Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Indian Navy Sticks with DRDO Developed AIP, for Better or Worse!

Scorpene cutaway scale model with DCNS AIP plug at DefExpo 2014

The Business Standard reported on July 20, 2015 that because of delay in DRDO's Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) project, which is almost 4 yr behind schedule, only the sixth Project-75 Scorpene would be fitted with an AIP plug. It is also possible that all six Scorpenes would be built without AIP.

The Indian Navy had earlier asked Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) to equip the fifth and sixth boats with AIP by fitting an additional 300-t section on the last two Scorpene submarines built at MDL under Project 75.

MDL and French firm DCNS, which developed the Scorpene, are responsible for fitting the new hull section and safely integrating the DRDO-developed AIP plug to the submarine.

DCNS initially offered its first generation MESMA AIP with the Scorpene, but the Indian Navy opted to go with a second generation DRDO developed 300-t AIP based on fuel cell technology.

DCNS has since developed and demonstrated to Indian journalists a fully tested second generation operational-scale fuel cell AIP that would allow the Scorpene to stay submerged for 3 weeks, but the Indian Navy hasn't been swayed from its decision to go with the DRDO AIP.

(Without AIP, Scorpene can stay submerged for 4 days. With a  MESMA AIP, it would be able to stay submerged for 2 weeks.)

DRDO has demonstrated its AIP technology on a land based prototype. Trials on a land based submarine section were to commence from March 2015 and full scale operations of a AIP System was to be demonstrated within 2015.

One good reason why the Navy has stuck with the  DRDO AIP is because it could later be reconfigured for the submarines to be acquired under Project 75I. Also, the four Scorpenes launched earlier could be retrofitted under an upgrade program.

The Navy's penchant for sourcing its systems from within India is well appreciated in the country, but there can be no denying the risk that the Navy is taking by adding to its fleet, in this day and age, new submarines without AIP! India's adversaries, China and Pakistan, have been operating AIP subs for years now!

The following comparison may help readers assess the risk for themselves. Please feel free to your your views through the comments section.

DCNS and DRDO AIPs Compared

The MESMA AIP from DCNS mimcs nuclear propulsion. It uses heat generated through combustion of ethanol (grain alcohol) and stored oxygen at a pressure of 60 atmospheres to power a conventional steam turbine power plant. It doesn't use fuel cells.

The DRDO AIP uses fuel cell technology. A fuel cell converts chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction of positively charged hydrogen ions with oxygen or another oxidizing agent.

There are many fuel cell types, but the principal ones include the alkaline fuel cell (AFC), proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC), phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC).

DRDO's AIP uses PAFC, which has some advantages over other fuel cell types. PAFCs offer a broader choice of fuel being more tolerant of fuel impurities. It can operate using reformed hydrocarbon fuels (Methanol) or biogas.

PAFC operating temperatures (150 to 200 °C) are higher and as a result they generate steam as byproduct, besides electric power for propulsion. The steam can be used to meet other heating requirements, pushing up operating efficiency to as high as 70%.

PAFC fuel cells were one of the earliest to be developed and are commercially available of the shelf (COTS).

The only downside of PAFCs is the use of phosphoric acid as electrolyte. However, use of modern materials makes PAFC safe enough for commercial use at hospitals, schools, office buildings, and grocery stores.

It's likely that the DRDO plug uses commercially available PAFCs.

The second generation fuel-cell AIP developed by DCNS usees hydrogen produced from diesel fuel by hydrocarbon reforming.

One obvious advantage of the DCNS AIP is the easy availability of diesel at any port around the globe. The absence of pure-oxygen in the cells allows longer life cycle. DCNS claims that the life cycle of its new AIP plug roughly matches the life-cycle of the submarine, which isn't the case with other fuel cell types.

There is no doubting the sophistication of the DCNS 2nd generation AIP, which has to be weighed against the higher initial cost, high recurring cost from the need to use AIP is all future conventional subs, and the continued dependence on foreign technology. But then DRDO has a well earned notoriety of delays!

Monday, July 20, 2015

News Roundup: DRDO DEW for Zapping UAVs, Lakshya ToT to L&T, IAF Initiates Procurement of Additional MI-17V5

Mi-17V5 at Aero India 2013

IAF Initiates procurement of additional 48 Mi-17V5 helicopters

The ET reported on July 20, 2015 that the IAF has initiated procurement of 48 additional Mi-17V5s at a cost of $1.1b (Rs 6,980 cr).

The deal would involve 30 percent offset obligation.

On February 17, 2015 Sputnik News reported that India and Russia were discussing purchase of additional Mi-17V5 helicopters.

India has so far ordered 151 Mi-17V5 helicopters from Russia in two batches. The first order was for 80 helicopters and the second for 71.

As on February 18, 2015, Russia had delivered 121 helicopters against the order for 151 helicopters. Russia completed deliveries against the initial 80 helicopters order in 2013. Deliveries against the follow-on order for 71 helicopters are likely to be completed by end 2015.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Mi-17V5 Purchase From Russia - IDP Sentinel

Lakshya ToT to L&T

The IE reported on July 18, 2015 that MoD has approved a DRDO proposal for transfer of technology (ToT)  of Lakshya-2 to Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for commercial production.

