Thursday, March 19, 2009

The New Untouchables

In every endeavour you require the services of middlemen, a much maligned term that sounds more respectable when referred to as ‘facilitators’. While people of diverse faiths require the services of both ordained priests and self-styled godmen/Sadhvis to operationalise the two-way communications links between the Almighty and us mortal human beings, so too are such ‘facilitators’ required for expediting the decision-making processes associated with the procurement of major weapon systems for India’s armed forces. By the mid-1990s, in the aftermath of the scandals associated with Sweden’s Bofors AB and Germany’s HDW, the closely-knit community of such facilitators—having both business and political backgrounds—closed ranks in India and resolved to devise a fool-proof method of conducting their businesses based on a win-win doctrine. It was quite an ingenious and totally legal way of doing business. How? Kindly allow me to elaborate. The two key essential elements of this business plan are: an India-based citizen who must have access to business venture capital; and an NRI or PIO whose business interests are located abroad, and whose business activities are registered in an offshore tax-free haven. The next step is to register a shelf company in this tax haven and develop a business plan in areas where the Govt of India allows either 100% foreign ownership or majority shareholding by foreign corporate entities. Once ready, this business plan is then peddled in search of venture capital and bridging loans. Concurrently, the owners of this business plan—the facilitators—establish political linkages with those in power within the executive branch of the Govt of India—to gain insights into the short-term, medium-term and long-term weapons procurement programmes of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, the Indian Coast Guard Service, the central paramilitary forces, and the central intelligence agencies. Once the key programmes are identified the search then begins for suitable OEMs that are ‘preferred’ by both the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), keeping in mind the supreme national interests of India. Interestingly, by this stage, the decision-makers within the Govt of India have already decided who the preferred OEM will be, with the yet-to-be-conducted competitive tendering process just being an eyewash and an exercise in futility. I say this because under the existing decision-making process for military procurements, the end-user is only mandated to indulge in evaluating the competitive bids and has no final say in zeroeing in on one specific OEM/supplier. That is a political decision to be made by the Cabinet Committee on National Security after factoring in various variables such as the financial offer, state of bilateral trade/international relations between India and the country hosting the respective bidders, etc.

After having received the key selection criteria inputs from the MoD and MEA, the concerned facilitator, armed with his/her business plan, initiates contact with the already preferred OEM and takes the OEM into confidence, and consequently, the OEM conducts an independent audit of the business plan (which may include the setting up in India of a private airline, or business air charter service, or a telecommunications-related business franchise) and agrees to provide the necessary venture capital for setting up such business activities within India in lieu of being awarded the procurement contract from the MoD. The venture capital is then transferred by the OEM (usually through one of its business subsidiaries) to the offshore shelf company registered by the facilitator’s NRI/PIO business partner who in turn acts as the foreign institutional investor making a perfectly legal and no-nonsense investment in a newly registered business entity within India. The facilitator in turn appoints his/her proxies to the Board of Directors of the business entity to run the show, with the plan being to turn the private limited company into a publicly-listed company within 24 months of its launch, thereby getting access to additional venture capital through the capital markets both within India and abroad, something I like to refer to as OPM, or other people’s money.

By the time contract signature takes place between the preferred OEM and the MoD, the OEM has seen to the following: that the FDI has been pumped into India for a perfectly legitimate business venture; that the business venture has a clearly defined business roadmap under which it will undergo public listing within a pre-defined timeframe, and the resultant OPM will be used—perfectly legally—for making financial donations or extending aerial logistics support to the concerned political parties whenever required; that the venture capital extended by the OEM to the facilitator will be returned in successive tranches (via the OPM) back to the OEM or one of the OEM’s designated business subsidiaries. So what you have in the end is no legal wrongdoing, no financial impropriety, no stashing away of slush funds, and a totally transparent business plan whose execution is flawless and beyond any suspicion. If questioned, the OEM on its part is also able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that its adherence to the mandatory ‘Integrity Clause’ contained within the military procurement contract is total without any breach, that no financial remuneration was paid to anyone either within India or abroad for facilitating the military procurement’s contract signature, and there was no ‘hidden’ inflation of the contract value.
But let it be known that to date, following exhaustive internal enquiries and investigations conducted by Indian authorities, no shred of evidence has emerged to directly and conclusively imply that the business methodology I have outlined above was employed by any party in securing the Scorpene SSK procurement contract. Consequently, during a recent meeting held at the MoD between the Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation, the Indian Navy HQ, and the Indian Chapter of Transparency International (headed by former Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral (Ret’d) R H Tahiliani), everyone concluded that it was impossible for anyone concerned to prove beyond reasonable doubt any allegations of corruption involving the on-going procurement of the six Scorpene SSKs. Consequently, life goes on as usual….Prasun K. Sengupta
ADDENDUM 1
Murky Deals
For a country with the world’s third-largest standing Army, seventh-largest Navy and the fourth-largest Air Force it should not come as a surprise when, from time to time, there are cases of financial misappropriations or alleged kickbacks associated with military procurements undertaken to sustain the armed forces’ force modernisation efforts. But what is undeniably surprising is that almost all the procurement scandals that have come to light thus far since the early 1980s have involved Western companies such as Sweden’s Bofors Defence, Germany HDW and recently South Africa’s Denel Group. Despite the fact that more than 70% of the armed forces’ operational weapon systems have since the early 1980s been imported from the former Soviet Union (USSR) and its successor state, the Russian Federation (in total, from 1960 till 2000, the USSR and Russia supplied India with almost $35 billion worth of military hardware), there has never been even a single recorded or revealed case of questionable purchases of weapons by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) from either the USSR, or Russia, or other former East Bloc countries like Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine or Belarus. That is until now.

The first ever revelation about alleged kickbacks received by senior MoD officials, including a Defence Minister himself, as a quid pro quo for purchasing weapons from the erstwhile USSR appears in the book titled ‘The Mitrokhin Archive, Volume II: The KGB and the World’, published by Penguin/Allen Lane. The book opened a Pandora’s box not only about the nature of bilateral relations between India and the erstwhile USSR between the 1950s through to the late 1980s, but also throw some light on how military-industrial cooperation between the two countries and India’s defence procurement practices throughout the 1970s and 1980s, both marked by a remarkable degree of opacity during this period, climbed to dizzying heights. The book, jointly written by Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior archivist of the USSR’s civilian intelligence agency, the KGB, and Cambridge University Professor and intelligence historian Christopher Andrew, is a sequel to the whistle-blowing Volume I that was published in 1999 (detailing the KGB’s operations conducted in the West between 1917 and 1991) and has since been appreciated worldwide for the authoritativeness, quality, minutae and detail of the information copied over a 12-year period from thousands of top-secret KGB files by Mitrokhin, who defected to the UK after the USSR collapsed in 1992. Volume II deals with the KGB’s attempts to ‘communise’, ‘Sovietise’, make friends and influence people in the developing world, and two of its chapters reveal how in the 1970s India was one of the countries most successfully penetrated by the KGB, how and why India became a model of KGB infiltration of a Third World government, and why the KGB ‘residency’ in Delhi was one of the largest in the world outside the Soviet bloc, and was awarded the rare honour by the Centre (KGB HQ in Moscow) of being promoted to a ‘main residency’. The most significant revelation, as far as military hardware procurements from the erstwhile USSR go, is that India’s Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon in the mid-1960s was successfully persuaded to buy MiG-21PF (Type 74) interceptors instead of the English Electric Lightning for the Indian Air Force (IAF), and in return his general election campaigns in 1962 and 1967 were KGB-funded.

Yet, despite such authoritativeness, caution would be well-advised here. For while it is generally appreciated that the Soviets were extremely active in trying to influence Indian ‘intellectual opinion’ between the 1950s and 1980s, Volume II reveals only a part of the whole story. And this is because the KGB constituted only a part of the gigantic Soviet information-gathering apparatus that in a country like India also had several personnel and ‘indigenous high-value assets’ working in parallel for/in the payroll of other Soviet agencies such as the GRU (military intelligence), accredited Soviet mass media agencies such as Izvestia, ITAR-TASS, Novosti and Pravda, and most importantly, the Delhi-based Trade Representative’s Office that reported to the USSR’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, which in turn was the sole Soviet government organ responsible for marketing and supplying weapons of Soviet origin to 76 countries, including India. To gain a comprehensive appreciation of the former USSR’s ‘intellectual penetration’ of India and its consequences as far as Indian military hardware procurements go, it is best to start with trying to find out where India found itself in the Soviet scheme of things. The USSR began engaging India seriously soon after the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s and took India seriously since the late 1960s because it had global interests, notably a definite military threat from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and a desire to reduce the US influence in the subcontinent. This was the only basis for the India-USSR relationship, which acquired a strategic dimension in August 1971 when both countries inked the
India-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation and consequently both countries got what each wanted—the USSR achieved strategic encirclement of the PRC while India got:
· A credible but limited duration nuclear umbrella to discourage and even neutralise any Chinese military adventurism targeted against India in the event of a future round of India-Pakistan military hostilities.
· The much-needed diplomatic support from the East Bloc at the UN Security Council as well as the crucial military hardware-cum-war wastage reserves required to successfully undertake the 14-day ‘Lightning Campaign’ that resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh in December 1971.

Between 1972 and 1975 there were no major procurements of USSR-built military hardware by India, and the Soviets were quite happy to keep India engaged (and simultaneously keep the PRC strategically encircled and contained) by offering sops like the bilateral rupee-rouble trading system (despite this, non-military trade was never a high point of India-USSR relations), supporting India’s indigenous space technology development projects, and continuing the off-the-shelf supply of weapons like MiG-21M/bis combat aircraft and Mi-8T utility helicopters. These geo-strategic imperatives, however, began undergoing a sea-change when the Indian National Congress led by the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi lost the 1976 general elections to the Janata Party. At around the same time, the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force were gearing up to undertake a gigantic, 10-year-long phased force modernisation effort that called for the procurement of big-ticket items like deep penetration strike aircraft (DPSA) and medium multi-role combat aircraft (M-MRCA); principal surface combatants like guided-missile frigates (FFG), guided-missile destroyers (DDG) and both single- and double-hulled diesel-electric submarines (SSK); main battle tanks (MBT) and infantry combat vehicles (ICV); mobile air defence artillery systems, 155mm/39-calibre towed field howitzers; attack and utility helicopters, plus tactical and strategic transport aircraft.

For obvious reasons, alarm bells must have started ringing in the Kremlin in 1978 when the Janata Party government led by the KGB’s bete noire (Prime Minister Morarji Desai) signed a contract with British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) for the purchase of 120 SEPECAT Jaguar IS/IM DPSAs. Next on the list were MBTs for which the Army had shortlisted contenders from France, Germany, and the UK; ICVs for which Army HQ wanted to evaluate French and German offers; the M-MRCA for which Dassault’s Mirage 2000 was the preferred choice, and single-hulled SSKs for which Kockums of Sweden and HDW of Germany were the preferred suppliers. What made matters far more complicated for the Kremlin was India’s attempt to normalise relations with the PRC in the post-Mao Tse-Tung era, while for Delhi the USSR’s inability to prevent Beijing from ‘teaching a lesson’ to Hanoi (by being unable to avert the Sino-Vietnam War of February-March 1979) revealed the true limits of Soviet politico-military power projection. And what was also not known then to India as well as the West was the USSR’s plan to undertake the invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 1979 despite the steadily deteriorating economic situation of the Warsaw pact member-states. By 1980 the Warsaw Pact countries were collectively importing 110 million tonnes of crude oil to satisfy internal requirements even though the USSR was by then the world’s largest producer of crude oil and the second largest gold producer. What made matters far worse for Moscow were efforts made by the West led by Reagan Administration to irreversibly cripple the Soviet economy into a state of perpetual decline by forcing the USSR to increasingly to borrow from the West.

