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Friday, November 18, 2016

Never-Ending Torrent Of Unkept Promises

“Aim for the sky and try developing more-advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) despite being incapable of developing far less-advanced UAVs over the past 28 years.” That’s what best exemplifies the track record to date of the MoD-owned Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), notwithstanding the tsunami of congratulatory messages that start flowing in from the MoD and DRDO every time a ‘desi’ UAV’s experimental technology demonstrator takes to the skies. Below is a brief track record of the DRDO’s UAV R & D efforts.  
Following EX BRASS TACKS in 1986, there arose a requirement by the Indian Army for a tactical UAV capable of conducting battlefield surveillance. Consequently, it was decided in September 1988 that the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) would indigenously develop this 380kg UAV, known as Nishant.
The Army finalised its General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) in May 1990, following which the first Nishant UAV technology demonstrator made its maiden flight in 1995. It was rail-launched from a hydro-pneumatic launcher imported from Finland, while its powerplant was a VRDE-developed twin-cylinder RE-2-21-P piston engine developing 21hp and weighing 10.5kg. By 2002, the Army had placed an order for eight Nishants along with two ground control systems worth Rs.800 million (US$17.9 million). 
User-assisted trials commenced in late 2008 and the confirmatory user trials at Pokhran were conducted in February 2011, following which the first four UAVs and their launch vehicles were delivered. However, the Army in 2015 refused to place a follow-on order for eight Nishants (each costing Rs.22 crores) and two ground control systems after a spate of crashes involving the already-delivered Nishants.
Recovered by a parachute, the Nishants were invariably damaged structurally and rendered unusable for long periods.
A wheeled version of the Nishant, named Panchi, has been under development by ADE since 2013 and its first technology demonstrator, powered by a VRDE-developed  four-cylinder RE-4-38-P engine (developing 38hp and weighing 22kg), made its maiden flight on December 24, 2014. No orders for this UAV have been placed by any end-user so far.
The ADE-developed Rustom-1 tactical UAV is powered by a single imported Lycoming O-320 engine developing 150hp and it made its maiden flight on November 11, 2009. Its production deliveries were due to commence in late 2013, but to date that has yet to happen.
The Rustom-2 MALE-UAV, powered by twin imported Austro Engine AE300 diesel engines each rated at 170hp, made its maiden flight on November 15, 2016. Its design was completed by February 2012 and in September 2013 a Rustom-2 technology demonstrator without any mission payloads began full-power taxi trials.
To be co-developed by the MoD-owned DRDO, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) at a cost of US$46 million, ihe initial requirement for this MALE-UAV is for 76 for all three armed services. The 3rd and 4th airframes underwent a design validation phase that ended in January 2016 and are meant for technology demonstrations and technical trials by the ADE. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th airframes for user-evaluations have been ordered as well. 
Today, the Rustom-2 minus its mission payloads weighs 2,400kg and efforts are on to try to reduce it to 1,700kg ONLY AFTER delivery of the first 24 airframes to the end-users, which have mandated that the Rustom-2’s multi-sensor payloads must weigh no more than 360kg and its endurance should be 25 hours.
The DRDO has so far claimed that the Rustom-2 will be capable of undertaking surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations and will therefore be capable of carrying different combinations of payloads, such as medium-range electro-optic (MREO) sensors, long-range electro-optic (LREO) sensors, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), electronic intelligence (ELINT) sensors and communications intelligence (COMINT) sensors.
However, only R & D work by IRDE on developing MREO and LREO sensors and by LRDE on SAR have been launched to date. The Ku-band SAR employs a mechanically steered planar-array antenna, instead of an AESA antenna as is now the global norm. 
Thus far, no R & D work has been initiated on the development of either compact COMINT/ELINT payloads, or a Ku-band SATCOM-based data-link system for beyond-line-of-sight flight-/mission-control.
Homegrown Mini-UAVs & Micro-UAVs
Since the previous decade, the ADE along with NAL and CSIR have developed several types of mini-/micro-UAVs, but none of them have as yet entered service.
HAL on the other hand has taken a route of its own when it comes to developing or marketing UAVs.
Lastly, there are the UAVs being offered by private-sector entities.


Rushil Anand said...

Was there any order ever placed for Rustom-1 by the military (and how many)? If yes, why ADE failed to fullfil the order?


Kunal Jadhav said...

Excellent article,
1) Why doesn't mod merge ADE with HAL ? Why is no one thinking about it at all ?

2) Why is hal rudra yet to be inducted in large numbers ? It's was handed to army 2 years ago ? Now that Pakistan have inducted attack helicopters, what measures IA taken to counter such threats.

Pierre Zorin said...

It seems to be always the case that the "seed" of some military requirements are discussed and initiated when say someone had a baby and the demonstrator version shows up when the baby is a teenager and by the time the baby is an adult either the whole project is defunct or deliveries are meant to commence when the adult is a senior! Funny, they think the adversary will wait till DRDO can deliver! It's like modernising the Spitfire and calling it state of the art combat proven platform for the 21st century.

Pawan said...

Dear Prasunji,

Don't you think rotor blades of Rustom II UAV are bit too small. Bigger blades and engine could have increased its capacity to carry load and also its speed.


flanker143 said...

"Today, the Rustom-2 minus its mission payloads weighs 2,400kg and efforts are on to try to reduce it to 1,700kg ONLY AFTER delivery of the first 24 airframes to the end-users"

Sir why will weight reduction exercise take place after delivery of 24 airframes ? Why not before delivery of any airframe ?

Why is rustom 2 so overweight in the first place !!??

Mtow cant be increased overnight so i am presuming that they will be carrying less fuel hwich explains the reduced edurance.

সুমন্ত নাগ said...

Prasun Da, thanks again for opening a timely needed thread. I was really looking up for it. Your blog is really an eye opener with in depth analysis, with practical way out advised against the glaring problematic situation that lies in future, kindly keep up your great work.

