Archive for ‘Defence’


IAF gets first light combat aircraft – The Hindu

Thirty—two years after the project was sanctioned, the first indigenously—built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was handed over by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to the IAF on Saturday, a red letter day for the Indian defence and aerospace sector.

A file photo of the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' at the Yelahanka Air Base in Bengaluru.

The handover signals the start of a process of induction of the fighters being built at home under a project which has already cost the exchequer nearly Rs. 8,000 crore.

The entire project by the DRDO and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is estimated to cost over Rs. 30,000 crore.

The aircraft that has been handed over has got Initial Operational Clearance—II, which signifies that Tejas is airworthy in different conditions, sources said. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) is expected by the year—end.

This version of the aircraft lacks the latest electronic warfare suite, which was integrated into one of the LCAs two weeks ago, mid—air refuelling and long—range missiles capabilities, among other things that the FOC—configuration aircraft will have.

The IOC—I was granted to the aircraft, being built by state—owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in January 2011.

via IAF gets first light combat aircraft – The Hindu.


India and France to push ahead with Rafale jet deal | Reuters

The French and Indian defence ministers agreed on Monday to overcome any differences and finalise the sale of 126 fighter jets to India in a deal worth an estimated $15 billion, the Indian defence ministry said.

A Rafale jet fighter is seen on the assembly line in the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France, January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files

France’s Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) has been trying to clinch a deal to sell India its Rafale jets since New Delhi chose the company over other foreign plane manufacturers in 2012. But disagreements over cost and work-sharing have slowed talks, while India’s weak economy has stretched government finances.

On Monday, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, who was appointed defence minister last month.

“Both sides agreed to take forward the strategic co-operation between the two countries. They discussed all issues including Rafale. It was decided that whatever differences still existed would be resolved in a fast-track manner,” said Indian defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar.

Under the deal, which would provide a major boost to French domestic defence manufacturing, the first 18 planes will be made in France and shipped to India, while the remaining 108 will be produced by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (IPO-HIAE.NS).

The final phase of exclusive negotiations on the contract should conclude within India’s current budget year ending in March 2015, Dassault Chief Executive Eric Trappier said last month.

via India and France to push ahead with Rafale jet deal | Reuters.


India to Unveil First Warship to Deter Chinese Submarines – Businessweek

India will unveil its first home-built anti-submarine warship tomorrow in a move to deter China from conducting underwater patrols near its shores.


Defense Minister Arun Jaitley will commission the 3,300-ton INS Kamorta at the southeastern Vishakapatnam port. The move comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the largest indigenously built guided-missile destroyer and vowed to bolster the country’s defenses so “no one dares to cast an evil glance at India.”

India is playing catch-up to China, which built 20 such warships in the past two years and sent a nuclear submarine to the Indian Ocean in December for a two-month anti-piracy patrol. The waters are home to shipping lanes carrying about 80 percent of the world’s seaborne oil, mostly headed to China and Japan.

“As China grows into a naval, maritime power, it will be more and more active in the Indian Ocean,” Taylor Fravel, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies China’s ties with its neighbors, said by phone. “Of course, it will not be due to some hostility or targeted at India, but because of its economic interests in the Indian Ocean, as a lot of trade passes through. Such a presence will certainly raise questions in India, but it need not necessarily be a cause of major conflict.”

Warship Plans

India has lacked anti-submarine corvettes in its 135-warship fleet for more than a decade now, with the decommissioning of the last of the 10-ship Petya-class of 1960s-vintage Soviet corvettes in December 2003. It plans to build 42 more warships, including three more anti-submarine corvettes, over the next decade, according to Rear Admiral A.B. Singh, an Indian navy official.

About 90 percent of Kamorta’s components are local, with the hull developed by Steel Authority of India Ltd., medium-range guns by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) and torpedo launchers by Larsen & Toubro Ltd, India’s largest engineering company. The ship is two years behind schedule, according to Commodore B.B. Nagpal, the navy’s principal director for naval design.

via India to Unveil First Warship to Deter Chinese Submarines – Businessweek.


Army chief Bikram Singh to begin rare China visit tomorrow – The Times of India

Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh r...

Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh received by Director for General Staff Duties Sanjeev Chopra (Photo credit: UN Women Asia & the Pacific)

Operationalisation of a new border defence agreement to deal with recurring troop incursions along the LAC besides improving defence ties, is expected to top the agenda of General Bikram Singh as he starts a rare visit by an Indian Army chief to China from tomorrow.

“Currently India and China maintain exchanges and cooperation at various levels. This is very significant for the two countries,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said here today.

“The visit you mentioned will be an important event in military to military exchanges between China and India,” he said commenting on Singh’s visit at a media briefing.

“We wish full success of this visit so that the mutual trust between the two armies can be enhanced,” he said.

To deal with tensions arising out of the incursions by both sides, India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year.

Singh’s visit was aimed at implementing a number of steps incorporated by BDCA on the ground, officials said.

