It's been a while, but as they say, better late than never. We finally made some time to redesign our blog and soon we will have our own independent website. The blog helped us reach a huge audience and generate a lot of interest in this area. As a result, the format and (utility) of the blog seems overwhelmed, hence the transittion to the dedicated site. The URL for the new site and content will be disclosed soon. Till then, enjoy the blog and continue to contribute to our posts.
India to buy Russia's multiple launch rocket systems
India is extremely interested in procuring Russia's state-of-the-art Smerch long-range multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to enhance own rocket artillery's capabilities.
The Russian military agencies' informed sources said that India's Defense Ministry was negotiating the purchase of two Smerch battalions with spare parts sets and tutorial systems.
The agency's source reminded that in one of his first speeches after assuming the post, India's Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that purchasing Russian Smerch systems would be one of the priority transactions. Viktor Komardin, deputy director of the Rosoboronexport, Russia's state promoter of military equipment abroad, said that "the contract could be signed at any time" at the New-Delhi-hosted DEFEXPO India-2004 exhibition earlier, in February this year.
However, the agency's source noted that currently the negotiations were suspended because the Indian side "had found more impelling needs". The talks are most likely to resume in about two months and mainly touch upon the financial issues.
The Russian Smerch systems are supposed to complement similar MLRS Pinaka, produced by India. Their maximum design range is 38 kilometers, recent tests showed that upgraded pieces fired as far as 42 kilometers. Russia's upgraded Smerch 9K58 systems, which the Indian side plans to procure, can hit targets at the distance of 90 kilometers.
MLRS Smerch, produced by Tula-based Splav state scientific and production enterprise, is intended to deliver long-range fire against any complex targets, including exposed and sheltered personnel, unarmored, light-armored, armored equipment of motorized infantry and tank companies, artillery units, battlefield missiles, air defense systems and landed helicopters as well as to destroy command posts, communications centers and military production facilities.
The Indian Army will choose among three foreign contenders for a $2 billion purchase of about 400 155mm self-propelled howitzers after field trials in the Rajasthan desert later this month, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.
The candidates are the Swedish SWS Defense AB FH77B05 L52, the Israeli Soltam TIG 2002 and the South African Denel G5/2000 gun. All three failed to meet India’s accuracy specifications in last year’s trials; all three improved their guns to compete again this year, said an Indian Army official from the artillery directorate.
Last year, each gun fired 350 rounds, besides demonstrating its “shoot and scoot” capabilities and cross-country agility in various configurations, the Army official said.
The Army plans to buy 180 guns immediately, and license the production of the other 220 at Indian facilities. The Army also plans to buy up to 1,500 guns during the next seven to 10 years to convert all of its field batteries to 155mm weapons, according to the ministry official.
The Army decided to buy 155mm howitzer towed guns after the success of the 155mm FH77B howitzer towed gun in the Kargil mountain battle in 1999. The Indian Army wants to be able to outshoot Pakistan’s 150 U.S.-made M109A2 Paladin self-propelled guns.
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a hybrid gun by mounting a howitzer turret on the Arjun tank, which is under development.
The agency is negotiating with Denel to buy the firm’s 155mm LIW T 6 turrets, but agency sources said the hybrid is not successful. DRDO officials declined to comment.
The 155mm gun contract will likely be the first big defense deal signed by India’s new Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government, which came to power in April and May elections.
The Congress Party lost power in 1989 in the wake of kickback charges in the purchase of 410 howitzer guns from Bofors AB. Now, its new government is evaluating a gun produced by Bofors’ corporate descendant, SWS Defense.
The Defence Ministry official said SWS will incur no disadvantage for being Bofors’ successor.
But SWS’ two rivals have relations of their own with India’s artillery decision-makers. Soltam upgraded 180 of the Army’s 130mm guns under India’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, under which Israel emerged as the country’s second-largest supplier of defense weapons and equipment. Denel helped the Indian Ordnance Factories Board to build a 155mm ammunition factory.
