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Friday, May 10, 2013

Taking Stock of PLA’s Rapid Deployment Capabilities: Lessons Learnt From National Emergencies

A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richer Scale jolted southwest China’s Sichuan Province at 2:28pm on Monday, May 12, 2008. With more than 70,000 deaths, this earthquake was one of the largest natural disasters to hit China in recent memory. Beijing’s reaction to this disaster was swift, with tens of thousands of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) personnel dispatched to the area within a short period of time with reactions from the highest echo of the civilian leadership, most noticeably the then Prime Minster Wen Jiabao. This was coupled with aggressive media coverage, making it a major departure from China’s past tendency to control media access during crises. Because of these two factors, this terrible disaster gave analysts both inside and outside of China a real opportunity to assess the PLA’s operational capabilities. The following timeline of the PLA’s deployments in response to the earthquake is compiled from official sources.
When the earthquake occurred, local PLA units stationed at and near Sichuan started to repair roads and carried out rescue-and-relief operations. According to the PLA Daily an Armoured Regiment of the Chengdu MR raced to Beichuan County, and an Artillery Regiment headed straight for Wenchuan County immediately after the quake occurred. They were mobilised immediately on orders from Gen Li Shiming, the then Commander of Chengdu MR, as part of a pre-planned emergency procedure activated after a direct communication from the then President Hu Jintao. During the first hours after the quake more than 6,100 troops from the surrounding regions of Chengdu MR were also ordered to the disaster area. Additionally, local commanders of the Lanzhou MR mobilised 5,000 offices and men into rescue-and-relief operations in the southern part of Gansu Province, where the earthquake had caused significant damage. None of the news reports released on the first day (May 12) mentioned the Central Military Commission (CMC), and this was a good indication that the special law on emergency management that was passed in 2007, which allows a regional network of emergency management offices to report directly to the State Council, was having an effect. While the CMC’s Leading Group Office (LGO) for Earthquake Rescue-and-Relief Work was established on the morning of May 13 to coordinate the actions of troops in earthquake rescue-and-relief operations under the command of the Minister for National Defence, members of the CMC and the Chief of General Staff of the PLA, some high-readiness rate units from different regions had already arrived in Chengdu, including 300 troops from the 127th Light Mechanised Infantry Division (LMID) of the Jinan MR and the first batch of troops from the PLAAF’s 15th Airborne Army. This totaled 6,500 troops by 16:00 on May 13, which also saw the largest airlift in a single day in PLA history, with 11,420 troops flown in by 12 civilian passenger airliners and 22 military transports, thus pushing the number of troops arriving in the quake area to almost 20,000. This was in addition to 15,600 of the military reserves and militia, and 5,000 PAP, with 30,000 more en route.
By 22:00 on May 14, 81,000 PLA and 14,000 PAP personnel were engaged in rescue-and-relief operations. Of those 81,000 PLA troops, there were 4,000 airborne (from the PLAAF) and 2,600 Marines from the PLA Navy, and troops directly affiliated with the CMC’s four General HQs/Departments. The PAP personnel were mostly from Sichuan and Chongqing contingents. Some GongAn (Unarmed Police) from outside of Sichuan provided an additional 1,000 personnel, charged with the job of enforcing public security. By 08:00 on May 15, the number of troops engaged in rescue-and-relief operations reached 130,000. 28,000 troops arrived in 21 trains, along with 157 railcars of rescue machinery and ambulances, seven railcars of oil and 69 railcars of steel and other materials. The number of medical teams reached 72, composed of some 2,160 military doctors and assistants, while 6,800 PLAAF parachutists were in Deyang and Mianzhu cities and Wenchuan County to help in relief works. By 22:01 on May 16, 61 PLA helicopters had arrived at the quake-hit Sichuan Province along with 15 additional helicopters from civilian agencies. On May 15, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered 90 more helicopters (60 military and 30 civilian) for rescue missions. As of 17:00 on May 17, more than 148,000 military troops, armed police, militia and reservists were engaged in rescue-and-relief operations. 10,000 unarmed police from 28 Chinese cities also contributed to the rescue-ad-relief operation

