Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tejas LCA crosses impressive milestone – logs 1,002 flights

India's prestigious Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas programme logged an impressive milestone completing 1002 flights on Thursday. The sortie lasted about 30 minutes, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) sources said here, and was carried out by Group Captain JA Maolankar, chief test pilot of the National Flight Test Centre.

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft took off for its first flight on 4 January 2001 in a sortie that lasted 18 minutes. The flight was carried out by the very first Tejas aircraft called the Technology Demonstrator-1 (TD-1). The programme has come a long way since.

"That the programme achieved this milestone without any major setbacks bears testimony to the skill and competence of all the programme components. The Tejas team has become a role model for executing large R&D programmes in the country," programme director MS Subramanyam said.

The first phase of the LCA programme (Full Scale Engineering Development-Phase I) was geared towards demonstrating four key technologies like the quadruplex redundant digital fly by wire system, an all-glass cockpit, carbon composite primary structures and microprocessor based control of utility systems.

With its successful completion, the programme is now into Phase-II, the objective of which is to deliver an operationally capable aircraft for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) and subsequently into the Indian Navy.

A total of seven aircraft are currently part of the flight test programme.

The Tejas is slated to enter operational service by December 2010 with Initial Operational Clearance.

Speaking to members of "Team Tejas" after the flight, Gp Capt JA Maolankar said: "For a project that has so ambitiously pushed the envelope of indigenous technology, the results have been world-class in many key areas."

Monday, January 19, 2009

India's Multi-layered Air Defence

Some Great videos uploaded by KashSoldier -

PAD -1 and AAD- 02 - Part 1

Part 2 - Surface to Air Missiles (SAM)

Part 3 - Tunguska(India has around 100 Tunguskas)

Part 4 - Indigenous Surface to Air Missile- Akash

Part 5 - PAD, AAD, AD-1 and AD-2

China can't stop India's missile system

India considers its emerging anti-missile system an absolute necessity. As each day passes, the signs of instability in Pakistan become more troubling and the drum beat grows louder from Pakistan's Swat Valley, where a militant culture is taking root which is neither tolerant nor passive in nature.

Beijing cannot be happy about India's anti-missile plans and what this might mean for China's long-term strategic interests in the region. More than anything else, it is the uncertainty of the outcome that is causing it such discomfort. The US seems determined to surround China with US-built anti-missile systems. Using North Korea as a valid excuse at first, the US anti-missile

footprint could soon extend from Japan - including Japanese cruisers stationed offshore - and South Korea to Taiwan and India.
Sure, China's trade with India is growing quickly, but that may prove to be inconsequential. According to Dr Jing-dong Yuan, director of the East Asia Non-proliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies, besides substantial progress in Sino-Indian relations and defense cooperation, trade between the two countries grew to more than US$38 billion in 2007, and the target for 2010 is $60 billion.

China is keenly aware that India's ties to the US and Japan have grown even stronger at the same time.

Writing in World Politics Review in late November in the article "Chinese Perspectives on a Rising India", Yuan said, "Beijing is also wary of New Delhi's eastward strategy of developing greater economic and military ties with Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. Indeed, the increasingly warm ties between New Delhi and Tokyo have been carefully watched by strategic analysts in Beijing."

Having transformed Seoul and Tokyo into perhaps the best-defended capitals in Asia as far as anti-missile capabilities are concerned, the US is now a persistent player behind the scenes in New Delhi. (See India and the US talk missile defense, Asia Times Online, Jan 14.)

Among other things, just days ago, Foreign Policy magazine designated the US-India joint anti-missile program as number four on its list of the "The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2008." The magazine's team wrote:
[A] US-facilitated missile shield in India could become a flash point for great-power struggles for decades to come. The plans are likely to add to fears in Beijing that the United States is attempting to temper China's growing influence in Asia. [US Secretary of Defense Robert M] Gates's trip to New Delhi was part of a tour of three of the region's democracies - India, Australia, and Indonesia - which could be used to counter China's regional ambitions if relations with the United States turn frosty. Even more troubling, an Indian missile shield risks triggering a crisis in the nuclear rivalry between India and Pakistan.
A year ago, V K Saraswat, a senior India Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) official, told the Associated Press that India was on track to start comprehensive tests of its own missile defense system in 2009 using radar technology for tracking and fire control which the DRDO developed jointly with Israel and France. The DRDO did not respond to questions from Asia Times Online.

