Total Pageviews

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wasted Opportunities

On August 20 while commissioning the second of three 5,600-tonne Project 17 guided-missile frigates (FFG)—INS Satpura—expect India’s Defence Minister Arakkaparambil Kurian Antony to say the following:

1)      Over the years there has been a distinct shift in our policy from a ‘Buyer’s Navy’ to a ‘Builder’s Navy’. Time and again history has taught us to maintain a strong and vigilant navy. Our maritime heritage dates back to the ancient times. Though we have come a long way in re-establishing our capabilities on the high seas since our independence, we still have a lot to achieve before we can consider ourselves a really potent naval force. History has time and again held out lessons in maintaining a strong and an eternally vigilant Navy. The security situation in and around our immediate neighbourhood poses several security related challenges. We therefore have to maintain high levels of operational readiness at all times.

2)      India’s shipbuilding industry has to modernise itself through indigenous efforts and minimise its dependence on imports. We must continue with our efforts to transform and modernise our shipyards, so that they can not only meet the domestic demands, but also achieve latest international standards in quality construction. We must be able to produce quality warships in a shorter time frame at competitive costs. I strongly urge all the participants of the Indian industry to give their best in developing our shipbuilding programmes.

What will not be spelt out, or even acknowledged, is the growing cost of procuring wholly imported sub-systems and components for such warships, without which the vessel’s hull is absolutely worthless. And the principal culprits for perpetuating such a dysfunctional state of affairs are none other than the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Department of Defence Production & Supplies (DDPS), the MoD-owned defence public sector undertakings (DPSU), and the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). Let us now examine each of their inglorious contributions over the past 34 years.   
It was in 1960 that the MoD bought the complete design package of the Leander-class FFG’s superstructure and its licenced-manufacturing rights from the UK’s Vickers Armstrong & Yarrow. However, the first of six Leander-class FFGs to be built by the MoD-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL)—INS Nilgiri--was commissioned only 12 years later on June 23, 1972, nine years after the Royal Navy commissioned its first Leander-class FFG. Thereafter, between 1974 and 1981 the following five Leander-class FFGs were commissioned, and were followed by three Project 16 Godavari-class FFGs and three Project 16A Brahmaputra-class FFGs, accounting for a total of 12 FFGs built as variations (conceptualised and designed by the Navy’s Directorate General Naval Design, or DGND) of the same basic hull design and with the same steam engine-based propulsion package. However, the time taken to achieve this took an astonishing 33 years!

Today, as far as the Indian Navy’s principal surface combatant accretion plans go, it outwardly appears that they all seem to be on hand barring the usual time and cost overruns. However, appearances can be totally deceptive and the factual position is far less palatable. The Navy’s passionate espousal of indigenisation has never received the kind of national support that it really deserved from either the MoD or from its DPSUs and the DRDO. Consequently, the Navy’s dependency factor on imported sub-systems and components has been progressively increasing. Take the example of the INS Beas, the last 3,850-tonne Project 16A FFG to be commissioned on July 11, 2005. It was announced then by the MoD that this warship had an indigenous content of 85%. Such a statement, unless its context is clarified, is highly misleading, to say the least. For, when blurting out data on weapon systems or platforms, it must be clearly indicated whether the percentage of claimed indigenisation is by weight, by volume, by cost, or by technological content. When this was pointed out to the MoD, it decided redefine indigenisation and during the commissioning ceremony of INS Shivalik, the first Project 17 FFG, on April 29, 2010, the MoD claimed that the total indigenous effort accounted for 60% of the cost of producing the FFG (each Project 17 FFG costs US$650 million, or Rs26 billion). Since then similar data has been released on the three 6,800-tonne Project 15A Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG), with the MoD claiming that each such vessel, costing $950 million (Rs38 billion), is 90% indigenous by cost. Similar estimations are also doing the rounds on the projected four 6,800-tonne Project 15B DDGs (approved by the MoD’s Defence Acquisitions Council in February 2009, with the first vessel due to be launched in 2015), and the four Project 28 Kamorta-class ASW guided-missile corvettes, each of which is likely to cost $435 million. In fact, the project cost of these four ASW corvettes has inflated from a sanctioned amount of Rs28 billion or $560 million  (Rs7 billion or $140 million per 2,500-tonne vessel) to an estimated Rs70 billion ($1.4 billion) now.

Let us examine the specific case of INS Satpura, whose hull, combat management system (using imported AMLCD and PAMLCD panels supplied by BARCO of Belgium) and auxiliary machinery can easily constitute up to 65% of its weight and volume, and since these are largely designed and manufactured in India, a statement claiming 65% indigenous content will be technically correct. However, it needs to be borne in mind that these are low-cost and low-tech items. On the other hand, the FFG’s CODOG propulsion system (comprising two GE-designed LM-2500 gas turbines licence-assembled by the MoD-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and two SEMT Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines licence-assembled by Kirloskar), integrated platform management system and battle damage control system (supplied by Canada-based L-3 MAPPS), principal weapon systems (like the Italian OTO Melara 76mm/62-calibre Super Rapid Gun Mount, or SRGM, which is licence-assembled by the Hardwar-based facility of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd; the Tulamashzavod JSC-built A-213-Vympel-A point defence system comprising twin AK-630M 30mm guns, MR-123-02 fire-control radar and SP-521 optronic tracker; the 32 Barak-1 anti-missile SAMs and their twin EL/M-2221 STGR fire-control systems all supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries; the Shtil-1 area air defence system comprising the 24 rounds of 40km-range 9M317M SAMs, a 3S-90 missile launcher, four MR-90 Orekh target illuminators, and the Salyut FSUE-built E-band MR-760 Fregat M2EM 3-D radar; the eight Novator-built 3M54E Klub-N supersonic 220km-range anti-ship cruise missiles and their Garpun Bal-E fire-control radar; the twin 12-barrelled RBU-6000 (RPK-8) ASW mortar launchers; the twin two-tube DTA-53-11356 torpedo launchers and their Dvigatel-built SET-65SE/KE and TEST-71ME-NK torpedoes and the Granit Central Scientific Institute-developed Purga ASW fire-control system; the  ELTA Systems-built S-band EL/M-2288 AD-STAR search radar; the THALES-built Captas-4 low-frequency active/passive towed-array sonar; Elettronica Spa of Italy’s planar active phased-array jammers; the ELBIT Systems-built Desceaver offboard countermeasures suite; and the two projected 10-tonne shipborne ASW/ASV helicopters and their lightweight ASW torpedoes and medium-range anti-ship missiles, are all of imported origin.  

The above-mentioned imported equipment may constitute only 20% of the warship by weight and volume, but could account for as much as 80% of the cost and technology content. But most importantly, if Indian military-industrial entities are unable to design and produce such systems indigenously, then what is being really achieved is just the mere in-country production of raw materials like the D-40S grade steel from Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), along with indigenous hull construction (and not producing a fully integrated warship), and falsely claiming the attainment of high levels of indigenisation.

