Indian Navy to Get MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk Helicopters Soon; US Approves USD 2.6 Billion Deal

The United States on Tuesday approved the sale of 24 submarine-hunting MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission helicopters to India. The entire deal is of $2.6 billion. As per reports, the US’ (DSCA) received the approval from the State Department for the sale and the Congress was notified about it. The helicopters are nicknamed “Romeo”. These helicopters will give India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions and also perform peacetime operations like search and rescue. India Signs $3-Billion Deal With Russia to Get Akula Class Nuclear Submarine, Chakra-III on Lease.

According to reports, the deal is yet to be concluded. The negotiations on offset clause are still to take place. The DSCA said that the proposed sale would support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship. The agency further added that the deal would improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region. Defence Acquisition Committee Approves Rs 3,000 Crore Procurement Including Brahmos, ARVs For Arjun MBTs.

These helicopters are manufactured by Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin, under the US foreign military sales programme. The Navy will replace the fleet of Sea King Mk 42B/C and Ka-28 helicopters. In November last year, India issued a ‘letter of request’ to the US. These helicopters will be armed with torpedoes and missiles for robust anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Presently, the Navy operates 11 Kamov-28 and 17 Sea King ASW helicopters, but only four Kamove-28 and around five Sea King ASW are in flying condition. The MH-60 Seahawk helicopter is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.

(Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MarcusReports)

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Lockheed Martin Busts Pakistan’s Lie; American Aircraft Manufacturer Not to Sue India For Claiming IAF’s MiG-21 Bison Shot Down PAF F-16 Fighter Jet

Another Pakistan’s lie was busted today, after Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of F-16,  rubbished a claim of Danyal Gilani, director in the Information Minister’s office and chairman of Pakistan’s Central Film Board. In a tweet, Gilani had claimed that the American aircraft manufacturer was going to sue India for ‘wrongly claiming’ that one of F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan was shot down by MiG-21 Bison during an aerial fight in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27. Pakistan Air Force Pilot Shahzaz Ud Din Whose F-16 Was Shot Down by Wg Cd Abhinandan Varthaman Mistaken to be Indian; Lynched by PoK Locals?

He tweeted, “F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin to file law suit against false Indian claims & expresses annoyance over the factually incorrect claim of shooting down of Pakistan’s F-16 by IAF. Says all F-16s on Pakistani inventory r well counted for! (sic),”

Gilani's tweet

Replying to Gilani’s statement, Lockheed Martin tweeted that it had not made any sich claims.

After Lockheed Martin’s tweet, the chairman of Pakistan’s Central Film Board accepted that his statement was wrong. He tweeted, ” Thank you @LMIndiaNews. I acknowledge the statement is wrongly attributed to you. I picked it from a website. I take it back. However, I stand by Govt of #India’s failure to prove it downed a #Pakistani F-16. Indian media & journalists have caught #Indian govt disinformation.”

On February 28 too, The Indian Air Force (IAF) a exposed lie of Pakistan. During a joint press briefing of the Tri-service wings in New Delhi, Air Vice Marshal Ravi Kapoor showed an evidence to reporters that Pakistan used F-16 fighter jet to violated the Indian air space on February 27. The IAF presented a cover of AMRAAM missile fired from the Pakistani F-16 aircraft as a proof to prove its point. The F-16 was shot down by IAF’s Mig 21 Bison fighter jet during an engaging battle.

Meanwhile, on March 1, Pakistan released Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot who was captured by the Pakistan Army after his aircraft was shot down. He returned to India via Attari border, Amritsat. He was released by Pakistan almost 60 hours after he was taken into custody by the Pakistani Army. The IAF pilot engaged the Pakistan fighter jets which violated the Indian air space on February 27, a day after the IAF conducted air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot. In the processed he crossed the Line of Control (LoC). As per reports, Wg Cd. Varthaman shot down PAF’s F-16 before getting hit.

United States Raises Concerns Over India’s Deal With Russia to Procure S-400 Triumf

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S-400 Triumf Missile (Picture Courtesy: Twitter)

The United States is concerned over India’s plans to sign a deal with Russia to procure the S-400 air defence system. The deal is worth Rs 40,000. Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry said that India’s move would hinder the military ties between the two countries. According to Thornberry, concerns about India’s potential purchase of the S-400 have been conveyed to different levels of the US government.

Members of US House Armed Services Committee in India were of the opinion that procuring the Russian system would also make it difficult for the US to share sensitive technology with India in the future. “There is a lot of concern in the US administration and Congress with the S-400. There is concern that any country that acquires the system will complicate the ability of interoperability (with US forces),” reported Economic Times quoted Mac Thornberry as saying.

Thornberry also said that India should consider the decision to purchase the Russian missile system.  India is likely to Ink the deal for procuring S-400 Triumf missile system before October’s annual summit between Prime Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US had announced sanctions against Russia for its alleged involvement in meddling in the US presidential elections. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) came into effect in January. Many US lawmakers and experts are of the opinion that India should be exempted from CAATSA.

In April this year, India has issued a Request of Information for the purchase of 110 fighter jets worth $15 billion. The two US-based companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing are pitching their respective fighter jets. Both the companies have agreed to transfer the technology to India. The US is planning to shift entire production line of Lockheed Martin F-16 jet in India. It will be interesting to see whether the US will put under CAATSA after India inks deal with Russia to acquire the most advanced air defence system.

S-400 is an advanced version of S-300. The missile system is capable of travelling at a rate of 4.8 kilometres per second (17,000 km/h; Mach 14). The missile system can destroy incoming enemy fighter jets, missiles and even drones up to the range of 400 km. This missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is serving Russian Military since 2007.

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.

DefExpo 2018: Lockheed Martin and Boeing Gearing up to Secure $15 Billion Deal

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F-16 Block 70 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.indiandefencenews.in)

On the very first day of the DefExpo 2018, two US companies pitch in for their respective fighter jets for getting a deal of supplying 110 fighter jets worth $15 billion to the Indian Air Force (IAF).  This can be considered as a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign

Lockheed Martin offered to set up manufacturing line of F-16 fighter jets in India. Randall Howard who leads F-16 business development at Lockheed Martin, in an Interview to Bloomberg Quint said, “The fighters we offer are state of the art with modern avionics and we are willing to transfer technology to build in India as part of Make in India.” According to Howard, If Lockheed Martin gets the deal then it would shift its entire production line from US to India, which means that India would become exporter of the fighter jets to the world.

Currently 27 countries including Pakistan are flying F-16 Fighter Jets. According to Howard around 4,000 F-16 aircrafts are in use across the world. Lockheed Martin had already tied up with Tata Group to manufacture parts for the C-130J aircraft.

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Super Hornet F/A 18 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com)

On the other hand Boeing is also pitching in for F/A 18 Super Hornet for securing $15 billion deal to supply 110 fighter jets for IAF.  According to The Asian Age, Thomas E. Breckenridge, vice-president, India, Global Sales Defence, Space and Security of Boeing, said that they were in the race of acquiring the orders of IAF to procure 110 fighter jets, reported The Asian Age. Speaking on the cost comparison of the two aircrafts, Breckenridge backed Super Hornet. He said that Super Hornet is comparatively cheap and could be maintained at lower cost.

The vice-president, India, Global Sales Defence, Space and Security of Boeing assured of sourcing components from Indian companies. Presently Boeing is sourcing components from 160 Indian companies and would enhance its operation to 400 domestic companies. Breckenridge said that Boeing would soon announce

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

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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.

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Vajra K9 -T (www.defenceupdates.in)

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

 

 

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

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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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Picture Courtesy: http://www.sputniknews.com

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?