For the Kremlin, therefore, it must have come as enormous relief to see Mrs Gandhi being elected as Prime Minister for a third term. And this is where the mystery deepens and the ground gets murkier. For, despite the known limitations and decline of Moscow’s economic/military prowess, the MoD, without any fanfare, in May 1980, inked a $1.6 billion weapons procurement agreement with the USSR (at concessionary terms of 2.5% interest rate) and also followed Moscow in establishing diplomatic relations with the Vietnam-installed Cambodian government of Heng Samrin. This was followed by another gigantic contract signed in 1981 for procuring weapons worth $2.5 billion, followed by yet another contract in 1984 worth almost $3 billion, despite the latter two deals proving to be a heavy burden for the Indian economy, and becoming the main reason why India applied for a $5.65 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (when the USSR collapsed, New Delhi’s debt to Moscow was estimated at $16 billion, including interest, thanks to the rupee-rouble trading practice). As a consequence of all this, at least three major Indian force modernisation plans mutated to the following:
· Instead of the IAF acquiring a single M-MRCA, the requirement was broken down to an astonishing five aircraft types—49 Mirage 2000H/TH M-MRCAs were ordered in 1984, while 90 MiG-23BNs and 50 MiG-27Ms were imported off-the-shelf between 1981 and 1986 (and another 165 produced in-country between 1983 and 1997) to serve as tactical air support aircraft, and 40 MiG-23MFs and 50 MiG-29B-12s were procured in 1983 and 1986 directly from the USSR as dedicated air superiority combat aircraft. The clinching argument in favour of these procurements was then spelt out by the Soviets to a gullible MoD as: quantity has a quality of its own!
· Against all logic the Navy’s SSK procurements were broken up among two parties, with the single-hulled SSKs procured being the four Class/Type 209 from HDW, along with their advanced, prohibitively expensive licenced-fabrication facilities since 1982, while at the same time eight double-hulled Type 877EKM Kilo-class SSKs were procured off-the-shelf from the USSR. This led to avoidable and wasteful expenditures incurred for creating from scratch two parallel types of on-shore infrastructure for SSK training and maintenance.
· The Indian Army, which wanted to acquire a MBT incorporating hit-survivability design features (something that the home-grown Arjun Mk1’s design strongly signifies), from late-1982 became surprisingly reconciled to acquiring some 1,900 T-72M/M1s that incorporated hit-avoidance features. This despite the fact that by late 1980 when the Army conducted field trials of the T-72M it found out to its utter horror that basically, with the exception of the T-55, the overall Soviet approach to MBT design in the post-World War II era was found to be flawed on two major counts: namely, the gamble on not being hit rather than on surviving hits, and the refusal to perceive survivability of the tank crew as a quite distinct issue from survivability of the vehicle, with the former having priority over the latter. The combination of these two shortcomings produced design solutions such as the T-72M’s carousel autoloader and ammunition reserve being accommodated on the turret floor. This indeed allowed for a very compact configuration and ensured that the ammunition is less likely to take a direct hit—but it also entailed a very high risk of ignition or sympathetic detonation should the fighting compartment be penetrated, in which case there went the MBT and the crew with it. In fact, in mid-1982 in Lebanon the 105mm APFSDS rounds fired by Israeli Merkava Mk1 MBTs with 105mm rifled-bore guns routinely pierced the Syrian T-72M’s front glacis, went straight through the MBT and exited through the engine compartment, leaving a turretless hulk behind. The Indian Army got a first-hand demonstration of the T-72M’s acute vulnerability in October 1987 when LTTE guerrillas exploded improvised explosive devices underneath two T-72Ms deployed with 65 Armoured Regiment for Operation Pawan during the battle for Jaffna, which resulted in armour penetration and the ensuing catastrophic detonation of the MBT’s ammunition reserve (this being stored in a carousel autoloader on the turret’s floor), resulting in the turrets being blown off. Subsequent events in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm would convincingly highlight the T-72M’s totally flawed design features.

The rest, as they say, is history. The collapse of the Soviet Union reduced India’s military preparedness to a parlous state throughout the 1990s, thanks to the one-sided weapons procurement policies initiated in the early 1980s. The limited war in Kargil in 1999 and Operation Parakram in 2002 further highlighted the inadequacy of the country’s war-waging capabilities and block technological obsolescence of the armed forces. India today is totally dependent on Israel and France for ‘surgically upgrading’ the performance of almost all its weapons of Soviet origin. And Russia till today is unable to ensure the guaranteed supply of critical military spares because it no longer controls the various military-industrial facilities now spread out throughout Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and the Central Asia Republics. The present UPA government led by the Congress (I), the very party that inked some of the highly questionable arms deals with the erstwhile USSR more than two decades ago, is eminently qualified to explain exactly what ‘enlightened national interests’ prompted the MoD to embark upon such a one-sided and disastrous defence procurement policy, even if it is for posterity. And the most qualified official to do so is none other than the present Minister for External Affairs, who was the Union Finance Minister during the 1980s.--Prasun K. Sengupta
ADDENDUM 2

Who Is The Real Enemy Of India?

Surprising as it may seem, the greatest threat to India’s national security interests has always been and continues to be the Government of India’s executive branch. The total lack of strategic visioning, consistently developing cold feet when it comes to enacting the much needed administrative and procedural reforms within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and its Department of Defence Production & Supplies (DDPS), and politicising the procurement of weapon systems from abroad starting with the Bofors FH-77B towed howitzers have all had the most frustrating and terrible impacts on the force modernisation efforts of the country’s three armed services since 1988. Add to this the kind of vindictive politics now being practiced and one has the most poisonous cocktail ever concocted to make the armed forces the real and only losers. The most glaring example of such shameful and possibly treasonous conduct was evident in April 2004 when the then newly-elected UPA coalition government abruptly shelved the well-conceived Rs250 billion (US$5.3 billion) Defence Modernisation Fund (DMF) that was created by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA coalition government earlier in February 2004 for fast-tracking the long-overdue acquisition of critical military hardware. The fund was meant to be ‘non-lapsable’, meaning the MoD would not have to surrender its capital account funds if they were not used within the fiscal year they were allocated for. It was thus meant to reverse the trend of the past years, when the MoD returned on average more than $3.8 billion per annum to the national exchequer. However, the then Defence Minister (and presently the Minister for external Affairs) Pranab Mukherjee said on June 19, 2005 that such a concept was neither constitutionally nor legally valid, although he was subsequently contradicted by Prime Minister D Manmohan Singh, who said in April 2005 that he was not averse to the DMF being resurrected. When coupled with the ruling UPA government’s decision to examine all arms deals inked during the NDA government’s tenure for any traces of financial kickbacks, the lack of a consolidated DMF has had a paralytic impact on, among other things, the Army’s ambitious plans to re-equip its aviation, infantry, armoured, air defence artillery and field artillery formations, the Navy’s plans for acquiring deep-submergence rescue vessels, a fleet of intelligence-gathering vessels, and a DRDO-owned but Navy-operated fleet of telemetry tracking vessels. The following are but a few of the projects that have been put on hold since 2005, pending the outcome of CVC/CBI-led investigations into allegations of financial impropriety, reported manipulation of qualitative requirements (QR) to suit a particular vendor, to outright misrepresentation of the recorded conclusions of competitive field evaluations.

1) Recall the much hyped-about procurement of deep-submergence rescue vessels for the Indian Navy? Well, nothing has been inked so far as the CVC in 2007 put on hold the contract signature. The Indian Navy had selected the Remora 2000 remotely operated rescue vehicle (RORV) for its submarines by mid-2005, along with its launch-and-recovery system (LARS) and a fully integrated self-contained emergency life support system (ELSS) package, all to be supplied by Canada’s Ocean Works International of North Vancouver. The yet-to-be-signed contract, however, ran into rough weather two years ago amidst allegations of irregularities (i.e. kickbacks) during the contractual negotiations phase. The 20.6-tonne Remora 2000 RORV has a depth rating to 610 metres, can accommodate 18 men, can dry-transfer personnel under pressures up to 6 atmospheres into surface decompression facilities, and is designed for operations in Sea State 5 and transport in Sea State 6. The related surface decompression facility can treat more than 100 personnel. The entire Remora 2000 system can be air-transported for rapid deployment. Similar systems built by the same company are currently operational with the navies of Australia, Russia and Singapore.

2) What is known so far about the so-called ‘leaks’ (first revealed in May 2005) is that Navy officers posted in the Operations Directorate of Naval Headquarters were found trading off classified information of a commercial nature. What has not been revealed until now is that after the procurement costs of INS Vikramaditya, it is the cost of procuring a fleet of four 8,000-tonne intelligence-gathering vessels, and a DRDO-owned but Navy-operated fleet of three 15,000-tonne telemetry tracking vessels (each equipped with three monopulse radars capable of tracking the flight of multiple independent re-entry warheads) that constitutes the second biggest contract (in financial terms) to be awarded by the MoD for the Navy. But what makes the procurement of these types of vessels so lucrative is the sheer number of vendors involved—not just for supplying the vessels off-the-shelf—but for equipping them with more than 600 different systems and components, each of which are to be procured after intense competitive bidding under individual, supplemental multi-million dollar contracts. In essence, this is the dream contract that every ‘facilitator’ cherishes, and could potentially create more than 600 Indian multi-millionaires. Consequently, so great was the demand for access to the combined Navy/DRDO-drafted QRs for each of the 600+ systems that thumb-drives had to be employed for copying the QR files for onward dispatch to potential local and foreign vendors! Of the two types of naval vessels sought, the telemetry tracking vessels are of a strategic nature and there’s a pressing need for them simply because without them there’s no other credible way of tracking and validating the MIRV’s re-entry flightpath. Yes, you guessed right: thus far all test-firings of ballistic missiles carried out by the DRDO out of the ITR have involved only single re-entry warheads and until such time as India acquires such telemetry tracking vessels, the DRDO will be unable to test-fire MIRV-equipped ballistic missiles. Bu then again, the wait is likely to be a long one, as the procurement of such vessels is now on hold due to the on-going CVC/CBI investigations.

3) Another procurement that has been put on hold, again for reasons of alleged financial impropriety, is that concerning Swedish Space Corporation’s (SSC) supply of mission sensor suites for an initial three Dornier Do-228-211s of the Indian Coast Guard Service. SSC had won the competitive bidding process in mid-2007 for supplying the maritime surveillance system, each of which comprises an Ericsson-built SLAR (typically covering 18,000 km² per hour for oil spills and small objects on the water surface and 48,000 km² per hour for large vessels), and Argon ST (formerly Daedalus) 1221 IR/UV linescanner (operating in the 8.5-12.5µm region and in the 0.32-0.38 µm region and providing high-resolution imagery of oil spills and other features on the sea surface).

4) This may sound extremely depressing, but there’s a reason why the upgraded M-46S 155mm/45-calibre towed howitzers have gone missing from the Republic Day and Army Day parades since 2007. One may recall that in 1990, the Indian Army firmed up its plans for upgrading the 130mm M-46s and year later the MoD approved the plan, and SOLTAM Systems of Israel was selected as the prime contractor among five bidders. In-country field trials of the upgraded prototypes were carried out in 1993, but the MoD took another five years to sanction the funds. On paper, 430 upgraded M-46S 155mm/45-cal towed howitzers (for 20 Regiments) were to be supplied (since 2002) by the state-owned Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) under licence from Israel’s SOLTAM Systems, making the M-46S the Army’s tube artillery system with the longest reach, being able to fire ERFB-BB rounds out to 38.5km and VLAP rounds out to 42km when using bi-modular charges. The bad news is that the upgrade programme has been terminated after only 40 howitzers were modified, this being due to a fatal barrel explosion taking place two years ago. Army HQ has since then asked the MoD to terminate this project for good and efforts are now on to initiate legal proceedings against SOLTAM and seek liquidated damages.

