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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 19 Dec 2012
Five Lashkar militants shot dead in Valley
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 18
In a major setback to Pakistan based Lasker-e-Toiba (LeT), at least five militants of the outfit, who are believed to have infiltrated recently into the valley, were killed in an encounter with security forces in north Kashmir.

J&K police was trying to ascertain whether those killed included LeT’s top man, Fahadullah, the operations head of the group in north Kashmir. Fahadullah had reportedly escaped security cordon many a times in the past.

The gunfight took place at Sadapora village on the outskirts of Sopore town early today after police and Army got information about the presence of a group of militants.

This was the third encounter within a week’s time in the area. In the earlier two encounters, two foreign militants and a local militant had been killed Thursday last.

“The elimination of the militants in today’s encounter is a major success in the fight against the militancy in the north Kashmir,” Kashmir Inspector General of Police S M Sahai said.

The IGP said the group had moved recently from north Kashmir as the LeT presence had depleted in Sopore. Sopore SP Imtiyaz Mir said police received information regarding the presence of armed militants in the Sadapora locality.

“A joint operation was launched by Sopore police and 22 RR at around 2 am. The exchange of fire left five militants dead. The identity of the slain militants is being ascertained. However, initial investigation has shown that one of killed militants is a local Naveed Ahmed Dar, while others were foreigners,” he said.

“The operation is still on and we suspect two more militants hiding in the houses,” he added. Police sources said two houses were damaged in the gun battle. The operation is still continuing.
BEL’s radar warning systems fail to take off
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, December 18
A project to develop an indigenous radar warning receiver system for the IAF’s combat aircraft, executed by state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) at a cost of Rs 521 crore, has failed to take-off.

Besides delays, out of the 336 systems developed by BEL, only 73 could actually be integrated on aircraft and that too seven years after their procurement. Worse, out of these 73 systems, the performance of as many as 69 systems was found to be unreliable or unsatisfactory.

A radar warning receiver (RWR) alerts pilots about the presence/emission of hostile radars, enabling him to employ suitable counter-measures. These systems are deemed critical for mission success as well as for the survival of aircraft in combat environment.

In order to standardise RWRs across the IAF fleet, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a contract to BEL in 2005 for Rs 521 crore to develop RWRs. These were to be delivered by September 2010 and were to be integrated on 10 different types of aircraft.

The MoD also contracted Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the integration of these systems of on six types of aircraft at an additional cost of Rs 36 crore. Integration on remaining four types was to be undertaken separately as part of upgradation projects.

Audit scrutiny revealed that while BEL supplied 94 per cent of the RWRs by 2007, a 30-month delay in signing the contract with HAL resulted in the expiry of warranty of the RWRs even before they could be integrated with the aircraft. Till 2012, only 73 RWRs were integrated on just four types of aircraft.

Though the MoD had claimed earlier this year that the RWRs were proven and reliable systems with average serviceability exceeding 80 per cent, audit brought out that just about 5 per cent of the integrated systems functioned effectively.

poor performance

    Out of the 336 systems developed by state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited, only 73 could actually be integrated on aircraft and that too seven years after their procurement
    Till 2012, only 73 RWRs were integrated on just four types of aircraft
    Out of these 73 systems, the performance of as many as 69 systems was found to be unreliable or unsatisfactory
Defence ministry's boost for Army’s 'mini' air force plan
NEW DELHI: The Army's ambition to progressively build its own "mini'' air force got another boost on Tuesday with the defence ministry approving its proposal to procure 22 Cheetal helicopters.

The Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC), headed by defence minister A K Antony, approved the Cheetals for the Army, which is likely to deploy them for logistic support in high-altitude operations like Ladakh and Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region.

The Cheetals are an upgraded version of the vintage Cheetah helicopters with more powerful engines manufactured by the defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). These choppers are being procured as there is a delay in the acquisition of new light-utility helicopters (LUHs).

All the three Services are 'desperate'' to induct as many as 440 new LUHs to replace their ageing Cheetah/Chetak choppers, which were first inducted in the 1970s based on the design of French "Alouettes'' and "Lama SA-315''. Over 250 of them were subsequently manufactured under licence by HAL till the 1980s.

The long-pending joint Army-IAF procurement case for 197 LUHs for over Rs 3,000 crore, with Russian Kamov Ka-226T pitted against Eurocopter AS 550 C3 Fennec, has been stalled for months due to complaints of technical deviations during the extensive flight evaluation trials.

The deal had been virtually finalized with Eurocopter in December, 2007, when it was scrapped due to some irregularities. Incidentally, acquisition of these 197 helicopters is to be followed by indigenous manufacture of 187 similar ones by HAL to meet the overall Army-IAF requirements to service forward locations and for ``patrol and reconnaissance missions''.

The Army, only two months ago, had won its long and bitter turf war with IAF when Antony ruled that all "future'' procurements and inductions of attack helicopters — armed with guided missiles, cannons and rockets to target enemy infantry and tanks on the ground — will be for the Army. Till now, attack helicopters were strictly the IAF's preserve.

Army chief General Bikram Singh has approved the creation of a permanent cadre for the Army Aviation Corps by the end of this month, which will operate light observation and attack helicopters in the short-term and medium-lift choppers and even fixed-wing aircraft in the long-term, as earlier reported by TOI.

Overall, the forces are looking to induct as many as 900 helicopters in the coming decade, including 440 light-utility and observation, naval multi-role (90), light combat (65), heavy-duty attack (22), medium-lift (139) and heavy-lift (15), among others, as earlier reported.

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