The Indian Army chief’s four-day visit is taking place after a gap of nine years.

via Army chief Bikram Singh to begin rare China visit tomorrow – The Times of India.


China Seeks Shorter, ‘More Portly’ Troops With Brainpower – Bloomberg

China’s military has relaxed its height, eyesight and weight requirements for soldiers in an effort to attract more educated personnel, the state-owned China Daily newspaper said today.

Male recruits can now be 1.6 meters tall (5 foot 2 inches), down from 1.62 meters, while the minimum height for women will reduced by the same margin to 1.58 meters, the paper said, citing the Ministry of Defense’s recruitment office. The upper weight limit for male enlistees was also relaxed to “allow more portly young men” into the military, it said.

Eyesight standards were also lowered because nearly 70 percent of high school and university students in China are short-sighted, it said. Mental illnesses including schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, depression and bipolar disorder has also been removed from a list of conditions barring candidates from enlisting, according to the paper.

The looser requirements come as President Xi Jinping tries to hone the world’s largest army by headcount into a professional fighting force capable of winning wars. Efforts by China’s military to attract better-educated recruits to match its modern weaponry has been hampered by a decline in the health of candidates. According to Beijing’s army recruitment office, some 60 percent of college students fail the physical fitness examination, with most graduates being overweight, the China Daily reported in August.

via China Seeks Shorter, ‘More Portly’ Troops With Brainpower – Bloomberg.


Japan denies brush with Chinese planes, demands China withdraws footage | Reuters

I sincerely hope China and Japan are NOT sleep walking into a major war.

“Japan on Friday denied Beijing’s claims that its Self-Defence Force planes came “dangerously close” to Chinese aircraft in an incident over the East China Sea on Wednesday, demanding China takes down the footage allegedly showing the incident.

A Chinese SU-27 fighter flies over the East China Sea, in this handout photo taken May 24, 2014 and released by the Defense Ministry of Japan May 25, 2014. REUTERS/Defense Ministry of Japan/Handout via Reuters

The tit-for-tat accusations and denials are part of a long-running territorial dispute between Asia’s largest economies. They follow a similar incident on May 24, when Japan said Chinese aircraft came within a few dozen metres of its warplanes. China, where bitter memories of Japan’s wartime militarism run deep, lays claim to Japanese-administered islets in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China declared its air defence zone covering most of the East China Sea last year despite protests by Japan and the United States.

On Thursday, China said two Japanese F-15 planes followed a Chinese Tu-154 aircraft and came as close as 30 metres, “seriously affecting China’s flight safety”. It posted a video allegedly showing that incident on the defence ministry website.

“We believe there is no truth in China’s assertions that Japanese fighter planes came within 30 meters of a Chinese plane and severely affected the flight’s safety,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

“The planes (in the video) are different,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about the rationale behind Japan’s assertion, adding Japan lodged a protest late on Thursday and demanded that Beijing take down the footage.

China responded by calling on Tokyo to “immediately stop all its provocative words and acts”.”

via Japan denies brush with Chinese planes, demands China withdraws footage | Reuters.


First Scorpene submarine to be ready by Sept 2016: Admiral Dhowan – The Hindu

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin Dhowan has said that the construction of French-origin Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Dock is progressing well, with the first submarine now scheduled to be delivered by September, 2016.

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R.K. Dhowan (R) being welcomed by Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Satish Soni (L) at Southern Naval Command in Kochi on Thursday.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a Naval Investiture Ceremony on Thursday, Admiral Dhowan said while the Navy intended to take delivery of the first Scorpene diesel-electric submarine, built under Project 75, in September 2016, it would also ensure that the intervening period between delivery of the remaining five was minimised.

Asked about the arrest of two people in an LTC documents forgery case involving 30 navy officials by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Admiral Dhowan said whenever such instances came to the Navy’s notice, it carried out thorough investigation and took decisions based on their outcome.

On the proposed government move to ramp up foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector, he said it was the government’s call and the force would follow “whatever decision taken by the government”.

He said the Navy would host Prime Minister Narendra Modi on board the newly-inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Saturday. “We intend to take the PM on board the carrier and showcase various operational activities undertaken by it.”

Admiral Dhowan said the carrier was fully operational and its integral fleet of MiG 29 K fighter jets flown by Indian naval pilots fully integrated to the platform.

The Admiral said operating at sea was not an easy job, but despite the harsh working conditions, navy personnel always wore a smile on their faces. “We are proud of our officers and men.”

At the investiture ceremony earlier in the day, he stressed the importance of team work and training in operating complex platforms in multi-dimensional force.

via First Scorpene submarine to be ready by Sept 2016: Admiral Dhowan – The Hindu.


Modi govt to promote civilian settlements along India-China border – The Times of India

The Narendra Modi government may not only strengthen ITBP deployment and infrastructure along the India-China border, but also promote civilian settlements in border areas.

