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US Defense Offer to India

Although Washington has given no categorical assurances to New Delhi on the supply of F-16 fighters to Pakistan, it has gone a step ahead and offered top-of-the-line military hardware to India including the Patriot anti-missile system, C-130 stretched medium lift transport aircraft, P-3C Orion maritime surveillance planes—and even F-16 fighters.

Indian Ambassador to US Ranendra ‘‘Ronen’’ Sen was in the Capital this week and discussed the US offer—including the proposed US arms deal to Pakistan—with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Sen also met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Government sources said that hardware offer will come up when US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld comes to the sub-continent for a visit. Rumsfeld is tentatively scheduled to visit India on December 9-10 and will also travel to Pakistan.

Even though the UPA government will be under pressure from its Left allies and the BJP to oppose US arms sale to Pakistan, it has given ‘‘positive signals’’ to the US hardware offer to India. An influential section of the establishment believes the challenge before India is not to keep objecting to arms sale to Pakistan. Instead, it argues that New Delhi should engage the US for the best military technology and get out of the hyphenated equation.

After all, even at the height of the Cold War, Rajiv Gandhi broke the barrier and got engines and flight control systems for the LCA from the US in 1980s.

It is learnt that the UPA government has given Sen the clearance to organise a detailed classified presentation of the Patriot system from manufacturers Raytheon soon and has expressed willingness to look at the C-130 Hercules and P-3C Orion offer.

However, the government is not keen on the F-16 fighters as it already has Mirage-2000H, MiG-29s and Su-30MKI as multi-role fighters.

It is understood that F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin approached the Indian Embassy in Washington with an offer after New Delhi objected to F-16 sales to Pakistan. Lockheed Martin’s representatives said India was cleared by Pentagon for supply of F-16s, P-3C Orion and C-130J-30 stretched Hercules transport aircraft.

Even though US started offering military hardware to India in 2002, it has so far only supplied ANTPQ firefinders though the offer of P-3C Orion was made during the period and a demonstration flight was held at INS Hamla in Goa.

While there were hitches in Raytheon sharing the classified manuals with New Delhi on the Patriot system in 2002, Washington is understood to have given a green signal to the company for the anti-missile defence system.

Also, the Hercules transport aircraft offer is significant as Delhi is looking for a medium lift plane. The Hercules is the only one in its category with neither Russia nor European Union having anything similar.

  • ‘Patriot anti-missile defence system • Tackles aircraft, tactical and Cruise missiles • Part of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership stage II • UPA govt now wants Raytheon to give a presentation on the system
  • C130J-30 hercules • Only medium-lift plane in its class that carries tanks and troops to battle • UPA govt is positive about it and will take up the offer
  • F-16 plane • A multi-role fighter with advanced avionics that is now being offered to Pakistan • Lockheed-Martin has also made an offer to India • The UPA govt will not take the offer as it has Su-30 MKI and Mirage 2000
  • P-3C orion aircraft • A long-range maritime surveillance platform, with anti- submarine capabilities • Offered two years ago, the Navy now wants it and the UPA govt may take up the offer


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 4:13 PM


India Builds First Sukhoi Jet Using Russian Technology
29.11.2004 11:27 MSK (GMT +3)


On Sunday, Nov. 28, the Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) presented the first domestically produced Sukhoi fighter jet to the Indian Air Force. The jet was built using a production license from the Russian Sukhoi Construction Bureau.

The official ceremony for the delivery of the Su-30MKI — Multifunctional Commercial Indian — jet took place in the Indian city of Nasik, in the state of Maharashtra. In accordance with a bilateral agreement, 140 of the fighter jets will be assembled in India.

Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the chief of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Srinivaspuram Krishnaswamy, and the state leadership took part in the ceremony on the Indian side. From Russia, the co-chairman of the Russian-Indian subgroup for aeronautical construction Valeriy Voskoboynikov, the deputy director-general of Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboroneksport Viktor Kamardin, the director-general of the Sukhoi corporation Mikhail Pogosyan and the heads of a number of companies took part.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:25 PM


India-Israel terrorism panel meets:
[India News]: New Delhi, Nov 29 : India and Israel Monday started three days of deliberations here on steps to enhance cooperation bilaterally and internationally in the fight against terrorism.

Officials and experts from the two countries, which see themselves as victims of terrorism, are meeting under the aegis of the Joint Working Group on Terrorism set up to promote cooperation in the fight against the global menace.

The three-day meeting is the fourth in the series and the second this year, the last having been held in Jerusalem in March.The Indian delegation to the meeting is headed by Meera Shankar, additional secretary (UN) in the external affairs ministry, and the Israeli team by Jeremy Iwssacharof, director general (strategic affairs) in the foreign ministry.

The two countries have repeatedly stressed on the growing need for counter-terrorism cooperation within the international community, specifically to strengthen political will and capacity building.While there is active cooperation between the two countries in the field, little of it is publicised for security reasons.

Though the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has criticised Israeli military action against the Palestinians, it has said that ties with the country are important and will continue. --Indo-Asian News Service

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:23 PM


Rumsfeld to visit India next week

NEW DELHI: Signalling an early reconnaissance for US President George Bush’s visit to India, US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be visiting India next week. This is the first high level visit from the second Bush administration and it is being regarded with special significance in New Delhi.

By all accounts, Bush-II promises to be even better for India than Bush-I. A political vote of confidence was delivered to India early on with a formal US offer to sell the Patriot missile defence system.

India is in talks with Israel for its Arrow missile defence system, which is a joint US-Israel effort. India has already purchased the Green Pine radar system and the Phalcon early warning aircraft from Israel.

For a couple of years now, Israeli and Indian lobbies have been working the Washington circuit to get US clearance for the sale. The US offer to sell P-3C Orion naval reconnaissance aircraft is also an upgraded one. US officials say the version they have for India is "P-3C plus" equipped with the latest avionics and equipment systems. They describe it as a "maritime patrol aircraft with offensive capability", streets ahead of what Pakistan is cleared for.

The US has also offered Perry class frigates and Sea Hawk helicopters, while special operations forces will be looking at chemical and biological protection equipment.

Between the Israeli offer and the US, India may bend Washington-wards because of the long-term political and strategic implications to the purchase. Clearly, India’s earlier apprehensions about the US being a "reliable defence supplier" has been addressed.

India’s expectations from Bush-II have two crucial components: deepening of business relations and giving India a new place in the "international security architecture".

India is willing to play the reciprocity game and the first signal will be Air India’s decision on the purchase of 50 new aircraft, a decision that is being watched equally intently in the Boeing headquarters in Seattle as in Foggybottom.

But the US offer to sell Patriots to India comes with a much bigger strategic statement. Henceforth, comparing Indian military acquisition with Pakistan’s will be redundant: if the Patriot deal goes through, it will add several strategic miles to India’s defence arsenal, making it qualitatively different from either China or Pakistan. If things go according to plan, US and Indian strategists are looking at another version of the US-Japan relationship in Asia.

Part of the new administration’s proactive policy with India has come about with the departure of Colin Powell and the induction of Condoleeza Rice as secretary of state.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:29 PM


Israel to purchase ALH from India to ferry VIPs
Nov 28, 2004 07:36:00 AM

Jerusalem, Nov 28 (PTI) Israel is expected to purchase indigenously developed Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv, from India for transportation of VIPs and defence officials, a media report said here.

Talks were on betwen the two sides over the deal, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) spokesman Doron Soslik was quoted as saying by 'Ha'aretz' daily.

The terms of the deals are yet to be finalised, he said.

IAI and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited have joined hands to market Dhruv.

IAI, which has supplied the avionics system and glass cockpit for the 'international version' of the ALH, has been negotiating with the Israel Air Force on the deal.

The Israel Air Force dispersed its light helicopter squadron a year ago.

The deal is said to be part of the reciprocal procurement from India in exchange for its purchase of the Phalcon early warning system.

IAI officials told PTI that a joint team from India and Israel recently performed helicopter tests in Chile, which has shown keen interest in procuring Dhruv for its combined armed forces.

US Customs are also likely to purchase Dhruv, which is said to have proven reliability even in battlefield conditions, defence sources said.

The ALH set a new world record by flying at an altitude of around 8,000 meters in the Himalayan mountain ridge. PTI

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:36 PM


Ex-Indian Army Gurkhas killed in Baghdad blastsBaghdad
November 27, 2004 2:58:38 PM IST

Four Nepalese soldiers, including three who earlier served in the Indian Army, died in two mortar blasts in Baghdad, The Sun reported today.

They worked for a London-based security firm - Global Risk Strategies, the paper added.
One of the died worked with the Gurkha regiment of the British Army, it reported adding that the blasts took place sometime on Thursday.

12 other former Gurkhas employed by security firm also were reportedly injured in the twin attacks. (ANI)

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 3:00 PM


J.J. Singh to be first Sikh to head Indian Army:
[India News]: New Delhi, Nov 27 : Lt. Gen. Joginder Jaswant Singh, a highly decorated officer with wide experience of commanding operational units in various theatres, was Saturday named the next Indian Army chief. Singh, who will become the first Sikh to head the army, will succeed Gen. N.C. Vij when he retires Jan 31, according to an official statement.

The most senior lieutenant general in the army, Singh currently heads the Chandimandir-based Western Army Command that is responsible for guarding the frontier with Pakistan. An alumnus of the National Defence Staff College, Singh was earlier chief of the army's training command and Additional Director General of Military Operations during the 1999 Kargil border conflict with Pakistan.

