Monday, January 19, 2009

Has India Acquired ATGMs from China’s NORINCO?



That could well be the case, if one goes by what was shown at a recently-held 'Know Your Army' exhibition held under the auspices of the Army's Jalandhar-based Cantonment. The top photo, which can be viewed in its original form at http://flickr.com/photos/gopal1035/3197220130/, clearly shows the NORINCO-built HongJian-8L (HJ-8L) anti-tank guided-missile (ATGM), which is also in service with the Pakistan Army as the Baktar Shikan. For comparison purposes, the third photo is the original version (from NORINCO's brochure on the HJ-8L) of the one displayed by the Indian Army poster. NORINCO’s HongJian-8L is a semi-active wire-guided ATGM with a 3.2km-range. The missile (second photo), equipped with a tandem warhead, weighs 11.2kg, while the tripod launcher, incorporating a day sight, laser rangefinder and IR goniometer, weighs 22.5kg. So, what rational explanations can be offered for such a poster being displayed by the Indian Army? Has the Army indeed acquired the HJ-8L? Consequently, was this acquisition 'inadvertently' leaked by the displayed poster? Or is it just a case of an atrocious and unforgivable error by the organisers of the exhibition (aka the Indian Army!) who 'assumed' that the HJ-8L illustration could have easily been used to show non-discerning citizens of India what an ATGM looks like, as opposed to what's really operational with the Indian Army? You be the judge. As the saying goes, the devil always lies in the detail.--Prasun K. Sengupta

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

Probably a copy paste from internet. In any case, these kind of shows are meant for schoolkids who cant say a T 72 from a BMP..

Anonymous said...

sengupta, can u comment about the specs given please? do they match up with hj8/BS>? i did a quick comparison n it aint.

Anonymous said...

for ex HJ8 range is more than 2000m

Anonymous said...

Obviously a goofup !! typical attitude of not bothering to check the details/and that the 'aam janta' would'nt know the difference.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The specs are not reflective of the HJ-8L, but of the Milan-2 ATGM. What horrifies me is the utter calluousness of the exhibition organiser who has obviously not not grasped the fact that such mis-representations can be trivial in nature, but devastating in their consequences. Anyway, this matter was this morning brought to the attention of HQ IDS, Army HQ & RM's office in MoD. Hopefully this will prevent such goof-ups from taking place in future.

Anonymous said...

mr sengupta, today we test fired brahmos missile .........every news channel is screaming ,it to be new nuclear capable.......but russia is mtcr signatory......can this be possilble

Anonymous said...

why make so much noise on something that is so obvious.

These infos are for general public, and posters made by jawans who have just bare knowledge of operating computers, not by some professional artist.

There are pics where dragnov is labeled as AK-47,etc etc.

Stop wasting ur/others bandwidth on such petty topic.

Max said...

Simple "don't care" and "who's gonna know" attitude. "Know Your Army" LOL

Anonymous said...

when i saw IAF Jag on display for the first time, i used to think "WoW, it can carry such a huge bomb" which later turned out to be a fuel tank.

it was when i came from a defense background and had some experience on SLR, LMG etc and could visually distinguish military vehicles.

think of civilians who never-ever even saw such things in their life and think of this display from their perspective.

you wont find this poster in any Joint training exercise's weapon display with foreign counterpart or military parade.

Detail and effort are based on audience expected.

in short, give that jawan some break who made that poster, you will end up making more trouble for him.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Max: Judging from the comments from some Anonymous readers above it is evident that these folks too are firm believers and avid practioners of the 'Chalta Hai' (let it be) attitude. For those claiming that "detail and effort are based on audience expected", let me narrate an event that happened during Ex Sanghe Shakti in Punjab in 2006, where both the national and foreign press were present. Your's truly was also there. At the press briefing given by an Army Service Corps officer (representing the Army's PRO Directorate), he said that the participating MBTs were T-72s. I politely told him that on the contrary the MBTs were T-90S. He obviously became red-faced and I then stated that the best way to confirm whether the MBTs are T-72s or T-90S was to either ask the participating MBT Squadron's CO or one of the MBT crewmen what exactly was the MBT's designation. Within seven minutes of murmuring and muttering the answer emerged: they were ALL T-90S MBTs. Now just imagine if the PRO was not corrected then and there, everyone present at the briefing would have believed the PRO's statement to be the gospel truth. Therefore, I can confidently state that such goof-ups are a matter of routine because attention is NEVER paid to the details. Remeber the incident of Scania tow-trucks towing the Agni-3 a year ago? Wonder if similar antics will be pulled again next week.

Anonymous said...

After hibernating for 9 days, i?s this the story you came up with

left wing nut job said...

I remember the Scanias towing the Agni. What was the major dustup about about that? Can you elaborate?

Max said...

@Prasun

LOL believable. It's the "who cares / who's gonna know" kind of attitude that prevails amongst Babus. They feel the ordinary folks won't know T72 and T90s, thinking tanks are tanks, and so they say what they like without bothering about accuracy. By the way it wasn't Scanias but Volvos that were pictured towing the Agni 3.

xerses said...

Hi
Does the Army have Depleted Uranium ammo for use in its armored corps? If so, are they of indigenous or foreign
origin?

Anonymous said...

prasun, what was that " Scanias towing the Agni " episode all about ? pls explain for latecomers.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: Close to 800 125mm DU rounds were bought in early 2002 from Israel Military Industries. They are not being produced in India.

To Anon@9:04AM: My blog does not contain any stories, but only facts and highlights of actual incidents like the one above. If you want to read stories by all means go elsewhere.

xerses said...

lo

xerses said...

Thanks Prasun!
Do the Army's armored corps have tactical operational command over using DU munitions or is it a political decision? How many such rounds does pak army have in its inventory- they probably have DU ammo
of Chinese origin- and what is their
expected/intended deployment philosophy?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The question of any kind of modified or separate command and control structure or deployment philisophy for usage of DU rounds does not arise at all for either India or Pakistan or anyone else since the DU round is not a WMD as such. It is very much a conventional munition. The 125mm DU round for Pakistan has been developed by the country's state-owned National Development Complex (NDC).

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@Tuesday, January 20, 2009 7:25AM: The BrahMos will NEVER be nuclear-capable either for Russia or for India or for anyone else. There are much more efficient, cost-effective and more versatile missiles (ballistic and cruise) that are nuclear-capable. But BrahMos definitely does not fall in that category. The only ones that continue to believe BrahMos is nuclear-capable are those wannabes of Bharat Rakshak whose brainpowers haven't yet evolved beyond the neolithic era! For instance, these wannabes are still speculating about the kind of terminal homing seeker for the BrahMos' land attack version (they naively believe the seeker is of the RF type) when it was confirmed way back in mid-2006 that the Block 2 variant of BrahMos land-attack missile has an imaging infra-red seeker coupled to a very small diameter airborne data link (of imported origin) of the same type as employed by the Popeye-Lite.

left wing nut job said...

How can an IIR see through the drag induced heat at the nose of the Brahmos?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Who said that the BrahMos' IIR sensor is nose-mounted? There's no way the sensor can be nose-mounted as that section is taken by the ram-air intake.

left wing nut job said...

I thought the sensor would be housed in the conical nose.

Where else can the IIR be housed?

left wing nut job said...

In your previous blog entry, there's a pic of the Brahmos cutout. The location where it says seeker is where I had assumed the IIR would be.

Which led me to the question of how can an IIR see through the heat at the nose of the missile.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

That diagram you're referring to is for the BrahMos Block 1 and the nosecone's interior contains the active terminal radar. But the IIR sensor due to its obvious limitations does not go inside the nosecone for the BrahMos Block 2. It is a chin-mounted installation that pops-out in the missile's terminal cruise phase. That's what was tested three days ago and there were obvious interface problems of this sensor with the missile's on-board HAL-built RLG-based INS.

left wing nut job said...

So, the Block II would use radar and IIR for terminal homing or just IIR?

Even if the IIR is chin mounted, how does it get around the heat generated by going M2.5? Or does the Block II slow down during terminal targeting phase?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

No, the LACM variant (Block 2) of BrahMos will use only the IIR sensor. No active radars. Radar is only for the maritime strike variant of the BrahMos. It uses the same heat-resistant techniques as those employed by the Iskander-E and LORA artillery rocket.

left wing nut job said...

Thanks for the info. It'd be great if you could do an in depth article on both of the Brahmos Blk I/II for Force or for your blog.

Amra Bangali said...

Prasun,

However much you shout about not 'nuclearizing' Brahmos - the information I have is this: "

the latest test of the BrahMos was carried out under a new guidance system configured to carry a nuclear warhead instead of a conventional one, which is perhaps the likely cause for the test parameters not being met."

Your comments ...

Anonymous said...

russia showed it first aesa in aero india 2007 which had 680 t.r modules

i hope they will show fully operational aesa with 1062t/r modules on aero india 2009

Vikas said...

@Amra Bangali

Bro, please don't believe in media reports (especially if PTI reports about defences). They once said that 'India Tested nuke capable Akash missile'. Akash is a 25 km land to air missile! Don't believe me? Check this out -
http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/15/stories/2007121550160100.htm

Balasore (Orissa): Akash, nuclear capable surface-to-air missile, was on Friday successfully test-fired for the second time in two days from the Integrated

Anonymous said...

even porkistan can make DU ammo why cant we?????

max said...