According to Subrata Ghoshroy, a research associate at the Science, Technology and Global Security Working Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who heads the Promoting Nuclear Stability in South Asia Project, India has already demonstrated its ability to track missiles and launch an interceptor fairly accurately, and also the capability to perform onboard data processing to handle ground-based radar updates until an autonomous seeker can take over for the homing phase.

"India has conducted two intercept tests with an interceptor that is basically a Prithvi missile, their workhorse. I do not know how scripted the tests were. The target surely was not maneuvering," said Ghoshroy.

According to Eric Hagt, China program director at the World Security Institute in Washington DC, India's successful test in a two-tiered system - an exo-atmospheric and the more difficult endo-atmospheric anti-ballistic missile defense systems - "does not necessarily make these systems operational as more tests under more stringent conditions are needed for that, but these successful tests still send a strong message that India is dedicated to acquiring a multi-tiered system, and is making substantive progress toward that goal".

In addition, two new anti-ballistic missiles that can intercept intermediate-range ballistic missiles and inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are in development, according to Hagt.

"These missiles, the AD-1 and AD-2, are being developed to intercept ballistic missiles with ranges of 5,000 kilometers or more. Test trials of these systems are expected some time in the next two years," he said, adding that India's significant work on its support infrastructure for operational missile defense systems - on the ground, in the air and in space - is attracting very little attention as this unfolds.

When China conducted its controversial anti-satellite (ASAT) test in early 2007, India lit up immediately. Dr Sharad Joshi at the Monterey Institute Center for Non-proliferation Studies wrote at length about India's reaction to this ASAT test in his March 2007 special report for the journal WMD Insights. He mentioned Jasjit Singh's role in shaping the debate. A well-known Indian military expert, Singh called attention to the failure of India's military to become engaged in India's space program.

"He expressed concern that China's anti-satellite expertise and its increasing focus on anti-missile defense capabilities could significantly degrade India's strategic nuclear deterrent," wrote Joshi. "He also highlighted the potential threat posed by China's growing cooperation with Pakistan in developing multi-mission satellites, which will increase Pakistan's surveillance capabilities, even as China's anti-satellite weapon capability makes India's emerging space-based surveillance system more vulnerable.

"The analyst also stressed that while China's military related space capabilities are being expanded as a response to US dominance in space, Beijing's growing prowess in this environment could easily be used against India in a future confrontation."

Mindful of China's space might or not, not everyone in India is so willing to endorse a combining of India's military and civilian space teams.

"I do not believe that the India Space Research Organization's (ISRO) success will have any direct impact on the missile defense program. ISRO seems to be focused on demonstrating advances in space technology and missions in direct competition with China and also commercialization through Antrix," said Ghoshroy. "The ISRO brass is still very much civilian and would like to maintain its distance from the military."

At the same time, the ISRO's proud space record has instilled a definite sense of confidence in India's high-tech defense sector.

"The US is hoping to sell India the Patriot Advanced Capability(PAC)-3 missile defense system, [but] the Indians are more interested in building their own systems than buying some from the US," said Victoria Samson, senior analyst at the Washington DC-based Center for Defense Information. "They have had some tests of an air defense system that they built themselves, but this used "proximity fragmentation" instead of a hit-to-kill interceptor. They have approached the US about collaborating to develop a hit-to-kill capability."

Earlier this month, reports about any US-Indian anti-missile cooperation were quickly dismissed by the US Department of Defense.

"China obviously is following this with great interest, since a close US-Indian cooperation in missile defenses not only is an indication of their shared strategic interests, but also has implications for China since they can defend against both Pakistani and Chinese missiles," said Yuan. "Beijing now is more confident that India is not very likely to cede its autonomy in foreign policy and be - and be seen as - part of a US-orchestrated scheme against China. China may not like what it sees, but can live with them."

India has ordered Akash surface-to-air missiles from Bharat Electronics Ltd, which Nathan Hughes, a military analyst at the Texas-based geopolitical intelligence company Stratfor, labeled "an important act of financial investment, even if the [Indian] military reportedly continues to have reservations about its capability".

"The limitation for India has not been the lack of a desire to field the systems, but the technical limitation that they are not ready. Even though it is buying the Akash, it is not at all clear that the missile has meaningful operational capability against Pakistani missiles and Pakistani cruise missiles which present a very different targeting challenge," said Hughes.