Awarded the Param Vishist Sewa Medal, the nation's highest peace-time military award for distinguished service, Singh commanded a mountain brigade in Jammu and Kashmir, a division in the western sector and one of the army's three strike corps. He also served as defence attaché in the Indian embassy in Algeria.--Indo-Asian News Service

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:53 PM


Nikhil Khanna
Washington, DC
November 24, 2004

The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced Wednesday, November 17 a proposal to sell weapons worth $1.2b to Pakistan, including eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft valued at up to $970 million, 2,000 TOW-2A missiles and 14 TOW-2A Fly-to-Buy missiles valued at $82 million. India warned on Friday that new American arms sales to Pakistan could harm improving New Delhi-Washington ties as well as a promising dialogue between the two South Asian nuclear rivals.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping improve the security of a friendly nation that continues to be a key ally in the global war on terrorism," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which looks after foreign arms sales, said in a press statement in Washington Wednesday.

I fail to understand how "rewarding" Pakistan [a failed nuclear state that still has factions within its government and intelligence that are sympathetic to al-Qaida and various Islamic fundamental insurgent groups] with advanced weaponry, contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States. Sure, one would agree that the Pakistan government has captured many al-Qaida suspects and turned them over to the United States (although this also signifies an environment that has ‘encouraged’ and provided safe haven to terrorists). Sympathetic and religious elements within Pakistan's intelligence service (ISI) and army continue to provide vital infrastructure support to terrorist groups, often with the tacit backing of Islamabad! As evidence of Pakistan's role in nuclear proliferation has become clear in recent months, it is an unacceptable trade-off. A country that arrests terrorists one day and sells nuclear technology in the black market to rogue nations the next is not contributing to greater U.S. and global security!

Furthermore, advanced weaponry of this nature is hardly to be used in the crackdown of salwar-kameez clad militants in the tribal regions bordering the Pak-Afghan border. This would be akin to the use of heavy armor against insurgents in dense jungles! Shortly after the crackdown by US forces in and around the Pak-Afghan border, Pakistan’s ISI quietly reshuffled and is now supporting jihadi groups in Bangladesh, from where they have been able to regroup and attack targets in North Eastern India. By re-arming Pakistan at this stage with sophisticated weaponry, the US stands the risk of destabilizing the South Asia region, while also creating an environment that poses great risk to US forces operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Parts of Wana, Waziristan as well as the Pakhtun areas are seeing increasing levels of insurgency. Karachi has become another hotbed of terrorist activities. Lastly, increased military arsenal will give Pakistan’s fourth military dictator General Musharraf little incentive to give up his military uniform by the December 31, 2004 deadline and carve out a democratic system for his country.

Leading US Congressman Frank Pallone has urged President George W. Bush to block the proposed arms sale to Pakistan, saying it would "contribute to increased security concerns" throughout South Asia, particularly India. In his letter, Pallone said: "I urge you to re-examine the interests and priorities of the US and to take a strong position against selling arms to Pakistan both now and in the future." Pallone went on to state, "We all agree that Pakistan has been an ally in the global war on terror, however, Pakistan has not taken steps to end terrorism in its own backyard and foreign military assistance to Pakistan has oftentimes been used against India."

In a comprehensive report that appeared in Defense News, November 22, 2004, "US Revises Threat Scenarios", top military officials and defense strategists outlined the Pentagon's war plans and scenarios to better prepare the United States against conventional military threats as well as irregular, catastrophic and disruptive threats. The report states, "one such scenario being considered, according to sources familiar with these efforts, is the challenge of dealing with a failed nuclear state - possibly Iran in the future, or Pakistan in the near term or even North Korea and Russia at some point." A senior US military commander in the Pak/Afghan region recently warned that Pakistani extremists posed a long-term threat to American security that any group in the world.

Such a decision by the Bush administration is bound to restart an arms race in South Asia and disrupt the tenuous peace process that India and Pakistan have recently initiated. Both countries are currently in the early stages of a wide-ranging peace process to try to resolve their disagreements. It is rather ironic that such an announcement comes at a time when President Bush and Dr Rice are committed to a "stronger" relationship with India during their 2nd term. Foreign Secretary of India, Shyam Saran was in Washington and met with Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, among others. Saran noted that during President George W. Bush's first term of office US-India relations improved significantly. "So in this context, the supply of sophisticated weaponry to Pakistan will inevitably impact on the positive sentiments and goodwill that has come to characterize US-India relations," he said.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 11:36 AM


HAL to export advanced light helicopters
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Defence, would export its newly developed advanced light helicopters to Nepal and other countries.

''The indigenously built advanced light helicopter will be exported soon. The first piece will be despatched within a month or two,'' HAL chairman N R Mohanty said on Monday.

The company, he said, was also negotiating with Chile for exporting the ALH.

''We have also improved our research and development programme. We have conducted 250 test flights of newly built light combat aircraft, Tejas,'' Mohanty said, adding the Indian Air Force has ordered for eight pieces of Tejas for its use.

''Tejas will be inducted in the Air Force by 2007-08. The IAF is expected to place further order for 20 more of them in phases,'' he said.

Besides, HAL was working on developing the prototype of intermediate jet trainers and expected to complete the job in the next 20 months.

''We are expecting the IAF to place an order for about 200 pieces of IJT. The IAF has also ordered for 31 ALH Dhruv,'' he said.

About the HAL unit at Barrackpore, he said it would start overhaul of Cheetah/Chetak helicopters of Indian Navy and Coast Guard from next year.

It has also been planned to take up the job of overhaul of sophisticated components of Sukhoi 30 and ALHs in Kolkata.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:02 PM


Govt clears all hurdles in ship-building project
India’s most ambitious ship-building project, a 37,500-metric tonne aircraft carrier for the Navy, will finally get underway early next year. All teething problems of this long-delayed project, including supply of the right kind of steel, are now over.

"The keel of the Air Defence Ship (a slightly smaller version of an aircraft carrier) should hopefully be laid in January-February. It will then take seven years for the ADS to be ready," said Navy chief, Admiral Arun Prakash, speaking exclusively to The Times of India.

Though the Navy has projected the long-term need for three aircraft carriers to emerge as the most potent strategic force in the entire Indian Ocean region, it is making do with only one, INS Viraat, at the moment.

The Navy intends to extend the life of this aging carrier till 2010. The Russian 44,570-tonne, Admiral Gorshkov carrier, with its complement of 16 MiG-29K jet fighters, in turn, will be ready for induction in the Navy only by mid-2008.

"After we have both Gorshkov and ADS operating by 2011-2012, we will see about the third carrier. We will operate the naval Light Combat Aircraft and MiG-29Ks from the ADS," said Admiral Prakash.

The main hurdle to the ADS, which will be build at the Cochin shipyard and cost upwards of Rs 4,000 crore, in recent months was getting the right quality of 20,000 tonne of steel for it.

"The ADS was designed with a certain Russian brand of steel in mind. But when it came to actual supply, Russia expressed its inability. Steel Authority of India is now developing that steel and will supply it in the quantities we need," said the Navy chief.

A 22-million Euro contract was signed with Italian firm Fincantieri earlier this year for design, integration, installation and commissioning of the propulsion system of the ADS.

Another contract, worth six million Euro, is for consultancy in detailed engineering and documentation.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:02 AM


Indian Army hoping for reciprocation action by Pakistan
Expressing the hope that Pakistan will reciprocate India's gesture of withdrawal of troops, army authorities today said Islamabad should not only go for a similar reduction but also dismantle terrorist infrastructure in their country and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

"Army has taken the action in the spirit of further normalisation of relations between Indian and Pakistan in troop reduction form," top defence sources said in Jammu.

"We hope that Pakistan will reciprocate our act, not only in a similar manner but also by dismantling terrorist infrastructure including training camps across the border," they said.

Referring to no of troop withdrawals, they said that the quantum and percentage has been worked out very carefully to ensure minimum vigil over the borderline and also the option of reversal of the situation that demands has been worked out.

They said that the process of the troops withdrawal as worked out would continue.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:01 AM


Aerospace industry flying high
BANGALORE-BASED Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is indeed flying high. One of the persons who has taken this public sector undertaking to great heights is C.G. Krishnadas Nair, who was its chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) from 1997 to 2001.

Dr. Nair has the unique distinction of being the first civilian chairman of this prestigious organisation, which till then had always been headed by a senior Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

Dr. Nair, currently the president of the Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies and Industries (SIATI), was in town recently to receive the coveted `Platinum Medal' of the Indian Institute of Metals, at its 58th Annual Technical Meet, which drew to a close here today.

A metallurgist by profession, Dr. Nair has come to be rated as an authority on aerospace technology. It was he who, along with K. Kasturirangan, founded the SIATI, which has over 300 companies engaged in the manufacture of components, equipment and systems for the high-profile aerospace industry. He is also the founder chairman of the Society for Defence Technologies (SODET), formed to bring about a synergy among defence production units in the country.

"The aerospace industry in India has come of age. It is poised for greater strides in the years to come. India is now in a position to manufacture the world's cheapest and most advanced initial jet trainers, which will roll out in 2006," says Dr. Nair, whose contributions in this area have been widely acclaimed.

It was during his tenure as the CMD of HAL that the research and development activities there received a fillip. He has always laid emphasis on indigenisation and self-reliance. He was instrumental in building partnerships with overseas and Indian companies, which enabled HAL to spread its wings to cover various aerospace activities such as design, development, manufacture and maintenance of aircraft. During this period, HAL also transformed itself into a commercial organisation from a captive industry, with improved efficiency and productivity.

