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Monday, January 27, 2014

Coastal Security/Constabulary Operations Versus Provision Of Maritime Security

The ‘desi’ journalists never cease to indulge in yellow journalism and superstitious oversimplifications (when the problem in  reality is far more deep-rooted), as evidenced by the contents of this report:

Next, we have this report: 


This report claimed that the Indian Navy’s (IN) submarine arm “got a very rude jolt” when one of its Type 877EKM SSKs—INS Sindhughosh—ran aground at around 5.30pm on January, 17, 2014 while trying to berth itself alongside at the naval base in Mumbai at a time when low-tide had set in (it was originally scheduled to enter by 4pm, it seems). What the ‘desi’ news-reporter—who filed this report—obviously did not know was that whenever a submarine enters or exists any naval base at very slow speeds, it always has its on-board echosounder turned on and the submarine’s navigator knows only too well what are the natural or man-made obstacles below the vessel. And many a time when low-tide sets in, submarines already berthed alongside are gently allowed to settle down over the silt and after high-tide sets in, naval divers are routinely sent to visually inspect the bottom-portion of submarine’s hull for any signs of structural damage, which indeed is a very rare occurrence. Likewise, when an inbound submarine’s echosounder indicates any obstacle due to low-tide setting in, the vessel immediately shuts off its propeller and comes to a complete standstill, and the hull is allowed to gently rest atop the silt below. Once the tide rises again, the submarine also rises accordingly and depending on visibility levels, the vessel either proceeds to its accorded berthing slot on its own power, or is towed in by a tug-boat containing a harbour pilot. That is what really transpired on January 17 and by no means did INS Sindhughosh run aground nor did the SSK’s bow-mounted sonar-dome (containing the cylindrical-array sonar) suffer any damage.   In fact, the berthing area for SSKs inside the naval base in Mumbai (see diagram below) has silted up because dredgers have been unable to remove silt from there due to the submerged wreck of INS Sindhurakshak, which awaits salvaging. 
Finally, we have this report ( about INS Betwa—a Project 16A FFG—which was recently reported by yet another ‘desi’ news-reporter as having run aground or colliding with an unidentified object while approaching the naval base in Mumbai, and that the hull-mounted, fibre-glass-built sonar-dome had cracked due to this collision, leading to faulty readings and ingress of saltwater into the sonar-dome. In reality, one does not have to be a rocket-scientist to realise that hull-mounted, fibre-glass-built sonar-domes are robust structures that are built to withstand the kind of turbulence and pressures that one encounters during Sea State 6. Secondly, the FFG’s echosounder is always available for use when the vessel is entering any naval base and consequently, the question of running aground doesn’t even arise. Lastly, the sonar-domes of all three Project 16A FFGs (containing the hull-mounted panoramic sonar) are mounted a little further behind the bottommost section of the bow (only the six Project 1135.6 FFGs, three Project 15A DDGs and four Project 28A ASW corvettes have their sonar-domes contained within a bulbous compartment located at the bottommost section of the bow) and therefore, it is impossible for flotsam like timber-logs to directly collide with the sonar-dome of a Project 16A FFG. Consequently, the only other probable explanation is that INS Betwa’s sonar-dome cracked due to normal wear-and-tear.

