Friday, May 30, 2014

Was Modi's Message to China's Li Keqiang - We will accept the LAC as the border?

Border post on the LAC at Bum La Pass, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi possibly created history on Thursday May 29, 2014, and ironically no one seems to have noticed, thanks to our wayward newsmedia that considers anything non controversial as non news and currently has Article 370 coming out of all its orifices outlets.

The Indian PM told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a telephonic conversation on Thursday that the Indian government had resolved to "utilize the full potential of our strategic and cooperative Partnership with work closely with the Chinese leadership to deal with any outstanding issues in our bilateral relations by proceeding from the strategic perspective of our developmental goals and long-term benefits to our peoples."

I am not a diplomat, but I don't think I have to be one to understand what Modi meant when he said "to deal with any outstanding issues in our bilateral relations by proceeding from the strategic perspective of our developmental goals and long-term benefits to our peoples."

For India's relations with China to flourish, the outstanding border dispute between the two nations with civilizational links needs to be resolved; not by round after round of official babu talks,  but a strategic political vision. A vision that focuses on "our developmen goals" and brings "long-term benefits to our peoples."

What Modi told Li Kequiang was - Lets move forward. Moving forward means leaving your past behind. India's relations with China have, for the past over 50 years, remained shackled by their border dispute.

A "strategic perspective" must look beyond intractable claims about our mutual border; it must look beyond give and take to resolve the border dispute. It must consider mutual give and forget.

A "strategic perspective" must come with the attitude - "What border dispute?"

For over 50-years India and China have clamored for their 'historical' border, unmindful of their differing perceptions on what was the historical border. Well 50-years is history by itself; the LAC could now well be viewed as the historical border and there is no difference in difference in perception over it.  (I believe the Chinese ambivalence on the LAC in Ladakh is really aggressive posturing, not a real difference in perception.)

So did Modi signal to China that it was time for India and China to resolve their border dispute along the lines suggested by the Chinese themselves earlier? By accepting the LAC as the new international border?

I think so. China's decision to send their foreign minister Wang Yi to India in the second week of June to follow-up on the Modi - Li Keqiang conversation is a clear indication that Modi has said something that China is delighted to hear.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DRDO Successsfully Tests Pinaka Mk-2 MBRLS

Pinaka 214mm MBRLS during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in 2012. Photo Credit : PIB

DRDO tested the Pinaka Mk-2 Multi Barrel Rocket Launch System (MBRLS) on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at Chandipur-on-sea, near Balasore in Odisha by firing three salvos.
"Three rounds of Pinaka rockets were successfully tested from the proof and experimental establishment (PXE) today at Chandipur," a source told PTI.

In July 2013, the Pinaka Mk-2 system had undergone successful trials at Chandhan area in Pokhran field firing ranges in western Rajasthan.

Development and trials of Pinaka Mk-2 is ongoiing and the advanced unguided rocket system is expected to enter service very soon.

DRDO is developing the Pinaka MK-II rocket, with an extended range of 60 kms, against 40 km for Pinaka Mk-I. 

In an interview with The Hindu published on August 22, 2013, DRDO Chief Avinash Chander confirmed that his scientists are "enhancing the range of Pinaka rockets from the existing 40 km to 60 km for Pinaka mark II."

Previously it was reported that early static validation trials of the rockets are underway and DRDO plans user trials of its warhead. 

IDP Sentinel members can read more about the Pinaka MBRLS at the link below.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Akash Missile Successfully Tested in Ripple Mode Against Multiple Targets

Akash surface-to-air missile ripple fire test on May 28, 2014

The DRDO developed Akash surface-to-air missile was successfully tested in ripple mode and against multiple targets at the extreme edge of the missile's engagement envelope.

Three Akash missiles were launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore on two targets being towed by Lakshya PTA at "low altitude far boundary".

Two of the missiles were launched on the same target in ripple mode. The missiles successfully intercepted the fast moving and maneuvering small RCS targets.

