Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Debunking A Myth










India-based intellectuals, be they civilians dabbling in strategic affairs or even serving or retired armed services chiefs, have repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable consistency in making ludicrous and largely discredited claims about Pakistan’s military-industrial capabilities that seemingly tend to give the Pakistan Armed Forces a debilitating force projection superiority over their Indian counterparts. The latest such accusation to have surfaced concerns the alleged efforts by the Pakistan Navy to modify its ship-launched Boeing-built RGM-84A and submarine-launched UGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles (of 1984 vintage) into ship-launched 50nm-range dual-role anti-ship strike and land attack precision-guided missiles. True or false? Can such modifications be done covertly without any involvement by the guided-missile’s OEM?

The best and most convincing answer comes from none other than the OEM itself—Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, which had by the mid-1990s successfully modified the Harpoon into precision-guided land attack missile called SLAM-ER (standoff land attack missile-extended range), and had also developed the related Harpoon Shipboard Command Launch Control System and the AWW-14 data-link pod (this being for the air-launched variant of the SLAM-ER). The above slides clearly demonstrate what exactly were the modifications carried out by Boeing IDS on the basic Harpoon, and how this missile has since evolved into the SLAM-ER (which is now being offered to the Indian Air Force along with both the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-16IN Super Viper medium multi-role combat aircraft). Taking the cue from the SLAM-ER, both MBDA and Israel Military Industries (IMI) have adopted the same optronics-based precision-guidance approach for their SCALP and Delilah air-/ship-/submarine-launched standoff land attack missiles (as has the Pakistan Air Force with the Ra’ad air-launched land attack cruise missile).

Consequently, it emerges from the above that for any Pakistani military-industrial entity to modify the Harpoon into a LACM, it would not only have to radically redesign the missile’s nose section, but will also have to develop a passive optronic sensor and integrate it with the missile’s inertial navigation system, develop a new Shipboard Command Launch Control System, and develop the airborne data-link pod so that the LACM can be provided with over-the-horizon targetting (OTHT) cues at its terminal cruise phase. Which means, while the LACM will have to be launched from a warship lurking dangerously close to a hostile coastline, a defenceless manned airborne platform (either fixed-wing or rotary-winged) too will have to be in the warship’s immediate vicinity for providing OTHT cues.

Given such daunting R & D challenges, wouldn’t it be much easier for Pakistan to acquire and deploy ground-/air-/ship-launched LACMs like the Babur and Ra’ad, both of which not only have much longer engagement envelopes, but also heavier warheads for guaranteeing assured target destruction? And if at all it is so easy to modify or even reverse-engineer anti-ship cruise missiles of 1980s vintage, then can someone explain why the DRDO’s labs (like the DRDL, GTRE, IRDE and DARE) have still been unable to reverse-engineer the decommissioned BAE Systems-built Sea Eagle anti-ship cruise missiles (whose performance parameters closely resembled those of the Harpoon A) that have now been decommissioned and are available for total strip-down and cloning? Why has the DRDO been unable to re-engineer the Sea Eagle into an unmanned high-speed target drone capable of subjecting the Indian Navy's Barak-1 and Kashtan-M close-in anti-missile defence systems to some pretty realistic threat simulation environments of the kind expected to be faced in wartime? Why does this operational requirement (for the drones) remain unfulfilled till this day?
India’s civilian and military decision-makers—it thus seems—can bark galore but cannot bite.—Prasun K. Sengupta

290 comments:

1 – 200 of 290   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

to prasun


Consequently, it emerges from the above that for any Pakistani military-industrial entity to modify the Harpoon into a LACM, it would not only have to radically redesign the missile’s nose section, but will also have to develop a passive optronic sensor and integrate it with the missile’s inertial navigation system, develop a new Shipboard Command Launch Control System, and develop the airborne data-link pod so that the LACM can be provided with over-the-horizon targetting (OTHT) cues at its terminal cruise phase.
--------------------------------
pakis have done all this with babur missile

Pierre Zorin said...

Amidst all this hi-tech talk and DRDO initiated aspirations that would shame Alexander the great here's a small report that really tells the sad story "Officers initially tried to take on heavily-armed Islamist militants using bamboo sticks, revolvers and British colonial-era bolt-action rifles until commandos arrived.
Retired army colonel U.S. Rathore said Indian soldiers still used hand grenades dating back to World War II and suggested their malfunction could be due to chemical degradation.
The newspaper, which based its report on unnamed military and defence sources, said soldiers had also complained about the Indian Army's standard issue Insas assault rifle.
"The barrel overheats with continuous firing," one source told The Times. "Oil spillage while firing is also a major trouble."
The rifle's lack of a rapid-fire feature also fails to match up to the extremists' weapon of choice, the Russian-made AK-47, the report said". Now imagine talking about nuclear weapons etc which would most likely never be used and ignoring weapons which are always used in any battle!It's like taking a toddler to the next olympics and asking him to compete with Usain Bolt!I don't know what to say...

F said...

Prasun, do you recall a report that emerged in the late 90's about China buying a Ukrainian cruise missile factory and relocating it 'lock stock and barrel' to China?

News has emerged about a 200 million Euro maintanance/support 5 year contract to be signed at LIMA 2009 for the 2 RMN Scorpenes. I'm not sure if its premature or even accurate but there was also a report about the Cougar deal being signed at LIMA.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Faris: That's right, it was the Korshun cruise missile from Ukraine. In fact, I have photos of this cruise missile being showcased in a poster during the 2001 LIMA expo. After that, however, Ukrainian pavilions at subsequent LIMA and DSA expos have not shown this poster. Regarding the maintenance contracts for the two Scorpenes, this was already part of the overall procurement schedule. The contract for the EC-725 Cougars for the RMAF is presently being re-negotiated at MINDEF.

F said...

Thanks Prasun. What ever happened to the ram jet version of the Adder that Vympel was working on in the 90's? More recently there were also reports that Vympel was working on an IR version of the Adder of 'anti-AWACS' work.

Do you have any info about the so-called 'smart' 155mm round [Tamingsari] being developed by STRIDE?

On the latest Merkava, the hatches on the have been thickened as a precaution against top attack munitions. The hatches are so heavy, they have to be power operated. In your opinion, why hasn't the same been introduced onto other MBTs? Weight issues perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Pakistan AWACS can be jammed if flying along the border by samyukta ground based jammer and same for indian awacs flying along the border

Anonymous said...

to prasun

why shtil sam with launcher used in shivalik class instead of VL shtil available

launcher must be slower than VL system in firing missiles

Anonymous said...

I think more to do with foregn policy points over Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr Sengupta
You said here that; The LCA will have an actuated refueling probe and it will also feature infra red search & track.

Doesn't that sound a bit too far fetched? Tejas is already overweight...weren't they supposed to just re-design the airframe to accommodate the new engines? Not that I doubt your sources but i'd hate to hear DRDO saying in a few years that the Mk.2 has also become overweight.
Finally I'd like to know which engine you'd like to go on-board the Mk.2
Thank you.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Faris: The ramjet-powered variant of the R-77 is still under development (80% of th work has already been completed) )and Vympel JSC wants foreign partners for pumping in the reqd R & D funds. But it is earmarked for limited series production within five years. Vympel also wants to offer this missile as an E-SHORADS like the SL-AMRAAM-ER.
Regarding the Tamingsari 155mm laser-guided projectile, it is actually a Krasnopol-M. From what I know, this project was born in 2005 when a a Chinese company (not NORINCO) approached STRIDE for co-developing it. Reportedly, this Chinese company had obtained the design blueprints of the Krasnopol-M from the North Koreans. Subsequently, Pakistan was also invited to join the programme as a risk-sharing partner. So now it is a trilateral R & D project involving Malaysia, Pakistan and China.
Regarding the powered hatches on the Merkava Mk4, there is no longer a problem as ample internal volume and electrical power supply is available within the turret, thanks to the adoption of all-electric turret drive/stabilisation systems (from ELBIT Systems) instead of the earlier bulkier electro-mechanical and electro-hydraulic systems.

To Anon@6:41AM: Firstly, the Samyukta's effective range is limited by the earth's natural horizon. Secondly, the Samyukta is not designed to jam AEW & C aircraft per se, but to jam battlespace surveillance radars (airborne and ground-based) when operating in the SAR/GMTI mode.

To Anon@6:49AM: The VL Shtil was available only from 2005, whereas the Project 17 FFG's design was frozen way back in 2002.

To Anon@10AM: No, it is not far-fetched at all. In fact, it is mandatory and this was confirmed last February in statements given by both the then HAL Chairman and the ADA Director to the Aero India 2009 Show Dailies. As for the Tejas Mk2, ADA has stated that it will be able to redesign the airframe and make the first Tejas Mk2 fly within three years of the new engine's selection. The airframe redesign will not just be limited to the engine bay area, but will also include the nose section and wings, which will be larger. Therefore, the sooner the new turbofan is selected, the better. My personal choice will be GE's F414. But do rest assured that the Tejas Mk2 WILL NOT be overweight for one very simple reason: the offensive payload to ve carried will no longer be the heavier gravity bombs, but laser-/GPS-guided 250kg and 500kg smart bombs/PGMs. It won't be the Paveway 2s/3s that are carried by M-MRCAs like the Gripen JAS-39 IN, but lighter PGMs like Popeye-Lite, SAGEM's AASM and Paveway-4s. If you look at any illustration of the fully-armed F-16IN Super Viper, you will understand what I'm trying to explain here.

Anonymous said...

^^^
& why not the EJ200? It has thrust vectoring no?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

And why does one need thrust-vectoring? What is it that an aircraft with thrust-vectoring can do which an agile air combat missile with thrust-vectoring nozzles and aided by a helmet-mounted cueing and display system cannot? In an environment where air superiority issues will be sorted out by beyond-visual-range air combat (aided by AEW & C platforms), what exactly is the relevance of thrust-vectoring and supermanoeuvrability and supercruise for manned combat aircraft?

Anonymous said...

Did Pakistan sold 22 Al-Khalid tanks to Sri Lanka?????

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Not to my knowledge, unless the Sri Lanka Army wants to engage India's T-90S MBTs in battle!

Anonymous said...

to prasun

, the Samyukta's effective range is limited by the earth's natural horizon. Secondly, the Samyukta is not designed to jam AEW & C aircraft per se, but to jam battlespace surveillance radars (airborne and ground-based) when operating in the SAR/GMTI mode.
---------------------------------
you should know that the awacs flies at what altitude its over 9km,from 9 km the natural horizon becomes over 250 km

and if samyukta is closer to broder and awacs flying on other side of border at 30000 feet to cover as much as area it can the natural horizon becomes even farther than 250km

so in this case samyukta can engage the radio frequencies of awacs

and the data link,IFF are omnidirectional so samyukta will have no problem in jamming these things.

by the way russian/ukrainian ground based jammer are able to jam awacs too

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Please read carefully what I had said earlier. It is the ground-based Samyukta's performance that is limited to the natural horizon, and not that of any airborne AEW & C platform. It is for this reason that an AEW & C platform's airborne battle management tasks will not be disrupted by any ground-based system like Samyukta. An no AEW & C platform will fly out to within 100km of hostile airspace unless and until air supremacy is achieved and in the India-Pakistan or China-India equations, none of the three country's air forces can be expected to attain air supremacy, only tactical air superiority.
I had already posted earlier this year all the performance parameters of Samyukta. Very limited and selected modes of ground-based or airborne radars can be jammed by Samyukta or for that matter any other such ground-based system as the same laws of physics apply to all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
can you tell what are the advantages of operating f-18's engine over eurofighter's engine for LCA?
PS: F-16s are soaring over Bangalore; more than three sorties per day!

F said...

Prasun, in light of how air combat has evolve in recent years, with most engagements taking place at BVR with the aid of AEW platforms via data links, do you agree that the training priority for air forces now should be on BVR work with less emphasis on WVR training? I think the last conflicts that WVR engagements took place was the Iran'Iraq war and more recently the Ethopia/Eritia conflict. Due to a lack of resources and low threat level, many small air forces, including the RMAF, RTAF, etc, continue to devote a a lot on WVR training. Are you aware of actually how much flying hours RMAF fighters clock annually? Thank you.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:25PM: It is quite simple, really. Firstly, GE Aero Engines has been involved with ADA since the mid-1980s and is in a really advantageous position to give ADA critical inputs reqd for modifying the Tejas LCA's engine bay and air intakes. It is far easier to cross an existing bridge rather than attempt to build a new bridge (as is the case with Eurojet). Secondly, GE's F414 is--in terms of production volume--assured of a far larger order book than that of the EJ200. As of now, far more F414-powered Super Hornets and Gripen NGs will remain operational than the EJ200-powered Typhoons. On top of that, the F414 will accumulate far more flight-hours on a global scale (thanks to the US Navy/USMC sorties being flown over existing combat theatres), making it a far more mature and trouble-free engine compared to the EJ200--all of which are a sheer delight for potential customers like the IAF since any new end-user wants a product that is bug-free and has a fully established and proven through-life product support mechanism. For instance, F414-powered Super Hornets have been logging in flight hours over high-altitude battlefields over Afghanistan since 2002, while the Eurofighter Typhoon has not yet begun flying in Afghnaistan--something the IAF has been watching with great interest. Thirdly, in terms of pricing, GE Aero Engines can make its offer financially unbeatable since it can offer to the Govt of India (together with Boeing) the quantum of indirect industrial offsets the likes of which can never be matched by Rolls-Royce. For instance, at Boeing's proposed MRO facility in Nagpur, GE can easily set up a turbofan MRO facility for all GE-built turbofans now operational in India, be it the GE90 or the CFM56. And as time goes by, GE can, like Boeing, make Indian MRO entities and potential engine component manufacturers become part of GE's global supply chain. Therefore, in conclusion, from a technological, industrial and financial standpoint, the likes of Rolls-Royce or SNECMA Moteurs are as of now totally unable to match GE's overwhelming clout and predominance.
Of all the M-MRCA contenders, though, the cheapest through-life support costs are presently being offered by Lockheed Martin's F-16In Super Viper. Contrary to what Gripen Int'l may claim, the fact remains that the F-16 has been successfully licence-built in Belgium, The Netherlands, Turkey and South Korea--thus making Lockheed Martin the most experienced of all other M-MRCA OEMs in terms of ToT for undertaking licenced-assembly. And as for the much hyped-about source codes, here again the Lockheed Martin-led consortium has the upper hand as it, along with Northrop Grumman, has already successfully implemented the first such ToT in the landmark deal with the UAE Air Force for the F-16E/F Block 60 and its APG-80 AESA. Therefore, my personal opinion is: stop this 'tamasha' of competitive operational evaluations of various M-MRCA contenders and go for a directly negotiated sole-source contract for the F-16IN. If Lockheed Martin can successfully bag such contracts (in the above-mentioned countries), there's no reason that it can't do so in India.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

(continued from above....)
And as for those seemingly ignorant broadcast journalists being fed all kinds of marketing hype from the likes of Gripen Int'l, they could, for once, ask questions like: Which other customer is committed to placing firm orders for the Vixen 1000e and Vixen 500 AESA-based airborne multi-mode radars? Is this potential customer sharing a territorial border with India? How many hours of flight-tests will it take to qualify an AESA from another OEM on the Gripen IN (since the systems integration will be able to be carried out on a ground-based rig)? Of course, 90% of the answers being sought can only come from Selex Airborne Sensors, but when one goes to a marketing presentation conducted only by Gripen Int'l, not many answers will be forthcoming. And that's the roadbump which these Delhi-based 'desi' journos find it impossible to negotiate/overcome.

