Friday, 23 December 2011

Year End Defense Review By MoD

Indian Ministry Of Defense has issued year end review of all the projects and purchases. Some points are given below
  • The successful test launch of the 3,500 km range Agni-IV Ballistic Missile on Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011 was the highlight of the year. A press conference was organised the next day, viz Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011 for DRDO chief Dr. VK Saraswat, which was widely covered by the media, on the launch of Agni-IV from Wheeler island off Orissa coast.
  • Sixth successful test launch of Agni-AI Ballistic Missile from Wheeler Island on Thursday, Dec 1, 2011 by Armed Forces.
  • Successful launch of Dhanush and Prithvi Missiles by the Strategic Forces Command from Interim Test Range, Chandipur, Orissa and a warship off Orissa Coast on March 11, 2011.
  • Successful launch of new Surface to Surface Tactical Missile ‘PRAHAAR’ by DRDO on Thursday, July 21, 2011.
  • Successful flight testing of Surface to Surface Strategic Missile AGNI (A-II) on Friday, September 30, 2011, from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Orissa Coast.
  • Successful flight testing of Surface to Surface Strategic Missile PRITHVI (P-II) on Monday, September 26, 2011, from ITR, Chandipur. In collaboration with DRDO, DPR also organised a press briefing on the strategic significance of the event on the same day.
  • Successful flight test of the 700- km range SHOURYA Missile from Launch Complex III of Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off Orissa Coast on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011.
  • Successful launch of Prithvi (P-II) missile on Thursday, June 09, 2011
  • The DRDO conducted the 5th successful flight of UAV ‘Rustom I’ near Hosur, Karnataka on Friday, Nov 11, 2011.
  • Initial Operational Clearance Ceremony to LCA (Tejas) at Bangalore on January 10, 2011. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony formally handed over the release to service certificate of Tejas Aircraft to the chief of Air Staff, Air chief Marshal PV Naik.
  • Successful Engine Ground Run of LCA Tejas at Bangalore on Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011.
  • Kaveri engine being developed by the DRDO for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft successfully completed the first phase Flying Test Bed trials mounted on a modified IL-76 aircraft in Russia during April.
  • Defence Minister Shri AK Antony inaugurated the DRDO’s state-of-the-art composite propellant processing facility – ACEM (Advanced Centre for Energetic Materials) at Nasik in Maharashtra on Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011.
  • Indian Naval crew began training in Russia in April aboard the new Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov, being rechristened INS Vikramaditya, to be inducted into the Indian Naval fleet.
  • Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma commissioned INS Satpura, the second in the Shivalik class of warships, at a function at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai on Saturday, Aug 20, 2011.
  • Commissioning of Fleet Tanker “Deepak” at Mumbai by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in January, 2011.
  • Induction Ceremony of C-130J -30 Super Hercules Tactical Aircraft at Air Force Station, Hindan on Feb, 05, 2011.
  • The down select of two aerospace companies for the MMRCA contract was the highlight of the last week in April. Commercial bids were opened on Friday, Nov 04, 2011 for the contract related to procurement of 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA) for the IAF.
  • Smt. Mamatha, wife of Minister of State for Defence Dr MM PallamRaju, launched the second indigenous ‘Anti-Submarine Warfare’ (ASW) corvette ‘Kadmatt’ at a function at the Garden Reach Ship Builders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata on Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011.
  • Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Station at Mundra in Gujarat by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Dir Gen, Indian Coast Guard on Thursday, May 19, 2011.
  • Foundation stone laying ceremony of Indian Coast Guard Academy at Azhikkal in Kannur district of Kerala by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony on Saturday, May 28, 2011.
  • Foundation stone laying ceremony for the National Institute for Research and Development (NIRDESH) in Defence Shipbuilding at Kozhikode, Kerala by the Defence Minister, Shri A K Antony on 4th January 2011.
