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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 04 Dec 2012
IAF to shell out Rs 88 cr more for IL-76 overhaul
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, December 3
For about two years, half of the IAF’s fleet of IL-76 strategic freighters remained grounded for want of overhaul and extension of the aircraft’s total technical life (TTL) because of delay on the part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in finalising a multi-million dollar contract with a foreign firm.

Out of the 17 IL-76 aircraft procured by the IAF, nine remained grounded between December 2007 and September 2009. Besides, the IAF had to shell out an additional Rs 88 crore as the contract had to be renegotiated, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out in its latest report.

The IAF had inducted these aircraft between 1985 and 1989, with a TTL of 20 years. In November 2005, the MoD concluded a $28 million (Rs 128 crore) contract with a Russian firm for the overhaul and life extension of six IL-76.

In April 2007, MoD negotiated a $33 million (Rs 139 crore) contract for the overhaul and life extension of another nine aircraft. The price was valid till December 2007. In the meantime, the MoD received two representations from other firms alleging irregularities in the contract process. The MoD disposed off the matter in March 2008, by which time the validity of the contract had expired.

A fresh limited tendering process had to be initiated and though it was again the same Russian firm that bagged the contract, the new price as quoted as $41.77 million. The CAG observed that the price difference worked out to about Rs 57 crore. In addition, the IAF had to spend another Rs 30 crore to procure minimum essential spares to make the grounded aircraft fly worthy so that these could be positioned at the overhaul facilities overseas.
Message from Jalalabad
More chaos likely in Afghanistan

Sunday’s suicide attack by Taliban activists at Jalalabad airport, close to Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan, is the latest indication of what may happen after the foreign troops operating under the NATO command will withdraw by the end of 2014, as scheduled. Though nine of the 14 persons killed near the airport were Taliban activists, they succeeded in conveying to the world a clear message that Afghanistan remains a Taliban country despite the 11-year-long fight to make the extremists irrelevant. Doubts have been raised ever since US President Barrack Obama announced the withdrawal plan for the US-led multinational forces. India and some other countries have been trying to convince the world that Afghanistan should not be allowed to slide into further chaos after 2014, but in vain. So far, there is no proper arrangement for ensuring stability in Afghanistan.

The US tried to find a remedy by inviting what it called the “good Taliban” to join the government headed by President Hamid Karzai. Karzai used all the tricks he could think of to bring the “good Taliban” to the negotiating table with the ultimate objective of inducting them into the government, but without success. The Taliban leadership is, perhaps, sure that it will recapture power once the country is left to the Afghans. What is, however, not sure is which Taliban faction will dominate the power structure in post-2014 Afghanistan. Most observers believe that the Haqqani network may be the real gainer because of its ISI connections.

But this is not what the world expected when the US-led multinational coalition force launched a drive in October 2001 to eliminate the extremists and bring sanity to a country ravished by decades of armed conflicts. The anti-terror war has claimed more than 20, 000 Afghan lives and over 3,000 deaths of multinational soldiers, 2,000 of them being US citizens. Billions of dollars have also been spent to achieve the objective of eliminating the Taliban and Al-Qaida root and branch. But the real target remains as far away as it was in 2001.
Navy ready to sail into South China Sea if need be, says Admiral Joshi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral DK Joshi, today upped the ante over India’s presence in the South China Sea, saying the Navy is ready to sail into the disputed waters if the country’s economic interests are affected in that area.

This comes in the backdrop of National Security Adviser Shiv Shanker Menon’s visit to Beijing to get acquainted with the new leadership.

India has three oil blocks off the coast of Vietnam and one of them has started oil production.

China disputes the location of the blocks and also the boundaries of the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam.

The Navy Chief’s comments come in the backdrop of China giving self-proclaimed rights to its maritime police to board and detain ships in the South China Sea waters.

The dispute is centred around huge undiscovered oil reserves in the area.

The US Energy Information Administration in a 2008 report said there were 213 billion barrels of oil in the area.

On India’s contingency plans and level of preparedness, especially in view of Chinese posturing in the area, Admiral Joshi, while addressing mediapersons today, said: “We will be required to go there and we are prepared (for the contingency). Are we preparing for an exercise of that nature? The short answer is, Yes.”

In July last year, an Indian Naval warship, INS Airavat, on sail near Vietnam was asked over the radio to leave the area. While the warship remained on course, the caller over the radio was stated to be Chinese.

In October, the US had flexed its muscles by navigating its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington through the South China Sea. Vietnamese officials were flown onto the aircraft carrier to take part in a show of military force.

Admiral Joshi termed the situation as “complex”. “We are not direct party or claimant,” he said.

The dispute is between the littoral states of the South China Sea. “Our primary concern is the freedom of navigation. The UNLCOS allows that and it should remain uninterrupted,” he added.

The Navy will make its presence felt whenever the need for national maritime security arises, the Admiral said while expressing fears that “freedom of navigation could be interrupted”.

