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Thursday, 10 February 2011

From Today's Papers - 10 Feb 2011

Tejas, attack chopper make international debut Ajay Banerjee/TNS  Tejas takes off. — PTIBangalore, February 9 India’s stated thrust on indigenisation of military equipment got a major boost today as two of its latest products took to the skies to perform in front of an international audience comprising pilots, engineers and manufacturers.  Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the Light Combat Helicopter displayed flight manoeuvres in the sky over the IAF’s Yelahanka air base to mark the opening of Aero India, 2011, this morning. The fighter and the chopper were the “stars” of the day even as one of the best fighter aircraft in the world was also on display here.  Tejas was inducted into the Air Force last month, while the attack chopper undertook its first test-flight in March last year and is slated for induction in the armed forces in 2012.  Tejas, having a top speed of 1.6 mach, cannot match the superior fighter aircraft on display here in terms of pyrotechnics, weapon suites or radars, but it did make an impact at its first international show. Foreign pilots and engineers took note of its agility, turning radius as Tejas did “loops” and “vertical climbs”.  In line with Defence Minister AK Antony’s dream of having a “made in India” stamp on all defence products, the DRDO is now ready with the upgraded version of Tejas, called LCA-mark II. It will have a more powerful engine, GE 414 instead of GE 404, besides better avionics. “It will be inducted in 2015,” Antony said minutes after seeing Tejas perform.  He said the medium combat aircraft was being planned in twin-engine configuration and the project had been okayed. He said, “We are happy as our own planes are flying at Aero India.” Antony, whose stated goal is to decrease foreign dependence, said, “Today we are producing state-of-the-art equipment. We have technology that is matured enough.” The IAF has already ordered 40 Tejas aircraft.  After Tejas, the low-flying black-coloured attack choppers made their international debut. Both Tejas and the chopper have been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).  The chopper has “Shakti” engine, co-developed by HAL and French company Turbomeca. It is an attack variant of Dhruv, which has been already inducted into the armed forces. The chopper has helmet-mounted targeting system, electronic warfare system and advanced weapon system.  It has glass cockpit with multifunction displays, a target acquisition and designation system with laser-based range-finder and designator fitted with data link for network-centric operations, facilitating transfer of data to other airborne platforms and ground stations.
Dogfight in the sky, on the ground Deal for fighter planes after Budget session Man Mohan Our Roving Editor  New Delhi, February 9 All eyes at the five-day Aero India show in Bangalore are on the six manufacturers of fighter planes in the race to bag the $10 billion (over Rs 45,000 crore) deal for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force. The planes are to be inducted from 2015 onwards.  Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday informed that the deal would be finalised in the next financial year beginning April. He also added for good measure that there would be no political interference.  The MMRCA deal, however, is awaiting a “political decision” after the end of a technical evaluation of the aircraft and its weaponry. While the process of procurement was initiated in 2007, the Bangalore show is seen as the “final opportunity” for the six rival firms to showcase their fighters.  The inevitable lobbying, however, has been marred by one controversy after another. Media reports in 2009 had suggested that a folder containing crucial details related to technical details of the competing fighter planes had “mysteriously” reached the Headquarters of Lockheed Martin in the US and, equally mysteriously, was sent back to the Ministry of Defence.  The Lockheed Martin spokesman in India, Anupama Kalra, told The Tribune, “The reports were absolutely baseless and the company has never been in possession of unauthorised or classified documents.” She also denied reports that then India CEO Douglas Hartwick’s departure from the country had anything to do with the controversy. Kalra said the transfer of the CEO was a routine exercise and the company never received any communication from the Indian government regarding him.  But in the second week of December 2010, an even more shocking incident took place and has been confirmed by the defence establishment. A classified file related to the “offset proposals” was found by the roadside in the Khel Gaon area in New Delhi. An IAF spokesman said a high-level inquiry had been ordered into this “lost and found” file incident. Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, however, asserted that the file did not contain any sensitive or classified information.  The offsets are an arrangement between the government and a foreign defence supplier, which aim at getting some benefits of the contract back into the country.  The Eurofighter aircraft is said to be ahead in the race while the runner-up is said to be the French fighter Rafale. The fighter pilots’ choice is said to be the Swedish Gripen.  The IAF has shortlisted Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper, Boeing’s Super Hornet, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company’s Eurofighter Typhoon, French D'assault's Rafale, Swedish Saab's Gripen and the Russian MiG-35.
