Saturday, October 17, 2009

IAF gets ILS to tackle foggy winters

CHANDIGARH: Anticipating thick fog during the coming winter months, the Indian Air Force has decided to install a new instrument landing system (ILS) of category-II at Air Force station, Chandigarh, which is the base for all major transport aircraft like AN-32 and IL-76. Empowering flights to land under adverse weather conditions, the advanced navigation aid will come in handy for civil airplanes as well because the runway here is currently controlled by the defence wing.

Giving details of the new acquisition, defence spokesperson of the Western Command said, ‘The instrument will be installed under Air Force’s upgradation programme. Important centres like Leh already have the latest system and Chandigarh station will also be able to boast of it by early next year.’

Stating that military and paramilitary troops deployed in Leh and forward areas of Srinagar were all transported by aircraft from this airbase, the spokesperson added, ‘The category-II ILS will permit operations down to 100-foot decision height and visibility as low as 1,200 feet.’

Even as there are around 10 regular civil flights from Chandigarh to various places, landing during winters has always been a problem, with the existing category-I ILS not only remaining non-functional but having a landing capability of 2,600-foot visibility only.

Forces, IAF choppers ensured violence free poll in Gadchiroli

Nagpur: Heavy deployment of para military forces assisted by four Indian Air Force helicopters helped the administration and police to conduct violence free polling in Naxal infested Gadchiroli district, official sources said.

As many as 27 companies of Border Security Force (BSF), 26 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), two companies of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and three companies of India Reserve Battalion (IRB) were deployed in the district, Gadchiroli police said today.

Two MI 17 and two Chetak helicopters assisted the police and polling machinery during the October 13 poll and October 15 repoll in 22 polling stations. Choppers air-lifted a total of 154 EVMs to district headquarters, including 98 on October 14 and 56 EVms yesterday, they said.

Out of the 832 polling stations in the district, 227 were hyper-sensitive, and 191 were sensitive.

Polling was conducted at 810 polling stations on October 13 and remaining 22 yesterday.

Repolling in 22 stations was necessitated as the polling staff could not reach the destinations on time after Naxals dug up roads and placed logs on the road.

How a foreign power helped Navy sink Tiger vessels

Sri Lanka’s single most successful naval operation, which destroyed eight floating arsenals belonging to the LTTE, would not have been possible without the covert support of a foreign power, The Island learns.

Acting on specific information received from overseas, the Sri Lanka Navy had zeroed-in on four LTTE ships about 2,800 km south east of Dondra on September 10 and 11, 2007. Although one of the four vessels, believed to be the largest ship operated by the LTTE had escaped, the SLN blew up three. The SLN subsequently tracked down the missing vessel and sank it about 2,600 km south of Dondra on October 7, 2007. The destruction of four ships within weeks had helped Sri Lanka to cripple the arms procurement network.

Emphasising the importance of Sri Lanka’s relationship with the country concerned, authoritative sources said though the SLN could have tracked down the four vessels eventually, foreign support had made it possible within four weeks. That was the single largest blow experienced by the LTTE, as it battled the army on two fronts (57 Division and Task Force I, which launched operations in March and September, 2007) in the Vanni.

Sources said that Sri Lanka had, for about one and half years, sought foreign assistance, particularly from two countries ‘outside Asia’ to track down LTTE ships. Responding to The Island queries, they said that one of the countries had ultimately provided crucial information with regard to the location of four ships. The SLN had held talks with a top Colombo-based diplomat and also made representations to senior military representatives, in charge of the region.

The same country had also neutralised a major LTTE arms procurement ring which involved nationals from several countries. Had the LTTE succeeded in procuring a range of equipment, including SA-18 surface-to-missiles the war could have taken a different turn, sources said.

Early this year, Sri Lanka had sought assistance from that country to thwart LTTE attempts to move more than one ship load of arms. This was a few months before the army wiped out the LTTE on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in May.

Sources said that the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), SIS, LTTE cadres captured by the SLN as well as external sources had contributed to the destruction of the two LTTE ships during former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda’s tenure. A joint SLN and SLAF attack destroyed the first ship 225 kilometres off Kalmunai on September 17, 2006 and the second on February 28, 2007 675 kilometres south of Dondra.

The SLN, almost singlehanded, succeeded in tracking down two more ships which were destroyed 1,525 km south-east of Arugambay on March 18, 2007.

