Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ottavio Quattrocchi’s Lasting Gift To India

With the executive branch of the Govt of India now seemingly determined to permanently and legally bury the Bofors scandal and accord Mr Ottavio Quattrocchi the privilege of having the last laugh, I’ve endeavoured to draft out a chronological timeline that illustrates the sheer havoc caused by this scandal to the Indian Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan. The timeline runs from 1982 to 2005.

From 1982 the Government of India (GoI) is on the lookout out for a towed 155mm/39-calibre howitzer along with a family of artillery rounds, charges, fuzes and gun-towing trucks. The requirement is for 1,840 howitzers, of which 410 are to be imported off-the-shelf and the rest to be built in-country with progressive local content. The howitzers are required to re-equip 92 of the Indian Army’s Medium Artillery Regiments. The competition is shortlisted in December 1982 to SOFMA/GIAT Industries of France offering the TR-155, Bofors AB of Sweden with its FH-77B, UK-based International Military Services with its FH-70B, and Austria’s Voest Alpine (later NORICUM) with its GHN-45.

Between October 1982 and February 1986, the Indian Army does no fewer than seven evaluations of the relative merits of the towed howitzers offered by the bidders. In the first six, the TR-155 is clearly preferred to the FH-77B.

Between May and July 1984, the Price Negotiations Committee (PNC) set up for the towed howitzer acquisition by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is officially informed by the four contenders about their agents in India. Following a discussion of this matter in the PNC, its Chairman, Defence Secretary S K Bhatnagar, meets representatives of the four contenders on May 3, 1985 and informs them that “the present GoI does not approve of the appointment of Indian agents acting for foreign suppliers; that in case they had made provision for any commissions for their Indian agents, they should make a suitable reduction in their offers; and that they would be disqualified if it came to the notice of the GoI that they had appointed Indian agents”.

In November 1985, the GoI’s choice, based on advice from Army HQ and a recommendation by the PNC, shortlists the TR-155 and FH-77B.

From January 1986, bids from both the shortlised contenders are received. On March 11, Bofors AB submits its best and final offer. On March 12 the PNC decides to issue a Letter of Intent to Bofors AB for the purchase of FH-77Bs. The matter goes through five tiers of official approval and three Union Cabinet Ministers on a single day, before it is approved by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in his additional capacity as Minister for Defence on March 14, 1986. The contract, dated March 24, 1986 and valid for a 14-year period, is entered into between the GoI and Bofors AB and is valued at SEK8.41 billion or Rs14,377.2 million (US$1.3 billion). The amount reportedly includes $50 million in secret payoffs made by Bofors AB to three or more recipient arrangements and these payments, far from representing any ‘winding-up costs’, are percentage payments tied to specified supplies against the total order and to realisation of the payments by the GoI.

In early 1987, Army HQ formally asks the MoD’s approval to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for procuring acoustic-based and radar-based artillery locating systems.

In April 1987, following media disclosures in Sweden about the illegal payoffs, the GoI in 1989 indefinitely suspends all commercial contacts with Bofors AB. Consequently, the licenced-production of 1,430 FH-77Bs to be undertaken by India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is shelved. All 410 FH-77Bs and 527,000 rounds of seven types of 155mm ammunition are delivered by Bofors AB by January 1990.

In June 1989, the MoD sanctions the OFB’s Badmal Factory to produce a range of 155mm ammunition, with the planned date of completion being June 1993 in two phases. The Factory concludes a contract with US-based Day & Zimmerman in May 1994 for the design, supply and commissioning of a 155mm ammunition filling plant with a capacity of 50,000 rounds per annum on single shift at a cost of Rs293.6 million, including a foreign exchange content of $6.88 million. The planned date of completion of the project is December 1996. The machinery is received in six consignments from October 1995 to June 1997 as against the contracted date of May 1996. The plant is commissioned in May 1998 to produce only three types of 155mm rounds.

In 1991, Army HQ finalises its GSQR for a tactical UAV, and the DRDO’s Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) commences work on developing the Nishant tactical UAV. The project is due for completion by 1995 but is delayed till 2002.

Out of seven types of indigenous 155mm ammunition required to be delivered during 1991-1993, OFB develops only four types of rounds between 1992 and 1998. Against the Army’s requirement of 585,000 rounds, Army HQ places orders for only 237,000 rounds of seven types.

Between 1993 and 1994, the MoD purchases 480 (24 Regiments) M-46 130mm towed howitzers worth Rs100,000 each, of which 100 howitzers come from the Czech Republic, and 380 from Russia.

In 1994, Army HQ proposes the off-the-shelf procurement of nine Regiments of 152mm 2S19 MSTA tracked SPHs from Russia and later modifying them in-country to accept 155mm/52-cal barrels made by either Bofors AB or Soltam.

By 1995, Army HQ reformulates its Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan (FARP), under which it plans to replace its 14 different medium artillery howitzers (towed and self-propelled) with 155mm/52-cal towed, motorised and tracked howitzers for the majority of its Artillery Regiments by 2025. Army HQ also says that over the 9th (1997-2002), 10th (2002-2007), 11th (2007-2012) and 12th (2012-2017) Five Year Plans, it seeks 400 additional tracked and motorised SPHs. Also, two Regiments of the DRDO-developed 214mm Pinaka MBRLs (comprising 36 launchers) worth Rs11 billion are to be acquired by the end of the 10th Plan in 2007 out of the total plan for six Pinaka MBRL Regiments.

In April 1995, the MoD decides to begin importing 155mm ammunition from South Africa as the OFB supplies only 49,257 complete rounds against the Army’s demand of 136,000 rounds as of March 1995.

By October 1995, 20 pre-production Prithvi SS-150 surface-to-surface missiles are delivered to the Army to form the 333 Missile Group. The Group with 16 liquid-fuelled, single-stage SS-150 road-mobile missile launchers (and a total of 60 missiles, including reserve rounds) has two Sub-Groups, each of which are further sub-divided into two Troops with two launchers each. The Group is based at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh State.

In 1996, Army HQ decides to accept 12 Searcher Mk1 UAVs (originally destined for Singapore) from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) for delivery in 1998.

In the summer of 1996, Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd (now owned by BAE Systems) demonstrates on a no-cost-no-commitment basis its 155mm/52-cal tracked self-propelled howitzer (SPH), comprising the AS-90 turret mated with the hull of a T-72M1 main battle tank (MBT). During firepower trials in the plains, the SPH fires a family of 155mm rounds out to 41.6km. The mobility trials in the desert, however, show the SPH to be underpowered. GIAT Industries, with its GCT turret mounted on a T-72M1 hull, and Denel/LIW with a similarly mounted T-6 turret—therefore decide not to demonstrate such hybrid, tracked SPHs in India.

In mid-1996, Russia’s Rosoboronexport State Corp and Ekaterinberg-based Uraltransmash propose to co-develop with the DRDO and OFB a hybrid 2S19M1/MSTA-S tracked SPH that combines the hull of the T-90S MBT with a turret containing a 155mm/52-cal barrel that is jointly developed by Bofors AB and Volgograd-based Barrikady State Production Association. The MoD and Army HQ ignore this offer.

In 1997, the United Front-led GoI under Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and later Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral formalises a declaration inked earlier in the year with South African President Nelson Mandela under which the centrepiece of the bilateral relationship is the concept of a long-term strategic partnership, especially for co-developing a family of 155mm/52-calibre towed autonomous howitzers, plus tracked and motorised SPHs.

In March 1997, the MoD inks a contract with South Africa’s Denel Group for importing 80,000 HEER 155mm rounds and 20,000 fuzes at a cost of Rs1.88 billion with free transfer of technology to produce them in-country due to the OFB’s delayed indigenous development of HEER rounds by five years, non-development of 155mm illuminating rounds, and to offset the existing deficiency of 86,955 rounds.

On May 1, 1997 Army HQ starts work on raising the Army’s 40 Artillery Division (now part of the Ambala-based 1 Strike Corps). The Division is to have two Gun Brigades (with six Medium Regiments of which one will have 155mm tracked SPHs, two with motorised 155mm SPHs and three with 155mm towed howitzers) and one Regiment of 122mm BM-21 Grad MBRLs; and one Composite Brigade comprising one Prithvi SS-150 Missile Group, one Regiment of Pinaka MBRL with 18 launchers, one Regiment of 12 Smerch-M MBRLs, and one RSTA Group comprising six Searcher II/Heron II UAVs, two TPQ-37 Firefinder counterbattery radars and four medium-range, BEL-built Stentor battlefield surveillance radars.

In May 1997, the MoD authorises OFB to build two new, dedicated facilities for producing a family of 155mm ammunition and their related charges and fuzes in cooperation with the Denel Group.

During firepower trials conducted at the Pokhran Field Range in 1997-1998, one 130mm M-46S towed howitzer upgraded by Israel’s Soltam Systems (but utilising the carriage and recoil system of the original gun) to the 155mm/45-cal standard is test-fired using extended-range base-bleed ammunition out to a range of 39km.

In early 1998, engineering development work begins on the Bhim tracked SPH, comprising Denel/LIW’s T-6 turret housing a 155mm/52-cal barrel and the hull of the Arjun Mk1 MBT.

In early 1998, Rosoboronexport offers the 9K58 Smerch-M (Tornado) 300mm MBRL to the Army.

In early 1999 Russia’s Tula-based KBP Instrument Design Bureau offers the Krasnopol-M KM-2 laser-guided 155mm projectile, along with related 1D-22 laser target designators and 1A-35I/K shot synchronisation systems. While it is tested to perfection in February 1999 at the Pokhran Field Range, firepower tests at altitudes of 3,700 metres in the Karbuthan Field Range in Kargil fail, after which KBP asks for more time to make modifications to the round and its range table. During the third trial, after modifications, there are two correct hits and two misses and the conclusion is that the Krasnopol-M is still not fit for mountain warfare. Later, it is tested again in the Mahe Field Range in Ladakh after which it is realised that it works in high altitudes with a height differential between targets and gun positions. Approval for acquiring 1,000 Krasnopol-M rounds worth Rs1.51 billion is given by the NDA-led GoI’s Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) in April 1999.

In May 1999, against an urgent requirement, a conditional contract is signed with KBP for the supply of 1,000 Krasnopol-Ms and 10 laser designators worth $34.75 million.

In late May 1999, Army HQ leases one IAI-built Searcher II UAV system comprising one ground control station and four UAV vehicles from Israel’s Ministry of Defence for a one-year period for Rs300 million.

In June 1999 during the Kargil conflict with Pakistan, Lt Gen Shamsher S Mehta, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems), proposes the leasing of 40 Denel/LIW-made G-6 motorised 155mm/45-cal SPHs with the eventual aim of acquiring them in large numbers once the border conflict ended. The proposal, which moves rapidly upwards within the MoD for approval, stresses the ‘commonality’ factor between the G-6 and the tracked Bhim SPH. The Army’s proposal is ultimately rejected by the MoD’s Finance Department as being impractical and too costly.

On June 17, 1999 Army HQ says that it requires 155mm red phosphorous ammunition to gain the advantage of incendiary effects in addition to laying smokescreens during Operation Vijay. A contract is concluded on August 20, 1999 with the Denel Group for 9,000 rounds worth $12.69 million (Rs551 million). A technical delegation visits South Africa in June/July 1999 and clears Denel as a single vendor. The contract stipulates the delivery of 1,000 rounds within four months after the export license is obtained, and the balance between six and nine months. The first lot of 1,200 rounds is received at the Pulgaon-based Central Ammunition Depot only in June 2000, and QC inspections are not completed until October 2000. The delay is caused primarily due to problems in getting ships through the Ministry of Surface Transport for transporting the consignments.

In July 1999, the MoD lifts its self-imposed ban on commercial deals with Bofors AB.

In August 1999 and January 2000, respectively, the MoD signs contracts for importing 9,000 rounds of smoke and 7,300 rounds of 155mm illuminating ammunition from the Denel Group at a total cost of Rs1.07 billion for Operation Vijay.

In August and December 1999, the MoD inks two contracts with Rosoboronexport for various types of ammunition worth $92.62 million (Rs4.02 billion), including 45,000 rounds of 130mm VOF/RVC rounds (worth $6 million) of which only 30,000 rounds are serviceable up to April 2003.

In August 1999, the MoD inks a contract worth SEK186 million (Rs976.5 million) with Bofors AB for procuring urgently needed spares (489 items) for the FH-77Bs Of this, SEK143 million (Rs750.8 million) is to be adjusted towards the recovery of exuded HE-107 rounds supplied earlier by Bofors AB. The spares are delivered between March and November 2000. A follow-on but bigger spares package worth $23.26 million is ordered later to make the 100 FH-77Bs (cannibalised earlier) operational. Bofors AB also offers to upgrade the FH-77Bs to the FH-77BO5L52 standard by introducing a 52-cal barrel, along with TCM and BONUS sensor-fused guided-rounds.

In October 1999, the MoD inks a contract with state-owned Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) for 67,000 M-8513 fuzes for 155mm rounds and 400 fuze setters at a total cost of Rs815.9 million. The fuzes are to be imported/assembled from components supplied by a South African firm. As per the contract, deliveries are to begin in October 1999. After failing to adhere to the delivery schedule, the South African firm makes a request in November 1999 for supplying M-8513 fuzes of 1989 to 1992 vintage being held by the South African Army, as against the 1994 vintage indicated in the firm’s technical offer. The MoD’s approval is communicated, after which the firm then supplies 15,000 fuzes of 1989-1990 vintage in December 1999 and 95% of the contracted amount for these fuzes (Rs172.7 million) is paid.

By late 1999, the sole prototype of the Bhim tracked SPH is ready for user’s mobility/firepower trials. Over the next four months it is tested in the plains and deserts and achieves a sustained rate of fire of 116 rounds in 60 minutes, firing ERFB-BB rounds out to 42.1km, and VLAP rounds out to 52.5km when using the M64 Bi-Modular Charge System (BMCS). The T-6 turret also houses a ring-laser gyro-based modular azimuth position system (comprising a vehicle motion sensor, dynamic reference unit, and a control display unit) that provides land navigation/direction cues for an autonomous navigation and gun-laying system. A prominent cover is fitted over the recoil/recuperator assembly and an automatic travelling lock for the 52-cal barrel is carried at the front of the glacis plate. The Army projects a requirement for 520 tracked SPHs valued at $972 million, or $2.4 million per T-6 turret. State-owned Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) is designated as lead contractor for the Bhim’s in-country production.