Army shoots down Bengal call State says still keen SUJAN DUTTA Karuna Tigga, the lady home guard recuperating at a Jalpaiguri hospital, said on Wednesday that she was hit on the head thrice with a khukuri by a woman. “A woman hit my head with a khukuri. She hacked me thrice,” the mother of two said. Picture by Biplab Basak  Yelahanka, Feb. 9: The defence ministry is treating as “withdrawn” the Bengal government’s request to deploy the army in the Darjeeling hills after a firm refusal by the military force to get embroiled in civilian strife.  “My understanding is that Bengal has already withdrawn its request,” defence minister A.K. Antony, here to inaugurate the Aero India civil-military air show, said this afternoon.  “The police can handle the situation,” Antony told a media conference, but did not give details on why the Bengal government should withdraw the request its chief secretary, Samar Ghosh, confirmed had been made yesterday.  The Bengal government put out a nuanced version, insisting the request had not been withdrawn but adding that the defence force was not needed for the time being.  “The requisition for deployment of the army has not yet been withdrawn. It is still pending with the Union ministry of defence. The final decision on the requisition is yet to be taken,” additional director-general (law and order) Surajit Kar Purkayastha told The Telegraph this evening.  Mohan Gandhi, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, echoed him: “The requisition for army deployment has not been withdrawn. But at the moment, we don’t require the army.” Gandhi had said yesterday he expected the army to be deployed by this morning.  In the evening, state home secretary G.D. Gautama said: “The army is still required. We will press on with the request.”  The Darjeeling hills remained peaceful today, barring a stray incident at Ghoombhanjan, near Ghoom, where a forest check-post was set on fire.  Sources in Bengal described the state government’s insistence as a face-saving effort. Other sources said that since the defence minister has spoken and if the situation does not spin out of control in the hills, only political intervention at the highest level could prompt any rethink now.  At Yelahanka on the outskirts of Bangalore, Antony confirmed with defence secretary Pradeep Kumar, seated next to him at the media conference, if the Bengal government had withdrawn its request.  Later, Kumar told this newspaper: “It is my understanding (that Bengal has withdrawn its request). Maybe the Union home ministry has sent additional (central police) forces.”  Antony was asked to clarify the Centre’s stand on the Bengal government’s request in view of his own position stated last month that the military should be used for internal security duties only as a last resort.  Last night, an army headquarters source had told The Telegraph: “Our professional opinion is we are not meant to control riots. Now it is up to the political leadership to decide if all resources had been exhausted and army deployment is the only option left.”  In a note in November, the army had explained how frequent deployment for internal security duties — its secondary role — hampers its training and preparation to meet external threats. The army explained that it was also stretched because of its continuous deployments in the Northeast and in Jammu and Kashmir.  Last month, on Army Day, the chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, had said that there was some concern that state governments often asked for troops to be deployed without using all the resources that they have. “The army cannot, can never, be used in the first instance,” he had said.  Darjeeling is a sensitive area. The army has a brigade headquarters in Darjeeling. Troops from the brigade, whose area of responsibility also covers a part of Sikkim, are posted on the border with China.  In addition, the army recruits a number of troops for its Gorkha battalions and special (para) forces from the Darjeeling hills. Nearly every family in the Darjeeling hills has or has had a soldier serving in the forces. The army would not like to be seen as pitted against people in the region that is a catchment area for recruitment.  Even so, a request from a state government to deploy the army is taken seriously. But Gen. Singh is clear on when and how his troops should be used for internal security. Just before taking over as the chief in March last year, he was the eastern army commander based in Fort William, Calcutta.  Army headquarters sources said that he has treated the request with the merit it deserves “and he is himself familiar with the situation”. Gen. Singh was also in Yelahanka today but was not available for comment.  A defence ministry source said the army’s view was communicated to the Union home ministry. Even during the peak of the Subhash Ghising-led GNLF agitation in the Darjeeling hills in the late eighties-early nineties, the army was not deployed.
