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

India along with many countries are counting on mixed teams of manned and unmanned combat aircraft to conduct aerial dogfighting autonomously and ground strike in the next few years as Loyal wingman programs are on the rise globally that can help identify and overwhelm enemy air defenses, or draw fires away from crewed aircraft.

India is working on uncrewed low-cost, attritable aircraft Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) Warrior powered by a modified PTE-7 engine of the HAL is looking at 2024-25 for the development and demonstration of the first loyal wingman concept coming out of India. Each CATS Warrior uncrewed CATS Warrior will be paired with a crewed partner /mothership to serve as powerful force multipliers that will both amplify and optimize the advanced capabilities of crewed aircraft.

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

India has achieved “complete self-reliance” in missile technology and the most advanced missiles can now be developed in the country had declared DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy and wanted India to be free from import of missiles from 2022 onwards but that is far from the truth. India seems to be one of the major regional power that has failed to build credible low-cost subsonic cruise missile technology in the country.

Nribhay that is now called ITCM continues to be plagued by technical issues and there is still no clarity from the DRDO when it will enter production even after being in development for the last decade. ITCM seems to be the only subsonic cruise missile program for a country like India it’s like putting too many eggs in one basket as it would require India, multiple projects to fulfill all the demands even though the private sector companies are keen to tap Research and Development expertise of the DRDO to offer its range of subsonic cruise missile range.

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SOURCE: NARAYAN APTE/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Based on Haubits FH77B 155 mm x 38 calibre guns manufactured by Bofors designed in the 70s but supplied to India in the 80s, the Dhanush 155 mm x 45 calibre long-range howitzer Program was not only was meant to be an upgraded Bofors based on the original Transfer of Technology (ToT) but also break Indian Army’s long-pending logjam on failure to induct new modern howitzer system in last 30 years but the program that started of with bang is now turning out one of the reasons why the Ordnance Factory Board (“OFB”) had to be broken off into smaller companies to stop constant fall of quality of the products that organization manufactured.

While carrying out Army trials, Dhanush suffered four muzzle hits due to which internal investigation and retrials of the same meant the program was delayed by few years then came the infamous incident when CBI had to file a case against Delhi-based Sidh Sales Syndicate for supplying Chinese parts for Dhanush guns camouflaged as ‘Made in Germany’ while Dhanush was entering production. OFB was criticized for outsourcing components to dubious private sector companies without checking their installed manufacturing capabilities.

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

A day before the 13th round of Corps Commander-level talks were to take place at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Chinese microblogging website Weibo was flooded with fresh pictures and video of the clash that took place between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley last years, where exchange of detained troops was seen happening but showing only one side of reality largely for its domestic audience. Fresh PLA propaganda was unleashed as soon reports of India temporarily detained 200 PLA Troops in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh hit media reports and seems to have been done largely to negate the fresh setbacks to the domestic audience.

It has become a virtual ritual for the PLA to realize fresh videos and pictures that are often multiplied by its 50 cent Army on Weibo and Twitter just before Commander-level talks are to begin or when PLA suffers some level of setback like seen when the Indian Army took over Kailash range coming as an embarrassment to the PLA and it again resorted to propaganda pictures of the clash.

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SOURCE: NARAYAN APTE/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has started work on KSS III Batch II submarine where the submerged displacement of the submarine will go up from 3000t to 4000t while the basic design for a rather larger submarine will remain same but that also means more space for the torpedo tubes as well as VLS (vertical launch system) tubes along with additional systems of Korean origins.

KSS III is the only operational Diesel-electric submarine that has successfully test-fired an SLBM, comes equipped with Air-independent propulsion (AIP) and Lithium-Ion batteries, and High-Temperature Superconductor (HTS) motor technology for an integrated full electric propulsion system.

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

After India revoked Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan along with Liberal-infested Western media have accused India of engineering a demographic change in Muslim-inhabited areas of Kashmir. Many reports and articles coming from the Indian side too have sided with the Pakistani narrative for long that today we are seeing Terror groups that have been targeting Kashmir Pandits and other Indians in the valley of late have justified their actions. Kashmir remains 97% predominantly Muslim and the recent issuing of domicile certificates to people who have stayed in the valley for over 15 years has been used as a front by many to attack India of late from all corners.

With narrative at the international media and academic front siding with the Pakistani side and pull out of NATO forces from Afghanistan it was a matter of weeks if not months before Islamic terror raised its ugly head again in the valley. Pakistan seems to have a clear intention to start another exodus of minorities from the valley like it has planned after the pull and later fall of the soviet union from Afghanistan.

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

Many political parties that come from disturbed regions have often used secessionist ideology in disguise of freedom of speech to garner votes from their core voters. it’s not uncommon to see political parties from Jammu and Kashmir or Northeastern states and even some south Indian state parties that have often demanded separation from India to form separate nations that can increase secessionist behaviors among a small section of people that can often create law and order issues in the state but also security threats to the countries integrity.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is not empowered to deregister a political party if it violates provisions of the Constitution, which includes peddling secessionist ideology to garner votes from certain sections, and several such political parties do exist who continue to peddle narrative of the foreign countries that have gone unchallenged since ECI doesn’t have the power to punish politicians or the political parties in the country where there are over 2698 registered parties, with 7 national parties, 52 state parties, and 2638 unrecognized parties.

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SOURCE: MAHESH SHETTI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Indian Air Force chief VR Chaudhari while taking to Indian media pushed for procurement of 114 jets and didn’t want to be contend just with procurement of an additional 36 Rafale like his predecessor was. Chaudhari was clear with his words and stressed that IAF is happy with Rafale procurement and also said Rafale is not the default front runner in the tender for 114 jets but also added that IAF is not looking to add another fighter type in the fleet in a way IAF Chief inevitable has committed to the procurement of more Rafale fighter jets.

