Indian Army successfully test fires Agni-II IRBM for the third time। Agni-II is nuclear capable। The firing on February 20 in full operational configuration। DAC clears proposals worth Rs 15,935 Cr (approx $2.2b) । The approval covers purchae of Rifles, Carbines and Light Machine Guns for the Army, Navy and Air Force । New weapons are required by the Indian Army’s for effective engagement of Pakistani infiltrations । Leading Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir passes away । Globally respected for her liberal views, she was a strong pro-democracy activist । SpaceX Launches the World’s Most Powerful Rocket, and aboard it, Mr Musk’s electric red sports Car । “It’s kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important,” he said Feb 6। Mr Elon Musk owns both SpaceX, the world’s biggest space company, as well as Tesla cars। SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has ferried payload to Space Station but this time, rocket is turbocharged। For the first time, NASA was not involved in launching such a heavy rocket। Singapore Airshow Opens Feb 6 । Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Airbus, Sikorsky, and the global biggies are taking part । Honeywell Provides Fuel Made From Mustard Seeds For Trans-Pacific Flight । Russia views India as a Privileged Partner, says Rostec CEO Chemezov । US Carrier Carl Vinson to make first ever visit to Vietnam in March । Carl Vinson woll dock at Da Nang, apparently boosting bilateral military cooperation । Happy Republic Day to All Indians । Emirates signs agreement for up to 36 additional A380s । India successfully test fires 5000-Km A380s ICBM। Defexpo to be held April 11-15 in Tamil Nadu, India’s southern state। HAL receives RfP for 83 LCA Tejas from IAF। The new LCAs will have AESA combat Radar। IAF had announced the decision for new LCAs sometime back। INS Kalvari commissioned into Indian Navy December 14। Prime Minister Modi ceremonially inducted the Scorpene class boat in Mumbai। Built by state-run MDL with French collaboration, Kalvari is the first submarine inducted after 2000। Modi described the Kalvari as a fine example of Make in India। Five more Kalvari Class submarines are to be commissioned over the next couple of years।
February 23, 2018
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IAF Poised for New Combat Aircraft

Published: October 2016

The Indian Air Force has finally got the deal for new combat aircraft, and the one it selected as its choice after a rigorous process. The number of Rafale jets contracted with France though is small, just 36 or two squadrons if one considers the obsolescence factor that is fast depleting IAF’s numerical strength.

Nonetheless, the Government’s decision to conclude the Rafale deal in about 18 months after the eight-year long MMRCA competition for 126 (plus 63 options) was scrapped is encouraging, particularly as the Ministry of Defence has mostly been in a state of paralysis post the acquisition of Bofors, which drew allegations of poor quality and bribes from politicians and media.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had personally steered the deal with French President Francois Hollande, deserves kudos, and diplomatically, the deal calls for bilateral congratulations and champagne the way the French are celebrating.

For IAF, it’s literally a new beginning in this millennium, as most of its MiG series of aircraft as well as the French Mirage and Anglo-French Jaguars are of the 1970s and 1980s generation. The Air Dominance Su-30 MKI, which was contracted in 1996 with Russia, is being made in India and although its onboard systems are updated regularly, the overall availability of the aircraft is just about 50-plus per cent.

In the case of Rafale, there is a very important guarantee clause to assure its availability at 75 per cent at any given time.

A smiling Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, told India Strategic that the Government is favourably considering to set up a second aircraft manufacturing line under Make in India projects (in addition to that of LCA at HAL). Besides the US Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-16 Super Viper (Block 70), and Swedish Saab Gripen NG, he added, IAF is open for projects for Rafale and Eurofighter also but only under Make in India programmes.

Many foreign companies operating in India say that while they want to do business, the uncertainties over timelines in decision making are deterring, and officers in the MoD keep passing on files to one another without recording conclusive points.

This complaint often comes from the armed forces also, who have to change specifications if, for instance, there is no decision for long for a certain item, and during the years of consideration, new technologies come in.

The Prime Minister had laid down Skill, Scale and Speed as the requirement for the country’s economic development after taking over the reins of the country a couple of years ago. He needs to assure serving and retired bureaucrats, and military officials involved in selection of various weapons and systems, that the Government will pay no heed to the curse of allegations, most of which stem from competing interests and their paid agents.

The country has suffered enough, and the armed forces, Army, Navy, Air Force as well as paramilitary organisations urgently need new weapons and systems.

Their job is to deter an enemy or delete him; they must be empowered with what they ask for. Ensuring competition and speed in decision making will do wonders for creating a modern defence industrial infrastructure.

Gulshan Rai Luthra




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