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Thursday, 26 February 2015

From Today's Papers - 26 Feb 2015

CSIO develops naval variant of head-up display for Tejas
HUD: An electro-optical instrument

    CSIO scientists said the naval variant of the HUD, an electro-optical instrument installed above the cockpit's instrument panel, is different from the other versions
    The primary difference between the ship-borne and land-borne versions is the vertical field of view. The pilot of a naval aircraft should also be able to see the deck of the ship, which is much shorter than conventional runways, from approach and take-off angles that are different while operating from airfields, a scientist said.

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
When the indigenously developed Tejas light combat aircraft’s naval version made its successful test-flight from a ski-jump a few days ago, feeding vital flight parameters to the pilot was a gadget designed and fabricated in Chandigarh.

The Head-up Display (HUD) installed in the cockpit is a product of the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), which has developed various versions of the gadget for the Tejas’ air force variant as well as the jet trainer being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

CSIO scientists said the naval variant of the HUD, an electro-optical instrument installed above the cockpit’s instrument panel, is different from the other versions as the environmental and technical specifications vary according to operating requirement.

“The primary difference between the ship-borne and land-borne versions is the vertical field of view. The pilot of a naval aircraft should also be able to see the deck of the ship, which is much shorter than conventional runways, from approach and take-off angles that are different while operating from airfields,” a scientist said.

Also, the HUD for naval aircraft has to cater to high radiation levels, which are five times higher on a ship than on the ground. Besides the cockpit configuration of the air force and naval aircraft being different, the onboard systems for naval aircraft have to be more rugged to cater to the harder landings on ships.

The HUD superimposes vital flight parameters on the pilot’s vision of the outside world, giving him requisite information like air speed, altitude, weapon status, rate of turn and angle of attack at a glance and without having him to peer down inside the cockpit, thus enabling him to fly with his “head up”.
Obama backs India’s bid for UNSC seat

Washington, February 25
US President Barack Obama endorses India’s candidature as a permanent member of the reformed UN Security Council, the White House has said.

“As it relates to India’s membership in the Security Council, I know the President endorsed that...the Security Council in the context of a variety of other important reforms to the operations of the United Nations,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.

Earnest said he had no updates on the status of the ongoing reforms of the UN or efforts to try to bring about some of those reforms.

During his India visit last month, Obama had reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.

“I can say today in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member,” Obama had said in his speech in Parliament. — PTI
A soldier's creed
''Sikh regiment'' proposal in UK as flattering as shockingAs 'oldest professions in the world' go, soldiering could well be the real winner. Tribal instincts being a greater motivation to join the army than nebulous notions like 'love for country' should thus come as no surprise. A proposal to create a Sikh 'regiment' in the UK - a reserve company more specifically - has many among the British political elite and the Indian-origin community excited. It is indeed tempting, for the British to have a ready supply of soldiers from a reputed 'martial race' and the Sikhs themselves feeling a sense of pride at the recognition. But it flies in the face of all the 'racial' bias corrections that Europe is struggling to apply. Defining 'secularism' remains a challenge. Does it mean not to have anything to do with religion (as in France), or is it supporting all religions equally (as in India and the UK)?

Hiring soldiers, however, has been as much a matter of pride and honour as recruiting gun fodder, especially in developing countries, which are hard put to fill the ranks. Gorkhas constitute a unique regiment in the UK Army, in that the soldiers do not even belong to the country. Are they mercenaries? That would be a politically fraught question to answer. The Sikhs today are a numerically significant community in the UK; pleasing them is a political compulsion to win elections in many constituencies. And a separate regiment has been a particular demand from them.

These are questions that bother the Indian Army too, structured originally by the British who themselves had a tradition of raising community-based regiments - the Scotland, Welsh or Irish regiments among them. Dismantling the system may not be easy, given the high level of bonding required in situations of life and death. A crucial question that requires answering is: what makes a race 'martial'? Perhaps the milieu in which it exists. Would second or third-generation Sikhs in the UK qualify to be called martial then? There are fewer than 200 of them in the British armed forces at present.
India and Pak’s perennial problem
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
Rational thinking is ignored. Sensible policies remain a foolish hope. This is Pakistan''s perennial problem. The Indian Foreign Secretary is due to visit Pakistan. Is this the resumption of the initial Modi-Sharif bonhomie or just the result of Obama''s persuasion?
 The Sticking Points of India's $12 Billion Rafale Fighter Jet Deal
New Delhi:  The 12 billion dollar discussions centred on whether India will buy 126 Rafale fighter jets from France have made some progress, sources said today, a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Delhi.