“The procedure adopted for purchase of the 155mm guns will be an indicator of how the new government will position itself in terms of preferences, and demonstrate its seriousness to complete a defense acquisition deal,” said Semant Harish, a retired Indian Army captain and defense analyst.
Ten Indian Army programs worth more than $3.2 billion have been put on hold for at least six months by India’s new United Progressive Alliance government, whose Finance Ministry says that contracts signed by the preceding government leave little money for other procurement.
“The delay will cause a major problem in the procurement of the weapons and equipment for the Indian Army,” a senior Army planning official said June 23. “Even after six months it is not clear whether they will go ahead, because the new government in Delhi may review some programs.”
Most of the programs on hold have been approved in principle by Army procurement officials, who expected to sign contracts for them within six months. These include:
* 36 Smerch multibarrel rocket launchers from Rosoboronexport, Moscow.
* 28 Tunguska air defense systems from Rosoboronexport.
* 12 Nishant unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.
* 16 Heron UAVs from Israel Aircraft Industries, Lod, Israel.
* 120 Igla surface-to-air missiles from Rosoboronexport.
* Six Indian-made weapon-locating radar systems from Bharat Electronics, Bangalore.
* 12 training simulators for UAV operators from Macmet Industries, Bangalore.
Three other programs on hold are not so close to signing:
* 100 155mm tracked howitzers. Contenders for the job include Denel, South Africa; Soltam, Israel; and SWS Defense, Karlskoga, Sweden.
* 180 155mm wheeled howitzers. Contenders include Denel, Soltam and SWS Defense.
* 950 night-vision devices for T-72 tanks, for which the contenders are IAI Electronics Group, Yahud, Israel; LITEF GmbH, Freiburg, Germany; and Reutech Defense Industries Ltd., Natal, South Africa.
Finance Ministry officials did clear the Defence Ministry to put $1.17 billion toward several purchases signed between January and April by the previous National Democratic Alliance government, a senior Defence Ministry official said. This payment — 20 percent of the deals’ total value for the year — will be disbursed within two weeks.
Those deals include:
* Buying 66 Advanced Jet Trainers from BAE SYSTEMS, Farnborough.
* Acquiring the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov from Rosoboronexport, Moscow.
* Buying 16 MiG-29K naval aircraft from Russia to be mounted on Admiral Gorshkov.
* Buying three Phalcon radar systems from IAI, Israel.
India buys about $5 billion in weapons and gear each year — about $2 billion from foreign firms and $3 billion from state-owned defense companies and ordnance factories, a procurement official said.
India will begin serial production of its Nag anti-tank missile by the end of the year, following the missile’s successful trial June 10 at a Hyderabad field firing range.
A senior Indian Defence Ministry official said June 17 that state-owned Bharat Dynamics, Hyderabad, will manufacture Nag missiles, likely to cost around $100,000 each. The Indian Army has a requirement for more than 1,000 anti-tank missiles in the next three years.
A scientist at the government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), where the Nag was designed and developed, said it is the world’s most advanced third-generation anti-tank guided missile — and the most information technology-intensive missile.
Nag is equipped with infrared imaging technology that helps in accurately distinguishing targeted tanks from other vehicles, the DRDO scientist said. This infrared homing guidance system has lock-on-before-launch capability for day and night operations. The missile can be launched from both tracked vehicles and combat helicopters to strike targets up to 4 kilometers away.
Nag is one of five missile systems developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. Design on the missile started in 1988, and the first tests were carried out in November 1990.
An Indian Army official said June 17 that the Nag missile uses a tandem HEAT, or High Explosive Anti Tank, warhead that can penetrate the Explosive Reactive Armor or composite armor that is found in the latest tanks. The Nag is expected to supercede Indian production of the Russian-made Konkours and Euromissile Milan M2 anti-tank missiles.
In the aftermath of September 11, the US has looked at India in a whole new light. As 'natural allies" and democracies, joint training exercises, high-level visits and delegation exchanges have become familiar evidence of how US-India relations have changed significantly... the way both countries now view defence collaboration presages greater bilateral cooperation in the future.