In 2000, Army HQ orders 32 Searcher II UAVs from IAI, of which 16 systems are delivered by 2001.

In January 2000, the MoD inks a $11.98 million (Rs524.7 million) contract with the Denel Group for 7,300 rounds of 155mm illuminating rounds (with 24km-range), based on a June 1999 requirement. Deliveries begin in May 2000. As against the rate of $1,440 per round, inclusive of transfers of manufacturing technologies, that was contracted for in 1997 with Denel, the MoD contracts a rate of $1,641 this time, a cost escalation of 14%.

In March 2000 the final contract is inked between the GoI and KBP to buy the Krasnopol-M after the MoD is apprised of the conditions attached to the round’s usage and the Defence Minister’s waiver is taken for departing from the GSQR procurement procedures. Deliveries begin in early April 2000.

In 2000, the DRDO begins developing a new 122mm rocket to replace those of Russian origin for the Army’s existing BM-21 Grad MBRLs. The new rocket will use a case-bonded composite propellant and a low-calibre thrust chamber, offering an enhanced range of 35km compared to the BM-21’s current 20.4km range.

In March 2000, Soltam Systems wins a contract worth $47,524,137 for upgrading 180 M-46s to 155mm/45-cal M-46S standard. A follow-on deal will provide kits to OFB further retrofit another 250 M-46s. A total of 400 M-46s for 20 Regiments are earmarked for upgrade.

In 2001, Army HQ orders six Heron II UAV systems from IAI.

In January 2001, Army HQ issues a RFP for procuring an initial 15 acoustic weapon locating (AWL) systems worth Rs1.5 billion ($33.33 million). The total requirement is for 70 systems to detect mortar, tube artillery and MBT fire. BAE Systems’ Hostile Artillery Locating (HALO) system and SEL-THALES’ SMAD system are offered.

On November 29, 2001 the MoD says that the OFB’s Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory has started receiving 180 M-46S howitzer upgrade kits from Soltam. The project is temporarily suspended by the MoD in mid-2002 because of quality problems.

In early 2002, Russia’s Tula-based Splav State Research and Production Association brings an improved Smerch-M MBRL to India for field trials. The Smerch-M can fire the 9M528 projectile, which uses a high-energy composite propellant to give an increased range of 90km, and a new warhead that scatters 25 anti-tank mines. It can also be fitted with a warhead containing five Bazalt MOTIV-3F anti-armour sub-munitions, each of which has dual-colour infra-red sensors for terminal guidance, and kinetic-energy fragmentation warheads that can penetrate 70mm of armour at an angle of 30°.

On February 18, 2002 Army HQ issues RFPs to five foreign manufacturers of 155mm/52-cal motorised SPHs and invites them to subject their SPHs to firepower/mobility field trials in India starting April 2002. The RFP states that the requirement is for 300 such SPHs, comprising the off-the-shelf purchase of 180 units and the supply of 120 units in knocked-down condition for equipping 40 Regiments. The RFP recipients include SWS Defence (formerly Bofors AB) with its FH-77BD, Denel/LIW with its G-6 and the T-5 Mk2000 Condor, GIAT Industries with its CAESAR, Karmetal of Slovakia with its Zuzana, and Soltam Systems with its ATMOS. Both SWS Defence and GIAT decline to take part in these competitive trials as they suspect the MoD and Army HQ to have already decided to award the contract to Denel/LIW. Consequently, only the ATMOS and G-6 arrive in India for the trials on a no-cost-no-commitment basis.

In February 2002, the MoD signs two contracts with South Africa’s Denel Group under which the OFB will set up its 40th ordnance production facility in Nalanda to undertake the licenced-production of 155mm BMCS developed by Denel’s Somchem subsidiary; and modify its facility in Bolangir with the help of Denel’s Naschem subsidiary to undertake the licenced-production of the M2000 Assegai (Spearhead) family of 155mm ammunition. The family includes the M2000 high-explosive, M2000 low-fragmentation, M2000 practice, M2001 cluster (containing 42 bomblets), M2002 smoke, M2003 illuminating, M2004 smoke red phosphorous and the M2005 VLAP (Velocity-Enhanced Artillery Projectile). All of these can be fitted with a base-bleed unit. The MoD also signs a contract to buy 200,000 BMCS modules off-the-shelf in April 2002, with deliveries ending by December 2006. Denel’s main competitor for these two contracts is SWS Defence.

Also in February 2002, Army HQ issues an RFP plus invitations for in-country firepower/mobility trials for towed autonomous 155mm/52-cal howitzers. The projected requirement for such howitzers is for 1,580 units (for 20 Regiments) of which about 400 (five Regiments) worth $663 million will be procured off-the-shelf. The three competitors are: the SWS Defence’s FH-77BO5L52; Denel/LIW’s G-5 Mk2000; and Soltam’s ATHOS 2052. Again, GIAT with its TR-G2 howitzer declines to take part. None of the contenders met the Army’s GSQR in the two rounds of field trials, conducted in 2002 and 2003. The Army’s Director-General of Artillery produces a non-committal evaluation of the three contenders, and does not rank the howitzers by order of merit. The MoD requests the contenders to retrofit the howitzers with driver’s night vision navigation devices for a third round of field trials to be held in early June 2004.

In May and November 2002, the MoD signs Letters of Agreement (LoA) to acquire 12 THALES Raytheon Corp-built AN/TPQ-37(V)3 Firefinder counterbattery radars along with 26 AN/VRC-90E SINCGAR radios and related training, spares and logistics packages all worth $142.4 million (Rs9.5 billion) through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. Delivery of the radars will be completed by September 2006.

In June 2002, Army HQ raises 41 Artillery Division, now attached to the XXI Strike Corps of the Army’s Southern Command.

In April 2003 the MoD approves induction of the Pinaka Mk1 MBRL with a 37.5km range and directs the DRDO’s Armaments Research & Development Establishment to continue efforts to improve the rocket’s range to 40km by using enhanced solid propellants.

In July 2003, successful user trials of a modified M-46S are conducted. Following this, work begins on upgrading 180 M-46s, but is subsequently capped at only 40 units.

On July 10, 2003 the US Army delivers two AN/TPQ-37(V)3 Firefinders on a two-year lease for training purposes. Initial operator and crew training for 16 Indian Army personnel had begun in April 2003 in California.

In August 2003, the Army’s Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) unit at Mhow, near Indore in Madhya Pradesh, conducts the first round of competitive field evaluations of AWL systems offered by BAE Systems and SEL-THALES. The latter is teamed up with state-owned ECIL. It joined the competition in 2002 as did Tilaker Cannon of Australia, which later withdrew its bid during the early stages of the trials.

In September 2003, the PNC is constituted for the Bhim tracked SPH project. The PNC is seeking a 15% reduction in Denel/LIW’s asking price of Rs130 million ($2.9 million) for each T-6 turret. Orders are planned to be placed for 124 Bhims for equipping nine Regiments.

In October 2003 the GoI’s CCNS clears the acquisition of two Regiments of the Pinaka MBRL (36 launchers) worth Rs11 billion plus 5,000 rockets worth Rs5 billion; two Regiments of the Smerch MBRL (24 launchers) worth Rs22 billion; along with three Regiments of the Bhim tracked SPH (54 units); nine Regiments of G-6 motorised SPHs, and nine Heron II and Searcher II UAVs.

By November 2003, Army HQ rejects the procurement of the Iskander-E—a solid-fueled, land-launched single-stage ballistic missile with a range of 280km and capable of carrying a payload of up to 480kg.

In December 2003, the MoD creates a PNC for finalising a contract for procuring 180 G-6 motorised SPHs for Rs31 billion.

On January 23, 2004 the Prithvi SS-350—a solid-fuelled, two-stage variant—is flight-tested by the DRDO. It uses a high-energy solid propellant (HTPB/AP/Al) that allows greater range (350km to 600km) and payload (500kg to 1,000kg) capability.

In February 2004, IAI begins work on developing for India the first two solid-fuel LORA missiles with a range of up to 300km. Specifications for the missiles were submitted by Indian Army officials in November 2003. Army HQ says it needs 36 LORA missiles worth $800 million and the India-specific ones, whose R & D work is being fully funded by India, will be a 300km-range version. The Army plans to conduct up to 10 test-firings of the missiles before placing a bulk order with IAI.

In March 2004, Army HQ conducts the third round of evaluations and trials for the competing HALO and SMAD AWL systems.

In September 2004 Army HQ awards a contract to BEL to build a DRDO-developed Artillery Combat & Control System (ACCS), dubbed Shakti. Developed by the DRDO’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), the Shakti ACCS comprises artillery computer centres, Battery computers, remote access terminals and gun display units. Deliveries will begin in late 2005. The Army aims to spend about $300 million by 2015 to fully deploy the ACCS in all its Artillery Regiments.

In December 2004, Israel Military Industries (IMI) inks a $40 million contract with the MoD for upgrading the existing Russia-made BM-21 Grad MBRL rockets and improving their precision and range. The contract could expand to as much as $1 billion over a period of five years.

On December 22, 2004 the first production version of the land-based BrahMos supersonic, multi-role cruise missile is successfully test-fired from the Pokhran Firing Range. Each BrahMos Regiment comprises three Batteries each with four Mobile Autonomous Launchers (each with three vertically-launched missiles), three Mobile Command Posts, one Fixed Command Centre, nine missile replenishment vehicles, and three maintenance support vehicles. The Regiment can fire 36 BrahMos missiles against different targets within seconds over a frontage of 600km.

In January 2005 El-Op of Israel’s Portable Lightweight Laser Designator (PLLD) and EADS/CILAS’ DHY-307 PLLD begin undergoing competitive field trials at Pokhran in Rajasthan. Six of El-Op’s PLLDs have been in service with the Indian Air Force since 2001. The Army wants 90 PLLDs worth $266 million (Rs1.2 billion) before considering the purchase of IAI’s LAHAT laser-homing anti-tank missile for the infantry. The Army will also use the PLLDs in conjunction with its Krasnopol-Ms.

By January 2005, the 444 Missile Group and 555 Missile Group equipped with conventional warhead-carrying Prithvi SS-150 missiles are operational.

In February 2005, the PNC concludes negotiations with Rosoboronexport for the Smerch-M MBRL.

In February 2005, Army HQ places orders for four Nishant UAV systems from the DRDO’s ADE for delivery by 2007, with another eight systems to be procured between 2007 and 2012. Each system comprises a mobile hydro-pneumatic launcher mounted on a BEML-built Tatra 8 x 8, six 350kg UAVs each with an El-Op FLIR turret, a three-man Ground Control Station, and an antenna tracking system.

In April 2005, the MoD’s PNCs suspend work on the project to acquire 180 G-6 wheeled SPHs and 54 Bhim tracked SPHs following publication by the South African newspaper Cape Argus of a report claiming that the Denel/Mechem, after winning a contract to supply 100 NTW-20 anti-material rifles and related ammunition to the Army, paid 12.75% of the contract value ($393,720) as commissions on December 8, 2002 to Isle of Man-based Varas Associates, which had reportedly influenced the MoD’s decision to choose Denel/Mechem as the preferred supplier of the rifles. The MoD had concluded an initial contract in July 1999 with Denel/Mechem for 100 NTW-20s and 100,000 rounds of (14.5mm and 20mm) ammunition at a cost of $5.4 million (Rs232.2 million). Another 200 NTW-20s and 150,000 rounds of ammunition arrived in March 2002. In September 2003, a third contract was signed for 400 more NTW-20s. The Army requires a total of 1,200 NTW-20s

Consequently, the MoD instructs Army HQ to revise its two GSQRs and issue fresh Requests for Information (RFI), which is done.


Anonymous said...

The Bhim is still on the cards? hmm that's a surprise...but not the numbers to be procured though.

Kaushik said...

Hello Mr. Sengupta:
I have been following your blog for a while now and would like to conratulate you on your informative and incisive postings.

After reading your recent most post, I had a couple of questions I would like to pose.

It seems that LORA is still on the cards and perhaps undergoing trials. Please clarify.

Also, what happened to the acoustic artillery locating devices. Are their procurement on or has the initiative been shelved.


Anonymous said...

First of all,I am a daily reader of your blog(also visit other blogs like LIVEFIST, BROADSWORD, Bharat-Rakshak, but love it most because of the technical details provided by you in each of your column). Though i still have very little technical knowledge about any specific weapon system!
I want to know more about Shaurya missile system recently tested by the DRDO.
1.I heard that the missile hosts a no. of new technologies like ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer. What is the significance of those new technologies!
2.Also heard that these new technologoei will be incorporated in future missiles like agni-V or agni-SL. So, is shaurya just a stop gap measurement or technolgy demonstrator 2 validate those technologoies or rather it will be operational!
3.Heard that it can reach the speed as high as Mach 5-6! Is it true! Or just a mere speculation!
4.If true, then what will be the significance of Bramhos hypersonic version, since we already can develop a missile which can fly almost at the same speed with almost twice range!
5. Thouh heard that its oeratinal range will be 600-700 km, but still want the confirmation from you.
6.If it will be operational, then how long it will take.
7.Till now, all the missiles developed by DRDO, has the tradition of being open-secret like Prithvi, Agni, Sagarika.Why Shaurya is the exception, i mean never heard of the missile before being tested!
8.The last is ur comment on the missile!Spcally, how advance it is in comaprison to the other contemporary missiles in its class?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kaushik: Many thanks. The LORA is a fully developed PGM but has not been acquired by India as the BrahMos LACM has been developed and is being inducted in large numbers. As for counterbattery radars/systems, in addition to the two types of acoustic devices, the Indian Army had by 2006 also evaluated the Ericsson-made Arthur weapon locating radar, but found out that using either type of systems is utterly useless at high altitudes in mountainous terrain. Though several officials have in the past claimed that Pakistan enjoyed a definite edge over India during OP Vijay in 1999, in reality that is not true at all. Why? because Pakistan only had TPQ-36 radars, which are used for locating inbound mortar-launched rounds. Pakistan never had TPQ-37 Firefinders, which can detect inbound rounds fired by MBRLs and howitzers. The reason Pakistani field artillery fire assaults were accurate was necause they had spotters and fire direction personnel sitting atop all hilltops along the NH-1A highway, it's that simple. Even when the TPQ-37 was tried out by the Indian Army over mountainous terrain in J & K, it did not produce the desired results. Therefore, the Army has now realised that the only two viable means of hurling massed artillery fire assaults across the LoC and detecting hostile artillery emplacements is by using tactical UAVs, and using manportable laser target designators (by special forces) to illuminate the targets for laser-guided PGMs like the Krasnopol-M.