Swapnil said...

A couple of questions,

1. If IAF selects either F16 or F18, would there be sanctions or any spare parts issues on us in case of a war agnst PAk(if somthin like Mumbai attacks is repeted nd India opts for surgical strikes) or China against the US wishes?? wouldnt be it a safer bet avoidin such a situation??

2. There hv been reports regardin INS Shivalik goin trials and expected commissionin in NOV,what stage is it now?? can u clarify a bit regardin other two frigates of its ilk,when are they supposed to go for trials and get commissioned??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Faris: Numerically speaking, there have been more BVR engagements and WVR engagements since the early 1980s simply due to the availability in-theatre of force multipliers like AEW & C platforms. And within the WVR spectrum, the side with superior optronics (like IRST and helmet-mounted cueing and display systems) has had greater success in staging interceptions with more agile WVR-AAMs capable of sustaining combined g-loads of up to 76 g. Therefore, available technologies alone ensure today that the classical dogfights involving manned combat aircraft are a thing of the past, and future air combat engagements--even within the visual spectrum--will be decided by superior optronics and totally passive non-cooperative target recognition systems (like IRSTs). As for the RMAF it is gearing up for this kind of operating scenario and the DRS Technologies-developed DACTS/ACMI system has been leased for service induction. On average, every operational RMAF pilot is reqd to log in at least 20 flight-hours per month.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Swapnil: Why are you under the false impression that only if India buys US-origin equipment will she be forced to bear the brunt of any sanction/embargo? Do you really believe that there are no US-origin components on board the MiG-35 or the Rafale or the Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon? Russia's United Aircraft Corp itself has officially spelt out the kind of INTEL-built processors on board the MiG-29K and the yet-to-emerge MiG-35. Hell, even the radar computers, display processors and mission computer of the Su-30MKI uses NTEL-supplied processors. All these can be impacted by US-imposed sanctions. Just check out the number of US-origin components on either SNECMA's M88 turbofan or Eurojet's EJ200 (like digital fuel controls) that are being supplied by the likes of BF Goodrich (another US company). Even the VHSICs used by Israel-supplied avionics like the ACMI pods and mission sensors of the PHALCON all come from US OEMs. So, how exactly do you want to 'avoid' any kind of material US involvement? Beats me.
Regarding the sea trials, these normally last for a two-year period. However, in the past, the Indian Navy conducted sea trials of domestically-built warships just to validate the integrity of the lead vessel's propulsion and electrical systems, and then commissioned the vessel, after which the weapons-firing trials were conducted. Therefore, in terms of complete and comprehensive sea trials the required period is 18 to 24 months for the lead vessel, with the follow-on vessels of the same class requiring only six months to complete their respective sea trials.

Swapnil said...

Sir, frankly I had no prev. knowledge about ny of d techinal issues bein talkd about, bein a complete naive I came into such an impression readin some posts at other forums, but thanks 4 ur clarifications, in future I will make sure.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Swapnil: No problems, relax. Will gladly clear any such doubts/queries that you may raise in future.

Anonymous said...

A processor is a commodity equipment and as such it can be easily purchased from market without much issue be it Intel or IBM processor.

So just because Mig/Sukhoi uses intel process does not make it vulnerable to sanctions , which if need be can be replaced by Russian processor.

On the contrary specialized equipment like Engine , Avionic and Weapons which an OEM can supply are very much sensitive to sanctions and can make or break many squadron if sanctions are applied

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:51AM: be it a processor or VHSIC and irregardless of whether it is a commodity or not, they all are subject to santions/embargoes. Even hydraulic fluids can be embargoed. And FYI if Russia-developed and built processors were effective and available substitutes they would have been incorporated from the very beginning on board Russia-origin avionics. The mere fact that Russian avionics OEMs continue using INTEL processors translates into only one conclusion: there are no credible or proven Russia-origin product substitutes, period.

Anonymous said...

Prasun do you think india should get american bvr missiles are they superior russian bvr missiles like r77 ?I am asking this because of CAG reports.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:20PM: Actually, I'm not entirely sure that the AMRAAM family of BVRAAMs are 'superior' to the Vympel R-77. The CAG report did refer to malfunctioning R-77s but one has to dig deeper to find out what exactly caused the malfunctions. When you do that you will find out that these malfunctions were caused by deficienies within the IAF's weapons storage infrastructure/practices. In such a situation, even an AMRAAM will tend to malfunction.

Anonymous said...

to prasun

the yet-to-emerge MiG-35.
----------------------------
how different the mig35 will be than the #154 or mig29k or mig29kub

it will have 2 more hardpoints and 6000 hours of life with 6 ton payload\

and yes AIM 7 is still n production with mid course guidance

Anonymous said...

Prasun , you might be able to sanction all your system , but then you might not be able to counter the flow of such sanctioned equipment for eg processor to sanctioned countries.

One can just go and buy over these processor over the country from any country and there is nothing any sanction can do to prevent its flow.

There is no neeed for Russia , India or Europe to build processor as buying the intel or IBM RISC processor or Motorola DSP are cost effective options.

Russian do have build processor but they use on key strategic systems , for the rest it is just cost effective to buy them off the shelf and use it for any manufacturer around the world period.

Anonymous said...

feedback - ur articles used to be more informative before... like stuff on ADM etc. now there's too much of scanned things.... we prefer the old trishulgrp

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

Thanks for the earlier replies to some of my earlier questions. I do have few more…hope you wouldn’t mind.

1. With so much happing on the eastern border, are we at least prepared to defend ourselves for not loosing any more territory? This keeps worrying me a lot, like many, with the pathetic political attention and process to procure any required equipment added with bureaucratic hurdles. I understand some times media makes more noise than the required at the same time we can never trust the dragon. Added with all this, I still remember the IA’s expressed inability to attack our western border, after 26/11, expressed in the high level security meeting. Would like to know your comments on the situation and our preparedness as whole.

2. We were supposed to sign the M2000 upgrade contract foe the past one year. By any chance are we still holding it till mrca technical evaluation is done? Any chance of exchanging the oldies with new rafels, if selected? ( Though my personnel guess is f18 due to political reasons).

3. Any further progress about the extra areal refuelers from Air bus and also the AWACS re-order for 4 more. I think we badly need them.

Thanks

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@8:08PM: The operative word in your comment is 'might'. If you want to be absolutely certain about how effective sanctions are, trying visiting the telecommunications centres of Pakistan, Iran and Syria and ask the officials there why exactly China's Hwawei Technologies bagged contracts for supplying ALL their countrywide cellular phone networks. Yes, one could stock stock up on US-origin VHSICs for a maximum five-year period, but what happens after that? And even if the Russians are unable to competitively produce such VHSICs to make their final products sanctions-proof, then all I can say is that Russia is today just like a nuclear weapons-armed Upper Volta, and not a reliable weapons supplier its predecessor--the USSR--was.

To Anon@8:37PM: Scanned stuff is equally important and informative according to several others following this blog, especially when it comes topics like the one above, since as you know too well, there's no dearth of idiots (including those within the Govt of India and the armed forces) that are always more than willing to assume even the most ridiculous propositions, like modifying anti-ship strike Harpoons into land attack cruise missiles! These idiots and their idiocracies do need to get exposed.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:11PM: The Indian Army is today at its lowest ebb, thanks to successive govts since 1999 failing to modernise the Indian Army's field artillery arm on a war-footing, even when it is an established fact that use of long-range field artillery is the best tool used for punitive strikes across the border without raising the threshold-levels.
No, the Mirage 2000H/TH upgrade project has nothing to do with the Rafale's prospects in the on-going M-MRCA competition. Nor will it be possible to do an exchange programme with the IAF's existing Mirage 2000s as they're of the older variety and have virtually no resale value. Unless France puts something on the table similar to what it has done in Brazil (by helping design and fabricate nuclear-powered SSGNs), the Rafale will not be a palatable political choice. All that France has done so far is give political approval to Fench companies like THALES to compete as vendors for sub-systems meant to go on board India-built SSBNs and SSGNs. Will President Sarkozy raise the stakes now? It remains to be seen. Until then, the F-16IN Super Viper and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet remain the only two fully-compliant and most cost-effective contenders.
Regarding the six A330-220 MRTTs, the price negotiations committee is already going though the terminal stages of contracts negotiations. For the follow-on AEW & C platforms, the G-550 CAEW & CS remains now the most viable alternative for the IAF as well as the Indian Navy (as Russia's Ulyanovsk-based aircraft assembly plant has not yet been able to begin trial fabrication of the IL-76/IL-78, and no one knows when exactly will Russia make good its promise of restarting IL-76/IL-78 production there, numerous official statements and recent soundbytes notwithstanding.
In conclusion, what we badly need most are mounted gun systems (900motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers) and at least 200 tracked self-propelled 155mm/52-cal howitzers, followed by 145 ultraweight 155mm/39-cal airmobile howitzers. Without these, the Army is toothless on any front. To hell with all this on-going tamasha about competitive bidding (which has so far brought no decisive results) and instead do final systems selection based on the system's global sales track record. Based on this simple premise alone, the Caesar from France's Nexter Systems and LW-155 from BAE Systems should be procured, while Samsung Techwin's 155mm/52-cal turret-mounted howitzer and BAE Systems' AS-90 turret-mounted howitzer should be shortlisted and integration trials ought to be carried out to see if either of these turrets can be mounted on the hull of the T-90S MBT. Let's keep it simple and limited to those vendors that have already had an established track record in India for decades, but allow aggressive newcomers like France and South Korea a fair chance. And forever do away with towed 155mm/52-cal howitzers that cannot keep up with the steadily rising massed fire-assault demands of manoeuvre warfare in the subcontinent. Now, how difficult can all this really be? And why the fuck has the Indian Army drafted utterly unrealistic GSQRs (and label them as 'stringent') when far more modern land forces worldwide that are currently involved in active combat theatres have not felt the need to evolve equally stringent GSQRs? I would like either the Indian Army Chief or his Vice Chief to answer this simple question.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Anyway, the good news is that the Indian Army is raising two new Divisions--41 Mountain Div (based in Binaguri) and 56 Mountain Division (location yet to be determined). By 2011, III Corps (now being restructured as the offensive Corps) will comprise 56 Mtn Div, 41 Mtn Div and the Rangla-based 2 Mtn Div (presently under IV Corps). From then on, the XXXIII Corps in Sukhna for Sikkim sector), III Corps in Dimapur and IV Corps in Tezpur will be 100% China-centric. To cater to the airmobility and aerial logistics replenishment reqmts of these three Corps, an additional 40 Mi-17V-5s will shortly be ordered for the IAF over and above the 80 already ordered. Also, 12 Heron 2 UAVs are being procured by the Army for these three Corps-sized formations. The remaining two holding Corps under HQ Eastern Command will each have one rapid reaction airmobile infantry Brigade for localised contingencies along the Bangladesh and Myanmar fronts.

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

i think going by the way the MMRCA trials are shaping up its clear the either of the American offerings will win.

If F-16IN wins then it would not be an upg'ed Blk.60 but a further upgradation of F-16I Soufa
as IAF is focused on many Iseraeli products(Python-5,Popeye lite etc.) & is already integrating them via varius upg processes. Even LocMart has said it will offer Iseraeli munitions and other equipment(saves them trouble for declassfying their own equipment while knowing perrformance of those being offered.

If F-18 wins then it may contain some Iseraeli content but the weapon pacage would largely be american(expect SDB or enhanced pavway II/III being offered) but it would ensure a well established support for Tejas Mk.2(which will use Ge 414 if SHor is selected).
Wht is ur take on this?

I think as far as the Artillary upg is concerned the trials are going to draw up a blank once again & with Bofors demolishing other compititors on performance alone i think politians dontwant a sequel.Hence the Army is going to get buggered once again.
wht do u think?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sachin Sathe: Both the F-16IN and Super Hornet can accept any weapons of Israeli origin as the navigation-and-attack suites of both are of the open-architecture-type. But the F-16In will be something like the latest Block 70. If from a techno-economic matrix the Super Hornet and GE F414 (for the tejas Mk2) are chosen, that will be the best and ideal combination for the IAF in terms of integrated logistics support and through-life product support, plus a gigantic industrial offsets package from GE and Boeing.
Regarding the Bofors towed howitzer trials, as I said earlier that category of towed howitzers should be done away with in favour of motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers.

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

Considering IAF's stated req of 20 AEW&C aircraft how many would IAF order also takink into account the Indian project(which seems to hav attained a steady pace with no major Hiccups and has IAF taking a very active role)?

will the G550 based CAEW be used as a battle management platform for combinedIA-IAF operations(ala J-STARS) in future?

regarding Kaveri marine turbine IN seems to hav given an order of 40 with 40 options is it possible to use it in a program like P-28 corvettes and 0ffshore patrol vessels which hav ocean-going capability?

Anonymous said...

to prasun

Until then, the F-16IN Super Viper and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet remain the only two fully-compliant and most cost-effective contenders.
--------------------------------

1. cost of buying aircraft

2. cost of flying per hour

3. cost of buying weapons

4. cost of mid life upgrade

5. cost of fuel in country

6. cost of setting up
infrastructure base for new
fighter

7. cost for setting up industrial
base for new fighter

8. cost of keeping weapons
healthy over the years,more are
the weapon types more is cost

9. all the above thing depend on
the country's economic position
over 40 years.

10. if infrastructure already
exixts cost i further reduced



points from 3 to 10. dominate the points 1 and 2

and for shornet 36 of them for brazil cost 7 billion and india wants 18 to be procured from directly from vendor so 18 shornets would cost 3 billion

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

I really appriciate your time and replies.