Over the last six decades, HAL has indigenously manufactured, designed and developed trainers, fighters, helicopters, avionics and mechanical systems, sophisticated airborne and ground equipment. It has also been regularly upgrading Indian Air Force fighter aircraft such as MiGs, Jaguar and Mirage 2000. The Indian Air Force is the largest customer of the company.

HAL has been doing well in the area of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the most ambitious multi-role fighter meant to replace the MiG-21. The chief architect of this project is the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, with whom Dr. Nair has associated.

Apart from the LCA, the new R&D initiatives of HAL are on the Advanced Light Helicopter, Light Combat Aircraft, Intermediate Jet Trainer, a trainer for the 21st century, and Lancer, a light attack helicopter. The indigenous design and production of aircraft has been very successful in India.

HAL has world-class technology and capability in civil aircraft production too. But purchases are decided more by political equations with other countries and more so, on a buy-back agreement. Dr. Nair suggests that India should enter into such an agreement with other countries. He said that the different organisations and agencies concerned with the aerospace industry should be brought under an Aerospace Commission, to be formed under a National Aeronautical Policy. Referring to the ongoing controversy in Kerala over the mining of mineral sand on the beaches of Kollam and Alappuzha, Dr. Nair says that there is nothing wrong in exploiting the available mineral resources. However, rather than exporting mineral sand in its raw form, sand should be processed to produce titanium dioxide, he says. With the chloride process that has been found to be environment friendly now being resorted to in Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited, this can be made possible. Ten integrated titanium plants of the size of KMML can be set up in the country with the resources available. If they are set up as joint ventures, it would be better, he feels.

Dr. Nair is also the Vice-Chancellor of MATS University, Raipur, a Professor at the IIT, Chennai, and a visiting faculty member of several universities abroad. The nation honoured Dr. Nair, a native of Ernakulam, with the Padmashri award in 2001, when he was heading HAL.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:00 AM


Fighter pilots, tactics put to test in Panhandle competition
Fighter planes looping, diving and rolling across the sky were familiar scenes during World War II and even the Vietnam War as enemy pilots tried to outfox each other at close range in deadly dogfights. But air-to-air combat may never be the same.

Modern fighter pilots who engaged in a competition at this Florida Panhandle base over the past two weeks, previewed the future of aerial combat. In mock battles, they used advanced technology, instead, to shoot down enemy planes from many miles away without ever seeing their adversaries.

Long-range missiles and radar, helmet-mounted sights and data links that offer pilots a detailed overview of the battle scenario are some of the key components in the transition from dogfighting to what is known as beyond visual range (BVR) combat.

"Our game plan is to stiff-arm them and stay as far away as possible," said Tech. Sgt. Eric Hamilton, an air weapons controller from El Paso, Texas, who uses ground radar to help guide pilots to their targets.

Hamilton, stationed at Kefalvik, Iceland, is part of a team that represented the United States Air Forces in Europe during William Tell 2004, a two-week, air-to-air fighter competition named for the legendary Swiss archer. It ended Friday.

His was one of five teams, each representing a major command, that participated in the 50th anniversary of William Tell.

The meet, however, had not been held for the past eight years due to real-world commitments overseas and homeland defense requirements after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The emphasis on downing enemy aircraft beyond visual range does not mean old-style dogfighting has been ignored, said Lt. Col. Ed Nagler, chief of safety for the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at this Florida Panhandle base and William Tell's director.

American pilots still are trained in low-tech visual combat, said Nagler of Pompton Lake, N.J. But such fights are considered a last resort because they only even the odds for enemy pilots flying less capable aircraft.

"Their forte is the close-in arena," said Lt. Col. Paul Huffman of Allentown, Pa., commander of the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Huffman and his fellow aggressors, flying F-16 Fighting Falcons, simulated an enemy, or "Red," force against each of the five "Blue" teams. The Red pilots tried various tactics to avoid the Blues' long-range missiles and used numerical superiority _ at least twice as many planes _ as they attempted to draw within sight of the two- and four-jet Blue teams.

"If they don't put the right number of missiles into the right number of targets out there, and one guy gets through he can wreak some pretty good havoc," Huffman said. It didn't happen often. "I've gotten killed every day," Huffman said.

Although some of the Air Force's first F/A-22 Raptors, its newest and most advanced fighter, sat on Tyndall's tarmac, they did not compete because they are committed to pilot training and none has yet joined a combat unit. That may come when the next competition is held in three years, Nagler said.

All five teams this year flew the F-15 Eagle, a jet that entered the inventory three decades ago but still considered among the world's best.

Older U.S. fighters have maintained advantages over potential adversaries because of new missiles and upgrades to their radar and other electronic systems, but the gap in technology and tactics may be closing.

That became evident in February when F-15 pilots from the 19th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, lost several mock air battles to Indian Air Force pilots flying Russian and French jets during the "Cope India" exercise in central India.

The Americans admittedly had several handicaps, such as being outnumbered three-to-one and barred from simulating their longest range missile, but they still were surprised by the skill and tactics of Indian pilots and the capabilities of their aircraft.

"We may not be as far ahead of the rest of the world as we thought we were," Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, chief of the Air Combat Command, said in June.

William Tell was revived and revised this year to help Air Force leaders more realistically evaluate fighter tactics and procedures.

Pilots still fired live missiles at target drones as they had done in the past, but this year marked the first time the aggressors were on hand to test them against an enemy that fought back in realistic combat scenarios.

An event also was added to simulate homeland defense missions. It was a night scramble in which teams had to find and identify _ with night vision goggles _ a suspicious aircraft flying without lights.

The 19th Fighter Squadron, representing the Pacific Air Forces, had the most advanced equipment including a high-tech radar system it was unable to use in India.

One of the 19th's pilots, Capt. Pete Fesler of Spokane, Wash., said his five-pilot team noticeably and quickly improved through classroom, simulator and flight training while preparing for the meet. He said he hoped that kind of focused training could be used to upgrade an entire squadron.

In the end, William Tell validated the Air Force's training and tactics, said Maj. Mike Winkler of Portsmouth, N.H., who helped judge the competition.

"The biggest lesson that I've seen is that we still have a hugely competent force," said Winkler, F-15 weapons and tactics program manager for the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. "We have not seen hardly any Blue Air guys die."


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:59 AM


INS Viraat to set sail after sick leave
The Indian Navy's ageing aircraft carrier, INS Viraat is set to return to operational service after a year-long sick leave.

The 45-year-old carrier had to be nursed in dry-dock at Kochi for most of the year. It is now sailing again off the coast of Mumbai for trials of its combat worthiness.

"Viraat should be back in service in about a month," Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash told the Hindustan Times.

The Navy has plans to herald its return as the centerpiece of the Western Fleet by inviting the PM on board in February 2005 to review the capability of India's frontline warships at sea.

Elaborate repairs and refitting had to be carried out on India's lone aircraft carrier in dry dock to keep it going. The 23,900-ton vessel had to be tugged back to dry dock for a rehab barely two years after an extensive life-extension, which was intended to give it a 10-year lease of life. The Viraat was unavailable to the Navy for two years during this period.

The Navy denies a premature breakdown of the Viraat, maintaining that dry docking is part of "routine preventive maintenance". It also claims that if an emergency had arisen, the maintenance could have been suspended and the carrier pushed back into operations at very short notice.

Nonetheless, the unavailability of the Viraat for a year has once again exposed the limitations of having a solitary carrier on an extended life. Warships are generally built for life spans of not more than 30 years. This one is past 45.

The frequent lay-offs of the Viraat for nursing have also put a question mark over its reliability at a time when the naval emphasis is on a high level of deployment.

"During the last two years, the Western fleet has logged 400 days at sea," Fleet Operations Officer Captain Sunil Lamba said.

The Western Fleet comprises an estimated 21 frontline surface warships, but the carrier - which is critical to both power projection and suppression of enemy defences — is sorely missed.

The Navy has long pressed its case for having at least two carriers. Relief cannot be expected earlier than in May 2008, when the retrofitted Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov is due to be delivered to the Indian Navy.

The indigenous carrier, the Air Defence Ship, could take up to nine years to build at Kochi.

The consolation is that the Barak missile defence system has been installed and validated on Viraat as it now returns to service.

Modifications have also been made to enable the carrier to operate in a Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) warfare environment, sources said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:54 AM


India warns US on arms sales to Pakistan

Washington, November 20

India warned on Friday that new American arms sales to Pakistan could harm improving New Delhi-Washington ties as well as a promising dialogue between the South Asia's two nuclear rivals.

During talks in Washington, top Bush administration officials raised US concerns about Iran's nuclear activities but Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said his government was "not really in a position to pass judgment."

Saran met Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice before she went into the hospital for minor surgery and also had meetings with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, among others.

Washington is improving relations with the world's largest democracy, attracted by its booming technology expertise and commercial market, but India's nuclear weapons capability and ties with Iran are a serious concern.

A defense official said last month the administration would consult Congress on Pakistan's nearly 15-year quest for advanced F-16 fighter aircraft. Under US law, Congress must approve such deals.

Pakistan became a vital ally in the war on terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Saran said he was told the administration has not decided whether to go forward with the F-16 sale. But he told a news briefing: "When I met the secretary of state-designate, I did raise our strong concerns at reports of impeding arms sales by the United States to Pakistan.

"We pointed out the repercussion that such supplies could have on the ongoing India-Pakistan dialogue which was poised at a rather sensitive juncture."

