Sunday, October 28, 2012

Indian Air Force will fly Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopter

The US is now all set to bag yet another mega Indian defence deal, with the iconic Boeing-manufactured Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopters emerging as the cheaper option than its strong contender the Russian Mi-26 choppers.

Defence ministry sources said the commercial bid for the twin-rotor Chinook has emerged as the "L 1 (Lowest Bidder)" in comparison to the Russian Mi-26 after both these huge helicopters passed the extensive technical field trials conducted by Indian Air Force (IAF). 

"The present contract is for 15 such multi-mission helicopters. The Chinook bid was lower both in terms of initial direct acquisition cost as well as life cycle cost. The contract negotiation committee will now finalize the deal for the Chinook," said a source. 

Being Chinook in Action ( Image Courtesy - )

Known for their powerful contra-rotating tandem rotors, Chinooks are being operated by around 20 countries for heavy-lift assault, troop movement, logistics support, aerial battlefield recovery and special operations. Capable of being refueled mid-air for extended range, a Chinook can carry 55 combat-ready troops or over 11,100 kg of logistical supplies or weight. 

This is the second time that American helicopters have outclassed — both technically and commercially — their Russian counterparts in recent months. As reported earlier, India is getting ready to order 22 heavy-duty Apache attack helicopters for around $1.4 billion. 

Overall, the Indian armed forces are looking to induct as many as 900 Helicopters in the coming decade, including 440 Light Utility and Observation, Naval Multi-role (90), Light Combat (65), Heavy-duty Attack (22), Medium-lift (139) and Heavy-lift (15), among others.

News Courtesy - Rajat Pandit @ TimesOfIndia

Friday, October 26, 2012

Indian Air Force - Ayni Air Base and Farkhor Air Base

Since year 2000, on and off one keeps hearing that Indian Air Force has got itself a strategic air base in Tajikistan. This is always followed by more news articles where this information is refuted either by media itself or as cited by media "by an undisclosed source from Indian Air Force". Then, there comes more news that Indian Air Force has secretly deployed Mi 35 Attack Helicopters, followed by another news that a squadron of Mig 29 Fighter Aircraft has been deployed. 

If confusion has been only limited to existence or non-existence of this Foreign Air Base or type-of-aircraft that have been deployed, it would still be fine; however, confusion does not stop here. Most of the media is confused as which Tajik Air Base they are actually  talking about, some mentions it as Ayni Air Base, where as others mention it as Farkhor Air Base.

Indian Air Force IL 76 Cargo Aircraft at Farkhor Air Base (Image Courtesy - )

The truth is that these two names are actually name for two entirely different Air Bases. Ayni is just 10 kms away from Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, while Farkhor is more than 100 kms away. Also, there were rumors that Russia is blocking India to make these Air Bases operational by Indian Air Force Fighter Aircraft. How could Russia benefit from blocking Indian Access to these Air Bases, both Russia and India have been allies for decades and Central Asia has always been a Russian area of influence. In fact, Russia which has now regained its superpower status, looks up to India as a guarantor of peace in Asian region, and a natural counter-balance to Chinese rapid expansion in Central Asia. India will never be a party to anything which goes against Russian interests, while same thing cannot be said about China. Chinese themselves have brazenly stolen Russian technology and are now competing with Russia herself by offering illegal copies of Russian Mig's and Sukhoi's to African nations. 

To sum it up on Indian Air Force's deployment at Tajik Air Bases, there has been lot of confusion for years now and even till date overall picture is still hazy, nothing is clear, no official confirmation or denial from Indian Air Force. So what is the reality on the ground? Well, those who are talking about it, does not have the exact picture; and those who have the exact picture are not talking about it. 

As it looks, Indian Air Force has got something going on both these Air Bases. India is known in the world as a nation, which has never shown aggression against any another nation since independence. Hence, the access to these Air Bases is purely strategic in nature, to counter any military threats and to protect nation's political and financial interests in the Central Asian Region. So, operational Air Bases of Indian Air Force at Ayni or Farkhor or both, should not be an alarming news for any nation in Asia or even around the world.

An Active Defence Original

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Indian Army - Helicopter-Borne Early Warning Systems

The Indian Army is looking for a major capability-booster as procurement of helicopter-borne early warning systems nears finalization. These early warning systems will be integrated with Attack Helicopter Squadrons that the Army Aviation Corps will induct in the near future. Army Aviation Corps is finalizing the specifications of the early warning system which is expected to be incorporated into Dhruv Helicopters.

The helicopter-borne early warning systems will give the army commanders not only the insight into enemy zone but also provide information on approaching aircraft and other threats. With the Indian Army Aviation Corps growing rapidly, the new early warning system will be highly resourceful for its future missions.