The CE0 of Brahmos has described the missile as a nuclear capable one,with certain modifications to avionics.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Amra Bangali & Max: Technically, the BrahMos is nuclear-capable just as the FH-77B towed howitzer is capable of firing nuclear-capable projectiles (carrying tactical neutron warheads). But that does not automatically mean that the missile/projectile/artillery round WILL BE carrying nuclear warheads. Therefore, saying that a particular weapon is nuclear-capable is totally different from a more convincing remark which confirms that a particular missile/projectile/artillery round is being nuclear-weaponised. Lastly, India has publicly declined (in its nuclear doctrine) to either develop or deploy tactical nuclear weapons. Therefore the issue of BrahMos being employed as a tactical weapon system does not arise. All BrahMos Regiments will be deployed with the Army's 40th and 41st Artillery Divisions, and not with the Strategic Forces Command.

xerses said...

What is the rationale for the transition from rifled to smooth-bore? Why does the Arjun persist with a rifled cannon when the smooth-bore gun has been universally adopted, with the only exception Britain testing the rheinmetall 120mm L55 gun to eventually replace the excellent rifled one on the Challenger-2? Is the Arjun cannon an indigenous product? What is its caliber?

Anonymous said...

xerces, rifled ones will have troubles in firing sabots. spin produced by the rifled ones reduce the kinetic energy of the sabot. rifled ones require regular maintenance if sabots are used.

xerses said...

Thanks Anon @ 10:04:00 AM-

1)If the APFSDS has usurped the top spot in defeating armor, why then has the DRDO deemed Arjun unworthy of a smooth-bore gun? Is the DRDO developing such a gun? How about retro-fitting the Arjun with an imported smooth-bore gun? What about the rheinmetall 120mm L/55 gun? Since RM has set up shop in India, getting this gun shouldn't be a problem.

2)Isn't the slab sided turret of the Arjun an anachronism? And isn't the general hull design rather ridged and unclean?
The updated Leopard 2A6s operated in varying customised versions by the Hellenic, Spanish and Swedish forces have sloped, armored(NOT ERA) appendages bolted onto the front side of the turrets which carry the RM L55 guns. Shouldn't this development be a beacon for atleast the Arjun Mk2?

Please... the field is open

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: The 120mm APFSDS rounds are fired from both smoothbore and rifled bore cannons. And it was not the DRDO that chose the 120mm rifled bore design, but the Indian Army. Surely the 120mm smoothbore L-55 can go on the Arjun Mk2 but it will go against the Arjun MBT programme's avowed objective of having a weapon system with majority indigenous content. Therefore, the MoD and Indian Army has to make a choice: either go for a superior-performance imported product, or stick to indigenous solutions like the 120mm rifled bore cannon. The turret design of the Arjun Mk2 will be sloped with the help of add-on composite laminate armour tiles similar to the ones on China's ZTZ-99G MBT. But all these are not the major challenges. The main hurdle to be overcome is the development of a 1,500hp diesel engine and its gearbox. Of course, these too can be imported from France or Germany, but then again the question that arises is: what will be the nett content of imported hardware on the Arjun Mk2 and will this be acceptable by the MoD? I'm sure the Army will not object as it wants superior performance and operational sovereignty, and does not want to harp on the now-discredited notion of indigenisation. That's why the Army has insisted that the follow-on batch of 124 Arjun Mk1 MBTs (now known as Arjun Mk1+) to be ordered in the near future also have an all-electric turret traverse/gun control-cum-stabilisation system (the Army has already specified such a system to be sourced from Israel's ELBIT Systems), instead of the existing electro-hydraulic type. In my view, the Arjun Mk2 incorporating all such improvements and upgraded powerpack will take at least another five years. Also, the Army has yet to specify which of the two solutions being proposed for the redesigned turret since 2003 (by Israel Military Industries and France's Nexter Systems) should be adopted.

Khambat Dagha said...

Some updates on Arjun Mk-2 and Abhay from IIT Mumbai Techfest:

1. Arjun Mk2 version to be fielded in june trials against bhisma.
2. It has new Active thermal imaging system developed indigeneously though range would be same the quality of the image will be better giving it better night fighting capability.
3. Work on indigeneous engine going on well. Currently it has achieved 1300hp but there target is 1500bhp. Still work is required on it. But he sounded very confident it will be done.
4. NERA armoured is confirmed on Mk2 version. Earlier NERA used was of Israeli. But better indigeneous version has been developed and will be fielded on mk2 version onwards.
5. Coperation with Israel on Arjun confirmed. He was all praise for Merkava-4 and its technology. They plan to use same pitch for Arjun that Army might be required to fight in urban environment in future were fear of RPG type weapon is always there.In such scenario better armour is required.
6. When asked about army's acceptance of Mk2 version, he said they are not very enthusiast but some positive response has been received.
7. They are not looking at weight optimisation method.They believe army has to come terms with Heavy MBT as it is need of the armour and make necessary doctriene change. He gave example of Abraham, Challenger, Merkava as against T-72 and T-90.
8. Better version of Kanchan armour has been developed.
9. Instead of using Type E class rubberised module to cover Lahat composite material will be used giving it better preformance.
10. Lahat will be manufactured locally (CLGM).
11. Mk2 version will have all electrical system (all electric turret). He explained in more detail sorry could not recollect.
12. It will not only have smoke grenades but splinters for protection. He gave more detail about one more system could not recollect.
13. Advanced version of BMS will be fielded.
14. He said earlier failure of test was clear case of sabotage. Renk transmission system was tempered with. He was extremely unhappy about it

Arjun BLT is humongous
Arjun tank can definetely make enemy wet there pants.

Abhay ICV
1. Unfortunately it is just Technology demonstrator.
2. They have developed lighter composite armour for this ICV.
3. Its carrying capacity is 11.
4. Target weight is 20ton.
5. I have its broucher for it. Will post it latter.
6. Many of technologies developed will be used for other projects and developed further.
7. It had much better technologies as compared to BMP-2 unfortuantely it did not find favour with army (What's new!!)

Will post more as and when i remember it

Note:
All the information is as provided by the senior scientist who has worked more than 10 years on this project.He was extremely polite and helpful, answered all my question.

xerses said...

Prasun
An excellent reply - Inform-
ative and exhaustive. But what is with this 1500hp limit on all mod-
ern MBTs? When the next gen NATO tanks roll out, they're most likely to improve on that power figure. The modular MTU 890 series is a pointer to their future course. Isn't DRDO exhibiting its lack of foresight and strategic grasp by limiting its powerpack to present standards? I strongly believe that DRDO ought to overwhelm the military brass with superior abilities, features, figures and performance, thereby setting the standards for the future mbt design.This is because of the armed forces' affinity for raw figures whilst eschewing any serious thought over actual performance- the unrealistic 'brochure' based ever-changing GSQR parameters for instance.
Could you elaborate on the redesigned turret proposals from Israel Military Industries and France's Nexter System?

xerses said...

Khambat Dagha
My first peep into the Arjun mk2 development. I sympathize with the scientist regarding his pessimism about how the Army perceives the Mark2. I hope this scientist is following Prasun's blog.
His team must incorporate the specifications of the future armored systems of nato nations in the absence of any from the Army- they probably have no idea as yet.
And do come out with a prototype as soon as possible.
Waiting for your next post!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: The 1,500hp power rating is not a limit, but a standard and the reason this figure was chosen correctly for the Arjun MBT was to ensure an optimum power-to-weight ratio. Therefore, from a design perspective, the DRDO and Indian Army got it right. But since the DRDO and Ministry of Defence made a grave error in the 1970s by not co-developing the 1,500hp diesel engine and irs related gearbox (as France had offered to do with India), the DRDO was left with no alternative but to go with a 1,400hp-based powerpack. Now, this powerpack works well with the basic Arjun Mk1, but when the MBT was fitted with track-width mine ploughs, the 1,400hp was found to be grossly insufficient to compensate for the extra weight penalties. It was due to this reason that the 1,400hp-based powerpack repeatedly seized up during user-trials. Therefore, for achieving guaranteed and sustained reliability in terms of battlefield mobility, it is imperative that both the Arjun Mk1 and Arjun Mk2 MBTs be equipped with a 1,500hp-based powerpack.
Now, coming to the FMBT, you can safely assume that such vehicles will have a powerpack rated at around 1,200hp, not more than that. This is because of recently achieved advances in ceramic armour-based technologies, automotives and vectronics, all of which can now make it possible to design and develop weight-budgeted FMBTs weighing no more than 50 tonnes. Incidentally, the basic hull of the FMBT will be of the universal type, i.e. the hull will be available in several variants and one of them will be the futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV), albeit with a different turret and on-board weapon systems. To this end, it will be better from a combined-arms perspective if the Indian Army's existing T-72M1 MBTs were to be modified and converted into FICVs like the Russian BMP-T Terminator. As greater nos of T-90S and Arjun Mk1/2 MBTs are inducted over the next five years, the number of T-72M1s being converted into BMP-T terminator-type ICVs should also be increased proportionally. I also wish that the Abhay ICV also be further developed as an universal armoured vehicle used not only as an APC but also as a carrier for other weapon systems, such as mounting the RAFAEL-supplied Spyder E-SHORADS air defence system (the sensors and missile launchers) on the Abhay's hull. Similarly, the 30km-range laser-guided anti-armour missile variant of the Pinaka MBRL's 214mm rocket can also be monted on the Abhay. The probelm is both the MoD and DRDO are not thinking 'out of the box' for devising innovative solutions.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Yet another potential application of the Abhay ICV's hull will be to be used as a tactical UAV launcher (like the Nishant) when equipped with a catapult-based UAV launch rail. Usage of these types of vehicles alongside armoured formations will be imperative for effective real-time surveillance of the armoured formation's flanks and providing early warning for the contact battle. But most importantly, it is such UAV-based battlefield surveillance that will optimise the mission effectiveness of the Squadron-level and Battalion-level battlespace management systems (BMS) of friendly armoured formations. This is but one more example of 'out-of-the-box' solutions that can easily be developed by a joint DRDO-Army R & D team with very low risk factor. FYI I've already seen both the Chinese and Taiwanese ground forces develop and field such solutions and have received detailed technical briefings from OEMs from both countries more than two years ago.

xerses said...

