Tuesday, October 13, 2009

China Ups The Ante




While the October 1 parade for celebrating 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) saw the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) 2nd Artillery Corps publicly showcasing for the first time its 2,500-km range DF-21C road-mobile ‘cannistered’ medium-range ballistic missile and the road-mobile ChangJiang-10Zai (Long Sword) 2,200km-range land-attack cruise missile (LACM), what was not revealed was how exactly would these missiles be guided to their intended targets. For strategic targetting of both land-based and sea-based targets, the 2nd Artillery Corps has been, since the late 1990s, deployed a mix of overhead recce satellites equipped with both optronic sensors as well as synthetic aperture radars (SAR). Belonging to the ‘Yaogan’ or ‘JianBing’ family, the constellation presently comprises the Yaogan-1 Yaogan-3 and Yaogan-5 satellites equipped with SAR antennae (supplied off-the-shelf by Russia’s NPO Mashinostroneyie), and the Yaogan-2, Yoagan-4 and Yaogan-6 satellites equipped with optronic sensors. All these satellites were designed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp’s (CASC) No5 Research Institute and No8 Research Institute, with final fabrication and systems integration taking place at the CASC’s Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.

To date, the 2nd Artillery Corps has already implemented the launch-control protocols and ultra-secure SATCOMS-based communications networks required for employing both the land-launched and air-launched variants of the CJ-10A cruise missile against both land-based and seaborne targets. Development of the CJ-10A and its launch platforms (including the Hong 6K bomber) was led by the Hubei-based 9th Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), which is also known as the Sanjiang Aerospace Group, or 066 Base. Series-production is now underway at the Beijing-based 3rd Academy, also belonging to CASIC. The navigational and fire-control components of the CJ-10 are produced at the Shanghai-based Xinxin Factory, which was set up in the late 1990s with the help of military-technical assistance from Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The CJ-10’s maiden test-flight took place on August 10, 2004. It is widely believed that the CJ-10 is an exact clone of the Korshun LACM (developed in Ukraine) and weighs 1,090kg, has a wingspan of 3.1 metres and diameter of 0.514 metres, and a length of 6.3 metres, 0.26 metres longer than the Kh-55. This slight difference in length comes from placing the Korshun’s R95-300 turbofan within the rear of the missile’s fuselage, with an air intake underneath. The Kh-55’s engine, in contrast, pops out of the rear section after launch, and hangs beneath the missile’s fuselage during cruise flight. By making the Korshun (and the CJ-10) more streamlined, like the Tomahawk cruise missile, Ukrainian designers succeeded in reducing the missile’s overall radar cross-section by eliminating the unwanted right angles of the exposed engine, which reflect telltale radar energy.

Another new-generation nuclear-armed missile deployed since 2007 by the 2nd Artillery Corps is the Dong Feng 21C (NATO reporting name: CSS-5 Mod-3) MBRM, which has a range of 1,700km when carrying a 2,000kg payload. The fully cannistered ballistic missile is carried on a 10 x 10 wheeled WS-2500 transporter-erector-launcher vehicle, which has a maximum load capacity of 28 tonnes. According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the DF-21C can be armed with fuel air explosive-based (FAE) and electromagnetic pulse-based (EMP) warheads, which could typically be employed against high-value strategic land-based targets, or against aircraft carrier-led battle groups. When used as part of a coordinated strike package, both the CJ-10 and DF-21C could significantly up the ante (as force multipliers with strategic reach) against any adversary, while keeping the threshold of hostilities limited to the conventional level. In India’s case, the widespread deployment of these two missile systems by the PLA in either the Tibet Autonomous Region or the Chengdu Military Region could in one stroke neutralise the operational advantages of offensive airpower projection now enjoyed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in northeastern and northern India, unless India begins a large-scale deployment of theatre-based ballistic missile/cruise missile defence networks that are backed up by a robust constellation of overhead recce satellites for strategic reconnaissance-cum-targetting purposes.

To this end, India’s satellite-based overhead reconnaissance and related strategic targetting capabilities were significantly boosted when the state-owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched India’s second dedicated, military-specific, operational recce satellite—RISAT-2—on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C12) from the Sriharikota-based Satish Dhawan Space Centre on April 20 this year. The RISAT-2 was bought off-the-shelf from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for India’s Dehra Dun-based National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) as part of the fast-tracking of procurements of critical hardware required for strategic deterrence, along with related ground receiving stations and imagery interpretation systems. It is virtually identical to the 300kg TecSAR/Polaris synthetic aperture radar-equipped satellite that was launched by ISRO’s subsidiary Antrix Corp for Israel on board the PSLV-C10 rocket launcher on January 21, 2008. Following RISAT-2 by the year’s end will be the ISRO-built RISAT-1, 1,780kg overhead recce satellite equipped with a C-band active phased-array synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and developed at a cost of Rs4 billion (see: http://directory.eoportal.org/get_announce.php?an_id=12429).

India’s first dedicated operational military reconnaissance satellite was CARTOSAT-2A (see http://directory.eoportal.org/get_announce.php?an_id=10000443), which was launched on board the PSLV-C9 on April 28, 2008. This was preceded on January 21 by the launching of the TecSAR/Polaris at a cost of Rs550 million. Weighing 300kg, both the TecSAR/Polaris and RISAT-2 can take pictures of the earth through cloud and rain, 24 hours of the day utilising electronic beam-steering techniques. The IAI-produced satellite features mesh antennae panels which, once opened, provide high-fidelity reflections of the Earth’s surface. Aside from IAI-subsidiary ELTA Systems, producers of the 100kg SAR payload, program subcontractors include Tadiran Spectralink and RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems, producers of hydrazine thrusters and other propulsion components. TecSAR was placed into its intended orbit with a perigee (nearest point to earth) of 450km and apogee (farthest point to earth) of 580km with an orbital inclination of 41 degrees with respect to the equator. As the Polaris’ manufacturer—the MBT Space Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)--wanted a ‘core-alone’ configuration of the PSLV-C10 to put Polaris in orbit, the four-stage rocket launcher did away with the six strap-on booster motors, and weighed only 230 tonnes at liftoff. The Antrix Corp subsidiary of ISRO is now hopeful that it will also bag the follow-on contracts from Israel to launch another two recce satellites of the Polaris family in future.

