Saturday, January 30, 2010

Russia-India fighter makes successful maiden test flight

Russia’s new fifth-generation stealth fighter (FGFA), a joint project with India which is set to form the backbone of the two nations’ air power till the mid-21st century, made a successful maiden test flight on Friday.

The plane performed “very well” during a 47-minute flight at an airfield in the far eastern city of Komsomoslk-on-Amur and met “all our expectations,” a spokesman for the Sukhoi Corporation, which designed the FGFA, said.

The flight marked a breakthrough for Russia, making it the second country in the world after the U.S. to have built a fifth-generation fighter plane. The FGFA will also be a quantum jump for India as the first joint project with Russia where the Indian aviation industry will be a full-fledged partner.

Under a 2007 inter-governmental agreement, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited took a 50 per cent investment stake in the $8-billion project and will contribute 25 per cent of design and development work. The two countries will shortly sign commercial contracts and set up a joint venture company to build the aircraft.

India will be responsible for supplying the plane’s navigation systems, mission computer, cockpit displays and will provide composites for the airframe. While the Russian Air Force has opted for a single-seater, the IAF will get a modified two-seater derivative.

The Russian Air Force is expected to begin inducting the new aircraft in 2015. The twin-seat version for the IAF may be ready two years later. Each side plans to acquire 250 planes.

Sukhoi head Mikhail Pogosyan voiced confidence that the FGFA will beat the U.S. F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters in cost-effectiveness.

“The joint Russian-Indian aircraft will not only strengthen the defence might of the Russian and Indian air forces, but will take a worthy place in the world market,” said Pogosyan, whose company’s previous project, the Su-30 fighter jet, has become a world bestseller. India has purchased 140 Su-30MKI and will build as many under licence.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said he expected the FGFA aircraft to be very competitive in international markets because its price would be significantly lower than that of the American rivals.

“I think by definition this aircraft will be able to occupy up to one-third of the market,” the analyst said.

According to designers, the FGFA will be a truly stealth plane almost invisible to enemy radars: it will be 40 times harder to detect than the Su-30MKI.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

India to soon test N-capable Agni-III, missile defence system

After beginning to base Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets in the North-East, India is now finally gearing up to conduct another test of the China-specific 3,500-km-range Agni-III ballistic missile in February-March.
DRDO scientists are also on course to shortly test their fledgling two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD), which has been tested three times till now and is designed to track and destroy hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere.
As reported earlier, the ongoing Phase-I BMD system is geared towards tackling enemy missiles with a 2,000-km range, Phase-II is being designed to intercept incoming missiles in the 5,000-km class range. But it will take some years for the BMD system to become fully operational.
Similarly, Agni-III will be ready only by 2012-2013. The first test of the rail-mobile missile, which is 16.7-metre tall and has a lift-off weight of 50 tonnes, in July 2006 had flopped miserably. But the subsequent two tests, in April 2007 and May 2008, were deemed successful.
Agni-III is crucial since it will provide India with the capability to strike deep into China, bringing cities like Shanghai and Beijing within its potent reach.
India's most ambitious strategic missile Agni-V, with a 5,000-km range, in turn, will be ready for its first test only by early-2011 or so.
Both Agni-III and Agni-V are primarily designed to bolster India's "active credible deterrence posture'' against China, especially since it has a clear-cut "no-first use'' nuclear doctrine.
China's expanding nuclear and missile arsenal, of course, has even the US worried. The Chinese DF-31A ICBM, with a strike range of 11,270 km, for instance, can target any location in the continental US.
India's missile programme is rudimentary by these standards, and even lags behind Pakistan in certain aspects. In fact, only the Prithvi (150-350 km) and Agni-I (700-km) missiles, primarily meant for Pakistan, can be said to be fully operational in the armed forces till now.
The Agni-II missile, with a 2,000-km range, failed to meet its laid-down flight parameters in two tests last year. DRDO scientists, however, hold that the tests failed due to manufacturing glitches rather than technological ones. There is need to fine-tune the industry involved in Agni-II's production to achieve higher efficiency, they say.

India to build two more fast breeder reactors

Two more fast breeder reactors of 500 MWe capacity each would be set up here by 2020, a top official of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) said on Tuesday.

“In addition to the prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR), work on which is nearing completion, we have planned to construct two more reactors of this kind,” IGCAR Director Dr Baldev Raj told reporters here.

He said the work on the two reactors was expected to start by 2014.

On the ongoing work on the Rs 3,500-crore first FBR, Raj said the physical and civil construction was almost complete and it would be commissioned by October 2011.