India has began a cautious peace process with Pakistan and announced the withdrawal of some troops from the disputed region of Kashmir.

Saran noted that during President George W. Bush's first term of office US-India relations improved significantly. "So in this context, the supply of sophisticated weaponry to Pakistan will inevitably impact on the positive sentiments and good will that has come to characterize US-India relations," he added.

US officials assured Saran that Bush is committed to advancing relations with India. Washington supports the India-Pakistan dialogue and will continue to press Pakistan to end cross-border attacks, they told him.

The administration has accused Iran of vigorously pursuing a nuclear weapons program and the issue is an urgent challenge facing Bush as he begins a second term. Tehran insists it only wants nuclear technology to generate electricity.

Although Saran said his government has an impeccable record of protecting its nuclear technology, the United States recently imposed sanctions on two Indian scientists for alleged nuclear cooperation with Iran.

After New Delhi protested that the men did no wrong, Washington agreed to "review" the sanctions. Saran said there has been no decision.

He said US officials voiced their concerns about Iran and he reiterated India's view that Iran should adhere to its international commitments.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 4:06 PM


Frank Pallone urges Bush to block arms sale to Pakistan
Friday, November 19, 2004
Indo-Asian News Service

Leading US Congressman Frank Pallone has urged President George W. Bush to block the proposed arms sale to Pakistan, saying it would "contribute to increased security concerns" throughout South Asia, particularly India.

Pallone, Democrat from New Jersey and founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, termed the Pentagon's proposal to sell weapons to Pakistan as "short-sighted", adding, "Foreign military assistance to Pakistan has oftentimes been used against India."

The US Department of Defence (DoD) announced Wednesday a proposal to sell weapons to Pakistan, including eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft valued at up to $970 million, 2,000 TOW-2A missiles and 14 TOW-2A Fly-to-Buy missiles valued at $82 million. In his letter, Pallone said: "I urge you to re-examine the interests and priorities of the US and to take a strong position against selling arms to Pakistan both now and in the future."

"Your administration's policies with respect to military assistance and now military sales to Pakistan are contributing to increased security concerns throughout South Asia, and particularly to India." "We all agree that Pakistan has been an ally in the global war on terror, however, Pakistan has not taken steps to end terrorism in its own backyard and foreign military assistance to Pakistan has oftentimes been used against India."

In the letter, Pallone also expressed disappointment over the 'major non-NATO alliance' status that was bestowed upon Pakistan, saying "it allowed Islamabad to purchase military equipment not normally sanctioned to a country that is not under democratic rule".

"Pakistan unfortunately continues to remain under military rule and is not taking meaningful steps to return to a democracy, therefore I support democracy sanctions that would prohibit military assistance to Pakistan entirely," Pallone said. "Moreover, I feel that it is unprecedented for the Pentagon to be engaging in weapons sales with Pakistan due to its political instability."


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 3:59 PM


India, Israel review bilateral ties
India and Israel reviewed their bilateral relations at the 8th round foreign office consultations held here Tuesday.

A joint statement issued Wednesday said the two sides had wide-ranging and constructive exchange of views in the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding.

The discussions, which included a review of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, was held ahead of Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, Trade and Employment Ehud Olmert's visit to New Delhi next month at the head of a 100-strong business delegation.

External affairs ministry secretary Rajiv Sikri led the Indian delegation at the consultation while Ambassador Amos Nadai headed the Israeli delegation, the statement said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:20 AM


India sets out fighter jet plans
India has begun the process of buying 125 new fighter aircraft, a senior air force official has said.

Vice Chief of Air Staff SK Malik said in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on Wednesday that all options were open.

"We will go global. Perhaps F-16s will be there. Swedish Grippen, Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 will be there," he said.

The air force modernisation plan will replace its fleet of ageing and often unreliable Russian MiG-21s.

Air Marshal Malik was speaking at the annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine.

"We have not short-listed any aircraft nor discounted any," he said.

Air Marshal Malik said the initial process of identifying the required aircraft would take about two years.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:18 AM


Indian army starts pull out in Kashmir
The Indian army started pulling out part of its troops from the Indian-Administered Kashmir Wednesday morning, with first column of troops moving out from south Kashmir's Anantnag district for re-deployment in other partsof the country, official sources said here.

The first column of troops moved out of Anantnag at 08:00 localtime in the morning. Defence sources said a troop strength of two and half regiment is scheduled to be de-inducted on Wednesday.

The troops to be de-inducted would be drawn from Sharifabad in Srinagar and Awantipura in Pulwama district, the sources said.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced earlier this month to reduce the deployment of troops in Kashmir, citing "a reduction in an infiltration of militants from the Pakistani part of Kashmir." The move has been welcomed by both local political parties as well as Pakistan.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:17 AM


High-tech trade talks between US, India
two-day meeting of Indian and US officials begins here Thursday with the mandate to promote high-technology trade between the two countries.

Called the Indo-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG), its meeting is expected to lead to US companies gaining greater access to Indian markets while enabling Indian companies and government agencies to reach out to more American high-tech products.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and the US team led by Under Secretary of Commerce Kenneth I. Juster are expected to lead the two sides to the talks.

The group was set up two years ago to promote high-technology trade between the two countries. US export control laws to limit the types of technology that can be shipped to sensitive regions like India would come up before the HTCG for discussion in view of US concerns to prevent the proliferation of sensitive dual-use technologies.

Talks on shipping US sensor and radar equipment for use by India's defence forces, IT in defence cooperation and sensitive data protection would also be discussed, Indian Embassy officials said.

According to US Commerce Department officials, there is immense potential for trade in the high-technology sector between the two countries in areas ranging from IT to telecommunications and biotechnology.

The meeting will seek ways and means of advancing such trade "between our two countries consistent with our national security and foreign policy interests", sources said.

Besides, the HTCG is expected to address tariff and non-tariff barriers that inhibit high-tech commerce, the need to engage in outreach and trade promotion of US and Indian industry, market opportunities and the central
role of the private sector in generating increased bilateral high-tech trade.

The India-US interaction could include the Washington-backed Container Security Initiative that India recognises as a programme with inherent benefits as a counter-terrorism measure, sources said.

Representatives from US industries, Indian companies and top officials of the industry lobby, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), are expected to attend the two day meeting.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:16 AM


US rewards Pak with $1.2 bn arms deal
Pentagon has proposed a $1.2 billion arms package to Pakistan - seen here as a reward to Islamabad for its cooperation with the US in its global war on terror.

The arms proposal, being offered to Pakistan in more than 14 years, is the first significant arms sale to a US ally after President Bush's re-election. Pentagon has notified US Congress, which convened after its annual recess Tuesday, of the proposal.

The arms package, which must be approved by Congress, includes eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, six Phalanx rapid fire guns for the Pakistan navy and more than 2,000 TOW 2 missiles for the army, according to Pentagon sources.

It does not include the F-16 fighter jets which Pakistan has been very keen to acquire. Islamabad had asked the US for at least 18 of the new F-16s.

Congress has 30 days to object or approve the proposed arms sales. But Congressional sources said the sale is expected to sail through smoothly as the Congress - both the House and the Senate - has a Republican majority.

The delivery of an earlier batch of 60 F-16s to Pakistan was suspended in 1990 due to the Pressler sanctions which blocked the sale amid a controversy that Pakistan was clandestinely developing nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon has declined to either affirm or deny that Pakistan was still negotiating with the Bush administration over the request for F-16s.

Pentagon sources, however, said the issue of F-16 sales was periodically raised by the Pakistan government with the US but "there has been no decision at any level of the US government to provide F-16s to Pakistan."

According to a Pentagon press statement, Raytheon Co could sell more than 2,000 TOW-2A wire-guided anti-armour missiles valued at $82 million and an additional $155 million of Phalanx machine guns mounted on vessels designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles.

Eight P-3C Orion surveillance planes, built by Lockheed Martin, come at a price of $970m, while six Raytheon manufactured Phalanx rapid fire 20mm guns for the Pakistan navy as well as upgraded plans for another six gun systems are included under a separate contract for $155m.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping improve the security of a friendly nation that continues to be a key ally in the global war on terrorism," the Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which looks after foreign arms sales, said in a press statement in Washington Wednesday.

The Raytheon weapons will be produced by the company's Tucson, Arizona, facility. The P-3C aircraft would be assembled at Lockheed's Greenville, South Carolina, plant, it said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:15 AM


BrahMos, Akash, Trishul to be test fired soon
INDIAN defence scientists will conduct advanced flight tests of at least three missiles — BrahMos, Akash and Trishul — by the end of 2004, in their intensified efforts to convince the users to go in for induction of these indigenously developed missiles.

In the case of BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile, its newer version of `Ground to Ground', aimed at hitting land targets is slated to be test-fired in December, said Dr Prahlada, Project Director of the prestigious Indo-Russian joint initiative missile development programme.

Early this month, the anti-ship (naval) version of BrahMos, completed trials when it successfully achieved mid-air manoeuvre and hit a decommissioned ship, off the Orissa coast. It is now ready for induction, Dr Prahlada told Business Line.

The production facility for the missile is already in place and "we can deliver one missile every month. The Navy has expressed its Letter of Interest," he said.

The BrahMos missile has also attracted international interest at various defence expos in Singapore, Australia, Abu Dhabi and South Africa, where it was exhibited. However, a decision to export to any country has to be taken by the Indian Government, Dr Prahlada said.

Given the accuracy and demonstrated capability of the BrahMos supersonic missile, which has a range up to 290 km and high speed, the induction by the Indian Navy could considerably boost its strike power and defences.

