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geopolitics Vol III, Issue IX, February 2013

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defence

diplomacy

security

sky masters With India’s strategic reach expanding steadily, is the IAF well-equipped to meet the emerging challenges?

www.geopolitics.in

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December 2012


CONTENTS

lockheed martin

EXPANDING THE WINGS (P8) Indian Air Force, the world’s fourth largest air force, has just completed 80 glorious years. But how sound is it?

hemant rawat

Multi Spectrum Response (P16)

US AIRFORCE

Aerospace Command (P12)

As the Western powers are reluctant to agree on any definition of weaponisation and militarisation in space, India must not delay in establishing an Aerospace Command.

IAF chief N A K Browne says that his colleagues are preparing a range of sovereign options to improve the country’s combat capabilities.

Looking for Indian partners (P22)

a time of huge opportunities(P26)

Pushing Boundaries (p54)

Saab India is optmistic about the business opportunities in the Indian defence industry and wishes to make an impact with its advanced fighter aircraft.

HAL has drawn a long-term Perspective Plan to realize its vision “To become a significant global player in the aerospace industry” by taking up different projects in collaboration with other players.

Indian fighter pilots are changing the landscape in the mastery of air and are among the best in the world due to world-class training programmes.

www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


cutting edge design (P62) The IAF is looking for advance combat jet avionics for its fighter jets in order to increase its combat capabilities.

Invincible technology (P66) To neutralise the enemy capabilities, the series of directed energy weapons (DEWs) development is among the top priorities for the Indian advanced weapons.

us army

us airforce

hemant rawat

boeing

looking for alternatives (p58) Renewable biofuel for military aviation reduces the military’s dependence on traditional petroleumderived fuels, it is time for India to do the same.

next generation combat (p72) There has been a dramatic growth in Unmaned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems as the future of UAVs is trending towords automated systems.

Editor-in-Chief

K SRINIVASAN Editor

PRAKASH NANDA Managing Editor

TIRTHANKAR GHOSH Consulting Editor

SAURAV JHA Correspondents

dominic Biswas, trishit rai Chief Visualiser

AJAY NEGI Designers

mohit kansal, MODASSAR NEHAL, NAGENDRA DUBEY Design Consultant

us airforce

ARTWORKS

Promising Future (p82)

The IAF has gained unprecedented strategic airlift capability with new acquisitions of the C130J Super Hercules aircraft and C17 Globemaster III aircraft.

SPOTLIGHT (P88)

IN GREAT DEMAND All the leading Air Forces along with new generations of fighter aircraft are procuring attack Helicopters increasingly because of their versatility.

A E R O

I N D I A - 2 0 1 3

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geopolitics Vol III, Issue IX, February 2013

`100

deFence

dIplomAcy

securIty

sky masters With India’s strategic reach expanding steadily, is the IAF well-equipped to meet the emerging challneges?

www.geopolitics.in

www.geopolitics.in

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December 2012

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Cover Design: Artworks Cover Photo: Hemant Rawat The total number of pages in this issue is 92+4

Photo Editor

H C TIWARI Staff Photographer

HEMANT RAWAT Director (Corporate Affairs)

RAJIV SINGH

Director (Marketing)

RAKESH GERA

Conceptualised and designed by Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd., from D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -110 013, Tel: +91-11-41033381-82 for newseye media Pvt. Ltd. All information in GEOPOLITICS is derived from sources we consider reliable. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. Opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract or in interviews are not necessarily shared by us. Material appearing in the magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part(s) without prior permission. The publisher assumes no responsibility for material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any loss caused by any delay in publication, error or failure of advertisement to appear. Owned and published by K Srinivasan, 4C Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-91 and printed by him at Nutech Photolithographers, B-240, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi-110020. Readers are welcome to send their feedback at geopolitics@newsline.in

February 2013


letters to editor LETTERS he spectacular performance of the Israeli air defence system—the Iron Dome—in the ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ in Gaza has sparked speculation in Indian strategic circles on the imperative of such a system for the country. Undoubtedly, the debut anti-missile shield has been proved as a ‘game-changer’ in the recent Arab-Israel conflict and may be capable of addressing India’s cross-border threat perceptions. However, the system should not be seen as a panacea as it cannot intercept the longer range missiles. Rather, the Iron Dome can be another system in India’s quiver in the long run while deploying the indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system and devising a credible strategy to counter cruise missile threats in the near-term.

for InDIa

Project genesis

Many Indian defence planners are closely scrutinising the performance of the Israeli Iron Dome in countering the recent rocket and missile attacks from Gaza. But does India need such an air defence system now? Sitakanta MiShra discusses

Primarily, Iron Dome air defence system has its genesis in the Second Lebanon War of 2006, during which nearly 4,000 short-range rockets were fired on Haifa and other northern regions of Israel. A couple of years before this event, Israeli authorities were seriously looking for anti-missile options, including lasers and giant shotguns, to counter rocket threats. In 2004, then Brigadier General Daniel Gold was named Director of the Ministry of Defence’s Research and Development department, responsible for overseeing the development of new weapons systems. In March 2005, by cancelling “all the unnecessary bureaucracy”, he managed to patch together the concept for the system that would become Iron Dome.