Prasun
Could you elaborate on -
1) the redesigned turret proposals from Israel Military Industries and France's Nexter Systems
2) the likely advances of Arjun Mk2 over Mk1

Anonymous said...

1,400hp was found to be grossly insufficient to compensate for the extra weight penalties

probably, this explains why army doesn't want arjun.

MoD and DRDO are not thinking 'out of the box'

if these ideas show up in magazines, then mod or army would catch up them and would want to go for them.

Abhiman said...

Khambat Dagha, thanks for your post. It was extremely informative.

As pointed out by noted defence journalist Col. Ajai Shukla of NDTV, the winter trials "failed" because of negligence (or sabotage thereof) on part of the Army. The Army overruled the maintenance guidelines and overran the Arjun for far more than the stipulated kms, without mandatory repairs and overhauls. The result of this was that the transmission systems failed, and Chief of Army Deepak Kapoor (who has a tainted image regarding transfers of upright officers) wrote a letter to MoD claiming that Arjun's entire power pack failed.

I think the Army has decided it wants to keep DRDO running on a treadmill forever :- whenever a milestone is achieved, it asks the DRDO to develop the latest 'gizmo' released in the west. It has to accept and digest the fact that DRDO is technologically behind and cannot match every breakthrough produced in the west. Otherwise this treadmill will keep getting faster and steeper and NONE of DRDO's products will ever be accepted by the army. As rightly mentioned by Col Shukla, the Army last fought a tank battle in 1971, and hence it can burden itself with some risks now. Also, Pakistan only "brandishes" it's nukes at us; it is conventionally so weak that it can't prevent US drone attacks on it's soil and a Taliban militia that runs amok on it's western regions.

Thus, Army must accept the hydraulic-electrical turret for now in Mk-1 instead of asking for the best 'n' latest that appeared in a trade show in the west. It must wait for Mk-2 to have the fully electric turret. The Army must also realize that there is a tradeoff between armour and weight, and no amount of modern materials and new composites can disturb this equation : the better the armour, the heavier the tank. Examples are Merkava-4 (65 tons), Challenger (62 tons) etc. Merkava-4 also uses a German 1,500 bhp engine.

The Army must also conduct comparative trials of the Arjun against the T-90 tanks as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

PRASUNNN da!!

have u heard of Yahoo! answers ? well you re my Prasun! answers for military stuff , and as such i have a question for you .

PTI writes in relation to india's ABM test ''Though the interceptor missiles, namely Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) and Advanced Air Defence (AAD), have been tested earlier, the main aim of the next month's test would be to validate the capabilities of the indigenously developed 'Swordfish' Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR).''

My question is what is the 'swordfish' tracking radar? is it the ELM Greenpine or something else ? it says indegenously developed . looking forward to hear from u soon .

happy republic day to you .

Anonymous said...

PRASUN @ 2:33:00 PM

All sounds nice but here s logics : isn' t it better to buy something with 40 % imported content and 60 % local content (like Arjun MBT in its current configuration) than to buy a tank like T 90 that is 100 % foreign? doesn 't the army has logical thought ? MOD ranting about the % of indegization of Arjun tank but fail to realise '' isn' t this the better option on the table instead of 100 % importing ?"

Anonymous said...

KHAMBAT @ 7:32

3. Work on indigeneous engine going on well. Currently it has achieved 1300hp but there target is 1500bhp. Still work is required on it. But he sounded very confident it will be done.

- Just increase the piston size / bore / stroke by 10 % or insert a turbo unit or increase the fuel: air mixture ratio ( fuel economy is not important in MBTs ) will acheive that figure with no issues.

- Also will Arjun tank mk . 2 have sloped turret instead of the boxy one on Arjun mk . 1 ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

It is indeed the EL/M-2080 Green Pine radar. Surely one cannot naively 'assume' that India's defence electronics sector has mastered the art of series-producing AESA-based radars when it has yet to even series-produce PESA-based engagement radars like the Rajendra BLR. But what will be significant in the forthcoming test-firing of the PAD/AAD systems is the early warning component: the US's NORAD-controlled DSP missile launch detection satellite constellation will be hooked on the DRDO's mission control centre at ITR (under a bilateral India-US agreement to collaborate on ballistic missile defence technologies) to provide early warning of the surrogate target missile during its boost phase. It was the US that approached India last month with a proposal to undertake such joint tests and India agreed and therefore the test-firing had to be postponed by a month to take care of the extra command-and-control arrangements. Overall, it will be highly beneficial for India.

Anonymous said...

PRASUN @ 7:55

said:

"The probelm is both the MoD and DRDO are not thinking 'out of the box' for devising innovative solutions."

I advise u to join MOD and knock their heads. or since you brag that you know all the top brass in MOD then please tell them what u think. but i have a gut feeling they will become insulted and shun you away.

I last question is why cannot DRDO absorb companies like TATA - Cummins or Ashok Leylend to build the engine ? its the same i presume isn 't it ?

Anonymous said...

OK Prasun thank you for the reply quickly to educate people who know less like me may god bless u.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully however now that india is manufacturing this redar they will learn insights into the technology and produce something better in near future.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses & Anons@9.25AM & 9.31AM: The T-90S is an imported design but the 330 units (the second order) will be built by HVF in Avadi with progressive local content, especially the NERA armour and the improved Kanchan composite laminate armour, NOT the Russian armour that came with the first two tranches of 657 T-90S MBTs. Whether a system is 100% imported or not makes no difference to battlefield logistics as adequate amounts of war wastage reserves are always bought whenever a new product is acquired. Therefore, the issue of logistics is a non-issue.
There's no way an all-electric gun-control system can be installed on the Arjun Mk1 as the hull and turret designs cannot be modified at this stage. Such improvements will go into the Arjun Mk2. Now, regarding the 1,500hp engine, the DRDO has adopted the consortium approach and involved India's private-sector automotive industries in the R & D effort, but the gearbox is still imported and is from RENK. Now, since the powerpack has to date achieved only 1,300hp and will require at least another 12 months to attain the 1,500hp mark, and since the Arjun Mk2's rear (engine/transmission bulkhead) will be designed around the final design configuration of the powerpack, it is absolutely impossible that the definitive Arjun Mk2 will be available even for mobility trials before the next 24 months. By that time the redesigned turret (resembling that of the Challenger 2 MBT and also housing a semi-automatic loader for both the rounds and charges) will also be ready the firepower trials, which will last for at least 2 years before entering series production a year later as HVF has to fabricate new jigs and toolings and related engineering production hardware.
As an interim measure, for the follow-on 124 Arjun Mk1s to be ordered, the CVRDE is offering the Arjun Mk1A with 1,400hp powerpack and NERA add-on armour, plus a cryogenic cooling system from Israel for the thermal imagers of the gunner (catherine FC) and commander (Matis-STD).

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.39AM:
"I advise u to join MOD and knock their heads. or since you brag that you know all the top brass in MOD...."
--------------------------
Thanks for your advice, but when have I bragged that I know all the top brass in MoD? Know them in what way? Personally? Professionally? Aren't you assuming a bit too much? And even if I do knock their heads what is in it for me? Cooperation is two-way street. I'm not indulging in any kind of charity work here.

xerses said...