All seven of China’s military area commands sent troops or medical forces to Sichuan. In addition to the first 13,600 soldiers dispatched, Chengdu MR had sent 16,000 more soldiers by the end of May 14. Jinan MR sent 18,000 soldiers who travelled to Sichuan by rail and motorcycles. Lanzhou MR dispatched 5,000 soldiers and militia forces to lend assistance. Beijing MR organised a professional earthquake relief team of 150 soldiers. Guangzhou MR formed three medical teams of altogether 90 medical staff and transported medical equipment and medicines. Nanjing MR formed six medical teams composed of surgeons and anti-epidemic and disease prevention staff to deliver medical equipment and medicines by the end of May 14. By 9am on May 14, a total of 72 military medical teams made up of 2,160 staff had been dispatched along with emergency medicine and medical equipment worth over US$5.3 million. Soon thereafter, another 16 anti-epidemic teams had arrived on the scene. In all, the PLA mobilised around 84,000 active and 42,000 reservist personnel, while the PAPF had dispatched 20,000 personnel. Medical personnel dispatched amounted to 32,000.
There are aspects of the PLA’s reaction that seem to confirm a number of theories brought forward by PLA watchers over the years regarding the PLA’s chain-of-command during a national emergency. These held that the PLA has 23 Rapid Reaction Units (RRU, or ‘Fist’ forces) stationed throughout China that will be activated and placed directly under a single centralised command created from the CMC’s General Staff Department (GSD) in response to a national emergency. The PLA’s initial response confirmed those theories in which designated RRUs drawn from formations such as the 15th Airborne, PLA Marines, 149th Light LMID, elements of the 38th and 39th Group Armies (GA), strategic units from Jinan MR such as the 127th LMID, and 58th Mechanised Infantry Brigade and 60th Motorised Infantry Brigade of the 20th GA, were all activated within the first 12 hours. Initially, the RRUs were operating from their contingency plans instead of a centralised command and confusion did occur. For example, the 127th LMID was to be transported to Sichuan by rail, but the action plan was changed to airlift from Luoyang Airport after it was realised that railroad lines were out of commission because of the large number of tunnels that had collapsed from the quake. It took Premier Wen Jiabao less than two hours to board an aircraft and head to the quake zone, but the CMC’s LGO was not operational until the morning of May 13 to serve as the centralised command for the PLA.
The lack of fixed-wing heavy airlift transports was a much discussed topic within China and on the PLA Daily’s own online discussion forums, as the PLA relied heavily on civilian airliners for personnel transportation and reserved its 14 IL-76MD heavy transports for specialised purposes such as ferrying telecommunications devices, ambulances, tents, medical supplies, etc. Two of the IL-76MDs were dispatched to Beijing to pick up an emergency rescue team with 150 members and 12 search-and-rescue dogs from an engineering regiment of the 38th GA at 22:30 on May 12. That rescue team is considered China’s best and has taken part in nine earthquake rescue operations, including four outside of China (Algeria, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan). Sadly, it is the only one in China. The 14 IL-76MDs were far from sufficient in addressing PLA’s airlift needs, and the PLA Daily’s own discussion forum, surprisingly, became the home of the loudest critics. It will impossible to argue that the CMC does not realise this shortage exists, as the then Defence Minister Gen Cao Guangchuan personally ordered an additional 38 cargo versions of the IL-76MD transport back in 2005. However, that deal subsequently fell through due to delivery delays and pricing issues. During the three years before the quake, there was no major attempt to beef up the fleet with cheaper, although somewhat less capable, locally-made Shaanxi Y-8 military transports.
While large numbers of troops arrived to the quake zone very quickly they were not properly equipped, some armed only with spades, and newspaper articles are filled with stories about how troops picked at debris with their bare hands. Not until day three, when heavier equipment finally arrived to the quake zone, did the situation began to change. But, by then, the first 36 so-called golden hours had passed and chances of finding survivors quickly faded. This lack of heavy equipment really handicapped the rescue effort during the first hours of the earthquake. As noted before, an Armoured Regiment of the Chengdu MR was sent to Beichuan. However, it was not able to reach the razed town with its vehicles as all the roads were heavy damaged, and hence had to walk there on foot. The road was not re-opened until 18:00 on May 15, when an emergency engineering unit of the 2nd Artillery Corps arrived, with heavy construction equipment such as large excavators, loaders, mobile power-supply vehicles and portable power-supply stations. The lack of real-time intelligence-gathering capabilities also handicapped the PLA’s search for survivors. Looking at photos released by the both foreign and Chinese media, there was no attempt to take advantage of the PLA’s in-service tactical UAVs to track down survivors trapped in remote mountainous regions. While the PLAAF’s 15th Airborne conducted some dangerous airdrops and reconnaissance in very poor weather in its attempt to search for survivors in remote areas, without good intelligence such efforts were not as successful as they should have been. There were only two aerial photographic aircraft (Learjet 35As) in service with the Surveying and Mapping Bureau of the PLA’s General Staff Department, which hardly seems enough. China also utilised 15 indigenous satellites to help with the quake relief effort, but that a request was made to the US for additional satellite imagery clearly showed the shortcomings of the Chinese systems. The PLA also faced difficulties in evacuating survivors once they were located, as all the roads were damaged and only the PLA Marines were equipped with speedboats and pontoons that were capable of moving them out along the waterways. The coordination between search parties of the 15th Airborne and the transportable troops of the PLA Marines was not smooth during the first few days, so by May 19 the CMC had sent an additional 170,000 sets of radios to the troops, with 62,000 sets arriving on that day. While the coordination between different PLA units experienced difficulty, communications and support between the PLA and PAP seemed almost non-existent in the early stage of the rescue-and-relief work, and the PLA did not seem too interested in sharing some of the supplies. For example, while the PLA’s General Logistics Department dismissed fears of a food supply shortage, boasting that 300,000 daily field rations were airdropped and hot food was available, there were a number of reports that PAP personnel had only cold steamed buns, yams and dry noodles to eat.
Another item relating to shortfalls that drew much criticism within both the PLA and China’s state-controlled print/electronic media during this earthquake was the lack of transport helicopters. At its peak, the PLA mobilised close to 150 helicopters out of a total of 500 available. Even at that, 150 helicopters were not sufficient to handle all the critical work. To most economically employ this small fleet of important assets, the LGO ordered helicopters to be concentrated in the airdrops of drugs, food, drinking water, garments and quilts, and tents to meet the survivors' needs; and in the evacuation of wounded persons. However, they were thus not available for troops transport, communications and other logistics needs. If there one thing PLA learned, it is that they no longer have do everything alone and accepting foreign help might not be a sign of weakness, but rather a proof of strength.
 How They Fared This Time
The latest earthquake inside China on April 19, 2013 at 8:02am local time, which had a 6.6 magnitude, was centred 80km (50 miles) west of the town of Linqiong in Sichuan province bordering Arunachal Pradesh. The tremor occurred at a depth of 12.3km (7.6 miles) in Lushan County of Ya’an City. Earlier, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan in May 2008 had killed nearly 90,000 people. Taiping town, Longmen village, Baosheng Village and Dachuan Village are nearest to the epicentre of the earthquake. Incidentally, Sichuan was holding an earthquake rescue exercise between Apruk 18 and 19. This time, ASN-207 tactical UAVs were used to take the first reconnaissance photos of the earthquake-hit areas. 2,000 troops of the 149th Mechanised Infantry Division, Chengdu MR’s designated rapid-reaction unit, were immediately mobilised for rescue operations along with an Air-Defence Artillery Regiment. The 2nd LH (Army Aviation) Brigade was also activated for carrying search-and-rescue work. Another rescue team with about 220 soldiers from a PLAAF unit in Sichuan was also dispatched to the quake-hit area. The PAP Force dispatched 3,900 officers and soldiers from its contingent stationed in Sichuan province, and within 18 hours 2,600 of them had arrived at six towns in the quake-hit area to carry out rescue-and-relief work. The PLAAF’s Commander, Gen Ma Xiaotian, who was visiting the PLAAF’s units in Yunnan province on April 19, immediately suspended his official trip and set up a tactical HQ for relief activities in Sichuan’s Qionglai county. The PLAAF also scrambled two J-8II reconnaissance aircraft from Beijing at 10:08am and 11:42am on April 20 to take aerial photographs over the quake-hit areas in Sichuan. An IL-76MD transport aircraft was scrambled to Kunming from where it airlifted a national rescue-and-relief team to the quake-hit area.
A total of 27 Mi-171E helicopters (23 from the 2nd LH Brigade and four from the PLAAF) carried out 132 sorties 36 hours after the earthquake. Finding suitable landing zones in this mountainous region was the major bottleneck for the initial slow tempo of operations. On April 24 at 07.37am, a PLAAF detachment under the Chengdu MR dispatched a Y-8W (KJ-200) AEW & CS platform to Lushan county for providing air traffic management support for heliborne air-drops, air-transport and casualty evacuations missions. The earthquake-stricken areas in Lushan county of Sichuan province feature complex terrain, changeable weather, heavy air rescue mission and numerous disaster-relief aircraft, etc.
As of 17:00 on April 24, the Y-8W had logged in nearly 8 flight-hours, commanded and controlled 83 batches of inbound transport aircraft, guided 42 PLAAF helicopter sorties and had supervised the air-drops and airlifts of 28.8 tonnes of disaster-relief materials. To acquire more GIS information of the quake-hit area and the disaster’s damage, the National Defence Bureau of Science, Technology and Industry initiated an emergency space mission to collect remote-sensing data of the quake-hit area by using five satellites flying over the disaster-hit areas. The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has enabled rescuers to communicate among each other and with their tactical headquarters. China has already launched 16 satellites for the BDS network, which is expected to cover the globe with a constellation of 30 satellites by around 2020. The PLA's General Staff HQ has to date provided 623 BDS receivers to the quake-hit zones. A medical team from the Beijing-based PLA’s General Hospital brought a telemedicine system supported by satellite communications to field operation shelter vehicles in the quake zones.
More than 13,000 PLA soldiers have so far been deployed for rescue-and-disaster relief activities. The PLA has also mobilised more than 5,900 militia staff, using 17 fixed-wing aircraft, 45 helicopters, and 1,071 motorised vehicles. PLA troops searched and rescued 144 people, treated in excess of 21,000 and performed 129 surgical operations. In addition, troops have transferred more than 46,000 people away from dangerous areas, and provided 11,000 sets of hot food. They also built more than 14,000 tents, restored more than 300km of roads, and disinfected a combined area of 175,000 square metres. The troops also ferried sent more than 10,000 tonnes of relief materials to quake-hit areas, with 13 tonnes being airdropped.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

Bangladeshi members in a paki forum say that India is behind ALL troubles and problems of bangladesh
such as the present violence by Islamists and past BDR revolt in 2009

And that The present govt is an Indian stooge

SO my question is that HOW India
managed this turn around

Because some 10- 12 years ago ; Bangladesh was strongly Anti India

That incident of killing BSF men
had caused a breakdown of ties

but recently India Bangladesh economic ties are looking good

There are JV projects with a lot of Indian aid happening

So How did we manage this

Did some covert activities also help

Mr. Ra 13 said...

None can really completely fight out the havoc created by natural calamities. However China seems to have learned a lot and during its recent earthquakes of reduced intensities at the same place on 20 and 25 April, China was almost already prepared for them with instant actions therein. So loss of their lives were relatively much smaller this time. Now China can be expected to manage better against even bigger earthquakes and other such catastrophe events.

rad said...

HI Prasun
As the IJT is no where in sight and that kirans are also obsolete and insufficient . Why Cant we increase the amount of flying time on the pc-7 , and then go to the hawks. I understand there are other countries doing the same .
What s basicaly wrong with the IJT leaving alone the engine problems , are there design faults,HAL seems to be consulting BAE for this.

sachin_sathe said...

hi prasun

interesting analysis.

It would be even more interesting to
compare indian strategic airlift & tactical airlift since both india & china use it in humanitarian effort. your thoughts?

