Indian Air Force to Call Off Deal to Procure 20 Hawk Jets

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A defence deal to buy 20 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer planes is likely to be called off by the Air Force. The main reason for scrapping the deal is that the price to buy these advance trainer jets are like to cost more than Rs 2,000 crore, which is beyond the expectations of the defence ministry. The negotiations for the deal have been stuck for almost three years, and now the prices are further hiked by the vendors.

The Air Force is also not showing any interest in upgrading the fleet of over 120 Hawk planes. These planes were inducted into service after a deal with Britain in 2004. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) is offering to upgrade the Hawk fleet of the Air Force to Hawk India jets by adding combat capabilities, reported Mail Today, citing government sources.

According to the report, the sources said, “”The benchmark price of each aircraft was around Rs 90 crore but the initial price offered by the vendors including the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was more than double.” They further told Mail Today,  “In the contract negotiations, the vendors have cut down the price but even now, the price offered is more than 60 per cent of what the defence ministry is willing to pay for the planes.”

The government also wants the forces should utilize the budget in the best possible way to enhance its fighting capabilities. According to the sources, the Hawk fighter jets are newly inducted and the last Hawk batch was inducted just three years ago, so there is no need to upgrade the fleet. The Indian Force proposed to buy 20 Hawk planes from a British firm during the UPA government. It wanted to replace the Kiran MK2 with the Hawk Advanced Fighter Jets to be equipped with smoking pots to fly with Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), reported The Mail Today.

In 2010 the contract for the last batch of 57 planes was done between India and the British firm with the aim to enhance training programmes of the Air Force and the Navy. India had procured the fleet of 66 Hawk jets in 2004.

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Defence Ministry Approves Procurement of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles NAG Along With 127 mm Calibre Naval Guns

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Nag Missiles (Picture Courtesy: India.com)

The Defence Acquisition Council (ADC) led by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on April 27, approved capital acquisition proposals of over Rs 3,687 crore. The proposal included third generation Anti-Guided Tank Missiles (ATGMs), NAG missile system developed by Defence and Research Orgnisation (DRDO).  The NAG missile system (NAMIS) worth Rs 524 crore will give a big boost to indigenisation of defence products.

The NAMIS includes a third generation missile system, The NAG along with the Missile Carrier Vehicle (NAMICA). The NAG has the capabilities to destroy enemy tanks during day and night operations. This will strengthen the army’s capabilities.

According to a report published in The Economic Times, the Ministry of Defence cleared the procurement of 300 NAG missiles and 25 BMP – 2 ‘NAMICA’ carrier vehicles. The Indian Army is currently using second generation Milan 2T and Konur ATGMs. The Indian Army is currently looking for ATGMS which could strike enemy tanks with over 2.5 km range. The Indian Army needs around 8,000 third generation missiles.

Last year, the government scrapped proposed $500 miliion deal with Israel to procure 8,000 spike ATGMs as DRDO argued to deliver the NAG within four years.

Along with NAG Missile System, DAC also approved the procurement of thirteen 127 calibre guns for the Indian Navy. These guns would cost around Rs 3,000 crore. The ministry said, “These guns will be fitted on-board new construction ships for undertaking surface engagements including Naval Gunfire Support Operations. The guns will enable naval ships to provide fire support and engagement of targets on the land,” reported Economic Times.

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                            OTO Melara 127 MM Calibre Gun to be procured by the Indian Navy                                                 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.seaforces.org)

These guns have engagement range of 24 Km.  This range could be increased by using Extended Range Gun Munitions (ERGM). The Navy requires these guns since long. The guns would be procured from BAE Systems under the Buy (Global) category of the Defence Procurement Procedure.

 

LCA Tejas Test Fires Derby Missile Off Goa Coast; Moves Inch Closer Towards Final Operational Certification

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Picture Courtesy: PTI/File

In a major breakthrough, indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully test fired an air-to-air beyond visual  range (BVR) missile from the Goa coast on April, 27.  It demonstrated its overall capability as an effective combat jet. This move has paved the way to receive Final Operational Clearance (FOC). The test firing of the missile from a Tejas jet was carried out on April 27 off the Goa coast and it met all operational requirements. Earlier, Tejas was given clearance for deployment of armaments and other missiles, reported PTI, quoting defence ministry officials.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered the first batch of 40 Tejas Mark-1 version. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) is to make four major upgrades in Mark-1 version and incorporated into the second batch of 83 Tejas fighter jets, for which a request for proposal (RFP) was issued to HAL by the IAF in December last year. This new batch will be of LCA Tejas Mark 1A version. The total cost of these 83 jets will be around Rs 50,000 crore.