When it comes to the issue of collisions between IN warships and merchant marine/fishing vessels, fact of the matter is that none of the IN's principal surface combatants are presently equipped with passive infra-red search-and-track systems (IRST), which ought to be mandatory whenever any warship—large or small—undertakes incessant coastal security patrols. Such sensors effectively supplement both the on-board marine navigation radars as well as target detection/target engagement radars like the Garpun Bal-E. While the IN’s X-FAC-Ms along with those of the Indian Coast Guard Service (ICGS) are being progressively retrofitted with ELBIT Systems-supplied COMPASS gyro-stabilised multi-sensor optronic systems, the same does not hold true for the IN’s FFGs, DDGs, guided-missile corvettes, AOPVs and auxiliary vessels like fleet replenishment tankers and LST-Ls.
In fact, only the three Project 17 FFGs, plus the six 105-metre NOPVs now in delivery, are presently equipped with gyro-stabilised multi-sensor optronic systems—these being those co-developed by India’s VEM Technologies Pvt Ltd and the UK’s Vinten-Radamec and being used primarily for optronic fire-control in support of the OTOBreda 76/62 SRGM. The three Project 15A DDGs too will have them.
The obvious and only solution therefore is to retrofit the IN’s each existing DDGs, FFGs, guided-missile corvettes and NOPVs, as well as the ICGS’ OPVs and AOPVs with dual high-definition gyro-stabilised multi-sensor optronic systems, which will dramatically improve the all-weather situational awareness of the officers-on-watch on board such warships. Such solutions are already available from OEMs based in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Israel.
SAGEM’s EOMS-NG (electro-optical multifunction system–new generation) and Vampir-NG optronic panoramic surveillance system—presently being offered by SAGEM through its authorised Indian distributor Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Ltd, is a day/night, multifunction, gyrostabilised optronic system. It offers complete functionality over 360°, including infra-red surveillance, identification, tracking, laser rangefinding and fire-control system. Remote-controlled from two consoles operating in tandem from a warship’s close-in air-defence bridge, the EOMS-NG helps assess the warship’s immediate environment, controls self-defence weapons and enhances the safety of helicopter operations. The EOMS-NG’s operating concept, based on high-rate panoramic shots, gives it the observation capability equivalent to 100 fixed cameras. 
Let us now proceed to the root-causes of the MRO/serviceability problems afflicting the IN’s operational fleet. That successive Govts of India between the early 1990s and November 2008 had no idea about what constituted coastal security becomes evident from the fact that, despite the 10 IED blasts that rocked Bombay on March 12, 1993, resulting in 257 killed or missing and 713 injured (and caused by 8 tonnes of RDX, detonators, gelatine, AK-56s and pistols plus their ammunition reloads and magazines, and hand-grenades that were ferried by sea to landing sites at Dighi and Srivardhan along Maharashtra’s coastline at between February 3 and 7, 1993), no attempt was made till early 2009 for securing the coastlines of Gujarat and Maharashtra through the establishment of a multi-sensor coastal surveillance system (CCS).
The Group of Ministers (GoM) on National Security had recommended as far back as in February 2001 the setting up a CSS in the form of shore-based remotely-operated radar stations (also equipped with optronic sensors) in areas of high sensitivity and high traffic density to provide continuous, gap free, automatic detection and tracking of maritime targets, thereby providing a reliable tactical situation display. Although the MoD had constituted a Working Group in 2002 for implementing the CSS scheme, it took till 2004 to decide which agency would execute the project. In January 2005, the project was entrusted to the ICGS, which immediately initiated a Statement of Case (SoC) for the scheme. Nonetheless, there were further delays and it took four years to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2008 with the Director General Light Houses and Light Ships (DGLL), the Ministry of Shipping, and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in view of the inter-ministerial issues and financial implications. Apart from this, numerous revisions (six till July 2007) in the SoC at the instance of the MoD contributed to the delay. Finally, in February 2009 the Cabinet Committee on National Security approved the CSS and automatic identification system (AIS) chain together with related communications equipment along India’s coastline under Phase-I