Akash Project Director G. Chandramouli told The Hindu that the first missile climbed to an altitude of 700-m and then slammed down on its target 20-km from the test range.

IAF personnel then launched two missiles in ripple mode with 5 sec interval on a second target.

"The first missile destroyed the target. The second homed in on the destroyed parts, falling down," said Mr. Chandramouli.

The DRDO released video above of the ripple test shows the first missile warhead detonating at 19-sec and a large chunk of debris falling to the ground. The second missile warhead detonates at 23-sec well above the altitude of the first detonation.

IDP Sentinel members can read about the Akash missile at the link below.

Akash Missile (IDP Sentinel)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Russia's New Air-to-Air Missile for T-50 to be Ready by 2016, Hypersonic Cruise Missile by 2020

A Russian R-73 missile on Tejas LCA at Aero India 2013

On May 23, 2014 Boris Obnosov, the head of the Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV), told the press at the Kadex 2014 that KTRV would complete development of the new air-to-air missile, X-74M2, by 2016.

The X-74M2 is likely an improved version of the R-74M, which in turn was a R-73 (AA-11 Archer) missile derivative featuring fully digital and re-programmable systems. The X designation of the new missile likely refers to its development status.

The R-73 has a cryogenic cooled (MK-80) seeker and uses thrust vectoring for maneuvering giving it a substantial (45 deg either side) off-boresight capability.

"We have established close contact with the Sukhoi design office. A permanent working group is formed. All the protocols of informational cooperation are agreed on. Models are made according to schedule. Everything must be done by 2016," Obnosov said.

Obnosov added that the Tactical Missiles Corporation also planned to develop the first model of a hypersonic missile by 2020. The Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade had already approved the program.

Russia is developing tactical air-to-ground missiles and air-to-air missiles for use with the T-50

In April 2012, Obnosov told RIA Novosti that the missiles are undergoing tests.

“The development of Kh-35UE (AS-20 Kayak), Kh-38ME, Kh-58UShKE (AS-11 Kilter), and RVV-MD (AA-11 Archer) class missiles will be completed in 2012-2013,” Obnosov said.

Some of the missiles that will arm the T-50 have already been proven with other fighters.

The Kh-31PD (AS-17 Mod 2) class missiles, for example, have already been tested using Sukhoi Su-34 and put into serial production, he added.

According to KTRV, the Kh-35UE tactical anti-ship missile has a maximum range of 260 kilometers; the supersonic Kh-31PD anti-radiation missile for use against air defense systems, can fly up to 250 kilometers; the Kh-58UShKE missile, designed to destroy pulse radars, can hit targets within 245 kilometers, and the short-range RVV-MD air-to-air missile has a maximum range of 40 kilometers.

IDP Sentinel members can read more details about the PAK-FA / T-50 project at the link below

PAK-FA / T-50 (IDP Sentinel)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fourth Boeing P-8I arrives at Naval Air Station Rajali

Fourth Boeing P-8I arrives at Naval Air Station Rajali from Boeing Field in Seattle on May 21, 2014.
Boeing has delivered the fourth P-8I to India on schedule. The aircraft departed from Boeing Field in Seattle and arrived May 21 at Naval Air Station Rajali, where it joined three P-8Is currently undergoing operational evaluation.

With the delivery, Boeing has fulfilled the first half of a contract for eight aircraft. Two additional aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2014.

IDP Sentinel members can read additional details about the project at

P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti Submarine Warfare (LRMRASW) Aircraft - IDP Sentinel

Monday, May 19, 2014

Indian Army Initiates Procurement of Anti Mine Boots for Infantry Soldiers

Anti Mine boots PPE50 from Energetics Technology, UK

MOD has initiated procurement of Boot Anti Mine Infantry (BAMI) for Infantry soldiers through the recent release of a RFI to identify probable vendors.