Inherent Dysfunctionalities
The main deficiencies in India’s indigenous warship design and development capabilities lie in three principal areas: inadequate military shipbuilding infrastructure, inability of the DPSUs to design and develop indigenous sub-systems solutions, and the DRDO’s self-imposed obsession with technology demonstration programmes. In terms of shipbuilding infrastructure, the dismal record is for all to see: each of the three Project 15 Delhi-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG) and three Project 16A Brahmaputra-class FFGs took about nine years to be built (from keel-laying till commissioning). In the case of the three Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs, although the Union Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) approved the construction programme in 1997, the MoD placed orders for the three FFGs in only 1999. Keel-laying of the first vessel--Shivalik F 47—took place on July 11, 2001 at MDL’s Yard 12617) and the hull was launched on April 18, 2003. It next took seven years for the FFG to be outfitted and undergo harbour and sea trials prior to its commissioning on April 29, 2010. As for INS Satpura F 48, the keel was laid down on October 31, 2002 at Yard 12727), the hull was launched on June 4, 2004, and it will be commissioned seven years later on August 20. Also not being adhered to are the original delivery schedules of the three Project 15A Kolkata-class DDGs, for which all shafting and propellers are being imported from Russia. INS Kolkata, whose keel was laid down at MDL’s Yard 12701) in September 2003, was launched on March 30, 2006 and is due for commissioning only by the year’s end. INS Kochi, whose keel-laying took place at Yard 12702 on October 25, 2005 and whose hull was launched on September 18, 2009, is likely to be commissioned only by 2012. INS Chennai, whose keel was laid down at Yard 12703) on February 21, 2006 and whose hull was launched on April 1, 2010, is likely to be commissioned by late 2013. Even when it comes to the construction of guided-missile corvettes, the track-record of MoD-owned shipbuilders is no better. For instance, keel-laying ceremony for the first of the four Kamorta-class ASW corvettes, whose construction was approved by the CCNS in 2003, took place at the MoD-owned Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers’ Yard 3017 on November 20, 2006, and the vessel was launched on April 19, 2010, and is due for commissioning only in late 2012. The second vessel, whose keel was laid at Yard 3018 on September 27, 2007, is due to be launched probably by next month, and will be commissioned by 2013. All four such vessels are being built with SAIL-produced DMR-249A steel.

Even the much-maligned Russian warship-building industry has been able to perform better than the MoD-owned shipyards like MDL and GRSE. For instance, Baltisky Zavod JSC, which built the first three 4,035-tonne Project 1135.6 FFGs, delivered them all within a period of five years. INS Talwar F 40, whose keel was laid on March 10, 1999, was launched on May 12, 2000 and commissioned on June 18, 2003. INS Trishul, whose keel was laid on September 24, 1999, was launched on November 24, 2000 and commissioned on June 25, 2003. INS Tabar, whose keel was laid on May 26, 2000, was launched on May 25, 2001 and commissioned on April 19, 2004. The same production schedule is adhered to for the follow-on Batch 2 Project 1135.6 FFGs, whose purchase was approved by the CCNS on July 6, 2006 at a cost of $1.88 billion and which are now being built by Yantar Shipyard JSC in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave. INS Teg, whose keel-laying took place on July 27, 2007, was launched on November 27, 2009 and will be commissioned before the year’s end. INS Tarkash, whose keel-laying took place on November 27, 2007, was launched last year and will be commissioned in early 2012. INS Trikand, whose keel laws laid on June 11, 2008, was launched two years later and will be commissioned by 2013. In China, the two shipyards at Shanghai and Guangzhou are presently churning out the Type 054A Jinkai 1-class FFGs at a rate of one every 14 months.

Adding to the problem of severely delayed warship delivery schedules is the inability of India’s DPSUs to come up with indigenous solutions in areas like propulsion systems, radars, combat management systems, integrated electronic warfare suites, and naval armaments. A few examples here will suffice. Since almost every DPSU-built warship for the Indian Navy sports the AK-630M or Shipunov 2A42 30mm cannons—both built by Russia’s Tulamashzavod JSC—wouldn’t it have been better for the MoD-owned Ordnance Factories Board to have bought out outright the designs of these two guns, their mountings, turrets and their fire-control systems and re-engineered them minimally to re-brand them as Made-in-India armaments? Such weapon systems could then easily be offered on board the waterjet-powered extra fast patrol craft built by GRSE, which have huge export potential within the Indian Ocean Region. Instead, the OFB till this day continues to licence-assemble the 2A42 cannons that are delivered by Tulamashzavod in completely knocked-down condition. The same goes for the licence-assembled (with transferred screwdriver technologies) 76/62 main guns, whose designs could have been bought outright by BHEL from Italy’s OTOBreda (a member of the Finmeccanica Group) and be subsequently re-engineered for fitment on to the advanced offshore patrol vessels (AOPV) built by MDL or the MoD-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) for potential export customers. In addition, both BHEL and OTOBreda could well have elevated their on-going military-industrial cooperation to greater heights by co-developing a 155mm/52-cal naval main gun, which will be the mainstay of all future principal surface combatants now being designed in Europe, the US and even China and Russia.

A similar sordid state of affairs prevails in the area of radars. The MoD-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), which has been licence-assembling different kinds of radars originally developed by THALES of France, has yet to indigenously develop a new-generation radar. It must be noted that both BEL and the DRDO missed the bus twice throughout the 1990s. Firstly, it seems none of the two every bothered to ask the Indian Navy if it requires a multi-purpose E-band radar variant of the Rohini 3-D central acquisition radar, which was then under development by the DRDO’s Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) for the Akash E-SHORADS air-defence system. The 3-D CAR is derived from the TRS-17 radar developed by Poland’s Przemyslowly Instytut Telekomunikacji SA, and the LRDE bought out its entire design package and re-engineered it to suit the requirements of both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. Had both the DRDO and BEL approached the Navy in the early 1990s (instead of 2003) to seek its support for developing the Revathi navalised 3-D CAR, then the Navy’s existing three Project 16 Godavari-class FFGs, three Project 16A Brahmaputra-class FFGs, and three of the five Kashin 2-class DDGs would by now, have sported the Revathi instead of the ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2238 STAR surveillance & threat alert radars that they now do. The same goes for the six Project 1135.6 FFGs and three Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs, which now sport the Fregat-M2EM radars. Another collective failure of the DRDO and BEL was the lack of foresight in developing a C-band, mast-mounted four-faced distributed-array passive phased-array (PESA) radar (like the Type 348 system developed by China’s CETC for the Type 052C Luyang-class DDG and derived from the C-band HT-233 PESA engagement radar for the CPMIEC-developed KS-1A MR-SAM system) for the three Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs. It seems no one from the MoD even had a vision throughout the 1990s about developing the Akash air-defence system for tri-service applications, or developing a 40km-range variant of the Akash SAM by using high-energy solid propellants.