for 46 dual S-/X-band radars and optronic sensors at an approximate cost of Rs350 crore. The non-competitive and sole-source RFP for the establishment of a chain of static optronic sensors at 46 sites was in August 2009, which was awarded rather arbitrarily to the MoD-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and mysteriously failed to invite the country’s private-sector entities for submitting their bids. The field evaluation trials of BEL-built sub-systems of foreign origin began in December 2009 but were suspended in February 2010 due to unsatisfactory performance of the thermal imager, low-light-level TV (LLLTV) and charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. Subsequently, field trials of the optronic sensors of four foreign vendors were carried out in June and August 2010 at Chennai. The thermal imager of Israel’s Controp and the CCD camera with LLLTV from Canada’s Obzerv met the RFP criteria and passed the field-trials. Following this, the staff evaluation was undertaken by ICGS HQ. The staff evaluation report was approved by the MoD in December 2010.
It was only on November 24, 2011 that Saab TransponderTech of Sweden on was awarded a SEK116 million contract by the DGLL for supplying a national CSS network costing Rs.600 crore and stradling the entire Indian coastline. The system includes TERMA of Denmark’s Scanter 2001 dual-band (S/X) radars each with 50km-range, and equipment for regional and national control centres. Users of the CCS apart from DGLL will be the IN, ICG and DG Shipping. Saab will implement the project, which includes installation, commissioning, training and support together with its Indian partner, Elcome Marine Services. The project was targetted  for completion within 18 months. The CSS that the DGLL has ordered comprises both radars and optronic sensors at 74 locations. The sensor sites connect via VSAT links to form a Wide Area Network. Saab has delivered the network servers and software, the CoastWatch operator software, including SAR support and advanced databases and statistical functions to nine control centres—six regional and three national. The control centres are being operated by the DGLL. There is also an option within the contract to include another 12 sensor sites.

Provision of coastal security through persistent surveillance and target detection for protecting India’s vast 7,517km-long coastline, 1,197 islands and 2.01 million sq km of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a multi-asset and multi-layered assignment that is best achieved through a combination of shore-based, seaborne, airborne and space-based hardware which, only when employed in a combined and synchronised manner, will generate a comprehensive picture of what’s happening or who is going where and how into the sea (the so-called domain of maritime awareness or DMA), especially the Arabian Sea, which is spread over an area of 38.6 lakh sq km. While the Govt of India has, since November 2008, welcomed the IN’s desire for providing the leadership for coastal security roles and operations, it obviously continues to be oblivious of the cost in terms of conventional naval war preparedness. Why then is the IN condemning its warships and crew on an evidently self-defeating task? Primarily, for two reasons. Firstly, after the 26/11 terrorist attacks, everyone within the country’s civilian officialdom collectively pointed fingers at the IN, implying that since the medium of infiltration was through the sea, it had to be the IN’s failure. The Govt of India, though wiser than the popular perception, opportunistically decided to play along in order to prevent the criticisms coming its way. In fact, the political leadership’s incomprehension of India’s coastal borders and their vulnerabilities can be gauged by the fact that after OP Vijay/OP Safed Sagar/OP Talwar in 1999, when the then NDA coalition government appointed a task force to suggest security measures for securing India’s frontiers, the focus was only on land. And the subsequent Group of Ministers’ report on India’s border management referred to coastal borders in only a cursory manner. Secondly, why the IN got sucked into the coastal security domain was partially its own fault. In 2010, when incidences of Somali piracy were making headlines every day, the IN’s Western Naval Command decided to initiate a month-long anti-piracy exercise as a matter of routine. This exercise, which generated tremendous deterrent value in the high seas, soon unintentionally morphed into a full-fledged operation. And once the Govt of India realised that the IN to do more effectively what the ICGS’ job ought to be, it simply washed its hands away, while the ICGS developed a dependency-on-the-IN syndrome.        