Bhaswar said...

Prasun Sir,

Q-The two mountain divisions which will b given the strike tasking are to be taken from the already existing divisions of the 4th and 3rd corps or will they be raised anew?

Q-I believe that a fresh report was submitted to the government about 60000 strong mountain strike corps- has that been scrapped? WHY? Because of Chinese pressure?

Q-Has the plan to station one more armoured brigade with 14th corps and another armoured brigade in the NE been scrapped?

Q-Could you elaborate upon the planned capabilities and role of the independent air-mobile division?

Q-When do you envisage the infrastructural build-up picking up? What is ALREADY being done to ensure that it picks up. Or are we doomed on that front? WHAT ARE THE EXACT REASONS FOR THE CONTINUED SLOW PACE IN THIS SECTOR?

abs said...

1)Very nice analysis. Perhaps this indeed shows that the Chinese are not 10 feet tall. And though mobilisation in the TAR could be done in significant numbers in a relatively short span of time, however reaching the last mile and other forward positions with the same speed and tempo and most significantly numbers might be a different ball game altogether. Besides if your thread is anything to go by I got the hint that the PLA's ISTAR capabilities are also not as formidable as we would have liked to believe.And its the same with the integration and co-ordination among various elements of the PLA and PLAAF. What do you say?
2)I believe a war at this point no matter how unlikely is going to result in a Chinese defeat.
3)You have always mentioned that there is no plan to raise any Mountain Strike Corps, however do you think having a "strike corps" would give any better offensive potential to the IA over and above the accretions that are being done now which btw also would have substantial offensive power to it. The reason I ask this is cuz I believe the entire concept of having Strike and Pivot/Holding Corps is highly outdated as IA's IBGs bear out.
3)I believe the Independent Air Mobile division would be a significant move for the IA.
4)I would love to know from you what roles would IA/IAF's SOFs be playing in a future conflict?

abs said...

4)A thing that has got me worried since a long time is India's rapid reaction capability to any contingency. Perhaps off late its improved quite a lot, as was borne out by media reports that said the IA set up tents within 6 hours of discovering of the Chinese incursion. However I do understand that till 2022 infrastructural bottlenecks will always be a barrier to IA's rapid reaction capabilities. Please give your views regarding IA's rapid reaction capability to the Chinese threats that could emerge along all the sectors of the LAC.

Anonymous said...

Prasunda, IAF has issued RFP for Avro replacement aircrafts.A number of aircrafts from different manufacturers are in the competition.Which one would be the most feseable from all aspects? Regards, UJJWAL

dushyant hardaha said...

drdo not able to design flamethrower AGL and LAW how drdo can claim hitec items like pdv aad ad1/2 are indigenous

Anonymous said...


Regarding Venturestar... The below link speaks about different program.

Does the one you're referring to and the one the above link is referring to are different projects? VMT

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon,
I recently read a news about LSp 8 having 20 degree AOA. does that mean all of SP 1 to 40 will have similar AOA? what would be the appropriate AOA for TEjas mark 2?

Anonymous said...

Pl read this

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.48AM: What else can one really expect from such forums! According to these ratards Bangladesh was born not because of West Pakistan’s ethnocentricism, but because of R & AW-supported Mukti Bahini, Agartala conspiracy, etc etc. And these very retards are now claiming that the Tehrik-e-Taliban e Pakistan is being sponsored by R & AW & MOSSAD. Of course, when one asks them for any conclusive proof of such foreign hands, what emerges from official sources is that instead of R & AW or MOSSAD, it is funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Iran that is creating sectarian mayhem in today’s Pakistan. So now I guess they will claim that the Saudis, Qataris & Iranians too are all being bankrolled by India & Israel!

RAD: That’s exactly what’s being done by the IAF. Once any air force has a basic turboprop trainer & an advanced jet trainer, then the next logical step is to go for a lead-in fighter trainer, & not an intermediate jet trainer. Anyone favouring an IJT procurement is therefore only being retrograde & regressive. This entire IJT fiasco is a spectacular loss-making gift to the nation from the previous NDA government. HAL has indeed sought consultancy advice from BAE Systems for certifying the IJT’s flight-control logic.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SACHIN SATHE: VMT. In terms of strategic & tactical airlift capabilities of both the IAF & the PLAAF, the requirements are varied for both parties, since for the IAF there’s a huge daily workload in terms of air-maintenance by fixed-wing transports & helicopters to high-altitude & remote areas to the north & northeast of India. The PLAAF does not face any such challenges, but does suffer from an acute shortage of airworthy platforms, since the Y-7s, Y-8s & Y-14s are not always in tip-top serviceable condition. Although the PLAAF will in future go for the Y-20 strategic airlifter, it is still another six years away from service induction. In case of the IAF, the 10 C-17A Globemaster-3s will be a welcome addition later this year, while another six will be ordered in future. For military tactical airlift, the An-32REs, six C-130J-30 Super Hercules & later the IL-214 MRTA will bring in new capabilities, and there will also be an increase in the fleet strength of the C-130J-30s from the present six to at least 16. As for the latest RFP released for replacing the HS-748 Avros, the frontrunner for this competition is Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Hercules, which, once ordered, will be licence-assembled by TATA most probably in Hyderabad. Almost everyone who has recently commented or reported about the HS-748 replacement has WRONGLY assumed that the IAF wants a 50-seater. In reality, a closer examination of the RFP reveals the fact that these 56 aircraft are required primarily for routine ferrying of personnel belonging to the CAPFs & for disaster-relief operations in support of the National Disaster Management Authority. And what better platform than the C-130J! If this aircraft is procured, then the OEM (Lockheed Martin) will find it all the more attractive to have a JV with TATA for setting up an authorised MRO facility based in India for conducting depot-level maintenance of the C-130H/J family of transports, which is a huge business since more than 100 C-130Hs belonging to the USAF, US Navy & US Coast Guard are presently operational throughout East & Southeast Asia & all of them require periodic MRO support.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To BHASWAR: 1) It is the Corps that will be given strike taskings & I’ve already explained in the previous thread which that Corps is. 2) There was never a proposal for any Mountain Strike Corps. Insuead, the proposal was for suitably equipping the existing Corps-sized formations for undertaking offensive operations whenever reqd. 3) No, those plans are active & raisings have begun. 4) That will appear in a new thread. 5) Infrastructure build-up will always be a slow affair in India for as long as the government remains in charge of such projects. The govt’s task should only be land acquisition & the rest should be privatized & not given to the BRO, which lacks the human resource expertise to do a proper job. In places like Arunachal Pradesh, clashes between various tribes & clans often take place & local MLAs affiliated with rival clans & tribes obstruct the progress of such projects, since everyone is in it only for the money & if this money is not paid, then these vested interests will go all out to sabotage the project. This is the kind of sick mentality that prevails throughout most of the North East all in the name of empowering the tribals. Instead, what ought to be done is take away all the so-called traditional rights of the tribals, which in any case exist only in name. You see the mess this so-called tribal empowerment has created in Odisha: one leader from Delhi parachutes into Niyamgiri & states that he will be the voice of those ill-informed tribes who claim that for them their God resides only in that hill where mining is sought to be undertaken. And lo & behold, that entire project becomes financially unviable overnight! This is the kind of retarded thought process that prevents economic development from taking place.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ABS: VMT. Indeed, the ISTAR & communications capabilities of the PLA, especially along the LAC, are not what they’re advertised to be. But they have resorted to improvisation like mounting LORROS on helicopters, which enabled them to observe & track the IA’s observation post construction activities at Chumar. In addition, creation of a unified theatre military district for undertaking integrated joint operations shows that the PLA, in terms of command-and-control organisation, is ahead of India in this respect. However, despite all this, the PLA won’t be able to enjoy a cakewalk against India because of the sheer harshness of the terrain of operations, i.e. while the terrain across the LAC is flat & favours the construction of roads & heli-bases, the trek up the mountains & crossing over the ridges to come towards India will become a turkey-shoot since the IA will be able to engage the PLA in-depth with well laid-out fire-assault zones with conventional field artillery howitzers & MBRLs. The PLA is only too well aware of the IA’s battle inoculation & battlefield experience in mountain warfare since mid-1999, whereas the PLA last participated in mountain warfare back in 1951. As I had explained in the previous thread, the already raised two new mountain divisions give enough flexibility to the IA for using one of its existing Corps HQs for offensive campaigns. After all, there’s very limited space available between Sikkim & Bhutan for launching such offensive operations. Throughout the rest of the LAC, there are highly limited options, unless an airmobile division is employed via eastern Ladakh or Uttarakhand as part of a vertical envelopment campaign. In that sense, an airmobile division is omni-directional & can be used against different fronts & offers several options, while a mountain strike corps will remain strictly China-centric. As for rapid-reaction capabilities, the best option is always to do what the PLA has done across the LAC, i.e. construction of helicopter bases & UAV at strategic points at sufficient depth. I will deal with this in a separate thread dealing with the IA’s force modernisation imperatives.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To UJJWAL: As for the latest RFP released for replacing the HS-748 Avros, the frontrunner for this competition is Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Hercules, which, once ordered, will be licence-assembled by TATA most probably in Hyderabad. Almost everyone who has recently commented or reported about the HS-748 replacement has WRONGLY assumed that the IAF wants a 50-seater. In reality, a closer examination of the RFP reveals the fact that these 56 aircraft are required primarily for routine ferrying of personnel belonging to the CAPFs & for disaster-relief operations in support of the National Disaster Management Authority. And given the steady rise in the number of CAPF battalions & the ever increasing demands for catering to various internal security operations, what better platform than the C-130J! Long gone are the days when only companies of CAPFs were reqd for internal security tasks. Today, the need is for airlifting one entire battalion within 12 hours. If the C-130J is procured, then the OEM (Lockheed Martin) will find it all the more attractive to have a JV with TATA for setting up an authorised MRO facility based in India for conducting depot-level maintenance of the C-130H/J family of transports, which is a huge business since more than 100 C-130Hs belonging to the USAF, US Navy & US Coast Guard are presently operational throughout East & Southeast Asia & all of them require periodic MRO support.

