Category Archives: indian air force

SINO-INDIAN BORDER: After years of escalation, the unmarked line is cooling down. I report.

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Story appeared in MAIL TODAY on December 30, 2016

2 MINUTE VIDEO explaining the story: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/india-china-border-violation-chinese-military-indian-defence-lowered-down/1/845499.html

PRINT REPORT: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/indian-chinese-soldiers-border-violations-lac-cheshul-depsang-ladakh-itbp/1/845300.html

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LCA TEJAS: IAF’s new ‘Flying Daggers’ which 33 yrs later still have some distance to cover

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) has fixed July 1 as the tentative date for a home-coming it has long awaited. A squadron of the indigenously designed and built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be commissioned and thereafter join the ranks of frontline jets like Sukhoi 30MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 among others in securing the Indian airspace. The event, which will be held in Bengaluru, however, is far from receiving the kind of attention it should.

And there are reasons.

To begin with, a typical IAF fighter squadron will consist of 16-17 jets and one or two trainers of the same aircraft. In the present case, the IAF has merely two aircraft from the series production which are ready and available. There is a third one too nearing completion but it may not make it on the given date.

That however is a smaller mountain to climb.

INDIA TODAY has learnt that there are uncertainties in validating the production set up of the LCA. While the IAF would like to have 16 aircraft a year, the infrastructure to deliver even eight is untested.

VIDEO OF THE STORY: 

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/iaf-facing-challenges-over-commissioning-first-tejas-squadron-in-bengaluru/1/701139.html

T Suvarna Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the manufacturer of the aircraft, said, “We have established manufacturing infrastructure in Bengaluru for production of eight LCA per annum. The rated capacity would be achieved once the Standard Of Preparation (SOP) is frozen by ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency).” SOP in simpler terms is the configuration, design and a host of other technical specifications which unless frozen, the maker cannot start serial production. He added, “HAL has submitted a proposal to the Defence Ministry to ramp up the rate of production from eight aircraft to 16 per annum. HAL is planning to establish the facilities within three years from the date of approval.” When asked the IAF and ADA denied that SOP was an issue any longer.

CD Balaji, Director ADA said, “Updates will keep taking place as the aircraft is flown more often. To say that the design isn’t frozen and that it is delaying everything is not correct.”

Is the road ahead only about building factories and fighter planes inside its walls?

A source closely linked to the project explained, “IAF has achieved what can be called as interim satisfaction. We won’t send the LCA to the front if there is a war tomorrow. But we have to start flying it and getting involved with it. May be in a year or two, we would have fine-tuned the plane.” He also shared that in the subsequent versions the IAF is looking at acquiring Air to Air refueling capability, firing of advanced weapons, utilizing a lighter LCA with a more powerful engine from the present F404-GE-IN20 among other things. “Maintenance is still a major issue with Tejas,” he revealed.

The first lot of 20 LCA Tejas, to which the two available aircraft belong, is being built in what is called as Initial Operational Clearance configuration. It is a stage that the development programme achieved in December 20, 2013. It was to have later achieved the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) but it hasn’t. It is likely to achieve the same by the March 2017. With that done, 20 more LCA will be built in that configuration. From there on production of LCA Tejas Mark 1 will cease and 80 aircraft of Mark 1A configuration, the aircraft the IAF is really eyeing, will have to be made and proven. Few can or are willing to speak about timelines, quite naturally.

Defence Ministry’s statement to Parliament last year put the figure incurred on the LCA programme at Rs 7399.69 crore. The total outlay including the naval variant is estimated at Rs 14033.2 crore.

Calls for parallel certification and production for the future LCA are growing. So is the clamour for a robust and export-oriented production line for the aircraft.

Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd), “What is happening may look odd in terms of squadron strength but in the long run it will all be worth it if we learn from our mistakes of which we have made many.”

WHAT IS LCA TEJAS?

