Boeing’s Super Hornet F/A-18 for Indian Air Force?

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Picture Courtesy: http://www.commons.wikimedia.org

In the latest development Indian government has asked Indian Air Force (IAF) to consider twin engine Boeing Super Hornet F/A-18 E/F along with SAABs’s Gripen and Lockheed Martin’s F-16.

already talks are going on between Indian Navy and Boeing to finalise the deal of $8 billion (Approx) for the procurement of 57 fighter jets.

IAF needs almost needs 100 fighter jets to reduce the shortage. IAF has current strength of only 33 fighter squadrons which is the weakest in the four decades. And India’s indigenous build Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is still under development stage.

According to some media reports IAF wants government to issue Request of Information (RFI) in this regard to get the process of procurement started.

So Boeing’s Super Hornet F/A-18 E/F is in the contention of $15 billion deal. As reported by Reuters Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar said that Boeing committed to building the planes in India and had offered to help with India’s plans to develop its own advanced medium combat aircraft.

Super Hornet F/A-18 is already operational in United States (US) Navy.

The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet.

Lets us look at some main features of Boeing Super Hornet :

  • The Super Hornet was first ordered by the U.S. Navy in 1992.
  • Super Hornet F/A – 18 E/F is equipped with touch sensitive control display with large multi-coloured liquid display for revealing tactical information to the pilot. In addition to this it has two monochrome display and one fuel display.
  • Length of this fighter jet is 18.31 metre with wingspan of 13.62 metre. Height of Super Hornet is 4.88 metre.
  • It has a wing area of 46.5 sq. m
  • Loaded weight capacity of super hornet is 21,320 Kg and take- off weight capacity is 29,937 Kg.
  • Super Hornet F/A – 18 E/F has 2X General Electric F 414-GE-400 turbofan engines. Each engine provides dry thrust of 62.3 KN and 97.9 KN thrust with afterburner.
  • It has 11 hardpoints for carrying ammunitions of varying size.
  • Super Hornet F/A – 18 E/F has maximum speed of 1.8 Mach or 1,190 Miles per hour.
  • Super Hornet has service ceiling of 50,000 feet and has rate of climb at 44,890 feet per minute.
  • It has standard armament of 20mm M61A2 Vulcan Gatling Gun with 578 20mm projectiles.
  • Ferry Range of Super Hornet is 1,800 nautical Miles with a combat radius of 390 nautical miles.
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India taking a step forward in terms missile technology, Test fires BrahMos

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India successfully test fired BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from Rajasthan’s Pokhran test range on 22nd March 2018 around 8:42 AM. The missile was test fired with an indigenous seeker developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).  Earlier India used to use seekers made by Russia. Initially the range of BrahMos was capped at 290 Km due to the restrictions put up by Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Since India’s entry into the group, the range has been increased to 450 KM.

BrahMos can travel at three times the speed of sound,  attaining maximum speed of Mach 3.0

Last year in November India successfully test fired BrahMos from Sukhoi -30 MKI.

Nirbhaya is another cruise missile which India is looking forward to. It is still under trial phase. Once developed Nirbahaya is said to supplement the role played by BrahMos missile. Till now five trials have been conducted. Nirbhaya is a long range subsonic missile weighing up to 1,500 Kg and having an operational range from 1,000 km up to 1,500 km. Nirbhaya can attain maximum speed of 0.7 Mach.

India along with Russia is developing BrahMos-II missile. It is expected to get ready for testing by the year 2020. BrahMos-II is expected to have a maximum speed of 7 Mach. Making it the fastest cruise missile in the world. An operation range is expected range between 450 Km – 600 Km.

India has also varied range of ballistic Missiles like Agni Series missiles, Prithvi series missiles, Shaurya missile and Sagrika missile. In addition to this we have Anti-Tank Guided missile – Nag. India also possesses Akash and Astra Missiles.

S-400 Triumf deal is expected to conclude by 31st March

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India and Russia are on the verge of signing Rs 40,000 crore defence deal. Senior Defence official told The Hindu that the two countries could be just weeks away of signing one of the biggest defence deals.

The deal for the purchase of S-400 Triumf, long range air defence systems is expected to get closed by 31st March.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an intergovernmental agreement for the acquisition of five regiments of S-400s in October 2016 during the eighth BRICS summit.

According to the report published in The Hindu, Russia is not in favour of any offset clause because S-400 Triumf air defence System is very strategic in nature.

Acquiring S-400 will boost India’s air defence system as it can track and shoot down the incoming enemy aircraft  upto the range of 400 km. Indian Air Force will operate this system.

China is the first country to procure six battalions of S-400 air defence systems.

Will India buy 36 more Rafale Jets?

