Saturday, September 26, 2009

Double-Edged Dissuasive Airpower Deterrence



Of all the operational commands of the Indian Air Force (IAF), it is the Western Air Command (WAC) that will have to operate as a double-edged sword in the event of a future round of hostilities along India’s high-altitude northern frontiers. Consequently, it is within the WAC that one is now witnessing a multi-phase operational-level transformation taking place, a process that began way back in mid-1999. It was during Operation Safed Sagar (from May 15 till July 12, 1999) that the WAC was first exposed to a high-altitude theatre of war, involving both fixed-wing combat aircraft and helicopters. At that time, close to 150 combat aircraft were deployed at the IAF;s air bases at Adampur (46 Mirage 2000Hs, MiG-29B-12s and Jaguar IS), Awantipura (28 MiG-21bis, MiG-29B-12s and Jaguar IS), Pathankot (30 MiG-21bis and MiG-23MFs), Srinagar (34 MiG-21bis, MiG-23BNs and MiG-27Ms), and Udhampur (12 MiG-21bis). Together, these aircraft collectively flew 550 strike missions, 150 tactical recce and COMINT missions, and 500 defensive counter-air and offensive escort-cum-sweep missions. The overwhelming majority of the strike missions were during daytime, with the Mirage 2000Hs (equipped with RAFAEL Litening-2 laser designator pods and Griffin laser-guided bombs) scoring high marks during the limited aerial bombing campaign. Needless to say, this was the first time in the history of military aviation that such aerial campaigns were carried out in a sustained manner over high-altitude battlefields.

Encouraged by such ‘baptism by fire’, the WAC by early 2002 had firmed up plans for phase 2 of its transformation process along the northern front and in mid-2003 a solitary Su-30MKI Mk2 did a trial-landing at the IAF’s Leh (located at 10,680 feet ASL and having a 9,000 feet-long runway) and Srinagar air bases. This was preceded by the Su-30MKI pilots during a few route-check flights and runway overshoots with MiG-29B-12s to familiarise themselves with the overall sortie pattern, weather conditions and the operating terrain. It was only after this that the four Su-30MKI Mk3s from the Barielly-based No24 Squadron along with 12 pilots landed at Leh on September 16 last year (in two phases of four each and led by flight commander Wing Commander K Sundaramani) for a 10 day-long deployment that also saw the Su-30MKIs each logging up to four training sorties per day and also doing overshoots of the runways at Srinagar and Thoise air base (located 10,066 feet ASL and hosting a 10,000 feet-long runway). Thoise is the acronym for Transit Halt of Indian Soldiers Enroute.

Prior to this historic deployment, was another pathbreaking achievement on May 31 last year when after a 44-year break, an IAF An-32B tactical transport aircraft landed on the 2.3km-long sandy airstrip (now being lengthened to 3km) at the 12,037 feet-high advanced landing ground (ALG) in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) in the sub-sector north (SSN) area of Ladakh at 6.17am. This was followed by another An-32B landing at the refurbished ALG at Fukche (at 14,200 feet ASL) on September 24 last year, with the latest ALG being brought to life being Nyoma, south of Chushul, at 13,400 feet ASL on September 18 this year. All these ALGs facing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will eventually have a 3km runway length and will be used for aerial logistics support (rendered by An-32Bs) for the more than 50 border observation posts (BOP) manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Vikas Battalion and the Ladakh Scouts (that’s right, because as per the Patrolling Limit Policy, or PLP, formulated by the Govt of India in 1975 and unchanged since then, only these agencies, and not the Indian Army, are responsible for border patrolling, with the Army patrols venturing to no more than 5km away from the LAC in eastern Ladakh!). Thus, with the An-32Bs (and in future the six Lockheed Martin-supplied C-130J-30 Stretched Hercules) being committed to providing all-year round air maintenance (since vehicular traffic is unavailable during winter from October to May), the IAF’s Mi-17s are now free to provide tactical air transportation of troops, provide perishable supplies for troops deployed along the Saltoro Ridge (via 10 dropping zones), as well as deal with time-urgent MEDEVAC sortie requirements. It was, in fact, the lack of such helicopter support (due to the acute shortage of available Mi-17s) that the Indian Army had great difficulty in redeploying its fully high-altitude acclimatised 114 Brigade (deployed along the LAC) for undertaking offensive operations during Operation Vijay in mid-1999.

To appreciate the critical role played by such enhanced aerial logistics capabilities, one has to understand the operational-level posture of the Indian Army’s Leh-based III Infantry Division, which has committed forces against Pakistan for the Siachen area of operations, and the SSN against China, stretching from DBO to Demchok—a frontage of 1,150km. Supplementing the Divisions three Brigades (with the 102 Brigade being deployed solely for Siachen and the remainng two Brigades being earmarked for support and back-up) are five Battalions of the ITBP, Vikas Battalion and Ladakh Scouts that are thinly spread. As a consequence, there are no Army reserve forces available at SSN and what further complicates matters is that SSN as a whole has not road connectivity. Therefore, the deployed troops undertake foot patrols in batches of 15 or 20 and have often come across intruding patrols of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP), with each such patrol comprising up top 400 personnel riding on all-terrain wheeled vehicles. And when a faceoff ensues, the Indian Army along with the ITBP and Ladakh Scouts are strictly forbidden to enter into any verbal or armed altercations, and instead seek a flag meeting of the respective sector commanders. And when this happens, no cohesive, coordinated or united response is forthcoming from the Indian side, since the Indian Army reports to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the ITBP reports to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Such administrative mis-matches notwithstanding, the Indian Army and the IAF have devised several innovative measures for the flexible switching or redeployments of combat assets throughout the northern theatre of operations. For the IAF, the two principal all-the-year-round logistics nodes are the air bases at Leh and Thoise, located north and on either side of the 18,380 feet-high Khardung La pass (under the command of the Udhampur-based AOC Jammu & Kashmir HQ). While Leh will become the principal air base for any offensive air campaign launched by the IAF against China, Thoise (known till 1990 as SUI Generis-19 and operating under the Leh-based 21 Wing of the IAF) is today an independent air base with its integral No19 Forward Base Support Unit (FBSU) and hosts centrally-heated hangars for accommodating Mi-17s.

With India’s MoD now seemingly going on a belated overdrive for developing the military infrastructure along India’s 4,057km disputed frontier with China, the next five years will likely witness a five-fold increase in the demand for new-generation night landing aids and man-portable SATCOM-based communications systems, with the bulk of such hardware being acquired by the IAF, and the rest by the Indian Army. In the eastern sector, those ALGs earmarked for upgradation in Arunachal Pradesh include Tuting (Upper Siang district), Mechuka (West Siang), Vijaynagar (Changlang) and Passigat (East Siang district). Going hand in hand with such ALG reactivations is the construction of some 50 new helipads in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarkhand, and a massive upgrade of the IAF’s air bases at Leh, Thoise, Tezpur, Hashimara and Panagarh, all of which will house detachments of the Su-30MKI air dominance fighter. Topping it all up are up to six new ALGs to be specifically built for supporting the Army routine tactical aerial surveillance along the Sino-Indian border with the help of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles.

Each and every one of these ALGs, air bases and helipads will be equipped with several types of hardware that are currently in widespread use in active combat zones throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. These include a wide range of remote-controlled night landing aids and portable lighting systems for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters on both land and at sea. For instance, a Tactical Approach Lighting System (TALS), currently deployed by ISAF forces in Afghanistan, is a field deployable, manportable, solid-state, battery-powered lighting system that will provide both infra-red and visible light sources. Light Units can be fully configured and operated via a UHF radio Remote Control Unit up to a typical range of 5km, or configured and operated manually. Illumination is provided over a hemispherical area by LED light sources. In infra-red mode the Light Units are NVG-compatible. The primary purpose of the TALS is to indicate landing and drop zones, forward arming and refuelling points, and can also be used for both covert and overt infiltration/exfiltration operations. Such systems are fully NATO-codified. A system consists of the following and is contained and transported in a backpack: one Remote Control Unit, six Light Units, six Ground Spikes (for deploying Light Units), one Universal input Battery Charger, and one Backpack which houses all the system units. The system provides sufficient Lights for a minimum operating strip (MOS) for fixed-wing aircraft or marking out a ‘T’ formation, typically used for helicopters. If a larger or more complex layout is required then any number of packs can be combined, and may be remote-controlled by single or multiple controllers either from on the ground or from in the air. Another mission-critical item that has already started flowing into the IAF is Signature Industries’ software-defined SARBE G2R and SARBE 6-406G personal locator beacons, which are also currently operational with the air forces of the UK and Singapore. When used in combat search-and-rescue mode, these beacons emit a short, randomised burst data transmission, along with the ability to stop and restart data transmissions on demand. This ensures extremely low probability of interception/detection by hostile passive surveillance systems.

Also underway today as part of the on-going transformation process is the long-overdue beefing up of the airspace surveillance network throughout Jammu & Kashmir. As stated by the WAC’s AOC-in-C Air Marshal N A K Browne on September 24, two distinct types of low-level lightweight radars (LLLWR) are being deployed along the 667km-long LAC with China, these being an initial two of three Rohini S-band 3-D radars built by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), which will be replaced between next year and 2012 by two out of the 19 ordered THALESRaytheon Systems-built Ground Master 400 S-band LLLWRs (to be sited at Leh and Nyoma). The Ground Master 400 is easily air-transportable by the C-130J-30, making it ideal for deployments at short notice for filling up essential gaps in airspace surveillance. To be acquired in future for siting at DBO, Thoise and Partapur are three modified EL/M-2083 aerostat-mounted L-band radars, which will also be air-transportable by both C-130J-30s and IL-76MDs. Thus, if all goes as per plans, by the end of the 11th Defence Plan (2007-2012) the IAF will have in place a robust and layered airspace surveillance network backed up by an in-depth deployment infrastructure (such as centrally heated hardened aircraft shelters) at air bases in Leh and Thoise for the Su-30MKI. For ground-based base air defence, the IAF has already decided to deploy up to a Battery each of the SpyDer-S E-SHORADS at these two air bases.—Prasun K. Sengupta

119 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks prasun appreciate ur efforts

but isn't it the same radar shown in paris air show this year?

Anonymous said...

to prasun,

ground master 4000 radar is phased array or something else?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Yes, the radar was shown at the Paris Air Show as an outdoor exhibit. And it is not phased-array.

Anonymous said...

if not phased array then what is it?

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

Is IAF's An-32B upg also centered on improving ops performance at such high ALGs specifically? Do post abt it in more detail.

Also i thoughtthe C-130J-30 were being procured specifically for Spec-ops. If no then how will just 6 will suffice?

The specifications of MTA and Herc seem almost identical to me so will the MTA hav similar performance?(i know it is jet powered).

Also wht abt SAM network? SPYDER is but one part & a low ranged one at tht. Do u think a viable SAM network can be Set-up in given time-frame?