  1. Following the last flight of the indigenously made Hindustan Fighter (HF) 24 in 1961, need was felt to build an indigenously designed fighter
  2. In 1984 Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) was formed to manage the LCA programme
  3. First flight flown on January 4, 2001
  4. Total test flights flown till date – 3184
  5. Can fly at heights up to 50,000ft
  6. Maximum speed can exceed the speed of sound (1300kmph)
  7. Wingspan 8.20m
  8. Length 13.20m
  9. Height 4.40m
  10. Weight 6560kg

FIRST WOMEN FIGHTER PILOTS: Account of a day unlikely to be ever forgotten

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On a cool, crisp morning, everyone looked to the sky and prayed. It would rain, the weatherman had warned.

As those gathered at the tarmac readied themselves to witness the ‘Combined Graduation Parade’ of the 197th course at the Air Force Academy (AFA), it was clear that this would be no ordinary affair. From the enhanced visitor count to the commensurate security detail to the handful broadcast vans of news networks to the curiosity in its run up, the distinction was measurable in more ways than one.

Before the day could mature any further, it was over.

At 9am, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced, reading from a written speech, “It is a red letter day. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted three women pilots as fighter pilots”. Before ending his five-minute speech which was followed by the young officers taking oath and then marching off, he paused and said, “Yours is the noblest and most honourable of all professions.”

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The crowd seated before the iconic Sekhon block was in rapt attention and history, as the cliché goes, had been made.

Reflecting back at the last six months during which Flying Officer Mohana Singh, one among the three women fighter pilots, not only made the decision to opt for the fighter stream mid-way through the course but also worked hard at her training, her mother Manju Singh said, “She did not discuss too much. She hardly had time. The training must have been very intense. Yes, there were moments of stress and when she told me so, I told her she had made her choice and that she should believe in herself”.

On October 8 last year, during his customary Air Force Day parade address, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said something which despite years of litigation and activism could not be said. The IAF, he mentioned, was opening its doors in a manner unprecedented. It was planning to induct women as fighter pilots. Raha conveyed a radical shift in the softest of terms the impact of which will be felt for decades to come.

The words even resounded in the distant Dundigal where inside the 6700-acre campus of the AFA, then flying cadets Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth picked them up. The trio, a part of the 197th course, was inching closer to completing their ‘Stage One’ training which included among other things successfully completing 55 hours of flying the Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) Pilatus.

A beaming Bhawana recounted, “To share a secret, I always wanted to be a fighter pilot but when we joined the option was not there. So when it came to us in December 2015, I knew I was going to grab it with both my hands.”

The three volunteered, as the regulations required.

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IAF’s evaluation of their physical and mental aptitude, which the force insists has been gender neutral, found them fit. In the next stage, which culminated in today’s ‘Combined Graduation Parade’, the trio, along with 90 other flying cadets successfully completed their ‘Stage Two’ which also involved flying the vintage Kiran intermediate trainer aircraft for 87 hours.

Will the IAF’s women fighter pilots, once qualified, carry out cross-border raids, should the situation so demand? How will the country respond if one of them were to be captured as Prisoners of War (PoWs)?

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Parrikar was not his usual direct self while answering.

He said, “I see no reason why they can’t do what their male counterparts can however their numbers will be relatively lower.” Standing in a corner, DP Chaturvedi, an engineer in the Madhya Pradesh government and Flying Officer Avani’s father took the question head on, “It was my daughter’s call. Her natural instincts propelled her and we will always admire her. I am a firm believer of the Gita. What is in the destiny will happen and nobody can stop what is destined”.

When the final round, ‘Stage Three’ commences, it will require the Flying Officers to report at the air force station in Bidar, Karnataka. Their next examination will be on the Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk. It promises to be the longest of all and will take about a year to overcome. If they fail, the dream of flying the fighter will die. “Whether male or female, if the officer does not qualify the stage in that one attempt then the fighter stream is not for them. The IAF may, based on a variety of factors, allow them to qualify for transport or helicopters, but not fighters,” clarified Air Marshal GP Singh, AFA Commandant.

For now, the trio and their 127 course-mates have earned themselves a break, ranging between two to four weeks.