“It is not that we expect to be in those waters frequently, but when the need arises, we will be required to go there.”

Navy chief’s opinion of sending warships to South China Sea indicates a shift in stance over the past. In August, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma (retd) had said: “We will rather concentrate on the unfinished business in the Indian Ocean region.” But Admiral Joshi, who took over on August 31, said: “There is no shift in policy.”

Admiral Joshi indicated that the government was in loop over the Navy’s stance on the South China Sea, where it intends to protect Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) assets.

“Should there be a need for some protection (to the ONGC), the Navy will be called upon and we will do that.” “We need to have the government’s clearance (to sail out). Should the need arise, I am sure the clearance will come.”

Troubled waters

Dispute revolves around undiscovered oil reserves in the South China Sea area

US Energy Information Administrations’ 2008 report estimates over 213 bn barrels of oil reserves

India has three oil blocks off Vietnam’s coast; one has started producing oil

China disputes location of blocks and boundaries of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone

Tough posturing

In July 2011, INS Airavat was asked over radio to leave the area; warship remained on course

In October, the US flexed its muscles by navigating its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier through the sea

We will be required to go there (South China Sea) and we are prepared (for the contingency). Are we preparing for an exercise of that nature? The short answer is, Yes.
Indian Army Official Website Got Hacked by Anonymous
World famous online hacktivist group Anonymous, hacked down Official website of the Indian Army today which is on the National Informatics Centre (NIC) servers.  Anonymous is famous for there hacking on PlayStation Network. They where also successful in bring down the entire server of the NIC in this hacking attempt and got access to all data stored on the NIC servers.
This hacking attempt was done to bring Indian government attention to the rising corruption in the country as said on there letter

    We are Anonymous Again.

    To the People of India and Government,

    You Have Underestimated the Power of people.You thought First NIC Hack by Anonymous was Playful act, “THINK AGAIN”.

    We are not here to Play with anyone.We are here to send a Message to all the people who support the Anti-corruption bill. We took Down Indian Army Officail Site and NIC knows more what we did.We do not support anyone, We Support Only The Anti-Corruption Bill.No one can speak for Anonymous, Nothing is Official.

    We are Not the “FALME”, We are just a “SPARK”.Stop Your Brutal Voilence and Blame games.Anonymous are the people.

    We do not forget.
    We do not forgive.
    We are legion.
    Expect us

The Group also threatens to leak out all data they have hacked from the NIC servers to the public, which may cause serious trouble to the government. Anonymous has also released a video press release addressed to the India government criticising the corrupt, and laid-back nature of the government, and has stated that their hacks will alert the govt regarding the situation, and also ensure the success of the Anti-corruption Lokpal bill.

    Re-arming the Indian Army's troops with lethal, modern weapons
New Delhi: The Indian Infantry - that hard working, non-complaining arm of the Army - is at last likely to get the attention it deserves, if plans envisaged by Army Chief General Bikram Singh and the Directorate of Infantryfructify in the next couple of years.
Starting 2014, several basic weapons used by the 350-oddinfantry battalions are likely to be replaced by a new and more lethal ones. So the assault rifle, the carbine, the light machine gun (LMG), the sniper rifle and even the anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) - essentials in an infantry battalion - all are set to be replaced over the next five years. Many of these weapons, currently used by the troops are of 1960s vintage. The Dragunov sniperrifle, for instance. Or the ATGMs which are on second generation variety.
To begin with, the current mixof 7.62 self-loading rifle and the 5.56 INSAS rifle used by some battalions is likely to be replaced by a new double barrel rifle complete with a conversion kit which will enable the troops to make dual use.
"When an infantry battalion is deployed in counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism(CI-CT) role , it will have the option to use the 7.62 mm barrel but when it gets postedto a peace station, the 7.62 mm barrel can be mothballed infield stores and the same riflecan then be converted to 5.56mm bore."
Each infantry battalion in the Indian Army normally holds about 494 pieces of the basic rifles. In the first phase, 120-odd battalions deployed in CI-CT role under Northern and Eastern Command will get these rifles by mid-2014. In phase II, transfer of technology will be ensured and the production will then betaken up by India's Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
Well-known gun brands like Colt and Beretta are among five or six companies competing for the big tender of 60,000 assault rifles estimated to cost R 5,000 crore at current prices. According to Army Headquarters, field trials are currently on and are expectedto go on till mid-2013 before awinner emerges.
The current version of the LMGs - 45 in each battalion - are of 5.56 mm bore and are bulky at 6.23 kg. The Army plans to replace them with much lighter and more lethal ones with longer range and 7.62x51 mm bore. The generalstaff qualitative requirements (GSQR) for the new LMGs are being worked out currently, according to informed sourcesin the Army HQ.
Procurement of third generation ATGMs worth about R 2,000 crore is being given priority since the current lot of eight launchers to each battalion is of much older vintage. The Army wants to graduate from the Milan ATGMs (which has a semi-automatic command line of sight) to a third generation ATGM which will be an 'automatic command line of sight' ability. In other words, itwill have the "fire and forget" mechanism. Trials are currently on for this version of ATGMs in the western sector where they would be initially deployed given that tank warfare will dominate anyconflict in this area.
The other big procurement on the anvil is the induction of the new generation carbine. India has plans to procure over 43,000 carbines at a cost of over R 3,200 crore. Each infantry battalion currently holds an inventory of about 230 carbines. While trials are on, the first induction of the newer generation of carbines is likely to take place in 2014.
Sources in the Army HQ say Army Chief General Bikram Singh, an infantry officer himself, is keen that the foot soldiers in the forefront of CI-CT and conventional operations, get the best of weaponry to match their undoubted courage and commitment.
Rifle-cramped army sets sights on five
The army is now evaluating five rifles, any which will become the standard issue firearm for the Indian soldier.

