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Friday, December 30, 2011

Indian Navy Swears By Its Tavor Family Of Small Arms & Its Four Upgraded Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs

As far as orders already placed for new-build vessels go, four 6,700-tonne Project 15B guided-missile destroyers (DDG) will be built by Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) as will seven Project 17A guided-missile frigates (FFG) and all these 11 warships will be using LM-2500 marine industrial gas-turbines for propulsion, two 110-metre cadet-training ships are being built by ABG Shipyard at a cost of Rs9.7 billion (under a contract signed in June 2011), five 2,500-tonne offshore patrol vessels (OPV) to be built by Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd, eight Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to be built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers under a Rs23 billion contract inked in September 2011, 80 fast interceptor craft (FICs, to be imported from Sri Lanka’s Solas Marine) and 15 FIC-1300s (being imported from Chantier Naval Couach of France). The FICs are small high-speed boats for harbour and offshore oil rig and counter-terror patrols, meant for use by the Sagar Prahari Bal, post-26/11, and hence have no relevance to any traditional naval blue- or green-water operations. A contract to import two and indigenously built six South Korea-origin minesweepers (derived from Intermarine of Italy’s Lerici-class GRP-hulled minehunter, but re-engineered by Kangnam Corp) is also to be signed soon. RFPs for the indigenous construction of four 20,000-tonne LPHs under a Rs170 billion contract have been issued and all the responses have been received, with the frontrunner being DCNS of France’s Mistral BPC design. The MoD-owned shipyard expected to win the contract for licence-building the latter two of the four LPHs is Vizag-based Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, which is likely to enlist the services of Larsen & Toubro as its strategic shipbuilding partner. Construction of the first locally built LPH is expected to commence by 2015. Also awaiting approval from the MoD is a proposal for a dozen ocean-going AOPVs. Meanwhile, the first 37,500-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)—INS Vikrant—has just adhered to its ‘float-out’ schedule. Its keel had been laid in February 2009 after hull-fabrication work began in November 2006. It was then estimated then that the vessel would be ready to float in two years. The formal launch now is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2012. The MoD has committed Rs32.61 billion for the first phase of the IAC. The delays were caused last year when a heavy-duty vehicle motorised vehicle transporting the marine reduction gearboxes and propellers from Wärtsilä’s factory at Khopoli suffered a fatal road accident. In another development, GRSE has successfully re-engined the first of three 57-metre long 589-tonne Project 1241.2 Molniya-2 ASW corvettes (INS Abhay, INS Ajay and INS Akshay) of the IN. Sea trials of the re-engined INS Abhay have been successfully completed, with work involving the replacement of Russia-made M504 radial engines with high-power-to-weight MTU-1163 engines. Work is now underway to procure through competitive tendering three sets of ultra-low-frequency towed-array sonars (from either ATLAS Elektronik of Germany or US-based L-3 Communications/Ocean Systems) for installation on board these three ASW corvettes.

Depleting Undersea Warfare Capabilities
The IN’s 30-year Submarine Construction Plan, which the apex Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) had approved in July 1999, was crafted purely by the MoD’s bureaucrats and the DRDO’s technocrats, and both of them never even bothered to consult the IN or seek the Navy’s vital inputs on operational requirements. The 30-year plan for constructing three SSBNs, and 24 conventional submarines (SSK) to be built in two simultaneous construction ventures: one building six SSKs (these being the six Scorpenes now being fabricated by MDL) and another building six new-generation Russia-designed SSKs (as the thinking in 1999 was that since the Larsen & Toubro-led Indian industrial consortium was engaged in building the three projected SSBNs in cooperation with their Russian counterparts, this same model of bilateral industrial cooperation could also be extended to encompass the licence-building of six Amur 1650-class SSKs). Consequently, based on the experience gathered in fabricating SSKs of both Western and Russian origin, India could acquire the expertise required for building another 12 SSKs of an indigenous design. This plan, to say the least, was outrageously flawed on several counts, as was the decision in the early 1980s to procure a mixed fleet of SSKs, with six single-hulled SSKs being of German origin and eight double-hull SSKs of Soviet origin. When the IN was forced to go for two types of SSKs, it rightly requested the MoD to not only acquire the first two single-hulled SSKs off-the-shelf, but also insisted that the MoD licence-build at least another four of them at a custom-build facility to be set up by MDL and—most importantly, the selected SSK’s entire design package be bought over by the MoD, meaning only MDL would be able to build this SSK design and the IN would be the sole operator of such SSKs. The MoD agreed and consequently, four 1,810-tonne Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs (two built by Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, or HDW) were commissioned between 1986 and 1994, while at the same time eight double-hulled 3,076-tonne Type 877EKM Kilo-class SSKs were procured off-the-shelf from the USSR between April 30, 1986 and July 19, 2000. The contract for procuring four Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs was inked on December 11, 1981 and the first two SSKs (S-44 Shishumar and S-45 Shankush)--built by HDW--were inducted into service on September 22 and November 20, 1986, respectively. The remaining two (S-46 Shalki and S-47 Shankul) were licence-built by MDL and entered service on February 7, 1992 and May 28, 1994. Earlier, plans for building another two such SSKs were put on hold in 1987 an innocuous telegram from India’s Ambassador in Germany, inquiring if the 7.5% (of the per-unit contracted value) sales commission was to be paid for the 5th and 6th SSKs as for the first four, set in motion a CBI witch-hunt and subsequent political cover-ups, all of which finally died a natural death only in 2006.

However, till this day, no satisfactory explanation has been given by the MoD about the reasons for not resuming the construction of additional Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs post-1994, especially since the MoD, through MDL, remains the legal owner of all IPRs relating to the Class 209/Type 1500 SSK. If it was possible for all four Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs to undergo mid-life refits and upgrades from 1999 to 2005 (which have extended their operational lives to between 2016 and 2024) and be retrofitted with ATLAS Elektronik-supplied ISUS-90 suites (comprising new-generation combat management systems and new sonar suites), then why was the option to series-produce at least six more such SSKs not exercised? Had these six SSKs been built, then they could even have been fitted with customised fuel cell-based AIP plug-ins that were developed by the German Submarine Consortium as far back as 2000 specifically for the Indian Navy and have been on offer for the past decade.

However, since the decision was made in 2005 to go for six single-hulled Scorpene SSKs—under Project 75—for replacing the eight remaining Type 877EKM Kilo-class SSKs between 2015 and 2018 (the Kilos have been due for decommissioning since 2010), it now makes perfect sense to order at least another three Scorpenes, which, along with the fifth and sixth Scorpenes now being fabricated by MDL, will in all probability be equipped with the DCNS-developed Module d'Energie SousMarine Autonome (MESMA/Autonomous Submarine Energy Module), which along with its shore-based support infrastructure, should cost $80 million per unit. Boats of this type will be known as ‘Super Scorpenes’.
The programme to acquire six new-generation single-hulled SSKs under Project 75I, expected to reach the contract negotiations stage only by 2014, now calls for the procurement of boats fitted with a ‘proven’ air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. Initially (between 2006 and 2011), the IN evaluated offers from Sweden, Germany, Russia, Spain and France. Kockums’ A26 SSK, an improved version of the Gotland-class SSKs; will displace 1,930 tonnes, and use a Stirling engine-based AIP system (which is already operational with the SSKs of Japan, Singapore and Sweden) that uses diesel and liquid oxygen and is coupled to a 75kW generator to recharge the SSK’s batteries. Another notable feature of this SSK is its relatively light manpower requirement of up to 26 personnel, which helps to keep running costs down. The A26 has also been engineered to have a high degree of resistance to shock and underwater explosions, along with a highly stealthy design in terms of radar and acoustic signatures. Germany's Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, which has developed two types of AIP systems developed by Siemens (the proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel-cell powering the Type 212 SSK and the polymer electrolyte membrane hydrogen fuel-cell for the 1,680-tonne Type 214 SSK), is offering the latter, which can dive down to more than 400 metres and has a range of 22,224km. Navantia of Spain’s 2,426-tonne S-80 SSK makes use of an ethanol-based AIP system, while the 2,700-tonne Amur 1650 SSK (with a maximum diving depth of 300 metres and a crew complement of 35) is being proposed with the Kristall-27E AIP system using oxygen-hydrogen fuel-cells. It has since emerged that the IN has now shortlisted only three prospective candidates for Project 75I: the ‘Super Scorpene’ equipped with MESMA, the A26 with Stirling engine, and the Type 214 SSK, which is already operational with the navies of Greece, Portugal and South Korea and in future with Turkey. From a technology maturity standpoint (which the IN insists upon), it would therefore appear that while the MESMA and Stirling AIP systems along with Siemens’ AIP system (based on two polymer electrolyte membrane 120kW fuel-cell modules driving a Siemens Permasyn Type FR6439-3900KW low-speed permanently excited electric motor) meet the IN’s qualitative requirements (QR), the Kristall-27E and the indigenous AIP system being developed (since 2002 and due for sea trials by only 2013!) by the DRDO’s Ambarnath-based Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), along with the Kochi-based Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), don’t qualify.

