Saturday, July 26, 2014

India Pushes Ahead with Kilo Class Submarine Upgrades

IN Kilo class submarine after overhaul in Russia. Photo Courtesy Indian Embassy in Russia, credit: KR Deepak

India has asked Russia to upgrade another two Russian Kilo Class submarines (Type 877EKM) submarines, RIR reported on July 25, 2014.

The director-general of the Rubin Central Maritime Design Bureau Igor Vilnit told the website, "The Indian governments filed a request to the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation to extend the life of two Russian Kilo Class submarines."

Specialists of the Zvyozdochka ship repair center and the Rubin design bureau are expected to leave for India to inspect the first submarine.

Earlier on December 3, 2013, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, told the press that the Indian Navy (IN) intends to get four of its Kilo class subs overhauled in Zvezdochka shipyard in North Russia to extend their lives by another 10 years.

Also, the General Director of the Russian submarine repair yard Zvyozdochka in north Russia, Vladimir S. Nikitin, told The Hindu that the shipyard was close to signing a contract for life-extension refit of two Indian Kilo-class submarines in 2015.

In January 2013, the Indian Navy (IN) completed the overhaul and upgrade of its Kilo class (Project 887EKM) submarines in Russia under a deal signed in 2001.

Each upgrade cost $80 million and involved complete overhaul of the submarine and its hull structures; installation of an improved control system, sonar, electronic warfare system, and an integrated weapon control system. Additionally the subs were equipped to launch Club-S missiles from its torpedo tubes.

The refit included support for the new version of Klub-S (3M54E1 anti-ship and 3M14E land attack) cruise missiles and over ten Indian and foreign-made systems including the Ushus hydro-acoustic (sonar) system and CSS-MK-2 radio communications system.

In addition, the boat's cooling system was modified, the Porpoise radar fitted and other work carried out "increasing the boat's military capacity and safety."

Two submarines - INS Sindhuvir and INS Sindhuraj - were modernized at the Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg.

Later, five subs - INS Sindhukesari, INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhugosh and INS Sindhuvijay and INS Sindhurakshak - were modernized at  - Zvyozdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk.

Of the remaining 3 subs, one has already been overhauled in India, and another two are in the process of being overhauled.

Kilo class submarines were developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau (St. Petersburg).

IDP Sentinel members can read more about the Kilo Class submarine overhaul project at the link below.

Kilo Class submarines upgrade (IDP Sentinel)

Friday, July 25, 2014

INS Shivalik, INS Shakti & INS Ranvijay Sailing in for Malabar 2014

INS Shivalik, a USN Guided Missile Destroyer  & INS Ranvijay (front to rear) sail in for Malabar 2014. Photo Courtesy US Pacific Fleet

The 2014 edition of Malabar exercise kicked off on July 14, 2014 in Port Sasebo, Japan.

The MALABAR series is an annual exercise involving frontline ships of the Indian and US Navies with occasional participation by Navies of other countries.
Japan is participating in the exercise for the third time this year.

Three ships of Indian Navy  - INS Ranvijay (guided missile destroyer), INS Shivalik (stealth frigate) and INS Shakti (fleet tanker) - entered Port Sasebo on July 23 to participate in the exercise. The ships sailed to Japan immediately after wrapping up Indra 2014 exercise between the Indian Navy and the Russian Pacific Fleet.

The Japanese Navy is participating in Malabar 2014 with 2 destroyers, 1 P-3C Orion and 1 US-2 sea plane.

The US contingent comprises one SSN, two destroyers, one tanker, and one MR aircraft.

One US Carrier Strike group (CSG) is likely to join for the sea phase of the exercise. [via PIB]

(According to a US Navy press release, the US contingent comprises the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) with embarked carrier Air Wing 5; the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67); the guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); along with a a P-3C Orion aircraft.)

The shore phase of Malabar 2014 will be held from July 24, 2014 to July 26, 2014 and will include interactions between subject matter experts and professional exchanges.

