Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Project 15A DDG Detailed

The progress of fabricating the three Project 15A Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG), being built at a cost of Rs84.59 billion by the Indian Ministry of Defence-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL), has been as slow as that of the earlier three Project 15 Delhi-class DDGs. Though approved in 2000, the first of these 6,800-tonne DDGs (see photo 4) will be ready only by 2012. All this will further delay the Indian Navy’s (IN) plan to order three more DDGs under Project 15B (which is now on the Directorate of Naval Design Bureau’s drawing boards) as well as seven new FFGs under Project 17A. Work on Project 15A was slowed primarily due to delays in finalisation of design data and Russian weapons and sensor systems to be used on board. Russia’s Baltisky Zavod Shipyard was also late in supplying equipment like shafting and propellers (costing $20 million for each DDG). The first shipment took place in late 2005, the second will follow in 2009 and the third in 2010. Moreover, extensive design and production rework has had to be done due to a large number of design changes made after production work had commenced. It usually takes six months to acquire long-lead items like cabling consignments, and two years to take delivery of the shafting and propellers of a warship. The time for warship-building is also dictated by the availability of diesel engines. Currently, there is such a tremendous demand for such engines that Wartsila, SEMT Pielstick, Caterpillar, MTU and MAN, the major producers of diesel engines, are fully booked till 2013. Each of the three Project 15A DDGs will be powered by a COGAG propulsion system comprising twin Ukrainian Zorya Production Association-built M36E gas turbine plants that produce more than 64,000hp. The M36E marine industrial gas turbine plant comprises four DT-59 reversible gas turbines grouped in two pairs, driving two propellers through two RG-54 gearboxes. There are four separate Russia-made gas turbine generators, two in each engine room, that drive two controllable pitch propellers through twin gearboxes. Also to be installed are twin Bergen/Garden Reach Shipbuilding & Engineering-built KVM-diesel engines each rated at 9,900hp. On-board power generation will come from four 1mWe Wartsila WCM-1000 generator sets driving Cummins KTA50G3 engines and Kirloskar 1MV AC generators. Each Project 15A DDG has a length of 163 metres and a width of 17.4 metres. Plate-cutting for the lead vessel, INS Kolkata, began on March 12, 2003 and the hull was launched on March 30, 2005. The weapons package will include twin 24-cell launchers carrying 48 Barak-2 vertically-launched 70km-range surface-to-air missiles, twin 16-cell launchers carrying 32 Barak-1 anti-missile missiles, 16 BrahMos vertically-launched MRCMs housed within a VLS cell built by Larsen & Toubro, and one Arsenal A-190E 100mm main gun. Principal on-board sensors will include the DRDO-developed and BEL-built Humsa-NG hull-mounted panoramic sonar and a yet-to-be-selected low-frequency active towed array sonar (with the EDO-built ALOFTS, THALES’ Captas-Nano, ATLAS Elektronik’s ACTAS and L-3 Ocean Systems’ LFTAS being on offer). Also to be fitted on board each of the three DDGs will be one S-band ELTA EL/M-2248 MF-STAR active phased-array multi-purpose radar and one EL/M-2238 L-band STAR low-level medium-range surveillance radar. The offboard countermeasures dispensing systems will be ELBIT Systems’ Deseaver (same as that on board the IN’s three existing Project 16A Brahmaputra-class DDGs). The integrated platform management system (IPMS) will be supplied by Canada-based L-3 MAPPS, while the MoD-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will supply the Electronic Modular Command & Control Applications (EMCCA Mk4) combat management system, CCS Mk4 composite communications system and an ATM-based broadband integrated shipborne data network. INS Kolkata is expected to be commissioned in 2010, followed by its two sister vessels in 2011 and 2012.
Another significant addition to the IN fleet of principal surface combatants in future will be the three follow-on Project 1135.6 guided-missile frigates (FFG) that are now being fitted out at Russia’s Kaliningrad-based Yantar Shipyard JSC. Each such FFG will be armed with eight vertically launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles (photo 5). The photos above (1 & 2) also detail the combat management system of the Project 1135.6 FFG (photo 3).