The stories behind the DRDO-developed and BEL-built Aparna electronic warfare (EW) suite and the hull-mounted HUMSA-NG low-frequency panoramic sonar plus the NAGAN low-frequency active/passive towed-array sonar are no different either. By the late 1990s, while the DRDO’s Hyderabad-based Defence R & D laboratory (DRDL), under the auspices of Project Sangraha, had succeeded in developing the Ajanta family of combined ESM/ELINT systems (comprising the Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 variants), both the DRDO and BEL thus far failed to develop and produce indigenous jammers and off-board countermeasures dispensing systems. Consequently, the Ajanta’s ECM component is made up of Elettronica Spa of Italy’s planar active phased-array jammers licence-assembled by BEL, and ELBIT Systems-built Desceaver offboard countermeasures. A similar tale of missed opportunities concerns the NAGAN. Given the fact that the most effective sensor to detect hostile SSKs operating in shallow waters is the active/passive ultra low-frequency towed-array sonar (ATAS), both the DRDO’s Naval Physical & Oceanographic Labs (NPOL) and BEL should have by now come up with an ultra low-frequency variant of the NAGAN, instead of a low-frequency system. The ultra low-frequency system comprises a towed body that integrates separate transmit and receive arrays operating at 1.38kHz, a compact winch along with its handling system, and shipboard electronics. Such an ATAS can reach an operational depth of 300 metres (985 feet), and are easily accommodated within any existing DDG and FFG of the Indian Navy and gives the ATAS, in shallow waters, a range that is, on the average, about two times the range of any competing mid-frequency sonar. In deeper waters the average range advantage increases to more than four times. Overall, when undertaking bistatic surveillance sweeps in conjunction with even a low-frequency sonar (like the hull-mounted HUMSA-NG), the ATAS offers an advantage of between four to 16 times the area coverage for all operating conditions that a navy might encounter. The beneficial impact of this performance advantage is staggering! However, despite such stated advantages, the Indian Navy has had no choice but to stick to the imported THALES-built Captas-4 low-frequency towed-array sonar for the three Project 17 FFGs simply because the NAGAN is as yet unavailable from BEL--its production authority. The same goes for the MIHIR low-frequency dunking sonar, which has been under development for more than a decade. Regarding the twin-tube and triple-tube torpedo launchers designed and developed in-house by Larsen & Toubro, neither of these are on board the Project 17 FFGs simply because the DRDO’s Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL) has been unable to finish developing the Varunastra heavyweight electric torpedo that is 7.6 metres long, weighs 1,500kg and has a range of up to 30km. The only piece of indigenous ASW weaponry on board is the ‘Mareech’ anti-torpedo decoy system, which was developed by the NSTL and is being built by BEL and Kerala State Electronics Development Corp Ltd (KELTRON).

As far back as 2004, Navy HQ had presented to the then Secretary of the DRDO a 20-year forecast of the technologies that the Indian Navy wanted developed indigenously in pursuit of its maritime security roles and missions. The fate of this 20-year forecast was a foregone conclusion, because the DRDO has a vision of its own, which is generally fixated on the pursuit of technology demonstrations and which accord a very low priority to the operational needs of India’s armed forces. The resultant dependence of the Indian Navy on foreign sources for high-tech weapons, sensors and propulsion packages has been the main cause of the highly embarrassing time and cost overruns consistently faced by India’s warship-building programmes. Although the Navy’s in-house DND has grown and matured into a highly versatile and capable organisation for designing principal surface combatants, the key to the combat effectiveness of such vessels lies in the quality of the weapons systems, sensors, EW suites and propulsion packages—areas in which India is several years away from self-reliance. This is especially true of the DRDO-led and controlled Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme, where the security firewalls put in place by the DRDO at Russia’s insistence has resulted in the DND not gaining any kind of experience whatsoever from this programme. Consequently, the Navy has had no choice but to advance in baby steps in trying to understand the physics behind the ‘Arihant’ nuclear-powered technology demonstrator vessel, and as a result the vessel’s harbour trials have yet to get underway.
It is difficult to break existing moulds, and resistance to transformational changes can be a hugely retrograde step, but if the DRDO and DPSUs have failed to delivered for the past three decades, and are unwilling to work in convergence with the self-reliance aims of the India’s armed forces, then the Indian Navy has no other choice but to find new paradigms in order to meet its indigenisation and force planning targets. It is never too late to make a fresh start, for if the Navy does not start now, it will never get anywhere. Incidentally, the Indian Navy has a captive centre of excellence in the Weapons & Electronics Systems Engineering Establishment (WESEE), which under the leadership of the Navy HQ’s Directorate of Indigenisation could launch a 20-year technologies development programme in various disciplines in partnership with India’s innovative private sector military-industrial entities, DPSUs and institutions of higher academic learning. The private-sector entities should be encouraged to seek foreign R & D collaboration provided the transfer of key technologies are completed within the first five years, following which a Mark 2/Batch 2 product could be jointly developed and marketed. This type of product development strategy was first followed by WESEE since the late 1990s when it designed and developed the EMCCA computer-aided action information system (CAAIS) for the Project 16A FFGs and Project 15 DDGs, and was followed by the EMDINA family of combat management systems (CMS) for the Project 17 FFGs, Project 15A DDGs and Project 28 ASW corvettes. Both the EMCCA and EMDINA were developed in collaboration with TATA Power’s Strategic Electronics Division (SED) under the WESEE’s Project MECCA and Project MEDINA. The three Project 17 FFGs have on board the CMS-17 (developed under Project MEDINA) centralised combat management system, built by BEL’s Ghaziabad-based facility. WESEE’s strategy of leveraging the strengths of joint–sector partnerships was also instrumental in the evolution of the research, development, test, evaluation and production programmes involving the Barak-2/8 MR-SAM/LR-SAM, which will be produced by an India-based joint venture between TATA Power SED and Israel Aerospace Industries, called Nova Integrated Systems Pvt Ltd, within six years of contract signature. In addition, WESEE had almost a decade ago teamed up with TATA Power SED and the TATA Institute of Fundamental Research along with the IITs of Kanpur and Kharagpur to develop within a three-year period the secure SATCOM-based LINK-2 digital broadband fleetwide communications system (for exchanging voice, data and imagery in real-time) that is now standard fit on all Indian Navy warships. As they say, where there’s a will, there’s always a way.—Prasun K. Sengupta


Anonymous said...

Wow !!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Chinese Navy is expanding at an alarming rate .

So India needs HI TECH warships and submarines that too in decent numbers

And India cannot keep pace with the latest technologies in electronics and radars ie sub systems

So we import

But at least we have 6700 TON destroyers in our navy

Indigenisation is just a 30 YEAR Dream for India

ALL our armed forces will have imported systems for next 30 years at least

Indians have accepted this reality

Our priority is MILITARY strength
And the ABILITY to BUY weapons with our own money

Anonymous said...

sir why was my comment having some questions related to the IN's frigates , destroyers and iac was removed ??

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: Kindly re-post those questions.

Scott B. said...

Are you sure it's the EL/M-2288 AD-STAR radar ?

I'm asking because :

1) It looks very much like the EL/M-2238 STAR radar.

2) My understanding is that the EL/M-2288 AD-STAR is a land-based radar rather than a naval radar.