L&T will pay DRDO a royalty on domestic sales and exports of the PTA. Exports would require MoD approval. Potential export customers include Singapore, Malaysia and Israel.

Lakshya PTA at Aero India 2011

Lakshya ToT to private sector L&T for royalty based sales is a first involving a major defense system. In the past such ToT has been made exclusively to public sector units and with no royalty.

The landmark deal will serve as a model for private sector involvement in marketing, maintaining and upgrading DRDO developed systems, allowing DRDO to focus on R&D.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Lakshya - 2 - IDP Sentinel

DRDO Working on Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) Systems

DRDO's CHESS (Center for High Energy Systems and Science), Hyderabad is developing Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) systems.

One of the DEW weapon systems being developed would target UAV's.

On March 2, 2015 CHESS invited tenders for Off-axis concave and convex parabolic mirrors.

The concave mirror is required to have a parent focal length of 2000mm and mirror diameter of 150mm, while the convex mirror is required to have a parent focal length of 200mm and a mirror diameter of 25mm.

In early July 2015, DRDO's IRDE (Instruments Research & Development Establishment), Dehradun invited tenders for supply of High Resolution thermal imager for CHESS platform.

The IRDE tender seeks a Thermal Imager based on Pelican-D 640x512 MWIR IDDCA with 14.5X zoom capability. The Imager is required to have recognition range capability of 5-km against a 1.5m x 3m  UAV target.

IDDCA (Interleaved Double Dynamical Clustering Analysis) is a sampling algorithm based on clustering.

It appears that the imager being sought by IRDE would be used to aim a DEW developed by CHESS for use against UAVs.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Directed Engergy Weapon (DEW) Systems (IDP Sentinel)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

News Roundup: IAC-2, LCA Mk-2 Engine, Towed AD Guns

Glass cutaway aircraft carrier model showing EMALS installation at General Atomics stall at DefExpo 2014

India - US Pursuing Tie-up on IAC-2 and LCA Mk-2 Engine Under DTTI

The TOI reported on July 17, 2015 that India and the US have worked out the terms of reference for building India's next aircraft carrier with US technology.

India is preparing to send a team to pursue talks on the aircraft carrier and the LCA Mk-2 jet engine, ahead of the next round of strategic talks due in September 2015.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) (IDP Sentinel)

Indian Navy Seeks Letter of Intent for Construction of IAC from 9 Indian Shipyards

The ET reported on July 17, 2015 that the IN has sought Expression of Intent (EoI) from nine Indian shipyards, four of them privately owned,  to construct IAC-2. The four private shipyards invited are L&T, Pipavav, ABG and Bharti.

The public sector shipyards are Mazgaon Docks, Garden Reach, Goa Shipyard, Hindustan Shipyard and Cochin Shipyard.

The letter says the proposed carrier would have a CATOBAR flight-deck configuration but other "modern technology for launch and recovery" will also be considered.

The shipyards are required to respond by July 21, 2015.

A high-level study group, headed by Assistant Controller of Carrier Project, Rear Admiral Surinder Ahuja, will evaluate infrastructure and technical competence of responding shipyards for executing the project.

Recently the Business Standard reported that the IN has sent letters of request (LoR) seeing proposals for help in designing the carrier to Lockheed Martin (US), BAE Systems (UK), DCNS (France), and Rosoboronexport (Russia).

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Indian Aircraft Carrier-2 (IAC-2) INS Vishal (IDP Sentinel)

BEL and Punj Lloyd Shortlisted for Towed AD Gun Project

The ET reported on July 17, 2015 that MoD has shortlisted BEL and Punj Lloyd for supply of 428 towed AD guns over the next five years.

Ashok Wadhawan, president (manufacturing) at Punj Lloyd, told ET that his company was looking forward to the final round during which commercial bids would be opened to determine the winner of the contract.

 "We have gained considerable experience on the project and also have a modern 30 mm air defense gun ready for requirements of the Indian Army," Wadhawan said.

BEL also has experience in upgrading of AD guns and is currently modernizing the L 70 guns of the Army.

The DAC on July 14, 2015 approved procurement of the guns at a cost of Rs 16,900 crore.

The guns are to be procured under 'Buy and Make in India' category. A tender was issued to 6 private and public sector firms - Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Electronics, Tata Power SED, Punj Lloyd, Ordnance Factory Board and Bharat Forge.

The Indian firms are free to tie up with foreign majors holding upto 49 per cent stake.

Towed Air Defense (AD) Guns - IDP Sentinel

Friday, July 17, 2015

News Roundup: Pipavav to Construct Grigorivich Class Frigates, Fresh EoI for FICV, IN Seeks IAC-2 Design Help

Tata Motor's Kestrel wheeled FICV at DefExpo-2014

MoD Releases Fresh EoI for FICV

MoD recently released a fresh EoI for building a "Future Infantry Combat Vehicle" (FICV) to the following 10 Indian vendors. The EoI has been issued under the DPP-2008, which was operative when the AON was given in 2009.