By February 3 last year, initial streams of TecSAR/Polaris-generated SAR imagery had reached Israel’s highly-secure ground station on the Tel Aviv-based campus of IAI. Once initial imagery was analysed and the satellite’s various operational modes were determined to meet user requirements, the TecSAR/Polaris was certified as operational. Until then, IAI and Israeli Military Intelligence (AMAN) technicians proceeded through an extensive intialisation and calibration testing regime that began about an hour after launch, with first receipt of the satellite’s signals. TecSAR/Polaris and RISAT-2 promise a qualitative upgrade in strategic intelligence not only because of the all-weather, photographic quality imagery they generate, but by their ability to linger longer over targeted areas of interest. Both satellites feature a unique combination of in-orbit agility and electronically-steered beams that allow operators to capture more images over a wider area in each rotational pass. Agility is provided by high-powered, yet low-weight reaction wheels that allow the satellite to alter its orbiting attitude as it travels some 7.5 kilometres per second. In parallel, electronic switching of the radar beam allows operators to back-scan critical target areas and utilise multiple modes of image collection, thereby maximising every second of the typical 8.5-minute overpass of a given area. Both satellites can operate in any inclination and at a wide range of altitudes. The payload is designed to collect imagery in three distinct operating modes: Spot mode for collecting a large number of high-resolution images per orbit; strip mode for capturing many hundreds of medium-resolution imaging swaths; and beam-scanning mosaic mode for very wide coverage at lower, yet ‘extremely valuable’ resolution. The satellites are also inherently capable of detecting and tracking moving targets. During a single pass, due to extraordinary flexibility of the beam and the agility of the satellite itself, the TecSAR/Polaris or RISAT-2 can capture widely spread targets at the same time. The estimated footprint, or area of image collection, is more than 500 square kilometres. If a normal satellite provides a 25km footprint, one can multiply by 20 or even 30 to get the coverage provided by these two satellites in mosaic mode. By activating the reaction wheels, they make a back-scan that allows them to linger more time in a certain area. Their added value thus lies in this unique combination of electronic switching of the beam and the mechanical agility of the satellites that allows one to achieve a phenomenal capability for high-resolution imaging over very large areas. But beyond expected imaging improvements, TecSAR/Polaris and RISAT-2 will provide significantly enhanced revisit time for monitoring ballistic missile launching sites, seaport activities, weapons production facilities, troop movements and other militarily-significant changes. Both these satellites can circle the Earth every 90 minutes.

Almost as anxious as its Israeli counterpart for the TechSAR/Polaris’ success is Northrop Grumman Corp, which hopes to parlay the lightweight, high-resolution SAR-equipped satellite into a new, US niche market for operationally responsive space systems. An exclusive teaming agreement with IAI now allows Northrop Grumman to co-produce slightly-modified TecSAR clones--dubbed Trinidad--to be held in storage for launch by US users at a mere 30-day notice. When the two companies announced their agreement in April 2007, they stressed that implementation of the prospective launch-on-demand initiative was contingent upon the successful launch and operational performance of the Israeli spacecraft. Each Trinidad satellite could be manufactured in about 28 months at a very small fraction of the cost of other US SAR-equipped satellites. Within two years, this satellite will be ready for launch by a very low cost launcher like the Minotaur four-stage Space Launch Vehicle of the Orbital Sciences Corp. The commercial partners still need to wait for IAI to complete all testing, certification and other activities demanded by its Israeli government customer. But following full validation and initial operation of TecSAR/Polaris’ multi-mode, X-band radar-imaging collection capabilities, Northrop Grumman has received the data it needs to convince potential US users of the benefits to be had from the system. According to Northrop Grumman, preliminary plans call for the US firm to invest in a mobile ground station modified to capture, receive, store and process TecSAR/Polaris imagery provided by the IAI ground station. The plan is to actually demonstrate the satellite’s capabilities to prospective customers.

India’s CARTOSAT-2A, which has a spatial resolution of 0.7 metres, will be followed in future by the 2B, 2C and 2D, with these having high-resolution cameras capable of supplying imagery with 0.5-metre spatial resolution. India currently has in orbit four dual-purpose satellites that can be used for military overhead reconnaissance. CARTOSAT-1 (see http://directory.eoportal.org/get_announce.php?an_id=7389) or IRS P5 (Indian Remote Sensing Satellite) was launched on May 5, 2005 into a 618km-high polar sun synchronous orbit by the PSLV-C6 rocket. It carries two panchromatic (PAN) cameras with 2.5-metre resolution that take black-and-white stereoscopic pictures of the earth in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The swath covered by these PAN cameras is 30km, and they are mounted in such a way that near-simultaneous imaging of the same area from two different angles is possible. This facilitates the generation of accurate three-dimensional maps. The cameras operate in the 500-750nm wavelength and are tilted +26 degrees and -5 degrees along the track. CARTOSAT-1, weighing 1,560kg, also carries a solid-state recorder with a capacity of 120 Giga Bits to store the images taken by its cameras. The stored images can be transmitted when the satellite comes within the visibility zone of an Earth-based ground station. The 680kg CARTOSAT-2 (see http://directory.eoportal.org/get_announce.php?an_id=13733), designed for supplying scene-specific spot imagery, was launched into the intended 639km polar orbit by the PSLV-C7 rocket on January 10m 2007. CARTOSAT-2 has a single PAN camera capable of providing scene-specific spot imageries for cartographic applications. The camera is designed to provide imageries with 1-metre spatial resolution and a swath of 10km. The satellite can steer along and across its track up to 45 degrees. It has been placed in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 630km and has a revisit period of four days, but this can be improved to one day with suitable orbit manoeuvres. Several new technologies like two-mirror-on-axis single camera, carbon fabric reinforced plastic-based electro-optic structure, large size mirrors, JPEG-like data compression, solid-state recorder, high-torque reaction wheels and high-performance star sensors are employed on board CARTOSAT-2. The satellite has a revisit interval of four days.

The third overhead recce satellite currently in orbit is the Technology Experiment Satellite or TES (see http://directory.eoportal.org/get_announce.php?an_id=15557), which weighs 1,108kg and was successfully placed in 568km sun synchronous orbit on October 22, 2001 using the PSLV-C3 rocket. The technologies demonstrated thus far on board TES are attitude and orbit control systems, high-torque reaction wheels, new reaction control systems with optimised thrusters and a single propellant tank, lightweight spacecraft structure, solid-state recorder, X-band active phased-array antenna, improved satellite positioning system, miniaturised power system, and two-mirror-on-axis camera optics. The TES has a PAN camera capable of producing images of 1-metre resolution. In attention to these and the CARTOSAT-2 family of satellites, India will later this year launch the RISAT-1, which will carry a C-band (5.35 GHz) SAR with a spatial resolution of 3 metres to 50 metres and a swath of 10km to 240km. The Earth-facing side of the AESA-SAR antenna is a broadband dual polarised microstrip radiating aperture. The antenna will comprise three deployable panels, each of 2-metre x 2-metre size. Each of the panels is sub-divided into four tiles of size 1-metre x 1-metre, each consisting of 24 x 24 radiating elements. In each tile, all the 24 x 24 radiating elements are grouped into 24 groups, with each group comprising 24 elements spread along azimuth directions, which are fed by two stripline distribution networks feeding for V and H polarisation. Each of these groups of 24 radiating elements is catered to by two separate T/R modules feeding two separate distribution networks for V and H operation with the same radiating patches. Present plans call for deploying up to seven RISAT-type recce satellites by 2015.