Thanks.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

If you were to read the following new item emanating from India, one could have a good laugh at what all the coyness is all about:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/New-N-E-division-with-eye-on-China/articleshow/4995973.cms

Now, this is what the news item should have contained: The Indian Army is raising two new Divisions--41 Mountain Div (based in Binaguri) and 56 Mountain Division (location yet to be determined). Due to this, an extra 55,000 personnel will be recruited and their support costs will be a nett addition to the MoD's sanctioned establishment costs. By 2011, III Corps (now being restructured as the offensive Corps) will comprise 56 Mtn Div, 41 Mtn Div and the Rangla-based 2 Mtn Div (presently under IV Corps). From then on, the XXXIII Corps in Sukhna for Sikkim sector), III Corps in Dimapur and IV Corps in Tezpur will be 100% China-centric. To cater to the airmobility and aerial logistics replenishment reqmts of these three Corps, an additional 40 Mi-17V-5s will shortly be ordered for the IAF over and above the 80 already ordered. Also, 12 Heron 2 UAVs are being procured by the Army for these three Corps-sized formations. The remaining two holding Corps under HQ Eastern Command will each have one rapid reaction airmobile infantry Brigade for localised contingencies along the Bangladesh and Myanmar fronts.

Anonymous said...

prasun

is it true india buying 50 more su30mki?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@8:06AM: The costs for the Brazilian M-MRCA procurement can't be compared with those for India as Brazil is buying far fewer M-MRCAs. The more aircraft one buys the lesser the per-unit costs.

To Anon@10:18AM: You're welcome.

To Sachin Sathe: No, the G-550 CAEW & CS cannot be used as a standalone J-STARS-like platform. For that there is another G-550-based battlespace surveillance system that I had earlier outlined and discussed sometime last February. Regarding the DRDO's own in-house R & D project for developing an AEW & C system, everyone is assuming that it will be available for flight-tests by 2013-2014 and assuming everything goes as per plans, it will be series-produced by 2016. Even if this were to be true, the IAF or the Navy can't wait that long for procuring additional AEW & C platforms, since the operational needs are quite urgent, i.e. to acquire another six platforms by 2012.
Regarding the Kaveri KMGT and its power generator variants, by all means once they're declared fit for series-production they should be ordered in large numbers for future corvettes and OPVs, as well as by other entities like ONGC, Reliance Petrochemicals, etc etc. There's a huge demand for such hardware on board the private sector offshore oil/gas platforms.

Anonymous said...

Hey Prasun!
CABS are saying that the Indian AEW&C will be similar or more advanced than the Israeli Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). You can read the report here. How come they are able to design such a complex system & yet no MMR for LCA?

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

Couple of days back, I was reading the combact air craft monthly and I red abour the Boeing Wedgetail which ready after 3 years of delay. They were projecting India as a potential customer and it looks like Indian air force already asked for RFI. What are the chances of its success with india and how good is it compared to the current Israil made AEW&C.
Thanks.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:45AM: Yes, yes, yes! It is 1,000% fact of life! It was first mentioned by Alexey Fedorov (who heads the United Aircraft Corp) during Aero India 2009 and since then matters have picked up pace, with the 'Acceptance of Necessity' clause (contained within the original umbrella contract inked in 1998) being invoked. Under this clause, all terms and conditions of the original umbrella agreement apply and consequently, only a supplementary contract (like that for the last 40 Su-30MKIs ordered) is inked with the usual annual price escalation matters factored in (which is not unusual at all and is in total conformity with international business practices). But this time, the 50 Su-30MKIs will be sent to HAL in semi knocked-down condition (for quicker assembly). Previously, when the 40 additional Su-30MKIs were ordered the IAF wanted the same arrangement but HAL and MoD thought otherwise and as a result these 40 aircraft will be delivered by HAL ONLY AFTER the first batch of 140 Su-30MKIs are delivered by 2014. Since this does not help the IAF arrest the steady depletion of its combat aircraft fleet strength, IAF HQ this time has mandated that the latest 50 to-be-ordered Su-30MKIs be delivered directly by IRKUT Corp (belonging to United Aircraft Corp) in semi knocked-down condition (i.e. only the wings being detached from the fuselage when they're airlifted) so that they can be quickly refitted within 15 days of their arrival in India.

Anonymous said...

have u seen the "malicious code" in p8i contract post in live fist?
do u think this is possible[sub optimal performance,recording of platform usage]

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:03PM: Beats me, man. Looks like the CABS fellas are barking more instead of demonstrating even a modest bite. As for cost competitiveness this is easily disputed as the CABS platform is a narrowbody EMB-145, whereas the G-550 is a widebody, has a higher cruising altitude and greater unrefuelled endurance. and has a more versatile dual band (L and S) AESA-based radar sensor suite. This dual-band capability would give an operator the crucial edge when operating over mountainous terrain. I for one wouldn't have entrusted the DRDO with such an R & D project unless and until it had first demonstrated its core competencies in AESA radar development on board larger platforms like warships. At the end of the day it will be Embraer which will be the main financial beneficiary as it will not only get to supply the EMB-145 platforms, but will also be paid for flight-qualifying the mission sensor/mission management suites because Embraer already possesses all the STCs required for doing such work. Therefore, in terms of financial volume, 60% of the allocated funds will go into Embraer's pockets and don't be too surprised if Embraer also claims ownership of all IPRs and STCs (and not CABS) for all modifications carried out on the EMB-145. In my view, if CABS really wanted to create a unique product in partnership with Embraer, then it should have done what Embraer earlier wanted to do with Lockheed Martin for the now-canceleld Aerial Common Sensor project. Consequently, what CABS could have given the IAF and Army combined is a new unique capability (that of an AESA radar operating in the synthetic aperture and ground moving target indication modes like a J-STARS battlespace surveillance aircraft), instead of what it is trying to do now--giving more of a capability that the IAF already possesses.

Nava said...

So you're unimpressed- fair enough. But how about the IAF? Will it be procuring the CABS?

Anonymous said...

thanks man
keep up the good work..

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:30PM: In reality, Boeing had as far back as 2002 sent the IAF a detailed presentation on the Wedgetail that contained more data than what it would in a RFI. The same was the case with the Chinook. Boeing first provided detailed information on what was then the CH-47D variant way way back in 1993.

To Anon@12:45PM: I'm glad you've raised this issue, since almost everyone seems to think that this is one way the US would get some kind of backdoor entry (with ulterior motives) on operational P-8Is. In reality, this is far far far from the truth. Actually, this is what the issue is all about: both the US and India remain acutely concerned about such 'malicious codes or viruses' originating from China and being 'inserted' or being covertly embeddded with a mission management system's operating software ESPECIALLY WHEN network-centric operations USING A MYRIAD of terrestrial and space-based OPERATIONAL DATA LINKS are being employed or to be employed by the Indian Navy. Both the US Navy and Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces have already experienced this and therefore, the US has decided to forewarn India in advance about history being repeated once again, especially since the P-8Is would be using the indigenously developed, customised and built LINK-2 operational data link system, and not a US-origin system. Consequently, the issue of product liability arises and what the US is doing is making it amply clear far in advance (which is good) that in case there is corruption of the P-8I's operating software then in the spirit of cooperation neither party should get embroiled in wasteful finger-pointing and lengthy litigation and should instead put their heads together to combat and neutralise such China-origin sabotage attempts.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: CABS stands for Centre for Airborne Systems, an R & D lab owned by the MoD's Defence R & D Organisation. The system being developed by CABS is called L-band AEW & CS for the time-being. I don't think the IAF and Indian navy has the luxury of waiting till 2016 to place orders for new-build AEW & C platforms. So, as far as I go I'm placing my bets on India acquiring some G-550 CAEW & CS units in future. All I can say is there will come the time in the next 12 months when an IAF A-50E PHALCON and a Republic of Singapore Air Force G-550 CAEW & CS will take part in combined bilateral air exercises in eastern India, and what follows after that will be 'highly interesting'.
By the way, what's your take on IAI's latest product: the JUMPER an autonomous vertical-launch artillery missile system for ground forces?

Nava said...

Ok, thanks.

I thought it was an interesting concept- a lot depends on its price per unit. If, by some feat of wizardry, IAI has managed to saddle laser and GPS\INS guidance on a supersonic airframe, and at a truly "tactically available" price, then I'm sold. Interestingly, I've read several online discussions between people that were enamored with the concept and those that were totally underwhelmed. I stand somewhere in between.

What's your (much more qualified) opinion?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Nava: My humble opinion is dictated entirely by the cost-benefit ratio. Meaning, if a guided-missile costing US$3 million can assure the operator of a one-shot one-kill performance against a MBT costing upwards of US$4 million, then I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

To Prasun
How would you rate the V-22 AEW&C's chances of ending up on the flight deck on the Vikramaditya?

Are there other platforms out there? What's the navy's take on that?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

My take on this topic is: the Indian Navy would be extremely disinclined to become the launch customer for such a carrier-based AEW & C platform. However, if the Royal Navy and US Marine Corps were to commit to these platforms in sizeable numbers, then the Indian Navy could follow suit.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

Why do you think that India (IAF) would go for G-550 CAEW & CS, instead of the a bigger platform, like PHALCON. I understand that IL-50 is not an immediate option now, but can’t we go for some other platform based on Air bus or Boeing. No doubt that G550 based platform is effective, but bigger size platforms will offer better performance, endurence and wide options for current and future upgrades.

Thanks

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

I think tht CABS program has nothing to do with MMR as it is handled by LRDE also CABS has been solely focusing on AEW projects only now they are starting to propose variants of CABS develoed radar as ground based low cost alternatives.

The Embraer based AEW&C project is i think limited to only 3 aircraft(it was selected by IAF not DRDO) & the next platforms would be larger.I think this project is like MKI project(people in both Russia &India laughed when it was first proposed but no one is laughing now at MKI). thus the full blown a/c is some yrs into future.Also it will work with the PHALCON & CAEW so IAF & IN won't be waiting for such capability. On the contrary since iseraeli systems would be in use for some time the IAF & IN will use experience gathered to give CABS a very specific req list and data.
Also this project like ATV seems to hav received a non-stop funds allocations(without burocratic bull-shit & red-tape) thus delays and program failures are not as much as other projects.wht do u think?

The JUMPER system looks like a toned down version of NLOS-LS system with it having 8 rokets instead of 15 in NLOS-LS. wht do u think?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Sengupta,

I guess you have heard about People's Liberation Army No. Zheng Yu-class strategic nuclear submarine program motherships, right? Could you show some light on these programs?

Does any other country have similar program?

Anonymous said...

...in the next 12 months when an IAF A-50E PHALCON and a Republic of Singapore Air Force G-550 CAEW & CS will take part in combined bilateral air exercises in eastern India.

Oh man i can't wait to see the Phalcon in action. I hope they do take some nice pics of the Phalcon being escorted by the Flankers & the Fulcrums. I'm already drooling all over my keyboard...

Black Hawk said...

The lesson that Kargil taught us was that when it comes to mountain warfare, it is superior artillery and CAS that will win wars. So when we are raising China centric offensive formations shouldn't we be raising new artillery divisions so that each formation has a dedicated artillery division equipped with ultra-light howitzers and MBRLs? Instead we seem to be concentrating only on replacing the 130mm field artillery guns. Attach helis will play a decisive role in future combat in mountainous terrain bcoz of new developments in tackling the threat from shoulder fired SAMs. But all that the defence planners want is a miserable 22 attack helicopters that too for assisting our army in fighting the Pakistanis. The DRDO has not produced any PGMs like the JDAMs or laser guided bombs even though it is very much within our capability.

Anonymous said...

Black Hawk,

I am with you on that. With raising 2 mountain devisions, with out proper equipment in an event of conflict, they will be sitting ducks.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@5:29PM: The IAF cannot go for a follow-on batch of A-50E PHALCONs simply because the IL-76 final assembly line either at tashkent or at Ulyanovsk is still inoperative due to the on-going workshare spat between Russia and Uzbekistan. From Airbus Military Aircraft there are no available alternatives as yet. The Boeing Wedgetail AEW & C is a viable option but I'm still inclined to favour a customised solution (like I mentioned earlier) like taking the larger IL-214 MRTA's airframe and modifying it to accept conformal AESA arrays housing L-band and S-band T/R modules. If I were to be serious about developing a homegrown solution whuch is much less riskier than what CABS and LRDE are now doing, this would be it. Not only would they have access to all the engineering drawings of the IL-214's airframe, but they would also have far greater options when designing the conformal arrays. Right now, CABS and LRDE have to conform the L-band AESA antenna's weights and dimensions to what the aircraft manufacturer Embraer has already specified.

To Sachin Sathe: The JUMPER N-LOS multipurpose PGM can be scaled-up if desired. In fact, it will be the ideal weapon to be utilised against light mechanised and airmobile forces over mountainous terrain, and at the same time be easily deployable by medium-lift helicopters.

To Anon@10:29PM: Do you really think the PLA Navy will be so stupid so as to sacrifice the stealth of a submerged SSBN/SSGN in favour of being tethered to some kind of a floating 'mothership' that can be easily detected by over-the-horizon backscatter radars or even space-based satellites equipped with synthetic aperture radars?

Nava said...

Oh come on! The fucking IL-76 is unavailable?! Why then not simply go with several CAEWs? More generally, how much do their performances actually differ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:49AM: Those photos of the A-50E flying alongside Su-30MKIs were taken on Day 3 of the PHALCON's arrival in Agra! What one should look forward to in future is a pair of Su-30MKs flying down to Singapore for a series of air exercises with the RSAF's F-15SGs. At that time, the Su-30MKIs will not have any data-linking problems with the RSAF's G-550 CAEW & CS platforms and it will be interesting to compare the performances of the Su-30MKI's 'Bars' PESA and the F-15SG's APG-63(V)3 AESA.

To Black Hawk: Dedicated Field Artillery Divisions are viable ONLY when deployed on the plains and that too in support of manoeuvre warfare. Over mountainous terrain of the type prevalent along the Sino-India border field artillery regiments/battalions will suffice PROVIDED they're adequately equipped with motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers and 155mm/39-cal ultraweight howitzers. Even 105mm motorised howitzers (like the one co-developed by TATA and OFB) and 120mm mortars capable of firing laser-guided projectiles become extremely potent over such terrain. And if at all there is a need to destroy hostile rear-area logistics bases, missiles like the SS-250 Prithvi (equipped with conventional HE warheads) ought to be employed.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: There's a vast difference in terms of over-the-horizon performance and unrefuelled endurance. Check out the service ceilings and internal volumns of the two respective platforms and the answer will be obvious. One must also bear in mind the impact of geopolitics and consequently, take into account the prospect of the US weighing in heavily against the G-550 CAEW & CS being exported in sizeable numbers (say five or six) to India, simply because the US would "like India to operate the B.737NG-based Wedgetail since the US and India are natural and strategic partners," as President Obama would probably like to utter.

