Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dassault's Rafale Tech Transfer Offer Compliant: Indian MoD

US Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Snyder
Apparently putting to rest questions over technology transfer negotiations being one of the bumps slowing progress in the big jet deal, the Indian government today told Parliament that Dassault's technology transfer offer was 'compliant to the requirements specified in the RFP'. Here's Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's full statement:
The process of negotiations with the L-1 vendor, M/s Dassault Aviation of France for procurement of Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) is on. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for procurement of MMRCA included a full section on Transfer of Technology (ToT) requirements. The offer of M/s Dassault Aviation for ToT is compliant to the requirements specified in the RFP.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Superweek For Indian Shipbuilding: After P15A Kolkata, Navy Gets 1st P28 ASW Corvette Tomorrow

Official Indian Navy literature shared with Livefist today along with these exclusive photographs: Kamorta, the lead ship of the four Project 28 anti-submarine (ASW) corvettes being built by India's state-owned Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), named after the erstwhile Petya Class ship from USSR ex-Kamorta (21 Nov 1968 - 31 Oct 1991), the new Kamorta has been indigenously conceived and designed. With a unique hull-form, stealth features, state-of-the-art weaponry and integrated systems, Kamorta is designed to operate in the multiple threat environment.

The ship’s keel was laid on 20 Nov 2006 and the ship was launched on 19 April 2010. The ship is 110 m long and displaces about 3,400 T. With four diesel engines in CODAD (combined diesel & diesel) propulsion she has a max speed of about 25 knots. She is capable of carrying an integral ASW helicopter. Her manning comprises of 13 officers and 176 sailors. The formidable array of weapons include heavy weight torpedoes, ASW rockets, 76 mm Medium Range gun and two guns as Close-in-Weapon System (CIWS) with dedicated fire control systems, chaff systems and the PDMS which would be installed in due course. Her sensors include the most advanced bow mounted sonar, advanced ESM system and direction finder, an air surveillance radar with capability to detect target exceeding 200 Km and an active towed array system which would be installed in due course. 

The ship is being delivered to the Indian Navy on 12 July 2014. Kamorta would be commissioned next month at Visakhapatnam and would form part of the Eastern Fleet under the Eastern Naval Command.

Cost of four of these class of ships is Rs. 7852.39 crore. These ships have been designed the Indian Navy’s in-house Design Organisation i.e. Directorate of Naval Design (DND). Stealth features include X-form Hull for low RCS, Raft Mounted Gear Box for low under water noise and Infra Red Signature Suppression Device for low heat radiations. Usage of DMR 249A steel for construction which has been developed indigenously by Defence Material Research Laboratory and manufactured in-house Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). Use of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) superstructure integrated with the steel hull in the third and fourth ships of the class. First time installation of revolutionary foldable hanger door and Railless Helo Traversing System and Telescopic Boat Davit.

Highlights of the design includes Low Radar Cross Section (RCS) signature through full beam superstructure, inclined ship sides and reduced Infra red (IR) signature by use of “Infrared Suppression System (IRSS) device’ for cooling the engine and diesel alternator exhausts, developed indigenously by Naval Scientific and technical Laboratory (NSTL). It has ‘Combination of Diesel and Diesel (CODAD)’ propulsion system with the two diesel engine along with one gear box on each shaft. The ship is fitted with indigenous state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including a Medium Range Gun (form M/s Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd), Torpedo Tube Launchers as well as Rocket Launchers (form M/s Larsen & Tubro), Close-In Weapon System (form M/s Gun and Shell Factory) and Chaff System (from M/s Machine Tool Prototype Factory). Ship is equipped with a Bow mounted Sonar and are capable of deploying a Seaking 42B helicopter, adding considerable punch to the ship’s anti-submarine capability.

Modular Accommodation, Gallery and Vacuum Sanitation System for high standard of Crew Habitability. Total Atmospheric control system for effective heat ventilation and air conditioning. Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) which include Integrated Bridge System as well as Battle Damage System for effective modern warfare.

EXCLUSIVE FIRST IMAGES: Here She Is! D63 Kolkata Destroyer With Indian Navy

Love bringing you this first batch of photographs of indigenous P15A destroyer Kolkata (D63), now with the Indian Navy. Videos and more photos coming up later today. I've been asked for years why there haven't been any decent photographs of the vessel and class. Doesn't matter. All that ends today, right here on Livefist ;-). Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Navy's 1st Kolkata-class Destroyer At Sea During Final Trials

A bare handful of grainy photographs exist in the public domain of Kolkata (D63), the first P15A destroyer that's been delivered to the Indian Navy today by Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL). Thankfully, not anymore. The photograph above is the first proper image of the destroyer at sea in full operational configuration, with its decks, weapons and sensors clearly visible. This photograph, taken during acceptance trials in the Arabian Sea, provides the first comprehensive visual of the warship. Still not sure why MDL and Indian Navy chose to be so secretive about the Kolkata. As always, happy to bring you this first. More soon.