The Indian Army has in the past used boots procured from Czech Republic but troops found them heavy (4-kg) and uncomfortable. Indigenous anti-mine and snow boots designed by Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), though lighter at 2.9-kg, did not meet other Army QRs.

MOD now wants to procure BAMI from a foreign vendor in a quantity large enough to enthuse the vendor to transfer technology for producing the boots locally in India.

Anti Mine boots are designed to protect troops from Anti Personnel mine to an extent where the injury from the blast, triggered by stepping on the mine, does not mandate amputation. The boots absorb most of the shock from the blast through sacrificial destruction of protective layers in the sole.

Anti Mine boots enable soldiers to fully recover from stepping on an anti-personnel mine. In a typical case, pressure from an anti-personnel mine blast can be to the order of 45,000kg/cm square. Without protective boots, such force would typically tear a limb apart. Anti-mine boots can reduce blast pressure to around 160kg/cm square. The reduced pressure results in relatively minor injury, such as fracture and some soft-tissue damage, precluding  It's unlikely to result in a limb amputation. Also, the reduced extent of injury allows more time between mine strike and medical evacuation, reducing the chances of a soldier bleeding to death on the battlefield, as so often happens during a battle. Soldiers recover more quickly at redcued medical cost.

The challenge is to make anti mine boots light and comfortable enough to allow soldiers to perform their missions. Instead of providing absolute protection, boots trade-off some protection for the imperative of mission accomplishment.

Without BAMI, attacking infanty soldiers breach protective minefields laid by the enemy by trailing tanks with  mine ploughs; in more difficult terrain the infantry uses explosive to blast a lane through the minefield. In both cases, the enemy is alerted to the attack. The use of BAMI enables attacking infantry to breach a minefield more stealthily.

MOD is looking for anti mine boots that can be used in various types of terrain (Plains, Deserts, Jungles, Glaciated, and High Altitude & Mountainous) encountered in India? The ministry is willing to consider strap on version of anti-mine footwear provided they can be worn over the in-service DMS boot used by Indian Army?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

GRSE Accepts Gearbox for Fourth P28 ASW Corvette INS Kavaratti

A model of the Kamorta class anti-submarine corvette on display at DefExpo 2014

On May 13, 2014 DCNS announced that in mid-March 2014 Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata had accepted without reservation the first of the two port raft-mounted gearbox for the Project 28 Kamorta class ASW Corvette INS Kavaratti.

GRSE have orders to build four Project 28 Kamorta class ASW Corvettes for the Indian Navy at a cost of approximately Rs. 1,700 crore each. The ships - INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt, INS Kiltan and INS Kavaratti - have very low under water noise signature and low radar cross section. They are the first stealth corvettes designed and built indigenously.

P28 corvetts have with more than 80 percent indigenous content and are capable of fighting under NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) environment.

In 2006, GRSE entered into a contract with DCNS for the design and integration of four pairs of raft-mounted gearboxes intended for the propulsion of the four P28 ASW corvettes.

Under the agreement, DCNS was to produce two raft-mounted gearboxes for the first corvette in France on the DCNS Nantes site. The remaining six gearboxes were to be produced in India by DCNS' industrial partner WIL (Walchandnagar Industries Limited).

IDP Sentinel members can read more about Project 28 at the link below:

Project 28 / Kamorta Class Corvette (IDP Sentinel)

Monday, May 12, 2014

DRDO Commisions Supersonic Rail Track Rocket Sled at TBRL Chandigarh

Picture of rocket sled that achieved Mach 8.5. U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Heather Newcomb via Wikimedia

DRDO Chief and SA to RM, Shri Avinash Chander, inaugurated a supersonic Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory( TBRL) Chandigarh on Monday, May 12, 2014.

The 4-km long, penta rail facility is equipped a rocket powered sled that accelerates to supersonic speeds to facilitate testing of payload for manned missions of ISRO, the navigation system for missiles and aircraft, proximity fuses for advanced warheads, fuses for armament systems, parachutes for payload delivery, and arrester systems for aircraft such as LCA.