In your blog, dated 19th August, 2016, under 'The IA’s OP-PLANs' you have stated that India’s military posture against China in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is to maintain full strategic defence with minor tactical offensive capabilities.--- But I am really baffled to see why not any single air defence exercise has not taken place aiming deter aggressive designs of a cunning enemy like PLA? I don't really know what type of rational thinking ever keeps our policy makers' hand tied down ? If DRDO fails with Akash, why shall not we junk it, and go for any other option, and beef up all our air defence(s) as aptly advised by you, and familirise our defence forces through routine air defence excercise(s) in North East as well as in Arunachal Pradesh, or leave our brave heart jawans on the mercy of the enemy. Is not any logical idea props up in the mind of our strategic decision makers or any chalta hai attitude just lingers ?

Kindly Pardon me Prasun Da, if it being an emotional out burst or if I may wrong in assumption since I being novice, common people and my knowledge, fed only with media in put from newspaper, up to recent time but not now,since I prefer your blogs rather going through them.

Thanks again.

Pierre Zorin said...

True India has not done enough to woo her immediate neighbours but surprising how ungrateful Bangladeshi are

Gopu said...

Any plans for a HALE ISR UAVs like Global Hawk for IAF and MQ-4C Triton for IN?

I hope Rustom gets shelved permanently. With this sort of mentality, Rustom is still going to be a TD by 2026.

DAshu said...

Ohhh no !!!! once again you ripped the DRDO apart in full public.

Vikram Guha said...


1. What are the various flight test certificates that Rustom-2 will have to obtain before it's cleared for production?

2. You made this very important point - " no R & D work has been initiated on the development of either compact COMINT/ELINT payloads, or a Ku-band SATCOM-based data-link system for beyond-line-of-sight flight-/mission-control."

Is this because DRDO simply doesn't have the knowhow to design COMINT/ELINT payloads & Ku band SATCOM based data link?



Aditya said...

A must read article.

Anup said...

All Promises made by DRDO,HAL & All defense PSU's are never kept.

Why not GOI take strong action against them ?

Mukund said...

Why can't GoI give the R&D of UAV to pvt firms? They will bring better tech, endurance and better products. Pvt companies can hire brighter, if not brightest, engineers and R&D and production will be faster. Am I right?

Arpit Kanodia said...


What do you think of turbojet propelled Rustom? Do ADE have any plans for using turbojet engine in Rustom?

Like the Avenger developed from Predator and Reaper?

Arpit Kanodia said...

Also if I am right, then DRDO promised controlling Rustom-2 via military satellite beyond Line of Sight.

Without Ku-band data link, how they planning to achieve this?

Aditya said...


I was just looking at the PAF active fleet and it seems they have the same issue as the IAF . Most of their airframes are ancient and there is no real plan on how to replace these dinosaurs in their fleet.

As they can't even afford the f16 with out subsidies they have no option but to keep buying jf17s

What do you see as the future of the PAF in say next 10 years?

Will they keep using the f7,mirage3,mirage5 & older f16 for 10 more years?

Is it even feasible to do so?

Will the PAF end up as a single fighter airforce until they get the chinese Shenyang J-31 ?

Also, the desi bandalbaaz and his chela have gone mad after getting a free trip to Australia.
Doing PR & advertising work for Boeing in the name of journalism is pathetic and shameful.

Eagerly awaiting your reply.vmt in advance.

SUVO said...

Through the CPEC,there is increase Chinese interests in perpetuating the territorial status quo including through military intervention in POK.A territorial contiguity between PAK-CHINA made possible by Pakistan’s controle over Gilgit-Baltistan.Is it too late for India to regain this territory?How regain it if Chinese military intervention is there? China likely not remain quiet if India were to make an effort to recapture territory that it views as strategically and geopolitically important.Today is the special day of Battle of Rezang La.
............Please reply

Satyam said...

Why IAF wants Predator B? They already have Heron, Super Heron, Heron TP, Searcher mk2/3, and one more UAV type. Why not make our own Avenger UAV with Israeli JV?

How did IA purchase tanks shells from Israeli army stockpile? Their tanks use 120mm shells, while we bought 125mm shells. The IMI and IWI are blacklisted.

Satyam said...

How would you compare MICs of Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, India, China, and Iran?

My guess: Brazil<Iran<Turkey<South Africa<India<Spain<China

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Interesting incident at sea:

The PN press release clearly states that more than 1 IN submarine was operating at that time. But the released video shows only 1 snorkelling but it cannot be positively identified as an IN submarine. It could well have been an Iranian Navy Type 877EKM SSK.

Here are the videos of the snorkelling submarine:

The PN has only confirmed that the exposed submarine was a SSK, & not any nuclear-powered SSN or SSBN or SSGN. The tergatted SSK was in international waters. The target for surveillance was apparently this:

Or it copuld also be this:

Meanwhile, Pakistan is clearly feeling the heat & fears are growinhg that the PA may be stretched to the limit & fatigue could well set in pretty qwuick if Pakistan's eastern border remains hot as it is right now & the PA may well not be able to stay in constant close mcontact either along the IB, or even the WB & LoC. It's all explained here:

Senthil Kumar said...

Dear Prasun,

Thanks for your explanation about Turkey-Pak Military Alliance.

Clinton Lost the election because of George Sores. He has screwed more counties by his money. Clinton gang is runned by this guy. All leading news channel like CNN, ABC, FOX, BBC are runned by his money. American come to know this and they elected the trump even though his personnel charter is not good.

This guy already killed the Europe by Migrant Crisis. Any time civil war will erupt in Europe because of Migrant issues.

Trump Administration is going to do radical change in World Chess board. I think India is running safe in this game.

Please share your thoughts.

S.Senthil Kumar

DAshu said...

True , it could be Iranian subs .

DAshu said...

But question here is how did they track it !!! possibly this could be an indicator of high level of readiness of PN. Or could be a case IN testing PN's readiness and effectiveness.

rad said...

hi prasun
I would like to point out that due to the policies of demonetization the present gov has committed political harakiri and is slowly destroying the lives of the common man in india .Though this is a defense blog , this i think is pertinent to point out that it is doing more damage to India compared to pukistan and china.

