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SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

U.S. academic and strategic affair-centric think tanks off late have been asking U.S congress and Pentagon to allow the export of its 6th generation stealth B-21 bomber that is going to be unveiled soon to the world this month. B-21 will be replacing ultra-expensive B-1B and B-2 in long run in the USAF fleet with the need for 70 units it will have a pretty long production run too.

B-2, a highly capable Bomber with stealth characteristics that was billed at $2 billion after adjusting inflation in today’s rate of 2022, B-21 raider will have a unit cost of just $650 million per unit which is nearly 1/4th of what B-2 could have cost exchequer today if its production line was reopened.

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SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

A few years ago when HAL announced that it will be working on Lead-in fighter training (LIFT) that will be based on the Tailless Compound Delta configuration of the LCA-Tejas airframe it was unusual setup for a LIFT aircraft since many manufacturers to reduce production costs and due to inherited issues with the delta configuration avoid using them in the advance jet trainer jets.

It was not long into the LCA-LIFT program before HAL seems to have realized that it was trying to swim against the tide and announced plans to develop a Hindustan Lead-in Fighter Trainer (HLFT-42) aircraft that likely will have a much more traditional swept wing design which is often found in the LIFT aircraft types around the world.

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SOURCE:  DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari in a recent Interview called Timeline set by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for two indigenous fighter programs as aggressive and was not sure if both agencies can deliver as promised since both have terrible record when it comes to delivery of home-grown fighter jets.

Tejas MkII Rollout already has been pushed to 2024 and will commence delivery in 2030-31 which means all development flight trials will be completed in the next 6 years this seems to be way too aggressive since Mk1 developmental flight trials lasted from 2001 till 2016 when the first squadron with IOC-II configuration was raised and Mk2 carries a whole lot of major changes to its avionics and systems that have little or no connection with the Mk1 program.

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SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

With the introduction of the Bharat ULH-ER, an 8-ton 155 mm x52 cal extended Range Artillery, the Kalyani group now has 8 different Artillery guns under its portfolio but it took export orders from Armenia to shake up the slow process that the Indian Army calls its World famous Internal trials to get called out for being a way to slow when it comes to indigenous weapons systems.

Since 80’s Indian Army inducted the Original 155mm Bofors gun and since then it has inducted two more imported Artillery guns which were the British M777 and Korean K-9 Vajra systems which cleared user trials in much shorter duration even though they were incidents of barrel burst that were conveniently blamed on the ammunition supplied by the OFB.

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SOURCE: RYAN GEORGE KOYITHARA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

A global trend aimed at building an alternative economic and financial system parallel to the current one was intensified by the Russia-Ukraine war. The BRICS nations —Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—which together account for 41% of the world’s population—adding the GCC countries. These nations also make up 23% of the world’s economy and 18% of its trade, reflecting their proportional significance to the world economy as a whole. Saudi Arabia recently submitted an application to join the group, and it is perceived that current members heartily will welcome the move. Also being discussed is the possibility of the UAE and Turkey joining, which would fundamentally alter the balance of power in the world and contribute to a more stable system.

The three countries’ expected entrance will bring about a significant shift that will favour the East. Saudi Arabia, with its enormous energy potential, the UAE, as a major international financial and commercial hub, and Turkey, with its geographic location, industrial development, and technological advancement, will significantly increase their influence over the group and rebalance power between the East and the West.

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SOURCE: RYAN GEORGE KOYITHARA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Years after India’s independence, tensions with Pakistan reached a point where many border disputes were precipitated. India’s second war with its evil brother began in 1965 when Pakistan initiated Operation Gibraltar to smuggle troops into Jammu and Kashmir. At that point, Centurion MBTs made up the majority of the Indian Armoured army, and they operated reasonably well.

However, there was already a desire in the 1950s to use domestic industrial resources to create an MBT that was exclusively Indian. It was planned to build an existing model under license even before the conflict of 1965, but at the same time with relatively lighter specifications in comparison to the Centurion.

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SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

It’s more or less confirmed that the rollout of the LCA AF Mk2 has been postponed to the end of 2023 or at the worst case it will happen in March 2024 which means the first flight will be further pushed to late 2024 or early 2025 that is coming dangerously close to the AMCA program. AMCA’s timeline will see the first rollout in 2025 and the first flight in 2026 since the LCA AF Mk2 program was seen as the first step toward the realization of the AMCA program, little or no gap between both timelines suggests otherwise.

When LCA AF Mk2 and AMCA program were announced many questioned the need for a 4.5th gen fighter, the rationale put forward was that the LCA AF Mk2 program will bridge the gap between LCA Mk1 and AMCA in terms of technology upgrades and also engineering capacity upgrades but a shift in the timeline means that it is unlikely LCA AF Mk2 will have any major effect on the AMCA program nor it will contribute into creation of the necessary expertise and infrastructure that were to expand after the conclusion of the LCA AF Mk1 program.

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SOURCE:  DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Russian fighters have remained highly effective and lethal against Ukrainian aircraft near the frontlines throughout the war, especially the Su-35S with the R-77-1 long-range missile and, in recent months, the Mig-31BM with the R-37 very long-range missile. According to a recent study, the long-range air-to-air missiles MiG-31BM and R-37M have been incredibly effective against Ukrainian fighter planes.