Besides, pairing the M2EM and the EL/M-2238 (2288 ?) makes for an unusual combination, since both operate in the same band (E-band = S-band).

While I assume that M2EM comes with Shtil-1 and EL/M-2238 (2288 ?) comes with Barak-1, pairing the M2EM and the EL/M-2238 (2288 ?) makes for an unusual combination, since both operate in the same band (E-band = S-band).

On a sidenote, are you planning to post an update on INS Vikrant in the near future ? I'd certainly appreciate to have lot more details on this program.


joydeep ghosh said...

Prasun da

looks like you didnt like my post laced with pinch of salt, sigh!!


Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

Great going parsun,
even p 17 A these builders GRSE / mazagon will complete in low tech type only , if we see for example like GOWIND class frigate , their are lot of difference in design / quality , our bulders still working as a assembling unit not a valuable manufacture with better R & D.(another example HAL - govt spends lot of money to get ToT (mig 21 /27/29, jaguar , su30 but still cannot able to make 4++(IAF chief says LCA is nothing but mig21 ++).

Anonymous said...

''Army plan to raise 2 missile regiments of the BrahMos Mark II (wiki)''.

Q: how many missile & launchers in single regiment.

Q: why project 17 not installed brahmos anti ship missile.

Q: news says india may fastrack new line sub's appoints new officer, any useful news on new line submarine(6 nos).does which one has more possible Amur 1650 or U214 .

Q: Eagerly waiting for bofors 146 nos guns from US - when will be signed.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Scott.B: The E-band EL/M-2238STAR has been succeeded by the EL/M-2282 AD-STAR. The former is no more in production. The AD-STAR has been sold in both versions: a land-mobile transportable medium-range surveillance radar as well as a shipborne radar. Will try to post an analysis on INS Vikrant in future.

To Joydeep Ghosh: I don't recall deleting any one of your comments. Pray check again.

To Anon@3.14PM: The BrahMos was still being developed by the time work began on the hull-construction of the three Project 17 FFGs. Each BrahMos Regiment comprises three Batteries each comprising four MALs, a Mobile Command Post (MCP), a Fixed Command Centre, four replenishment vehicles and three maintenance support vehicles. Each MAL carries three vertically-launched BrahMos missiles, and covers a frontage of 600km.

Anonymous said...

it is said that Indians are good servents but no good managers (from colonial times). we export iron ore cheap to china and buy processed steel at market price back.
it is nothing short of miracle atleast the IN is able to construct medium sized ships.
Prasuna da i see that you are really a dreamer, even as what you post early about the state of our defence production you expect highly capable hitec radars and weapon systems in our warships that too in 'miniscule' time!. I am really glad that at least we are keeping such good quality stuff atleast from abroad on our scaffolds.

Also a request, some of us are not very good at defence stuff, so when you post the pictures kindly keep a caption to the pictures. i figure out that the pictures are following the text article and may be are the item just mentioned but some figures are having multiple pictures.

and thanks for such a detailed review you made painstakingly, it is a privilege reading them.

Anonymous said...

what are the chances of spanish juon carlos class for indian LPD procurement?
As india is operating LPD jalaswa and put a tender for LPD i think india is aiming for San Antonio class
what do you think?
Is there any plans of indian navy for AMERICA class full flat top AAS(amphibious assault ship)
I have read your article on LPD procurement of IN

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@8.30PM: Many thanks. But I beg to differ with you regarding your perception about Indians being good servants but not good managers. For, as I have endeavoured to explain in the just-redrafted last paragraph of my analysis, existing moulds--though hard to break--can nevertheless be broken and recast with the help of decisive leadership and fundamental attitudnal transformations. It is not about dreaming, but being brutally realistic and objective, and only when this happens, then hard-core and undeniable results do begin to appear, such as the indigenous development of the CMS-17 combat management system and the LINK-2 communications network. The BrahMos supersonic MRCM and Barak-2/8 MR-SAM/LR-SAM are other glowing examples of what can be achieved within a short span of time by joining hands with established military-industrual entities like Russia's NPOM and Israel's IAI. Lastly, I do not give captions because the filenames of the uploaded illustrations themselves serve as captions.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.46PM: Frankly, the chances are very low, as the Spaniards have not been as aggressive and pro-active as DCNS or Hanjin. Between these two--Mistral BPC and Dokdo LPH--the winner will build the first two in its own yard abroad, while Vizag-based MoD-owned Hindustan Shipyards Ltd will licence-build the remaining two, thanks to the efforts of the presently serving Minister of State for Defence M M Palam Raju, who hails from Andhra Pradesh. In addition, it appears that the private-sector Bharti Shipyard, which was earlier the frontrunner for winning the tender for building six 2,000-tonne AOPVs for the Indian Coast Guard, is now reportedly no longer the MoD's favourite to win the tender, and it appears highly likely that Kolkata-based GRSE will bag the contract instead. Maybe this is one 'legal' way by which the present-day Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee can keep his earlier promise of trying to bail out the financially bankrupt state of West Bengal after the Congress-TMC combine came to power at Writers' Building.

Mr. Ra said...

Great article! But the parity can now be maintained only with the application of some hitech technology which simultaneously brings huge tsunamis all along the Chinese coasts accompanied with the massive earthquakes on their landmasses. ...Lol

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA: Actually, the PLA Navy is admired globally today not because of its sophistication, but because of its ability to rapidly evolve into a large three-dimensional force within the last two decades. The only consolation for India is that Beijing has now acknowledged India's superiority in terms of being able to deploy up to three carrier-based battle groups by 2014. On India's part more importance must be given to the procurement of additional home-grown stealthy guided-missile corvettes (at least another 12), guided-missile frigates (at least another 10) as well as six AIP-powered SSKs (under project 75I) and a fleet of five nuclear-powered attack submarines. The GoI ought to realise that in terms of nuclear-powered submarines, the Navy's top priority is the acquisition of SSNs, and not the prohibitively expensive SSBNs and their SLBMs.

Mr. Ra said...

Which most potential weapon you suggest to be loaded on the SSN's.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA: Supersonic 600km-range LACMs equipped with sub-kT nuclear warheads or conventional blast-fragmentation warheads, plus 60+km range wire-guided torpedoes.

Anonymous said...

am Anon@8.30PM

its great to see your enthusiasm, i am myself seeing a lot of enthusiastic young and extremely talented youngsters, but ultimately end up as low-med level tech jobs. the ones ending up as scientists initially show the enthusiasm but our system keeps them down and after 10 years of service all what they are interested in the pay cheque, pension and retirement plans.

we sincerely lack self confidence in our own capability, hence i said we are good servents (just literal meaning never meant to hurt anyone)

You are doing exactly what is required, critical and very detailed analysis and introspection and corrective measures possible.

what we need is to speed up all our technological capabilities, i for sure want to see them in my life time not in my grantchildrens life time. I wonder whether the 'visionaries' who make the planning do not have such a wish.

Anonymous said...

