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

Rarely you come across a 140-ton monster Truck with Army green camouflage moving on the road and even rare is finding out that it was carrying India’s longest ranged nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-V with a range of 5500-8000km with Strategic Forces Command (SFC) personals likely on the delivery run where photographed moving the missile to undisclosed location has the internet and people cant keep claim due to obvious reasons.

Picture of Agni-V that was widely shared on the social media platforms is for the first time shows missile in its operational configuration that includes canister housing of the missile and the Transport-cum-Tilting vehicle-5 for better road mobility and to reduce reaction time drastically. Agni-V tested nearly a decade ago for the first time as a Beijing specific missile system but with ability to hit the longer range with lighter payload meant friends and allies were also nervous about its development, due to which they were no successor to the Agni-V program at least on the land-based system.

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

From the last 5 years we all are watching this Rafale debate where all people are accusing the government of wrong doings in Rafale procurement in one way or the other except the people who have authority like courts and expertise in defense procurement and tendering like CAG. Surprisingly, both institutions have given thumbs up to the procurement including on the cost parameters multiple times yet motivated people are raking the issue again and again by presenting partial truth and manipulating the facts.

The latest addition in the above list is a tweet by former union minister and MP Shashi Tharoor in which he tweeted on 4th may about the Egypt’s procurement of Rafale fighter jets and comparing the respective amounts paid by India and Egypt claiming that the India paid more money as compared to Egypt. Well, it is a deliberate manipulation of truth by presenting partial information. The complete truth is that above news quoted by Mr. Shashi Tharoor is a follow on deal of a previous deal that the Egypt had inked with France in 2015 for 24 Rafale jets at the cost of € 5.2 billion while in the follow on deal. Egypt is buying 30 Rafale jets for € 3.75 billon.

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

IMAGE COPYRIGHT WITH RESPECTED OWNERS

The Worlds first fighter jet went into service over 15 years ago and since then we have seen multiple countries who joined the bandwagon of the 5th generation class with their offering, Russia was second with Su-57 to be followed quickly by China with J-20 and later J-31. not before the United States had started testing second 5th generation jet which was later called as F-35. France, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom have decided to skip the development of the 5th generation on their own and instead have started working on the 6th generation fighter jet that will go into mass production somewhere in 2040.

Both 5th and 6th Generation fighter jet will continue to maintain two common features between them, that will be stealthy airframe and radical next generation of long-range weapons that are not only capable of penetrating anti-access/area-denial airspace but also ensure air superiority over enemy airspace. The third Asian country to join the 5th bandwagon program will be South Korea with its KF-21 program, where Mk1 jets of its will not have Internal Weapons Bay (IWB) thus will be classified as a 4.5Gen fighter jet but its Mk2 variant will not only have IWB but also the same design will be adapted to make it into a stealthy airframe with use of composite and radar-absorbing paint coat by 2035.

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

After having scrapped the contentious Article 370 and downgraded J&K state by dividing it into two Union territories, the Modi government now seems to be preparing for Phase-II plans for complete integration of the Jammu and Kashmir right before the second death anniversary of Article 370, and Article 35A, with that has started fresh rumors that are causing certain levels of anxiety among not so pro India level Kashmiri politicians in the valley. 

Delimitation Commission that is tasked with redrawing parliamentary and assembly segments of the union territory has been boycotted by all mainstream Kashmir-based parties of the Valley and the delimitation commission that is now busy with the process of redrawing parliamentary and assembly segments in the 20 districts of the UT. Several high-profile meetings between the Home Minister and LG of Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi indicate that lines have been redrawn and soon it might be made public and just like clam before the storm of 5th August, things are being done at the local level in a hush-hush manner to handle any possible violence or protests once it is announced. 

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

Defense minister Rajnath Singh approved a ban on the import of 108 military weapons but the list didn’t include a ban on big-ticket items that could bar the procurement of weapons like Main battle tanks and was limited to tracks and tank engines that were put on the negative import list and a day later, Indian Army issued Request for Information (RFI) for the Procurement of a new generation Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) and the timing was too much of coincidence that Army issued RFI under Strategic Partnership route within the provision of Chapter-VII of Defence Acquisition Procedure – 2020, that limits the whole program to just Transfer of Technology (ToT).

