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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

From Today's Papers - 17 Feb 10







MiG crashes in WB, pilot killed

New Delhi, February 16
An IAF MiG-27 fighter jet today crashed near Hashimara in West Bengal killing its pilot in the first such mishap this year. “The MiG-27 crashed today and a pilot was killed in the mishap," an IAF officer said here.

The aircraft had taken off from the Hashimara air base where a fighter squadron is based and was doing a sortie to Bagdogra when the mishap happened. Wing commander Oswald was killed in the crash, the officer said.

The aircraft had taken off from Hashimara and within a few minutes he reported fire in the engines before it crashed within the airbase around 2.15 pm. The Eastern Air Command headquarters in Shillong has ordered a probe into the incident. — PTI







Bofors returns & how!
Code named ‘FH77 B05 towed howitzer’, it’s upgraded, more powerful and now in collaboration with Mahindra & Mahindra
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16
Bofors might sound ‘ominous’ for the Indian polity, but the 155 mm artillery gun made by the company is considered to be one of the finest in its category, and is now back in India. It is currently on display at the ongoing 6th Defence Expo 2010 here in the National Capital.

This time, the gun in its upgraded and more powerful avatar, is not owned by the controversial Swedish firm - Bofors. Its ownership has changed hands and now the BaE Systems owns the license to produce the gun that is code named ‘FH77 B05 towed howitzer’. This is a 52 calibre gun that is an upgraded version of the earlier 39 calibre, 155 mm gun purchased by India 25 years ago.

The BaE has arrived in India in a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra, the vehicle maker. At the unveiling of their stall yesterday, vice-chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Anand Mahindra told reporters, “The gun is innocent”.

His reference was towards the 25-year-old controversy that had dodged the Rajiv Gandhi government in the late 1980s. “The controversies are things of the past… The gun defended the country admirably during the Kargil conflict,” he said.

Sources in the Ministry of Defence said the Mahindra-BaE gun will participate in field trials. Facing it will be the “IFH2000 155mm 52 calibre” made by Singapore Technologies, which in collaboration with Punj Lloyd is setting up a plant in Madhya Pradesh. Chief marketing officer of Singapore Technologies Brig Gen Patrick Choy said, “We are here to stay”.

The Singapore technology gun is also on display at the DEFEXPO and the two companies are readying themselves to face each other.

The trials that were slated to start late this month have been postponed by a month following a request by the Singapore Technologies.

The Army is slated to purchase some 400 pieces of the towed artillery gun and more will be manufactured in the country under the transfer of technology agreement.

Notably, ever since the Bofors controversy broke out, India has not purchased any artillery gun and the existing guns are running short of the growing demand.

Rather field units of the Army have been “cannabalising” the guns to keep the other guns in operations.

Field trails had been conducted in the past, however, each time the tender used to be cancelled, as nobody in the government wanted touch the “Bofors” guns.

Now, the government after modification of its policy has allowed foreign participation with Indian companies.

BAE Systems will be co-located with Defence Land Systems India of the Mahindras. The joint venture will be up and running at its Faridabad plant, as announced by BaE.





Army chief visits Western Command
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Deepak Kapoor, visited the headquarters of Western Command at Chandimandir today.

Gen Kapoor was received by Lt Gen SR Ghosh, the GOC-in-C of Western Command. Lt Gen Ghosh later briefed the Army chief on various operational training and administration matters.

The Army chief, who retires at the end of next month, later interacted with officers and jawans posted at the station and inquired about various welfare activities. He was accompanied by Kirti Kapoor, the president of Army Family Welfare Organisation, according to a statement issued here.






Twitter ‘is a weapon in cyber warfare’
by Kim Sengupta

Britain needs to learn from the actions of the Israeli military in the Gaza in using YouTube and tweets to engage in 21st-century cyber-warfare, the Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton highlighted how the Israeli Air Force used the internet in the battle over international public opinion during last year’s conflict as an example of harnessing new technology.

“Accurate and timely information has always been critical to the military but its importance is increasing as societies become more networked,” he stated. “This is intimately linked to developments in space and cyber-space; as we saw in the conflict in Gaza in early 2009, operations on the ground were paralleled by operations in cyber-space and an ‘info ops’ campaign that was fought across the internet: the Israeli Air Force downloaded sensor imagery onto YouTube, tweets warned of rocket attacks and the ‘’ blog was used to mobilise public support.”