To Anon@2:29PM: The on-board systems you've mentioned are already finding their way in all ballistic and cruise missiles developed or being developed by the DRDO. But one cannot compare the BrahMos with Shourya as one is a cruise missile while the other is a ballistic missile. The BrshMos' projected hypersonic version too will have its range limited to 290km. The solid-fuelled 700km-range Shourya, however, is an ideal system that can be equipped with a tactical nuclear warhead and deployed as a land-mobile system. As to when such a system will become operational, it all boils down to political approval/go-ahead and release of the reqd amount of funding for mass-producing it. As a submarine-launched ballistic missile, however, the Shourya will not have any takers in India, as any credible SLBM must have the ability to deliver more than one n-warhead out a distance exceeding 5,000km at least, and 8,500km at most. There's nothing that's being hidden about the Shourya's on-going R & D effort. Only the photos of its underwater launch have not yet been released. But hopefully, once the Arihant SSBN is readied to accept the Shourya on-board, perhaps then one will see the DRDO releasing some more information and photos. The submarine-launched variant of the BrahMos too will be tested then, using the Arihant as the carrier and launch vessel.

smith said...

hi prasuna.

please see below link


China’s aviation giant buys Austrian plane parts maker FACC. FACC is a leading company specializing in the development, design and manufacture of composite components and systems for civil aircraft. They offer a wide range of products, from aircraft fairings to fuselages and wings, engine and engine nacelle components and complete aircraft cabins. The two divisions Structures and Interiors occupy top positions in their respective markets.

this will really give chinies aviation a excess to advance technology isn't it?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To smith: Not exactly, but it will enable China's civil aviation industry to take a giant leap forward in terms of not only licence-producing A319/A320/A321s and ERJ-145's with a greater proportion of local content, but also becoming a major player in the global supply chain of aerospace majors like Airbus, Boeing and Embraer. It is precisely such strategic investments that ought to be made by entities like HAL, but since HAL is totally MoD-owned, it is simply unable to spead its wings globally and autonomously whenever the opportunity presents itself!

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Do you see the Govt of India,in near future,removing all the financial constraints and, giving 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?

The 2 follow-on Arihant class SSN as well as the next line of SSK'S will have VLS tubes.Then why did the IN go for the sub-sonic turbojet powered ADM with a supersonic terminal stage,instead of a supersonic ram-jet powered ADM as earlier proposed by the IAF.The sub-sonic cruise missiles are more to interception by anti-cruise missile systems like the Tor- M1,S-300,S-400 anti-missile systems with PLAN.

Are there any plan to build a very long range nuclear capable supersonic/hypersonic cruise missile by the IN to counter the growing strength of the PLAN maybe with the help of Israel.

Any updates on Nirbhay.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

The three additional Project 1135.6 FFGs (nos 7, 8 and 9) will have the S-band MF-STAR & the L-band ship mounted Green Pine radar instead of the FREGAT-ME mast mounted radars and will have very low frequency hull-mounted & towed-array sonars as written by you in your earlier blogs.

So why not the Barak-1 & Barak-8(MR-SAM)systems be installed instead of the Kashtan-m and Shtil anti-missile systems to make them more formidable.The Shtil SAM is an anti-aircraft and cannot fully protect the ships against sub-sonic cruise missiles let alone supersonic cruise missiles.

Will Shourya in near future be installed on IN's warships?Will it's range be increased(to about 2000kms) to increase it's effectiveness?

Anonymous said...

As usual, an excellent and specific/detailed post.
if possible, to sum up, could you kindly detail the present status of the Indian artillery forces today.

Anonymous said...


your knowledge and your ability to narrate is amazing. please throw some light about the debate going on regarding the India's nuclear arsenal and capability of producing fusion bomb.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: The Indian Army Chief will be visiting Israel next month on a week-long visit. Hopefully you and your 'friends' or 'colleagues' from IAI or RAFAEL can have a behind-the-scenes 'pow-wow' with him (LoL!).

Nava said...

Very informative article Prasun. It's really a shame that the Lora ended up being such a marketing failure. I wonder if any substantial benefits were reaped in terms of R&d from this quite costly program...

WRT to the Army chief, are there any particular reasons for his arrival? Any major deals under negotiation?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: The cost of developing systems like the LORA are never written off as losses, as the technological spinoffs are always applied to other projects. As for the Indian Army Chief's forthcoming visit, officially, these are ceremonial or reciprocal visits during which he is normally taken on conducted tours of various military-industrial facilities and test-firing ranges, with SIBAT acting as the host entity. Deals are never negotiated or struck during the overseas visits of Indian armed services chiefs. All deals are negotiated and inked only by civilian officials from India's Ministries of Defence and Finance and their SIBAT counterparts. Bu maybe, just maybe, the visiting Indian Army Chief may be shown the inaugural round of test-firings of the Barak-8 MR-SAM, and an update on two on-going projects regarding the co-development with IMI of 60km-range and 120km-range MLRS (for further details on these, go to: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20091023262110900.htm).

Nava said...

Wasn't IMI banned from selling India weapons?

BTW I read (I can't remember where) that India is planning to purchase Raytheon's Javelin after Rafael's Spike failed miserably in a recent firing. I that true?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: IMI was neither banned nor blacklisted. Its on-going projects in India are unaffected. Only Aeronautics and Soltam Systems have 'outstanding legal issues' to settle with the Indian MoD.
WRT the on-going competitive evaluations of anti-armour guided-missiles, it would be incorrect to say that any one contender failed miserably in a recent firing. Because what is being conducted are a series of firings in three different ranges (located in three different types of terrain). The results of the firing evaluations will be known only by the year's end. Therefore, no procurement decision has as yet been taken.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@8:45PM: No, I don't foresee any such far-reaching and time-urgent reforms taking place in India in the near future. The only two people I know of who genuinely tried to introduce the structural reforms within both the MoD and MoF were Arun Shourie (for public divestments) and Jaswant Singh (for creating the non-lapsable defence modernisation fund).
The submarine-launched variant of the ADM requires a turbofan for the boost and cruise phases only as it has to traverse a longer distance (about 1,500km). The ADM, on the other hand, will be air-launched and as such will traverse a shorter distance (about 600km) for which the turbofan will not be required for either the boost or the cruise phase. It won't be that easy to destroy them with ground-based anti-missile systems as both the ADM and its submarine-launched variant will be programmed to avoid such anti-missile sites via preprogrammed navigational waypoints.

To Anon@9:12PM: The Nos 7, 8 and 9th Project 1135.6 FFGs will have the same mission sensors and weapons suite as those of the Talwar-class FFGs. The Isreali-origin weapons and sensors you've mentioned will go on the seven projected Project 17A FFGs.
Missiles like the Shourya or its extended-range variants are best installed within a 'survivable' naval platform, meaning submarines instead of warships, as the latter can easily be detected and tracked by overhead ocean recce satellites equipped with synthetic aperture radars.

To Anon@9:39PM: Many thanks. Will try to update the timeline.

To Anon@10:09AM: many thanks. You can find the latest updates on this subject by browsing through the three following weblinks:




Nava said...

Off the top of my head (or rather my google page): http://www.india-defence.com/reports/4419

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: IMI has not yet been blacklisted. All that has happened is that all work pertaining to the proposed OFB-IMI joint venture to set up the Nalanda-based manufacturing plant has come to a stop, pending investigations. All other joint R & D projects involving IMI continue unimpeded.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
Sorry to divert the topic, did you know any news update of Agni V missile like its Maximum range,MIRV capability,payload etc....

If it possible to share please share it thanks.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Many thanks.

What will be the range of the supersonic terminal stage of the submarine-launched variant of the ADM?

To my query you have written that air-launched variant of the ADM will traverse a shorter distance (about 600km) for which the turbofan will not be required for either the boost or the cruise phase.
What then will power the air-launched variant of the ADM?Will it be ram-jet propelled or solid fuel based rocket motor powered?

You have written earlier that the air launched variant was slated to have a range of about 900-1200 kms and weight of about 900 kg so that they can be launched from the Sukhois.Then how come it's range decreased to 600 km.

Please answer this.

Do you see the range of Shourya being increased?

Anonymous said...


To my second query you have written that the Nos 7, 8 and 9th Project 1135.6 FFGs will have the same mission sensors and weapons suite as those of the Talwar-class FFGs.

But you have earlier written that the Russians have agreed to install Israeli-origin weapons and sensors on the last 3 Project 1135.6 FFGs.
How did the decision change?
Please explain.

So does that mean the Israeli-origin weapons and sensors like S-band MF-STAR & the L-band ship mounted Green Pine radar & the Barak-1 & Barak-8(MR-SAM)systems will go on-board the Project 15A,15B&15C DDG's apart from the seven projected Project 17A FFGs.

Any updates on Nirbhay.

Kaushik said...

Hello Mr. Sengupta:

Thanks for your inputs around LORA and acoustic direction finding devices.

It is unfortunate that LORA is being passed over in favour of Brahmos. I believe they have different potential roles and ideally should have co-existed in the army's arsenal. Brahmos would be ideal for pinpoint strikes for taking out high value targets like command posts, communication nodes, radar installations etc. Whereas LORA is more of an area saturation weapon for engaging battlefield targets like troop/armour concentrations (a la MLRS 'steel rain'!). Also, LORA is smaller (about one third the weight) and cheaper than Brahmos. A LORA launcher carries 4 missiles, the missiles are fully solid fuelled (although they don't have a fully powered flight, in the terminal phase they glide to the target area). It would have been an ideal complement / supplement to the liquid fuelled Prithvi SS-150 and SS-250.

Also, you mentioned in your article that there was a Prithvi-3 (SS-350) test in 2004. There were some reports however in the recent past that the Prithvi-3 test was infact a Shaurya/K-15/Sagarika test disguised as a Prithvi test.

Lastly, with reference to NTW-20, I thought OFB reverse engineered it and named the bootleg cpy as the Vidhwansak. There should not be problems in fulfilling the full requirement of 1200 pieces for the army; however it seems that only the BSF has shown interest in the bootleg copy, maybe because of performance issues.

Thought of sharing my thoughts with you and the forum readers.


hacker said...

hello prasun da
this link is not working can you please correct it
can you give the details of the 5 tenders issued by india for light weight artillery,towed artillery,self-propelled wheeled artillery,self-propelled tracked artillery,mounted artillery.

what are the chances of M777 Howitzer winning the light weight artillery competition as Singapore technologies is blacklisted

what are the chances of ARCHER system winning the self-propelled wheeled artillery competition

what are the chances of PHZ2000 of germany winning the self-propelled tracked artillery competition

as i thing M777,ARCHER and PHZ2000 are best in their class

also i found out

can you tell us about the AGNI2AT,AGNI3A,AGNI3B,AGNI3C and AGNI3SL in the photograph.

what is the news of NIRBHAY cruise missile it was supposed to be tested in 2009

is prithvi2=250km and prithvi3=350km inducted in service

i also heard that india was secreatly making a ICBM named surya of 8000km,12000km and 20000km can you tell us about that.
thank you

Anonymous said...

Chinese defense blog reported a unnamed Chinese UAV which can be/(is) used for high altitude surveillance. How "big" is their technology? High altitude UAV means, they are going to use it around Indian Borders, right?
How India is going to counter this?

Divakar said...


I have been reading BR for about 5 years and other web sites, but I started reading Trishul for about 3-4 Months and it amazing. You have very in-depth knowledge and more than that lots of patience to answer all the questions that we all have been asking. Thanks a lot for everything and really appriciate your good work.

I do have the following questions:
1. what is India’s role on BARAK-8 MR-SAM/LR-SAM development. Are we sponsoring the development and end up just manufacturing with TOT, for all the money that we are spending or do we have a role in development? If so, what is out part and do we get the tech details of Israil’s development part also, so that it will help the knowledge base back home. I do remember reading some where that a team from Hyderabad went to israil well before the agreement is finalized to work on some thing similar. Also, what about the SPYDER SR-SAM that we have recently inked to buy. Is it just licensed to manufactured? Do it include TOT.

2. Recently I read that Air Bus tanker deal is struck with the finance dept. How long will it take to get the clearance if at all. What do they got to say once the IAF decides based on the technical parameters and DAC approves the deal and finalizes the rates and terms also. I see it as an un-necessary road block.

3. Any info/ progress on IAF acquiring the C-17’s, after expressing interest on it.

4. In a recent interview CAS, stated that army can procure force multipliers to counter the china’s threat. Can you help us understand what kind of force multipliers that army can procure.


Anonymous said...

Good morning, Mr Sengupta,
Read your article in the latest Force magazine issue - the one on new generation Radars in India - "on Fast Track".
Just wanted to say that, to a layman like me, it was really an excellent and informative article. The depth of detail/information was amazing; and was put across in simple, clear language - just facts. Excellent.
Appreciate the time and effort you put in and your sharing such detailed info.
Looking forward to more such articles/posts. rgds.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sengupta, where are you?
Are you attending some exhibition?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:22PM: The Agni-5's range has already been confirmed by DRDO officials as being 5,500km. About its warhead-carrying capability this is still a speculative area, but at least three MIRVs and an equal number of decoy warheads can be expected to be on board.

To Anon@7:38PM: As to the range of the supersonic terminal stage of the submarine-launched variant of the ADM, it will be the same as that of the air-launched ADM, i.e. 600km to 700km since the propulsion system will be the solid-fuel sustainer rocket. The ADM will have a range of no more than 700km as it will be equipped with a fission-based tactical nuclear warhead to be used against battlefield troop concentrations. Therefore, the ADM will not be a strategic n-weapon like, say the Agni-1/3/5.
The Shourya's range can indeed be increased by shaping its flight trajectory. But in its present configuration, it is an excellent system to neutralise the threats posed by the M-9/M-11 type of ballistic missiles.