Many of the future concept that the RFI tender requires in the new medium-class tanks confirms how the tender has been tailored made for the Russian next-generation T-14 Armata offering that is often touted as a successor to the Russian T-90 tanks that are Main and most formidable tank in the Indian Army fleet. 30 plus years of research and development on Arjun tank and pity orders for 118 tanks earlier this year, often confirms why PM Modi’s plans to push for AatmaNirbhar Bharat in Defence is turning out to be a façade with no real achievement and or incentive to develop weapons like main battle tanks locally in India.

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

The United States Air force has started work on the development of a very long-range, large, heavy-payload stealth intercontinental strategic bomber called B-21 Raiders, that will be supplementing a small fleet of a B2 stealth bomber and eventually will be replacing the non-stealthy B1 Lancer bombers from the USAF fleet. People’s Liberation Army Air Force of China on the other hand has leaked enough images of all the things to come that includes a new generation Xian H-20 subsonic stealth bomber that will be replacing the H-6K bomber based on Soviet-era Tu-16 design and Russians too are not left behind and have approved the development of PAK DA stealth bomber project that eventually makes some wonder why the Indian Air Force (IAF) has not joined the bandwagon yet.

IAF has a brief history of operating dedicated bomber fleet like English Electric Canberra, a tactical bomber and reconnaissance aircraft in the past but posts its retirement, it relied on Mig-27 and Jaguar fleet for its ground strike and bombing missions but rarely used them in small conflicts or operations that IAF was involved in last 40 plus years effectively. Due to the possession of nuclear warheads and accelerating procurement and operational cost of the bomber aircraft, India’s plan to lease 4 Russian TU-22ME for maritime operations never materialized but that shows that if not air force at least Navy at some point of time did have plans to operate dedicated bomber fleet for maritime operations. but the question remains can India built its stealth bomber in near future and what technology do we have to achieve this goal.

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

The Sukhoi aircraft design bureau has started work on the design and development of Single engined stealth fighter with a Maximum take of weight (MTOW) of 18 tons that could put it little over India’s 17.5 tons Tejas Mk2 and 16.5 tons of the Saab’s Gripen-E creating the first stealth fighter jet in this niche sub-20 ton fighter jet category that is often called as Medium weight.

Sukhoi plans to use one Izdeliye 30 engine that is developed for the Su-57 program that means it will have a thrust class of around 180kN, also one of the highest thrust class engines in its class if reports turn out to be true. Tejas Mk2 and Gripen-E both are powered by General electric’s F414 variants that generate 98kN of thrust in their class, which until now was the best in its class. Izdeliye30 engine will also come with thrust vector control nozzles, which also makes it first in class.

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

FRENCH RAFALE WITH ASMP-A AIR LAUNCHED NUCLEAR MISSILE

The induction of the 20+ French-origin Dassault Rafale F3-R Omni-role fighters into the Indian Air Force and remaining coming in the next few months not only comes as a big boost to India’s Aerial supremacy in the subcontinent but also comes as a major overhaul to India’s nuclear triad and as a major boost to the nuclear warhead delivering system from Air. It is speculated that a significant proportion of the 36 Rafale that is been inducted by IAF, will also be assigned to the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which is responsible for initiating the process of delivering nuclear weapons and warheads.

Dassault Rafale will be taking over the role of delivering nuclear warhead from the air, which is one of the nuclear triads of India, the other two being land (missiles) and sea (SLBM) from another French origin Mirage-2000 fighter jets that have been in charge of this role for the last 20 plus years now. Dassault Rafale F3-R comes with many India-specific enhancements and many are reportedly being configured for delivering a credible retaliatory nuclear strike on rivals.

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

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) have submitted a proposal for the development of 90–110-seater Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) and waits for a nod for the approval of the same from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Civil Aviation, also from Ministry of Finance.

Post Pandemic situation in aviation circle and lack of any proper feasibility industrial study of the sale opportunity in the country, this proposed aircraft, the very first from a company that has not much behind to showcase can turn into another white elephant, wasting taxpayers money, since Government itself want to exist the commercial airline space in the county by disinvestment of the national airliner Air-India. The government of India needs to see that Chinese commercial planes in the same category, that have failed to sell abroad due to tighter civil aviation regulations and tight corporation between big daddies of the civilian plane manufacturers, thus planes have been limited to domestic routes.