Immediately after 26/11, the Govt of India rushed matters by making the IN the lead provider of coastal security (the IN up till then had only been responsible for providing maritime security and coastal defence) and prematurely fixed the areas of responsibilities (AOR) for the ICGS and the various State Marine Police agencies without first appreciating their respective capacities and capabilities. In October 2010, the IN submitted a detailed 262-page technical blueprint on the ‘integrated national maritime domain awareness project’ to all the concerned Union ministries and the 14 coastal states and union territories of India. This detailed blueprint centred around the creation of the IN’s multi-spectrum National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network (NC3IN), whose HQ is now in Gurgaon, Haryana. The blueprint called for an additional allocation of Rs.9 billion for implementing the entire project, whose principal aim is to generate a common operational picture of all ongoing activities at sea through an institutionalised mechanism for collecting, fusing and analysing information from technical and other sources like the CCS, satellite-based automatic identification systems (AIS), vessel traffic management systems (VTMS), fishing vessel registration and fishermen biometric identity databases. The proposal also called for the need to create state- level monitoring centres in coastal states/union territories to act as nodes for the national DMA network and upgradation of the four existing joint operations centres at Mumbai, Kochi, Vizag and Port Blair, as well as the creation of a shipping hub and fisheries monitoring centre. The blueprint also identified the need to establish VTMS at the 56 non-major ports that handle international traffic. While India's 13 major ports either have or are being equipped with VTMS, except for Port Blair, Mumbai, Chennai and the Gulf of Khambat, none of the 200 non-major ports have any identification or surveillance systems as yet. The blueprint also called for a VTMS for the eastern off-shore development areas like the one set up for the western ones.

The area stretching from the shore out to 3nm into the sea was made the responsibility of the Marine Police agencies, while the area from 3nm out to 12nm (territorial waters) was entrusted to the ICGS, while the area beyond the 12nm limit out into the high seas became the IN’s AOR. Now, as per international norms and conventions, the area stretching out from a country’s baseline right to a distance of 24nm is known as the contiguous zone within which a country’s fiscal and health laws apply. 200nm ahead of the baseline lies the EEZ. Unfortunately, prior to 26/11, conceptualisation of India’s various maritime borders was never understood or taken seriously. Consequently, when the state-level Marine Police agencies were brought into the loop for providing coastal security, they never understood what all this meant, since they had all been under the assumption that India’s borders ended at the shorelines. Additionally, several of these state-level agencies grasped rather lately that coastal security was a pan-India issue and that despite territorial/jurisdictional reservations, eventually all the maritime agencies operating out of India’s coastal states will have to follow one unitary national directive.

