawans fought the war bravely, but got defeated. The villagers carried the dead soldiers for cremation on their backs,” elaborates Thongdok, who was then a 13-year-old boy.

According to Thongdok, Nefa was under the external affairs ministry and was almost like a buffer zone between China and India. The tribes inhabiting the Himalayan hilly tracts hardly knew each other’s languages and dialects. They only interacted with the Assamese people in the Brahmaputra plains.
“A common language was required for the tribes to speak to each other and it was Hindi which ultimately got that coveted place. In the state assembly, we conduct our debates in Hindi as English-educated MLAs are few in number and all of them know Hindi,” he added.

Thus, Hindi won the hearts of the Arunachal tribes after the war and instilled a spirit of Indian nationalism in the psyche of the people. The language became a binding force for the different tribes, concludes Thongdok, who belongs to Sertukpen tribe of Rupa village.

Airbus A330 wins IAF Tanker Tender

Recent Media Reports are Indicating that A330 from Airbus , has emerged winner of the Indian air force’s Aerial Tanker Requirement. current tender is a repeat of tender of 2006 , where IAF had selected   A330 from Airbus but it was rejected by India’s Finance Ministry since it was not the L1 bidder and IL-78 was cheapest and had quested why IAF wanted a different aircraft when IAF already had Il-78 under its current fleet .
Russians have Quoted price lesser than  A330 from Airbus , but after considering spares and support factors , IAF again has preferred A330 from Airbus . IAF Chief few years back had complaint poor availability of spares provided from Russian company for their current fleet of IL-78 tankers .
If this bid is rejected again by India’s Finance Ministry  , then it will allow Boeing to enter next Tender process since Boeing had not participated in last tender process to concentrate on American air forces tanker deal which it has won already . Russians in past few years have assured availability of spares will be better again , when Modernized IL-78 aircrafts will re-enter Production soon in 2015 .

'Official History Of The Indian Armed Forces In Second World War-1939-45’ Released By Lt Gen (R) JFR Jacob

0 568 by Chindits

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Boeing’s Chinook set to win Indian heavy-lift chopper tender

US Boeing’s Chinook CH 47F helicopter is set to win the Indian Air Force’s helicopter tender, defeating the Russian Mi-26 in the open international tender by a decent margin.
The tender was opened recently in the presence of representatives of both the companies, and according to reliable sources, the quote by the US company was “surprisingly much lower” in both the initial and lifecycle costs.
Russia – and the erstwhile Soviet Union – has been the biggest supplier of aircraft and defence equipment to India, but all these so far have been acquired on the basis of government-to-government agreements.
With the loss of the heavy-lift tender, Russia has lost both the competitive tenders in India in which it participated, the other being that of combat helicopters. In that, Russia withdrew its Mi-28, and Boeing’s Apache AH 64D won on both technical and financial merit. Earlier, the Russian Mig 35 lost against the French Rafale in the six-corner combat jet competition on technical grounds for 126 combat jets for the IAF.
The IAF had issued tenders, officially called request for proposals (RfPs), after evaluating globally available machines for 22 combat and 15 heavy-lift helicopters.
The result for the combat helicopters was announced earlier, and for the heavy-lift, it should be officially announced within a few days. But the sources confirmed that the Chinook is L-1, or the lowest in acquisition and maintenance costs in the official jargon.
Notably, the IAF has been using the Mi-26 for a quarter century now, and there appeared to be a leaning towards this machine because of familiarity and the fact that it can carry more weight than the Chinook. But Russia does not make this helicopter any more, and even with refurbished machines perhaps, its projected costs are higher.
The Chinook is a much more versatile machine, and the only helicopter in the world that can also float on water for launching and recovering inflatable boats with commandoes. In terms of operational capability, while the Mi-26 can carry more weight, it is nowhere near the American machine.
In fact, in the Himalayan heights, the Mi-26 has sometimes had problems in taking off and small runways had to be built to give it some lift.
According to Lt.Gen. (retd.) B.S. Pawar, an expert on rotorcraft, the newer version of the Chinook, which India will get from the US, is a proven machine and perhaps the best in comparison to other helicopters. “It is versatile and has proved as a great workhorse both in Afghan and Iraq operations in heavy logistic roles.”
“Chinook will be useful not only in ferrying under-slung artillery guns and jeeps but also be useful for integrated day and night commando operations for which it is well-equipped,” Lt. Gen. Pawar observed.

Ensure all weapons trial are fair, transparent: Antony’s warning to service chiefs

Defence Minister A K Antony has cautioned the three service chiefs, asking them to ensure that all weapons trial are fair and transparent at all stages. Mr Antony’s advice comes days after the Ministry of Defence wrote to the Italian Government seeking details of the internal probe into helicopter maker Finmeccanica for allegedly paying bribes to secure contacts across the world, including India.

The minister’s caution came on a day when the ministry’s Defence Acquisition Council cleared buying equipment worth Rs. 6,000 crore. The ministry cleared proposals for procurement of 3,000 Light Support Vehicles (LSVs) for the Army at a cost of Rs. 1,500 crore and Special Operations Vessels (SOVs) for the Marine Commandos of the Navy at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore.
The meeting also cleared proposals for purchase of Search and Rescue (SAR) equipment for Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers at a cost of Rs. 1,000 crore, 3,000 Hand-held Thermal Imagers (HHTIs) that help see in the dark for the Army at Rs. 800 crore and a Cadet Training Ship for the Navy at Rs. 480 crore which will be built by private sector ABG Shipyard, they said.
Finmeccanica and its subsidiary AgustaWestland have been dealing with the Indian armed forces to sell its helicopters. One of the deals, worth $720 million, is for 12 VIP helicopters to be used by the Prime Minister and President. This was signed in 2010.
The other was a bid by the company for India’s requirement of 197 light utility helicopters to replace its aging fleet of Cheetahs and Chetaks. Though Finmeccanica’s bid was rejected, India has asked the Italian government to share details of an investigation that has revealed that an Indian Army brigadier, who led evalution trials, offered to doctor them favourably for a $5 million bribe.
Finmeccanica is being investigated by Rome after some its former employees alleged that the defence conglomerate had regularly paid bribes across the world to secure contracts. The MoD wants to find out if kickbacks were paid for the $720 million deal too.
Finmeccanica had vehemently denied payinig any kickback, saying in a statement, “AgustaWestland is not involved in any irregularity concerning the supply of its helicopters to India.”
The Indian Embassy in Rome on its part wrote back to New Delhi saying that while Italy wasn’t sharing any details, inquiries from its local sources hadn’t revealed anything negative.