Referring to the overall missile development programme, Dr Prahlada, who is also the Director of the Hyderabad-based, Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), said, "The programme has matured and capability to test fire and manufacture them as per user demands has been achieved."

He said Akash, the surface-to-air missile, and Trishul, the short-range, surface-to-air missile are slated to be test fired between November and January next respectively.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:27 AM


China Now Test-Flying Homemade AWACS
The Chinese military, undeterred by a U.S. veto that blocked the purchase of Israeli planes, has developed its own radar surveillance aircraft and is test-flying the first models for early deployment in the Taiwan Strait, according to military specialists.

The Chinese airborne warning and control system, or AWACS, uses domestically produced advanced radar mounted on a Russian-made Il-76 transport aircraft. Analysts said the AWACS marks an important step in the government's campaign to develop the modern military necessary to back up its threat to reunite Taiwan with the mainland by force if necessary.

Electronic weaponry -- in this case, equipment to monitor the skies and control warplanes over a wide battlefield -- has been a major focus of extensive military improvements in recent years. In particular, AWACS has long been seen by the military as an indispensable tool for air superiority over the 100-mile strait separating Taiwan from the mainland.

"You've got to have those AWACS up there or you're not going anywhere," said a foreign military attache in Beijing describing China's need for such a system in the event of conflict with Taiwan.

Chinese military technicians have been struggling to acquire AWACS-type equipment since the United States pressured Israel in 2000 to back out of a $1 billion agreement to sell China four of its Phalcon phased-array radar systems. The systems also would have used Il-76 aircraft as a platform.

The main U.S. concern in blocking the sale was that China would gain a military advantage over Taiwan. Moreover, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. government has pledged to help Taiwan defend itself against any Chinese attack, meaning U.S. forces could become involved should fighting erupt.

For the same reasons, People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force leaders were determined to acquire such a plane. "After the 2000 Israeli fiasco, the PLA made it a matter of high pride to prove to the Americans they would not be denied AWACS," said Richard D. Fisher Jr., a U.S.-based specialist on the Chinese military.

At first, China turned to Russia, its traditional source of military equipment. The Beijing government concluded a deal to buy four Beriev A-50 Mainstay radar planes, which are roughly the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Air Force's E-3 Sentry AWACS. The purchase was believed to be the first phase of an agreement for up to eight of the Russian aircraft.

At the same time, however, Chinese scientists were at work on their own radar equipment. It is not known whether any of the Russian craft were ever delivered, which would have provided a look at the technology, or whether the technicians obtained help from Israeli or Russian counterparts. In any case, the Chinese AWACS that has begun test flights bears a strong resemblance to the A-50, which also uses the Il-76.

The AWACS could be operational within one or two years assuming the tests are successful, the specialists said. It was not known how many are planned for production, but Fisher noted eight would allow for a 24-hour patrol at both ends of the Taiwan Strait.

The Defense Ministry, which treats most military subjects as secret, did not reply to a request for information on the AWACS project.

Whatever the ultimate production schedule, AWACS development fits into a steady growth in the amount and sophistication of armaments on both sides of the strait, making a confrontation between China and Taiwan potentially one of the world's most dangerous.

The leadership has steadily increased military budgets in recent years and sought to reform the manpower-heavy but technology-short PLA as swiftly as possible. According to U.S. and Taiwanese officials, the government has deployed nearly 600 short-range ballistic missiles in southern China aimed at targets in Taiwan. The number grows by about 75 a year, they say.

Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian, who began a second four-year term in May, has insisted the 13,500-square mile territory is independent and should stay that way. Soon after taking office in May, his government decided on an $18.2 billion arms purchase from the United States, including 12 P-3C Orion submarine-hunting planes, eight diesel-electric submarines and six PAC-3 batteries equipped with more than 350 Patriot anti-missile missiles.

But the opposition Nationalist and People First parties, which have a majority in the legislature, declined this week to approve Chen's budget for the purchase, arguing it was too expensive and in some ways inappropriate for Taiwan's needs. The issue is unlikely to be resolved until after the next legislative elections, scheduled for Dec. 11.

In the meantime, both sides have continued individual purchases that notch up the technology level of their militaries by matching threat for threat.

China, for instance, in 2002 bought from Israel a number of Harpy anti-radar drones, which can loiter over enemy territory and drop munitions on radars turned on to guide air defenses. Meanwhile, Taiwan has obtained authorization from the Bush administration to buy high-speed anti-radiation missiles, which also can target air defenses by homing in on radar emissions, Chin Hui-chu, a Taiwanese legislator on the National Defense committee, recently told the Taiwan News.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:26 AM


India, Israel talks next week
The foreign ministries of India and Israel will hold consultations next week, the first such interaction after the United Progressive Alliance government took power in May , the Press Trust of India said on Saturday.

"We will take stock of our bilateral ties in the first chapter of the talks and look at ways to promote and advance various areas of cooperation. It will also seek to look for new projects, new ideas to further relations between the two countries", Mordechai Amichai, Director, Asia and Pacific Division, at the Israeli foreign ministry told PTI.

In two other chapters the talks would concentrate on regional and multilateral issues, Mr Amichai said. "We will exchange information, analysis and views concerning Middle East, the peace process, issues of regional importance like the situation in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon and, of course, the Israeli-Palestinian process, and would hear from India on the situation in South Asia," he said.

The third chapter will deal with global and multilateral issues such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations system, Mr Amichai said.

Some people here observed that India was among the few Third World countries that did not send a head of state or government to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's funeral.

India is set to import a range of sophisticated military equipment from Israel, including airborne radars and unmanned aircraft with deep surveillance capabilities.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:23 AM


Aero India 2005 sold out
The fifth Aero India 2005 has been completely sold out. The number of participants for the show, to be held between February 9-13, 2005 at Yelahanka, Bangalore, has significantly increased compared to the last one in 2003.

The show is a complete sold out to the extent of 92% of the space.

Talking to FE, Shekhar Dutt, secretary, defence production and chairperson, organising committee said, “the increasing importance of India as a major defence market combined with the growing capabilities of Indian companies as outsourcing destinations for aerospace manufacturing companies is said to be the prime reason for the unprecedented interest in Aero India 2005.”

He said that despite the increase of 30% available space over the 2003 show, Aero India 2005 exhibition space has seen rapid take up by exhibitors from around the world.

“The response from the exhibitors for participation has been overwhelming. The show has confirmed participation by 23 countries, and over 40 official delegations from different countries are expected to mark their presence. Major exhibitors have taken up 29 chalets as on October 25 and more are in the pipeline. The total number of companies are expected be substantially up over the 2003 event,” squadron leader Rajesh Dhingra, joint director of Defence Exhibition Organisation (DEO) said.

He said countries including Israel, Russia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the US are among those who have confirmed participation. He pointed out that US has doubled its presence in comparison to 2003.

More than 300 companies from across the globe including Sibat from Israel; Avia Export, Irkut Corporation, Rosboronexports from Russia; Dassault, Thales, EADS, GIFAS from France and Northrop, Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing, Bell Helicopters from the US will be displaying their technological prowess, squadron leader Dhingra added.

The exhibition is being organised by the DEO under Department of Defence Production and Supplies, ministry of defence.

In fact, plans are afoot to substantially improve upon the previous expositions with better infrastructural facilities, increase in indoor display area and more opportunities for business to business interactions, secretary defence production said.

An all-new hanger with 4,200 sqm of display space to accommodate increasing interest by companies.

Also, the National Highway Authority of India have undertaken to provide a road by passing Yelahanka Town with a view to avoid traffic bottlenecks on the way from Bangalore to AFSY. This will be ready before the event starts and will cut down the traveling time by 20-30 minutes.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:22 AM


Plane plans with Russia role take off
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is set to team up with a Russian aerospace major for joint design and manufacture of a multi-role transport aircraft.

HAL and Irkutsk Aviation Corporation, Siberia, plan to break into the market with two versions — a 100-seater passenger jet and a cargo version with the capacity to ferry 18 to 20 tonnes.

The two companies, which are eyeing the multi-billion-dollar global market, believe the worldwide demand for the passenger jet version will be at least 400.

To start with, they plan to roll out 100-odd aircraft of the cargo version for the Indian Air Force and the Russian Air Force. “The project report is ready in all respects. The IAF wants 45 of these aircraft (to replace the ageing Russian AN-32 transport fleet), while the Russians are looking for 60 or more,” N.R. Mohanty, chairman of the Bangalore-based HAL.

“The design specifications are finalised. We are waiting for a firm commitment of 60-plus from the Russians before a formal launch. To make the project economically viable, we need orders of 100-plus aircraft,” the official added.

Mohanty said the two companies had agreed to acquire the engine to power these multi-role transport aircraft from a third company to help them meet deadlines. “We will share our expertise in designing the aircraft, but will source the engine from elsewhere as we cannot spend much time on a new engine. We plan to achieve the first flight certification in six years from the date of a formal go-ahead by the two governments. They (the Russians) have sophisticated test facilities and that will help us work against deadlines,” he said.

According to current estimates, the project would require a budget of $350 million to be shared by the two firms. Officials said HAL’s innovative design solutions in metal and composite materials and Irkutsk’s expertise in aircraft manufacturing would ensure a sturdy fuselage which would, at the same time, be lighter than in conventional aircraft and thus increase fuel efficiency.

In the 100-seater category, the multi-role aircraft would compete with Boeing 717, Airbus 318 and Embraer 190 (Brazil). The cargo version, the two companies believe, would find sufficient takers as replacements for the Franco-German Transall C-160 and AN 12 and AN 26 of Russia.