The safety vessel and main vessel had already been placed in the reactor vault while the inner vessel would be installed before the reactor was closed, he said.

Other works, including primary piping and electrical, would be completed very soon, Raj said.

The testing of indigenously developed fission chamber would be carried out for three months from February end.

Stating that officials were ensuring the safety of the reactor, double testing each and every aspect, he said more validation was being done in each and every parameter.

On cost over run, he said the increase in the prices of steel and cement would push up the cost by 15-20 per cent.

On possible competition by China in FBR technology, he said country was trying to buy two reactors from Russia.

In future, IGCAR would go in for 1000 mw FBRs, the Director added.

Mighty Display

A multi-barrel rocket launcher

Nuclear-capable Agni III missile rolls past

Arjun Army tanks

The Multiple Launch Rocket System

The Rohini Radar

India celebrates Republic Day



Paramilitary soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India on January 26, 2010.



President Pratibha Patil along with chief guest Korean President Lee Myung-bak leaving after the 61st Republic Day function at Rajpath in New Delhi on Tuesday.



Paramilitary jawans march amids fog during the 61st Republic Day function at Rajpath in New Delhi on Tuesday.



A Jammu and Kashmir state police daredevil performs stunts during the Republic Day celebrations in Jammu, India.



A marching contingent during the 61st Republic Day celebrations at Marina beach in Chennai on Tuesday.



Daredevils presenting a show during the 61st Republic Day function at Rajpath in New Delhi on Tuesday.



A marching contingent during the 61st Republic Day celebrations at Marina beach, in Chennai on January 26, 2010.



Indian paramilitary soldiers march on top of their camels during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India.




Veteran athletes PT Usha, Milkha Singh and other sports persons at the tableau of Sports Ministry on Commonwealth Games 2010, during the 61st Republic Day function at Rajpath in New Delhi.

Monday, January 25, 2010

India working on anti-satellite capabilities: DRDO

India is making the "building blocks" of the technology to develop anti-satellite capabilities as part of its space security measures.
"We are making the building blocks of technology for the space security measures and they are of two types, active and passive. So, we are developing both these elements in this programme," DRDO chief V K Saraswat told reporters.
He was responding to queries on India's plans to develop capabilities to destroy satellites in space while speaking on the sidelines of a function to sign MoUs between DRDO laboratories and private industries to commercialise technologies developed by the defence research organisation.
Asked about the developments in the indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence programme, he said, "the (BMD) test is going to be conducted in February.

Monday, January 18, 2010

India soon to become self-reliant in cryogenic propulsion technology: ISRO chief

India is getting ready to launch Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with indigenously developed cryogenic engine, said Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman.

Dr. Radhakrishnan was talking to reporters at Sabarimala Sannidhanam during his 47th pilgrimage to Lord Ayyappa Temple there on Sunday.

He said ISRO is planning to test GSLV-D3 carrying the communication satellite GSAT-4 with a two tonne payload at Sriharikottah on January 24.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said achieving self-reliance in cryogenic propulsion technology would boost India’s image, besides taking it to the league of select countries having the technology. So far, India has been using Russian-made cryogenic engines in its launching vehicles.

He said ISRO was also planning to undertake a space mission to take man to space and bring him back safe after conducting studies for a few days there.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Russia and India are set to jointly develop helicopters, infantry fighting vehicles and a fifth-generation fighter

Following a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military cooperation, Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony is moving ahead with the two countries cooperation agreement for 2011-2020.

The cooperation include the modernization of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov) for the Indian navy, the transfer of technology for the licensed assembly of T-90 tanks in India, the production of BrahMos missiles and the purchase of Smerch MLRS by India.

It also includes modernizing MiG-27 Flogger ground support aircraft, Su-30MKI fighter jets, T-72M1 and T-90S tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles currently in service with the Indian Armed Forces.

India secretly counters Chinese successful Anti Ballistsic Missile test

According to souurces close to Indian military defense reserach institute (it is no longer DRDO at Pune, the secret advanced organization is fully classified), India is ahead of Chinese missile technologies in stealth, target precision management, and algorithmic evasion.

The recent ABM test in China was closely followed by Indian top military space scientists. It actually exposed China's weakness and vulnerability. It also brought smiles among the Indian scientists and engineers because if this is what Chinese could perform to scare the Americans, then China has really to worry about Indian capabilities. India has two sets of program. One is open and the other is secret. The open specs are far behind the real specs. The open program boasts Prithvi Air Defense anti-ballistic missile interceptor. Last year, India showed the world how Prithvi Air Defense anti-ballistic missile interceptor achieved all the mission objectives. The two-stage interceptor missile fitted with advanced systems hit the target enemy missile at 75 kilometers (47 miles) altitude. But India does not talk about its secret program that far exceeds Prthvi's capabilities.