"One cannot overstate the technical complexity of sufficiently capable missile defenses," he added. "New Delhi still has years and years of development work to do. The more limited range of Pakistan's arsenal simplifies things somewhat, but places much higher demands on reaction speed."

While India can benefit by studying the different paths being taken recently by countries such as Japan and Turkey, for example, the fact that Israeli satellites are so welcome at ISRO's launch facility on India's southwest coast points to a dynamic and potent partnership.

"[India has] a relationship with Israel that some are worried may

Brahmos Cruise Missile to be Test Fired January 20th

The test-firing of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos will be held on Tuesday January 20th 2009 near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. It was earlier postponed due to heavy fog and rough weather conditions. This is to be the third testing of BrahMos missile in desert conditions.

The missile, jointly developed by India and Russia, was scheduled to be test-fired on Sunday from the Pokran firing range. Reports said a delay in missile's transportation to the test site also led to the postponement which was also linked to prevailing weather conditions.

BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It is a joint venture between India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroeyenia who have together formed the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited.

The acronym BrahMos is perceived as the confluence of the two nations represented by two great rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. At speeds of Mach 2.5 to 2.8, it is the world's fastest cruise missile and is about three and a half times faster than the U.S.A's subsonic Harpoon cruise missile. A hypersonic version of the missile is also presently under development (Lab Tested with 5.26 Mach Speed).

India Working Towards LASER Based Missile Defense System

India is said to be developing a LASER-based weapons system as a part of its Ballistic Missile Defence to intercept and destroy incoming missiles after they are launched in enemy territory.

A ballistic missile take-off has three segments. When launched, it is called boost phase, and followed by the mid course when it reaches the highest point of its trajectory and lastly the terminal phase when it is coming close to the target on ground.

"If you have a laser based system on an airborne or seaborne platform, it can travel at the speed of light and in a few seconds, we can kill a ballistic missile coming towards us," DRDO's Air Defence Programme Director V K Saraswat told reporters in New Delhi. He said the laser-based interceptor will give 'more time' to the BMD system to kill a ballistic missile launched from a distance of 2000 km.

"Suppose if the missile is being launched at Indian target from 2000 km. If I have to kill it there, I will have to travel that distance, which will require many minutes to be there. If you have a laser system travelling at a speed of light, it can kill that missile in its boost phase (just after launch) even before it has travelled a few 100 km," Saraswat, who is Chief Controller R&D, said.

Saraswat said its ideal to destroy a ballistic missile carrying nuclear or conventional warhead in as early as its boost phase. "It's easier to kill a missile in boost phase as it has not gained much speed and is easier to target. It cannot deploy any countermeasures and it is vulnerable at that time," Saraswat said. The distinguished scientist stated that DRDO laboratories like The Laser and Science Technology Centre (LASTEC) was also developing such technologies.

"In LASTEC, we are developing many of these technologies. We have to package these technologies on aircraft like the Americans have done on their systems," he added. Saraswat added that it will take another 10-15 years for the premier defence research institute to make it usable on ground.

Nuclear Plants - Fast Breeder Reactors - Being Redesigned to Cut Costs

Scientists and engineers at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) are hoping to save around Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore or $104 million) by modifying the design of four fast breeder reactors on the anvil for nuclear power plants.

"The proposed reactors are going to be different in many ways from the prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) designed by us and which are under construction," IGCAR director Baldev Raj told reporters.

With the Rs.35-billion PFBR project progressing at good pace at Kalpakkam, 80 km from here, the Indian government has sanctioned building of four more 500 MW fast reactors.

A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes, so that the reaction - that ultimately produces electricity - can continue.

The Indian fast reactors will be fuelled by a blend of plutonium and uranium oxide.

While the reactor will use fission plutonium for power production, it will also breed more plutonium than what it uses from the natural uranium.

The surplus plutonium from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India's needs.

These reactors are also called fast spectrum reactors since the neutrons coming from the fission will not be moderated. Two of the proposed reactors will come up in Kalpakkam, the site for which has been approved, while the location for the remaining two are yet to be finalised.

According to Raj, the four reactors will be designed to last 60 years - an increase of 20 years over PFBR's current life span.

"The blueprint for the four oxide fuel fast reactors is ready. The roadmap for research and development will be ready next month," reactor engineering group director S.C. Chetal told IANS.