How SSNs will fit the nuke triad we plan to establish. as a regional Navy why is it important for us to get SSNs. i read earlier in your post that SSN operations finally give maturity in nuke sub operations, but at the same time you were a kind of not amused with the option of second Akula.
You will like to say SSBNs should be our cup of tea or should have SSBNs after learning from SSNs?

also how sensical it is to have aircraft carriers considering the speed of UAV, satellite recee and ashM are developing. i see even china is taking concrete steps to this regard.

lastly who pays for the MMRCA trials, was it a no cost no commitment. i see that weapon firing was also included. if it is no cost no commitment no wonder the loosers are fuming.

Mr. Ra said...

Is it that the supersonic 600km-range LACMs can not carry a 17 kT nuclear warhead. Although this missile must be very accurate but I think carrying only a sub-Kt warhead may reduce the general fear factor.

Or did you really mean it to be multiple sub-kT warheads.

--- said...

its really silly to build just 3 of each ship class after so many years and so much money into designing such a system. Wouldn't it be better to build like 12 shivaliks, 12 kolkatas etc instead of 3x each?

boss, can you please also comment about the so-called stealth features of Shivalik? the pictures of the recently commissioned ships look like they are ready to fall apart!!

Anonymous said...

Prasun, pakistani navy has always given prefrence to submarines over ships. They are upgrading their agusta-90 submarine with AIP and they will always be a serious threat to our carrier battle groups. It wont be unfair to assume that agustas could come near our aircraft carriers and fire torpedos.
Now, just like a morden surface to air missile system, which could intercept cruise missile-PGM, what could be done to intercept an incoming torpedo?
Can RBU-6000 be used to intercept and destroy an incoming torpedo?
Or is it possoble to jam a wire guided torpedo?
Please explain.

joydeep ghosh said...

@Prasun Da

sorry it was my mistake, may be I forgot to upload them,

you say we are way behind in indigenization, but to do that first we need to take up some more easier projects, if we succeed in that then we can go in for more complex systems. Simple reverse engineering like:

1. Indigenously develop a 8 cell version of Smerch mounted on a 24 ton Tata TEL with auto loader.

2. Add the 105 mm IFG to the upcoming FICV or the BMP2 Sarath and give them heavy firing capability these will come handy in areas like Arunachal Pradesh, Himanchal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu&Kashmir

3. Develop Cluster bombs and guided CBU like bombs in India

4. Employee defense technicians from East European and CIS countries in DPSU and private co to use their experience to develop weapon systems

5. Source the entire steel requirement from Indian steel makers (public or proviate)

6. Reverse engineer weapons that are in use for over 30 years like OTO Melara 76 mm (am i correct) as simply by assembling them for these many years the assemblers may have
known the parts inside out. But alas looks like DPSUs like to play dumb

If we are successful these simple steps to achieve gains in basic reverse engineering concepts then we can certainly try for incremental reverse engineering in terms of complex electronic systems or weapons.

alas DPSUs/OFBs like to play dumb people as affected by 'apna dimaag kyun kharch karein' mentaility.

Take for example INS Sindhukirti, the poor ship has been sitting in Viag dockyard for close to 10 years now (effectively 30% operation life) and how many years will stay there we dont know. We are struggling to fill submarine numbers and MoD refuses to take help to sent it back to water.

We say China is way ahead of us, but they have done everything from espionage, blatant copy, stealing to gain tech and use it. But again MoD plays 'sadhu' we will not copy, steal tech from other.

With this mentality what will happen to our defense no one knows? We can only say 'MoD Sadhugiri Chodo'

awaiting brickbats

CHUDIAL ALERT: China just got permission to explore Indian ocean for rare minerals


Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

@TheDEWLine REPORT: Hillary Clinton makes "unbelievable" F-35 pitch to India - The DEW Line

parsun - MMRCA ?????

Anonymous said...

F-35 - 65 million $ per craft

buddha said...

Does india need to consider to buy 10-15 Tupolev naval anti ship variant
as USA will not allow to integrate BRAMHOS WITH P8I. may add strength to India's control over INDIAN OCEAN AREA.

Mr. Ra said...

If for a time everyone forgets about the problems and weaknesses of F-35 and starts talking in favor of the inclusion of F-35 in the IAF and cancellation of MMRCA, then the prices of F-35 may further go up with demand and the EFT/Rafale will be more and more stretched either to provide the better TOT or to reduce their bloated prices to the affordable levels. This may be a great service to the nation.

Anonymous said...

MR. Ra, I think you hit the bulls eye. I am sure all this is full ploy by some one sensical in our def establishment. Also it could be a ploy by the US to put more pressure on the profit margin of EF/Rafale. I donot think either dassault or EF will consider this probability with any reduced seriousness. After all India has proved that at times we do make seemingly bold decisions (can even shrugg off the pressure by our Uncle sam, be reminded the ambassador resigned the very next day of their rejection).

So the teams in fray will take it with full seriousness that they have an unseen competition in form of cancellation/selection of f-35 (agreed extremely remote).