How heavy is the burden of being who they’d now become?

Avani was quick on the response. “There are many women pilots who have flown Pilatus and Kiran before us. Till now, we have not done anything special. What we will now do will be special and we hope we will do good,” she replied.

The fighters indeed are firmly on the ground.

(http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ground-report-feet-firmly-on-the-ground-indias-women-fighter-pilots-take-off/1/695326.html)

VIDEO LINKS FOR THE STORY: 

AGUSTAWESTLAND: MoD’s quiet U-TURN in Italy that left even top law officers guessing. I write.

STORY ONE – May 30, 2016

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Attorney Gian Luca Grossi who was hired by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) inside his Milan office

In June 2013, it was a hard fought victory which came against a battery of Italy’s top defence lawyers. The court granted India the position of a civil party in the corruption proceedings against the top bosses of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland. By this, India got involved, got the right to seek damages and secured access which was unavailable till then. On April 28, this year, calling corruption as the ‘core issue’,  the Ministry of Defence (MoD) swore to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in pursuing the wrong doers.

In all of this, what the MoD did not announce or explain was its decision to quit the Italian judicial process altogether. This implies India neither remained a party nor qualified for damages.

In February 2015, India decided to not challenge a lower court order in Italy which in October 2014 declared there was no corruption in the case.

Speaking exclusively to India Today, Attorney Gian Luca Grossi, who represented the MoD at the lower court at Busto Arsizio where the trial went on from June 19 2013 to October 9 2014 said, “MoD was civil party in the trial, in the first stage in Busto Arsizio. It came in only at the end of the first trial there. Then India decided to not go ahead with the appeal. Lower court gave a clear verdict saying there was impossibility of bribery. MoD decided to quit the trial. I don’t know why, but they decided to quit. I respect that.”

When asked what did he advice the MoD, he said, “I think our advice was to stay on, stay inside also in the second degree at the Tribunale (Court of Appeal). I told them I was not confident (about their exit). It wasn’t a very easy decision but 51 per cent I would have stayed against 49 per cent to pull out. He added, “If I had the choice in my hands, I probably would’ve (stayed). When you make a choice, take a path, even if you find some problems in walking, you have to go ahead, you have to go ahead.”

In the sentence of the Milan Court of Appeals of April 7, 2016, MoD is shown as a ‘non appelante’ – a party which had not appealed. This fact was also confirmed by the prosecution there.

INDIA LOST CHANCE TO WIN ‘HUGE’ COMPENSATION

According to Attorney Grossi, who still is shown as the MoD’s attorney as per the April 7 sentence, India lost out on a chance to not just secure a moral victory by being a party when the recent order came out but also monetary compensation.

“If you want your money back, you go the civil court. If you want to secure reputation and restoration, then you go to the criminal one,” he said. In effect, India went to the criminal court and opted against going to the civil one.

What would have happened had India continued in the case?

“Our request in the trial stage was not allowed. We had asked damages but the court did not allow because the bribery angle was not proven then. So if the bribery is not proven then how can there be compensation? The tax authorities made the accused pay the difference and that was it. If we were in the case now, we would have had compensation. I do not know how much, I don’t think it was a huge one,” he replied.

Describing the hectic nature of consultations in the days prior to India’s opting out, he said, “We had a deadline to participate in the appeal. It was February 21 2015, the deadline. So we heard each other on some occasions but till the date, we did not get in.”

Former Defence Minister and senior Congress leader AK Antony had accused the present government of trying to aid Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland by allowing a backdoor entry into India markets, something the government has vehemently denied. In July 2014, the NDA had, its ministers claimed, put on hold all acquisition and procurement cases involving Finmeccanica and allied firms.

As per a statement in the Parliament by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, while the MoD had made an advance payment of Euro 250.32 million to AgustaWestland, only Euro 199.62 million was recovered after a deduction of Euro 50.70 million for the three helicopters India took the delivery of.