Another reconnaissance satellite that was launched on September 23 this year by ISRO was OCEANSAT-2 (see http://directory.eoportal.org/get_announce.php?an_id=14267), which would study the oceans and the wind surface of oceans. It is more powerful than the OCEANSAT-1 (launched in May 1999), which was nearing the end of its life cycle. The OCEANSAT-2, placed into a near-polar sun synchronous orbit of 720km, carries an ocean-colour monitor and a Ku-band pencil beam scatterometer, which is an active microwave radar and operates at 13.515GHz providing a good resolution cell-size swathe of 50km x 50km. It also carries a radio occulation sounder for atmospheric studies. The ocean colour monitor payload is an eight-band multi-spectral camera operating in the visible-near infra-red spectral range. This camera provides an instantaneous geometric field-of-view of 360 metres covering a swath of 1,420km. The back-scattered beams from the ocean surface are measured to derive the wind vector. OCEANSAT-2 will be used for sea state forecasting, coastal zone studies, and also provide inputs for weather forecasting and climatic studies of consequence to the movements of both naval surface combatants and submarines. Its orbital path, combined with the wide swathe of both payloads, will provide an observational repetity of two days. For providing the high-accuracy navigation inputs for precision-guided munitions as well as for long-range navigation over land, sea and air, ISRO last year initiated the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) project, which calls for the deployment of a constellation of seven low-cost, GPS satellites in geo-stationary orbit over the next five years. Its footprint will be regional, and will include the Indian subcontinent, the Tibetan plateau, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.—Prasun K. Sengupta

64 comments:

Gaurav said...

Nice pics

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

You have written earlier to Nava's query that India would have to deploy a mix of polar earth-orbiting DSP-type satellites with optronic payloads(about four) and at least another four low-earth orbiting SAR-equipped satellites like TecSAR to ensure long-duration and comprehensive space-based ballistic missile early warning system.

You have written here that India plans to deploy up to seven RISAT-type recce satellites by 2015.
I want to ask you that whether this satellite will be the ISRO-built RISAT-1 type or RISAT-2 type bought off-the-shelf from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).The RISAT-2 type is qualitatively better than the ISRO-built RISAT-1 type.

What about the deployment of the other leg i.e. the DSP-type of satellites?Will India build such satellites by herself or buy off-the-shelf from Israel or share informations of the US's DSP group of satellites.
Please explain.

Anonymous said...

Last para: ''Another reconnaissance satellite that will be launched this year by ISRO will be OCEANSAT-2''

are u behind time prasun? Oceansat 2 was launched in September buddy... when did u write this?

Anonymous said...

Prasun ji,
I have some queries on Chinese Space Program. I really appreciate if you can answer some of the queries.

How good is the technology of Chinese Spy satellites? How many they have? Do they have synchronous monitoring capability? If I remember correctly, the first Chinese remote sensing satellite was "gifted" by Gimmy Carter, am I right?

Some time back, I read a news that China can blind the reconnaissance satellites while they are over China. How robust is their technology? Did they do anything against any Indian Satellite? If they have the capability to blind the "spy satellites", how countries, like India or US who wants to monitor Chinese Military movements, overcome this Chinese threat?

And finally where is/are the Chinese Rocket Launching site/s? Can you share the pics of site/s if you have?

What is the success rate of Chinese Space Program?

Thanks in advance.
R

Anonymous said...

As the previous poster asked, how effective can anti satellite systems be in case of an all out war? If I am not wrong China did test one in 2007 or so.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Read this report http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/10/13/333408/pictures-lockheed-martin-unveils-first-f-16-block-52-ordered-by-pakistan.html
which says that the F-16s currently on order for Pakistan represent the “latest configuration of the best 4th generation multirole fighter available in the world today,” according to John Larson, vice president of F-16 programmes for Lockheed Martin.

Will this hamper the acquisition of F-16's by the IAF as it might think it to a very similar aircraft to the one it is currently evaluating.

Even if the IAF goes for the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet will it help in the future development of the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA.

If the IAF chooses the General Electric F414 engine will it will have the option to go for the F414-EDE(Enhanced Durability Engine) variant.The EDE engine provided a 15% thrust increase or longer life without the thrust increase.The EDE is designed to have better foreign object damage resistance, and a reduced fuel burn rate.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

prasun da! why RISAT2 could not locate the wreckage of late CM of Andhra Pradesh helo ,which crashed in the hilly jungles? is it not supposed to penetrate thick vegetation and provide SAR image of high resolution?

Anonymous said...

I am the poster "R".

To Anonym@Wednesday, October 14, 2009 5:26:00 AM. Please check what I asked. I know China has anti-sat tech. I asked about the "blinding" technology China has. I read somewhere that China fires laser to blind the reconnaissance satellites while they fly over its territory, thus disabling the satellites (temporarily) to take pictures of China. Prasun ji, correct me if I am wrong.

R

Anonymous said...

good eve Prasun ,
i am amazed at your ability to respond to everybody and repeatedly answer ques for which u might have clarified earlier.your posts are enlightening.
i would like to know where china stands and where it might end up say in2014 in space based Reconnaissance.
could u point out possible future sources of mil tech (in general)to china since many might be willing to do biz with china during the course of the economic downturn since it remains an untapped market where doing biz is supposed to be a lot easier than other untapped markets

secondly Ur thoughts on infra development by china in pok as alluded to by the Indian foreign min
thirdly, where do u see india's force modernization go(all 3 ser)until 2014(major acquisitions u expect).
surely india might not be able spend as generousl on defence as during the boom period.

Anonymous said...

i would also like your views on the availability of training and best practices by the pla .Buying the equipment alone will not be sufficient modern techniques and operating procedures have to be ingrained in the armed forces .
the Chinese with their theory of quantity over quality would not be able to operate as a lean mean and lethal force as lack of access to operational procedures and best practices(assuming) should be a major obstacle.They train with the Russians and no American ally trains with them except pak
Are they trying to rectify it if so how?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.34PM: Both RISAT-1 and RISAT-2 family of SAR satellites, as well as Cartosat-2A family of photo-imagery recce satellites will be deployed by India in the years to come to dramatically reduce the intervals between revisits. As for the projected DSP family of satellites there will indeed be some industrial collaboration with Israeli and even European aerospace companies as such satellites are used strictly for defensive purposes and have no offensive capability.

To Anon@8:33PM: Thanks for the heads-up. Already made the necessary corrections.