In the end, therefore, the Project 75I contest is likely to be between the ‘Super Scorpene’ and the Type 214 SSK. 

The IN’s first of three projected SSBNs—Arihant—continues to remain berthed under a shed at the Ship Building Centre (SBC) near the Naval Dockyard in Vishakhapatnam. Once its PWR goes critical by next February, and will undergo all the standard harbour and sea trials common to all nuclear-powered submarines. The vessel has already completed several trim dives alongside, an operation that requires very detailed trim calculations for the first of the class. This is a very critical operation for flooding and de-flooding the ballast tanks by the on-board pumps. SBC has all the facilities to produce external steam and power for the Arihant. With external steam and power, the SSBN’s propulsion, steering gear and associated systems, electronics and generators can be set to work and tested during harbour trials. When all the systems are expected to be cleared by the Submarine Overseering Teams over the next 65 days, the full ship’s complement will join the boat for very detailed safety and emergency training. This will be a very critical part of the commissioning, and will be overseen by a specialist submarine-qualified Vice Admiral responsible for nuclear propulsion safety from Naval Headquarters (NHQ). After all the harbour trials are completed, the Arihant’s on-board PWR will go critical at low power and be gradually worked up to higher power to enable the hull to go to sea. When this happens, INS Arihant will report ‘Underway on Nuclear Power’. The next phase of trials and evaluations will include sea trials on surface at various speeds, and when the confidence of the crew complement rises, the SSBN will carry out its first shallow dive by the latter half of next year, going deeper progressively at various speeds. On return from every diving trial, several mandatory structural checks on the hull and PWR performance will be carried out by specialists, and the final deep dive to maximum operating depth will culminate in the SSBN embarking upon Phase 3 of its sea trials schedule, this involving weapons-firing trials. Only after all three phases of trials are completed will the Arihant be commissioned sometime before 2014. However, should something go wrong, the IN will require the services of a Deep Rescue Submarine Vessel (DSRV), which remains elusive despite efforts to acquire a few from either the US or Canada. Instead, it is relying on a diving support vessel with a decompression chamber, and has also contracted the US Navy to fly in a DSRV and deploy it to the site of the accident.
The DSRV’s absence will also be felt by the crew complement of the K-152 Nerpa (the Seal), a Project 971A Shchuka-B (Akula-3) SSGN, which was commissioned as the INS Chakra on December 29 at Bolshoi Kamen in Russia’s Primorye region. Obtained on dry-lease for a period of 10 years (with an option to increase it by another five years) the K-152 Nerpa (the Seal), a Project 971A Shchuka-B (Akula-3) SSGN whose keel was laid down in 1986. The Letter of Intent for leasing the SSGN under ‘Project India’ was inked on February 8, 2002 in New Delhi during the 2nd session of the IRIGC-MTC between the then Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov and the then Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes. On November 24, 2002 final price negotiations for the lease began took place during Klebanov’s visit to New Delhi. Rosoboronexport officials then stated that fabrication of the two SSGNs will resume after India pays the first tranche of $100 million as per the contract. The final lease contract for only the Nerpa for the time-being, valued at US$920 million, was inked in New Delhi on January 20, 2004. The Nerpa is the 15th SSGN and the second Akula-3 built under project 971 (codenamed Shchuka) and was designed by the St Petersburg-based Malachite Marine Engineering Bureau under Chief Designer Georgy Chernyshev who, after his death in 1997, was succeeded by Yuri Farafontov. While the Severnoye Machine-Building Enterprise has to date built seven Akulas, the Amursky Shipbuilding Plant has built eight. The Akulas built by the former have been named after land-based beasts of prey, while those built by the latter bear the names of fish and other marine animals. The latest version of the Akula SSGN is the Akula-3 and its dived displacement is 13,800 tonnes, full dived speed is 33 Knots, operational diving depth is 520 metres and maximum diving depth is 600 metres. The SSGN can carry up to 40 weapons ranging from supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles to torpedoes to sea mines. The Akula-3 comes with a two-stage noise supression system and all compartments are shockproof, which results in a five-fold reduction in the level of acoustic fields when compared to the Akula-1. Both the Nerpa and its sister vessel, the K-335 Gepard, are the first‘3+ generation’ nuclear-powered submarines of Russian origin that have a centralised integrated platform management system (IPMS) and a combat management system (CMS), all of which have resulted in the crew complement being reduced to only 73. The IPMS is called ‘Molibden-1’ and has been developed by the Krylov Central Research Institute, while the CMS was developed by the St Petersburg-based Aurora Research & Production Association FSUE, which has also supplied the 15-module submarine monitoring-cum-data recording system. The integrated sonar suite has been developed by Morphyspribor Central Research Institute and Akvamarin JSC, and built by FSUE Taganrog Priboy Plant. The Nerpa’s most visible distinguishing features are the more elongated and slightly pugged barriers (to its port and starboard) for retractable gear and a more aft-mounted compact gondola mounted on the aft vertical fin, which houses a low-frequency thin-line towed-array sonar suite.

INS Chakra is due to arrive in late January next year at Vizag, HQ of the IN’s eastern Naval Command, after undertaking a ferry voyage through the Western Pacific and entering the Bay of Bengal after transiting through the Malacca Straits. In January 2007, work began on modifying (at a cost of $135 million or Rs5.4 billion) the SSGN to accept on board up to 18 Novator 3M53E/3M14E multi-role cruise missiles as well as TEST-71ME and TEST-71ME-NK torpedoes (built by Russia’s DVIGATEL FSUE and Region State Research & Production Enterprise) that will be fired from the SSGN’s six 533.4mm and four 650mm tubes. The hull will feature twin flank-array sonars for being used as a torpedo approach warning system, and a stern-mounted distinctive ‘bulb’ on top of the rudder housing a low frequency thin-line towed active/passive sonar array. INS Chakra’s crew complement will be all-Indian. Some 300 IN personnel, comprising three sets of crews, have for the past five years been extensively trained and type-rated to man the SSGN at a specially built secure facility in the town of Sovnovy Bor near St Petersburg. The IN will be using this SSGN for the following:
·Undertaking anti-submarine patrols along the southeastern and southwestern parts of the Indian Ocean.
·Establishing a series of restricted submarine patrol sectors in far-flung areas of the Indian Ocean to allow persistent undersea warfare operations unimpeded by the operation of, or possible attack from, friendly or hostile forces in wartime; and without submerged mutual interference in peacetime.
·Perfecting the art of communicating with submerged SSGNs using VLF, UHF SATCOMS, SHF and EHF frequencies, and using maritime surveillance/ASW aircraft as mission controllers for the SSGNs.
·Exploring ways of evolving a robust and nuclear first strike-survivable two-way communications system comprising shore-based, airborne and submerged elements to ensure that the SSGN’s commander receives explicit rules of engagement and strategic targeting data.
· Analysing the pros and cons of having either a decentralised C³ network for certain types of missions, or a tightly centralised network by developing command automation via network-centric warfare strategies.
· Trying to achieve submarine internet protocol connectivity and working on solutions that will deliver a reduction in time latency, increased throughput and the ability to maintain communications at speed and depth. One technology demonstrator already developed by the DRDO by still classified comprises a submarine- or air-launched recoverable tethered optical fibre (RTOF) buoyant 450mm diameter buoy which, upon reaching the surface, deploys a low-frequency acoustic projector to a preset depth, enabling reach-forward from the Fleet Command’s SSGN operating authority via a built-in SATCOM antenna. A pager is then activated via SATCOM and paging and target cueing messages are sent to the submarine at a data rate of 2.4 kb/second. Consideration is also being given to the use of a swimming communications device, such as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which would surface to exchange data via SATCOM via a repeatable 32kb/second communications window, and then return to the host SSGN for download. A prototype AUV for undertaking such operations has already been developed by the DRDO.
· Use of RTOF buoys, which provide data rates of around 32kb/second while the SSGN is cruising at 8 Knots and is more than 244 metres underwater. The IN’s longer-term network-centric vision includes the use of distributed undersea networks, offering the submarine a network of known underwater nodes to be used to download large amounts of information, while remaining at depth. The concept calls for a field of acoustic sensors, UHF local area network-linked platforms and SATCOM buoys.
· Establishing a protocol for undertaking deep-sea crew rescue and salvage operations using the IN’s yet-to-be-acquired remotely operated rescue vehicles (RORV) and related launch-and-recovery system (LARS) and a fully integrated self-contained emergency life support system (ELSS) package.
However, it must be noted that the acquisition of INS Chakra will by no means give India the long-awaited third leg of the nuclear triad. Neither will the SSGN come under the tri-service Strategic Forces Command. Simply put, the Akula-3 SSGN will be armed with Club-S anti-ship/land attack cruise missiles which, along with the on-board torpedoes, will give the SSGN a formidable sea-denial capability along a 200nm arc contiguous to India’s coastline as well as in the Indian Ocean Region. Russia, which adheres to the Missile Technology Control Regime along with the NPT and START-2 treaties, is obligated to ensure that INS Chakra does not carry any nuclear weapon whatsoever. Furthermore, the SSGN’s employment in wartime too will be highly restricted and its rules of engagement will have to be cleared with Moscow, thus limiting India’s operational sovereignty over the SSGN. In fact, it is due to this very reason that Navy HQ has been insisting since the early 1990s that the DRDO accord greater priority to developing indigenous SSGN solutions (for protecting the projected fleet of three deployed SSBNs) to ensure that India’s nuclear deterrent, in the long run, remains effective, enduring, diverse, flexible, and responsive to the requirements of credible minimum deterrence.