The successful launch of the BVR missile will expedite issuance of the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) to the aircraft. LCA Tejas is developed by state-run aerospace organisation Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The Defence Ministry in an official statement said, “The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) successfully fired Derby air-to-air BVR Range missile to expand the firing envelope as well as to demonstrate safe operation of the aircraft.” According to the press release, the missile was launched from the LCA piloted by Wing Commander Siddharth Singh yesterday from the firing range off the Goa coast after exhaustive study of the missile separation characteristics.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman appreciated the DRDO and other agencies for developing Tejas, a world-class aircraft. DRDO Chairman S Christopher confirmed that with this firing, the Tejas had moved an inch closer towards FOC certification. According to the ministry, integration of Derby, a BVR class missile, is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance of LCA Tejas. Two other Tejas aircraft tracked the aircraft which fired derby to capture the firing event in the specially instrumented high speed cameras for detailed analysis of the test launch of the missile. The entire planning, practice sorties and final firing was carried out by ADA and its National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). According to PTI, the ministry confirmed that based on the successful integration and demonstration, Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA), a unit of DRDO had cleared the series production aircraft of squadron 45, to be equipped with Derby operational capability.

 

India Holds DGMO-Level Meeting With Pakistan; Warns Pak to Stop Supporting Terrorists

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Representational Image (Picture Courtesy: PTI)

The India Army yesterday conveyed a strong message to the Pakistan Army, telling it to cut down support to all terror groups operating from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army also warned Pakistan of retaliatory action.

According to an army official, in a telephonic conversation, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. Anil Chauhan told his Pakistani Counterpart that Pakistan’s support to terrorists will increase tensions between the two countries, reported The Indian Express. Pakistan requested India for DGMO level talks. In the unscheduled interaction between the two DGMO’s yesterday evening, India communicated to Pakistan that India would not tolerate the Pak-based terrorism. In response, Pakistan also alleged India of resorting to unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LOC).

According to the army, Indian Army DGMO emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out in response to unabated support given by Pakistan Army to armed terrorists who infiltrate across the border and target Indian Army posts with heavy calibre weapons.

The ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army have increased over the last few months in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army is also giving befitting reply to Pakistan. On April 23, In India’s retaliation to Pakistan’s ceasefire violation in Sector, four Pakistani soldiers were killed.

India Gifted 1971 Liberation Souvenirs to Bangladesh

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Pakistan Army’s Lt. General AAK Niazi surrender to Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora                       (Picture Courtesy:defenceupdate.in)

India has handed over one Mi-4 helicopter and two Pt-76 tanks to Bangladesh as part of the 1971 Liberation War mementoes on April 26. According to a defence ministry spokesman, these gifts will be showcased at the Bangladesh army and air force museums. The helicopter and the tanks were parts of the gifts given by External Affairs Minister during her Bangladesh visit last year, reported PTI

The 25 souvenirs given in October last year includes pistol, rifles, machine guns and mortars alongside a large number of artefact, historical photographs, archival audio and video clippings, maps and battle records related to the 1971 Liberation War. PT-76 tanks were light amphibious, used for crossing rivers during the 1971 war by the Indian Army. These tanks outclassed much superior M34 Chafee tanks of the Pakistani Army, whereas Mi-4 transport helicopter is used for heliborne operations by the Indian Army in the eastern sector.

Earlier the Indian Air Force had gifted a Hunter fighter jet and one Dakota transport aircraft, and the Indian Navy gifted mementos of INS Vikrant and models of ships that participated in the war. The Indian Army also gifted six 3.7 Howitzer guns.

