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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Hilarious Event, Albeit Tinged With The Indian Navy’s Realism

The customary annual press briefing on the eve of Navy Day, given this time by the Indian Navy’s (IN) Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi, on December 2 did not contain any new revelations as far as the on-going or future force modernisation plans of the IN are concerned. The briefing, instead, was a hilarious event, thanks to the never-ending idiotic queries put forth by India’s Delhi-based ‘desi’ press corps, whose members seemed to be quite pissed off by the absence of a free luncheon at the IN’s expense, this being due to the on-going 7-day mourning period declared by the Govt of India in the aftermath of the passing away of former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral. What follows below is a list of the most prominent idiotic queries raised yesterday.
A former Indian Army officer, who is presently both the Publisher & Editor of a monthly military affairs magazine, stood out as a pathetic example of an ill-informed journalist who is totally clueless when it comes to naval matters. For instance, consider the following questions posed by him: 1) What did the CNS have to say about the IN’s depleting submarine force-levels? 2) What happened to the IN’s plans for procuring one fleet of SSKs of Western design and another fleet of SSKs of Russian design? 3) Why can’t the three armed services chiefs publicly declare their wealth/assets on an annual basis just like Ministers of the Union Cabinet and Judges of the Supreme Court? 4) Why did the CNS not interact with the ‘desi’ press corps on a regular basis?

And this is what the CNS, himself an anti-submarine warfare specialist, had to say:

1) Contrary to popular perception, the IN’s undersea warfare capabilities have increased exponentially over since 2001, with all nine Type 877EKM SSKs and four Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs have been subjected to ‘deep’ upgrades in successive tranches. Consequently, the former can now launch both Novator 3M54E Club-S 220km-range supersonic ASCMs as well as 290km-range 3M14E subsonic land-attack cruise missiles. The four Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs on the other hand have the same on-board sensors and combat management system as those on board Class 214 SSKs. As for the six CM-2000 Scorpene SSKs on order, the first vessel will be ready for commissioning by August 2015, with the remaining five entering service at successive nine-month intervals, with the last SSK due to enter service by May 2019.

2) The CNS confirmed that there was never any plan or directive from anyone from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to procure two types of SSKs of Western and eastern design, and he asked the journalist from where one got wind of such wrong information.
3) The CNS disclosed that every year all senior officials of the IN were mandatorily required to fill up two forms that contained a detailed listing of all financial accounts and assets (like real estate), which were then submitted to the MoD. The CNS also aptly returned fire by asking the journalist that if he (the journalist) was so supportive about the concept of public declarations about wealth, then why did he (the journalist) not set the example by declaring his own wealth and assets to the public?
4) The CNS replied by saying that in case he interacted as a matter of routine with the country’s press corps, then he would have nothing new to say during his annual Navy Day-eve press briefings, nor would anyone even bother to attend such briefings.
Needless to say, the last question was posed by this magazine Publisher-cum-Editor in an effort to try and secure ‘EXCLUSIVE’ interviews for his magazine on a regular basis so that such interviews could be used as leverage when soliciting for advertisement revenues from India-based and foreign OEMs that are now hawking their wares and services to the IN. Incidentally, this magazine Publisher-cum-Editor had earlier this year embarked upon a self-proclaimed crusade to ‘educate’ India’s parliamentarians about India’s national security imperatives by trying to solicit from the MoD and the three armed services HQs a long-term magazine subscription deal that would guarantee his magazine’s direct-sales revenues for the next three years. 
Then there was a female freelance news reporter (who functions as a stringer for some US- and UK-based aerospace magazines) who asked the CNS if there were any plans for licence-assembling the eight MRMR/ASW aircraft that the IN planned to procure. She obviously was unaware of the fact that for an aircraft licenced-assembly line to be raised, it requires a minimum of 65 aircraft to be procured to reach financial breakeven point!
There were several ‘desi’ journalists that repeatedly posed the same kind of questions about the IN’s ability to project its seapower in the South China Sea and whether whether the IN would provide protection to ONGC Videsh’s assets in the South China Sea. In response, the CNS explained that though India was not a direct claimant to any maritime territory in the South China Sea, its primary concern was the freedom of navigation in international waters (inclusive of a country’s EEZ). “It is not that we expect to be in those waters very frequently, but whenever the situation required, with the country’s interests at stake—for example ONGC Videsh has three offshore oil exploration blocks there—we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that,” Admiral Joshi said while clarifying that any kind of naval force projection inj such areas would require government approval. What went totally unnoticed by the ‘desi’ press corps was the fact that of the three offshore deepwater blocks on the southern Vietnamese coast that were given by Hanoi to ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL)—the wholly-owned subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Commision (ONGC)—India had last April itself decided to retreat from the disputed Block 128 area in the South China Sea while claiming technical problems, while OVL had relinquished Block 127 in 2009 itself. In 2006, OVL had signed a contract to jointly explore Blocks 127 and 128 together with Vietnam Oil and Gas Group. Despite ongoing maritime sovereignty disputes and protests from China, it began test drilling in September 2009. Since then, the company has invested US$46 million in equipment and manpower but has not achieved any meaningful results due to repeated failures to drill through the dense seabed. On April 10 this year, India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had sent a letter to India’s Ministry of External Affairs in which it said that OVL had decided to retreat based on technological and business concerns. In other words, India has given credence to China’s statement that India’s exploration activities in Blocks 127 and 128 were ‘illegal’ and has therefore decided to retreat for good reasons.

In fact, by stating that “not only us but everyone is of the view that they [the disputes] have to be resolved by the parties concerned, aligned with the international regime, which is outlined in UNCLOS [the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea]; that is our first requirement,” the CNS clearly and correctly displayed his wise appreciation of the prevailing situation—something that the ‘desi’ press corps has not bothered to comprehend or contextualise (as was evident in the press reports they subsequently filed yesterday afternoon). Here’s what has been happening since the mid-1990s: Originally, China had offered to claimants such as Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, The Philippines and Vietnam a series of bilateral deals (like the ones struck by Malaysia and Thailand in the early 1980s) that called for jointly developing and exploiting the offshore oil/gas exploration blocks straddling the disputed Spratlys and Paracels. However, egged on by the US and Japan, the 10-member ASEAN economic grouping rejected China’s offers and instead decided to adopted a united stand by deciding to negotiate as a grouping. Beijing consequently embarked upon unravelling one of Zhuge Liang’s famous 36 stratagems over the next 15 years whose sole agenda was to develop deep fissures within the ASEAN grouping so that countries like Vietnam and The Philippines would be forced to adopt the bilateral approach toward conflict resolution. China began implementing this stratagem by first befriending Cambodia, then Myanmar, and followed by Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. Consequently, today, all these countries have signalled their intention to secure bilateral/joint development deals with China, leaving Vietnam and The Philippines cornered.

Explaining the IN’s plans for acquiring air-independent propulsion-equipped SSKs, Admiral Joshi disclosed that the Navy would like to equip its last two CM-2000 Scorpenes with AIPs developed by the DRDO’s Defence Research & Development Organisation’s Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) at Ambernath in Maharashtra. However, if the AIP systems are not available by 2017, then the two CM-2000s will forego the AIP option. What needs to be understood here (something the CNS ought to have explained in greater detail) is that it takes at least a decade of sustained R & D to develop customised AIP solutions. NMRL, on the other hand, began R & D work on an AIP system prototype using phosphoric acid fuel-cells only in August 2010. This prototype, which will be developed till 2015, is unlikely to become mature enough to graduate into an engineered, operational AIP system over a two-year period (i.e. by 2017) since any AIP system—in order to be operationally qualified—has to be subjected to several tests and trials inside a SSK for at least two years, and not at a land-based facility. Given the fact that neither the DRDO nor the IN has any SSK that can be spared for use as a platform for validating the NMRL-developed AIP system’s seaworthiness, it will be wholly unrealistic to expect any of the IN’s six CM-2000s to have NMRL-developed AIP systems on-board.