To Anon@12:48AM: China's overhead recce satellites do have synchronous monitoring capability. In terms of technologies, China has since the 1990s procured all that is required to design and develop databuses and mission sensors (minus the SAR radar) from the Central Asian Republics as well as from Ukraine. The capabilities of the SAR radars are posted in the first two slides above. And no, non-Chinese overhead recce satellites are not 'blinded' when they're surveying the Chinese landmass.
Presently, there are three space launch bases in China, namely, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the desert of Gansu Province in northwest China, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre capital of north China’s Shaanxi Province, and the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. China began building its first rocket launch site in Jiuquan in 1958. The latest space launch centre now being built will be in Wenchang City, on the northeast coast of the tropical island province of Hainan, which is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

there's a lot of work in your article and I commend that.

However the middle frame of the third image has been altered.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@5:26AM: The SC-19 ASAT system tested by China in 2007 can be potentially hazardous in terms of leaving space debris that could could destroy the satellites of even neutral countries or those owned by countries that are friendly to China. For countries like India , such ASAT weapons can also be employed to destroy low-earth orbiting satellites like TecSAR, or RISAT-1 in polar earth orbit. But then again, the resultant space debris will also affect similar satellites deployed by China in similar orbits.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:34AM: While the PAF F-16s are of the Block 52 variety, the F-16IN Super Vipers being offered to the IAF are advanced derivatives of the Block 60 variety, identical to the F-16E/F Desert Falcons of the UAE Air Force. Thus, the F-16IN will be two generations ahead of the Block 52 F-16C/D of the PAF.
Even if the Super Hornet wins the M-MRCA competition in India, Lockheed Martin still has several other lucrative business areas in India, like the C-130J and therefore, it will continue to remain active within India pursuing future business opportunities. And of course, if India selects the GE F414 for the Tejas Mk2 then all future upgrades to this turbofan will automatically be available to India.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:41AM: RISAT-2 was never retasked to look for the crash site simply because SAR cannot penetrate thick folliage. The same limitations also apply to GPS satellites. Only the two Su-30MKIs from Barielly were tasked with doing radar sweeps using the BARS' ground mapping mode and still they were not able to locate the wreckage due to the prevailing thick vegetation at the crash site.

Nava said...

I'll respond to your last comment addressed at myself on the previous "thread":

I think you have a much too optimistic view RE the utility of a SAR satellite for BMD: I don't think a SAR satellite would make the difference in spotting a building containing nuclear weapons, and RE preemptively striking said building (or stationary target anyway), well... I don't see it happening like that. TecSAR satellites are very valuable, but they're not jacks of all trades. Actually, the Satellite's stated resolution is inferior to that of a modern EO satellite.

You later make the unrelated claim that the Sufa has AESA based Elta produced Jammers. This is news to me, could you elaborate? It was reported at the time that Elisra bagged the deal...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:51AM: Many thanks. In terms of space-based recce capabilities, once RISAT-1 and RISAT-2 constellations along with the IRNSS constellation is in place by 2015-2017, both China and India will be evenly poised in terms of the military applications of space technology. But China remains behind India in terms of DSP-type satellite developments as in this area India is being supported by the EU and US, along with Israel.
Despite all this, one must never underestimate the sheer financial clout of China and its ability to expend enormous funds required for acquiring such frontier technologies through industrial espionage within the EU and former Soviet republics. Because unlike India, China's centralised planning and decision-making processes can make things happen much more faster than is possible in India. That's why there's no less than 12 technology parks dedicated to military R & D within China today, they will have four space applications centres capable of launching rockets, and they are in the cutting edge of military simulation under a centralised National Warfighting Simulation Centre (something like a university!) that is a combined services institution for conducting wargaming based on both theatre-wide as well as complete countrywide mobilisation. To put it mildly, such awesome capabilities are not even being thought of within India at the moment. And when it comes to military R & D-related support infrastructure, the sheer magnitude of their test ranges is something the DRDO can only dream of. Lastly, just take a cursory look at the pixelated camouflage uniforms of PLA personnel and pixelated camouflage displayed by the PLA's armoured vehicles during the October 1 parade and contrast that with the total absence of such developments within the Indian armed forces, and I'm sure you will arrive at the same objective conclusions as I have. In terms of China accessing leading-edge weapons technologies pioneered in the West, kindly read how it developed its own AEW & C platforms with Israeli assistance at the following webpage: http://www.china-defense-mashup.com/?p=4823

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Oops! It was Elisra-made jammers, not ELTA-made (Elisra is now part of ELBIT Systems). Regarding SAR satellites, of course no one overhead recce system can function as a jack of all trades sensory platform and will inevitably have to be supplemented by photo-imagery satellites as well. But, a combination of such space-based recce assets does enable one in peacetime to observe hostile missile launch drills, deployment patterns, storage areas, staging areas and launch areas, with all of these playing critical roles in defining the scope, sophistication, robustness and deployment options for a multi-tiered BMD system.

Nava said...

OK, I'll leave it at that RE the SAR satellites, though I think you're being too vague and not thinking critically about how one could actually use the TecSAR for BMD...

Are you sure that the jammers are AESA based?

Nava said...

Also, are you actually claiming that Israeli jammers are on board the UAE's F-16s?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Yes, the jammers are AESA-based and have two arrays per installation (a total of four installations on the F-16). Confirmed that way back in 2005 when seeing a Singaporean F-16D up close and personal. And also on board the UAE's Desert falcons, just as the IAI-made CFTs grace them as well. Why are you surprised?

Nava said...

Selling state of the art jammers to an Arab country that barely has diplomatic relation with Israel... I implore you to double check that.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: "Barely"? What is that? Either Embassies are established in each other's country upon mutual agreement (which by implication means that both recognise each other's existence), or there's no contact whatsoever (consequently leading to the unending Iran-Israel spat in the public arena). As I understand, both Israel and the UAE have full-fledged diplomatic ties (do correct me if I'm wrong). Leave alone the jammers used for self-defence (as part of the defensive aids suite), what is far more significant is the sale of IAI-made (but sent to the US and delivered by Lockheed Martin) CFTs that make the F-16E/F Desert Falcon a M-MRCA with long reach. Therefore, talking of sensitivities, which is the more lethal item, a set of defensive jammers or the CFTs?

Nava said...

No, there isn't an Israeli embassy in the UAE as far as I know. Here's a quote I found after googling "UAE Israel diplomatic relations" : "Despite not maintaining diplomatic relations with UAE Israel sends two delegates to international renewable energy convention exploring oil alternatives"

It's from a couple of days ago in the leading Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.


CFT are a more mundane item aren't they? I mean, it's not something that can't be bought from the Americans, is it? What's the technological challenge there? Israeli EW technology is something else...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: That's surprising, as I remember Al Jazeera often saying that four Arab countries--Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE--have diplomatic ties with Israel. I agree on the 'mundane' characterisation of CFTs, but these AESA-based defensive jammers are not exactly cutting edge stuff, as they've existed for the past five years and are not as high-tech as, say ASPJs or jamming pods or X-band multi-mode AESA radars. Just simple directional transmitters, albeit highly compact. Must also add that in terms of pragmatism and levelheadedness, the Arab Sheikdoms of Qatar and the UAE are way ahead of their neighbouring counterparts, although I'm sure when it comes to core national interests even the House of Al Saud is level-headed enough to maintain 'contacts' and direct lines of communications with Jerusalem on an as-needed basis.