good negotiation is awaiting, after all we are spending scores of billions in the race we are buyers so we indeed can opt for the best deal if we wish so, or as is the worst open secret-kickbacks could go up.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@8.23AM: In India’s context of minimum c redible nuclear deterrence, it is practically not advisable to replicate what the P-5 have done in terms of having a sea-based nuclear deterrent that relies wholescale on imported hulls and technologies. What Pakistan is doing is the practical thing by procuring AIP-powered Qing-class submarines and equipping them with cruise missiles armed with tactical nuclear warheads. In India’s case, the Navy was always predisposed to eventually having a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, STARTING with the SSN. It was only after May 1998 that the Navy was ‘informed’ by the MoD and DRDO that it would have to acquire a fleet of SSBNs armed with SLBMs, with the former being imported primarily in CKD condition, while the latter struggled to developed the appropriate size and type of on-board SLBMs. Throughout the construction phase of the Arihant, no serving personnel of the Navy was involved, and the entire ATV Project Office was financed jointly by the DRDO and DAE. Even when it came to the critical stage of design validation of the Arihant, the DRDO and DAE had no choice but to refer everything to Russia. This was without any precedence and went against all conventional norms for the Navy, whose DND always sought the advice and help of independent design consultants (like the Dutch entity MARIN) to validate new warship designs. In the Arihant’s case, with both the designer and design validator being the same Russian entity, the Navy is today faced with a catch-22 situation: accept the SSBN without any questions asked as that is the only available option; and in the event of a nuclear-related disaster involving the Arihant the Navy (and n or the DRDO, since the DRDO does not have an in-house staff of submariners) will have to take all the rap since the Russians will claim probable deniability with the project. On top of that the Navy simply does not believe the DRDO’s crazy assertions about the 3,500km-range K-4 SLBM being more than enough to ensure a survivable nuclear deterrent, for in the Navy’s analysis only a SBBN hiding somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean deep between the trenches along the Maldives should be able to launch 8,500km SLBMs able to reach Beijing or Shanghai. That’s what I meant when I earlier stated that the DRDO is hell-bent on developing technology demonstrators while totally disregarding the operational reqmts of the end-user. Had the MoD and DRDO listened to the Navy throughout the 1980s and had mandated the development of SSNs first and SSBNs later, the list of technological challenges to be overcome would have been far lesser, and the Navy being in the driver’s seat, would have got exactly what it wanted as part of an evolutionary growth strategy, and could have gone for SSBNs only after the DRDO had developed the reqd type of SLBM or LACM solutions.
Regarding the Akula-3 SSGN’s leasing –whether for one vessel or more—it doesn’t make any difference since it will only be armed with the Klub-S anti-ship cruise missiles and 3M14E LACMs. Even the BrahMos will not be on board, that much is confirmed. That will end up in the Akula-3 being a terribly underutilised platform in terms of its true operational capabilities. Things would have been different had the Akula-3 been armed with a 500km-range supersonic version of the BrahMos (500km is its true design range, but has been capped at 290km to adhere to MTCR guidelines).
Regarding aircraft carriers, even with the advent of SAR-equipped recce satellites, the oceans are still vast areas offering significant operational autonomy when it comes to waging expeditionary warfare. A carrier battle group, if accompanied by at least two SSGNs, can be a significant deterrent even against the PLA Navy, which is only now taking the first baby steps toward carrier-based operations.
Lastly, all M-MRCA trials were on a no-cost no commitment basis, with the potential contenders having to pay their respective bills.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA@2.34PM: For nuclear warhead-carrying missiles (ballistic or cruise) the accuracy factor is not a critical issue, since the warhead will be made to explode 10km above the general target area for maximising destruction. Pinpoint accuracy is desirable only if the warhead is of the ground-penetrating type for destroying hardened underground targets like silos and command centres. The general fear factor need not apply to nuclear weapons as they are political weapons employed for ensuring deterrence, meaning the threat of usage of a cruise missile carrying a tactical nuclear warhead against a military-industrial site in Chengdu/Sichuan will have the same effect as the threat of using such a weapon against Guangzhou or Shanghai. In the Indian context, all nuclear-capable missiles have unitary warheads. As far back as March 2010 Dr V K Saraswat had stated that the DRDO has no plans for developing MIRVs.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To---said@3.16PM: I agree with you that the optimum number of each class of warship built must be six (as was the case with the Leander-class and Godavari-/Brahmaputra-class FFGs), and not three. Reharding the 'stealth' characteristics, what has been done is hull-shaping for RCS reduction, as well as employment of signature reduction (in areas of acoustics, visual/IR spectrum and electromagnetic emissions) features and techniques. Visually, the Saptura's structure looks rather dilapidated because the photos were taken AFTER the conclusion of sea trials when there was the inevitabvle and appreciable wear-and-tear. What the Navy's CPRO should have done was relase only those photos which showed the Saptura freshly painted and touched-up BEFORE she proceeded on her sea trials. The art of presentation, it seems, is not the forte of the Navy HQ's CPRO. The same goes for the MoD-owned shipyards who sometimes allow journalists to take photos of the hull while it is still in the drydock undergoing fabrication, or showing it perched precariously on a slipway back in the 19th century!!! As a rule henceforth, the MoD must make it mandatory for the MoD-owned shipyards to release only those photos of the warships that have already been launched and are at the wetbasin being outfitted, which would make the vessels far more presentable to the eye.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4PM: Whenever an aircraft carrier-based battle group or taskl force is undertaking an expeditionary campaign lasting b etween six to eight hours, it will always have a fleet of ASW helicopters on board both the aircraft carrier as well as on the escorting frigates and destroyers. These helicopters come equipped with dunking sonars, while the escorting warships are equipped with towed-array sonars. Together, these towed-array and dunking sonars--operating both actively and passively--will form an effective barrier or ASW screen aimed at keeping hostile submarines at least 60km away from the aircraft carrier. In addition, the Ka-31 AEW helicopters will be able to detect submarines that are up to 150km away. For confusing or 'seducing' in-bound torpedoes the 'Mareech' torpedo decoy system has been developed (see photo above), while the last-ritch defence system is the RBU-6000 which is designed to literally blow-up the incoming torpedo.

Mr. Ra said...

To: Anon@ 1.30AM

You are right. Anythings of the above can have probabilities. Actually the equations are so complex, that there are many more unknown variables than the numbers of equations.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Joydeep Ghosh: Firstly, why develop a ‘smaller’ Smerch-M when the existing Smerch-M or even the BrahMos can well be deployed on bard the to-be-acquired C-17A Hlobemaster IIIs? Furthermore, the BRO will complete construction of arterial roads and bridges leading up to the Sino-Indian border by 2015. Secondly, instead of fitting the 105mm IFG, equip the FICV and BMP-2 with turrets housing twin-barrelled breech-loading 120mm mortars that can fire laser-guided rounds out to 9km (available from both Israel and Singapore). Thirdly, cluster bombs have been built by the OFB since the mid-1980s ever since the OGB bought out the design and manufacturing rights of such bombs from Chile’s Cardoen Industries. What the DRDO now needs to do is develop GPS guidance kits and glide kits and attach them to such cluster bombs. Steel reqmts are already being sourced from domestic steelmakers. It is only for the lead boat (INS Shivalik and INS Kolkata) that steel was imported from Russia. SAIL has provided the steel for all the follow-on boats. There’s no need to reverse-engineer any weapon. Instead, strike smart partnerships of the kind struck (with active encouragement from Navy HQ) between Israel Aerospace Industries & TATA Power to create NOVA Integrated Systems for implementing the Barak-2/8 MR-SAM/LR-SAM programmes.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@6.16PM: My personal belief is still to stick to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Paying $84 million or $120+ million for a M-MRCA is ludicrous!! What are we trying to prove? That we have very deep pockets? If that was the case the MoD would have accepted the one-rank one payscale proposal long ago. The MoD knows only too well that implementation of such pay schemes will make the country bankrupt, and as it is with every passing year there's less money available in the defence budget's capital account and more money being spent on pensions and DA. On top of all this, penchants for the Rafale and EF-2000 is downright criminal!!!

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Buddha: Are yaar, why do you want the BrahMos on board the P-8I when the AGM-84L Harpoon can do the same job at leaser cost? Do you know how much each BrahMos costs? And who will pay for certifying the BrahMos on the P-8I or even a Tupolev-built platform? As it is, neither the P-8I's airframe nor was the Tu-22M's airframe ever designed to accommodate a missile as heavy as the BrahMos. What you're asking for is akin to fitment of a 84mm Carl Gustav launcher on a rickshaw.

Anonymous said...

you say that we should be deploying low yeild nukes on missiles. But the coldwar story says other way. the MAD was such mad that both US and USSR together they had around 50000 nuke warheads and a sizeable chunk of them in megaton range.

I personally donot like to profess the nuke weapons, they are our doomsdayers.