Another major problem was the unavailability of trained manpower to man the various coastal police stations of the Marine Police agencies (initially 73 marine police stations were established under a Rs.329.62 crore plan (this was to be followed by an additional allocation of Rs.1,579.91 crores for another 131 police stations). Of these, 32 marine police stations are on the west coast, with 12 of them being in Maharashtra). And wherever some human resources were available, they loathed their offshore patrolling taskings since they were not trained in seamanship. Such personnel soon discovered that cruising on the sea on board high-speed interceptor craft was quite different from cruising cruising on a lake or river. Thus far, 340 FICs (Motomarine SA-built Hellraiser and Invader) have been approved for import. These are being licence-assembled in India by the MoD-owned GSL and GRSE, with the latter being contracted for the supply of an initial 78 FICs for those marine police agencies straddling the Bay of Bengal. The 12-tonne FIC—called Hellraiser—is built of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), costs Rs25 million per unit, and is capable of a top speed of 38 Knots (70 kph). The boat is 13 metres long and has an endurance of 75nm with 25% reserve fuel capacity. It can carry four crew members along with a patrolling party of 16 persons. The boat is fitted with two inboard main engines of 500HP each with waterjet propulsion. These boats have been designed and constructed for deployment in Indian territorial waters for day and night surveillance and investigation of suspected vessels in and around harbour, anchorage and along the sea coast. The boats are highly seaworthy and unsinkable type having 10% reserve buoyancy even when filled with water. An on-board radar provides the boat’s commander with automatic, real-time updates of maritime activity received from navigation, positional, and position-tracking sensors such as AIS, automatic radar plotting aids, and full-motion optronic sensors so as to afford greater clarity in the tactical picture and thus improve decision-making. The live data is shared amongst the nodes in the network via an intelligent router, thus allowing critical and prioritised information to be broadcasted on the best line connectivity available over up to four different channels using HF, VHF, UHF, SATCOM or WIFI.
The Invader 5.4-tonne FIC can attain speeds of 40 Knots, is 9.60 metres long, and has an endurance of 75nm with 25% reserve fuel capacity. The boat can carry four crew members along with a patrolling party of 10 persons and comes fully equipped with life-saving, fire-fighting and communications facilities. The boat is fitted with two outboard Motors of 275HP each for propulsion and manoeuvring. The wheel house is fitted with anti-ballistic panels for protection of the patrolling crew to withstand firing from an AK-47 assault rifle at 10-metre range. Deliveries of the Invader and Hellraiser FICs have so far taken place for the marine police agencies of Maharashtra (28 ordered), Goa (five ordered), West Bengal (18 ordered), Tamil Nadu (44 ordered), Gujarat, Kerala, and the Andaman & Nicobar Administration (eight delivered). Maharashtra, meanwhile, is procuring an additional 29 patrol boats costing Rs1.5 billion from Mumbai-based Marine Frontiers Pvt Ltd. The night patrolling capabilities of the Hellraiser and Invader families of FICs are severely limited in view of the non-availability of dedicated COTS-based navigational radars (like those from FURUNO). In addition, the non-availability of night vision binoculars/goggles on-board also affected their efficacy for dark-hour patrols. In addition, both the ICGS and various marine police agencies also lacks vital equipment such as hand-held GPS receivers, night-vision binoculars, SAR transponders, and emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).
A far bigger challenge has been the creation and operationalisation of a hierarchical, multi-agency coastal security ensemble as part of the IN’s visionary DMA—something that required all stakeholders to cooperate with one another and evolve an over-arching set of standard operating procedures (SOP) and rules of engagement (ROE)—all under a centralised command-and-control structure overseen by the IN. This has proven to be the most complicated challenge to overcome, since both the IN and ICGS never really had interacted with state-level and Central civil agencies like harbour/port authorities, Marine Police, Customs and Immigration agencies, and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). Even though the IN, to its credit, had created several Joint Operations Centres (JOC) by late 2009 and had driven home the point that these JOCs were coordinating and not command centres, a high degree of agency mistrust and turf-protection mindsets continue to prevail, thereby preventing the JOCs from being fully functional and subverting such well-meaning multi-pronged initiatives. As a compromise, the IN has thus far succeeded in establishing telephone hotlines between all concerned agencies as an interim solution, and has also convinced the Union Home Secretary to prevail over his state-level counterparts who, in turn, have taken some tangible steps towards coaxing the various state-level agencies to send their representatives to their workstations within the JOCs.

In addition to these, the IN has, post-26/11, initiated the ‘Sagar Kavach’ series of exercises (at a rate of two exercises per year per coastal state) aimed at sensitising all stakeholders towards the concept of coastal security. This task too has proven to be difficult to implement, since non-IN and non-ICGS agencies did not participate with the same degree of enthusiasm until the IN invited the Chief Secretaries of the concerned coastal states to chair the debriefing sessions after the conduct of each such exercise. Bottomline: no amount of sensitisation will produce tangible results unless each stakeholder is made accountable for its part.

Consequently, the IN is now paying the price for such ill-conceived initiatives by being compelled to play policing or constabulary roles, which were previously tertiary, as one of its primary tasks. Instead of insisting that provision of maritime defence/security should be its only task, the IN has accepted the additional responsibility of providing coastal security, a move that has serious national security implications since it diminishes the IN’s conventional warfighting capabilities. For instance, out of the 365 days between August 2010 and August 2011, all principal surface combatants of the IN’s Western Naval Command were involved in patrolling for almost 280 days, causing needless wear-and-tear of frontline operational warships. Prior to 26/11, such warships of the Western Naval Command and Eastern Naval Command used to participate in fortnight-long exercises twice a year, with enough time in-between for recoup, recovery, review of warfighting doctrines and tactics, and embarking on naval diplomacy. Now, with the heightened focus on coastal security, the damage wrought to the IN is three-fold: DDGs costing Rs.3,500 crore and FFGs costing Rs.2,500 crore are being used for chasing pirates, thereby taking a toll on the service lives of such warships since they have limitations on serviceable engine-hours when used at low-speeds; a defensive mindset is overwhelming the IN’s rank-and-file, which in turn serves to diminish the IN’s sea deterrence capacity; and dilution of its primary role is coming at the cost of exercising with friendly navies. Though an instrument can be used for multiple purposes, it is best used only when it is used for the role that it was designed for. Otherwise, it operates a lower efficiencies and at higher costs. And this is exactly what’s happening with the IN’s frontline surface combatants. Military capabilities come at an extremely high premium. But if the Govt of India feels that the armed forces will not be called upon to perform their primary roles (i.e. conventional warfighting), then it should disband the armed forces and save the premium. After all, why spend Rs.1,000 on a job that can be done with Rs.100? Better invest that money elsewhere.     