To Anon@7:52PM: All nine Talwar-class FFGs will have the same mission sensors, combat management systems and integrated platform management systems of Russian origin, with the FFGs from No 4 to No9 having BrahMos on board instead of the Club-M. The Ruskies have agreed to install non-Russian sensors and systems on board the two designs they're proposing for the Project 17A FFG and Project 15C DDG. You can get additional info on these two offers at:

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Kaushik: Actually, the Prithvi SS-150s and SS-250s have been subjected to three successive product improvement programmes that have made them potent area saturation weapons. Regarding the cost comparisons between BrahMos and LORA, the BrahMos option works out to be cheaper as it is being procured in large numbers by all three armed services, whereas in LORA's case, only the Indian Army would have been the end-user.
With regard to the NTW-20 and its Vidhwansak clone, the BSF is indeed going ahead with its procurement, but not the Army for unknown reasons. In reality, blacklisting the entire DENEL Group was a wrong decision as only its small arms division was involved in the NTW-20 scandal. But now, due to the blanket blacklisting, even other unrelated projects like the Bhim/T-6 tracked self-propelled howitzer and the Nalanda 155mm ammo/modular charge co-production facility had to be sacrificed and condemned for nop plausible reason.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To hacker: Do proceed to http://www.frontlineonnet.com/ and scroll down the page to the section dealing with DRDO where you will find all three stories. The LW155 is not taking part in the bid to suuply ultralightweight howitzers. The Archer does not stand a reasonable chance of winning the motorised howitzer competition as it breaches the 18-tonne max weight limit set by the Indian Army. The PzH-2000 is not on offer to India, it is the Donar that is now on offer, along with a joint offer by L & T and South Korea's Samsung Techwin for the K-9 Thunder. There's nothing new to report on the Nirbhay. The Prithvi SS-350 has not been inducted into service. The Surya is a figment of someone's imagination, it does not exist.

To Anon@9:27AM: It is the WZ-2000 that is now being flight-tested at Chengdu. Details on its mission sensor (KLC-6 SAR) can be found at:

To Divakar: Many thanks. Those Barak-8 and barak-ERs destined for procurement by india will have about 60% local content. The prime Indian contracter is NOVA Integrated Systems, a JV between TATA and Israel Aerospace Industries. The EL/M-2248 MF-STAR and EL/M-2084 radars and command-and-control systems will arrive in India from Israel in knocked-down condition for final assembly by NOVA. The Barak-8/Barak-8ER's propulsion systems were designed and fabricated by DRDO, with the on-board navigation and fire-control systems being developed by IAI.
Regarding the SpyDer SHORADS, there's no industry-level ToT. It is being procured off-the-shelf, with BEML providing the TATRA vehicles. The A330-220 MRTT financial offer has raised eyebrows because someone at IAF HQ 'forgot' to list out the comparative indicative pricing packages of other contracts inked by other customers such as Australia and the UAE for the A330-220. In the absence of such data, the MoF had no option but to compare the A330-220 MRTT's offer price with that of the IL-78MKI (which was procured five years ago). It is a classic case of an admnistrative fuck-up.
Regarding the strategic airlifter procurement plan of the IAF, paper evaluations are still in progress, but the C-17A Globemaster remains the only viable option.
With regard to force multipliers both the IAF and Army are looking at manned and unmanned ISTAR platforms. ISTAR stands for intelligence, surveillance and targetting for attack and recce.

To Anon@9:29PM: Many thanks indeed.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Since the ADM has a lesser range and will be powered by solid-fuel sustainer rocket,are there any plans to build to build 1500-2500 kms ram-jet propelled strategic supersonic/hypersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from both air and VLS tubes of future IN's SSN.

What will be the technological spin offs of the Shourya missile?Will it's range be increased to make an effective SLBM?Can it replace the Agni series of missiles?

Please answer these.Thank you.

Divakar said...


Thanks a lot for the reply.
Regarding the ISTAR, what is available in the market and under consideration. Any further info on this would be help full.

If BARAK-8 systems are sold to some third country, would India/ Indian companies get a share out of it? Since it is a joint developed product.

I remember MoD had requested for RFI/ RFQ for HALE UAV to some vendor who is under consideration and what would be your personal pick.

ANy reason why still M2000 upgrade is still contracted, after everything is finalized. If the reason is high price and no flexibility from OEM, then would it become a bottel neck for Rafel selection, if it is one of the final contenders.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@5:27AM: Any country's arsenal of nuclear weapons is defined by how exactly the weapon will be employed and against whom. In India's case, the submarine-launched cruise missile equipped with a tactical nuclear warhead is designated for use in India's immediate neighbourhood. This in turn means that the SSN carrying the submarine-launched cruise missile will be theatre-specific (and launched from the Arabian Sea), and will not be deployed in an expeditionary manner anywhere else (exactly the opposite of what US and Russian nuclear doctrines call for). Therefore, there's no operational reqmt for India possessing a nuclear warhead-equipped cruise missile with 1,500km-range.
Against China, there's absolutely no possibility of an Indian SSN or SSBN entering the South China Sea because India has already signed and ratified the Treaty on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (although even China has done so, but this has not prevented it from bulding a major naval base housing its SSBNs on Hainan Island, and India has not yet confronted China on this blatant treaty violation!!!). Consequently, due to its treaty obligations, any Indian SSBN carrying SLBMs will be able to launch its SSBNs only from the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean (provided the Indian SSNs can keep the PLA Navy's hunter-killer SSNs at bay). It is for this reason that the Indian Navy has specified that an Indian SSBn should be equipped with SLBMs with 8,500km-range. But can the Shourya achieve such a range? No way. To me, the Shourya in its present form ought to be the replacement for the Agni-1 and be deployed as a land-mobile nuclear-tipped TBM.
As for the DRDO being able to or not being able to develop a 8,500km-range SLBM, it is an enormous challenge, to say the least. The challenge is two-fold: firstly, the SLBM will have to be compact enough to be accommodated within the pressure-hull of the Arihant-class SSBN, something even the Russians and Chinese haven't been able to do so till today with their SSBNs. Secondly, this compact SLBM must attain a range of 8,500km while carrying at least three MIRVs. Therefore, India is still several years away from deploying a survivable sea-based arsenal of SLBMs as part of a credible second-strike capability.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Divakar: ISTAR tools are already available to the IAF in the form of the pod-mounted EL/M-2060P SAR (for the Su-30MKI). In addition, R & AW's ARC (which now comes under the NTRO), is likely to acquire two ISTAR aircraft (like the Raytheon ASTOR or IAI's EL/I-3150 MARS2) for peacetime border surveillance.
If the Barak-8 family of air-defence systems are sold to a third country, then Indian vendors involved in the programmes will definitely benefit both in terms of workshore as well as revenues. But for systems already developed in Israel, like the MF-STAR radar, Indian companies will not receive any revenues from export sales UNLESS the order is placed with any Indian vendor like NOVA Integrated Systems. For instance, when South Korea recently ordered the MF-STAR radar directly from IAI/ELTA, there was no Indian financial beneficiary.
Regarding the UAV, the RFQs issued to Indian companies were for developing the Rustom MALE-UAV platform, its integrated mission sensor payload, and its powerplant. The Rustom will be acquired by all three armed services in large numbers, close to 150. The Army will employ it for battlefield surveillance, communications relay and SIGINT, while the IAF will employ it for theatre surveillance in support of battlefield interdiction air cxampaigns. The Navy will use it for communications relay (which it is now doing with the Heron 2s) and it also has ambitious plans for networking such a UAV with the P-8I LRMR/ASW aircraft, and even operating it from aircraft carriers.
The Mirage 2000 upgrade programme has already been finalised, both technically and financially and it is now due for approval from the Cabinet Committee on National Security.

Nava said...

Were the Indians satisfied with the EL/I-3150 MARS2's (demonstrated) performance?

WRT the Rustom, I read that IAI is involved with the aircraft\payload. Could you confirm that?

BTW I thought that the Koreans ordered the Green Pine not the MF STAR.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Very satisfied. WRT the Rustom MALE-UAV, vendor selection process is still underway, No down-selection has been made as yet. WRT South Korea, you're right, the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration has ordered two Green Pines, not the MF-STAR, though the MF-STAR is most likely to be selected in the near future for the Agency for Defense Development-designed long-range K-SAM now under development.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: By the way, is that AN/TPY-2 Forward Based X-Band Transportable Radar still deployed in the Negev?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

If not for the navy can a 1500-2500 kms ram-jet propelled strategic supersonic/hypersonic cruise missile be developed in future(for the IAF)?

Can the DRDO develop the 8,500 km range SLBM in a step-by-step process i.e. first develop a 3500/5500 km range SLBM along with the Agni-3/5 missile and then go for the 8,500 km range SLBM.In this way the DRDO can develop the missile by 2017-18.

Will the DRDO be able to develop the 8000 km range SLBM?When do you see them developing the missile?How many years it might take?How good is the JL-2 SLBM of the PLAN?Can such missiles be intercepted in near future by the PAD-2/3 interceptor missiles?

Thank you.

sachin_sathe said...


Is this expansion plan the reason why navy is said to be looking for catapult on its next line of carriers? can u clarify?

Regarding the Rustom will IN be able to use it in ASW role armed with light torpedoes & other expendable stores networked with P-8I?

Regarding the Pinaka upg project there was talk of Pinaka using a larger rocket can u elaborate?

If the submarine launched cruise missile is to be used in local theatre then is it necessary tht only ssn will carry it? If it is torpedo-tube launched (like club) then even the ssk's would be able to wouldn't they?

Regarding SSBN's can u clarify on wht do u mean by "an 8500km SLBM on Arihant class SSBN"? I think if a usefull load is to be carried then the SSBN would hav to be significantly larger than Arihant(estimate based on Arihant's size observed so far from varius sources including ur blog).

Also can such ballistic missile be modified for land use?

Adivasi said...

I felt this article is too long, need to have cutout lot of known things with things most people don't know. It is just my opinion, but article was informative.

Pierre Zorin said...

To Adivasi:How could one know what others know or others don't know?If one knows what others know or others don't know then one can know what needs to be made known.If I don't know what others know or others don't know I won't know what others know or don't know to edit parts others know but keep those otehrs don't know...got it?

Adivasi said...

Certain info is already available, if there is any updates on that could be more beneficial time saving while reading article.

hacker said...

thank you prasun da

1.is indian navy ordering 3 more talwar class to make the number 3+3+3=9 ?

2.is indian navy thinkibg od buying MISTRAL class LPD from france?

3.there are talks about indian navy thinking of NUCLEAR AIRCRAFT CARRIER are they true?

4.there are also talks about larger ARIHAT class SSBN with 12 missile launch tubes and a line of SSGN and SSN can you tell something about that.

5.what class of next conventional submarine is indian navy buying is it S1000(italy+russia) or AMUR(rusia) or something else
will they have AIP+VERICAL LAUCHER for missiles.

6.will the last 3 of Scorpenes building have MESMA?

7.who is front runner for the six MRMR aircraft with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities tender for indian navy,MRMR aircraft for the coast guard and 16 advanced, multi-role naval helicopter tender for the indian navy?

8.is india building or buying eight mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs), to replace the twelve Pondicherry class ocean minesweepers in service and some new tankers ?


NJS said...

Hi prasun ,

when this work for LCA Mk2 / Arjun Mk2 will be finished, can u say what modification will be done including weapons.

As per Howitzer guns it is informed field trails will at june, could u give details - vendors / purchase year.

China has MBRL 350 mm (nearly 180 km version & 350 km version ), i like to know india / DRDO has any project (other thean pinaka 214mm 40/120 km)similar to dragons .

Anonymous said...

To have capable to hit china deeply india need 8000 kms range ballistic missiles ,for drdo it atleast takes some 15 to 20 years to become master.
We wish india need to secretly buy Topol M type missiles from Russia ,, for minimum preparedness

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:42PM: For sure, a 1500-2500km ramjet-propelled strategic supersonic cruise missile be developed in future, but is it required in the first place? And for it to go hypersonic it will have to incorporate a scramjet for which a lot more R & D funds are reqd, which is not available at the moment.
The DRDO can develop the 8,500km-range SLBM, that's not the problem. The problem lies in making this SLBM fit into the SSBN's pressure hull. If you notice the Russian Delta-3/4 and Chinese Type 094 SSBNs you will notice that the SLBM silos protrude out of the pressure hull, making them vulnerable to accidents like collisions between a SSBN and SSN, which can be catastrophic, as the Russians discovered throughout the 1980s. Therefore, both the Russians and Chinese SSBNs prefer to deploy to isolated and well-protected SLBM launch sites, like the polar ice-caps or the vicinity of underground, hardened shore-based launch sites (in case of the Chinese). Clearly the Indian Navy is against the adoption of such an approach since it will strictly limit the deployment options available. Therefore, it wants the DRDO to make the SLBMs fit inside the Arihant-class SSBN's pressure hull. Whether the DRDO will be able to deliver such a capability remains to be seen, since the DRDO labs associated with the ATV Project Office are heavily reliant on Russian design expertise at present.
The JL-2 has already been test-fired twice since 2004 and is already operational. As for its successful interception by PAD-1 interceptor missiles, it all boils down to the sophistication of the ballistic missile early warning network. By deploying only ground-based radars like LRTR for early warning, the PAD-1's interception probabilities will be limited to 50-50. But once India deploys a regional network of low-earth orbit early warning satellites (about four of them), much more time will be available to the PAD-1's ground-based C4I battlespace mission control centre to ensure a successful interception.

Anonymous said...

Gripen’s India Director Eddy de la Motte said, “What we are offering here is the AESA radar which comes with an edge that increases its capability manifold times. The radar on the Gripen will be fitted on a swash plate that enables it to rotate mechanically and look behind as well.”

Prasun, are you still sticking to your gun regarding EL/M-2052 being offered with Gripen IN.

SUKHOI-30 MKI said...