Prasun
What is your take on

1) absence of Arjun in the R-Day parade

2) the comparative firepower of the Arjun and Bheeshma

3) eventual quantity of Arjun intake into the Army

4) Arjun Mk2 and the FMBT

5) acquisition of T-84 by pak (a comparative analysis with Arjun & Bheeshma would be appreciated)

Bobs said...

prasun,pls gimme ur id.....i got something to discuss with you.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: I wouldn't read too much into the Arjun MBT missing from this year's RDP. Afterall, several other weapon systems too were missing this time, like the Nishant UAV, upgraded M-46S towed howitzers, Kornet-E ATGM-equipped Windy 505 ATV, etc. As far as comparative firepower of the Arjun and T-90S goes, the former has a true, dedicated hunter-killer fire-control system and superior gun-control system that enables the Arjun to achieve a way higher first-round hit probability. The internal crew compartment too is far more spacious than that of the T-90S. Finally, as I've explained several times before, the Arjun MBT is designed around the design concept of hit survivability, whereas the T-90S like the T-72 is designed around the hit avoidance concept. It is this point that makes the T-90S decidedly inferior to the Arjun. I personally would like to see at least 248 Arjun Mk1s (protected by modular conformal active protection systems) and 500 Arjun Mk2s neter servcice in the years to come. The Arjun Mk2 cannot be compared with FMBT as the latter will be designed as a network-centric weapons platform, will be lighter and more agile while being comparable in terms of firepower effectiveness, and will feature a universal hull design that will also apply to the FICV that will be developed concurrently with the FMBT. Future armoured battles will not be fought purely as tank versus tank engagements, but with a combination of the FMBT and FICV. The Israelis are the pioneers in this field, followed by the Russians. As for the Pakistani acquisition of 400 T-84 MBTs, the only comment I have is that obviously there are certain limitations being experienced with regard to the series-production of the Al Khalid MBT in large numbers. Also, the T-84 variant selected by Pakistan will do away with the internal ammo autoloader and instead have the ammo stowage compartment in the turret, again reinforcing my earlier view that it is more advantageous to have MBTs that are hit-survivable rather than MBTs designed to avoid hits, but not survive them (the T-90S, T-80UD and Al Khalid all come under this category). The T-84s of Pakistan will also have the same type of digital hunter-killer fire-control system as that on the Al Khalid (i.e. with thermal imagers for the commander's panoramic sight and the gunner's sight coming from France's Groupe SAGEM). In conclusion, therefore, it will be logical to assume that the Pakistan Army's armoured corps directorate is using the Arjun Mk1 as its comparative yardstick, instead of the T-90S.

Abhiman said...

Mr. Sengupta, the so-termed "Futuristic MBT" or FMBT is not a universally recognized concept (like 5th G fighter jet), but merely a marketing term that emerged on the sidelines of a meeting between corporate executives of Russia's UZV company and rotund generals of the Indian Army. This meet was held in Moscow. Interestingly, in this meet, DRDO was not represented considering that the agenda of the meet was a JV.

It is claimed that such an FMBT, if it fructifies, will have a 152 caliber gun. As per Moscow Defence brief, Uralvagonzavod will make the prototype tank that it had come up with in a JV with an obscure Russian company called Omsk Transport Machine Building Plant (this firm is now being amalgamated with Uralvagonzavod). This is similar to the PAK-FA, in which a prototype already developed using Russian technology and Russian QSRs is being passed off as a JV.

This tank is also likely to pursue the "hit avoidance" tactic as rightly mentioned by you, instead of "hit survival". New generation armour like depleted uranium, new ceramic tiles, loader's shield, and 3rd gen. chobham have NOT resulted in ANY weight reduction. In fact, due to these, tank weights have actually increased as witnessed from successive versions of M1A1/A2 Abrams, Merkava series, and the Challenger series.

The FMBT envisages a crew shield, which is not a new concept and is already present in M1A1/A2 Abrams, in the form of a loader's shield. It will incorporate hydropneumatic suspension --- maybe next gen for Russia, but already in use in Arjun. It's CIS (Command Info System) concept is also not new.

In my view, the so-termed FMBT being built by Uralvagonzavod is nothing but a 'catch-up' being played by Russia in modern western tanks by merely adding hydro-pneumatic suspension (already there in Arjun), a shielded compartment (already in M1A1 Abrams) and CIS (present in many tanks). Hence, it maybe futuristic for Russia, but definitely not so for India.

In my view, the description given by Khambat Dagha of the Arjun Mk.II also qualifies as an FMBT and the Indian Army must accept Arjun Mk.II as the FMBT instead of a Russian 'paper tiger'.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sir,

I am waiting for your next post as the current one was done on 19th Jan.....
My previous boss would say 'the reward for work well done is more work' Hence the request

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr SenGupta, all Okay ??? long time no new Post. Hopefully, the long wait will result in some interesting ......................

Anonymous said...

PRASUN@10:01

no offence i said because u said u get all this informatiopnm from dependable contacts so i presume they must be reputable ones. further in above comment PRASUN@2:07 u said that u even corrected Yours Truly on his mistake on T 72 and T 90 tank so surely u must be well connected 2 them. yes it is my assumption but i know its true and u wouldn 't deny.

Anonymous said...

in know you are not indulging in charity but it doesnt mean you should do good only if you are a charitable organization ? any body can do good deeds at any time whether or not it has anything to do with charity . like big company like intel and microsoft who are for profit company also have charity and scholarship programmes . so in ur case if you have some good suggestions then u should voice it out tothe appropriate channel. anyway it is ur choice and i am just a visitor who asks you things i dont know to which u always answer. so from my side thanks you to you.

vivek said...

prasun, did u hear that Jagan,the webmaster of Bharat-Rakshak has described u as Mr. Prasun Chorgupta in one of the forums...are u planning to take legal action against him?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Abhiman: The terms FMBT and FICV first emerged way back in 1995 during an international conference/symposium of FMBTs and FICVs held in Israel in which I too participated. Since then, these two terms have been frequently used in Israel, France, Russia, Japan, Taiwan and the PRC. The DRDO too took part in this symposium.
Secondly, the Indian Army is convinced along with the Russian Army that, following the Israeli example the FMBT and FICV should share the same hull in order to make them both cost-effective, and should be developed concurrently, and not one after the other as has been the case with the Arjun MBT and Abhay ICV. That's the reason why the Abhay ICV has emerged a bit too late in the Indian context and both the Indian Army and DRDO are jointly responsible for making the mess of the Abhay ICV project, although the overall product is much much better and more lethal than the BMP-2.
Thirdly, the Omsk Transport Machine Building Plant is not any obscure facility but in the days of the USSR it used to series-produce the T-80 family of MBTs along with the parallel assembly line at Kharkiv (now in Ukraine).
Fourthly, the FMBT will incorporate a new-design autoloader far more compact and lightweight that what's available on the T-90S/M. Furthermore, the main gun, be it 140mm or 152mm, will have a smaller calibre that will enable the FMBT to be air-transportable, a factor of increasing importance in the era of expeditionary warfare. The FMBT will also have an all-digital vectronics suite based on MIL-STD-1553B digital databus and drive-by-wire automotive/gun-control systems. The weight penalties you mention in existing MBTs will be a thing of the past as financially viable active protection systems are now becoming available for both FMBTs and FICVs as well as for retrofit on to existing MBTs and ICVs. Even the T-90Ms and Arjun Mk1/2 MBTs have begun incorporating such active protection systems.
Fifthly, the FMBT and FICVs will be network-centric and will co-deploy along with them both tactical mini-UAVs and UGS vehicles with raisable mast-mounted LORROS-type optronic sensors capable of looking 'over the hill' in all weather conditions. In both Israel and Taiwan such UGS vehicles have already been deployed with current-generation ICVs.
All in all, therefore, the network-centric FMBT and FICV will be a far far cry from the T-90M/S/Arjun Mk1/2 and the BMP-2/Abhay ICV. But definitely, the Arjun Mk2 does not qualify as an FMBT. Furthermore, it is imperative that the FMBT and FICV be developed and deployed simultaneously to meet the challenges of the future battlespace. Clearly, the DRDO and the defence PSUs and the private sector will be out of their depths if they alone were tasked to develop indigenous solutions (due to both several financial and scientific/skilled engineering manpower constraints) and it is for this reason that the Indian Army is clamouring for a JV with Russia so that the first FMBT and FICV technology demonstrators are available for evaluations over the next five years. There is nothing sinister about it and both the Russian and Indian armies have evinced deep interest in incorporating several innovative Israeli solutions (like the UGS and miniaturised new-generation APS) into the FMBT ad FICV designs.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vivek: Do you really expect me to waste my time on such BR wannabes who, throughout the 1990s while the BR website was being constructed, plagiarised so much data (especially with regard to the MiG-21 Bison avionics upgrade and the Su-30MKI avionics architecture) from my articles that were at that time being published in magazines like ASIAN DEFENCE JOURNAL, ASIAN DEFENCE & DIPLOMACY and ASIAN MILITARY REVIEW? Dogs that bark but have no bite are harmless, so let them keep barking. But do rest assured that one day the truth will emerge and these wannabes will get boomeranged (for instance when they ridiculed me for claiming that the Tejas LCA will have the EL/M-2052 AESA on-board, and when this turned out to be true, they were licking their own wounds and desperately hoping that the Indian news reports were wrong, just so that I would be proven wrong. Now again they're desperate this time to disprove my earlier assertion that the Su-30MKI has an Israeli and not Russian data link! Tells you a lot, doesn't it? That's how gaye guzre they are). That's the way of the world. I therefore have no desire to discover the stone from underneath which these wannabes keep crawling out.

xerses said...

Prasun
How do you rate the t-84 against our Arjun and Bheeshma? If the t-84 has retrofitted its ammo storage compartment into its turret, wouldn't it be possible for the HVF to proceed along similar lines during licence production of the Bheeshma? Would the T-90M have such an arrangement?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: The T-84 variant for Pakistan is a conscious and well-considered attempt to overcome the original design deficiencies associated wth the hit-avoidance design philosophy. However, it has an air-cooled engine which will be make the crew extremely uncomfortable (and chilly) at nights, which is when the crucial break-out armoured battles will take place. The Indian Arjun Mk1s and T-90S/Ms have the upper hand as the Indian Army is well ahead in terms of introducing network-centric warfare concepts (like networked battlespace management systems using fully digitised battle maps and GIS overlays) and installing active protection systems (the contract for this was inked yesterday in New Delhi--more about this in my next story in this blog).