The Dragon Bares Its Tentacles

Hats off to BROADSWORD’s Col (Ret’d) Ajai Shukla (http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com) for taking the decisive step to take a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach and reporting from the easternmost vantage point as regards India’s debatable border policy vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China (PRC). I’m sure all interested parties, including myself, will be waiting in anticipation with baited breath to progressively grasp and absorb the first-hand appreciations of both Sonia and Ajai. Hopefully, such appreciations will include vital inputs from the Govt of India’s China Study Group, and from the present Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, the illustrious former COAS Gen (Ret’d) J J Singh, who is uniquely well-placed to illustrate for us all the future scenario of Arunachal Pradesh’s air/land transportation infrastructure requirements, and on resurrection of the eastern component of Operation Falcon that commenced in the early 1980s under the then COAS Gen K V Krishna Rao. So here’s wishing Sonia and Ajai fair winds and serenity at Dirang. But for those who may believe that Ajai’s extended deployment at Dirang is bad news for followers of military-industrial matters, I respectfully beg to differ. For starters, I’m enclosing below the military appreciation from the other side of the border. As you all may know, the PRC’s Sichuan province is host to several highly-sensitive military-industrial R & D facilities for both conventional weapons and WMDs. So here goes the first of many more….

The PLA’s Transformational Process

The PLA elements deployed opposite Arunachal Pradesh are drawn from the Kunming-based 14 Group Army (nicknamed Forest Tigers), which is part of the 2nd Field Army and specialises in jungle warfare. 14 GA comprises the 40 Specialised Jungle Infantry Division based in Dali/Yunnan that in turn comprises the 110 Motorised Infantry Regiment, 118, 119, and 120 Infantry Regiments; 31 Motorised Infantry Division in Dali/Yunnan that includes the 307 Artillery regiment; 32 Motorised Infantry Division (this being a reserve formation); 49 Motorised Infantry Division hradquartered in Kaiyuan, Yunnan; the 4 Artillery Division headquartered in Kunming/Yunnan; one Air Defence Artillery Brigade based in Kunming; one Armoured Brigade in Kunming along with one Engineering Regiment; one Communications Regiment; one Reconnaissance Unit; one Transportation Regiment; one EW Battalion; and one NBC Battalion. Since 2001, the Motorised Infantry Divisions of the Chengdu Military Region, especially those deployed along the Sino-Indian border, have been transformed into self-contained mechanised, lightweight, all-terrain ‘battle groups’ with greatly improved operational logistics. They have been progressively trained and equipped to operate in their traditional roles of screening, flank protection and high-altitude operations over larger areas than before. Furthermore, these Divisions have been used for articulating the PLA’s new doctrines for waging network-centric high-altitude warfare and mounted operations in urban terrain where the local communications infrastructure is underdeveloped.
The structure of the 14 Group Army’s Mechanised Divisions has imbibed the standard PLA triangular organisation, comprising three mechanised infantry or armoured Platoons making up a Company, three Companies for a Battalion, three Battalions for a Brigade and three Brigades for the Division. The Division comprises three all-terrain Mechanised Infantry Brigades, one main battle tank (MBT) Brigade, one Field Artillery Brigade, one Air Defence Brigade, one EW Battalion, one Signals Battalion, a Combat Engineering Battalion, one NBC Defence Battalion, one Helicopter Wing, and a Logistics Group directly subordinate to the Corps HQ. The Division’s HQ includes the Company-sized Divisional HQ Staff, a close-in air defence unit and a quick-reaction Guard Company for HQ protection. Each Mechanised Infantry Platoon has four Type 86 tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV), WZ-551A (Type 92) wheeled 6 x 6 armoured personnel carriers (APC) each armed with a one-man high-elevation turret housing a 25mm automatic cannon (these will in future be replaced by the similarly armed WZ-525 8 x 8 APC), and 12 QL-550 4 x 4 all-terrain vehicles (each armed with a PF-98 anti-tank rocket launcher, 35mm automatic grenade launcher and a 12.7mm anti-material rifle) for recce and forward observation. There are 351 Type 86 AIFVs in each Division, supported by a Field Artillery Brigade of 72 SH-1 155mm/52-calibre motorised self-propelled howitzers, and an Armoured Battalion with 99 Type 96G MBTs. Type 89 tracked command AIFVs are liberally deployed throughout the Division down to the Company-level to provide tactical command-and-control capabilities. The Type 86 AIFV’s turret is equipped with a 30mm