The Way Forward
And yet, despite lavish spending on hardware procurements by the MoD and Union MHA, today, it can hardly be said that India’s 7,516km-long coastline is secure, if not impregnable. While India is not as vulnerable today as she was in November 2008, improvement has only been marginal and the country still needs a lot of luck. After all, provision of comprehensive coastal security is not like a polythene bag inside which one can put India, with all the bad people remaining outside. Ideally, instead of the IN, the ICGS should have been designated as the nodal agency for coordinating with all other civilian stakeholders. But that was not to be. Now, the IN needs to hand over to the ICGS at the earliest the task of providing coastal security. In reality, the IN should have no locus standi within India’s territorial waters. Instead, only the ICGS and the various Marine Police agencies of the coastal states should be made responsible for providing coastal security. 
As per the ICGS’ in-house analysis (for the 2002-2007 Plan), it requires 175 ships and 221 aircraft for effective patrolling of the EEZ, coastal and shallow waters. Against this, India’s CAG audit report reveals that the ICGS had only 68 ships/vessels and 45 aircraft as of January 2008. Out of the 28 ships/vessels available with for patrolling of the entire West Coast, 16 ships/vessels, of all types, were based in the Maharashtra and Gujarat areas. Ten ships in 2007 and 14 ships/vessels in 2008 and 2009 deployed in the Maharashtra and Gujarat area were responsible for EEZ and International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) patrolling. Compared to the force-level of 122 vessels envisaged in the Perspective Plan for the period 1985-2000, the ICGS had by December 2010 possessed only 65% of the required force-level in terms of ships. With respect to the aviation arm, the corresponding figure was 48%. As of December 2010, the ICGS had not processed the cases for acquisition of deep-sea patrol vessels (DSPV), medium patrol vessels (MPV) and aerostat-mounted optronic sensors, even though they were envisaged in the Perspective Plan 1985–2000. During the 9th Plan (1997-2002) period the ICGS was able to achieve only about 50% of its targetted acquisitions. During the 10th Plan (2002-2007) period, of the 61 ships planned for acquisition, the procurement action for only 26 ships could be finalised, i.e. a mere 43%. More importantly, not a single acquisition fructified in the plan period against the planned targets. The ICGS acquired 12 vessels, against the contracted-for 26, well after the plan period, only by December 2010. The procurement action for the remaining 35 vessels was carried over to the 11th Plan period (2007-2012). Of these 35 vessels, only 27 vessels had been contracted for by December 2010. Although new projects had been sanctioned during the 11th Plan period, taking into account the planned decommissioning of ships, it proved be difficult for the ICGS to achieve the Perspective Plan (1985-2000) force-levels even by 2012 i.e. by the end of the 11th Plan. The deficiency is now to the extent of 17% and 45% in respect of vessels and aircraft. Presently, 72% of FPVs/IPVs, 47% of AOPVs/OPVs and 37% of interceptor boats are either on extended lives or their extended lives have also expired. Three OPVs meant to be decommissioned in 2003, 2005 and 2006 still remain in service as the contract for their replacement was signed only in February 2006 and the replacements were expected between February 2010 and November 2011, respectively. Thirteen IPVs were to be decommissioned between 1998 and 2006. However, approval of the MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council under the ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ clause was obtained only in August 2006. The contract was concluded in March 2009 and the first vessel was delivered by only August 2011, i.e. 12 years after the first vessel was due for decommissioning.
The ICGS presently has government sanction to operate four squadrons of Do-228s, four squadrons of SA.316B Alouette-III/Chetak helicopters and one squadron of Dhruv ALH helicopter. As high as 82% of the Chetaks and 54% of the Do-228s are more than 17 years old. This age profile compares unfavourably with the prescribed life of Chetaks (15 years) and that of Do-228s (25 years). In order to meet its requirements primarily for SAR and afloat operations, the Coast Guard’s Development Plan for 1992-1997 had provided for the acquisition of two twin-engined helicopters for which the ICGS had identified the HAL-built Dhruv ALH. However, the first ALH was delivered only in March 2002 and the second ALH in March 2003. The ICGS concluded the contract only in March 2003 with the MoD-owned HAL. Subsequently, a third and fourth Dhruv ALH were received in March 2004 and March 2005, respectively, without any government sanction and contract. The availability of Dhruv ALHs was poor as they remained under evaluation since service induction (2002-2005) till May 2009. Even during evaluation, their serviceability ranged from 21% to 40% and the entire Dhruv ALH fleet was grounded in November 2005 and flying was re-started only in January 2007. Even after seven years of induction of the first helicopter and after incurring an expenditure of Rs162.03 crore, the Dhruv ALH still does not meet the ICGS’ operational requirements, according to the CAG. The Dhruv ALH is thus being exploited only for basic flying as the present state of the helicopters precludes accomplishment of any mission-oriented flying. Worse, the Dhruv ALHs in ICGS service have not yet been fitted with weather radars, which is a major limitation. Fitment of operational role equipment has also been kept in abeyance. Consequently, these helicopters can neither be exploited for SAR missions nor for afloat operations, pending the resolution of many issues, including rescue hoist trials and certification, structural provisions for SAR operations (like fitment of flotation gear), radar flickering and Doppler failure (of the DRDO-developed and BEL-built Supervision SV-2000 chin-mounted radar), and AFCS software updates for auto-hover capability. Furthermore, fleet serviceability has been poor. On an average the ICGS’ Dhruv ALHs have spent more time at HAL’s facilities than with the squadron since their induction. In September 2007, for every Dhruv ALH, out of 100 hours of flying undertaken by the helicopter, only 30 hours and 40 minutes contributed towards service flying and the remaining was towards maintenance test-flights. The helicopter has been plagued by premature component failures and frequent groundings for complying mandatory servicing instructions and modifications. Lastly, the shipborne deployment has not yet been achieved due to problems in blade-folding even though the ICGS’ new AOPVs have been specifically designed to accommodate the Dhruv ALH on board. The ICGS has a total requirement of 12 twin-engined helicopters against which it presently has four Dhruv ALHs. However, due to extreme dissatisfaction with these helicopters, the ICGS has no other choice but to import alternatives like AgustaWestland Aerospace’s AW-139.
Despite the MoD and Union Ministry of Finance (MoF) curtailing the ICGS’ projected requirements, actual capital expenditure as a percentage of capital outlay ranged between 82% in the 9th Plan and 53% in the 10th Plan. This was due to delays in finalisation of procurement process and delayed signing of contracts; abnormally slow progress on the part of MoD-owned shipyards to construct the ships; and neutralisation of requirement of spares through revenue budget, cancellation of project, expiry of validity of approvals of the procurement process, delayed supply of spares, inconclusive trials, etc. In addition, procedural delays at all levels, i.e. ICGS HQ, MoD and Union MoF, were responsible for non-utilisation of the budget. For instance, the delayed conclusion of contact for Interceptor Boats worth Rs213 crore took place in only March 2006, wherein the proposal was mooted as early as December 2001 for procurement. In addition, there was non-sanction of new schemes by the MoD. Thus, the procurement of four new Do-228s, five FLIR turrets for installation on board existing Do-228s as well as integration of ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2022(V)2 radars could not take place in the year 2007-2008 and consequently, Rs70.47 crore had to be surrendered on this account. Lastly, due to the slow progress of construction of ships by the MoD-owned shipyards, Rs120 crore was surrendered in 2008-2009. By the end of the 10th Plan period (2002-2007), even though the ICGS had activated 23 coast guard stations, a large number of these stations continued to function with infrastructural/fleet deficiencies. These deficiencies were yet to be made good as of December 2010 at most of the stations. Post 26/11, the Govt of India had sanctioned 14 new stations in a span of 18 months (between June 2009 and November 2010). However, only five had been activated till December 2010.