To Anon@12.49AM: This is a different Venture Star I was referring to. The one you’ve highlighted was meant to replace the Space Shuttle. The one I’m referring to is shaped like an elongated triangle & doesn’t have tailfins or vertical stabilisers.

To Anon@3.43AM: AoA for what kind of flight attitude? AoA when diving for an attack? AoA when banking? AoA for measuring instantaneous turn rate? AoA for accelerating & gaining altitude? There are so many types of AoA variables.

abs said...

1)Its quite heartening to see India's deterrence posture upgrading from dissuasion to offensive conventional deterrent.
2)If indeed India agrees to fixed reduction in troop levels, then it has to be replaced with superior ISTAR mechanisms. Something that is unlikely to happen before 2020.
3)What do you make of the Chinese White Paper on Defence?
4)Could we believe the figures mentioned in the White Paper regarding the number of personnel the PLA,PLAAF,and PLAN have?

abs said...

what are your views on this? By when would we have a 50 squadron air force? Are there any chances of the IAF using its AEW&CS assets for establishing air superiority over the Tibet Zones.

abs said...

Also, I request you to throw light upon the Network Centric Warfare plans of the IAF vis-a-vis China.

Kshitiz said...

sir what do u say of F 22 and f 35
rumour is that they are lemon planes u directed to a video

Bhaswar said...

Prasun Sir,

You say that they cannot deploy in force within Indian territory and beat us, the Chinese that is. But in 62 they did just that, they out maneuvered us, cut us off and beat us black and blue. Back then we had many of the same problems we have today, lack of roads and poor artillery, so how can you say that they cannot beat us again?

More importantly if they really can't beat us then why the 500+ border intrusions, specially the helicopter intrusions in Himachal, whats the point there?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,
1.)At first i am angry at chinese. It seems our own making?
2.)when will jagur engine deal will be signed?
3.)when we can expect, prahar test with SAR seeker?
4.)when we can expect, first LRCM(supersonic) test?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

What is your opinion about the Irani military toys. They announce something new every month. Do they really posses technology to produce what they claim? Is this just Irani tactics to dissuade USA and Israeli attack or they are getting help from Russia and china?

Do they really think that they have fooled the world with these military toys!!.

Anonymous said...

Prasun sir
Regarding Tejas AOA, you stated that there are different AOA then what are they in respect to tejas?

Anonymous said...

Prasun da

What is your prediction about pakistani elections who should win this time. Your are a real Nostradamus sir ji!

Anonymous said...

Prasun sir .. you wrote
"funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Iran that is creating sectarian mayhem in today’s Pakistan"

Why whats there gain ... i dont understand.

KSingh said...


1) When will the 12 CSAR-specific helos, that you mentioned in the last thread, for the IAF be ordered?

2) Do you see the IAF going for more C-17s over and above the 16 figure?

3) So the IAF could end up getting an additional 56 C-130Js (as replacments to the Avro)?

4) does the IAF not require something smaller like the C-27J or C-295?

5) Can you do a detailed write up on the F-INSAS and specifically the hardware that will be coming to each level- individual foot soldier, company level, brigade level, division level etc

6) what private firms are involved in the F-INSAS effort?

7) When will the DRDO's Mulit-cal rifle enter service with the IA?

Anonymous said...

sir , the avros can ferry arnd 5 tonnes..i read somewhere that the IAF needs the replacement aircraft to carry arnd 8 tonnes..but doesn't the c130j hrcules carry arnd 20 tonnes..doesn't this makes it inelligible ?

Anonymous said...

sir ,
what is the diff. b/w c 130j hercules & c 130 j super hercules?
though it doesn't make sense to procure multiple types of aircraft..& since the IAF already has the superhercules..procuring its variant is the logical step..but how does this a/c fare in comparison to A400M & c27 spartan..will the IAF BE EVALUATING These a/cs?
& isn't it prudent to wait 3-4 yrs for MRTA to arrive & procure it in very large no.s ?
when will IAF be replacing the an32 ? what a/cs will be in reckoning?
what will IAF'S transport fleet look like in 2025 ?

Anonymous said...

If US already has Venture Star (Inter-Planetary) craft then why is it not being used.

Its certainly a lot cheaper to operate than to rely on conventional rockets for space applications.

US is using Russian rockets to send astronauts to ISS, is this all a deliberate attempt to mask their true capabilities. If yes then what do they gain by this masking.

Why not use the other planets for research or resource harvesting when such transportation is available or even establish bases.

Do any other country possess this same tech other than US. Agreed that US is the most developed country on the planet but just like Hollywood movies - do aliens always make contact with US. What happened to the rest of the planet.

Anonymous said...

I want India, china jointly engage with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan (later is our friend for long time) to economic and social development so that they do not pose a major hurdle atleast from NE corner.

In such a case we are just left with Maldives and SL which we can deal with.

Our arch rival (until 2020) pakis are the only concern until US attacks pakis and creates Balochistan shortly after 2014. (atleast as I wish)

Anonymous said...

@May 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM The very first comment:

I want you to know the people who pose as bengalis, sri lankans, arabs in paki forums are not genuine people, they are just pakis in disguise to create some sort of virtual hatred towards india and praise pakis. Pakis never realise that online forums never achieve much other than temporary happiness in bashing other countries esplly iNDIA, US and Israel.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Have been busy with the ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations & functions at Dabolim, Goa, since August 9. Will answer all queries by tonight. 20 x MiG-29Ks/KUBs have arrived so far from Russia.

Kimran Singh said...

Have you got any pics of your own to share of these MIG-29K/KUBs sir?

Anonymous said...


Sorry for off the topic question.

Is it possible to incorporate Oto Melara Hitfact 105-mm / L52 low-recoil gun turret or a 120-mm smoothbore gun turret on a T-55 chassis?

Can we convert our T-55 tank into a potent Tank-Destroyer?

Can we convert our T-55 tank into a self-propelled 120mm Morter system like 2S9-Nona-S or PLL05?