Pierre Zorin said...

Folks please don't see this as sucking up to or flattery because neither me nor Prasun have anything to gain from this.Prasun, I for one appreciate you personally for the time it takes you to research and share your knowledge and generate meaningful discussions.You don't get paid for this free enthusiastic, informative service and someone like me who was always interested in military but didn't know where to look for or learn certain intricacies of weapons I hear of, your blog opened up a new world.I also thank the individuals who contribute to the blog and keep the discussion thread going.I sincerely hope that some of the good points get through to powers that be and create positive changes that are good for the nation and safer for the armed personnel.Meanwhile, I trust your input and thank you for all your effort Prasun.Good on ya mate.

ABHINABA said...

To, Prasun da -
In 1988 some 28 T-72 tanks were deployed in Leh for strategical reason,for which IL-76s were used as carriars & faced many problems for poor infrastructure of Leh airbase.
Are those infrastructural problems(lacks of night landing facilities,maintenance facilities,ATF tankers etc.etc.) rectified? & please share your thoughts about requirement of such deployment(as well as for ofensive deployment) of tank by cargo aircrafts in near future.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
Could you show some details on PLAN Type 022 FAC? How Indian Navy going to tackle this ship?

Also please write about China ASAT device. I am not sure about a report that Indian Remote Sensing Satellite is having some problems because of Chinese used some laser techniques to destroy some capabilities of remote sensing satellite, is it true? Does China have the capability?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Prasun, I admire your knowledge.
How come you know about this being a Malaysian, while we in India don't know about these things ?

Coming to the border roads in India, probably they didn't mend it because in case of a Chinese invasion, worst border roads will delay their advance in Indian territory. It is a unique & ingenious way to handle chinese threat.

PBR (Prasun Blog Reader)

sbm said...

This was an excellent piece.

Would appreciate one change - IAF designates its SAMs in flights or squadrons.

Secondly, perhaps an overall capsule on the SAM and radar defences of India and the current programmes designed to upgrade them might be a useful adjunct to this article.


A fine piece of work by any standard.

Anonymous said...

prasun! How about the vulnarability of these Radars to Anti Radiation missiles? they can be knocked out in a ziffy by intruding airforce /army a/c!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:12PM: All the data you seek is in the posted brochure. No further clarifications are necessary.

To Sachin Sathe: If you browse through this link (http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20091009262006400.htm) you will realise that the existing An-32B configuration has severe limitations when navigating in bad weather or flying in IFR conditions. That's why the An-32B, when upgraded, will include several new-generation navaids like the Stormscope, uprated engines and glass cockpit, all of which will greatly increase the aircraft's mission reliability and hot-and-high performance. But the decision to equip the An-32Bs with nigh-vision aids (like a thermal imaging camera whose image is superimposed on a HUD, enabling the pilot to takeoff or land under zero-visibility conditions) has yet to be taken. Such capabilities will be built-in as standard fit on the C-130J-30s, along with a dedicated FLIR pod (from FLIR Systems) and terrain-following radar. That indeed makes the C-130J-30 capable of undertaking special operations, which, by the way, also include transporting under all prevailing weather conditions, high-value equipment like gapfiller radars. The order for six C-130J-30 Stretched Hercules is only the initial order and the FMS contract inked with the US DSCA includes an option for another six sauch aircraft.
The IL-214 MTA's airframe will have more or less the same internal volume but will be a more efficient platform as it will be turbofan-powered and have higher cruising altitudes and cruise speeds, but offer the same STOL performance as the C-130J-30.
The SAM network can be up-scaled if desired, but only in flat terrain. In mountainous terrain where there is ample scope for terrain-masking the best ground-based air defence is offered by E-SHORADS systems.
PS: I was personally involved with the product demonstrations of TALS, that were conducted at Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh, two years ago. That's when it was realised by IAF HQ and another aviation wing of the Cabinet Secretariat that in addition to such aids, the aircraft (both fixed-wing and helicopters) required their own integral night-vision aids in order to takeoff and land under 0-visibility conditions.

To Pierre Zorin & SBM: Many thanks for your words of encouragement. Greatly appreciate them, as always.

sbm said...

Prasun,
What do you envision in the long term for the IAF SAM force ?

(a) What will happen to the Pechoras ?

(b) Will the Maitri ever come to fruition or will more Spyders be purchased ?

(c)Will the LR/MR SAM be inducted in sufficient numbers to increase the SAM coverage or will only a few squadrons of each be inducted ?

SAMs tend to get neglected in the media discourse of the IAF

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To ABHINABA: Yes, I remember that historic airlift, especially since there was only 3-inch clearance on eiother side of the IL-76MD when airlifting the T-72Ms! But for every new such deployment for extended periods, building up the support infrastructure takes time simply because one learns with each step forward. Afterall, nowhere else in the world is such a deployment being effected and therefore there are no readymade manuals or terms of reference available. The same is the case with the short-term deployments of the Su-30MKIs to Srinagar, Thoise and Leh. As you're aware, the flight profile of any combat aircraft changes completely at high altitudes like those at Leh and Thoise. The engines take more time to provide the required acceleration during tactical flying. The quantum of hydraulic fluids and lubrication reqd also greatly vary. Then there's the issue of weather insulation as the climate there is bone-dry and cold, and can also be dusty. Central heating for the hangars and hardened aircraft shelters is also a must. All this will take time to be sorted out as one gains more experience through progressively extended deployments.

To Anon@2:25AM: The Type 022 'Hobei-class' FAC-M is limited to patrolling only in China's territorial waters and is not meant to be part of any blue-water task force. As such the chances of such vessels ever coming face-to-face with those of thr Indian Navy are extremely remote.
Regarding China's ASAT capabilities, as yet there's no demonstrated laser-based satellite destruction capability. Those remote-sensing satellites of India that may be suffering from degraded performance may well have outstripped their operational service-lives. That's why they're not performing up to specified objectives.

To Anon PBR@5:43AM: For the nth time, I'm NOT Malaysian, neither is Malaysia my principal base of operations. I'm only a periodic visitor to Malaysia.
Regarding the state of border roads infrastructure in India, your assumptions are way away from reality and I will explain this further in a future post explaining in detail what exactly was Operation Falcon all about, what really transpired at Sumdurong Chu, and what's happening now.

To sbm: Many thanks. You're right about the Flights and Squadrons. I was referring to the size of the planned deployments when using the descriptive term 'Battery'. Regarding the IACCCS and the related joint ATCS, it was explained in great detail by me in one of FORCE's Aero India 2009 show dailies. Will definitely have that piece updated and will post it in the near future.

To Anon@6:19AM: The threat from ARMs will not be felt by such gapfiller radars since ARMs require a relatively straight and obstacle-free flight trajectory to home in to the targetted radar. In mountainous terrain, however, the approaches to the air bases is funnel-shaped and requires dexterous manoeuvring before the final approach to the air base can be made. Therefore, the only threat posed by ARMs will be to the aerostat-mounted radars, and not to the ground-based gapfiller radars. But the principal threat posed to these air bases in J & K will not come from manned combat aircraft, but by tactical ballistic missiles. Therefore, inevitably, an area-wide BMD network will be a must there in the years to come.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Starting from 2012 one will see an increasing numbers of SpyDer-S entering service with both the IAF and Army as you very well know. But the bulk of the IAF's MR-SAMs and LR-SAMs for air defence of VAs and VPs will undoubtedly be the Barak-8s and Barak-8ERs and as more of them are delivered by 2016 existing assets like the Pechoras and Kvadrats will then be decommissioned proportionally. The Maitri will definitely come in as it is not competing with the SpyDer-S per se. The VL Maitri, although called SR-SAM, will be fact be an E-SHORADS. Regretably, the only system to be inducted in smaller numbers (about 2 squadrons) will be the Akash. But far more interesting possibilities (both militarily and from a military-industrial standpoint) are now emerging, especially if the DRDO can fully realise what it set out to do with the PAD and AAD projects.

sbm said...

Awaiting that update.

The LR-SAM has a 120km range and the MR-SAM a 70km range. I take it the ceiling of the latter is about 20km and the former 30km ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Around that area, yes. What should also be explored are ways to recoup the R & D investments in the Akash project. For instance, the T-72M-based carrier vehicle and its angled launcher can be modified with moderate re-engineering to accommodate a N-LOS variant of the Akash (minues its first stage booster). The missile body is more than adequate for accommodating any kind of RF-based or laser-based terminal guidance system, particularly in high-altitude mountainous terrain. Such pre-stocked and pre-deployed N-LOS systems will not be seen as crossing any conventional threshold, and will instead be defensive assets against any kind of hostile armoured intrusion. I know for a fact that PLA formations deployed along the LAC facing eastern ladakh and above Arunachal Pradesh have a majority of their armoured tracked and wheeled all-terrain vehicles equipped with laser-guided anti-armour missiles.

sbm said...

That's a good point. The Indian army has invested fairly heavily in the Kornet-E though.

What does DRDO intend to achieve with the PAD/ AAD projects ?

Is it beyond just ABM defence ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: No, nothing beyond ABM defence for now. The developmental roadmap is fairly clear on that score. The Kornet-E is ideal for mechanised infantry-led operations as well as for SOF units. The N-LOS, on the other hand, can be pre-positioned at commanding heights overlooking valleys and likely approach areas for staging ambushes at ranges up to 15km although, I must add, the same job can be done by 155mm/52-cal howitzers firing Ksasnopol M-type projectiles. Having said that, staggered Akash SAM flights are also ideal for base air-defence in mountainous terrain where the 25km range engagement envelope will more than suffice.

sbm said...

So what do you envisage is the ultimate outcome intended for PAD and AAD ?

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
I always love to visit your blog. Your replies/comments are really informative. Thank you and keep up the blog.

According to you, who was the best defense minister India had (including AK Antony)- least corrupted, did a good job for armed forces, heard the voices for Indian soldiers.

If you were asked by The Defense Minister what have to be done for Indian Defense Establishment (Army, Navy, AirForce, DRDO, HAL) to become a top class military establishment (top 5), so that no other countries like China, Pak can bother to raise their guns, what do you say/suggest? I mean, present drawbacks of Indian Defense, requirements for Indian Defense Establishments, future of R&D, etc. What has to be changed, what has to be introduced, what needs to be done etc.

May be you can start a new article on this.