The sea phase of the exercise is scheduled from July 27 to July 30 and will be conducted in the Western Pacific Ocean.

Exercises planned during this phase include search and rescue, helicopter cross-deck landings, underway replenishment, gunnery  and anti-submarine warfare, Visit, Board, Search and Seize operations (VBSS) and Liaison officer exchange and embarkation.

The scope of MALABAR exercise includes diverse activities, ranging from gun-firing and fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers, to combating terror, through Maritime Interdiction Operations exercises.

The Malabar exercise series commenced in 1992. Following India's 1998 Pokhran II nuclear tests there was a long hiatus.

The exercise - earlier held in the years 1992, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 (twice), 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 -  has grown in scope and complexity over the years.
Malabar 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Airbus A330 MRTT Procurement: TASL and Cobham UK Offset Tie-up to Make Air-to-Air Refueling Equipment at Hyderabad

Airbus 330 MRTT Hose and Drogue. Photo Courtesy Airbus Military

TASL will manufacture air-to-air refueling equipment for Cobham, UK at TASL’s facility in Hyderabad, India.

Cobham, UK specializes in hose and drogue aerial refueling and its systems are fitted on platforms such as the Airbus Military A330MRTT & A440M, Lockheeds C-130, Embraer KC-390 and Boeing KC-46.

Notably, IAF is set to procure 6 Airbus A330 MRTT and Cobham's tieup with TASL would meet the offset obligations of the company.

Cobham range also includes buddy refueling pods for  F/A-18, SU-30, and Tornado. Not coincidentally, the IAF is set to have 272 Su-30MKIs in its inventory!

Tata Group has identified Aerostructures as a thrust area of strategic importance and designated TASL as an umbrella organization for aerostructures. TASL has setup a JV with Sikorsky for manufacturing parts and assembling cabins for Sikorsky S92 Helicopters; and another JV with Lockheed Martin for manufacturing C-130J Empennage & Center Wing-Box Assembly as part of Lockheed Martin's offset obligation.

More recently, TASL announced a JV with RUAG Aviation of Switzerland to manufacture Do 228-212 NG structures at Hyderabad.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about the Airbus Military A330 MRTT at the link below.

Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) - IDP Sentinel

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brahmos-A ALCM Live Firing in 2015

IAF Su-30MKI with Brahmos-A mock-up at Aero India 2011. Photo Copyright Vijainder K Thakur

According to ARMS-TASS, modifications of one the two IAF Su-30MKIs fighters being modified to carry and launch the Brahmos-A ALCM have been completed.

Flight trials using a developmental version of the Brahmos-A missile are likely to start within 2014, but live firing of the missile would take place only in 2015. 

The developmental version, which has been built in Russia, will not feature warhead, fuel and engine, but it will have the electrical circuitry to arm and launch the missile so that the "aircraft weapon system-pylon-missile interface" can be fully tested. The developmental missile will also have sensors to measure load and vibration levels experienced by the missile in flight.

India has developed the missile carriage pylon for the missile and is at present developing the "missile-pylon" interface.

Wind-tunnel tests of Su-30MKI model fitted with a Brahmos-A missile are underway in Bengaluru to ensure clean separation of the missile following release.

Russia is manufacturing the Brahmos-A which has a smaller booster rocket and other differences (see at link below) from the ground launched version of the missile.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about the Brahmos-A at the link below

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brahmos Test on July 8, 2014: What Made it Different?

Brahmos developmental test on July 8, 2014.

DRDO classified the Brahmos missile test on July 8, 2014 as a developmental flight and its press release stressed that the test demonstrated the missile's ability to strike a hidden target without seeker based terminal guidance. The press release also claimed that the navigational system used on the missile was a world first.

According to the TNIE, the missile featured a G3oM navigational system on chip (SOC) weighing just 17-gm, which was developed by DRDO's Research Center Imarat (RCI) lab and produced by Bengaluru based private company Accord Software.