1) My servant maid who does not know howto read or write had tears in her eyes and told me people tell her that the some lacs she had saved all these years slogging for her daughters marriage were worthless ! She cant open a bank ac now as she does not have a pan card!

every day, some arse hole bjp politician announces a new law to contain black money treating the entire population as criminals..Telling us, black money is a crime against humanity!! Do they know how humans are suffering now???
because of them.?/

now they are threatening to even fine people for having a sudden deposit of up to 2.5 lacs contrary to IT law!!. people are treated as criminals by marking them with Ink??!!

what are they doing ?? slowly killing the common man?? who does not any thing , except go to work in them morning and come to give his family food in the night .

In their eagerness to destroy their political opponents they are destroying India!

what about the corruption all around from the POlice , revenue dept central excise , beuraucrats, sales tax, Income tax, civic bodies , registration dept ? what law has he brought in to make them work harder and prevent bribery ?. I was shocked 2 days back when an obituary was posted in the papers of a man who was the founder of a college and school.... guess what ... he was a retired income tax officer !!! not even a top level officer , just imagine the corruption at the top level.!!

yesterday the vegetable cart vendor who comes around door to door, had the same thing to say about his life`s earnings!! the first time in his life he is making a loss as no one buys vegetable as there is no money and as the vegetables rot in a day or two!.This is definitely going to harm the GDP and rate of economy!.

agriculture has come to a standstill as at least 5000 Rs is needed to till, de weed , fertilse an acre of land for rice ,compounded with the don quixotic MNREGA scheme by the populist congress. This is the same reason why Venezuela has gone bust .

There is a saying in law that 10 criminals can go free but one innocent should not be punished! . Now 10 innocents are punished for a minute percentile of criminals!!

I am sorry to say that i have lost all respect for Modi.

financeblogger said...

Hamid Bashani's take on China-Pakistan relationship

Anup said...


As per your previous comment on Su-33 & Sukhoi/HAL FGFA.
Su-33 still flying with weapons but I think they retired soon.
Sukhoi/HAL FGFA still 10 years away to induct in IAF.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To DASHU: The visuals of the periscope & snorkel are proof enough about the SSK not being one of the IN. Meanwhile, here's the report on Pakistan’s nuclear forces, 2016 by Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris:

To RAD" LoLz! Relax, chill out. I can understand your frustration & the entire issue was brilliantly analysed by Arun Shourie here:

Like I said before several times, only application of common-sense can produce practical, productive & pragmatic outcomes.

Unknown said...

Dear rad

Help your servant with pan card and deposit the money. Chill down.
@prasun I have gone through arun shouries interview. He is talking of surgical strike etc by the present government continuously. His tone and tenor is of a person who arrogant especially all intelligence to himself. Yes there are troubles but arr surmountable. The intention behind demonisation is laudable and an exercise in clean up that is required in some point of time.



Unknown said...

Another thing, at the one end we want india to be a developed country while on the other end continue maintaining third world systems. If mumbai has to become a shanghai or delgi a beijing do you think by these third world systems we will go.anywhere. I have been to business trips in Beijing and having seen their infrastructure and find delhi in comparison a damn village. Look at Malaysia Singapore Thailand, how much transactions they have in the banking system and cash. These small countried that got independence after us a Re so far ahead. Hell Vietnam has a higher per capita income than india! So yes if we all rant out loud against the pain in the ass due to demonetisation we should then simply reconcile ourselves to having a third world status whole life. We should not even contemplate of putting any efforts towards reforming the system and supporting such moves. For your information I am helping my maid with a bank account. As such her husband has a Jan dhan account. And for illeterates the bank staff helps and she can use her thumb impression as signature. You also help her out.

Kaustav said...

Why help anybody out? Such people have only themselves to blame for not opening bank accounts which was avaiable for free through Jan Dhan now and other avenues such as Grameen Bank in the past. They deserve whatever happens to them. Wilful ignorance by such people deserve punishments and not crutches....You fall and learn

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To RUSHIL ANAND: Hopw can orders be placed before the product is even fully developed? Obviously the armed forces have learnt vital lessons from the failure of the Nishant’s R & D project.

To KUNAL JADHAV: 1) Why, because when it comes to DPSUs & DRDO, logic never wins & hence laboratories like ADA & ADE continue to be standalone laboratories that are trying to master technologies & engineering solutions already developed elsewhere. It takes a strong-willed leader to introduce transformational changes that have lasting & positive long-term impact. Such folks are extremely hard to come by, especially within the Govt of India. 2) Airworthiness certification procedures for a fully weaponised operational platform are a long drawn-out process due to the presence of several variables. For instance, if the ATGM isn’t selected or is unavailable, then the end-user will refuse to place orders. Then there’s the problem of technological/intellectual competencies associated with weapons/airworthiness certification. In Indioa there’s a huge shortfall of skilled technocrats such domain expertise in such areas, be it within CEMILAC or the DGCA. In countries that have decades of experience in developing civil/military aerospace technologies & industries, availability of skilled human resources isn’t a problem as they have already well-established academic & industrial institutions churning out the reqd quantum of skilled human resources.

To PIERRE ZORIN: Lolz! As I had explained before, the existence of tiny islands of excellence within a vast ocean of mediocrity never solves any problem. As I have elaborated above, scarcity of skilled technocrats with acknowledged domains of expertise will always exist unless a vibrant civil aviation industrial infrastructure exists. Its no use producing aerospace engineers with degrees in designing if there’s no corresponding outflow of aeronautical engineers specializing in product engineering. Hence, what the DRDO has been doing since the 1980s is putting the cart before the horse. The end-product therefore is always something that is from/of/by/for scientists & hence the prospective end-users by and large shy away from such platforms.

To PAWAN: That will depend on what final shape the Rustom-2 will take, because the DRDO wants public-private participation for developing a home-grown diesel engine & gearbox. The Rustom-2 as it now exists is merely an experimental flying platform devoid of any mission payload & hence it will be premature to accurately estimate its permissible MTOW or cruising speed/altitude as an operational platform.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To FLANKER143: That’s because there’s this crazy staggered methodology being followed by DRDO about first proving the airworthiness of a technology demonstrator & then trying to convert it into an operational platform! The same was the case with Tejas Mk.1 LCA, the Rudra & the LCH. How can any platform’s hot-and-high airworthiness parameters be accurately estimated when the platform isn’t even equipped with its full complement of mission payload (like avionics & weapons) is beyond me & it defies logic. Then there’s another anomaly: while use is made of composites for airframe construction, when it comes to casings of avionics LRUs, they’re all metallic!