Defence against Home bid to take control of Indo-Myanmar border

The tussle over the India-Myanmar border has flared up with the Ministry of Home Affairs reiterating that the monitoring of the Northeast frontier be handed over to it from the armed forces.
Without mincing words, the Home Ministry has said that it would raise additional battalions of BSF to man the border if the Defence Ministry refuses to hand over the command of Assam Rifles to it.
Last month, the Home Ministry had proposed “the guarding of Indo-Myanmar border by replacing Assam Rifles with BSF by raising additional 41 battalions with support and supervisory staff in BSF”. The other option, said the September 24 proposal, was “transferring the operational control of Assam Rifles from the Ministry of Defence”’.
The Home Ministry under P Chidambaram had first demanded control of the Assam Rifles in April 2010 saying that its Army command had failed in counter-insurgency operations as well as in preventing cross-border movement of Northeast militants from their bases in Myanmar. Placing the BSF, it said, would allow Assam Rifles to focus on counter-insurgency operations.
It has now reasoned that the peaceful border should be manned by central paramilitary forces like the BSF rather than the Army whose presence vitiates diplomatic ties with Myanmar, which is progressively moving towards democracy.
The Defence Ministry, however, is opposed to passing on the border to the BSF, saying that the removal of Assam Rifles would deprive the Army of terrain knowledge and operational skills that are necessary in the backdrop of a potential threat from China.
With Chidambaram now holding the Finance portfolio, the Home Ministry hopes to get financial support to raise the extra BSF battalions needed to fight its case with Defence.
The final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
The oldest paramilitary force in India (raised in 1835), Assam Rifles is administratively under the Home Ministry but the Army exercises operational control over it. Following heightened insurgency, it was entrusted in 2002 to guard the 1,643-km-long Indo-Myanmar border, replacing the BSF.
Recently, Manipur endorsed the Union Home Ministry’s view that an effective guarding of the vulnerable sections of the zero line would reduce militancy in the Northeast.
Currently, the state said, the border is very porous, allowing arms and drugs smuggling and free movement of militants.



Aarush-X1_pic_2 by Chindits

Eastern Fleet Kicks Off Navy Week Celebrations

The day at sea demonstrations by the ships of eastern fleet was organised off the coast of Chennai today.  Indian Naval Ships including Landing Platform Dock (LPD) Jalashwa, Destroyers Rana and Ranvijay and the missile corvettes Kirpan, Kulish and Kirch participated in the demonstration.

A large number of exercises including demonstration of Naval ships which ward off attacks by fast moving crafts manned by terrorists and pirates, simulated missile firing demonstration, search and rescue by naval helicopters, a slithering operation undertaken by marine commandos on small crafts depicting pirate vessels and close quarter manoeuvres involving personnel and stores transfer between ships at sea are demonstrated to the guests embarked onboard for the sea sortie.

Speaking on the occasion Rear Admiral P Ajit Kumar, Flag officer in Commanding Eastern fleet said that the eastern fleet based at visakhapatnam is the sword arm of the Indian Navy and is formed with a wide array of extremely potent war fighting ships including the indigenous stealth frigates of the Shivalik class.  Jalashwa is an amphibious ship which is primarily designed to carry armed troops to distant shores.  The ship, being a versatile platform, can also be used for other secondary roles such as disaster relief and evacuation of Indians stranded in war torn areas abroad.  Rana and Ranvijay are the guided missile destroyers of Soviet origin and have served the Navy for nearly three decades and are considered one of the most powerful ships in the arsenal of the Indian Navy.  The ships are equipped with long range surface to surface missiles, anti submarine torpedoes, surface to air missiles and numerous guns to thwart all possible attacks.  The K class missile corvettes are indigenously developed ships which are armed with long range surface to surface missiles and guns, he added.

The Governor of Tamilnadu Dr.K.Rosaiah and a large number of dignitaries were embarked onboard the ships participated in the day at sea.  Senior Officers from the three services, Senior government functionaries in the state of Tamilnadu and more than 2500 guests and a total of nearly 2500 guests were embarked on various ships.

The Navy day, every year is celebrated on 4th Dec to commemorate a daring first of its kind missile attack by the OSA class missile boats on Karachi  during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.  This was for the first time post independence that the Indian Navy was drawn into war and proved its mettle bringing a hasty end to the conflict.  The attack was so fierce that the entire Karachi remained ablaze for many days after the attack thereby delivering a severe blow to Pakistans' war waging potential.

Supreme Court Advocate Gautam Khaitan Denies Any Link In VVIP Chopper Deal Irregularities

"This is in relation to the News Reports and Stories being telecasted, streamed and published at various modes of print and electronic media regarding some alleged Defence Deal of Agusta VVIP Helicopters.

To my great shock and disbelief, in the news articles/clippings/stories, my name is also emerging as a person involved in the deal. I emphatically state that I have no role at all in any defence deal of any nature whatsoever with any party/company.

I am a lawyer by profession and not a businessman as has been stated in the news stories/articles. I strongly deny all such allegations and insinuation of my having any direct/indirect involvement in any defence deals along with the alleged deal of VVIP helicopters.

Other than what I read in the newspapers about this deal, I have no information about this deal or any other defence deal. There is no question of any wrongdoing. I and my firm are acting as the lawyers for Aeromatrix for the limited purpose of helping the company with its statutory compliances in India and some other petty day-today matters.

We have been paid remuneration for our legal services provided to the Company. Aeromatrix is completely an IT company having approx. 50-55 employees."