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richardcyoung.com

Iron Dome air defence system has its genesis in the Second Lebanon War of 2006, during which nearly 4,000 short-range rockets were fired on Haifa and other northern regions of Israel

January 2013

Thanks for the well-researched story on the Iron Dome for India (Geopolitics, January 2013). In the wake of recent developments where the neighbouring countries are becoming unstable, the fact that the Indian defence planners have been thinking about acquiring a system similar to Israel’s Iron Dome for the country gave us a sense of relief. As Indians, we realize that the country faces threats to its security from almost all its neighbours and it is all the more necessary to acquire a defence system that will be capable of addressing India’s crossborder threat perceptions. The Iron Dome could be another system along with the indigenous ballistic missile defence system in the Indian arsenal that will provide India an edge over its enemies. After all, we happen to have one of the strongest armies of the world. It is a standard that we need to maintain. The new system as we all know holds tremendous benefits and the state-of-the-art technology can give us an edge over the rest by providing early warning and destroying the surface-to-surface missile, rocket or artillery in mid-air launched against Indian targets. What we need is figure out how best to handle this technology. Ram Kumar, Lucknow

www.geopolitics.in

g DIPLOMACY

FRESH START: Newly-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie. The photograph is from our files and record the couple’s arrival at Rostock-Laage Airport for the G8 summit in June 2007

The reTurn of Abe

EGIERUNGoNlINE/ PlambEck

T

Iron Dome

Apropos the story, Arming without Aiming (Geopolitics, January 2013), the idea is totally agreeable. In the present scenario, India is the only major country that makes a defence budget every year without a national security doctrine as defence planning is done in a stand-alone mode rather than take-all-along-mode. As the article mentioned, the Armed Forces were a poor instrument of policy. It was only after the disastrous Sino-Indian war of 1962 that the government was compelled to take up the modernization of the Armed Forces. I am quite sure that in democracy, the armed forces are expected to provide deterrence rather than fighting and winning costly wars.

The LDP’s victory under the leadership of Shinzo Abe in the just-concluded elections in Japan bodes well for India-Japan relations, writes RAjARAm PAndA

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fter three years in opposition, Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) stormed back to power in the parliamentary elections that was held on December 16, 2012. The victory means that former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo gets a second chance to lead the nation after a one-year stint in 20062007. He would be Japan’s seventh prime minister in six-and-a-half years. The LDP’s decisive two-thirds majority in the Lower House, along with the support of its coalition partner, the Komeito, www.geopolitics.in

will give Abe strength to take hard economic decisions at a time when Japan is under recession. Both the LDP and Komeito have closely convergent positions on the inflation target; dealing with the high yen; and spending up on infrastructure. Many will keenly observe how Abe deals with the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and the right to collective self-defence. The traditional interpretation by the government has been that the Constitution prohibits the exercise of the right to collective self-defence. There are fears that changes to Article 9

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and to the government’s interpretation of the right to collective self-defence would shatter the trust Japan has gained from the international community through its adherence to its constitutional no-war principle in the decades that followed the end of World War II. Both the LDP and the Japan Restoration Party are known for their hawkish attitude on constitutional issues. They call for revising the Constitution, including revision of the war-renouncing Article 9, and for exercising the right to collective self-defence. If the right to collective self-defence January 2013

is allowed to be exercised, Japan would be legally able to take military action to defend a nation with close ties with Japan if that nation is militarily attacked by a third party. It may be noted that while a constitutional revision requires the support of two-thirds of the Diet members to initiate a national referendum on such a revision, changing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution related to the right to collective self-defence does not require such a procedure. The LDP and other parties calling for the exercise of that right can enact a bill that will change the government’s traditional interpretation. Exercising the right to collective self-defence could open the way for putting Japanese nationals in harm’s way by involving Japan in military conflict not directly affecting it. The LDP draft calling for revision of Article 9 to create a National Defence Force (NLF) states that the proposed NDF, under a specific law, can take part in international cooperative activities to help maintain peace and security in the international community—a concept that can be used to justify Japan’s participation in virtually any type of military mission abroad. Considered one of the more conservative figures in the increasingly conservative LDP, Abe, during his previous tenure as prime minister, pursued a nationalistic agenda pressing for more patriotic education and upgrading the defence agency to ministry status. Nuclear energy ended up not being a major election issue even though polls showed about 80 per cent of Japanese want to phase out nuclear power after meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. But then the fact remains that being an island country unlike Germany, Japan cannot just get energy from other countries in a pinch and, therefore, has to rely on nuclear energy. As a result, the staunchly anti-nuclear Tomorrow Party, formed just three weeks ago before the elections, captured only nine seats. The LDP is the most pro-nuclear party, and has said Japan should decide over the next 10 years what sort of energy mix is best. www.geopolitics.in

