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SOURCE: SRINIVAS GOWDA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

BrahMos, jointly developed by India and Russia in the early 2000s based on the Russian P-800 Oniks anti-ship missile has been tested several times in several configurations over the years but till now it waited for first export orders. Brahmos using its liquid-fueled ramjet accelerates the missile to Mach 2.8 making it the fastest low-altitude missile that can fly as low as 32 feet above the wavetops and gives any air defense crew just 28 seconds to track and shoot it down before it hits the target.

Over the years, India has developed Land, Air, and ship-based versions of the missile, and the missile is still considered a potent weapon system as India continued to improve its technology by introducing evasive s- maneuver at its terminal stage and increasing its speed and range further that even after 20 years no air defense system manufacturers can dare to make claims that it can neutralize BrahMos.

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

In 2014, Then DRDO chief Avinash Chander had made a bold claim to the media that “Our target is to make India missile-import free by the year 2022. This means that we need not import any missile in terms of air-to-ground, surface-to-air, or the air-to-air missiles,”. In 2022, We saw the Government push towards putting further curbs towards import of the various weapons systems and recently we saw the scrapping of the deal for Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) for the Indian Army, but DRDO is nowhere close to targets it had made for its self.

DRDO somewhat has managed to achieve its goals in the ballistic missile programs but still has not been able to achieve great success in other major missile programs like the development of the sub-sonic cruise missile and anti-tank guided and portable missile systems as they continued to be tested for an unforeseen period of times without entering production.

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

2021 was a great year for the aerospace industry in the country since, after almost 50 years, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had agreed to procure 83 Tejas Mk1A jets built locally in the country. The last such purchase was for the 175 HF-24 “Marut” jet that was inducted in the late ’60s that was prematurely retired by the mid-’80s due to the availability of cheaper Migs.

Fast forward to 2022, fighter jets are no longer being offered at ridiculous prices due to the advancement in the cost of avionics and sensors that make up 30-40% of the cost of the aircraft now. Procurement cost is even much higher in the 5th generation offerings so are the operating costs and with rising aviation fuel costs, operating a large fleet of imported aircraft is becoming way more difficult for an air force that has a sanctioned squadron strength of 750 combat jets but is unable to operate that many jets.

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

The military training aircraft market projection from 2021 till 2030 is estimated to be worth 6.62 billion as reported in a reputed defense sector think tank report and the market for Basic Jet Trainers, Intermediate Jet Trainers, and Advanced Jet Trainers for Fixed-wing Aircraft type will see further expansion after a lull over last decade next 10 years as many countries around the world are planning to replace their aging military trainer with new light trainer aircraft, which is likely to propel growth shortly.

This forecast will come as a tremendous opportunity for the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to market its HTT-40 (BTA), HJT-36 Sitara (IJT), and LCA-LIFT in the export market as this aviation segment is largely dominated by multiple players and but dominated by few and should come as low hanging fruit for India’s Aerospace sector to establish itself before other aerospace projects like fighter jets and heavy helicopters can be marketed abroad.

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

R Madhavan. Chairman & Managing Director Hindustan Aeronautics Limited while updating on the LCA-AF Mk2 program to the ” The Hindu ” said that the rollout of the first aircraft might be delayed to early 2023 as the company fears that spike in covid cases in the country might result in lockdowns that might affect supply chain that will delay in the supply of components and systems for the program.

LCA-AF Mk2 initially planned for August this year was pushed back to the end of this year and now hints are been dropped that it might be again be pushed to early 2023 that in HAL words can be up to March when the financial year for the company ends.

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

The developmental cost of AMCA is pegged at Rs.15,000 Crore ($1.9 Billion) that includes the cost for the building of 2 Next Generation Technology Demonstrator aircraft (NGTD) and 5 Prototype aircraft and the creation of infrastructure for the production of 16-20 aircraft per annum at a new facility that will come up at the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor (TNDIC). AMCA Program cost is near twice the amount (Rs.7965.56 Crore ) that the Government had to spend on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Phase-I & Phase-II Programs.

IAF’s commitment to the program when it enters the production stage is for 40 AMCA Mk1 aircraft and 80 AMCA MkII that will require another additional 550-600 crore per-unit costs in a separate deal at later stages. AMCA Program will also include a new engine program for which India will need to spend nearly 12-14,000 Crore while the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program had allocated separate funds of just 3000 crores for the Kaveri engine development program.

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

A Pakistani Minister has confirmed that they brought 25 J-10C fighter jets in response to India’s purchase of Dassault Rafale from France but J-10C is the second choice of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) after it failed to get hands-on more F-16 Block-52 jets over its present fleet of 18 units in service. PAF clearly won’t be getting any more upgraded F-16s and nor it will be getting any upgrade package kit that it wants for its older F-16 MLU-15 but J-10C is no match to Dassault Rafale but it could be fair to compare it with Tejas Mk2 that is currently under development.

Tejas Mk2 and J-10C are both under 20k ton aircraft that will be used for air superiority and multi-role operations and key data above gives J-10 an upper hand when it comes to the specification of the aircraft since it is bigger aircraft it is also equipped with an engine that is more powerful and also has a higher take-off weight.

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

AGM-86 ALCM

BrahMos, a land-based Mach 3 capable Supersonic Cruise missile that was adopted for launch from the Modified Sukhoi-30MKI platform will pave the way to the development of 4 different Air-Launched Cruise Programs that will start maturing from 2024 onwards as India tries to break away from depending on imported Air-Launched Cruises that are often expensive and are tied to one platform.

India has cleared Air-Launched Cruise Programs that will see the development of subsonic, supersonic, and even hypersonic cruise missiles that can be adapted on multiple platforms and aircraft types that are from France, Russia, and India and some of the programs that are been cleared are.

