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

It seems like the Indian Air force is finally okay with the entry of the 5th generation fighter jet in the MRFA tender for 114 jets that are to be locally assembled in the country the only 5th gen aircraft that is in production is the American F-35 that too won’t be able to cut through Indian requirements due to high indigenization content that is requested by the IAF.

As far as the ToT clause goes, F-35 made in India will require to have an eco-system of its spares and supply chain that could require local production at any given point of time so that it is not affected by external supply chain issues that can’t be interrupted by war or sanctions.

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

Indian Airforce and Indian Army have inducted 8 Prachand that are from the Limited Scale Production (LSP) batch as 7 more will be delivered next year by the HAL, these 15 units will form the bedrock for what this machine will be able to achieve in the next few years, since the platform that is still evolving.

Prachand will start trials with the anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) from next year onwards, ATGMs are often the main weapon system on any Attack Helicopter, and Prachand must get its way before it enters bulk production. India is also developing long-range ATGMs that will allow Prachand enough stand-off range that can ensure its safety and efforts are also being made to get it ready for production soon.

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

The new B-21 Raider will be finally revealed to the world which might start the second round of battle for the development of low-cost stealth heavy strategic bombers also coming from China and Russia. B-21 Raider bears a familiar resemblance to the B-2 Spirit and will be the first mass-produced low observable stealth heavy strategic bomber that will come with a price tag that was never heard of before indicating B-21 will be the next F-35 in the heavy strategic bomber class that might not be not as good as its predecessor but might be open for export.

B-21 Raider will differ substantially in size, and likely come with two engines instead of four engines and payload when compared to the B-2 Spirit and a lot has been achieved in terms of development of the low-observable technology to make it highly affordable in terms of unit cots. B-2 Spirit like F-22 was very expensive to manufacture and due to its low production run, it overshot the estimated unit cost by several hundred million.

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SOURCE: GIRISH LINGANNA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

Every military expert agrees that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are the future of combat. Knowing the most prevalent types of drones and which ones India has deployed is essential.

Three Decades in Operation: A Brief History of UAVs in India
For almost a decade, the Indian Armed Forces have used UAVs. The Indian Army acquired unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel in the late 1990s, and the Indian Air Force and Navy followed suit.
Initially, DRDO was charged with creating a catapult-launched UAV, which its Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore, built and improved to satisfy customer specifications. IAI Malat, whose UAVs were in service with several armies, supplied the Indian Armed Forces with most of its UAVs.

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

South Korea recently contracted an order for 48 FA-50 combat aircraft from Poland with deliveries to commence in 2023. News coming in from Malaysia also confirms that the contract for 18 Lead in Fighter Trainers might be also going to Koreans. FA-50 has been winning fresh orders due to past orders and multiple operators of the jets while India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has a plan to develop a low-cost Hindustan Lead-in Fighter Trainer (HLFT-42) market is already getting crowded with more countries entering the segment.

Turkey plans to enter the advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft market with its supersonic-capable Hürjet jet trainer and things are already getting heated up Boeing-Saab developed T-7A Red Hawk right under the $ 20 million per unit mark that will give some competition to present market leader FA-50.

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

It seems from the various media outlet reports that India’s LCA-Tejas might have missed the contract to supply 18 jets to Malaysia, not because the aircraft was found to be more expensive or failed to meet technical parameters but due to the PR machinery of the Koreans that ensured that jet that failed to meet many parameters was not only popular with the masses but also effective use of lobbying worked to secure orders for them.

State-owned HAL over the years has not roped in marketing gurus or lobby groups to swing orders in the aviation sector, if India wants to be among the top 5 global defense exporters then it needs to sell big-ticket items like aircraft and ships but over the year defense PSUs like HAL have not able to up the game.

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SOURCE: GIRISH LINGANNA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

Ballistic missiles launched from submarines are known as submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Almost all SLBMs have nuclear weapons and are part of the Naval Strategic Nuclear Forces (NSNF), one of the three components of the nuclear triad. Modern ballistic missiles have an intercontinental range, are equipped with multiple warheads with individual targeting, and can simultaneously attack several targets hundreds of kilometres apart. South Koreans have conventional submarines which can launch conventional SLBM with a conventional warhead. North Koreans, too, have this capability, but it is not known if they have a conventional or nuclear warhead.

Most submarines can launch a single and a salvo, both from the surface and from the underwater position.

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

It seems HAL missed a trick or 2 by not going in for Do 328, Do 428, and Do 728 family after going in for Do 228. HAL till date has produced more than 125 Do 228s and as now developed H 228 which is the civilian transport certified version of 19-seater Do 228. Logically and ideally speaking HAL should have gone in for the follow on Do 328, Do 428, and Do 728 family.