“In addition, the government also suffered an estimated loss and damages of Euro 398.21 million on account of cancellation of the contract with AgustaWestland International Limited (AWIL),” Parrikar had said.

Defence Ministry spokesperson while responding to the issue said, “We went by the advice of Solicitor General in this case and pulled out. Our goal in becoming a party in the lower court was to get access to evidence and documents. We did get that. Joining the appeal would not have yielded much. Government of India goes by Solicitor General’s advice and not by the lawyer on record.”

HERE’S WHAT ATTORNEY GROSSI SAID:

Can the MoD get into the appeal in Italy’s Supreme Court?

Till May 22, there is time to appeal and participate in the third stage of the trial. But we are not in it, the MoD is not anymore. We quit. We did not go to the second stage.

On middlemen Haschke, Gerosa and Christian Michel

Michel was slightly away from the scene when compared to Mr Haschke and Gerosa who were arrested and brought to the court. Using wiretapping technique, their roles were elaborated but not so for Michel. The public prosecutor said Haschke had applied for plea bargain. Haschke is approaching 70, he is old. When you are old and since there are multiple levels of appeals in courts, it is normal for many to admit their guilt. I can not talk more about his choice. He basically negotiated the penalty, his criminal responsibility, be it pecuniary or jail by replacing it with compensation, community work.

Did Finmeccanica and AgustsWestland also negotiate a plea bargain?

Within Italian rules, if the crime is committed in the interest of the company the company is punished. They prefer to pay the damages. They did like what Haschke did. A plea bargain is what AgustsWestland did though I do not remember how much.

It was said that India’s MoD did not cooperate with Italian judicial process. What was your experience like?

Italy has given many things to the CBI, however, the Letter Rogatory (LR) issued by the Italians was not specific. The request was vague and difficult. There are military secrets and matters of sensitive nature. If you do not know what exactly you are asking then confusion comes up. If you ask for tender documents, what all to give? When you don’t know, you ask for everything. My own experience was good. I do not know. MoD was there to defend its reputation. I have often heard this question being asked. If you have to safeguard you have to remain a party. We went to all the hearings together. Couple of people from the MoD and people from mission would sit through. Long hearings, somedays all through. I was there with people from MoD and those from the Consul General.

AS APPEARED ON INDIA TODAY:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/agustawestland-govts-u-turn-in-italy/1/680910.html

 

STORY TWO – June 10, 2016

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD), after fighting hard to become a party to the Italian legal proceedings in their case against Finmeccanica and its firm AgustaWestland, quietly quit the process in February 2015. In doing so, MoD chose to not appeal against the accused and lost out an opportunity to seek monetary compensation.

While justifying the actions of the MoD, the spokesperson said it was the Attorney General (AG) who advised them in February 2015 and the ministry ‘proceeded accordingly’. The ministry had earlier said the advice to quit was given by the Solicitor General (SG). Upon asking, both these authorities denied ever giving such an advice.

The question that emanates from this is what prompted the MoD’s move to pull out?

Speaking to this correspondent in his Milan office Attorney Gian Luca Grossi who represented the MoD at the lower court at Busto Arsizio where the trial went on from June 19, 2013 to October 9, 2014 said, “MoD was civil party in the trial, in the first stage in Busto Arsizio. It came in only at the end of the first trial there. Then India decided to not go ahead with the appeal. Lower court gave a clear verdict saying there was impossibility of bribery. MoD decided to quit the trial. I don’t know why, but they decided to quit. I respect that.” When asked what did he advice the MoD, he said, “I think our advice was to stay on, stay inside also in the second degree at the Tribunale (Court of Appeal). I told them I was not confident (about their exit). It wasn’t a very easy decision but 51 per cent I would have stayed against 49 per cent to pull out. He added, “If I had the choice in my hands, I probably would’ve (stayed). When you make a choice, take a path, even if you find some problems in walking, you have to go ahead.”

In the sentence of the Milan Court of Appeals of April 7, 2016, MoD is shown as a ‘non appelante’ – a party which had not appealed.