  1. Mahindra Defense System
  2. Bharat Forge
  3. Larsen & Toubro
  4. Punj Lloyd
  5. Tata Power
  6. Tata Motors
  7. Pipavav Defence
  8. Rolta India
  9. Titagarh Wagons
  10. Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)

The vendors, who are free to tie-up with foreign firms, have been asked to submit detailed proposals within 90 days.

[via Business Standard]

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) - IDP Sentinel

Indian Navy Seeks Design Consultancy for IAC-2

The Indian Navy in July 2015 issued a letter of request to leading shipbuilders across the globe seeking  proposals for help in designing IAC-2, a 65,000 tonne, 300-m long aircraft carrier with CATOBAR (optionally EMALS) operations.

The letter specifies the carrier should be capable of speeds greater than 30 knots (56 km per hour), but doesn't specify the nature of propulsion - nuclear or CDOG.

The carrier will embark 30-35 fixed wing combat aircraft, and about 20 rotary wing aircraft (helicopters).

The letter has been sent to US company, Lockheed Martin; UK company, BAE Systems, French shipbuilder, DCNS, and Russian arms export agency Rosoboronexport.

The vendors are expected to respond with their proposals and costings within a week.

[via Business Standard]

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Indian Aircraft Carrier-2 (IAC-2) INS Vishal - IDP Sentinel

Russia Picks Pipavav for Project 11356 Construction against Follow-up Contract

The Russian government has picked Pipavav shipyard, on the basis of its infrastructure and capacity, as partner for building Project 11356 Grigorivich class frigates in India against an expected follow-up order worth more than $3 billion.

The ET reported on July 16, 2015 that Russia's decision was formally conveyed to MoD in a letter last week from the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) director Alexander Fomin.

A government-to-government contract is likely to be signed within the current FY with delivery expected over the next six to eight years.

“We are ready to transfer technology to ensure the construction of these ships in India. The new ships that will be built will be different and more modern from the Talwar class that have been delivered,” Alexi Dikiy, director for military technical cooperation at USC, told ET.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Project 11356 Talwar Class Missile Frigates - IDP Sentinel

Thursday, July 16, 2015

News Roundup: Submarine Rescue Ship, Indradhanush 2015, Tech Tie-ups for Minesweepers

Add caption

Indian Navy Negotiating Purchase of Submarine Rescue Ship from Russia

India is reportedly negotiating with Russia for the purchase of its P 21300 class Submarine rescue ship. The Russian Navy is expected to commission the first ship of the class, Igor Belousov, later this year.

"There have been some specific requests from the Indian Navy and we are taking them in account when offering a product from our side. A presentation was also made for the Indian Navy on board the first vessel of the P 21300 class at our shipyard," Alexander Buzakov, Chief Executive Officer of Russia's Admiralty Shipyards told ET in July 2015.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Submarine Rescue Ship - IDP Sentinel and Submarine Rescue - IDP Sentinel

Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) Finalizing Tech Tie-ups for Minesweeper Project

Goa shipyard is negotiating technology tie-ups for building mine sweepers  with South Korean yard Kangnam Corporation and Italian shipbuilder Intermarine. The two firms competed in the 2008 global tender for supply of 8 Mine Counter Measures Vessels (MCMVs) to the IN. The contract was awarded to Kangam but the procurement process was cancelled due to alleged irregularities by Kangam. The MoD has since "nominated" GSL to build the MCMVs with foreign collaboration through a fresh tender.

GSL chairman Rear Admiral Shekhar Mital (retd) had told the press in March 2015, "We don't have the technology. That is why we are going to import it. GSL has a capacity to absorb the technology,"

"We will take minimum possible technology from abroad," he added.

GSL estimates that the minesweepers would have at least 60% indigenous content.

Mittal told HT on July 15, 2015 that the Navy is finalizing specifications for the vessels and GSL should be ready to issue a tender by September-end.

GSL estimates that it will be able to start constructing the vessels in 2018 with the first ship rolling out in 2021.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Procurement of 12 Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCMVs) (IDP Sentinel)

Indradhanush 2015

Indradhanush is a bilateral exercise between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The fourth edition of the bilateral exercise is being held at RAF Waddington. The 10-day exercise is due to begin on July 21.

The Indian contingent comprises 190 personnel including Garud special forces, Su-30 fighters, IL-78 tankers, C-17 strategic and C-130J tactical airlift aircraft.

The IAF aims to demonstrate its power projection ability through a transcontinental deployment.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

News Roundup: Proejct 75I submarines, P-8I LRMRASW Aircraft, Towed AD Guns, Project 11356 Griogorivich Class Frigate

Rubin Design Bureau Amur 1650 (Russia) Project 75I contender

Project-75I Submarine Acquisition Could Involve Multiple Types?

VCNS Vice Admiral P. Murugesan told the press on July 14, 2015 that Project 75I submarines could be built at more than one shipyard, suggesting that multiple types of subs maybe acquired under the project.