Nava said...

Well, there are diplomatic ties, but they certainly aren't full fledged or openly acknowledged, which is why I used the word "barely" originally.

I'm not sure what you mean WRT the jammers: "ASPJs or jamming pods or X-band multi-mode AESA radars. "

AESA radars are just that-radars. Apples and oranges. But what do you mean by "jamming pods"? That's just a name for an externally attached EW device. Or do you mean specifically the New generation escort jammers such as the sky shield (and others, though my provincial disposition has kept me in the dark about them :) ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: All I said was that AESA-based directional jammers as part of a defensive aids suite are not as export-sensitive as items such as AESA-based fire-control radars, or escort jammers, or a complete ASPJ suite. That's why anyone buying a MiG-29M2 or MiG-29SMT (like Sudan, Yemen or Syria) also gets (as standard fit) on-board AESA-based jammers built by Italy's Elettronica.

Nava said...

OK, good night.

Anonymous said...

Prasun is it true that all of Pakistan's older f-16A/Bs will be upgraded to block 50/52? Do the new ones they're getting have CFTs?
Thanks!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@4:37PM: All earlier Block 15 F-16A/Bs of the PAF will be brought up to Block 52 standard under the MLU programme. But no CFTs are included AFAIK. All in all, the PAF will ultimately have about 71 F-16s ( which was publicly stated by the PAF way back in 1984), which is quite fine for the PAF as it represents a minimum baseline capability, bearing in mind that with each passing year the fleets of Mirage IIIEPs and Mirage VPs are shrinking during to decomissionings at the end of their service lives. So these F-16A/B/C/Ds along with the 40 Chengdu FC-20s will form the backbone of the PAF's M-MRCA-based airpower in the coming decade, and will be supplemented by about 150 JF-17 Thunder MRCAs which will progressively replace the existing A-5IIICs, F-8Ps and F-7PGs.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The October 2009 issue of FORCE magazine contains a two-page interview of the GM of HAL's Nashik-based Aircraft Manufacturing Division that explains in great detail the entire licenced-production process of the Su-30MKI. For those who were thinking otherwise till now, the salient points include the following:
1) ALL (100%) of the raw materials reqd for production are coming directly from Russia, as are the castings, forgings, bearings, connectors, switches, circuit-breakers, nuts and bolts, complete undercarriage, ejection seats, etc.
2) About 40,000 parts like brackets, panels and major structural frames, spars, longerons, wings, control surfaces and fins are made, machined and rivetted by HAL Nashik, all with the help of machining jigs and tools procured directly from Russia.
3) Of the 40,000 parts, some 10,000 are oursourced from private vendors who receive the raw Russia-origin materials from HAL.
4) Russia-supplied machines are used for machining of single-crystal turbine blades as well as for repairing them (but NOT for fabricating the blades from raw materials).
5) India supplies titanium ore to Russia, which in turn extracts the metal and supplies it to HAL where it is subjected to machining, forming, welding and chemical milling.
6) The operational data-link containing its own small-diameter inertial measurement unit is being sourced directly from Israel.
It really makes one wonder what exactly have been the advantages of licence-producing aircraft of imported origin since the 1960s, when the IAF's sprawling Base Repair Depot infrastructure is more than capable of ensuring the reliability, availability and serviceability of its frontline combat aircraft assets, and together they employ far more technically skilled personnel than HAL, and whose annual financial budegtary allocations are far more than what the MoD gets to spend with HAL! I would rather see HAL being stopped in its tracks as far as horizontal expansion goes (through such wasteful licence-production programmes) and instead make it focussed entirely on vertical value-added expansion programmes under which it can can jointly design, develop and produce new-generation aircraft and helicopters (there's a huge backlog anyway with the Dhruv ALH, LCH, MUH, HJT-36 IJT, HTT-40 turboprop trainer, the IL-214 MRTT, and the FGFA all waiting to be produced) that will bring in a vastly greater quantum of financial resources and technological expertise/innovations, while concurrently nurturing a steadily growing pool of locally approved industrial vendors.
Presently, as things stand, the Su-30MKI licenced-production programme has enabled HAL to only outsource 25% of its parts manufacturing reqmts to local vendors, while in Russia, the prime contractor IRKUT Corp outsources 70% of its parts/components reqmts from Russia-based vendors. All in all, a lop-sided deal for India's aviation industry, going by the looks of it.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Thanks.

Will you please explain what are these ASPJs ,jamming pods , X-band multi-mode AESA radars and escort jammers?I have never heard of these.
I want to know will India have access to these high-tech cutting edge technologies if they select any of the US fighters.

To Anon@11:51AM you have written about the military capabilities of china.Do you see in future India doing at least half of these.

hacker said...

hello prasun da

1.what is the time frame for the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation or GPS and Geo Augmented Navigation system (GAGAN)developed by ISRO

2.The Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)will be used to suplement GPS. what will be the work of GLONASS for which india has signed for and which satellite of india can track the launch of a ballistic missile.

3.what is the status of GSLV Mk2 with indian cryogenic engine,GSLV Mk3 and AVATAR RLV.

4.can KALI (Kilo Ampere Linear Injector)made by drdo can be used as a anti-satellite weapon and regarding the RISAT series how is it comparable to other spy satellites

5.can you tell us status of the lightweight torpedo (Advanced Experimental Torpedo),heavy weight wire-guided torpedo Varunastra and the Thakshak thermal torpedo.

6.can you give a details ans status of Rajendra Block 3 radar, 3D Multi Function Control Radar,3D Short Range Radar- ASLESHA,The 3D Weapon Locating Radar,Synthetic Aperture & Inverse Synthetic Aperture radars,2D Medium Range Battlefield Surveillance Radar, BFSR-LR ,3D Medium Power Radar, 3D Tactical Control Radar,R118(Radar Warning Receiver),Radar Warner Jammer systems (RWJ),Samyukta and Sangraha(EW system),MAWS project (a joint venture by the DRDO and EADS),DIRCM (Directed Infra Red Countermeasures) project,Divya Drishti(ESM),as DRDO is making radars of all kind why is our forces buying radar from other countries and .

6.recently iaf personal told thet it will induct more updated AKASH SAM can you tell us what is the updates of AKASH SAM,can you tell us about NAG with MILI-METRIC seeker HELINA,Astra BVRAAM and can you tell us about the ARMORED VEHICLE FOR PARAMILITARY FORCES deVELOPED BY DRDO.

7.what are the updates for MIRAGE 2000H and can you tell us of the details of the updates of DARIN 3 update of jaguar.

8.Barak-8/ LRSAM will have a range of 70 km is there any SAM which india is buying or building in the range of S-400 i.e. having a range of 120-150 km or more.

thank you ..