The Indian soldier will have to junk the Insas, the rifle made by the ordnance factory in Ichhapur near Calcutta that is “failing to meet the demands of modern warfare”, an officer engaged in drawing up the army’s infantry-modernisation plan said.

Soldiers have complained that the Insas overheats and its fibre-glass magazine is fragile.

The five competitors are well-known names, each inspiring movies and stories and each used in small and big wars around the globe. But none is as widely used as the original Avtomat Kalashnikov, designed by the eponymous Soviet General in 1949. The Insas itself is a derivative of the Kalash.

Beretta, Colt, Sig Sauer are among the American and/or US-Swiss weapons makers. Israel Weapons Industries’ two rifles — the Galil ACE and the Tavor TAR 21 — are in the fray. The TAR 21 is in limited use in the Indian Army’s special forces and some units in Jammu and Kashmir. The Ceska Brena, from the Czech Republic firm, has a new version of its Bren.

The army’s first order is likely to be for 66,000 rifles. The order is part of a programme called F-Insas — Future Infantry Soldier as a System. It has stipulated that the rifles must have inter-changeable barrels for both 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds.

The measurements refer to the size of bullets, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. The 5.56mm is smaller and lighter and has a longer range but has less “stopping power”, meaning that even if it penetrates the human body it may not be fatal. The 7.62mm is heavier and bigger with greater penetration but a shorter range.

Having debated which calibre suits its purpose best, the army has resolved that it will use both: the 7.62mm for conventional armed conflict and the 5.56mm for close quarters combat in counter-insurgency. But of course, this is not a rule.

The selected rifle(s) will also have provisions for under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGL), reflex sights for sniper role and fixed-plus-foldable butts.

The Insas became the standard-issue assault rifle about 15 years ago replacing the Belgian-origin Fabrique Nationale-FAL 7.62mm Self Loading Rifle (SLR).

The winning-bid for the Indian Army’s order for a new standard-issue rifle will rake in huge bucks. One defence ministry estimate for an initial order of the rifles puts it in the region of $500 million for about 45,000 guns. The Indian Army is 1.1 million strong. The ministry requires the companies to transfer technology to the Ordnance Factory Board.
Indian Army Wants Apache Helicopters From Air Force
The Indian Army will request for the transfer of the recently sanctioned Apache attack helicopters from the Air Force’s command.

      "We are sending a proposal to the Defence Ministry for capability enhancement in our aviation wing for absorbing the attack helicopters in our fleet," Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh was quoted as saying.

      General Singh refused to divulge more information but said that the attack choppers in different roles in the different parts of the country.

      According to reports, the proposal would include transfer of attack helicopters from the Air Force as also the soon-to-be-procured US-made Apache choppers.

      The Army is seeking to deploy the helicopters at the earliest along the China and Pakistan border.

      Recently, Defence Minister AK Antony approved the procurement of attack helicopters for the army despite Air Force opposition with Chief ACM NAK Browne saying the country cannot afford to have "small air forces".

       The case for 22 Apaches is being processed by the IAF which held field evaluation trials for them and now the Defence Ministry is in the final stages of procurement of these combat assets, according to the Press Trust of India.
India army chief reviews security situation along border with China
KOLKATA - Army chief General Bikram Singh yesterday reviewed the operational preparedness of troops deployed along the border with China and the security situation in the north-eastern states, The Times of India reported.

India is upgrading its defence preparedness along the eastern boundary by deploying more troops, using new formations and deploying more lethal equipment such as the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

This came as India's National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon arrived in Beijing yesterday for wide-ranging talks on bilateral ties, including discussion on the disputed border. It was the first high-level Sino-India contact since China's leadership change last month.

Mr Menon will have a meeting today with China's top diplomat Dai Bingguo, who will retire in March next year. Mr Menon is also expected to call on Vice-Premier Li Keqiang. AGENCIES

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