"It [Contracted vendor] will not be only one shipyard... there will be a competitive process, the [defense] ministry may agree to all of them, or some of them," he said.

Murugesan said award of contract would follow DPP and estimated construction would start in around 2 years.

It was earlier reported that the MoD has shortlisted 5 Indian shipyards out of the 7 that it evaluated for infrastructure and technical competence to construct Project 75I submarines.

The OEM - submarines combinations in contention are

  1. DCNS Scorpene
  2. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems HDW Type 214 (Germany)
  3. Rubin Design Bureau Amur 1650 (Russia)
  4. Navantia S-80
  5. Saab Kockum A-26
IDP Sentinel members can read more at Project 75I Submarines (IDP Sentinel)

VCNS Confirms Negotiations to Acquire Project 11356 Grigorivich Class Frigate Construction Tech

VCNS Vice Admiral P. Murugesan confirmed on July 14, 2015 that India was negotiating with Russia to purchase technology to construct Project 11356 Grigorivich class frigates in India.

"As per the maritime perspective plan, we have to build a certain number of ships in a certain time...we are exploring the possibility to expedite (acquisition of) certain number of ships," he told reporters.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Project 11356 Talwar Class Missile Frigates (IDP Sentinel)

Six Indian Firms to Compete for 428 Towed AD Guns

The DAC on July 14, 2015 approved procurement of 428 towed AD guns at a cost of Rs 16,900 crore.

The guns are to be procured under 'Buy and Make in India' category. A tender is to be issued to 6 private and public sector firms - Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Electronics, Tata Power SED, Punj Lloyd, Ordnance Factory Board and Bharat Forge. 

No Indian firm has yet demonstrated the capability to make the gun, but they are free to tie up with foreign majors holding up to 49 per cent stake in the bidding JV. 

The Indian Army is planning to procure towed Air Defense (AD) Guns and ammunition along with Maintenance Transfer of Technology (MToT). The project involves manufacture of 1,102 AD guns over the next 15 years to replace 1950s vintage L-70 guns acquired from Swedish firm Bofors and Zu-23mm guns acquired from USSR's Podolsky Electromechanical plant.

In the first stage, the manufacturer will have to supply the army with 428 guns over the next five years. Several lakh rounds of ammunition would need to be manufactured in India.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at Towed Air Defense (AD) Guns (IDP Sentinel)

DAC Approves Purchase of 4 Additional P-8Is

The DAC on July 14, 2015 approved a deviation from the offsets policy to exercise the option to purchase four additional P8i maritime surveillance aircraft from the US. 

Earlier, the CNC recently wrapped price negotiations with Boeing for 4 additional P-8Is.  The case will now be progressed to MoD (Finance), and then MoF. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

News Roundup: Yantar Shipyard Seeks Indian Partner for P 11356 Frigate Construction, Helina ATGM Trials

INS Tarkash during PM's day at sea on board INS Vikramaditya to  dedicate the aircraft carrier to the nation on June 15, 2014. Visible in the background is another Talwar class stealth frigate (INS Talwar or INS Teg firing its Kashtan CIWS missiles)

Russia's Yantar Shipyard Seeks Indian Partner for Make-in-India Project 11356 Frigates

India and Russia have been negotiating a third contract for supply of 3 additional Project 11356 class frigates since 2009.

India has earlier procured 6 ships of the class through two contracts for 3 ships each.

RIA Novosti reported on May 20, 2015 that the Indian government wants to jointly produce project 11356 frigates in an Indian shipyard.

Oleg Shumakov, director of the Yantar Shipyard, told RIA Novosti that the Indian Navy "needed three-four more vessels of that class. Currently, they are examining a scenario to produce such ships at home, of course, with our participation and under our guidance."

Shumakov added, "According to our plan, those ships will be of the same class, but with different weapons. Weaponry progresses non-stop, so, I think, the new vessel will be equipped with something more advanced. However, as for its seagoing capabilities, it will be the same."

According to the Business Standard Yantar shipyard is negotiating with Larsen & Toubro's Katupalli shipyard, at Ennore, Tamil Nadu; Pipavav Shipyard in Gujarat; and Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) in Kochi, Kerala for building the three warships.

Once Yantar formalizes a tie-up, the Indian navy will initiate procurement by releasing a tender.

There maybe an interesting twist to the Make-in-India theme of the additional procurement on account of the Ukraine crises.

Project 11356 ships are powered by 4 x Zorya Gas Turbines in a (Combined Gas and Gas) COGAG arrangement with two FP propellers. The Zorya Gas Turbines are supplied by Ukraine.

Yantar Shipyard is in the process of building 5 Project 11356 warships for the Russian Navy. The ships are in different stages of construction. Three ships have already been fitted with the Ukrainian engines. Kiev, which is at loggerheads with Moscow over the secession of Crimea) has refused to supply engines for the fourth and fifth frigates!

Recently, there were reports in the Russian press that the two ships might be transferred to India. A source in the Defense Ministry told  Lenta.ru that once the ships are in India, Ukraine will have no problems supplying engines for them.