Major kinks remain in need of ironing, but are unlikely to be deal-breakers, said sources involved in the talks, though they cautioned that it's unlikely that the deal will be signed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Paris in April.  However, by that time, some officials who are part of the negotiating process are hopeful that a statement of intent can be agreed upon by both the Indian and French governments for the contract that has been stalled for nearly three years.

The plan is for France to supply 18 fully-made fighter jets to India, with the other 108 being produced by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautica Limited (HAL) in Bangalore.  There is an option for India to acquire 63 more Rafale jets.

Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer, has concerns about the carbon-fibre composite material that would be used by HAL to form the skin of the Rafale fighter.  Though HAL prides itself in having mastered the use of these composites (which are also used on the indigenous Tejas fighter plane), HAL uses a manual technique.  Dassault, on the other hand, uses an automated and much quicker process to manufacture super-critical carbon-fibre composite structures such as the wings of the Rafale.  HAL and Dassault will now need to arrive at a consensus on how best to speedily develop carbo-composites to ensure that the time-frame for the manufacture of Rafale fighters is met.  A slower process by HAL could mean that Dassault's delivery deadlines for the Rafale will not be met.

French negotiators have indicated that that while they are obliged to train Indian engineers on the assembly of key components of the Rafale fighter, they need specific assurances to ensure that the engineers they train remain deployed and committed to the manufacture of the Rafale, again, to ensure that the jets are manufactured and delivered on time to the Indian Air Force.

The Rafale's primary sensor, the RBE-2 Airborne Electronically Scanned Array, is manufactured in state-of-the-art laboratories in France to exceptionally rigid production and quality standards.  HAL's avionics labs, which presently work on radars for the Air Force's Sukhoi 30 have different standards and technologies in place.  French sources say HAL engineers will need a change in the work culture and the  avionics labs in Bangalore will need upgrading to meet the French standards. This is, again, not seen as a deal breaker, but the French have flagged  a concern that the modernization of HAL's technology could be  a time-consuming process.

While the Ministry of Defence may be aware of HAL's limitations, the government is clear that these are issues that need to be negotiated between Rafale and HAL and that its primary concern is the eventual delivery and performance of the Rafale fighter according to its advertised design specifications. NDTV has learned that the first batch of Rafale fighters assembled in India would take approximately 44 months to be manufactured, though this time-frame is likely to be reduced as HAL gains in experience and systems are fine-tuned.  The final, fully made-in-India examples of the jet would likely be constructed quicker.

Hindustan Aeronautics, for its part, is positive about its capabilities in manufacturing the Rafale fighter.  At Aero India, Asia's largest air show, last week, the new HAL chairman Suvarna Raju told reporters that HAL "is the lead production agency for the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (ie the Rafale) which gives us [the rights] for manufacture and testing.  We don't want others to stand guarantee for our product." This would be welcome news for Dassault as it seeks to close the Rafale deal, negotiations for which have continued for more than three years.

The Dassault Rafale was shortlisted by the Indian Air Force as its fighter of choice in a fly-off involving some of the world's leading fighters in 2011.  For years, the Air Force has made it clear, that the induction of the Rafale is imperative to ensure that its dwindling fleet strength is replenished with modern aircraft to counter the rapidly modernising Chinese and Pakistani Air Forces.
Inputs from Aero India to propel MoD’s Make in India policy, future shows
Bengaluru, Feb 25: Two days after curtains were drawn on the 10th edition of Aero India, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) seems to have got on to the task of analysing the inputs received from various stakeholders, exhibitors, foreign delegates, including the media, on the impact of the show and the idea called Make in India.

While Aero India 2015 was the first major opportunity for the MoD to source varied views on Make in India mission, sources confirm to OneIndia that the overall mood among the participants was that of hope and not despair.
With Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar going on record saying that the Centre is planning to roll out a dedicated ‘Make in India' policy soon, these inputs are expected to be vital for the future flight of Indian's aerospace and defence (A&D) sector.

While one section of the media jumped the gun and declared that the show failed to ink any significant deal (barring MoUs), and hence a ‘flop', government sources say that mega deals are not announced at air shows.

"Aero India has always been an opportunity for companies to greet, meet and take their business ideas forward. This time we have taken it to another level, with ‘Make in India' being the focus. We gave maximum opportunities to SMEs and MSMEs; and out of the 650 odd companies a major share of space was taken by them. It's unfair to expect any magic from shows. The results will be known only in the next 6-8 months," says a top official not wanting to be named. "It's a good beginning," he adds.

Aero India 2015 has set benchmarks

While the media might have left high and dry for want of ‘mega deal's to spice up news hour debates and banner headlines, insiders in MoD confirm that Aero India 2015 has set benchmarks for India's A&D growth.

"Companies refuse to share their business prospects, thanks to the cut-throat competition in this field. While we are preview to some information, we are not authorised to speak on behalf of the companies. This year's show has surpassed all records, including the revenue figures," says the official.