Anonymous said...

i am not an indian neither a pakistani and i have been observing this blog. why are you guys so sensitive over a small issues?

2 days ago somebody came along saying that Mr. Sengupta is overestimating DRDO hence legal action will be persued against him in Thailand

Mr. Sengupta laughed that off, but now one other webmaster called Mr Prasun Sengupta names (Chorgupta [??]), and another guy comes in and suggests legal action.

Guys, be humble and face criticism openly instead of intimidating. It stinks, really.

Anonymous said...

{cont's from above)

Mr. Sengupta, keep going your way and don't bother about what others say. Every one has a right to be critics and their criticism doesn't stick onto you. Forget about them, we enjoy your blogroll.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:16AM: Thanks for your encouragement mate. Actually, that comment 2 days ago gave me quite a laugh when the blogger accused me of 'overestimating', although the contents of his comment led me to believe that he actually meant underestimating. Guess he could not tell one from the other, just as he's unlikely to tell the difference between an underwriter and undertaker! Anyway, such comments only serve one purpose: give us all a good laugh once a while.

Anonymous said...

PRASUN DID U ATTEND REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS???? WHAT TRUCKS TOWED THE AGNI III MISSILE THAT WAS ON DISPLAY? ONE SOURCE TOLD ME TATA BUT I DONT BELIEF ITS TRUE.

Anonymous said...

>>>>The weight penalties you mention in existing MBTs will be a thing of the past as financially viable active protection systems are now becoming available for both FMBTs and FICVs as well as for retrofit on to existing MBTs and ICVs. Even the T-90Ms and Arjun Mk1/2 MBTs have begun incorporating such active protection systems.

If any MBT relies soley on active portection instead of armour then it is a joke.

>>>>The FMBT will also have an all-digital vectronics suite based on MIL-STD-1553B digital databus and drive-by-wire automotive/gun-control systems.

This JV with Russians involves MIL1553B databus? wondeful! excellent sengupta.


>>>>>Clearly, the DRDO and the defence PSUs and the private sector will be out of their depths if they alone were tasked to develop indigenous solutions (due to both several financial and scientific/skilled engineering manpower constraints) and it is for this reason that the Indian Army is clamouring for a JV with Russia so that the first FMBT and FICV technology demonstrators are available for evaluations over the next five years. There is nothing sinister about it and both the Russian and Indian armies have evinced deep interest in incorporating several innovative Israeli solutions (like the UGS and miniaturised new-generation APS) into the FMBT ad FICV designs.


From where did you get this, Prasun! Manpower and financial constraints?, LOL

As you said it, there is no innovation in this. All this are based on Isareli solutions. Calling this as a JV between India & Russia is nothing but a joke.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:37AM: The tow truck employed this time was an old TATA-built model, unlike the Volvo model used last year.

To Anon@10:42AM: That's right, there are severe constraints in terms of available experienced scientific talent within the DRDO and also within the defence PSs and private sector. This has been the constant worry voiced out publicly in every annual MoD-CII conference since 2002 and the DRDO has even gone on record during these symposiums saying that the Govt of India's decision to accord human resource and financial priority to strategic programmes means that there will have to be proportional decreases in the apportioning of available skilled scientific and engineering manpower and scarce funding levels into other projects. One must realise that having a population pool of 1.2 billion does not automatically translate into a vast pool of skilled scientific/engineering manpower. Add to this the rising demands of govt and public sector pensioners (witness the fiasco wit the 6th Pay Commission) and writing on the wall translates into insufficient availability of funding for conventional force modernisation purposes. The dire financial situation has not yet been revealed due to the absence of any transparency regarding the spending levels for India's various nuclear weaponisation projects. There are therefore clear limitations and deficiencies and that's why the DRDO has no choice but to engage in JVs with countries like Israel and Russia. The FMBT and FICV projects therefore will be under a trilateral JV comprising India, Israel and Russia.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:42AM: I don't remember anyone here saying that conventional composite laminate armour can be replaced by active protection systems. FYI the Abhay ICV's technology demonstrator vehicle which completed its firepower and mobility parameter demonstrators in mid-2007 had a fully functional MIL-STD-1553B digital databus-based vectronics architecture. Info on this is freely available from both General Dynamics Land Systems and Greaves Cotton. The databus packages are also freely available from abroad nowadays.

xerses said...

Prasun
What is the rationale for pakistanis invest so heavily in mbts? t-80, al-khalid & now t-84 - they seem to have clear armor modernization goals... but to what end? Whats the need for such heavy force stucture?

Why does the Army have such a reactionary philosophy? Doesn't it betray a lack of tactical sense?

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

i have followed some of your write ups in Tempur, publications in Asian Defence Journal, more lately your letter in several websites regarding the helicopter purchase and of course this blog.

since you are in the know in this field for many years and you are centered around this region, would like to hear something from you about the altantuya murder case and your take on it.

as we know she was working closely with the french (DCNS -- scorpene pops out), polish (PT91 tanks pop out) and russians (Sukhoi 30 MKM pops out). she knew all 3 languages in addition to mongolian and english (and some speculate chinese).

apparently she was a interprater / middle lady for these deals for ''you know who''.

bother to share anything?

regards.

Anonymous said...

>>>>>>>>>The FMBT and FICV projects therefore will be under a trilateral JV comprising India, Israel and Russia.

So this suddenly become trilateral from a JV between India and Russia, LOL. Everything mentioned from auto loader to active defense is available from Israel. What is the contribution from Russia ? Only the Gun ? LOL

>>>>>That's right, there are severe constraints in terms of available experienced scientific talent within the DRDO and also within the defence PSs and private sector. This has been the constant worry voiced out publicly in every annual MoD-CII conference since 2002 and the DRDO has even gone on record during these symposiums saying that the Govt of India's decision to accord human resource and financial priority to strategic programmes means that there will have to be proportional decreases in the apportioning of available skilled scientific and engineering manpower and scarce funding levels into other projects. One must realise that having a population pool of 1.2 billion does not automatically translate into a vast pool of skilled scientific/engineering manpower. Add to this the rising demands of govt and public sector pensioners (witness the fiasco wit the 6th Pay Commission) and writing on the wall translates into insufficient availability of funding for conventional force modernisation purposes. The dire financial situation has not yet been revealed due to the absence of any transparency regarding the spending levels for India's various nuclear weaponisation projects. There are therefore clear limitations and deficiencies and that's why the DRDO has no choice but to engage in JVs with countries like Israel and Russia.

Dont beat around the bush, Prasun, it look very silly. To address the shortfall drdo has taken various measures from Pay hike, special privileges for starting own firm being in drdo. Established norms to do research in foreign firms etc... Of late there is greater synergy and involvement of pvt players, Universities,etc.

Regarding financial constraint, you should tell us why our military is surrendering crores of rupees every year without utilizing for mordernisation.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

one other thing, about your article in nst in november entitled "MINDEF clear the air" please do note that the pakatan government is only a state government for several states and the state government has no say pertaining to defence equipment, so your posture in involving them was quite baseless. pakatan leaders, as ratepayers may have questionned the purchase, but have no right beyond that, so please dont surmount the blame onto them.

ultimately the decision is made by the federal government, which is still BN.

regards.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:46AM: Whether you like it or not, things do proceed in India in such a silly manner. That's why it took India between May 1974 and May 1998 to weaponise. Any other country would have proceeded straightaway after May 1974 towards weaponisation and deployment of nuclear weapons. Whay wait for so long? Another instance of 'silly' attitude is the saga of the Rajendra BLR when, right from the outset in the early 1990s itself it should have been evisdent that the BLR also had a WLR application, so why wait till 2002 to proceed? Yet another instance of the 'silly' attitude: after the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts it was evident that the metropolis required a coastal sea surveillance system, something which BEL was peddling throughout the 1990s to Mauritius, the Maldives and Sri Lanka..in short everywhere except in India. By 1997 such a system should have been commissioned, something which could well have prevented 26/11. So said it when you said.."of late there is greater synergy and involvement of pvt players, Universities,etc." What you need to realise is that at least another 15 years are reqd to nurture such talent so that this pool of skilled manpower can produce the desired results. There are no overnight miracles. What you're saying is that by attending kindergarten one becomes qualified enough to apply for entrance to any university. That is a gross oversimplification. As to why the capital expenditure allocations are being surrendered, it is not the armed forces that are surrendering the funds (do you know how many types of funds are involved?), but the civilians within MoD that are doing so. It is not the armed forces that disburse allocations for capital expenditure (which is used solely for force modernisation), but the civilian financial advisers of MoD. The armed forces only handle establishment funds and operating allocations.

Anonymous said...