According to Grossi, India lost out on a chance to not just secure a moral victory by being a party when the recent order came out but also monetary compensation. “If you want your money back, you go the civil court. If you want to secure reputation and restoration, then you go to the criminal one,” he said. In effect, India went to the criminal court and opted against going to the civil one.

When INDIA TODAY approached AG Rohatgi, he initially sought time to respond. Reverting at a later date Rohatgi said, “I have advised the MoD on aspects pertaining to blacklisting of various companies under the Finmeccanica umbrella but in so far as the issue you are raising, I have no recollection of having done so.”

Since in one of the responses the MoD had named the SG as the one who advised them, he too was approached. SG Ranjit Kumar too distanced himself from the issue. He said, “The matter never came to me nor have I given any advice.”

Earlier, the Defence Ministry spokesperson had stated, “Our goal in becoming a party in the lower court was to get access to evidence and documents. We did get that. Joining the appeal would not have yielded much.”

THE BLAME GAME

Former Defence Minister and senior Congress leader AK Antony had accused the present government of trying to aid Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland by allowing a backdoor entry into India markets, something the government has vehemently denied. In July 2014, the NDA had, its ministers claimed, put on hold all acquisition and procurement cases involving Finmeccanica and allied firms.

As per the recent statement in the Parliament by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the MoD had made an advance payment of Euro 250.32 million to AgustaWestland, only Euro 199.62 million was recovered after a deduction of Euro 50.70 million for the three helicopters India took the delivery of. “In addition, the government also suffered an estimated loss and damages of Euro 398.21 million on account of cancellation of the contract with AgustsWestland International Limited (AWIL),” Parrikar said.

AS APPEARED ON INDIA TODAY:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/exclusive-mod-quit-agusta-trial-in-italy-as-attorney-general-adviced-ag-rohatgi-differs-says-no-recollection/1/688945.html

US Defence Secy Carter in India: Key takeaways here

 

PIC5Defence Minister MANOHAR PARRIKAR’s speech on the eve of joint statement with Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defence, USA

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to receive Dr Carter in India. This is his second visit in less than a year, reflecting his continued interest in expanding bilateral defence relations between our two countries.

As many of you are aware, Secretary Carter is the architect of the India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative. DTTI has provided an unprecedented platform for our two countries to strengthen bilateral cooperation in cutting-edge technologies and to address procedural delays in decision-making. We have decided to take forward discussions under DTTI more aggressively on key areas such as Jet Engine technology. We will also continue our very useful and productive discussions on cooperation in the framework of the Joint Working Group on aircraft carriers. We also agreed to expand DTTI by introducing new and more ambitious projects for mutual collaboration. Both of us noted the strong complementarities between DTTI and the Make in India initiative. I hope to work together with Secretary Carter over the coming weeks and months to facilitate synergies between Indian and US companies in high technology areas, and in particular to promote participation of Indian companies in global supply chains.

It was entirely appropriate that we visited India’s western shores. Even as we work with the United States to realize the full potential of India’s Act East policy, we also seek a closer partnership with the United States to promote our shared interests in India’s West, especially in the context of the emerging situation in West Asia.

With a view to taking our cooperation forward, Secretary Carter and I have agreed to set up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue between officials from our respective Defence and External Affairs Ministries. We have also decided to enhance our on-going Navy-to-Navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues. Both countries will also deepen cooperation in Maritime Domain Awareness by finalizing a ‘White Shipping’ Agreement.

The growing interaction between our armed forces is another significant aspect of our bilateral partnership. Today, India has more joint exercises with the United States than with any other country in the world. After a few years, we are taking part in multilateral exercises such as the Red Flag Air Force exercise and the RIMPAC Naval Exercise. As our engagement deepens, we need to develop practical mechanisms to facilitate such exchanges. In this context, Secretary Carter and I agreed in principle to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in the coming months.

We also discussed the regional security environment. I underlined India’s continuing concern at terrorism in the region directed against us. Secretary Carter emphasised that eliminating terrorism, and the ideology and infrastructure that supports it, is a common objective the United States shares with India. We look forward to even closer bilateral cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism.