That would have allowed HAL to master and manufacture 30-, 40-, and 60-, 70-seater aircrafts by now for use in the civil aviation market. It would have allowed people across India access to low-cost airline flights on low-cost aircrafts. I won’t go into Do 228 because it is now well known but talk more about the other Dornier aircrafts.

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SOURCE: GIRISH LINGANNA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

China is working on several futuristic projects to develop a modern and highly effective air force. The PLA Air Force received the first 5th generation fighter of Chinese design a few years ago.

Data indicates that China started developing its fifth generation of fighters in the late 1990s. The initial experiments and theoretical research took several years. A full-fledged project began to develop the 5th Generation fighter in the middle of the following decade.

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

Couple of days back the new INS Vikrant was commissioned into the Indian Navy. As with the prevalent practice, Indian Navy named its new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, thus bringing back the name that was lost when original INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997. Now everyone is talking about whether Indian Navy should go for a bigger and costly 3rd aircraft carrier or look to setup a low-cost island based fixed aircraft carriers like the idea floated by late CDS Gen Bipin Rawat. My assertion is that we not only need at least 2 low-cost island based fixed aircraft carriers but, also, we need 4 floating aircraft carriers.

India needs 4 aircraft carriers conventionally powered (for now), out of which 2 need to be of INS Vikrant class and other 2 of INS Vikramaditya class. While INS Vikrant class carries 12-14 fixed wing jets and 14helos each (6 or 7 SAR, 4 ASW, 3 AEW), the INS Vikramaditya class carries 16-18 fixed wing jets and 16 helos each (6 or 8 SAR, 5 ASW, 3 AEW). Please note I am not going by Wikipedia figures but on calculation of 1000 ton for per aircraft/helo and 10000-to-12000-ton supplies that each carrier loads up with on each trip, excluding the fuel and ammunition supplies.

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

Indian Navy for its requirement of 26 fighter jets for operations from its two aircraft carriers is stuck with two jets on offer that it might not like to procure. Rafale M could have been a clear winner since the type is already with the Indian Air Force and commonality could have saved a lot of foreign exchange for the Navy in terms of training and maintenance of these jets but that now seems near impossible due to technical reasons and limitations of the Rafale M.

Boeing Super hornet might seem the only option left for the Navy but, strangely, the Navy is not exploring other option that not only meets its requirements but also can be operated from the lifts of both the aircraft carrier that were designed especially for the operations of the Russian Mig-29K.

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

Short Sightedness by Admirals and planners who lacked vision might be blamed but the Indian Navy’s Flagship INS Vikrant aircraft carrier indeed does have a puny lift with dimensions of 10mx 14m that were made keeping in mind the LCA-Navy Mk2 program that has been now canceled for the much larger TEDBF program.

The proposed single-engine LCA-Navy Mk2, with a maximum take of weight of 16500 tons could be an ideal fighter jet for an aircraft carrier with these elevators but the LCA-Navy Mk2 program died some say due to intense rivalry between top naval aviators of the Navy that ultimately led to TEDBF program.

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

Soviet-era long-range bombers like Tu-95 Bears, Tu-22M Backfires, and Tu-160 Blackjacks are old and, at times, questionably maintained and have all experienced maintenance issues of some sort post fall of the Soviet Union. Yet they are reports that India might be considering leasing six Tu-160 Blackjacks from Russia to reinforce its second-strike nuclear capability.

At first Russian Air Force inventory has only 17 Soviet-built Tu-160s still in service, the latest one was the Tu-160M2 which was made from the unused airframe that was lying after the fall of the Soviet Union but Russia plans to eventually buy more about 50 Tu-160M bombers and is upgrading 16 existing Tu-160s to the standard first one to come in 2023.

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SOURCE: GIRISH LINGANNA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

The Russian incursion into Ukraine has been a global spectacle. Since February, the world order and the global supply chains, already marred by Covid-19, continue to suffer. In fact, as the European wheat bowl fights for its sovereignty, a global recession is setting. So, after commodities, economies and lives, the latest impact is being felt at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas imported an essential component from Ukraine. While the stock could sail HAL through the initial disruption, the sustained conflict requires HAL to innovate a solution.

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SOURCE: GIRISH LINGANNA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is presently the poster child of India’s efforts to become self-reliant in the defence sector. This single-engine, multirole, supersonic fighter is already beginning to garner attention from several nations- not to mention the trust shown in it by the Indian military, too. All the avionics, sensors, and flight control systems of the aircraft are indigenously built.

This has put the percentage of indigenous components on the aircraft at over 70 per cent. In addition, Tejas also carries several ‘Made-in-India’ munitions as a part of its weapons payload. Undoubtedly, all of these components and arms are not only a source of pride for the country’s defence-manufacturing sector, but also exponentially increase the deadliness of the aircraft itself.

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