Navy Gets First Kolkata-class Destroyer Today, Commissioning Soon

Good news just in: India's first indigenous P15A destroyer has completed delivery acceptance trials (DAT) and will be officially handed over to the Indian Navy today. The ship will be commissioned soon, likely later this month in Mumbai by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.

During DATs last month, a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was test-fired from the Kolkata on June 9 off the coast of Karwar. The P15A destroyers will deploy 16 BrahMos in vertical launch config. The Kolkata-class has had its share of turbulence: originally slated for delivery in 2010, the project was slapped back by technical issues, including construction and unusual noise levels during operations. When all of those issues were sorted over three years, a Navy officer was killed in a tragic freak accident in March this year, casting gloom over one of India's most promising indigenous warship lines. With DATs done, she's fully ready for operations. Will post new photos as soon as I get them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

India's Apache & Chinook Buys To Be Cleared This Month

Half a century after the Indian Air Force last operated U.S.-built helicopters, it's about to happen again. India will push through deals for 22 Boeing Apache Block IIIs and 15 CH-47F Chinooks this month, a little under two years after the two American choppers beat out Russian rivals in two separate Indian Air Force competitions. That's amazingly swift by Indian procurement standards. The Indian MoD's Defence Acquisition Council will meet for the first time under India's new government on July 19, where both deals are expected to be signed off on and moved up for final clearance from the Union Cabinet.

Two reports today confirm in Mail Today and Times Of India that the two deals are final and are primed for signing.

The Apache beat out the Russian Mi-28NE, while the Chinook defeated the Mi-26T. They won't be the first American-built choppers in Indian military service though -- the Indian Navy received six UH-3H Sea King choppers along with the erstwhile USS Trenton (now INS Jalashwa) in 2007. The first US-built chopper with the Indian armed forces was the Sikorsky S-55 in the fifties.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Totally Cornered, HAL To Re-design Lumbering Intermediate Trainer

This was coming. And now it's official. Pincered in by a combination of pressures that would pluck a plum bit of business out of HAL's hands, the state-owned aviation manufacturer has decided to re-design and weight-optimise its Stage-II jet trainer, the HJT-36 Sitara, officially calling upon global airframers to size up the platform and hammer out a prescribe. After persisting with the line that the aircraft platform was fine, and that it was rapidly piercing through test points towards service status, the new decision to scout assistance is HAL's first admission that there's been trouble all along.

Here's the preamble to HAL's officially published call for help on June 30:
The HJT-36 aircraft presently weighs around 4150 Kg in its Normal Training Configuration, i.e., with two pilots and full internal fuel without any external stores. HAL is envisaging achieving maximum possible weight reduction / optimisation for the aircraft.
After a one page description of the major components going into the all-metallic fuselage, wing, empennage, avionics and electrical system, propulsion, landing gear and flight control system, the company cuts to the chase:
The design of the above need to be revisited, analyzed and the scope for weight reduction / optimization studied while ensuring the required strength, stiffness & fatigue criteria. The new innovative ideas w.r.t. material, LRU’s and other related equipments maintainability shall be included. Towards this HAL is looking forward for partnership / technical assistance / consultancy from a well experienced airframe design house. The interested companies may respond with detailed justification of their capabilities and tentative plan with time lines for HAL to consider issuing formal tenders.
And just to be clear that they're talking about the full deal, HAL adds:
This weight reduction / optimization study must be comprehensive, encompassing all the Structure, Mechanical Systems & Electrical Avionics Systems. It should meet the adequate strength, stiffness and fatigue criteria, methodology for testing, Analysis and functioning details are to be provided. 
Significantly, HAL doesn't indicate that this redesign pushes the aircraft's already in-service date. Here's how it sums up the project's current status in its invitation to airframers:
The aircraft is in an advanced stage of development and is expected to enter service within the coming year. The company has a firm order of 85 aircraft from the Indian defence services. Further orders for this aircraft are expected once it is operationalised. 
The pressure on HAL has been sustained and rightly unforgiving: after a public spat over the trainer that peaked last year, the IAF declared in February this year its official interest in importing Stage-II trainers, intended as a training bridge between the now in-service Pilatus PC-7 Mk.II basic trainer and BAE Hawk advanced jet trainer. Also, the IAF may be entirely unwilling to induct the HJT-36 if it doesn't meet weight and performance criteria. The redesign call proves the aircraft isn't anywhere near what the IAF wants.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Beauty! Indian Home-built Stealth Frigate Sahyadri At Pearl Harbour For #RIMPAC14

The Indian Navy's Shivalik-class stealth multi-role frigate INS Sahyadri (F49) transits to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for the ship's participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. 22 nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (Text & Photos: US Navy).