What was also unsaid by the CNS and was never touched upon the ignorant ‘desi’ press corps was the future status of Project 75I SSK procurement programme, which calls for the procurement of six single-hulled SSKs all powered by AIP systems. The programme, expected to reach the contract negotiations stage only by 2014 (meaning the RFP will be issued by the first quarter of 2013), calls for the procurement of SSKs fitted with a ‘proven’ (i.e. already operational with one or more end-user) AIP system. Once the winning design is selected, the first two SSKs will be imported off-the-shelf from the foreign OEM, while three more will be built by the MoD-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd at a brand-new submarine fabrication facility (for which MDL in the 1980s had acquired a 16-acre plot of real estate, adjoining MDL’s existing facilities in Mazagon, Mumbai, from Gujarat State-owned Alcock Ashdown Shipyard), with the last SSK being built by the Vizag-based, MoD-owned Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. What can be inferred from all this is that A) MDL, teamed with Pipavav Offshore Defence Ltd, will get the contract to become prime industrial contractor for the Project 75I programme. B) MDL, and not Larsen & Toubro, was chosen due to its familiarity with the CM-2000 SSK’s construction intricacies and the ready availability of a pool of skilled and type-proficient workforce that would not have to be retrained for fabricating an all-new-design SSK, thereby ensuring adherence to timely and on-cost delivery schedules. C) All this in the end pointing toward the S-80 Super Scorpene from Spain’s NAVANTIA emerging as the favourite contender for winning the contract. It also needs to be noted that of all the contenders (from Germany, Russia, Italy and Sweden), the S-80 is the only contender that is not only in series-production, but it also features an open-architecture design, meaning it can accept any type of proven AIP system—factors that will be crucial to the IN when evaluating the various RFP responses.   
Given below are some other tit-bits that emerged out of the CNS’ press-briefing:

1) The IN’s first of three projected SSBNs—Arihant—has completed its harbour acceptance trials, and its on-board PWR will go critical at low power later this month (this is the good news that the CNS had hinted at yesterday’s press briefing would “soon come”) and be gradually worked up to higher power to enable the SSBN 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 Indian and Russian 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.
2) Despite persistent delays, India’s first Project 71 indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1), being built at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), should be ready for sea-trials by 2017. A new set of RENK-built gearboxes have already been delivered to CSL by Elecon Engineering, since the first set of gearboxes had to be written off due to extensive damage suffered by them during a roadside accident at Khopoli in 2010.  
3) INAS 303 ‘Black Panthers’ squadron, equipped with 12 MiG-29Ks and four MiG-29KUBs, will be commissioned later this month.
4) The IN’s first 105-metre NOPV, built by Goa Shipyard Ltd, will be commissioned by the middle of next year, after having undergone successful contractor’s sea-trials at the hands of the IN’s Warship Overseeing Team. The NOPV now awaits the arrival of its commissioning crew complement. Commissioning of INS Kolkata, the first of three Project 15A DDGs, will take place in the latter half of next year due to the delayed arrival of the warship’s commissioning crew complement (this being because the IN is faced with a shortfall of trained naval personnel). 


Neelam Mathews said...

It is interesting to see that the anonymous writer of this piece is a self-proclaimed though ill-informed specialist of sorts. One would suggest he gets his facts and backgrounder right.
My question on the NMRH- no it was not MRMR- as you say- was relevant as your writer might not know that the IAF is expected to release a tender for 56 Avro replacements to the private sector. Besides, FYI, the Navy tender would be for over 100 helos.
Pity such cynicism rules in a community so small and compact- or do I detect a shade of green?

Anonymous said...

He He....India Journalism..."Hilarious" indeed..Another story today by Indian Express on the VVIP helo...Seems media reaches to these investigation faster then anyone...It was the same media house which published the false army Coup reports led by VKS..really a shame ....No one trusts media houses now..Who is to blame...the so called "Jurnalists" themselves

Anonymous said...

I think the gearboxes for India’s indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1), are being supplied by Elecon Engg. through a technology partnership with RENK, Germany. Wartsila, i assume, is providing the diesel generators for the project.

Kindly check.

Anonymous said...

The gearbox for India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1), is being supplied by Elecon Engineering and Wartsila is providing only the Diesel generators.

sachin_sathe said...

Nice Article. The CNS seems to much more aggressive abt stupid q's posed by journalists than other service chiefs.

The ATV project seemsto be going as per the plan the GoI set for it.Lets hope It & the other follow-on subs also come on time.

Can u do a comparitive piece on what OFB has cooked up abt a 155mm howitzer & what the private players with their JV's are coming up with? The TATA seem to have unveiled the their product(denel gun on a tata 8x8) at the same time as the ofb's annoncement of 45 cal gun.


abs said...

@Neelam Matthews
do you happen to be one of those "desi" journos who can't differentiate between the private sector and foreign MNCs JVs with Indian private players?

Anonymous said...

so IN is waiting for the fuel cell based AIP from DRDO. cool

Anonymous said...

@ abs
I guess she is the one mentioned there , look at the reaction , and btw from which angle it's an anonymous writer's work . Indeed desi and yellow.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
Why is MOD interested in giving only one SSK to HSL ? Whats it gonna achieve ? What, they think HSL will start building SSK just after 1 ssk while MDL can't even design a SSK even after building 4 classes of SSK under license.

Also don't you think IN and MDL should start to build all the research facility necessary to design and build a new SSK right from the scratch ?

Is the tata's new artillery a 155mm 52 caliber gun ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To NEELAM MATHEWS: Let’s get the facts right. Firstly, the only anonymous writers in every thread of this blog are those who register their comments, & not the blog-owner. Secondly, WRT floating of global tenders for procuring 56 tactical transports as replacements for HS-748 Avros, it is a known fact that unless the Govt of India allows 49% FDI in that component of the private-sector that is involved in military-industrial activities, no publicly-listed private-sector entity based in India will find it financially viable to set up a final assembly line for such products from scratch & expect to recover returns on its investments by assembling just 56 aircraft. And as for the IN’s shipborne 10-tonne NMRH reqmt, a simple check will reveal the number of principal surface combatants that the IN is expected to possess by 2020. Multiply that number by 2 & one still doesn’t arrive at the figure of even 50, leave alone 100. The same goes for the shipborne light twin-engined helicopter reqmt (for replacing the existing SA.316 Alouette III/Chetak). Any Delhi-based ‘desi’ journalist worth his/her salt can easily confirm such figures with any OEM--be it Bell Helicopter Textron, Eurocopter SA, Sikorsky, OBORONPROM, HAL, etc. But alas, even such elementary spadework seems to perpetually elude the ‘desi’ press corps.

To Anon@10.35AM: The same concerned media-house had claimed that Rheinmetall was the supplier of 120mm smoothbore cannons for the Arjun Mk1 MBT! And this very same media-house has still not yet grasped the fact that when it came to the VVIP helicopters, it was the SPG that approved each & every clause of the ASQR & had the final say on what to accept or dilute, and not IAF HQ. Again, a typical case of the ‘desi’ journalists doing doing their homework.