5) Remember the big splash made in April 2007 when the MoD reportedly leaked news about the Eurocopter-built AS.350B3 Fennec winning the competitive bid for supplying the Army’s new-generation single-engined light observation-cum-utility helicopter? Well, the news is that this result was already known two years ago, when Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Eurocopter had inked a Global Industrial Cooperation Partnership Agreement in February 2005 to jointly produce Ecureuil and Fennec helicopters for the world market. Yet, Eurocopter’s rival, Bell Helicopters Textron, prudently decided to give the MoD the benefit of the doubt and took part in the in-country flight evaluations throughout 2006. But it got the shock of its life when in May 2007 the MoD invited Eurocopter for final contractual negotiations. And this happened even after the Fennec convincingly failed to perform as advertised during the ‘cold soak’ tests in January 2007 at Leh air base during which both competing helicopters’ engines had to be switched off overnight and re-started at high-altitude the following day. Apparently, the Bell 407 had no problem activating its engine with the help of the internally-mounted battery-operated starter-generator. But the AS.550B3 Fennec could not follow suit and it had to remain grounded for 48 hours, awaiting the arrival of an external ground power unit (GPU) from NOIDA. Consequently, fed up with the charade of flight-tests, Bell Helicopters has since decided for good measure not to take part in the subsequent round of competitive flight trials. Reportedly, Bell Helicopters now believes that HAL and Eurocopter are now hand-in-league to divide the MoD’s now inflated order for LOH/LUH helicopters (for all three armed services)—have the cake and eat it as well. Nothing else can explain how HAL can state that it will require a ridiculous timeframe of six years to develop a single-engined 3-tonne variant of the twin-engined 5.5-tonne Dhruv ALH! Thus, the stage is now set for other competitors like OBORONPROM (proposing the Kamov Ka-226) and AgustaWestland (offering the A-119LUH) to smell a rat and refuse to take part in the forthcoming competitive bidding process.--Prasun K. Sengupta

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

Daaammmmnnnn. Prasun looks like you hit the nail.

deep.blue said...

Just like the pimps, eh.

Bloody shame, is there nothing that people can not make a percentage from, every god damn thing from tanks to archaeological restoration is filled with this stuff.

While people work to pay every god damn paisa of the various taxes levied on us, and still dream of saving enough for a 2 bedroom house.

And these asshats gift BMWs to their children.

Are these facilitators mostly ex-defense forces?

Anonymous said...

I am not justifying corruption in deals, rather take an agents point of view - The Indian procurement procedure is so complicated with red tape, egos, multiple stakeholders, time lapses etc that for a Foreign OEM (or even an India OEM) it is impossible to deal with the government. So they need someone who can work with the government. The fee that they charge is reflective of the fact that it takes years to get a deal, involves risking their own money. And yeah, its easy to look at one deal and say these guys made so much money. But many others from the competing projects would have lost a lot of money and possibly bet their house on it.

If there was no corruption in the government, then these complicated tax-free-haven type structures would not be required. If there was no red-tape etc the fee would be much lower.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Am posting the full content of two e-mails that I've just received from THALES regarding the latest contents of my blog. For reasons of brevity I've combined the two-e-mails into one. Here goes:

Dear Prasun,
Thank you for your welcome when I called you the other day and for the frankness of our exchanges. As I mentioned, I had been surprised to be alerted on the possibility of an article on the Scorpene topic as mentioned in your blog (excellent by the way.) I have gone back to it, and the insertion in the blog really leads to believe that the article will be related to this story. I therefore would like to put up a few points in writing and without ambiguity to avoid any misunderstanding:
- It has been established that most of the documents published by Outlook have been fabricated.
- Many months after the publication of the articles, they have not been able to come up with the shadow of the beginning of a proof in support of their allegations, quite to the contrary.
- Both independent enquiries having taken place in India and in France, independently one from the other, have issued “clean bills”.
- Outlook never made any material or meaningful contact with us on the allegations made by it in the articles before publishing them.
Whilst I certainly agree with your comments on the phone that the concerned weekly magazine behaved most improperly in relation to some most elementary aspects of journalism code of conduct, I am,frankly, disapointed that you did not ask me about whether or not the scheme you have tried to describe in your article was used in the Scorpene contract. In accordance with the journalistic principle of cross-checking information we discussed you should have! The answer is simple IT WAS NOT. Therefore I am sorry but the conclusion of your article that somehow the use of the scheme cleared our deal is not accurate and potentially damageable. Again two enquiries have established beyond any doubt that our deal is not opened to any criticism. It was nice to talk to you and I look forward, as you indicated I could, to reading your draft. Do call in if and when you are in Delhi.
Warm regards.
François Dupont
francois.dupont@thalesgroup.com

F said...

Apologies to everyone for being very off-topic here. As Prasun seems very well informed about the Malaysian defence scene, I would like to ask him some questions.

1. Is the RMAF still intending to go for the air launched version of the Brahmos?

2. Are the Malaysian army's A109 fleet equipped with any defensive aids, like jammer, chaff launcher, etc.

3. Has any information been released about the sonar suite on RMN the Scorpenes? The Chilean navy decided not to go for a towed array instead choosing a flank array.

4. You mentioned that AIP modules are useful for non-littoral work. Than why has the Swedish navy gone for AIPs? Perhaps the high costs and technical issues were the real reason the RMN decided not to go for an AIP?

5. There are rumours that eventhough the Super Hornet is still a favourite, the Gripen is now considered a strong contender for the RMAF. Any comments?

6. The IAF training team at Gong Kedak. Are they there to provide maintainance/technical trainng only or also flying?

Thank you.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Fariz: Here are the answers:
1) The BrahMos is yet to be flight-qualified on the Su-30MKI or Su-30MKM. Additionally, the airframe of the Su-30MKI requires some structural modifications and strengthening and until these R & D challenges have been overcome, it will be premature to comment on the Su-30MKM being armed with the BrahMos.
2) Yes, the Malaysian Army A-109LOHs have all these on board, except the jammer.
3) The RMN SCorpenes will have the standard flank-array sonar. No thin-line towed-arrays as of now.
4) The Swedish Navy's Stirling AIP-equipped SSKs will be employed on escort-and-screening patrols in deep waters that constitute the maritime approaches to Sweden.
5) The JAS-39NG Gripen is one of the principal contenders for replacing the MiG-29Ns that are only configured for air superiority and are therefore not MRCA-like. But the RMAF/TUDM has not yet decided whether to acquire a new aircraft-type to replace the MiG-29Ns, or upgrade the MiG-29Ns to the MiG-29M MRCA standard.
6) The IAF team of non-combatant flight instructors and ground crew are helping the RMAF/TUDM out of Gong Kedak air base to operationally convert to the Su-30MKM, and help the RMAF evolve its own customer-specific ground maintenance schedules/procedures as well as air dominance airpower doctrine centred around the Su-30MKM. Hope this helps.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:57PM: What you're referring to are the administrative charges, also called winding-up charges, which is what the late W I N Chadha received. What he did not receive were the 'mark-ups', or the principal ammount more commonly referred to as 'commission'. I personally believe that's there's no administrative or operational requirement for any kind of agent to aid any OEM in securing contracts or privileged data pertaining to competitive bids or the progress achieved towards making the final procurement decision. There are adequate reasons for my assertion ad I will highlight them in due course here.

F said...

Prasun,thanks for the reply.
Maybe you might not agree with me but don't you think that after doing so much to modify the PT-9M, the army could have gone for something better than ERAWA 2? Its a known fact that ERAWA 2 is useless against KE penetrators. I dont think there would have any problems with installing Kontakt 5 on the PT-91M. As for the Lekiu Batch 2, I think the RMN is gong to have a very long wait.

F said...

Sorry Prasun... Another couple of questions for you.

Why on earth did the RMAF go for the MBB339 for the LIFT role? Insn't that what the surviving Hawk 100s are for? As the support infrastructure already exists for the Hawks, I feel it would have made more sense to go for additional Hawk 100s or the Hawk AJT. Or maybe, the Hawks price tag was the reason for the MBB339.

Is the Catherine thermal not part of the SAVAN 15 FCS?

Nava said...

Prasun:
Could you comment on the recent reports of India acquiring\launching an Israeli satellite and on Indo-Israeli space cooperation in general?

Thanks

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Prasun,

Simply brilliant. Just the way one would say PN (promissory notes) works through tax havens - its one of those things that are indulged by the who's who of the investment banking world.

Curiously my last article skirted the Scorpene deal - and the slush money stashed in only one country - Switzerland. Things now have become more savvy.

Anonymous said...

BJP made Rs 2000 crs on the Scorpene deal. With Congress coming to power - they too demanded Rs 2000 crs and got.

And India got floating scraps (3 are berthed forever - ad infinitum).

Kannan said...

@Nava
Selling us SAR satellite is really cool, this could have been the compensation for hearing profanity from Arabs and Persians.for Techsar launch.;-)
Now as Bush uncle's support is not there, I would be surprised if our govt can gather balls to launch another for-Israel satellite(I am assuming this one is for our use).Israel is our new Soviet Union that will 'protect us' like in that Rafael's video. :-)

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Faris: The Russians have clearly indicated that they will not supply anything for the PT-91M which they consider to be the T-72M1's clone and a violation by Poland of the original licence granted by the ertswhile USSR. The order for the Jebat Batch 2 FFGs has been put on hold indefinitely. But Petronas/MISC has bought a merchant marine vessel that will, by April, be converted into a multi-role support ship housing a RMN Fennec helicopter and a PASKAL complement on board. It is this vessel that will be deployed for anti-piracy patrols in the Horn of Africa for the next six months. All MISC personnel manning this vessel will be given temporary RMN Auxiliary status. The MRSS will also have light 40mm and 20mm armament on board. As for the RMAF going for the MB-339 LIFTs instead of additional Hawk Mk100 series LIFT, I reckon the decision has more to do with the unavailability within Malaysia of a suitable OEM that can undertake depot-level maintenance of the Hawks. Faced with this situation the RMAF had no choice but to go for new LIFTs as attrition replacements. The PT-91M's Savan 15 gunner's sight incorporates only a day sight and the Catherine FC thermal imager is missing due to financial constraints.

To Nava: When the TecSAR/Polaris project was launched by Israel it called for a total of six such satellites to be built, with one being launched for Israeli requirements and the remaining five being held as strategic reserves and to be launched only in the event of any immediate contingencies. Northrop Grumman later came in to pay for four of the reserve TecSARs that are now the property of the US Defense Dept. That left one TecSAR which was made available by Israel to India at attractive pricing rates. Therefore, considering that India desperately requires such SAR-equipped all-weather overhead recce satellites for strategic nuclear targetting purposes, and since the ISRO-developed RadarSat's fabrication schedule is delayed, off-the-shelf procurement of the TecSAR is being resorted to in order to plug the surveillance gap that now exists.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To BUA Da: Many thanks for the compliments. Deeply appreciate them. However, as my business model outlines, there's no need to keep secret accounts abroad filled with slush funds. Nowadays, such monetary resources can be brought back into India as legal FDI and once the business venture becomes publicly-listed using OPM, the local politicians can become absentee shareholders through their nominees, thus making use of plausible deniability as and when required. I will soon do a follow-up and add more data to this same article outlining the various procurement deals that have become bogged down due to on-going CVC.CBI investigations that are going nowhere. The news is, to put it mildly, horrifying and treasonous.

To Anon@9:54AM: Are you just blurting out in ignorance or have you got any proof of any financial wrongdoing BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT? And what's this thing about the three floating scraps? What product are you referring to?

Nava said...

Prasun, thanks for the informative and promptly response.

A couple of follow up questions:
1. How much (roughly) would these satellite deals be valued out, how expensive is this TecSAR?
2. If I'm understanding you correctly, the US purchased four Israeli satellites via Northrop.
That's a very interesting development, and new to me... do you know of other American purchases of foreign military satellites?

Anonymous said...

TecSar was actually built with US help. How did US agree to allow such an advanced system to be sold to India? Will we have full control of TecSar or will it be joint control with Israel.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The entire TecSAR package, inclusive of the satellite, ground receiving stations and radar imagery interpretation/processing tools and rocket launcher will not exceed US$120 million. I had written about this entire TecSAR deal two years ago in FORCE, while the Northrop Grumman element was reported by DEFENSE NEWS at around the same time. The TecSAR is a 300kg satellite in low-earth orbit, while the RadarSat weighs 1,780kg and will be in sun-synchronous orbit. There was no (0) US involvement in the TecSAR's R & D stage.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:58AM: Dude, in case you've missed it, the US is actively cooperating with India in the arena of ballistic missile defence, and I don't mean the mere marketing about Patriot PAC-3 or THAAD. The US has proposed that India acquire a ground station capable of receiving real-time alerts of any surprise ballistic missile launch from either Pakistan or China, as these two countries have not pledged a 'no first use' nuclear doctrine against India. China's no 'first use' promise only applies to those countries that are signatories to the NPT. This makes India vulnerable to a Chinese nuclear first strike. Consequently, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are now bidding in India for devising and supplying the terrestrial network-centric interfaces required for receiving missile-launch alerts from the US' DSP family of early warning satellites.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO Prasun.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

@Prasun,

Which is why I gave the example of Promissory Notes (PNs) which bring back the illegally stashed funds abroad into the Indian market. However your operations are a step above - made by financial brains from the investment banking deal. These are complex transactions and I have personally dealt and made SPVs etc once when I was overseeing investment banking and needless to say some of the sources of funds was highly dubious.