MoD sources confirm that the success of Aero India is one reason for the record turnout every year. Most companies are repeating the event by taking more space and exhibiting more products. With the Make in India policy charter known in the next two months, MoD hopes to get more players attracted towards the A&D activities in India.

A CEO of company based out of Karnataka, into A&D for the last 12 years, says that during this year's show they saw a change in the type of enquiries. "There's a lot of positive interest which we are sure will turn into actual orders," he adds.

When asked about the grey areas bothering MSMEs, he said that the Make in India mission must come out clearly on policies of NCNR (no cost, no risk) and defence offsets.

"Long gestation period of projects, non-support of PSUs like HAL in indigenisation, access to cheap capital, infrastructure in industrial area and increase of FDI to 51 per cent for foreign investments are key areas we need government attention," he said. The company has one dedicated manufacturing location in Bengaluru with 150 people directly involved in A&D projects.

Some companies misused their desi tag

While some MSMEs accused the organisers of charging exorbitant cost, with no discounts being offered, the MoD officials refused to buy the theory. "Let them write to us and we will address their concerns. We have offered 25 per cent discounts to Indian companies displaying Indian products," the official said.

However, some companies seem to have3 availed this benefit and exhibited foreign products instead.
"Some exhibitors were using the platform for trading rather than highlighting the manufacturing skills. Make in India mandates every company to project their strengths in manufacturing.

There has been a rampant display of foreign products at stall that leveraged discounts. These are the early days of Make in India and by next show we will have clearer rules of the game," says the official.

Complaints from the foreign delegates

OneIndia has learnt that the large presence of general public as business invitees at the first three days has irked many visiting delegates and foreign exhibitors. While MoD and the organisers (the Defence Exhibition Organisation) refused to entertain any queries on this front citing the sensitivities involved, it is certain that the finger is being pointed towards the Karnataka government.

A majority of business invitee passes are issued to the Karnataka government, which provides maximum support to the MoD to organise the show.

"Many delegates have expressed their concern. The presence of families and general public during business hours of the show has portrayed us in bad light.

MoD has no role here and we can't even stop people. Even families of IAF, DPSUs come on business days and hence Karnataka government cannot be blamed alone. The matter needs to be sorted out at the highest level," an official said on the condition of anonymity.

Make in India idea needs a development model

One of the sharpest voices on Indian defence, Air Marshal M Matheswaran (Retd), former Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (Policy, Planning and Development) and currently an Advisor to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, feels that developing a purposeful MSME ecosystem is critical for indigenisation efforts in the country.

"If the aerospace ecosystem were allowed to develop by encouraging joint ventures and higher levels of FDI, it would automatically lead to greater levels of indigenisation. This needs to be combined with a more transparent and realistic approach to implement development programmes," says Matheswaran.

According to him, the 'Make in India' slogan can become a reality only when a vibrant development model on the lines of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the United States is adopted here.

"The Kelkar Committee's one of the core recommendations was on these lines. It's best that we revisited the same again for the interest of the nation," adds Matheswaran.

MoD officials harp on the point that Make in India is just not a slogan, but a practical idea that needs to be propelled in the right direction. However, they admit that only inspiring policies on this front could fuel Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream mission.

MoD should also spell out its stand on R&D, a weak link, in the Make in India agenda.

The Navy Model best bet for India

Ahead of the this year's show, during the International Aero India Seminar, a debate session anchored by noted strategic affairs expert Maroof Raza, attended by top brains from India and abroad, agreed that India needs to adopt the Indian Navy's model of indigenisation to Make in India a success.

The speakers, including Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State (Defence), Air Marshal P P Reddy, Chief of the Integrated Defence Staf (CISC), IAF and Dr V K Aatre, former head of DRDO, felt that Indian Navy has been on the forefront of supporting home-grown projects.

The support Indian Navy to the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft (Naval variant) was cited by most panellists as an example.

While the key points of the debate failed to make any headlines the next day, the panellists wanted a 25 year perspective plan to guide the A&D initiatives. "Five year planning is not enough in this area. We need a clear future vision," they felt.

Missing Naval and Army assets at show

The absence of Army and Navy assets in large numbers at the show upset a section of visitors, who felt that this year's flying and static display lacked the usual charm.

"The MiG29Ks would have added great value to the show. The Navy could have had a greater presence this time. So is the case with the Indian Army and Army Aviation. An air show of this magnitude is incomplete without the complete assets of the host nation, as seen elsewhere in the world," says a noted aviation photographer, who was part of a larger team at the show.

A Naval spokesperson justified the absence and wanted MoD to answer. "We are always ready with whatever the government wants," a naval spokesperson said.