India's Tejas dazzle participants at Aero India Bangalore . India's own first supersonic multi-role combat aircraft Tejas and light combat helicopter (LCH) dazzled participants at the Aero India 2011 on Wednesday with their breathtaking aerobatic manouveres at Air Force Station Yelhanka.  It was for the first time that India's indigenously developed fighter, including a trainer variant and a naval variant, were on display in a combat-related role on the outskirts of Bangalore.  The Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) has been on view at two previous editions of the biennial international trade exhibition, but either on the ground or as part of a fly-past.  The light combat helicopter is a multi-role chopper being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for use by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army.  The light combat helicopter is considered to be the world's smallest military aircraft with a single seat, and is among top eight aircraft in the world in technological design and performance terms.  Tejas, which was under development for nearly 28 years and beat US sanctions, is a state of the art indigenous combat aircraft, and could go a long way in enhancing national security and pride.  The state-run Aeronautical Defence Agency has developed the LCA.  The F404-GE-IN20 engine from the US-based General Electric powers the fighter, as the indigenously developed Kaveri engine is still undergoing advance trials. Get a Quote                Browse Companies ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ|123456789
Russia introduces new helicopters to Indian aviation market  February 09, 2011  Russian Helicopters, the subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation Oboronprom, presented its lineup at the 8th International Exhibition on Aerospace, Defence & Civil Aviation Aero India 2011 – the premier air show in the region.  The exposition at Stand A 26 showcased the light multi-role Ka-226T, medium civil Mi-17 helicopters, the all-weather Ka-32A11BC, heavy Mi-26T2, and the Mi-28NE – the export variation of the cutting-edge Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter that is in service with the Russian Army.  Several contracts were signed with Indian civil helicopter operators in 2010, for the delivery of 4 Mi-172 and 2 Ka-32A11BC helicopters. They will be delivered in 2011-2012. The Mi-172 is already certificated in India. The Ka-32A11BC also recently received certification in December 2010.  It was certificated by EASA in 2009.  The multi-role Ка-32А11ВС will make its debut in the region. The machines on display at the Air Show are being acquired by Global Vectra Helicorp. The company is planning to use them for cargo transportation and construction work in the civil segment. The first Ka-32A11BC is scheduled for delivery to India in 2011, and the second in 2012.  As of today, Russian Helicopters is the only official supplier of Russian civil helicopters to India; military helicopters are supplied by FSUE Rosoboronexport. The Russian Ka-226T, Mi-26T2, Mi-28NE are bidding in Indian tenders for helicopters.  Russian Helicopters is the specialised company that has consolidated all Russian helicopter industry enterprises into a single market structure. The holding company retains the legacy of Kamov and Mil design bureaus, and offers helicopters in all segments: light, medium, and heavy.  Russian rotorcraft are currently operated in more than 100 countries worldwide. Russian Helicopters offers its Indian partners a diversified Russian rotorcraft lineup capable of performing any missions, from passenger transportation and commercial operations to special operations in natural disaster areas. These helicopters can be employed in corporate, passenger, cargo, search & rescue, construction, patrol, and firefighting missions.  Russian Helicopters is creating a global support network based on certified MROs and joint service enterprises. This is aimed at supporting Russian rotorcraft throughout their entire lifecycle, from delivery to scrapping. New MROs are being opened and existing ones are being certified globally in line with this initiative.  On 7 February 2011, just before Aero India 2011 kicked off, an opening ceremony was held for the joint MRO centre of the Russian-Indian venture Integrated Helicopter Services Private Ltd. The centre will perform technical support, including preparations and pre-flight work, afterflight preparation; scheduled maintenance within the cycles (flight hours, landings, etc.) prescribed by the operations manual; carry out running repairs of Mi helicopters.