  • The new Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya, Bihar was inaugurated by Lt Gen K SurendraNath, GOC-in-C, Army Training Command on Monday, July 18, 2011 and later by the Army Chief Gen VK Singh on Monday, Nov 14, 2011.
  • Commissioning of a Fast Attack Craft, INS Kabra, at Naval Base Kochi by Vice Admiral KN Sushil on Wednesday, June 08, 2011.
  • Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) C-152 by Dr Vijayalakshmy K Gupta, Secretary (Defence Finance) at Okha, Gujarat on Saturday, June 18, 2011 and later ICGS C-153 at Porbandar, Gujarat by Director General, Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra on Saturday, Oct 22, 2011.
  • Commissioning of the two Indian Coast Guard Ships C-150 and C-151 by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Director General Coast Guard at an impressive ceremony in Kochi on Monday, March 28, 2011.
  • Commissioning of hi-tech 3G connectivity services in the Air Force in March for enhanced operational efficiency.
  • Re-induction of upgraded AN-32 tactical transport Aircraft into IAF in June, after the aircraft underwent total technical life extension (TTLE), overhaul and re-equipment at Ukraine.
  • Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and DGR&D, inaugurated an integrated microwave tube development unit in Bangalore on Saturday, April 09, 2011.
  • DRDO dedicated Integrated Thermally Regulated Shelters for use of the Indian Army in Leh, Ladakh on Thursday, June 16, 2011.
  • Indian Army introduced in April better habitat for its personnel at high altitudes.
  • A US-based firm signed a licensing agreement in New Delhi on Monday, April 25, 2011 with the DRDO to acquire the technology of Explosive Detection Kit developed by the High Energy Material Research Lab (HEMRL), Pune.
  • An intensive anti-piracy operation was launched by Indian Navy during the week ending Friday, March 18, 2011.
  • Indian Navy warships apprehended an Iranian boat 400 nautical miles off Lakshadweep, rescuing 12 Iranian and 4 Pakistani crew and detaining 16 pirates in a daring operation on Saturday, March 26, 2011.
  • A press release and photos were released to the media on Friday, May 6, 2011 on the Indian Navy foiling a piracy attempt on a Chinese ship in the Arabian Sea, 100 NM off Karwar.
  • On March 11, 2011 Indian Navy Warships assisted a damaged Egyptian registered Ship take to the sea again that was released by pirates off Somalia
  • Formal unveiling of Defence Production Policy and Defence Procurement Procedure – 2011 by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony on January 13, 2011.
  • Defence Minister Shri AK Antony convened a high level meeting of all stakeholders on Coastal Security in New Delhi on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 and another on Monday, Aug 29, 2011. Shri Antony called for concerted efforts to avoid incidents like the grounding of MT Pavit on July 31 and MV Rak a week later off Mumbai coast. He also reviewed operationalising Phase-II of Coastal Security.
  • Defence Minister Shri AK Antony visited the Desert sector (Rajasthan) of Southern Army on Monday, May 2, 2011 to review the operational preparedness of the Indian Army.
  • Defence Minister Shri AK Antony visited the North East on February 18-19, 2011. He reviewed the security situation during his visit to Military installations at Chabua in Assam, Rangapahar in Nagaland, Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh and Leimakhong in Manipur.
  • Defence ministry ordered a reality check on all defence land at the ground level, to be undertaken by the Directorate General of Defence Estates. In this context, a CD containing database on all defence land records was formally released by the Defence Minister at New Delhi on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.
  • Ministry of Defence decided to go for open bidding to select an event manager for the Seventh edition of Land, Naval and Internal Security System Exhibition (Def-Expo India 2012) scheduled to be held in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from March 29 to April 01, 2012, says press release on Monday, Oct 10, 2011.
  • Improvement of rations supplied to the Junior Commissioned Officers and others in the army, says a press release on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Nixon, Kissinger's And Their Personal Jehad Against India