Thanks in adv.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: As far as higher decision-makers in India are concerned, they are fully committed to realising the project and the reqd determination and funding for realising a functional area-based BMD network remains rock-solid, just as that for the ATV Project. As fas as the endo-atmospheric AAD component goes, that is much less of a technological challenge and will be available earlier. But the exo-atmospheric PAD-1 interceptor requires a lot more R & work as the IAF has specified an interception altitude of 200km. According to Drs V K Saraswat and A Sivathanu Pillai, this will be achieved as promised by 2012. The principal challenges include the design and development of properly engineered (and easily deployable) components like the launcher vehicles, interceptor resupply vehicles, land-mobile/airmobile shelterised command-and-control systems, and the early warning/engagement radars. This is the principal challenge since, presently, two distinct systems (one based on the LRTR/Green Pine and the other based on the Master-A) are employed for the PAD and AAD, respectively. The end-user is desirous of a single unified command-and-control/early warning/engagement system. And this was the very reason why the US Defense Dept and Lockheed Martin showed deep interest in the DRDO's BMD project as they're proposing a hybrid system comprising the THAAD and Patriot PAC-3 (for intercepting IRBMs and TBMs). But the IAF has already asked the DRDO to develop the PAD-1 as being capable of intercepting MRBMs as well, and be capable of receiving real-time targetting updates (of the inbound ballistic missile in the post-boost phase)from satellite-based early warning systems. That's where things now stand. Which by implication means that India will not only be deploying a constellation of regional GPS navigation satellites (IRNSS), but can also well be expected to deploy a constellation of up to four DSP-type missile launch warning satellites, although this aspect has yet to be publicly acknowledged or revealed.

sbm said...

That is a heck of an ambition.

Do you think they can do it ?

Saraswat is in a position to accord it priority.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:38PM: Firstly, being least corrupted does not automatically translate into being a good manager or administrator of a ministry. Secondly, as to what needs to be done, here's a simple checklist to be implemented by not just the MoD/Defence Minister, but by the Cabinet Committee on National Security as a whole:
1) Create a compulsory course for all MoD-, MoF- and MHA-related bureaucrats on the subject of 'Strategic Visioning'.
2) Create a unified decision-making institution on national security matters by formalising the post of the Chief of Defence Staff, with HQ Integrated Defence Staff serving as the supporting secretariat.
3) Strengthen and beef up the internal security apparatus and CPFMs in such a way that there's absolutely no need for asking the armed forces for dabbling in internal security matters.
4) Stop preaching the merits and values of leading a civilisational existence through the ages and instead begin seriously believing in the territorial existence of the country known as the Republic of India.
5) Stop being hypocritical about corruption in govt purchases (especially within the MHA and MoD) and ensure a transparent procurement process under which not just the RFIs, but also the RFPs and results of the competitive bidding processes are made available on-line. That's because 60% of the current marketing effort of any foreign OEM is spent on finding out such data and when such data isn't available easily or legally, onlt then does the OEM have to resort to 'other means' such as employing consultants or 'insiders' or 'agents' whose only jobs are to provide such data in return for due financial compensation. Corruption is just a supply-and-demand issue. If you fix the system, no one will feel the need to engage the services of any middleman, be it a businessman or a politician.

Nava said...

So the nigh-notional PAD exo-atmospheric interceptor will use the Super Green Pine, and I gather will have an Israeli "inspired" C2 center. Why not get involved with the Arrow 3 program? Could the US stop such a cooperation (on "technology leakage" concerns), when it itself is offering India the THAAD?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: It is most definitely achievable with both indigenous means and with crucial imported inputs. Just like the ATV project, as long as the political decision-makers ensure a smooth and trouble-free R & D collaboration-cum-procurement process, things will move much faster on the BMD scene. The highest priority was accorded way back in the late 1990s as you know, and what's now being done is taking things further one step at a time, because no one doubts China's or Pakistan's intentions for countering India's superior conventional airpower with conventionally-armed ballistic and cruise missiles being employed against military and civilian targets inside India.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

My dear Nava, call it Israel-inspired, or Israel-consulted or Israel-aided, the answer is yes. The combined PAD/AAD system will have Israeli and Russian DNAs embedded. And you guessed right about the reasons for the Arrow-2/3 being disallowed for export to India (or for that matter to Turkey) as off-the-shelf products. There's also the China factor to be seriously considered by Israel. Therefore, selling fully Made-in-Israel products earmarked for deployment against China isn't that good an idea. Far more subtle means have to be adopted when marketing 'components' of the Arrow 2/3 or Green Pine or Citron Tree, if you get my drift. That way IAI's share value will only go up, which should keep you in high spirits! (LoL)

sbm said...

India's air power is still superior to China's ?

Nava said...

But an ABM missile is no more "deployed against China" than say the MR SAM. And surely less so than the ADM!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: As well as offensive and defensive airpower resources go into the theatres of Eastern Ladakh, Uttarkhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, the IAF is in a much better position than the PLAAF, as the air base infrastructure in Tibet has yet to see the hosting of Su-27SKs or Su-30MK2s or JH-7As. The bulk of China's offensive airpower still remains deployed along northern and southern China facing Taiwan and Japan, this including the almost 1,000 TBMs and IRBMs. The only two factors likely to go against India will be:
A) The possibility of the PLAAF's Chengdu- and Kunming-based airpower assets acquiring airspace transit rights from Myanmar in order to hit Arunachal Pradesh under an intensive offensive air campaign.
B) The PLA's Chengdu and Lanzhou Military Regions deploying hundreds of conventionally armed TBMs and IRBMs by withdrawing them from their existing deployment sites at the Jinan and Nanjing MRs and redeploying them agsinst northeastern and northern India.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: You may find this interesting:
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/many-chinese-still-see-india-as-their-main-enemy-report/522106/

Nava said...

Oh the enmity is definitely there, but China isn't a democracy. Do you really see the Chinese government attacking India with no provocation? Hell, in such a doomsday scenario the US would probably intervene.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Read this as well: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6850841.ece
Provocation? What does one need? What did the Nazis need when attacking Poland or the UK back in 1939?

Nava said...

Read it.

Do read this illuminating article then:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21715

But really this wasn't our original subject. How could the US block the selling of the Arrow 3 with a straight face when it is offering the Thaad to India itself?

Nava said...

Re the Nazis invasion of Poland etc., for god's sake India is a nuclear power! Its armed forces are in some aspects superior to China's because of its use of western technology.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Read it. Both the Chinese and Pakistanis follow the same policy of publishing historical records (and text books) that make the 'non-believers' look as infidels and former British colonies as being stooges of the erstwhile imperial powers. This in turn gives rise to virulent anti-Indian rhetoric and a weird sense of xenophobic nationalism. Till this day Chinese school text books identify Russia as the enemy no1 and India as No2! Therefore, with such brainwashing, what exactly can one expect?
Regarding Sino-India hostilities, even though both countries are nuclear weapons-armed, there still exists adequate space for the high-intensity but limited border conflicts breaking out, without escalating beyond the nuclear threshold. The same was the case in 1999 when border clashes broke out between India and Pakistan. No one believes there will be an all-out conventional war between China and India, but limited high-intensity border conflicts in all likelihood can be expected.

Nava said...

Are you saying that the Chinese dislike (hate) the Indians more than they do the Japanese? Because if basically there is no real motivation for conflict other than rampant nationalism, then Japan (and of course Taiwan, but that's different) seem more likely targets.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Are you kidding? China hating Japan or Taiwan? All that is for show only, and is not reflected in the history text books. Confusian pragmatism demands that the PRC maintain exceptionally good ties with these two countries since Japan doles out generous annually billions of dollars worth ODA to China and the Taiwanese are always on the lookout for setting up low-cost consumer electronics manufacturing and assembly plants in southern China. So China hates not just India, but Russia as well. Check out the contents of the prescribed Chinese school textbooks on contemporary history for further confirmation.

Pierre Zorin said...

China does not particularly like Japan and certainly would claim taiwan were it not for the US support for both.Plus Japan do have the capability to defend itself should it wish to do so.China would have had democracy long time ago IF the Western powers did the same to it that they did to the USSR.Partly because the West saw the USSR as a direct threat being a European country and underestimated China as a backward,underdeveloped nation not capable of striking the heart of the Western interests. Plus there were ego issues at stake too and this is why the US is still against Cuba calling it a despotic authoritarianism yet due to the lure of cheap labour, rewards China and turns a blind eye to its international sponsoring of terrorism, oppression of its people and inevitable expansionism.China has learned a lot from the Japanese especially in the field of improvising on the existing aka copying.Today,China is far too advanced to militarily overwhelm and the stakes with regards to investment are too high to jeopardise by taking business elsewhere.Just like Bin Laden was propped up as an anti Soviet weapon China was seen as an anti Soviet measure too - both attempts of course have now gone horribly wrong.Unless the people of China rise up which is very unlikely,there is nothing that can be done to withstand the Chinese jaggernaut with its expansionist and Bond Villain like aspirations.

Pierre Zorin said...

Just changing topic:I just read in Ria Novosti "Iran is believed to possess one of the largest ballistic missile forces in the developing world, and is reportedly running an ambitious missile development program".How did Iran achieve all this success when India is still struggling.Did Iran do it alone or with the help of China/North Korea?I also note they have mini subs,indigenous 100mm air defence cannons and aside the rhetoric, possess quite a serious firepower.Who helps/helped Iran attain such engineering capability, any information Prasun?

ABHINABA said...

To, Prasun da-
Are you not thinking Myanmaris gov. is acting as double agent? -they get enough financial & infrastructural support from both India & China,but we did not get same favours(as china get) from them? It is true that we lost some advantages due to lack of confidence between our GoI & State gov.(like our continuous dispute between state gov. of Tripura & Mizo
for gas pipe line).

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

i am rather sceptical of the max paylod of MRTA.Is 18.5 tonnes enough to carry next gen ICV's? with add-on armour and other aids along with increase in firepower(STRYKER i think has 105 mm gun) the weight will go up & above 20 tonnes(Abhay ICV already weighs 23 tonnes or so). it will put more pressure on the VHT fleet in case of airborne deployment which is likely considering the total lack of transport infrastructure nessesary to maintain parity with chinese. The IL-76 fleet is as it is always under pressure during peacetime. wht do u think?

Also wht abt future replacement of An-32B? can the NAL proposed regional airliner(RTA-70) be modified for use by IAF(I know it is in early stages of development)?

In case of indo-china conflict will china use MRBM's and TBM's first? wont it give an legimate excuse to India to see this as a nuclear attack after all we r not going to be waiting for missile to hit to find out whether it is nuclear tipped on not r we even GoI aint tht naive. So does't if automatically escalate the war beyond nuclear threshold? wht do u think?

MR said...

Prasunda,

What's the truth behind this news. I suspect there is something going on behind the scenes.

http://livefist.blogspot.com/2009/09/indias-next-advanced-trainer.html

Will IAF go for a totally new platform now? Doesn't make much sense!

Debs said...