Prasun da,
Recent wargames of Indian Army also considers nuclear attack by pakistan on advancing forces. As per http://www.nukefix.org/weapon.html eight low-tech 20 Kt nuclear weapons if detonated in an encirclement pattern can produce destruction equal to a 1 megaton hydrogen bomb & would cause 3+ psi destruction in 105 square miles.
Can pakistan wipe out entire RAPID division at one go???
Or their plan is to use low yield bombs which would be effective against company or battilion sized formation in future conflict???
Please elaborate.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sachin sathe: An aircraft carrier equipped only with a ski-ramp prevents the vessel from launching fixed-wing aircraft like turboprop-powered AEW & C platforms like E-2D Hawkeye 2000, and aerial refuelling platforms as well. Therefore, a catapult-equipped aircraft carrier is a far better choice.
If a clear-cut platform development roadmap is drawn up, then the Rustom can easily be reconfigured into a UCAV carrying a wide variety of PGMs, including lightweight and heavyweight torpedoes. As for the Pinaka MBRL's continuing evolution, the DRDO has already begun work on increasing both the existing rocket's range to 60km, and developing a larger diameter rocket (like that of the Smerch-M) to achieve a range of 120km. I've already given above the weblinks of the FRONTLINE articles that explains this further.
It won't be possible to launch nuclear warhead-armed SLCMs from any Indian Navy SSK since all these SSKs are of imported design and therefore the licence to modify them will not be available. The Club-Ms can be launched from any existing 21-inch torpedo tubes, but any SLCM will require torpedo tubes with larger diameter, for which the engineering designs and indigenous manufacturing know-hows have yet to be mastered.
As for the SLBMs to go on board the Arihant-class SSBNs, the specified requirement is for carrying only 8 SLBMs, and not 12 or 16 or 24 as is the case with the SSBNs of the US, UK, France, Russia and China. Yes, such SLBMs can in theory be modified for launch from roadmobile TELs, but it is not advisable since it will be cost-prohibitive, and secondly, a land-launched ICBM can carry far more warheads and decoys than a SLBM.

To Adivasi: It was indeed meant to be long and exhaustive as it was meant to serve only as a frame of reference, and not be any ground-breaking piece of investigative journalism.

To hacker: Yes, altogether a total of nine Talwar-class FFGs will eventually be in service.
No, any LPD design to be selected (from about eight prevailing options) will be subjected to indigenous fabrication. Afterall, if the IAC is being fabricated in-house, doing so for the LPD should be a walk in the park.
It will be premature to talk of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier for the time-being, since it will make sense only for a 65,000-tonne carrier to be nuclear-powered. And the Navy isn't thinking as yet on acquiring aircraft carriers of this size.
The Arihant-class SSBNs will each carry no more than eight SLBMs.
As far as the 2nd line of SSKs go, the frontrunners are the S-800 (and not the S-1000) from Fincantieri, and SMX-22 from DCNS. The selected design will have an eight-cell VLS for BrahMos, as well as an AIP module. None of the Indian Navy Scorpenes will have MESMA as it is not required.
For the six MRMR/ASW aircraft, the ATR-72MPA and EADS/CASA-built C-295MPA are the frontrunners, with the latter being the favoured choice. As for the 40 (not 16) shipborne ASW/ASV helicopters, Sikorsky's S-70B Seahawk and NH-90 are the frontrunners. No new MCMVs have been contracted for as yet, but Intermarine of Italy remains interested in teaming up with Goa Shipyards Ltd for jointly designing a variant of the Avenger-class MCMVs. In the meantime, the four Abhay-class ASW corvettes are due to be upgraded with new imported ultra-low-frequency active/passive towed-array sonars. Fincantieri has already bagged a contract for supplying a new fleet replenishment tanker, and a follow-on contract will see another such tanker being ordered in future.

Nava said...

Yes, the American X band radar is still there. WRT the Rustom, could you inform me as to its planned performance parameters, the foreign bidders etc. Would it be prudent to assume that the Israelis have a leg up in such a competition?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

TO NJS: While no funds have been released to the DRDO for developing the Arjun Mk2, the CVRDE has been carrying out some in-house work for developing the 1,500hp diesel engine, redesigned turret and defensive aids suite. But unless the MoD releases the funds required for production engineering, all such efforts will be relegated to only the laboratory-level. As for the Tejas Mk2, the ADA has gone on record to promise a flying prototype within the next three years. I've already elaborated earlier (last month) on what the Tejas Mk2 will turn out to be (i.e. a M-MRCA). The field trials were meant for the ultraweight howitzer (the Pegasus from ST Kinetics of Singapore). They have not yet been conducted. The dates for mobility-cum-firing trials of motorised howitzers, and tracked self-propelled howitzers have yet to be finalised. RFPs for them are still being processed. I've already posted above the weblinks of three articles from FRONTLINE magazine that will give you more details on futuristic MBRLs being developed by the DRDO.

To Anon@10:21AM: Dude, before I answer your query, can you do a 'visual' research of your own on ALL the AESAs that were showcased at Aero India 2009 (Vixen 1000e, Caesar, EL/M-2052, APG-80, SABR, Zhuk-AE and APG-79) and tell me which of these radars are or are not equipped with the swash-plate that enables them to rotate mechanically and look behind as well? Even the existing BARS PESA has a built-in swash-plate.

RAJ said...

A very good article which will take me repeated reading to enjoy & absorb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Over the next three years all three armed services of India will be equipped with hundreds of new-generation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that will be capable of both long-duration over-the-horizon reconnaissance and targetting, as well as infantry soldier-deployed mini-UAVs, each of which weighs 4.5kg, and is designed for day and night so-called ‘beyond the hill’ observation and for targeting missions at ranges up to 10km. Such mini-UAVs will also be used by the Army’s Armoured Corps for ‘over-the-hill’ acquisition of hostile armoured forces and their engagement by indirect fire support weapons like the NAMICA (equipped with 4km-range Nag anti-armour guidedmissiles)or tank cannon-launched laser-guided projectiles like the 120mm LAHAT now being licence-built by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Ltd. To ensure the speedy induction of such UAVs, the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has adopted the consortium approach under which both the public-sector and private-sector industrial entities will play the prominent role when it comes to detailed systems design, prototype development and engineering, and series-production. Consequent to the adoption of this approach, the DRDO’s Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), along with the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) have joined forces to co-develop the three types of UAVs, while TATA Advanced Systems has joined forces with Israel-based Urban Aeronautics for the marketing and manufacturing of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAVs based on UrbanAero’s patented Fancraft technology. HAL, on the other hand, has teamed up with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to co-develop the shipborne naval rotary-winged unmanned aerial vehicle (NRUAV), and with Elbit Systems of Israel to co-develop the Skylark-1E manportable mini-UAV. The three conventional takeoff and landing UAVs being concurrently being developed by the DRDO include:
1) Pawan low altitude long endurance (LALE) UAV that will be catapult-launched from a wheeled vehicle. A sum of US$33.2 will be spent on the joint R & D effort that will last 24 months and involve the development of four prototype vehicles. Each such UAV, to be used by the Indian Army, will weigh 120kg, have an endurance of 24 hours, be equipped with pod-mounted optronic sensors, and its radius of operations will be 150km.
2) Gagan medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV for the Army and Indian Air Force (IAF), which will be co-developed at a cost of $55.5 million and whose belly-mounted payload will include pod-mounted optronic sensors (daylight TV camera and thermal imager), or a laser target designator, or a synthetic aperture radar. A total of four prototype vehicles are to be developed over a 42-month period. The Gagan will have service ceiling of 18,500 feet, radius of operations of 300km and an endurance of 24 hours.
3) Rustom medium-altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV for the IAF and Indian Navy. R & effort for this UAV over a 48-month period will cost $100 million and involve the design and fabrication of four prototype vehicles each of which will weigh 1.1 tonnes, have an endurance of 24 hours, service ceiling of 30,000 feet and its radius of operations will be 300km. The payload will comprise a mix of optronic sensors, ELINT sensors, a communications relay suite, and an inverse synthetic aperture radar capable of both ground and maritime surveillance.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above....
All three UAVs will be series-produced by a production agency-cum-development partner (PADP) from India’s private sector. The Pawan’s airframe will be derived from the NAL-built light canard research aircraft (LCRA), whose design (the Rutan Long-EZ) was bought outright by NAL in the early 1990s from the US-based Rutan Aircraft Factory. The LCRA was the first made-in-India aircraft made fully of rigid-foam fibre-reinforced plastic composite materials and was also the first to feature twin canards and wingtip fins and twin rudders. The LCRA’s Pawan MALE-UAV variant will be powered by a single 116hp piston engine developed by the DRDO’s Vehicles Research & Development Establishment and driving a pusher-prop, will have a tricycle landing gear configuration with the nose gear being retractable, have a wingspan of 7.90 metres, length of 5.12 metres, canard span of 3.60 metres, and a wing area of 7.62 square metrers. The vehicle will be able to withstand high crosswinds during both takeoff and landing. The Pawan’s maximum takeoff weight will be 600kg, of which the payload component will account for 350kg. The service ceiling will be 35,000 feet, flight endurance will be 24 hours, while the maximum cruise speed will be 350kph. Range at maximum speed will be 1,840km, with the rate of climb being 6.35 metres per second. The MALE-UAV will require a takeoff roll of 290 metres, and a landing roll of 210 metres. Service ceiling will be 6,700 metres. The Pawan’s payload suite (for the Army and Indian Air Force) will include a SATCOM-based two-way secure data link, a chin-mounted stabilised optronic sensor housed within a swiveling turret, and a belly-mounted synthetic aperture radar (most probably derived from the ELTA-built EL/M-2060P system that is flightqualified now for the Su-30MKI) housed within a radome. The shore-based naval variant of the MALE-UAV will also have on board ELINT and COMINT sensor suites. For enhancing flight safety and survivability when cruising at high altitudes, the Pawan will be equipped with wing de-icing systems. For operational deployment, a typical Pawan MALE-UAV system will comprise of six air vehicles, and a mission control unit (which will have a large amount of commonality with the ground control station that was developed by the DRDO for the indigenously developed Nishant tactical UAV).Another unique UAV solution now being developed in-country will revolutionise both the aerial transportation of battlefield casualties, as well as frontline aerial logistics. During the DEFEXPO 2008 exhibition in Delhi last February, TATA Advanced Systems formally revealed its decision to invest in Urban Aeronautics of Israel’s R & D effort to develop the MULE, a single turbine-powered UAV for military re-supply and medical evacuation operations with a payload capacity of 250kg. Such a VTOL-UAV utilises a unique rotorless design that eliminates the serious safety hazards associated with helicopter rotors and permits secure access to any location. In addition, the vehicle’s arrival time is guaranteed and predictably speedy with effectively zero vulnerability to contingencies such as traffic or other access obstacles. The capability to sustain a safe, stable hover adjacent to a window, wall or slope or to land safely in a congested space allows access and evacuation from virtually any location without the use of ladders or hoists. The Mule VTOL-UAV is also significantly quieter than any helicopter and offers unrestricted mobility and accessibility. Lastly, in an air ambulance configuration, this VTOL-UAV offers a revolutionary capacity for emergency rescue teams to reach their destination quickly, despite practical obstacles or complex landscapes.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To SUKHOI-30MKI: Perhaps this (which first appeared at: http://bengalunderattack.blogspot.com/2009/05/pakistans-nuclear-arsenal-us-insistence.html) will throw some light on the queries raised by you:
Dr A Q Khan's clandestine programmes were all about enriching uranium to HEU (just like Iran) and then acquiring the production technology from North Korea (like Iran) for building the Ghauri IRBM (which is the same as the Iranian Shihab 3). But following this path didn't produce any breakthroughs as it emerged that warheads using Pu-239 were more suitable for mounting on IRBMs than were the much more bulkier warheads using HEU. But ince A Q Khan could not acquire the Pu-239 production processes from anywhere, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) stepped in in the late-1980s to begin talks with China for acquiring plutonium-production nuclear reactors. China agreed, but these reactors and the related fuel reprocessing plant were only for electricity generation (that went on line only in 2000), and China instead decided to supply off-the-shelf the 12 IRBMs and their nuclear warheads in the mid-1990s. THIS IS THE ONLY REASON WHY CHINA WAITED UNTIL 1998 TO BECOME A SIGNATORY TO THE NPT. As a result, the Ghauri IRBMs imported from North Korea are now configured to carry only conventional warheads. The same goes for the Iranian Shihab-3s and unless and until Iran acquires the capability to produce and process Pu-239 at Arak, it will never be able to have a nuclear warhead even though it already has IRBMs.