To GOPU: Plans exist, but will India’s local aerospace industry & R & D institutions be able to come up with satisfactory solutions even if foreign consultants are hired? Today, with the DRDO’s ADE & HAL along with NAL & CSIR all working in isolated, comnpartmentalised silos, there’s unnecessary duplication of R & D effort. The private-sector, on the other hand, is unable to contribute meaningfully since the DPSUs like BEL & HAL will get preference for using the DRDO’s test ranges & laboratories, while CEMILAC will say it cannot spare the human resources necessary for certifying the offerings of the private-sector as being airworthy.

To DASHU: That wasn’t the intention at all. Rather, it was meant to highlight the critical shortcomings, especially in the arena of skilled human resources & lack of domain expertise.

To VIKRAM GUHA: 1) Until the Rustom-2 is declared airworthy in its operational configuration, i.e. with all its mission sensors, it won’t be ordered by the end-users & hence the IN wants to quickly lay its hands on the 22 Predator B Guardians. 2) It is because the DRDO adheres to this crazy notion of staggered R & D, i.e. first develop a flying platform & then try to convert it into an operational platform, just like what happened with the Tejas Mk.1 LCA. Any designer of a MRCA will tell you that if the MRCA is reqd to be developed for usage from both air bases & aircraft carriers, then work must first begin on developing the carrier-based variant & all design work on this variant in turn must commence from the landing gear before proceeding to the airframe. But as we now all know, this fundamental rule-of-the-thumb was never followed by the techies of ADA.

To ANUP: To take strong action, a strong leader with common-sense is reqd.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ARPIT KANODIA: There was a propoisal from EADS Cassidian of Germany way back in 2006 to co-develop with ADE the turbofan-powered Talarion UAV at around the same time EADS Cassidian had offered to co-develop the Tejas Mk.1’s tandem-seater as a LIFT. Both these commercially viable & commonsensical offers were then declined by the bureaucrats & technocrats from the MoD & DRDO. As for the Ku-band data-link, one solution has already been developed for the EMB-145I AEW & CS & efforts are now on to develop a lighter variant of this solution for the Rustom-2.

To ADITYA: In the coming years, as the remaining F-7P, F-7PG & Mirage-3/5 platforms along with the original 32 F-16A/Bs are decommissioned by 2022, the JF-17 will emerge as the principal MRCA of the PAF. It will therefore be logical to go for the twin-engined Shenyang FC-31, but the problem here is that funding in China for the FC-31 has been severely reduced in favour of the growing demand for funds for the J-20’s R & D effort. The PAF;s problems will be further compounded when Iran starts acquiring H-MRCAs l;ike the Su-30MKI in the near future.

To SUVO: How can it be too late when Pakistan continues to insist that J & K remains a disputed territory under UNSC resolutions? If China wants permanent security for the roadlinks of the CPEC then it should instruct Pakistan to accept the LoC as the permanent IB. Since Pakistan still craves for the Kashmir Valley by constantly misquoting the UNSC resolutions, India therefore has all legal right to stake her rightful claim over PoK by quoting the UNSC rersolutions in their entirety.

To SATYAM: No one in India has Heron-TP. Only Heron-1 & Super Heron have been procured, along with Searcher Mk.1 & Mk.2. In Israel there’s no reqmt for turbofan-poowered UAVs & hence no one in Israel is developing anything like them & hence there’s nothing to offer to India. Which cannon is used by Arjun Mk.1? 120mm or 125mm? The Israeli MoD’s SIBAT agency always maintains stockpiles of ammo rounds for exports in cases of emergencies & hence production orders need not be placed with IMI but with SIBAT. The MICs of Brazil, Iran & Turkey are more involved in licenced-manufacturing & do not possess a wide range of homegrownh solutions. Spain & South Africa used to have strong R & D back-ups in the 1980s for supporting their MICs, but now they too have gone downhill. China is on the top since it has enjoyed several export marketing successes since the late 1980s & therefore has more than enough financial resources reqd for expanding & sustained a strong military R & D infrastructure/human resource base.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ANUP: Yes, they are flying, but with what kinds of weapons load & against what kind of an enemy? Already one MiG-29KUB crashed on November 13 & this raises serious questions about the reliability of the aircraft as well. The IN too has learnt such hard lessons as explained by an earlier CAG report on the MiG-29K/KUB contract.

To UNKNOWN/KUNAL: Lo9Lz! One must never confuse the objectives with the methodologies applied to attain those objectives. Neither Arun Shourie, nor RAD nor I are questioning the objectives. Instead, the methodologies being applied do raise serious questions. If any GoI is seriously hell-bent on clamping down on corruption & financial defaulters, then it must first set a sterling example by getting folks like Lalit Modi & Vijay Mallya & Ravi Shankaran deported from the UK back to India. Start with the basics first, before attempting more complex mechanisms & tactics, just like Chinese President Xi Jinping first clamped down against corrupt officials within China & only after that did he target those Chinese citizens who had resettled abroad with ill-gotten wealth.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To DASHU: More stuff about the incident at sea & another incident along the LoC:

Doesn't it make you happy to see the PA's COAS driving Pakistan's PM on a Land Rover Defender that's made by a UK-based company owned by an Indian industrial group:

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

SAGEM/SAFRAN recently received orders for a few dozen SIGMA-30 RLG-INS systems from India for use with the IA's BEL-built & DRDO-developed Swathi WLRs. The SIGMA-30 is already used by the Pinaka-1 TELs as well as the Dhanush 155mm/45-cal towed howitzers.

Ganesh said...

Hello Prasun, bringing crooks from alien lands are work in progress and will bare fruits. My personal opinion is since early 2000s most of the #2 money was in Indian companies as benami stakes
The efforts will squeeze out the current black money in circulation and bring it to banking system, it is not solution for all the problems

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Manu Singh said...