But the territory you are walking down is dangerous - I thought it prudent to let you know. These are not what "politicians" and "military-industrial-political" complex would want highlighted.

I will at a later date, perhaps take the main points from the articles that you write (for the defense angle) and give some of the "real deals" I did to make a story. Mine will be non-defense related, but no less treacherous.

But - more power to you :)

(BuA - another Sengupta .....)

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with technology just a Bangali custom one."Da" is usually used by a younger bloke to an older bloke.Rarely exchanged or swapped.How is it "Sontuda" calls "Prasunda" and vice versa.Now I notice even BuAda who started calling Prasunda and changed down to Prasun!What I learned about the bangali culture now seems to be obsolete as the Soviet weapons.

Anonymous said...

to prasun and other friends

if US can convert it f15 into stealthy aircraft by building four internal bays and there was need to change airframe structure to build internal bays and this is something like offering old wine in new bottle

then su30mki,mig29,29k,35 can also b converted into stealthy aircraft without changing aircraft structure

there is ample centreline space
between airintakes,just need to build removable composite bay which will house weapons internally
and which can fit in the centreline space between air intakes

also build carbon composite radar blockers caps for airintakes for
su30,mig29,35.

in this way su30 can house upto 8 missiles in bay and mig29,35 can carry 4-6 missiles internally and apply RAM coatings on all of airframe

doing this is much harder on rafale,typhoon,f18,gripen,lca because engines in these aircraft r close to each other but su30,
mig29,35 have space between engines and building internal bays requires much more redesign and structure change in these aircraft compared to at no cost for su30,
mig29,35

so in this way RCS of mig29,35 can be reduced to significantly less than 1 meter square and composite bay can house 4-6 missiles and PGMs internally it will provide capability of JSF and this can be done in just 2-3 years

so better buy mig35 and build composite bay for centre line space,make composite radar blockers,apply RAM COATINGS and make it stealthy like americans did with f15 and stealthy mig35 will cost no more than $ 50 million per aircraft

all this provides first shoot capability against j10,f16,fc-1

also no need to build MCA(it is just like reinventing wheel)when mig29,35,su30 can be converted in stealthy aircrafts in just 2-3 years and going for whole new research for MCA makes no sense

Bobs said...

excellent post,prasun.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To BuA Da: The methodology of financial transactions are not a secret as they're commonly used nowadays. But rarely will one come across a person who has had access to venture capital through legitimate means, such as winning a lottery or securing a large family business inheritance. The start-up is always dirty or dubious, but once access is made available to OPM through public listings, all earlier sins are forgotten and legal recpectability is acquired. But the game becomes dangerous when one tries to reveal the personalities and corporate entities involved in securing the initial venture capital. The oficial response and clarifications by THALES to my first article in this blog within three hours of its posting is testimony to what I'm explaining here. Definitely some cages have been rattled. But, strangely, none of the bloggers have thus far even raised any questions or queries on who exactly are some of these 'respectable' facilitators that have tasted success within India in the recent past. While some are based in the UK, some others are reportedly sitting MPs in Parliament today.

To Anon@1:46AM: Firstly it is Bengali, and not Bangali. The latter is the term, like 'Baei', used mostly in Southeast Asia to refer to bearded and turbaned Sikhs. Secondly, Da or Dada are terms used both as a mark of respect and regard by Bhadralok. But their non-use does not imply any disrespect either.

To Anon@4:15AM: While the conformally mounted internal armament bays of the type you've suggested are being developed for the Su-30MKI, those for the MiG-29 or MiG-35 aren't. And while it is technically possible to develop them for other combat aircraft, the main issue here is who will pay for their flight qualification. It is not that easy and the entire flight certification process will require enormnous financial investments which UAC/RAC-MiG is unable to make at this moment.

soutik said...

Prasun Da, Excellent post. Finally somebody is going to be very disturbed during this election time especially someone who stands from Jangipura Lok Sabha Seat in W.B.

Sundar Rajan said...

I think the Soviet's military doctrine called for large scale assaults by many thousands of armoured vehicles on enemy positions in Europe. The Soviets believed in offensive-offense tactics and always sought overwhelming firepower in the battlefield. They had plans for an invasion of West-Germany that called for an almighty assault across the German heartland and a simultaneous thrust through Austria & Northern Italy. By taking into account the use of tactical nukes, enemy capabilities and terrain they had concluded that it would take about a week of a super-high intensity battle before their armoured spearheads crossed the Rhine and reached the Franco-Belgian border. For such a titanic undertaking, what was required was a large number of weapon systems, mainly elements of armour. The T series of tanks were designed keeping in mind these factors. Those tanks were far less sophisticated than western tanks and so were easy and cheap to produce in bulk. The Soviet military leadership believed that in a typical battle between the Red army and western powers in Europe the Soviet forces being much larger in number will be able to put western forces on the defensive very soon into the battle. In such battles what the attacking force requires is numbers. A large number of attackers could swarm onto a smaller defending force and pulverize the defenders by firing from many directions in a coordinated assault. A certain degree of compromise can be permitted in safety designs of the tanks as these weaknesses can be overcome by adopting suitable tactics on the field. Moreover the European terrain consists mainly of flat, open grasslands and hilly tracts. With hundreds of crisscrossing canals, rivers and streams, it is an enormously difficult task to wage a war with thousands of tanks.
Thus the soviet T series of tanks were designed to be light weight, low silhouetted tanks in order to aid easy transportation and provide protection in European terrain. If the T-72 had been used by the Red Army in a war in Europe, it would have performed successfully as it was made to suit conditions there. The T-72 is very vulnerable in wars where the enemy has a matching firepower. It is an effective machine if used in very large numbers with suitable tactics.
It was our fault to induct the T-72 in an operation against the LTTE which is mainly a guerrilla force. Right from the time the T-72 was inducted into our army it was well known that it was suited only for manoeuvre warfare. It was inducted keeping in mind an armoured assault across the Cholistan desert. It was never meant to be used in close quarter battles with guerrilla forces.
Therefore it is unfair to blame a tank design for its failure in scenarios for which it was never meant to be used.

Anonymous said...

U did something no journalists have done so far. This is almost like equivalent to what Arun Shorie did to under world problems in Bombay port back then. Anyway, I am not surprised that no main stream media is taking this story to public.

Nava said...

Prasun:

I've heard people claiming that some\all of the IAF's Jaguars have been or will be fitted with Elta's EL/M-2052.
I know you've written about it being a candidate for the jaguar upgrade, but can you confirm its selection? If so, do you think that it can serve as an indication (together with Elta's strong involvement with the Teja's radar) for the IAF's radar and possibly aircraft choice in the M-MRCA?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sundar Rajan@6:32AM: You are spot on regarding the Soviet armoured warfare doctrine and the OMG-type employment of Indian armoured forces for manoeuvre warfare. And the same goes for the employment of T-72Ms in northern Jaffna as well. However, there's a big glitch in the overall debate you've highlighted: If the Indian Army's GSQR in the late 1970s called for the induction of T-72M-type MBTs keeping in mind the specificity and peculiarities of the Army's combined arms warfare doctrine and area of operations, how come the GSQR drafted by the very same Army HQ and its Mechanised Warfare Directorate specified an entirely different kind of performance and vehicle survivability parameters for the Arjun MBT? After all, both the T-72M and Arjun MBT were meant to be deployed under identical terrain conditions and against the same adversary. So why the totally contradictory GSQRs for procuring two different types of MBTs? How come the performance parameters specified by Army HQ for the T-72M induction programme were not specified when it came to the Arjun MBT's R & D effort? Why this duplicity, which continues to be the case wth the T-90S/T-90M MBT? My grouse is not with the operational art of the Indian Army's armoured warfighting formations, but with Army HQ's inability to explain the acceptance and embracing of two diametrically opposed MBT design philosophies. No self-respecting armoured force commander can justify who such conflicting MBT design/parameters can be reconciled within a single armoured corps. I would have accepted the Army's justifications had the Arjun MBT too would have been designed along lines similar to those of the T-72M that emphasised the superiority of quantity over quality. But clearly, since that is not the case, I remain deeply worried about the warfighting efficacy of the Army's armoured corps.

To Nava: As of now only the Jaguar IMs have been fitted with EL/M-2032 radars and Python-5 AAMs, but in case the 120 jaguar IS will be upgraded as per DARIN-3 standard and re-engined, it makes sense to equip them with the EL/M-2032-type radars as all the necessary supplementary type certification (STC) work has already been completed by CEMILAC and HAL. This consequently results in considerable savings in terms of the flight certification timeframe as well as the number of flight hours to be logged in for flight qualification. Now, to the linkage between the EL/M-2032 and EL/M-2052: the two radars are physically identical and the only areas of difference are in terms of the new ASEA antenna and related enviromental cooling system (ECS). IAI/ELTA has assured IAF HQ that these both the AESA anenna and ECS can be integrated with the EL/M-2032's existing LRUs with close-to-zero risk. The same approach has been adopted for the Tejas LCA's MMR under which the HAL-developed transmitter/receiver and programmable signals processor LRUs are being integrated with the ELTA-supplied AESA antenna and ECS. Consequently, this approach means that you're looking at equipment commonality (for the Jaguar and LCA) to such a level that it now makes perfect economic sense to make the required industrial investments as part of IAI/ELTA's direct offsets obligations.

Raghav said...

about your reply n the T-72 tanks and MBT Arjun.
why can't the army have a few regiments of Arjuns along with T-72 in the same corps. The terrain in Rahim-yar-khan is mainly desert. so T-72 can hide behind sand dunes and fire. so you need small tanks that can hide easily there and move freely in desert sand. but in the chhamb sector and in places like the shakargarh bulge, the terrain is mainly open fields of wheat. it is flat ground. there you can't hide any tanks. so you need very heavily armoured tanks that can take hits from enemy and survive and not blow up like ruski tanks. the arjun perfectly fits the bill. it has superior armour and long range gun that fires missiles that are useful in fighting in open fields and flat ground. so in any assault towards sialkot or lahore, arjun will be damn useful. so in any battle there we can send the arjun first to meet the enemy and the T-72 or 90 can lurk behind. once the enemy is sufficiently weakened, the arjun can retreat and allow ruski machines to advance and fight the ememy. in this way if we have a few arjun regiments in the same corp as T-72/90 we can fight effectively.
i know this sounds like a crackpot idea. but it just occurred to me.