The rocket sled does not use wheels; instead, it has sliding pads called "slippers", which are curved around the head of the rails to prevent the sled from flying off the track.

Describing the RTRS facility, Dr Manjit Singh Outstanding Scientist & Director TBRL said, “the facility consists of five rails, each having a length of 4 km, on which a test article can be propelled at supersonic speed with the help of specially designed rockets.  The track built for this purpose is precision aligned and capable of withstanding high levels of load.  The capability so acquired will accelerate the pace of development of defense and aerospace technologies and products”.

Other countries which have similar facilities include the USA, Russia, France, UK and Germany.

A rocket sled holds the land-based speed record for a vehicle, at Mach 8.5.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Buoyed by Pilatus PC-7 Mk-2 Performance IAF Steps Up Pilot Course Intake Ahead of Schedule

IAF Pilatus PC-7 MkII

The IAF has decided to increase Pilot Course intake by 150% from the next course itself, ahead of schedule, because PC-7 MkII performance has exceeded IAF expectations.

Compared to the flying syllabus in vogue before PC-7 MkII, cadets are already flying 220% more hours during Basic Flying Training at Dundigal, and doing 14 solo sorties instead of just 1.

The dramatic rise in the flying effort is attributed to excellent endurance, low maintenance and reliability of the PC-7 MkII aircraft.

As of April 2014, Pilatus had delivered  35 PC-7 MkII aircraft with the remaining 40 to be flown-in on a monthly basis under the accelerated delivery schedule.

The PC-7 MkII fleet has logged more than 12,000 flying hours and accumulated well over 24,000 landings, since the first delivery of the new Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) to the Indian Air Force in February, 2013.

The contract for the supply of PC-7 MkII was signed just two years ago in  May 2012, HAL leadership and MOD babus may like to note.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about the PC-7 Mk-II project at the link below.

Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Basic Trainer for IAF - IDP Sentinel

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

DRDO's Nabhratna DO-228 Flying Test Bed Will Speedup Maritime Patrol Radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar Development

DRDO's Nabhratna DO-228 Flying Test Bed (FTB)

DRDO hopes to speed up development of Maritime Patrol Radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Data-link, Electro-optics and EW systems with the acquisition by LRDE of a dedicated DO-228 Flying Test Bed (FTB) named "Nabhratna."

The aircraft was handed over to LRDE by HAL on May 1, 2014, six months ahead of schedule.

On May 30, 2013 LRDE signed a contract with HAL for the supply of one DO-228 along with spares, tools and publications for use as FTB. The establishment had earlier loaned DO-228 aircraft from the IAF and IN, but service exigencies often led to delays in obtaining the aircraft.

Nabhratna DO-228 is equipped with indigenous synthetic Aperture Radar and state-of-the-art avionics and communication system. 

According to DRDO Chief, Avinash Chander, "The use of flying test bed (FTB) aircraft will reduce the cycle time for development for airborne system." 


The DO-228 is a 19 seat, high winged, rugged and fuel efficient aircraft powered by twin Garrett TPE 331-5 Turbo prop engines. It is capable of short take-off and landing from semi prepared runway and has adequate range to fulfill multiple roles.

HAL manufactures, overhauls and repairs the Garrett TPE 331-5 Turbo prop Engine for various customers under licence from Garrett Engine Division of Honey Well Company [earlier Allied Signal Aerospace Company, USA] since 1988. 

The Garrett TPE 331-5 Turbo prop belongs to a popular series of small turbo prop Engines powering a large number of commuter and corporate aircraft. Simple in design, the engine has a single shaft Centrifugal Compressor and is rated at 715 shaft horse power at 1591 RPM output speed.  It features a propeller control system, anti-icing and foreign object damage resistance, reverse thrust and negative torque sensing facilities.

Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR)

DRDO is developing the Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR) for use on DO-228, KA-32, Dhruv ALH, and Rustom 2. MALE UAV. The radar is designed for search, rescue and maritime surveillance missions.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DRDO Developing 16-t Heavy Drop System for Air Dropping BMP ICVs

DRDO's Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) at Agra is developing a Heavy Drop System to airdrop BMP class ICVs from IL-76 aircraft.

Heavy Drop Systems are used by the Indian Armed Forces to quickly deploy heavy combat payloads at relatively inaccessible areas.

Three types of heavy drop systems are currently in use by Indian Armed Forces.

  1. Heavy Drop System for AN-32 Aircraft
  2. Heavy Drop System (P-7) for IL-76 Aircraft
  3. Heavy Drop System (P-16) for IL-76 Aircraft

ADRDE earlier developed HDS (P-7) under an import substitution project sanctioned by DRDO HQs in 2004, as the initial lot of HDS P-7 procured from abroad were nearing their designed lives. HDS P-7s have  been inducted into the AFs after user trials.

Because of limited availability of IL-76 aircraft, in May 2014, ADRDE released a RFI for developing a Aircraft Fitment Simulator for IL-76 aircraft. The simulator would be a replica of cargo floor of IL-76 aircraft to enable loading and fitment of platform. The elevated fixture will comprise conveyor rollers, monorail, with loading and extraction system identical to the actual aircraft. This fixture will not only help in quantitative analysis of critical gaps, but it will also help in providing opportunity to carryout loading/unloading exercise of the system.

Heavy Drop Systems

Any heavy drop system comprises of two sub-systems: Platform and Parachute. The two systems along with the military store to be dropped are termed as "Load" in Heavy Drop Systems terminology.

Platform System provides palletization of military store on a suitably designed Pallet. It consists of a number of Devices and Accessories required for lashing of store with the Pallet, locking of Pallet with the aircraft, safe ejection of Pallet from aircraft, damage free ground touch down, automatic disconnection of parachutes at touch down, quick unlashing of store from Pallet etc.

Parachute System comprises of a number of parachutes with associated metallic components required for flawless sequential deployment of these parachutes. This system ensures safe extraction of Load out of the aircraft, stabilization of Load, reduction in descent speed etc.

The Load is placed inside the cargo compartment of the aircraft and secured with cargo floor using certain devices. At desired location of the paradrop, the Load is extracted from flying aircraft from its tail side with help of extraction parachutes, which are operated by the Aircrew.  The platform moves within aircraft on a set of Roller assembly fitted on the cargo floor and its movement is guided with help of a monorail fixed longitudinally at the center of cargo floor. There are two sets of Guide Blocks fitted at forward and rare sides of the Platform, which act as mating part of the monorail of the A/C. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Astra air-to-air missile successfully test fired from Su-30MKI

Astra all aspect, active homing air-to-air BVR missile maiden air launch on May 4, 2014. Photo Credit: DRDO

India successfully conducted the  maiden air-to-air test of its Astra all aspect, beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile on Sunday, May 4, 2014. 

The missile was launched from an IAF Su-30MKI at a Naval range in the western sector. The test met all mission objectives. The release of the missile was captured by side and forward looking high speed cameras; the separation occurred exactly as per the simulation.

Scale model of Astra air-to-air missile at DRDO pavilion at Aero India 2013

The missile was launched against a simulated target during the test on Sunday. According to DRDO chief, Avinash Chander, the missile would be launched against a real target shortly.

"Many more trials are planned and will be conducted to clear the launch envelope. Weapon integration with ‘Tejas’ Light Combat Aircraft will also be done in the near future," Chander said.

Fish-eye view of the Astra air-to-air BVR missile leaving its Su-30MKI launcher during its maiden air launch on May 4, 2014. Photo Credit: DRDO

HAL carried out Astra related modification on the testbed Su-30MKI along with IAF specialists.

In 2013, the Astra missile underwent rigorous testing on Su-30MKI in the captive mode to validate avionics integration and evaluate the missile's seeker.