The Indian Navy initially acquired three Project 11356 Talwar Class stealth Missile Frigates (Russian modified Krivak III class) from Shipyards of St. Petersburg in Russia - INS Talwar (2002), Trishul (2003) and Tabar (Jul 2004).

The Navy procured three more ships of the class through a follow-up order for three more Talwar Class Missile Frigates - INS Teg (2012), INS Tarkash (2012), and INS Trikand (2013).

The new missile frigates, built by Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, are designed to accomplish a wide range of maritime missions, primarily hunting down and destroying large surface ships and submarines.

The ships procured against the follow-up order differ in their sensor and weapon fit. Most significantly, the new ships feature the vertical launch version of the Brahmos missile instead of Russian VLS Klub.

Negotiations are also underway for the overhaul of the first lot of three ships supplied to the Indian Navy.

IDP Sentinel members can read additional details at Project 11356 Talwar Class Missile Frigates (IDP Sentinel)

Helina ATGM Undergoing Air Launch Trials

The Helina missile is undergoing operational trials against static and moving targets at ranges varying from 4-km to 7-km. The missile has been fitted with an improved 'IIR seeker.'

The missile was operationally tested from a helicopter platform for the first time in July 2015. [via TOI]

Vara Prasad, project director for HeliNa, told the press that the missile was test launched from a HAL Rudra 3 times and it hit the target on 2 occasions.

The target range varied from 4-km to 7-km.

"The observations are yet to be evaluated," said Prasad, adding that these development trials would pave the way for the 'deliverable stage' in the near future.

MoD's end of year report for 2014 states, Helina was successfully integrated with ALH (Rudra) after successful trials.

The missile with capability to defeat futuristic armors underwent successful ground launch field trials in June 2014. It was earlier tested in September 2013

IDP Sentinel members can read additional details at Nag / Helina Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) - IDP Sentinel

Sunday, July 12, 2015

News Roundup: MoD Shortlists 5 Shipyards for Project 75I, Two Additional Arihant Class SSBNs Under Construction

INS Arihant. Photo Courtesy NDTV

India to Build 2 Additional Arihant Class SSBNs, Demo Arihant B-05 Launch During 2016 Fleet Review

In an interview to NDTV, Director General of Defense Research & Development Organisation (DRDO,) Dr S Christopher said that India is in the process of building two more Arihant-class-submarines.

Christopher reiterated his earlier statement to the press that INS Arihant would soon start deep diving trials, and as part of its weapon's trials towards the end of the year, launch a B-05 SLBM.

B-05 is a two stage, solid fueled weapon with characteristics of both ballistic and cruise missiles. Unlike conventional cruise missile, which cruise at extremely low altitudes and subsonic speeds using turbo fan engines, B-05 cruises at extremely high altitudes at hypersonic speeds using rocket power.

"If all goes well we will show case this capability in the International Fleet Review (IFR) next January. DRDO is working on the next SLBM code named "K-4" which will have a much longer range," Dr Christopher said.

IDP Sentinel members can read additional details at INS Arihant SSBN (IDP Sentinel)

MoD Shortlists 5 Shipyards for Project 75I Submarine Construction

The MoD has shortlisted 5 shipyards out of the 7 that it evaluated for infrastructure and technical competence to construct Project 75I submarines.

MoD had setup a high-level committee headed by Vice-Admiral Subhedar, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition at Integrated Headquarters, to inspect 7 shipyards in order to assess their ability to construct Project-75I submarines. Five shipyards are in the public sector - Mazagon Dock (Mumbai), Cochin Shipyard, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (Calcutta), Hindustan Shipyard (Visakhapatnam) and Goa Shipyard - and two in the private sector - Larsen and Toubro (yard in Tamil Nadu) and Pipavav (Gujarat). Larsen and Toubro is already involved in India’s Arihant-class nuclear submarine project.

The two shipyards eliminated through the shortlisting are Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (Calcutta) and Goa Shipyard.

The OEM - submarines combinations in contention are

  1. DCNS Scorpene
  2. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems HDW Type 214 (Germany)
  3. Rubin Design Bureau Amur 1650 (Russia)
  4. Navantia S-80
  5. Saab Kockum A-26
IDP Sentinel members can read additional details at Project 75I Submarines - IDP Sentinel

Saturday, July 11, 2015

News Roundup: Tata Motors Submits Response to FRCV RFI, Readies 3 Kestrel ICVs for Army Trials, and More

Tata Motors Wheeled Amphibious ICV at DefExpo 2014

Tata Motors Readies 3 Kestrel Wheeled ICVs for Trials

Tata Motors is set to supply 3 Kestrel ICVs (Infantry Combat Vehicles) to the Indian Army for trials.

Tata Motors is one of several Indian and foreign countries invited by Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) to co-develop chassis, propulsion unit and weapon system for a wheeled armored amphibious platform under the FICV (wheeled) program.

The Army has a requirement for 100 wheeled ICVs for OOAC (Out of area contingency), counter-insurgency and riverine terrain (NE) operations.

Vernon Noronha, vice-president, defense and government business, at Tata Motors, told the press on July 9, 2015 that the Tata Motors / VRDE tie-up would source technology from France, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. and integrate it to ‘Make in India.'