NJS said...

News:The current cooperation program comprises about 200 joint projects, including the modernization of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov) for the Indian navy, the transfer of technology for the licensed assembly of T-90 tanks in India, the production of BrahMos missiles and the purchase of Smerch MLRS by India.

All the things are old orders of 2004, its sad we are not getting what we urgently need .

To, Parsun
1. It is mentioned the purchase of smerch mlrs , do u have idea ,any new orders are placed / volumes details . or they are still speaking again and again about the smerch which we already had in our inventory.

2. China has longer range MBRL's may be 350 - 400 kms range /350mm , why india not trying to get/JV similar to this weapons .

Anonymous said...

will Pakistan buy [URL="http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/10/bzk-005-uav-in-service-with-pla.html"]BZK-005 UAV[/URL]???

Anonymous said...

will Pakistan buy BZK-005 UAV???

[http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/2009/10/bzk-005-uav-in-service-with-pla.html

Anonymous said...

will PAF f-16 also have IAI-made CFTs??

Anonymous said...

Prasun K Sengupta said...JF-17 Thunder MRCAs which will progressively replace the existing A-5IIICs, F-8Ps and F-7PGs.

F-8Ps???????

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:29AM: It should read F-7P, not F-8P.

Divakar said...

Prasun,

Hope you remember me raising my question on M2K upgrade hanging in there for about 2 years, at price negotiations and its indirect implications on the up coming selection of MRCA. The recent reports suggest the same ( http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/iafs-11-bn-order-may-become-larger/373419/ ). This logic sounds about right. It looks like Dassault is hell bent on getting a lot for the upgrade. MiG started the upgrade deal around the same time got the deal inked about 6 months back.
Do you still think that this would not affect the MRCA chances Dassault? And I am not sure what the political mileage that we might get from France. Though my personnel choice is Rafael, politically and weapons package wise it looks like to move towards teens. What is your comment in this.

Good to see that C-17 deal is moving through MoD (http://livefist.blogspot.com/2009/10/iaf-deal-for-10-globemaster-iiis-near_16.html ). I would love to see these birds in IAF colours. Looks like FMS sales process is much faster than other processes, at least with our MoD/ Government. Good for the armed forces.
The joint exercises looks like a very good way to show the American products and market them. C-17 is one of them and looks like the Striker may be on the way down the line. Good marketing.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Happy Diwali!!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:50PM: All these products were covered and illustrated in posts going back to last October. Please check them out.

To hacker: Again, the great majority of these topics/issues were all covered in detail in previous posts. The only updates being considered for the Akash M-SAM are: increase in the missile round's range to touch at least the 40km figure, and inclusion of the Battery Surveillance Radar (BSR).

To NJS@6:21AM: The Army wants to add another Smerch-M MBRL Regiment to the one already operational. Also, the decks are being cleared for phase-2 of the MiG-27M upgrade to take place under which close to 80 aircraft will be re-engined with AL-31F turbofans to replace the existing R29B-300 engines.
Regarding the MBRL capabilities of China and India, as you may be aware, such area saturation weapons are best employed in the plains and therefore their usage along the mountainous Sino-Indian border is not anticipated.

To Anon@6:25AM: There is every possibility that the BZK-005 UAV will be acquired by the Pakistan Army (not the PAF).

To Anon@6:27AM: No, the US State Dept has not approved the sale of CFTs for the PAF's Block 52 F-16C/Ds, although the original proposal from the US DSCA had included the CFTs for US Congressional apprval.

To Divakar: To me the issue is very simple: if DARE, HAL and the IAF can join hands to successfully produce the DARIN-3 upgrade for the Jaguar IS, then there's no reason why such an upgrade cannot be done for the Mirage 2000H/TH as well. It is well within the means of DARE and HAL to carry out such upgrades with Israeli assistance. In fact, the EL/M-2052 AESA can easily go on-board the Mirage 2000. The only sticking point is the MoD's insistence that aircraft upgrades be carried out by the OEMs, just as the MiG-29 upgrade is being carried out. If this procedural reqmt is done away with, the Mirage 2000s can be successfully upgraded within India.

Lastly, to all fellow bloggers, here's wishing you all and your loved ones a Very Happy Deepavali (or Diwali)!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Keen on unlocking value of public sector enterprises, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the government was encouraging them to raise resources by listing on the stock exchanges. "The government is encouraging the listing of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), as this unlocks the true value of a company, improves its corporate governance standards and also helps it in raising resources for funding future expansion plans," he said at an award function for the PSEs here. Singh said several PSEs have got their shares listed on the markets in the last two years and many more want to do so. "This shows they are not shying away from market scrutiny and are ready to face new challenges," he said at a function organised by the Standing Conference of Public Sector Enterprises (SCOPE). Since the UPA came to office for the second term this May, two public sector companies -- NHPC and Oil India – have listed on the bourses. More are in the pipeline. Forty-three PSEs account for 24 per cent of Bombay Stock Exchange's market cap of Rs 58 lakh crore. Of the top 10 listed companies on BSE, five belong to the public sector. "More and more PSEs are entering capital market and are striving to become global players," he said. Lauding the role of these units in the economy, he said India weathered the global slowdown better than most other countries. "This is a reflection of the strengths of Indian economy..." he said. Of the top 10 listed companies on BSE, five belong to the public sector. "More and more PSEs are entering capital market and are striving to become global players," he said. Lauding the role of these units in the economy, he said India weathered the global slowdown better than most other countries. "This is a reflection of the strengths of Indian economy..." he said.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pm-for-listing-more-pses-on-bourses/529505/
------------------------------
Looks like somneone's at last taking serious note of all what's been discussed recently in this blog!

Divakar said...

Prasun,

Can you help me understand why the MoD is insisting on the upgrade by OEM, for MiG-29 and M2K? when the whole off set process is to indigenize the industry and procurement to the maximum extent? What could be the reason? Any guess?

More over, the article says, IAF’s compromise on some of the features brought down the price to around 2B from 2.9B. With your suggested approach, we can have engine and airframe upgrade by the OEM and the rest by HAL, DARE and IAF. This may even make it better and cheep.

Thanks.

Kaushik said...

Hello Mr. Sengupta:

You mention that 80 Mig 27Ms may be upgraded with new powerplants. Is it in addition to the 40 already upgraded (avionics only) or will it include them and an additional 40?

Again, regarding the Smerch MBRL, reports indicate that 62 are on order to equip a total of 3 regiments. There were recent reports that the army wants launchers for the Eastern Command to counter the Chinese in the Eastern theatre. Are additional lauchers beyond the 64 being considered?

regards.

Anonymous said...

Prasun ji,
Thanks for your Diwali/Deepavali greetings. Same to you from readers like me.
I noticed that you completed one year of your blogging on Sept 30. That is your blog is one year old. Sorry, I didn't notice that.
Congratulations! Many thanks for your articles and your wonderful enlightened comments. Hope this blog will be immortal. Thank you.