Nava said...

How then do you expect Israel to sell the CAEW to the Indian Navy?

Anonymous said...

To Prasun:
How do you know that? Did IAF release the the pics?!!?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Why not? You seem to be confused about India's AEW & C platform reqmts. There are two distinct reqmts: one for the IAF and one for the Navy. Try not to lump them all into one bag. One is in reponse to an ASQR and the other takes its que from the NSQR.

To Anon@11:59AM: How do I know that? I thought you already knew: my nome de guerre is 'know-all Prasun', according to some (LoL!). The real answer: check out FORCE's Ostober 2009 issue next month, it will all be there.

Nava said...

I don't think I am. It's just that you mention (quite convincingly) that the US isn't likely to countenance Israel using an American platform to snag a large contract when the US is offering a solution of its own (in the IN's case, NG's E-2D Hawkeye).

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: In my reply at 11:21AM I had mentioned only the B.737NG Wedgetail. That should have indicated to you that I was referring to the IAF's requirement (as the discussion earlier was revolving around the A-50E PHALCON, which the IAF operates). Nowhere did I suggest or mention that the US may or would veto the sale of G-550 CAEW & CS in favour of the E-2D Hawkeye for the Indian Navy. In the IAF's case, the only two principal contenders for follow-on orders for AEW & C platforms are the B.737NG Wedgetail and the G-550 CAEW & CS.

Anonymous said...

the Su-30MKI's 'Bars' PESA and the F-15SG's APG-63(V)3 AESA.
---------------------------------
it doesn't matter if f15 has aesa

what matters is that both aircrafts have huge rcs and both aircrafts will detect each other more than 200km

all matters is missile range rather than radar range

Nava said...

I know you were referring to the IAF's requirement! I was trying to extrapolate from that to the IN's AWAC situation.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:36PM: What is your definition of 'huge' RCS? If the MiG-21 Bison had RAM coatings throughout the airframe as far back as 2001, don't you think a similar procedure has been adopted for the Su-30MKI?

To Nava: The quantum of AEW & C platforms required by the IAF and Navy is different. For the IAF as far as its long-term perspective plans go, the reqmt is for 24 fixed-wing platforms, while the Navy requires six land-based platforms and up to 18 shipborne helicopter-based platforms.

Anonymous said...

What is your definition of 'huge' RCS? If the MiG-21 Bison had RAM coatings throughout the airframe as far back as 2001, don't you think a similar procedure has been adopted for the Su-30MKI?
------------------------------
ya you are right

but right now this doesn't applies to either singapore AF f15 or INDIAN su30 both are non stealthy or for that matter semi stealthy

Swapnil said...

Sir,
does IN navy has any palns to acquire any Mistral class helicopetr carriers as mentioned in wiki??
Since both our rivals PN and PLAN capacity of strikin IN remain with submarines, wont it be a better bet to build a couple of Mistral type with anti submarine capability helos operating on it and allow the AC carriers to carry more a/c for deep penetration ability...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Swapnil: Any aircraft carrier-based Battle Group of the Indian Navy will have at least eight escorting destroyers and frigates, each housing two medium-lift ASV/ASW helicopters, which translates into 16 helicopters, this being more than adequate for any carrier-based power projection operation lasting no more than eight hours in times of war. The aircraft carrier will itself have on board up to six Ka-31 AEW helicopters. This being the case, there's no need for acquiring LPDs or LHDs for providing the ASW screen.
The LPDs are required by the Navy for what is called 'effecting maritime manoeuvres from the sea', as the Indian Navy calls them. Simply put, these LPDs will be transporting Battalion-strength amphibious mechanised infantry forces and each such LPD will also have on board four to six medium-lift utility helicopters for 'vertical envelopment' operations involving transporting friendly infantry forces inside enemy territory. Now as far as requirements go, the Navy has specified a reqmt of three such LPDs. In fact, way back in the September 2004 issue of FORCE magazine I had written an Op-Ed article on why exactly the Navy needs such LPDs and how they can be also be used for humanitarian relief operations in and around far-flung island-based territories. The subsequent December 26, 2004 Tsunami only served to reinforce what I had stated only three months earlier!!! Less than six months later the then Chief of the Naval Staff echoed what I had stated earlier and revealed in an interview plans for the Indian Navy to acquire three LPDs between 2012 and 2017 for effecting maritime manoeuvres from the sea, including vertical envelopment operations. In my reckoning, if the Navy's Directorate of Naval Design can design aircraft carriers, there's no reason why it can't design a customised LPD or LHD. Or if the reqmt is that urgent, it can always award a contract to South Korea's Hyundai Shipbuilding, which can deliver such an LPD within 9 months flat!

Anonymous said...

Prasun, this is what Ajai Shukla has to say about the procurement of self-propelled artillery a long time ago:

What it [India] urgently needs is not an expensive, heavy SP gun that is optimized for strike corps operations in desert terrain. Instead it needs larger numbers of towed 155mm artillery that can be used anywhere along the border, including for their most likely employment task : punitive fire assaults across the LOC. The Kargil conflict (not war, a limited skirmish involving less than two divisions is not a war) illustrated the value of dual-use, towed artillery that can support both strike corps thrusts as well as mountain division operations. So a heavy SP gun is a poor choice for India to begin with...

...In fact, it’s debatable whether we need more tactical mobility than our BOFORS guns give, even if we stick with the old deep-thrust scenario. Never to any serious extent, in an Indian exercise, have armoured spearheads outrun their fire support, not even when the Indian army was doing 100 km on the first day and 150 km in three. What the columns outran every time was the logistics support, the tank ammunition, the water, the FOL, and the artillery buildup for the major tank battles that lay ahead. So even if big bucks have to be spent on strike corps equipment, (something that I have already disputed), it should go on high-mobility logistics vehicles that are essential today to sustain the spearheads. The fire support itself has always remained available; it will continue to remain so, even with towed platforms.

Incidentally, are you under the impression that the BOFORS-Scania lacks in mobility? I’ve seen batteries of these guns clipping between the dunes almost as fast as a T-72 column. Shoot and scoot? The BOFORS does that too. Burst fire? Three rounds in 15 seconds… too slow for you? Protection, obviously, is lower than an SP platform. But is the protection worth 2000 crores?


I tend to agree with this line of thinking. Get towed guns, and spend the remaining money on improving logistics. MBRLs, as and when they are procured, will be sufficient as "self propelled artillery".

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Exactly how long ago or how far back was that post drafted?

Pierre Zorin said...

I am sure I read recenly that Indian scientists have come up with some coating that makes ordinary fighters stealthy and invisible to radars!Prasun did you read that and know of any such developments?Apparently leading such innovation was a Calcutta based defence research lab...

Anonymous said...

Prasun, what do you have to say about SAAB's offer of swashplate AESA (Vixen1000ES) for GripenIN. Do you still stand by your "exclusive" claim of EL/M-2052 being offered with GripenIN.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:14AM: Thus far, no one from anywhere (Gripen Int'l or Selex Galileo or the IAF) has stated anywhere that the Vixen 1000e is the one and only airborne multi-mode radar being offered on the Gripen IN. No one has emphatically said that the EL/M-2052 is not and will never be offered on the Gripen IN.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun
Do IAF's Mig-29s have in flight refueling capability?

Anonymous said...

Can drop tanks be refueled in mid-air or only the plane's internal tank?

Anonymous said...

Prasun, it was written in 2004.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:26AM: No, they don't at present. But after they're upgraded they will be equipped with actuated in-flight refuelling probes. Such aircraft will then no longer be required to carry any drop-tanks.

To Anon@1:16PM: The reason I was asking for the dateline of BROADSWORD's posting was to establish whether it was written before of after April 28, 2004--the day the Indian Army officially released its 'Pro-Active Strategy', which is referred to as the Cold-Start warfighting doctrine. Now, there are certain facts to be borne in mind when procuring 155mm/52-cal howitzers. While towed howitzers along with their tow-trucks and ammo resupply vehicles have no tactical or strategic mobility limitations when providing massed fire-assaults for both the contact and deep battles, and also have no mobility limitations ONLY when pre-deployed over mountainous terrain, the problems associated with towed howitzers under India-specific operating conditions are two-fold:
1) Unlike Pakistan, the Indian Army relies on external lines of transportation (i.e. assets being held in storage in the hinterland far away from their wartime deployment sites) and therefore they will take at least 10 to 16 days to reach their destinations once mobilisation commences, whereas within 72 hours the Pakistan Army can be fully mobilised.
2) Over mountainous terrain in Jammu & Kashmir, and also along the Sino-Indian border, it will be extremely risky to transport and deploy towed howitzers by road after hostilities have commenced, or even attempt to deploy them by road just prior to commencement of hostilities. This was amply demonstrated during OP VIJAY in 1999 when several FH-77Bs were rendered inoperative after they slid off the steep gradients when traversing Highway NH-1A (though this was also due to nighttime driving by the tow-trucks in total darkness by drivers not accustomed to the navigation route and intricacies of driving along such a treacherous route, especially since the tow-truck drivers were not equipped with night vision devices then).
It was only then that Army HQ's Directorate of Field Artillery realised that only motorised howitzers equipped with passive night vision devices (for the truck driver) and remotely-operated medium-machine guns could overcome the deficiencies that were being experienced then. Not only the Indian Army, but even the Chinese People's Liberation Army, the Pakistan Army and Myanmar's ground forces have, since then, begun procuring motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers for operations over mountainous terrain.
Another decisive advantage enjoyed by motorised howitzers over their towed counterparts is that of air-mobility. Motorised howitzers like the Caesar can be easily flown out to as close to the frontline as possible by transports like the C-130J and IL-76MD, thereby ensuring rapid deployment in a much less riskier way. This particular advantage is all the more important now, given the Indian Army's desire to reduce its mobilisation period from 10-15 days to 72 hours, at least for the Integrated Battle Groups.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above...
To top it all up, the Indian Army's operational logistics capabilities have historically been inferior to those of the Pakistan Army (again due to Pakistani forces operating along interior lines of communications/transportation) and consequently, when it comes to transporting or swapping fighting formations (Corps-sized or Division-sized) between various threatre commands of the Army, the Indian Army is still faced with quite a few challenges that have yet to be overcome. And since it is financially impossible and militarily totally unnecessary to equip each theatre command with a dedicated field artillery Division, other innovative measures ought to be explored such as large-scale usage of strategic air transportation (fixed-wing aircraft and heavylift helicopters) for the deployment or re-deployment of field artillery howitzers--which is only possible if one acquires motorised howiters or ultralightweight howitzers.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

As a common man, I have started to worry a lot of what is happning on the NE border. Every alternate day some thing or the other incrusion comming up, latest being in the Koramkoram. It looks like babus in delhi is in good sleep most of the tume or trying to ignore it purposfully. Is some thing is cooking up in medium and long term from the other end? what is your thoughts on this.
Thanks.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:08PM: To know more on this subject you must first delve into OP Falcon in 1981, followed by Ex Checker Board in 1986. That's the genesis. Everything is a follow-up to these two significant events.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

I believe that post was written in November 2004. Not really sure, though. But I suppose someone who was the CO of Hodson’s Horse would have known about Cold Start long before it was officially released by the Army.

Your points about mobility limitations of towed artillery are all valid, of course. Even the good colonel accepts those. But the point is whether the Army can make do with towed howitzers that provide sufficient mobility and can be used in multiple theatres while available resources are spent on improving logistics.

Regarding mobilisation, I don't see how self-propelled guns can mobilise from the hinterland any faster than towed artillery.

Yes, transporting howitzers by road is extremely risky in mountainous terrain. But tracked self-propelled guns cannot be transported over the mountains at all. Perhaps something like the Archer can, but even then the question that needs to be asked is - can we make do with towed FH-77Bs? The risk is there, but the problems you mention can be solved even if we stick to the towed tube artillery.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

"Regarding mobilisation, I don't see how self-propelled guns can mobilise from the hinterland any faster than towed artillery."
------------------------------
Answer: Through aerial logistics, using fixed-wing transport aircraft and heavylift helicopters.

"But tracked self-propelled guns cannot be transported over the mountains at all."
-----------------------------------
Answer: That's right. That's why I never said anything about using tracked SP howitzers. I was talking about motorised howitzers. The Archer is too heavy to be transported on board C-130J airlifters. Only the Caesar can. The FH-77B is no longer in series-production and in a few years it will be phased out in favour of the motorised Archer. Towed 155mm howitzers are fast becoming legacy weapons and will begin being replaced globally in large numbers over the next five years by motorised howitzers. If a country like Myanmar can realise this and take corrective action, I don't see why the Indian Army should lag behind its Myanmarese counterpart, leave alone its Vhinese and Pakistani counterparts.

Nava said...

Apropos artillery and interesting weapon systems, have you heard about the German "Smart" 155 mm munition?

If so, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Could you provide some information on Operation Falcon and Ex CheckerBoard. I guess, Gen Sundarji "designed" Ex. CheckerBoard, right? But that was along back in late 80s. More than 20 years passed, PLA has improved many folds and I assume PLA has developed some counter measures. Does Indian Military have any latest plan to the present skirmishes by PLA?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: I presume you're referring to the one developed by Rheinmetall. It is actually a sensor-fuzed 155mm round whose descent is slowed by a parachute so that it's sensor (IR, I think though millimetre-wave too may be available) can detect the turrets of MBTs for top-attack. I first saw that in 2000 at a defence expo. The Ruskies too have developed it. BAZALT FSUE's sensor-fuzed anti-armour munition can be fired by the Smerch-M MBRL.