The Israeli attack on Gaza, with its large number of civilian casualties, led to widespread international criticism. However, the use of the internet by the Israeli forces attempting to show Hamas fighters employing local people as cover and the supposedly “surgical” nature of some of the bombing is thought to have countered some of the adverse publicity.

The emotive impact of civilian casualties has been graphically shown during the current offensive in Afghanistan to capture the Marjah region from Taliban forces. Twelve civilians, 10 of them from one family, were killed when two Nato missiles overshot their targets and hit a family home.

As well as the propaganda campaign, cyber-warfare can be used to target vital strategic communications and defence systems. Both Russia and China have been accused of using the new technology as offensive weapons to hack into targeted computer systems.

In a keynote speech at the International Institute for Strategic Defences, Sir Stephen urged military planners to focus on the “operational environment that is increasingly becoming the ‘vital ground’ in 21st-century conflict”.

The Air Chief Marshal’s address was one of a series by the heads of the three services as they make their pitch for resources before the impending Strategic Defence Review. It follows the case for the Army made by General Sir David Richards and the Navy by Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope. General Richards had stressed that the land-based counter-insurgency in Afghanistan is the shape of wars to come, while Admiral Stanhope argued that the UK must look “beyond Afghanistan” in his bid to keep naval assets, including two new aircraft carriers. Instead of fighting the battles of the past, the British military should be looking to the high-tech defences of the future, he said.

He said: “The exponential growth in the availability of information means that we must understand how to deliver and protect our national interests in the cyber domain and, although this is clearly a cross-government issue, defence has a legitimate interest in the development of offensive and defensive cyber-capabilities.”

“In the future our adversaries may use cyber-attack against our networked systems; indeed our national computer systems are under constant and intensifying attacks today. But our current enemies are already using effective information operations and propaganda (via the internet) about civilian casualties to try and influence our public’s opinion and thus constrain our activities. In short, they’ll use every possible means at their disposal to try to deny our freedom to use air-and space-power as we choose, because they understand that, if and when it is used effectively, it’s our comparative advantage.”

— By arrangement with The Independent







UPDATE:Eurocopter Bidding For Up To $8B Of India Defense Deals


NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturing unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV (5730.FR), is bidding for four to five defense contracts in India valued at $7 billion-$8 billion, a senior company executive said Tuesday.


Eurocopter also plans to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul center for the Dauphin helicopter in a joint venture with India's state-run Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd., Rainer Farid, Eurocopter's vice president ...






Tata Motors to Bid for Indian Army Contract




NEW DELHI -- Tata Motors Ltd., India's largest vehicle maker by revenue, will bid for an Indian Army contract worth about 3.5 billion rupees ($75.8 million) to supply 1,000 bullet-proof light trucks in what is likely to further expand the auto maker's presence in the rapidly growing defense equipment market.


"The company is offering vehicles valued at INR3.5 million each," V.S. Noronha, head of defence business at Tata Motors, told a news conference. "We are competing with all local vehicle manufacturers for the Indian Army contract."


Local vehicle makers Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Ashok Leyland Ltd. also supply trucks and buses to the Indian Army.


"Defense brings in big business for us," Ravi Kant, vice chairman of Tata Motors, said. "From supplying a couple of vehicles we have graduated to supplying a host of solutions."


India has earmarked 1.42 trillion rupees ($30.5 billion) as capital expenditure on defense for the current fiscal year through March 31, up from 1.06 trillion rupees in the previous year. The federal government is in the process of upgrading its armed forces by floating tenders for the purchase of new vehicles, arms and fighter jets as part of the modernization exercise.


Mr. Noronha said Tata Motors is also participating in the upgrading and overhaul program of the Indian Army's T-72 tank and its futuristic infantry combat vehicle as a system integrator.


Earlier Tuesday, engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd. said it has joined with U.S. defense corporation Raytheon Co. to upgrade the Russian-made T-72 tanks. Raytheon will provide infrared imaging sights and electronics to improve the quality of the battle tanks, while Larsen will provide fire control systems and sensors.


Tata Motors Monday introduced a new mine protected vehicle, which it plans to offer to the army, paramilitary and police forces.