Praveen Bakshi, CEO, Aeromatrix Info Solutions (P) Ltd. Denies Any Link With VVIP Chopper Deal Irregularities

"With regards to the various news reports published in the print media and electronic media, I Praveen Bakshi seek to clarify that there is no involvement of mine or of the company Aeromatrix of which I am the principal officer, with any defence dealings and particularly that of the VVIP helicopter purchase by the Govt of India.
I manage the day to day affairs of Aeromatrix which is involved in provision of virtual engineering support services. The company which started with 50 employees today has about 70 employees on its roles. All business transactions of the company with its customers are completely accounted for and transparent.
I once again reiterate that there is no connection of mine with any corrupt practices whether in India or overseas."

Monday, 29 October 2012

Super Su-30MKI: From Air Dominance To Air Supremacy

Come 2012 the first batch of 50 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA), which were delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) between 2001 and 2003, will be shipped back to Russia’s IRKUT Corp in Irkutsk where they will be refurbished and upgraded from into formidable air supremacy MRCAs (to be called Super Su-30MKI), and delivered back to the IAF starting 2014. The upgrades, costing Rs109.2 billion, will include the strengthening and service life-extension of the Su-30MKI airframes; and installation of uprated turbofans, new glass cockpit avionics, mission management avionics, and integrated defensive aids suites. This will be followed by another batch of 42 new-build Su-30MKIs to be subjected to identical upgrades, with deliveries of these aircraft beginning in 2015 and ending in 2018. It is expected that in future the Su-30MKMs of Malaysia and Su-30MKAs of Algeria too will be subjected to such ‘deep’ upgrade programmes.

The airframe strengthening programme for the 50 Su-30MKIs, when completed, will enable each of the 50 Su-30MKIs to carry two 290km-range underwing BrahMos supersonic multi-role (land-attack and maritime strike) cruise missiles (which itself is presently undergoing a weight reduction exercise), and also accommodate two uprated Lyulka AL-31FP turbofans. The AL-31FP, presently rated at 126kN with afterburning, will offer 20% more power when uprated by NPO Saturn—its manufacturer--and will have a total technical service life of 6,000 hours, instead of the present 2,000 hours. The uprated engine will also employ a larger diameter fan, redesigned key hot-end components and cooling system technologies to permit reduced thrust lapse rates with altitude, which in turn will permit supercruise flight regimes. Also to be incorporated into the uprated engine will be new-generation full-authority digital engine controls (FADEC) as well as all-axis thrust-vectoring nozzles (±15 degrees in the vertical plane and ±8 degrees in the horizontal plane, with deflection angle rates of up to 60 degrees per second). The digital flight-control computer too will be replaced to achieve harmonisation of the digital flight control laws associated with supercruise and all-aspect supermanoeuvrability.

The glass cockpit avionics package, developed by Russia’s Avionica MRPC and Tekhnocomplex Scientific and Production Centre, will include new-generation hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls made by KB Aviaavtomatika, panoramic active-matrix liquid crystal displays, and a compact OLS infra-red search-and-track sensor developed by the Ekaterinburg-based Urals Optical & Mechanical Plant. The mission management avionics package will include dual redundant core avionics computers developed by the Defence Research & development Organisation’s (DRDO) Bangalore-based Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The integrated defensive aids suite, now being developed by a joint venture of DARE and Cassidian of Germany, will include the MILDS AN/AAR-60 missile approach warning system (MAWS).

The open-architecture IDAS has been under joint development by DARE and Germany-based Cassidian since 2006, and will include the AAR-60(V)2 MILDS F missile approach warning system, the EW management computer and Tarang Mk3 radar warning receiver (developed by DARE and built by Bharat Electronics Ltd), a countermeasures dispenser built by Bharat Dynamics Ltd, TsNIRTI-developed expendable active electronic decoys, a reusable fibre-optic ABRL active radar towed-decoy using suppression, deception and seduction techniques, and an internal EW suite supplied by Elettronica of Italy (the very same Virgilius suite that is on board the MiG-29UPG). The Virgilius family of directional jammers, which are also used by the Eurofighter EF-2000, make use of active phased-array transmitters for jamming hostile low-band (E-G) and high-band (G-J) emitters, and is considered an equivalent of the AESA aperture-based jammers of THALES’ Spectra EW suite. The ABRL can be deployed manually from the cockpit, or automatically upon threat detection. It provides active interference to the terminal guidance of incoming air combat/surface-to-air missiles in order to provide for an increased miss-distance to outside lethal range. The ABRL features four rear-mounted lattice control fins to provide for decoy control and providing a certain amount of drag for enhanced stability during extreme manoeuvring. The advantages of lattice controls are that they can be folded down to facilitate carriage (in this application) inside a compact launch tube, are capable of unstalled operation at up to 50-degree angles of attack, and significantly reduce the demands placed on their actuators. In essence, they provide a great deal of lifting area despite having a very small chord, so combine outstanding effectiveness with comparatively small hinge moments. In the ABRL, the lattice fins are hinged forward into a recess in the decoy body and deploy rearwards upon decoy deployment.

The principal on-board mission management avionics components of the upgraded Su-30MKIs will be the multi-mode MIRES X-band active electronically steered-array (AESA) multi-mode radar (MMR), developed and built by the V Tikhomirov Scientific-Research Institute of Instrument Design along with Ryazan Instrument-Making Plant Federal State Unitary Enterprise, and modular L-band and S-band transmit/receive (T/R) modules that will be housed within the Su-30MKI’s forward wing and wing-root sections, as well as on the vertical tail sections. The MIRES, using the back-end elements of the Su-30MKI’s existing NO-11M ‘Bars’ PESA-based MMR, will be able to simultaneously perform up to five ‘core’ functions, comprising look-up and shoot-up; look-down and shoot-down; directional jamming of hostile data-links; real-beam ground mapping via Doppler-beam sharpening in the inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) mode; and ground moving target indication. This will give the Super Su-30MKIs an unprecedented degree of all-round situational awareness and interleaving mission synchronicity (performed by the two-man crew), which will be available, for the most part, from only the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s International Roadmap variant once it becomes available from 2013 onwards. 

