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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Indian Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) a DRDO Lab and French multinational aircraft engine Safran will be concluding a joint venture deal for the development of a new high thurst 110kN engine for the AMCA program by end of this month with a flight-worthy engine likely to be ready by 2028 for trials onboard a Dassault owned Rafale fighter jet that might be used as a Flying Test Bed for the new engine.

Rafale jets that are powered by a 75kN Snecma M88 afterburning turbofan in twin-engine configuration will have one new 110kN engine in one of the engine bays to be used for the Qualification of the basic pre-production engine by end of 2028 and in the same year or early 2029, a production engine might be delivered.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

In 2020, India scrapped plans to acquire K-30 Biho (Flying Tiger) under the Self-Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPAD-GMS) tender for the Indian Army from the South Korean company Hanwha following objections from Russia over the selection of Hanwha Defense.

The Defence Ministry later confirmed that SPAD-GMS will now be developed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative thus saving nearly $2.5 billion in foreign reserves, now it has been confirmed to idrw.org that the State-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation is indeed planning to offer an indigenously developed system that will be based on the Light Tank platform which it is developing jointly with Private sector company Larsen & Toubro (L&T).

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Successful rollout of Light Tank developed by India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) based on the chassis designed by the DRDO’s CVRDE based on the proposed Next Generation Main Battle Tank (NGMBT) might strengthen DRDO proposed development of the NGMBT to meet the Indian Army’s requirement for 1770 next-generation Main Battle Tank under Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCV) tender said industrial sources close to idrw.org.

Ministry of Defence in the third positive indigenization list has included Light Tanks that will put a full stop to any plans by the Indian Army to procure them from the foreign vendors and the use of DRDO tech to develop a 30-35 ton Light tank will further demonstrate private sector capabilities that might be adopted to develop NGMBT.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Some of India’s T-90S Bhishma MBTs were given to Russia for installation of the modernized systems last year that was going through Preliminary trials in the country but the program might be halted soon as the Indian Army has been asked to look within for upgrading fleet of nearly 900 T-90S Bhishma fleet.

India is upgrading 957 T-90s with a new indigenous Commander Sight further enhancing its efficiency. Indigenous developed Thermal Imager-based Commander Sight, in a joint venture by Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The recent spate of Economic sanctions on Russia means that the Indian Army will look into ways to incorporate more Indian systems in the upgraded T-90S Bhishma fleet.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

DRDO had initiated Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM), a Technological demonstrator program for further localization of the subsonic cruise missile program that is nearing completion as the missile system has demonstrated successful integration of the locally developed Manik Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE). Nirbhay which was the predecessor of the ITCM program was tested using Russian NPO Saturn 36MT and inducted in limited numbers.

Long-Range Land Attack Cruise Missile (LRLACM) is a new variant that will incorporate STFE and preparations are underway to manufacture at least 8 STFE engines this year so that trials of the LRLCAM with a range of 1500km can start later this year or in early next year. DRDO has given preference to the development of the Ship-borne LRLCAM that is likely to be tested from the ground-based makeshift launcher first and after a couple of tests, it will be integrated with a Naval warship.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

India’s premier defense research agency, Defence Research, and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have commenced integration activities of the Naval Anti-Ship Missile Short Range (NASM-SR) on a Seaking 42B loaned from the Indian Navy to carry out developmental trials of the new missiles under development.

Unveiled at the DefExpo 2020, Work on the development of the missile system started in 2017 with funding of 434.6 crores. NASM-SR is a 380 kg Air launched Naval Anti-Ship Missile that has an IIR seeker and has a 100kg warhead that can be launched from Naval Helicopters to neutralize small to a medium class of ships and patrol boats.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

The defense ministry is likely to announce private sector companies that will be part of the consortium under the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) model that will be in charge to manufacture 5.5 Gen AMCA fighter jets for the Indian Air Force in 2023. Private players will have a majority stake in the newly formed company so that it does not become a full government entity while HAL will have a minority stake. 

The first Two AMCA Prototypes will be manufactured by the State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after which Private sector companies will start assembly under the supervision of the HAL when the program enters the LSP stage at the HAL Facility. Production of the AMCA will later shift to a new upcoming facility that will be located at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor where the Private sector companies will be the lead integrator for the program. 

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

With only the last 2-3 units of the order 16 FOC LCA-Tejas Mk1 remaining to conclude its first flight, work on converting an LSP (Limited Series Production) Tejas into Flying Test Bed (FTB) for the upgraded Tejas Mk1A program is gaining pace as first flight of the aircraft is planned in June this year that will be followed by another LSP converted to Mk1A FTB later in the year.