Anonymous said...

the main issue here is who will pay for their flight qualification. It is not that easy and the entire flight certification process will require enormnous financial investments which UAC/RAC-MiG is unable to make at this moment.
-------------------------------------------------
y depend on rac mig ,y not hal and drdo develop RAM and conformally mounted bay,it is much cheaper than developing MCA and much faster than UNCERTAIN DATE OF MCA

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Raghav: You need to appreciate the following:
1) In the Thar Desert the climate is such that one cannot wage armoured manoeuvre warfare during daytime, period. All operations will be conducted by both sides from dusk till dawn. During daytime, use will be made of field artillery fire assaults and close air support to engage in decapitating attrition warfare. At nighttime the average target acquisition distance will not be more than 800 metres due to undulating terrain features.
2) Up north in the Punjab, the land is indeed flat, but this does not mean one can detect targets out to great distances. The area is both built-up and agrarian n nature with standing crops. Consequently, the target acquisition distance for any MBT is no more than 700 metres during daytime and night. Secondly, the dense network of irrigation canals and ditch-cum-bunds is spread throughout Punjab and is virtually impossible to overcome as this area is defended in-depth by Pakistan. Therefore, this area is the least conducive for conducting armoured manoeuvre warfare. The only viable area lies north of the Shakargarh Bulge in the Poonch-Rajouri sector area but there again, it is a narrow salient where terrain advantages can be neutralised by superior and concentrated fire-assaults. Consequently, te only area where armoured manoeuvre warfare can be waged in depth is in the Thar Desert.
3) Possessing a mixed fleet of MBTs is a sure recipe for disaster as it will deeply impact the efficacy of operational battlefield logistics. Having duplicated teeth-to-tail logistics pipelines will pose a severe strain on resupplies and rear-area product support capabilities.
4) As the Indian Army's warfighting doctrine--officially called Pro-Active Strategy--calls for engaging in manoeuvre warfare and deliberately destroying the enemy's war-waging capabilities in detail, it means one has to engage in a high-intensity and limited period war of attrition and prevail. This can only be done when the MBTs act in unision with attack helicopters and field artillery, all of which in turn are seamlessly integrated with all-weather battlefield surveillance and target acquisition systems (like UAVs) that will enable the Indian Army to simultaneously wage both the contact and deep battles. Unlike OP Desert Storm in 1991, India will be unable to separately fight these two types of battles separately.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:26AM: Again, you are oversimplifying the issue of product design and flight certification. To engage in both these activities, you need to have access to the aircraft's design data and flight-control logic/laws, plus access to suitable wind-tunnel testing facilities. Both in the case of MiG-29 and Su-30MKI, the aircraft design data and flight-control logic/laws are not being made available to India, a point that was highlighted by DRDO Chief M Natarajan during Aero India 2009. If such data is not made available, not matter how good your conformal attachment is you will never be able to undertake their flight certification. And if you choose to go it alone, then the Russians will refuse to accept any product liability responsibilities for such unlicenced airframe modifications. It is for this reason that the flight qualification of the BrahMos on the Su-30MKI is being conducted in Russia, and not in India. In India, no one is intellectually, technologically and materially capable of modifying or strengthening the Su-30MKI's airframe in order for it to carry the BrahMos.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Soutik Da: I don't reckon Pranabda will be too rattled as he was just one component of the prevailing system throughout the 1980s. While responsibility ought to be collectively undertaken by the then prevailing executive branch of the Govt of India, the buck stops with the then Heads of Govt, the PMs, both of whom are now deceased. The answers therefore can only come from official Govt of India archival records if and when they are revealed. But I don't expect that to happen, even though the once sacrosant archives of the former USSR are now available for research and scrutiny. Yet another available source for throwing light on the murky deals of the 1980s will be the likes of former service chiefs and vice-chiefs (like Admiral R L Pereira and Vice Admiral Schunkar), for instance. For it was during Admiral Pereira's visit to Sweden's SSK-building facility at Kockums that the Govt of India decided, in his absence (which is contrary to MoD and Navy regulations as no policy-level decision can be made in the absence of the Navy Chief) to inform the then Vice-Chief, VADM Schunkar, that the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs had already resolved to acquire the SSK from HDW on a source-source non-competitive basis. If memory serves me right, the decision was verbally conveyed by Mrs Sarla Grewal, the then Principal Private Secretary to the PM, to VADM Schunkar just after he had finished briefing the Committee of Secretaries in one late afternoon in the mid-1980s about the security of India's sea lanes in the Persian Gulf and India's strategic POL reserves, and about the Boummediene Pact concerning the Iran-Iraq maritime boundary agreement on delineating the boundaries of the Shatt al Arab waterway. The rot, therefore, went quite deep and continues to remain so.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Do check out the just-uploaded ADDENDUM-2.

Kaushik said...

In the 1960s when USA first developed MIRVs they did not have long range radars to track multiple warheads. so they mounted a very powerful radar on a retired aircraft carrier. they had upto four such systems in the areas where the MIRV was expected to impact. all four systems were used to track incoming MIRVs and by comparing data from four systems, they were able to correct errors in the systems and obtain the accurate trajectory of the MIRVs.
Now we have the greenpine radar and also the LRTR of the PAD system. It is reported that the Greenpine and the LRTR can detect upto 500 km. So isn't it prudent to mount many such radars on retired naval vessels or leased commercial ships as an interim measure and track incoming MIRVs.
How did the DRDO track the single re-entry vehicle used on all missiles so far? The same system can be modified to detect multiple MIRVs.

Raghav said...

This is so surprising. If the army can't wage war in the desert in day time because of extreme heat, any general worth his stars will obviously look for tanks that can be good even in terrible heat and dust so that we can fight round the clock and not give the enemy time to regroup or reinforce.
Now the firing accuracy of Arjun is proven beyond doubt in daytime in desert heat and also the tank will not break down in heat or the crew will not suffer a heat stroke. It is said to be a comfortable tank to fight in. Then even a very dull general will surely choose the Arjun over Ruski machines that are mainly nocturnal warriors and need A/Cs in daytime.
But even then the Army orders 1000+ T-90s and only 124 Arjuns. This is unbelievable.

Raghav said...

It is no use conducting artillery trials again and again when as each time the Bofors gun keeps winning and the Govt. is too embarrassed to accept it and orders fresh trials. At this rate some 'facilitator' will grease the palms of govt. officials and make them accept some crap of a gun and the govt. will be only too happy to buy that crap to avoid Bofors.
The only safe way forward is for the DRDO to take apart a Bofors gun, copy it part by part, make some modifications and mount the modified gun on a truck and transfer the know-how to make the gun to OFB or a private company to mass produce a truck mounted Bofors. This is how we reverse-engineered the Denel NTW-20 and claimed it to be an indigenously made gun called Vidhwansak.

F said...

A couple of unrelared questions here.

Prasun, why do you think Malaysian MINDEF has been so secretive about the 2 VERA's. After all, VERA is only a land based ESM platform.

Have any figures been released about Indian MBTs lost in Sri Lanka? Apart from land mines, did the Tamil Tigers use RPGs against Indian AVFs?

Anonymous said...

Prasun Can you please post information on Mig-35 that you manage to collect during AeroIndia 09 , Thanks

Anonymous said...

the US is actively cooperating with India in the arena of ballistic missile defence, and I don't mean the mere marketing about Patriot PAC-3 or THAAD. The US has proposed that India acquire a ground station capable of receiving real-time alerts of any surprise ballistic missile launch from either Pakistan or China,
-----------------------------------------------
i don't think so US is helping us in any way in this regard.

india has its own ABM system without american help and now americans pressuring to sell their PAC3 as claimed by DRDO scientist.moreover america stopped israel to supply arrow missiles in 2001.

moreover long range missile attack radars can be bought either from russia or israel

because russia is building new long range radars to track incoming surprice ballistic missile attack

Anonymous said...

to prasun

S400 missile system is superior to anything america has to offer

about "aegis missile system "it will never be on indian ships at least not on russian built ships

and for indian built ships if they buy aegis system then where will long range barak being built with israel go

Anonymous said...

to prasun

here is picture link to compare mig35 and mig29k and it shows that nose diameter of mig35 is bigger than mig29k

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/1/5/5/1251551.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia---Air/Mikoyan-Gurevich-MiG-35/1251551/L/&usg=__TInMvHFEX6Zf8IDteYswDo7vD6I=&h=815&w=1200&sz=187&hl=en&start=104&um=1&tbnid=9ZoTW7v9StkW9M:&tbnh=102&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmig29k%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-ca:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7SUNA_en%26sa%3DN%26start%3D100%26um%3D1

Nava said...

Prasun:

Again an unrelated question (hope I'm not boring you too much)- Is the IAF\IN interested in Elta's CAEW aircraft? And what do you think about it? Personally I'm quite impressed with it- it is highly efficient yet powerful, hosting not only highly advanced radar(s) which afford it 360 degree coverage, but also a sophisticated ESM system (which has also been selected for the Wedgetail). It will also offer commonality with the Phalcon...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kaushik: The type of X-band monopulse tracking radars reqd for tracking the inbound flightpaths of MIRVs is totally different from the L-band Green Pine/LRTR-type radars that are used for target search, tracking and engagement. To such such radars is an overkill and financially uncalled for. The X-band monpulse tracking radars have already been developed by ISRO and one of this is currently on board one of the Sukanya-class AOPVs of the Indian Navy. But dedicated vessels are called for because they will be used throughout the year and thus it makes financial sense to invest in such dedicated new-build vessels. And since these vessels will have military applications, they will have to carry self-defence armament as well, so that rules out leasing or buying existing commercial vessels. Modifying decommissioned warships too is not an option due to limited on-board space and insufficient tonnage. It should be noted that such vessels will be deployed n the Andaman Sea and the southern edge of the Indian Ocean in very deep waters. Only then can such radars, via triangulation, can accurately track the flightpath of inbound MIRVs. As for LRTR/Green Pine-type radars used for ABM defence, one needs at least three radars (in the absence of space-based missile launch early warning satellites) to be networked in a way that will make it possible to deploy a functional and effective ABM Battalion equipped with both endo- and exo-atmospheric missile interceptors.

To Raghav: Irregardless of whether it is the Arjun or T-72M or T-90S/M MBT, none of them can be insulated against the vagaries of weather and climate. In the Thar Desert, therefore, full-scale armoured or mechanised warfare will take place only between dusk to dawn. Even during OP Desert Storm and OP Iraqi Freedom, manoeuvre warfare was undertaken only between dusk and dawn, with close air support and field artillery direct fire support being employed to glue up the battlefield and prevent the enemy from re-deploying or repositioning. There are definite limits to developing the ultimate fighting machine and therefore it is called combined arms warfare, whereby different components of a warfighting formation are employed either in unision or in stages, but all directed towards achieving the same objective. Exactly how this done by exploiting the manoeuvre warfare commander's genius for improvisation is called the OPERATIONAL ART.

Regarding the successive and farcical round of field trials for towed 155mm/52-cal howitzers, I entirely agree with you and will go even further to state that these howitzers are not required at all now, especially after OP Vijay in mid-1999 conclusively drove home the lesson that what’s required in future are motorised or truck-mounted 155mm/52-cal howitzers that can not only be used over all kinds of terrain, but can also be transported by C-130J and IL-76MD transport aircraft. China, Myanmar and Pakistan already have such howitzers in service. After all, for manoeuvre warfare to be effected in full, one also requires mobile field artillery assets to keep up with fast-moving mechanised and armoured formations. Yet, Army HQ for unknown reasons continues to drag its feet on this vital issue. Interestingly, TATA Motors showed a prototype of a truck-mounted OFB-built 105mm light field gun during DEFEXPO 2008 and if one fires laser-guided 105mm projectiles from this gun, it will be an excellent direct fire-support weapon. Here In wonder what’s going to happen next: will Army HQ expect the DRDO to come up with such a laser-guided round, or will it allow TATA to team up with Israel Military Industries to co-develop such a round.

To Faris: The VERA-E acquisition is no secret, as I had done an extensive write-up on it three years ago for TEMPUR in which I made detailed comparisons between the VERA-E and Kolchuga-ME, based on technical presentation data supplied by the OEMs of both passive surveillance systems. As for armoured warfare in northern Jaffna in 1987, only one T-72M was destroyed by an IED and its photos are available on the Internet as well. No RPG-type rounds were fired against the Indian T-72Ms in northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE started receiving RPGs only after 1990.

To Anon@3:47AM: You’re getting mixed up in terms of the various components of a functional ABM system. India is not seeking any anti-ballistic missiles or early-warning radars from either the US or Israel or Russia no matter how good they are. What India has sought and what the US is willing to offer is the space-based missile-launch early warning support that is critical in terms of timeframe to activate the relevant ABM Batteries/Battalions. If the AEGIS system is selected for acquisition by the Indian Navy then it will go on board on only one of the two non-US DDG/FFG designs: the Southern Korean KDX-3 or the Spanish F-100 from Navantia. As for the Barak-8/EL/M-2248 MF-STAR combination, that will go on board the three Project 15A Kolkata-class DDGs and seven planned Project 15B DDGs, and also on the IAC.

To Anon@6:48AM: Like I stated numerous times before, the MiG-35 does not exist as yet, it has not yet been built. The aircraft painted as the MiG-35 M-MRCA is the very same aircraft that was being marketed between 1997 and 2005 as the MiG-29M MRCA. It is being used only as an airborne testbed for various avionics and mission sensor suites. The definitive MiG-35 will look radically different as most of the external riveting will be gone and majority of the aircraft skin will be built with composites, and the TVC nozzles of the MiG-29OVT will also be on the MiG-35.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: The G-550 'Eitam' CAEWS is being marketed specifically and ONLY for the Indian Navy, which requires six such aircraft to be operated from shore-based naval air bases. The only other competitor to the 'Eitam' is Northrop Grumman's E-2D Hawkeye 2000, but the "Eitam' has a decisive edge in terms of service ceiling, surveillance envelope and flight endurance.