According to him, the idea is to sell power at Rs.2 per unit as compared to Rs.3.20 per unit from PFBR; hence the effort to reduce the capital cost.

Detailing the cost-cutting steps, Chetal said: "The proposed reactors will be built as twin units. That means many of the facilities will be shared by the two reactors, which in turn saves capital and running costs."

For instance, there will be fewer welding points, making the reactors safer and more economical.

"The savings will be achieved from reduced material consumption through innovative design design," said P. Chellapandi, director, safety group.

Chellapandi said the safety vessel of the proposed reactors will be smaller than the one installed inside the PFBR's reactor vault: its diameter will be reduced to 11.5 metres from 12.9 metres.

"A reduction of one metre will result in an overall saving of Rs.25 crore (Rs.250 million) on material, fabrication and civil construction."

The new design fast reactors will have six steam generators as against eight in the PFBR and changes will be made in the grid plate, sodium and reactor shutdown systems.

With the experience gained from fabricating giant equipment and the country embarking on a major fast-breeder reactor programme, vendors should be able to lower price.

These apart, the focus will be on sourcing local components and raw materials to save costs. Imports for PFBR consist of sodium and high grade steel, both sourced from France.

"The design changes in the proposed reactors do not mean PFBR is over-designed. The proposed changes will be realistic or less conservative," said Chellapandi.

With the experience gained from PFBR, the new projects can be completed in five years as against seven years, the officials feel.

India buys Warrior spy in the sky

Antenna Technology Communications (ATCi) has sold its Warrior Satellite Monitoring and Surveillance System to the Indian region.

The Warrior Satellite Monitoring System is designed for government and military use and allows snooping on satellite communications. It can manage, control, and archive the data, voice and video content being carried on any given satellite on any given transponder in its viewing arc simultaneously.

It also allows search and retrieval technology which can load metadata into an interlinked network of IP storage servers to provide high grade snooping tools.

In a press release, Antenna Technology said that, thanks to the terror attacks in Mumbai, there has become a heightened requirement for extensive monitoring and surveillance of everything in the sky for India and other countries around the world.

ATCi's CEO, Gary Hatch, said that the company had a long-standing history in successfully implementing several surveillance and monitoring systems for the Department of Defence and other like government and military agencies in the US. This made it logical to build a similar system for the Indian defence network.

He said that it was not enough to simply monitor satellites, as they must also have the ability to associate and provide critical algorithm patterning data which can ultimately process and associate unlimited IP data, thereby delivering greater security. X

Thursday, January 8, 2009

DRDO completes upgrade of MiG-27 for IAF

India has successfully completed the upgrade programmes on the Indian Air Force's (IAF) MiG-27 ground attack fighter aircraft.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out the avionics upgrades on the fighter aircraft.

Initiated in 2002 through a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and IAF, the upgraded MiG-27 aircraft obtained the Initial Operational Clearance in June 2006, which led to the subsequent formation of operational squadrons, DRDO officials said here today.

In the upgraded MiG-27s, the avionics system is built around a modular mission computer termed Core Avionics Computer (CAC).

"These functional modules are powering the mission computers on Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft as well," sources said.

The upgraded ground attack fighters are equipped with Inertial Navigation and Global Positioning System (INGPS) providing accurate navigation during aircraft sorties.

To provide more accuracy to the aircraft's weapon systems, accurate ranging sensors such as Laser Designator Pod (LDP) and Laser Ranger and Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS) have been integrated in it also, they said.

To improve situational awareness of the pilot during air combat, a digital map generator has been integrated along with a digital video recording system, which helps in mission analysis and debrief support.

US in talks with India for providing missile defence

As part of their overall strategic partnership, the US and India are engaged in talks over sale of missile shield systems to help New Delhi face any nuclear threats from Pakistan and other "volatile" countries in the region, a media report here said today.

Quoting unnamed US diplomats, the Financial Times said the preliminary talks took place mainly at a scientific and technical level and American defence officials had conducted computer simulations with their Indian counterparts.

Noting that India is a partner of the US, the officials said "we want to provide it with whatever it needs to protect itself. This fits into the overall strategic partnership we are building."

The Indo-US relations blossomed in the recent years culminating in the signing of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

The report said India's need for greater protection against threats emanating from Pakistan and other volatile countries in the region was highlighted by an escalation in the Indo-Pak tensions in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks.

It claimed that India also views China, with which it has a border dispute, as "a potential adversary."