The MIRES radar’s GaAs-based RF components (transistors, diodes and MMICs) have been developed and made by Moscow-based NPO ‘Istok’. The wing-/tail-mounted L-band or S-band T/R modules will be employed for secondary airspace surveillance, as well as for missile approach warning and directional jamming of airborne tactical data-links associated with BVRAAMs and AEW & C platforms, thus transforming the upgraded Su-30MKI into a combined airborne early warning/tactical battlespace management platform. With operating in wavelengths of between 6 and 12 inches, L-band permits good long-range airspace search performance with modestly-sized antennae, while providing excellent weather penetration and reasonably well-behaved ground clutter environments, compared to shorter wavelength bands. The basic L-band modular AESA array design and its integration into the leading edge flap structure have already been flight-certified. The physical alignment of the array is with the leading edge of the wing, at 42 degrees for the Su-30MKI’s airframe. Each array will employ 12 antenna elements. Three quad T/R modules each drive four antenna elements, for a total of 12 elements per array, in three sub-arrays. The linear array is embedded in the leading edge of the wing flap, with the geometrical broadside direction normal to the leading edge. The leading edge skin of the flap covering the AESA is a dielectric radome, which is conformal with the flap leading-edge shape. The array geometry produces a fan-shaped main lobe, which is swept in azimuth by phase control of the 12 T/R modules, providing a two dimensional volume-search capability. The arrangement of the AESA produces a fan-shaped beam, which is swept in azimuth to cover a volume in the forward hemisphere of the aircraft. The distributed AESA arrays (X-band, L-band and an optional S-band) are nothing less than the ‘shared multifunction aperture’ model now very popular in the design of Western X-band AESA-based MMRs, including the Raytheon APG-79 and Northrop Grumman APG-80. However, the greatest advantage of such on-board distributed AESA arrays is that they will convert the Su-30MKI into a mini-AEW & C platform capable of undertaking tactical airborne battle management tasks in support of offensive air campaigns deep within hostile airspace, thereby doing away with the need for dedicated AEW & C platforms, which could then be more gainfully employed for strategic airspace surveillance-cum-management. Thus far, the IAF has projected a requirement for 50 Su-30MKIs to be configured as mini-AEW & C platforms.

Other new-generation avionics to be installed on the Super Su-30MKI will include the RAM-1701AS radio altimeter, TACAN-2901AJ and DME-2950A tactical air navigation system combined with the ANS-1100A VOL/ILS marker, CIT-4000A Mk12 IFF transponder, COM-1150A UHF standby comms radio, UHF SATCOM transceiver, and the SDR-2010 SoftNET four-channel software-defined radio (working in VHF/UHF and L-band for voice and data communications), and the Bheem-EU brake control/engine/electrical monitoring system, all of which have been developed in-house by the Hyderabad-based Strategic Electronics R & D Centre of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The digital air data computers and flight data recorders and their automated test benches will be supplied by Bengaluru-based SLN Technologies Pvt Ltd.

For air dominance operations the upgraded Su-30MKI will be armed with two types of new-generation air combat missiles from Vympel JSC: the RVV-MD within-visual-range missile, and the RVV-SD beyond-visual-range missile. The RVV-MD’s maximum range is 40km (the existing R-73E has 30km range) and comes equipped with a two-colour imaging infra-red sensor that has +/-60-degree off-boresight tracking capability. The manoeuvre controls are aero- and gas-dynamical. The maximum angle-of-attack is significantly higher than that of the R-73E, and can hit targets that are manoeuvring at 12 G. The RVV-SD has a maximum range of 110km and engage targets flying at an altitude of 25km. Equipped with both laser-based and contact fuzes, the RVV-SD has a 22.5kg warhead, mass of 190kg, length of 3.71 metres, diameter of 0.2 metres, and wingspan of 0.42 metres. It too can engage targets manoeuvring at 12G. The guidance system is inertial for the middle course, with radio-correction and a jam-resistant active radar for the terminal phase.

Like the existing Su-30MKIs, the upgraded models too will be equipped with COBHAM's 754 buddy-buddy refuelling pod (20 units have already been delivered to the IAF to date), Elbit Systems’ Condor 2 LOROP pod, IAI/ELTA’s ELM-2060P ISAR pod, and RAFAEL’s Litening-3 laser designator pod. To date, India has ordered a total of 272 Su-30MKIs, with deliveries continuing till 2018. Thus far, about 120 Su-30MKIs have been delivered to the IAF. These are presently deployed with the Lohegaon, Pune-based No2 ‘Winged Arrows’ Sqn, No20 ‘Lightnings’ Sqn, No30 ‘Rhinos’ Sqn and No31 ‘Lions’ Sqn; Bareilly-based No24 ‘Hunting Hawks’ Sqn; Tezpur-based No8 ‘Pursoots’ Sqn; and No102 ‘Trisonics’ Sqn at Chabua.

Indian Army's new role: teaching Jammu's tribal kids

The Indian Army has donned a new role in Jammu and Kashmir, with the border state enjoying a period of relative peace. It had adopted a project to educate the children of Gujjars and Bakerwals, tribal goatherds and shepherds who inhabit the Pir Panjal range in the state's Jammu

The classes were held for a month at Bhattadurian, Chhatral and Poshiana villages of Poonch district, about 260 km northwest of Jammu.

The army personnel conducted lessons in elementary arithmetic and reading. For many children, it was their first taste of school and they were left deeply touched by the experience.

Eight-year-old Ameen Hussain of Bhattadurian village said that he had not imagined that studying could be such fun. He now yearns to be like his instructor, and become an army man. "My teacher has told me that if I study, I can become an officer in the army.Now I have made up my mind to do that," he said.

Not all the children, though, have such dreams: Hashim Din, a friend of Ameen Hussain and nearly the same age, said: "One month is good enough. I enjoy being with my herd of goats. That's far better, more free."

Defence spokesman Col RK Palta said that the aim of the classes was to encourage parents to send their childrento school.

"The requisite study material,including stationery, books and appropriate teaching aidsfor these classes were provided by us.
The aim was only to encourage parents to send children to school," Col Palta said.

The Gujjar and Bakerwal tribes inhabit the Pir Panjal range. Traditionally, their lives have been nomadic.

There is a lack of basic facilities like schooling and children often accompany their parents to graze sheep and goats and gather fuel wood.

According to state government statistics, of a total population of 1.25 crore, there are about 20 lakh Gujjars and Bakerwals in the state, of whom 5,00,000 continue with their nomadic life. The nomads move to mountainous pastures in summer and spend the winter in the plains, along with their animals.