To SACHIN SATHE: VMT. I’ve known DKJ since he was the Indian DA at the Indian High Commission in Singapore in the late 1990s & he has always been the same, i.e. forthright, doesn’t like to beat around the bush, & indulging in straighttalk. I wish every armed service chief adopted such a zero-tolerance approach when it came to answering totally stupid questions. The OFB’s offer is for an upgraded FH-77B towed howitzer, i.e. incorporating a 45-cal barrel & digitised gun-control vectronics & RLG-INS-based north-finding system. As yet OFB has not been able to conceptualise a motorised version of such a howitzer. As for other JVs regarding towed & motorised howitzers, I had listed them all in my DEFEXPO threads & nothing has changed since then.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ABS & DASHU: Quite a reaction, don’t you think? Missing the woods for the tress, I guess. Shit happens!

To Anon@2.21PM: Sheer stupidity & a waste of taxpayer’s money, isn’t it? If logic rules, then there ought to be only one shipyard—MDL—that ought to churn out SSKs, while L & T ought to be kept busy with churning out SSBNs & SSGNs. HSL can at best then become a shipyard offering only periodic hull maintenance services for such submarines. IN &MDL can’t join forces to build any naval R & D facilities because the DRDO will object to it. Besides, MDL has already acquired several new skills reqd for fabricating SSKs through the Project 75/CM-2000 Scorpene project & is therefore well-poised to capitalise on such strengths & undertake project 75I, with Pipapav Defence & Offshore becoming MDL’s principal sub-contractor. Therefore, this JV between two Indian shipbuilders will be extremely well-positioned to deliver Project 75I SSKs on time should the S-80 Super Scorpene from NAVANTIA be selected & should a Stirling Engine-based AIP system from Sweden’s Kockums AB be selected for installation on board the S-80s.
TATA’s motorised howitzer makes use of a fully-imported 155mm/52-calibre howitzer, the T5-52—made by DENEL.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@2.21PM: Photos of the T5/52 originally mounted on a TATRA truck can be seen here:

This model was first unveilled at DEFEXPO 2002, as was the ATMOS, also mounted on a TATRA.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun sir,

The brand new (Indian Designed) surface combatants like the P 15A, P 15B and P 17A class of warships were being designed to carry new generation Barak 8 SAM systems. But Barak 8 is medium ranged missile with 80km range. Is there any second level of protection with SAM having range between 10km - 15 km range (As these missiles size would be small and could complement the larger Barak 8 systems in large numbers)???

Is there any follow on project for abandoned short range belly mounted warhead SAM Trishul missile. As the army is scouting for tenders for brand new short range SAMs...

Can Vikramaditya's and IAC 1's mig 29k and Naval LCA aircraft can operate beyond the radar coverage of the mother ship (In the presence of a formidable adversary) with out support from an AEW&C platform assisting in long range search and track... VMT in advance.

Rahul said...

Hi Prasun , In Iron Dome thread you were of the opinion that Tamir interceptors can be used to intercept 120-200 km MBRL like A-100/311,A-200,WS-2,3 since their trajectories will be predictable and for longer they fly the better chances of them getting intercepted .

Why will US Congress decline the sale of THAAD to us ? When a proven in production effective interceptor like PAC-3MSE is available why not buy some ?

What happened to MRMR/ASW requirement of IN for which it has shortlisted Bombardier Q-400 & EADS C-295 ?

Any word or news on Tu-142 ME's mission management and mission sensors upgradation ?

Regarding Kolkata class DDG, is it final that it wont sport any CIWS missiles like Barak-1 ? Is IN eveluating any new gen CIWS systems & missiles like Sea-Ram. VL-MICA ?

Aren't any trials of artillery guns taking place ? Uptil now IA has conducted a lot if trials. It must know for sure which is best and what is its preferred choice . BAE FH77 52 cal ver can be purchased in towed artillery req. o Denel mounted howitzer have MRSI capabilty nd isi it auto loaded ?

If IA really wants tracked howitzer then it must go for PzH 2000, the best SPH so far with auto-loading . It will much better than OFB developed Bofors clone on T-90 hull.

Isn't PA well ahead of IA in SPH with close to 500 Paladin ? If not 500 what's the exact no ?

Anonymous said...

Sir , Your figure 18.5 t is for empty weight and not maximum take off weight . When RUSSIANS are going for titanium alloys in their PAK-FA instead of composites then there must be some good reasons, advantages. Titanium structures have more mechanical life and has better high G tolerance than composite ones. After all Russians have been manufacturing acs for decades. They have produced some fine machines. They have more tec expertise than us in this regard. So it will be better to gollow their path. What are the additions in FGFA that make it more steathier ?

Sayan said...

Sir , ‘Good news’ soon on Arihant : Admiral D.K. Joshi
When asked if the nuclear reactor that powered the Arihant would be modified and improved for the second SSBN, the Navy Chief indicated that the performance of the power plant was being assessed along with the performance on the Navy’s leased Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine INS Chakra leased from Russia, and that plans would be drawn up on the configuration of the second boat’s power source. Is this true that second Arihant class boat will get a different reactor producing more power ?

Acknowledging that the delays in the Project 75 Scorpene build at Mazagon Dock had slowed plans, the Admiral said that things were finally on track, revealing that the Navy had asked MDL and its technology partners (DCNS and Navantia) to compress construction/delivery schedules as far as possible.

Was any such sort of direction given by MoD to MDL to shorten delivery schedules and speed up production ? Will this result in faster delivery of Scorpenes ?

When PN is buying double hulled ocean going Quing class subs from China why are we purchasing single hulled littoral warfare subs ? Double hulled subs are able to withstand greater damage than single hulled ones ?

India could test Kaveri engine on Tejas by end-2013. Is this to be seriously taken ? Does Kaveri engine produce greater thrust, lower SFC,reduced mean time between overhaul,enhanced TTSL over GE F404 ?

Something ago there was a buzz that nine SSN were to be acquired for providing escort to SSBN and act as area denial and ocean going subs ? What happened to this idea ? Is IN still pursing this ? No words regarding this were heard from any IN official . IN was interested in Brrcuda SSN of French origin.

Will it better to order more LR MPA or buy MRMR like C-295 ? IN ought to buy from other sources as well. Putting all eggs in 1 basket is not very good.

Pls ans them all and dont overlook them.

Ravi said...

What I understood from your blog, I conclude that "There was One Gentleman (CNS) and There were so many fools!"

Prasun, you can expect 'attacks' from these desi journos. You pulled their tails that was hidden in their underpants and panties.

Neelam Mathews- she says in her blog that she is a journalist. But where did she get the journalism degree? Her education is: "University of Delhi, London College for the Distributive Trades" This is her qualifications to write on defense related journals. Jai Ho to Desi journos such as you, Ms. Mathew.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.59PM: Barak-2 MR-SAM can engage any kind of airborne target, especially supersonic ASCMs, at a minimum distance of 6km. The Maitri SR-SAM’s R & D programme was meant to rfeplace the Trishul SHORAD project. When it comes to tactical air superiority operations in support of VBGs, no carrier-borne combat aircraft can operate beyond airspace surveillance coverage provided by either AEW helicopters or shipborne air-search radars. For interdiction missions, the combat aircraft doesn’t require such support from air-search radars.

To RAHUL: India has not yet requested the US for receiving classified briefings on THAAD. Patriot PAC-3MSEs, though available immediately, will only serve to delay the on-going R & D activities related to AD-1/AD-2 interceptors. Besides, the Barak-2/Barak-8 is already on the way. RFPs for MRMR/ASW aircraft have yet to be released. No firm decision has as yet been taken for upgrading the Tu-142MEs & I suspect the IN will prefer to ditch them by 2017 since the IN has already decided to procure four additional P-8Is. Neither the Project 15A nor Project 15B DDGs have any SHORADS-type CIWS. Barak-2s will be employed for all-around air-defence. No competitive trials of any field artillery howitzer are presently taking place. Just check out the DENEL Land Systems webpage where all info is available on the T5-52 motorised howitzer. OFB has never developed any turret-mounted 155mm howitzer, be it tracked or motorised.