More :

ISRO launches 10 Rockets to study Solar Eclipse

Thiruvananthapuram: Breaking News! The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 10 Rohini series indigenous sounding rockets from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Thursday and Friday to study solar eclipse.

Yesterday, on January 15, the longest annular solar eclipse of the century occurred and was visible in almost all parts of India.

The VSSC launched two sounding rockets each of the type RH 300 Mk II and RH 200 on Thursday and and three sounding rockets of the type RH 300 Mk II and two sounding rockets of RH 200 on Friday from Thumba.

The VSSC also launched a larger Rohini rocket of the RH 560 Mk II series from Sriharikota on Friday. The annular solar eclipse occurred over Thumba at 11.15 PM yesterday. It achieved an obscuration of 91 per cent and lasted for about 11 minutes.

The rockets will collect relevant data on atmospheric structure and dynamics at different altitudes from the earth before, during and after the eclipse.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

INS Tarkash, INS Trikand to float out by 2010-end

After floating out INS Teg – the first Talwar class guided missile frigate in November last, Russia now aims to float out the other two vessels it is building for Indian Navy by the end of this year.
The Yantar shipyard, which is constructing the new frigates, will float out INS Tarkash and INS Trikand by 2010-end, a shipyard spokesperson was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying on Monday.
Russia is building the vessels for India as per a $1.6 billion contract signed in July 2006.
INS Teg became waterborne on November 27, 2009. Its sea trials are expected to start this year after which it will be handed over to Indian Navy by 2011-12.
The new class of missile frigates is designed to accomplish a wide range of maritime missions, primarily hunting down and destroying large surface ships and submarines.
They would be equipped with BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missiles. Each new vessel would feature a 100-mm gun, a Shtil air defense system, two Kashtan air defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
Indian Navy is presently operating the Russian-made INS Talwar, INS Trishul, and INS Tabar missile frigates.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Astra test-fired successfully

India on Monday testfired two rounds of country’s first beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAM) Astra back-to-back from integrated test range (ITR) off Orissa coast.

The missile was flight-tested in fully operational stage between 9.45 am and 12.15 pm from the launching complex-II. Once operational, this futuristic weapon will propel India into an elite club of countries such as the US, Russia, France and Israel.

Defence sources said the missile was launched from a specially-built ground launcher and both the flight tests turned out to be huge success for the DRDO. “The missile covered the desired distance as coordinated.

It hit two simulated targets and met all the mission objectives. The tests were aimed at checking the control system and its stability,” ITR director S P Dash said.

The indigenously developed Astra is designed for an 80-km range in head-on mode and 20 km-range in tail-chase mode. As an anti-aircraft missile, it can be fired after receiving a signal from the far away target through its on-board manoeuvres based on radio frequency.

Entirely a complex missile, Astra can intercept fast-moving aerial targets at supersonic speeds (1.2 to 1.4 Mach). A source informed that the missile covered about 20 km.

In November last, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), which is spearheading the development of the missile, had successfully carried out captive flight trials of Astra on Sukhoi-30 MKI combat aircraft at Pune Air Force station.

“Now the ground tests were also proved successful. The missile is expected to go for integrated trial within a year,” Dash added.

The single-stage, smokeless, solid propelled missile is one of the smallest missiles developed by the DRDO as far as size and weight is concerned.

The missile was initially planned to arm Jaguar, MiG-29 and the light combat air-craft (LCA) Tejas, but meanwhile DRDO has started concentrating on integrating Astra with Indian Air Force’s frontline fighter air-craft like Sukhoi-30 MKIs and Mirrage-2000.

“The unique feature of the missile is that since it can’t be traced by any enemy radar, it can successfully destroy targets. In terms of sheer technology, the Astra is more complex than even the nuclear-capable Agni series of strategic ballistic missiles,” said a defence scientist.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

India's SARAL-Altika satellite to study rising sea level

With ocean scientists reporting a nine mm rise in sea levels in four years, India will launch an exclusive satellite later this year to study the changes in the environment.

The SARAL-Altika satellite will complement the current observations of the sea made by current satellites like Jason-2 of the French Space Agency and NASA.

“The SARAL-Altika to be launched by this year-end will have a high-resolution altimeter in the Ka-band,” Marc Pircher, Director of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency said on the sidelines of the 97th Indian Science Congress here.