Officials in MoD said that no discrimination was shown towards any wing. "This is an Indian show open to all wings of the Services. We understand due to operational commitments (TROPEX), the Navy couldn't spare their flying assets. The Army Aviation had its presence in flying and at static display there were space constraints this time," the official said.

Where will be the next show be?

For the first time in the history of Aero India, the dates of the next edition is not announced in advance adding fuel to the speculation that Bengaluru might have hosted the ‘last' Aero India. While Parrikar was categorical that the show will not be shifted out of Bengaluru, despite all the shortfalls the growing city is now offering to the organisers, there's still an element of doubt flying in the air.

With the Air Force Station Yelahanka and surrounding areas getting chocked during the show and the limited entry options to the ADVA (air display viewing area), it is now certain that the show has to adopt a new format to squeeze into the available space.

"Infrastructure is an issue, but weather is not. We are reworking on the plans so as to make the show more comfortable to the visitors. Remember Aero India is often mistaken for the aerobatic stunts alone and that's not our purpose. We need to make business hours more meaningful sans unwanted visitors. Next air show will be specific in this regard," the official added.

Top MoD sources confirmed to this Correspondent that the government is seriously looking at rewriting the concept of DEO, which might see get an ‘inspiring facelift' in the months to come.

DPR shows glimpses of change

The Department of Public Relations (DPR) of MoD showed glimpses of change with its Spokesperson finally launching an official Twitter handle just days ahead of the show. The presence of a dedicated CPRO to release human-interest stories was a welcome change, which was lapped up by the media.

A daily evening briefing by a DPR official on the day's proceedings, a final round-up press conference giving out the facts and figures and instant release of photographs of the show to the media, only could have added more value to the DPR's efforts.

With a battery of MoD photo officers and PROs virtually cornering 1/4th of Media Centre, the rationing of photographs was one ‘blunder' DPR could have avoided. However, on the last day, all rules were thrown out of the window and photos were ‘made available' for the asking.

It is now certain that the MoD will soon have a structured view of its media and publicity activities with modern philosophies of communication ready to set in. The benchmarks set by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in disseminating information could be the model that MoD will follow.
Army to hold defence pension court in J&K
Jammu: To settle long pending pension disputes and provide on the spot settlement of pension related grievances of former defence personnel, the Army will hold a defence pension court in the state.

"A defence pension court will be held at Udhampur from April 8 to 9 at headquarter 71 Sub Area under the aegis of Northern Command," Udhampur-based Defence spokesman Colonel SD Goswami said.

He said that the office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad will be holding the court in Udhampur for on the spot settlement of pension related grievances of the defence pensioners, including defence civilians residing in Jammu and Kashmir.

"With such a widespread and complex system of pension disbursement, the pensioners regularly face procedural problems in correct payment," he said.

There are around 70,000 ex-servicemen and 20,000 widows of soldiers in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir.
‘Surface-to-air missile Akash to be operational soon’: Air Defence Brigade - See more at:
AKASH, which is India’s medium range mobile surface-to-air missile, will soon be operational in the Army Air Defence units. Officers at the Air Defence Brigade in Dehu Road said that this would further enhance security of the ‘Southern Skies.’

Brigadier Saif Ul Islam Khan, the Brigade Commander of the 787 (Independent) Air Defence Brigade, told reporters during a media visit that Akash had already been inducted into the Army and personnel were being trained on it. “The Army already has it. It will soon be operational,” he said. Army officers said that the missile would be fully operational for Air Defence in a few months’ time.

Akash has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories Board and Bharat Electronics (BEL), in India and can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m.

Brigadier Saif Ul Islam Khan highlighted the crucial role of the Air Defence Brigade and its units in the air defence of the Southern Skies. He said that various units of the Air Defence wing had been crucial in maintaining security at events like Republic Day Parade or Independence Day celebrations in Delhi from possible air attacks by enemies. He added that the units of Air Defence brigade around Delhi and Bangalore also provided cover during Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in Delhi and at the recent Air Defence Show in Bangalore.

In addition to its operational role, this Air Defence Brigade formation has been actively involved in nation building activities. As part of the outreach campaign to motivate the youth to join the armed forces, the units of the formation have conducted a number of lectures in various schools and colleges. Educational tours and equipment displays have been conducted for NCC cadets and students. In a recent effort, an orientation capsule was organised for the probationers of the Maharastra State Civil Services to give them a first hand feel of the Army way of life.

Among other achievements of the formation, Captain Divya Ajith Kumar was selected to lead the Women Officer Contingent of the Army at the 66th Republic Day Parade. Also, Captain Shraddha K Dabholkar, who served for two years in extreme climate conditions at High Altitude (Leh) at about 12000 feets, on successful completion of tenure was awarded with the High Altitude Medal and Sainya Seva Medal.

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