Although the Fukushima nuclear cathat a landmark 1993 apology for sex tastrophe highlighted the inherent danger slavery needs revising. Abe is said to have of operating nuclear power plants in Jaexpressed regrets not visiting Yasukuni pan, Abe opposes the elimination of nuShrine, which enshrines Japan’s war dead, clear power. He says nuclear power plants including Class-A war criminals, during his whose operations are judged safe should term as Prime Minister. China and South be brought back online. But it needs to be Korea oppose such visits, saying they renoted that nuclear waste storage facilities flect Japan’s reluctance to fully atone for its at such plants are almost full and that no wartime atrocities. technology exists at present that can enWhat does the change in Japan politics sure the safe, essentially permanent stormean for India? Going by the experience of age of high-level radioactive waste. the past decade or so, the bonhomie beA government led by Abe could mean tween the two countries will only be deepa substantial shift in Japanese policy, not ened further and the political change will all of it comfortable for Japan’s neighbours be a booster rather than a dampener to this and friends. A segment of the electorate evolving partnership. The Abe regime will favoured the LDP’s vows to build a stronprovide further impetus to this process. All ger, more assertive country to answer intold, against the background of China’s ascreasing pressure from China and threats cendance of a rising power with global amof North Korean rocket launches. Abe bitions, Asia’s two largest democracies and has asserted that he will protect Japan’s second and third largest economies, re“territory and beautiful seas” amid a terrispectively—Japan and India—have found torial dispute with China over some uninstrategic convergence. This development habited islands in the East China Sea and is complemented by common state behavthis policy stance endeared with the Japaiour such as common liberal-democratic nese people. values, and the absence of any historical One of the new parties, the right-leangrievances unlike Japan’s neighbours such ing, populist Japan Restoration Party, won as China and South Korea. 54 seats. The party is led by the bombasThe China challenge is driving Intic nationalist ex-Tokyo Governor dia, Japan and the US to come Ishihara Shintaro and Osaka to a common platform. This Mayor Hashimoto Toru, development needs to be In 2006, Abe had both of who emerged as appreciated against the polarizing figures with background of the expredicted that japan-India forceful leadership isting security alliance relations had the potential styles. Ishihara was relationship between the one who stirred Japan and the US and to overtake japan-US and up the latest dispute the deepening strajapan-China ties. With with China over the tegic convergence of islands when he prointerests of India with this vision, the future of posed that the Tokyo Japan and the US, culIndia-japan relations looks government buy them minating in the trilatfrom their private Japaeral dialogues between optimistic. nese owners and develop the three, of which three them. rounds have already taken It remains to be seen how place. Senior Japanese officials Abe will handle Japan’s China policy, briefed Indian and US officials about though he is talking tough towards China. the security dilemma that Japan confronts The LDP platform also calls for developing with China as territorial dispute over the fisheries and setting up a permanent outSenkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China post in the disputed islands, called SenSea that escalated to the level that has rung kakus by Japan and Daioyu by China—a alarm bells among strategists. The third move that would infuriate Beijing. During trilateral meeting explored the possibilities his first term as leader, Abe also insisted of working together in the region. The trithere was no proof Japan’s military had colateral has attracted criticism from China, erced Chinese, Korean and other women which has blamed Tokyo for spreading its into prostitution in military brothels duranxieties about Beijing’s rise among other ing Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia. He countries. later apologized but lately has suggested The three countries are also looking at

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January 2013

The fact remains that even for deterrence, we need the top level to spell out the plan of action. There had to be standardized planning along with demands and allotment. In order to stabilize the modernization of our defence forces, we need to allocate the funds between indigenous and external procurement of equipment appropriately. I liked Perspective and the story behind it and the effort made to showcase the main idea.