To Anon@9.02PM: Russian Air Force ASQRs are different from the IAF’s ASQRs. Composites have unlimited life. Russians use titanium alloys since they are cheaper to produce in Russia. For India such alloys are highly expensive & therefore composites are the cheaper and better alternative, since they also offer weight-savings.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SAYAN: All Arihant-class SSBNs—S-2, S-3 & S-4 will have the same PWR design. The MoD will go broke if the PWR’s design changes with every subsequent unit of the SSBN. When the CNS was talking about the configuration of the second boat’s power source, he was referring not to S-3, but to the second type of SSBN to be procured in future, i.e. S-5 SSBN. No shipyard can shorten delivery schedules & speed up production overnight or within even a year. Quicker deliveries of any product come about only after the skilled human resources acquire a certain degree of work-proficiency. There are 9 double-hulled Type 877EKMs with the IN, but only four single-hulled vessels. Therefore, the reqmt arises for more single-hulled SSKs. The existing Kaveri turbofan will never ever power any version of the Tejas MRCA & this was confirmed by RM A K Antony himself in Parliament. There was no buzz about acquiring nine SSNs—it has been stated numerous times by former senior naval officers that such type of boats will be acquired in order to provide protection to the IN’s projected SSBN fleet. Without SSNs, the SSBNs will be highly vulnerable to hostile SSNs. It is always best to achieve fleet standardisation & therefore instead of acquiring new-design MRMR/ASW aircraft, it is far better to procure additional P-8Is, preferably eight more units.

To RAVI: VMT, very aptly put (gentlemen vs fools). The other gentleman around was the Vice Chief, VADM Robin Dhowan (I had first met him in 2003 at the LIMA 2003 maritime expo in Langkawi, Malaysia, when he was CO of INS Delhi), a terribly soft-spoken, affable, courteous officer who knows how to get things done. As for attacks from the ‘desi’ press corps, I can only say ‘bring’em on’. One doesn’t require any degree to become an accomplished journalist; instead what is reqd is the ability to engage in logical reasoning & due diligence, instead of trying to figure out the colours of a rainbow (Lolzzzz!).

BTW, here’s more hilarious (actually outrageous) stuff from the ‘desi’ press corps:

According to the above report, the MTA will have a turbofan jet engine, i.e. it has apparently morphed from a twin-engined transporter into a single-engined aircraft!!! There’s more: it now seems that the MTA’s Preliminary Design Phase (PDP) will be completed only by September-October 2103. God help the RAF & IAF!!!

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.32AM: You’re absolutely right, have already corrected the narrative above. VMT.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To RAVI: Here’s some more at:
Indian Navy chief: AIP for 5th & 6th Scorpenes being developed by DRDO lab DMRL. If they delay, will proceed without AIP.

It should be NMRL, & not DMRL. Kindly read the following:

3rd ~ EyE said...

Hello Prasun. ,

what is this hype on CM-400AKG.? how is it different from PJ10 . is 400akg operational as they claim ?

Gessler said...

Prasun saheb, here's what I have found at a defence forum -

It says IAF wants is going to induct 15 Saras aircraft - I have doubts regarding the actual date this article was published and can you confirm/trash this news?

raw13 said...

This is the article i meant to post before and i try not to talk out of my ass all the time:

problem with india is that they are trying so hard to be THE US tail with all things and hence loose all respect with everyone including the US.

peace man.
ps. this gentleman does know a thing or two when it comes to geopolitical shifts.

joydeep ghosh said...

@Prasun da

just heard a few things

1. IN has finally opted for asbestos coating for boilers in INS Vikramaditya

2. The Rafale jet deal will eventually touch Rs 99000 crores which means the aircraft figures will definitely touch 200 atleast

3. IN will spend over Rs 50000 crores on the P75I Super Scorpene deal, which means the no. of subs under P75I will be atleast 9

4. coupled with 6 Scorpenes being made currently and orders for 3 more presumably pending which may be ultimately built at HSL, (2 by OEM)MDL will make 4-5 P75I and remaining 3 will be built by HSL

all this is my calculation as per what i could read about the CNS statements and related news articles.

What do you say

Anonymous said...

Prasun remember when this guy "clfer" who had sources inside IAF was writing on your blog said that senior IAF officers despise Indian jurnos...well i guess he wasn't kidding:)

Unfortunately it's true India has a lot of bad defense jurnos

rad said...

HI Prasun

Tata is bringing out a 155m gun , whom have they collaborated with?

what is the status of astra missile

please explain the rifle competition going on

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To GESSLER: That story was of 2009 vintage. In any case, here’s what’s reqd by way of answers if a story like this ought to have any credibility:
1) If the IAF acquires this aircraft, will the aircraft then receive its certificate of airworthiness (CofA) from CEMILAC, since all IAF aircraft are under military registration?
2) If this is so, then is CEMILAC capable of certifying a passenger transportation aircraft?
3) Why is only the IAF expected to procure such an aircraft, when it is common sense that the civilian market potential is far greater?
4) If a civilian version is to be developed, then which agency will issue the CofA, since the DGCA possesses neither the manpower nor the expertise to conduct audits reqd for CofA award?
5) Which aircraft manufacturer will be able to produce only 15 aircraft & guarantee through-life product support for such a limited fleet?
Therefore, as you can now see, the reality is a totally different ballgame. This is what investigative journalism ought to be, instead of resorting to needless jingoism. Find answers to all the above-mentioned questions & you’ll realise that the entire Saras project is a colossal waste of Indian taxpayers’ money, since NAL wanted to have its cake & eat it as well. Instead, what NAL should have done was to team up with DRDO & develop the Rustom-1/2 MALE-UAVs & then team up with HAL to co-develop a regional jetliner version of the IL-214 MRTA with Russia. Regretably, this isn’t happening & now NAL wants to waste more taxpayers’ money by trying to develop the 70-seat RTA-70 regional jetliner at a time when even countries like China have yet to succeed with its ARJ-21 regional jetliner project.

To RAW13: I totally concur that the writer is well-balanced & objective, being a former diplomat. The way I see it, the Maldives-GMR/MAHB tussle is one involving a government on one hand & two private business parties in which there’s no need for intervention by any govt, be it that of India or Malaysia. There’s a perfectly well-laid down grievance redressal system via international arbitration & things ought to be left at that. As for any country trying to be the US’ tail, it applies to everyone, starting with China. I don’t think any country will dare to cross certain red-lines when it comes to display of strategic defiance against the US. Those who tried so far, got levelled.

To JOYDEEP GHOSH: 1) That’s good news, albeit the lessons being learnt the hard way. 2) Good news again. 3) P-75I will comprise up to nine SSKs, with the extra costs being those reqd for expanding MDL’s 2nd SSK production line & catering for the one for HSL. 4) No plans for ordering an extra 3 CM-2000 Scorpenes. Instead, the S-80 Super Scorpene is likely to be ordered since it will easily be the L-1 bidder (due to substantial commonality of on-board systems with CM-2000 Scorpene).

To Anon@3.58PM: CLFER most certainly wasn’t kidding. He was spot on.

To RAD: Already answered your first query above yesterday. Astra BVRAAM project is still in R & D mode.

Anonymous said...

@raw13 said...