Mr. Kant said Tata Motors is looking at several options for selling a stake in its vehicle finance arm, however, he didn't specify the purpose of the fund-raising.


Earlier Tuesday, Mint newspaper, citing two unnamed people, reported that State Bank of India may buy a 49% stake in Tata Motors Finance Ltd., the vehicle financing unit of Tata Motors.


Mr. Kant declined to comment on the report.


"We do not comment on any particular news story. As we have previously said, we are looking at various options at offloading a stake (in the vehicle finance arm)," Mr. Kant said.


Tata Motors' president of commercial vehicle business, Ravi Pisharody, said the company may raise prices of its trucks and buses by 1%-2% due to the implementation of new emission rules.


"New emission norms require new technologies, therefore the prices will have to go up," he said.


India will adopt Bharat Stage IV emission standards that are equivalent to the Euro-IV standards in 13 of India's biggest cities by April 1. Auto makers are required to invest in upgrading their vehicles to comply with the rules.






Govt pushes "make Indian" policy at defence fair

Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:19am EST

Related News


By Bappa Majumdar and Matthias Williams


NEW DELHI, Feb 16 (Reuters) - At a four-day defence fair in New Delhi this week, India's government is pushing its private defence sector with new policies making it mandatory for foreign firms to make the bulk of arms sold to India locally sourced.


More than 650 companies are taking part in New Delhi's DefExpo 2010 which began on Monday, touting their fighters, missiles and cutting-edge surveillance systems to one of the world's biggest emerging arms importers.


The stakes are high for domestic and foreign firms, with the government estimating the Indian defence market to be worth $100 billion over 10 years despite a history of red tape and graft scandals slowing efforts to modernise the sector.


The government last year introduced a new rule that made it mandatory for foreign defence firms to buy 30 percent of equipment from local firms, but is now looking at gradually raising that figure to a 70 percent target within a decade.


"We are looking to make most of the equipment locally to boost the private industry. This will not only benefit the private industry but also make it much cheaper for us," R.K. Singh, the Defence Ministry's secretary for production, told Reuters.


"We are changing our policy, hoping that it will speed up procurement and improve standards of local companies."


On Monday, Mahindra and Mahindra (MAHM.BO), India's top utility vehicles maker, trumpeted a joint venture with BAE Systems (BAES.L) to build armoured vehicles worth an initial investment of $21.25 million over three years.


"I think this is something which has huge potential," Anand Mahindra, the vice chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra, told reporters on Monday.


"I believe the government understands that there is a very strong Indian industry competence that is built up over the last 20-25 years."


India wants to upgrade its largely Soviet-era arsenal to be more in sync with its economic rise, growing diplomatic clout, and closer ties with Washington, especially given its uneasy relations with neighbours Pakistan and China.


But government bureaucracy and high-profile bribery scandals have put the brakes on India's drive to modernise its armed forces for decades.


"The involvement of the private sector is highly desirable, as the public sector has a glass ceiling in terms of becoming more efficient," said Uday Bhaskar, head of New Delhi-based strategic affairs think-tank National Maritime Foundation.




The new policy will provide more opportunities to Indian companies such as Tata Motors (TAMO.BO), Ashok Leyland (ASOK.BO) and Larsen and Toubro (LART.BO), defence experts and officials said.


New Delhi sees domestic private companies undergoing a major shift to becoming key players in their own right. Tie-ups with foreign players would boost their know-how through shared expertise and technology transfers, officials said.


Most foreign companies say they accept India's growing focus on domestic firms. U.S. major players Boeing (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) have already begun sourcing equipment worth $950 million from local companies to sell to India.


But not everybody is as optimistic.


"The private sector cannot do it on their own, they need a lot of foreign collaboration as they do not have great expertise. Indian companies have to improve a lot," retired Major General Ashok Mehta said.


A top U.S. aircraft manufacturing company official told Reuters, "it is a great idea to push the local industry, but it remains to be seen how the local companies grow."


India is holding field trials for the world's biggest arms deal in play, for buying 126 multi-role fighters in a $10.4 billion deal.


But despite such eye-catching deals in the works, the Indian government is still struggling with a slow pace of procurement, often at the expense of foreign players.


Only last month, the Indian government cancelled a $2 billion order with Airbus for air tankers at the last minute, saying the planes were overpriced. It has now floated a new tender.