Based on an agreement with Russia and India's funding of the GLONASS system, India has access to GLONASS military signal, which is more accurate than the civil signal. India has also developed its own GPS augmentation system, GAGAN, which has an accuracy close to the GPS military signal. In other words, India has assured access to two highly accurate satellite based navigation systems.

Based on an analysis of past press reports, it appears that the G3oM chip can utilize either GLONASS military signal, or GAGAN, seamlessly and automatically switching between the two, to provide positional updates to host missile or aircraft to an accuracy of 3m.

G3oM reportedly features two antennas for  redundancy; in case one antenna gets shielded as a result of maneuvering by the host missile, aircraft or even tank, the other antenna ensures access to the satellite signal.

In future, Indian missiles will also have access to the military signal of IRNSS.

The G3oM is small enough to be fitted on Pinaka artillery rockets and smart bombs to make them deadly accurate.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about the Brahmos and its variants at the link below.

Brahmos Missile - IDP Sentinel

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Brahmos LACM Destroys Hidden Target in Supersonic Steep Dive Using Satellite Navigation: Bunker Buster?

Brahmos LACM test on July 8, 2014
A land attack variant of the Brahmos missile was successfully tested from ITR on July 8, 2014. The missile featured a totally indigenous airframe and relied entirely on satellite based navigation to accurately destroy a hidden target in a steep glide supersonic attack. Possibly a bunker buster variant of the missile with a ground penetrating warhead.

According to a Brahmos press release

The launch took place from a from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) prepared by the Brahmos 3rd regiment of Indian Army team at 1038 hrs. The missile flew through the designated 290 km distance at Mach 2.8 and achieved high precision with steep dive once again.

Brahmos LACM test on July 8, 2014
In a historical first, the advanced guidance system integrating multiple navigation satellites powered with new software algorithm, developed indigenously by Indian scientists and industries resulted in pinpoint accuracy of the missile system against hidden land targets.

Indigenous airframe produced by L&T and Godrej, guidance system by HAL, OBC, MIU by Ananth Technologies Ltd., Electronics industries, software development and guidance scheme by DRDO/RCI have been proved in the flight increasing the content from Indian industries.

Brahmos LACM test on July 2014

Highlights of the test:

1. Achieving high level of accuracy with multiple navigation satellites integrated with advanced software, without homing device, thus enabling pinpoint accuracy and further enhancing the precision capability against hidden land targets including mountainous regions.

2. Accomplishing the supersonic steep dive capability against difficult land targets.

3. Realization of airframe, both composite & metallic, built by the Indian industries which were tested and evaluated and altogether provided substantial increase of Indian produced content in the missile.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Indian Navy's First Time Participation in RIMPAC with INS Sahyadri

INS Sahyadri

Indian Navy's INS Sahyadri, a Shivalik class guided missile stealth frigate with 6,200-t displacement arrived in Honolulu recently to participate in RIMPAC-14, which kicked off today and will wind up on August 2, 2014.

The Indian Navy is participating in the exercise for the first time with one ship.

Other countries participating are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France,Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

China is participating with four ships - a destroyer, frigate, supply ship, & hospital ship

INS Sahyadri arrived at Pearl Harbor after sailing over 5,000-nm, stopping en-route at Darwin, Australia on June 13 and 14.

Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) is a US led exercise held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years from Honolulu, Hawaii. RIMPAC has 23 member countries from the Pacific Rim and beyond, and 3 observer nations.

The exercise consists of a harbor phase involving professional interactions, military symposiums, sports events and social fixtures; followed by a Sea Phase, that covers the entire gamut of maritime operations including anti-surface, anti-submarine, anti-air and Carrier Strike Group operations.

IDP Sentinel members can read more about Shivalik Class frigates at the link below

Project 17 Stealth Frigates: INS Shivalik, INS Satpura, INS Sahyadri - IDP Sentinel