Geopolitics is doing a good job and I feel that it has adequately filled a major gap in the Indian defence publication scenario. In the last issue, issues related to diplomacy with neighbouring countries and South East Asia were published, especially ‘The Return of Abe’ which highlighted Indo-Japanese relations and the optimistic future of both nations. This shows that India is being accepted by our East Asian neighbours in term of trade and strategic affairs. I strongly believe that under the leadership of Shinzo Abe, Indo-Japan relation will touch new heights and one must not forget the cultural relations we share with Japan which can certainly create the base on which diplomatic relationships are built. The article dealt significantly with the historical perspective and ground realities of Indo-Japan relations in term of trade and strategic affairs to counter China. Our historic relations have lot to do with this development as China an autocratic nation will remain both an opportunity and a risk for both Japan and India. I get a lot of details from your magazine. Keep up the good work.

S Kumaramangalam, Bengaluru

Romesh Sharma, Guwahati

PERSPECTIVE

ItaKING StOCK: Seen here at Defexpo 2012 Defence Minister AK Antony will have to make quick decisions to expedite purchases for the armed forces

Arming Without Aiming

DPR

coverstory

India is the only major country that makes a defence budget every year without a national security doctrine to guide its demands and allotment. Defence planning is done in a standalone mode rather than in a take-all-along mode. How long will this directionless defence budgeting continue? Isn’t it time for a transformation, time to make sense out of the current, all-pervasive ineptitude and tunnel vision that surrogates for national security & defence planning and budgeting? Raj Mehta analyses

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n their sometimes patronising, yet compelling and thoughtful book, Arming without Aiming—India’s Military Modernisation, Stephen Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta state that “after Independence, the Indian Government decided that the Army was a poor instrument of policy. Accordingly, New Delhi pushed aside military matters to focus on development and diplomacy”. The authors point out that the political leadership, in the wake of the disastrous Sino-Indian War of 1962, was comwww.geopolitics.in

pelled to go in for urgent modernisation; a slap-dash exercise that was repeated after the Indo-Pak War of 1965 and again in the mid 1980s during the General Sundarji era which is remembered for conceptualising/seeking a deep strike mechanised capability. The last ‘modernisation’ spike occurred post the Kargil War of 1999, when the defence budget once again crossed 3 per cent of India’s GDP. The authors (critically) mention that, post Operation Parakram period, India, in 2004, developed a limited war strategy; ‘Cold Start’,

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which epitomises lean and mean shallow offensive operations by dispersed, integrated mechanised forces. Cold Start, the authors impute, assumes an ‘escalation threshold’ in which India can operate short of invite a general war or nuclear retaliation. The authors state that, in recent years, the Indian strategic security focus has veered towards deterrence and counter-insurgency operations. The prevailing strategic environment has forced India’s armed forces to prepare for the possibility of a ‘two front’ war, while the Army and January 2013

other security forces are engaged in fighting an ongoing ‘half front’ internal security war. Internationally, the ‘Look East’ policy has resulted in deeper budgetary support for the Navy and Air Force. The Army, as a consequence, has had to accept ‘a reduced position (for modernisation) in the Services triumvirate’. While it is clear that in a democracy, the armed forces are expected to provide deterrence that caters for avoiding rather than fighting and winning costly wars; the fact remains that deterrence itself needs apex level spelling out and huge budgetary support. With India’s institutional denigration of the need for military capability co-terminus with economic progress, development and capacity building, the military establishment has savagely been undermined. In this stark introduction to India’s security dilemmas, several things stand out. Foremost is the fact that India’s security perceptions have been driven by external forces—the wars it has fought and neighbourhood developments

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—rather than by deliberate design. The military wasn’t a national priority with the founding fathers and remains neglected to date. Secondly, India does not have a capstone document that spells out its national security concerns from which the individual and Joint Service apparatus can exact their missions and tasking. The dichotomy hits you with a resounding slap—how can you make a budget for defence forces if you have no common perception of what the apex leadership wants from its defence forces; in what priority and to cater for which all threats and up to which extent? Thirdly, true Jointness, when it has occurred - the 1971 Indo-Pak War is a good example that has taken place more by luck and chance; by intervention of charismatic, apex level political and military leaders than by Constitutional mandate or by design. Fourthly, while military modernisation has indeed taken place; by default more than by design; the apex level structures that facilitate warfighting and that level of political and military leadership haven’t kept pace. When push comes to shove, will the mindsets of the past still clog apex level leadership thinking? Don’t they need an upgrade? Don’t they need to be transformational; indeed, yes, is the blunt and unqualified military analyst’s response. The Internet is chock-a-bloc with articles and comments on the nitty-gritties of the Indian Defence Budget; on who will get what percentage of scarce funds will be made available. It is pointless writing on the detailing of defence budgets unless one first understands the context within which the budget either serves its intended purpose or, in the uncluttered words of George W Bush, former American President is: ‘Just a budget... It’s got a lot of numbers in it!’ Clearly, ‘this quaint simplification’ does nothing to reassure a billion-plus Indians that their country is mentally and physically well armed with the ‘ends’, ‘ways’ and ‘means’ to safeguard the sovereignty of India against external and internal threats. Against this background, one may focus on the complexities involved.