Hey! A white background with black font will make this blog more friendly to the eye. Cheers.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Pierre Zorin: I don't think for a moment that India is struggling in developing ballistic/cruise missiles. The kind of missiles that Iran is testing presently was in fact developed by India way back in the early 1990s. The latest missiles like the solid-fuelled Agni-1, Agni-3, BrahMos and Shourya are far more advanced that the liquid-fuelled IRBMs and MRBMs of North Korean origin which has been test-firing. And all those 'indigenous' 100mm AAA, anti-ship cruise missiles, SHORADS and mini-subs that are showcased for international consumption are ALL in fact, licence-built, with the IPR owners being China and North Korea. But when it comes to ballistic missiles, Iran has since the early 1990s had the advantage of sharing common borders with the Central Asian Republics and it was from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Azerbaijan that Iran 'procured' around 20 nuclear physicists and rocket designers who helped create the academic and military-industrial foundations reqd for undertaking the indigenous production of foreign-designed liquid-fuelled and solid-fuelled ballistic missiles. Iran still is a nett importer of liquid fuel for such missiles from North Korea and for the past four days 2 North Korean citizens have been holed up in the Danish Embassy in Teheran, seeking political asylum. Earlier, in the early 1990s, Iran reportedly procured four tactical nuclear warheads (for ballistic missiles) off-the-shelf from Kazakhstan for US$150 million, and also procured two 152mm nuclear warhead-carrying projectiles from Kyrgyzstan. Logic demands that these were subsequently dismantled with the help of the 20 'imported' nuclear physicists and rocket designers, and were re-engineered with the help of the North Koreans, and the results of all such activities were 'shared' with Pakistan via Dr A Q Khan's nuclear Wall Mart. Most of it has since been confirmed by Dr A Q Khan himself (the poor chap needs to make such disclosures from time to time to seek the recognition and self-gratification that has been denied to him by Islamabad), and I'm sure more such disclosures will follow in future.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Well, China definitely enjoys far greater leverage over Myanmar than India, and consequently Yangon is compelled to oblige Beijing far more than Delhi. It's that simple. As I said earlier, India's higher decision-makers are not adept in 'strategic visioning'.

To Sachin Sathe: The ICVs of the future will be modular and as such their modular add-on armour tiles will be fitted on-site AFTER the ICV has already been airlifted. Therefore the ICV while on-board the IL-214 MTA will weigh far less than the fully-equipped and battle-ready ICV. Furthermore, motorised howitzers like the ceasar weigh less than 18 tonnes.
The An-32B will stay in IAF service for another 20 years after the upgrade. It will be replaced by the IL-214 MTA. The NAL-proposed RTA-70 is still a paper design and is unlikely to take off until the Saras can be delivered.
As for your query: ..."In case of indo-china conflict will china use MRBM's and TBM's first? wont it give an legimate excuse to India to see this as a nuclear attack after all we r not going to be waiting for missile to hit to find out whether it is nuclear tipped on not r we even GoI aint tht naive. So does't if automatically escalate the war beyond nuclear threshold?"
---------------------------
No one in India will initiate nuclear counter-attack unless and until it is proven beyond doubt that a nuclear first-strike has taken place against India. That is what India's 'no first strike' n-doctrine is all about. It means that retaliatory nuclear strikes can be initiated by India after two hours, or two days or even two weeks.

To MR: Again, as expected, another 'tamasha' is in the making in the name of "adhering to DPP-2008 procedures". Instead of inking a suplementary contract with BAE Systems, another extended round of flight evaluations (like that being undertaken for the M-MRCA competition) and price negotiations will take place, thereby further wasting taxpayers' money! But that is not the issue. The main issue is, what if due to this avoidable exercise the IAF's more urgent reqmt for basic turboprop trainers is delayed by another six years? Will it therefore end up as a lopsided procurement exercise whereby the IAF's Hawk Mk132s and HJT-36 IJTs will be rotting in their hangars simply because there's no available basic turboprop trainers (to replace the HPT-32) to provide the IAF's cadet pilots with the entry-level ab-initio training? This to me is another avoidable fuck-up in the making!

Swapnil said...

Sir,

How would the IAF respond if it is ordred to bombard the pak & POK based trainin camps in near future? what can b its strategy & planes used? also what can b the buffer limit for a/c loses that d IAF would prefer to accpet knowin that it may hv to face a retaliation from PAF? a lot has been talked on your blog about SAM, will it b major factor in such a scenario? what capability IAF poses to neautralize them?

Swapnil said...

another point,
did IAF plan such strikes after mumbai attacks last yr as was reported then?
why didnt India opt 4 them since it was a perfect oppurtunity to dismantle the terrorist network with public support worldwide otherwise I personaly dont see ny soln to that issue since none of d governments givin an inch while both suffer with a stalemate!!
somwhher down d line India will hv to make decision, then why not now??

Nava said...

Check out this new Israeli UAV (which utilizes Singaporean propulsion):http://www.bluebird-uav.com/PDF/Boomerang.pdf

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Swapnil: If the US, firing Tomahawk TLAMs, could not kill Osama Bin Laden and Co in 1998, what is the guarantee that punitive IAF airstrikes inside Pakistan will hit their intended targets, or achieve the mission objectives? You don't combat terrorism by conducting conventional air strikes. You combat it by the kind of precision air strikes conducted by UCAVs like the CIA-operated MQ-9 Reapers deep inside FATA. Such missions fall under the ambit of special operations--a far more viable and rewarding way of combatting assymetric warfare aka proxy war aka terrorism. Targetted surgical operations like these, even involving heliborne special operations forces sent into POK for 'capturing' or 'snatching' or neutralising terrorist leadership targets (like the Israelis did in the Bekaa Valley in 2006) are a far more effective way of conventional retaliation without breaching the escalation thresholds.

Swapnil said...

ok , but what do u think is d reason behind GOI's reluctance to come up with a soln either militarily or politicaly? why is der always a stalemate? how will this end..ur views pls!!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Very interesting indeed, many thanks. Being powered by fuel cells translates into usage of an electric motor driving the propeller (instead of the Rotax piston/turbo engines), thereby doing away with the humming noise and dramatic reduction of acoustic signature. Perfect stuff for heliborne Company- or Platoon-level special ops formations. I also notice that the entire package can be transported by any light medium-twin helicopter.

To Swapnil: Like I said earlier, the country's higher decision-makers have not been blessed with gift of 'strategic visioning'. Were they to be blessed, they would have carried out a 'reverse-Kargil' counter-attack way back in May-July 1999 and straightened out the LoC in vital areas like the Bugina Bulge, Lippa Valley and the Haji Pir Pass in the Pir Panjal Range. Morale of the Pakistan Army then was at its lowest ebb, the PAF and Pakistan Navy was kept out of the loop by Gen Musharraf & Co, Nawaz Sharif was totally clueless as what the fuck was actually going on along the LoC, and President Clinton was still sulking after narrowly narrowly avoiding impeachment by the US Congress, and Pakistan's n-weapons command-and-control system wasn't operationalised at that time. India then had the perfect situation for going on the offensive and making credible gains. But, as you very well know, that never happened.

Nava said...

The reduced acoustic signature isn't what makes Fuel Cell propulsion unique (it can be attained by "regular" electric propulsion as in the Skylark UAV). Rather, fuel cell propulsion is supposed to-and indeed does according to the brochure-dramatically extend small UAVs' endurance.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: But won't that be possible as well with new-gen NiCad batteries for electric propulsion?

Nava said...

A threefold increase in endurance? I find it hard to believe...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Am enclosing two weblinks below that will help you appreciate the area of operations in India's J & K State.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exKMEgSm6KM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6sgdC2xbI4&feature=related

sbm said...

Prasun, this might make interesting reading:

http://www.maritimeindia.org/pdfs/STRATEGIC_POLICY_MAKING.pdf

Especially his first paragraph

Anonymous said...

Thanks Prasun for your comments on recommendations to MoD/MoF and MHA.
I also felt that, MoD, MHA and MoF staffs should be sent to border areas like Leh, Siachin, Thar deserts and Sir Creek, Jungles of North East on deputation to feel the life of our soldiers. OR at least one child of these staffs should be joined in Armed Forces. That is not going to happen, anyway. Our babus are really powerful.

What is CPFMs mean? Central-Para Military Forces?

One small concern about your site is the acronyms you and others used in the comments. May be, if you could get time, it would be a better if you add a file having some of the acronyms used in your site.

Anyway, you mentioned that US Dept of Def and Lockheed Martin showed interest in DRDO's BMD. I wonder why they were interested in India's BMD. I guess, they will not involve in something sensitive like this unless they receive something in return. Does DRDO have some technological advantage in BMD research, compared to PAC?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Many thanks. The first para is quite interesting and hilarious, especially describing Dr Santhanam's assertions as an "indiscretion of monumental proportions". I really had a good laugh! As if such things are never meant to be discussed in the public realm at all. And eulogising about Dr Homi Bhabha! As if the likes of Dr Meghanad Saha didn't exist at all! Perhaps the retired Admiral should also pen a few words on why exactly Navy HQ persisted in acquiring INS Vikramaditya from Russia instead of proceeding with the IAC first, or if not the IAC, then at least an LPD or LHD! Maybe he could also explain how, after persistent failures by the DAE in coming up with a properly engineered proposal for a LWR for Project ATV (right until the early 1990s), how come suddenly by 1998 the so-called indigenous LWR suddenly parachuted down to Kalpakkam! And why has no Navy Chief since the early 1990s till to date not publicly acknowledged the Navy's mistake in falsely implicating Capt B K Subbarao on trumped-up charges, not to mention his infamous nephew who's has been absconding for the past three years and it is an open secret now that he has been given political asylum in France. Truth indeed hurts!

To Anon@2:11PM: Are yaar, the US has always been interested in India's BMD programme as it has long wanted India to join Australia, Japan and the US to form a regional BMD shield to counter China's growing arsenal of MRBMs, TBMs and IRBMs, as well as to counter North Korea-designed and built IRBMs and MRBMs that have found their way to the likes of Pakistan and Iran. India too had approached the US quite some time back to gain access to the US' experience in developing and deploying satellites for giving early warning on missile launches. No one's squeezing anyone for anything, as some would have you believe.

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

This indian stance is a foolish one as far as i am concerned as in case of a conflict it may put restriction on India as far as using conventional Agni/Shaurya missiles goes(i don't think china has declared a no-first use policy).

As far as the N-warheads go i think the indian policy-makers seem to hav decided to use a system tht works & is scalable.wht do u think?

Also i don't think india will sign & ratify CTBT &/or NPT unless Pak & china ratify it.ur thoughts?

As far as BMD project goes i think it will recieve same bureaucratic treatment as ATV as it is an extremely CRITICAL project.wht r ur thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone truely know how advanced pakistans nuclear programme is? They always seems to be one or two steps ahead of everyone or thats how it comes across in the media anyhow. They were ready with their first device well before anyone thought they had anything. They were also given devices by china according to you, which means they have pretty proven/tested designs. I am thinking these were not uranium devices as it was pakistan that provided china with the enrichment technology? With pakistan also having access to various design of devices from (ex)USSR and maybe specialist, how good are theirs devices now? Furthermore various organisations report that pakistan may have upto 90 devices now of various yields. They have builtup/expanded their plutonium infrastructure either themselves or with chinese help, which shows how mature their programme maybe. Do all these developemnts still leave any room for ambiguity of their programme or intentions? If the answer is no that may explain why indian governments acts the way it does. We can critise them all we like but one thing they are not is stupid. Pakistan has clearly indicated in the past what their so called red lines are and if anyone knows them they are not the type of people to back down from confrontation as we saw after the parliment attack and US is now finding out in Afghanistan (that you can rent them but never buy them).