India and the United States are both strongly committed to a rule-based international order. We will continue to work together to maintain peace and stability and to maintain an enabling framework for progress and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

FULL TEXT: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=138813

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JOINT STATEMENT TEXT

Bilateral Defence cooperation is a key component of the strategic partnership between India and the United States.Secretary Carter’s visit marked the fourth meeting between him and Raksha Mantri Parrikar within a year, demonstrating the regular Ministerial-level oversight of the robust and deepening bilateral Defence relationship.

They discussed the priorities for the coming year in defence ties, as well as specific steps both sides will take to pursue those priorities. These included expanding collaboration under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI); Make in India efforts of Government of India; new opportunities to deepen cooperation in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness; military-to-military relations; the knowledge partnership in the field of defence; and regional and international security matters of mutual interest.

They welcomed plans across our Services for greater complexity in their military engagements and exercises, including developing plans for more advanced maritime exercises. Both sides acknowledged India’s participation in the Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) multilateral naval exercise in 2016 as well as participation by the Indian Air Force in the multilateral Red Flag exercise in April-May 2016 in Alaska and U.S. participation in the International Fleet Review of the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.They expressed their desire to explore agreements which would facilitate further expansion of bilateral defence cooperation in practical ways. In this regard, they announced their in principle agreement to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, and to continue working toward other facilitating agreements to enhance military cooperation and technology transfer.

In support of the India-U.S. Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and the maritime security objectives therein, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of maritime security. In this context, they reaffirmed their desire to expeditiously conclude a “white shipping” technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic. They agreed to commence Navy-to-Navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare. They also agreed to launch a bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue, co-chaired by officials at the Joint Secretary/Assistant Secretary-level of the Indian Ministries of Defence and External Affairs and the U.S. Departments of Defense and State.

Secretary Carter and Raksha Mantri Parrikar reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, including in the South China Sea.

In this context, they agreed to initiate two new DTTI pathfinder projects on Digital Helmet Mounted Displays and the Joint Biological Tactical Detection System. They commended the on-going discussions at the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG)and the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC). They agreed to work towards greater cooperation in the field of cutting-edge defence technologies, including deepening consultations on aircraft carrier design and operations, and jet engine technology. They noted the understanding reached to conclude an information exchange annex (IEA) to enhance data and information sharing specific to aircraft carriers.

In support of Make in India, the United States shared two proposals to bolster India’s suite of fighter aircraft for consideration of the Government of India.

Secretary Carter and Raksha Mantri Parrikar welcomed the finalization of four government-to-government project agreements in the area of science and technology cooperation: Atmospheric Sciences for High Energy Lasers, Cognitive Tools for Target Detection, Small Intelligent Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Blast and Blunt Traumatic Brain Injury.

Before departing India, Secretary Carter will oversee a repatriation ceremony of U.S. World War II remains from India to the United States.

FULL TEXT: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=138813

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STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE, US AFTER CARTER’S MEET WITH PM MODI

They discussed the secretary’s trip to Goa, his visit to the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya  and Karwar Naval Base – a first for a secretary of defense – as well as a range of security issues.

Secretary Carter shared with the prime minister his views on the unprecedented military-to-military ties between the two countries right now..

The secretary reinforced his view that India, like the United States, seeks to be a net exporter of security, and the two countries will continue to work with other partners to shape a regional security architecture that will allow all to rise and prosper.

FULL TEXT: http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/719207/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-indian-prime-minister-narendra-modi

Self-made Light Combat Helo’s 1st rocket firing – All about it here

LCH Rocket firing

After successful completion of basic performance flight testing and outstation trials for cold weather, hot weather and hot & high altitude testing in the year 2015, the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has achieved yet another milestone by satisfactory firing of Rockets (70 mm) from its prototype, TD-3 in weaponized configuration.