He said the satellite would be useful in studying the sea state, light rainfall climatalogy, mean sea level and coastal altimetry.

Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said that SARAL-Altika would help ocean scientists gather accurate data on the rise in the sea level which could threaten the low lying and coastal areas of the country.

“SARAL-Altika will have a Ka-band altimeter which will measure the rise in the sea levels accurately than the current satellites,” he said.

SARAL-Altika, an Indo-French collaboration in the environment monitoring domain, will have two independent payloads – ARGOS-3 and Altika – whose objective would be to promote the study of environment from space.

IAF to induct BRAHMOS missile in 2012

The country's prestigious 'BRAHMOS' missile would be inducted into the Air Force in 2012 that would ensure all the three wings of the military are equipped with the supersonic cruise missile, a top Defence official said on Tuesday.
"We have developed the airborne missile part, and process of integrating it with the Aircraft 'Sukhoi' was progressing', BrahMos Aerospace Ltd CMD A Shivathanu Pillai told PTI at the BrahMos Aerospace's facility here.
Trial run of Airborne BRAHMOS missile would be held next year and the target was to integrate it with the Aircraft in 2012, he said.
As far as integration of the missile was concerned, the original designers of the aircraft were also involved, he said.
"We are working with them (Sukhoi). Some changes are necessary and once the alteration is identified, we will introduce the same in the aircraft," Pillai said.
With that, all the three wings of Indian military -- Air Force, Navy and Army -- would have the supersonic missile 'BRAHMOS', he said.
Development of a new version of BRAHMOS missile, involving a technology that would discriminate the target and attack, in 2009 was a major achievement, he added.
Three flights on the new version had proved successful and the army would be inducting two more of this version shortly, Pillai said.
On the next generation cruise missile, he said hypersonic BrahMos missile was in design stage.

India to test - fly Light Combat Helicopter in December

India is ready to test fly a prototype of the indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) by end of December.
“The first prototype of LCH is expected to take to the skies between December 26 and December 29,” PTI quoted a senior HAL official as saying.
The light combat helicopter, designed and developed by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), is currently undergoing functional tests and is expected to be ready for ground run by December 24.
LCH is expected to get the initial operational clearance (IOC) by December 2010 and the final operational clearance (FOC) in 2011.
The delivery of the machines expected to begin from 2014 will augment the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet of small and highly manoeuvrable rotary flying machines.
LCH would also have a weaponised version, similar to ALH. “There will be rocket pods, a machine gun and also air-to-air missiles in the combat version of LCH. But in the first prototype all these features will not be there,” the official said.
HAL has also started design of a light observation helicopter (LOH) which would eventually replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which have been in service since 1978.
“We have got about 600 of them (Cheetah and Chetak) in service now. They are reaching the end of their technical life as they have flown 60,000 hours or more,” he said.
HAL has already bagged a firm order to deliver 65 LCH to the IAF and 114 to the Army.

India to produce first light helicopter

The CMD of the Cochin International Airport Ltd, Dr CG Krishnadas Nair said that India would soon make a headway in the areospace industry by producing a light helicopter which would fly at a level of 6 km. He urged the government for a proactive aeronautic policy and setting up of adequate institutes for aeronautic study.

ISRO to launch Cartosat-2B in March

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch Cartosat series 'Cartosat-2B' remote sensing satellite in March this year, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said here today.
The testing of Cryogenic engine system for GSLV will also be held soon, Radhakrishnan said on the sidelines of the inauguration of 'IIST@Schools', an initiative of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology to introduce to schoolchildren, space activities and its social implications.
Inputs received through Cartosat are mainly used to plan development activities in rural and urban areas of the country.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, he said India has outlined a series of challenging and exciting space programmes, including Chandrayan-2 and man-mission to space.
"India is capable of sending a man to space and bringing him back with our GSLV technology," the ISRO chief said.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

India readying weapon to destroy enemy satellites: Saraswat

Indian defence scientists are readying a weapons system to neutralise enemy satellites operating in low-earth orbit, a top defence scientist said here on Sunday.

"India is putting together building blocks of technology that could be used to neutralise enemy satellites," Defence Research and Development Organisation Director General V K Saraswat told reporters on the sidelines of the 97th Indian Science Congress.

However, he added that the defence scientists have not planned any tests but have started planning such technology which could be used to leapfrog to build a weapon in case the country needed it.

Saraswat, who is also the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, said the scientists were planning to build the weapon which would have the capacity to hit and destroy satellites in low-earth orbit and polar orbit.

Usually, satellites in such orbits are used for network centric warfare and neutralising such spacecraft would deny enemy access to its space assets.