Imagine if india does atatck a camp in pakistan lets say in kashmir, bear in mind most pakistani have automatic weapons at home and quite enjoy killing each other.....and their haterid of indians or any non-muslim outsider on their land drives them mad. As a result of their involment there are civilain casulties casused by the indian SF or say some SF personnel are captured and butured by the pakistani's. What will be indian response? what will pakistans response be to the raid? Lets say they simply hand over few SAM to be used in India or allow few atatcks on economic centres in india. How will india response then? Get a strike force ready...and eventually there is a tactical exchange of nuclear devices. This could practically level the playing field in conventional terms? What does indian government do then?

You see at each level (i think) there is a checkmate. The options open to indian state wrt pakistan are few and limited especially considering pakistan's single focus of being an alternative centre of power to counter indian influences in the region. What options does the indain government really have?

Ps. This is a pretty good blog that is great for beginners like me and for experts. I don't know how much time you spend analysing and being informed about the diverse subjects about which i must say you seem to know hell a lot about but it must be pretty full time. Glad to have come across you site.

Anonymous said...

to prasun

when india inducted its first su30k in 1997 which radar these fighter had?

was it
N001
N001V
NOO1VE
NO11 slotted array radar

it would have been much better to keep those sukhois and upgrade their radar to have ground modes
and retire several mig21/23

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
You commented about Ret. Adm Arun Prakash's article. In that you said his infamous nephew took political asylum in France.

I really appreciate if you could write more on the infamous Navy's War Room Leak. Many people do not know what exactly happened. Ret. Adm. Arun Prakash washed his hand and said he was innocent. I really doubt that.

Why couldn't India do anything to get back the Mr. Sanakaran, Admiral's nephew? For not giving him back, Shouldn't India go offensive against France by canceling Scorpene deal? Why France involved in this dirty game with India? Does that mean, French Spy Agency (DGES) got the vital secrets of IN from Cdr. Sanakaran? Couple of Congress Politicians were also involved in this war room leak, right? Even after Cdr Ravi Sankaran found suspicious, why did Indian Navy allow him to slip away from India? Now what happened finally?

Sparsh said...

Prasun,

Capt BK Subbarao was a spy. He was recruited by the Americans to obtain classified information about the Charlie class subs that the Russians had entrusted to us when the Chakra lease happened. The counter intelligence people did a good job in catching him before the transfer could happen.

The fact that the evidence against him was probably such that it could not be presented in court without compromising intelligence sources and the resulting farce of a trial is besides the point: He was a spy and he got caught.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,
why do you say that China considers Russia as No 1 enemy and India as No 2. Strategypage.com say, China considers US as No1 enemy, India second.

If Russia is No1 enemy, why do China purchase weapons from Russia, or have military exercises with Russia?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:15PM: Actually, you can get all the data you need in one of my earlier postings at: http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com/2009/03/new-untouchables.html
If you scroll down to ADDENDUM 2 you will realise that history was repeating itself. Just as France in the early 1980s was really eager to ink the deals with the MoD for a potential large-scale purchase of not only the single-engined Mirage 2000 but also the twin-engined Mirage 4000, and had therefore 'recruited' the Larkins brothers to find out about what the Soviets were preparing to sell to India (thr MiG-23BNs, MiG-23MFs, MiG-25Rs, MiG-27Ms and MiG-29B-12s), i.e.engaging in industrial espionage, the same thing happened during the 'War Room Leaks' incident. There were several lucrative contracts coming up and the French (reportedly DCNS) merely wanted to know where they stood in the competitive ladder. This is where Cdr (Ret'd) Ravi Shankaran's gang came in as being the supplier of such information relating to competitive bidding (subsequently, DCNS lost a few such contracts to Fincantieri of Italy for the IAC, replenishment tankers, oceanographic survey vessels, etc).
Now, I don't believe for a moment that Admiral (Ret'd) Arun Prakash was the personal benificiary of an financial sum from Ravi Shankaran. But eyebrows were first raised in early 2005 when the Admiral's wife attended a few dinner parties involving the wives of senior officers posted at Navy HQ, and see was seen wearing diamond-studded necklaces and earrings for everyone to see. That's when tongues started wagging and it was suspected by many that all these were 'gifted' by Ravi Shankaran to the Admiral's wife. All this definitely would have reached the Admiral's ears and when he allegedly investigated further, I'm sure he found out the truth (and also after confronting Ravi Shankaran face-to-face). It was at this time that the War Room Leak episode began unfolding and the Admiral in his capacity as the CNS did the right thing to brief the then RM Pranab Mukherjee and he even offered to resign. That's the reason why I believe that the Admiral had no personal vested interest in 'seeing Ravi Shankaran' escape the law-enforcement dragnet. But there are several other plausible indicators to point the finger at some politicians (from both the BJP and Congress-I) who were clearly responsible for giving advance warning to Ravi Shankaran so that he could flee the country and seek asylum in France. I say this because, based on my personal experience, the moment an investigation dossier is opened by the Directorate of Naval Intelligence's counter-intelligence branch, within a maximum of 48 hours all those under suspect are kept in watertight surveillance lest they try to flee or go underground. This is standard operating procedure by any military counter-intelligence branch. What remains a mystery to me is why, despite all such watertight measures, was Ravi Shankaran allowed to leave India. Someone somewhere down the line must have 'facilitated' Ravi Shankaran's departure.

To Anon@10:39AM: No, I never said that as being my opinion. What I said was merely quote the contents of the Chinese history textbooks for schoolchildren. As you why China teaches all this to its schoolchildren you will have to ask that to the PRC's Ministry of Education.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sparsh: Capt B K Subbaarao was nowehere near even the Directorate of Submarine Warfare at Navy HQ when the Charlie-1 SSGN deal was being processed and finalised. Secondly, if you look at the timelines involving the Captain's arrest and the arrival of INS Chakra at Vizag, you will realise that that the Capt had absolutely no access to INS Chakra or its technical/operational documentation that arrived with the SSGN at Vizag. Therefore, since the Captain had no physical access to either Navy HQ or Vizag or even to the naval base at Vladivostok where the Indian crew complement was trained to operate and maintain INS Chakra, it would seem that anyone 'recruiting' Capt Subbarao for supplying data pertaining to INS Chakra would have been an absolute moron. Consequently, whosoever told you that the Captain was a US/CIA/DIA/USN spy is also a certifiable moron.

Anonymous said...

When an award-winning naval scientist is framed under false charges, forced to undergo 20 months of imprisonment, dragged into court for five long years and finally awarded an abysmal acquittal, his career and emotional well-being in shambles - all because a paranoid establishment is trying desperately to hide its flaws - we have transgressed all sense of justice.
The story of Dr. Buddhi Kota Subbarao is tragic. It must evoke a sense of outrage in every thinking individual. He was a victim of his own brilliance, a classic example of how a talented life can be distorted by the machinations of a corrupt bureaucracy at the highest offices.

Dr Subbarao, 57, is a former captain of the Indian Navy. He took voluntary retirement in 1987 after 25 years of distinguished service. Having stood first in Electrical Engineering (B.E.) from the Andhra Pradesh University in 1963, he joined the Indian Navy the same year.

During the years of his initiation into the Navy, Buddhi Kota Subbarao acquired specialisation in naval systems and equipment. Right after joining, he took a 58-week advanced weapon electronic course, topped it and became senior to all his batchmates. He became a specialist in computer-aided control systems of guns, missiles and torpedoes, radar, sonar and radio systems.

Anonymous said...

Subbarao was obviously a cut above the rest. He served on several anti- aircraft and anti-submarine ships, and his outstanding qualities were recognised by the Navy with various awards and citations. He was the recipient of the Herbert Lott Memorial Award "for his inventiveness in improving the existing fighting devices of the Navy and Lieutenant V.K.Jain Memorial Gold Medal "for his achievements in the field of computer technology, electrical engineering and control engineering."

His life started taking a new twist when, in June 1976, he was called in as second-in-command for a team of Naval officers and scientists working at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Trombay. The team was developing a nuclear submarine propulsion plant. Subbarao did not know at this point of time what BARC had in store for him or that his professionalism and commitment would bring him into stark conflict with the BARC hierarchy.

The BARC scientists had been working on the first design of a nuclear submarine propulsion plant since 1971. On the basis of Subbarao's technical findings, this design had to be dropped in 1976. The second design was also dropped in January 1978 after Subbarao showed that it was not viable for naval application. The BARC authorities were predictably peeved at Subbarao picking holes in their work and at their next go, decided to bypass the Naval team.

Anonymous said...

The third design was directly submitted by the BARC in March\April 1980 to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Not only this, but the scientists also wanted Rs. 150 crore to build a prototype of their third design. Indira Gandhi, however, directed the defence minister (R.Venkataraman, later President of India) to seek technical opinion from Subbarao.

Subbarao's report rejected BARC's third design. He specified that the design failed to meet the basic standards, such as safety, followed by the nuclear navies of the USA, Russia, Britain, France and China. Consequently, Indira Gandhi returned BARC'S proposal. However, she also said that she would reconsider her decision if the BARC scientists could disprove Subbarao's claim.

The BARC started work on the fourth design towards the end of 1980. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy instructed Subbarao to develop a design of his own. Subbarao'sdesign was ready by November 1982 and submitted to the Prime Minister's office.

Anonymous said...

Indira Gandhi asked the BARC scientists to examine the possibility of building a prototype based on Subbarao's nuclear submarine design. Dr Raja Ramanna, the BARC director (also scientific advisor to the defence minister) declined to consider Subbarao's design under a lame pretext that the work of a naval officer could not be pursued at BARC.

In fact, the BARC establishment was tired of Subbarao showing them up. Following the incident, Dr Ramanna allegedly exerted superior pressure upon the Naval authorities to withdraw Subbarao from the nuclear submarine project. He was called back into active naval service.

However, Subbarao pursued the special interests he had acquired through academics and wrote a doctorate thesis. In 1985, Subbarao was awarded a Ph.D by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay for his thesis "Nuclear Power Plant Modelling and Design Multivariable Control Approach".

In 1987, Subbarao took voluntary retirement. He readied himself for academics and consultancy in computer systems.

A brain as incisive as his was destined to find immense favour in the marketplace. In 1988, he was invited by CEAT (INDIA) and AT&T (USA) to make a presentation for a joint venture project. Dr Subbarao was readying himself for a visit to the USA.

Anonymous said...