"problem with india is that they are trying so hard to be THE US tail with all things and hence loose all respect with everyone including the US"

"i try not to talk out of my ass all the time:"

these are your statements aren't they, well guess what? just talked out of your own ass kid, and we call it 'BRAINFART'.

peace man!!!

Anonymous said...

" problem with india is that they are trying so hard to be THE US tail with all things and hence loose all respect with everyone including the US. "

the problem with Pakistanis is, that there is no now to tell them that they are a failed state now, and that talk of 'UMMAH' is a big load of crap meant for deluded Pakistani minds,and of 1000 year rule, oh yeah, the great Pakistanis ruled India,didn't they, kid?...go back to school and start reading some good books, not the one the Pakistani govt prints for public consumption.


Anonymous said...

This doesn't surprise me at all. My cousin brother is a defense correspondent for a private channel & he doesn't even bother to read stuff like the DPP etc because according to him "that's merely litterature." His "sources" are his priority.

Sayan said...

Sir, Vikramaditya delayed, Navy allows asbestos lining. Why now IN approved use of asbestos linings ? Had it done so previously INS Vikramaditya could have been inducted this year.

India urges Israel to speed up defence projects.
India has asked Israel to speed up crucial bilateral defence projects, including the around Rs 13,000 crore development of two advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems to arm Indian armed forces against hostile aircraft, drones and helicopters. Is this correct ? Has IAI promised to make up for the delay ?

Sources said India expressed “concern” at the “two-year delay” in completion of the long-range SAM (LR-SAM) project, sanctioned in December 2005 at a cost of Rs 2,606 crore to arm Indian warships.

There are “minor hitches” even in the bigger Rs 10,076 crore medium-range SAM (MR-SAM) project, sanctioned in February 2009 for air defence squadrons of IAF.

So can an earlier operational date be expected for Barak-2 and LR-SAM.

Desi media always confuses between Barak-2 and Barak-8 . Bulk production of these missiles will be conducted by Nova systems and not BDL.

India is also in commercial negotiations for another two advanced Israeli Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems), capable of detecting hostile aircraft, cruise missiles and other incoming aerial threats far before ground-based radars, at a cost of over $800 million. IS THIS CORRECT ? Are negotations really taking place for Phalcon now that airframes will be available from Russia .

When Scorpenes will be inducted, Kilo class SSK will be decommsioned. So, IN will be having only single hulled SSK. In P75I IN can procure double hulled SSK.

Can Arihant class be used as SSGN ?

Pls ans them all and don't overlook anything.

Anonymous said...

Sir, Arjun Mk2 MBT Emerges.
How much of this true holds true today ? But in terms of mobility, protection and firepower, the Mk2 variant will come closest to what Indian Army HQ wants: an MBT with highly enhanced crew protection and maximum survivability in high-intensity, fire-saturated combat environments. To achieve this, the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Avadi-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) has roped in both Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Elbit Systems of Israel, with the former being responsible for improving the existing Arjun Mk1’s design plus mobility and fuel consumption, redesigning and modifying the various components of the MBT’s hull and turret, and providing consultancy for improving production-line processes. Elbit Systems, on the other hand, will enhance the MBT’s firepower and its accuracy, and provide survivability systems and air-conditioning hardware.
Regarding Arjun mk2's armour protection - "For ensuring MBT survivability, the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL)—located in Kanchanabagh, Hyderabad—has developed a Mk2 variant of its Kanchan modular armour, which was made by sandwiching composite panels (ceramic, alumina, fibre-glass and nickel-alloy) between rolled homogenous armour (RHA) plates to defeat APFDS or HEAT rounds. At the same time, the DRDO’s Pune-based Composites Research Centre (CRC) and the Research and Development Establishment, Engineers [R & D E(E)], have developed multi-layered multi-functional fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite hull/turret sub-structures at much lower weights in comparison with metallic counterparts. More than 40 per cent weight savings over steel hull structures have been achieved. Also developed for the Arjun Mk2 is co-cured composites integral armour (CIA), which comprises ceramic tiles and rubber sandwiched between two FRP composites layers. While the outer FRP composite layer acts as a cover and provides confinement, the ceramic layer provides primary protection against ballistic impact, and the inner FRP composite layer acts as the structural part as well as secondary energy absorbing mechanism. The rubber layer isolates stiff and brittle ceramic tiles from structural member."

Are all these armour improvements - Kanchan mk2 , co-cured composites armour, FRP are all these planned for inclusion into mk2 or ony Kanchan will be there ?

What were the modifications to your list since the time of publishing that thread ?

3rd ~ EyE said...

What is this hyoe about is it different from PJ10 is it operational as some web sites claim ?

Anonymous said...

1.IAF to shell out Rs 88 cr more for IL-76 overhaul. When did IAF sign overhaul contract for IL-76 ? I had the impression that this contract will be signed after flight of IL-476 prototype .Why so many acs were grounded ?

2.Will Il-76 be upgraded to 476 standards with new PS-90 turbofans ?

3.By how many years will the life of these Il-76 be extended ?

4.Did IAF has 17 or 24 Il-76 exclusive of 6 Il-78 refuellers and 3 AEWc ?

5. How is it possible to extend TTSL of such big acs in $ 41 mil?

6.In midlife refit of Sindhugosh class subs did they get new batteries , active decoys for orotection ?

7. In this refit was the corroded parts of the hull replaced with fresh metal sheets ?

8. What will be the fate of Sindhugosh class SSK when Scorpene subs get inducted ? Why cant sub at HSL be put back together with help from Russians ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun sir,

All major navies of the world were self reliant to a major extent with indigenous warships of different categories. From long standing IN vision and its efforts of Indegenization shows its willingness to become one of major navy of the world.

From the numbers it looks like the IN submarine fleet by coming decade will be crossing 40 submarines of different categories (with 20 nuclear + 20 conventional)... what's your opinion on tnis... VMT in advance.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.46PM: It appears that your cousin brother does not like doing his homework. Sources can frequently be dubious or have mala fide intent.

To SAYAN: Why? Because once bitten, twice shy. A rather expensive way to learn lessons. Delays are not due to MR-SAM rounds, but the development of the EL/M-2258 ground-based AESA radar. Plans for procuring another two A-50I PHALCON AEW & C platforms have been scrapped. But if the present IAF Chief is a smart cookie, then he ought to quickly heed the advice of both the Russians & Israelis & decide to revive the plan for procuring at least another three A-50Is, but this time equipped with the more advanced ELW-2090 mission management suite. As for SSKs, all contemporary designs make use of single-hulled designs, even the Russians. Only China has so far not been able to design such vessels. S--2, S-3 & S-4 will all eventually be SSGNs armed with BrahMos-1 VLS. The S-5 family of SSBNs will be the ones to carry operational SLBMs.

To Anon@8.31PM: Most of it is still valid, except for the IMI components like RCWS & APS. Those will probably be sourced from ELBIT Systems of RAFAEL.

To 3rd EYE: They’re all hype as of now, since the CM-400AKG hasn’t yet been operationally qualified on any type of combat aircraft. Being shown as static exhibit next to a combat aircraft like JF-17 doesn’t mean that the missile is in operational service. Therefore, as of now, only the C-802A ASCM is flight-qualified on the JF-17 Thunder MRCA. In fact, the PLAN has not shown any interest in the CM-400AKG & has instead opted for the subsonic WJ-600 UCAV to mount ‘swarm attack’ tactics against hostile aircraft carriers. CM-400AKG will at best be able to cruise out to 120km, while PJ-10 BrahMos-1 can attain 290km.