What are the reasons for IL-76 and IL-78's such noticeable downtimes? Are the spare parts not available or the platform has some inherent problems? Or it is a political problem? How come even the tanker's have low availability ratio?

Vikram Guha said...

Prasun Da,

Three years ago DRDO had floated a RFQ (link below) asking the Pvt. sector to contribute in designing a Data Link for Rustom 2.

So did the Private sector fail to design the Data Link thereby forcing the DRDO to develop one themselves?

The picture of Data Link for Rustom II that you have posted - are these data links developed by DRDO?*Defence%2520Electronics%2520Application%2520Laboratory%26p%3Ddeal28022013Specification_RFQ_SDL-RII.pdf+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in

Thank You

Technology, Photograpy and Travel said...

An article with wrong quotes by our Honorable Raksha Mantri (Defense Minister) who shoots himself in the foot repeatedly while howling from the rooftops he is IIT grad heading Defense Ministry. One hopes they get their facts right before going to press a) how a 3.5 Ton Missile on LCA VS 9 Ton MIssile on Rafale is better (Tejas Payload is currently limited to 3.5 Tons via 8 hardpoints, also why would loadout be just One 3.5 Ton Missile for a Mission), b) LCA at slower 450 Km Speed is better than Rafale at 900 KM Speed , the LCA project was stalled for 33 years before miraculously revival in 2 years as per his explicit instructions.
The Fact that Tejas Files despite an apathetic bureaucracy is an Achievement in itself considering India's defense industry.

Rahul said...

Dear Sir

You are far too Negative about DRDO and always criticising them

Things are getting better every year ; and Five years from now
a lot of progress would have been made

Developing weapons technology is not Easy

Arpit Kanodia said...


What about HAL UAVs? They do talk about turbofan for UAVs. But I unable to find where they displayed UAV design propelled with like HTFE-25 or Laghu Shakti.

There is any plan to remove those diesel engines and add single turbofan in Rustom-2? And do we have any plans to develop directed energy weapons for UAVs?

I am asking this because when I watched Avengers marketing video, they marketing with Directed Energy weapons.

Arpit Kanodia said...

One more question, if DRDO planing to add SAR pod in belly, then why not they flown by adding atleast dome for SAR in belly? If not SAR itself.

Doesnt it, that would be beneficial to check aerodynamics of aircraft?

Ved said...

Dear Prasun,

News coming in media that SAFRAN has formed a JV with GTRE for development of Kaveri turbofan.This will be part of 50% offsets that needs to be ploughed back to India out of the Rafale deal. If Kaveri becomes a success it will propell the domestic fighter program to great heights. I hope we get all the relevant technologies eluding us in jet engine technology.

Probably AMCA programme would be executed in a time bound manner once Kaveri is successful with spinoffs to other industry as well.

সুমন্ত নাগ said...

Prasun Da, it appears that ULFA(I) and NSCN(K) joined hand, and resurfaced again,

----- There was indeed intelligence failure that cost live(s) of our brave heart jawans ,

but moreover that isn't it a desperate attempt by cornered NSCN-K & ULFA(I)? Now what might be the reason of such failure, and what may be the fall out ? Requesting your kind view , Prasun Da.

Thehundered said...

long article but good information.

SOME OF THOSE gathered at the Union Cabinet meeting on the evening of November 8th were cracking their knuckles in anxiety; a few others were fidgety; others were hiding their apprehensions behind calm faces. Sports Minister Vijay Goel took a shot at levity by narrating funny incidents to the minister seated by his side, who was stealing glances at the clock on the wall. It was three minutes to 7 pm.

An aggregate Rs 16.4 lakh crore worth of notes are estimated to be in the economy’s circulation, of which the banned denominations account for around 86 per cent by value. According to RBI data, that is a total of some Rs 14.2 lakh crore, of which Rs 500 notes account for nearly Rs 7.9 lakh crore and Rs 1,000 notes add up to a little more than Rs 6.3 lakh crore. Compared with this, Rs 100 currency and notes of lower denomination add up to only around Rs 2.2 lakh crore.This meant that the impact on the ordinary citizen would be palpable.

What made the battle all the more grave was the alarming increase of the now-invalidated bank notes in recent years. According to the Finance Ministry, bank notes, the primary fuel of the economy, had increased 40 per cent in the period between 2011 and 2016. The quantum of Rs 500 notes increased 76 per cent and Rs 1,000 notes went up 109 per cent.

The second phase of the attack would follow later, on benami property, bullion and jewellery, the ‘usual suspect’ sectors for black money to be channelled into. Also, what would follow would be a big strike on political funding, particularly for elections.

In determined swoops on establishments throughout the country to ferret out black money, the IT Department had increased its raids by mid 2016 to three times (145) the number of raids the previous year (55). Between April and July, the Department had seized Rs 245 crore in unaccounted-for money. The total undisclosed income admitted during the raids, as reported by the Times of India, was a huge Rs 3,375 crore, excluding cash and jewellery seizures. Officials acknowledged at the time that the raids had been ‘highly successful’ and led to ‘unprecedented’ cash seizures from builders in the real estate sector and educational institutions across Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. These were two sectors commonly acknowledged as being hubs for money laundering.

Based on information gathered in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kanpur, Lucknow, Moradabad, Bhopal, Hyderabad and other towns, the IT Department began working on around 9 million transactions, including multiple deposits of over Rs 10 lakh in bank accounts and property purchases in excess of Rs 30 lakh.

In the course of its raids, the Department identified close to 700,000 ‘high risk’ persons whose travel and business operations were put to scrutiny. The activities of these red-flagged names are likely to be monitored by officials for a while now, as part of the clampdown on black money.

There have been apprehensions even within Modi’s own Bharatiya Janata Party on whether this ‘big political risk’ he has taken could alienate the powerful trading community.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To MANU SINGH: The delays are due to the staggered re-location of the industrial facilities that were with TAPO from Tashkent in Uzbekistan to Ulyanovsk in Russia. But by now the situation should have been stabilised. Perhaps the IAF did not order the reqd quantum of spares in order to save some money & instead utilize the C-17As for transport missions. In any case, the upgrade proposal from Russia for existing IAF IL-76MDs & IL-78MKIs has already been agreed upon & is likely to be inked early next year.

