Sunday, August 21, 2011

India developing solar-powered UAVs

After launching development of stealth UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles), India is now also looking at designing solar-powered spy drones which can cruise in the sky for several days at a time. 

"We are looking forward to develop solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a long range and endurance capability as we plan to diversify our expertise in UAV technology," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesperson Ravi Gupta said. 

The one-of-its-kind UAV will be designed and developed to endure long-range sorties ranging up to a month in all weather conditions, Gupta said.

The high-altitude, long endurance (HALE) solar-powered UAV will not just reduce Indian military's carbon footprint but more importantly provide a cost-effective and flexible 24x7 ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) platform akin to "a pseudo-satellite" orbiting closer to the ground. Besides the armed forces, paramilitary personnel engaged in anti-Naxal operations are also looking forward to procure UAVs to snoop deep into forests inhabited by Left-wing extremists.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

India to build its own stealth fighter jet.

India is getting ready to add another fighter aircraft to its fleet with the DRDO working on an Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft. In a little over a decade from now the Indian Air Force will be needing replacements for its MiG-29, Mirage and Jaguar fighters. The DRDO through its Bangalore based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) will unveil the design for that replacement to the air force brass next year, an indigenous design for a stealth aircraft 

Director General VK Saraswat DRDO said, "Our requirement is to look for a fighter aircraft which will be required after 2025 and that aircraft should have all capabilities in terms of agility, maneuverability, load carrying capacity, low radar cross-section, super cruise." 

The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft could be in the 20 tonne range and composite materials will comprise much of its structure. Weapons will be carried in internal concealed bays and It will be powered by two "Kaveri" engines. 

"It will be powered by our modified 'Kaveri' engine. It will have additional features in terms of better fuel consumption, thrust vectoring, serpentine intakes and also some of the technologies critical for high fuel efficient and high turbine temperatures," said Saraswat. 
Originally the Kaveri was to power the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' but is yet to develop the required thrust forcing the authorities to opt for the GE414 engine. Given that experience, the DRDO through the ADA plans to collaborate with a foreign engine manufacturer to speed up the development and testing work.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter likely to compete in South Korean tender

The export version of Russia's T-50 fifth-generation fighter, also called as the PAK-FA, is likely to compete in a South Korean tender for 60 fighter aircraft with advanced Stealth capability. The version is being jointly developed by India and Russia and will be ready to fly in 2016.

India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will be a major beneficiary of this procurement as many of the aircraft electronics systems are to developed in India as part of the workshare agreement between India and Russia. The two countries are sharing the development cost of the project estimated at US$35 billion.

A RiaNovosi report quoting an unnamed official of the Moscow based Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade said that the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) had expressed an interest in having the T-50 compete along with Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle and the Eurofighter Typhoon. A report from Seoul said that the DAPA is likely to issue request for proposals late next year for the acquisition to happen by 2016-17. The PAK-FA is expected to ready for delivery in 2016-17 for both the Russian and India Air Forces.

The PAK-FA is scheduled to make its first pubic appearance at the Moscow International Air Show (MAKS 2011) currently on in the Russian capital. Two prototypes of the aircraft have been making test flights since 2010.

India plans to induct the FGFA by 2017. Defence Minister A K Antony had said during the Aero India 2011 show, "the difficulties in joining this programme are over. We've signed a deal with the Russians, and we will see the FGFA inducted by 2017".

Mikhail Pogosyan, chief executive of Russia's United Aircraft Corp said during a brief media interaction here that the Indo-Russian fifth generation project was on track.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Prahaar Missile

Prahaar (Sanskrit:प्रहार, Strike) is a solid fueled surface-to-surface guided short-range tactical ballistic missile by DRDO of India. It would be equipped with omni-directional warheads and could be used for hitting both tactical and strategic targets 


The Prahaar is the latest missile to be added to India's arsenal of ballistic missiles and was developed keeping in mind the Indian Army's 'Cold Start' doctrine, which envisions a rapid thrust by armored regiments into Pakistan in the event of a provocation. The Prahaar would play a key role in disrupting and destroying enemy infrastructures as well as lines of communication before Indian ground forces move in.

The missile was developed with two main factors in mind:, accuracy and rapid response. Accuracy was important as it allows for the targeting of individual, 'tactical' targets, as opposed to an artillery strike or rocket barrage which is usually directed at broader areas of impact. The Prahaar is also designed to carry various types of sub-munitions or a unitary warhead. For example, it will be able to carry up to 400 AT/AP bomblets, scatterable mines, anti-runway munitions and similar loads, making it effective for a wide number of targets. The Prahaar's payload compartment is being developed by the DRDO in cooperation with Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI) MLM Systems Integration Division and Israel Military Industries' (IMI) Rocket Systems Division.