R

Nava said...

I recently read that India is joining\considering joining the JLTV program. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Read your report-
"The government is encouraging the listing of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs)"
Does that mean that the Govt of India has at last given strategic autonomy to HAL to raise its own R & D funds NOT via the MoD's annual allocations, but via the capital market and also a free hand to take critical decisions aimed at overcoming the production engineering curve?

In that case it will be a tremendous boost to the development programs & production capacities of PSU's like the HAL.From now onwards it will not have to depend on the government for capital and help it become a global company like the Lockheed Martin.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Divakar: The policy of sticking to the OEMs for aircraft upgrades was devised back in late 2007 in order to placate the Russians (for the MiG-29 and MiG-27M upgrades) and some joker in the MoD, unknowningly, also insisted that this policy also be applied to all aircraft types! This is how all eggs went to one basket! In case of the Jaguars BAE Systems was very accommodating and gave HAL access to ALL relevant engineering drawings so that the DARIN2 & 3 upgrades could be successfully implemented. But Dassault and THALES both seem to be playing hard-ball for reasons best known to them, although they have been smart enough to take advantage of the loopholes created by the MoD's own blinkered policy-making! In my view, the avionics upgrade for the Mirage 2000 can certainly be done in-country by DARE, HAL and the IAF, no doubt about that. In terms of planned depot-level maintenance, here too HAL has already been certified by Dassault to carry out airframe servicing and service life extensions, while the M53P-2 turbofans have been and continue to be sent to SNECMA Moteurs in France for MRO and technical service life extensions. Therefore, there's no need for the IAF to dilute its ASQRs for the upgrade. Instead, it can get even more ambitious now by joining hands with IAI/ELTA to jointly design and develop a new-generation navigation-and-attack system (like the DARIN-3) centered around the EL/M-2052 AESA.

To Kaushik: As per the IAF's original plans, a total of 80 MiG-27Ms were to be upgraded in two batches, with the first 40 being done in-house by HAL and DARE by installing a DARIN-2-based navigation-and-attack system (NAS), with the engine upgrade being deferred as the Russians could not flight-certify the AL-31F on the MiG-27M within the timeframe mandated by the IAF. This hurdle has now been crossed and United Aircraft Corp has already completed flight-tests of the re-engined MiG-27M. Consequently, what will now happen is that the next planned 40 MiG-27Ms to be upgraded will be re-engined with the AL-31F and DARIN-3 NAS suite and after this is done, the first 40 upgraded MiG-27Ms will be upgraded once again with the AL-31F and DARIN-3. Ultimately, 80 MiG-27Ms will be upgraded and re-engined, exactly like the 120 Jaguars due for upgradation and re-engining (in two batches of 61 and 59).
Regarding the Smerch-M, the total reqmt is for 3 Regiments but when the contract for the first was signed, it called for ordering the MBRLs progressively in three batches instead of ordering them all in one go (due to budgetary constraints). The additional Smerch-Ms will be deployed in the northeast but not only against China as India has got other neighbouring countries there which share common borders with India. Also on the cards are procurement of some 400 wheeled tank destroyers (with 105mm or 120mm guns) and tracked light tanks (with 120mm or 105mm guns).

To R@11:29AM: Many thanks. Am glad you took note of the 1-year milestone.

To Nava: Yes, it is true.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:15PM: Yes, your interpretation is right and I've been lobbying for this practice to be adopted for ALL existing defence PSUs since early 2005! This was long overdue as clearly the MoD (or for that matter any other MoD in the world) cannot be expected to both manage the Ministry and the armed services. as well as run such military-industrial entities. What the Govt of India must do next is to undertake a radical restructuring under which:
1) The IAF's existing Base Repair Depots (BRD) take on the task of handling ALL aircraft upgrade programmes.
2) Entrust the BRDs to undertake licenced assembly of the new M-MRCAs to be bought.
3) Make HAL focus only on homegrown products and those NOW BEING or to-be CO-DEVELOPED on risk-sharing basis, like the LCH, HJT-36 IJT, HTT-40 turboprop trainer, IL-214 MRTT, new-generation multi-role utility helicopter, and FGFA (it is only from these programmes that full-scope ToT can take place and vertical expansion of capabilities of HAL and related SMEs can take place). I've already explained this above by citing the example of the 'uncommercial' decision of the MoD to licence-build the Su-30MKI.
4) Implement a policy under which the highly skilled technical workforce employed by the IAF's BRDs are easily re-employed (upon their retirement from the IAF) by the country's growing public and private sector companies engaged in aerospace R & D/production businesses involving home-grown products and services. In fact, this is exactly what former IAF CAS, ACM S Krishnaswamy had proposed as far back as 2002 when he called for the formation of a National Aerospace Commission, just like the Atomic Energy Commission. Sadly, this well thought-out suggestion continues to fall on deaf ears.

Nava said...

Thanks for the promptly replay.

"new-generation navigation-and-attack system (like the DARIN-3) centered around the EL/M-2052 AESA"

I'm not sure what this means though, could you elaborate (what's a navigation and attack system?)?

Kudos for the one year anniversary, its been a hugely educational experience for me.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Many thanks for your valued and cherished contributions as well. As for the NAS suite, you can get more info at: http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/area.aspx?FolderID=391&docID=903
Add to that a glass cockpit avionics suite, core avionics computer (mission computer), RLG-INS coupled to GPS receiver, on-board broadband data link, defensive aids/EW suite, plus Litening-3 and Recce-Lite and that's the closest one comes to describing the NAS.

Nava said...

Oh, I see, so it's a general name for many on board systems facilitating N & A. But will the Indian Air Force turn to IAI on the Mirage 2000? Or will it cave in to the (rather extraordinary I gather) demands of Thales and Dassault?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: That should be the logical choice. However, regretably in the MoD's case, internal administrative decisions at the policy-planning and policy-making levels do not always follow the 'logical' path.

Nava said...

On a semi-unrelated matter, do you see India and Israel adopting the Barak 8\Barak 8ER as an AAM? I heard officials from Rafael stating that their future AAMs will be based on SAMs. Though perhaps a pulsed motor wouldn't be ideal for that. A Ramjet would probably be better...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: For RAFAEL to continue as a prominent global developer of guided air combat missiles in the aftermath of the Derby and Python-5, it has no choice but to develop LRAAMs in order to compete with the likes of Meteor, FRAAM, and the KS-172. Therefore, as a consequence of this, the next-gen LRAAM from RAFAEL will have to be either ramjet-powered (like the FRAAM and Meteor) or a solid-fuel rocket using high-energy propellant of the type to be used for the Barak-8. Additionally, such a LRAAM will also have to accommodate additional avionics LRUs like small-diameter data-links so that even AEW & C platforms like the A-50I PHALCON or G-550 CAEW & CS can provide mid-course guidance cues directly to the LRAAM. So, in conclusion, yes, RAFAEL is on the right track when doing advanced planning for the next-gen LRAAM and it makes perfect sense to leverage the spinoffs from the on-going Barak-8 programme (like IAI has done with the Jumper N-LOS). Therefore, (I'm speculating here) in all probability, RAFAEL is unlikely to opt for ramjets and stick to the Barak-8-based propulsion system. I believe RAFAEL has already prepared an R & D roadmap for such a project and has had serious discussions with both the Indian AF and the Republic of Singapore AF. It is only a matter of time before the R & D project officially takes off with one or two non-Israeli risk-sharing industrial partners.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Thanks for the reply.
I hope the Govt of India do whatever you have written to my query.