While the state's literacy rate is 68.7% according to the 2011census, only 21% of Gujjars and Bakerwals are literate.

Among those who continue to be nomadic, there are barely any literates at all.

Palta said that the army's teaching initiative began after a request was made by the elders of the three villages during one of the regular amity meetings that the army holds.

"Besides providing an exposure to basic education to the children of the area, these classes would also act as a catalyst in kindling the desire amongst children for education. We hope to also generate an interest in education in the parents. The immediate benefit of these classes would be only rudimentary knowledge for the tribal children," the spokesman said.

About twenty students attended the classes that the army offered at each of the three villages.

Seven-year-old Zubeda Sayed of Poshiana attended the classes regularly, without missing even one. "It was a happy time for me, studying. I would like to study more," she said.

"The army will continue to hold such classes in future. We would also be only too willing to sponsor students from remote areas so they can attend regular Army Good will schools across the state," the spokesman said.

He said the weather will not be an impediment to the effort."We can continue the classes in winter, even when the place is snowed under. The children have nothing else to do at that time," he added.

Defence body to decide on replacing ageing IAF choppers

The Defence Acquisition Council is set to meet on Monday where a decision is expected on replacing the military's ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters of the Indian Air Force. The meet comes amidst allegations of bribery which threaten to torpedo the VVIP helicopter deal.

Italian defence major Finmeccanica stands to lose thousands of crores in Indian orders if it is proved that its subsidiary AgustaWestland did give bribe for a contract. Another one of its companies, WASS, is close to clinching a contract to supply more than 200 Blackshark heavyweight torpedos that will arm Scorpene submarines.

The same torpedos will equip the nuclear submarine Arihant and the proposed Project 75I line of conventional submarines. However, allegations of rigging in procurement as claimed by rival German firm AtlasElectronik which is pushing its own torpedo could jeopardise WASS' bid.

Atlas has alleged the procurement process was rigged to favour WASS. Even a suspicion of wrong doing may be enough for Defence Minister AK Antony to abort the procurement of not only the torpoedos but also the VVIP helicopters.

Murky helicopter deal shadow on billion-dollar torpedo sale

Italian defence company, Finmeccanica, is grappling with allegations that kickbacks were paid in group company AgustaWestland's Euro 560 million (Rs 3,880 crore) sale to India of 12 AW101 VVIP helicopters, intended to fly Indian dignitaries in safety and comfort.

Given India's defence ministry's tendency for blacklisting arms vendors suspected of wrongdoing, the industry is watching the developments with bated breath. Any ban on Finmeccanica would mean that recent contracts won by group companies would be up for grabs again.

Hanging by a thread is a torpedo contract won by Finmeccanica company, WASS, which could very well be worth $1 billion. On the verge of being signed is a Rs 1,700-crore contract for 98 Blackshark heavyweight torpedoes for the navy's six Scorpene submarines.

This could lead to an automatic order for 98 more torpedoes for the navy's next six conventional submarines that will be built under Project 75I.

And, India's nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet, which will feature six submarines like the INS Arihant, would require another 98 torpedoes.

At stake here, therefore, is more than Rs 5,000 crore. The heavyweight torpedo is the Scorpene's primary armament against enemy warships. Fired from six torpedo tubes, a battery propels it through the water,homing in on vessels that are up to 50 kilometres away.

India's order is make-or-break for the world's two big builders of electrical torpedoes - WASS and the German company, Atlas Electroniks. "This potential Indian order is crucial for thefuture of the heavyweight electrical torpedo industry. It is larger than all the other international orders combined," says an expert on the global naval weapons trade.

Atlas Electroniks has repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, challenged the MoD's January 12, 2010,selection of WASS Blackshark torpedo, at the expense of Atlas' Seahake torpedo. On January 19, Atlas complained officially to Shashi Kant Sharma (who headed the MoD's acquisition wing and is now the defence secretary) accusing the MoD of rigging the selection to favour WASS.

Atlas says the MoD's tender (Request for Proposal, or RfP) makes the vendor "responsible for seamless integration and/or interface of the torpedo with the (Scorpene submarine's) combat system." The Blackshark alone fulfilled this requirement, since it was developed by WASS in collaboration with DCNS, which builds the Scorpene.

This, pointed out Atlas, violates the Defence Procurement Procedure, which states (in Para 13) that the user requirements "must not prejudice the technical choices by being narrow and tailor made."

Atlas buttresses its allegations of a rigged procurement by pointing out that the MoD's Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) had cleared its plan for integrating the Blackhake torpedo into the Scorpene submarine: but then rejectedit in field trials (termed No Cost No Commitment, or NCNC trials) in which the torpedo was physically operated and verified).

If the TEC had rejected Atlas, this would have been single-vendor procurement, requiring a special sanction. But the DPP (Para 70(a) of Chapter 1) says that if more than one vendor is cleared by the TEC, the procurement would not be deemed single-vendor even if only one vendor clears the user trials.

"We now have got the strong impression that a procedure has been engineered here, where ATLAS has been taken through to the NCNC stage with an intention of rejecting ATLAS at this stage. Unfortunately, the reason for rejection conflicts with what has previously been accepted by the TEC and approved by the MOD", Atlaswrote to the Acquisitions Wing.

Atlas' flurry of complaints to the MoD's Acquisitions Wing, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC): and to Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju, have all been rejected.

Sources close to WASS point out that MoD had little choice but to lay down that the torpedo must be compatible with the Scorpene, since it was being bought for use in that submarine.

DCNS, the Scorpene vendor, which had also co-developedthe Blackshark with WASS, wrote to the MoD warning that the Indian Navy might face a delay in the first two Scorpene submarines if Atlas' Blackhake torpedo was to be integrated onto them.

At that stage, the Scorpene programme was already running three years late.

The outcome: in field trials, the MoD rejected Atlas' plan for integrating the Blackhake onto the Scorpene, a plan that it had accepted during technical evaluation.

And WASS's commercial bid for the Blackshark torpedo was the only one that the MoD opened.

"The Italians and the Frenchobviously worked together to make this happen. And, this has opened the door for WASS to charge an arbitraryprice, since this has become a single vendor procurement," says Commodore Arvind Mathur, the former head of the Scorpene Project who has worked with Atlas Electronikson this tender.