 

“The initial rocket firing trials have been carried out at Jaisalmer, establishing satisfactory integration of hardware and software, structural integrity and safe separation of rocket ammunition. Integration of weapons such as Rocket, Turret Gun (20 mm) and Air to Air Missile on LCH will further continue”, says Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL. “These trials give us confidence for carrying out certification firing trials planned during Apr-May 2016”, he adds. LCH will participate in IAF’s `Iron Fist 2016’ exercise on March 18, 2016.

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The LCH TD-3 is integrated with Electo-Optical (EO) System, Solid State Digital Video Recording System (SSDVR) and 70mm Rocket system in conjunction with an updated Glass Cockpit software to cater for rocket firing.

 

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)

 

LCH is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self sealing fuel tanks, armor protection, nuclear and low visibility features which makes the LCH lethal, agile and survivable.

 

The helicopter would have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet Pointed Sight and Electro-Optical Pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder (LRF)/Laser Designator (LD). The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Counter Measures Dispensing System (CMDS).

 

The first prototype helicopter had its inaugural flight on Mar 23, 2010. The second and third prototype had their first flight on June 28, 2011 and Nov 12, 2014. LCH TD4 completed its maiden flight on December 1, 2015.  LCH has completed performance trials paving way for certification of basic configuration and a letter to this effect was handed over to HAL by CEMILAC in the presence of Defence Minister on Oct 16, 2015.

 

(Text and images courtesy HAL, Bengaluru)

OPINION: My piece about a charade even the glorious #RepublicDayParade couldn’t mask

With the customary release of balloons, the 67th Republic Day parade was over. Most faces sported a smile, not all though.

Sometime last year, with the experience of the previous parade behind them, the powers that be argued for a presentation that was cogent and, more importantly, concise. For the planners, the Ceremonial Division of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the message was clear – the duration of the parade had to be minimised.

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On December 12, 2015, an Under Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to his counterpart in the MoD. Titled ‘Composition of Parade’, the single page note consisted names of all the MHA contingents which would participate. Those not included were the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which secures our frontiers with China, Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB), which does the same along Nepal and Bhutan and the most visible armed police force, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards utilities like metro, airports, ports etc. Arguments were put forward that some would be accommodated in the ‘Beating The Retreat’ ceremony and it would all be the same.

Did it turn out this way?

Depicting the anguish, on January 27, former Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) Prakash Singh tweeted, “Republic Day Parade had space for Army dogs, but contingents of Central Forces like ITBP, CISF and SSB, were kept out”. A Whatsapp message the author received from a CISF officer went like this: We wear khakhi thus aren’t as privileged as the army dogs who will be allowed on Rajpath.

Before the parade and after the closure of the celebrations, chat platforms have been awash with the ”ugliness of armed forces being made to sit out”. Multiple voices spoke about the need to have ”somehow managed without making forces get out”. Some suggested that marching down the Rajpath in their ceremonial splendour was but a rare opportunity to leave their impression on the nation’s psyche. “We can’t expect the public to come and see us at remote border outposts,” explained an officer. The combined anger was directed at the Prime Minister, his party as well as functionaries of the Home and Defence ministries. Even the ‘big brother’, the army wasn’t spared. What only a few know is that the army too had to reduce its imprint. From readying ten formations for the parade, it eventually had to turn away two of them, at the last minute.

Under pressure, with barely a week before the parade, a reassessment was done. But only the Border Security Force’s Camel Contingent was asked to join.

Interestingly, the cultural end of the parade has had no such issues.

MoD’s data shows that from a total of 19 tableaux and four groups of school children performing in 2013, the number has consistently risen. Last year, a total of 25 tableaux and six groups of children performed. This year, 23 tableaux and six groups of children were accorded the opportunity.

Having done all of this, the planners did meet the goal and managed to make the parade shorter by a good 21 minutes.

Some, however, are still asking if it was worth the heartburn.

FIRST APPEARED:

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/republic-day-parade-ministry-of-defence-indian-army-cisf-border-security-force-narendra-modi-itbp/story/1/8741.html