An Indian Army Aviation Corps Dhruv Helicopter ( Image Courtesy - )

One of the prime advantages of this helicopter-borne early warning system for the Indian Army is that it is essential for close-in ground combat scenario where enemy armour and rotary wing aircraft operate. While the Indian Air Force operates early warning systems on its aircraft as well, the helicopter-borne early warning system being developed will be unique to the Indian Army.

The helicopter-borne early warning systems can provide excellent battlefield knowledge and command to Indian Army just like the AWACS provide the IAF with command and control of airspace. The new systems will become a huge force multiplier and enhance the fighting efficiency of each unit.

Recently, Indian Army Aviation Corps has got the nod from Defence Ministry to raise its own Attack Helicopter Squadrons. Till now, the Indian Army has Attack Helicopter Squadrons under its operational control (operated by Indian Air Force) but in a very near future it will be operating them as well.

News Courtesy -

Indian Army Aviation Corps - New Attack Helicopter Squadrons may have Mi 25 and Mi 35

Defence Ministry has finally given its green signal to Indian Army to have its own fleet of Attack Helicopter Squadrons, meeting the long-time demand. The Defence Ministry has also decided that all future acquisitions of attack helicopters will be made for the Army while the IAF can retain its two squadrons of Mi-35 Attack Helicopters along with the soon-to-be-procured 22 Apache Combat Choppers. 

HAL's Light Combat Helicopter on a Test Flight ( Image Courtesy - ) 

The Army had been demanding full control over attack and medium-lift helicopters saying these are mainly used for its operations but remains under the control of IAF. After consulting National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and looking at Indian Army's Operational Doctrine, the Defence Ministry arrived at this decision.

Currently, India has two squadrons of attack helicopters, Mi-25 and Mi-35, which are maintained and manned by the Indian Air Force but under the operational control of the Indian Army. Indian Army wants one heavy-duty attack squadron (10-12 helicopters) for each of its three "strike" formations - 1 Corps (Mathura), 2 Corps (Ambala) and 21 Corps ( Bhopal) — in keeping with their primary offensive role. Moreover, it has plans to induct another 114 'Rudra' light combat helicopters for the remaining 10 'pivot' corps.

News Courtesy -

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Indian Forces' strong stance against Chinese intrusion

Shunning the practice of tolerance against brazen boundary violation by Chinese, Indian Security Forces have now started taking strong measures against Chinese intrusions. After being stalled due to threats from the Chinese, work on an irrigation project has resumed with additional security cover provided by Indian Security Forces, along the Indus river in the border town of Nyoma in north of Jammu and Kashmir.

The work was stalled here after armed Chinese People Liberation Army (PLA) personnel came up to the banks of Indus river and reportedly asked the contractor to stop the work on the irrigation project on the Kuyul-Gomba-Yardol-Thuksey Irrigation Scheme in the Nyoma Block. Taken aback by the Chinese Army's attempts to interfere, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) shot off letters to ITBP and Leh-based 14 Corps seeking protection for the contractors.

File Image : Indian Army on vigil at Indo-China border at Bumla Pass ( Image Courtesy - ) 

The work has since then re-started after Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), a border guarding force along the Sino-Indian border, deployed additional strength of armed troops to counter any Chinese interference on the project in this remote border town, 170 km from Leh.

Under the scheme, water will be lifted from the river and, released into a nearly 4-km long canal to provide irrigation facility and drinking water.

News Courtesy -

Indo-China 1962 = Surprised India + Confused China

On the 50th anniversary of Indo-China conflict of 1962, lot of postmortem articles have been published, both in print and electronic media. Some articles have spoken about indecisive political leadership of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India and Defence Minister Krishna Menon, some have spoken about blunders in decisions from Indian military. 

However, as I see, India was less defeated and more surprised by this blatant aggression from China. The reasons were lack of intelligence about what was happening inside China; India could not foresee that this aggression from Chinese Army was coming because it was more to divert attention from Chinese internal problems,  raising of national sentiments within the population, rather than achieving a military objective. To counter this in future, post-1962 India made several sweeping changes to its intelligence infrastructure.

Coming back to 1962 conflict, let us take a look at China, from this angle - 

Destruction of India-China relations + Seen as blatant aggressor by world community + Unnecessary loss of lives on both sides + Unilateral Ceasefire = Status-quo at the Indo-China border 

Doesn't this equation look somewhat illogical, this gives weight to the claims by Indian Military that Chinese were never in a position to sustain the initial onslaught; but when you read through the history of Indo-China conflict, at one point you begin to realize that "India was surprised, but on the other end China was confused". 