The Prahaar was first test launched on 21st July, 2011 from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur. The DRDO reported that the missile took off, reached a height of 35 kilometers, and hit a designated target in the Bay of Bengal 150 kilometers away with an accuracy of 10 meters. The total flight time was 250 seconds, or just under four minutes. The Prahaar fulfilled all test parameters.


The Prahaar is a solid fueled single stage missile with which the Indian Army hopes to fill a crucial gap in it's surface-to-surface arsenal. As of now the Army can choose to either use it's Pinaka and Smerch Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) for ground bombing or for a bigger punch choose the Prithvi missile which can carry warheads of more than 500 kg. However, there is a large gap between the MBRLs and the Prithvi, and it is precisely this gap which the Prahaar is to fill. Unlike the unguided rockets launched by the Pinaka or Smerch, each Prahaar missile is guided and has an accuracy of ±10 meters over a range of 150 kilometers.

The Prahaar missile system comes in sets of six missiles, all sharing the same launcher. With this, the missiles can either be fired singularly, or in a salvo with single and multiple target designations. The Prahaar missile system is intended for use primarily by the Army against enemy targets deep within enemy lines. Until now this role has fallen on the Indian Air Force, at the cost of many pilots' lives as well as lost aircraft, the Prahaar should greatly reduce the burden on the IAF in this regard. For this purpose it is speculated that even the Air Force would be interested by the Prahaar Missile system.


The Prahaar has been designed with mobility in mind and therefore it's primary launcher is a 8 x 8 Tatra Transporter Erector Launcher which has been developed by Tata. This is better known as the Road Mobile System which includes 6 separately enclosed Prahaar missiles as well as a state of the art command centre which allows for seamless communication between decision makers and the Prahaar missile batteries. As a result of this, once the launch command is given it takes less than 10 minutes for the missiles to hit their intended targets. Another aspect of the launcher is that missiles can be launched in any direction across the entire azimuth-plane, thereby eliminating the need to spend precious time maneuvering the launcher.


Weight: 1280 kg
Length: 7.3 meters
Diameter: 0.42 meter
Warhead:200 kg
Propellant: Solid
Operational range: 150 km
Speed: Mach 2.03 (2160 km/h)
Launch platform: 8 x 8 Tatra Transporter Erector Launcher

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier to be launched in Dec

Air Defence Ship 

The construction of the first indigenous aircraft carrier 'Air Defence Ship' at Cochin is scheduled to be completed by December after which the 40,000 tonne vessel will be launched, the Lok Sabha was informed.

"Regarding the ADS being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard limited (CSL), 75 per cent of hull work has been completed and is expected to be launched in December 2011, after which further work will be undertaken prior to its commissioning," Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday in reply to a query.

He said Indian-made warship quality steel was now available in the country, which will reduce the country's dependence on foreign sources.

"With the infrastructure and experience, indigenous aircraft carrier-sized ships can be built at CSL. Now Indian-manufactured warship quality steel is available, which will reduce dependence on foreign countries," he said.

Outlining India's plans to have an aircraft carrier on both the seaboards, the minister said, "To maintain effective presence in our area of interest, Indian Navy should be capable of deploying Carrier Task Forces in two geographically separated locations."

Commenting on the work on the Admiral Gorshkov project in Russia, Antony said, "The refit and modernisation works on board the INS Vikramaditya are progressing in an earnest manner."

"Consequent to signing of supplementary agreements in March 2010, the Russian side has increased the manpower and material resources considerably for the project. A majority of the equipment and systems have been installed on board the ship. The delivery of the ship is scheduled in December 2012," he said.

Monday, August 1, 2011

India building space shuttle

India is working towards realising its dream - to create a re-usable satellite launch vehicle. An engineering model of what scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) call the re-usable launch vehicle, is currently housed at a secure and secret facility in Kerala. Covered with special heat resistant tiles, soon it will roar skywards.

A reusable launch system (or reusable launch vehicle, RLV) is a launch system which is capable of launching a launch vehicle into space more than once. This contrasts with expendable launch systems, where each launch vehicle is launched once and then discarded.

The news about Indian Space Shuttle is not new. In the end of 1980s and beginning of 1990s India had plans to develop the small Space Shuttle named Hyperplane that would to be orbited by non-reusable launchers. Then plans differed to project Avatar RLV as a single-stage system.AVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation) is a single-stage reusable spaceplane capable of horizontal takeoff and landing, being developed by India's Defense Research and Development Organization along with Indian Space Research Organization and other research institutions; it could be used for cheaper military and civilian satellite launches.
When operational, it is planned to be capable of delivering a payload weighing up to 1,000 kg to low earth orbit.

"We are dreaming about a fully re-usable vehicle, there are several elements we need to understand as of now we have a technology demonstrator," said Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO.

The unmanned Indian space shuttle will be initially launched vertically like a rocket and in the first few flights it will be dropped back into the sea, but later it will make a landing like any other aircraft.

ISRO belives that this technology can drastically reduce the cost of launching satellites to space.