Your view about TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system & its effectiveness.

rad said...

HI Prsun
Please give us a complete write up on the Mig-29 k with pics , its avionics, capabilities etc

Anonymous said...

Sir , As you are in Goa, can you ask a few things from Navy officials.
1. Does IN Naval air arm intend to equip MiG-29K with pylon mounted Cassidian MAWS ?

2.Which Kh-35 variant arms MiG-29K, the latest UE variant with a 280 km range or the older one with 135 km range ?

3. How many R-77,R-27,R-73 has been ordered to date for MiG-29K ?

4.What are the immediate plans of IN wrt their Tu-142 fleet ?

5. How many more P-8I are to be ordered ?

6.Brahmaputra class, Godavari class, Shivalik class all have El/M-2282 AD-STAR air survellience radars ?

7.Did you learn anything new about INS Arihant sea trials .

8.When will SLEP of Delhi class DDG and P1540RE class corvette start ?

9.Cant the last batch of MiG-29K get Zhuk-AE radar instead of ME radar ?

Arup said...

Sir , Will Su-30 get uprated AL-31F turbofans with 6000 hr TTSL from 2014 ?

E-CAPTOR aesa aperture is same as which Zhuk-AE aesa 575 mm or 680 mm ?

Thales claims RBE2AA TR element has a peak power output of 9.6 watt. If this be true, RBE2AA will have a greater peak power output over Zhuk AE 688 mm and hence more air to air and air to ground range . Longer range will help in standalone air combat and in detecting low RCS targets.

Is M88 able to supercruise ?

Can PLA fighter jets take off with their full complement of AAM and drop tanks for defensive counter air ops from TAR ? How does IAF Su-30mki plan to engage PLAAF J-11,Su-27SKM,J-10 in BVR combat ?PLA fighter jets have both chaff,flares and RF jammer for breaking missile lock while IAF Su-30 will have to rely only on chaff and sheer high g turns to break a missile lock.

Will it be possible for IAF to fit all its Su-30 with MSWS suite including Virgilus jammer in one go from 2014 in a very short amount of time even before thay receive AESA and other upgrade components.

Will production contract for MIRES AESA be signed by MoD this year so that the Super upgrade can commence from next year as per schedule.

Why do you think IAF possess an inventory of just 100 Kh-31 arm for Su-30 fleet ? The coalition AF expanded nearly 1000 ARM during 1st Gulf war to destroy,degrade Iraqi IADS. PLA , PLAAF has also such an IADS in place in TAR. They have many radar stations, many air-defense radar guided AAA, MR-SAM, SHORADS. To neutralise them willwell require more than 500 ARM.

What is IA's answer to PLA LMIC ?How can they be prevented from coming into Indian territory.?

In case PLA launches a shallow offensive operation involving its infantry , mechanised regiments and armour brigades, how does IA plan to contain them . Infantry alone is not enough aginst such heavy cavalry.For neutralsiing such heavy concentration sof troops,ICV,ATV,tanks,SPH SFW equipped NLOS-BSM like Prithvi , cluster warhead equipped MBRL and air launched standoff cluster munitions and sfw needs to be deployed.

Dont you reckon that the need of the hour is for IAF to gradually build up its air to ground stocks with modern all weather standoff PGM. IAF fighter jets alone can blunt , halt such offensives and dstroy their POLs,ammo depots , war fighting assets with AGM . Popeye,Kh-59 can be employed against POL, ammo depots, logistics bases,C3 facilities, vital road and rail bridges, cluster fragmentation weapons can be employed aginst thinly skinned vehicles like IFV,APC,ATV,LAV,TEL and aginst airfields, helipads radar stations. SFW and anti tank cluster munitions can be employed against IFV,artillery,tanks,etc. If all these are employed from a standoff distance , our acs will remain outside the reach of their SHORADS, MR-SAM . After IAF have crippled their war-fighting assets , IA can launch a limited offensive and neutralise the remaining threats.

Does IAF contemplate building such an air ground inventory and engage in an effects based operation uing ISTAR assets and standoff PGMs? IAF has yet to have such a cpabilty. It still employs iron bombs with no range extension kits as was evident in Iron Fist 2013 firepower demo. Such ordance needs to be deployed after few days from the beginning of war when critical air-defense elements have been paralysed.
What is your opinion ?

Prahaar NLOS-BSM deployments must be made in Sikkim , in N Ladakh where there are flat terrain that allows a mechanised intrusion.

The new thread is also a very good one.. When are you going to post on IA's orbats and formations, what needs to be done and IAF's ISTAR capabilities . You are indeed the best.

Anonymous said...

Prasun Ji,

In last year's Heavy Helicopter competition that Chinook won , did the IAF make available the technical & financial reasons because of which the Chinook won .

Thank You

Anonymous said...

It was good to hear about mig29k squadron commissioning. But didn't hear anything about our poor submarine squadron from either anthony or joshi. Frankly speaking it will take another decade to have a robust network of nuclear submarines considering its complex nature. But regarding conventional subs no optimistic news about scorpene or project78i. Why is it our submarine arm always gets less attention. Even countries like Pakistan,Turkey,Korea puts more stress on submarines. Does maintaining submarine is more costly than other assets.

Anonymous said...

Sir! for what kind of weapons, India will go for joint development with US as they are stating that they want joint development of weapons with India?

Mr. Ra 13 said...

Sir, How much true is it that the Russian Navy is planning to induct the MiG-29K into its fleet.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ABS: Not reduction in troop-levels, just a freezing of existing troop-levels—that’s what been proposed by China. The figures mentioned in China’s White Paper can be genuine, but they don’t include the numbers regarding the reservist militias. Also, figures concerning budgetary grants are missing, although it is known that in terms of priorities, the PLA Navy gets 53% of the annual defence budget, followed by the 2nd Artillery Corps, followed by the PLA Air Force & lastly the PLA Army. Regarding the IAF, as per present plans a 42-combat aircraft squadron air force is expected only by 2024, & no one is sure when a 50squadron air force will come into being. Definitely AEW & CS platforms will be in use when conducting offensive air campaigns over any portion of TAR.

To KSHITIZ KUMAR: Both F/A-=22 & F-35 are quite potent platforms, rest assured.

To BHASWAR: 2013 is not 1962. The debacle in 2962 happened because no one from the IA knew about the terrain & the forces deployed there were never familiarised with the topography. There was no support for IA troops in terms of warm clothing & steady food & rations. NONE OF THOSE deficiencies exist today. Only deficiencies that now exist are in terms of artillery firepower & unit-level firepower. The PLA helicopters transgress into India-controlled airspace simply because the PLA’s tactical recce capabilities are extremely limited, as they don’t have the right kind of MALE-UAVs as yet.

To Anon@6.42PM: 1) This is a very mischievous & ill-informed report designed to malign the IA. The main problem is that of the ITBP’s deployment along the LAC. The problem lies squarely with the ITBP & MHA. 2) Maybe towards the end of this fiscal year. 3) Before the year’s end. 4) By 2015.

To Anon@10.58PM: They’re all nautankis meant purely for the domestic audience.

To Anon@11.10PM: The very same gains that prompted these countries to actively intervene militarily in Libya & now Syria. It is all about the contest for global political supremacy over the Muslim Ummah between the Sunnis & Shias.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To KSINGH: 1) They’re quite low in the IAF’s list of procurement priorities. 2) In the latter half of this decade. 3) Of course, there’s no one else, is there? 4) Of course not. How many companies or battalions of CAPFs will be swiftly redeployed if one were to use C-27J or C-295? After all, the HS-748 has never been used for anything else.

To Anon@1.39AM: HS-748s have never been used for air-maintenance taskings for either the IAF or IA. They’ve been used for the routine redeployments of CAPF personnel throughout the country. And if you have been keeping track at the rate of annual growth of these CAPFs, you will realise that the IAF requires larger platforms & since 2009 CAPFs like the BSF & CRPF have publicly spoken about the need for platforms like the C-130J, & not the C-27J or C-295.