To Anon@10:35AM: OP Falcon was conceived by the Indian Army in 1976 on behalf of the China Study Group and was approved for implementation in 1980. It called for a massive construction effort by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) of a comprehensive network of paved asphalted roads connecting the Army's rear logistics areas to all the Indian border outposts throughout the Sino-Indian border starting from Turtok in Jammu & Kashmir all the way up to the China-India-Bhutan trijunction (i.e. the MacMohan Line). However, for unknown reasons, OP Falcon was terminated by the then govt headed by PM Rajiv Gandhi in late 1986. EX Checker Board was designed to test out the IAF's aerial logistics in support of multiple Brigade-sized rapid deployments by the Army in the event of an outbreak of conventional hostilities with China. During the Somdorong Chu incident with China's PLA in 1986, elements of Ex Checker Board were converted into OP Trident and a complete Army Brigade was airlifted and deployed 22km ahead of the nearest available roadway, and all related operational logistics reqmts were met by aerial logistics support provided by the IAF. What is happening now with regard to III Corps being designated as the principal offensive formation to be deployed against the PLA is primarily the formalisation of an OP-PLAN that had existed on paper since 1986 merely as an exercise.
As far as the Indian Army's dissuasive deterrence capabilities against the PLA go (even for limited high-intensity conventional hostilities), the Indian Army today is outgunned, outmanoeuvred and outclassed in almost every sphere of conventional warfighting, thanks to successive Indan govts not buying even a single 155mm field artillery howitzer since 1987, not making the reqd investments in acquiring all-terrain armoured vehicles for light mechanised forces, and paying scant attention to the layered air defence reqmts of IAF air bases. A visit to the air base at Leh will reveal that till this day there are no 3-D gapfiller radars or M-SAM or SHORADS deployments throughout Ladakh, only a handful of Igla-S shoulder-launched VSHORADS! If this situation prevails then deploying Su-30MKIs at Leh or Tezpur will be suicidal.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from Above: No Army Chief designs or devises or formulates any exercise. ALL field-level multi-Corps exercises, be it Brass Tacks or Checker Board, are planned and supervised by HQ Army Training Command and the Army HQ's Directorate General of Military Training (DGMT), which in 1986 was headed by Lt Gen Sunith Francis Rodriques.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply.

I read the news that US clears Hawkeye E-2D aircraft to India. India also ordered 8 P8-I maritime reconnaissance aircrafts (MRAs). I just would like to know what are the difference between these two? Correct me if I am wrong. P8-I is hunter and killer aircraft. If P8-I can do a lot of jobs of E-2D, then why should we need E-2D?

Between EADS A319 MPA and P8-I. But order went to US. What are the advantages of P8-I over A319 MPA?

Similarly, for airborne early warning and control systems, the Indian Defense establishment prefered "LATEST" Hawkeye E-2D over G550-CAEW. You said in past that G550-CAEW is better than E-2D 2000. So my question, why MoD of India didn't choose CAEW, but went for E-2D? From India's perpective, G550-CAEW would have been a better bet than E-2D because of the cooperation between India and Israel.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:14PM: Boy oh Boy! You sure are the master of assumptions. Let's see:
ASSUMPTION-1: The US clears the E-2D Hawkeye 2000 for India, therefore Indian Navy is going to get it. WRONG. What the US State Dept has done is give the authorisation to the US Defense Dept's Defense Security Cooperation Agency and US Navy to begin giving classified product presentations to the Indian Navy. Prior to that, since 2005 only non-classified product presentations were given by Northrop Grumman. Only after India is a month away from releasing the RFP for procuring sch AEW & C platforms for the Indian Navy, will the US State Dept officially notify the US Congress of its intention to sell the E-2Ds to India and if no one from the US Congress raises any objection within a 30-day period, then the US Defense Dept's Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the US Navy are automatically authorised to respond to the Indian MoD's RFP with detailed price and availability data.
ASSUMPTION-2: P-8I and E-2D can do the same job. WRONG. The P-8I is a long-range maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The E-2D is an airborne early warning & control aircraft.
ASSUMPTION-3: Both A319MPA and P-8I are comparable: WRONG. The A319MPA was a paper design and no one has ordered it to date. Therefore, India had serious doubts about's Airbus Military Aircraft's ability to develop the A319MPA within schedule and within the promised costs. Boeing's P-8I is derived from the P-8A Poseidon, more than 100 of which will be ordered by the US Navy alone, and a similar number expected to be ordered by existing P-3C Orion LRMR/ASW operators worldwide. Therefore, compared to the A319MPA, the P-8I offers guaranteed product reliability and prospects for future upgrades as they become available.
ASSUMPTION-4: Indian Defense establishment prefered "LATEST" Hawkeye E-2D over G550-CAEW...why MoD of India didn't choose CAEW, but went for E-2D? WRONG. I really can't figure out where you got that from. For one, no one in the MoD has decided to buy either of them as of now, since technical evaluations of the responses to the RFI are still underway. No one has signed any procurement contract for ether of these two platforms as yet.
Therefore, from the above, you will have by now realised that assumption is the mother of all fuckups. Therefore, as my friend Shiv Aroor would next say: stay tuned. And I'll add: 'Ignorance is bliss' is a luxury you cannot afford when browsing though this blog. Happy? Goodnight.

sbm said...

Prasun,

You know DRDO and the MoD babus deserve their share of the blame but as you've pointed out, on the artillery front (and dare I say the armour as well) the blame lies with bizarre GSQRs and a pro-foreign bias that is utterly unwarranted as in the case of the Arjun and a weapon called the Metamorphosis.

In the mid-1990s the OFB developed an upgrade for the M-46 130 and turned it into a 155/45 weapon. The appearance of the weapon is somewhat different to the Soltam upgrade and I have actually seen photographs of the weapon - so it exists.

The weapon achieved with standard HE a range of 32km and with BB rounds would have topped 41km at sea level.

Did the weapon get a fair shake at a trial ? Of course not.

Soltam was chosen and what happened ? A barrel explosion killing Jawans.

I think the upgrade ceased at 180 rather than at the 400 envisaged.

Now even after that, you have huge numbers of 130s around. Good guns but they can achieve a great deal more if they are "upgunned". Why not give the Metamorphosis another look ?

I don't know if you agree with me on this but I am amazed that Indian troops fight as well as they do with the equipment they have. They are good soldiers and the Indian armed forces are tough adversaries but they can achieve so much more with a little application of common sense.

BTW laser guided projectiles are being developed for the 120mm and 160mm mortars and possibly for the 105mm LFGs but there is also a serious effort to increase the range of the 105mm to 25km firing HE BB rounds.

Anonymous said...

Hey Prasun,

You told that EULA is only for the malicious code inserted after the sale. How about the malicious code inserted before the sale ?

Without malicious code (code not performing buyer's intended action), how would seller enforce equipment usage monitoring ? Are you mean to say that this is not going to be any end usage monitoring altogether ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Dr Sanjay Badri Maharaj: I'm in total agreement with your first staement, and thid is what I had posted in BROADSWORD yesterday:
"The Indian PM declared in 2005 that the India-Pakistan peace process is irreversible (meaning a de facto no-war treaty is already in place). On top of that at Sharm el Sheikh this July the very same PM agreed with his Pakistani counterpart that no matter how many times Pakistan-origin terrorists create havoc inside India the composite dialogues and high-level summit meetings will continue as if nothing has changed, and most importantly, to sustain such dialogues/meetings India will never carry out any cross-bortder punitive military strikes. And against China, the PM-to-PM hotline will ensure that India does not give any chance to China to open another front for the already strained PLA, which is already too busy quelling internal unrests. In conclusion: India's pro-active strategy designed to carry the war deep inside the enemy's territory has now been changed to: all defence, no offense. While India remains busy equipping itself to fight the third-generation wars, the Pakistan Army, by merging thousands of Jihadis into its ORBAT, has already acquired the distinction of being the world's first professional fighting army to use the Jihadis as its first line of attack, thereby revealing its ability to wage fourth-generation warfare. But how do you sell this new 'warfighting doctrine' to the well-meaning and unsuspecting Indian armed forces? You do it by not creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff, by maintaining a trunciated HQ Integrated Defence Staff, by limiting the Indian armed forces' top brass to only operational-level planning (and keeping them out-of-the-loop when it comes to strategic decision-making), by reducing the armed forces' force modernisation efforts to a sheer mockery, and by limiting the Union Ministry of Home Affairs's mandate to only border management, instead of border dominance."
Talking of trials of homegrown modifications, it is was in the late 1980s that a group from the Army's Corps of EME hads developed the perfect upgrade package for the 200+ Oerlikon Contraves-built Super Fledermaus fire-control systems (used along with the Bofors L-70 AAA). But, strangely, the MoD under the then RM Sharad Pawar, awarded the upgrade contract to Ericsson, a company that wasn't even the OEM for the Super Fledermaus! And those EME officers who had developed the upgrade package in-house were subjected to hell!!! Therefore, I'm fairly certain that it was a case of history repeating itself when it came to the OFB-developed M-46 'Metamorphosis'. By the way, the Soltam-produced upgrade has been capped at 40 units, and not 180. Cases have been filed in the courts by the MoD now, seeking liquidated damages for the still-born upgrade programme. And at the last DEFEXPO expo in February 2008, the OFB booth was displaying a similar upgrade of the Bofors FH-77B (upgraded to 45-calibre) and this too was called Metamorphosis.

To Anon@8:16PM: The P-8I contract very clearly states that the seller will not be held liable by the MoD (the buyer) for any 'malicious code' found within the P-8I's operating software packages AFTER the buyer has already inducted the P-8I into operational service. As for malicious codes inserted BEFORE the P-8I's delivery, it is an impossibility since the Indian Navy's P-8I Project Team is involved in a supervisory manner every step of the way when it comes to systems integration and applications software development, validation and uploading, all conducted within the OEM's industrial facilities, workshops and labs. Nothing is being done behind the backs of the Project Team-members.

sbm said...

Prasun, if the readers follow what we both are saying then they will realise that we aren't saying India can't defend itself but that the forces are not being allowed to reach their war-fighting potential by virtue of stupid decision making.

The other thing is that between the Metamorphosis(es) - the OFB can right now fill towed arty requirements if the army would play ball.

One other thing - the MR/LR-SAM projects are being heavily encouraged by Saraswat himself.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Dr Sanjay Badri-Maharaj: Absolutely right! BAE Systems is more than willing to take off from where Soltam Systems left off with the M-46 upgrade (potentially involving up to 600 units) in partnership with OFB, and the same goes for the FH-77B upgrade proposal as well (for the remaining 380 units). But for this to happen, the DPP has to be modified to enable the MoD to go for single-vendor procurements in those cases the single vendor happens to be the OEM and IPR-holder of the inn-service legacy weapons system. To me this should not be a problem as the MoD mandarins have already indulged in such technical 'DPP violations' with regard the MiG-29 and Mirage 2000 upgrade programmes (by inking contracts with the Russian OEM United Aircraft Corp, and the two French OEMs Dassault Aviation and THALES). Afterall, no global tenders were issued and no competitive bidding process was encouraged for upgrading the MiG-29 and Mirage 2000. At the same tme, TATA's proposal for developing the motorised variant of the OFB-made IFG Mk2 105mm gun needs to be implemented as well, instead of surrendering these guns to the BSF.
Interestingly, this is what I had commented upon at BROADSWORD about the LCH project:
If one were to analyse the three hitherto successful interceptions of UAVs (the shooting down of an IAF Searcher Mk2 by a PAF F-7P in 2002 during OP Parakram, the shooting down of a Hezbollah-launched UAV by the Israeli IDF-AF F-16 in July 2006, and the shooting down of a Georgian Hermes 450 by a Russian Air Force MiG-29 last year), all these engagements involved a manned combat aircraft detecting and intercepting the UAV. Therefore, using manned platforms like the LCH to shoot down UAVs cruising at altitudes of of 21,000 feet or above does not inspire much confidence. Also to be borne in mind is that over mountainous terrain no one will use MALE-UAVs (like the Searcher Mk2 or the Nishant or the Falco) at nighttime or during bad weather in daytime, simply because such UAVs are extremely vulnerable to strong cross-winds and tail-winds, especially if they exceed 10 Knots. The Indian Army has already experienced this in both J & K as well as over the Thar Desert, while the Canadian land forces (part of ISAF in Afghanistan) too have experienced a few writeoffs of the Sperwer UAVs due to strong wind conditions in high-altitude areas. Even in the Poonch and Rajouri sectors, the China-built UAVs flown by the Pakistan Army have not ventured above 10,000 feet, and have mostly adopted terrain-masking flight profiles, making them extremely hard to detect by radar. Therefore, on what specific grounds the end-user (IAF) has mandated that the LCH be a stable and manoeuvrable weapons-launch platform really baffles me.
But having said all this, one also needs to touch upon the politics of military hardware procurements. By that I mean adopting the 'crawl, walk and run' approach under which the Indian Army (and not the IAF) becomes the launch customer for the LCH and initially deploys it in the plains as a combined light observation-cum-light attack machine, thereby leaving the IAF to go for heavy attack helicopters in a big way (up to 60 of them). However, this would mean that the IAF has to 'surrender' some of its helicopter-based fighting prowess to the Army Aviation Corps. Consequently, as part of its 'having the cake and eating it too' strategy, the IAF decides to scuttle the Army's elaborate plans for acquiring the LCH (for its planned combat aviation brigades), by sticking its neck out and staking claim to be the launch customer for the LCH. And by doing this it then comes out with an unrealistic ASQR (before the Army can even formulate its GSQR) which mandates that the LCH be optimised only for 'high-altitude warfare', thereby scuttling the Army's plans for settling down on an LCH based on far more realistic GSQRs.

Nava said...

What is the MR-SAM's testing schedule?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: You tell me. Thought you had top-level corporate boardroom access with IAI's top brass (LoL!)

Nava said...

So you don't know?

sbm said...

Prasun - even the IAF knows about that when it comes to downing UAVs.

During 2001-02 the IAF deployed the Iskra trainers armed with 23mm gun packs and 57mm rocket pods in the anti-UAV role.

The 105mm for the BSF are actually new production. I'd thought it was army surplus but apparently not.

A huge stock of 130 M-46 are available for upgrades in India as during the 1990s hundreds were procured almost on a yearly basis.

Anonymous said...

whats wrong with bhim apart from sanctions against denel
was there a soviet tiltrotor program

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Nava: Are you more interested in what I know or don't know about the Barak-8 MR-SAM and LR-SAM project status, or are you genuinely fishing for info that you would satisfy your genuine and well-meaning curiosity, or are you preparing a dossier on me to pass on to IAI's Board of Directors? (LoL!!!)