The n-arsenal of Pakistan now stands at 10 warheads as the remaining two warheads were detonated on May 28 and 30, 1998. Both these warheads were of the tactical nuke-type. Only after these tests did China come clean with the US (when the US confronted China with clinching evidence--the radioactive plutonium's atmoshperic residue) and China admitted to its pivotal role in Pakistan's n-weaponisation and thereafter agreed to sign the NPT. Regarding the nuclear reactors supplied by China in the late 1990s they are NOT under IAEA safeguards as the sale & purchase agreement was inked when neither Beijing nor Islamabad were signatories to the NPT. These reactors and their plutonium reprocessing plants are therefore totally un-safeguarded. As for the Babur cruise missile there are presently no plans for arming them with nuclear warheads. They are meant for conventional precision strike just like the BrahMos.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above....
There were efforts made in the early and mid-1990s to configure a special flight of Mirage 2000THs for carrying n-bombs, but this idea was dropped in favour of ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. The reason was simple: a manned aircraft had every chance of being intercepted, whereas that is not the case yet with ballistic missiles. Therefore, in terms of assured and guaranteed delivery means, the ballistic missile has been adopted as the principal carrier vehicle for strategic n-weapons (including thermonuclear). And that is also the reason why till today ALL operational-level exercises and user-trials of the Strategic Forces Command that have been well-publicised (as they should be) have involved missiles like the Agni-1 and Agni-2. The IAF will become involved once a suitable Su-30MKI flight (of eight aircraft) will be raised once the supersonic air defence munition (ADM) is available and it is these ADMs that will be equipped with tactical nuclear warheads. Only once this happens will India will be able to offset the tactical advantage which Pakistan now enjoys over India with regard to tactical nuclear weapon assets/employment capabilities. Right now, India's deterrent against Pakistan's usage of tactical nuclear weapons on its own soil is the arsenal of 160 Prithvi SS-150s, ALL of which are equipped with conventional warheads and are deployed with the Army's 40 and 41 Artillery Divisions. Therefore, if Pakistan as a first strike explodes tactial nuclear weapons against a large multi-Corps concentration of Indian ground forces (as was the case during OP Parakram in 2002) deep within Pakistani territory, the Indian response will be a massive retaliation against Pakistan Army concentrations in the Mangla and Gujranwala sectors by pulverising, massed fire-assaults mounted by the Prithvi SS-150s. In this way India will retain its high moral ground by not retaliating with nuclear counter-strikes, but by employing conventionally armed Prithvis on s massive scale and causing proportional decapitating damage to the Pakistan Army's war-waging potential. It is also for this reason that the Prithvi missiles have deliberately been kept as Army assets under Army command-and-control, and not under the Strategic Forces Command. In conclusion, India's existing ballistic missile-based n-deterrent is China-centric, as will the Navy's projected SLBMs, while the nuclear-warheads inside the ADM and probably on the Shourya TBM will be Pakistan-centric.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above.....
Between March and June 2002 at the height of OP Parakram, for the first time ever in its history the Indian Army deployed ALL THREE of its Strike Corps in the Thar Desert for a deep thrust into Pakistani territory. This was done by redeploying the two Strike Corps into the desert by withdrawing them from their earlier staging areas in Punjab and near the Shakargarh Bulge. Such a redeployment wasn't even wargamed before but it was carried out with every intention of breaking out and jutting deep inside Pakistan. That should give you some idea of India's contingency plans for waging an all-out ground war. The prospects of putting such plans into effect cannot and MUST NOT be ruled out.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above....
As per the Indian Army's Pro-Active Strategy (aka Cold Start doctrine), any full-scale hostilities with Pakistan in future will last, at most, for no more than 10 days. Consequently, there will be NO/ZERO possibility of the Army waiting it out for even a day, in the hopes of the IAF carrying out air campaigns aimed at paralysing Pakistan's ground forces. It will have to be hyperwar or parallel war, with all three armed services of India participating in the hostilities at the same time. The notion of waging sequential-type wars like OP Desert Storm or OP Iraqi Freedom does not apply at all to the India-Pakistan war scenario. And this is exactly why Indian Army HQ is deeply worried as the IAF has clearly made its displeasure known over not being consulted by Army HQ when formulating the Pro-Active Strategy. The IAF has clearly stated that, as things now stand with a steadily diminishing combat aircraft fleet strength, the IAF will not be able to lend the required quantum of close air support to the Army for the first 72 hours of an all-out war with Pakistan. The Army is now thus in a quagmire as it does not have its own integral close air support providers (like attack helicopters or UCAVs) and the MoD continues to blunder along instead of displaying decisive leadership by putting its feet down and forcing IAF HQ to transfer its existing attack helicopter assets to the Army Aviation Corps! The MoD is even refusing to entertain the Army's request for acquiring UCAVs in a big way to compensate for the IAF'sd inability to power dedicated and persistent close air support. Unless and until this problem is resolved on a war-footing, no one from Indian Army HQ or IAF HQ will advocate initiating any kind of armed hostilities against Pakistan. That's the hard-to-digest truth. Kargil-type limited hostilities contained within a single theatre is possible, but all-out war throughout the India-Pakistan border remains a pipe-dream between now and 2018. Pakistan's military and civilian decision-makers have clearly realised this and it is for this reason that the present DG of ISI and Pakistan's President have boldly stated that they don't perceive India's military might as posing the principal/immediate existential threat. Regarding the Indian Navy's war plans against Pakistan, the Indian Navy has NEVER even contemplated the imposition of a naval blocade against Pakistan. Going by the Navy's exercise plan during Ex Brass Tacks in 1986/1987, its operational deployment during OP Vijay in mid-1999 and by its employment during OP Parakram in 2002, it is amply clear that the Navy at best will only create a 'cordon sanitaire' for a temporary period (six hours at most) by approaching Karachi from the north-western part of the Arabian Sea (facing Oman), conducting limited tactical interdiction operations against shore-based Pakistan Navy establishments and selective economic targets (like POL storage farms) in and around Karachi, and then withdrawing back to the northern Arabian Sea just outside the Straits of Hormuz. Given the type and number of assets at the Indian Navy's disposal, there's no way any naval operations planner will consider an extended deployment of an aircraft carrier-led battle group off Karachi, since the Pakistan Navy's maritime strike capabilities (i.e. its P-3C Orions and its three Agosta 90B SSKs) remain formidable sea-denial arsenals. Only if the Indian Navy deploys two aircraft carrier-led battle groups against Karachi will an economic blocade become a realistic possibility, not until then.

Nava said...

Very interesting Prasun. A few observations if I may:

1. I've never heard the term LALE being used before :)
2. 30,000 feet is generally not considered to be HALE.
3. The Rustom looks like a Heron with an Indian name, in terms of its performance parameters.
4. I'm not sure how "revolutionary" the MULE UAV really is, but it's certainly good news for Urban Aeronautics that TATA has entered the fray. At what stage is the cooperation between the two companies?
5. Would it be feasible to have HAL and IAI implement IAI's helicopter conversion kit to create an interim, VTOL UCAV platform for the IA?
6. When will a decision be made WRT the "over the hill" TUAVS? Who's your favorite for that competition?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Many thanks, always appreciate your discerning observations and inputs. The terms LALE and HALE I used ought to be interpreted in the Indian context, as expressed in the ASQRs and GSQRs. Therefore, UAVs like the Boomerang will be classified/labelled by prospective Indian end-users as LALE. Regarding the Rustom, one can indeed conclude that it has been deeply inspired or influenced by the Heron 2. But the R & D plans are quite ambitious in terms of equipping it with a fly-by-wire flight control systems and V8 or V12 turbo-charged diesel engines with FADEC. If realised, then it will be a multi-role platform to be used by all three Indian armed services. Regarding the MULE VTOL UAV, I read somewhere (maybe in FLIGHT Int'l) that its maiden flight has been postponed twice this year. Regarding the VTOL-UCAV platform, it can be done with ease by using the conversion package already developed by IAI and HAL for the NRUAV, but not by using the Alouette III aiframe, but by employing the lighter SA.315B Lama/Cheetah helicopter, more than 150 of which are presently operational with the Indian Army and Air Force. This helicopter, if equipped with the uprated Turbomeca/HAL Ardiden engine (with FADEC) and a suitable gearbox, can easily be armed with up to four LAHAT-type guided-missiles or even a solitary 2.75-inch rocket pod (from Belgium's FZ) and employed as a UCAV especially over high-altitude mountainous terrain. BUT, the problem as I see it, is not about technology application, but is with the jurisdiction over such a UCAV. It may sound very very silly to you, but in India inter-services rivalry has historically been detrimental to several well-intentioned force modernisation plans in the past and also presently. For instance, the IAF is dead-against the Army having its integral fleet of attack helicopters and it remains deeply opposed to the Army's elaborate plans for employing UCAVs (fixed-wing or rotary-winged) for close air support. This is because India does not have the over-arching office of the Chief of Defence Staff as a permanent institution, and due to this the country's political decision-makers are unable to take decisive decisions as they constantly receive conflicting inputs from the three armed services HQs. Unfortunately, the colonial legacy of the 'divide and rule' doctrine continues to be pervade within the exzecutive branch of the Govt of India! And the problem increases manifold when one realises that this executive branch does not even have a permanent 'nuclear staff' secretariat (comprising civilian and military officials) to advice India's executive and legislative branches about all aspects of the country's nuclear weapons arsenal, their management, operational employment, and future force development. Opacity and unaccountability prevail throughout.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above:
AS for the TUAVs, ELBIT Systems' Skylark has 'almost' bagged the deal.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Nice blog!

However can you give me a link which says that India has actually signed and ratified the South-East Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty?

Anonymous said...

As far as I know , an acceptance by ASEAN of India's accession to this treaty will amount to0 India being accorded NWS status.

A violation of the NPT for ASEAN.

Only NWS's under the NPT were invited to sign this treaty apart from the ASEAN states, AFAIR.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:18PM: Many thanks. The most authentic corroboration of India's and China's ratification comes from ASEAN's official website.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:21PM: ASEAN does not consider itself empowered to accord NWS status to anyone. Whether a country is recognised as a NWS or not is specified only under the UN-endorsed NPT.

Anonymous said...

India endorsed it in 1999.

but i think the situation from the ASEAn side is not quite clear.

Since only the NWS under the NPT were invited.

Does the ASEAN site explicitly state India's acceptanceinto this treaty?

If so where?

Anonymous said...

We are talking about de facto status in the eyes of the ASEAN.

Not dejure status as accorded by the provisions of the NPT.

Anonymous said...

And by the way ,

here endorsed is not equal to ratified or signed.

Just an expression to do so.

Anonymous said...

India's position on SEANWFZ is currently similar to its voluntary moratorium on testing prior to the NSG minutes.

ASEAN is also happy to state that India has expressed willingness.

There is no signature or ratification possible unless ASEAn has amended the initial treaty itself to include states other than ASEAN and the NWS.

you simply cannot enter a treaty that has no provision for your signature.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.21PM: It was on July 27, 1999 that the PRC formally agreed on to sign a protocol for a nuclear weapons-free zone in Southeast Asia when the treaty comes into effect. The then Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan made the pledge in a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Tang also agreed to accede to ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, a treaty governing relations in the region. India also agreed officially on July 26, 1997 to sign the nuclear weapons-free zone protocol.

Nava said...

I see. Why stop there though? How about low altitude medium endurance-LAME? :)

WRT the Rustom, you're going to have to forgive my ignorance, but is the Heron 2 considered to have FBW? I mean its flight is computer controlled for the most part...

The MULE is certainly interesting, but I'm not sure how useful it actually is. Too short endurance, a mere 250 KG payload... I have my doubts.

I certainly can relate to the inter service squabbling you've described. In the interim, how about a Hermes 90 type (LALE actually) platform? Coupled with a laser designator (MINIPOP-D etc.), you could get decent and cost effective (sub) tactical air support, provided the appropriate (land based) munitions are in stock.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:31PM: When only NWS under NPT were invited by ASEAN, the period was 1997. India could not have been invited then for obvious reasons. Both China and India inked separate 'protocols' to the Treaty in 2001. As I said earlier, check out the ASEAN Secretariat's website for further details. And you're right when you state that "you simply cannot enter a treaty that has no provision for your signature". But why then did India declare its intention to or pledge so sign such a treaty? On whose invitation?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Great idea on LAME! Will definitely forward your valued suggestion to the MoD in India.
With regard to the Heron 2, its flight control surfaces are not controlled or commanded by a fly-by-wire flight control system. It has nothing to do with mission-control, which is done by the ground-based or shipborne GCS via telemetric uplinks and downlinks.
Like I stated earlier, when it comes to tactical air support, it is not the hardware (no matter how good or critically reqd it is)that's an issue, but rather the 'operational command and ownership' of the hardware that matters in the Indian scheme of things.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: FBW flight controls are no big deals, actually, and I strongly suspect the Heron TP uses it.

Nava said...

Even if the UAV itself isn't armed?

Good Night

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Yes, ol' chap, when it isn't armed. Ridiculous, but very true, as is the case with any turf war. Good night.

Anonymous said...

Prasun, dude, you really believe Caesar, EL/M-2052, APG-80, SABR, Zhuk-AE and APG-79 are equipped with swash-plate! You have got to be kidding me. Was that a moment of insanity?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Many thanks.

The in-formations that we obtain here are really great.Your knowledge and your ability to narrate is amazing.

That must be a hell lot of pain sitting in-front of the computer and answering our queries and that too in a very proper and narrative manner.Your effort is really commendable and hence your admirers are increasing.HATS-OFF to you.
Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

When will India deploy the regional network of low-earth orbit early warning satellites (about four of them)as written by you in answer to my query?
Please elaborate on India have to do in future and is doing in order for the operational deployment of an effective anti-missile system.
Can you please write an article on India's anti-missile program.

Is it true that India's next line of SSBN will be bigger than the Arihant class of SSN so that they can carry at least 12 large, more compact SLBM's like the 8500 km range SLBM instead of the 8 on the the Arihany class.Do you know how many of them will be built?Do you see the DRDO taking the help from the French to vercome the problem of fitting the SLBM into the SSBN's pressure hull.
Please elaborate on this.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Even if the the Govt of India doesn't remove all the financial constraints and, give strategic autonomy to HAL to raise its own R & D funds via the capital market and also a free hand to take critical decisions aimed at overcoming the production engineering curve as written by you earlier in the blog will the the Tejas Mk-2 equal the Gripen JAS-39 NG in terms of capabilities?

When do you see the first squadron of Tejas Mk-2 coming up?

Out of the following AESA radars that are in contention to be installed on the Tejas Mk-2 like the CAESAR,EL/M-2052,SABR which one has the greater chance?
Please elaborate.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


How different will be the weapons & sensor packages on the Project 15B DDG be different from that on the Project 15A DDG?

Will all of the existing warships like the Shivalik class FFG,Nos 1, 2, 3 Project 1135.6 FFGs and future warships like the Project 15B DDG,Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9th Project 1135.6 FFGs be fitted with new imported ultra-low-frequency active/passive towed-array and hull-mounted sonars?

Is Elta developing S-band & X-band combined APAR-style radar to be installed on warships like the Project 17A FFG and Project 15C DDG?

Will the BARAK-8 MR-SAM be tested against supersonic cruise missiles like the Klub or even the Brahmos to test it's effectiveness?

Anonymous said...

"As I said earlier, check out the ASEAN Secretariat's website for further details. And you're right when you state that "you simply cannot enter a treaty that has no provision for your signature". But why then did India declare its intention to or pledge so sign such a treaty? On whose invitation?"


I searched the ASEAN site. Nowhere does it say India signed any protocol. India offered to of its own accord to join. But then there is simply no protocol in this treaty that is there for India to sign.Again the protocolsare meant for NWS andChina agreed to them.

why? because India has a habit of doing things "voluntarily."

Once again , Please give the specific link/page in question.

AFAICT there is no reference to India actually signing anything.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the range of Shourya quasi- ballistic missile

1. India has a wide range of nuclear and conventional warheads.
(eg 100 kg to 1000 kg)

2. Shourya range vs payload goes like this

700 km @ 1000 kg

1900 km @ 180 kg

Anonymous said...

It is also very funny to see Indian brothers worry about range when they hear news about India sending satellite payloads as far as moon with 4 stages PSLV and heavy lifter GSLV.

Agni III does not even need to 4 stages to reach all parts of the US.

3 stages enough.