??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:51AM: If you read my letter in NST a little more carefully, you will realise that I was not questioning anyone's jurisdiction nor was I blaming anyone. All I did was make an informed observation about the needless heckling and utterly ill-informed and amateurish type of questions that the opposition had raised in Parliament. As they're paid for being MPs (at the national level in Parliament, therefore being in power in certain states has nothing to do with this issue) the least they can be expected to do is indulge in an informed debate that is beneficial to the citizens of Malaysia, instead of merely indulging in speculative conspiracy theories that have no foundation. The way these opposition MPs handled this whole issue of the EC-725 Cougar helicopters was not only self-defeatist, but was conducted with neolithic efficiency, to say the least. These folks have a long way to go before they are mature enough to handle matters of national importance, by the looks of it. Not even once have these opposition MPs asked the right questions about the EC-725, or the Scorpene submarine, or the Su-30MKM aircraft deal. Why? Are they scared? Or do they not know what exactly to ask? If anyone just makes only an allegation of corruption, then the other party does have the right to deny it. After all it is one's word against another. Where's the proof of wrongdoing, if any? If people around the world can routnely expose corruption with proof, why can't the opposition do it here in Malaysia? What's holding them up? Are they scared or stupid or both?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: My belief is that the Pakistan Army is not entirely satisfied with the Al Khalid MBT as it now exists and as there are clear growth limitations with this MBT, coupled with severe financial problems about series-producing it at HIT (it is actually cost-prohibitive now as NORINCO of China no longer supplies the welded turret), the T-84 acquisition makes sense as it is cheaper and available much quicker. Therefore, the Al Khalid MBT is a classic case of the perils of indigenisation for a cash-starved country.

Abhiman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abhiman said...

Mr. Sengupta, I agree with the view of Anon@ Jan 28, 10:48 AM.

Most of the technologies proposed in the FMBT are not new, like active protection and digital BMS, (present in M1A2 Abrams) or a MIL STD1553B data bus (present in Challenger 2 since 1998). Interconnectivity with UAVs is also not innovative (already present in Merkava-4).
Thus, this Russian proposal seems more of an effort at playing catch-up, rather than developing anything new. Branding this as a "Futuristic MBT", is thus misleading. As usual, India readily obliges to be the cash cow for Russian roulettes ranging from FMBT to PAK-FA.

As far as the new-gen cost-effective armour is concerned, these involve nano-technology and are still extremely cost-prohibitive. It is no surprise that over more than a decade of being known, nanotech. based armour is yet to be implemented in all major tanks like Abrams, Merkava-4. It must also be pondered as to why ALL the western tanks have not yet implemented compact autoloaders, and instead have opted for a 4th crew member --- and will continue to do so.

I stand corrected that the term FMBT is has been in vogue since 1995; however, I may maintain that it still does not have as much currency as the term "5th gen fighter jet". This is probably because as far as tanks are concerned, most nations have pursued their own learning curves and own doctrines with regard to tanks and tank warfare. This is exactly what enables Russia to mislead by calling it's very standard & conventional proposal as a "Futuristic MBT" (and Indian Army fell for it.
India, with it's Arjun Mk.1 has had a different curve and different combat requirements than USA or the 'Fuhrer' of tank technology, Germany have had.

As regards Al-Khalid, a Pakistani private company has known to have implemented it's BMS system. It also claims to have a laser threat warner that detects laser rangefinders and laser designators in the field. This is also manufactured by a local Pakstani firm. It would be appreciative if you can confirm whether Arjun has this feature.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

the Su-30 and the Scorpene deals are done ones. there is no use debating it anymore because by the time pakatan got a voice after last year's general elections those deals were already in late stages. The Sukhois were already delivered and the Scorpene being built in France was officially named. So its pointless bringing up those topics. You have to realise that it was not the Pakatan leaders who started the corruption allegations about the helicopter deals but a rival bidder, who competed to supply Russian Mil Moscow helicopters blew it up saying his offer was cheaper and questionned the government's purchase of the Eurocopters by claiming his helicopters were superior.

After this issue came out, the rakyat were intrigued (naturally) why was the government buying a more expensive variant. Note that this syndrome is only natural for the people because of the misappropriations that have happened in the past. I'm sure you know about the problems the ill-purchase of the Polish tanks gave. And now with all the scepticism surrounding Najib, anything that goes relating to defence always gets the people worked.

While you came out and defended the Eurocopters in the letters column on NST, Malaysiakini and some other tebloids, no govt official did so, although they are obligated to offer explanation to the rakyat; the tax payers.

The Pakatan was merely questionning the logic of purchasing the EC over the Mils based on price considerations, and their queries were not quelled because no one could offer a logical explanation the way you did.

And then some weeks into the situation Najib and Badawi abruptly switch position and helicopter deal is scrapped.

Doesn't this give rise only to mopre uncertainaties?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Actually, the EC-725 deal is not scrapped, but contract signature has been postponed. Scrapping means cancellation. That's not the case for the EC-725. The contarct will be signed and only then one will know what percentage of the contract value has been offset (or saved) through Eurocopter's direct and indirect industrial offset offers and commitments. It is these types of issues that ought to be raised by MPs in Parliament, instead of engaging in sensational claims not backed up by facts and evidence. That's what pisses me off. Another question that can be asked is why should MINDEF continue with the practice of engaging local agents and consultants to support the prime contractor? Why can't the prime contractor directly negotiate with MINDEF without any other intermediaries? What is the criteria for selecting the winner in cases when there is only a sole source for providing the required product? Why should the competitive bidding process be made mandatory instead of sole-source direct contractual negotiations as was the case throughout the 1990s? Does the MoF, or EPU or MINDEF have an institutionalised industrial offsets (direct or indirect) policy to accompany any kind of military procurement? These are the type of questions the MPs ought to ask in order to make MINDEF's procurement practices more transparent.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Abhiman: The laser threat warners for the Al Khalid, Al Zarrar and Type 69II MBTs of the Pakistan Army are supplied by ATCOP (Al technique Corp), a local Pakistani company. The Arjun Mk1 MBT, like the T-90S and T-90Ms, will be equipped with the LEDS-150 active protection system that includes laser threat warners.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

exactly, and these are the things that are being highlighted by the pakatan government. for long there hasn't been a strong opposition hence there has been lack of check and balance. in fact because there is a strong opposition the rakyat know the nature and progress of this deal. Did we know the nature behind the Sukhoi deals? Or the DCNS Navantia Scorpenes? Or even the frigates / boats Malaysia is ourchasing from a UK company? (can't remember which it is but was finalised during LIMA). It is because a voice was raised by the pakatan mps, this whole deal came to light. in fact the vendor for the Mil-17s who was offering the cheapest price took advantage of this situation to hoodwink the rakyat that the BN government is fooling with people's tax money. And the rakyat fell for it because everybody views the BN government with scepticism.

The helicopter deal has been put on hold for the time being because of the 'economic crunch', but do you think anybody bought that story? It was plainly to quell the noise that was being emmited in question to why a more expensive helicopter. And it was not done in a wise manner. instead of explaining to the rakyat or their representatives in parliament why the government bought the Eurocopters, they just push it under the carpet.

Middle men have always and will always be there because who's who must make money. Same like in India i presume?

Pakatan MPs right now only bring out questions to win peoples heart to live up to their dreams, or to Anwar's dreams of taking power. So they prefer raising questions like "why the more expensive copter"? or "why 50% vehicle AP are given to NAZA" instead of questions like offset policies that they themselves wont digest leave alone the rakyat

And in relation I asked you your opinion about Altantuya but you chose to remain silent. Thats your choice though.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

All details about the Su-30MKMs, Scorpene submarines and even the two Jebat batch 2 frigates to be acquired from BAE Systems were known way back in 2002 and 2005, long before the PR was born. I don't know whether the majority of Malaysians knew about them or but, but the rest of the world and outsiders like me knew all about them all along. These things, especially the pricing matters, cannot be kept a secret. Regarding the Mi-17 offer whose details were leaked by its local agent (representing a Canadian company), it wasn't the cheapest, but much more expensive than the other Mi-17V-5 offer that was being offered by Russia. But both Mi-17 offers fell far short of the RMAF's technical/performance specifications and the RMAF also realised that the Mi-17 will not be in production after another five years. That's why both Mi-17 offers were rejected. That left only three other contenders, the EC-725, S-92 and AW-101. On cost grounds the AW-101 was eliminated, while the S-92 was rejected as even the US military hasn't ordered it. That was how the RMAF chose the EC-725, via a process of elimination. There was nothing suspicious about it and the selection process adhered to all rules and regulations by the book. But I know for a fact that the agents who lost out in the competition approached some PR MPs and gave them tainted information that were biased and not objective. And these gullible MPs fell into this trap!
Regarding middlemen, I don't wish to speculate what the scene will be in Malaysia in future, but in India's case, it is legally prohibited to engage middlemen in any govt contract. And any Indian citizen is totally free, via public interest litigation (PIL), to file a case in any court in India if he/she has firm evidence that govt regulations were violated. But in Malaysia's case, I believe such PILs cannot be filed in any Malaysian court. Also, Malaysian law allows political parties to own and run businesses and even own public listed companies and GLCs. In any other country, such practices are clearly classified as corruption but in Malaysia's case they are not. Whether this is right or wrong is for Malaysians to decide, not me. That's also the reason I have nothing to say about the Altantuya murder case as it does not concern me at all and I have nothing to lose or gain from the case's outcome.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

well trust me, you must have guessed i am a Malaysian and i can assure you that the ordinary man on the street did not have much knowledge about the Sukhois or Scorpenes. We heard about it in the newspaper after the deal was signed and after the began arriving and were named. Of course if one is a defence analyst (like your goodself) then it is a different matter. But what made a difference was for this deal there was a chance for the ruling government to be questionned duly, and you cannot blame the pakatan mps for the questions they asked, but the ruling party / the defence establishment for failing to provide proper answers. For example when querried about the price and logic behind the Eurocopter, what else did Najib say other than ''the competition was fair and transparent''? Did he care to provide a detailed explanation to the people as to why the decision was made, something he ought to?