US President Richard Nixon is on the phone with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, hours after Pakistan launched simultaneous attacks on six Indian airfields, a reckless act that prompted India to declare war.

Nixon: So West Pakistan giving trouble there.
Kissinger: If they lose half of their country without fighting they will be destroyed. They may also be destroyed this way but they will go down fighting.
Nixon: The Pakistan thing makes your heart sick. For them to be done so by the Indians and after we have warned the bitch (reference to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi). Tell them that when India talks about West Pakistan attacking them it's like Russia claiming to be attacked by Finland

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Indian Army To Go Ahead With M-777 Howitzers Deal

Rubbishing all reports that deal for M-777 ultra light howitzers has run into rough weather. Defense ministry officials made it clear that India is going ahead with the deal. This deal was for 145 guns at a total cost of 650 million USD.

Antony told the Indian parliament on Dec. 12 that India is looking at buying the guns through the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales program.

The procurement was stalled after a report on the trials was released, but the program is back on track now, Antony said.

"The field evaluation trial report of the guns was a confidential document. Four pages of draft field trial report were received in an anonymous envelope by the Army headquarters. An enquiry in the matter is underway," the minister said.

The Ultralightweight Field Howitzer (UFH), designated M777 in the USA, was selected in 1997 by a joint US Army / Marine Corps initiative to replace the existing inventory of M198 155mm towed howitzers. The first of five EMD systems was delivered in June 2000. The US Marine Corps is to procure 380 systems and the US Army 273 systems. A low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract for 94 systems was awarded in November 2002.

Operational testing with the USMC, during which nearly 12,000 artillery rounds were fired by four production systems, was completed in December 2004. A contract for full-rate production of 495 systems was awarded to BAE Systems in April 2005. In May 2005, the USMC began fielding the M777 with the 11th Marines unit at Twentynine Palms in California.

The first 18 systems were delivered to the US Army's 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery in Hawaii in October 2006.

The M777 will be the artillery system for the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT). The systems fitted with the digital fire control system are designated M777A1, and those with the software update which allows the firing of the Excalibur projectile, M777A2. M777A2 received full material release in July 2007, clearing the upgrade for fielding. All M777A1 systems will be upgraded to the A2 standard.

The M777 was deployed by the US Army and Marine Corps to Afghanistan in December 2007 and to Iraq in 2008.

In July 2008, Australia requested the foreign military sale of 57 M77 howitzers.

BAE Systems has developed a mobile version, the M777 Portee, which is mounted on a purpose-built 8x6 Supacat vehicle. The vehicle was first shown at Eurosatory in June 2006.

This gun is half the weight of all 155mm howitzers in the world but matches their fire power making it a deadly weapon in the hands of good artillery unit.

The maximum firing range is 24.7km with unassisted rounds and 30km with rocket-assisted rounds. The M777A2 will fire the Raytheon / Bofors XM982 Excalibur GPS / Inertial Navigation-guided extended-range 155mm projectiles using the Modular Artillery Charge Systems (MACS). Excalibur has a maximum range of 40km and accuracy of 10m.

The LRIP systems employ an optical sighting system for direct and indirect firing by day or night. Full production systems will be fitted with the General Dynamics Armament Systems Towed Artillery Digitisation (TAD) system. LRIP systems will be retrofitted with TAD.

The M777 is able to deliver up to five rounds a minute.

The TAD digital fire control system provides onboard ballistic computation, navigation, pointing and self-location, providing greater accuracy and faster reaction times. The TAD system also includes a laser ignition system, electric drives for the howitzer's traverse and elevation and a powered projectile rammer.

Ultra light howitzer
Country users
United States, Canada, India
Designer Company
BAE Systems 
5 to 8 soldiers
Digital fire control system
155 mm 39 calibre
3,175 kg
Rate of fire
5 rounds/minute
Firing Range
30 km maximum, 40 km with Excalibur munition 
Lenght, 9,275 m; Width, 2,770 m; Height, 2,26 m in towing mode
Lenght, 10,21 m; Width, 3,720 m; Height, 0,65 m in firing mode mode

INS Teg With Brahmos On Board Ready For Indian Navy

INS Teg is the first of six Talwar (Krivak) class frigates to be equipped with the 290-km BrahMos missiles jointly developed by India and Russia. The first three Talwar class warships -- INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar -- that were inducted in the Indian Navy in 2002 and 2003 do not have the BrahMos, but are equipped with Klub class missiles.

Apart from INS Teg, two other frigates, being built by the Kaliningrad-based Yantar shipyard -- all three constituting the second line of Talwar-class ships -- will also have the BrahMos missiles integrated.

"With the successful test of BrahMos, INS Teg is now ready to sail to India. It is awaiting its Indian Navy crew, who are expected later this month or early in January 2012," sources here told IANS.

"The Indian Navy plans to induct the warship by March 2012," they added.

The Russian Navy, which had conducted the sea trials of INS Teg in September, test-fired the BrahMos from the ship's bow in the first week of December. Telemetric data indicated that all of its systems performed optimally, the sources said.
India and Russia had in July 2007 signed a $1.6 billion contract for the three follow-on Talwar class frigates under the Indian Navy's Project 11356.