Naval Aviation Fleet Accretion Plans
Given the sheer size of the IN’s maritime awareness domain footprint—stretching from the Strait of Hormuz and Horn of Africa in the west, the Indian Ocean Region, and the Malacca Straits and southern South China Sea to the east—the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm ought to ideally possess no less than 24 long-range maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare (LRMR/ASW) aircraft, which should be backed up an equal number of medium-range maritime reconnaissance/ASW (MRMR/ASW) platforms. To realise this long-term objective, the IN seven years ago invited requests for information (RFI) for both types of platforms. For the LRMR/ASW aircraft requirement, the selected platform had to undertake the following primary naval missions:
* Monitoring of littoral approaches
* Support to the IN’s fleets in the high seas
* Anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
* Anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW)
* Over-the-horizon target acquisition and reconnaissance (OTHTAR)
* Intelligence gathering
In light of the above, prudence demanded that the selected LRMR/ASW platform be based on a new-generation turbofan-powered airframe that could accommodate comprehensive maritime recce and attack capabilities, thereby allowing a smaller inventory of aircraft to provide high responsiveness for its three main roles (ASW, anti-surface warfare or ASuW, maritime recce, and search-and-rescue, or SAR), adaptable capabilities in maritime reconnaissance and attack operations, and high endurance (with provision for two sets of mission crew on-board) with a smaller support infrastructure. Though turbofan-powered MR/ASW platforms are most economical at high/medium altitudes and less economical at low altitudes, the transit to the operational area can be made at high-altitude and in a turbofan-powered aircraft this is not only economical on fuel but fast as well, compared to turboprop-powered aircraft. After transit, such platforms rapidly descend to the patrol area while using both turbofans for cruise flight, but as fuel is used up and the platform’s weight gets reduced, one engine is closed down. This allows the remaining turbofan to be run at an efficient RPM rate, rather than running both turbofans at less efficient RPMs. A special ‘rapid start’ system should be fitted should the closed-down turbofan has to be started quickly again. Instead of relying only on airspeed for re-starting the turbofan, compressor air from a live turbofan could be used in a starter turbine, which rapidly accelerates the engine being started. For transit back to base, the closed-down engine can be re-started and the aircraft regain its high-altitude flight profile. The IN also wanted to induct into service a new-generation synthetic training suite that would allow the aircraft operator to transfer training from the aircraft to a ground-based training system. This, consequently, would increase aircraft availability for operational missions while optimising flight and mission crew performance and capabilities. To perform such functions, the selected platform was required to takeoff with maximum engine power and climb to a cruising altitude of 42,000 feet, have a maximum rate of descent at more than 10,000 feet/minute, engage in tactical manoeuvres at the not-uncommon maritime reconnaissance altitude of 200 feet, and accomplish a wide range of tasks within a single sortie, including submarine search-and-destroy missions, monitoring sea traffic, launching anti-ship cruise missile attacks on naval or land targets as required, and engaging in communications relays and electronic signals intercepts. Land-surveillance missions were also a distinct possibility.

In December 2005, the IN floated an RFP for an initial eight new LRMR/ASW aircraft. Bids from a variety of contenders were submitted by April 2007. The plan was for price negotiations to be completed in 2007, with first deliveries to commence within 48 months. The competitive bidding process involved two principal contenders: Boeing Integrated Defense Systems’ P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) and Airbus Military Aircraft’s A319 MPA, with the latter being offered with the EADS/CASA-developed FITS mission management system that in turn integrated an ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar from Israel. Boeing on April 13, 2006 submitted its first detailed proposal to develop and deliver the P-8I LRMR/ASW aircraft for the IN. The proposal called for developing an India-specific variant of the P-8A Poseidon. Boeing pitched its eight P-8Is for $2.01 billion. The MoD in early January 2007 began negotiations with the two bidders so that the contract could be finalised before the next financial year ended in March 2009. The selected platform was required to operate for more than 15 years, fly at a speed of more than 200mph, and carry a multi-mode radar that can track 80 airborne and an equal number of surface targets, along with an IFF transponder, ESM/ELINT/SIGINT suite, EW suite for self-defence, chin-mounted optronic sensor operating in the 3-5 micron bandwidth, air-to-surface cruise missiles and torpedoes, sonobuoys, secure data links, and a tail-mounted magnetic anomaly detector. Between the two competing offers, the Boeing offer appeared to be more flexible and tailor-made as it accommodated the IN’s peculiar operational requirements in terms the platform’s weapon systems and network-centric mission avionics suites. But most importantly, the proposed P-8I could simultaneously engage in long-range surface search and target tracking, remain capable of periscope detection in high sea states, undertake warship-imaging and classification using the high-resolution inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) mode of operation (for imaging and classifying small, fast-moving vessels that operate close to the shore), and use the spot-synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode for overland surveillance, ground mapping (via multiple resolution strip-map), identifying moving overland targets, conducting battle damage assessment, and provide real-time over-the-horizon targeting cues for anti-ship/land-attack cruise missiles. By January 1, 2009, India had picked its aircraft: the 737-derivative P-8I under a $2.1375 billion direct commercial sale contract inked with Boeing, thus becoming Boeing’s launch export customer for this type of platform. First deliveries will take place in early 2013, followed by service entry before 2015. A follow-on batch of four P-8Is has already been committed to, with contract signature expected by next year.

Capable of extended broad-area and littoral MR/ASW operations for ten hours at a stretch, the P-8I uses Boeing’s B.737-800 airframe, is powered by twin CFM56-7 turbofans each rated at 27,300lb of takeoff thrust, and its wings will feature commercially proven raked or backswept wingtips. The P-8I will be equipped with a mission avionics/sensor suite comprising:
· Northrop Grumman’s electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) sensor, the directional IR countermeasures system, electronic support measures system, secure data link, and mission-planning support hardware.
· Raytheon’s upgraded APY-10 maritime surveillance radar and signals intelligence (SIGINT) solution; a GPS anti-jam, integrated friend or foe, and towed decoy self-protection suite; a broadcast information system (BIS); and secure UHF SATCOMS capability.
· Smiths Aerospace’s flight-management and stores-management systems.
· Griffon Corp subsidiary of Telephonics Corp’s AN/APS-143Cv3 OceanEye aft-mounted multi-mode radar, whose maximum range is 200nm against larger targets, with the standard clutter rejection features and a default set of search, weather, beacon, and small target detect modes. Options include land-looking ISAR and strip-map SAR modes, range profiling, and an integrated Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator.
· CAE of Canada’s AN/ASQ-508A integrated magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system that will provide the capability to detect, locate, and confirm submerged targets by identifying magnetic variations or anomalies, such as those caused by a submarine, in the Earth’s magnetic field.
· Avantel’s mobile satellite communications system.
· Bharat Electronics Ltd-built IFF interrogator and Data Link II system.
· Electronic Corporation of India Ltd-built speech secrecy system.
· Maini Global Aerospace’s fuel-cell structural components.

Along with the P-8Is, Boeing, under a $200 million package, will also supply the IN with 21 AGM-84L Harpoon Block 2 anti-ship cruise missiles, five ATM-84L Block 2 training missiles, captive air training missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and related contractor support. In the near future, the IN will place orders for about 200 Raytheon-built 324mm air-launched Mk54 lightweight hybrid torpedoes equipped with Lockheed Martin’s high-altitude anti-submarine warfare capability (HAAWC) self-contained wing adaptor kit. The IN has also decided to exercise its options for procuring an additional four P-8Is at a cost of $1 billion.