For your information no MP or minister in Malaysia, according to the constitution can be involved in for-profit trade or services as long as he/she holds that position. However they still run businesses which are under their spouse / children / cronies names to get around the law that prohibits any interest in for profit business.

About agents taking opportunity by giving not only pakatan mps, but also the rakyat tainted information as they were sore losers, thats true, but if you notice this is the first time this has happened - vendors turning to the people and the opposition to voice their greviences. isn't that a significant move? judging from your experience in this field and your close affiliation with Malaysian have you seen another incident of this nature here in Malaysia?

Regarding Altantuya, well, all this, whether India buys ATGMs from whoever or who spectacular Arjun is over T90 or options India has to avert another attack by Pakistani terrorists may also not be of significant concern to you. We engage here in your blog for discussions sake, as for me, you and the rest of the family here our passion is defence and so we indulge in a discussion, not out of concern on the situation it self, but interest in the subject. In that light I asked your opinion about Altantuya and what do you know about her connections to established defence contractors based in France and Russia, namely like DCNS, Russoboron Export? Nothing personal, nothing to gain or lose. Just for discussion.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To be fair and objective, no one, not even the Defence Minister, could have given any definite and clear answer about the EC-725 selection or contract simply because the contract was at that time still being negotiated. All that was issued was a letter of intent to Eurocopter on September 15, that's it. Therefore, one cannot accuse MINDEF of some action that has not even been taken as yet. One cannot accuse a party of committing somthing criminal BEFORE any crime has been committed. That's how I would behave, rather than making life a living hell for others without any justification. In my view the MINDEF KSU's subsequent explanations were clear and to the point. Regarding the Su-30MKM contract all the details were publicly available by 2005 when one of the directors of IMT-Defence (the principal agent for the Su-30MKM) filed a court case against the company Chairman Adib Adam. Despite this the opposition MPs in Parliament did not even raise such issues in Parliament, leave alone getting down to the bottom of such dealings. I have no problems disgruntled agents spilling the beans to the MPs, but I do expect the MPs to be objective and make sense of what info has been provided to them and for what reason. Surely they cannot be that gullible. Regarding the murdered Mongolian lady I'm not aware of her business or personal affiliations with any established military OEM, be it from France or Russia. And you're right, whatever military hardware India buys and for use against whom does not bother me or concern me as I'm not a citizen of India. I'm pretty sure that the 1.2 billion Indian citizens can surely do away with my concerns and botherations.

Anonymous said...

dear prasun snegupta,

it is common sense for any trading that the LOI is the first step towards formalizing a deal. What does sending a LOI to Eurocopter alone mean? it means there is an intent only to buy eurocopters,

in fact Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Abu Bakar also mdae it clear that the government had decided to procure eurocopters over the other makes. He added that the proposal received the highest marks in a technical evaluation. Doesnt all this sum up to mean Eurocopter is the choice from a logical perspective of an interested party?

these statements and the sending of the LOI prompted a rival bidder to raise questions (Mentari).

in light of this it is the responsibility of the defense minister to explain to the public why was the Eurocopter and not the Mil 17 meets the criteria to be selected instead of brushing away the topic and later the PM swept it under the carpet by suspending the deal. you are familiar with malaysia, do you think Malaysia is in turmoil that we cannot even buy helicopters when we are spending in the billions for iskandar development zone, penang development, now even contemplating a new international airport in the east coast region! it was a clear sweep under carpet tactic that is raising further questions.

Note that nobody is accusing the MINDEF. people only questionning MINDEFs behaviour which is well within the rights of citizens of Malaysia.

The reason opposition MPs did not raise any voice about the Sukhois is because they did not have a voice then. Even if they did the press wouldnt have reported it. Only now they are strong and we are in for more transparency. Or else this helicopter deal would have gone the same way.

Yes as I said we are not ''concerned'' about what india or Malaysia does, what moves it makes, however we are interested in getting more knowledge on it.

Postscript: prasun sengupta, you are in malaysia arent you? do you know malay? it may interest you to have a look at the Mentari Chairman's letter to Najib regarding this helicopter scandal.

here: https://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/13721/84/

Prasun K Sengupta said...

No, I'm not based in Malaysia, although I regularly 'commute' to KL. I did read the letter from Mentari and I asked the officials from the company (whom I know personally)why they wrote such a letter, because the contents amount to the pot calling the kettle black! They in turn lost their nerves and started calling me a spy for Eurocopter etc etc. Well, I then guessed that Mentari was going for broke and was acting asd a spoiler. That is what prompted me to write the letter to NST, which was also published by Malaysiakini. While the Mentari letter claimed that its offer was the cheapest, it did not explain how come its offer for each Mi-171 helicopter was valued at roughly US$26 million per unit, when Kazan Helicopter Plant is selling the Mi-171 to Kelowna Flightcraft of Canada (the principal of Mentari) for no more than US$6 million!!! Mentari conveniently forgets to explain this in its letter to DPM Najib. Why? And mind you, the very same helicopter manufacturer (Kazan) was making a second offer to MINDEF for the Mi-17V-5 model for only US$11 million!!! Now, who should MINDEF believe? The helicopter manufacturer, or its two local agents who made separate tender submissions? The same thing happened between 2001 and 2003 when two rival manufacturers of the Su-30MK, KnAAPO and IRKUT Corp, were making rival offers when both were offering the same product!!! Now, for those countries that have traditionally bought weapons from the USSR/Russia, they're quite used to such dirty Russian marketing tactics and can quickly sort out matters. But in Malaysia's case, MINDEF has been used to procuring weapons in a trouble-free manner from Europe, the US and Scandinavia and is therefore very uncomfortable when it comes to dealing with Russian companies and MINDEF gets highly confused. This was the case with the MiG-29 (following which the RMAF unofficially used to say that next time they won't even buy a bicycle from Russia!), and also with the Sukhoi aircraft. Therefore, this time MINDEF was determined to disqualify the Russians right from the beginning. In fact, during LIMA 2007 last December I explained all this in detail to senior Russian Ministry of Defence officials and warned them that unless they improve and streamline their marketing activities in Malaysia, they would lose this market forever. But they were so arrogant that they refused to believe me, saying that they had it all sorted out 'politically'. All I could do then was politely wish them the best of luck and I also said that if they naively believed whatever their agents told them to be the gospel truth, then good luck. Well, as it turns out, I was decisively proven right. Now they have a much bigger headache because the IMT-Defence case (involving commissions paid for the Su-30MKM deal) is out in the open as a court case which cannot be hidden anymore, not even under OSA. Therefore, I would say that Russia's troubles in Malaysia have only begun.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Postscript: The DPM never swept the EC-725 selection issue under the carpet. Rather, it was the opposition MPs in Parliament that made the biggest mistake by NOT asking the right type of questions. If they ask stupid questions then all they will get back is a stupid answer. That is the point I've been trying to explain to you for the past 24 hours. We have to be objective here. We cannot say that previously the opposition had no voice, because they always were represented in Parliament. If they chose to keep quiet in the past then either they're too scared or they're stupid or they don't have facts to back up their allegations.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

yes i know the letter was one sided towards the author but ofcourse it was the writer's purpose to get his company back into the race and so definately he is not gonna say his is more expensive than a competitors! Wow they were so mad at you they called you a Eurocopter agent? it means they must have been really affected isnt it? You are a full time defence analyst arent you? i thought you are based in Malaysia because thats what i recall reading from some publications. further you addressed yourself as from Subang Jaya in the NST letters.

If you notice although the Sukhoi scandal is like you said, on the open source, if you read local newspapers like star, sun, NST and even the Malay papers you will not find an indepth or rather any coverage on it. Have you noticed? Now that is what I meant from 'before' and 'after'. before a strong opposition and after. as you may know the Sukhoi deal would have seen lots of letters and table banging too, but it was all within the walls of Putrajaya, not even in the Dewan Rakyat. but for this comparatively smaller deal, the players are turning to the people, the bastion of the country and opposition leaders to straighten matters for them. now that is check and balance the people desire that i have been trying to convey to you.

And why I brought in Altantuya is because there is a Russian connection with her and the time of her blast seems to coincide with the court case about the Sukhoi kickbacks.

I have one more question for you prasun sengupta, which is do you know how was the spaceflight of Malaysia's first angkasawan on the Soyuz TMA2 related to the Sukhoi purchase? Was it to do with the offset requirement? Even if so why was almost 30 milliom USD still paid to Roskosmos over and above any offset clause? From what i understand a spaceflight to the ISS only costs around 30 million USD. What offset then is there?