WASS was contacted for comments but refused to make any statement.

The flow of leaks from an Italian investigation into Finmeccanica's Indian dealings has placed the MoD on edge. And, amongst those with stakes in this contract, nobody has forgotten that on March 5, 2012, the MoD had banned four global arms vendors from doing business with the Ordnance Factory Board, even though wrong doing has not been proved.

India’s 100 Billion USD Relationship With Israel

Since becoming the single largest defence customer accounting for almost half of the Israeli military sales worldwide, the Indo-Israel relationship has become crucial to both countries, since India has increased its dependency on Israel for sensitive high tech cooperation.Israel’s national economy is bolstered from its sensitive defense technology sales to India. Unmindful of India’s continued tirade against Israel over the issue of Palestine, Israel is deepening its defence relationship with India, ignoring the technology sanctions regime.In the coming decades, India’s defence market will require an order of more than USD 100 billion. Of which, Israel can hope to garner a big chunk of this.

Despite domestic political opposition no government in India can afford to ignore the
sensitive high technology offered by Israel. Israel even went to the extent of supplying the Elta Greenpine and Phalcon radars which was denied to China on US insistence early last decade.The special defence relationship developed between the two countries has upstaged even the Russian defence industry causing Israel to emerge as the single biggest supplier of arms to India. This relationship is worth more than USD $1billion annually, not counting the many joint development programs initiated in the last few years.The India-Israel defence relations began to deepen during the BJP led NDA regime from 1998 to 2004. However, the gates for which actually were opened by the Congress led Narsimha Rao regime. During the Kargil conflict in 1999 Israel appeared as the most credible defence supplier with laser designated pods for the Mirage-2000 fighters, besides supplying many ammunitions urgently needed.Radars and EW Systems israel has helped India in acquiring three Phalcon radars for the AWACS aircraft based on the Russian IL-76 aircraft and two more will be contracted soon, helping the Indian air force strengthen its surveillance capabilities.The Greenpine radars supplied to India in the early years of the previous decade has helped Indian DRDO develop an indigenous anti-missile system, though this is yet to be finally cleared for production. Besides assisting the Indian Air Force in updating its Mig-21 bison aircraft with the latest in avionics and electronic warfare equipments and systems, India has delved deep into the field of anti-missile technology. In January 2009, India inducted the first of three Phalcon all-weather AWACS,built by Israeli Aircraft Industries, under a $1.1 billion deal. The radar system, produced by Israel's Elta Industries, has been installed on the Russian Il-76 aircraft.

The Indian AWACS equipped with Israeli Phalcon have India the honor of becoming the first South Asian country to use the most advanced multi-sensor aircraft in the region.Israel has been key in retrofitting the Indian war platforms with EW gadgets and now the country has provided surveillance on multiple airborne and surface moving targets.Offsets As part of the Phalcon deal, offset conditions of sourcing a minimum 30 percent of any contract locally, the Israelis are setting up five artillery shells factories worth USD 250 million in India.On 1 June, 2011 the Israeli High Tech Industry Association had signed a MOU with CII for boosting cooperation in high technology which will further increase the burgeoning defence sales to India. This MOU will take advantage of the policy to encourage private sector participation in the defence sector, though the FDI in defence sector is still limited to 26 percent, there is a serious move to raise it to beyond 50 percent.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the accord with India’s leading industry chambers would lead to a convergence of “Israel’s innovative prowess with India’s huge and talented pool of human resources.” And added, “Increased arms’ spending has created a natural market for Israeli military technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne early warning radar systems. In recent years the deepening defence relationship with India has led to a strategic partnership between the two countries.” The defensive missiles have now become the key component of the India Israeli defence connection. Missiles After acquiring the Barak anti-ship missiles early last decade for the Indian navy, India signed a USD 4.1 billion deal to acquire a shore based and ship borne anti- missile air defence system which will be based on Israel’s Barak long range naval missile developed by the IAI.

 Taking cue from the success story of the Indian Russian Brahmos aerospace joint venture, the two countries in 2009 signed a USD 2.5 billion deal with IAI and Israel’s Rafael armaments company to jointly develop an advanced version of the Spyder surface to air missile.India is now entering into arrangements for joint development and production of the long range anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems. Three years ago, Indian DRDO made a smart move to acquire supersonic cruise missile from Russia, which otherwise could not have been supplied by any of the European and US firms on the excuse of the various control regimes.

In March, 2011 the Indian Ministry of Defence is reported to have ordered from
Rafael Advanced Defence Systems 8,356 Spike anti-tank missiles, 321 Spike
launchers, 15 training simulators and other associated equipments worth USD one
billion. According to defence sources, Rafael was the only bidder in the RFP which
was released in June, 2010. It is learnt that since India wanted technology
transfer, other bidders like Raytheon, MBDA, Rosoboronexport and General
Dynamics withdrew from the bid.

Sources say that the Indian army will be handed over off the shelf Spike missiles
from Israel and later partly assembled missiles will be sent to India for final
assembly by the Indian public sector defence firm Bharat Dynamics and later to be
fully assembled by BDL. The Spike missile systems will be installed on the Russian
T-90 tanks. The Spike missiles have a 90 percent accuracy rate with a range of 2.5
km. These missiles have 3G active passive fire and forget guidance systems.
Considering the delay in the anti-missile systems being developed in India, and
flight tested five times since 2006, the Indian security establishment is seriously
mulling the possibility of acquiring the ARROW -2 Anti Ballistic missile system,
which has been jointly developed by the Israeli Aircraft Industries and the Boeing
of USA.

Although the US administration has many times offered India the anti-missile
systems as part of the BMD system, it is understood that if India seeks to acquire
this missile from Israel, the US would not deny this defensive weapon system to


Israel has also supplied India with the most advanced spy satellite,
post Mumbai carnage of 26-11 by the Pakistani terrorists, to keep a watch on all the military
movements on the borders and the 7000 km coastline of the country. The Israeli
built 300 kg RISAT-2 satellite can see through clouds and is capable of all
weather, day and night imaging. The RISAT-2 was launched on 20 April, 2009 by the Indian PSLV rocket. RISAT -2 is a microwave based high resolution imaging reconnaissance satellite. This can
distinguish cloud camouflaged formations from surrounding terrain.