DRDO is already working on a Mk-2 variant of the Astra missile with grater range; it would be tested by the end of 2014

IDP Sentinel members can get additional details abut the missile at the link below

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Navy Modernizing its Submarine Escape Training Facility at Visakhapatnam

 A Sailor assigned to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722), receives training with the MK10 Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment (SEIE). Photo Credit: US Navy / Wikimedia Common

A catastrophic explosion on board INS Sindhurakshak shortly after midnight on August 14, 2013 while docked at Mumbai harbor resulting in its sinking and death of 18 crew members and a fire on INS Sindhuratna on February 26, 2014 resulting in the death of two crew members has spurred the Navy to be better prepared for submarine accidents.

The Indian Navy has so far relied heavily on the professionalism of its carefully screened submariners to preclude submarine related accidents; it has remained ill prepared to handle accidents like the sinking of a submarine in high seas. The Sindhurakshak tragedy seems to have hit home and jolted the the Naval leadership into accepting that submarines do sink. And they don't just sink on high seas, they can even sink in harbor!

On April 30, 2014, through a RFI the Navy initiated procurement and installation of a 5-m Escape Training Tower (ETT) at Visakhapatnam in its quest to develop a state-of-the art submarine escape training facility at its premium submarine base. The service want an ETT built around the SEIE Mk 11 escape suit.

In the case of a mishap resulting in the sinking of a submarine, the foremost priority of crew members is survival. Next, comes the need to escape. This should preferably by done using a submarine rescue vehicle which connects directly to the escape hatch of a submarine allowing crew members to be brought up  to safety without exposing them to the high pressure at oceanic depths and possibly very cold temperatures.

In case no rescue vehicle is available, as a last resort submariners can escape a stricken sub by wearing protective gear like the Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment (SEIE) MK-11 and bubble up to the surface. To facilitate escape, the escape tower or chamber of a submarine is designed to allow a submariner in protective gear to enter and flood it while inside. The submariner then opens the escape hatch and floats up to the surface. The process is repeated one at at time, allowing eight or more crewmen to escape per hour.

This is referred to as Tower Escape. When escaping from depths greater than 100-m using tower escape, there is a significant risk of decompression sickness. A re-compression facility must be available.

The RFI projects the requirement of a one/two man pressurization chamber for tower escape facility. In addition, the ETT should facilitate Rush Escape which is resorted to when either the single man pressurization chamber is not available for escape or the submarine hull is breached and the internal compartment is exposed to rapid flooding and raised ambient pressure.

Flooding causes compression of the air within the rescue compartment, to an extent where air pressure matches the water column pressure at the ocean depth. When resorting to Rush Escape, submariners don their protective gear and open the escape hatch and one by one pass through the tower to the surface.

Rush escape is perilous because bulky escape suits can make it difficult for crew to pass through the escape hatch; darkness and danger can result in crew mistakes and trigger panic.

Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment (SEIE) MK-11

Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment (SEIE) MK-11 is whole-body suit and one-man life raft that allows submariners to escape from a sunken submarine at depths down to 600-ft at a rate of eight or more men per hour.

Developed by British company RFD Beaufort Limited, the SEIE typically comprises a submarine escape and immersion suit, an inner thermal liner, and a gas-inflated single-seat life raft, all contained in an outer protective stowage compartment.

The equipment's buoyancy facilitates free ascent from a stricken submarine at a "safe" speed of approximately two to three meters per second. The inner thermal liner protects escapees from hypothermia. At the surface, the SEIE provides shelter and visibility.

The SEIE provides a last resort escape option. In the case of a mishap, foremost priority for the crew is survival. Next, may come the need to escape. This should preferably by resorted to using a submarine rescue vehicle. A rescue vehicle connects directly to the escape hatch of a submarine protecting the crew.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about Submarine escape at the link below

Submarine Rescue (IDP Sentinel)