INS Teg and the other two warships -- INS Tarkash (delivery likely in July 2012) and INS Trikand (January 2013) are expected to bolster the Indian Navy's growing blue water capabilities and ambitions.

The Indian Navy giving top priority to these guided missile frigates to maintain its combat worthiness and organizational ability to deploy warships at immediate notice.
The previous vessels of the Talwar class have been deployed by Indian Navy in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and have proved themselves worthy of being mean fighting machines by achieving "kills" of pirate mother ships.

Packed with sensors, weapons and missile systems and stealth due to highly-reduced radar, infra-red, noise, frequency and magnetic signatures to beat enemy detection, each of these warships is equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil air defence system, two Kashtan air defence gun and missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

BrahMos Aerospace is an India-Russia joint venture established in 1998 for the joint development of the eponymously-named supersonic cruise missiles. The missiles, said to be the fastest in their class, are now under production and have been successfully inducted into the Indian Army and Indian Navy. The two countries are also developing the air-launched version of the missile that can cruise at speed of Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound, for the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi S-30 MKI air superiority combat planes.

A hypersonic version of BrahMos with Mach 7 speeds to boost aerial strike capability is under development and is expected to be ready by 2016.

Friday, 16 December 2011

US Navy To Squeeze China Harder

The US Navy said it would station several new coastal combat ships in Singapore and perhaps in the Philippines in coming years, moves likely to fuel China's fears of being encircled and pressured in the South China Sea dispute.

Regional defence analysts said the ships were small, but agreed the symbolism of the moves, which come after Washington announced it was increasing its engagement in Asia, would upset Beijing.

Last month the United States and Australia announced plans to deepen the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, with 2,500 US Marines operating out of a de facto base in Darwin in northern Australia.

In coming years, the US Navy will increasingly focus on the strategic "maritime crossroads" of the Asia-Pacific region, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert wrote in the December issue of Proceedings, published by the US Naval Institute.

He said the navy planned to "station several of our newest littoral combat ships at Singapore's naval facility", in addition to the plans announced by President Barack Obama for marines to be based in Darwin from next year.

"This will help the navy sustain its global forward posture with what may be a smaller number of ships and aircraft than today," he wrote.

Littoral combat ships are shallow draft vessels that operate in coastal waters and can counter coastal mines, quiet diesel submarines and small, fast, armed boats.

"If we put this into context, it's a fairly small scale of deployment and the combat ships are relatively small vessels," said Euan Graham, senior fellow in the Maritime Security Programme at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

"Encirclement is a phrase that does come up in Chinese debate about the US strategy. They won't be happy about it, but there's nothing much that they can do to stop it."

Greenert wrote the ships would focus on the South China Sea, conducting operations to counter piracy and trafficking, both of which are endemic in the area.

"Similarly, 2025 may see P-8A Poseidon aircraft or unmanned broad area maritime surveillance aerial vehicles periodically deploy to the Philippines or Thailand to help those nations with maritime domain awareness."

One source briefed on navy plans said there has also been discussion about stationing ships in the Philippines.

BIGGEST THREAT The disputed ownership of the oil-rich reefs and islands in the South China Sea is one of the biggest security threats in Asia. The sea is claimed wholly or in part by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

The shortest route between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, it has some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. More than half the globe's oil tanker traffic passes through it.

Obama told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a regional summit in November that the United States wanted to ensure the sea lanes were kept open and peaceful. Wen was described by US officials as being "grouchy" later at the summit, when other Asian countries aligned with Washington.

The Chinese premier said "outside forces" had no excuse to get involved in the complex maritime dispute, a veiled warning to the United States and other countries to keep out of the sensitive issue.

"A modest marine presence in Australia - 2,500 marines is not a large offensive force by any means - and ships in Singapore do not mean it's all about China," Paul Dibb, the head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, told Reuters.

"But having said that, China is being increasingly assertive on the high seas. So while I don't see the US as encircling China, it would be silly to say China wasn't part of it."

CLOSELY WATCHED These developments on the littoral combat ships (LCS) are being closely watched by Lockheed Martin Corp, Australia's Austal, General Dynamics Corp and other arms makers that are building two models of the new warships for the US Navy, and hope to sell them to other countries in coming years.