To VIKRAM GUHA: The private-sector is most unlikely to be able to develop such data-links & so companies like L & T were proposing systems imported from EADS-Cassidian, especially the high-speed encryptor/decryptor modems that will be compatible with GSAT-7 transponders. The existing data-link for Rustom-2 & Rustom-1 & the earlier Nishant have all been designed by the DRDO’s DEAL laboratory.

To TECHNOLOGY, PHOTOGRAPHY & TRAVEL: Where’s the surprise? Wasn’t he also the one who was claiming that Su-30MKI can take over the Rafale’s role? That is until I dropped the bombshell about the Su-30MKI’s airframe not being certified for undertaking terrain-hugging flight profiles. Guerss this bit of info also came as a deep shocker for 99% of chat-room fanboys who are too lazy to delve into such details.

To RAHUL: It isn’t about being positive or negative or having negative perceptions, but rather all about being objective by stating facts & illustrating the track-record/performance. How are things getting better? Why hasn’t the Agni-5 ICBM & Nirbhay’s GLCM/ ALCM versions not been test-fired since last year? And what weapons technologies require developing? Whatever there is to be developed has already been developed by the developed countries. Can you highlight even one industrial patent received by DRDO for any military technology that is not available with anyone else in this world?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To ARPIT KANODIA: HAL has to date not revealed any design or illustration for any turbofan-powered UAV. Powering Rusrom with a turbofan will require a total redesign of the existing airframe & therefore it is much better to start designing an all-new airframe for any turbofan-powered UAV. DEW for UAVs emanating from the DRDO’s stable is still a far cry. Plans so far call for installing bonly situational awareness payloads like TCAS & perhaps RWRs & LWRs. As for absence of a belly-mounted radome, yes, it should have been installed in order to obtain test-points about the aerodynamic drag parameters.

To VED: LoLz! Do you really reckon any established engine manufacturer will go out of its way to create a competitor? At best SNECMA Moteurs will hep GTRE design a civilian variant of the Kaveri for powering NAL’s projected 70-seat regional airliner. No relevant aero-engine technologies are eluding India. They & their industrial patents all exist for all to see & study. But to acquire the ways & means of replicating all this in a cost-effective manner is the toughest part. Anyone dreaming about procuring engine-related technologies purely for military applications is destined to go broke, period. Hence, the only feasible way ahead is to first & foremost develop commercial applications, like developing turbofans for commercial air transportation aircraft. That’s exactly what China & Japan are now doing. Russia isn’t doing it & consequently its R & D work on the turbofan for the FGFA has also slowed down. Therefore, developing a military version of Kaveri for just powering the AMCA is a financial impossibility. Instead, chances are that if the Super Hornet is ordered for the IAF instead of the Gripen F or F-16, then the F414EPE too will find its way on board the AMCA.

To SUMANTA NAG: If these outlawed outfits are involved & they’rfe located inside Myanmar for sure, then how did their cadres succeed in entering India? Why were the land borders not secured?

Ludwig said...

Sir, I remember you said during the post about OODA loop for Indian artillery that we would need SAR for blowing through any FOG of WAR. Since Mini-UAVs are organic assets for Battalions are possibly companies in the future, wouldn't it be better to have a possibility of fielding SAR on them? I am looking at Scan-eagle, but it seems to have yet formed a local partner?

Manu Singh said...


You had mentioned a while ago that IL-78 and Il-76 were al going to be modernised and a major portion of them were going to be converted into tankers. As you are saying that the deal is to be inked by the end of the year, but both Mr Aroor and Shukla mention that competition to supply tankers are about to begin in India. Even Boeing is chipping into with its KC46. So, how does Il-76 and Il-78 modernisation fit into the scheme into it?

Rama said...

Ok, we have several indigenous mini/micro UAVs. How come army won't pick one and buy it? These hand-portable UAVs can replace Nishant's role if army squads use them en masse. This will change intel gathering from top-down to down-up, where squads have the autonomy to gather their own intel and don't have to depend on their superiors' intelligence. Especially if it's wrong or too general.

I think the coast guard and attack helicopter could also use ship/heli-launched mini UAVs. Can we modify the Rudra and coast guard ships to have UAV ports?

"Instead, chances are that if the Super Hornet is ordered for the IAF instead of the Gripen F or F-16, then the F414EPE too will find its way on board the AMCA."
So we're ordering Super Hornet instead of Tejas? MMRCA in place of an LMRCA?

Ashwin said...

Poor Rahul he didn't want to embarrass his uncle in DRDO. Why even a job probably is lined up in the not too distant future if his age permits...

Technology, Photograpy and Travel said...

"Instead, chances are that if the Super Hornet is ordered for the IAF instead of the Gripen F or F-16, then the F414EPE too will find its way on board the AMCA. " can we not continue with MK2 LCA and Rafale.. why another Aircraft again ?

Pierre Zorin said...

The reason DRDO is inventing the already invented wheel is due to a fail belief that unless without any foreign assistance they replicated what others have already developed there is no Indian pride. In the process not only they ARE seeking foreign assistance but seeking to develop things that are only possible with an established engineering industrial base AND with efficient and professional manufacturing plants, equipment and practices. The same guys will say "Rome wasn't built in a day"- yes but Rome was built in a day in someone's mind with a clear plan and then it was just the question of working out the plan. What people forget it Rome may not have been built in a day but after that hard yard other cities probably were seeing they already mastered the technique. I compare DRDO to Cosmopolitan mag type women- they go commando to avoid showing their panty lines! Duh? Is telling people what sort of undies you got worse than them knowing you got nothing under? well a bit off topic but valid analogy

Unknown said...