(to be concluded)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

KS-1A MR-SAM Scores First Export Success

Myanmar’s Tatmadaw (armed forces) in early November 2013 inked a contract with CPMIEC of China under which the latter will, starting June 2014, begin delivering a regiment of KS-1A medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system. This is China’s first export order for the KS-1A MR-SAM, which has been on offer for export worldwide since the late 1990s. Bangladesh’s air force, meanwhile, is close to ordering from South Korea the Cheongung (Iron Hawk) MR-SAM,  co-developed by a consortium of entities that included Russia’s Almaz Design Bureau, the ADD, LIG Nex1, Samsung-THALES and Doosan DST, was developed within a five-year period and entered the series-production phase last year. In Russia, the Cheongung will soon be produced as the S-350E Vityaz.
The KS-1A can serve as a close-in area air defence system to complement the more advanced systems, as well as performing as a gapfiller to preclude the need for additional, expensive strategic SAM systems. It was developed in the 1980s as a replacement for the HQ-61 SAM system. Due to reasons which have not been publicly disclosed, the KS-1 did not enter military service in China when development was completed in 1994. A likely reason was the poor manoeuvring capability of the missile. It could only engage targets with a 5g manoeuvring capability, making the KS-1 largely ineffective for defending against new-generation combat aircraft. The KS-1A is presently operational with both the PLA Army and PLAAF as the HQ-12 MR-SAM. The latest version of the system is known as the KS-1C, which features cannister-encased missile rounds.
The PRC’s 2nd Aerospace Academy, now known as China Academy of Defence Technology, or CADT, (also known as the China Changfeng Mechanics & Electronics Technology Academy) of the 7th Ministry of Machinery Industry (now known as CASIC), in 1981 began developing a 57.5km-range tactical endo-atmospheric interceptor missile called the KS-1, which was meant to intercept incoming tactical ballistic missiles. The first test-firing of the missile took place in 1989 and the KS-1 system was first publicly revealed at Le Bourget during the 1991 Paris Air Show. All R & D work on the KS-1 was concluded in 1994, following which series-production of the MR-SAM rounds began at the Gui Yang-based Guizhou Aerospace Industry Company Ltd. The newer KS-1A’s TWS-312 engagement control centre (ECC) and its SJ-231 missile guidance system (that includes the C-band HT-233 passive phased-array tracking-cum-engagement radar) are series-produced by the Xi’an-based Shaanxi Tianhe Industry Group. The latter two are mounted on TAS-5380 8 x 8 heavy-duty cross-country vehicles.
The KS-1A employs a single-chamber dual thrust, solid-fuelled missile, weighing 886kg, and comes equipped with a command line-of-sight guidance system under which mid-course correction commands are transmitted to the guidance system from the ECC. A control actuator system is located at the tail end of the missile behind the propulsion system. The HT-233 radar carries out airspace search, target detection, target track, identification, missile tracking, missile guidance and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) functions. The HT-233 radar is automatically controlled by a digital weapons control computer housed within the ECC, and cable link is used to connect the SJ-231 to the TWS-312, which is the only manned station in a KS-1A Battery and it provides the human interface for control of all automated functions. The ECC communicates with all KS-1A Fire Units as well as with higher-echelon command headquarters, and has on board an Air Situation Display console and Tracking Display console that adopt customised BITE technologies, and have embedded simulated training software for engaging more than 100 airborne targets in various flight profiles, all of which can be used for operational training in peacetime.
The HT-233 radar, operating in the 300MHz bandwidth, has a detection range of 120km and tracking range of 90km. The radar antenna has 4,000 ferrite phase shifters. It can detect targets in azimuth (360°) and elevation (0° to 65°). It can track some 100 airborne targets and can simultaneously engage more than 50 targets when used in conjunction with a Brigade-level ECC (which can handle automatic command-and-control of three subordinate HQ-12/KS-1A Regiments). In some cases a KS-1A Fire Unit receives early warning of enemy ballistic missile launch, along with direction and time-of-arrival data. Target engagement can be carried out by the HT-233 in manual, semi-automatic or automatic mode. When the decision has been made to engage the target, the ECC selects the Launch Battery or Batteries to be used and pre-launch data is transmitted to the selected missile via microwave line-of-sight data links. The target position data is downloaded to the missile to aid the missile’s target acquisition. After launch, the missile is acquired by the HT-233 radar. 
The missile’s track command up-link and down-link between the missile and the HT-233 allows the missile’s flight to be monitored and provides missile guidance commands from the ECC’s weapons control computer. As the missile’s closest approach to the missile is reached (50 metres), a proximity fuze detonates the directional high-explosive blast fragmentation warhead. The missile’s engagement zone is between 300 metres and 27km in terms of altitude, while it has a slant range of between 7km and 57km, and a maximum speed of 1,200 metres/second. The KS-1A Fire Unit includes a 6 x 6 TAS-270A vehicle housing a slewable oblique under-rail suspension dual launcher carrying two missile rounds. The Fire Unit can deploy in three ways: the vehicle mode, the trailer mode, and the stand-alone mode. It carries two ready-to-fire missiles, is capable of remote operations, and is 360-degree slewable.
To make the KS-1A a cost-effective yet lethal MR-SAM, it was decided to adopt the command-link guidance approach. Under this, the HT-233 radar (using an integral IFF transponder, a spectrally pure TWT transmitter, two-stage superheterodyne correlation receiver for channels, high-speed digital signals processor, real-time engagement management computer, secure guidance command up-link, and a radar data processor) would accurately track both the airborne target and launched missile, while a flight/trajectory control computer inside the SJ-231 would calculate the required flight-path corrections for the missile, which would then be transmitted via a data-link to the missile’s on-board digital flight control system (including a digital autopilot, telemetry command receiver and decoder, and a transponder) for bringing the missile as close as 50 metres to the targetted aircraft, following which the proximity fuze will trigger the HE fragmentation warhead.
Presently, one KS-1A Battery can simultaneously engage three targets with missiles, and comprises 36 missiles, one SJ-231 ECC station and one HT-233 radar (for 3-D target search, detection, acquisition, identification and engagement; clutter rejection and missile guidance), one Type 305A S-band 3-D mobile tactical air defence radar (with a 250km-range), three power supply vehicles, six 6 x 6 missile launcher vehicles (that are dispersed to launch sites located up to 10km away from each other, with the launch platforms being microprocessor-driven and controlled through an electro-mechanical servo system), six missile transporter-loading vehicles, one tractor, one missile-test vehicle, three missile transport vehicles, one electronics maintenance vehicle, two tools vehicles, and one power supply vehicle.