What do ends, ways and means signify?

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Arthur Lykke, the US War College strategist teaches that ends (strategic objectives) explain ‘what’ is to be accomplished. Ends are objectives which, on achievement, serve the desired national interests. For India, a desired End State could be to develop individual and Joint Service deterrence sufficiently to prevent any attack on India’s sovereignty/sovereign interests. Ways (strategic concepts) explain ‘how’ the ends are to be accomplished by the employment of strategic resources. The concepts must be explicit enough to provide planning guidance to those (the Services individually and joint, Defence Research Development Organisation {DRDO}, public, private, military-industrial complexes linked to defence) who must implement and resource it. In the Indian context, employment of Cold Start in a conventional limited war scenario is the way India can achieve deterrence. In a nuclear war scenario, the No-First-Use policy of the Government clearly explains that if attacked, a nuclear response by India is assured. Means (resources) explain what specific resources are to be used in applying the concepts to accomplish the objectives. Lykke suggests that tangible means include forces, people, equipment, money, and facilities. Intangible resources include things like ‘will,’ courage, or intellect. Finally, he expounds that Risk explains the gap between what is to be achieved and the concepts and resources available to achieve the objective.

american National Security Strategy (NSS) Underpinnings

The American government, for instance, outlines its major national security concerns and how to deal with them in the form of its regularly-issued NSS document. The document is deliberately general in content unlike its spin-off National Military Strategy (NMS) document, which is specific in content and akin to the Indian Raksha Mantri’s (RM’s) Directive. The NSS document is created by an iterative, interagency process. It communicates the Executive strategic vision to Congress, keeps allies informed; keeps political supporters in the loop, creates internal consensus on foreign and defense policy and lends credibility to the overall political agenda of the executive head, the President. On May 26, 2010, the latest National Security Strategy was issued by President Obama. The Strategy advocated January 2013

Feburary 2013


WILL WE, WON’T WE? The F-35, a singleengine, single-seat stealth aircraft is being pushed — like some many others — by the US suppliers through the US Senate Armed Services Committee that has asked the US Defence establishment to review the “desirability and feasiblility” of selling the aircraft to India. The Americans lost the MMRCA deal to the French, but they continue to puruse the F-35 in the hope that it will happen sometime in the future

Indian Air Force, the world’s fourth largest air force, has just completed 80 glorious years. But how sound is it? Abhijit Bhattacharyya answers

EXPANDING THE WI W

ith one and a half decades into 21st century and the completion of 80 years since its establishment, it is time for a reappraisal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and an assessment of the future scenario. This www.geopolitics.in

is especially because the world economy is going through a slump which in turn seems to be affecting virtually all big budget, big ticket and big operators of combat aviation. In 2011, India’s `1,99,480 crore defence budget ranked her ninth amongst top ten nations with the USA being at the

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top and Brazil taking the tenth slot in the list. Evidently, India today is an important and valued defence market player. But, the question remains how big or effective the Indian Air Force is and what enhanced role it could play in future which appears not-too-bright as yet owing to a diminishFebruary 2013


ing budget and a shrinking market. Let us now face the ground realities. Today, the Indian Air Force is definitely an important force in the South Asian sky. Also, with its force multiplier assets and joint exercise with friendly fliers of the West and Asia, it can surely further www.geopolitics.in

LOCKHEED MARTIN

NGS

enhance its range, deployment, deployability and combat capability in times of turbulence. However, there still appears an increased hiatus between operation planning and combat flying and that needs to be addressed urgently. Times have changed and are changing fast. Back in 1971, the Indian Air Force was a compact tactical limited war platform giving close air support to its advancing, or holding ground forces from the forward edge of the battle area or to establish local air superiority. With comparatively restricted combat radius and low payload, the number and variety of missions too could be counted upon owing to preponderance of limited-terrain action. The Indian Air Force of the past had further limitations: on night sorties; airborne early warning; electronic warfare; aerial refuelling and strategic high altitude reconnaissance; intensive bombing capability. It was not that the essentially Soviet planes that they had were of poor quality, but that they were not the best in capability. The Soviet Union retained the capability for its own air force and did not share it fully with India. In other words, though the Soviet-made aircraft MiG, Antonov, Ilyushin, Tupolev and Mil and Kamov rotorcraft used by the IAF was of high quality, it was much greater in quantity owing to somewhat unusual induction-attrition ratio and the paucity of multi-mission platforms. Understandably, the multi-mission gap had to be filled, at least partially, by the induction of Anglo-French Jaguar, a deep penetration strike aircraft, in the 1970s and French Mirage-2000 multirole fighters in 1980s. However, India’s modernisation and technology upgrade continued to face serious challenges owing to post-Soviet era chaos in the defence market and a lack of matching skills in indigenous technology research, development and upgrade. Consequently, the IAF could not come out of its dependence on expensive platforms of foreign vendors and the equally high price on subsequent technology transfer thereby compelling it to slip under the mercy of overseas manufacturers. The tradition has continued notwithstanding the extension and entry of the air force into the arena of strike/interdiction and achievement of strategic capability, including nuclear capability at present. The present professional competence of IAF, however, is unquestionable. Known for being tech savvy, ability to adapt