To Dr Sanjay Badri-Maharaj: Therefore, by invoking the doctrine of necessity, IAF HQ can now claim that since the LCH is overweight, it is better to order an initial batch of 40 Embraer Super Tucanos armed with underwing-mounted 20mm gunpods (from Nexter Systems) on a single-vendor basis, and after they're delivered, justify the follow-on procurement of another 40 Super Tucanos to urgently replace the HPT-32 piston-engined primary trainers, and tell the MoD that it is still interested in procuring another 80 homegrown HAL-built HTT-40s! Way to go! And what if both the Super Tucanos and the rival Pilatus PC-21 both come with glass cockpit avionics? And how will that impact upon the existing glass cockpit avionics architecture of the HJT-36? Will the IAF next demand a radical upgrade of the HJT-36's existing glass cockpit configuration, which is currently way below par when compared to those of the Super Tucano and PC-21? Way too many games and shadow-puppetry being staged as the public attention remains fixated on the M-MRCA competition, don't you think?
Initially (sometime in late 2003) some ex-Army LFGs were transferred over to the BSF units deployed along the India-Bangladesh border, presumably for training purposes. As for the M-46s, some 600 were procured mostly from the Czech Republic and Slovakia throughout the 1990s. Lots of life left in them and are ideal for being upgraded into 155mm/45-cal towed howitzers.
For those bloggers interested in the latest on-going China-India border spat, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjACK71QQ-w&feature=channel

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:38AM: The problem was two-fold: first, the Bhim's hull had the same QC-related shortcomings as that of the Arjun Mk1 MBT's powerpack and hydropneumatic suspensions (these shortcomings were overcome only in 2005). Secondly, the cost factor, which made it the second-most expensive tracked SP howitzer after the now-cancelled Crusader. Had the T-6 turret been integrated with the hull of the T-90S MBT, then it could have been financially viable. If you were to do a comparative analysis of existing tracked SP howitzers, with the exception of the Russian MSTA-S, all others do not use the MBT's hull, and instead use a lighter and cheaper hull.

sbm said...

Prasun - I agree and go further and say that HAL could benefit from the Tucano more than even the IAF. I don't doubt HAL can deliver good products and their products aren't bad but things can be so much better.

The BSF has some 140 105mm LFG in 20 7 gun batteries.

The news that some went to the Bangla border is news to me - good news - because those units never got much attention. Take a look at BSF units in the West and you will see INSAS rifles, LMGs with optical sights, thermal imagers, Carl Gustavs, MMGs and 81mm mortars and troops wearing reasonably good body armour.

Look at the east and while the basic equipment is there, the quality and quantity is lacking.

Regarding the M-46. 600 were bought from the Czechs and Slovaks but in 1991-96 nearly 1200 were picked up at bargain prices from the Russians. Somewhere in my archives I have a year by year breakdown of the numbers - sometimes as many as 650 arrived in a year - (incidentally your Force mag editor was responsible for breaking down the details while he was with the Asian Age).

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Dr Sanjay Badri-Maharaj: Yes, now I do recall those M-46 imports from Russia. Many thanks. Regarding the BSF force modernisation, its present DG in an interview to FORCE last month had given details about how the BSF was graduating from border management to border dominance. Of course, a lot more has to be done not only with the BSF, but also with the SSB and ITBP. The greatest limitation, however, remains that of intelligence-gathering. These paramilitary forces do have a genuine reqmt for having integral intel-gathering assets/capabilities. However, turf wars involving the IB, paramilitary forces and RAW are the principal obstacles. A case in point is the acquisition of rotary-winged mini-UAVs which are even used routinely by petrochemicals and electricity utility companies for pipeline/transmission line monitoring. However, such handy gadgets till this day are being denied to the paramilitary forces. Last November at the Zhuhai Aerospace expo in China I came across no less than six types of mini-UAVs in service with China's People's Armed Police! Similarly, if the Indian Navy is going for Alouette III-derived NRUAVs, why should the Coast Guard Service not roped in as well to develop a customised Alouette III-derived NRUAV optimised for coastal/EEZ surveillance? Similarly, had the Indian Army been allowed by the MoD to be the first armed service to acquire the LCH, by now the first three pre-production prototypes would have been flying. Even the Navy and Coast Guard should have been roped in to become committed stakeholders in the LCH programme. Looks like it is not always HAL that ought to be in the dock, but the country's civilian decision-makers who do not understand in industrial terms what synergy is all about.

sbm said...

UAVs ? I'm still talking about more ATVs and APCs and real air support. The Chinese Peoples' Armed Police is in no way as battle ready as India's CPMFs or Border units but is well supplied with vehicles and Air support. It gives an appearance of modernity.

India's forces while capable are not achieving their potential which is very considerable.

The ITBP are a force with even more potential than the BSF. The individual standards are extremely good and it is the one force that continued to have an unconventional war mentality - ski units etc.

Yet, no air support ? Mortars ? There are hundreds of older 120mm mortars lying in the BSF campus with tons of ammunition. These are still viable with some servicing.

WRT the users etc, blaming the civvies is easy but the senior military staff have too many hang-ups about roles and turf.

The Coast Guard is still the poor sister to the navy and the CPMFs are the impoverished cousins to the army. Until that mentality changes, don't expect mature decisions to be made.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Yes, there is a dire requirement for ATVs and APCs in large numbers for the CPMFs. But make no mistake with regard to the PAP. All these border incursions throughout the Sino-Indian border are not the handiwork of the People's Liberation Army, but the PAP. In addition, the PAP s totally integrated with the PLA's chain of command, unlike the CPMFs who don't even have direct on-site communications with the Indian Army (everything has to be re-routed from Delhi!). Even a request for aerial logistics support from the IAF for time-urgent MEDEVAC or CASEVAC has to be re-routed from the MHA to the MoD! Between thr PAP and PLA there are no such administrative and command-level hiccups.

sbm said...

I agree with the integration aspect of the PAP and that make them formidable.

However, I would suggest that these incursions are carried out by the Border Defence Force of the PAP.

BTW - I found 8 May 1993 JDW ref for 1200 M-46 being purchased by Russia followed by Asian age reports of 350 in 1994 and another 250-350 between 1994-95 from Russia alone.

If 600 more were from the Czechs and Slovaks, plus the 550 originally purchased, that is a very formidable artillery force even without upgrades - if upgraded it would be one of the most potent towed arty line ups anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun sir
Is there any chance of Tejas Mk2 having more hardpoints than the current version?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Dr Sanjay Badri-Maharaj: All the more reason to close the chapter with Soltam Systems and earnestly formalise the industrial partnership between OFB and BAE Systems with the MoD's blessings.

To Anon@2:19PM: How many hardpoints do you want? 11? The experts in this area are the Russians who have over the past one year shown scale-models of the MiG-35 with both 11 hardpoints and nine hardpoins. Guess they haven't made up their minds yet.

sbm said...

Prasun - you do know you can refer to me by my forename!

I agree wholeheartedly with you. By my calculations - and correct me if I am wrong, we are looking at a total of between 1800 and 3000 M-46 weapons are available to the Indian army. That of course includes WWRs etc but I would guess about 100 regiments now operate the type.

sbm said...

Add to that there are still a substantial number - perhaps 550 D-30 122mm howitzers in service. Where do these fit in ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Sanjay, your numbers on the M-46 are spot on. But I'm led to believe the D-30s have been progressively decommissioned simply because I haven't come across (in the OFB's product directory) any homegrown production run involving 122mm howitzer rounds. On the other hand, 130mm cargo rounds are in series-production thanks to a JV between OFB and IMI. The Nalanda factory of OFB was meant to produce the 155mm cargo rounds (again with ToT from IMI), but that facility I reckon has yet to be commissioned (politcal ineptitude at its best!).

sbm said...

Which of my figures do you think is more accurate for M-46 totals.

OFB Kanpur has manufactured a trial batch of about 150 155mm Cargo rounds so far trials were OK.

Does India use either the RAP or ERFB-BB 130mm round ?

sbm said...

I should add that a few years ago I did see a tender from the MoD for D-30 spares.

Anonymous said...

9 would not be bad. good combination of fuel tanks and missiles

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Sanjay, 2,600 (including war wastage reserves) would be the figure closest to actual inventory holdings. The OFB-produced rounds are of the ERFB-BB 130mm type (I think they're mentioned in the on-line OFB product directory). The RAP rounds were part of the 155mm family offered by Denel/Somchem as part of the Nalanda-based OFB project. During the demonstration firings conducted by the Bhim in 1998 the Denel/Somchem-built ERFB-BB round using modular charge achieved a range of 41.6km on the plains. Denel/Somchem at that time was claiming a range of 51km for the RAP round but to my knowledge no RAP rounds were fired by the Bhim. In any case, for precision fire-assaults using 155mm howitzers a range of 34km to 37km will suffice, I presume, since the engagement envelopes of such howitzers qould have to be in sync with that of Firefinder-type artillery locating radars. Incidentally, when the Indian Army tried out its Firefinders over mountainous terrain in J & K, the results were far from satisfactory. Even the Ericsson-developed Arthur WLR wasn't effective whehjn it was tried out in 2005. Subsequently, the Army decided to explore acoustics-based artillery detection systems from BAE Systems and THALES. I don't know what was the eventual outcome.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@3:09PM: No need for fuel tanks, as the Tejas Mk2 LCA will have an actuated in-flight refuelling probe.

sbm said...

So the OFB manufactures 130mm ERFB-BB ammo ?

Never saw that in a catalogue though I did see it for 155s.

Anonymous said...

to prasun

turkey buying PAC-3 for almost 8 billion dollars, no technology transfer

and the capability PAC-3 provides for its money "which simply sucks"

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@4:42PM: And how will the Turkey Armed Forces learn how to deploy and operate the Patriot PAC-3? Will they be self-taught? Getting training packages for operations and storage from the OEM is the most vital ToT that ever takes place.

sbm said...

Prasun, doing some checking. Apparently the OFB have developed a 105mm HEER-BB round.

They have also developed a new 81mm mortar with a 7.3km range with HE bombs and a Mk.2 variant (lighter) of their 120mm Long Range Mortar with a 9-10km range with a HE bomb.

Moreover, they have begun work into a 155/52 gun and have submitted the 155/45 metamorphosis (m-46) for trials which were successfully completed in 2006 with the army requesting some modifications and proposing additional trials. Maybe it isn't over for it yet.

Again the OFB comes up with a lot of products and we don't always hear about new ordnance etc.

BTW - in 2002-03 the MoD cleared a proposal for a limited upgrade of the Pechora SAM to keep it more or less viable until 2015. Last year I asked a good and well grounded defence journalist on this and she indicated that some work was in fact being done by the IAF to keep the system viable until the MR/LR SAMs come on line.

Of course I think the IAF should order more Akash systems as well and let DRDO build on the system despite its range shortcoming - it is a lot better than nothing.

Just to clarify again - are you sure about Indian 130mm guns being issued with ERFB-BB rounds ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Sanjay, a correction to my earlier post is called for. The OFB presently produces the non-ERFB 130mm cargo round, 155mm ER cargo ammo round, and 120mm extended-range cargo mortar bomb. So, no ERFB rounds and no modular charges.

sbm said...

Yeah I guessed as much.

But have you heard anything about the Pechora upgrades ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: For mortars, the next logical step would be for the DRDO/OFB combine to develop laser-guided 120mm rounds (similar to the Russian Gran). The same could also be done for the 105mm HEER-BB rounds. Hopefully the upgraded M-46 Metamorphosis will at least enter the limited series production stage in the very near future. Will check it up directly with OFB and the DG (Arty) at Army HQ and will also try to find out if the upgrade package includes 'limited' drop-in installation of gun-positioning computers and components of the BEL-built autonomous land navigation system, which should enable these upgraded howitzers to be networked with the Shakti artllery fire-direction system. I remember at DEFEXPO'08 a similar fit was shown on the OFB-upgraded FH-77B.
The Pechora upgrade was indeed taken up but with Poland (which had earlier also upgraded the Army's Kub/Kvadrat M-SAM systems. The Ruskies were then totally pissed off with the Polish victory. But when it comes to the Akash, I feel compelled to believe that it will be bypassed in favour of the Barak-8 MR-SAM. However, IF (and a big IF) the DRDO can reconfigure the Akash into a vertically-launched non-line-of-sight weapon (similar to IAI's recently unveilled JUMPER), then the programme could perhaps be declared as an operational success. In my view, such a weapon system, when aided by a raisable mast-mounted LORROS-type millimetre-wave radar-/optronics-based sensor would be far more value-added as a ground-launched anti-MBT guided-weapon, instead of the existing ground-launched Nag ATGM (how the NAMICA will acquire its target in undulating terrain or in farmlands without raising its optronic sensor to at least 15 feet remains a mystery to me). The core technological competency for modifying the Akash into an NLOS-type precision-guided weapon already exists within the DRDO.

sbm said...

Any information the DG Arty or OFB can give you on both upgrades - the FH-77B and the M-46 would be great. I am picking a lot of info up from MoD reports and OFB websites. The truth could even be that the upgrades have started !!

The Akash in my view needs to enter service even on a limited scale simply to fund the developments of better versions.
DRDO is supporting the JV with the Israelis to the hilt.

What did the Polish Pechora upgrade consist of ?

sbm said...

To add - how many Pechora systems did the IAF upgrade and to what standard (improvements to missile performance ?)

Anonymous said...

: And how will the Turkey Armed Forces learn how to deploy and operate the Patriot PAC-3? Will they be self-taught? Getting training packages for operations and storage from the OEM is the most vital ToT that ever takes place.
================================

and this training cost isn't than 500 million but the exorbitant 8 billion cost sucks for the number of missiles being sold

Anonymous said...

Prasun wrote:

"My humble opinion is dictated entirely by the cost-benefit ratio. Meaning, if a guided-missile costing US$3 million can assure the operator of a one-shot one-kill performance against a MBT costing upwards of US$4 million, then I'm all for it."

"In my view, such a weapon system, when aided by a raisable mast-mounted LORROS-type millimetre-wave radar-/optronics-based sensor would be far more value-added as a ground-launched anti-MBT guided-weapon, instead of the existing ground-launched Nag ATGM (how the NAMICA will acquire its target in undulating terrain or in farmlands without raising its optronic sensor to at least 15 feet remains a mystery to me)."

To Prasun anything from Israel is top notch and whatever DRDO labs like CABS says on their product as superior to Phalcon in some respects has to be point of ridicule. :)

Namica has a elevated mast and it is raisable to 15 feet or so. Why you feel otherwise i dont know.

Regarding JUMPER, are you hinting that the missile is for anti-MBT role ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: The S-125 Pechora upgrade covered roughly 80% of the IAF's inventory. Apart from the re-lifing of the missiles, Polish companies like PIT and RADWAR were involved in modifying the command-and-control system elements into solid-state digital systems, and the same also applied to the Pechora's target acquisition and engagement radars, plus the IFF. In short, more or less the same package as that applied to the Kub/Kvadrat.

To Anon@7:25AM: I'm not the only one who believes that Israel-origin weapon systems are top-notch. The recorded purchases of the Indian armed forces between 1996 and thus far bear testimony to my beliefs. If you require a second opinion then kindly refer to the number of on-going collaborative R & D projects between the DRDO and Israeli OEMs. CABS or any other DRDO lab have never claimed that any of their products are superior to the PHALCON simply because there is no such product available for any kind of comparison. Only after the CABS-developed products fly can they be pitted against the PHALCON for any kind of comparative evaluation, not until then. The NAMICA has an elevated mast and everyone knows how high it can be raised as it as been shown at various DEFEXPO expos since 2000, and it is nowhere near the 15-feet height. So, get back to your homework and find out the truth for yourself. And regarding the JUMPER, I'm not hinting anything. I'm only stating what I've recently seen in product demonstration videos.