A dramatic demonstration of the rapidly growing US-India defence relationship recently took place in the dense jungles of Mizoram (Eastern India). There, American Special Operations Forces engaged their Indian counterparts in joint combined training called Exercise Balance Iroquois 03-1/Vajra Prahar. This exercise taught some of the most elite units in the US how to employ combat teams in jungle terrain more effectively; detect the characteristics and modus operandi of terrorists operating within a jungle environment; and develop more effective tactics for tracking, patrolling, reconnaissance, surveillance, raids, and ambushes of terrorists operating in dense vegetation. Morale and camaraderie among the troops on both sides were outstanding, US and Indian units learning from one another about the challenges of combating terrorism in a jungle environment. Jokingly, it was reported that the US troops learned some hindi words to say to their Indian counterparts during exercise breaks.
This initiative is one of a string of “firsts” in the continuing transformation of US-India relations. US-India defense collaboration and cooperation has come a long way since the somewhat cold relations in the 80s and 90s. We have coordinated military exercises and exchanges, security and intelligence sharing and coordinated research and development. July 15-30 will see the first trip by the IAF to participate in multinational exercises in Alaska. During the week of June 23, 2004 a high level US Space delegation will mark a historic Space joint exploration conference in Bangalore. India plans to launch 40 satellites capable of collecting images of earth from space by 2008 and step up exports for rockets, satellites and other equipment. India also wants ISRO to be removed from a list of space agencies to which the US can export dual-use technology.
From virtually no interaction in January 2001, the United States and India today have completed seven major military exercises, including Geronimo Thrust in Alaska, yet another first-ever endeavour, which involved Indian forces and aircraft on American soil. Other significant milestones were the first USAF-IAF airlift inter-operability training operation, COPE INDIA 02, in Agra; and the first and largest peacekeeping command-post exercise ever held in South Asia, co-hosted by the Indian Army and US Army Pacific. It is expected that the 2 "natural allies" and democracies will further extend their defense and strategic partnership to offset global terrorism concerns.
The US is clearly a little wary about the stand the new Indian government will take on the Bush administration's controversial missile defence plans.
Indicating a wait-and-watch policy, visiting US under secretary for defence policy Douglas J Feith on Tuesday said it was "premature" to get the new UPA government to give "definite answers" on the "complex" missile defence issue.
But, he added, the US had renewed its offer to India to move ahead on cooperation in joint defence projects, including missile defence. "We discussed the issue with the new Indian leadership as both the countries are facing serious missile threats. If India wants to go ahead with cooperation on missile defence, we will be happy to work with India ," he said.
Congress and its allies, especially the Left, had criticised the previous NDA government when it had promptly pledged support to the US missile defence plan. The UPA's common minimum programme, in fact, promises to strike a balance between the engagement with US and an "independent foreign policy".
Feith, in town for the Indo-US defence policy group (DPG) meeting, said it was for the Indian government to decide the level of engagement with America in defence ties, including joint military exercises.
"The exercises have proved very useful for both sides," said Feith, asserting that the two countries had made significant movement in defence trade and exchange of information on hi-tech weapons systems.
Feith denied that the request for Indian troops for Iraq was renewed during the discussions. Iraq will, "in a few weeks", get its own sovereign authority for governance, which will then itself decide such questions, he added.
Asked whether America had any reservations about India 's strong ties with Iran , Feith alleged Teheran was "a problem" for the US and the world in general with its nuclear weapons programme and support to terrorism.
The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.
Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.
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About The Blog
This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
Nikhil and Jehangir wrote an exhaustive article about the Cooperative Cope Thunder joint event. Their article was publihed in Vayu magazine. Click on the link below to read the in-depth article with amazing pictures courtesy of mark Farmer at topcover.com
Guard members are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
If you're looking for a way to serve your community and country while maintaining your full-time civilian career, the National Guard is for you. Click below to learn more about the proud history of the Army National Guard.