DefExpo 2018 to Begin Tomorrow; India to Showcase its Defence Manufacturing Capabilities

DefExpo 2018

The 10th edition of DefExpo will begin tomorrow at Thiruvidanthai on the East Coast Road (ECR) near Chennai. In this four day event India will showcase its defence manufacturing capabilities to the world. The event will attract global vendors of defence manuctureres and suppliers of defence equipment. The Defence Ministry is also promoting indigenous defence manufacturing Industries during this event. This will help India in becoming self-reliable in defence sector.

As per a report of Business Standard, Ajay Kumar, secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Government of India said, “We want to show case India as emerging hub for manufacturing as the country attained significant milestones in defence manufacturing. We also need to create opportunity for exports from India,” The DefExpo is organized after every two years. The eight edition of DefExpo was organized in New Delhi in 2016, then in 2016 the venue was shifted to Goa and now Chennai for the first time.

More than 700 exhibitors across the globe will be participating in this event. DefExpo 2018 will witness the participation of 539 Indian firms whereas 163 foreign players will come to participate in this mega event. According to Kumar, more than 72% of the space is allocated for Indian firms. The DefExpo held in 2016 witnessed the participation of 1000 companies.

The prominent Indian companies which are participating are Tata, L&T, Kalyani, Defence and Research Analysis Department (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Mahindra. Giving a major boost to indigenous defence production Ministry of defence will launch Innovations for Defence Excellence (IDEX) scheme at the Expo, reported Business Standard. According to officials over 70 indigenously built products will be displayed at the Indian Pavilion. These products will be displayed under the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Rafael, United Shipping are some the foreign players which will participate in this exhibition. India will display its indigenous built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Missile systems, helicopters and air defence systems. In this DefExpo India’s capability in land, air and naval security will be showcased. The prime focus of the Indian government is to attract foreign players to invest in defence sector in collaboration with Indian firms. India is the world’s largest arms importer. According to the The Defence Ministry, Indian firms manufactured Rs 550 billion worth military equipment in the last year.

Vajra K9 -T (

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be present at the inauguration of DefExpo 2018. The 100 K9 VAJRA-Ttracked, self-propelled artillery guns for the Indian Army will be displayed at the India Pavilion of DefExpo 2018.  K9 Vajra –T is produced at a brand new production line under setting up at L&Ts Hazira manufacturing complex in Gujarat. The K9 VAJRA-T is a variant of K9 Thunder which is unarguably the world’s most successful 155mm/52 Cal.It will be inducted soon into the Indian Army




Indian Army to Get 1.86 Lakh Modern Bullet Proof Jackets

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Finally the wait is over. The Indian Army’s infantry soldiers are going to get modern bullet proof jackets. The Indian government has signed a contract of Rs 639 crore with a domestic defence manufacturing company SMPP Pvt Ltd to procure 1.86 Lakh bullet proof jackets. The Indian Army was pressing the centre government for buying modern bullet proof jackets since 2009, but due to our slow procurement system it took nine years. The army had purchased 50,000 jackets in an emergency in March 2016, but it could not match army’s requirement neither it helped in reducing the shortage.

SMPP Pvt Ltd has successfully cleared the stringent trials of the Indian Army. SMPP chairman S C Kansal said, “The new jackets meet the most advanced GSQRs 1438 (technical parameters) standards of the Indian Army. These bullet proof jackets have `Boron Carbide Ceramic’, which is the lightest material for ballistic protection.” These will somehow reduce the shortage, but the Indian Army needs total of 3.5 lakh jackets for the infantry soldiers.

As reported by The Times of India, an officer said, “The contracted bullet proof jackets have contemporary and state-of-the-art specifications with added protection level and coverage area. These ergonomically designed bullet proof jackets have modular parts, thereby providing immense protection and flexibility to soldiers operating in different operational situations ranging from long-distance patrolling to high-risk room intervention scenarios.” He further added, “The new bullet proof jackets will provide 360 degree protection to soldiers in combat, including from latest hard steel core bullets.”

SMPP Pvt Ltd will provide these jackets within next three years and the procurement process starts in the next two months. The deal to procure these bullet proof jackets from a domestic manufacturer will definitely give a boost to ‘Make in India’ campaign. The Indian Army is also in a dire need of modernise assault rifles and also needs to modernise the artillery guns.

Russia offers India to Sell 21 used Mig-29s at Cheap Price; Will India Consider The Offer?