Long Range Missiles

Though not officially confirmed India is reported to have finalized this year a USD
$1 billion deal with India for the supply of the loitering anti-missile drone, called
HAROP , which can be launched over a suspected area for hours at a distance of
1000 km, spot the target and attack them. The HAROP resembles the earlier
suicide drone HARPY, but this has been augmented by an RF seeker, with an
electro – optical sensor. Since the HAROP can loiter over a suspected site for hours
it can also be targeted against the suspected ballistic missile sites.

As AKASH and Trishul missile could not generate any confidence in the armed
forces, the MoD agreed to work on a joint development program for creating a new
BARAK-NG Medium ship borne air defence missile which has evolved from Barak-1

In July, 2007 the MR-SAM project began moving forward which is now called
Barak-8. The Indian armed forces had pinned its efforts to remove its air defence
weaknesses by collaborating with Israel in a big way. India earlier acquired
BARAK-1 to fill the gap in the absence of promised Trishul missile in a USD 300
million deal. The Indian navy later worked on a BARAK-NG\LR-SAM project, which
will be of longer range of 60-70 km. DRDO is also working on a land based BARAK-
8 Air and Missile Defence System(AMD).

This was confirmed by the Indian defence minister in a written reply in the Indian
parliament on 14th December, 2009,

“Defence Research Development

Organization (DRDO) has undertaken joint development of missiles, Long Range
Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) for Indian navy and Medium Range Surface to Air
Missile (MRSAM) for Indian Air Force with M/s Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI),
Israel. The cost of project for LRSAM is Rs. 2606.02 Crore and cost of project for
MRSAM is Rs. 10075 crore. Both the missiles being developed are comparable in
performance and cost to missiles available in their class in the world market.”
The Indian MOD has also opted for a follow on land based system, which will
replace the old Russian air defence missiles. The DRDO will be the prime partner
with the IAI for the MR-SAM project which will roughly cost Rs 2300 crores (USD
450 million) in participation of the total project cost of Rs 10,000 crores (around
USD 2 billion). The project which hopes to be completed in 5 years provide the
Indian armed forces with 9 advanced air defence squadrons, each with 2 MR-SAM
firing units. Each unit will have a command and control centre, acquisition radar,
guidance radar and three launchers with eight missiles each. The total program
aims at ten command and control centers, 18 acquisition radars and 54 launchers
which will be loaded with 432 MR-SAM missiles.

After the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament, India invited the Israeli army experts
to train 3,000 Indian soldiers in anti-insurgency warfare in jungle, mountain and
desert areas. And to arm these soldiers with urban warfare equipments, India
authorized USD 30 million agreement with Israeli Military Industries (IMI) for
3,400 tavor assault rifles, 200 Galil sniper rifles along with night vision and laser
range finding and targeting equipment.

Early last decade, the Israeli Aircraft Industries entered into several contracts
with Indian Air Force, which also included the agreement to upgrade Russian Mig-
21 aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles and laser guided bombs. India also later
negotiated with Israel for the state of the art fire control systems and thermal
imagers for the Indian army’s Russian T-72 tanks.

In 2003 Indian DRDO was supplied with the Elta Green Pine radar a very
important component of Arrow Ballistic Missile Defence systems. The same year
India started negotiating for the Phalcon radar, for which Israel successfully
prevailed upon US for letting supply the radar to India, which has imposed
sanction post May-1998 nuclear tests.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

In the middle of last decade the Indian HAL joined hands with the Israeli Aircraft
Industries for marketing its Advanced Light Helicopters in world market. In fact
the avionics produced by IAI was installed on the ALH for global marketing.
The unmanned aerial vehicle strength of the Indian armed forces is derived mainly
from the Israeli companies.
In 2005, India entered into an agreement with Israel Aircraft Industries for supply
of 50 HERON-MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs worth USD 220
million, for reconnaissance missions on India’s mountainous borders with China
and Pakistan and also on 7000 km long coast line of India. Before this deal India
had acquired 12 Heron-1 drones, which was put to very good use during the
Tsunami in 2004 for search and rescue operations, near the Andaman and Nicobar

This Heron is capable of day long flying (can fly non-stop for 40 hours) in locating
the survivors. The Heron is capable of carrying multiple payloads for variety of
missions. It includes electro-optical and surveillance equipment, maritime patrol
radars and sensors, signals and other intelligence gathering antennas, radio relays
and laser designators. India has also acquired the Israeli SEARCHER-2 equipped
with standard day night surveillance turret.

On the other hand the Herons are similar to the Israel’s maritime patrol
configuration along with an Elta systems radar besides a stabilized Tamam
surveillance and targeting turret. India has also acquired Heron-2 or Heron TP
variant, which has a bigger 1,200 hp Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop
for powering. It has a mission payload of 1000 kg and can be flown up to 45,000
feet. It has a maximum endurance of 36 hours.

The Heron \ Searcher UAV squadrons are based mainly in the Navy’s bases in
Gujarat coastal areas. It was reported in August, 2009 that Indian army has
ordered two more troops ( 6 to 8 birds each) of advanced Heron UAVs from IAI at
a cost of Rs 118 crores (then USD 230 million) , This acquisition was intended by
Indian army to better observe the long borders with China and Pakistan.
India Israel defence relations have thus transcended the limits set by the India-
Russia defence and strategic partnership. Israel has proved that it can be a
dependable defence partner. It can offer technologies which India cannot source
from other countries

Friday, 26 October 2012

India, Brazil & South Africa to Hold Joint Naval Drill “IBSAMAR”

 South African Naval Lynx landing on INS Mysore

The navies of India, Brazil and South Africa are set to embark on their biannual naval exercise 

 INS Aditya alongwith SAS Amatola and BNS Niteroi

INS Mysore .. which is part of the team

 INS ADITYA Fleet Tanker on route to Durban:

 INS GANGA the second of the guided-missile frigates:

 INS TABAR one of the guided-missle frigates comes in Durban habour:

“IBSAMAR”. A spokesperson of the Navy said the exercises were meant to promote greater interoperability and foster synergy among the Indian Navy and other participating navies.