To Anon@1.54AM: C-130J-30 Super Hercules contains two fuselage plug-ins fore & aft of the wing-box in order to lengthen the fuselage. The C-130J on the other hand is the fuselage minus the two plug-ins. A400M is way too expensive while the C-27J is too small. Of course it would have been prudent to wait for the IL-214 MRTA, but firstly this aircraft won’t be available that soon & secondly, it will make perfect financial & business sense if the C-130Js were to be procured, since the number of aircraft will justify the setting up of a localised MRO centre within India for all types of C-130Js. On the other hand, it will be extremely uneconomical to set up such MRO centres for just 56 aircraft. That’s precisely why Lockheed Martin has been invited to respond to the RFP.

To Anon@2.28AM: Of course the Venture Star is being used for more than a decade, but strictly for classified projects. Just imagine what would have happened if countries started fighting for territory in other planets just as they have been on Earth!

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To KIMRAN SINGH: Nothing new to be shown or photographed. Earlier, I had already uploaded a photo of the MiG-29UPG cockpit & it is identical to that of the MiG-29K. I was more interested in attending the various seminars connected with the event & discussions on the future of naval aviation. A static MiG-29K was shown with R-77s, R-73Es, S-80 rocket launchers, Kh-35E ASCM & EL/L-8222 EW pods. There are four hardpoints per wing. There’s no LDP or LGBs so far. You can watch it all here:

To Anon@12.50AM: Of course anything is possible, for as long as the money is available. But if the idea is to create a tank destroyer out of the existing T-55, then might as well as equip it with a new turret containing a commander’s panoramic sight & eight launchers of laser-guided CALGMs. Same goes for the turret containing twin 120mm breech-mounted mortars.

To RAD: Watch this:

To Anon@1.59AM: 1) No. 2) Latest UE variant. 3) Aroud 100 of each. 4) They will be decommissioned by 2018. 5) Four more for sure & maybe another six. 6) Only the three P-17 FFGs do. 8) They will begin by this month’s end. 8) By 2015. 9) It can.

To ARUP: 1) No. They will come with Super Su-30MKIs only. 2) Those specs have never been released. 3) M88 was never designed for supercruise. 4) Of course not & I already explained it in the previous thread. PLAAF’s combat aircraft don’t have internal EW jammer as yet. 5) Who says it takes a short time to install MSWS on any aircraft? The entire aircraft’s fuselage needs to be stripped down for such purposes. 6) MIRES is already under low-rate industrial production. 7) Far less ARMs were used in 1991. Only TIALD decoys were used in large numbers. PLAAF has only two airspace surveillance radar stations in TAR. 8) LMIC is neither specialised in jungle warfare nor in mountain warfare & therefore they can’t be used against India. 9) There are no such plans by the PLA to launch any kind of offensive operations against India since the PLA will never be able to muster the 16:1 superiority reqd for such operations. Consequently, all postures & tactics presently implemented by both the IA & PLA are of a strictly defensive nature.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.25PM: Of course. It did, as mandated by the DPP regulations.

To Anon@12.02AM: IN’s SSK squadrons aren’t ‘poor’ by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the IN’s existing Type 877EKM SSKs have far more firepower than any other SSK in South & Southeast Asia. The Scorpene SSK procurement programme has been based on faulty foundations since Day 1 & it is only the UPA-1 govt that is to be blamed for failing to do its homework. In Pakistan SSKs get more prominence because the PN’s undersea warfare arm is the elite force within the entire PN & most PN Chiefs have hailed from this arm. In the IN’s case, its undersea warfare arm did not score any notable successes in 1971 or since 1971.

To Anon@2.13AM: It means weapons & sensors. For instance, X-band radars, space-based optronic sensors for ballistic missile early warning, etc.

To Mr.RA 13: Let’s wait & see. With the Ruskies, it is always better to verify such matters first by seeing with one’s own eyes what’s happening on the ground. As of last year, no MiG-29Ks for Russian Navy were being built at any of RAC-MiG’s production facilities.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Only a moron make such a statement: “The Sea Harrier was able to defend the fleet from enemy aircraft, but its ability to attack ground targets was limited and it carried no anti-ship missiles, which had to be fired from the mother ship, the Viraat.” (

rad said...

hi prasun
others have all operational IIR wvr missiles , why is russia lacking in this regard , in fact they were the first to bring out tvc and look and launch missiles , has the r-73 got an up grade to IIR or is there a completely new missile , please give us some info on the new missiles
why is it that only 2 entrants are there in the tracked howitzer race? i dont rate the russian one , i hope they dont win as they will be very cheap with archaic tech.
do you think that bAE can solve the spin problem if there is mjor design problem. Now a days i hear spinning of fast jets is not so important ,

Anonymous said...

sir ,
acc. to wikipedia the p8i has a range of 1200 nmi with 4 hrs on station..
what does it actually mean ?
i mean can it travel 600 nmi from its base patrol on station for 4 hrs and return 600 nmi ?
or does it mean once fuelled fully it can trvel for only 1200 nmi(w/o)counting the time on station)..

Anonymous said...

1. Gen(retd.) JJ singh is accused by many for initiating in the army the "look down policy" whein u can guess the next 3-4 service anything of sort it true?
2) is it true that most of the top leadership of IA is in there position bcoz of sycophancy and not meritocracy(as being regularly alleged by print media)??
3) are there senior officers in IA who can call a spade a spade ..someone like paul yingling of us army?
4) what are your views abt Gen. bikram singh(i guess he is well respected in the army like VK singh but unlike deepak kapoor)..he surely seems to have guts(if one were to go by his stupendoes & aggresive army day conference)?
5) why are IA promotion boards generally mired in controversies(at higher ranks)..& why is it that most of IA's senior leadership is composed of ex NDA's & some IMA direct entry officers..where do other entries go?? specially the one's from the calibre of an officers from OTA less than the calibre of officers from nda & ima?
7) what are your views on corruption in the rot very it generally in senior ranks or even at unit level ? do u think VK singh's age controversy wah blown out of proportion because he was acting against corruption in army ?

Anonymous said...

sir ,
the 50 para brigade has a strength of arnd once company each of AAD,MP,signals,engineers,AOC,ASC, of course 2-3 para/para(sf) is a known fact that the IA is increasing its para battalions..but is also inc the no. of support from just a single company of say engineers to atleast a batallion of them?
2) is there only a single company of combat enginners(100-150 men) in india that is para qualified?? out of 60 or so odd engineer regiments ?or the entire or most of bombat sapper officership is para qualified?
3) what is the length of training of indian para/para(sf) operators..after their probation?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Prasun .

Do you know of any link where I can find out the reasons ( technical & financial) because of which the Chinook won .

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,
1.)what is the combat radius of mig29 k and its max payload wt(weapons), from carrier?
2.)//sea launch of IAC-1 will take place in August this year// wht this means?
3.)why there is no mass order of Drdo clgm?
4.)Are we developing iir seeker for astra?
5.)do u think scropene follow on will be order placed?

abs said...

1) Does the freezing of troops levels remain limited to only the forward positions and areas close to the border or does it entail a freezing of troops levels across the entire theatre? The former could be done, provided India develops the infrastructure quickly and also invests in ISTAR capabilities to replace the "physical eyes o the ground" with "electronic eyes on the ground" for surveillance and reconnaissance.
2)I think a border war with China is a very remote possibility with even the Chinese unwilling. However what remains clear is Chinese ambition to reduce India to a surrogate power while it leads Asia. Its in here that China's "5th generation warfare" comes into play, i.e. achieving strategic goals without fighting a war. Given this backdrop could you explain where does India stand vis-a-vis China in the ongoing rivalry for achieving strategic space in Asia?
kindly give your views on the above?
It seems in the future China would increasingly look to dominate the Oceans in order to rule Asia. The Chinese believe in the adage "who rules the oceans, rules the world" and it was especially in this context that they tried and convey to the US about certain delineation of Maritime dominance between the two, to which the US refused.I have long held these suspicions about China and it seems to be coming true.
4)I was reading a paper by Brig.Gurmeet Kanwal stating that a division of the IA has been earmarked as Rapid reaction force having 2 air assault brigades and 1 amphibious brigade. Is this true?
5)The Chinese look to achieve their objectives by spreading deception and misinformation. In this context if the 1993,96 agreements had happened, yet never been formalised, what could get us to believe that the Chinese would formalise such agreements even now? and in the larger context this is not a new deception campaign by the Chinese to lure India into believing of peaceful Chinese intentions till the time is ripe for China to strike.