Anonymous said...

TO PRASUN

that jumper missile may hit target or may not hit target,its simple as there is no such system which gives 100% result

Nava said...

So you'd suggest that a Jumper like system to be equipped with its own targeting sensors (MMW or IIR)? It seems that IAI plans to use Jumper mainly as a remote controlled missile on demand, to be cued by embedded laser designators or GPS extractors.

Nava said...

Embedded within the maneuvering forces that is, not the Jumper system itself...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Obtaining 100% result depends on several factors, most importantly the tactics, battlespace preparation and shaping, and human resource proficiency. If one caters to all this, 100% success is assured. I myself had several times in the past employed the Enfield .303 rifle with telescopic sight to successfully engage targets 1.2km away (one shot-one kill) after carefully catering to all the involved variables.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Hey Nava, you seem to have a penchant for 'disappearing' whenever I happen to be asking you a few questions (LoL)! Like what happened yesterday regarding the Barak-8 MR-SAM's first test-firing. What's up?
Regarding the Jumper N-LOS, even if pre-deployed and remotely activated (to dramatically reduce the sensor-to-shooter gap), there would still be a requirement for target acquisition prior to positive target designation. And for the targets to be acquired, one would have to have access to sensors like either vehicle-mounted LORROS or UAVs. These target acquisition sensors need not be embedded within the Jumper itself, that is obvious. What is also obvious is that the Jumper's pre-deployed VLS are just one of the modules within a network-centric system that also includes the early warning/target acquisition modules (ground-based or airborne) and the command-and-control module. If everything falls into place, then the Jumper becomes a quick-reaction multi-purpose weapon system aimed at decisively denying the enemy the element of surprise.

Nava said...

Er... I'm almost sure you're kidding. Are you?

WRT the Jumper, my only real concern is price per unit. All sorts of bizarelly low figures have been thrown around, and I hope it'll end up being worth the money.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Of course I was. With regard to the price, it boild down to the volume of production and I'm certain the volumes will be huge, since the Jumper is a PGM for engaging a multitude of targets with different available warhead/target designation options. Even navies/marine corps forces engaged in expeditionary warfare/amphibious assault forces will have several applications scenarios. Therefore, a warship-launched Jumper should also be expected to emerge.

Anonymous said...

Prasun, by deleting my comments on NAG all you have proved is you dont know the facts and how different you are from others defence analysts/reporters whom you accuse them as they dont know anything. Stinks.

Nava said...

Good. Irony in the print (so to speak)and all that. For a moment there, I thought you mistook me for an informed individual:)

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:11PM: I deleted you earlier two comments to save you severe embarrassment. Since you obviously haven't yet discovered this, do browse through cyberspace (before trolling here) and go to the DEFEXPO 2008 exhibit photos and you will see there the engagement envelope of the Nag ATGM being mentioned as 4km. And that poster is shown hanging on the starboard side of the NAMICA launch vehicle. That same poster also mentions the max achievable height of the combined target acquisition sensor/missile launcher. Furthermore, in the traditional (armoured warfare) battlefields both in the Thar Desert (characterised by undulating terrain) and the plains of Punjab (characterised by farmlands hosting standing crops)the average target detection distance (both by day and night) is no more than 2.5km. But you wouldn't know all this, would you, unless you've visited these areas? Therefore, try to save some money by desisting from whatever you're smoking, become sober instead of getting stoned, and then undertake a pilgrimage to these sites in western and northern India to see for yourself exactly what and how the battlefield terrain is, before making any further ignorantly blissful comments of the Nag or Namica.
Regarding the Jumper NLOS PGM, be it rural or urban battlespace, it can be used for engaging a variety of targets, armoured or otherwise, static or otherwise, ground-based or otherwise. Therefore, again, heed my advise and try to get sober. If not, then whatever ill-informed comment/opinion you may choose to post here will most definitely be deleted.

To Nava: But you are an informed individual. At least that's what I perceive you to be. Hope I'm not wrong (LoL!).

Nava said...

A bit of information then:

IMI unveiled a man portable soft kill APS, dubbed "shock absorber". That didn't really make a mark on the international press, so I might be imparting some new Info upon thee.

Good night

sbm said...

The IAF had 30-38 Pechora sqns didn't it ? Some 180-360 quad launchers and several thousand missiles ?

I know re-lifing tech was shared with BDL.

How has the overall performance of the system improved due to the upgrade ?

The Kvadrat was upgraded but wasn't also the OSA-AKM ?

Haven't both the IAF and army been given clearance to purchase additonal Spyder systems to take the total up to 72 launchers each ?

WRT MR/LR SAM haven't the systems gotten only as far as static tests at present ?

Wasn't there a tie-up between BDL and Rafael for some component manufacture for Rafael's missiles ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: The objectives behind the Pechora and Kub/Kvadrat upgrades were to increase systems availability, reliability and serviceability (due to block obsolescence setting in as far as the original components went), and not necessarily enhancement of engagement envelopes, which are still decent and more than satisfactory. Therefore, as far as air defence of static VPs go the upgraded Pechoras are adequate. But for air defence of VAs go, after the decommissioning of the Dvina V750VKs (SA-2) no replacements were acquired, thereby leaving glaring gaps.
As for the OSA-AKM and Strella-10Ms, they were not upgraded, but they underwent depot-level servicing and missile relifing, and the first batch of 12 Tunguskas bought in 1993 too have gone though this process. Thus far BEL has not yet released any progress report on the ZSU-23-4 Schilka upgrade programme (being undertaken with ELTA Systems). The parallel procurements of the RAFAEL SpyDer for the Army and IAF have already been formalised and are being implemented. But here, the in-country direct offsets beneficiary is BEL, and not BDL. As for the Barak-8 MR-SAM and Barak-8ER LR-SAM, the first field-level test-fitings have yet to be conducted, but I reckon by this November the MR-SAM's test-firing schedules will get underway. Afterall, INS Kolkata and INS Kochi (the two Project 15A FFGs) will both be available by next January fitted with the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR APAR for the shipborne MR-SAM's operational firing trials to commence in Indian waters.

sbm said...

Thanks Prasun.

So the LR/MR SAM will fill the SA-2 gaps ?

BTW how many Pechoras does India still operate ? I can name 30-31 sqn but some reports go as high as 60 and each sqn has 2 flights with 3 quad launchers each I think.

How many Spyders launchers will the IAF and Army be respectively acquiring and will their be licensed production of the missiles themselves ?

Will the Spyders include the MR variant ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm & Nava: Do check out these two websites:
http://www.defense-update.com/features/2009/sept/020909_israel_unveil_new_missiles.html

http://www.defense-update.com/photos/mini_spike.html

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Yes. The MR-SAM will be VP-specific (replacing the Pechoras), while the LR-SAM will be VA-specific. The SpyDer-SRs of the IAF will replace the OSA-AKMs while those for the Army will replace the Strella-10Ms and supplement the 2S6 Tunguska-M1s and upgraded Schilkas. The MR-SAMs of the Army will replace the Kub/Kvadrats. I recall that since the late 1980s right up to the late 1990s the number of squadrons of Pechoras has increased to make up for the decommissioning of the Dvina V750VKs, and quite a large number of ex-Warsaw Pact stocks were shipped in from Eastern Europe. Therefore, the existence of more than 50 Pechora squadrons is a distinct and assured possibility.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: The SpyDer-SR launchers will be procured in numbers mentioned by you above for the Army and IAF. But you must also take into account that staggered procurement of up to 60 additional Tunguska M1s has also been quietly proceeding (against the sanctioned total of 72). All SpyDer-S elements are being acquired off-the-shelf.

sbm said...

Prasun - I have been doing some digging and it is alleged that the Polish Pechora upgrade was rejected because of high costs and BDL did the work.

Yet, probing suggests that BDL adopted the Polish model.

Where does the truth lie ?

sbm said...

one other thing - what is the truth on the status of the Maitri project ?

Anonymous said...

Prasun is this news true

US authorities impounded the Ukrainian IL78 for Pakistan
The US, far from the public perception and official claims of supplying Pakistan with substantive military hardware, is actually impeding Pakistan’s efforts to upgrade its capabilities especially in non-offensive systems. According to inside sources, only recently, the PAF, which has an agreement with Ukraine for the purchase of air to air refuellers, asked Ukraine to send a trainee plane so that the PAF personnel could familiarise themselves with the systems that were expected later. The Ukraine agreed to send the required aircraft which happened to be in the US. However, before it could fly to Pakistan, the US authorities on learning of its destination, impounded the plane. Earlier, the US had tried unsuccessfully to block the deal itself.

http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/09/us-authorities-impounded-air-to-air.html

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

How a fully-armed F-16IN Super Viper,designed for WVR combat, compare against a fully-armed J-10B fighter,designed for BVR combat as i have read in some reports that J-10B with it's high maneuverability can beat an F-16.If India chooses the F-16,can it beat the J-10B's?Will it give advantage to the Pakis as they have operated them.

How good is the APG-80 AESA compared to the APG-79 AESA.Which of the the above two will be more advantageous to India?Can India replace APG-80 AESA with other AESA like ELTA 2052 AESA or an indigenous AESA radar?

What L-BAND radar and towed array sonar will go on board the the two Project 15A DDG?

I have read much about the Jumper N-LOS.Is India really interested in such system?

Will India procure the 35km range SpyDer-MR systems from Israel to cover the gap between the 15km range SpyDer-SR systems and the 70km range Barak-8 MR-SAM system.

F said...

Prasun, in addition to an FO, are officers in Indian infantry battalions trained to call in artillery and are there Fire Direction Centres [FDC]?

I've been reading yours views on artillery with keen interest. Whilst conditions in India would differ because of the terrain, [especially on the Pak border and in the North] would you agree that in South East Asian terrain, it would be more practical to go for more 105mm guns? My problem with 155mm pieces like the G-5 and FH-77is their large size and the time it takes to lay the gun. For ASEAN armies who don't have a requirement for an SPH to keep pace with fast moving armoured formations, wouldn't it make more sense to go for a motorised 155mm?

smith said...

Hi Prasun,

Is there any prospect of the current kaveri engine to be used in the future projects like traniner aircraft for navy and airforce or NAL saras jet version which may have twin engine. Or any pilotless air craft for reconnaissance role

smith said...

Hi Prasun,

Is Mi 35 an absolute technology or the ideology behind this craft has diminished now as the Russian airforce and Indian air force are about to change them with newer options? The weapon still has the advantage on the others as it has the armour which can resist small arms fire and even resist the anti aircraft gun fire it can carry small contingent of force like to say 5 to 6 people and heavy loads of weapons with great speed this combination just seems to be most competitive with other crafts at least in the plains where it can put the breaks to the advancing armour columns. What are your views? Can it be justified to compare Mi 35/28 (upgraded with modern avionics and armaments) with the current helos as it seems to be of different class as many enthusiasts do?

What are your views?

Anonymous said...

to smith

latest MI35 for Brazil and Indonesia are in production with better Armour

smith said...

Anonymous@ 6:55:00 AM

You are right so these (Mi35 gunship) have to be there in the fleet with the upgrades or the new ones to be brought with the attack helos such as AH-64 Apache or Kamov Ka-50 or 52 or even homegrown LCH which are agile and can perform on high altitude. Mi 35 can cruise almost at 168 mph / 335 km/h where as AH 64 could cruise at 273Km/h. Mi 35 can play more important role in the limited conflicts with China or Pakistan be it Thar desert or the plains of Assam we should maintain the fleet of combined Mi35 and the helos like AH-64 Apache or Kamov Ka-50 or 52. As both of these are of different class. Mi35 gunship could only be compared with C130 gunship with speed, fire power or fear factor for enemies.

Please correct me if the mentioned speed figures are incorrect.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Actually, BDL is relifing the missile rounds with Polish industrial back-up. But the fire-control system upgrade packages are still coming from Poland in kit-form, wit the IAF's Base Repair Depots doing the interfacing and drop-in installation. This is because BDL has no in-house experience of or capability on upgrading radars and fire-control systems.
Now, the Maitri E-SHORADS SR-SAM project is very facinating indeed. Initially, the plan was to go for an active radar sourced off-the-shelf from THALES (the same as that on the Mica-EM) since the missile body of the SR-SAM is essentially that of a Super 530D BVRAAM (but being vertically-launched). But both MBDA and the DRDL along with LRDE came up with a novel idea: what if one were to totally do away with the earlier-mandated engagement radar (like the Arabel used for the VL-MICA and Aster-15) and instead rely only on a gapfiller target acquisition/tracking radar like the 3-D CAR/Rohini, which could be supply course-correction updates via data-link to the SR-SAM, which in its terminal stages will now use an IIR seeker instead of the active radar? This approach has since been formally adopted by MBDA and DRDL and the Maitri SR-SAM will be totally passive in the terminal stage, thereby giving very little warning time to the targetted manned airborne platform to take evasive action. Incidentally, this very same fire-control approach has been adopted in Germany for the IRIS-T E-SHORADS.

To Anon@4:45PM: I'm blissfully unaware of this development.

Anonymous said...

Prasun ji, I guess you noticed this news "Chinese and Russian 5th-gen fighters could outnumber the F-35". (I couldn't find the original article)

I wonder why the author decided to say "Chinese and Russian 5th Gen fighters" instead of "Chinese, Russian-Indian 5th Gen fighters?" The article says "Russia and China are both developing “fifth generation” fighters that will be widely exported at prices that will undercut the F-35 price tag."