To Anon@11.05PM: 1) It is a TTSL extension contract, & not upgrade contract. 2) That decision has not yet been taken. 3) 15 years. 4) 24 IL-76MDs were procured. All are undergoing TTSL extensions in successive tranches. As of now, only two tranches of 6 & 9. 3rd tranche will include the remaining 9 IL-76MDs. 5) IL-76MD is by no means that big. Plus, being just a transportation aircraft, its TTSL extension is not as expensive as those for commercial air transportation aircraft. 6) Yes, C-303 active decoys from Italy’s WAAS. New batteries are reqd once every year, be it for cars or even SSKs. 7) Of course. 8) Type 877EKM SSKs will remain in service till 2025. The SSK is a total write-off since all its exposed metallic structures are totally corroded & it will not be financially viable to restore this SSK back to its original form.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.17AM: Yes, that’s true. An undersea warfare force comprising 16 SSKs, four SSBNs, three SSGNs & up to 9 SSNs will be just nice. This ought to include the six CM-2000 Scorpenes, up to 10 S-80 Super Scorpenes equipped with AIP (no need to equip them with land-attack cruise missiles, just supersonic ASCMs like 3M54E Club-S will suffice), four 22,000-ton SSBNs each armed with 12 6,500km-range SLBMs, three SSGNs (S-2, S-3 & S-4) each armed with sea-launched Nirbhay nuclear-armed SLCMs & nine 4,000-ton SSNs should ensure a potent force-mix.

Anonymous said...

so drdo wants IAF to operate both the emb-145i and the airbus? Do we have money for that kind of AWACS fleet? That's three different types of AWACS including the phalcon!

do you think the emb-145i will be successful?

Ravi said...

Thanks Prasun for your comments. Yeah, I read the Retd Army officer's article in Business Standard. So pathetic! Just write something and then send it for publishing...
Another person live-Fisting guy, wrote about US putting malicious code on US defense equipments. After that he got a free 'candy' to visit Boeing (plus other Walmart virgins). After his recent trip he stopped talking against Boeing or malicious code.

This guy just too arrogant to check what is DMRL and NMRL and what is associated with submarines.

The thing is Indian journos (one anonymous correctly said about his cousin brother) just do not do any reading nor any homework. Their basic qualification is English Writing, no sound knowledge on subject.

Now these yellow Journos will be behind Paris Hilton, who is visiting India. They want to click, what the color of her panties or whether she wears one or not.
Indian Journos ko Jai! No wonder, in the world of journalism, not even a single Indian Journos come to world standard. Western journos prefer to talk or take opinion from Western people who live/d in India than from Indian Journos.
In fact our Western neighbor, Pakistan has better journos than India. Journos such as Ahmed Rashid, and one killed by ISI & Parsi Journalist who recently passed away are/were well known among the Western counterparts.

Anyway, Pls continue to blow the asses of these journos. Looking forward to your future articles.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun sir,

The number of SSNs, considering 2 escorts for Vikramaditya, IAC 1 and 2 escorts for IAC2 and 6 for escorting the SSBNs and some more for hunter killer operations. Could these may end up upto 14 - 16 SSNs... ??

abs said...

Could you explain in details how you concluded that the IAF would not be able to have sustained air superiority over both PAF and PLAAF??
I always had thought that the IAF would be able to always maintain air superiority over the PAF and given the limitations that the PLAAF presently faces in Tibet, it would be some time before they can in any meaningful way threaten the IAF's air superiority, especially as and when the networked air defence systems begin surfacing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Prasun,
In your article you talked abt F/A-18IN
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
M-MRCA Competition: The Final Faceoff

U predicted that F/A-18IN will win the contest.... What went wrong?

JEET SINGH said...

Sir don't you have any new information about LCH TD 3 or NAL'S SARAS?

Anonymous said...

Sir, Very very thanx for the replies.

1.IAF got 24 Il-76MD between 1985 and 1986.This is in addition to six Il-78MKI refuellers .

2.Will IL-76 be receiving new turbofans ?

3.Are WASS C-303 active decoys also deployed in all Kilo class , Shishumar class SSKs ?

4. How can batteries be changed every year ? The hull has to be re-opened.? If batteries get repalced every year then the underwater range of the subs has increased from when it was inducted as new gen batteries with advanced materials are avaialable.

5. As part of refit was the diesel engines of Kilo class subs replaced ? How many Club ASCM,LACM can each sub carry ?

6.Is there active torpedo decoy WASS on all IN principal surface combatants ?

7.How much advanced is Project 636 than 877EKM ?

8.877EKM will remain service till 2025. How many Kilo class will remain in service till that? The first INS Sindhugosh was inducted in 1986. When will it be decommisioned ?

9. Scorpene class SSK will augment the Kilo class or replace them ?

10.Why doesnt IAF fit countermeasures dispensers,maws,IR jammers on its transpot ac fleet of AN-32 ,IL-76 ?

11.Is IAF interested in MAWS fitment on MiG-20UPG at 11BRD ? Are there any such plans ?

abs said...

@anon above
The F/A-18IN did not fall within the category of M-MRCA due to which in all likelihood despite being a better multi role platform the F/A-18IN was never shortlisted.

accidental loser said...

Can't those wing mounted L-band AESAs of T-50 b used fr jamming of oher l-band airborne data links!!!!
wht kind of present& future ESM systems can pickup a LPI EMISSIONS frm appreciable distances. Can AESA b jammed by anothr AESA...????

Anonymous said...

Sir,Dassault “optimistic” on Rafale talks with India
It’s a complicated country, the negotiations are tough, but there is a desire to wrap up on both sides,” CEO Charles Edelstenne told a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday.
Why did he say that negotiations were tough ?

Edelstenne also said that growing public speculation over a change at the top for subsidiary Thales  - which he described as an “eventual change in governance” – was having an impact on talks with clients and making them more difficult.
Why a change at the top is having adverse impact on talks with clients ? By clients he is sure to mean India? What's really happening ?
Does all this points out that negotiations are falling apart ? Are there any chances that EF Typhoon will be shortlisted ?

Anonymous said...

Prasun sir, S-80 has a submerged speed of 19 knots when U214 has 20 knots. A high speed sub will be better. Type 216 double hulled sub may be on offer by HDW.

Arjun mk2 will have Kanchan mk2 as well as CIA and FRP composites armour ? FRP has a weight saving of 40 percent. So, what will be the weight of Arjun mk2 ? When it will be unveiled. The medias are branding the recently unveiled Arjun mk1a as mk2. So wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun sir,

From the news on the M-MRCA deal going to cross $15 billion dollars and the total number of rafales touching/crossing 200 gives out some intentions of IAF and Indian Authorities were asserting on great deal of mutual cooperation with France especially for the possible future endeavor of designing and developing a 5 Generation aircraft jointly (Just like the FGFA) for both the air-forces considering huge investments currently on table. This aircraft could eventually be the AMCA that currently Indian Aerospace scientists and the IAF is envisaging on. From the current financial status of Dassault and the Frances stagnant economy it could be very difficult for it to pursue a 5 Generation aircraft on its own (I'm not saying it not possible here but cost prohibitive) may be difficult. Also a Joint venture here will reduce the investments and also may reduce the R&D on to be achieved technologies again (Since India is already involved in FGFA some of many of the technologies can find their way into this). Also IAF's 2010 staff requirements (General specifications) also state that AMCA should have MTOW some where between 25000 Tons to 28000 Tons which comes closer to the specifications of Rafale and considering French previous designs their air force would also be interested in an aircraft of Medium weight category... From this observation, In all this deal may lead to development of new medium weight fifth generation aircraft along with France which also could have good beginning order book (200 - 250 for IAF and 200 - 250 for French Air Force) thus also helpful in reducing the per aircraft cost (If we also consider the interests from French navy and Indian Navy, the number of orders goes higher). Also taking from history this product could also be qualitatively and performance wise superior/On par to contemporary 5 generation aircrafts in IAF and the world over during that time (Considering the induction period some where between 2025 - 2030). Its just my opinion on the way events were turning out in defense acquisitions like the FGFA partnership with Russia after Su 30 mki deal and similar kind of deals (I may be wrong in some cases, please excuse the errors). Whats your opinion on this. VMT in advance...