Agni III range vs payload goes like this

4000 km @ 3000 kg (12 x 250 kg )

8000 km @ 1500 kg (6 x 250 kg)

16,000 km @ 750 kg (3 x 250 kg)

Agni II itself can go ICBM range, even though we may not use it as an ICBM.

Agni II range vs payload goes like this

4000 km @ 750 kg

8000 km @ 350 kg.

So, take it easy guys. Official reports are always going to downplay range, payload and other specifications, to divert so called non-proliferation experts.

Anonymous said...

What turbofans do raad & babur have?? How come pakistanis have got them?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:48PM: No, due, I wasn't kidding. You brought up the issue of swashplate and all I said was that other AESAs too have them. But for what? Is it for changing the FOV of the AESA in azimuth and elevation? Or are you convinced that all AESA antennae are fixed and cannot be moved in azimuth and elevation? Have you also checked from where the swashplate for the Vixen 1000e is being procured? Or is it an in-house innovation of Selex Galileo?

To Anon@8:09PM: Many thanks indeed.

To Anon@8:48PM: As the Arihant is being used as a technology development testbed, it has only four VLS for SLBMs like the Shourya at the moment. But as time goes by, VLS cells capable of housing 5,500km-range SLBMs and later 8,500km-range SLBMs will be developed, as per present plans. The three follow-on SSBNs derived from the Arihant will be able to carry eight SLBMs only, not 12. Everything now depends on whether or not the DRDO will be able to develop SLBMs with enhanced diameter but lessened length and capable of carrying MIRVs. Therefore, it will be safe to assume that the follow-on SSBNs' pressure hull will have a beamwidth of 13 metres (as opposed to the Arihant's 11 metres). But these SSBNs will in no way be as big as Russia's Delta-3/4-class SSBNs. The French are unlikely to be called in to influence or modify the SSBN/SSN's pressure hulls as these are all of Russian origin, but the French will be involved for sure in supplying sub-systems like spherical sonar transducers, flank-array sonars, periscopes, torpedoes, etc. France had officially stated its desire to supply all this way back in 2004.
AS for regional network of four low-earth orbit early warning satellites, R & D work on this is currently underway and the first of them will be launched sometime in 2014 as per present estimates. Also, this network of early warning satellites will be 'linked' to the existing network of the US' DSP family of early warning satellites, and will make use of several network-enabled technologies already developed by the likes of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. These companies have therefore already set up shop in India (Bangalore and NOIDA) to undertake most of the R & D work reqd customising an India-specific ballistic missile defence system. And that's why these US companies are frequently reported to be visiting the DRDO's DRDL and ASL labs in Hyderabad.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:53PM: The weapons & sensor packages on the Project 15B DDG will be minimally different from that on the Project 15A DDG. Thr principal on-board sensors and weapon systems will be the same.
The MoD has already released RFPs calling for ultra-low-frequency active/passive towed-array and hull-mounted sonars for all of the existing warships like the Project 17 Shivalik-class FFG; Nos 1, 2, 3 Project 1135.6 FFGs and future warships like the Project 15B DDG; Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9th Project 1135.6 FFGs; and the four Project 28 ASW corvettes and Abhay-class ASW corvettes. Yes, as part of continuous product developments go, IAI/ELTA is developing S-band & X-band combined APAR-style radar to be installed on warships like the three projected Project 15C DDGs? Yes, both the BARAK-8 MR-SAM and the Barak-8ER LR-SAM will be optimised for use against supersonic cruise missiles like the Klub, Kh-41 Zubr or even the BrahMos.

To Anon@10:38PM: The protocol was inked by India in 2002 during the annual ASEAN Summit, but with little fanfare. I myself tried to check out the weblink I had about this signing ceremony, but it seems to have 'disappeared from the official ASEAN website. I will continue my efforts to try and locate the actual protocol and the latest list of signatories.

To Anon@12:21AM: Your estimates on the Shourya are correct.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:17AM: The Babur LACM has the same turbofan (of Ukrainian origin) as that on the Kh-59M cruise missile. The Ra'ad ALCM uses a reverse-engineered Microturbo turbojet of South African origin. A version of this very turbojet powered the MBDA Sea Eagle anti-ship cruise missile, which was once in use with the Indian Navy, and which has now been decommissioned.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:09PM: You have raised very important points that need clearcut elaboration, the kind of which have been kept suppressed by ADA, MoD, etc. For this all to be uncovered, we have to go all the way back to 1984, when the project definition phase of the then LCA was completed, and it was decided to go for the GE Aero Engines-built F404 turbofan for the flight-testing of the projected TDs and PVs. GE by then already knew that development of the indigenous GTX-35 'Kaveri' turbofan was an impossibility, and it knew this to be a certainty given its own decades of experience incurred in developing turbofans for commercial and military applications. Therefore, confident that circumstances alone would force the ADA to eventually select the F404 and its future growth versions as the standard powerplant for the Tejas, GE had by 1987 and through its own in-house efforts and resources, produced a virtual prototype of the Tejas LCA and offered it to ADA as a gesture of good faith and in pursuance of its long-term business strategy in India. The GE-made design was, in essence, the Tejas Mk2 that everyone, including ADA, is now talking about and GE purposely designed it in such a way that it would be as good as or even surpass the performance characteristics of the JAS-39 Gripen (what has to be noted here is that GE was also deeply involved in the Gripen's R & D efforts since the early 1980s and knew about the Gripen's limitations as well as future growth prospects). The GE-made design of the Tejas featured the kind of enlarged air intakes that today closely resemble those of the Gripen NG and Super Hornet, and not the kind of air intakes now gracing the Tejas' TDs and PVs and LSPs. I still have computer-generated illustrations of this design (they were released way back in late 1987 itself). A cursory look at such illustrations clearly reveals that GE knew from day 1 that the Tejas would eventually evolve from an LCA to a M-MRCA, that the indigenous development of the Kaveri turbofan would take decades to reach fruition, and that GE was therefore justified in pursuing a long-term business investment strategy within India. Therefore, fellow bloggers, the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA's design is already in ADA's possession (thanks to GE Aero Engines) and all that it now has to do is transfer all this to HAL so that production engineering tooling can be prepared for its series-production in the near future. What ADA now needs to concentrate on is to upgrade the Tejas Mk2's MIL-STD-1553B digital databus into 'HyPer-1553' standard (to make the Tejas Mk2 into a fully functional network-enabled platform), and if possible, accommodate elements of the MIL-STD-1773 fibre-optic databus, which is widely used for on-board command and telemetry transfer between military aircraft components, subsystems and instruments (as is the case with the F-16IN, EF-2000 Typhoon, Super Hornet and Rafale). Two other areas need more focus from ADA: one include a re-design the cockpit and introduce new-generation AMLCDs (of the type seen on board the JF-17 Thunder and JAS-39 Gripen NG), and undertake the design and developed of overwing conformal fuel tanks (similar to those being offered with the F-16IN Super Viper, JAS-39 Gripen IN, and EF-2000 Typhoon).

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

WOW...that was great.
The in formations that you have given regarding my queries especially regarding the Tejas development program was really cool.I have never come across such information in any other defense blogs or newspapers.That's why i say yours is the NO.1 defense blog.

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Since the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA's design is already given by GE Aero Engines as written by you,i think ADA has now no major work but to overcome the shortcomings in the Tejas Mk1 and upgrade the digital data bus,otherwise it will be a shame for them because the the major workload has been overcome by the GE Aero Engines itself;that too 20 years ago.
What do you think?

I think one major difference between the sensor packages on the Project 15B DDG and the Project 15A DDG will be that the volume search radar on the sensor packages on the Project 15B DDG will be the ship mounted L-band EL/M-2080 Green Pine radar instead of LW-08 radar which is on the Project 15A DDG.

Am i right?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Will the DRDO be able to make the SLBMs compact enough to fit inside the follow-on Arihant-class SSBN's pressure hull?
Can they take the help of the US or even France in this matter? Otherwise it will be very difficult for them as even the Russians and Chinese haven't been able to do so till today with their SSBNs and it will delay the process of induction of the SLBMs.

How many SSBNs be built in total?
Don't you think the number of VLS cells on the follow-on SSBNs will be very less than those of the US, UK, France, Russia and China whose SSBNs have 12 to 24 VLS cells.

Thank you.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2AM: many thanks. The info did not come out simply because the MoD at that time (late 1980s) suppressed it, just as it had in the early 1970s suppressed (maybe at the DRDO's behest) information about France's offer to co-develop the Arjun MBT. One must also bear in mind that the great majority of websites, blogs or publications dabbling in national security matters began appearing from the late 1990s onwards and as such have been averse to take walks down memory lane to get to the root of the matter.

To Anon@2:35AM: Designing a platform is only 50% of the challenge. The other 50% is accounted for through fabricating the full-scale functional combat aircraft and equipping it with a mature navigation-and-attack suite plus the integrated fire-control system and the defensive aids suite. Mind you, this is the very challenge now confronting the IAF's M-MRCA evaluation team and to date the only fully functional M-MRCAs that match up to what the IAF has asked for are the F-16IN, Rafale, and Super Hornet. The rest, like the Gripen IN and EF-2000 Tranche 3A are still under development and will take another three years to get airborne. That in itself should tell you how the M-MRCA competition is shaping up and how this will influence the Tejas Mk2 programme.
Regarding the Project 15B DDG, of course the LRTR (also to go on the IAC) will be an ideal fit, but IAI/ELTA is also trying hard to make available the integrated mast housing both X-band and S-band APARs.

To Anon@3:02AM: I have no answers to that as yet, and only time will tell. For the three projected SSBNs that will enter service, each will have only 8 VLS as per present plans. As India subscribes to the doctrine of minimal but credible nuclear deterrence, there is no perceived need to have super-sized SSBNs with 12 or 12 SLBMs on board.

sachin_sathe said...


Thx for the info.There were rumors tht Tejas is slated to use the MIL-STD 1773B databus in Mk.2 can u confirm?
As far as Tejas Mk.2 is concerned the GE's own estimations must be based on their assumption tht GE engine is used if DRDO picks EJ-200 then how would it impact the Design?
Also the AESA for Tejas Mk.2 was rumored to be a JV between DRDO & ELTA can u confirm?

The UAV road-map seems to be very well defined and the Armed forces seem to be keenly following it. Do they hav financial investments or stakes in these projects?

Can a ballistic missile be designed from start to be ported as it is into an SSBN for sea based deterrent? Is it realistially doable within a decent budget? I say this as i suspect(could be wrong) tht the Agni-5 might be such design a stepping stone towards getting a proper 8500km SLBM. Just like Shaurya project only on a much bigger scale.Wth do u think?

Aadi said...

Hi Prasun, Today's hot news is testing of 2 Prithvi missiles. Do you have any information about this "Dual" test? .

Anonymous said...

Dear Prasun, your blog is not only interesting but also informative. Thanks for keeping this blog. Great Job!

I am just curious to know in what are the areas where India has better technologies (defense, space, aviation, etc) than China.

Where do India stand if we compare the technologies used in space, defense, etc of West with that of India? For example, Israel being very small is very advanced in technologies in defense, electronics, communications, nano/bio-sciences, agriculture etc. So I am wondering, if any of India's home developed technology performed better than/comparable than the Western technologies in products developed and co-developed by India?

One of my Jewish friends said that, Jewish are good in science and tech because of holocaust and Israel's neighbors. They felt that they need to perform far better than their counter parts in Middle East in order to survive in that hostile region. And fortunately, they got very good leaders.

He sadly added India will learn only if India realizes the threat from China. The earlier Indians realize the Chinese threat, the better it is for India to protect Indian identity. Otherwise, India will be doomed. I also concur with him.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sachin Sathe: Actually, the DRDO has done some work on 'fly-by-light' flight control systems using MIL-STD-1773B data bus, but this has been going on for thr Dhruv ALH and will later also be applied to the LCH. But not for the Tejas Mk2 so far. Therefore, as a more viable measure, ADA will likely stick to the 'Hyper 1553B' path, and later can attempt to incorporate 'fly-by-light' flight control systems using MIL-STD-1773B data bus on a Tejas Mk3. GE's estimations were based on the future growth variants of the F404, which for GE is now the F414. But its design proposal was not specific to the F414 (as it wasn't available then) and therefore even the EJ200 will be able to go on board the Tejas Mk2. But the way things are going (with the ADA, IAF and Indian Navy already committed to the growth version of the F404-F2J3 for the PVs and LSPs plus 20 Tejas Mk1s), it appears unlikely that already well-established logistics-related product support mechanisms will be made complicated by selecting the EJ200.
As for the MMR for Tejas Mk2, it was decided last year itself to go for the EL/M-2052 AESA. As for the home-grown UAV roadmap, there's no need for the end-user (armed services) to make any up-front financial commitments, since the MoD itself will commit the reqd R & D funds. The armed services have already quantified their reqmts. Now, all that needs to be done is to adhere to the R & D schedules and firm up the selection of risk-sharing public-/private-sector industrial partnerships to ensure concurrent product development, unlike the sequential process that the LCH and LCA programmes were subjected to.
When it comes to SLBM, it has from Day 1 to be developed as a submarine-launched weapon. This is because the SLBM operates within a unique undersea environment and does not have the luxury of being subjected to periodic and elaborate diagnostics processes of the type land-based MRBMs or IRBMs can be subjected to. Secondly, unlike a land-based Agni-5, the SLBM has to be made compact enough to fit within the SSBN's pressure hull(already explained above) and at the same time have an appreciable range (between 5,500km and 8,500km). Therefore, I don't understand why the DRDO developed the Shourya sub-launched ballistic missile when it could have instead developed a three-stage sub-launched variant of the Agni-3. The Shourya, however, in its cannistered version, is an excellent land-mobile ballistic missile that offers much more flexibility (in terms of both storage and rapid deployment to its launch area) than the Agni-1 and Agni-2 missiles. While some have claimed elsewhere that "for a canisterised missile, there is no storage area and launch area. The storage area is the launch area", this is factually incorrect since the storage areas will be located deep within mountain ranges where periodic maintenance and diagnostics will be carried out to ensure the missile's robustness and reliability and also for 'arming' the warheads PRIOR to proceeding to pre-surveyed launch sites (as the Chinese have done with their road-mobile DF-21C and DF-15A missiles).