Irkutsk has a partnership with HAL for production of the twin-seater Sukhoi-30 MKIs and upgrading of 18 Su-30K fighters, originally delivered to the Indian Air Force by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, Moscow. “The Su-30 (MKI) production is on schedule. We will deliver two fighters to IAF this financial year,” Mohanty said.

The HAL chairman said the company’s designers were also working on a light combat helicopter for the armed forces. “We expect the government to clear the project before the end of this financial year. The first prototype will fly within 26 months of the formal approval from the government. The IAF has shown interest but has not specified the requirement (in terms of number of helicopters),” he said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:21 AM


Mirage 2000 crashes surprising and alarming: Air Force
Terming the recent spate of Mirage 2000 fighter crashes as "surprising and alarming", the Air Force today said that IAF's frontline fleet had recently been put to a strenous checks and some of the components of the accident-involved aircraft were being examined.

Giving details of the last night's crash of the Mirage fighter near the Gwalior Airbase, Air Marshal S K Malik, Vice Chief of the Air Staff said preliminary reports indicated that the pilot could have orientation problems leading to the crash.
He said the flight data recorder of the aircraft had been recovered and would be thoroughly examined by the court of inquiry instituted to probe the crash.

The Vice Chief said premlinary reports of earlier two crashes last month - one near Gwalior and other during air show at Mauritius - had indicated technical problems, so some of the components like blades had been sent for examination to the National Metallurgical Labortary in Jamshedpur.

"One the report expected within a week is received, it would be sent for expert study by the French manufacturers", Malik said.

The Vice Chief said the recent crashes were surprising as the Mirage of all fighters in the inventory of IAF had the cleanest safety record, with only six aircraft involved in accidents since their induction in 1987.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:32 AM


Mirage crash jinx
A Mirage 2000 multi-role fighter caught fire and crashed in the forests near Gwalior in the fourth mishap involving the French-designed aircraft in two months, but the pilot bailed out.

The fighter took off from its Gwalior base at 8.40 pm on a routine sortie and crashed 20 minutes later at Barsota, about 75 km away, district collector Rakesh Srivastava said.

Pilot Gururani ejected safely and efforts are on to rescue him, he added.

The Mirage 2000 was touted as one of the IAF’s most reliable fighters and till this year had recorded only five crashes since their induction in 1985. The air force has two squadrons of the single-engine fighters, both based in Gwalior.

On September 23, a Mirage lost its nose wheel in mid-air and the pilot was ordered to eject.

The aircraft was directed away from human settlements and crashed in the ranges near the IAF’s airbase.

On October 12, during showpiece bilateral exercises with the Singapore Air Force’s F-16s, a Mirage 2000 trainer crashed.

A few days earlier, on October 3, a Mirage 2000 fighter returning from multinational exercises in South Africa landed on its belly during an airshow in Mauritius.

A technical team of the French Dassault Aviation, the original suppliers, was in Gwalior last month to study maintenance issues and upgradation. The Mirage 2000s are being made capable of delivering nuclear payloads.

The Mirage 2000s are slated to replace the ageing MiG-21 aircraft as the mainstay of the fighter fleet.

The spurt in accidents comes at a time when the IAF is pushing for replacement of the MiG-21 air defence aircraft — dubbed the “Flying Coffin” for its crash frequency — by multi-role fighters like the Mirage 2000.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:05 AM


Indian Air Force plane has narrow escape
An Indian Air Force plane had a narrow escape yesterday after it was hit by a bird shortly after take off from Hindon air base during an air show, sources said here today.

The plane barely managed to maintain its altitude after it was hit by a bird during the show, Air Marshal S P Tyagi said.

This incident is latest in a series of accidents involving mid air plane collisions with birds, official sources added.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:12 AM


Indian autumn on Capitol Hill
The Indian Express
Saturday, November 06, 2004


Indian autumn on Capitol Hill
Bush 2 offers India huge business and strategic opportunities

K. Subrahmanyam
Please click on Link to access this column.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 6:21 PM


The Next Steps, On Tiptoes
Please click on link to access this article.

Bush's victory doesn't mean Indo-US ties are climbing an unending upward graph


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 6:18 PM


2003 Pakistani-Saudi Pact Bears Fruit
Pakistan has delivered the first of 20 training jets to Saudi Arabia, the first fruit of a 2003 defense cooperation pact between the Islamic nations.

Signed early last year, the accord paved the way for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s purchase of 20 Super Mushhak aircraft, built by Pakistani Aeronautical Complex and slated for delivery by year’s end, a Pakistan official said.

The pact also covers a major land forces modernization package, defense industrial technology, troop training and possibly naval vessels, an industry source said. Next year, Pakistan will start delivering Al-Khalid tanks to the Saudi Army, according to press reports quoting Pakistani Maj. Gen. Ali Baz.

Neither Baz nor Saudi officials would give the value or size of the deals. Manufactured by Pakistan’s Heavy Industries Taxila, the Al-Khalid is based on the T-90 2M, a Chinese version of the Russian T-90, and uses Ukrainian engines and a Chinese-designed 125mm gun. Pakistan’s Army began taking delivery of Al-Khalids in September, accepting the first 42 of a 300-tank order.

An analyst in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, who follows Pakistani defense issues, said the land forces deal was worth about $1.2 billion, and included 65 tanks, up to 400 M113 Al Hamza armored infantry fighting vehicles and a number of SAKB armored command carriers and support vehicles. About 250 of the Al Hamzas will be armed with Baktar Shikan wire-guided anti-armor missile launchers and up to 5,000 missiles, both built by Kahuta Research Laboratory, the analyst said.

The analyst said most of this equipment would be used by a Pakistan Army armored brigade slated to be deployed in Saudi Arabia from 2005 through 2009.

A Western industry official said the two nations also had been talking for more than a year about a potential Saudi purchase of diesel-powered Agosta 90B submarines built by Pakistan’s Naval Dockyard in Karachi.

Pakistani and Saudi defense officials declined to comment about any submarine discussions, but acknowledged that talks are under way on several programs.

Islamabad is trying to make oil-rich Saudi Arabia dependent on all manner of Pakistani arms and equipment, said Talat Masood, an Islamabad-based defense analyst and a retired Pakistani Army lieutenant general.

Pakistan could put the revenues toward developing new weapons and gear, and could cooperate with Saudi industry on joint projects to build aircraft and tanks, said Masood.

“Pakistan is the No. 1 Muslim strategic ally to Saudi Arabia,” said Anwar Eshki, chief executive of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia has always provided financial and political backing to Pakistan and is now seeking to improve military cooperation and exchange of defense technology.”

Pakistan also depends on Saudi Arabia for energy, said Shireen Mazari, director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

An Oct. 12 ceremony in Pakistan to mark the delivery of the first Super Mushhaks was attended by a Saudi military delegation led by Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the assistant defense and aviation minister for military affairs. During the delegation’s three-day visit, the prince met with President Pervez Musharraf and toured defense industrial facilities. The visit coincided with the Oct. 12 test-firing of Pakistan’s Hatf V, or Ghauri, nuclear-capable intermediate ballistic missile.

Pakistani-Saudi defense ties are improving as Islamabad’s archenemy, India, strengthens its relationship with Israel.

Some Israeli and U.S. newspapers reported earlier this year that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to cooperate on nuclear weapons. Saudi and Pakistani diplomats in the United States denied the reports, and U.S. officials said they had seen no evidence to support the “bald assertions.”

Middle East analysts dismissed the allegations.

“Reports of Pakistani-Saudi nuclear collaboration are false and baseless simply because Saudi Arabia does not even have the technological infrastructure to support a nuclear cooperation program,” Masood said.

Added Eshki, a retired Saudi Army major general: “Riyadh cannot be seeking nuclear weapons at a time it is urging their removal from the region.”


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:47 PM


Japanese, Indian Coast Guards Practice Anti-Hijacking Maneuvers
India and Japan conducted joint anti-hijacking and sea piracy exercises Nov. 1-5 in the Arabian Sea off India’s Mumbai coast.

The Japanese and Indian coast guards took part in the exercises, dubbed Sahyog Kaijan 2004.

An Indian Coast Guard official said Nov. 5 that the exercises involved the mock hijacking of a merchant vessel, the M V Julliet, which was reported from the reporting center at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

The Indian Coast Guard fielded its high-speed hovercraft H 185 and its fast patrol vessel, CGS Sarojini Naidu, while Japan fielded its Coast Guard Ship PLH Mizuho.

An Indian Defence Ministry official told on Nov. 5 that India and Japan share a common strategic ground, as both are dependent on petroleum imports from the Arabian Gulf and have common shipping routes.

The two countries are working to establish a common ground to ensure the safety of their oil route extending from the Indian Ocean to the Strait of Malacca, an area prone to piracy.

These joint exercises are the fifth in the series between Japan and India.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:46 PM


Russian Engines Pass Muster With Indian Army
Less than impressed with the results of desert tank trials, India’s Army has rejected the T-72 tank engines upgraded by the state-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory and opted instead to buy the V-84MS engine that powers Russia’s T-90 tank.

An Army official said five T-72 tanks powered by the upgraded V-12 engine were put through three months of trials in the Rajasthan desert. The trials, which ended in September, also included five T-72 tanks equipped with the V-84MS engine.

The official said the V-12 engines had a much lower thrust and heated up much faster than the V-84s.