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quickly and ingenious in engineering at remote bases, its fault lines, however, continue to exist in pilot training for being accident-prone sorties and depleting fleet strength and deployment ability. The latest instance of such a problem has been hinted by the Defence Minister in the floor of the Parliament in December 2012 when he disclosed that the IAF is facing a setback in its training regime as 16 of its 66 BAE Systems Hawk Mark 132 advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft are grounded owing to a lack of spares. The stark reality emerges from the fact that with the exception of the Sukhois, the entire fighter fleet of the IAF has aged and it operates 700 plus combat capable aircraft, down from 850 in 2006. Naturally, as things stand today, it would be a Herculean task for the IAF to curb and reduce the rate of serious attrition in the foreseeable future. Thus between 1990 and 2003, Indian Air Force lost over 100 pilots and 273 fighters, which is equivalent to nearly 19 squadrons, in flying accidents. Material problem aside, IAF’s enhanced power projection and overseas visibility came to the fore in 1993-1994 when for the first time helicopters were deployed to UN mission in Somalia, to Sierra Leone in 2000 and Congo in 2003. Further deployment of men and material to Malaysia and Tajikistan speaks volumes about the increasing importance and acceptability of the IAF in regional and world security system. With more than 45 air force stations spread across the length and breadth of the country, IAF’s operational doctrine has adopted an ‘offensive-defensive’ role which, by implication, suggests expertise in both pre-emptive action and swift and quick retaliation. It would be in order to touch upon the roles, India’s neighbours, China and Pakistan, are playing vis-à-vis India. China’s is a clear goal, to organize and prepare for all weather, offensive operations within the context of a joint-forces campaign. The idea is to challenge the USA, the sole ‘super power’ of the world. However, China got a severe jolt in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 which effectively barred the flow of all technical knowhow, technology and skill into China. Overnight China’s import from the west went for a tailspin thereby compelling Beijing to look out for aggressive acquisition from Moscow and equally urgent need to go for indigenous production. With three main challenging subjects of Taiwan, Japan and the USA in its eastern February 2013


AIRBUS

Airlifting Mammoth: The A400M is designed to carry a 30-tonne payload over 4,540 km or a 20-tonne payload over 3,450 km

sea board, India (at present) figures low in Chinese combat radar, memories of India’s defeat of 1962 notwithstanding. Understandably, China, in comparison with India, appears to have gone ahead; constantly trying to devise and develop new doctrine, tactics, logistic support capabilities and training programmes. The best part of China, however, is its indigenous armament research, development and production machinery. Thus when China’s second fifth-generation fighter, twin-engine, low observable J-31 made its first flight on October 31, 2012, India was reported to have placed order to buy 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for the its air force through the US Foreign Military Sales route. Not only that. Newspaper and reports emanating from other credible sources show the world as to what extent the gap has widened between the two Asian powers aspiring to space each other out in the show of might, money, economics and diplomatic manouvering. China would do anything to make its defence preparedness on indigenous www.geopolitics.in

manufacturing of hardware. Thus, China was reported to have had the “US stealth secrets” in 2011. “The secrets of the American stealth helicopter that crashed at the start of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 are feared to be in the hands of the Chinese military” reported The Times London on August 16, 2011. Understandably, the Pakistanis helped the Chinese to access the modified Black Hawk stealth helicopter that crashed at Abbottabad.” The Chinese track record shows that when the US Air Force lost a stealth fighter over Serbia in 1999 (during the Kosovo war) the Chinese turned up to take pictures of the wreckage”. The Chinese capability of sophisticated aviation technology was once again demonstrated in September 2012 when Beijing unveiled new stealth fighter thereby leaving New Delhi far behind, as on date. Tentatively designated as J31, speculation is rife owing to its being similar to the US F35 fighter that is on the verge of being inducted into operational role. India’s discomfiture increased in November 2012 when the Chinese success-