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Controversy on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets has not yet died and there have been reports that government is mulling over purchasing 36 more Rafale jets from France. The Congress on one hand accused Modi government of purchasing Rafale jets at higher cost causing a loss of Rs ‘12,000 Crore’ to the country, but on the other hand French government wants India to announce talks for purchasing 36 more Rafale jets. According to the report published in NDTV, French Defence Minister Florence Parly has written a letter to Nirmala Sitharaman on 26th February which indicates that French Government is keen in extending the Rafale deal with India. Indian government has not taken a final decision yet.

Other report published in Economic Times stated that French officials pitched for selling another batch of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India during the talks between Parly and Sitharaman.  Parly was in favour of extending the Rafale deal to strengthen defence ties between both the countries.

India will start receiving the first set of Rafale fighter jets from 2019.

France is also pitching on behalf of its defence supplier SAFRAN to develop combat aircraft engine in collaboration with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for India’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the period of time, whether government will purchase another set of 36 Rafale jets and intensifies political controversy or will play safe and avoid further purchase of Rafale fighter jets?

History created: Lady Cadets secure top honours at OTA

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History is created today during the Passing out Parade of Officer Training Academy (OTA) held at Chennai, as Academy Cadet Adjutant (ACA) Preeti Choudhary received the Sword of Honour whereas Senior Under Officer (SUO) Vreeti was awarded with the silver medal. This is for the first time in the history of OTA that two lady Cadets received the top honours. Lieutenant Chaudhary and Lieutenant Vreeti belong to Haryana.

In September 2010 lady cadet, Academy Under Officer (AUO) Divya Ajith Kumar became the first female cadet to secure prestigious ‘Sword of Honour’ and President’s Gold Medal. Again in March 2015 lady cadet, AUO M Anjana was awarded ‘Sword of Honour’.

Today 234 cadets are commissioned into the Indian Army after completing the rigorous training of 11 months.

 

Changing role of Women Officers in Indian Defence Forces

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India is advancing forward by crushing the gender discrimination in the armed forces. Last year in June during the passing out parade of Indian Military Academy (IMA) Chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat hinted towards the induction of women in combat role in the Indian Army.

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Major Priya Jhingan

Priya Jhingan is the first lady officer of the Indian Army. She was commissioned into the army on 6th March 1993 and after completing 10 years of service she retired as a Major in 2003.

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Lt Gen. Punita Arora

Punita Arora is the first woman in India to reach the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Army. She was commissioned in the army in 1968. She became the commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College in 2004. Lt. Gen. Arora also co-ordinated medical research for the armed forces as additional director-general of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). Later, she moved from the Army to the Navy as the AFMS has a common pool that allows officers to migrate from one service to another depending on the requirement. She served as Vice-Admiral in the navy.

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Captain Divya Ajith Kumar leading the contingent

Captain Divya Ajith Kumr is the first woman in the history of Indian Army who received the coveted sword of honour and also got the opportunity to lead the first all-women contingent of the Indian Army on Republic Day in 2015.

As on 1st January 2018, total of 1,548 lady officers (excluding medical, dental and nursing) were serving in the army.

(Picture Courtesy: http://www.zeenews.india.com)

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Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi

Positive change can be witnessed in the Indian Air Force (IAF). Women officers can be seen in a combat role. Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes the first woman IAF officer to fly the fighter jet. Padmavathy Bandopadhyay is the first woman Air Marshal of the IAF. As on 1st Feb 2018 total of 1,598 lady officers were serving in the IAF. This figure excludes lady officers serving in medical, dental and nursing.

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Sub Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop with three other women officers

Sub –Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop becomes the first women of the Indian Navy. Last year in November three other women officers got commissioned into Naval Armament Inspection (NAI) branch. These four women officers script history. As on 1st February total of 493 lady officers were serving in the Indian Navy.

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We also should not forget the fact that our defence minister is also a lady. Nirmala Sitharaman is the first women defence minister of the country.

In addition to women officers in three wings of the armed forces, our central police forces are also moving a step forward. Indo-Tibetian Border Police get its first woman combat officer. Prakriti cleared her UPSC examination for the recruitment of officers in Central Armed polices force and becomes the first women combat officer.

India tests NAG 190, $500 Million Spike Missile deal in jeopardy

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Picture Courtesy : http://www.thewire.in

Uncertainty prevails over $500 million deal that Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited hopes to sign with the Indian government.

India on the other hand is trying to develop its own Anti-Tank Guided Missile, NAG 190. According to reports published in Israeli website Globes, Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) tested its anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) NAG 190 in desert conditions against two tank targets last week.

Indian defence experts believe that by the end of this year NAG will be fully developed, whereas Israeli defence experts hold different opinion. According to them It will take minimum five years for NAG to be fully operational.

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According to some media reports, there has been dispute between DRDO and the Indian Army. The army wants to buy 8,000 Spike Missiles which are developed by Rafael in collaboration with an Indian company. On the other hand DRDO wants that NAG should be favoured but the army still insists on Spike missiles as they are fully operational.