"Because we will probably not be able to sustain the financial and diplomatic cost of new main operating bases abroad, the fleet of 2025 will rely more on host-nation ports and other facilities where our ships, aircraft, and crews can refuel, rest, resupply, and repair while deployed," Greenert wrote in the naval magazine.

Ernie Bower, who is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the emerging strategy for Southeast Asia would be far different from the big US bases established in Japan and South Korea in the past.

"We're exploring a new arrangement with a smaller footprint, that is mission-specific, and culturally and politically more palatable to countries," he said, adding it would be difficult for Washington to drum up much political support for big bases in the region. Forward-stationing versus permanent bases would also save the navy money, he said.

Greenert did not provide a timetable for the LCS stationing in Singapore.

In the Philippines, a US ally that has clashed several times with China over the South China Sea dispute, the moves were welcomed.

"We're together in Asia Pacific and we face common security challenges," said defence spokesman Peter Paul Galvez.

"We see several security challenges where we actually need inter-operability and interplay exercises including disasters, threats of terrorism, freedom of navigation, piracy and human trafficking. We cannot deny that we need their assistance in that aspect."

Friday, 9 December 2011

Indian Defense Forces Done In By Corruption... AGAIN

The Indian Army's imagery interpretation capabilities, critical to providing information on the locations of enemy troops and their military assets, have been compromised by flawed contracts placed with a company that has failed to provide critical software upgrades.

Demo Trials Of Pinaka

Famous for its exploits during Kargil and  indigenously built multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) ‘Pinaka’ was tested from the defence base at Chandipur-on-sea, near here on Wednesday. The test was jointly conducted by the defence scientists and the Indian Army.

Defence sources said four rounds of Pinaka rockets were fired from the launcher kept inside the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE), a part of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The exercise termed as ‘demonstration trial’ was carried out during noon. One rocket was used in each round.

The Pinaka MBRL, capable of acting as a force-multiplier, will gradually replace the current artillery system.

The tests were aimed at assessing its stability in flight as well as accuracy and consistency. The rocket launcher, which is also known as the Weapon Area System (WAS), can fire rockets with a range of 39-40 km and also launch 12 rockets with 1.2 tonne of high explosives within 40 seconds.

A scientist said Pinaka can neutralise a target area of 350 square km and is meant to supplement the existing artillery system at a range beyond 30 km. It can be fitted with a variety of warheads ranging from blast-cum-pre-fragmented high explosives to anti-tank mines.

“Its quick reaction time and high rate of fire provides the Army an edge during low-intensity war-like situations. The unguided rocket system put under trial here could be used to neutralise a higher geographical area with its salvo of rockets,” he added.

Pinaka, which has undergone several tough tests from 1995 and is in its advanced stage of development, was successfully used during the Kargil War.

The Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment has successfully produced the Pinaka system for the Indian Armed forces, to give it concentrated high volume firepower to destroy enemy targets.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

"Suicide" Drones for U.S Army

A miniature "kamikaze" drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army's arsenal, officials say.

Dubbed the "Switchblade," the robotic aircraft represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants.

Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier's backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment.

Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify an enemy, the company said in a press release last month.

"Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target," it said.

The drone then flies into the "target," detonating a small explosive.

The California-based firm also said the drone can be called off at the last moment, even after a kill mission has been ordered. That feature provides troops with "a level of control not available in other weapon systems," it said.

The United States currently uses larger Predator and Reaper drones to hunt down suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The robotic planes fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop heavy bombs that can cause civilian casualties and extensive damage, which has fueled popular anger with the United States in Pakistan.

In the war in Afghanistan, US and coalition troops fighting the the Taliban can call in artillery fire or air strikes from fighter jets and attack helicopters. But the heavy firepower has been blamed by Afghan leaders for claiming the lives of innocent civilians and strained US relations with Kabul.

The Switchblade, however, is touted as a way to avoid killing bystanders.

"Flying quietly at high speed the Switchblade delivers its onboard explosive payload with precision while minimizing collateral damage," the company said.

The US Army in June approved a $4.9 million contract for AeroVironment to supply the new drones as soon as possible. Officials have not said how many Switchblade drones were ordered or when the robotic weapons would make into the hands of US forces.