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fully conducted flight landing on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, using a new J-15 fighter jet for exercise. At a time, when the Moscow made aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, with a horrendous time and cost over-run, have made the Indians blush for utter helplessness owing to conspicuous lack of indigenous production of even basic training aircraft for rookie pilots in the air force academy, successful flight landing marks a landmark development in showing the determination of the Chinese nation to not only be self-sufficient in armament technology but also cut out the foreign vendors, who more often than not, play for profit and non-supply of the latest technology to the importing nation like India. The plight of India’s neighbour of “eternal turbulence”, Pakistani Air Force, too perhaps is no better than New Delhi owing to its being an “imported fighter” air force. However, Pakistan enjoys an overall advantage for being India’s betnoire and ‘countervailing’ power which serves the interest of both foreign vendors of armament technology and the forces February 2013


GE AVIATION

inimical to New Delhi. Thus with significant diversification of air platforms, with China being the primary supplier of combat aircraft in recent times, along with purchases of Mirage fighters, declared surplus to requirements by air forces of Australia, France, Lebanon, Libya and Spain, Pakistan appears to have gone for economy of finance while enhancing its quantitative(conventional) air assets. Coming back to Indian Air Force after its 80th birthday, fundamentals of war fighting capabilities still need to be addressed urgently. They are well known. Yet they are slow to take off for resolution: why? Flight safety, aircraft obsolescence, poor maintenance, inefficient rebuilding programme, spare parts shortage, and inadequate pilot training apparatus are there for all to see. But the most conspicuous of all negative factors is the iron grip of foreign manufacturers over the Government of India which, many say, is unlikely to help Indian Air Force to attain the height of glory and self-respect, honour and independence. Let us go through the list of indigenous defence industry www.geopolitics.in

The Thrust Forward: India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) selected the F414-GE-INS6 engine to power the Mk II version of the HAL Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the Indian Air Force

inventory and we virtually find a blank record as on date, thereby leaving the field wide open to anyone and everyone except the players of, and from, India. The list is endless. Effort to gain access to foreign stuff ceaseless. India and Russia sign agreement to co-operate in the development and production of a new fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Medium multirole fighter aircraft ordered from France still hangs in the air as the USA continues to resort to indirect pulls and pressure through the recommendation drafted by the Senate Armed Services Committee to accompany a bill outlining US defence appropriations in Fiscal year 2012. The matter is reportedly still alive as it asks the US Defence to review the “desirability and feasibility” of selling the F-35 to India. India’s high profile project of light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, completes 30 years of non-completion, thanks to opposition emanating from powerful group of “anti-indigenisation Indians” from within. The latest one hears is that in manufacturing our indigenous LCA Tejas, US

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General Electric is to supply 99 GE F-414 engine worth `3000 crore. It is not being realised that no nation aspiring to play a meaningful role in the world stage can afford to have its voice heard with an all imported defence hardware and software. Take the case of UK, France, Germany and even financially bankrupt Spain and Italy. They still all have their defence industry in place, diminishing local and foreign order notwithstanding. India has also gone for 22 Boeing Apache Longbow attack helicopters, 6 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 transport aircraft, 10 Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, and Airbus Military Multi Role Tanker Transport. Although there is no doubt that all these flying machines are absolute necessity for the defence preparedness for a country of 1.2 billion people in one of the most dangerous areas of the world, the fact remains that the failure of successive Governments of India have let the nation down and have done little to make the Indian Air Force feel proud to fly only aircraft of foreign origin. This is an era of technology. India is an open society with enormous human resources which most nations in the third world cannot even dream of possessing as yet. Hence it would be in the fitness of things to start equipping Indian Air Force with at least some indigenously produced equipments in areas which do not have the possibility of facing high intensive conflict scenario. There is no doubt that the men behind the IAF machines are too proud, professional and competent not to handle their home made product, failure of the state to develop it notwithstanding. One may refer to the inherent difficulties of dealing with the foreign vendors who are well aware of the psyche of the Indians owing to the lack of indigenous production capacity of high tech fighters. Thus when negotiations between French manufacturer Dassault Aviation and the Indian Defence Ministry on the `55,000 crore medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) pertaining to issues related to the foreign vendor’s 50per cent offsets requirement and transfer technology hit the road block, it once again exposed as to what the potential, and inherent, clash of financial interest and the ability of the supplier do to the helpless importer. (The author is a retired civil servant and an alumni of National Defence College)

February 2013


Time for Aerospace Command in India With the Western powers moving completely away from any definition of weaponisation and militarisation in space and focussing, instead, on a ‘code of conduct for space security that will tie down the hands of developing countries with a restrictive regime like the nuclear non-proliferation regime, India must move faster in establishing an Aerospace Command in the IAF and make it functional as early as possible, argues Jasjit Singh