To Aadi: It was a routine test to rest the overall systems reliability and launch activation protocols of the Indian Army's two existing Artillery Divisions. There's nothing more than that.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:36PM: Many thanks. In all the areas you've mentioned, China scores above India in every sphere (perhaps the only exception being the aircraft carrier that it doesn't possess, as yet). As I emphasised several times before, the successive executive branches of the Govts of India have since independence haven't created the kind of institutions that are conducive to the nurturing of STRATEGIC VISIONING as a necessary trait or virtue. Secondly, unlike Israel, post-independence India has never ever faced an existential threat. Thirdly, India's elite (political and intellectual), unlike their counterparts in Israel and China, have and still continue to believe in leading a civilisational existence, and have yet to comprehend the hard realities associated with leading a territorial existence. That's what made Pandit Nehru describe the Aksai Chin area as place desolate place where not even a blade of grass grows (and by implication should not be paid attention to). Contrast this with the Chinese who even in ancient times built the Great Wall of China to protect their landmass from the marauding Mongols! Only those leaders blessed with the art of strategic visioning have, throughout human history, succeeded in decisively and deliberately attaining their avowed objectives (for the greater good) with ruthless and cold-hearted efficiency. Talk to any Japanese or Taiwanese or Chinese decision-maker (whether civilian or military) and they're always talking about long-term perspective plans ranging from 15-to-25-year timeframes, while in India even the Planning Commission deals with only five-year plans. Even when well-meaning folks like Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie tried to introduce the much-needed structural reforms within the MoD and MoF, they were overturned by the succeeding UPA govt without even giving any credible explanation about what exactly was wrong with what had been introduced by the previous NDA govt. The same kneejerk approach was demonstrated by India when she tested the first nuclear device in May 1974. At that time, when sanctions were already imposed in the aftermath, India should have continued her n-weaponisation programme when no one at that time forced her to adhere to a self-imposed moratorium. This same mistake was made in 1998 and as Arundhati Ghose has rightly said, if India still needed to perfect its thermonuclear warhead technologies, it should have conducted more tests over the next 12 months, as there was no one to prevent India from doing so. Instead, what kind of self-bleeding liberalistic way of thinking led India at that time to declare a unilateral moratorium on further n-tests completely beats me.

Anonymous said...

this is factually incorrect since the storage areas will be located deep within mountain ranges where periodic maintenance and diagnostics will be carried out to ensure the missile's robustness and reliability and also for 'arming' the warheads.
Prasun Sir,

What type of maintenances are needed in the missile?

There is no information from WWW on type of tests/diagnostics that are carried out in a missile. Could you list them?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Will selecting the cost-effective F-16IN help the Tejas Mk2 programme further since the only fully functional M-MRCAs that match up to what the IAF has asked for,as written by you are the F-16IN, Rafale, and Super Hornet? In that case it will even surpass the performance characteristics of the JAS-39 Gripen especially with the Tejas Mk3.What do you think?

How good is the EL/M-2052 AESA that will go on board the Tejas Mk2 compared to the Vixen 1000e, Caesar, SABR and APG-79?

Will there be a Tejas Mk3?In that case an indigenous AESA can go on-board it which, as written by you, will be available by 2015?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

You have written that the IAI/ELTA is also trying hard to make available the integrated mast housing both X-band and S-band APARs on board the Project 15B DDG instead of L-band EL/M-2080 LRTR.
Does that mean that, if such APARs get ready before the decision on sensors to go on-board the Project 17A FFG and Project 15C DDG, such APARs will go on-board them.
Am i right?

Then, if not the LRTR, what will be the volume search radar on the Project 15B DDG Project 17A FFG and Project 15C DDGs as i have read somewhere that L-band radars operate in the lower frequency and as such can detect targets at a much longer distance than the S-band or the X-band.Hence it can detect an aircraft(even stealth aircraft) or a missile much earlier than the S-band radars.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

I think the DRDO should develop a long range(1500 kms) supersonic/hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile that can be launched both from submarines & ships much like the Tomahawk(which is sub-sonic) to counter the threat posed by growing PLAN.The Brahmos cannot exceed 300 km.
Can the ADM with conventional warheads be launched from our warships? OR will the DRDO develop another long range(1500 kms) anti-ship cruise missile but ram-jet/scram-jet propelled with the help from the Israelis?

Regarding the 2nd line of SSKs,you have written that the front-runners are the S-800 (and not the S-1000) from Fincantieri, and SMX-22 from DCNS.Can you please write an article on both of them in your next post may be.Apart from your article on the SMX-22 that you have written earlier i have not not found any other in-formations on any website.Much water have flown since,so i want you specially to write regarding the new developments of both the subs.I will be grateful.

Thanks again.

NJS said...

Largely ignored in the popular media was a small article in U.S. Naval Institute about the Dongfeng 21 anti-ship variant developed by China that can take out a U.S. warship in a single hit. At a speed of Mach 10 with a 2,000km range, it is supported by a network of satellites, UAVs and radars. Add to this its complex guidance system, low radar signature and maneuverability and it is easy to see that the U.S does not have anything to counter this missile. Suddenly it becomes a real game changer. Taiwan and Japan should be especially worried. Sometimes you just need a credible weapon, even if it is never used, to achieve your objectives.

Keeps us wondering what the U.S. would do in a China-U.S. war scenario? Submarines surely wont be enough and they have to rely on India(n soil) to launch ground/air attacks? Would Pakistan be up for auction in this case?(www.8ak.com)

we are speaking about 290 km Bhramos anti ship missile is fastest in world, but the chinese missile seems to be most dangerous not only for US,its a knife on neck to india also.is their any program(weapons) to stop this missile ,when it fired against indian war ships in near future or india as usually keeps cool about it.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@4:35PM: As you may be aware, India's no-first-strike N-doctrine mandates that the country's nuclear arsenal, like that of China, is kept in a semi-recessed or semi-knocked down state, instead of being kept in permanent readiness and fully armed as a first strike doctrine would demand. Secondly, since insertion of the fissile core on the warhead and its arming is the joint responsibility of the civilian agencies like the DRDO and DAE, keeping the warheads and their delivery systems (ballistic missiles at the moment) physically separated (albeit at the sdame location, with only the fissile cores being physically held elsewhere) is the established standard operating procedure (SOP). It consequently emerges that maintaining, calibrating and servicing these separate components at periodic intervals is a necessity, and even once everything is assembled while preparing for deployment-for- launch, the missile's inertial navigation system will have to be pre-programmed, as will the launch vehicle land navigation system. Only then will the missile be loaded into a cannister and the cannister mounted on the land-mobile transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) wheeled vehicle. This practice is standard for all countries currently deploying such land-mobile nuclear-tipped ballistic and cruise missiles. It is for all this that during peacetime such missiles, their test/diagnostics/calibration-stations and command-and-control stations are kept in storage deep within tunnels dug into mountain ranges. Only once the country's nuclear command authorities activate the desired cluster of n-missile groups and related wheeled or rail-mobile TELs will full-scale mobilisation and final assembly take place, prior to such systems reaching their pre-designated launch areas (usually between 15 to 50km away from their peacetime hardened storage sites.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:58PM: Definitely. One must also bear in mind that the Gripen has yet to be exposed to any kind of realistic combat environment, while the F-16 was gone through numerous levels of product improvements, especially since the late 1990s and in the future network-centric warfare environment, only the F-16 Block 60, F-16I Soufa, Rafale and the Super Hornet have state-of-the-art on-board broadband data links and integrated defensive aids suites that were all designed based on actual wartime exposure and they still continue to evolve.
The same can be said of the Tejas Mk2 and Tejas Mk3. Once equipped with the EL/M-2052 AESA radar, the Tejas Mk2 will be formidable M-MRCA EVEN before the Vixen 1000e-equipped Gripen NG matures as a weapons platform simply because the EL/M-2052 has already been flight-qualified for combat aircraft, whereas the Vixen 1000e will begin taking to the skies only next month.

To Anon@7:49PM: In all probability the integrated masts from both THALES and IAI/ELTA containing X-band and S-band APAR arrays will be available by 2012. Therefore, it is likely that on the four Project 15B DDGs the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR/LRTR combination will go on board (they could also be retrofitted on the existing three Project 15 Delhi-class DDGs) while on the three Project 15C DDGs and seven Project 17A FFGs the integrated mast will be installed.

To Anon@8:30PM: As far as nuclear deterrence goes, the Shourya and the submarine-launched cruise missile variant of the ADM will be enough to deter China from using its existing DF-21C ballistic missiles and CJ-10 cruise missiles. There are no plans for developing a conventional ship-launched variant of the ADM.
Regarding the 2nd line of SSKs, the front-runners are the S-800 (and not the S-1000) from Fincantieri, and SMX-24 from DCNS (and not SMX-22 as I had stated earlier). Will try to give an update on this competition in the near future.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To NJS: That scenario is not so scary, since China has very limited overhead recce capabilities (through its three existing SAR-rquipped satellites, about which I will upload an analysis later tonight) that are required for providing strategic targetting coordinates for the DF-21C and CJ-10. The existing US constellation of DSP missile early warning satellites coupled with the shipborne AEGIS-based theatre ballistic missile defence systems deployed by the US, Japan and South Korea are more than enough to counter such Chinese capabilities in the Western Pacific. For countries like India the Shourya has the potential to be developed into something resembling the DF-21C. But there are two existing deficiencies concerning a sea-based or maritime theatre ballistic missile defence system: India would have to deploy a mix of polar earth-orbting RISAT-1 SAR-equipped satellites (about four) and at least another four low-earth orbiting SAR-equipped satellites like TecSAR to ensure long-duration and comprehensive ocean reconnaissance and overhead land recce capabilities. In addition, joint R & D on follow-on enhanced derivatives of the Barak-8ER for theatre high-altitude air defence should also be pursued.

Nava said...

IAI continues to mention advanced versions of the Gabriel ground breaking see skimming missile (I believe the last is referred to as Gabriel V) that are supposedly being developed, and yet I know of no buyers. Are these serious development efforts into a new generation ASCM or just Harpoon-owitz missiles being touted for limited exports?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: That's right. The Gabriel V keeps on surfacing from time to time along with IMI's ship-launched Delilah as well as RAFAEL's Popeye-derived cruise missile. But I too know of no confirmed export customers to date. But going by past practice, such missiles have invariably turned up in countries like Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela (although the last country is now unlikely to get export sanction from SIBAT).

Nava said...

I see, that's pretty much what I thought. However, I wonder if the development of the Barak 8 SAM might make developing a ASCM more likely... After all, knowing and understanding the counter measure is one way of approaching the design of the measure.

I just read your post about China's anti ship BM threat, and I'm wondering what these future variants of the Barak 8ER you envision would entail.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Well, I don't exactly envision or expect a supersonic ASCM threat to the IDF-Navy for some time to come (as even the Iranians have subsonic C-802As and TL-10s of Chinese origin), but in the Indian context the expected/perceived threats to be countered by the Barak-8 will include the Chinese sea-skimming CJ-10 cruise missile (ship-launched and air-launched) and the ship-launched supersonic Kh-41 Zubr (derived from the Moskit). The shipborne Barak-8ER LR-SAM, on the other hand, would be ideally employed against inbound tactical ballistic missiles, with futuristic enhanced derivatives of the Barak-8ER being employed for intercepting in-bound MRBMs or IRBMs that could typically target an Indian Navy carrier battle group.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: having said that, I would tend to place more or greater emphasis on a space-based ballistic missile early warning system using a combination of both TecSAR-type and DSP-type satellites deployed in low-earth and polar earth orbits.

Nava said...

Well, I believe that the Israeli Navy has already committed itself to the Barak 8, so they seem to see a need for the system. The IS N is really a small and not very advanced force, which is a shame in a sense. Sure, there are budgetary constraints, but its rather disappointing considering the array of impressive naval products under development here mainly for export.
RE the Barak ER I think its no more than a Stunner with a AC capable warhead. WRT the space based BMW, I don't think SAR satellites are nearly as effective as IR ones in Ballistic missile launch detection and early tracking.

Anonymous said...

Hi prasun,
please give me details of french SPECTRA warfare system if you aware of it.Is it possible for India to get SPECTRA system if Rafale wins the MMRCA ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: The TecSAR-type satellites are employed primnarily for tracking the movements and deployments of land-mobile or road-mobile ballistic missiles both in their staging areas and launch areas, and more importantly, for determining strategic n-targetting priorities either for a first strike or retaliatory second strike. The satellites with optronic payloads (like the DSP) are the ones for providing early warning when the ballistic missile is still in the boost phase. In my view, it is not an 'either or' choice. Both have to be deployed to ensure strategic deterrence.

Nava said...

Well yes. But gathering info about Nuke targeting has little to do with BMD... It isn't an either or choice, but TECSAR satellites are of little use when defending against a barrage of Ballistic missiles, as mobile launchers are very easy to disguise and the size of the area that needs "scanning" is forbiddingly large.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:22PM: You can get all data on SPECTRA at: http://www.thalesgroup.com/assets/0/93/238/7af026d7-bc11-4272-a209-c1101d230fc2.pdf?LangType=2057
Whosoever buys the Rafale will have to acquire the Spectra suite as well, since it is standard fit (and not an optional accessory). The Spectra also includes four compact AESA arrays positioned around the aircraft (front, sides and rear) that can be used for directional jamming of hostile data-links and terminal radars of fire-and-forget BVRAAMs. Such AESA-based jammers have also been developed by Italy's Elletronica (for the MiG-29 and MiG-35), and by IAI/ELTA which are on the F-16I Soufa, the F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons of the UAE Air Force, and the F-16C/Ds of the republic of Singapore Air Force.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: That depends on what one is targetting--mega-cities or hardened sites containing concentrations of nuclear-tipped ballistic/cruise missiles. To me, an effective BMD network's first and foremost priority is early warning of missile launches, with the early warning not beginning in the missile's boost phase, but with constant monitoring of operational deployments and launch preparations. That's why, use of satellites with IR sensors will provide me with only 50% of the info I would require, but with TecSAR-type satellites I would know exactly which area/theatre requires constant surveillance, which in turn will give me more time to organise the BMD's activation sequence. The only way of ensuring quick revisit times for TecSAR-type satellites is to deploy more of them (up to seven) for theatre surveillance. There are no two ways about it.