chain gun. The Division’s other tracked AIFVs are the Type 85 and Type 89 vehicles. The Battalion’s Support Company includes one 100mm mortar Company with 10 vehicles, with one mortar per vehicle and a single fire-control vehicle; an automatic grenade launcher (AGL) Platoon with two QL-550s, each equipped with two AGLs; one Anti-Tank Platoon of two 6 x 6 Type 85 armoured vehicles sharing three anti-armour guided-missile systems (ATGM). There are 18 Type 85 armoured vehicles in each Brigade providing 54 ATGM systems in the Division. Anti-armour capability can be augmented by a high-mobility, lightweight Anti-Armour Regiment, which includes six PTZ-89 120mm tracked self-propelled guns and 18 HJ-8L ATGM launchers. There is also an Air Defence Platoon of three Type 85 vehicles with four FN-6 VSHORADS missiles per vehicle for a total of 12, plus one CPMIEC-built TH-S311 SmartHunter low-probability-of-intercept airspace surveillance system, which comprises the vehicle-mounted X-band TH-R311 SmartEye linear frequency modulation continuous wave radar, display and command unit, missile direction finder and guidance aiming computer, helmet-mounted micro-displayer for real-time viewing of targeting/engagement cues, optional Mode 5 IFF transponder, communications unit (for passing on cueing data to firing units up to 10km away using wires, or 3km away when operating in the wireless mode), and a power supply unit. When used with manportable VSHORADS like the FN-6, the air defence envelope can be extended to 60 square km. The SmartEye radar has a 20km detection range for airborne targets flying at an altitude of 2.5km, and can track up to 22 targets simultaneously, thereby providing active air defence over a 15km radius when used along with 12 VSHORADS launchers of any type that are currently in service with the MAF.
For Divisional air defence, use is made of 27 Type 85s and 108 VSHORADS launchers, all of which come under the operational control of the Air Defence Brigade. This Brigade comprises a Battalion of 24 FB-6A systems (eight FN-6s on board a Dong Feng 4 x 4), one Battalion of 18 PLZ-95 systems each comprising a tracked vehicle carrying on board four 30mm cannons, a Battalion of LY-60E semi-active homing SHORADS (with 90 ready-to-fire missiles), and an early warning Battalion equipped with two YLC-18 S-band gapfiller radars and six CLC-3 E/F-band tactical air defence radars. The EW Battalion is equipped with an array of land-mobile assets, including the CEW-080S field communications EW suite, DJG-8715 surface-to-air comms jammer, CEW-060 HF/VHF/UHF COMINT suite, JN-1301 and JN-1601 communications jammers, JN-3101 man-pack jammers, JN-4102 man-pack direction finders, DWL-002 and DZ-9001C ELINT suite, SM-102 passive airspace surveillance system, and DZ-9302 battlespace surveillance radars. The Signals Battalion is equipped with a DA-6 tactical internet controller, MS-700 suite for TDM/MPLS/ATM packet switching, SEC-30 bulk encryptor, tactical microwave radios, TS-101 and TS-504 mobile troposcatter communications system, and DM-15 and DVM-4A data/voice multiplexers. A new addition to the Division is a Helicopter Wing comprising one squadron of six Z-9G attack helicopters (armed with four HJ-8L wire-guided ATGMs) and one transport squadron of six Mi-17V-5 utility helicopters. For armoured operations there are 35 Type 96G MBTs per Regiment, and 105 per Brigade, along with 12 WZ-551 recce APCs equipped with a thermal imager and 105mm rifled bore gun. Each supporting Field Artillery Brigades are now being re-equipped with 72 SH-1 howitzers (replacing the earlier 152mm Type 83 tracked self-propelled guns and the PLZ-45 155mm/45-calibre tracked self-propelled guns), four 180km-range WS-1B multi-barrel rocket launchers (each equipped with six 302mm launch tubes firing rockets armed with ZDB-2B blasting warheads, or SZB-1B anti-personnel and anti-armor dual-purpose sub-munitions), SLC-2 S-band active phased-array weapon locating radars, and X-band RC-307 muzzle velocity radars. Hardware available for Platoon-level recce includes the FJR-4/5 uncooled hand-held thermal imagers, ST-312 (medium-range) and JY-17 (short-range) battlefield surveillance radars, VOT-200A hand-held laser rangefinder coupled to an electronic goniometer, an VOT-200B PDA incorporating a GPS receiver with wireless Bluetooth connection.
All in all, it appears that the PLA’s ‘transformed’ Mechanised Infantry Divisions in the Chengdu and Lanzhou Military Regions are undoubtedly well-suited for prolonged operations in Xinjiang, the Tibetan plateau and Sichuan, given the lighter footprint of their armoured vehicles, as well as their simpler operational logistics requirements. Moreover, given the ‘building-block’ approach now adopted (similar in concept to the Soviet Operational Manoeuvre Group), the PLA is now able to create and deploy a tailor-made formation based upon the required theatre-level operational needs.