Anonymous said...

Prasun , I am aware that the current MMRCA shown at airshows is not the definitive version of Mig-35.

I saw one model of Mig-35 displayed at MAKS , which showed the Mig-35 will 11 hard points , 5 on each wing (post/starboard ) and one centerline.

Do you have more details on the definitive version of Mig-35 , may be a new blog article for it ?

Thanks for your response

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Yes, I do have the information, but am now awaiting a newer version of the PowerPoint presentation on the MiG-35 which UAC will finish drafting by the end of April. Once I acquire a copy of it I will upload the relevant pages.

Nava said...

When will the selection process be completed and when are these shore based AEW&C aircrafts due to enter service?

Also, with regards to your comment on ABM systems, surely you know that India may not be in the market for foreign systems, but it has received extensive assistance from foreign companies in this area.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: The global tenders for the naval AEW & CS have not yet been released. But the requirement first arose in 2003 and since then the marketing efforts by both OEMs have been underway. Regarding the ABM sub-systems sourced from abroad the active radar seekers for the missile interceptors have been bought off-the-shelf from Russia's AGAT JSC, while the IIR sensor is being sourced from El-Op (owned b ELBIT Systems). The R & D challenge now is to go for sensor fusion on board both missiles.

style said...

Prasun,
Can you elaborate on the role played by the retired generals of the forces who act as consultants to the OEM's.

Anonymous said...

prasun what do u think about the radar on mig29 in iaf and radar on
f16a in paf

which one is more powerful and has longer range

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To style: A very pertinant indeed. Am now drafting ADDENDUM-3 in which I will address this query in detail, along with an exhaustive explanation of how the QRs are drafted, followed by how the consequent RFIs are drafted and upon receiving these RFIs, how the RFQs (tenders) are drafted and whether there is any manipulation at this stage to suit/favour one particular OEM. And finally, under ADDENDUM-4, I will attempt to analyse why exactly the MoD favours direct offsets that are very limited in scope, and why instead the MoD is not in favour of the more globally established practice of encouraging indirect industrial offsets that have far greater chances of success both in terms of infusion of productive FDIs and generation of more skilled jobs. All I can say for now is that by rejecting the indirect industrial offsets option in its Defence Procurement Procedures guidelines, the MoD is displaying nothing but criminal negligence, and that is exactly why North American aerospace giants are having second thoughts on taking part in India's global competitive bidding processes, despite the armed forces' insistence that the global competitive bidding process be conducted with fairness and within a level playing field. The mind indeed boggles at the thought of the MoD deliberately functioning at neolithic efficiency levels!!!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:39PM: Which MiG-29 and which F-16A? Are you referring to them as they exist now or after both aircraft types are upgraded? Kindly mention the model nos or names of these radars for clarity.

Anonymous said...

i am talking about mig29 and f16 now in service

Anonymous said...

iaf has mig29 and it will b upgraded but what radar it currently has and

same for paki f16a and thse aircraft will also b upgraded but what radar those aircraft have as of now and which one has longer range

Anonymous said...

israelis wanted elta2032 radar on their new f16 but they were refused and f16 have apg69v9

so can u compare these 2 radar above mentioned as well

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The IAF's MiG-29B-12s that arrived first had a monopulse X-band radar but it could detect and track only 1 airborne target. When the follow-on MiG-29B-12s arrived in the mid-1990s they had the Topaz X-band monopulse radar that could detect 4 airborne targets and engage one at a tme only with R-27R BVRAAMs. This same radar is also on board the Malaysian MiG-29s. Inb contrast, the APG-66 of the F-16A/B is a non-monopulse radar with 60km detection range but its sidelobe cancellation characteristics are very bad, but the USAF was not bothered about it in the 1980s as the F-16 was then meant to be used only as within visual range interceptor as far as air combat went. Even the APG-69 is a non-monopulse radar, unlike the radars on board the F/A-18 and F-15 all of which from the very beginning had monopulse X-band radars and were therefore fully capable of engaging in beyond visual range air combat. The Israelis had by the early 1980s realised the severe performance limitations of non-monopulse radars and therefore proceeded to develop monopulse X-band radars like the EL/M-2032 with superior sidelobe cancellation characteristics. Concurrently, GE at that time developed a similar monopulse radar called APG-67 while FIAR developed the Grifo-5/Grifo-M. The French, meanwhile, had also stuck to the monopulse radar design path and all its radars, the RDM, RDI and RDY are X-band monopulse radars. In terms of MTBF the Russian radars are terribly behind their Western counterparts and even the NO-11M Bars PESA on the Su-30MKI has a guaranteed MTBF of only 50 hours, while radars like the APG-67, EL/M-2032 and Grifo-F/M have a guaranteed MTBF in excess of 300 hours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Prasun , will be looking forward for your Mig-35 presentation on this blog when ever its made available to you.

Zorin said...

Why is it everyone said the PHALCON was here, settled in Agra and everyone now universally decided to remain quiet and gulp the news that now it will be May when the first one arrives...what was all that rubbish before then?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Zorin: This is one way of looking at that event: it was indeed in Delhi & Agra but not for good, but as part of a route-proving flight and systems checks that have to be conducted and validated prior to customer delivery. The final delivery will take place this May, and that will be officially announced.

Nava said...

By the way, has the IAF ordered additional Phalcons, or has it merely expressed interest in doing so?

F said...

Prasun, thank you for taking the time to answer my numerous question regarding the MAF. Appreciate it.

Are you familiar with the details regarding the SU-30MKM buy from Irkut? Did KNAAPO try to intice the RMAF with its version of the SU-30? I think its interesting that the PM visited the KNAAPO plant in 1999 but it was Irkut that ended up with the deal. If I recall correctly, an SU-30 owned by KNAAPO was at LIMA 01, flown by Anatoly Kvotchur.

You mentioned in Tempur about the tenders awarded for a new ATGW for the Malaysian army. According to the latest reports, the Ingwee, Metis and Kornet have been shortlisted. I think its a shame the Javelin was not considered.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Faris: The KNAAPO-built Su-27UBK was first brought to LIMA in 1997. In 1999 the Su-27SMK prototype was brought by KNAAPO, but by 2001 the IRKUT-built Su-30MK was brought along with IL-78MKI aerial refuelling tankers. Earlier that year PM Tun Dr Mahathir visited Irkutsk after first going to Khabarovsk to open the local administrative office of the East Malaysian timber-logging company RIMBUNAN HIJAU, which allegedly razed to the ground all tropical monsoon forests in areas of Kalimantan, Solomon Islands and Cameroon! Regretably, this company hasn't yet made it to the Malaysia Book of Records for being the company to have the best deforestation implementation capability worldwide! Regarding the Malaysian Army's ATGM contest, tenders have only been re-issued, not awarded. However, it is widely believed that despite the competitive bidding process now being resorted to, the final selection in favour of the Ingwe ATGM is a foregone conclusion. The Metis M1 is not being considered as the tenders call for a laser-guided ATGM. NORINCO too has withdrawn from the competition. The Javelin ATGM is not being considered reportedly due to higher political directives on desisting from procuring weapons of US origin, whatever that means. Beats me. The sandiwara and wayang kulit goes on...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: The supplementary contract for a follow-on three A-50E PHALCON AEW & C platforms was inked in the third week of last November in Tel Aviv.

Nava said...

And is there any acknowledged Israeli involvement in India's AWAC program?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Depends on which programme you're referring to. You have to be specific in order to get straight answers.

Nava said...

The Embraer mounted one (there's another one?).

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Yes, the other one is the A-50E/PHALCON. Therefore, unless you qualify your query by referring to it as "the DRDO's AEW & CS" I will not be able to know what answer you're expecting as I can't read your mind. The answer to your query is: none. Embraer, EADS and BARCO are the only foreign OEMs involved as of now.

Nava said...

"India's AWAC program" was supposed to denote "indigenous AWAC development program", and therefore, the DRDO AWAC program... sorry if my phrasing was sloppy.

Anonymous said...

In terms of MTBF the Russian radars are terribly behind their Western counterparts and even the NO-11M Bars PESA on the Su-30MKI has a guaranteed MTBF of only 50 hours, while radars like the APG-67, EL/M-2032 and Grifo-F/M have a guaranteed MTBF in excess of 300 hours
------------------------------------------------
i don't think so its true,kopyo on bison has around 100 hours MTBF and this radar is almost 10 years old tech

zhuk me had 150 hours MTBF and it was 5-6 years ago now new varient for mig29 upgrade will have over 200 hours MTBF

F said...

Prasun, the politics and and rubbish associated with Malaysian defence buys aside, I think the Javelins price tag would preclude it from ever being bought. I read somewhere the Brits paid almost 20,000 pounds for each missile!
I have no problems with Ingwee, but knowing the Malaysian government, only enough cash will be allocated to buy 10 to 15.

About the KNAAPO and IRKUT stuff I mentioned, I think the main factor that clinched the deal for IRKUT was the fact the RMAF was very impressed with the IAF's IRKUT made Su-30MKI. KNAAPO Su-30s dont have the canards and thrust vectoring. I also discovered that KNAAPO has only been making single seaters and only started producing dual seat Su-30s when the PLAAF requested it. With regards to a data link, I think the RMAF has got itself into a mess. I dont see the US granting its approval to install Link 11 on the MKMs. Without a data link I dont see the point in buying Erieye. Your thoughts on this?

Anonymous said...

malaysia bought su30mkm because singapore bought f15

su30mkm may have russian data link,if they r going to buy aircraft they r not fool not to have data links in their aircraft

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:29AM: You're free to think whatever you want to, but when I quote MTBF figures of existing operational airborne radars I'm NOT quoting from brochures or posters, but from the specifications presented by the OEMs to the operators in the technical manuals. You need to understand the difference between claimed performance parameters and achieved performance parameters. It is this very discrepancy that has got the Indian IL-38SD MRMR/ASW aircraft project into trouble.

To Faris: Link 11 is obsolete. At a future date the Su-30MKMs will have the THALES-built MIDS Link 16 LRUs, as provision has been made for this add-on in the Su-30MKM contract. And consequently, whichever AEW & C platform the RMAF may acquire in future, this very same Link 16 data link will have to be installed. Also, the RMAF has not yet inked the contract for R-77 BVRAAMs and as of now only the R-27Rs and R-73Es have been acquired.

To Anon@8:41AM: FYI the contract for the Su-30MKM was inked BEFORE Singapore inked the F-15SG contract, and not the other way around. And don't indulge in 'maybe' and 'may have'. Uninformed speculation is dangerous.

Kannan said...


Another conspiracy scandal theory..another Bofors..
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1242337


Anyway its sad..that Akash is sidelined..it could have been in better shape if IAF got involved in it much more earlier and bought it in tranches..

F said...

Have any studies been done on how resistant the MKM/MKIs 'Bars' radar is to Western EW jamming?

The Elta EW fit on the RSAF F16Ds, are they intended to jam airborne or ground based radars? Or maybe both..

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kannan: Regretably, the news report you've highlighted is not only deeply flawed on several counts, but it also tries to oversimplify the issue. Let me explain further:

1) The MR-SAM and LR-SAM joint R & D projects between the DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries/RAFAEL are by no means opaque deals. They have been openly reported upon since January 2006 when the India Navy first decided to become the launch customer for the Barak-8/Barak-2. As recently as last month during Aero India, in one of my articles in one of FORCE's Show Dailies I described in great detail what the MR-SAM and LR-SAM projects are all about, along with photos and illustrations of the two respective systems in deployment mode. So I can't understand why someone would characterise these R & D projects as beyond introspection and scrutiny.

2) Regarding the on-going R & D efforts on AAD/PAD anti-ballistic missiles, it needs to be borne in mind that these two ABM systems will at most mature after another six years. Although I wish the very best to the DRDO and remain optimistic about the indigenously-devised ABM systems being deployed one day, at the same time I remain deeply pessimistic about whatever results the DRDO's claims to have obtained through the three test-firings so far. This is because very little verifiable data has been released thus far and one has yet to see data or imagery confirming a perfect interception, which in any case has thus far been conducted within a DRDO-controlled environment and not within an operational environment where the prospective end-user will be required to do an objective and no-holds-barred performance evaluation. Therefore, to say that the on-going efforts in co-developing the Barak-8/Barak-2 MR-SAM and its LR-SAM variant should be ditched in favour of the PAD/AAD combination is ridiculous, to say the least, and an erroneous over-simplification of the overall issue.