In a recent significant decision, the IN has decided to upgrade the mission management system and mission sensors of its existing eight Tu-142ME LRMR/ASW aircraft by installing on each of them the Novella (Sea Dragon) suite, developed by St Petersburg-based Leninets Holding Company and already operational on board the IN’s five existing IL-38SD MRMR/ASW aircraft. Once completed, the upgraded Tu-142MEs, each armed with torpedoes as well as up to four 3M54E supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, are expected to remain in service until 2024.
For fulfilling its MRMR/ASW aircraft requirements, the IN has shortlisted two platforms for evaluations: Bombardier Aerospace’s Q-400MPA (fitted with a mission management system-cum-sensor suite supplied by ELTA Systems), and Airbus Military Aircraft’s C-295MPA. The C-295MPA is being proposed with the FITS mission management system and built EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar. The Navy’s RFI, released in October 2010, specifies that the selected platform should be capable of ELINT, EW (with a jamming pod), plus maritime patrol and SAR within a 350nm (650km) operational envelope, as well as a patrol endurance of at least three-and-a-half hours. It should also be armed with at least two anti-ship cruise missiles, and be able to accommodate India-origin equipment such as IFF transponder, Link 2 two-way data-links, and speech secrecy systems. Though this looks impressive on paper, the MRMR/ASW platform requirement ought to be done away with, and instead greater priority ought to be accorded to the procurement of additional P-8Is to eventually increase the fleet strength to 24 LRMR/ASW platforms, thus achieving fleet standardisation and ensuring simplified inventory logistics. If this is done, then the domain of MRMR or maritime patrol throughout India's EEZ could then be the sole responsibility of the Indian Coast Guard Service (ICGS). It is therefore high time the IN focussed exclusively on maritime security, with the ICGS being the sole provider of coastal security & surveillance, as well as SAR. 
In another development, the IN has firmed up plans to acquire 12 amphibians capable of undertaking tasks like SAR, maritime surveillance-cum-reconnaissance of island-based territories along India’s eastern and western seaboards, and supporting special operations directed against seaborne pirates and terrorists. Incidentally, the IN did operate a modest fleet of amphibians in the 1950s, when it ordered 10 modified Shorts Sealand Mk1Ls in 1952 (these being the naval fleet air arm’s very first post-independence aircraft acquisitions) from the UK for its Fleet Requirement Unit (which on January 17, 1959 became Indian Naval Air Squadron 550) at INS Garuda, in Cochin. All ten aircraft were delivered between January and October 1953, but were withdrawn from service 12 years later. For the IAF’s requirement, the only logical contenders at the moment are Beriev Aircraft Company of Russia’s Be-220EI twin turbofan-powered amphibian, and Shin Maywa Corp of Japan’s US-2.

Between these two, the US-2, from a geo-political standpoint, is expected to be the preferred candidate. And here again, it must be stressed that such maritime patrol and SAR functions are best left to the ICGS, and not the IN. It is high time the ICGS grew out of the shadows of the IN, and the ICGS' four-star Director-General (DG) should be appointed from within its own ranks, and do away with the outdated practice of 'borrowing' a three-star Vice Admiral from the IN and appointing him as the DG-ICGS.  

The IN is presently on an overdrive to procure an initial 16 ten-tonne ASW helicopters and 14 twelve-tonne multi-role helicopters to replace the existing 31-year old AgustaWestland Sea King Mk42As and 29-year old Kamov Ka-25s. Presently, less than 40% of ASW helicopters and less than 60% of the special operations/utility helicopters are operationally available to constitute Unit Establishment (UE) of the respective squadrons of the Navy. In the 10-tonne category, the competition is between the Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk and MH-60R, and Eurocopter’s NH-90 (to go on board the three Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs, four Project 28 ASW corvettes and the seven planned Project 17A FFGs), while in the 12-tonne category the main contenders are AgustaWestland’s AW-101 and Sikorsky’s CH-148 Cyclone (to go on board the three Project 15A Kolkata-class DDGs, the follow-on four Project 15B DDGs and the INS Vikrant). The Navy is also going ahead with plans for upgrading the mission sensor suite of 18 of its AgustaWestland-built Sea King Mk42B multi-role, medium-lift, shipborne helicopters and 28 Kamov Ka-28PL ASW helicopters. For the existing Sea King Mk42Bs and Ka-28PLs to be upgraded at a cost of Rs6 billion and Rs8.5 billion, respectively, the only ultra low-frequency dipping sonar being offered for the selected helicopter is L-3 Communications/Ocean Systems Division’s HELRAS DS-100, while low-frequency sonars being offered are THALESRaytheon’s FLASH and the DRDO-developed/BEL-built Mihir. Tactical anti-ship strike missiles being proposed include MBDA’s Marte Mk2/S and Kongsberg Marine’s 55km-range Penguin Mk3. The belly-mounted search radar is widely expected to be the ELTA Electronics-built EL/M-2022H(A)3, while an ELTA-built optronic turret is favoured as a chin-mounted installation. The mission management suite likely to be selected is Galileo Avionica’s (part of Finmeccanica) ATOS-LW, which will also function as an acoustic signals processor. The 18 Sea King Mk42Bs will each have an all-glass cockpit similar to the one on board the Dhruv ALH, and its mission sensor/weapons suite will be the same as that on board the 16 to-be-acquired shipborne helicopters.

The IN is also going in for five more 12.2-tonne Kamov Ka-31 airborne early-warning (AEW) helicopters worth Rs2.75 billion each, to add to the 11 Ka-31s already inducted between 2003 and 2007. It may be recalled that the IN ordered its first four Ka-31s in August 1999, followed by a further five in February 2001. These were procured for US$207 million. Three more Ka-31s were ordered in January 27, 2004 along with three more Ka-28PLs, all of which have been delivered and are operational with the IN’s INAS 333 and INAS 339 squadrons. While six Ka-31s have been earmarked for the three in-service Project 1135.6 Batch 1 and three Project 1135.6 Batch 2 FFGs, another eight have been earmarked for the 44,500-tonne aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is expected to be commissioned into service in 2013. There exists another requirement for eight additional AEW helicopters for going on board the 37,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant (due for commissioning by 2014), plus another four for the refurbished existing aircraft carrier, the 28,700-tonne INS Viraat, which will remain in service till 2020. For flying training purposes, delivery of 17 Hawk Mk132 lead-in fighter trainers will commence from 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016.

To be inked in future are contracts for procuring 40 single-engined helicopters (for both light utility and flying training) as replacements for the existing SA.316B Alouette III/Chetaks, 10 Pilatus PC-7 Mk2 basic turboprop trainers, and up to 20 stealthy guided-missile corvettes, for which the MEKO-CSL and VISBY designs are expected to be the frontrunners. The selected design will be replacing the IN's existing fleet of 12 Tarantul-1 guided-missile corvettes, four 1,350-tonne Project 25 Khukri-class guided-missile corvettes and  four Project 25A Kora-class guided-missile corvettes.

Required: More Teeth For Sea Warriors
Although once considered little more than a nuisance and a force protection issue for overseas troops, terrorism will remain the top priority of India’s national security strategy for the foreseeable future. Regardless of the form in which a terrorist threat manifests itself, be it a state-sponsored global group, decentralised extremist cells, or just rogue individuals, India can no longer ignore stateless actors who have the ability to inflict serious harm on her citizens and economy. As the lethality and effectiveness of individual terrorist attacks grows, the ability to take down individual leaders or their networks becomes an increasingly urgent mission set for the country’s armed forces. Manhunting--finding and neutralising high-value individual targets--is now an integral part of irregular warfare operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism. These types of precision terrorist targetting operations have proven effective in ongoing counter-insurgency campaigns in Colombia, The Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and in Iraq. Terrorists seek refuge in terrain that allows them to stay undercover from conventional targetting methods. These under-governed areas may include rugged mountainous, jungle, and coastal environments, or urban terrain where they can hide among the population. Given the nomadic nature of terrorists and the proximity of many potential targets (within India) to the sea, distributed maritime forces are a natural player in manhunting efforts. Though the IN has several warships and aircraft and several hundred special operations trigger-pullers who can put ordnance on a target to finish off a terrorist, getting those shooters to exactly the right place and time is a significantly more complex and time-consuming endeavour than capturing or killing a terrorist. Additionally, do not let the funny, politically incorrect name fool you: the emerging threats to both the IN and Indian Coast Guard Service (ICGS) are improvised mini-submarines, swimmer-delivery vehicles of the type employed for recreational scuba diving, remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles of the type already in service with the navies of Iran, Myanmar and Pakistan (all having procured them from North Korea). As has been amply demonstrated by the navies of North Korea and Iran, these small vessels make good platforms for ambushes even at submerged depths of 150 feet, enough room for the midget submersible to manoeuvre. Any submersible that weighs less than 150 tonnes is called a midget. They cannot travel too far on their own, and depend on support vessels to extend their range. In shallow waters, where sonar returns are cluttered, they can prove quiet and sneaky. Often this means they can lay mines or insert commandos on beaches. Attacks from midget submersibles can also include torpedoes armed with 250kg warheads. Two things heighten the risk of an ambush by midget submarines against Indian warships: the complex sonar picture of shallow water where these small submersibles can operate, and the absence of a network of seabed-mounted sonar transducers dotting the Indian coastline.