Rahul said...

Hi Prasun , Why will orders for PAC-3 delay R&D of AD-1,2 ? PAC-3 will serve as a stopgap measure until AD-11,2 arrives on scene. R&D on AD-1,2 can continue like before.

What is the delay in Barak-2,8? Are any measures being taken to quicken things up ? When can Barak-2,8 be expected to enter service ?

What is the new strategic naval base at Ramkonda ? Work on it began in 2005? When will it be commisioned ?

When can a contract for iron Dome systems for IA be signed ?

Can FLIR,IRST raster imagery be displayed on HMDS of Su-30 ? If so Su-30 can fly terrain following missions in white-out conditions ? Most probably IRST of Su doesnt support FLIR imagery modes of PIRATE , FSO ?

raw13 said...

U216 indeed will be double hulled. It is designed to operate in much greater depths than U212A. Double hulled and with AIP in the open seas (armed with Babur, Bramos) will give you a clear advantage over the single hulled. You are that much harder to hunt and kill.

Anonymous said...

Sir could the IAF Rafales be fitted with the Snecma-Kaveri in future?

Vikram Guha said...

Prasun Da,

1) What exactly is the cost of the Vikramaditya ship per se ?

2) What would be the cost of the Mig 29s on board the Vikramaditya ?

3) Is Russia also selling some helos as part of the Vikrmaditya deal & if yes what would their cost be ?

Many thanks.


Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun, In Indian Mirage 2000, is there Antilope terrain following radar ? Is it same as Thomson CSF radar ? How are two radars carried by a single ac ? Are there Chameleon internal jammers in Mirage 2000 of IAF ? It is speculated that Panavia Tornado IDS's radar is purely an air to ground radar with variety of A2G modes. How correct is this .

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

How true is this report? ,in which a a state-run Chinese daily claims that J-15 is not a copy of the Russian Su-33 and is in fact superior to it. It also states that J-15 is powered by two WS-10 turbofan engine, which is more powerful than the Su-33′s engine.

How good will be the new APAR on Type 052D that is now on board PLAN experimental ship when compared to western APARs and IAI EL/M-2248 MF-STAR Multi-mission radar that will go on-board the Project 15A & Project 15B class DDG.

Are the chinese catching up with the west on AESA technology?

If Barracuda class design is chosen for the IN SSKs ,then can that technology be used in building SSBN(S-5, S-6 & S-7) for the IN since the technology used in Barracuda class design is far superior to that will be on offer from the Russians i.e.
Typhoon class design. More-ever we don't need a 22,000 ton SSBN design to carry only 12 SLBMs.The 13000 ton Triomphant class submarine can carry 16 SLBMs.

Thank you.

Priyabrata Gupta said...

Prasun Da,

Now that India ill purchase these subs and it is expected that DCNS of France, HDW of Germany, Rosoboronexport of Russia and Navantia of Spain are expected to compete which submarine according to you is the most advanced . I would think it is HDW . As far as the Ruskies are concerned I don't think they are that advanced .


Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Any guesses abt when India would get 2 b a permenant member in the UNSC with a veto? Seems the president of our country has also now publicly called for the reform.

Sayan said...

Sir, Chinese daily says its jet superior to Russian fighter People’s Daily said the J-15 is equipped with two high-power engines and a brand-new system of high lift device, takeoff and landing device and arrester hook. What are the high lift devices ?

Is the radar in J-15 more advanced than that of Su-33 ?

What is the status of Sukhoi-35 for PLAN ? Is the deal finalised ?

The J-15 adopts improved materials and production techniques, and thus has greater strength and lighter weight. Is this true ?

Is negotiations with Dassault Aviation going well ?If a client wants a bigger nosed Rafale so that it can have a bigger dia radar can Dassult redesign the nose accordingly .It is possible to increase the nose dia and volume without major changes to airframe.The greater the radar range the better it is.

Regarding Barak-2 IAI officials have said that they will make up for the delay. Does it indicate that all problems were resolved and the programme is back on track . Has MoD officials asked IAI to speed up the project ? The project is near completion. When is IA going to place firm orders for Barak-2 for defending its assets and installations ?

If CAS has authority to order more PHALCONs why doesnt he do so ? Is the IAFnow eager to learn the hard way ? Like Tejas mk1 CABS AEWC will not be delivered on time . Then IAF will again have to go for foreign systems.So, its better to have them now. This time PHALCON should have a JSATR type surface search radar .

What is the percent completion of Project Varsha ? When will IN start eveluating a SHORADS CIWS system capable of defeating sea skimming ASCM. All USN DDG have highly capable SAM such as SM-2,3 but still they have an automated CIWS - Phalanx which is a closed loop systems.

Pls ans them .Dont overlook them

Anonymous said...

Prasun what will be the terminal velocity of the new solid fuelled Prithvi Defense Vehicle compared to the PAD? btw did you know they were making a solid fuel version of the PAD?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.51AM: The money is being obtained at the expense of follow-on A-50I PHALCON orders. While follow-on PHALCONS can be available for delivery by 2015, the A330-200 AEW & CS platforms will not be available for at least another eight years. As for EMB-145Is, let’s wait & see how the airworthiness certification flights play out first, before evaluating the performance parameters.

To RAVI: There are quite a few jingoistic journalists who don’t bother to draft rational or objective narratives. The LIVEFIST piece was ‘inspired’ by TIMES NOW’s News Hour current-affairs programme which was the first one to telecast ill-informed garbage. However, the worst part of that programme was that even the former CAS of the IAF, ACM S Krishnaswamy, did not bother to spell out the facts in layman’s terms, which further confused anybody & everybody. Next to jump in was LIVEFIST by parroting such ill-informed allegations, when the simple fact was that all possible pieces of hardware that could possibly contain any form of embedded malware, such as IFF transponder, data-link, encryptors for voice/data secrecy systems, had to be (& are indeed) of Indian origin in order to prevent compromises of operational security & sovereignty. To be fair, the armed services too have to take some of blame since they too are quite inept when it comes to explaining things. For instance, just look at the mess created by the remarks made by the CNS of IN & NSA P Shivshanker regarding the South China Sea issue. In my view, all that the CNS had to do was refer to freedom of navigation as mandated by UNCLOS, but he also said that the IN would be ready to deploy anywhere in defence of India's national interests. And this is where the trap lay. What the CNS should have just said was that any out-of-area deployment of IN task forces was up to mandates & directives issued by the Govt of India, without naming any geographic area. Furthermore, since it was well-known within officialdom that the NSA was to visit the PRC at the same time, the NSA & CNS should have coordinated or rehearsed their answers to probable questions PRIOR to the CNS' press-briefing. Since this wasn't done, there indeed seems to be a critical disconnect at the highest levels of the government. And this is exactly what the ‘desi’ press-corps lapped up & blew out-of-proportion, without realising the consequences of differing interpretations.