“In all, the upgraded V-12 engine of the T-72 tank was rejected by the technical panel of the Indian Army and the V-84MS engine of the T-90 tank was selected,” he said.

A Ministry of Defence official confirmed that the Army is negotiating with Moscow-based arms export agency Rosoboronexport to buy V-84MS engines by the end of this year to upgrade an initial batch of 300 T-72 tanks, with the goal of outfitting all 1,500 T-72 tanks. The price tag for the engine is part of those talks, he said.

The T-72 upgrade program is expected to cost $1.7 million per tank, and includes an updated fire-control system, navigation gear, radios, thermal imaging systems and night-vision devices.

The Army in 1997 issued a request for proposals to upgrade its entire fleet of 1,500 T-72 tanks. The Defence Ministry in 2001 decided to upgrade the tanks in batches, with the first 300 to be completed before 2007.

On the short list of bidders are PCO-Cenzin, Warsaw; ;El-Op Electro-Optics, Rehovot, Israel; and Thales, Paris, for the fire-control system. ;IAI Electronics, Yahud, Israel; LITEF, Freiburg, Germany; and Reutech Defence, Natal, South Africa, are vying to supply the land navigation system, while BAE SYSTEMS Electro Optics, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Tadiran, Holon, Israel, are short-listed for the radio sets.

Israel Military Industries, Ramat Hasharon, Israel; AVIMO, Somerset, England; and Thales have been short-listed to supply thermal imaging systems for the tanks. India’s Bharat Electronics, Bangalore, will supply night-vision devices. The engine upgrade was given to state-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadhi, in 2001.

A senior official from India’s Ordnance Factories Board, which controls the Avadhi factory, said only five engines were upgraded and there would be no negative financial implications stemming from the Army’s decision.

A senior Defence Ministry procurement official said the government has received the technical specifications for aspects of the T-72 upgrade program. Trials for these various systems will be carried out as soon as the next budget is in place by February. Companies will be invited to bid based on the technical trials. The first order of engines and other gear for 300 tanks is expected in 2005 and should total around $510 million, the Defence Ministry official said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:44 PM


India Embraces New War Doctrine
The Indian Army has adopted a new doctrine that foresees short, intense wars against the backdrop of terrorism and nuclear threats.

It was adopted during the Army Commanders Conference, held here Oct. 25-29, the first such meeting since the United Progressive Alliance government came to power in May.

Spelled out in a 121-page document, “Indian Army Doctrine” predicts that India’s next wars will emerge on short notice, will be of short duration, and will be fought at high tempo and intensity. Combat zones may be deeper and wider, thanks to better arms and land- and space-based sensors, the document says. Defense News obtained a copy.

It says conventional conflict may escalate to nuclear war if a belligerent is determined to avoid defeat — a reference to Pakistan, an Army planning official said.

Battle plans already are being drawn up to suit the doctrine, a Defence Ministry official said, but he would not elaborate at this preliminary stage of the process.

An Army artillery official said the doctrine called for a big increase in the use of firepower, including a larger role for artillery and smarter ammunition;, better night-fighting capabilities, and ;more unmanned aerial vehicles, guided missiles and other high-tech equipment. The swiftness of future war requires more special forces to operate behind enemy lines.

The Army official said the doctrine underscored India’s need for nuclear weapon delivery systems on land, at sea and in the air.

Mahendra Singh, retired Army major general and defense analyst, said the new doctrine would mean spending billions of dollars on modernizing and digitizing India’s largely Russian-built hardware.

The doctrine calls for the Army to be ready to fight amid biological and chemical weapons. “Both active and passive defensive measures are being instituted to cater to this requirement,” it said.

Nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection should be installed on more than 1,500 T-72 tanks and much of India’s artillery. The Army’s incoming T-90 tanks and 400 155mm howitzers will have NBC gear when they arrive.

Only 10 percent of troops have personal NBC gear; the new doctrine will mean large purchases, the official said.

The Army intends to change its more than 1,400 howitzers — including the 122mm Grad, 105 Indian Field Gun and 100mm Anti-Tank Gun — into 155mm guns in 10 to 15 years, the official said.

The doctrine also echoes existing Army proposals to shift from platform-centric to network-centric warfare. “Future wars will be characterized by the ascent of network-centric warfare, information warfare and the conduct of operations under the glare of the media,” the doctrine states.

It identified seven forms of information warfare on which India will focus:

• Command and control.

• Intelligence-based.

• Electronic.

• Psychological.

• Cyber.

• Economic information.

• Network-centric warfare.

The doctrine emphasizes combined operations by air, land, and sea forces: “Joint operations produce maximum application of the overall combat power at the decisive point towards attainment of common objectives.”

Singh said the Indian defense forces will consolidate their joint command in the Andaman Nicobar Islands and add weapons to the joint arsenal there.

The doctrine notes that India is emerging as a global power, and calls on the military to support this new stance, said another Indian defense official. The armed forces must work harder to protect India’s Arabian Gulf sea trade and other economic interests.

“The Indian Ocean region ... assumes strategic significance due to the high volume of Indian international trade transiting through,” the doctrine says. “By virtue of her size and strategic location in the Indian Ocean region, India is expected to play her rightful role to ensure peace and stability in it.”

The official also said that India’s first foreign military base, at Farkhor outside Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe, is likely to be operational by the end of 2004. It will be equipped with Indian Air Force aircraft and troops.

Singh said the base is likely to give the military a longer reach.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:43 PM


India Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile
India on Nov. 7 tested a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead off its eastern coast, defense sources said.

The Indian-made Dhanush (Bow), with a strike range of 250 kilometers (156 miles) was test-fired from naval ship INS Subhadra at around 12:20 p.m. in the Bay of Bengal off the state of Orissa, the sources said.

The Indian defense sources said the Dhanus is a naval variant of India’s surface-to-surface Prithvi (earth) II missile.

The test was the third by India in recent weeks. On Oct. 27, it fired off a naval version of its Prithvi III while on November 3 it conducted a successful test of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.

India’s nuclear rival, Pakistan, test-fired its own nuclear-capable missile Hatf V (Ghauri), with a range of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles), on Oct. 12.

Both countries have continued to test missiles routinely despite an ongoing peace process.

The Nov. 7 test was the third trial of Dhanush. The missiles debut trial on April 11, 2000 was not all that successful but its second test-fire, on Sept. 21, 2001, went off smoothly.

The missile has a payload of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), is 8.56 meters (28 feet) long and one meter (3.2 feet) wide and has a launch weight of 4,600 kilograms (10,000 pounds), the sources said. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and uses a single-stage liquid propellant engine.

Dhanush is part of India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) which was launched in 1983 to develop and produce a wide range of missiles for surface-to-surface and surface-to-air roles.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:41 PM


India to buy Israeli spy planes
AFP[ SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 07, 2004 04:06:10 AM ]

NEW DELHI: Israel is likely to sign a deal to supply spy drones worth $230
million to India soon, officials said Sunday.

State-owned Israeli Aircraft Industries will also supply military
surveillance hardware for the unmanned aircraft which will be jointly
produced in India, defence ministry officials said.

"We are quite close to signing a deal," a highly-placed official said.
They said the offer includes 50 Eagle-Heron Israeli drones which have a
range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), can stay airborne for more than 24
hours and cruise at an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,575 metres).

India, which treated Israel like a pariah for decades, has forged close
military links in recent years. It is acquiring two Phalcon Airborne Early
Warning Systems worth a billion dollars and will jointly produce a
long-range missile from the Jewish state.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 3:55 PM


Indian Army to induct 155 mm self-propelled gun
Indian Army would induct 155 mm self-propelled gun, advanced electronic warfare system and multi-barel rocket system as part of its upgradation programme.

"The 155 mm self propelled gun, advanced electronic warfare system and multi-barel rocket system will soon be added to the warfare capabilities of the Army," General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command Lt Gen B S Takhar told reporters here today.

"In the last two years, we have inducted Air Defence Weapon System, precision guided ammunition and electronic warfare system in the force," Takhar, who was here to review preparations for 'Know Your Army' exhibition, starting from November four, said.

To a query about India's position as per the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), he said it is a gradual process and will take 20 to 30 years. "Also, all the programmes of the Indian Army in the past decade are planned to keep pace with RMA," he added.

When asked about the reports that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was spotted in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), he said: "We don't have any concrete proof of it." The Indian army would have a joint exercise with the Singapore Army soon, he added.

Earlier, he awarded six officers, JCO, jawans and civilian defence staff with the coveted "Army Commanders Commendation" for their devotion to duty and distinguished services.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:07 AM


IAF gets new flight safety chief
Call it a coincidence, the IAF got a new flight safety chief hours after a MiG-21 crashed.

Air Marshal P S Ahluwalia, a qualified instructor with over 4,500 hours of flying experience, took over the crucial post of director-general of flight safety and inspection at IAF HQ on Tuesday.

Ahluwalia will be the overall in-charge of flight safety in the IAF, which witnesses an unusually high rate of accidents. Commissioned in 1968, Ahluwalia has commanded the premier Mirage-2000 base at Gwalior.

Also, Air Marshal A K Nagalia took over as the air officer-in-charge of personnel at Air HQ on Tuesday.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:03 AM


Israel offers to develop Barak missiles with India jointly
Deepening bilateral defence cooperation further, Israel is understood to have offered to develop the next generation Barak-II ship defence missiles jointly with India. Defence Ministry sources said Tel Aviv conveyed the offer to Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash when he visited Israel this July, and the issue was discussed during the Naval Commanders’ Conference last week.