HAL is planning to start deliveries of the 8 LCA-Tejas Mk1 Trainers that are under production by mid of this year will be followed by the production of 10 more units that were ordered along with the 73 Tejas Mk1A before deliveries of the first two Tejas Mk1A starts by March 2024.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) a few years ago had demonstrated flight of Hypersonic cruise missile (HCM) that had used a two-stage Agni-I booster rocket for its lower stage, where HCM was tested for over 25 seconds in the last test but the process have already begun to start the switch from Agni-I lower stage booster rocket to the K-4 lower stage booster rocket that could theoretically boost its range by 4-5 times.

The lower stage booster rocket of the K-4 Submarine Launched ballistic Missile is already been used on the development of the Anti-satellite (ASAT) missile variant as K-4 is known to be the most technologically advanced version coming out of the Indian ballistic missile program.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

ADE which has started working on a High-altitude long-endurance (HALE) that will be a much improved unmanned aerial system (UAS) that will be able to operate at 45000 ft Altitude and will have a 30 h Endurance has been told to fast track the program and soon the prototype will be assembled. New HAL UAS under development will have four times more payload carrying capability than the Tapas which will allow it to carry multi-mission Payloads like Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR), COMINT, and Electro-Optical Payload.

Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is also on the verge of completing the final round of flight trials of the TAPAS BH-201 where it already has achieved 28500 ft Altitude and 18 h Endurance, which was a key milestone that was required before it can be cleared for production. idrw.org has been told that pre-production TAPAS still suffers from overweight issues but to tackle this issue production variants will be powered by a high-powered diesel engine that is already under development with a private firm.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Indian Air Force (IAF) that preferred using Airbus A330 platforms for the procurement of the next generation Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) for the fleet is looking at the Commerical civilian aviation market to scout for surplus aircraft from the owners and lessors who have largely parked their surplus A330 in anticipation of better times, after failing to procure them over the years due to high procurement costs.

IAF recently procured Six A319 from the Air India fleet to be used for mounting Netra MkII AEW&CS suite and was keen to procure Six A330 MRTT from Airbus for Dry Lease but also had offers from the French Air Force to procure their A330 MRTT but strategic assets like AWACS can’t be procured at dry lease due to strategic reasons that include high cost of external modifications to the aircraft which no lessor will agree to, which had forced IAF to look at the surplus market.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

The Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) recently issued an RFP for the supply of 1 Mtr Scaled Airbus 319 Sigint Display Model with SS Tripod Stand and Transit Box which for the first time revealed plans of the organization to develop an A319 based COMJAM/SIGINT aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

IAF had issued RFI for the nine aircraft way back in 2006, later in 2012, and last in 2017 that specified that two of the nine aircraft should be certified to perform the signals intelligence (SIGINT) role, given that the mission package for SIGINT commonly requires permanent modifications to the airframe. The remaining seven aircraft according to the RFI are to be configured by the prime contractor for the multi-mission role, ‘supporting aerial survey, target towing, communications jamming (COMJAM) and flaring’.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

The Indian Air Force Tejas Squadron that has just completed its first-ever outing in the Singapore air show might soon be heading to Britain for a joint combat exercise that has been planned from 7th – 25th March with the Royal Air Force, as well as aircraft from the Saudi, Belgian, and Swedish air forces.

Participation of the IAF in Exercise Cobra Warrior is mainly coming from the British Journalists, while we wait confirmation come IAF. As reported by British Journalists, IAF will be sending 5 LCA-Tejas Mk1 FOC jets to the Exercise Cobra Warrior with 2 supporting C-130 and C-17 Transport aircraft each to the ferry maintenance crew and ground equipment with no mention of mid-air refueling aircraft being part of the group. Three LCA-Tejas jets recently flew over 3000km ferry flight with 3 external drop tanks non-stop to Singapore for the air show demonstrating the long-range ferry capabilities of the tiny jet.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

The French company Dassault will complete setting up its Rafale fighter aircraft servicing center at its upcoming facility at the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) at the Mihan SEZ in Nagpur by end of 2022 or early 2023. New Facility will cater to Indian Air Force and also to the South-Asian customers in near future but the grounds are being prepared that could lead to the assembly of Rafale jets in India to meet export demands as the backlog of orders pile up after recent orders from UAE and Indonesia.

Reliance Infrastructure is the majority shareholder in the 51:49 JV in DRAL but Dassault is planning to seek 100 percent ownership of DRAL before it can start plans to assemble Rafale jets in India. DRAL will be able to assemble two Rafale jets per month and 24 in a year that will match the present production capability in France. Most of the jets will come in the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) forms only to be assembled in India.

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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

In 2018, India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missile with a strike range of 350 km from a naval ship off the Odisha coast. Dhanush, a naval variant of India’s indigenously-developed Prithvi missile was tested as a part of the training exercise by the SFC of the Indian Navy, but the actual objective of the project was always to validate key technologies that can be later adapted for anti-ship roles.

Dhanush missile remained a technological demonstrator for validating many of the basic requirements to develop an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system but now DRDO has started work on a new Agni-P ASBM Variant that could be Game-changer not only in the Indian ocean but in the region.

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