India had earlier scrapped this long pending deal in November last, but during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to India in January this year the deal is revived again.

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Netanyahu is in favour of this deal. During his visit he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed $500 million Spike missile deal. In his tweet Netanyahu said, “Following the talks I had with my friend Prime Minister @NarendraModi, the Indian government has informed us that it is putting the Spike deal back on track. This is very important and there will be many more deals.”

CEO of Rafael Advanced System Yoav Har Even accompanied Netanyahu in his visit to India in January.

As quoted by Globes, An Israeli defence ministry source said, “The dialogue with the Indians is continuing all the time and lately it seems that institutions in the country are falling in line behind doing the deal with Rafael because it will be a long time before the Indian missile is operational. Clearly the Indians want to develop and manufacture everything they need and the idea that until they will have full capabilities on this subject, they will buy Israeli missiles.”

Rafael has already formed a joint venture with the Indian company Kalyani to manufacture Spike missiles in India. Plant for developing Spike missiles in India was already inaugurated in Hyderabad in 2017. Over 30 countries have purchased Spike missiles from Israel.

 

Naval Exercise ‘MILAN – 2018’ Begins

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The much awaited naval exercise ‘Milan – 2018’ hosted by the Indian Navy begins in Port Blair on Tuesday. In this week long naval exercise 38 contingents from 16 navies will display their skills. The theme of ‘Milan- 2018’ is ‘In Pursuit of Maritime Good Order – Need for Comprehensive Information Sharing Apparatus’, so the main focus will be to create a cordial environment in the region to  check unlawful activities and to strengthen the ties

For the first time Oman is taking part in this exercise.  The main aim of this exercise is to enhance regional cooperation and to check unlawful activities.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will visit Port Blair for this international event.

India eyes to seal S-400 deal with Russia during Sitharaman’s Moscow visit

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The main aim of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Russia will be to conclude Rs 40,000 crore deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence system. The deal is yet to be inked mainly due to differences over price.

In 2016 an agreement was signed between both the countries on ‘Triumf’ interceptor based missile system. S-400 ‘Truimf’ can destroy incoming enemy fighter jets, missiles and even drones upto the range of 400 km. S-400 is an advanced version of S-300. This missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is serving Russian Military since 2007.

India wants to purchase S-400 Triumf missile system to strengthen its air defence mechanism as China is increasing its military activities near the Sino-India border. China is also the first country to purchase S-400 from Russia.

According to sources decision on the long-pending fifth-generation fighter jet project with Russia could not be taken due to the high cost involved in it.

DEFEXPO 2018 – Government’s initiative to promote Defence Manufacturing Capabilities.

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For the first time ever India will project its Defence Manufacturing capabilities to the world in DefExpo 2018 which is to be held in Chennai from April 11 to 14. The tagline of the DefExpo2018 is ‘India : The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’. India will exhibit weapons and military hardware along with showcasing its potential to be an exporter of military platforms.

According to an official statement, India will display indigenous built military weapons including helicopters, fighter jets, missiles and Air Defence systems. DefExpo 2018 will also showcase its capabilities to manufacture naval vessels such as frigates, corvettes and other ships.

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India will exhibit fourth-generation Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Tejas and Advanced Light Helicopter – Dhruv which are domestically designed and manufactured by state run Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). Missile and Rocket manufacturing capabilities will also be showcased in DefExpo. Brahmos and Akash Missiles and Pinaca rockets will be also be highlighted in exhibition.

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India will unveil its 155mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAG) in DefExpo 2018. This is the first time that India has its own ATAG which has been designed and developed by DRDO in partnership with Kalyani Group, Tata Power and OFBs. Tank making capabilities are also likely to be showcased in this exhibition. India will also be showcasing 155mm artillery gun ‘Dhanush’.  DefExpo 2018 is seen as an opportunity to showcase India’s plans to go global in terms of manufacturing of small arms manufacturing with its decision to manufacture about 7.5 lakh Assault Rifles, 3.5 lakh Carbines and about 40,000 LMGs.

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In a statement Defence Ministry said, “India as a defence exporter of several defence systems and components for all three Services – Army, Navy and Air Force. While showcasing strengths of India’s substantial public sector, it will also uncover India’s growing private industry and spreading MSME base for components and sub-systems.”

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As DefExpo will be held on a sea Shore, so it will provide an opportunity to the Indian Navy to brandish its capabilities to manufacture naval vessels. Domestically built frigates, corvettes and ships will be showcased along the sea shore.

The ministry said, “The exhibition will also unveil India’s capabilities in manufacturing Scorpene class submarine. Naval shipyards in public sector including Mazagon Docks, GRSE, Goa Shipyards, Hindustan Shipyard and private shipyards will bring to view their capabilities in manufacturing and servicing ships.”

India is one of the largest importers of military equipment. So the government is promoting domestic defence industry so that dependency on the foreign manufacturing companies can be reduced.