Once that initial-surprise advantage was gone, China was not sure how to handle the situation, how to finish what they have started. China realized it would not be able to sustain the situation it has created, the inhospitable terrain combined with Indian military resistance after the initial setback, and pressure on supply lines would be disastrous for Chinese troops occupying the Indian territory. So, in the end, there was these hasty unilateral ceasefire from China and all Chinese troops made a retreat to pre-conflict border lines. Now the question is what China achieved out of all this, well answer may only be known to the designers of this illogical military conflict. however, as for India it was an extremely important lesson learnt - "To be at Peace, be always prepared for the War." For this learning, we should be thankful to China.

Agni V, the Indian ICBM ( Image Courtesy - )

India could show that she has learnt its lessons from the past, when Chinese were beaten back comprehensively in Battle of Chola and Battle of Nathu-la in 1965 and 1967 respectively. Again, in 1987 skirmishes, when China started speaking the same tone as of 1962; they met with sheer confidence of Indian Military establishment who dared Chinese troops to try that aggression again, making the Chinese step back and take a notice of new battle-ready resurgent India who just refused to be surprised again !!!

An Active Defence Original

Friday, October 12, 2012

Progress on Indian SSBN - INS Arihant

An image, taken by GeoEye’s satellite and made available on Google Earth, shows what appears to be the conning tower (or sail) of a submarine in a gap of covers intended to conceal it deep inside the Visakhapatnam (Vizag) Naval Base on the Indian east coast. The image appears to show a gangway leading from the pier with service buildings and a large crane to the submarine hull just behind the conning tower.

INS Arihant under Initial Cover ( Image Courtesy - ) 

The Arihant was launched in 2009 from the shipyard on the other side of the harbor and moved under an initial cover. An image released by the Indian government in 2010 appears to show the submarine inside the initial cover. The new cover, made up of what appears to be 13-meter floating modules that can be assembled to fit the length of the submarine, similarly to what Russia is using at its submarine shipyard in Severodvinsk.

Image captured by GeoEye Satellite ( Image Courtesy - ) 

The movement of Arihant from the initial cover building to the module covers next to the service facilities and large crane indicates that the submarine has entered a new phase of fitting out. The initial cover building appeared empty in April 2012 when the Indian Navy show-cased its new Russia-supplied Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine: INS Chakra. 
It is thought that the Arihant is equipped with less than a dozen launch tubes behind the conning tower for nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. Arihant is expected to become fully operational by early 2013. It is expected that India might be building at least two more SSBNs, and one of which is being rumored to be named as INS Aridaman .

News Courtesy -

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Super Sukhoi Combat Jets coming to India

India and Russia are expected to sign a new $3.5-billion deal for 40 SU-30MKI fighter aircraft upgraded to the Super Sukhoi configuration later this month when Russian president Vladimir Putin visits the country.
This latest version will have a new cockpit, state-of-the-art radar with stealth features and can carry heavier weapons including the air-launched version of the Brahmos cruise missile,” sources added.

Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30 MKI ( Image Courtesy - ) 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is already flying the Sukhoi. If and when the Super Sukhois arrive, they will be 40 in number, taking the total Sukhoi strength to 270 aircraft. With the first delivery expected in 2014-15, the SU-30MKI will become IAF's leading fighter aircraft.
In recent times, IAF has increased the deployment of Sukhois in forward bases, perceiving growing threat from its neighbourhood. A squadron of SU-30MKIs was located at a forward base near the India-Pakistan border to replace an earlier squadron of MiG-23 fighters.
India first procured its first off-the-shelf SU-30s from Russia in 1997 and gradually developed Sukhoi Su-30MKIs at home after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began production under licence from the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The SU-30MKI has a considerable share of Indian components in it.
News Courtesy -

Friday, October 5, 2012

It is Apache Attack Helicopter for Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force today said, it is procuring 22 Apache Attack Helicopters from the US, which will give it the capability to strike down enemy choppers and UAVs. 

"Yes, Apache is final now," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said here when asked if the IAF was procuring the American choppers in a 1.4 billion dollar deal. "We are going to contract for Apache and these will be paid for by the IAF, flown by the IAF and maintained by the IAF," Browne said.

( Image Courtesy - )

Apache edged out Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter in the race for the IAF contract.

Fitted with air-to-air missiles, an Apache helicopter has the capability to take on enemy choppers and UAV, providing support to ground troops. Capable of detecting 256 moving targets and engaging them, the twin-engine Apache is operated by two pilots.

With its array of modern electronics, Apache is considered to be one of the most advanced combat helicopters. It has successfully carried out missions during the 1991 Gulf War between the US and Iraq and then in Afghanistan.