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SOURCE:  DINESH BEHARA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The onset of geopolitical unpredictability in the region is certain with the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan. Whatever the deal between the USA and the Taliban, India did raise its concerns in a timely manner, but the USA did not heed into those [1]. Of course, we are not criticizing the decision of Pulling out American troops from Afghanistan, the decision was well taken to reorganize or reorient American posture keeping in mind the rise of China. But where it could have been better has become worse now, matters are now even more complicated than it was before. How is it complicated? Well, earlier USA, at least had some sort of influence, now it has lost even that very influence over the very state of affairs concerning Afghanistan with the abrupt exit and other players in the region trying to poke their nose [1][2].

Many experts are warning about the beginning of a new Cold War between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China [3]. If that is the case then in coming days other countries will be coerced to pick sides, those whose interests are on the same page will align themselves thereby creating blocs or some countries will utilize the situation to their advantages by hopping between the blocs to achieve their own interest because in politics there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.

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

GTRE (Gas Turbine Research Establishment) developed indigenous Kaveri Dry engine will be heading to Russia soon to be tested from a Modified IL-76 which it uses as a Flying Test Bed at Gromov. India lacks High Altitude flight test facility that includes a Flying Test Bed (FTB) for its military afterburning turbofan projects due to which it needs to depend on France and Russia for testing of experimental engine programs that are vulnerable to external espionage and even after repeated demands from the GTRE it has fallen into deaf ears.

Heading to Russia or some other country is not only a time-consuming process but also costs a country lot of money since thousand of hours that needs to be accumulated before an engine can be validated for which we need to get us a Flying Test Bed (FTB) of our own. Flying Test Bed (FTB) can validate engine performance at 40,000 to 50,000 feet above the ground and also highlights any serious issues with the program that needs to be fixed while maintaining highest margin of safety.

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

India has carried out first official trial of the Pralay Tactical Quasi ballistic missile that will play a crucial role in the upcoming Rocket force, the fourth arm of the Indian Armed forces that will be raised soon. Pralay (havoc, destruction) as its name is exactly what its role will be to strike fast and strike valuable targets inside the enemy camp while also having the ability to evade the air defense system due to its non-parabolic trajectories.

Pralay with help of its jet vane control system (JVC) and its tandem fins can fly depressed trajectories and can change its flight in the terminal phase. a ballistic missile that flies like a sub-sonic cruise missile inside the atmosphere but at near hypersonic speeds will make it near to impossible for it to be intercepted by any modern dedicated anti-ballistic missile defense system and impossible to be intercepted by an air defense system.

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SOURCE:  ANAND SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The Pakistani Air Force’s combat jet for years have centered around the JF-17 Thunder fighter program, Pakistani military officials might boost in public that it is as capable as American built F-16 jets but in private they seem to be worried about the future fleet that now they are actively considering procuring Chinese J-10C jets powered by domestically developed WS-10 Taihang engines to counter Indian acquisition of the Rafale jets, but in reality, it is more to do with easing pressure on the aging fleet of F-16s at that their disposal.

Exactly 40 years back in 1982, the First Two F-16 A/B jets were handed over to PAF in the United States and within two years fleet size grew to 40 that were later upgraded through Mid-Life Upgradation (MLU) for Block 15 aircraft that took place in 2009, enhancing it to Block 20 standards that included the mission computer upgradation, avionics, Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and integration of new AN/APG-68v9 radar system, leading to the compatibility of platform with AIM-120 AMRAAMs and supporting Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS); allowing it to nearly matching the latest Block 52 in terms of combat ability.

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SOURCE:  JATIN RAM / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

As Safran Aircraft Engines gets busy jointly developing a new engine with Germany’s MTU Aero Engines to power Europe’s 6th Gen Next-Generation Fighter (NGF) program. Safran Aircraft Engines along with Consortium of Indian companies (HAL/GTRE/MIDANI/KALYANI) have also decided to develop a new engine for India’s 5.5Gen AMCA fighter jet program under which it plans to develop a new 110kN Thrust Class but since details of the program are not available in the public domain, will have to rely on previous offers that were made by France.

Safran Aircraft Engines for the last decade or more held talks with India’s GTRE to develop a new engine that will be Hybrid between M88-Kaveri engine, that will see an amalgamation of technologies from both countries. The original idea was to use old studies done by the Safran Aircraft Engines for the development of M88-4 in the mid-’90s that could generate 110kN Class of Reheat thrust and was originally offered as a replacement to Mirage-2000 operators that were sold with an M53K (95kN Reheat) engines.

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

IAF is considering jumping from 4.5 gen Tejas Mk1A to 5th gen AMCA program that will mean the Tejas Mk2 program more or less will be scrapped if the IAF get to take the shot and the Ministry of Defence decides to take a back seat. AMCA will start arriving from 2035 onwards and at least three-four countries might have flown or at least demonstrated sixth-generation tech on aircraft that will enter service sometime in 2035-40.

BAE Systems-led Tempest and the Dassault Aviation-led “Future Combat Air System” (FCAS) and America’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) are already in the works and it also seems Russia and China will also join the bandwagon by 2035 for which these countries are developing next-generation swarming drones and a combat cloud designed to ensure information superiority.

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

Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari confirmed that the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs) are still getting being framed for the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) Tender process and will be completed sometime in 2022. ASQRs stage is where IAF decides what will be essential parameters that it sought from the aircraft it desires. The ASQRs are based on inputs obtained through a request for information (RFI) to ensure a multi-vendor situation.

Later the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will accord the acceptance of necessity (AON) then starts the process to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to interested vendors. ASQRs for MRFA will now include e essential parameters for 5th and 6th Gen technologies that were missing in the previous Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition that got canceled.

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