China-India Map

Unlike the UPA regime that was reluctant to undertake aggressive deployment of troops in stretches close to the India-China border, the Union home ministry may now go for a formal survey of the border gaps and come up with a fresh deployment plan to ensure that ITBP troops are in good strength to discourage incursions on part of the Chinese troops into Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

In addition to that, road connectivity will also be strengthened along the border areas. The strengthening of infrastructure will also cover construction of bridges and better mobile connectivity through setting up of BSNL towers.

However, a significant move on part of the Centre would be to promote human settlements towards Indian side of the India-China border. This, sources pointed out, would help reinforce India’s claim to the area in any subsequent border settlement negotiations. A senior government functionary recalled former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s insistence on leaving human settlements untouched while working out the border demarcation.

Meanwhile, with reports indicating that Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit India later this year, there is renewed hope among the people of Arunachal Pradesh that the stapled visa issue would finally be settled. “The two leaders wield all the power to have the final word on betterment of India-China ties,” a senior government functionary pointed out.

via Modi govt to promote civilian settlements along India-China border – The Times of India.

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Indonesia Beefs Up Air Force in South China Sea | The Diplomat

Indonesia is beefing up its air presence along the South China Sea, a military officer announced late last month.

Indonesia Beefs Up Air Force in South China Sea

According to IHS Jane’s, Lieutenant Colonel Andri Gandy, the commander of Ranai airbase on the Riau Islands, which borders the South China Sea, said Indonesia was upgrading the airbase so that it could accommodate Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighter aircraft. Separately, Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) Chief of Staff General Budiman said that four Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters would be deployed to Ranai airbase.

Lt. Col Gandy said that the TNI had already installed runway lights, taxiway lights and integrated radar at the airbase. He added that there were plans to extend the length of the runway in order to accommodate the Su-27 and Su-30s.

The announcement comes at a time when Indonesia has been raising concerns about China’s territorial designs on the Natuna Sea off the coast of the Riau Islands. As The Diplomat previously reported, last month Commodore Fahru Zaini, a senior Indonesian defense official, told reporters: “China has claimed Natuna waters as their territorial waters. This arbitrary claim is related to the dispute over Spratly and Paracel Islands between China and the Philippines. This dispute will have a large impact on the security of Natuna waters.”

Although there have long been suspicions that China’s nine-dashed line overlapped with Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Riau Islands, Indonesia has refused to officially acknowledge the dispute exists. Zaini’s comments seemed to depart from this position.

However, as Evan A. Laksmana has pointed out, the Indonesian government quickly disavowed Zaini’s statement. For example, just days after Zaini spoke, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa stated: “Firstly, there is no territorial dispute between Indonesia and China, especially about the Natunas. In fact, we are cooperating with China in possibly bringing about foreign direct investment plans in the Natunas. Second, we are not a claimant state in the South China Sea.”

Laksmana also points out that Indonesia has long planned to beef up its military forces in the Natuna region as one of its “flashpoint defense” areas. The Jane’s report said that Zaini described the Su-27 and Su-30s deployment as part of Indonesia’s Minimum Essential Force (MEF) concept, which Jane’s explained: “aims to establish the nature and minimum scale of military capabilities that Indonesia should seek to deploy in response to a strategic threat.”

via Indonesia Beefs Up Air Force in South China Sea | The Diplomat.

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India scales up military forces on disputed China border –

Very interesting: Pakistan is invited to Modi’s inauguration, but China is not; and more troops along Chinese border but not  along border with Pakistan!

“India is raising a new mountain strike corps of nearly 90,000 soldiers to strengthen its defense along its disputed border with China in the high reaches of the Himalayas.

Chinese troops hold a banner which reads: "You've crossed the border, please go back" in Ladakh, India. India is raising a new mountain strike corps consisting of some 90,000 soldiers to strengthen its defence along its disputed but largely uninhabited border with China in the high reaches of the Himalayas. Photo taken Sunday, May 5, 2013.

China will be a top foreign policy challenge for Narendra Modi, the incoming prime minister who won a landslide victory last week. Business ties between India and China are booming. But despite rounds of talks, the two countries have yet to resolve their decades-old dispute over the 2,000-mile border between the two countries. It remains one of the most militarized borders in the world.

The strike corps will have its own mountain artillery, combat engineers, anti-aircraft guns, and radio equipment. Over 35,000 soldiers have already been raised in new infantry units in India’s northeastern state of Assam. The entire corps will be fully raised over the next five years with 90,274 troops at a cost of $10.6 billion. The proposal to raise a new strike corps was recommended last year by India’s China Study Group, a government body that considers all strategic issues related to China.

The strike corps signals a new assertiveness in New Delhi and will provide an additional defense capability to India, which for a long time focused on the land borders with Pakistan. While the decision predated Mr. Modi, he is likely to further strengthen India’s military modernization which is one of his party’s top agenda items.

“China has made frequent border transgressions into Indian border,” says retired Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch, who formerly commanded the Indian Army‘s Special Forces wing. “The new prime minister has to ensure that our borders are well protected. It cannot be business as usual.”

He predicts that as both countries are growing and keen to increase their influence, China and India will increasingly step on each other’s areas of interest and importance.”

via India scales up military forces on disputed China border –

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