News Courtesy -

Environment Ministry red flags Indian Navy

If by looking at the title of this post, you assumed that I will also bash this decision from the ministry, then I am sorry to disappoint you : )

Let's have a look at the news first -

Navy's proposal to set up a missile testing site in Andaman and Nicobar islands has been red-flagged by the Environment Ministry which said it would destroy the habitat of endangered bird species Nicobar Megapode. "The habitat of the megapode should not be disturbed and the missile firing range should not come up in that area," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said at a program organised to mark the wildlife week here.

She said it was a "very very difficult decision" for her to reject the proposal for setting up the temporary facility at the ecologically sensitive island as "it involves security and missile range is important" for the country's defence.

When asked about the Ministry's decision, Navy Chief D K Joshi told PTI: "We will re-approach the Environment Ministry and we know that they have their reservations. But the fact is we can not do without our firing range". Asked whether the Navy had any alternative site in mind, Joshi said environmental clearances will be required for that site also as it is also in the same Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

INS Mysore launching two Switchblade Cruise Missiles simultaneously ( Image Courtesy - ) 

Now, the first reaction from majority of our electronic media will begin with the bashing of this decision - citing the delay on such an important decision, turf war between Environment Ministry and Indian Navy, its impact on the defence preparedness of the county and eventually they will end their analysis as how China has made such rapid progress on their defence front.

But I really wonder why and how do not they understand - India is a democracy (where despite all evils like corruption, continued poverty, illiteracy etc.), still anyone from common man to environment ministry and Indian Navy can speak their mind, can have a difference of opinion and say the same in public, have a discussion around it. Yes it does slow down the decision-making, has an adverse impact on such major strategic decisions, but then India is no China.

In China, I believe a decision like this would be seen as to be worthy of urgent attention and most probably Chinese Government would have quickly decided in favour of Chinese Navy. Because, Chinese Government is an authoritarian regime in the veil of communism.

My only advise to that particular section of media is that they should be the last one to criticize Indian Government because if India would start behaving like China then media people would be the first one to worry about their livelihood, and may be their survival as well. On top of it I do hope they have only have one kid in their family !!!

This kind of slow decision making and tussles will go on, I do vehemently oppose such prolonged delays on strategic decisions like this. But at the same time I would rather advocate to find ways for speedy resolutions on these kind of issues, instead of giving an example of China. Because, India is no China.

News Courtesy -

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

INS Vikramaditya Trials Successful !!!

The controversial sea trials of the INS Vikramaditya in Russia, initially described as an embarrassing failure, appear to have actually been a huge success, and the propulsion problems developed by the aircraft carrier are not nearly as serious as reported in the media.

After the ship returned to the Sevmash shipyard a week ago the Indian Navy’s overseeing team, who closely monitored the sea trials, came to the conclusion that the ship had overall done extremely well and the program of tests had been largely fulfilled.

The conclusion from the trials is that the INS Vikramaditya has stood the test as a full-fledged highly capable aircraft carrier converted from the former hybrid missile-cum-aviation cruiser Admiral Gorshkov. The ship displayed excellent seaworthiness and manoeuvrability and performed flawlessly during aircraft takeoff and landing. It’s sophisticated radio-electronic, navigation and other systems demonstrated high efficiency and reliability.

The boiler problem did not prevent the INS Vikramaditya from completing the trials. Informed sources told The Hindu that Indian Navy officers were particularly impressed by the flight programme. A MiG-29K and a MiG-29KUB 4++ generation fighters performed 41 impeccable take-offs and landings with full arms payload and additional fuel tanks. The combination of Russia and India-made optical and electronic landing systems enabled the Russian pilots in 70 percent of the landings to hook the second out of three arrestor wires, which is considered a perfect result, the sources said.

Mig 29 K taking off from the deck of INS Vikramaditya ( Image Courtesy - Oleg Perov ) 

The malfunctioning of the boilers that occurred during high-speed tests will not require their replacement or removal from the vessel. The problem has been pinned down to insulation lining that is placed between the boiler steel casing and ceramic firebricks. Traditional asbestos lining was not used at the request of Indian specialists and replacement material developed slight deformation when the boilers were run at full power, causing some firebricks to fall out. 

The 44000-ton vessel also displayed superior manoeuvrability, performing a 360-degree turn at a minimum radius equal to one-and-a-half hull length at a speed of 18 knots.

Russian shipbuilders have promised to complete all repairs by the beginning of next year, but since pre-delivery trials in the White Sea can resume only in late May, when sea ice melts away, the Vikramaditya will be handed over to the Indian Navy next autumn instead of this December, the sources said.

News Courtesy - The Hindu