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa Raises Concern Over Chinese Air Force’s Increasing Presence in Tibet

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Representational Image (Picture Courtesy: PTI/File)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on April 26, said that there was a ‘significant increase’ in the presence Chinese aircraft and aircrew in the Tibet Autonomous region as compared to any other military region. This statement of the Chief of Air Staff comes at the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in China for a two-day meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

While speaking at a talk on the role of the IAF in the changing security environment conducted by the Vivekananda International Foundation, Dhanoa said, “Over the past few years we have seen a significant increase in aircraft and aircrew in the Tibet Autonomous Region from other military regions. The deployment of Sukhoi-27 and J-10 fleets for continuous operations during winter months affords them a credible year-round capability. Earlier, many years back they only used to occupy the airfields during the summers.” reported The Economic Times. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa also warned India to step up preparations, as rival country is strengthening its fire power.

The IAF chief also highlighted the improvement made by the Chinese Air Force. According to Dhanoa, China has developed a modern air force which believes in quality rather than quantity. and China has also the second largest air force in the world. Decribing the capabilities of the Chinese Air Force, Dhanoa said that China had a mix of multi-role fighter and combat aircraft. The IAF Chief also stressed on the fact that China has geographical disadvantage in Tibet due to high altitude and cold temperatures.

The Chief of Air Staff also highlighted the strength of the Indian Air Force, but at the same time, he stressed on the fact that the IAF needs to acquire its full strength of 42 squadrons to compete with the growing air power of the neighbour country. Presently the Indian Air Force has 31 fighter squadrons.

The Air Chief appreciated the efforts of the force in the recently concluded war-like exercise ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ as it met the objectives of the force. It is very interesting to note that both India and China have never violated the each other’s airspace.

Indigenous Built LCA-Tejas Performed Well During The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’

 

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018′ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

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LCA-Tejas in action during Gagan-Shakti 2018 (Picture Courtesy:Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018‘ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

An IAF official who was involved in the exercise said, “We did trials and validation of operational efficiency of LCA Tejas. We were able to generate six sorties per platform per day. In this exercise, we had deployed eight platforms.” According to the official, on the very first day of the exercise, six Tejas aircraft reported ‘snag’, but the air force rectified it immediately. The ‘Gagan-Shakti’ started on April 8 and concluded on April 21.

The Officials associated with the exercise performed satisfaction regarding the performance of Tejas, but, they are worried about the slow production rate of the aircraft. LCA Tejas is a supersonic, single seat, single jet, multi-role light fighter designed by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). It has been under development since 1983. The LCA Tejas was inducted into ‘Flying Daggers’ 45 Squadron of the IAF on July 1, 2016. It is to replace the ageing Mig-21. In December 2017, Defence Acquisition Council had cleared procurement of 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1A.

At present, two contracts have been signed between IAF and HAL for the LCA one for the procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft and another for 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft. Till now only eight Tejas aircraft are in operation in the force. HAL is expected to provide rest 12 (IOC) aircraft this year. These 40 aircraft (20 IOC and 20 FOC) will be Tejas mark 1. HAL is also working on four major upgrades which it will incorporate in the manufacturing of the next 83 fighter jets out of which 10 are trainer aircraft. These aircraft will be Tejas Mark 1A.

Earlier this month the IAF has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for acquiring 110 fighter jets to strengthen its fighter capabilities. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, Saab’s Gripen E, Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale are the major contenders for $15 billion deal. Currently, The Indian Air Force is facing the shortage of fighter jets as age-old Migs are about to retire over the next few years. If HAL could provide LCA Tejas on time, then it would definitely help the Indian Air Force to plug in the required gap.

The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ was organised with the aim to counter twin attack by China and Pakistan along western and northern border. Entire fleet strength of the force was put to test under war-like situation. LCA Tejas finally met the requirement of the Indin Air Force.

Indian Navy Inducts Third Ship of LCU Mk-IV Class at Port Blair

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The ceremony of commissionsing of LCU L53 (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@Indiannavy

The Indian Navy inducted the third ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project at Port Blair on April 25. The ship was commissioned as INLCU L53 by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, commander-in-chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command, of the Indian Armed Forces’ tri-service command. The command oversees India’s Andaman and Nicobar Island territories, including the strategic Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean.

The defence ministry in a statement said, “LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship with a displacement of 830 Tons and is capable of transporting combat equipment such as Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72, and other Armored Vehicles. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems such as the Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS). The indigenous CRN 91 Gun with Stabilised Optronic Pedestal provides the ship the requisite offensive capability for undertaking patrolling in addition.”