Anonymous said...


1. What is the current situation in Ladakh after the chinese has 'returned back'. Does border patrolling is going on or stopped.

2. another phase is blooming-

So now time has come to dismantle our posts in Andaman-Nicobar-Lakshadweep to avoid confrontation. Next China will say that naval bases in Mumbai,Kochi,Vizag pose threat to their maritime trade route which also needs to be diminished.

3. Where does the moral of our defence forces go after hearing this-

Anonymous said...


Regarding the MoDs tender for the supply of 104 anti-aircraft missile and gun systems for ground troops RFIs were send to "Rosoboronexport", the Polish Bumar, the American General Dynamics, the French Thales, the South Korean Doosan Group and Israeli IAI and Elta.

Which of these companies do you think has the best system for India and why ?


KSingh said...


Any new info/interesting tid-bits you can share from the seminars and events held at INS HANSA that you atteneded?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To RAD: Of course the Russians also have IIR-guided WVRAAMs. They’ve had them since 2007, when the improved versions of R-73E were first displayed at MAKS 2007 expo. The tracked 155mm/52-cal SPH competition is still a few years away & any reportage to date by the ‘desi’ press in this matter is highly premature & ill-informed. The Russian MSTA SPH can easily be upgunned from 152mm to 155mm & way back in the early 1990s Rosoboronexport State Corp had teamed up with BAE Systems/Bofors for procuring such 155mm/52-cal barrels off-the-shelf purely for meeting the then Indian reqmt & competing against the ‘Bhim’ SPH.

To Anon@10.58AM: It means time-on-station is 4 hours of loitering.

To Anon@10.59AM: 1) Of course it is possible & has been tried before for the sake of ensuring that successive service chiefs got a stable 3-year tenure in office. It was first tried out in the late 1990s by the then IN CNS Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, who had instructed Vice Admiral John DeSilva to come up with just such a template so as to ensure the 3-year tenure in office of future IN Chiefs. But then the whole well-intentioned scheme went haywire when Admiral Bhagwat was sacked & Admiral Sushil Kumar was brought in. Had such an elaborately planned & well-intentioned succession plan been adhered to, the Admiral Madhvendra Singh would never had become the CNS after Sushil Kumar. 2) That’s not true. They’re there on account of following the process of seniority & not meritocracy. The deep selection process that is followed in the West, especially in the US, needs to be adopted by India as well so as to ensure that the very best get to go to the top. 3) The present-day armed service chiefs still have to go a long way in terms of brishing up their communications skills, but among the three it is the IN’s Chiefs that have over the past 3-4 years been the best. For instance, Admiral Nirmal Verma during his retirement-eve press conference clearly outlined the future expansion plans for the IN, something that his IAF & IA counterparts have failed to publicly articulate thus far. 4) If I’m not mistaken, even NDA graduates of the Army have to do a 1-year stint at IMA. OTAs were created primarily to increase the intake of short service commission officers. 5) Corruption will always prevail within land-based establishments, especially with regard to rear-area logistics & related formations like Army Supply Corps. This is where MI’s counter-intelligence branches ought to come in to play a crucial role.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.07AM: Support units will always have to grow proportionally to the increase in para formations. One cannot exist without the other. Combat engineers need not be para-qualified since the IA’s Para Bde is not employed as a strategic air-assault formation as such. Only when a fully self-contained formation like an airmobile or air-assault division is raised will there arise the reqmts for dedicated para-qualified combat engineers, sappers, artillery or signals units.

To Anon@12.10PM: Such data is considered proprietary & is therefore not released for public consumption.

To Anon@12.12PM: 1) That data should be available from RAC-MiG’s website. 2) It means IAC-1 will be re-floated for final fitting-out as it sits alongside at CSL. 3) Because the CLGM is still under development. 4) Nope. 5) Unlikely.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ABS: The freezing of force-levels applies to what’s in-theatre throughout the LAC. Things are not that good for China as well. Do read this:

4) That’s the 54th Infantry Division based at Secunderabad, which was first used as a rapid deployment force during OP Pawan in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s. The plan is to convert this Division into an Airmobile formation just like the Divisions of the PLAAF’s 15th Airborne Army.
5) China is today faced with grave crises in the East China Sea against Japan/US & against ASEAN/US in the South China Sea. Therefore, Beijing’s options are extremely limited & therefore the easiest problem that can be solved fairly quickly is the LAC issue, given a fair degree of give-and-take being exercised by both parties.
6) By the way, do watch this: (President Xi Jinping at Yulin Naval Base on April 11, 2013). Can you ever imagine any govt functionary from India like the President, PM or RM conducting himself/herself in a similar manner? Can you ever imagine any such govt functionary from India congratulating & encouraging a female officer to serve on board frontline warships? By the way, there are almost 350 female pilots presently serving with the frontline operational combat aircraft units PLAAF & PLA Naval Aviation, while in India the regressive debate still rages on about the advisability of accepting the notion of female warriors.

Also, do watch these:
MiG-29K walkaround:

Ka-31 walkaround:

Sea King walkaround:

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@8.30PM: Situation is back to what it was prior to April 15 & of course patrols are going on as a matter of routine. But what must be remembered is that in the past there were two far more dangerous situations than the previous one. Sikkim’s Finger Area came to limelight in June 2008 in the wake of Chinese claims over the 2.1 sq km of land in north Sikkim. The Indian Army mobilisation in that area took place after repeated Chinese transgressions, a 1km stretch of land in the northern tip of Sikkim that overlooks a valley called the Sora Funnel and is considered a strong defensive position. The T-72M MBTs were inducted after a monumental effort by the BRO to widen roads, construct tracks and strengthen bridges leading to North Sikkim. The MBT Regiment was taken up the high plateau partly by road-based carriers. In 2008, a battalion of troops from each side were face-to-face for at least two months in Sikkim's Finger Area, leading to a point where the IA wanted authorisation to open fire if provoked or thwarted. Such was the tension, that a team of top secretary-level officials led by then National Security Adviser M K Narayanan visited the inhospitable heights to get a first-hand assessment. The Chinese claimed that according to the watershed principle, which is what the two sides follow in the Middle Sector, the area fell in their control. India produced old maps to reinforce its claim, but none of that could end the standoff which became serious by the day. At one point, the PLA troops came so close to IA forces that the local IA commanders feared a flare-up and relayed messages for authority to retaliate if provoked. They were told to hold their nerves and the matter was immediately considered by the Cabinet Committee on National Security. While agreeing to look at the Chinese claim, India decided to push for a diplomatic solution and stepped up efforts to that end. Gradually, the PLA stepped back as quiet parleys started at the diplomatic level. However, both sides brought in reinforcements, raising troop numbers to about 800-1,000 on each side. It took close to eight months for matters to return to normal with the Indian side deciding not to budge even though stone cairns and bunkers put up in the area were being constantly destroyed. In Ladakh's Demchok sector in 2012, a Chinese road engineering party had come into an area on the Indian side and camped there with a bulldozer in a bid to construct a road. While both sides are agreeable to patrolling by either sides according to respective perceptions of the Line of Actual Control, road construction in areas under Indian control was unacceptable. This standoff lasted a few weeks and was eventually resolved at the local commanders' level. In 2011, China objected to India constructing a road on the west bank of the Pangong Tso lake. Chinese troops on boats would come closer to the west bank and demand stopping of construction. India, on the other hand, decided to press on with the work, leading to some tension. The Indian side contended that China had built a road on the eastern bank, which is under Chinese control, and by that logic should let India do the same on the Indian-controlled western bank. It again took a few weeks before the Chinese side allowed the road construction to resume with the Indian side even saying Chinese troops were allowed to use the road during their routine patrols. In most situations, China has eventually agreed to weigh in favour of maintaining peace and that is the hope at the highest levels even this time.
3) What Salman Khurshid has obviously not come to grips with yet are the pollution levels of Beijing. In case he wants to make his dream come true, then I can only hope that he does not suffer from any asthma attacks in future while in Beijing.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@10.58PM: Since the IA is already in possession of 2S2 Tunguska-Ms, it will make sense to order the latest version of the Tunguska-M1 with certain enhancements, like ordering the Mistral missiles to go on board these platforms, instead of Igla-S.