To Anon@11.26AM: By the time IAC-2 becomes operational, INS Vikramaditya will require decommissioning. SSNs would be reqd for hunter-killer operations only in the deep seas in support of the SSBNs & the two CBGs.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ABS: Offensive air superiority is maintainable against the PAF only if any conventional high-intensity conflict drags on for three weeks, since at least 12 IAF squadrons would have to be in readiness all along the Sino-Indian LAC. Then there’s the issue of the PAF’s eight AEW & CS platforms. Therefore, unless the IAF’s combat aircraft squadron strength goes up to 55, the IAF will not be able to acquire sustainable offensive air superiority in the event of a future India-Pakistan conventional conflict that will not last beyond two weeks. As for the PLAAF, its limitations come into play only when offensive strike operations are concerned. For defensive counter-air operations, the PLAAF is steadily beefing up its capabilities throughout TAR, hence the increased tempo of practice deployments of J-10s & Su-27s in TAR since 2010.

To Anon@12.42PM: Nothing went wrong. In fact, the IAF was most impressed by the F/A-18IN & the then IAF CAS during Aero India in February 2011 had said that almost all the competing aircraft were more or less equal to the task. However, international diplomacy also plays a part in such competitions and since from the outset it was evident that the MiG-35 would lose out, India did not want to add insult to injury for Russia by selecting a US-built platform for such a major contract. Hence, even the shortlisting was limited to only two European contenders although, in terms of overall rankings, the Rafale & F/A-18IN actually led the pack.

To JEET SINGH: Nothing new to say as of now. Regarding Saras, I had already posed some questions above yesterday that need to be answered if the project were to make some sense.

To Anon@1.40PM: 2) It is only a TTSL extension programme, not an upgrade programme & so no new engines or avionics. 3) Of course. 4) SSK hulls don’t have to be opened for insertion of batteries, just as one doesn’t need to rip open the car’s engine compartment when replacing batteries. 5) Engines & gearboxes & transmission shafts of Type 877EKM SSKs were refurbished & zero-lifed. Only four Club-S ASCMs. 6) WASS-built decoys are only for submarines. For warships there’s Mareech. 7) IN’s upgraded Type 877EKMs are more advanced than Type 636 SSKs. 8) At least four Type 877EKMs will be in service till 2025. 9) P-75I SSKs are meant to replace the Type 877EKMs. 10) Those upgraded An-32s that are reqd to fly close to the LoC have RWRs & countermeasures dispensers. 11) No.

To ACCIDENTAL LOSER: Indeed they can. ESM suites for detecting LPI emissions are still being researched upon.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.15PM: They’re tough due to the very strict security vetting processes insisted upon by India’s Union MHA for local vendors & sub-contractors that will be the beneficiaries of industrial offsets. Therefore, the process of security vetting is mandatory & consumes a lot of time. Too-level management changes often cast shadows over pricing formulae. EF-2000 is a permanent outcaste in India now, period.

To Anon@4.55PM: Those submerged speed-levels apply to waters of the Mediterranean & Baltic seas & not to Arabian Sea or Bay of Bengal. Despite the incorporation of composites, Arjun Mk2’s weight will still exceed 64 tonnes due to incorporation of additional armoured protection.

To Anon@6.11PM: Instead of going that far & speculating about the AMCA, it will be much more worthwhile to focus on the Tejas Mk2 & try to incorporate as many technologies related to fifth-generation MRCAs as possible on the Tejas Mk2 itself. After all, one must not forget that in terms of the kind of composites-based materials used for airframe construction, the Tejas Mk2 is already in the same league as fifth-generation MRCAs. Consequently, all that’s reqd for the Tejas Mk2 to truly emerge as a fifth-generation MRCA is the incorporation of new-generation avionics like IRSTs on the nose & behind the cockpit for 360-degree situational awareness, AESA-based ELT-568 jammers, cockpit with panoramic AMLCDs, customised secure data-links for communicating with AEW & CS platforms, & twin overwing sleek conformal fuel tanks like the ones developed for the Rafale. All such pieces of hardware are ALREADY available as of now & therefore can be easily incorporated into the Tejas Mk2 airframe, thereby giving the aircraft fifth-generation multi-role combat capability.

To RAHUL: Patriot PAC-3 is an expensive piece of kit, meaning if money is going to be spent on it, then something else will have to be axed. Delays are not with Barak-2/8 missiles, but with the ground-based EL/M-2258 AESA radars. The new naval base is what project Varsha is all about & it will house the SSBNs, SSGNs & SSNs. Any Iron Dome contract is still two years away. The Elbit Systems-built Type 967 HUDWAC of Su-30MKI cannot display IRST or FLIR imagery. For that, holographic HUDWAC is reqd. IRST imagery is now displayed on an AMLCD for the pilot, while the FLIR imagery is displayed in an AMLCD for the WSO.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To RAW13: Double-hulled SSKs are reqd only for increasing endurance-at-sea (by making available more internal space as a result of ballast tanks being mounted in between the outer & inner hulls) & not for diving to deeper depths. AIP works well for both double-hulled & single-hulled SSKs in the high seas. Therefore, double-hulled SSKs will only benefit those operators that want to stay put in the high seas for extended periods. However, for those navies relying on single-hulled SSNs for prolonged patrols in the high seas, procuring double-hulled SSKs makes no sense.

To Anon@9.23PM: There’s no need for engine replacement. The M88 turbofan has been designed in such a manner that its hot-section parts can be changed or replaced without even having being sent to a base repair depot. That’s how cost-effective it is.

To VIKRAM GUHA: The acquisition cost of INS Vikramaditya is US$2.3 billion. The bill for 16 MiG-29K/KUBs & four Ka-31s is more than US$700 million.

To Anon@10.02PM: The J-15 does make use of the same avionics package as that of the J-10. Therefore, the J-15 is definitely a notch above the Su-33. WS-10 turbofan’s thrust levels are about the same as AL-31F, but TBO levels are much lower. The APAR on Type 052D DDGs is still being tested out & it will take at least another five years for that technology to mature. The SSBN deal between India & Russia is already sealed as far as S-5 & its follow-ons go & therefore there will be no cross-transfers of technology from the SSN programme to the SSBN programme. Both programmes will be proceeding within watertight compartments. Russian technologies relating to nuclear-powered submarine design/fabrication are by no means inferior to their Western counterparts. Only in the arena of solid-fuelled SLBMs are the Russians lagging behind.

To PRIYABRATA GUPTA: From both a technological standpoint & the financial angle (techno-economic matrix), Navantia’s S-80 ought to be the logical choice. As I had explained a few times earlier, HDW’s fuel cell-based AIP option is quite expensive for those navies (like the IN) that want more than one homeport their fuel cell AIP-equipped SSKs, since the shore-based support infrastructure reqd to support such AIPs is quite expensive. It is for this reason that the navies of Japan, China & even Singapore have all opted for Stirling Engine-based AIP solutions. The S-80, unlike the CM-2000 Scorpene, features an open-architecture hull-design that allows the S-80 to accept any type of AIP solutions, including the Stirling Engine, which is what the IN seems to prefer.

To Anon@12.33AM: Not in the foreseeable future.

To SAYAN: J-15’s high-lift devices are the twin canards. No CAS of the IAF has any such authority. All such procurement decisions have to be authorised & approved by the Cabinet Committee on National Security. Only site selection for Project Varsha has been done. Civil engineering works have yet to commence.

To Anon@12.44AM: Let’s wait & see how the PDV fares. It should have the same type of terminal velocity as that of the Arrow-2. Aerodynamic shaping of the missile round will also make quite a difference & therefore developing a solid-fuel version of PAD doesn’t make much sense.

F said...


Thought you might find these articles interesting.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To FARIS: VMT. What is more interesting is not the content of the narrative per se, but the mindsets of the respective authors.

F said...


Written by a serving Indian army general.

Diya Oberoi said...

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