Is the the DARIN-3 upgrade for the Jaguar IS centered around the EL/M-2052 AESA or is it independent of any multi-mode AESA radar?Does that the IAF has already chosen the EL/M-2052 AESA as it's X-band multi-mode AESA radar?You have earlier written that the SABR, Captor-E and Seaspray 5000e are also in contention for the X-band multi-mode AESA radar on the Jaguar IS.
Please explain systematically as you do.I am confused.

Will the IAF have access to sensitive high-tech equipments such as escort jammers or a complete ASPJ suite e.g. AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy, improved AN/ALQ-214 Airborne Self-Protect Jammer (ASPJ) if they go US aircrafts?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Ajai Shukla reported on the Business Standard, 16th Oct 09 that an additional two squadrons of MMRCAs would be built to replace the 51 Mirage-2000 fighters which wouldn't be upgraded as a result of a breakdown in India’s long-running negotiations with French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, for the upgradation of the fighters.Is it true?

I want to know:
1)Despite of these bottlenecks will the 51 Mirage-2000 fighters be upgraded by Dassault Aviation.
if not
2)Will the IAF go for additional MMRCAs or SU-30's?

If the IAF enters into a R & D project with RAFAEL to co-develop the next-gen LRAAM based on the Barak-8 solid-fuel rocket propulsion system what will happen to the ramjet-powered LRAAM project that the DRDO is planning after the Astra AAM project.Can both the project go side-by-side?

Are ramjet-powered AAM's at a advantage over solid-fuel rocket powered AAM's,considering the hype over the ramjet-powered Meteor?

Thank you.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@8:33PM: The systems architecture of DARIN-3 is still evolving and IAF HQ has not yet issued clear-cut guidelines regarding the final architecture of the DARIN-3 navigation-and-attack system. But things will be clearer by the year's end when the ASQR is firmed up by the IAF (which will also identify the turbofan selected for the re-engining component of the upgrade). Since both the to-be-upgraded Jaguars and MiG-27Ms will use belly-mounted laser-designator pods, the nose-mounted laser rangefinder/marked target designator in both these aircraft-types can easily be done away with. In its place only two types of EXISTING AESA-based radars can go: the scalable EL/M-2052 or the Vixen 500e, as their volume is small enough to fit into the nose section of the aircraft, although only the Jaguar IS (and not the MiG-27M) is likely to receive such a radar installation.
Acquiring towed-decoys or jamming pods is not a problem since such hardware is easily available from RAFAEL of Israel (the X-Guard and the EL/L-8212 and EL/L08222 pods). Such hardware can go on board on US-origin combat aircraft as well.

To Anon@9:05PM: I'm not yet aware of any decision to cancel the proposed Mirage 2000H/TH upgrade plan. And as I said earlier above, the DRDO and RAFAEL have already had discussions on the futuristic LRAAM that RAFAEL is likely to develop. Up till now, ramjet-powered AAMs don't have any identified or proven advantage over solid-fuel rocket-powered AAMs like the KS-172.

Nava said...

Are you sure? Ramjet is much more fuel efficient...

Several points:

1. Rafael has never been a major SUPPLIER of AAMs. It has been at the forefront of technology, but its missiles were designed for the IAF's needs, and didn't enjoy much export success.

2. One must think about the F-35's carriage capabilities, as it will (unfortunately) be the IS AF's future fighter. This might give one an idea of the missile's design.

3. I know that Rafael has been interested in dual mode guidance for a long time, so that should be expected. You claim that the Barak 8ER features it as well, and yet I've seen no evidence to suggest that...

4. Could you inform me as to what exactly sets the Barak 8's propulsion apart from say that of the AMRAAM, if anything does? What does multi pulse propulsion actually entail in terms of missile performance?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Does that mean that that there ill be no long range version of Astra AAM and the spin-offs from the Astra AAM program will merge with or be used in the futuristic LRAAM that RAFAEL is likely to develop with the DRDO?
I think it's range should be greater than 150 kms to be competitive against other long range AAM's such as the KS-172.

Does the thrust-vectoring capability capability of an aircraft offer some advantage against highly maneuverable AAM's with thrust vectors such as the Meteor?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Prasun

My question is regarding your earlier post about India's Artillery Procurement
Can you kindly enlighten me about the Pinaka MLBR Programme Status
From what i know , it has been inducted in small no's
I want to know why in small no;s if it meets the requirements laid by army and especially with the army facing a number crunch of artillery guns,
also can a MLBR substitute a Howitzer
Will be thankful for your reply
Puneet Gurdasani
puneet.gurdasani@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Regarding the up-gradation of SU-30 MKI,will the uprated variant of the AL-31FP turbofan(which will power the FGFA) will power the SU-30's also.
You have written earlier in your FORCE magazine that it will have concealed weapons.How can the 2.5 ton Brahmos missile be concealed?
Will it have the same AESA radar as that of the PAK-FA?

Regarding the joint development of the FGFA you have written last October (The FGFA Conundrum Explained) that Russia has given the DRDO and HAL a free hand to define and design the open-architecture cockpit(including the quadruplex fly-by-light flight control system) and mission avionics suites while the potential suppliers of active phased-array radars include THALES of France, Israel Aerospace Industries, Ericsson Microwave Systems,EADS.

Does that mean it will have-
1)MIL-1773 standard fibre optic flight control system which will be also onboard the Tejas Mk3 M-MRCA.
2)a new-generation navigation-and-attack system (like the DARIN-3)
3)the EL/M-2052 AESA or even the CAESAR from EADS.

Please explain.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Puneet: The Pinaka 214mm MBRL is being inducted into the Indian Army 'progressively', meaning production orders are placed in successive tranches. Therefore, ultimately, up to six Regiments may be equipped with the Pinaka. In addition, the Pinaka is being upgraded to accommodate two types of 214mm rockets: one with a range of 38km and one with a range of 60km. Therefore, the Pinaka will continue to evolve and enter service in larger nos in the years to come.
But one thing is for sure: one cannot substitute 155mm field artillery howitzers with MBRLs as the former is used for punitive and precision fire-assaults while the latter is an area saturation weapon.