In 2007, India cancelled advanced talks amid corruption charges with Eurocopter to supply military helicopters worth $600 million after complaints over the bidding process, and last year put on hold deals worth $2 billion.


"If we're going to do business in India, then it is a necessity that we have Indian partners," Walter Doran, Asia president of Raytheon International Inc, told Reuters.


"When you're dealing with have to be in it for the long term. You cannot allow yourself to get frustrated by any single pursuit," he said.






Raytheon teams with L&T on T-72 tank upgrade proposal


At DEFEXPO 2010, Defence majors Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) and Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) announced teaming up in a L&T led proposal submitted this month to upgrade Indian Army T72 tanks.


Under the proposal, Raytheon will provide infrared imaging sights and Electronics that will greatly improve target accuracy and increase overall system lethality on the battlefield for T72 tank battalions. Raytheon has provided 20,000 thermal sights in more than 15 countries.


“Through collaboration with L&T on this important proposal for the Indian Army, we have confirmed the very complementary capabilities leveraged across our companies” said Fritz Treyz, Vice President, Raytheon Network Centric Systems India Operations. “Together, we are exploring other opportunities to provide net-centric modernization defense solutions to meet growing demands in India and the global marketplace.”


Larsen & Toubro will provide fire control system, sensors, and will accomplish the final integration along with the customer support. L&T brings in track record of development of fire control systems across multiple weapon systems across Land, Naval and Air Defence applications.


“L&T is the only Indian company in the private sector that is leading the tank upgrade program. L&T and Raytheon combination has got what it takes to deliver on such an important program,” said M V Kotwal, Senior Executive Vice President and Member of the Board, L&T. “This begining would lead to new avenues in Indian and global defense markets for both the partners working together.”






Defence offset contracts worth 49000 crores in pipeline: Pallam Raju

2010-02-16 18:20:00


Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju today saqid that Indian defence industry is gaining strength as offset contracts worth Rs.49000 crore are in the pipeline while offsets worth Rs.4200 crore have already materialised.


Speaking at a Seminar on "The Indian Army: Next Generation Systems, An Evolution" organized by PHD Chamber at the DEFEXPO 2010, Pallam Raju said that the defence acquisition process has continuously been revamped.


"New categorization of buy and make in India has been introduced from December 2009 and this should give a special impetus to defence manufacturing in the country," he said. allam Raju said that for ensuring security at the lowest cost in a transparent manner, the armed forces would like to get the best arms and equipments from the private industry along with the government.


Lt. Gen. J P Singh, Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (PP and FD) speaking on the theme "Future Systems of Indian Army" informed that new defence procurement policy will soon be out and action plans for defence acquisition will be drawn in the form of Five Year Plan with annual acquisition plans to be the first gateway of entry for the private sector in the defence industry. HD Chamber expressed that the Government should provide necessary linkages for defence acquisition as well as maintenance, which would offer tremendous scope of opportunities for SMEs operating in the area of defence production and operation.


PHD Chamber recommended that India 's plans for defence modernization should lead to a substantive up-gradation of India 's defence base and manufacturing prowess. (ANI)







Tata, AgustaWestland set up JV


NEW DELHI: Tata Sons and Italian Defence major AgustaWestland on Tuesday signed an agreement for formation of a joint venture (JV) company here which will establish a final assembly line for AW-119 helicopters for the Indian Army and the global market.


The agreement was signed here by Tata Group chairman, Mr Ratan Tata and AgustaWestland CEO, Mr Giuseppe Orsi.


The AW-119 has been offered to India by Agusta for army’s requirement for 197 choppers to replace its ageing fleet of Cheetha and Chetak light helicopters.


As per the agreement, the new company will be responsible for AW-119 final assembly, completion and delivery while AgustaWestland will be responsible for worldwide marketing and sales, Agusta officials said here.


The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered from the new facility in 2011 with production forecast to rise to 30 aircraft per year to meet worldwide demand, they added.


“The establishment of a Joint Venture to set up an AW-119 assembly line in India will provide extraordinary industrial opportunities both in the country and worldwide through the synergies generated by AgustaWestland and Tata Sons,” Agutsa CEO, Mr Orsi s aid after the signing of the agreement.


He added that the two companies were exploring further commercial, technical and industrial collaboration opportunities in the rotor craft industry to strengthen their relations. – PTI







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