Sources added that between the operation in March 18, 2007 and the destruction of four ships in September and October, 2007, the Maldivian Coast Guard blew up an Indian trawler named Sri Krishna commandeered by the Sea Tigers. Sources said that at the time of the interception in the Maldivian waters, Sri Krshna had been carrying a consignment of ammunition obtained from the floating LTTE arsenals. Sri Lanka was grateful to the Maldives for allowing the SLN access to captured LTTE cadres, whose interrogation, too, contributed to subsequent operations aided by overseas support.

The Sri Lankan government had intervened recently to prevent the launch of a book on Eelam War IV by an Indian author at the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi after it was found to be factually incorrect. The book wrongly asserted a direct Indian role in the destruction of eight LTTE ships whereas a country outside Asia provided the vital information.

The army had provided the information which enabled the SLN to destroy two LTTE ships off Mullaitivu in March and June, 2003 during Admiral Daya Sandagiri’s tenure as the navy chief. Sources pointed out that they had been the first successful operations since the LTTE blew up MV Mariamma 190 nautical miles west of Nicobar on March 11, 1998.

The SLN had alerted the Indian Navy regarding the presence of MV Mariamma as Sri Lanka did not have ships capable of conducting operations on high seas. Sri Lanka acquired a real off-shore capacity in 2000.

Today, the SLN operates several Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), including three acquired from India. The Indian vessels had played an important role in operations directed against the LTTE shipping fleet, sources said.

India sending Dornier aircraft to Maldives for surveillance mission

NEW DELHI: As part of the overall strategy to prevent China from further spreading its influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India is sending a Dornier aircraft to Maldives to help the country in maritime surveillance.

Defence ministry sources said an Indian Navy Dornier would begin its maritime reconnaissance missions from Male over the weekend. This comes in the backdrop of defence minister A K Antony's recent visit to Maldives, where he promised measures to bolster defence cooperation with Maldives.

Under the new plan, India will apparently help Maldives set up a network of ground radars in all its 26 atolls and link them with the Indian military surveillance systems.

Moreover, amid fears in Male that one of its island resorts could be taken over by terrorists, India will also provide Maldives with a couple of helicopters, as also help patrol its territorial waters with both warships and reconnaissance aircraft.

India has taken several steps to build bridges with IOR nations, which range from joint patrols with Indonesian and Sri Lankan navies and exercises with Singapore and Oman to providing seaward security for international summits in Mozambique.

Maldives, in particular, constitutes an important part of this strategy since China is making persistent moves in the region as part of its military diplomacy.

India, on its part, has always been willing to help Maldives in times of crisis. Indian paratroopers and naval warships, for instance, were rushed to Maldives in November 1988 by the Rajiv Gandhi government under Operation Cactus to thwart the coup attempt against the Abdul Gayoom government.

Similarly, India had deployed two ships and four aircraft to Maldives after the killer tsunami struck in end-2004. "In April 2006, India gifted a fast attack craft INS Tillanchang to Maldives as a goodwill gesture. Apart from training, hydrographic and military assistance, our ships visit the country regularly,'' said an officer. 

Russian Akula-II-class n-sub to be delivered to Indian Navy in 2010 news

Moscow: The Russian navy will formally commission the Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine sometime in December before it leasing it to India early next year, a top Russian naval official is quoted as saying in Russian media.
"The submarine has undergone a range of sea trials, and state tests will begin in late October or early November, after which the Nerpa will be commissioned by the Pacific Fleet," the naval spokesman informed Russian agency RIA Novosti. 

According to the report, an Indian crew would undergo a course of training together with Russian specialists and servicemen in early 2010 and then sail on their own for Indian shores under supervision of Russian instructors.
The submarine will be commissioned only after training of the Indian crew is completed. The submarine will carry the same name as an earlier Soviet-era Charlie-class nuclear powered submarine leased to India - INS Chakra.

The submarines delivery has been delayed due to an onboard accident in November last year in course of sea trials. An accidental release of lethal Freon gas killed 20 civilian technical staff and crew members.
The ninth session of the annual Indo-Russian Inter-governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) meet concluded just this week with an assurance to Indian defence minister AK Antony from his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov, that Moscow would try to make up for the delay in the submarine's delivery at the earliest. 

India and Russia agreed to extend the IRIGC-MTC framework by another ten years and have drawn up a list of 31 new areas for mutual cooperation. Defence co-operation is expected to receive a fillip with Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow for a summit meet with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

Navy to patrol Indian Ocean with Indonesia,Maldives

New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) In the backdrop of increased piracy related incidents and illegal activities in the Indian Ocean Region, India will join littoral countries, Indonesia and Maldives, to patrol the waters to protect their maritime boundary this month.