To KSINGH: Plenty of tit-bits, especially with regard to flight safety aspects. For instance, I got to know the true nature of flight safety problems that have led to the losses of four Su-30MKIs so far & what were the conclusions of the four successive IAF courts of inquiry. As for future force accretions, this is what I can confirm:

1) The first of eight P-8Is will arrive in India within the next 14 days.

2) The first two Hawk Mk.132 AJTs for the IN will be delivered by HAL by the end of this month.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Interesting read:

joydeep ghosh said...

@Prasun da

the hurriedness with which China wants to resolve the boundry issue is a bit confusing. Normarly it happens that if soomeone is more eager to solve issue has to give concessions, but here the Chinese dont look like giving concession but extracting concession from India.

If i am not wrong my calculations say China will stop at the west of 1959 highway cut across Aksai Chin leaving rest to India. what do you say.


Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

why this sudden change?any specific reson that you know

Anonymous said...

Prasun Ji,

Have you witnessed any progress being made in the Project 75i ?

Will only Scorpene submarines be purchased under this project & if not which are the other contenders.


Anonymous said...

With Miyan Nawaz Sharif coming to power can we expect some changes in Pak army & ISI. It was good that taliban in disguise of Imran Khan got defeated but Zardari would have been better option considering the Kargil ghost under Sharif miyan. Regarding bilateral ties what steps can we expect from Pak PM- Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart- (NA)Awaz (NA)Sharif.

Mr. Ra 13 said...

"Another metric emerges from the fact that Indian-made Sukhoi 30 MKI costs Rs 80 crore per unit more than those imported from Russia."

How can this be possible until and unless someone is eating up the things. With a request to enlighten me.

Mr. Ra 13 said...

I think that is why you support that all 126+63 Rafale shall be made in France. Is that correct.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To JOYDEEP GHOSH: There’s nothing to be confused about. Pire exigencies of the prevailing geo-political situation in the Far East has prompted China to take a pragmatic approach to the LAC demarcation issue & therefore Beijing has decided to drop its claim over the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh & in return wants India to do the same for Aksai Chin, i.e. a swap. If you look at the map of India officially produced by the Govt of India in 1950, which I had uploaded in the previous thread, you will realise how the likes of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru & Co had already given away Aksai China virtually on a silver plaster to China.

To Anon@4.01PM: I fail to understand how the R & AW’s HQ at Ibrahim Lofhi Road in New Delhi can qualify to become an industrial facility worthy of being guarded by the CISF. The ITBP or SFF could well have done this job.

To Anon@11.54PM: The RFP for Project 75 I is ready & now awaits release. Most likely the S-80 version of the Scorpene SSK from NAVANTIA will be selected.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr.RA 13: It’s simple arithmetic, actually. When one imports hardware, the OEM for such hardware has already recovered (amortised) its initial non-recurring expenditure (reqd for setting up new industrial facilities, land acquisition, human resource training, etc) by way of securing orders for such hardware from its host country or the launch customer. Consequently, when export orders come, the OEM’s acquisition cost quotations don’t include the initial non-recurring expenditure. However, in case of licenced-manufacture, the customer country’s acquisition costs have to include the cost of land acquisition, setting up of new industrial facilities, raising a pool of trained & skilled workforce, & acquiring the raw materials reqd for producing the hardware. That’s how the math is done & that’s why any product that is licence-produced will always be more expensive than the very same product being produced by its OEM. Likewise, if Dassault Aviation or Russian Aircraft Corp were to licence-produce the Tajas Mk1 at a brand-new greenfield industrial facility, then the India-built Tejas Mk1 would be a lot cheaper than a Russia-built or France-built Tejas Mk1.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.22AM: It remains to be seen how the new PML-N-led govt in Pakistan will interact with the Pakistan Army, since the latter has thus far been planning Pakistan’s foreign policy objectives through its GHQ & exercising total control over the country’s WMD assets. The civilian decision-makers of Pakistan have been institutionally weak as well, since they never bothered to set up the necessary departments or agencies that are required for higher defence planning/organisation. Had Nawaz Sharif heeded the then Army Chief Gen Jahangir Karamat’s advice in 1998 to set up a National Security Council, then he would never have been overthrown in October 1999. Instead, Nawaz at that time like a feudal Jahgirdaar sacked Gen Karamat merely for offering some well-intentioned advice & the rest is history known to all of us. Whether Nawaz has really introspected & learnt some valuable lessons since then now remains to be seen. Regarding OP Badr, Nawaz is right when he says that the entire Pakistan Army cannot be held responsible for the ill-conceived operation & instead only the ‘Gang of Four’ comprising Gen Musharraf, Lt Gen Mohd Aziz, Lt Gen Mehmood Mohd & Maj Gen Javed Hassan ought to be tried & held accountable. There is nothing to be gained from all this by India, since the facts of the matter are all known to India. But what India can do is be pro-active & in an attempt to strengthen Nawaz Sharif’s hand, propose that India & Pakistan both ought to lay all their cards on the table regarding Afghanistan in order to come up with a common package of proposals aimed at stabilising Afghanistan post-2014 & under SAARC’s auspices, promising to jointly take responsibility for Afghanistan’s regional security concerns. If India does this, then Pakistan will feel greatly relieved as it won’t have to be worried about the emergence of a second front (an Afghan-India axis) to its west & at the same time will give greater confidence & legitimacy to the civilian PML-N-led govt in Pakistan to rein in the Pakistan Army. At the same time, India should be bold to publicly articulate what had been agreed upon in 1972 at Shimla, i.e. resolving the J & K problem by sharing the cake. Under such a scheme of things, while the Northern Areas becomes a separate state of Pakistan, India’s present-day J & K stays the same; however, the LoC must be a ‘soft but permanent border’ between these two parts of J & K for facilitating hassle-free movement of people. Concurrently, a phased process of mutual military force-level reductions ought to be initiated, which will be logical once cross-border militancy becomes a thing of the past. All indications are that China too will be supportive of such a measure BUT ONLY IF India & China were to strike a grand bargain under which India cedes Aksai Chin to China & China in turn surrenders its claim over Arunachal Pradesh & most importantly, both China & India agree to make Aksai Chin & the Siachen Glacier area stretching all the way to the Karakoram Range a totally demilitarised area to the satisfaction of all three countries—China, India & Pakistan. Therefore, as you can well imagine by now, the key to lasting peace between India & Pakistan is in China’s hands & hinges upon China first making peace with India in Aksai Chin. This is exactly how the end-state ought to be & after this happens, both China & Pakistan will welcome India’s plan for establishing overland trade transit routes to Central Asia via the Wakhan Corridor, India will be able to re-open its Consulate in Kasghar, Xinjiang, & an oil pipeline from Kazakhstan will be able to enter India via Aksai Chin. Lastly, if & when all this happens, then there will be every reason for the entire India-Pakistan border to become a ‘soft border’ like it was prior to September 1965, much like the Canada-US border. It is due to all this that the forthcoming visit to India of China’s new Premier assumes great significance.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Interesting read:

rad said...

hi prasun
what are the designations of the the russian IIR missiles , can you show us some pics as well. could you give a write up on the successors of the aa-12 and aa-11.
IS the development of the ramjet version of the aa-12 complete, what about the status of the k-100 long range missile

Sangos said...

@Prasun K. Sengupta at 4:02 AM

Encouraging analyses. That said I fear the bone of contention between India and China is shifting to the high seas ie Indian Ocean, SCS. We might succeed to douse the border fire and a new one is starting elsewhere.