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below

Tata Motors Submits Response to Army  FRCV RFI

Tata Motors has submitted a response to the Indian Army's Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) RFI.

The company, which is currently co-developing the Kestrel ICV with VRDE, says it wants to progress towards building light tanks and eventually MBTs.

Vernon Noronha, vice-president, defense and government business, at Tata Motors told the press on July 9, 2015, "Eventually, we would like to become a manufacturer of light tanks and then the main battle tank. That is how we would like the progression to happen. The army released a request for information to develop the Future Ready Combat Vehicle, which will be the main battle tank. We have put in a response."

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:

Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) - IDP Sentinel

Akash IAF Variant Officially Inducted

The BEL officially handed over the first Akash squadron to the IAF on July 10, 2015 at a ceremony at Air Force Station, Gwalior. Akash missiles were operationally deployed at the AF base earlier, after then Defense Minister Shri AK Antony handed over the first batch of Akash missiles to the IAF at a function in Hyderabad on Mar 3, 2012.

During the ceremonial induction of the system on July 10, 2015, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said a total of 27 missiles had been fired after inking of the contract, to ascertain the serviceability of the system in various conditions; a high success rate had been achieved.

The IAF has placed orders for 8 Akash squadrons. The orders are expected to be fulfilled by end 2015.

One Akash squadron, deployed at Pune under SWAC, is operational since June 2013.

Additional Akash squadrons will be based in the north-east (Tezpur and Jorhat).

Additional orders for 7 Akash squadrons are reportedly being finalized.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:

Akash Missile - IDP Sentinel

Friday, July 10, 2015

News Roundup: Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Phase-1 Near Completion, Dhanush Trials to Continue

AAD interceptor of BMD

BMD Phase-1 Near Completion

On July 9, 2015 DRDO Chief S Christopher told The Tribune that DRDO is close to wrapping development of the AAD missile and completing BMD phase-1.

 “We are nearing the completion stage. We are looking at a small variation and working on that. Once AAD is perfected, it will complete the BMD”.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:

Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System - IDP Sentinel

 Dhanush Trials to Continue Despite Bulk Production Clearance

 Notwithstanding the recent Bulk Production Clearance for Dhanush 155-mm/45-cal howitzers given to OFB, trials of the gun will continue before final acceptance by the Army

The Indian Express reported on July 6, 2015 that the Indian Army has granted OFB Bulk Production Clearance (BPC) for 144 Dhanush guns.

Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur has already started production of the gun and plans to supply 6 guns within 6 months, another 12 within 12 months and another 36 guns within 24 months.

Dhanush trials have gone well so far, but the army is seeking minor modifications before inducting the gun.

"The trials were largely satisfactory. But there were minor things pointed out that would make the gun more suitable for the army's use," a senior officer told IANS.

"The changes have been made, and summer trials are on," the official said, adding that the winter trials will also be repeated.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:

Dhanush 155 mm/45 Caliber Upgraded Bofors Howitzer (IDP Sentinel)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

News Roundup - Updates on INS Arihant, P-8I Project, Agni-VI, Assault Rifles and NMRH

Sea King NMRH helicopter of the IN

INS Arihant SSBN Weapons Trials

DRDO Chief S Christopher told The Tribune on July 9, 2015 that the Arihant will launch just the B-05 missile during its currently ongoing sea trials. The sub will not launch the longer range still under development K-4 SLBM.

Despite its 700-km range , the BO 5 is a formidable missile that is difficult to intercept because it does not follow a ballistic trajectory.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the links below

INS Arihant SSBN - IDP Sentinel
Sagarika BO 5 (K-15) SLBM - IDP Sentinel

CNC Wraps Price Negotiations with Boeing for 4 Additional P-8i

The Hindu reported on July 7, 2015 that the CNC recently wrapped price negotiations with Boeing for 4 additional P-8Is.  The case will now be progressed to MoD (Finance), and then MoF.

In October 2010, MOD cleared the purchase of 4 more P-8I aircraft that were on option, taking the total procurement to 12. The order is expected to be placed within FY 2011-12.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told India Strategic defence magazine's December 2015 issue that the Navy planned to procure 12 more P-8Is for offshore surveillance and protection, bringing the total order to 24.

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

DRDO Progressing Case for Agni-VI with GoI

DRDO Chief S Christopher told The Tribune on July 9, 2015 that DRDO will progress the case for Agni-VI with the government.

"We have to now present our case to the government for explaining the need for such a missile," Dr Chirstopher said. This will be an Inter-Continental Ballatic Missile (ICBM) like AGNI-V.

Christopher told The Tribune that India can have a missile that can travel a distance of 10,000 km, albeit with a smaller warhead than the AGNI-V.

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Agni-VI (IDP Sentinel)

DRDO Bags Multi-calibre Assault Rifles Order

The Indian Army (IA) has initiated procurement of 220,000 assault rifles from the DRDO.

The IA is currently using DRDO developed 5.56x45 mm INSAS  (Indian Small Arm System) rifles, but discontinued further procurement of the weapon in 2009 after encountering frequent failures.