As far as I know, Russia collaborating with India for 5th Gen fighters. Is there any collaboration between Russia and China for 5th Gen fighters? Or any likely collaboration in the future?
Thanks!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:21PM: The days of dissimilar air combat are gone as both China and India have AEW & C platforms. Therefore, the chances of an IAF F-16IN Super Viper or Su-30MKI engaging in dogfights with any kind of J-10, rest assured. The F-16IN Super Viper will be far more advanced than the Block 52 F-16s or FC-20d that Pakistan will be acquiring. The Super Viper's existing Northrop Grumman-built APG-80 and in future the SABR AESA will offer it distinct advantages over the FC-20 and F-16 Block 52s which for the foreseeable future will not have on-board AESA radars. Only the JF-17 Thunder will in all probability get the Selex Galileo Vixen 500e AESA.
radars.
As for comparing the APG-80 with the APG-79, the former scores ahead simply because it entered service earlier with the UAEAF and is therefore a more mature and proven system. In terms of advantages, however, both are equally competitive. The EL/M-2052 is already going on board the Tejas Mk1 LCA and it remains to be seen if the Tejas Mk2 LCA too will have it or will a competitive bidding process be initiated.
The BEL-assembled LW-08 L-band radar and the DRDO-developed Nagan low-frequency towed-array sonar will go on board the three (not two) Project 15A DDGs.
Regarding the Jumper, of course, countries like India and Singapore will be very much interested in such a system.
No, the IAF and Army are procuring only the SpyDer-SR SHORADS systems. Later, the Maitri/SR-SAM E-SHORADS will follow.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:58AM: There's no Sino-Russian collaboration of fifth generation combat aircraft, but China is collaborating with Ukrainian turbofan designers and manufacturers.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Faris: No, but depending on the mission, officers of the field artillery branch can be embedded within infantry battalions for liaising with the Divisional artillery command/control/communications and fire-direction system whenever massed fire-assaults are required. Presently, India has raised only two Field Artillery Divisions to support multiple Corps-level offensive operations. But given the large-scale induction of BrahMos supersonic TLAMs and Prithvi SS-150 surface-to-surface battlefiels support missiles by these two Divisions, each of them are also capable of undertaking their own independent offensive fire-assault opeations.
For the Southeast Asian theatre, motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers will be the best--and not 105mm field guns. Small wonder, therefore, that both Myanmar and Thailand have already acquired such motorised howitzers from Serbia and France, respectively.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To smith: The Kaveri turbofan's dimensions are such that it will only go on board those combat arcraft for which it was designed. It cannot be squeezed into any other aircraft, although its engine core can be used for developing turbofans for civilian aircraft like business jets, and for futuristic UCAVs in a derated version. But for powering 350km-range cruise missiles (like the C-602) the HAL-developed PTAE-7 turbojet will suffice. Beyond that, for 1,500km-range subsonic cruise missiles a turbofan smaller in size than the PTAE-7 will be required.
Regarding the Mi-35's latest variants they can be used for several theatres even today, especially those pertaining to UN-led peace-enforcement operations and counter-insurgency operations. However, for the modern-day battlefield characterised by dense VSHORADS and SHORADS networks, the Mi-35 will not be able to hold out on its own. That is precisely the reason why even the Russians are inducting the more survivable Mi-28N and Ka-52.

Divakar said...

Prasun,

There was request from army HQ to MOD or PMO, to let the light weight artelery trials to continue dispite S.Technologies been icluded in the curruption alligations. Any update on the trials?

Who else is competing for this light weight arteleary other than ST.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Prasun and Dr. Sanjay,

Your discussion on India's artillery resources and modernisation was amazing, and is too valuable to get lost in the comments section of a blog post. Could you publish it as a separate post or an article in a magazine, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

"Is there any collaboration between Russia and China for 5th Gen fighters?"

from http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/fighter/jxx.asp

Russian Sukhoi Company (JSC), which has developed close ties with Shenyang over the licensed co-production of its Su-27SK fighter as J-11, has been reportedly working with Shenyang in developing the next-generation fighter technology and sub-systems.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Divakar: The issue has not yet been sorted out. The Pegasus from ST Kinetics is the sole bidder, since the only other rival, the LW-155 from BAE Systems, has refused to take part in the competition, citing the unrealistic Army GSQR as being the sole reason for its withdrawal.

To Anon@12:09PM: Both sanjay and your's truly were merely revisiting the topics. They've already been covered as the main posts last year and earlier this year.

To Anon@12:13PM: Ther's no corporate entity in existence known as 'Russian Sukhoi Company JSC'. There's Sukhoi OKB, and there's United Aircraft Corp, and there's NPO Saturn and Salyut (engine designers and manufacturers). And the radar designer is V Tikhmirov Scientific-Research Institute of Instrument Design. And none of them have anything to do with any kind of ToT for either the Su-33 or the Su-35BM, leave alone any kind of fifth generation combat aircraft. China does want access to the Irbis-E PESA radar and the production-engineering data for the aircraft carrier-based Su-33. For the latter it has already joined forces with Ukraine-based OEMs. For further info on all this, kindly proceed to: http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.214/pub_detail.asp

sbm said...

Prasun - what do you make of the nature and manner of Santhanam's comments ?

In your view what's the largest deployed (or "assemblable") warhead India can deploy with reliability ?

I have a serious problem in the fact that everyone - including Santhanam at present - is cherry picking data to bolster personal vendettas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pasun,
Thanks for your response.

But http://www.sukhoi.org/eng/company/
says "Sukhoi Company (JSC) is Russia’s major aircraft holding company"

Anonymous said...

Dear Prasun,
I have been going through some of PLA's aggression against India for the last one year.
It started with a news that, PLAN forced to surface Indian Navy submarine, which was following the PLAN frigates after entering into INdian Ocean.

Indian Navy denied that. No IN submarine surfaced by PLAN. I do not know whether you made any comments on this.

Anyway, if IN was correct (I think they were), I feel that by such a rumored article, China was testing how India and Indian Media respond to such a news. But Indian Govt and Media didn't give much importance to that news. Later China denied such incident.
Coming back to the present PLA or PAP intrusion, I feel that, China is testing India, how India will responds to this intrusion.

Your comments please. do you have any knowledge which submarine was following PLAN.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:34PM: Sukhoi Company JSC indeed exists, but it as well as RAC-MiG is under the control of the Russian state-owned corporate entity called United Aircraft Corp (UAC), which controls the marketing of all military aircraft. Skhoi Company JSC is nowadays more involved with the Superjet 100 and Su-80 STOL twin-turboprop. For China to have any kind of military aircraft R & D inputs from Russia, it will have to approach only UAC and its Sukhoi OKB or MiG OKB.

To SBM1:23PM: Sanjay, irregardless of the on-going controversy after Dr Santhanam's statement, I cannot even for a moment believe that a single test of a thermonuclear device will suffice for India. As a layman, I cannot for a moment believe that the DAE got it all right the very first time it tested such a device when others like the US, USSR and China had to test such devices several more times. Therefore, I would put my bets on the successes of the pure fission device, boosted-fission device and the sub-kiloton tests. But thermonuclear? I would like to see for tests being conducted. Incidentally, the most rational comments on this issue (I feel) have come from Capt (Ret'd) B K Subbarao, published in last week's issue of OUTLOOK magazine. In retrospect, all these problems are caused by political naivety. As we now know from Dr Henry Kissinger's memoirs had India weaponised after Pokhran-1 in 1974, the US would have accepted India as a full-fledged n-weapons power by the time the NPT was formalised in 1978. But India missed the boat and kept floating directionless. In 1998 again we had the same problem when two critical mistakes were made: declaring an unilateral moratium on further testing, and the continued refusal by Indian policymakers to quantify in crystal-clear terms the size and nature of the so-called minimum credible nuclear deterrent. It is the second point that countries like the US, Russia, the UK ad France find it really hard to understand and it is also this very point that creates more confusion in all multilateral forums, and especially within the Indian armed forces. For instance, the Govt and DRDO are saying that the Arihant will carry the 700km-range Shourya SLBM, when the Navy has been demanding that the DRDO should deliver SLBMs with delivery ranges of 6,500km and 8,500km. Now whether the DRDO will be able to develop such missiles that will not protrude out from the SSBN's pressure hull (like the Russian Delta-3/4 SSBNs do) is another matter altogether.

Anonymous said...

to prasun

what is the weight of warhead in MRSAM/LRSAM

sbm said...

Prasun, I agree with all of the above but still - how large a fission or boosted-fission weapon can India make without renewed testing ?

One thing to note - if India's test were a "fizzle" then Pakistan's tests were a farce! The yield at best was 1/2 that of Indias using the same data and analyses.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:41PM: More than what is on the Akash.

To sbm: The Pakistanis tested only two warheads, both of which were designed, built and delivered by China. They went bang as advertised and expected, but the so-called indigenous devices were all fizzles.

sbm said...

Prasun, they achieved a yield of under 10KT apiece. I thought they had a design yield of 25KT each ! Those local devices must have come close to zero yield as if the TN Indian device yielded 25kt or so and the fission yielded 12-15kT, Pakistan's devices had a total yield of under half the Indian tests.

Would you agree that fission weapons from 15-50kt and boosted-fission weapons with a yield from 20-80 kilotons are feasible for India without further testing ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: I doubt if ever they had any locally developed devices. The ones they tested successfully were Chinese-built and delivered tactical nuclear warheads, 12 of which were pre-stockpiled since the mid-1990s.

sbm said...

Make sense. Then again - all the tamasha aside - what country really wants even a 10 Kt weapon landing on a city ?

BTW- what of my yield estimates for weapons in Indian service ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: For me fission weapons from 15-50kt and boosted-fission weapons with a yield from 20-80 kilotons will suffice so long as they cause the kind of destruction as that witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is afterall all about deterrence, instead of total annihilation. What is therefore more important is for India to now officially quantify and define in no uncertain terms its inventory of n-arsenals, and also the quantum of fissile materials to be held in strategic storage (which for me ought to be about 3 metric tones of weapons-grade plutonium). Of course I would like to see India succeeding in developing proven and mature thermonuclear devices, but reality now demands that India proceed with what it has got high confidence in. Afterall, what Pakistan has got today is not more than 12 Made-in-China tactical nuclear warheads and that’s the way it will be, unless China decides to up the ante in future.

Dumpskin said...

>>>> What is therefore more important is for India to now officially quantify and define in no uncertain terms its inventory of n-arsenals, and also the quantum of fissile materials to be held in strategic storage (which for me ought to be about 3 metric tones of weapons-grade plutonium).

US and Russia declared their assets as part of their bilateral agreements followed by other powers. Before that do everyone declared their assets ? Why should India follow in the same footsteps ? .

sbm said...

Prasun - consider this:

Here's a bit of pure wickedness:

Is anyone saying India cannot scale a basic fission design up from 15 kilotons to something greater ?

France deployed a 120 kt fission weapon using 25kg of weapons grade plutonium. Couldn't India follow the same path without absolutely necessitating further testing ? BTW the MR31 warhead so described weighed 700kg. That was the payload the 2001 Agni-2 test was conducted with...

I posted this on a couple of places and while there is a lot of breast beating and braying about thermonuclear capabilities, what of fission capabilities ?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Thanks for the reply.

Going by your explanations it will be feasible to India to go for the F-16IN Super Viper as it possesses some technologies used in the F-35 and moreover GE has said it will manufacture, assemble and test the engine, should any of its partners win the contract, at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) facilities. It has also said that it will get many of its engine components manufactured by local firms.So i think India should go for the F-16IN Super Viper and GE's F414 engines for the Tejas.

Does Russia will supply China the latest Su-35 fighter aircraft?In that it will pose serious threat to India's Su-30 MKI's.What do you think?

In this blog you have once emphasized that in an environment where air superiority issues will be sorted out by beyond-visual-range air combat (aided by AEW & C platforms)and agile air combat missiles with thrust-vectoring nozzles ,yhe thrust-vectoring ,supermanoeuvrability and supercruise ability of manned combat aircraft becomes irrelevant.Does that mean an aircraft which possesses an state-of-the-art ECM and agile long range air combat missiles with thrust-vectoring nozzles like the Meteor will win the air-war.

Will the US supply India with the AIM-120D AAM's if she goes for an US aircraft?

Is it true that China is developing such agile long range air combat missiles with thrust-vectoring nozzles,namely PL-12.In that case it will pose serious treat to IAF's fighters in case of a war.

Anonymous said...

what is the nature of the indo japanese defence pact which was signed by Dr Manmohan Singh last year

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Not wickedness, but pragmatism. As the principal trigger mechanisms for both the fission-based and boosted-fission-based warheads have been well-proven, up-scaling them as you've suggested to deliver greater quantifiable mass-destruction is easily achievable and this is exactly what the DAE and DRDO folks have done thus far for the Agni-1s and Agni-2s. Tamasha aside, pragmatism thus wins at the end of the day. I fully concur with your assessments.

To Dumpskin: Yes, they do. Because that's what ensures nuclear deterrence. Unlike conventional warfare, whose success or failure is determined by the respective operational arts of the warring parties, when it comes to nuclear deterrence, the damage and destruction caused by WMDs is quantifiable fairly accurately and that's what gave rise to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction since the 1960s.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:53PM: The PLA Air Force has long desired the procurement of the Su-33 and Su-35BM, but has been unable to secure import approval from Russia. Therefore, China is now sourcing the production-engineering data for the Su-33 from Ukraine. But the Su-35BM remains elusive for China. Only India, Malaysia and Venezuela have been allowed access to the Su-35BM product presentations, according to Rosoboronexport State Corp.
Any fourth-geneation M-MRCA equipped with integrated EW defensive aids suite, helmet-mounted display and cueing system and BVRAAMs like the Meteor (which receive mid-course course-corrections via data-link from AEW & C platforms will ensure air dominance and tactical air superiority.
will win the air-war. Regarding the AIM-120D AMRAAMs, the answer is yes.
China is developing a new generation of ramjet-powered BVRAAMs like the PL-21, which bears a strong resemblance to the Meteor.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
you have lot of patience. That's what makes a good blog.

Nava said...

Were the recent reports of a 900 million procurement of the SpyDer by the Indian army veritable?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10.03AM: The India-Japan agreement comprises clauses relating to cooperation in counter-terrorism, strategic intelligence-sharing of China's military force modernisation efforts, strategic intelligence-sharing on North Korea's ballistic missile development efforts, joint anti-piracy operations and patrols along the sea lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, bilateral full-spectrum naval exercises, and provision by India of shore-based and at-sea logistics support to those JMSDF warships that are deployed in the Persian Gulf. The military-industrial cooperation element includes the supply by Japan of dual-use hardware to the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard such as direction-finders, low-probability-of-intercept marine navigation radars and VSAT terminals for SATCOMS.

To Anon@10:54AM: Thanks mate.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: 900 millon in what currency? Indian Rupees or US$ or Euro?

Nava said...

Dollars...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: That figure refers to the procurement of SpyDer for BOTH the Indian Army and IAF, and not for the Indian Army alone.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: My above answer is predicated upon the assumption that the term 'Dollars' refers to US$, and not AUS$ or S$.

Anonymous said...

to prasun

any idea about the peak power of apg79/80 and which back end processing these radars use

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
Is it true that the Zhuk-AE AESA is fully compliant with the IAF's M-MRCA RFP, and that traditionally Russian airborne multi-mode radars have outperformed their European and US counterparts? Thanks

Aadi said...

Prasun, I cannot find a single report on Type 1500/209 SSK upgrade. Do you have any details about this project?.

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