Around this time, Gopi Krishan Arora, Secretary of Information and Broadcasting, sounded Subbarao on Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's offer to become the Technical Head of the nuclear submarine project. However, Subbarao was not satisfied in getting appointed to such a position by an executive order of the Prime Minister. Therefore, he suggested to the Prime Minister that a Selection Committee be formed which would scrutinise the candidature of BARC scientists for the post as well. Rajiv Gandhi was pleased with this notion and it was to be executed when Subbarao returned from the USA.

The idea of a Selection Committee alarmed the BARC scientists working on the nuclear submarine project to no end. The BARC and the Department of Atomic Energy connived with the Maharashtra Government to implicate Subbarao in a false case to prevent his reinduction into the project. Subbarao did not make it to the USA.

No sooner had he reached the Sahar International Airport on May 30, 1988 that Subbarao was confronted by police officials and detained. This was to be the beginning of a five year long gruelling battle, with the scales unnaturally lopsided.

Subbarao was charged with trying to smuggle secret documents out of the country under the Official Secrets Act and the Atomic Energy Act. A vicious propaganda campaign was launched against him through the national and vernacular press to build a case, suggesting that he was caught at the airport carrying atomic and defence secrets of the country on board a foreign flight.

Anonymous said...

But all that Subbarao was carrying with him was his Ph.D thesis approved by IIT Bombay, and other literature on nuclear technology which is freely available and can be readily accessed from various universities and research centres in the world. In fact, Subbarao had not violated any law.

The scientists of BARC and DAE, who had failed to match Subbarao's ingenuity in nuclear science and technology, were immensely successful in causing harm to his body, mind and reputation. They used the legal system and state authority to fulfil their ends. Neither the Constitution of India nor the Courts were of any help to him.

Subbarao was kept in torturous police custody for three months while the police searched for ways to invent a false case against him. On August 9,1988 the Attorney-General of India, K. Parasaran, issued a sanction under sub- section (2) of Section 26 of the Atomic Energy Act 1962 to start prosecution against Subbarao. He was transferred from police custody to judicial custody. For 20 months, Subbarao was shifted between three central prisons of Maharashtra at Bombay, Thane and Nasik.

To add insult to injury, even a Supreme Court Judge, Justice A.M.Ahmadi (later Chief Justice of India) was taken in by the false affidavit filed by the special prosecutors (Mrs. Manjula Rao and Mr. B.R.Handa) and the police, on behalf of the State of Maharashtra. When a conscientious judge of the Bombay High Court tried to render some justice to Subbarao and granted him temporary medical bail, Justice Ahmadi acted high-handedly, not only cancelling the bail but also passing strictures against the High Court judge. Justice Ahmadi also repeatedly refused permission to Subbarao to appear-in-person before the Supreme Court. The unfortunate part was that even after it became clear that the case got bolstered from the false affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, there was no zeal in Justice Ahmadi to remedy the miscarriage of justice caused by his orders. As a result, an innocent, respectable and highly talented man spent 20 months in jail.

Anonymous said...

The court case dragged on for five years. It was placed before three Magistrates, five Sessions judges, 21 High Court judges and 13 Supreme Court judges. In the meantime, Subbarao had spent time in the jail studying law and appeared-in-person in the Sessions Court, Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court where the case reached for a second time. Finally, in October 1991, the Bombay High Court passed Subbarao's acquittal orders. The appeal against the acquittal was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 1993.

The case ended in the Supreme Court on a bitter note for Subbarao. He was awarded Rs. 25,000 as "costs for his mental suffering and financial loss" but all those who had caused him the anguish and mastered his prosecution, went scot-free.

Dr Subbarao was the victim of several miscarriages of justice from the lowest to the highest courts in India. Surprisingly, most magistrates, district judges and Supreme Court judges who dealt with the case did not even enquire if the documents seized on Dr Subbarao's person at Sahar Airport were official secrets. Shocked by the facts of the case, Justice V. D. Tulzapurkar, former Judge of the Supreme Court, expressed publicly that there was "miscarriage of justice on account of inaccurate, untrue and misleading statements made by the prosecuting agency before several courts in the unfortunate case against Dr B. K. Subbarao." He added, "I hope the Apex Court Judges muster Himalayan courage to admit and rectify a Hiamalyan blunder... The only other way of making proper amends would be by the State of Maharashtra who had launched the prosecution against Dr Subbarao, declaring publicly that it was an ill- conceived prosecution, tendering unqualified apology and paying him substantial compensation, unlike the meagre amount of Rs 25,000 awarded to him by the Supreme Court.." However, the Supreme Court failed to answer how it ought to accept accountability for violating a citizen's fundamental rights.

Anonymous said...

A new development in the case took place when, in 1994, it came to light that the former attorney-general, K. Parasaran had been informed by the then Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Dr M. R. Srinivasan, that Subbarao was not carrying any atomic or defence secrets and the Ph.D thesis found in his suitcase was not a classified document. Hence, there was no violation of the Official Secrets Act, and surely no grounds for starting a criminal case against Subbarao. Dr Srinivasan disclosed these facts in a signed article in Hindu. "I find it reprehensible that a naval officer who performed well has been treated so badly by the CBI. The agony that Subbarao and his family have had to endurecan never be adequately compensated," he wrote. It appeared that Parasaran had chosen to ignore Srinivasan's opinion and given an 'illegal' sanction to implicate Subbarao.

In light of the above development, Dr Subbarao filed an application before the Supreme Court questioning the basis on which the highest law officer of the land, the Attorney General of India, K. Parasaran had given his consent to prosecute him. He also questioned the basis of 'authorisation' by Joint Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy, S. K. Bhandarkar to the prosecution, when the Secretary in the Department had declined his involvement.

The Supreme Court first used delay tactics, and thereafter at the hearing, conveyed that the Chief Justice had "looked at your matter". The presiding judge declined to disclose in open court the assessment of the Chief Justice. The in-house examination at the Supreme Court did not take place despite repeated requests made by Dr Subbarao. Subsequently, he also submitted a detailed 57-page letter requesting the Chief Justice to constitute a larger bench of the Supreme Court to consider questions of law of great public interest which had arisen on account of the case. No action was taken by Chief Justice Ahmadi except a communication on the eve of his retirement, signed by Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court stating "...I am directed to inform you that the same (the letter to the Chief Justice) has been lodged and no further communication in this behalf will be entertained." Dr Subbarao was thus denied his fundamental rights yet again. He tried to follow-up the matter with the next Chief Justice, A. S. Verma who preferred to remain completely silent on the subject.

Dr Subbarao finally submitted a petition to the President of India in April, 1998 which hasn't found a response as yet.

Anonymous said...

Dr Subbarao, who at present resides in Mumbai, is involved in fighting cases for people like him who are implicated in false charges by a corrupt establishment.
This article has been put together by M.S. Siddhu with some additions by Tanmayee Dass, based on the information collected from the Supreme Court documents on this case.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To NAVA: The IAF will induct lethal killer drones within two years, providing itself the capability to hit high value targets such as enemy missile and radar sites, and even terrorist hideouts. A senior IAF officer said in New Delhi on Wednesday, September 30, that Israeli-made 'Harop' unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) would join the IAF by 2011 and it will enhance the war-fighting capabilities of the IAF, both conventional and low intensity conflict. Harop will be IAF's first unmanned aerial vehicle for offensive strikes, though it already possesses a fleet of 'Searcher' and 'Heron' UAVs to perform surveillance and reconnaissance roles. The Harop will provide IAF the capability to take down enemy positions without having to send its manned fighter aircraft to hit ground targets. Developed by Malat, the UAV division of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Harop UCAVs were bought by India recently through a reported USD 100 million deal for up to 10 drones. Harop, which is usually launched from ground- or sea-based canisters, can be adapted for air-launch too. Harop is an upgraded and larger version of the Israeli Harpy UAVs, an anti-radiation seeker designed to loiter, detect and home in on enemy radar positions which India had bought and inducted into its armed forces in the past. Unlike the fully-autonomous Harpy, the Harop is controlled in flight by a remote operator. Rather than holding a separate high-explosive warhead, the Harop drone itself is the main munition and is designed to loiter the battlefield and attack targets. The UCAV cannot only hit enemy radars by locking on to their radio emissions, but also has an electro-optical sensor that allows the remote operator to select static or moving targets in a battlefield. Harop, a 23-kg warhead, is 2.5 metre long with a 3-metre wingspan and has a six-hour endurance. Moreover, unlike the Predator drones being used by the US against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that can fire missiles and return after a mission, the Harop is self-destruct, making them a more expensive option. The IAF officer said while efforts were on to develop indigenous UCAVs, India is "not very close" to have them in its fleet. "There are plans for UCAVs. But it will take time, as nobody is willing to give us the technology," he added. The IAF's procurement plans for UCAVs actually start in the 12th five-year plan that begins in 2012.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iaf-plans-to-induct-lethal-killer-drones-by-2011/523326/

Anonymous said...

Prasun ..could you pls give us the update on LCA.There has been no update about tejas for a long time.I think ADA must be having major issues with integration of radar on the plane.

Anonymous said...

"No approval from the Defence Ministry, Indian Navy pulls out of Indo-US amphibious exercises."

Sorce: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-goahead-from-ministry-so-navy-opts-out-of-us-exercise/522715/

To Prasun,

What could be the reason??

Kannan,India said...

Prasunji,Regarding UAVs, what is the big deal with weapons payloads? I mean in the same article, some officials talks about nobody is willing to give us the technology.Pak is also saying give us Predator tech..what is the big deal..?Pak is also using many UAVs even prior to India..If you can remotely pilot a UAV..why is integrating ATGM/PGM system considered difficult?.I didnt get what part of technology that India or for that matter Pak doesnt already have since both nations are using indigenous as well as imported ones. Is it so difficult to put couple of ATGMs to a UAV? I mean wont Israel,Russians or some other party help us to integrate Nag,Vikhr or Spike-MR to our existing UAVs like Heron,Nishant. I am genuinely confused about what is the big deal around a weaponised UAV like Predator/Reaper..I am not even talking about agile stuff like X-45 or something..I hope you could throw light on this issue..