India had placed an order with France in Government to government deal for procurement of 36 Rafale F3R standards with India-specific enchantments for 8.8 billion dollars. Indian-specific enchantments roughly were around 13000 crores that won’t be recurring in future Rafale procurements since it was a one-time cost but the French company Dassault itself is now moving to develop F4-standard development from 2024 onwards that will see a considerable improvement in capabilities and equipment that will see a further rise in the cost of the jets in near future by 10-15%.

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

Former Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa had once said that IAF is looking to procure 12 squadrons of the Light Combat Aircraft Mk.2, Each squadron comprises 18-20 fighter jets that could have roughly translated to 216-240 units of LCA-AF Mk2 that was initially planned. His Successor Indian Air Force chief RKS Bhadauria in his first address to the press had said that the IAF has plans to induct 170 (9.44 -8.5) of these (LCA-AF Mk2).

Current Indian Air Force chief VR Chaudhari addressing his first press conference after assuming office said he is looking to induct 14 Squadrons of MRFA+Mk2 Since the requirement of MRFA is for 114 units that translates to a little over 5.7-6.3 squadrons that leave only 8 squadrons for Mk2 (144-160) jets that again is on the lower side.

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

Air Chief Chaudhari recently made an alarming statement that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will not be able to achieve 42 squadron strength in the next 10-15 years, instead, IAF will work to achieve to get to 35 squadrons in this time frame with new inductions. While Air Chief backed both LCA-AF Mk2 and AMCA Program he also in his candid admission said that these projects won’t mature by 2030 and even if they do remain on a schedule they won’t be able to meet squadron requirements when they start entering into service.

LCA-AF Mk2 along with AMCA will start entering service only in 2030 onwards and AMCA Mk2 which IAF desires in large numbers will enter production only in 2035 onwards thus ensuring that plans to achieve 42 squadron strength to deal with possible two-front war won’t be realized thus seriously affecting the combat capabilities of the air force for a long time to come.

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SOURCE: JOYDEEP GHOSH / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Royal Air Force (RAF) UK is set to retire its entire fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 tactical transport aircrafts by 2023. Numbering at 14 these tactical lift aircrafts represent an attractive proposition for any second-hand buyers especially India. These14 C-130Js being withdrawn from service more than a decade earlier than previously planned. RAF operated dozens of older C130K / H variants from 1967 till 2011. Reportedly these 14 C-130Jsaircraft have at least 15 -20 years of service life left in them including air frame, avionics and other parts. RAF also operates 8 C17 Globemaster III strategic lift aircraft.

UK which is withdrawing these C130 aircraft in favor of 22 A400 and 10 ‘core’ Airbus DS A330transport aircraft that it is buying from France, had an initial total fleet of 25of these J variants ever since these newer generation aircraft were inducted in RAF. RAF has been steadily selling off the older aircraft (C130H) to other countries including Bahrain and Bangladesh that have way smaller fuselage than these 14 C130Js.

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SOURCE: ANITA DESAI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat recently said that India is “looking at creating a rocket force” as part of efforts to step up on enhancing its military capabilities. Rocket force might become 4th service of the Indian military services alongside the three conventional ones of the Army, Air force, and Navy. Rocket force might be in charge of managing and operating both land-based conventional and nuclear missiles. 

India started inducting ballistic missiles in the early ’80s and since then gradually it had added ballistic missiles that can now hit targets as far as 5000km but most of these missiles remain under the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) that is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile thus in a way ensuring it is limited to their usage for the nuclear deterrence rather for precision conventional strikes in fear of being misjudged as a nuclear attack. 

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

At China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition the biggest airshow in Asia, the Chinese showcased J-16D an electronic warfare jet that was built on the unlicensed copy of the Russian Su-27K platform that has now been equipped with signal jammers to cripple enemies anti-air defense system and help other attacking jets to target radars, missile systems, and wireless communications systems.

J-16D after Boeing EA-18G Growler will be the second active advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform that is capable of disrupting, deceiving, or denying a broad range of military electronic systems including radars and communications. J-16D seems to be fitted with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency receivers, an improved communications suite, and ALQ radio-frequency jamming pods which enable it to jam enemy systems.

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SOURCE: NARAYAN APTE/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria who was part of the LCA-Tejas Test team was the biggest backer of the locally developed fighter jet and in his term is when IAF went ahead and placed orders for the 83 upgraded Tejas Mk1A Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari has taken over the big seat in the IAF at a crucial junction when the country is more focused in the development and procurement of the new jets that to large extended will come from within the country itself.

Bhadauria has laid out a plan to procure 350+ jets in the next 15-20 years that will be of Indian origin and it becomes crucial for his successor chiefs to stick to the plan especially for the next two chiefs who will see two new fighter jets program that will take off in next 4-5 years and it will require utmost support from the Top heads in the IAF so this program remains on track.

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

Lt Gen TK Chawla, Director General Artillery while talking to media recently listed out the technical deficiency of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) that was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and two private companies Bharat Forge and Tata Power SED that could not only derail Army’s plan to acquire 3,000-3,600 howitzers by 2025-27 but also ensures the program remains in the development loophole for another few years to come without getting any production orders from the Army.

Chawla said that the ATAGS failed to meet certain firing and non-firing parameters and issues related to the weight of these guns also needs to be addressed. ATAGS had gone through summer trials this year and it was speculated that post this trials, Army will place orders for 800 Limited Series guns of the ATAGS that will eventually lead to much bigger orders that will accommodate all the necessary changes and improvements in the production batches but it seems Army is again dragging its foot from issuing clearance to the gun that was fired for the first time in a fully integrated model in 2016.

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