R-37M was designed to shoot down tankers, AWACS, and other C4ISTAR aircraft while allowing the launch platform to stay out of range of any fighter jets that are escorting them. 600kg missile has a 60kg warhead and has an operational range of 150 to 350km and uses its semi-active and active radar homing for guidance.

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SOURCE:  DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

South Korea already has two prototypes of its proposed 5th gen KF-21 fighter jets up in the air and Turkey for the first time also showed what could be a Ground Test model of its TF-X fighter jet that it has planned for the first flight somewhere in 2025. Both fighters have got their fair share of media publicity and the advantages of being a close supplier of the United States MIC (military-industrial complex) in the past and the ongoing F-35 program does have its advantages but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse by the ADA and HAL back home.

Korean KF-21 still lacks Internal weapons back and stealth characters and can’t be considered a 5th gen platform as per admission made by its makers. While the TF-X program is the first Turkish attempt to make an indigenous fighter jet that will replace the bulk of its F-16 fleet it is still not considered an F-35 replacement after Turkey was kicked out of the program.

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SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will be soon adding new weapons to its arsenal that slowly will trickle down to existing operators of the P-8 that includes the Indian Navy which comes as Gamer Changer weapon system to take on Warships and Submarines. High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability or HAAWC is a Mk 54 lightweight anti-submarine torpedo transformed into a long-range, quickly-delivered standoff weapon.

HAAWC kits when equipped with Mk 54 lightweight anti-submarine torpedo will give its a 32km range before the HAAWC kit is ejected over the sea while a parachute is used to softly touch down the torpedo which can go for another 9-10km before taking out its target.

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SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

General Deepak Kapoor, Former Indian Army Chief blew up the Indian Defence space circle when he said that ” Indian companies should meet Indian orders first before exporting their weapons ” Irony was that it came at the back of Kalyani securing orders from Armenia for its Howitzers that Indian Army wants and needs but simply won’t orders even if war is staring at it until it completes mandatory user trials.

Kapoor also defended user trials that can go on for several years as the Indian Army wants until it is satisfied but often these user trials have been in controversy specifically stringent requirements that are set only for Indigenous weapons systems while Imported weapons get cleared after one-fourth of time when compared to the time taken to clear Indigenous weapons.

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SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE

US intelligence report indicates that China has started to put its longer-range JL-3, a third-generation intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into PLA Navy’s six Jin-class submarines, replacing the older Chinese second-generation JL-2 SLBM. JL-3 enjoys a superior range of over 3000km which puts its range around the 10000km mark that has raised several eyebrows in the US Navy circle but it should equally concern India for various reasons.

Despite its impressive long range, the JL-3 cannot hit anywhere in the United States but it can hit targets all over India without even entering Indian Ocean Region (IOR). China already has a credible land-based missile that can hit various targets in India but JL-3 enforces China’s nuclear triad that India still has achieved partially with its SLBMs.

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SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has said that the force urgently needs 5-6 squadrons of 4.5-generation aircraft but the pace at which the IAF fighter acquisition process is going shows a lack of urgency not only from the government but also from the IAF that wants to rig the tender to favor Dassault Rafale. India which has serious boundary disputes with both Pakistan and China is not only seriously falling behind in its Squadron levels but also lacks aerial refuellers, and AEW&C aircraft to give cover deep in enemy territory.

PLA Air Force (PLAAF) has been replacing aging 60’s era 3rd gen fighter jets from its inventory at a rapid pace and now has an inventory of close to 900 fighter jets that are of either of 4th or 4.5th generation class not to substitute nearly 500 jets that are operated by the PLA Navy (PLAN).

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SOURCE:  DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Bayraktar TB2 reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicles manufactured by the Turkish Baykar Teknoloji company first came into the limelight when War erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region, resulting in roughly thirty thousand casualties and creating hundreds of thousands of deaths. Bayraktar TB2 was instrumental in hitting the Armenian positions and causing significant damage to the Armenian military.

Armed Drones always have been hogging limelight after American Predator drones started taking out strategic targets in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan but a price tag of nearly close to $100 million meant that not many could afford it, then came reports of the major success of the Bayraktar that became an instant hit in the export market, especially with countries that are having smaller airforce’s and with the advent of low cost $3-5 million per unit, Bayraktar became an instant success thanks largely due to hyper PR activities carried out by its manufactures.

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SOURCE:  DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Indian Defence Ministry in 2023 will be in a dilemma as it will be asked by its premier Aeronautical nodal design agency in the country to clear two major fighter jet projects that will require combined project funds of 28000 crores which are close to over $3.6Billion after it recently cleared 10000 crores for another fighter jet project in 2022. India is actively working on four fighter jet programs simultaneously for its armed force, yet the Indian Air Force is still looking to procure 114 jets under its MMRFA tender that was issued in 2018.

Tejas Mk1A, an upgraded baseline Tejas Mk1 with six major improvements and over dozen changes and upgrades to its components will start arriving from 2024 onwards that will fill the void left by the Mig-21 Squadrons that IAF plans to complete phase-out by 2025 onwards. Tejas Mk2, also called LCA AF Mk2 is a new medium-class fighter jet that is in development to replace all its current Medium class fighter jets like Mig-29, Mirage-2000, and Jaguar fighters from 2029 onwards with a production run planned till late in the 2030s.

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