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:41PM: The only two significant updates are:
1) Termination of the Tejas Mk1 LCA project as an R & D venture by the DRDO, and
2) Initiation of the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA project for the IAF, with the objective of making it available for service induction by 2012. Under this project, both single-seaters and tandem-seat OCU trainers will be built. A total of four Tejas Mk2 pre-production prototypes will be built: two flying prototypes, a tandem-seat prototype and one for structural/fatigue testing. The Tejas Mk2 will be an M-MRCA, no doubt about that. It will be powered by the uprated powerplant (either the GE F414 or Eurojet's EJ200. The digital fly-by-wire flight control system will make significant use of fibre-optic cables (this is one critical area where foreign expertise is being sought). Incidentally, HAL and the DRDO have also launched a similar project for developing such a 'fly-by-light flight control system for the Dhruv ALH and the same is also due to go on board the LCH as part of the LCH's weight-budgeting process. The Tejas Mk2's design is well underway and its CADs prepared thus far show it having re-engineered and larger twin air intakes, larger wing area, redesigned forward nose section to provide additional internal volume for the avionics bulkhead, a streamlined upper section of the fuselage to enable the airframe to house twin conformal fuel tanks just like the ones developed for the F-16IN Super Viper or JAS-39 Gripen IN. Other innovations planned for the Tejas Mk2 include incorporation of actuated cockpit canopy and in-flight refuelling probe. What has not yet been decided is whether the Tejas Mk2 will have wingtip-mounted towed-decoy launchers (as part of the integrated defensive avionics suite or IDAS) or a rear-mounted launcher above the drag chute housing compartment. In addition, both EADS and DARE have joined forces to co-develop the IDAS, as well as a direct voice input-based avionics system that will enable the Tejas Mk2's pilot to manage his cockpit enviornment via voice commands, thereby significantly reducing aircrew workload.
The MMR's flight qualification on the Tejas Mk2 will not be a probelem of the type being faced now by the Tejas Mk1, since the Mk2 will have a completely re-engineered nose-section-based environmental control system (ECS) to cater to the increased avionics-bat cooling reqmts, especially those of the EL/M-2052 AESA. This is the main problem now being faced by the Tejas Mk1 as the forward avionics bay has insufficient volume for accommodating all the avionics LRUs required for operational missions.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@3:08AM: What reason? Very simply. The Ministry of External Affairs is prevailing upon the MoD, urging it "not to anger the PRC"! And conversely, the current RM and PM are being totally spineless when it comes to blessing the armed forces' pre-planned and well-articulated force modernisation plans. Knowing fully well that in the 12 Defence Plan (2013-2017) the Indian Army and Indian Navy will be jointly raising a Brigade-strength amphibious expeditionary warfare force, the MEA and MoD should have allowed India's military personnel to travel to Okinawa to learn valuable lessons. Instead, the Cabinet Committee on National Security has done exactly the opposite! This is similar to what these inept divilian decision-makers have been doing since 2000 when it comes to announcing with much fanfare the initiation of border infrastructure development projects. But soon after the initial announcement, no one--not one MP or Union Minister--even bothers to brief Parliament about the progress or lack of progress in project implementation! 99% of such projects initiated since 2000 have not even taken off due to objections from the Ministry of Forests & Environment. And to make matters worse, the RM A K Antony clearly 'lies' to the country when he says: "India is building its defence capabilities just as China did". Really pathetic, to say the least!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kannan: Actually, even if India wants to buy UCAVs off-the-shelf, she won't be able to due to restrictions imposed by the 'Missile Technology Control Regime' (MTCR). That's why the projected Heron TP procurement has become stuck. Now, to compensate for the Heron TP's unavailability, ADE is developing the Rustom MALE-UAV which will be powered by twin indigenously developed Rotax-type multi-fuel engines, as well as an indigenous fly-by-wire flight control system. The SATCOM-based two-way data links too are being developed in-house. Only after all these components of the UAV are ready to be integrated into a remote-controlled flying platform will the next phase get underway, i.e. weaponising the UAV and modifying it into a UCAV. Only then will work begin on installing the mission sensors like optronic pod or a PicoSAR-type ground moving target indicator-sum-synthetic aperture radar (here again MTCR restrictions apply and therefore such sensors will have to be developed in-house). Concurrently, underwing-mounted weapons options will be considered as per the mission reqmts (whether to develop laser-based or IIR-guided air-to-ground guided-missiles like the HELINA, since again due to MTCR restrictions other viable options like the LAHAT or Spike-LR or Hellfire will not be available). And finally, after all these three components (the airframe, mission sensors and mission payload) are fully integrated will the ADE then be able to conduct flight trials and weapons qualification trials, for which the ADE must have access to fully instrumented weapons firing ranges. Therefore, as you can see, the R & D challenges are enormous and they will be realised only if adequate financial resources are readily available for setting up in parallel the scores of workshops, laboratories and ground-based test ranges with unrestricted airspace availability.

Anonymous said...

Did you see this news?
Row over China Kashmir visa move
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8285106.stm

Now Chinese Govt is up to something. Why the China is doing this? What angered China to act against India?
Just two days back only China told India and Pakistan to settle Kashmir peacefully.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:12PM: There's nothing unusual about this. China considers both J & K and AP to be disputed areas and therefore this is standard operating procedure when issuing entry visas. China does the same for those Taiwanese who wish to travel to China, and vice versa. Between the 1950s till 1992 whenever Indian citizens visited Israel, Indian passport holders were issued Israeli entry visas from the Israeli Consulate in Mumbai in a similar manner.

Anonymous said...

Initiation of the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA project for the IAF, with the objective of making it available for service induction by 2012

Prasun wasn't it supposed to be operational by 2014??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

^^^
Yes, you're absolutely right. Projected FOC is due to be achieved in 2014. But prior to FOC there's IOC and preceeding that is the service induction process. All in all, squadron-strength service induction will begin in 2012 and it will take a full two years for the Tejas Mk2-equipped squadron to achieve FOC status.

Anonymous said...

Ah ok thanks for clearing that...btw have you seen the CAD drawings you were referring to?
Lastly, the naval lca will be based on the Mk2 & not on the Mk1 right?

Gaurav said...

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/IAF-wants-50-more-Sukhois-to-counter-China-Pakistan/articleshow/5079417.cms

It validates your force article Prasun.
One quick question PAK-FA , is there any plan of making it carrier borne?
Also can you shed light on whether in the future does IAF (Indian not Israeli) plan to acquire strategic bomber?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

As you have told,regarding the TEJAS Mk-2,that squadron-strength service induction will begin in 2012.So does that mean the IAF will have the 7 sanctioned squadrons of the TEJAS Mk-2 aircraft by 2020.

Will all the problems in the Tejas Mk1 LCA like overweight of the undercarriage,low AoA(angle of attack),slow acceleration etc. be overcome in the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA?

You have written earlier in one of your blogs that,apart from the EL/M-2052 AESA,the IAF is also looking at the CAESAR AESA and the SABR AESA to go on board the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA.More ever Varadarajan, (Director — LRDE) has said that LRDE has initiated development of active electronically scanning array radar[54] for airborne applications and that these radars will be integrated with Tejas light combat aircraft-Mark II by 2012-13.Is it true? What are the chances of an indigenous AESA going on board the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA?Please shed some more light on the types of AESA that will be competing to go on board the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA.

Will the airframe be designed as such to make the aircraft more stealthy like the F/A-18 Super Hornet?

Kannan,India said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_Technology_Control_Regime
There are 34 signatories for MTCR..but no India or Israel.And India and Israel is co-developing Air-Delivered Munition on Barak airframe as you have mentioned before, and therefore how is it that we get stuck with MTCR rules on UCAVs but not ADM. Also payload limit for MTCR is 500KG. Dont you think that is enough to accommodate couple of ATGM.

hacker said...

great post prasun da

what are the different types of UAVs indian forces use and what are the UAVs under development or procurement.can you give a detailed view on it.

Anonymous said...

prasun ! why do we need foreign expertize in fiberoptics, when ppl in pvt sector have already handled in Fiber optics related technology,not exactly a fly-by-light type. i presume in FBW the commands to the electrical/hydraulic actuators operating the various control surfaces of an aircraft will be sent as DC voltages. say +/_5VDC. The power amplifiers located along with each actuator responds these commands and also sends a feedback to the central computer running the control s/w for a closed loop operation. convert the DC voltages into frequency signal using V/F converters and use optical transcivers operating at 1Mbps or more at both ends. only thing is we need ruggedized optical transcivers. rugged and jacketed optical cables using kevlar or some abrasion resistant sleeves? to the existing DFCC adding optical communication links is well with in our capability. i dont know why ADA needs foreign help? sometime ago a company in chennai called DATA PATTERNS has developed gigabit fiberoptic datalink for data transmission applications.

Anonymous said...

Prasun, can you identify the radar on the secondary mast of INS Shivalik .

sbm said...

Prasun, the THD-1955 radars that the IAF operates - 12 I think - Thales had been given a contract to upgrade at least some of them.

How many will be upgraded and what will eventually replace them ?

Arvind said...

IMHO MRTA MTOW is being under reported. HAL posters clearly show it to 68tons. But if you compare the cabin size with C-130s and 737s/320s then the real MTOW may be something like 75-85 tons.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@4:04PM: For now, the Indian Navy is funding only the development of two technology demonstrators (one single-seater and one tandem-seater) of the NLCA. Now, there's no reason to believe that the Indian Navy's NLCA will in any way be inferior (in terms of performance and weapons payload capability) to the IAF's projected Tejas Mk2. Therefore, sooner or later, the term NLCA will be replaced with a new name by Navy HQ and the NLCA will eventually become another M-MRCA. Whole some, like BROADSWORD, have chosen to take the simplistic opinion based on the term NLCA and have wrongly deduced that since the NLCA will have to co-exist with the MiG-29K M-MRCA, consequently, the NLCA will be 'lighter' or 'inferior' to the MiG-29K. Well, nothing is further from the truth. In addition, it doesn't make any financial sense whatsoever to have two variants of the Tejas--the 'inferior' Tejas Mk1 and the IAF's Tejas Mk2--to be produced concurrently for two different Indiann end-users. Therefore, based on the flight-tests of the two NLCA technology demonstrators, orders for the series-production batch of the carrier-based Tejas Mk2 will be placed by Navy HQ.