AERO INDIA: HAL reveals Light Utility Helicopter mock-up By Siva Govindasamy  Hindustan Aeronautics has unveiled a mock-up of its indigenous light utility helicopter, which was given the go-ahead in February 2009 as a partial replacement for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army HAL Cheetah and Chetak fleets.  The first prototype will be built in 2012, with the first flight scheduled for 2013. This is a "100% indigenous development", says Prasad Sampath, general manager of HAL's rotary wing research and design centre.  "The defence ministry is giving us the funding and certain milestones have to be satisfied before we go ahead. Today, the design has been frozen and we are embarking on the detailed design phase," he adds.  An engine has not been selected, but the company is studying options from Turbomeca, Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell and HAL's indigenous Shakti powerplant. A decision will be made in the coming months, says Sampath.  The Indian state-owned aerospace company is scheduled to manufacture 187 of these three-tonne helicopters. New Delhi will buy another 197 helicopters through an international tender, and is assessing the AgustaWestland AW119, Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec and the Kamov Ka-226.  HAL says that the LUH will have a length of 11.5m, height of 3.4m, rotor diameter of 11.6m, and airframe width of 1.6m. It will have a maximum take-off weight of 3.12t and an empty weight of 1.91t.  The single turboshaft engine will have dual channel FADEC and backup fuel control. The helicopter will have a cruise speed of 235kmh, maximum speed of 260kmh, service ceiling of up to 6.5km, and a range of 350km.  There will be a glass cockpit with smart cockpit display system (SCDS), and skid landing gear. The fuselage will be able to accommodate two pilots and six passengers, and feature crashworthy seats.  It will be able to undertake emergency medical services, troop transport, VVIP, reconnaissance and surveillance missions, and be able to carry external cargo of up to 1t.
Indian Army refloats tenders for heavy guns  New Delhi, Feb 7 – The Indian Army has once again begun the process of acquiring heavy guns, floating tenders for both the towed and tracked systems that have a range of up to 40 km.  The tender for the towed gun was issued on Jan 28 while that for the tracked version was issued in mid-January.  India Strategic defence magazine ( quoted sources as saying that that several vendors from France, the US, Britain, Israel, the Czech Republic and other countries were invited but no details of the tender specifications were available as they are generally secret in accordance with General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs).  India had earlier cancelled its Request for Proposal (RfP) for 1,580 towed guns (155mm, 52 calibre), as well as for tracked guns over allegations of corruption involving one company or another. That set back the army’s artillery modernisation programme by three to five years over and above the 10-year long delay in the process.  India Strategic also reported that meanwhile, ‘the good news is that the summer and winter field trials of the ultralight gun, BAE Systems M777 A1 have been completed successfully within 2010 at the Pokhran range and negotiations are now to be conducted for acquiring 145 of them from the US government under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.  The 155mm/45 caliber gun, which can be slung-carried by heavy-lift helicopters like the Boeing Chinook, or ferried by heavy trucks, is to be deployed in the mountains.  The process to acquire this type of gun was initiated in 2006 and the defence ministry has already allocated the funds for this.  US Congressional clearance, a mandatory requirement, has also been given and the gun could be in the Indian Army’s inventory within a couple of years after the contract is signed. Made partly of titanium, the gun is about 40 per cent lighter than the earlier versions in operation and is being used extensively in Afghanistan by the US Army.  The ultralight gun has digital controls, can be moved quickly after firing, and can deliver lethal firepower up to 40 km. As the mountainous terrain imposes limitations on movement, heavy-lift helicopters are also under the acquisition process by the Indian Air Force.  It may be recalled that the artillery had played a decisive role in demolishing Pakistani positions that they had intruded into in Kargil in the 1999 war. But somehow, thanks to the allegations of corruption over the acquisition of 400 Bofors FH 77B (155mm/39 caliber) guns from Sweden in the mid-1980s, the Indian Army has not been able to renew its inventory.  Pakistan has meanwhile acquired M-109 A5 155mm howitzers from the United States.  The Indian Army needs to phase out all its medium and heavy field guns, although there is a proposal to upgun the Soviet vintage 130 mm guns into 155 mm guns by replacing the barrel. Israel’s Soltam had assisted in this process with the barrels but only some of the guns have been upgunned, and their results are reported to be very good.  While there is no plan to make the ultralight gun in India, both the other proposals involve part purchase and part Transfer of Technology (ToT) to make them in India. BAE Systems for this has tied up with the Mahindras, and the Czech with the state-run BEML.  The emphasis on the acquisition now is to go in for ToT, and then make the guns indigenously rather than under licence, the latter option inevitably coming with some restrictions.  It may be pointed out that the French have offered to give all the technology if India buys the Ceasar, described by French officials as ‘the best and most modern gun’ now successfully being used in Afghanistan. They say that this gun can meet both the tracked and towed requirements.  Notably, all the guns with the Indian Army’s Artillery Regiment are obsolete, and it goes to its credit that despite this limitation, it keeps them in a ready-to-fire position. The old Bofors, the (not so light) Light Field Gun, and the Soviet M-46 medium guns are in this obsolete list.  There is progress though on the rocket artillery with the indigenous Pinaka and Russian Smerch Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) having been inducted.  One hopes this time, the RfP is replied to, the trials are held as required, the deal is done in time, and the guns are delivered ASAP. Artillery plays a potent, battle-winning role and its modernization cannot be delayed any further.