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

Indian Army recently placed orders for 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks, which will create two armoured regiments by 2025-26 of the indigenous tank. Mk-1A MBT has 72 improvements, including 14 major ones, over the Mk1 model, Mk-1A was supposed to bridge the gap between Mk1 and Mk2 that was in the design stage and required considerable design changes to its turret to make the tank lighter by 4.5 tons from present 68.5 tons that of Mk-1A .

Arjun Mk-1A orders came after nearly a decade of in-operation of the production line that lasts delivered previous orders way back in 2012 and came as a relief to the advocators of the Arjun tank but so came the news that the Arjun Mk2 might never enter production due to weight reservations from the Indian Army and DRDO instead has been told to focus on the Next Generation Main Battle Tank (NGMBT) program that will eventually replace all the Soviet-era T-72 MBTs in the Indian Army.

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

The Russian-made accident-prone MiG-21 fighter planes have crashed 3 times already this year and twice with lost pilots of the ill-fated aircraft but according to the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Air Force (IAF), they will be retired from the force in a phased manner only by 2024.

The accident-prone MiG’s have been crashing repeatedly and have been termed “flying coffins” by several defense experts as they have been living way past their lives but due to depleting squadrons numbers of fighter planes, IAF continues to operate around 100+ upgraded Mig-21Bis that were manufactured in the mid-’80s since they are yet to complete their Total Calendar Life or Total Technical Life.

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

The U.S. Air Force has started prototype work on a defensive tactical laser weapon designed to be carried externally on its combat jets to be used against surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles that are fired against the jet and by 2024 it plans to field production variant that can be adapted on all legacy and present 5th generation fighter jets, as another defense of fighter jets in high-risk environments.

Using a directed-energy laser to down a hostile supersonic missile is by no means easy but DRDO has been known to be working on the development of High Energy Laser that can be used to shot down drones and low flying UAVs, but the tech is still in the developmental stage and might take years before DRDO can develop powerful high energy laser that can be used to drown high-value targets like helicopters and fighter jets with considerable standoff range.

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

INS Arighat, the Indian Navy’s second nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, will be commissioned into the Indian Navy in the next few months as it has completed much of its user sea trials. INS Arighat is often called Arihant’s sister class ship due to external similarities with the lead Arihant class submarines but Arighat is way ahead of Arihant class in terms of technological leap the submarines technology has made in India after years of working on the Arihant class submarine.

Arighat features almost in every department enhanced indigenous content that is upgraded or next-generation technology that was used on the first nuclear submarine. Arihant was often called Technology demonstrator for India’s ship submersible ballistic, nuclear (SSBN) program and Arighat is a much more refined submarine that has enhanced capabilities.

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

Around 2012, Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) was given the go-ahead to develop an Active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radar (FCR) to be used on the Tejas Mk2 program and later on India’s 5th generation AMCA fighter jet. LRDE team of 30 had previously worked on the Multi-Mode Radar (MMR) that was not so successful and required Israeli assistance that came with some of the components borrowed from the ELTA’s ELM-2032 multimode airborne Fire Control Radar (FCR) in creating an Indo-Israeli Hybrid Radar that went to production for the Tejas Mk1 fleet.

LRDE team drew its experience from the larger AESA Radar that was developed for the Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) and the Maritime Patrol radar, but the challenges to shrink the technology were not easy nor was the process and some of the technology for the radar only started materializing in 2017 and 2019 a pre-production model started testing on the leased Hawke-800 Business jet provided by Zephyr Aerospace after carrying out basic trials on the rooftop testing facility at the Old HAL airport.

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

A week before when India’s Homegrown LCA-Tejas fighter jet tested and cleared Israeli Python-5 fifth-generation close combat air-to-air missile for operational use in combat, Chinese JF-17 Block-III was sported flying with Chinese PL-10 short-range, close combat air-to-air missile that still shares some lineage with the Israeli Python air to air missile family, thanks to the transfer of technology that happened in the ’80s between Israel and China in the supply of Python-3 that later became PL-8 in PLAAF.

PL-8 was Python-3 that was license-produced locally in China that was termed as 3.5Gen close combat air-to-air missile that found its way into PL-9 that was a successor to the PL-8 but carried much of the Israeli technology including its using the same airframe, rocket motor, proximity fuze, and warhead but had better having a higher off-boresight capability of 40 degrees that was much better than 30 degrees off-boresight capability found in Python-3/PL-8 and had higher High resistance to countermeasures. PL-8 and PL-9 are still seen on PLAAF fighter jets confirming that they still are operational.

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