The navies of India and Indonesia would carry out their 14th coordinated patrolling of Malacca straits region, once a piracy hit area in the Indian Ocean, from October 18 to November 5.

The Indian Navy would also deploy a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft in the Maldives as part of the security assistance New Delhi agreed to provide Male to secure its waters from pirates and threat from terror groups.

"To increase the cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy will conduct coordinated patrols of the international maritime boundary with Indonesia.

Govt moots Arunachal Scouts plan

The Centre seems to have belatedly woken up to Chinese belligerence over Arunachal Pradesh. The UPA government has agreed in principle to raise an Arunachal Scouts regiment on the lines of the Ladakh Scouts formed in 1963.
"Lakhs of local youth who are eager to serve the Indian Army and fight for the motherland are eager to join the Arunachal Scouts regiment," said a prominent Congress leader from the state. The Scouts regiment, familiar with the local terrain and conditions, could bolster and supplement the Indian Army in its fight against Chinese aggression.
Sources said the Arunachal government recently took up the proposal with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and defence minister A.K. Antony. All of them have okayed the proposal, but the finance ministry is yet to give its nod.
Takam Sanjoy, Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal West, adjoining Tawang and Itanagar, said the state government is confident that the finance ministry will clear the proposal.
A 10-member delegation led by chief minister Dorjee Khandu and including three MPs are meeting the Prime Minister, Congress president, finance minister, defence minister and national security adviser on October 19 to apprise them of the situation in the sensitive border state.
They would also press for the Scouts regiment, demand acceleration of development and infrastructure projects and increase defence preparedness along the border.
Sanjoy said India should have taken a strong and assertive stand on Arunachal much earlier. He, however, said there is no need to panic.
"No force on earth can alienate Arunachal Pradesh from India. It is not disputed. The laws for the state are made by Indian Parliament. I am an elected MP, we are Hindustanis (Indians)," he said.
Seeking a review of India's defence strategy for the eastern sector, he said China's only agenda is expansionism. "We would request the Centre to strengthen the existing infrastructure in the forward locations to ensure better surveillance and preparedness," Sanjoy said.
"The people of the state must feel secure. For strategic reasons, we need better surveillance along 1,080-km international border," he added.
The Arunachal West MP urged prompt decisions. "If you need a green airport, sanction it in two months. Slow decision-making process and red tape are affecting the growth of the border state." He said Google's maps showing Arunachal as a part of China are "part of an international conspiracy". 

India - US Drill

CAMP BUNDELA, India – From the bottom of a hill, Indian army soldiers and U.S. Soldiers charged up to its crest, shooting and working their way together towards a common target at the top. Their positions covered by suppressive fire from two Stryker vehicles.

This uphill range is only one of a spectrum of Indian army ranges U.S. Army Soldiers had an opportunity to train with during the first mechanized Exercise Yudh Abhyas 09, an annual battalion-level exercise involving the two ground forces. The exercise, running from Oct. 12-27, allows participants to conduct multi-echelon, full-spectrum, combined operations.

This year, the Soldiers of the Indian Army's, 31st Armored Division, 94th Armored Brigade, hosted visiting Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army's 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment "Strykehorse," 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

"This exercise enables us to gain a relationship with the Indian Army so they can see how our Strykers operate and we can see how they operate as far as their maneuvering of vehicles and their infantry. This way we both gain further respect for each other," said Staff Sgt. Wayne Dively, Range Safety Officer, assigned to Troop C, Strykehorse battalion.

Live-fire training at the ranges enabled partnership and cooperation between the Indian and U.S. Armies.

"At first they show us their methods, then we follow on with ours," said Maj. Paul Armstrong, squadron operations officer, Strykehorse, battalion. "They do their exercise out on the range, individual small team-size, and then we try to mix and mingle. The final idea is to have an Indian Army Soldier right next to a U.S. Army Soldier, so they're shooting next to each other. Then we'll give each other familiarization of each others weapons systems and let one another try out each others weapons."

Even though the Indian Army Soldiers were in charge of the ranges, U.S. Soldiers helped ensure the safety of all participants.

"These are ranges that the Indian Army uses on a day to day basis, so they demonstrate how they operate the range, and we adapt to that," said Dively. "We still have safeties, which is, guys going out there making sure what we need to do to be safe, so there aren't any accidents, keeping all the things we implement in a normal range in the United States, to include an officer in charge, an range safety officer, and a safety for every lane."