Indian Navy procured seven Barak-I missile systems worth Rs 800 crore from Israel last year. The new multi-million dollar joint venture proposal is for the development of a 70-km-range Barak-II missile with Navy and the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).

The Barak-I can detect a target at a range of 12 kilometers.

The offer — which was first put on the table by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) — is now being considered by the Defence Ministry. Both DRDO and officials at the Israel Embassy’s defence department declined to comment.

The ship-borne Barak is made to intercept and destroy approaching anti-ship missiles. The system is built to automatically trigger the Barak from a Rafael-made vertical launch assembly when the radar detects an anti-ship supersonic missile at a height, and sea-skimming missile at a low altitude.

The Barak’s fire control system made by Elbit can automatically lock onto two incoming missiles at the same time.

The Barak’s defence is capable of intercepting targets not less than 500 metres away. Its Rafael-made warhead makes up a substantial 22 per cent of the missile’s almost 100 kg weight, bestowing it with a wider kill envelope.

The Navy’s INS Viraat aircraft carrier, three Delhi-class destroyers and three Talwar-class frigates are currently equipped with the Barak-I missiles which India bought in 2003.

A view currently persists that the Indian Navy is not equipped with ship-based aircraft tracking equipment that would justify a 70-km range missile, though long-range tracking technology is being looked at as a possible technology spin-off if India decides to sign on the dotted line with Israel.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:59 AM


Indian Navy to be a leaner force: Chief of Naval Staff
The Indian Navy is on course to becoming a leaner force with augmented weapon, sensor and network-centric competence to give it endurance, punch and extended operational range, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash has said.
"By 2015-20 the Indian Navy (IN) will be a three-aircraft carrier force - one on either coast and one in reserve - alongside adequate surface and subsurface combatants, robust reserves and sound logistical support for blue water operations and visibility wherever national interests dictate," Admiral Prakash told the 'Jane's Defence Weekly'.

"In the past our shipbuilding and force planning went awry due to the skewed debate over large versus small units," he admitted. The continuing reappraisal of the navy is going to rectify this error by maintaining little more than half of its 140-145 vessels as ocean going, he said. The remainder would be assigned coastal duties.

Admiral Prakash said work on refurbishing the Admiral Gorshkov, the 44,500-tonne Kiev-class Russian aircraft carrier India acquired for the price of its refit (estimated at about 675 million dollars), at Russia's Sevmash shipyard was "encouraging".

He said "the services is keeping its options open for a new enhanced weapons fit, fire-control system, radar and sensors for the 20 MIG-29K fighters, including four trainers, meant for the Gorshkov. The navy reportedly paid 1.5 billion dollars for the 20 MIG 29Ks.

Admiral Prakash said the Indian Navy also planned to buy between 15 and 20 MIG-29Ks for the 35,000-37,000 tonne Air Defence Ship being built locally.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:53 AM


IAF accidently drops live bomb
An Iskra trainer aircraft of the Indian Air Force accidentally dropped a 25 lb bomb at Lakha Baval village in the Jamnagar area on Thursday afternoon.

This is the second incident this year after a MiG crashed in the same area recently killing three people. The IAF has ordered a probe into the incident. The incident assumes importance because the area where it happened is close to the Jamnagar oil refinery.

"As of now, no loss of life has been reported due to the bomb explosion, which took place near the village around 4 pm," said an officer.

A trainee pilot, tasked with dropping four 25 lb bombs at the Jamnagar range, was flying the Iskra when the mishap took place.

The pilot could apparently drop three of the bombs at the range when the fourth one developed a technical snag. The pilot was then asked by the air traffic control to return to Jamnagar base. While on the way, the fourth bomb accidentally fell off. The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry into the incident and a team has rushed to the spot.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:29 AM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:27 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:27 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:27 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:27 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:26 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:26 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:26 PM


Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Aviation Expo, Mumbai 2004

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:25 PM


Indian Air Force chopper makes world's highest landing in Ladakh
An Indian Air Force (IAF) Cheetak helicopter Tuesday made the world's highest landing at an altitudeof 7,621 meters on Sasser Kangri Massif in eastern Ladakh in India-controlled Kashmir.

The Cheetak, sporting a Cheetak air frame with a more powerful TM-333-2B2 aero engine, thus beat the record held by the US Bell Helicopter, which landed at an altitude of 7,655 meters on July 28,the Press Trust of India quoted IAF Squadron Leader Mahesh Upasanias saying. Enditem


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:43 AM


MiG-21 crashes in Rajasthan
A MiG-21 fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed during a routine night sortie in Rajasthan Monday but the pilot ejected safely, police said here Tuesday.

"The aircraft, which was on a regular sortie, took off at around 9 p.m. from the Nal airbase in Bikaner and crashed at 9.30 p.m. near Kanasar, about 360 km from the state capital Jaipur," a police official told IANS on phone.

The pilot, Flying Officer Shashank Mitra, baled out safely, he said.

The officer said the pilot baled out before the jet crashed into sand dunes. There was no casualty or damage on the ground, the official said.

A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash. Preliminary reports have suggested the jet crashed because of engine failure.

This was the second MiG-21 crash this year and the 10th IAF fighter to go down so far. Three French-built Mirage 2000 aircraft and four Jaguar jets have also met with accidents this year.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:42 AM


Bin Laden Spotted by Indian Air Force
Osama Bin Laden was actually spotted in the flesh just a few days ago - according to counter terror sources with the DEBKAfile. Between October 17 and October 19, an Indian air force reconnaissance plane picked him up in the Tibet-Laddakh region close to the North-Eastern corner of Pakistan bordering India and China.
Additional surveillance aircraft were called in and identified the al Qaeda leader on the move with a 10-vehicle convoy of black Japanese minivans. Four of the vehicles turned up again on Friday, October 22 heading east towards the Chinese border. Debkafile sources maintain that the rumored sightings of bin Laden on the Lingzi Thang Plain on the Tibetan border in June may have been true then, but are now outdated. In any case, he was not at the time in Pakistani Waziristan or the Afghan-Pakistani border as was suspected.

The agents hunting the al Qaeda leader are working on the premise that he has decided to wait out the winter months in one of two regions: Hunza province in the Northern Frontier tip of Indian Kashmir or Little Pamir, where fanatical Tajik tribes have never allowed any Kabul government - whether Taliban or led by Karzai - to secure a foothold. Little Pamir is wedged between Tajikistan where Russian special forces taking part in the bin Laden dragnet are deployed and China.

Before launching the Sept.11 attacks, bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Zawahiri, prepared snug havens in the caverns that riddle the towering 5,000-8,000 mountain peaks.

In the 1970s, the Russians converted the Little Pamir cave warren into subterranean silos for nuclear missiles pointing towards China. But even the Russians found the cold and harsh conditions unendurable and by the mid-1980s the bases were abandoned.

Nothing on Osama bin Laden's new tape released Friday, October 29, 2004 gave away information on the his whereabouts. Even though it was dropped in Islamabad a few hours prior at the gate of Al Jazeera’s Pakistan bureau chief, Pakistan was quick to deny the fugitive was hiding in that country. “He cannot be in the tribal areas because of the presence of so many troops,” said interior minister Aftab Khan Sherpao. In Afghanistan, the US military suggested he was somewhere near the Afghan-Pakistani border.

All the intelligence agencies involved in the hunt for the elusive bin Laden - American, Indian, Pakistani and Russian – are reported by DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources to have narrowed down his hiding places fairly closely. They are convinced that, after he gave orders for the tape’s release, he headed out to his winter hideout in the Himalayas or Little Pamir and will stay there until the spring thaw.

This is not the first time al Qaeda interfered in a Western election. On March 11, 2004, al Qaeda operatives carried out a series of bombings on Madrid trains that left 200 dead shortly before the vote.

On Sunday, October 24, a senior FBI agent, briefed first in Pakistan, flew from Islamabad to New Delhi to meet Indian security bosses and examine the aerial shots of the bin Laden convoy.

Debkafile intelligence sources report that, after the American agent studied the data and questioned the Indian intelligence officers who saw the terrorist chief leave his minivan several times, he relayed Washington’s request for the Indian government to put its security forces in the North Western region on red alert and round up troops for combing operations in the region before the snowfall.

New Delhi complied the next day and also stepped up its vigilance on the Kagil-Leh Highway and along the Tibetan border.

But before bin Laden disappeared in his mountain fastness, he not only had the videotape posted to al Jazeera, but left with his men precise instructions defining the political circumstances and timing for the next al Qaeda terrorist attack in the United States.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:39 AM


Air Marshal SP Tyagi named new Air Force Chief
Air Marshal SP Tyagi, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Air Command, was on Sunday named the next Chief of the Indian Air Force.

The 59-year old Tyagi's appointment as the Chief of Air Staff would be effective from December 31, 2004, when incumbent Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswami retires from service, an official release said in New Delhi.

During his long and distinguished career spanning a little over 40 years, Tyagi has worked in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. He has the distinction of commanding three Air Commands -- Central, South Western and Western, the release said.

He has the experience of flying a variety of aircraft including Mig, Jaguar and Gnat.

Besides being a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he attended a variety of courses in India and abroad like Junior Commander Course, Fighter Combat Leader course, Pilot Attack Instructor course and the National Defence College course.

Tyagi, who has held prestigious appointments abroad, was awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal in 2003 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1994. He is one of the Honorary ADCs of the Supreme Commander, the President.

He is married to Vandana Tyagi and has a son and a daughter, the release added.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:38 AM


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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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.
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