But for our defence (of our own land and not interests) we should have deterrance, i some how am not convinced that any big rogue nation will be scared by small pinpricks of tactical devices if they have supremacy in nuke over adversary. If that were India and Pakistan would have not got close to an all out war twice (1999,2001).

since china and possibly pak (though latters delivery systems are not upto mark) has nuke supreamacy over India we should as well develop deliverable Tsarbomba of ourselves if possible with MIRVs. These are psycological weapons never to be used.

no one can afford a war these days. we see the NATO struggling in libya, what is the case with bigger nations. only these weapons serve ego (or confidence) boosters.

Anonymous said...

is there any operational limitations imposed on the akulas. Why are you ignoring the training part by acquision of the second akula. we will have two teams ready for sub operations. The

Klubs were earlier noted to be highly unreliable, what is your comment.

If we have serious limitation in conventional subs why are we not entering into subsharing at least for training purposes with russia malaysia singapore or any other friendly countries.

our defence budget is never too high that we will become bankrupt. we should spend money wisely agreed, but buying european fighter gives us strategic diplomatic identity vs US. The mistrust was so deep, thanks to Mr. Nixon, that it will take another decade to heal (when current generation officers retire).

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: There are no operational limitations on the Akula-3 for the very simple reason that it will NEVER be a part of any operational fleet of the Indian Navy, just like the previous INS Chakra wasn't. The Akula-3 will be strictly for training and will NEVER be employed for wartime usage while it is on lease to the Indian Navy. And what's the use of having two teams of type-certified nuclear submariners for a 10-year period when it is not even sure when the first home-built SSBN--the Arihant--will be commissioned, due to the problems and issues I've explained above? The problem was not with the Klub-S, but with the connectivity between the missile's fire-control system computers and the inertial navigation system of the upgraded Type 877EKM SSKs. Lastly, I never said that India's defence biudget is back-breaking, but was referring to the public spending levels across the board, especially when it came to the salaries and pensions of those employing by governments at the union and state levels, and the growing indebtednesses of various states due to obsolete tax regimes. Unless corrective measures are immediately put in place, one will have no other option but to resort to destructive deficit financing regimes. The mistrust with the US lasted only as long as the Cold War did. Since 1991 even the most die-hard socialist has begun wearing US-sourced under-garments ans sending his/other relatives to the US for higher education!!! Folks like Nixon can't be blamed for the shameful hypocracy exhibited by the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru who on one hand championed the cause of non-alignment and on the other openly invited the US to guard Indian soil after the inglorious border conflict with the PRC in 1962.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

RFI-1: Indian Navy HQ is exploring firms capable of supplying moored mines capable of being launched from surface ships, as per DPP 11 (available on MoD website). Moored mines would have following capabilities :
(a) Simple, robust and low cost.
(b) Capable of targeting submarines & surface craft having a displacement of more than 500 tons.
(c) Easy to handle, lay and recover, with fail safe sterilisation features.
Maximum laying depth Up to 300 metres in different variants for depths of 100 metres, 200 metres and 300 metres. Minimum laying depth 30 metres.
Question: Whatever happened to the DRDO-develop processor-based moored mine, first shown during DEFEXPO 2004?

RFI-2: Ministry of Defence, Government of India, intends to acquire Anti Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASW SWCs) class of ships under ‘Buy Indian’ category, as amplified in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2011. Information is sought from prospective shipbuilders for design and construction of the ships, to be built in India. Possibility exists of splitting the order between two Shipyards. The ships shall have Diesel propulsion with Water Jets. The role of ASW Shallow Water Crafts is as follows:
(a) Anti-submarine warfare operations in coastal waters.
(b) Combating the threat posed by submarines.
(c) Undertaking low intensity maritime operations.
(d) Laying of mines.
2. Area of Operation: To operate within 200 NM of the base port.
Principal Dimensions
(a) Draught – Not exceeding 2.7m in fully laden condition without Sonar Dome
(b) Displacement – Not Exceeding 650 Tons (Shipyard may propose tonnage as per their design also)
Speed: Top Speed Not Less than 25 Knots in full load condition at ambient temperature.
Endurance : 1800 NM at 14 Knots
Weapons: ASW Combat Suite, Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS), 2 x Indigenous Torpedo Launcher, (Three light weight torpedo tubes per launcher in pyramid configuration),1 x Indigenous Rocket Launcher, Mine Laying Rails for lightweight mines, Low-Frequency Variable Depth Sonar (LFVDS), Two 12.7 mm Stabilised Remote Control Gun
Inference & Questions: Looks like the Navy is looking at replacements for the existing Abhay-class ASW corvettes. But what kind of HMS does it want? Medium-frequency or low-frequency or ultra low-frequency? Indigenous rocket launcher could be the L & T-developed ASW mortar launcher. But why low-frequency VDS? Why not ultra low-frequency? And who makes lightweight torpedo tubes in pyramid configuration? The L & T-built ones are in line-abreast configuration?

RFI-3: Navy HQ is exploring firms capable of manufacturing/supplying of Medium-Frequency Hull Mounted ‘Sonar System’ for installation onboard Coastal ASW vessels, as per DPP 11. The sonar system should be able to detect, track and classify all types of sub-surface targets even at depths of 30 metres. The sonar system should be state of the art, with advanced signal processing, detection and classification features. The equipment is expected to be used by Coastal ASW vessels of displacement approximately 600 Tons.
Question: Why is this global RFI being issued if the DRDO-developed and BEL-built HUMSA Mk2 is available? And why mid-frequency HMS and why not low-frequency (like the HUMSA-NG) or ultra low-frequency?

RFI-4: Navy HQ is exploring firms capable of supplying Containerised Integrated Mine Countermeasure System (CIMCMS) capable of being launched from Naval ships and Crafts of Opportunity, as per DPP 11. CIMCMS would have following capabilities:
(a) Capable of mine hunting and mine sweeping up to 200 metres of water.
(b) Suitable for rapid and flexible deployment of MCM suite.
(c) Easy to transport and handle.
(d) Capable of deployment from naval ships and crafts of opportunity.
Inference: Looks like the Navy’s existing Soviet-era minesweepers are headed for a long-overdue makeover.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

And by the way, all SATCOM terminals on board Indian Navy warships plus all telemetry tracking instrumentation of the DRDO at ITR Chandipur are supplied by ORBIT Technologies. More details at:

Mr. Ra said...

Thanx again for the information and analysis.

Anonymous said...

respected sir, are your pictures free for use in other sites? thanks

Anonymous said...

Prasun Da
Indegenous Aircraft carrier is reported to be capable of carrying 17 NLCA+ 10 Helicopter in hanger while 20 NLCA+ 5 Helicopter on deck ie, 37 NLCA + 15 HELOS =52 aircraft in total. This was answer to a question asked in exibition which was reported on net.
I think this is too high a number.
Even if we think this number to be true then we can think number of Mig 29k carried to be above 30+ while that to be carried on INS Vikramaditya from 25 to 28 Mig29ks.
NLCA will not be on by 2016, so are the reports of further 24 Mig 29k order to take the number of Mig 29k to 16+29+24=69 nos true?

Anonymous said...

I found your observation about DRDO being obsessed with Technology demonstrations very interesting.

Could it be that scientists favour this approach as it makes it easier for them to travel and enhance their status among fellow scientists/peers?.