When networked with a Brigade-level ECC, a kill probability of not less than 90% of small-formation airborne targets (less than four aircraft whose airspeed is not greater than 700metres/second) can be achieved (when ripple-firing two missiles against a single target), and more than 95% when the target’s speed is not greater than 560 metres/second and the intruding airborne target density is not greater than four aircraft a minute. In terms of performance, therefore, the KS-1A is in the same league as (but much cheaper than) Raytheon’s RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), while being superior to the 45km-range BUK-M2E of Russia’s Almaz Antey Concern.
The improved KS-1A was publicly revealed at the Zhuhai Air Show in 2000. It is a command-guided missile with a range of 57.5km, capable of intercepting targets at altitudes of up to 27,000 metres. It enjoys a 15km increase in effective range over the earlier HQ-61, and as such represents a relatively significant improvement in air defence capability. The KS-1C variant made its public debut at the 2012 Zhuhai Air Show.
The KS-1A MR-SAM is extremely flexible in employment and deployment. It is best employed as a Regiment. However, its three Batteries can be employed for independent tasks if required. This is called the Autonomous Mode. The three Batteries can be deployed in various geometric formations, as suited to the vulnerable area/point being protected and the extent desired to be sanitised from hostile airborne threats. Similarly, the Battery can deploy its launchers in a way as to be optimal for target engagement as the threat is perceived ab-initio, or as it evolves during combat. Cross-country mobility enables quick re-deployment and the radar-based sensors can be so positioned as to achieve the optimum kill zone. The KS-1A Batteries can protect static, semi-mobile as well as mobile assets. These may be critical national assets in the hinterland or large mobile armoured formations (either Integrated Brigade Combat teams or Armoured Divisions) thrusting into enemy territory. The Regimental ECC and the Battery-level ECCs must be deployed in a manner, which will provide a clear line-of-sight to the Batteries, which may be placed up to a maximum of 30km away from each other. This requires the mast of the microwave communications antenna (on the radars, ECCs and Firing Units) to be raised to the required appropriate height.
The Type 305A radar must be sited while keeping in mind the screening constraints. The radar’s antenna must be aligned accurately by knowing its position and orientation with respect to the north. This information is made available to the Type 305A’s mission computer from a fibre-optic gyro-based autonomous land navigation system (ALNS). Care should be taken to align the Type 305A’s antenna with the ALNS and the system must be calibrated. The levelling of the Type 305A’s antenna needs to be accurate in order to avoid any tilt, which would introduce a bias. The SJ-231 is also provided with ALNS to measure its latitude, longitude and orientation with respect to the true north. This information is required by both Battery-level ECC and the Type 305A’s mission computer. The MR-SAM Firing Units operate automatically and are remotely controlled by the Battery-level ECC, which may be up to 1.5km away. Control is effected via microwave line-of-sight radio or line-cable links
The Type 305A automatically starts tracking targets at a distance of around 250km providing early warning to the KS-1A system and its operators. The target track information is transferred to Regimental ECC, which automatically classifies the targets. The three HT-233s start tracking targets around a range of 100km. This data too is transferred to Regimental ECC, which then performs multi-radar tracking and carries out track correlation and data fusion. Target position information is then sent back to the HT-233s, which use this information to acquire the prioritised targets with the help of the Battery-level ECC, which can engage a target(s) from the selected list at the earliest point of time, and is is assigned the target in real-time by the Regimental ECC. The availability of missiles and the health of the missiles are also taken into consideration during this process. Fresh targets are assigned as and when intercepts with assigned targets are completed. A single shot kill probability (SSKP) of 98% has already been achieved by the system taking into consideration various parameters of the sensors, guidance command, missile capabilities and kill zone computations.
There are a number of possibilities for deploying the KS-1A in autonomous Battery-level mode and in Regimental-level mode for neutralising the threat profiles with optimally defined multi-target engagement scenarios. In the Regimental-level mode there are a number of proven configurations to defend vulnerable areas depending upon the nature of the expected threat pattern and characteristics of the threats. Similarly, up to four B batteries in autonomous mode can be deployed to defend vulnerable areas/points. In all its deployment patterns, the KS-1A offers a multi-target and multi-directional area air defence capability. All its ground-based and airborne components are integrated in a plug-and-flight architecture under which the software-based integration of all hardware-based elements permits the autonomous management of various functions such as programmable surveillance, target detection, target acquisition, target identification and tracking, threat evaluation, threat prioritisation, interception assignment and target engagement.
Depending on the operational scenario—whether to defend a vulnerable area or vulnerable point—the KS-1A’s operational deployment pattern can be selected from either of the three above-mentioned types. In all the three patterns, up to four KS-1A Batteries (with 48 ready-to-fire missiles and four SJ-231 stations) can function together seamlessly even when deployed over a wide area and are linked to a Regiment-level ECC by secure microwave line-of-sight data links as well as mobile troposcatter communications terminals. When an entire Regiment of KS-1A MR-SAMs is deployed, use is made of a Type 305A ‘gapfiller’ airspace surveillance radar to provide a single integrated airspace picture to the Regimental ECC. The Type 305A and four SJ-231 stations can be networked with a Sector Operations Centre (SOC) via a DA-6 tactical internet controller using either underground fibre-optic links or land-mobile broadband, multi-channel, beyond line-of-sight, digital troposcatter communications terminals. 
This same type of systems architecture using the above-mentioned tools can be employed to develop an integrated, hierarchical air defence network that seamlessly integrates the LR-SAM, MR-SAM, E-SHORADS and VSHORADS into one monolithic guided-missile-based air defence system. To make the HT-233 radar virtually invulnerable to hostile electronic jamming, a number of ECCM features have been incorporated, including narrow transmit and receive beams, very low sidelobe antenna, automatic frequency selection mode, interference analysis and mapping, and randomness in frequency, space and time.