Army ‘spy’ had four bank accounts 9 02 2011 0 0   i   Rate This  Quantcast   The arrested army jawan, Bijeshkumar Singh, 26, had four bank accounts and there were voluminous transactions in all those accounts, assistant public prosecutor Shilpa Mahatekar told the court on Tuesday.  The jawan was arrested for allegedly providing sensitive information and documents relating to the Southern Command to a Nigdi-based person, Bishambhar Agarwal. The latter has already been arrested with incriminating documents.  Mahatekar also informed the court that there could be involvement of more army officials in the spy racket. “These things can be uncovered only after interrogation of the jawan,’’ she argued.  The court of judicial magistrate (first class), RL Wankhede, on Tuesday granted police custody to the army jawan till February 21.  Stating that the jawan had joined the Indian Army in 2006, Mahatekar said he was posted to many sensitive places like Leh.  “Hence, it is necessary to find out that whether he was involved in espionage even then,” she said.  In court, Wankhede asked the police to produce the permission letter of his arrest from the Indian Army, which the police failed. It was rushed to court from the Bund Garden police station, after which the court proceedings began.
BAE, Mahindra Bid for India Army Project    A BAE Systems armored vehicle.  BANGALORE – BAE Systems PLC's joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. is part of a consortium that has bid for a contract to develop a combat vehicle for the Indian Army, the chief executive of the U.K.-based company's India unit said.  "We are bidding as part of the Mahindra consortium for the FICV [Future Infantry Combat Vehicle]," Andrew Gallagher, also the managing director of BAE Systems India, said in an interview late Monday.  Mahindra, India's largest sport-utility vehicle maker by sales, leads the consortium that also includes Defense Land Systems India--Mahindra and BAE's joint venture--and Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.  Several consortia led by Indian companies are vying for the two-part contract--to first develop the FICV and then produce 2,600 such armored vehicles designed to transport troops in hostile terrain.  The contract is part of India's efforts to modernize its defense forces, which still heavily rely on Soviet-era equipment. The South Asian nation is developing and buying fighter jets, missiles, tanks and other arms as neighbors Pakistan and China expand their weaponry.  India is also increasingly involving the private sector in the modernization program, and companies such as Mahindra, Tata Motors Ltd. and Larsen & Toubro have been expanding their defense businesses.  Mr. Gallagher said he expects their consortium to be among the two bidders to be selected for developing the FICV. A decision on the first round is expected in the next few months, he added.  He didn't disclose the size of a potential deal or the other competitors for the contract.  "It would be an interesting opportunity. It would be an Indian product, India-designed and India-developed," he said, adding that this is precisely what the joint venture has been established to do.  Defence Land Systems, of which Mahindra holds 74% as per Indian regulations, was formed in 2009 to make defense products, including a mine-protected vehicle, for India's armed and paramilitary forces.  Mr. Gallagher said he hopes to get some orders for the mine-protected vehicle in the future.  He said that the U.K.-based defense and aerospace company is also looking to export the Axe high-mobility vehicle, the Rakshak bullet-proof vehicle and the Marksman light armored vehicle that have been made by the joint venture.  Mr. Gallagher said BAE Systems wants to develop India as a global hub for artillery. But that hinges on whether it gets orders from India for its FH77 B05 towed howitzers or the M777 ultra-light howitzers, he said.  The company is assessing the recently issued request for a proposal to sell 400 units of towed howitzers to the Indian Army.  Mr. Gallagher said the ultra-light howitzers underwent trials in India at the end of 2010 and had performed "extremely well." The initial order for the M777 ultra-light howitzer is likely to be for 145 units.  BAE Systems is also working with India's state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., or HAL, to find opportunities for working together in the global market, Mr. Gallagher said.  The two companies are working toward reaching a pact to support BAE's existing aircraft and also helping build new ones. BAE and HAL are already partners in a project to supply Hawk trainer jets to the Indian Air Force as part of a 2004 contract for supplying 66 jets and a 2010 follow-on order for more 57 such aircraft.  BAE, Mahindra Bid for India Army Project -

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