In December 2011, the IA released a global tender for 66,000 multi-caliber assault rifles for around INR48.48 million (USD764 million).

On June 15, 2015, IA scrapped the tender opting instead to procure the DRDO developed Excalibur 5.56x45 mm assault rifle, an upgraded variant of the INSAS. [via Janes]

Developed at DRDO's Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune, the upgraded rifle is now called MIR (Modified INSAS Rifle).

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Procurement of Assault Rifles - IDP Sentinel

Sikorsky Seeks 3x Escalation in Price of 16 Naval MRH

The TOI reported on July 9, 2015 that Sikorsky has demanded a steep hike in price from India to cover the delay in contract finalization.

The project cost for the 16 heavy-duty helicopters was pegged at Rs 1,760 crore at the time of AON in 2008. Factoring in the additional 3-4 years that it will take to fulfill the contract, Sikorsky has asked for three times the AON cost!

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Naval Multi-Role Helicopters (NMRH) - IDP Sentinel

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

News Roundup: Four Helicopters, Ten Vendors in Fray for RSH, MoD Clears 2 Forward Located Helihubs for Army

Bell-Textron 407GT,  a RSH contender at Aero India 2013

RSH Project: Crowded Playing Field

Janes reported on July 7, 2015 that 10 Indian companies are in talks with 4 foreign OEMs for supply of helicopters against the requirement of 197 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopters (RSHs).

The companies are:-

  1. Mahindra Defense Systems with Airbus Helicopters
  2. Axis Aerospace & Technologies
  3. Bharat Forge
  4. Dynamatic Technologies
  5. Larsen & Toubro (L&T)
  6. Punj Lloyd
  7. Reliance Industries
  8. Taneja Aerospace
  9. Tata Aerospace Systems Limited.
  10. HAL

The four foreign OEMs are:-

  1. Airbus Industries (H125M, formerly known as the AS550 C3 Fennec)
  2. AgustaWestland (AW119)
  3. Bell-Textron (407GT)
  4. Kamov (Ka-226T 'Hoodlum')

MoD on September 29, 2014 issued a Request for Information (RFI) aimed at identifying probable INDIAN VENDORS (including an Indian company forming joint venture/ establishing production arrangement with OEM) who can provide Reconnaissance and Surveillance (RSH) Helicopters for use by the Indian Army (IA) and Indian Air Force (IAF), followed by licensed production/ indigenous manufacture in the country.

The RSH helicopters would replace the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters currently in service with the IA and IAF.

Last date of acceptance of response was initially November 11, 2014, but was later extended through a corrigendum to December 23, 2014. A second corrigendum extended the last date to February 17, 2015. A third corrigendum extended the last date to March 31, 2015.

IDP Sentinel members can read about and track progress of the project at

Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter (RSH) / Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) - IDP Sentinel

Helicopter Fleet Maintenance

The Army is creating two heli-hubs, one each in the Northern Command and the Eastern Command, for maintenance of its helicopter fleet in operational (border) areas. [via IE]

Army helicopters are presently sent to HAL, Bangalore for their advanced maintenance and upkeep.

The hubs would be manned by specialists from HAL and Army’s Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME). It is believed that the establishment of 2 helicopter hubs will improve serviceability by 25%.

The heli-hub in Northern Command, to be located in the Jammu region, is scheduled to be operational next month, while the one in Eastern Command will start working by December.

The Army operates 12 squadrons (195 aircraft) of  Chetaks and Cheetahs, and six squadrons (70 aircraft) of ALH Dhruvs.

Army's long-term plans include three helicopter squadrons (10-12 choppers each) — armed or attack, reconnaissance and tactical lift — each for all its 13 corps as well as "a flight" of five fixed-wing aircraft each for its six regional or operational commands.

IDP Sentinel members can read about and track progress of Army helicopter projects at:

Helicopters - IDP Sentinel

Monday, July 6, 2015

News Roundup: AMCA Project Stranded without Engine, Army Clears Dhanush 155mm/45cal Gun Production and More

Dhanush at DefExpo 2014

Army grants OFB Bulk Production Clearance for 144 Dhanush 155-mm/45-cal guns 

The Indian Express reported on July 6, 2015 that the Indian Army has granted OFB (Ordnance Factory Board) Bulk Production Clearance for 144 Dhanush guns.

Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur has already started production of the gun; it plans to supply 6 guns within 6 months, another 12 within 12 months and another 36 guns within 24 months.

Army had hoped to get all the 144 guns in 3 years!

The MoD announced on April 27, 2015 that Dhanush has met all tech parameters in Winter and Summer Trials.

The TOI reported on October 13, 2014 that field trials of the gun have been completed and OFB is currently waiting for the DGQA report on the trials.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:
Dhanush 155 mm/45 Caliber Upgraded Bofors Howitzer - IDP Sentinel

Hawk AJT Flight Safety Record

On July 6, 2015 the TOI reported that the recent Hawk AJT crash was attributed to quill shaft failure, leading to concerns about HAL production quality.