Would being associated with a missile/nuclear program make them outcasts with scientists of repute who are mostly affiliated with the big 5 powers?.

OR are they just following a meek GOI policy[This might not be the case since you say it is self-imposed].

I could probably be wrong on all but would like to hear your views.

vishakh said...

One question ....
1) I went through specs of all submarines for P75A submarine project and it seems that S80 and Dolphin class
( Germany ) if offered would be best choice for NAVY ...

2) Wont be it good to go Joint development of new submarine with Russians and add tech from scorpene into it ??

Anonymous said...

Prasun Da, one very hypothetical question
If India decides to occupy POK after fighting full scale war then keeping in mind pakistan's military mordenization and India's mordenization, missile defence etc. in which year do you think we would become capable for doing so?

Anonymous said...

how different will p15a and p 17 will be different from p15b and p17a ??

when will the aircraft carrier iac 1 will be commissioned ??

how different iac 2 will be from the iac1 ??

how many iac's are planned ??

how many "combat aircraft" will be the ins vikramaditiya and ins vikrant carry...??

will the arjun mk2 be any lighter than mk1 ??

sir you said that navy is interested in lph , instead what i have heard is navy has issued rfi for lpd's and not lpds......what say ?? are we going to go for both ??

what other amphibious warfare ships is navy interested in ??

is it true that we are developing k4 slbm other than the 700km renge sub launched shaurya ??

do we have plan for ther longer range slbms say 5000-6000km class ??

sir you saif that brahmos has a range of 500km but is restricted to 290km due to mtcr is there any way that we can remove that restriction and use to itsa full capability ??

is there a possibility that that the supersonic 600km lacm might be a spinoff from brahmos 1 ??since they have very similiar specs and tech...

whats the status of the hyper sonic brahmos ??

is there any other hypersoinc missile under development by drdo ??

whats the status of the astra mk1 missile ??

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.24PM: Be my guest, pray use them as you deem fit.
To Anon@3.13PM: It should read EITHER 17 NLCA+ 10 Helicopter in hanger, OR 20 NLCA+ 5 Helicopter on deck. The reports on another batch of 24 MiG-29Ks to be ordered are true.

To Anon@5.28PM: The fault does not lie with the DRDO, but with the MoD’s inability to evolve a proper programme management-cum-implementation structure concerning weapons developments. Take for instance, the creation of ADA and at the same time trying to prop up HAL’s aircraft research & design centre. This is sheer duplication of effort and infrastructure which is avoidable. Afterall, AFA has accumulated a wealth of expertise in designing and developing combat aircraft thanks to the LCA project and would therefore have been better placed to join forces with Sukhoi OKB for designing and developing the FGFA. HAL on its part should have been told by the MoD to stick to developing helicopters as a follow-on to the Dhruv ALH programme, and also develop flying training aircraft like the HTT-40. But unfortunately, it is due to the MoD’s indecisiveness that ADA was sidelined from the FGFA programme and HAL became the main beneficiary despite its total lack of expertise in the area of new-generation combat aircraft design. As a result, ADA is now desperately trying to entice the MoD by offering to develop the AMCA which, in essence will compete with the FGFA for R & D funding. Realistically speaking, the IAF has no stomach for accepting both the FGFA and AMCA on both cost and capability grounds. It has to be either one of them. As of now, the IAF has gone for the FGFA and that leaves a very big question on the future existence and viability of ADA. Not a very healthy state of affairs.

To Vishakh: The AIP-powered Dolphin as well as the DCNS-designed SMX-22 are ideal options for Project 75I. Mix-and-match between Russian and French SSK designs is not viable, financially and technologically as neither the French nor the Russians will allow it to happen. Also, more time will be wasted is any kind of joint development option is exercised. The only available route now is to select a new design that is ready for series-production. Compared to the Navantia S-80 and Fincantieri’s S-800, the SMX-22 is a far more revolutionary option that would be preferable, in my view. You can read more about it at:

To Anon@8.03PM: That time would be now, since the Pakistan Army has deployed only a depleted Brigade comprising some 3,500 soldiers throughout the LoC. But this is not an option simply because the issue of POK is not just about India and Pakistan, but China was well, since a part of POK—the Trans-Karakoram Tract—was ceded by Pakistan to China in the early 1960s.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.12PM: Structurally, both the P-15A & P-15B DDGs will bear a close resemblance and their weapons and sensors fits will be almost the same. The P-17A FFG will have EL/M-2048 MF-STAR and Barak-2 MR-SAMs on board along with BrahMos supersonic MRCMs. IAC-1 is due for commissioning by 2015. IAC-2 will be as big as INS Vikramaditya. It remains to be seen if it will be a flat-top or have STOBAR configuration, since the detailed design phase of IAC-2 has not yet taken off. Three IACs are planned. On-board aircraft assets for IAC-21 have been given above. Arjun Mk2 will be heavier than the Mk1. The Indian Navy refers to LPHs as LPDs as of now. But when issuing RFPs, the term LPH will likely be used. The LPHs will be acquired along with either LCAC-type hovercraft or high-speed catamarans. Yes, the 4,500km-range K-4 is under development. The DRDO presently has no plans for developing 6,000km-range SLBMs, but the Navy wants a 8,500km-range SLBM. It is up to Russia to impose or remove MTCR restrictions on the B rahMos, since the MTCR is just a regime and is not a binding international treaty. The supersonic LACM will have nothing to do with BrahMos. In fact, if you look at illustrations of the air-launched LACM allegedly being developed by the DRDO, you will notice that it bears a strong resemblance to the Taiwanese Hsiung Feng-2E supersonic anti-ship cruise missile, whose design was also outsourced to another foreign country. Hypersonic BrahMos is already under development by NPOM in Russia. Astra Mk1 BVRAAM is still undergoing various technology validation processes.

vishakh said...

Isn't it is right that Navy is palnning to purchase new submarine under P 75A and use it with Scopene sub tech and use it as base for next 12 submarine to be made and developed in india ???

So based on that Buying russian submarine under P 75A would mean best of both worlds tech ......

vishakh said...

New S 80 Submarine has non cavitation causing propeller and new tech to absorb CO1 emissions produced . SMX21 is best if France is Seriously pushing it ... Has FRance replied to Indian Navy RFI with SMX21 or new version of Scorpene ????

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Vishakh: There are no plans to build another 12 home-grown SSKs beyond the six Project 75I SSKs. Secondly, no one will allow the kind of mix-and-match that you're suggesting as the IPRs of the original SSK designs are not for sale. Lastly, the DGND has had no hands-on experience thus far in designing submarines of any kind and therefore an indigenous mix-and-match solution is not even being considered.

Austin said...

Prasun, Informative write up on "Wasted Opportunities"

Any idea on what will be India's contribution to Hypersonic Brahmos project ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Austin: The same kind of arrangement as that for the BrahMos Blocks 1/2/3. The navigation and flight control systems will be India's contribution, with the airframe design, propulsion system and terminal guidance system coming from Russia.