3) Which brings us to the issue of Akash SAM. When the Akash R & D project was conceived in the early 1980s, it was described as being a replacement for the IAF's S-125 Pechora E-SHORADS (25km-range), PROVIDED the Akash could be put to mass production along with its related command-and-control system within an 8-year period, i.e. by 1992. Now, as we all know by now, this was not the case, deadlines were not adhered to as the core technological competencies pertaining to both R & D and industrial production could not be, and still cannot be, attained. Till now, only the Rajendra BLR and Rohini 3-D CAR have been publicly revealed, while the Battery Surveillanc Radar remains elusive. Therefore, as of now, the Akash can at best be described as an E-SHORADS but its ground-based support infrastructure is as large as that of a M-SAM, making it an uneconomical option. Now, had the Akash been conceived as a 40km-range SAM it would still have takers like the Army and IAF. Even now, the DRDO remains silent on the prospects of increasing the Akash's range from 25km to 40km. Why? Especially when the Indian Army clearly told the DRDO as far back as 2002 that it will not acquire any M-SAM that does not have a range of at least 40km?

4) The MoD's Defence Procurement Procedures clearly state that competitive bidding will be resorted to ONLY when it comes to procuring weapons off-the-shelf. Nowhere is it mentioned that competitive bidding is also be the norm when it comes to selecting DRDO's foreign R & D technology development partners. So where exactly have the MoD's guideleines been violated with regard to the MR-SAM and LR-SAM projects? And why is the DNA report silent about similar joint R & D contracts inked by the DRDO with Russia, Israel and France for the ABM project, with MBDA for the Nag ATGM, and with Russia's AGAT JSC and MBDA for the Maitri E-SHORADS project? Don't you think the DNA reporter is being economical with the truth here?

5) For the LLQRM/SLQRM procurement projects of the Army and IAF, RFIs were issued to several OEMs and following detailed evaluations of the responses, it was decided to award the combined procurement contracts to the IAI/RAFAEL consortium. Therefore, to claim that multiple vendors were not allowed to participate in the LLQRM/SLQRM selection/procurement process is wrong and fallacious.

In conclusion, therefore, we need to be careful about the twists and turns that journalists frequently resort to in order to give their stories a degree of 'exclusivity'. One clear example of this approach is the first story by BROADSWORD about the Project 17 FFG's LM-2500 marine industrial gas turbines. Instead of going to the bottom of the issue and realising that it was nothing but an issue of pending administrative paperwork by the concerned OEMs, the report squarely laid the blame on the doorsteps of the Obama Administration, thereby helping spread false assumptions about the Obama Administration imposing unreasonable export-control restrictions on India! And this of course leads to several fifth columnists jumping into the fray and shouting 'I told you so' and preaching that in light of such 'restrictions' India should continue to stick to the Russians when procuring such imported systems in future.

To F: Apa ini? Kenapa awak tanya such questions? Of course before any weapon system is introduced into service, it is subjected to gruelling performance trials in test-and-evaluation ranges where all specified parameters are tested and proven. Jam resistance depends on what EW systems/tactics your adversary will field and what countermeasures you will adopt in response, and accordingly the radar's transmitter/receiver, signals amplifier and exciter LRUs will be programmed.
Regarding internal jammers, all F-16Ds with the lateral 'hump' aft of the cockpit clearly show the directional emitters, meaning that they're meant to jam only ground-based target acquisition radars and radar illuminators for SAMs. Only the Soviets had pioneered the development of wing root-based and ventral fin-based miniaturised jammers for disrupting the data links connecting an aircraft's airborne fire-control radar and semi-active BVRAAMs. Now, Italy's Elettronica has developed such miniaturised jammers to fit into MiG-29s and Su-27s/Su-30s that can also jam the BVRAAM's active terminal guidance radar. But this is an interim solution, as in future individual transmit/receive modules (part of AESA arrays) will be distributed in a pattern throughout the aircrsft's fuselage (the thin-skin concept pioneered by Russia for the Su-30MK/Su-35BM) that will not only give aircraft configured in this manner a 360-degree airspace surveillance/target engagement capability, but will also enable the aircraft to engage in directional jamming of both ground-based and airborne radars. Needless to say, when this technology is introduced, the dedicated internal jamming suites/external jamming pods will be redundant and useless.

Anonymous said...

Prasun waiting for ADDENDUM 3&4.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

BTW do you think it was wrong on the part of BROADSWORD to publish the temporary ban to operationalise the GE LM2500 engines.

Anonymous said...

prasun, a supari has been given on your head on behalf of madamji....so keep counting your days.

Anonymous said...

russian S400 is most capable system with range of 400 km and better than PAC-3

if we have this system 150km inside from paki border it will destroy their missiles and other aircraft 200-250km inside their teritory

Anonymous said...

spending money to buy ABM systrems
makes no sense because even if single nuke is missied by these ABM system it will cause havoc

and no ABM system is foolproof as US is building tyo protect itself but russian missiles will breach it

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:24PM: While it was not wrong to highlight the LM-2500 issue, the contents of the story were wrong and not factual, and were therefore misleading, as subsequent revelations have now proven.

To Anon@2:41PM: Thanks for the heads-up dude (LOL!). That must be the 60th supari placed on my head since the late 1980s. Am not only counting the days, but also the other suparis that have yet to surface in the time to come.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
seen these?

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1242675

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1242337

http://epaper.dnaindia.com/

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sengupta, has anyone established what the range and ceiling of the MR-SAM for the Navy and the LR-SAM for the IAF will be ?

How many squadrons does the IAF intend to equip ?

Zorin said...

Is "F" malaysian? Why is s/he injecting a malaysian twist all the time?Surely s/he doesn't expect Malaysia to be the next superpower!Who cares what Malaysia orders?At the end of the day surely there will be some "jihadi" links in Malaysia. From the documentaries shown in Australia, ethnic Malays hate Indians and are causing havoc for the Indian community so perhaps let's keep Malaysia out of this page UNLESS they have something to offer to the Indian defence.

Anonymous said...

what is meaning of developing MRSAM with israel if there r already better SAM systems with longer range exist
like s300pmu2,s400

chinese have s300 with 90 km on their type52 destroyers with this MRSAM being made will have only 70 km range

this is like reinventing the wheel and this makes no sense

moreover we r just paying money
everything else being done in israel

like
radar is israeli,
seekers r isreali,
data links r israeli
testing is being done in israel

and no tech transfer for seeker,radar

what india is doing except throwing money

Anonymous said...

PRASUN CAN U PROVIDE SOME INFO ON WHICH AIP BEING OFFERED WITH amur class subs

Anonymous said...

zorin, FYI prasun is a contributor to malayasian def mag tempur, it's he who should say what goes on here, not you.

kindly STFU.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:47AM: Yes, I did read them and the Rs600 crore amount mentioned is most likely to be converted into venture capital to be used for establishing clusters of industrial manufacturing enterprises in India, especially in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore. I know of at least six such companies, all owned by ex-DRDO scientists and officials, that have come up since the late 1990s in a similar manner and which are now the principal vendors for the DRDO's major flagship projects in the areas og guided-missiles, ballistic missiles and long-range tracking radars. All this, again, are direct consequences of the MoD's flawed directives that permit only direct offsets, and not indirect offsets. And last but not the least, the purported amount of Rs600 crores will most likely to pumped back into India in a way almost identical to the one I described in my article on 'facilitators'. While on one hand this will enable India to establish a strong and viable defence-industrial base (this being real ToT) catering exclusively to the gigantic MR-SAM and LR-SAM orders from the Indian armed forces, it will also enable several well-connected politicians to become venture capitalists who in turn will turn to the retired senior DRDO officials to manage and run these enterprises. It is a vicious circle with its pluses and minuses.

To Anon@5:05AM: The data you seek was all clearly displayed on information board posters at the IAI pavilion at Aero India 2009. Such data was also published in the expo's show dailies.

To Zorin: I'm extremely disappointed by your ethnocentric remarks, which are derogatory, to say the least. FYI 'F' happens to be my close friend and I deeply appreciate his questions, especially since my blog was never meant to be an India-specific blog. I don't know how you've concluded that my blog is meant to be 100% India in character and content. And regarding 'jihadi' links, rest assured that you will find more such links within India and India's near-abroad than you will within Malaysia. And regarding your warped suppositions on Malays hating Indians, nothing else is farther than the truth. In Malaysia, the wrath of the socio-econoimically deprived Malaysian-Indians is primarily directed not against the Malays or Chinese, but against the pompous, politically corrupted ruling class of Malaysian-Indians who have only made themselves prosperous over the past 25 years at the expense of the great majority of the Malaysian-Indian citizens. Therefore, given your utter lack of appreciation of the Malaysian socio-economic ground realities, it would be better for you to keep silent on this issue for good.

To Anon@7:48AM: You like to fashion yourself as a consistent self-styled over-simplifier, don't you? What makes you think the S-300PMU and S-400 are superior to the Barak NG-based MR-SAM and LR-SAM? Just because the Chinese bought them? China bought them simply because it could not lay its hand on superior systems of US/European origin due to the arms embargo imposed on Beijing since May 1989. It's that simple. And regarding which party will do what R & D for the India-Israeli MR-SAM and LR-SAM and which enterprise will produce what, the joint R & D and industrial production facilities are now being created in both countries as of now and were detailed by me in FORCE's Aero India show dailies. Therefore, you allegations of all R & D/industrial production being concentrated within Israel is 100% wrong.

Kaushik said...

First it was the HF-24 Marut. Then MBT Arjun and now Akash SAM. It seems the Indian armed forces have absolutely no faith in DRDO or OFB.
I am sure the Air Force will in the end ditch the Tejas too. There will be just token orders for one or two squadrons deployed in non-critical zones like some deep interior part of the country. Already there are clear signs of the IAF's intentions. There have been persistent complaints about the lack of adequate thrust and need for extra hardpoints on the fuselage. Moreover the Tejas' radar and engine are imported and so the IAF has a ready reason to voice its doubts about the Tejas' operational costs and spare parts availability. When the Tejas is ready for deployment after FOC the Air Force will say that since it has 126 MMRCA it can't buy any more MRCAs like Tejas. Moreover the IAF plans to deploy the Tejas in Sulur AFB in the South and not with the Western, Northern or Eastern Air Commands which are critical areas. This clearly shows the regard the IAF has for the Tejas.

Has the IAF officially or unofficially declared the no. of Tejas planes it needs in the long run?

Kannan said...

Prasun..
Turkey is license producing and completely familiar with Israeli systems..
and they are also involved in like..up-gradation of PaK F-16 fleets(to block-50?) and good ties with Pak military. So is it possible that Pak indirectly get cutting edge Israeli weapons/radars and familiarity? Do Israel have some sort of arrangement so that these do not leak to countries like TSP.

Kaushik said...

In your comments you said that ships for missile tracking can't be bought/leased from civilians because they have to be armed. Now this seems to be a dubious reason because even if such ships are unarmed they can always be escorted.

http://www.msc.navy.mil/inventory/ships.asp?ship=107&type=MissileRangeInstrumentationShip

http://www.msc.navy.mil/inventory/ships.asp?ship=133&type=MissileRangeInstrumentationShip

Here you can see two ships used by USA for missile tests. Clearly none of these ships seems to have any self-defense equipment, not even a CIWS. What more the first ship looks like a modified fishing trawler! In India, civilian shipping yards can build such ships. So can't we mount the ISRO developed radar on ships made by us here? Why do we need to buy them from some other country.

Anonymous said...