Find, fix, finish, exploit, and analyse (F3EA) is a targetting model that facilitates the integration of operations and intelligence to counter terrorist networks and the primary framework for today’s manhunting operations. Counter-terrorism has been a ground-centric mission area of the Indian Navy’s MARCOS special operations forces for years, but there is a growing realisation post-26/11 that maritime forces are the most vital strategic enablers to manhunting, and India’s naval assets are fully capable of conducting the full-spectrum F3EA cycle alone or in conjunction with other friendly forces like the ICGS. Naval platforms combine operational and tactical mobility to deliver counter-terrorism operators like the MARCOS near a dynamic enemy, the ability to sustain persistent intelligence collection and monitoring to find and fix the terrorists, and the ability to finish them with rapid and precise fires. The MARCOS can thus bring an adaptive set of capabilities to move and sustain manhunting assets and staging special operations characterised by operational flexibility and strategic surprise. For example, advanced offshore patrol vessels (AOPV) used as afloat forward staging bases can support special operators, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms (manned or unmanned), and smaller tactical special warfare vessels for long periods. A long-endurance vessel like a landing platform dock (LPD) equipped with up to four medium-lift IFR-capable helicopters like the AgustaWestland Sea King Mk42C and vertical takeoff-and-landing unmanned aerial vehicles provides a robust operating base in a low-visibility manner that avoids a large footprint on the ground. In addition to staging tactical platforms, these afloat bases can provide extended logistical, maintenance, and medical sustainment for the MARCOS’ special operations warriors on the ground and sea. ‘Finishing’ is the piece of manhunting that the IN traditionally does best (as proven during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s). The ability to put precision-guided ordnance on a time-sensitive target is critical to counter-terrorism operations. The wealth of ‘finishing’ capabilities that the IN can today bring to the fight is impressive, ranging from precision deep-strike assets such as BrahMos multi-role supersonic cruise missiles and tactical aviation (with the MiG-29K), to more responsive but shorter-range offensive punch such as naval gunfire or MARCOS detachments conducting direct action. The ability to operate safely and quietly well offshore is also an advantage of naval fires in a counter-terrorism role.

Although ‘finish’ operations most often occur in a limited time window, high-value targets require time to fix; and forces operating independently on the ocean can provide persistence for this mission. Current and future demands for intelligence collection resources in support of manhunting in areas far away from the Indian landmass--such as full-motion video surveillance/transmission and seamless over-the-horizon communications--greatly outstrips supply at the moment. Though the IN and ICGS can both provide manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms that are both persistent and clandestine to meet some of this demand, they have yet to make investments in acquiring a decent fleet of shipborne long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles and medium-range maritime surveillance aircraft. The lack of such direly-needed capabilities was graphically illustrated twice in November 2010: in the first such case of its kind in recent times, pirates took control of the Panama-flagged 24,105 tonne MV Hannibal II about 540nm away from India’s western coastline (east of Longitude 65° and north of Latitude 15°, putting this piracy activity placed very well to intercept traffic leaving Mumbai and heading for the Red Sea) while it was travelling from Malaysia to the Suez Canal ferrying vegetable oil. The second such incident took place in the evening of November 11 about 450nm West of Mumbai, when the merchant ship MV BBC Orinoco with a crew of 14 reported being attacked by pirates. The crew locked themselves in the ship’s engine room and the steering compartment and communicated with their Dubai-based agents, UK MTO Dubai, via e-mail. After the agents had intimated the IN for assistance, the Navy promptly launched an IL-38SD medium-range maritime surveillance/ASW aircraft to locate the distressed vessel, forward-deployed INS Veer (a Tarantul-1 guided-missile corvette) to intercept the distressed vessel, and also sailed the guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi with an embarked MARCOS team to take part in the anti-piracy operation. The ICGS too responded by adjusting all its routine aerial surveillance deployments to keep one or more Do-228-201 short-range coastal surveillance aircraft on hot standby, besides asking their IOVs on already-assigned mission to be also on stand-by. However, by daybreak, when the Navy’s warships had arrived at the scene, the pirates had already escaped and have since remained untraceable. The singular lesson learnt from both these piracy-related incidents is that integrating the find, fix, and finish capabilities onto a single platform like MALE-UAVs and medium-range maritime surveillance aircraft (of the type long sought by both the IN and ICGS, but which are still elusive) offers unprecedented speed and flexibility of action.

When it comes to the application of on-land F3EA targetting models in support of homeland security, the IN again is uniquely poised to become the dominant counter-terrorism force—a fact which was amply demonstrated during 26/11 when the first responders to the rapidly unfolding crisis in south Mumbai were the MARCOS detachments. In response to a frantic call made at around 11.30pm by the then Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johnny Joseph to the then FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi, 45 members of the MARCOS divided into two teams were rushed from INS Abhimanyu, the Navy’s MARCOS base in Karanja just off the coast of Mumbai. It took the two MARCOS teams an hour to reach the Taj and Trident hotels in south Mumbai, as their base was 6nm away and they were lacking the kind of tactical airlift and sealift equipment (like the Sea King Mk42C helicopters and high-speed rigid-hull inflatable boats) required for rapid deployment. Despite such shortcomings, the MARCOS teams had, between 2am and 9am on November 27, 2008 held their ground and successfully isolated the 10 Pakistani terrorists. Not only were the terrorists forced to leave behind two rucksacks, one of which contained four grenades, seven AK-47 magazines, spare ammunition and plastic explosives, the MARCOS also prevented them from reaching 180 potential hostages at the Trident hotel. Meanwhile, at the Taj hotel the MARCOS had successfully evacuated 300 guests. Had a Sea King Mk42C been made available to the MARCOS, then a third MARCOS quick-response tactical squad could have taken off from INS Shikra at nighttime on November 28, 2008 and abseiled onto the roof of the five-storey Nariman House to take on the third group of terrorists that was holed up there.

Post-26/11, the Navy has learnt some hard lessons,  as a result of which a quick-response section (QRS) comprising MARCOS personnel is now permanently positioned at Lions Gate, less than 1km away from some of the luxury hotels in Colaba and Mantralaya. It goes without saying that in the event of another terrorist attack in south Mumbai in future, the MARCOS will again become the first responder, especially since the paramilitary National Security Guards counter-terrorist detachment are located in faraway Kalina, about 20km from Colaba, and the Force One counter-terrorist unit of the Maharashtra Police has its hub located even farther in Goregaon, about 35km from south Mumbai. Given the greatly expanded role of the MARCOS post-26/11, it is only logical to ask for the sanctioned strength of MARCOS to be increased from the existing figure of 1,500 personnel. Presently, there are three main MARCOS groups detached to the three naval commands; Mumbai (West), Kochi (South) and Vizag (East). INS Abhimanyu is where most of the specialised training is now done. Each of the three main MARCOS groups now has a platoon-sized QRS (specialising in counter-terrorism operations in urban terrain) embedded within them. Efforts are now underway to equip these QRS units with rapid deployment tools like high-speed rigid-hull inflatable boats of varying sizes, fast interception craft, and tactical hovercraft.

Infrastructure Developments
As per present plans, the IN’s mammoth Project Sea Bird (INS Kadamba, which was designed by a consortium of companies comprising Redecon Pty Ltd of Australia and Dutch firm Ballast Nedam) will be spread over 4,480 hectares and executed on a 23km-long stretch between Karnataka’s Bingy Bay in the north and Bhavikeri in Ankola taluk in the south. It will be almost sandwiched between National Highway 17 to its east and the Arabian Sea to its west. The sprawling base is being built in three phases. The first phase, which got underway in 1985 and concluded in 2005 (costing some Rs150 billion, included the construction of a deep-sea harbor; two breakwaters (the northern breakwater--a 1.3km-long road--running between the mainland and Anjidiv Island, while the southern breakwater--a 3.2km-long road--running between Round Island and Arga village); jetties for the simultaneous berthing of 12 to 15 warships (including the INS Vikrant, while INS Vikramaditya will continue to make use of the naval dockyard in Mumbai); a synchrolift-equipped shipyard (for repair and maintenance work); a township to house 3,500 personnel; a hospital; and a Dockyard Uplift Centre (technology centre). A naval air base, a DRDO-developed VLF communications facility, over-the-horizon radar-backscatter (OTHR-B) station, and a naval research centre are now coming up at Alageri village near Ankola.
As far as naval air bases for the IN’s Searcher Mk2 and Heron-1 MALE-UAVs go, there are presently two operational air bases, these being the ones at Porbandar, Gujarat, for housing INAS 343, and INS Parundu at Uchipuli, Tamil Nadu, for INAS 342 (which was previously based at Kochi). Additional MALE-UAV squadrons are now being raised for deployment at Behala, West Bengal, and at the naval air station now coming up near Ankola. Earlier plans for deploying such MALE-UAVs at Port Blair and Kavaratti have since been shelved, purely due to the adverse wind conditions prevailing in these island-territories. Being mulled now is the prospect of building an air enclave on Great Nicobar Island—a proposal that had first been tabled as far back as 1971. This enclave will be capable of housing naval LRMR/ASW platforms as well as Do-228-201 coastal surveillance aircraft of the ICGS. Elsewhere, naval enclaves capable of berthing ASW corvettes are coming up at Paradip and Tuticorin in Odisha and Tamil Nadu, respectively, while a new floating dry-dock has been sought for deployment around Port Blair to add to the one now in service.
But by far the most ambitious shore-based infrastructure development programme of the IN after INS Kadamba is Project Varsha, which is now being implemented at a site spread over 5,000 acres and located 50km south of Visakhapatnam between Rambilli and Elamanchili mandals, in Andhra Pradesh. Project consultancy for this venture has been done by Redecon Pty Ltd of Australia. It is here that the futuristic IN-operated fleet of SSBNs and SSGNs will be homeported and serviced, and this site will also house a 3,000km-range over-the-horizon radar-backscatter (OTHR-B) now being developed by the DRDO. The submarine base’s VLF communications facility, however, is now coming up at a 1,400-acre site at Pudur, some 60km from Hyderabad.—Prasun K. Sengupta

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dissecting The Speech Of The IN’s CNS

Without any doubt, it can be safely stated that both Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials and the three armed services chiefs are spectacularly notorious for dabbling in generalities or denials during official media briefings, while scrupulously avoiding getting into the details, where the devil always lurks. The press briefing given by the Indian Navy’s Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Nirmal Verma, on December 2—which incidentally was to be his last such briefing--was no exception. To prove this, let us first gloss over the official text of the speech in its entirety.
December 2,  2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. At the very outset, I would like to thank all of you for being here this afternoon to attend this year’s press conference. I am glad to see that all forms and sections of media are well represented, which provides us with an opportunity for comprehensive interaction. I also avail this opportunity to compliment all of you for your valuable contribution in keeping the nation informed of our defence needs and imperatives.