@ Prasoon 12:15 AM; 20 Nov 2016

Thanks for the reply. Would like to draw your attention to the following objectives of demonetization:

1. Curtail Black Money and draw it within coffers of Govt of India
2. Eliminate Fake Currency and in the process temporary respite to terror funding
3. Introduce BEHAVIORAL CHANGE in the people to actively use banking system

Now if we have a consensus on the objectives, then i am pretty sure that ways and means of achieving them would be subjective and dependent on the person implementing it. Further, achieving objectives should critically be linked with the time duration within which to achieve the same. Also, efforts of China in curbing corruption by raiding the corrupt is good. However, in my observation such raids are more targeted towards ones rivals and their minions. i am quite sure that raids are done in a partisan way. Hence, when demonetization is done all of a sudden, all get stumped including own party members.

prakash wadia said...

Hi Prasun,

You keep mentioning orders for SIGMA-30 RLG-INS every one in three posts, lolz. When are we going to finally reverse engineer that bad boy?

Will we be able to order more Tejas mk1 once Kaveri comes on board? You know to make LIFT Tejas and export to friendly nations.

Also are we ordering Super Hornet based on your post to Ved? Boeing said that they would help develop AMCA, but Boeing has not developed any stealth aircraft. Will Boeing give us YF-23 and X-32 designs and prototypes for AMCA? They both lost to Lockheed, but this will give us huge technological filip if we get YF-23 and X-32 ToT including stealth paints, engines, and radars.

Lockheed only wants to sell F-16 so thats an automatic rejection.

Vikram Guha said...


First of all thanks for doing this thankless job of informing us of all that is terribly wrong with the Defence sector in India.

Second of all, given your decades of experience how do you suggest incompetent organizations like DRDO should make progress when it comes to developing technologies?

Thanks again


Manoj G said...

Hi Prasun,

In response to one of the posters you said that anyone designing aero engine-related technologies purely for military applications is destined to go broke.

However, this is how the Soviets designed the engine tech for Su-27 and the Americans did the same with the F-16.

(1) Therefore, isn't it true that more often than not it is not possible to develop commercial applications first before designing the military application?

(2) This also explains why China & Japan still have to import engines for fighter aircraft from Russia & USA respectively.



Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To MANU SINGH: LoLz! Of course they will both say that because they’re being hosted & paid to do so. Can you really expect them to conduct investigative journalism on such matters? Doing so will hurt their stomachs & will deny them joy-rides during the forthcoming Aero India expo.

To RAMA: What we have are several experimental platforms that have yet to be certified by CEMILAC & the DGAQA, & UAVs that have already been combat proven & therefore they have been imported. I already explained before how herculean a task it is to certify a platform.

To TECHNOLOGY, PHOTOGRAPHY & TRAVEL: LoLz! You missed the FGFA! If anyone in India or abroad can churn out 40 or 60 Rafales & Tejas Mk.2s each every year, then yes no other platforms are required. But how does one procure replacements for 95 MiG-23BNs & 165 MiG-27Ms & 125 MiG-21 Bisons within a 10-year timeframe or even a shorter period? This is what happens when one misses the bus back in 2007 when Dassault had offered India 40 Rafales. But India instead chose to go with the Mirage 2000 & MiG-29UPG upgrades.

To PRAKASH WADIA: LoLz! If India were to do that, then India will end up as the bad boy in a globalised environment. Look how the Ruskies have brought the Chinese to their knees: at the expo in Zhuhai earlier this month there were no exhibits of the J-11B or J-15 or J-16, & the PLAN has still not been granted export approval for importing AL-31F engines with higher thrust ratings for the J-15s. Thus, despite trying since 2004, the so-called reverse-engineered J-15 has still not been c
Qualified for carrier operations with full weapons load.

To MANOJ G: LoLz! You are conveniently overlooking that the USSR went broke & disintegrated in the process. Today there’s no USSR or Soviet Union, & Russia finds itself unable to develop the definitive turbofan for the FGFA. Commercial economies of scale can never be compared to far smaller military orders. Anyone from GE, P & W, P & WC, SNECMA Moteurs & Rolls-Royce will tell you that.

Aditya said...

So iaf will buy
200 f18
189 Rafale
In the next 10-15 years in addition to 340 su30mki upgraded
120 tejas1,2
and also the fgfa.

That is an insane amount of firepower!
Can a $2 trillion economy afford to pay for all this?
Is it even realistic?

Am i misunderstanding something here?
Please clarify Prasunda !!

Manu Singh said...


Please have a look:

If the fighter aircraft prices are climbing like this, why not set up a Rafale production line in India for the sake of logistical simplicity and efficiency. Buying another aircraft like F/A-18 or F-16 or any other will be cost prohibitive as well.

Then, what makes the govt go for another round of competition?

Technology, Photograpy and Travel said...

Prasun Da,

LCA mk2, mk1,
Attack Helicopters
Transport Aircraft
Transport Helicopters
(Training Aircraft)

My God Can't we junk MIG29UPG for rafale

blackwing said...

Hello Mr. Prasun. Awesome article as usual. I have an unrelated question to ask you. As the DRDO and her allied industries have several failures and precious few successes, I wanted to ask you about the quality of indigenous subsystems included in our latest Kolkata class destroyers.

1) How do the ellora, kavach and mareech compare with other such systems in the international market? Are they good enough to defend the ship against whatever China or pak throw at them?

2) When you wrote in a different article that the Kolkata have 64 Barack 8 missiles with 32 in ready to fire configuration and 32 as reloads, do the reloads have to be loaded manually or is it done automatically? If it is manual, can it be done quickly enough in the heat of battle so that the ship can take full use of having the reloads on board? Or is it practically confined to using just the 32 already loaded to go?

Thanks in advance

Aditya said...


What would be a realistic plan of action of the Indian armed forces to liberate Pok.
How long would it take and does India have the resources to pull it off.
What would be the worst case scenario if we go ahead with the military option?
The Western world has been much more supportive of India in recent years.
How would the west react to this?
How will China react?
What kind of expenditure will be incurred?
How many Indian lives be lost?
Is there any plan in place to do it cleanly and precisely?
Is the nuclear threat real and how would we tackle it?

You had earlier said it would be a 6 month operation but is it possible to keep a war going on for so long in todays day & age?

It would be greatly appreciated if you could give your expert opinion.

Ram Bharadwaj said...