If the main reason for the army rejecting MBT Arjun is its import component and the difficulty in setting up a parallel logistics network then what about Tank Ex. It has same engine and suspension and tracks as the T-72 with superior turret armour, electronics and survivability. It is just 6 tonnes heavier than T-72 with similar dimensions so minimizing transportation problems. If the army had a really valid reason for rejecting Arjun for weight and dimensions then it should have considered Tank Ex. We have 1400 T-72 that can be converted to Tank-Ex. HVF can make more T-72 hulls so that we need not have gone for T-90 and just had Tank-ex.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kaushik: The problem is not the DRDO, if one accepts that the DRDO's mandate is only to develop weapon systems through indigenous R & D. The problem arises when in a majority of cases the DRDO is made responsible not only for developing weapon systems at the laboratory-level, but is also required to specify and acquire the industrial production technologies/processes and transfer them to the DPSUs. Logically, these two responsibilities need to be separated and DRDO should not be burdened with issues of industrial production, which should be the domain of public-listed engineering companies, DPSUs and even SMEs. This exactly was the problem concerning the Arjun MBT's hydropneumatic suspensions. Although the DRDO had reverse-engineering the US-built hydropneumatic suspensions by 1993, it took more than a decade for companies like Kirloskar Pneumatic to master the production technologies required for locally producing such suspension systems!!! What was missing was the smart synergy between indigenous R & D capabilities and indigenous industrial production engineering capabilities. The two of them have to proceed and advance together in parallel. And this is exactly the problem with the Kaveri turbofan. GTRE has got the design right, the performance parameters right, but the GTRE or even HAL on their own cannot be expected to also come up with the know-how reqd for developing the Kaveri's hot-section components and single-crystal turbine blades, which is why the Kaveri turbofan remains a stillborne product. It should have been MIDHANI teamed up with HAL that should have been made responsible for developing these hot-section components. Why this wasn't done is anyone's guess.
Therefore, it is very interesting to do a case-study of how the Israelis, in light of their growing military-industrial involvement in India, have played a vital role in making sure that companies like ASTRA MICROWAVE were created with overseas venture capital in connivance with ex-DRDO senior scientists/officials. This very same business model is being re-implemented to cater to the MR-SAM and LR-SAM projects.
As for the numbers of Tejas LCAs reqd, it was originally meant to replace the MiG-21M and MiG-21bis. To that you can now add the replacements for the retired MiG-23BNs and early-build MiG-27Ms. ALL in all, about 350 Tejas LCAs are reqd, on paper. But that will change depending on how many M-MRCAs will be acquired, 126 or 220 or 280.
With regard to the MIRV tracking vessels, the US and Indian reqmts are different as the US relies to a very high level on space-based missile tracking assets of the type not available to India. Furthermore, the US warhead impact sites are fairly close to US island-/atoll-based territories and therefore will always have US naval escort vessels like corvettes and OPVs. In contrast, for India the potential MIRV impact sites will be in deep waters in the southern part of the Indian Ocean, which demands that ships of heavier displacement are used. Furthermore, such vessels will have to carry a greater amount of on-board equipment (just like the Chinese tracking vessels do) due to the absence of adequate space-based tracking assets. Finally, while Indian shipyards--both private and DPSUs--do have the capability to fabricate such vessels, the shipbuilders as yet don't have the design capabilities and independent design validation capabilities for such vessels. To overcome these two shortcomings, outsourcing is reqd.

To Kannan: Though Israel-Turkey industrial cooperation has grown over the years, both countries have been careful not to cooperate in sensitive areas like EW. In this area, Turkey has created industrial joint ventures with European entities like SELEX. The Turkish MILDS internal defensive aids suite for the F-16C/D was developed with SELEX, and not IAI/ELTA. Clearly, therefore, both Turkey and Israel have drawn distinct red-lines with regard to the limits of military-industrial cooperation, just as India has drawn a red line about cooperating with Iran in areas where Israeli companies are engaged within India (like upgrading of Russia-origin MBTs).

Nava said...

Are you saying that Iranians actually
have anything to offer to India regarding tank upgrades? Last time I checked, their main specialty was in slightly modifying old equipment and then proclaiming it to be "the best in the world"- they did it to some old tank, as well as to their f-5 "stealth fighters"...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:43AM: The Tank EX has not been rejected by Army HQ. Rather, it is being considered as a potent competitor to the Russian proposal for upgrading the T-72M1s, since the Russian proposal calls for brand-new T-72 hulls and turrets to be supplied directly from Uralvagonzavod JSC, with HVF in Avadi only assembling the two together. The Tank EX proposal on the other hand envisages the use of existing T-72M1 hulls (so there's no need to build new hulls) and is a superior offer, on paper. The problem areas of the Tank EX, however, were the same as that plagueing the Arjun Mk1 until 2007: its hunter-killer fire-control system for which imported thermal imagers for the commander's panoramic sight and gunner's sight have been sought. Another major problem was that of the Tank Ex's 1,100hp powerpack. The Army wanted the DRDO to demonstrate two possibilities: one incorporating the Russia-origin powerpack (the same as that on the T-90S); and the other incorporating the powerpack identical to that on the Malaysian PT-91M MBT (RENK transmission mated to the Polish Wola-1000 engine). If these shortcomings can be rectified and be demonstrated this June in field-trials then the Tank Ex will be seriously considered. In addition, incorporation of the IDAS-90 defensive aids system and
LEDS 150-type active protection system will make the Tank EX an even more worthwhile proposition.

To Nava: No, it is the other way around. In fact, this issue came out in the open when the then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon came visiting in 2003 and he was assured that any Indian assistance in helping Iran upgrade its T-72M1 and T-72S MBTs will remain confined to structural aspects only, and will not include any assistance in the areas of communications and fire-control systems of the type supplied by Israel for India's T-72M1 CIA upgrade programme.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. Sengupta, where I am I have access to neither the show dailies or was able to attend the air show, so any info would be nice.

sachin_sathe said...

Prasun,

if such a circle can help modernization of indian armed forces and restructuring of DRDO then is it bad thing???

Also, wasn't TATA's supposed to be working on an engine for arjun MBT, can the derivative of such a power plant be developed in time for EX-Tank?

Also are indian labs working on active defencive aids or is it going to be an outright purchase?

sayareakd said...

Prasun, can you please inform what type of Laser missile defence system DRDO is working on.

i have posted some of the pics on my blog which is of 2000 and 2001.

That time its range was only 4KM, what is it current status.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:55PM: As you're aware the two projects--MR-SAM and LR-SAM--are being co-developed by a consortium of DRDO labs and a consortium of Israel Aerospace Industries & RAFAEL Defence Systems. The MR-SAM, whose scale-model was shown at Aero India 2009, will have slant engagement envelope of 70km and a service ceiling of 15km, while the LR-SAM will go out to 120km and have service ceiling of 27km. The single-stage MR-SAM will be powered by a pulsed solid propellant rocket, will use proportional navigation for target-homing, will have a length of 3.55 metres, diameter of 225mm and will weigh 275kg. The directional warhead fuze will be of the laser-proximity type. The terminal guidance sensor will be a four-array AESA. The MR-SAM's land-based variant will use the EL/M-2084 MMR AESA target engagement radar and EL/M-2082 AESA long-range airspace surveillance radar. Each vertical launcher of the MR-SAM will carry 12 vertically-launched missiles housed in rectangular cannisters similar to the ones used for the MBDA-built Aster-15. The 120km-range LR-SAM will be a two-stage missile equipped with a jettissionable solid-rocket booster and a second-stage sustainer rocket also using solid fuel. For the Indian Navy's IAC, the on-board weapons suite will comprise the Barak-1 and MR-SAM (also known as Barak NG/Barak-2/Barak-8) for anti-ship cruise missile defence, and the LR-SAM for long-range area air defence, with the four-antenna array EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band AESA being employed for both airspace surveillance and target engagement. They Navy will also equip its projected seven Project 15B DDGs with the MR-SAM/LR-SAM combination. While the Indian Army is on the verge of committing to the land-mobile MR-SAM to replace its existing Kvadrat/SA-6 M-SAMs, the IAF is in favour of inducting the LR-SAM and not the MR-SAM since it is of the view that the combination of LR-SAMs/E-SHORADS is more than enough to defend its fixed-site vulnerable areas/vulnerable points, and therefore is doing away with M-SAM and VSHORADS employment.

To Sachin_Sathe: While there is nothing wrong with the rationale for adopting innovative business cycles for establishing financially viable military-industrial capabilities, what is TOTALLY wrong is the methodology being adopted in creating such national capabilities. Resorting to opaque business practices and incurring 'hidden costs' within equipment procurement allocations can only lead to one thing: unchecked and unjustifiable corruption. Instead, the MoD should set up a MoF-administered venture capital fund that can be made available to business start-up proposals based on project viability instead of collateral-based project financing. This is exactly what has been done throughout those East European (former Warsaw Pact) countries since the mid-1990s and also in South Africa, and this model is the only one that has only only been successful, but has also been a totally transparent process.
Regarding MBTs, TATA Motors was never involved in any kind of MBT propulsion systems development. Rather, it has developed several weight-saving ceramics-based sub-structures for the Arjun MBT's hull and turret, and is also deeply involved in MBT vectronics R & D. As far as active protection systems go, they're all being imported but systems integration will be done by the DRDO.

To Sayarekd@12:33AM: The DRDO and DAE have joined forces to develop what are called laser-based and microwave-based Directed-Energy Weapons (DEW)which will have diverse applications within all three armed services. It should be noted that India got its first direct exposure to such DEWs when, in 1987 the USSR gave a detailed presentation to the IAF on an airborne anti-AEW & C DEW that was carried by a MiG-31 and employed a long-range air-to-air missile that denonated a warhead within 20km of an AEW & C to generate a paralytic EMP to totally burn up the AEW & C platform's airborne sensors. Those were the days when there were fears of an imminent sale of E-2C Hawkeyes by the Reagan Administration to Pakistan. When this sale did not go through the IAF dropped the idea of acquiring such airborne DEWs, but the DRDO immediately initiated R & D work on developing such DEWs indigenously. Since then, the DRDO has achieved core technology competencies and today there is a distinct possibility that the BrahMos-1 or even the projected hypersonic BrahMos-2, launched by a Su-30MKI, will be equipped with EMP-generating warheads. As far as ground-based laser-based anti-missile systems go, they're projected to go on board the FMBT and FICV, but they have also been identified as being viable systems to be employed against Battalion-level tactical and mini-UAVs.

Anonymous said...

prasun any idea if the navy will initiate any purely AD destroyer class ? the P-15B may be ?

reports also talk of land attack capability of P-15B, is that indicative of the nirbhay LACM ?

LR-SAM/MR-SAM + Brahmos + LACM + Barak-1 would be quite a load, what would you expect its weight to be ?

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style said...

Still Waiting for ur ADDENDUM - 3

Anonymous said...

Zorin, prasun adds a malaysian twist coz his roots are there. but having lived there i gotta say what he says are true.

when i was there i had absoulutely no problems, nor did my settled relatives there have problems with malays. Yes, some are racist who stir up politically sensitive issues but mainly for vote-bank politics. Much like is done by Indian politicians (eg Varun Gandhi).

The largest majority Malaysians live in Harmony. There has not been a racial riot for the past 40 yrs. I think conditions ibn South Asia are far worse.

About what Prasun says, I agree to some extent - Indian POLITICIANS have grossly exploited Indian people (eg Samy Vellu). These fucking politicians are self centered who will only help their selves not another soul.

in comparison let me assure you that other race politicians (malay n chinese) have been more generous to the Indians.

How many Indians have excelled from MIC loan? I can name u Indians who excelled from loans controlled by UMNO though.

As such dont comment on what u dont know.

Prasun, to say Indians are socio-economically deprived is wrong too. Comparatively Indians are the second highest tax payers after Chinese. Indian gross income too is higher in all states than Malays, despite Malay "relief", like u know what.....

Further, by percentage Indians make up the largest of doctors and lawyers - far higher than Chinese. Indians scoring all As in SPM and PMR are marginally higher than Malays.

These are just facts prasun. I dont wanna take the conversation away from "the new untouchables", so back to you answering patiently the questions of knowledge seekers.

Anonymous said...

Di atas prasun buat macam tahu BM pula kepada F, walaupun tak tahu. Saya syak dia tahu setakat itu saja..


i said above in malay..

Above Prasun is showing he knows some Malay to F - although I vouch those few words are about what he knows.

[sorry couldnt resist prasun]

now back to "the new untouchables"

Anonymous said...

Oh ya 1 more thing... is there any party for these new untouchables? Samajwadi Party?