2. It is not without reason that Mark Twain had remarked that only the Sun and the Press can carry light to all corners of the globe. Of course, he was talking about the Associated Press, but I think our own media has done well in carrying defence-related news and views to all parts of the country.

3. I will make some opening remarks, after which I will take your questions. As you are aware, we celebrate Navy Day on December 4 every year. It is an occasion to remember our war heroes as well as to rededicate ourselves to the service of the Nation. On this occasion I would like to specifically remember one of my illustrious predecessors, Admiral Oscar Stanley Dawson, who passed away last month. He was the Director of Naval Operations in 1971 and one of the architects of the events of December 4, 1971.                             

4. Today the world has acknowledged India’s economic prowess and future economic potential. As the country continues to progress on the path of sustained economic growth, there is a growing acceptance of the fact that the maritime domain is the prime facilitator of our economic growth. More than 90% of our trade by volume and 77% by value is transported over the seas. Over 97% of our energy needs of oil are either imported or produced from offshore fields. Consequently, our economic growth is inextricably linked to the seas.

5. It is in appreciation of these security and economic imperatives that we have adopted this year’s theme, for the Navy Day--‘Safe Seas and Secure Coasts for a Strong Nation’.

6. The role and responsibility of the IN to protect our maritime interest will grow with the requirement to safeguard our expanding economic interests, as also the expectations associated with being a mature and responsible regional maritime power. Therefore, whilst the Navy is prepared to meet any form of traditional threat, it is also in the process of acquiring capabilities and realigning its operational ethos to meet emerging security challenges in our maritime domain.

7. Accordingly, during the last year the Navy has maintained its momentum towards enhancing maritime security and safeguarding our economic and strategic interests. Today, the Navy stands committed towards contributing to stability in our area of primary interest, that is the Indian Ocean Region.    

8. It is, therefore, with good reason that the tempo of naval operations in 2011 was substantially higher. The Navy has been dealing with low-intensity threats on a regular basis wherein securing our coasts and safety of the merchant marine require focussed attention. In addition, our preparedness to deal with eventualities across the spectrum of operations has been maintained at a high level through sustained deployments, regular exercises as well as cooperative security initiatives with regional and international navies. We have commenced induction of assets and manpower and setting up of infrastructure to consolidate our coastal security organisation. Further, indigenous development of naval armament and equipment has been a focus area of the Navy and I am happy to state that there has been significant progress in this field.

Capability Building
9. Perspective planning is the key to building and maintaining a force structure, owing to the dynamics of a constantly changing geo-strategic environment and threats evolving thereof. Force Level Planning is thus an iterative process. An implementable Perspective Plan is particularly critical to building an indigenous navy. I am glad to note that earlier this year, we have formulated the Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan and formalised the naval component of the 12th Defence Plan for 2012-2017.  

10. The Navy is acutely conscious of the need for optimal utilisation of allocated monetary resources. Within the budget projections, the Navy is aiming at building a multi-dimensional capability, congruent to our increasing responsibilities as well as challenges. Our preferred choice of inducting ships and submarines has been through the indigenous route and of the 49 ships and submarines presently on order, 45 are from Indian shipyards. 

11. The Navy’s quest for indigenisation has resulted in our Defence Public-Sector Shipyards (DPSU) being given an unprecedented number of orders for warship and submarine construction. Significantly, for the first time, DPSUs and private shipyards were involved in competitive bidding. This has resulted in price discovery in some cases and two private shipyards have been awarded contracts for construction of Offshore Patrol Vessels and Training Ships for the Navy. With larger number of shipyards participating in warship building, a larger number of deliveries are expected in the medium–term.

12. As I reiterate our firm commitment to the continued development of our indigenous warship-building capability I must also add that we are keen that the capability of both public- and private-sector shipyards be scaled up to deliver state-of-the-art warships that meet our future needs in time frames that match global standards.

13. In this context with the aim to enhance synergy between the Navy and the industry, we have compiled a Naval Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap, to keep the industry informed about the future requirements of the Navy in terms of technology and desired capability. This document will be hosted on the MoD website and I hope that the initiative will help boost the participation of the private sector in the defence production process, particularly with regard to naval systems.

14. We hope to build upon some of our successes in this regard, such as the indigenous Combat Management System (CMS), which is currently at various stages of integration in our new induction platforms.

15. The induction programme is continuing apace and over the next five years we expect to induct ships/submarines at an average rate of 5 ships per year provided the yards deliver as per contracted timelines. This year we have concluded eight important contracts which include contracts for four destroyers, five Offshore Patrol Vessels, two Cadet Training Ships, eight Landing Craft Utility and Fast Interceptor Craft for coastal security duties. We are also looking forward to soon concluding contracts for mine countermeasures vessels (MCMV) and Project 17A guided-missile frigates (FFG).

16. Amongst the major projects, under construction in Indian shipyards, are the three ships of Kolkata-class (Project 15A guided-missile destroyers, or DDGs), four Project 15B DDGs, which are an advanced version of the Kolkata-class DDGs, and the six Project 75 Scorpene submarines, all at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai. Four Project 28 anti-surface warfare (ASW) corvettes are being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. In addition, nine Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPV) are under construction at Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and a private shipyard. Construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is also progressing.

17. We expect to induct one Project 17 Shivalik-class FFG—INS Sahyadri--one Offshore Patrol Vessel, one Kolkata-class DDG, one P-28 ASW Corvette, three Catamaran Hull Survey Vessels and 25 Fast Interceptor Craft (these being a mixture of the 15 Chantier Naval Couach’s FIC-1300s and 80 FICs from Sri Lanka-based Solas Marine and for the Sagar Prahari Bal) over the next one year.

18. Amongst the overseas projects, the refurbishment of Vikramaditya is progressing on track and the ship is expected to be delivered in December 2012. The three follow-on FFGs of the Project 1135.6 Talwar-class, under construction at Russia, are likely to be delivered between 2012 and 2013.

19. Our maritime surveillance capability is a critical component of maritime security, both in times of peace and conflict, and plays a crucial role in the security of the Maritime Zones of India, as also of our vast coastline. The planned induction of twelve P-8I Poseidon LRMR/ASW aircraft to add more teeth to this capability, is on schedule. The first flight of the first P-8I for the Indian Navy took place on September 28 this year and this signals that the programme is well on track.  The first aircraft would arrive in India by January 13.  Acquisition of Medium-Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft is also being progressed concurrently.

20. The delivery of 16 carrier-borne MiG-29K multi-role aircraft, as per the initial contract will be completed by the end of the year. We have also signed a contract for 29 more aircraft, the delivery of which is likely to commence from April next year. The Naval version of the LCA is under development and two main engine runs of the first prototype have been carried out. The naval variant differs from the Air Force version due to its requirement to operate from the deck of the aircraft carrier. The prototype is expected to do the much delayed first flight by the first quarter of 2012. Once successful flight trials are completed, we intend to go ahead with a Limited Series Production (LSP) of the aircraft, in preparation for future inductions.

21. Further, the induction of Hawk Mk132 AJT commencing 2013 would facilitate advanced training of our young pilots in developing requisite flying skills over sea prior to graduating to deck-based combat aircraft.

22. The mid-life upgrade of existing Sea King Mk42B and Kamov Ka-28 helicopters, aimed at upgrading their weapon and sensor package would be undertaken in the 12th Plan period (2012-2017). Further, efforts are in hand for acquiring multi-role helicopters, additional airborne  early warning helicopters and utility helicopters. The field evaluation for procurement of 16 multi-role helicopters was concluded recently and the contract negotiations should commence by early 2012.

23. The Indian Navy recognises the superior persistence and surveillance capabilities of unmanned assets and has factored their induction. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) squadrons on the West Coast are fully operational and a new squadron on the East Coast is planned to be commissioned early next year. The technological advancements on the unmanned platforms incorporating improved sensors would enhance the coverage of the Area of Operations and such features have been factored as future drivers of growth.