Having initially involved only basic operations, the current interaction would feature advanced aspects of the naval warfare, including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine operations.

The Indian Navy has been conducting formalised exercises annually with several foreign navies over the past several years, such as the “VARUNA” series with the French Navy, the “INDRA” series with the Russian Navy and the “KONKAN” series with the Royal Navy (UK).

The professional skills and experiences exchanged during these interactions enhance cooperation and lead to better understanding of finer nuances of naval operations as well as disaster management and combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy. With the success of such interactions, the scale of complexity of these exercises is growing by the year.

Four Indian warships, INS-Mysore, Tabar, Ganga and Aditya, are deployed on a goodwill visit to several maritime nations of Africa and South Indian Ocean. These will move on for the exercise with Brazil and South Africa.

Soon,commandos to come under single command

A plan is afoot to integrate commandoes of the army, navy, air force and the National Security Guard (NSG) under a single command.

The planning has been goingon for the last three and a half years or so. It will result in a single commando force forspecial and incisive operations.

"As many as 15,000 well-trained men with sophisticated weapons, who are supported by sound logistics, will come under a single command," said an official familiar with the developments.

The plan has received a fillip after being recommended by the Naresh Chandra Committee, a 14-member task force on national security, which submitted its report to the government in August.

"A combined force for operating in absolutely covertconditions is long overdue. Most countries, except India, have such forces," said retired Lt Gen PC Katoch, who commanded special forces in Sri Lanka.

Understandably, this force willoperate both within India and abroad.
At present, the Indian Army has about five battalions of para commandoes with another three in the pipeline, the navy has two marine commando battalions- popularly known as Marcos - while the air force has the Garuds numbering about 1,500 commandoes. The elite NSG has five battalions for special operations, excluding substantial numbers of fighters who take care of VIP security.

The commandoes to be commanded by a Lt General of the army will have capabilitiesand skills to battle it out on land, air and sea and will have the facilities to reach anywhere within the shortest possible time.

Incidentally, last Friday, PM Manmohan Singh had indicated his intent when he called for synergy among the armed forces for "comprehensive responses".'We should aim to abandon single service or segmented approaches and develop synergies across services. Compartmentalised views will only delay our response,' the PM had said addressing top commanders.

India, Lanka hold parleys on furthering defence cooperation

Against the backdrop of protests in Tamil Nadu against training to Lankan defence personnel, India and Sri Lanka today held discussions on furthering their defence cooperation.

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is in India on the invitation of National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, called on Defence Minister A K Antony, Defence Ministry officials said here.

He also held a meeting with Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma in which the two are understood to have discussed the entire gamut of military relations between the two sides, they said.

The meetings have come at a time when Tamil Nadu political parties are vehemently opposing any kind of military ties with the Island nation.

However, despite these protests, the Defence Ministry has decided to continue military relations and is also planning to hold joint exercises with Sri Lankan armed forces along with training its personnel.

It has also tried to address the concern of the Tamil Nadu political parties on the issue and has directed the armed forces to hold the joint drills away from the south Indian states.

ITBP may get air wing to better guard China border

The paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the border with China, may get an air wing to better patrol the frontier, its director general said Thursday.

“We are in talks with the government and may get our own air wing to guard the border better,” ITBP chief Ranjit Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of the force’s golden jubilee celebrations.

Though there was an increase in Chinese violations of Indian airspace, the “situation is not alarming”, he noted.

“There were some violations by Chinese helicopters in May and June this year… But there is nothing to worry and the situation is not alarming,” Sinha added.

Raised in 1962 in the wake of the Sino-Indian war, the ITBP is deployed from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La in Arunachal Pradesh, manning border outposts across 3,488 km at altitudes ranging from 9,000-18,500 feet in the western, central and eastern sectors of the India-China border.

Sinha further said the word intrusion or violation was itself questionable as the international border between the two countries was disputed in some areas.

“A Chinese helicopter may be flying in an area which they consider is theirs but for us that will be an intrusion… It’s better to call them perceived violations.”

The force, he said, was in a “much better position” with respect to the latest arms and ammunition, as well as gadgets.

Indian and US navies hold submarine rescue operations

If an Indian submarine gets "disabled" deep underwater, the sailors are sunk since the country has only rudimentary submarine rescue facilities. Now, in a unique and complex endeavour, Indian and US Navies have come together to practise the rescue of "trapped" submariners from deep under the sea.

The Indo-US submarine rescue exercise 'INDIAEX-2012' kicked off this week with the US Navy's Undersea Rescue Command flying down a submarine rescue system - a deep-submergence rescue vessel (DSRV) or a submarine rescue chamber (SRC) — to Mumbai, say officials.

The DSRV or SRC is being shipped to the exercise area off Mumbai, where it will dive deep underwater to "mate'' with "disabled'' submarines to rescue sailors in intricate manoeuvres rarely practised by Indian sailors.

A DSRV or "mini submarine", equipped with pressurised chambers, sonars and cameras, can rescue 24 sailors at a time from a depth up to 610 metre after "mating" with a stricken vessel's hatch.

At present, Indian sailors only bank upon "submarine escape pressurized suits'', or the help of diving support ships like INS Nireekshak, but they can be used only for relatively shallow depths.

Navy's endeavour to procure two DSRVs of its own, for just about Rs 1,000 crore, has been stuck in the doldrums for well over a decade now. As "an interim measure" in 1997, India had inked the contract with US Navy for its "global submarine rescue fly-away kit'' service, paying an initial $734,443 for it.

But the agreement also got derailed due to the post-Pokhran-II sanctions in 1998. It was later revived in 2004, but there has been a huge delay in setting up the requisite infrastructure needed for it.

This also included fitting of "Padeyes'' — holding devices welded into submarine escape hatches to secure the DSRV — on Indian submarines. The US rescue system will be transported to India within 72 hours of an emergency.

Proper submarine rescue facilities are critical for India since it has an ageing fleet of 14 diesel-electric submarines — 10 Russian `Kilo' class and four German HDW ones — apart from the nuclear-powered INS Chakra leased from Russia earlier this year. There are also six French Scorpene submarines, being constructed at Mazagon Docks under the Rs 23,562 crore 'Project-75', slated for delivery in 2015-2020, three years behind schedule.