Prasun, what is RM hinting at when he talks about "rethink of submarine building plan...."?

Has GOI moved on the deal for SSN with Russia? Any hope left for the follow-on for Scorpene?

And any conclusion on the torpedoes for Scorpene?

Ram Bharadwaj said...


Is there an Mark-2 or upgrade planned for Akash SAM? I saw the 9K317M 'Buk-M3' (9K37M3) which had SAM's in compact canisters with 6 missiles. Any plans for upgrading Akash on this lines?

SUVO said...

PRASUN DA,You r right,Thanks for the reply.
Now see-


.........Please give your opinion.

Rushil anand said...


Why are missiles like Agni-1 are being tested again? Since they have been inducted a long time ago, what is the purpose of such test? Is just like a quality check? Or are these missiles have some upgrades which are being tested? And also what is the status of Prahaar? Has been a long time since we heard of that missle.


Daily Observer said...

This is super depressing.
If the USA cant build a functional fighter with all the resources at its disposal what chance does India have?

The article says f35 software is crap.
Radar stops working mid flight, cant seem to drop more than 1 pgm at a time,cant seem to fire more than 1 aam at a time,the helmet mounted display lags the pilots eye movement even the gun doesn't work,

They are ordering 400+ aircrafts with all these problems!!!
This is a plane which isn't even IOC certified!!!

This is the situation in USA after selling millions of commercial and miliary aircrafts.

Can we really fault the Russians for delaying the fgfa?

Anup said...


It's true ?
IAF clears Darin-III twin-seat aircraft for initial operations

Manu Singh said...


Any insight on submarine production and acquisition from the FICCI seminar on underwater vehicles ? What is the government thinking?

Arpit Kanodia said...


Are u in Karachi for IDEAS 2016?

Ravi said...

Dear Sir

Pakistan is Getting a solid THRASHING from Indian Army

Raheel Shareef's last week has been ruined

Today Pakistani DGMO called Indian DGMO

So all that talk of Nukes was just Gas ; Cowards

Rama said...

Sir if certification is the problem, why can't we give a certification waiver out to UAVs who instead get USA or European certification? Their certification is probably better than ours anyways.

TheHundred said...

However, says Menon, if Pakistan were to use tactical nuclear weapons in the battlefield — as the country’s Defence Minister recently hinted darkly — “it would effectively be opening the doors to a massive Indian first-strike, having crossed India’s declared red lines”. That red line, Menon underlined, would also apply to the use of tactical weapons “even against Indian forces in Pakistan” — Indian special forces did cross over to conduct the September 29 surgical strike across the Line of Control against “terrorist launchpads”. “In other words,” reiterated Menon, “Pakistani tactical nuclear weapons use would effectively free India to undertake a comprehensive first-strike against Pakistan” in what is perhaps the most clear enunciation of India’s nuclear doctrine to date by someone who has been closely involved in its policymaking and implementation.

abhijit mitra said...

How much of Darin III upgrade is indigenous. The IADS suite in particular and the INS -- are these largely indigenous.

Subho said...

Prasun, Flight Global in its report on the IAF's Jaguars clearing IOC for the Darin III standard, states the following :

"Delhi has also planned to re-engine the Jaguar fleet with HAL-built Honeywell F125-IN engines, but that programme appears to have suffered major delays, with little progress announced to date".

This then begs the following questions -

(1) Are the delays related to the procurement of the F125IN due to non-agreement on commercial terms or is it more serious and has to do with the engine not meeting performance parameters. It had been reported sometime back that Taiwan's F-CK-1 Ching-kuo fighter aircraft which is powered by an older version of the same engine encountered sub-par performance. Have those issues been addressed in the new F125IN engine ? The only other platform that currently uses the engine is the Allenia M-346 trainer aircraft but it too uses a different version of the engine and perhaps you can accommodate performance shortfalls on a trainer but not so on a nuclear strike aircraft such as the Jaguar.

(2) Did the Jaguar's achieve the DARIN III IOC with the new F125IN engine or the legacy Adour engines ?

(3) Has the Elta 2052 AESA been tested as part of the Darin III upgrade ? and finally

(4) How many Jaguars will be upgraded to Darin III standard. I keep hearing different numbers. Some say 60, others 120. What is the correct number ?

Senthil Kumar said...

Dear Prasun,

Declassified Untold Stories of American Spies

CIA Declassified The Rise Of The Taliban

The Rise of I S I S & The Taliban Hunters

S.Senthil Kumar

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

I hope you are well. I have been looking at some of the products at the karachi expo. They have made some pretty good progress. What surprised me was that lot of their new 'products' seem to be coming from their private sector. Like the LSR, hamza APC vehicle.

What do you make of the chinese S26 sub model. Is that what PN procured? Are they testing G5-52 at the moment?

IAF have over 200-300 fighters to replace. what is the real rush to do it? Why not spend some money to stand up another 2 production lines for Tejas. This way you could have 20-30 tejas entering service every year. It would bring expertise, employment and lower the cost of the aircraft.


Seeker said...

This is extremely alarming!

What should be Indian response?
Indian Navy base in vietnam?

Chinese military base in Pakistan is now just a matter of time. Soon we will see Chinese army across the IB &LOC.
They might even become treaty allies.

If we don't get back POK soon we might never get it back!!

Rushil Anand said...

Good news Prasun da!

HAL as approached to EASA for certification Dhruv. Do you think it will clear it? When will LCH and LUH go for such trials in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Where are you man?
You have gone into full on stealth mode!!

irst said...

why iran buy su30mki? not su35?

also can u give us confirmation on super hornet? what about trump embargo? he reminds me of nixon.... cant trust that liar

and f-414 Tot? but then fixing kaveri is useless..

Senthil Kumar said...

Dear Prasun,

Now China-paki-Russia-Iran are friends in CPEC Project.

Now Indian Submarine entering Paki Water is a drama to make Chines Navy in gawadar Port.

India is in tremendous Pressure. Now India dont have true friends.

Please share your thoughts.

S.Senthil Kumar

Gessler said...


Y'all need to calm the fuck down.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Will answer all outstanding queries in the latest thread later today.