Some of the ranges engaged were, mounted and dismounted, shooting from a moving vehicle, react to ambush, uphill and downhill ranges, long range crew weapons, moving and static targets, outdoor reflexive fire, ditch, trench, tunnel, wire, bunker, grenade, bayonet and marksmanship ranges.

"Out here, we can use more of our heavy weapons systems more, and get better training with it," said Dively, noting some of the differences. "They use two different kinds of shoothouses. One is a tiny shoothouse and the other is a bigger village that they operate through. The trench range was also different than what we would normally do, normally we would call engineers in to clear trenches, so that was something to learn and adapt to."

One Soldier had his first opportunity to train with the unit on a range using the Strykers.

"We did a lot of movement drills and other training we can't do in Hawaii. It's hot, but the training is good," said Pvt. Brian Thacker, a scout with Troop C. "We don't really have the ranges to do things like fire while moving and mounted. It's definitely a different environment to train in but it's going to get us ready to deploy."

During the range training, Indian Army troops had the opportunity to try out some of the U.S. equipment as well.

"For the reflexive fire, we downgraded our gear and let them get a feel for how we operate daily, as far as our vests, our kevlars, our optics for our weapons," said Dively. "We put them through the reflexive fire range just like we went through, as far as doing our turns our pivots, our walk and shoot. They didn't like our gear much, they said it was real heavy, and basically limits your freedom to maneuver."

Soldiers of both armies had opportunity to maneuver together as well on a variety of ranges.

"I like that we get to work with the Indian Army and interact with them," said 2nd Lt. William Lane, 2nd Plt. Leader, Troop C. "We get to see them employ their tactics, which are a little bit different than how we do ours, and best thing is, we get to run through a lane together, which you really can't get a chance to do that anywhere else."

Associated Images


NEW DELHI: India and Russia, after protracted negotiations and some glitches, are now going full steam ahead to finalise the joint project for the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), which will havesuper-manoeuvrability and supersonic cruising ability.

The FGFA, along with other R&D projects like the multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) as well as the BrahMos-2 `hypersonic' cruise missiles, will gain further momentum when PM Manmohan Singh holds a summit with President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow this December.

India and Russia will then also ink the fresh inter-governmental agreement on military-technical cooperation to extend their "strategic partnership'' by another 10 years, as reported by TOI earlier.

The two countries will also sign an agreement on the "after-sales product support'' of Russian-origin equipment held by Indian armed forces to address New Delhi's long-standing concerns about technical problems and tardy supply of spares.

This was formally announced after the two-day talks between defence minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov ended in Moscow on Thursday.

While India has several ongoing multi-billion dollar military projects with Russia, which range from refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and lease of K-152 Nerpa Akula-II nuclear submarine to production of 230 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters and 1,657 T-90S main-battle tanks, the FGFA is the most futuristic of them all.

Though the Indian FGFA will be based upon the single-seater Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA being currently developed by Russia, it will be built to IAF specifications. IAF, for instance, is also keen on a twin-seater version of the FGFA.

Antony, on his part, has already declared India wants the FGFA's development to be completed by 2016 to ensure IAF can begin inducting it by 2017.

"FGFA discussions with Russia are progressing quite satisfactorily...they are on track. The Russian FGFA prototype should make its first flight sometime early next year,'' said IAF vice-chief Air Marshal P K Barbora.

IAF, in fact, recently finalised the technical requirements for its FGFA, which will have long-range strike and high-endurance air defence capabilities, and submitted them to Russia.

An Indian team will also be leaving for Russia soon to decide the exact sharing of the technical work-load between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.

IAF wants the FGFA to have "a very high degree of network centricity'' as well as multi-spectral reconnaissance and surveillance systems -- optical, infra-red, laser and radar sensors. Stealth, with a "minimal'' radar tracking signature, will be an important requirement.

The American F/A-22 `Raptor', each of which costs upwards of $140 million, is the only operational FGFA in the world at present. Another, the F-35 `Lightning-II', in turn, is still under joint development by US, UK and seven other countries.

IAF's most potent fighter is currently the Sukhoi-30MKI, which can be placed a little over fourth-generation, along with others like Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen and F/A-18 `Super Hornets'.

While fourth-generation fighters typically revolve around multi-role capabilities, FGFA takes it forward by incorporating stealth technology, composite materials, supercruise, thrust-vectoring and integrated avionics as well.