Anonymous said...

in reply to your postscript, yes the opposition had representation in the dewan rakyat. have you ever seen a live footage of what happens there on RTM? When opposition MPs raise a question the speaker or BN MP lot would just shoot his question down. There wouldnt even be a debate! That was what happened on 2 attempts when a DAP candidate questionned the works ministry (ie Samy Vellu) over the slipshot work on MRR2 and also questions about ''bumiputera rights'', PSD scholarships and several other issues. MPs have also been ordered out on certain occassions that remain unclear. However after the elections and the Pakatan opposition being more strongly represented in the parliament, such occurances have reduced to a comfortable level. Questions about the issues mentioned above are openly discussed and debated, and carried forward to the next day's newspaper. As such I cannot dismiss by saying nobody raised their voice on other defence transactions. There may have been but we dont know.

What stupid questions are you talking about? All the pakatan MPs asked was why the Eurocopter. Generally they wanted answers to the questions posed by the Mentari Chairman. And they raised these questions because the people were concerned. Hence it is up to the related parties to provide a proper answer. there is no harm in the people questionning. it is up to their elected representatives and leaders to answer their questions.

I dont know how else to describe a situation of not answering questions, then suddenly suspending a contract of much importance (nuris the backbone of our forces are crashing every onw and then) than 'sweeping under carpet'. Like i told you it doesnt sound relevant for a country that has other multibillion dollar projects on the cards to suspend a much needed defence deal. further why was only this one deal put on hold? what is the basis for it? can you give me a logical answer if the entire deal was appropriate?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The Subang Jaya address is that of my aviation business office. Actually, the local newspapers did report about the filing of the court case by IMT-Defence. This is because it has been classified as a possible financial crime and CBT. The Angkasawan project was the indirect offsets component of the Su-30MKM deal. The direct offsets part of the deal has to with the establishment of a local service centre for the Su-30MKM in Gong Kedak, which will become operational by 2012, and with the development of a flight simulator by Sapura.

Anonymous said...

Owh no wonder. Where about in Subang Jaya are you? USJ? I was formerly right in front of SJMC but now my company is in Setia Alam. Couldnt cope with the jam in subang jaya, more so after the coming of Mydin, Segi College building and new apartments around that vincinity. you would know what i mean!!!!

If its part of the offset policy why did Malaysia have to pay $30 million USD to Russia? Offset if for the money to be invested in Malaysia!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Like I said earlier, the right questions are still not being asked. An these questions need not be asked only in Parliament. They can be raised in the alternate mainstream media as well. One needs to be creative precisely like what MALAYSIA TODAY is doing. Not the way the DAP is going around. I once again reiterate that the entire selection process for the EC-725 was done by the book through a process of elimination that I already explained yesterday. So why are are you asking the same question again? You must also realise that the S-61A-4 Nuri helicopters are still good to go for another 15 years. The problem is not the helicopter. Almost 99% of all RMAF Nuri crashes so far have taken place due to human error (negligence of flight crew as well as ground maintenance engineering personnel). Successive Boards of Enquiry have proven this. The problem lies within the RMAF's training procedures and such problems began in the mid-1980s when such issues were not evaluated objectively, but 'racially'. Afterall, you cannot expect anyone not well-versed in English to make sense of what's written in a flight manual or maintenance manual. If you want to have the same level of technical proficiency as MAS, then you must be willing to pay the financial price for attaining such standards and make adequate financial investments in human resource training. This is currently lacking. Ask any RMAF pilot that is now flying for the private corporate sector and they will tell you exactly what's wrong. And they won't blame the Nuri at all, that I can guarantee. More than 630 Nuri-type helicopters are currently flying worldwide and NONE of their operators have suffered such losses from crashes. Why is it that only the RMAF continues to crash the Nuris? Lastly, has anyone--whether from the BN or PR--ever raised this issue in Parliament before? Why not? Maybe because the answer is too racially-sensitive.

Anonymous said...

To sum it up I never said the deal was tainted. All I'm surprised is at why no proper answers have been given to the few questions posed. Thats about it. I support the purchase of the Eurocopters without doubt.

About NURIs you can't say that all were due to pilot errors. Perhaps the larger share, maybe. Anyway I personally know of RMAF men calling the NURI as pesawat celaka!! it may be a stigma, i dont know but this is what i used to hear when i used to go to KRTU in Subang before. Not only that some 20 Nuris have crashed since 1970. I guess it needs replenishment. Cant understand how this may turn into a racial issue though.

It is really disheartening seeing government buying spanking new Camrys and E200 Kompressors, WIMAX this and that development projects ie spending money like water on unnecessary things but neglecting defence needs.

Prasun sengupta, forget Mahathir. That guy is out of his head. He tells us to stop consuming COKE when he used and trading in USD when everyone knows who pegged the RM to USD!!

Anonymous said...

it is 3:50 AM here. I will catch up with you later prasun sengupta. happy early thaipusam anyway

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Actually, the reason why the Nuri is referred to as 'pesawat celaka' is because of its current state. Which means, it should have been upgraded way back in the late 1990s to make it a lot safer to fly in all weather conditions. Presently, six of them are being upgraded by AIROD for the past three years but then, God only knows when exactly those helicopters will emerge from their hangars to taste the sunshine! Foreign civilian operators of the Nuri have already upgraded their Nuris and believe me, their flight safety reqmts are far more stringent than those of the military. Therefore, if they can still fly the Nuri (even the US President uses it) I don't see why should the RMAF clamour for replacing the Nuris. In fact, the previous RMAF Chief at his last press conference on the eve of his retirement said that the Nuri was good to go for another 10 years at least. The real reason why the EC-725s are being procured is not not replace the Nuri, but to increase the size of the RMAF's helicopter fleet which, as per the RMAF's long-term perspective plans, should number 76 units. Only after the first 40 EC-725s are ordered (in installments) can the Nuris be replaced. Then too, the Nuris should not be retired or decommissioned, but should be modified and further upgraded and be transferred to the RMN. Remember, the Nuri has been built to fly 6o,000 flight hours, whereas the maximum number of hours an RMAF Nuri has logged in thus far is only 21,000 hours. Therefore, the Nuri still has a lot of life left. It only needs an avionics upgrade, that's all what's reqd.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

By racial issue I mean the issue of language, and the method of instruction in academic institutions. Prior to the May 1969 race riots the method of instruction in schools and colleges and universities was in English, I believe. After that it changed to an all-Bahasa Malaysia format and that's where the problems began, because merely treating English as a language subject and not making it compulsory when it comes to teaching the physical sciences and mathematics was a terrible mistake. Imagine between 1969 and the early 2000s how many generations of human resources have lost out because of this. It will take more than two decades to recover from this loss. Every technical, operational and maintenance manual for imported military hardware comes written in English and if one is not able to make sense out of their contents, then you're staring at disaster, especially due to the increasing sophistication of weapon systems. Therefore, in 2001 when I had a face-to-face chat with a Minister who likied to use buzzwords in his speeches, I politely told him that before he speakes about creating a K-economy, he should talk first about creating a knowledge-based society.

Anonymous said...

dear prasun sengupta,

exactly. i heard the same, that AIROD is in possession of some Nuris but there's no sign of them. Whatever done i can say that contrary to what you say RMAF men do not have a very positive perception on the Nuris. Anyways you cannot really compare situations in the US with Malaysia. Taking what you said from your letter to NST you yourself agreed that older helicopters like Nuris and Mil 17s tend to be expensive to maintain. With 20 crashes so far, that is 20 less helicopters there is surely a need for replenishment.

i am not sure about how much life there is left in the Nuris but i will take your word for that. Once the required squadron strength has been acheived comprising of Eurocopters alone i am skeptical that the Nuris will be handed over to the RMN. You may know that the attitude of beli baru is prevalent in this society. If you need example just look at the rapid KL buses you will know what i mean!!

Well actually most schools used English right until the early 1980s before gradually shifting to Malay, which was most aggressive during Mahathir's era. The May 13th incident was the main excuse for those who planned this transition. And now there are mixed opinions on reversing this trend. If you read local news however you would find that the proponents of Malay education always equate Malaysia to Japan and Korea, which are countries that dont have any compulsory English lessons in school but are forerunners in science and technology. True knowledge societies. That also happen to buy and operate Western arms. A name is tingling in my mind as to who that K-minister is.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta,

i hope you dont mind but what exactly are you? a full time defence analyst?

you seem to have really good knowledge on various defence scenes, be it Malaysia, India or the west. I have heard of you as a Malaysia based defence analyst and happened to find your blog while searching Googling.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

I'm a full-time businessman connected with aviation support services throughout Southeast Asia (excluding Malaysia). Neither am I a defence correspondent/analyst, nor am I an offense correspondent/analyst, nor am I a strategic correspondent/analyst, nor am I an operational correspondent/analyst, nor am I a tactical correspondent/analyst, nor am I any international/regional/national security correspondent/analyst. I'm just an informed observer of matters relating to regional and international geo-politics and geo-economics.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta

oh thats good to hear. so is it what you do is similar to airod which is maintenance of aircraft or helicopters? for such you should bang on government contracts, which is usually packed with cronism isnt it? hows business at this poor period?

you surely have good insights in this industry. you are in business through out south east asia except malaysia, one of the richest asean countries? ok i presume its because of the bumiputera thingy?