A source reportedly told the TOI that Rolls-Royce has reduced the TBO (time between engine overhauls) of HAL produced Hawk AJTs from 2,000 hrs to 1,200 hrs, as a result of production quality concerns. HAL has denied the allegation.

On June 3, 2015, an IAF Hawk crashed about 50 Km west of Kalaikunda airbase. Both pilots ejected safely.

The crash was the second IAF Hawk crash. The first, was attributed to human error.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:
Hawk Mk.132 AJT - IDP Sentinel

AMCA Powerplant

On July 6, 2015 the Business Standard reported that the US is stonewalling India's request for cooperation on developing hot engine technology - specifically, India's desire to fund residual development of the F414 EPE as AMCA powerplant.

As a result, MoD is issuing a global tender, inviting aero engine majors to co-develop with the DRDO an AMCA powerplant.

The US stonewalling will bring back Eurojet EJ200 as contender for powering the AMCA. Eurojet reportedly convinced the DRDO it can uprate the EJ200 to 110 kN.

One good reason for the US to stonewall joint development of the F414 EPE for AMCA could be concern over Indian plans to fit the AMCA engine with thrust vectoring nozzles developed with assistance from Russia's Klimov.

Russian engine technology lags behind the US state-of-the-art, and the US could be worried that the Russians will get a close look at the F414 EPE. However, Russia claims that its Item 30 engine being developed for the PAK/FA would match contemporary western aero engines. The first prototype of the Item-30 engine is due to be delivered later this year.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:
Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) (IDP Sentinel)

Pinaka Submunition Warhead Development

Pinaka rockets were successfully tested with submunition warheads, including a thermobaric  warhead, at Pokhran during field firing trials in Rajasthan on June 29, 2015.

The tests were conducted using random Pinaka Mk-1 rockets picked up from a production lot. [via TOI]

The submunition warheads tested are among the eight kinds of warheads for Pinaka. Thermobaric  warheads are deadly against personnel and inflammable targets. Other warheads developed include cluster warheads armed with anti-personnel and anti-tank submunitions., and runway denial penetrating submunition warheads, aimed at neutralizing targets like runways and other complexes.

IDP Sentinel members can read more at the link below:
Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launch System (MBRLS) - IDP Sentinel

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

News Roundup: LCA Mk-2 Maiden Flight in 2018-19, AMCA Development Cost Just Half of 36 Rafale Pricetag, T-50 Product-30 Engine Prototype Ready

AMCA model at Aero India 2015

AMCA Development Cost Just Half of 32 Rafale Price Tag

AMCA development would cost half of 32 Rafale acquisition, estimates outgoing ADA chief.

On June 30, 2015 outgoing ADA director P.S. Subramanyam told Business Standard that the AMCA's configuration is finalized, and preliminary design is about to commence.

While it will be possible to accurately estimate the cost of the project only on completion of preliminary design, Subramanyam says, "I am confident that the AMCA project would cost less than any fifth generation fighter project anywhere. My estimate would be in the region of $4 billion (Rs 25,000 crore)."

Acquisition cost for 36 Rafale aircraft is estimated to be around Rs 8 crore.

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AMCA Preliminary Design Poised to Commence

LCA Mk-2 First Flight by 2018-19

On June 30, 2015 outgoing ADA Director P.S. Subramanyam told the Business Standard, "The preliminary design of the Tejas Mark II fuselage is already completed, without surprises. The detailed design will not cause delay. The fighter will make its first flight by 2018-19; and will begin joining the IAF fleet by 2021-22."

ADA is scouting for a consultant to validate the detailed design, but is ready to proceed independently if it cannot arrive at a satisfactory consultancy arrangement.

During the visit of MoS for Defense Rao Inderjit Singh to France during PAS 2015, Airbus Industries reportedly offered to provide LCA Mk-2 design consultancy.

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LCA Mk-2 First Flight by 2018-19, Airbus Industries Offers Design Consultancy

Product-30 (Stage-2 Engine for T-50) Prototype Built

In June 2015 it was reported that United Engine Building Corporation (UEBC) has built a prototype of the new engine. Two prototypes of the engine are scheduled to be built in 2015.

UEBC CEO Vladislav Maslov had earlier said that work on developing the stage-2 will be completed in 2020.

It maybe noted that the IAF is reportedly not happy with the capabilities of the Product 117 engine currently fitted on the T-50 for the stage-1 phase of the aircraft's development.

Moscow-based Salut and NPO Saturn are building a brand new stealthy power-plant for the T-50, which is not a derivative of the AL-41F1 (Product 117) engine that powers it. Called Product 30, the new engine will be 30% lighter than the Product 117 engine and come with 30% lower life-cycle cost.

The new engine is expected to offer about 17.5 tons (171.6 kn) of thrust in full after-burning mode and somewhere in the range of 12 tons (117.7 kn) in dry mode, allowing the aircraft to comfortably super-cruise at around Mach 1.5. The Product-30 engine will compare favorably with fifth generation engines made in the west.

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Product-30 (Stage-2 Engine for T-50) Prototype Built