24. In addition, we are in the process of procuring a number of weapons such as heavy machine guns, assault and sniper rifles, close-quarter battle carbines and infantry weapons training simulators, to bolster our personnel protection capabilities.

25. Concurrent with the procurement of assets, development of infrastructure, is essential for balanced capability enhancement. We have therefore accorded high priority for creating supporting infrastructure for our new inductions.

26. Phase I of the Naval Base at Karwar, under Project Seabird, has been completed this year. The last major milestone was the inauguration of the Defence Civilian Township by the Hon'ble RM on May 21. We are now progressing the case for Phase II A of the project, which over the next eight to ten years would substantially enhance the operational, technical and administrative facilities and other infrastructure in the naval base. In addition, the Navy is also in the process of setting up Operational Turn Around (OTR) bases, Forward Operating Bases and Naval Air Enclaves along the coast which would enhance the reach and sustainability of our surveillance effort.

27. This year the Navy has provided a renewed impetus and focus towards creation of operational and administrative infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands. These islands are the country’s strategic outposts and augmentation of the facilities would enhance our reach and enable extended presence in the area.

28. Moving on to operations.  We have maintained a high level of training and preparedness consistent with our peacetime stance, through regular exercises at the Fleet level. We have also honed our skills in joint operations through the year. For instance, this year’s Operational Readiness Exercise, TROPEX 11, which was conducted in February, was marked by significant participation by both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force with a focus on amphibious operations, amongst other issues.  We also conducted another annual exercise which was aimed at addressing possible contingencies off the coast of Gujarat.

29. We have undertaken extensive overseas deployments in consonance with our foreign policy and operated extensively in the Indian Ocean as also in the Western Pacific. The nature of the maritime challenges, that we are faced with, necessitates engagement and cooperation with other Navies. Consequently, engagement of friendly navies on transnational maritime security issues, to develop a shared understanding and interoperability, has been a focus issue. Through such overseas deployments, the Indian Navy has been improving its operational and combat capabilities. This year, bilateral exercises were held with the navies of France, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, UK, USA, following exercises with Brazil and South Africa, last year. We have reinitiated a biennial series of naval exercises with Sri Lanka titled SLINEX, the most recent one having been undertaken in September this year.

30. Indian Navy ships have also engaged in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Most notable amongst them was the deployment for evacuation of our citizens from Libya in March this year as part of Operation Blossom. Occurring in close wake to our Operational Readiness Exercise, TROPEX 11, that I had mentioned about earlier, OP Blossom demonstrated the efficacy and agility with which our units can transit from an exercise environment into operations.  In another disaster relief operation, our units participated in the flood relief efforts in Odisha in September this year.

31. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has grown steadily over the years. While 217 attacks were reported off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean in 2009, they increased to 219 in 2010. The number of incidents have already reached 228 for the current year till November 2011. However, due to sustained efforts of navies and the shipping community, the success rate of piracy has dropped from 38% in 2008 to 11% this year.

32. Piracy in the region has a direct bearing on our economy as a large percentage of India’s trade including oil and fertilisers, also passes through the Gulf of Aden. The Ministry of Shipping has estimated that Indian exports and imports through the Gulf of Aden route are valued in the range of over US$100 billion. The safety and unhindered continuity of maritime trade, through ships that use this route, is, therefore, a primary national concern.  About 24 India-flagged merchant ships transit the Gulf of Aden every month. Additionally, a large number of foreign flagged vessels with Indian crew also sail on these waters.

33. Consequently, the Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden from October 2008 to protect India-flagged ships and Indian citizens employed in sea-faring duties. Close to 1900 ships have been escorted by Indian Navy ships in the Gulf of Aden of these the foreign flagged ships are close to 1,700. During its deployments for anti-piracy operations, Indian Navy ships have prevented 39 piracy attempts on merchant vessels.

34. As a result of resolute naval action in the Gulf of Aden by several countries, piracy shifted to new areas, including the East Arabian Sea by end 2010. In order to counter this new trend, the Indian Navy substantially increased its anti-piracy deployments in the East Arabian Sea, including areas off Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands. As a result of these deployments and actions against four pirate mother ships this year, the threat of piracy attacks has sharply reduced in this area. Over a hundred pirates were apprehended and 73 fishermen and crew were rescued during anti piracy operations by the navy in the East Arabian Sea this year.

35. Coastal security, as you may be aware, is a complex issue which requires not only seamless coordination across numerous organisations but also the setting up of significant technological infrastructure.  Towards this end, our objective has been to increase the synergy between various agencies by ensuring better sharing of information, and coordination of actions. While there has been the odd aberration, in other instances swift coordinated action brought success. 

36. In this context it is pertinent to highlight that, there has been an increase of about 70% in naval ship deployments and a 100% increase in aircraft deployments towards coastal security tasking. Surveillance of the Offshore Development Areas has also been enhanced. Integration of fishermen, as one of the stakeholders of maritime security, has been addressed at grass-root levels, and so far, 361 awareness campaigns have been conducted in the coastal states by naval and Coast Guard teams. This is an ongoing endeavour and will be continued in the years ahead.  Our fishermen are our ‘eyes and ears’ in our coastal security matrix.

37. Considerable progress has also been made in augmenting coastal security infrastructure. The recently raised Sagar Prahari Bal has commenced operations with the induction of the first lot of FIC-1300s at Mumbai in June. As I mentioned earlier, a contract for another 80 additional fast interceptor craft was also signed in August. Static sea surveillance radars will be installed all along the coast by next year. A chain of Automatic Identification Systems will also come up along the coast by mid-2012. The pilot project for fitment of transponders on fishing vessels less than 20 metres of length, is planned for implementation in Gujarat and Maharashtra. After the initial trials this will be implemented in other coastal states. This measure would enhance the capability for tracking fishing boats in high density areas.

38. The Navy is setting up the National Command Control Communication Intelligence or (NC3I) Network envisaged for coastal security which would be an independent network and interlink all the Coastal Stations with the Joint Maritime Operations Centres and the Headquarters of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. Further, as part of NC3I network, an Information Management Fusion and Analysis Centre for fusing all maritime  information is being set up, with a view to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and a common operational picture of the relevant sea and ocean areas. Once commissioned, this will be an important force multiplier.

39. Better inter-agency coordination has been one of the positive outcomes of the progress made in last few years. This has been facilitated by the conduct of regular coastal security exercises and operations conducted with all maritime stakeholders. While the coastal security architecture has been strengthened considerably, to further improve the capacity and capability for coastal security, a case for Phase II of Coastal Security augmentation has been initiated. Under this initiative, additional assets such as patrol vessels, helicopters, UAVs, manpower, special forces, forward operating bases, etc. have been proposed. The utility of these assets will not be limited to coastal security alone.

Maritime Cooperation
40. It is natural that India’s growing stature there will be expectations from the Indian Navy, which is the largest Navy in the region, to maintain good order and security at sea. To achieve its mandated tasks, the Indian Navy is enhancing its capabilities, as well as cooperation and inter-operability with regional and extra-regional navies. Naval forces, with their many attributes including access, mobility, sustenance, reach, flexibility and versatility, are ideally equipped to play an active part in furthering diplomatic efforts, in keeping with national priorities.

41. We have a well-established material and training assistance programme in place with Indian Ocean Region countries to assist them in capacity-building and capability-enhancement. The Indian Navy also provides assistance by deploying its assets like ships and aircraft to undertake surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the littorals from time to time, based on requests made by friendly countries.

42. In the current strategic scenario, wherein a myriad of global security challenges confront all nations at large, training cooperation is vital for fostering mutual trust and inter-operability. Training of personnel from friendly navies therefore, has been the cornerstone of our Foreign Cooperation Initiatives.  It is aimed to increase training opportunities to Indian Ocean Region littoral countries, especially the island-nations and ensure that India remains their first preference for ab-initio and mid-career courses. We presently train personnel from 21 countries.

43. The Navy has institutionalised a number of bilateral exercises with other navies. These exercises have continued to expose our Navy to the best practices followed by others, develop inter-operability, showcase our indigenous shipbuilding capability and strengthen naval diplomacy initiatives. A number of bilateral exercises are accordingly scheduled in 2012 as well.

44. The Indian Navy has been actively involved in cooperative engagement with several friendly countries across the globe.  The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium is one such initiative of the Indian Navy, which addresses common maritime security concerns and other such issues of mutual interest amongst the 35 member-states.

Human Resource Development
45. I firmly believe that human resource is our most precious asset. Our uniformed and civilian personnel derive their strength and motivation from the finest traditions that we have inherited from our predecessors. Yet it is a reality that the Navy is facing a shortfall in both uniformed and civilian personnel. Civilian personnel form the backbone of our maintenance force and have longstanding expertise, which we can ill afford to lose. We are making all efforts in conducting special recruitment drives to make good the shortfalls. Shortage of service personnel are also being progressively reduced through additional recruitments. In spite these efforts, there is a shortfall of uniformed personnel, which we hope to address in the coming years through focussed initiatives to engage the youth of our country. In this context, I am optimistic that Cabinet approval would be accorded in the near future for expansion of the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala.