To Gaurav: Thanks. Actually, the discussions are on-going for a total of 90 more IRKUT Corp-built Su-30MKIs, which are to be ordered in future in two batches of 50 and 40. Logically, it will make sense for a carrier-based variant of the FGFA to be developed as well, although the Indian Navy has not be enrolled in as an operational stakeholder in the FGFA project. But there's still time and the Indian Navy does not need to rush at this stage. As for strategic bombers, I'm not aware of the existence of any operational reqmt for this type of aircraft from either the IAF or Indian Navy.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kannan, India: There is no problem with the ADM project simply because there is no third-perty imported content. But when it comes to the Heron TP, the turboprop engine comes from Canada and hence the MTCR restrictions prevent Israel from supplying the Heron TP equipped with engines sourced from Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:39PM: That radar was identified by me way back on March 9 this year. Look at the first slide I posted at: http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com/2009/03/batch-3-of-project-11356-ffgs-to-be.html
On the top-left corner of that slide you will see the radar. It is Russian (not Israeli) simply because it will be used in conjunction with the Shtil-1 MR-SAM system. Therefore, non-Russian radars are ruled out. That should put an end to all the ill-informed speculation about the LW-08 or EL/M-2238 being on-board the Project 17 Shivalik FFG.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:39PM: That radar was identified by me way back on March 9 this year. Look at the first slide I posted at: http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com/2009/03/batch-3-of-project-11356-ffgs-to-be.html
On the top-left corner of that slide you will see the radar. It is Russian (not Israeli) simply because it will be used in conjunction with the Shtil-1 MR-SAM system. Therefore, non-Russian radars are ruled out. That should put an end to all the ill-informed speculation about the LW-08 or EL/M-2238 being on-board the Project 17 Shivalik FFG.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:26PM: Yes, the Tejas Mk2 will be an optimally engineered combat aircraft and thanks to the uprated powerplant (to be selected in future) all problems associated with excess weight of undercarriage et all will be a thing of the past. In my personal view, it is utterly unrealistic to expected the existing Tejas Mk1 to become a definitive production variant as the developers (ADA and other DRDO labs, plus HAL0 had to overcome a huge R & D curve, nurture entire generations of skilled scientists, designers and engineers, and create an effective and viable vendor development programme. Now, all these have been achieved with the Tejas Mk1 venture (similar to what BAE Systems did with the EAP and EADS did with the X-31) and to me, therefore, the Tejas Mk1 project definitely deserves to be labelled as an unqualified success. No doubt about that. Now, based on these vital foundations, now comes the build-up stage under which the Tejas Mk2 (both single- and tandem-seaters) and its naval variant ought to be committed to series-production.
As for AESA-related R & D, here again the R & D activities and industry-level vendor development programmes are proceeding in an incoherent manner in the sense that R & D work should have been undertaken concurrently, instead of sequentially. Thus, announcements of the type you've mentioned should have been made way back in the late 1990s the moment India decided to acquire the EL/M-2080 Green Pine LRTR and consequently, have strategic tie-ups between the defence electronics industries of India and Israel. For it is only when the total projected volume of business is firmly identified, can private-sector industrial SMEs as well as larger manufacturing giants decide to make the necessary risk-sharing financial commitments and industrial JV tie-ups. Since this has not been the case with AESA-based airborne radars for combat aircraft, I personally do not foresee a functional prototype emerging from the DRDO until 2015 at least, UNLESS it happens to be an 'Indianised' EL/M-2052, just like the Green Pine has bveen 'Indianised' into the LRTR.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Hacker: The Heron-2 and Searcher Mk2 s are in service with the Indian Army and Indian Navy, while the Searcher Mk1s are in service with the IAF. The Nishant tactical UAV is now entering service with the Indian Army, while work continues on developing the 'Rustom' and 'Pavan' MALE-UAVs. As for min-UAVs, the Indian Army is evaluating the Elbit Systems-built Skylark 1. And maybe by next year the shipborne NRUAV (based on Alouette III airframe) will begin entering service.

To Anon@11:24PM: Foreign expertise is required primarily for customising the kind of technologies highlighted by you for an airborne environment. As Indian OEMs have not yet had such R & D experiences, a foreign consultant is reqd to help in project definition and risk management. There are more than enough India-based vendors that can supply the reqd hardware (fibre-optics based as well as electrical actuators and other flight control hardware), but designing them for any particular platform (combat aircraft or helicopters) requires optimal engineering solutions that can only come from the airframe designer and the systems integrator with proven expertise in these areas. And since such entities (like HAL and ADA) haven't had work experiences in these areas, the need therefore arises for a foreign partner to devise and formulate the 'checklist' that says what to do or not do, and how to do, and what support R & D infrastructure is reqd for achieving what one has set out to do.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Sanjay, the THD-1955s were/are used primarily for military air traffic management of military flight information regions, and not for airspace surveillance of ADIZs. The upgrades by THALES are meant primarily for introducing solid-state electronics and replacing the older command-and-control consoles and comms elements with new digitised ones. The THD-1955s will be replaced by 13 S-band ATCR-33S primary surveillance radars and another 13 S-band Sir-S secondary surveillance radars and 52 related CDS-2000 display consoles from SELEX Sistemi Integrati. These radars will be equipping the joint air traffic control and reporting centres (JATCRC) throughout the country, and will gradually replace the THD-1955s. Incidentally, the Airport Authority of India too is acquiring the same radars for nine civilian airports, almost all in southern India. The new airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad already have these radars.

sbm said...

Prasun, would those new radars really be able to replace the range/ceiling and ECCM capability of the THD-1955 ?

Anonymous said...

why dont we first get expertise in designing jet trainers and then go for tejas mk2 ,how can you gurrantee that tmk2 wont be a failure as well.

Nava said...

Yeah I heard about the Indian Harop contract (and also about a German contract, do you know anything about that one?). To me, the Harop just doesn't seem like a cost effective system... I think loitering munitions' real potential is at a more tactical level (see the now canceled LAM). In that regard, I just skimmed through the new issue of DTI, wherein Rafael's marketing VP mentioned that Rafael is looking into a larger version of Spike with loitering capability. Network enabled ATR seems like the future, and in that regard a certain amount of synergy can be achieved with the development efforts of autonomous UGVs.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Absolutely, no doubt about that. The ones earmarked for JATCRCs will have integral ECCM features. Instrumented range/altitude parameters far exceed those of the THD-1955 as these radars were originally developed for commercial ATM purposes.

To Nava: The Harop I reckon is meant to be used against land-mobile tactical air-defence or gapfiller radars associated with Divisional- or Corps-level air defence artillery networks for waging deep battles. But for tactical engagements during the contact battles loitering PGMs like the proposed variant of the Spike in conjunction with network-enabled UGVs will be ideal for use against dug-in infantry emplacements that are protected by minefields. I haven't yet heard about any Harop procurement by Germany.

Nava said...

It was reported by flight global a couple of days ago. Or do you mean that you couldn't verify the reports?

WRT to the Harop's utility, at what range do you reckon it could detect a radar sized target, now that there's no ESM on board? If the "victim" were a gap filler with no embedded self protection, then maybe it could work... But how effective could the Harop be in general for SEAD when it's that vulnerable to enemy attack, and yet not cheap enough to be expendable?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: No, I didn't read about the Harop-German subject anywhere so far. Nothing to do with believing or disbelieving it. Regarding the Harop's target detection range it would depend on its cruising altitude as target acquisition will undoubtedly be via the nose-mounted optronic pod. That being the case, the Harop's inertial navigation and target acquisition systems will be activated and updated prior to launch. Which means the targetted ground radar's visual signature will have to be pre-acquired by airborne recce systems like RecceLite/Condor LOROP pods, or EL/M-2060P SAR pod or even by MALE-UAVs. If that's the case then the Harop can safely cruise at an altitude of 5,000 feet AGL, and once its FLIR turret acquires the target (on flat terrain) via a target recognition algorithmn then I guess it is a straightforward dive from there on. If the Harop were to be employed over mountainous terrain then the entire flight profile will change.

Nava said...

I don't think the Harop will have automatic target recognition. It's EO payload is rather generic (a POP 300 I believe). Man in the loop operation is what's been described.

Check out this link: http://www.flightglobal.com/sectionhome/sectiondefault.aspx?NavigationID=196&CategoryID=10318&SlotID=22

It's the third item.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Thanks for the links. Having a man-in-the-loop navigation/guidance system makes the Harop more or less like a tactical UAV, with the only difference being the Harop has a built-in warhead. So in case no prior tactical recce has been done, then the Harop can go out in searchg of its targets and engage them once found. That being the case, the likely targets to be engaged could include even moving high-value targets (single or in convoy) or even dug-in or mobile field artillery assets. Which in turn would make it an ideal asset in the hands of ground forces (as opposed to air forces).

Nava said...

Yes of course moving targets can be engaged. What I was getting at is that the Harop will likely be too expensive to be expendable, and many of the targets you have in mind might not be "worth the money". And yet it's not sophisticated enough to pose a challenge for air defense systems when on SEAD missions. That's my problem with it.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: I don't think it will be more expensive than a tracked self-propelled howitzer. Yes, the initial acquisition costs may be high to cater to the GCS and mission simulation aids, but then in terms of direct operating costs per mission the cost factor goes dramatically in favour of the Harop. If for instance the Harop is employed against a terrorist target with a US$10 million bountry on his head, then of course the Harop will emerge tops. That's my take, anyway.

Nava said...

To be fair, if a US$10 million terrorist is what's between the crosshairs, it might be economically viable to crash a Heron TP over him :)

Good night

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Thanks for answering my query.

You have written that discussions are on-going for a total of 90 more IRKUT Corp-built Su-30MKIs.So does that mean that if the deal goes through the IAF will have 50+140+40+50+40=320 Su-30MKIs.

What percentage of composites,both carbon fiber composites glass reinforced composites will be used to build the airframe of the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA?The Tejas Mk1 LCA employs C-FC materials for up to 45% of its airframe by weight while the Typhoon employs 82% composites(70% carbon fibre composites + 12% glass reinforced composites).I think the composites % to be used on the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA will be the same as that of the Typhoon.What do you say?

Is it true that the PAK-FA will be built using only 35% composites?Will it also be true for the Indo-Russian FGFA?In that case it will be a setback for our engineers as the Tejas Mk1 LCA itself employs more than 45% composites.Can you shed some light on this?What percentage of lightweight composites be used on the FGFA?

You have written in one issue of FORCE magazine about the IN's plan to build/procure 20 (DDG's + FFG's) in the next 10 years starting with the Project 15B DDG.Can you please tell me what these 20 warships will be?

hacker said...

thanks prasun da for your answer
i want to know the difference between HERON-1,HERON-2 and HERON TP.
and
is there any FLIR(forward looking infared) and IRST(infared search and track) in LCA Tejas MK.2

Anonymous said...

To Prasun: How many terrorist have US$10 million bounty on their head?

I think its total waste of money to buy such a self destructive UAV which costs US$10 million (50 crores) a piece.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Hacker: Heron 1 was the first-generation UAV with a simple chin-mounted FLIR turret while Heron 2 can accommodate both the FLIR turret as well as a belly-mounted EL/M-2022(A) search radar for maritime surveillance. The heron TP is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada turboprop (instead of the Rotax-type engines on the Heron 1/2) to make the airframe more stable when flying at high-altitudes over mountainous terrain. And thanks to the turboprop engine, the Heron TP can also be employed as a UCAV armed with air-to-ground guided weapons (just like the Predator and Reaper).
The Tejas Mk2 will have an on-board IRST, as well as Litening-3 laser designator pod (which also has a FLIR sensor and daytime TV camera).

To Anon@3:52AM: It is the entire Harop system (including its launcher, up to six UAVs and a ground control station) that costs US$20 million (your figure), and not just the solitary UAV. If six such UAVs can locate and destory a Battery of tracked self-propelled or even towed 155mm howitzers, then the entire Harop system's costs are more than fully recovered.

Nava said...

Why hasn't Elta incorporated AESA technology in its UAV SAR payloads? Couldn't it save a lot of weight? Is it a matter of price?