Human rights groups have raised concerns that the use of drones by the CIA has allowed the conduct of a secret assassination campaign abroad without public scrutiny and little oversight by lawmakers in Congress.

Indian Navy Hit By Delays

Even though Indian Navy has been repeating the word "BLUE WATER" like a kinder garden kid who has learnt a new nursery rhyme but that capability remains a pipe dream with many major projects delayed. This will effect the Indian Navy's grandiose dreams of taking on China in South China Sea and beyond.

Many strategic projects of the Indian Navy, ranging from expanding a major naval base on the west coast and manufacturing of many more killer submarines, are nowhere close to realisation.

Now we have been informed that the much touted indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) sea trial has been put off by six months. The 40,000-tonne carrier being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard is now expected to go for the sea trial by the middle of 2012. Just imagine such an important project being delayed due to its gear boxes and generators had not arrived in time as a result of which the time plan was rescheduled, said Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.

The Navy ordered 45 carrier-borne fighters, MiG-29K, for the IAC and the Russian-origin “INS Vikramaditya”. The delivery of the first batch of 16 fighters would be completed by March. But in the absence of any carrier, the fighters are now cooling their heels in Goa.

The Navy’s ambitious second phase expansion plan of Karwar naval base is also stuck. The Rs 20,000-crore project has not yet received the Finance Ministry approval after getting the defence ministry nod.

The phase-II envisages constructing more than twenty additional piers so that the base can house more than 40 ships and submarines at any point of time. Both carriers – “INS Vikramaditya” and IAC – will be based at Karwar, which would release pressure on Mumbai. A top Navy officer said the nuclear reactor on-board “INS Arihant” submarine had not yet gone critical and a certificate from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board would be required before the reactor is fired. The Navy chief, however, assured that the boomer would be on patrol duty before 2012 ended.

Another big-time project to have a second assembly line of six conventional submarines (75I) is also not anywhere close to the starting point as the Navy was trying to avoid a “single vendor” situation. In the initial phase, the project took time, because of issues in “defining the technology” and “creating more stealthy features,” which may include air-independent propulsion that allows conventional diesel-electric submarines to stay longer under water.

The first submarine assembly line under construction at Mazgaon dock is already delayed by close to three years. The first Scorpene submarine is now expected only in 2015 rather than the original target date of 2012.

The Naval satellite too is not on the radar, but the responsibility lies primarily with Isro, which encountered a series of failures with its geo-stationary satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

Saturday, 3 December 2011

INS Arihant To Start Sea Trials Soon

The sea trials of India's indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant are scheduled in a few months from now and it is likely to be inducted into the navy by the end of 2012, when it will lurk in the deep seas awaiting its prey.

Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said at the force's annual press conference Friday ahead of Navy Day on Dec 4 that the process of readying the nuclear-powered submarine was "on track".

"By and large we are on track. A firm date can be given when we go for sea trials that will hopefully happen in a few months from now," Verma said when he was asked about his last Navy Day promise that INS Arihant will go out on high seas patrols by 2012-end.

India had launched the 6,000-tonne submarine into the waters at Visakhapatnam Naval Dockyard on July 26 in 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur were present on the occassion.

INS Arihant has been built under the navy's advanced technology vessel (ATV) programme at a cost of $2.9 billion. The vessel is critical for India possessing the capability to launch nuclear weapons from an underwater platform.

With India's declared "no first use" policy on nuclear weapons, the country's weapons system must survive a first strike for retaliation. To that effect, INS Arihant's primary weapon is stealth as it will be able to lurk in ocean depths of half a kilometre or more and fire missiles from under the sea.

The submarine is powered by an 85 MW nuclear reactor and can acquire surface speeds of 22 to 28 kmph or 12 to 15 knots, apart from a submerged speed of 44 kmph or 24 knots.

With a crew of 95, it will be armed with torpedoes and missiles including 12 ballistic missiles. Four more nuclear-powered submarines of this class have already got government's nod, adding to navy's underwater combat potential in the years to come.

On the safety of the nuclear submarine, the navy chief said there was a requirement of a regulatory authority and Baba Atomic Research Centre will play a major role in this.

He said the issue was not about nuclear safety while the vessel is at port but while it is at sea and hence the modalities for that and basing of specialist on board the vessel are under consideration.