Pakistan Army Upgrades Its Field Artillery Prowess

By Prasun K. Sengupta

During the just concluded visit to China of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Islamabad and Beijing inked a contract under which the Pakistan Army will procure an initial 36 A-100E 300mm multi-barrel rocket launchers and two SLC-2 active phased-array weapons locating radars. This follows the round of competitive evaluations conducted by the Pakistan Army of the A-100E and the competing AR-2, another 300mm MBRL also of Chinese origin. Also expected to be procured in future from China are approximately 90 SH-1 155mm/52-calibre motorised howitzers. The A-100E, developed by China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp (CPMIEC), comprises a 300mm 10-tube launch vehicle, reloading vehicle and command-and-control vehicles, all of which are mounted on the WS-2400 8 x 8 wheeled chassis. All 10 rockets can be fired within 60 seconds, and it can be reloaded in 20 minutes. The NORINCO-built AR-2 MBRL, on the other hand, has 12 launch tubes from which rockets armed with a wide variety of warheads are fired. The warhead options include fragmentation sub-munitions warhead, anti-tank mine scattering warhead, shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions warhead, separable HE-fragmentation warhead, fuel-air explosive warhead, and HE-fragmentation warhead.
The NORINCO-built SH-1 motorised 155mm/52-calibre howitzer underwent extensive mobility and firepower trials last December in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, and underwent similar field trials last June in the Thar Desert. The SH-1 can fire rocket-assisted V-LAP projectiles out to 53km, as well as laser-guided projectiles like NORINCO’s ‘Red Mud’ and KBP Instrument Design Bureau’s Krasnopol-M2. The SH-1 can also fire base-bleed 155mm rounds out to 42.5km, and its truck chassis houses a fibre-optic gyro-based north positioning-cum-navigation system, battlespace management system, autonomous orientation-cum-muzzle velocity radar, gun loader’s display-cum-ramming control box, ammunition box housing 25 rounds (of seven different types) and their modular charges, and a network-centric artillery fire direction system. A complete SH-1 Regiment comprises 24 SH-1s, four Battery Command Post vehicles, one Battalion Command Post vehicle, one road-mobile CETC-built JY-30 C-band meteorological radar, four 6 x 6 wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, and an S-band CETC-built SLC-2 artillery locating-cum-fire correction radar.
Last year on September 9, the Pakistan Army accepted at its Nowshera-based School of Artillery the first of twelve 18-tonne T-155 Panter 155mm/52-calibrre towed howitzers from Turkey’s state-owned Machines and Chemical Industry Board (MKEK). The Panter was co-developed in the late 1990s by MKEK and Singapore Technologies Kinetics. For producing the 155mm family of munitions, Wah Cantonment-based Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) has teamed up with South Korea’s Poongsan and on April 12 this year, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani symbolically received the first lot of licence-assembled K-307 BB-HE and K-310 155mm BB dual purpose improvised conventional munitions (DPICM) Ammunition from POF Chairman Pakistan Lt Gen Syed Sabahat Hussain.