The (LCU) Mk-IV vessel can sail through the sea at a speed of 15kt besides it can also carry 145 tons of military equipment in addition to 160 troops. The ship will help the Indian Navy in carrying out multi-role activities, such as beaching operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search/rescue, and supply and replenishment of distant islands. According to the defence ministry, the remaining five ships of the project are in an advanced stage of construction and are scheduled to be inducted into Indian Navy over the next year and a half.

The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers. India has four LCU Mk-III class ships and three LCU MK-IV ships. The first LCU Mk-IV of this class was commissioned in March 2017 as LCU L51 and the second ship of this class was inducted in August 2017 LCU L52.

The LCU Mark-IV ships have been developed in-house by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. (GRSE) as per the request by the Indian Navy. The ships are designed for multipurpose amphibious operations that are jointly carried out by Indian Navy and Indian Army for ensuring maritime security of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.

 

Malabar Exercise 2018: India, US and Japan to Exhibit Their Strength in Guam in June

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Representational Image

The Indo-US-Japan Malabar exercise will be held in Guam in June this year. The Indian Navy will send three ships to the exercise which is taking place in the Western Pacific region. Indigenous stealth frigate INS Sahyadri, anti-submarine stealth corvette INS Kamotra and a fleet tanker will be participating in the exercise. The main attraction of the exercise would be the Nimitz-class super-carrier-USS Ronald Regan.

Guam is being prepared to be the westernmost military training range for the US. The US forces are present in the region in large numbers. Australia would not be part of Malabar 2018. Australia had approached India many times for participating in the exercise, but it never got any invite. Australia expected at least a status of an ‘Observer’ but India is reluctant to allow Australia’s participation. This move received rare appreciation from China. Australia participated once in 2007 in the Malabar exercise.

Japan is the third permanent member of the tri-nation exercise. Japan became permanent member in 2015, prior to this it participated in some earlier Malabar exercise. Last year, India hosted the tri-nation which took place in the Bay of Bengal. The participant navies practised carrier group strike operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare operations, medical operations and Special Forces operations.

The annual Malabar exercise started in 1992 between Indian and US navies. Till 1998 only three Malabar exercises were conducted, but after the Pokhran nuclear test, The US put sanctions on India. The exercise was later resumed in 2002, after the US launched a war on terrorism.

 

World War II Aircraft ‘Dakota DC-3’ Reaches India to Re-Join Indian Air Force

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Dakota Dc-3 (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The Indian Air Force welcomes the Dakota DC-3, VP905, home. The Aircraft VP905 got airborne from Muscat International Airport, Oman and touched down at Jamnagar Air Force Station (AFS), Gujarat at 16:30 hours on Wednesday. The aircraft was received with a lot of splendour at AFS Jamnagar. To honour the old warhorse in its new residence, induction ceremony is scheduled on 04 May 18 at Air Force Station Hindan.

A Dakota DC-3 aircraft  inducted  into the Vintage Aircraft Fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The vintage fleet was raised in Palam in 1988. A large fleet of Dakota DC-3 served in the IAF till 1988. It was one of the most versatile transport aircraft of its time. The first Dakota aircraft transferred the 1st Sikh Regiment to Srinagar during the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan in 1947 just after India’s independence. It is World War II-era aircraft, which was built in 1944. It also served in the United Kingdom’s (UK) Royal Air Force.

The particular aircraft is recovered from the scarp from the UK by Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Rajeev Chandrashekhar. He gifted this aircraft to the IAF. The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B.S Dhanoa had ceremonially accepted the aircraft into the IAF from Rajeev Chandrasekhar in February this year. His father air commodore M K Chandrasekhar (Retired) was a veteran Dakota pilot in the IAF. It will bear the tail number VP 905, the same one which the first such Dakota which transported troops to Srinagar on October 27, 1947.

The crew is seen posing with the beautiful machine along with the Commander-in-chief SWAC, team Jamnagar & Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar MP Rajya Sabha.

The Dakota DC- is named Parshuram. The IAF had signed a contract with M/s Reflight Airworks Ltd London for upgrading its navigational systems. The Dakota is being flown to India by a joint crew of the Indian Air Force and M/s Reflight Airworks Ltd.