Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Big Bang: India Clears 3 Big Deals With Russia, Europe & the US

Big raft of decisions just pushed through the chute at the Indian MoD, leading with an expected decision to clear a single-vendor bid by the Tata-Airbus consortium to supply 16 C295 transports in flyaway condition and 40 off a new Indian production line. A historic step in many ways. Once done and dusted, as you've read here on Livefist, it'll be the first time aircraft are built for the military by a private firm. Or any firm, really, other than HAL.

Lots of other deals cleared today by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex MoD body before final political signatures. A surprise win today was for Russia's Kamov: a surprise only that it came so soon. The company will set up a local line to build 200 Ka-226T Sergei light helicopters for the Indian Air Force and Army.

Most significantly for the Army, the government has cleared the manufacture of 145 BAE Systems M777 ultra-light howitzers in India through a private Indian production agency, likely to be among L&T, Tata or Mahindra Defence. Boom. A deal back from the dead.

Other deals cleared this evening include a go ahead for procurement of 38 additional Swiss-made Pilatus PC-7 Mk.2 basic trainer aircraft, the procurement of communication terminals for Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) of the IAF. Interestingly, the IAF has also been given approvals to obtain two 7-year-old wide body airliners from state-owned Air India for its VVIP communication squadron. 

For the Indian Navy, the MoD has cleared the raising of six  regiments of the BrahMos missile for the three Delhi-class destroyers and first three Talwar-class frigates. Preparatory studies for the construction of India’s second indigenously made aircraft carrier given the go ahead.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Indian Tanker Deal: MoD Wants Probe Nod To Move Forward

India's effort to procure eight A330 MRTT tanker transports has an update in Parliament today. Here's what Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said: "The procurement case of Flight Refueller Aircraft (FRA) is at the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) stage. Since the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case against M/s Airbus Industries in a matter pertaining to Ministry of Civil Aviation, the agency has been requested to provide current status of the case."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Glimpse: Lead Ship Of India's Visakhapatnam-class Destroyers

Here's Visakhapatnam, the first indigenously designed & built Project 15 Bravo destroyer. The hull will be launched Monday.

The Indian Navy put out this brochure on the P15 Bravo line today, which provides the first official parameters of the vessel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Navy's Next Destroyer Line Christened Visakhapatnam-class, 1st Launch Next Week

The first Project 15 Bravo (P15B) stealth destroyer, under construction at the Mazagon Dock shipyard in Mumbai will be launched on April 20. Livefist can confirm that the new warship line has a name: Visakhapatnam-class, after the Navy's eastern hub. The navy is aiming to induct the ship in 2018. A total of four ships are to be built in the class, with the official timeline of deliveries starting 2018, and then a ship every two years till 2024. The Visakhapatnam's keel was laid in October 2013. Construction and fabrication of the second vessel of the class began in July last year.

The Visakhapatnam-class maintains the same hull and propulsion package as the Project 15A Kolkata-class. Russia's Northern Design Bureau, enlisted as a design consultant has helped reduce the size of the design's superstructure.

Meanwhile, the second P15A destroyer Kochi will be commissioned shortly into the Indian Navy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Final: #MMRCA Dead, Rafales Coming

After a decade of speculation, intrigue, a generous measure of behind-the-scenes drama, finally some ironic clarity on the 'mother of all deals', India's massive combat jet acquisition effort, the M-MRCA. After committing to purchase 36 flyaway Rafales from Dassault last week, the Indian government today made it supremely clear that the M-MRCA process is effectively dead after careening earthward in a death spiral for over three years.

In a series of tweets today, MoD spokesperson Sitanshu Kar quoted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on the MMRCA:

Interestingly, Parrikar has also said "future Rafale deals will also be government to government", a seeming contradiction of the India-France joint statement last week that spoke of the separate MMRCA process.