Russian Mig 29

Russia offers India to sell 21 used Mig – 29s at a very cheap price. The Indian government would be very cautious to take a decision of purchasing these 21 fighter jets. India needs to draw parallel from the deal of buying aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Russia offered this aircraft carrier free of cost to India, only refurbishment cost was there, which was decided at $950 million. But as soon as the work started, the cost also kept on increasing. Finally India had to pay $2.4 billion, so India ended up paying almost $1.3 billion more than the decided cost. The aircraft carrier was delivered almost five years after the scheduled delivery time.

India will be deeply analysing the proposal of Russia. The Russian government offered a price of $25 million- $30 million for each aircraft, which is almost 30% of the new aircraft. The Indian government would also be considering the hidden cost. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is having Mig -29 UPG in its inventory, but The Russian Migs are different from the one’s the IAF is possessing. India has also rejected the Russian offer to co-develop fifth generation fighter jet because of the high cost involve in it.

Currently The IAF is facing shortage of Fighter squadrons. The Indian Air Force has only 34 fighter squadron against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. It will reduce further as Migs will be retiring over the next few years. To tackle the shortage and to encounter the joint threat from China and Pakistan, the IAF has initiated a process on Friday to buy 110 fighter jets. Request for Information (RFI) was issued to seek tenders from the companies interested to sell fighter jets to India. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, SAAB’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet are the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion mega defence deal.

Indian Air Force to get 110 Fighter Jets; Will it Suffice?

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The Indian Air Force on Friday initiated a process to acquire 110 fighter jets. The IAF issued a Request for Information (RFI) for  $15 billion deal. It is considered to be the biggest defence deal. The fighter jets would jointly be produced by a foreign company in collaboration with an Indian company under ‘Make in India’ campaign. This will also give a big push to indigenous defence production capability.

Initially single engine fighter jets of American company Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 and Swedish company SAAB’s Gripen were the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion deal, but later Indian government asked the IAF to consider Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet. During French President Emmanuel Marcon’s visit to India in March there were speculations that India would extend Rafale deal by announcing to procure more 36 Rafale jets. The Indian government still has not made any official announcement regarding this.

The IAF would get 85 single engine fighter jets and rest 25 would be twin engine fighter jets. Currently the Indian Air Force has 34 fighter jet squadrons against the authorized strength of 42 squadrons. Though the IAF would be getting 3 squadrons of Sukhoi 30-MKI, two Squadrons of Rafale, but by 2025 most of the squadron if MIG’s would get retired and Indigenous built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has still not met the requirement of The Indian Air Force. Presently the IAF has 17 squadrons of various MIG fighter jets. So over the next 10 years the IAF would be requiring almost 300-400 fighter jets to attain its full strength.

Now the question arises that when can the Indian government close the deal of acquiring 110 fighter jets or will it take even time than Rafale deal? The second thing is that if in 2019 elections new government comes to power then what is the guarantee that this deal will continue in the same manner or the new government would scrap the old deal as happened in the case of Rafale deal? This would delay the deal of acquiring these jests. As we witnessed that a very big political controversy haunted the Rafele deal regarding the pricing of the jets, what would be the surety that no controversy would haunt this deal as it is much bigger deal that the Rafale deal?

Indian Air Force’s Biggest Exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ begins today

IAF to conduct its biggest exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’

The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) two-week long exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ begins today. It is one of the biggest combat exercises to be conducted by the air force. The main aim of this exercise is to test the real time coordination and deployment of the air force in a short and war like situation. The exercise will be conducted in two separate phases along the western border with Pakistan and along the Northern Border with China. As part of a protocol Pakistan has been informed about the exercise.

The extent of this exercise can be gauged from the fact that round 300 officers and 15,000 airmen will take part in this exercise. The exercise will also see an involvement of 1100 fighter jets, so around 3,000 to 4,000 sorties can be conducted daily. The Indian Air Force will mobilise its equipment within 48 hours of the order of the Air Chief Marshal to test its capability in a war like situation.

Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will also be tested in the ‘Gagan Shakti’. It will be used for both offensive and defensive roles.  Joint Maritime operations will be conducted by The Indian Air Force in coordination with The Indian Army and the Indian Navy. The IAF said, “While it is an IAF centric exercise, it is planned to be executed keeping in mind the ‘Joint Operational Doctrine’. The requirements of the other services are being met and the same has been factored while planning the exercise settings.” Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) will depute its best 300 technicians for this exercise.

The IAF will conduct all terrain operations. Mobility and strength of air force will be put under test. Apart from wartime drills, IAF will also practice and validate various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief drills that the IAF is expected to undertake from time to time. In a statement IAF said, ”Some such measure would involve mobilization of Air Ambulance version of transport aircraft and helicopters to airlift simulated sitting and bedridden casualties to metros/big cities having good medical facilities and would include evacuation of casualties from highways that facilitate such operations.”



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

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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.

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.