46. Towards addressing our functional requirements and the aspirations of our sailors, a cadre restructuring proposal termed Review of Career Profile of sailors was approved by the Government in October 2010, which was aimed to enhance the functional efficiency of our units as also to promote greater professional satisfaction. The implementation has commenced in a phased manner and would reduce the timeline for promotion to the rank of Petty Officer to less than 15 years in all branches; i.e. within their initial contractual period. Another recently approved initiative is the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme that has bolstered our efforts to provide better remuneration to compensate for the difficult working conditions in the Service.  This scheme entitles each sailor assured growth through his career wherein he gets a financial up gradation at 8, 16 and 24 years of service or on spending 8 years continuously in a Grade Pay.

47. I would also highlight the special emphasis we place on ensuring that the family members of the personnel who lay down their lives in the Service of the Nation, continue to be provided support and succour through lifelong association with the Navy, for which, the Naval Regimental System, provides a very proactive mechanism with representatives down to the unit-level. We have a moral obligation towards providing support to naval widows and our initiative to set up a hostel for them, on land that was recently allocated for this purpose in Delhi, is a manifestation of our commitment.

48. Another recent initiative, the Navy–IGNOU Community College Scheme, Sagardeep, is a distinctive HR measure that will empower sailors, irrespective of entry-level qualification, branch or trade.  The signing of the MoU this year between the Indian Navy and the Indira Gandhi National Open University has been a landmark event that will facilitate higher education amongst our sailors, thereby benefitting the Navy whilst significantly equipping our personnel for their second innings.

49. We have also accorded a lot of importance to providing quality accommodation to our personnel, this is an important aspiration that we are committed to address. Phase I of Married Accommodation Project or MAPS is largely complete. We have obtained approval for Phase II of the project and it is already under construction. Once implemented there will be a substantial increase in the availability of dwelling units for our personnel on completion of the second phase. Additionally, the Navy is also progressing issues related to upgrading hospital and school facilities for our personnel and their dependents which would contribute to our overall sense of well being, satisfaction and pride.

Sports and Adventure
50. It is a matter of great pride for me to state that the Indian Navy’s sportsmen have consistently done the country proud in the International arena. 32 Naval sportsmen have so far represented the country at various International sports events during the current year and have won 01 Gold, 02 Silver and 05 Bronze medals. Cdr Dilip Donde was awarded the Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award for his exemplary feat of successfully completing the maiden Solo Circumnavigation by an Indian citizen, on board the sailing yacht ‘Mhadei’ in 2011, Suranjoy Singh, MCPO II PT of the Navy Boxing team has been bestowed with the prestigious “Arjuna Award” for excelling in boxing for  the year 2010-11. Sanjeev Rajput, MCPO II QA 3 of the Navy shooting team has qualified for the London Olympics 2012 in 50 Metres Rifle 3 Positions event. Ashok Kumar, Chief ME, Omkar Singh, Chief Petty Officer and Samarendra Singh, Leading Steward, have won medals at the international-level in wrestling, air pistol shooting and canoeing, respectively. We are extremely proud of the achievement of our sports persons and the Navy would continue to nurture young men and women who have the potential to bring laurels to the country.

51. Let me conclude by stating that we are committed to create and sustain a combat-ready, technology-enabled and networked force, capable of safeguarding our maritime interests and projecting combat power across littorals. We seek to evolve relevant conceptual frameworks and acquire the warfighting capabilities to operate across the full spectrum of conflict on sustained basis. Ensuring combat readiness will therefore remain our primary focus. We will also be prepared to undertake benign and humanitarian tasks in our region, whenever required. Our operational endeavour shall be underpinned by continuous upgradation of our human skills and a willingness to transform as required to meet the challenges of the future.

52. The Navy Day is an occasion for me to avail the opportunity to express my appreciation, to each and every service and civilian member of the Navy, for their service to our nation, as also, my acknowledgment of the contribution by their families.

53. And finally, on behalf of the naval fraternity, I place on record, our deepest gratitude and respect to our martyrs and our veteran community who have built the strong edifice and traditions of the Indian Navy. In their recognition, year 2012 has been dedicated as the ‘Year for the Ex-Serviceman’.  

Thank you very much.

What It All Means, Or Implies
Let’s start with Para 10, in which it is stated that “of the 49 ships and submarines presently on order, 45 are from Indian shipyards”. Would it have hurt the CNS if he had given a simplified breakdown of this order by mentioning the numbers of principal surface combatants (DDGs, FFGs, corvettes, submarines, MCMVs, auxiliary/utility vessels, and various types of fast attack craft?  In Para 14, when he refered to the indigenously developed CMS (this being the EMDINA) “which is currently at various stages of integration in our new induction platforms,” does it imply that the CMS suites on board the two already-commissioned Project 17 FFGs have yet to undergo functional integration? And would it have hurt anyone if the CNS were to dwell very briefly on the challenges involved in naval systems integration and which were the naval establishments/directorates and DPSUs that have risen up to the challenge? In Para 16, by describing the Project 28 corvette as an “anti-surface warfare (ASW)” vessel, was the CNS claiming or confirming that these vessels will not be optimised for anti-submarine warfare, but will instead be armed with anti-ship cruise missiles and be configured for attacking hostile surfaced targets? In Para 19, where he stated that “the planned induction of twelve P-8I Poseidon LRMR/ASW aircraft… on schedule,” was he confirming that the contract for a follow-on four P-8Is had already been inked? In the same para, where he disclosed that the “acquisition of Medium-Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft is also being progressed concurrently,” would it have hurt if he had identified the potential platforms that had been shortlisted, whether they were turboprop- or turbofan-powered, how many platforms are planned for acquisition and why was the abbreviation ‘ASW’ not attached to the description of this platform? In Para 20, when referring to the LCA (Navy), why didn’t the CNS quantify the “Limited Series Production (LSP) of the aircraft” that the IN plans to procure? In Para 21, why did the CNS fail to give the number of navalised Hawk Mk132 lead-in fighter trainers being procured? In Para 22, while revealing that “efforts are in hand acquiring multi-role helicopters, additional airborne  early warning helicopters and utility helicopters,” why did he not identify the helicopters being considered for procured by their names/model designations/tonnage, and which helicopter-type would go on board which vessel? In the same para while the CNS confirmed that “the field evaluation for procurement of 16 multi-role helicopters was concluded recently and the contract negotiations should commence by early 2012,” what was there to lose were he to identify the helicopters that were evaluated and shortlisted? In Para 23, where it was stated that “a new (UAV) squadron on the East Coast is planned to be commissioned early next year,” was the CNS implying that this would be based at the Behala airfield in south Kolkata, or would it be the squadron that was earlier earmarked for deployment in Port Blair, but will instead be based at Arakkonam in the near future? In Para 26, where the CNS disclosed that “the Navy is also in the process of setting up Operational Turn Around (OTR) bases, Forward Operating Bases and Naval Air Enclaves along the coast,” was he referring to India’s entire coastline, or just the western seaboard? And where exactly would these bases and enclaves be located? In Para 36, where it was mentioned that “there has been an increase of about 70% in naval ship deployments and a 100% increase in aircraft deployments towards coastal security tasking,” why was it not highlighted that coastal security  operations during peacetime are constabulary functions that are best handled by the Indian Coast Guard Service (ICGS), why has the Navy been undertaking such operations, what effects would all these have on the technical service lives of the warships involved, and lastly, have such operations prevented the Navy from honing its warfighting skills post-26/11? In Para 38, why did the CNS not reveal the targetted commissioning dates of the   National Command Control Communications Intelligence or (NC3I) Network and the Information Management Fusion and Analysis Centre? Is it because both the terrestrial NAVNET (using fibre-optic cables) and the project to deploy GSAT-7 fleet communications satellite in geo-stationary orbit are running way behind schedule? In Para 39, in which the CNS spoke about the initiation of Phase II of coastal security augmentation through the proposed acquisition of additional assets such as patrol vessels, helicopters, UAVs, manpower, special forces, forward operating bases, etc., was he referring solely to the Navy’s future force modernisation plans, or was he also talking about those of the ICGS?

During the question-and-answer session when the CNS described the IN as being “a brand new multi-dimensional navy with reach and sustainability” that “is in the offing with over 150 warships and close to 600 fighters, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and drones by the latter half of the following decade, what method of calculation did he employ when giving such figures? Did he factor in the list of warships to be decommissioned between now and 2027, which include four FFGs, five DDGs, one aircraft carrier, nine SSKs, eight MCMVs, one LPD and two LST-Ls, 19 corvettes and five AOPVs? Lastly, while the CNS stated that development work on the Arihant SLBM is on track and the vessel will be sailing out from Visakhapatnam for sea trials in the next few months, why did he not give out any projected or estimated commissioning dates for this vessel, especially since he had disclosed a year ago that when the Arihant is put to see in two years (i.e. 2012), it will be on deterrent patrol with strategic weapons on board?

Now that I have identified the blanks above, the concluding part on this thread will dwell upon filling up the blanks.