I

ndia, especially as it emerges as the third major power in material terms as per the US National Intelligence Council’s latest report, is unique, albeit in a negative sense, when compared to countries even lower on the power equation in the world. It stands mired in its past poverty and short-sightedness in being without an aerospace command to plan, manage and operationally apply space assets for its defence. Conventional wisdom of Indian elites would have us believe that political leaders do not understand such things and have ignored India’s defence preparedness. But in this particular aspect (and many more), it was the bipartisan political leaders (all members of www.geopolitics.in

both houses of the Standing Committee on Defence) that unanimously started arguing strongly, citing the example of the 1991 Gulf War, that by mid-1990s that the Government must establish an aerospace command on priority to ensure we can exploit space for national defence and security. In fact, the actual recommendation was to establish, as in other countries, an Aerospace Command in the Indian Air Force (IAF). But nothing concrete happened. In the following years, it was the executive, essentially the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which kept reporting at the level of the Defence Secretary to the subsequent committees that the matter was

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being given serious consideration. Only when the Indian Air Force proposed establishing an aerospace command after we entered the 21st century that the decision-makers suddenly sought a tri-service aerospace command under the mantra of ‘jointness’. While some rationality is reportedly emerging, it appears that we still do not have any institution and organisation to start building operational capabilities to use the outer space for national defence and security. And this is despite the fact that India has one of the best space programmes for peaceful purposes which do include weather forecasting and communication. It is the Indian Air Force, which, like February 2013


all other air forces, is the most affected component of military power with regard to space capabilities. It is natural, therefore, that the IAF had taken the initiative to set up a Space Application Directorate at Air Headquarters (HQ) as early as 1981. In those years, the only space capability that was sanctioned for the IAF was satellite-based communication for one mobile Tactical Air Centre attached to the army’s Strike Corps. Ironically, when in the 1990s, the bipartisan political Standing Committee was arguing for setting up an Aerospace Command in IAF, the Space Application Centre in Air HQ was dissolved. On the other hand, our space prowww.geopolitics.in

gramme for peaceful purposes under the Space Commission and managed by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has successfully achieved capabilities equivalent to the very best in the world although the size has remained modest. On the eve of the 21st century, the US expectedly led the world with a space budget of 64.3 per cent of global share in civil sector (India’s share was 2 per cent; Europe accounted for 19 per cent, Japan 9.2 per cent and Russia 2.1 per cent). In the military sector, the US accounted for 94.8 per cent, Europe 3.9 per cent, Russia 1 per cent and India had zero per cent of the Global Government Space Budget. China, which, like other countries,

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NORAD

MISSION READY: North American Defence Aerospace Command (NORAD) provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defence for Canada and the United States. NORAD is headquartered at Colorado

began with a military space programme, could overtake our civilian programme only in the 1990s. As our civilian space programme began to achieve notable advances and successes, its insulation from the defence establishment became even more marked. China has advanced so far that it also changed its military doctrine to win local-border wars with high-technology ‘informatisation’ relying increasingly on space-based capabilities. It demonstrated its ability for a space offensive by destroying its obsolete satellite at 850-km altitude by a groundbased missile interceptor in January 2007. In the following year, the US, which had acquired the capability in the early 1980s (like the USSR) tested another system for Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons which are designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purpose. Now only the US, Russia and China have the ASAT capabilities. Among China’s other capabilities, this alone would have a major adverse impact on Indian nuclear deterrence strategy, and conventional warfighting. Incidentally, China as part of its strategic nexus with Pakistan, has made and launched at least two reconnaissance satellites for Pakistan, besides the earth station at Karachi to control and manage them. Western experts have assessed that China would not have to rely on imported satellite images (as we do) for military purpose after 2014. Obviously, it makes little sense to have a modern air force without space assets to support it. This raises two important questions: why are space assets required for defence; and why an aerospace command is important? As for the first, the basic reality that needs to be first grasped is that air (atmosphere in other words) and space (where there is no air at all) are both a continuum of the same medium: the vertical medium. As we keep going higher, only the characteristics of the medium change (even within the atmosphere where density of air keep changing) with altitude and not its basic form and intrinsic quality. This reality bestows upon air power and space (in other words, aerospace) the unique quality that it can influence and control the surface forces by itself and its own resources and capabilities and systems, but the reverse is not true. In other words, surface forces cannot influence and control aerospace power except possibly in very limited terminal defences. The vertical medium bestows upon aerospace a unique strategic capability February 2013


Personnel 8.44 40,000 475 650

and wartime advantage compared to the other medium in which land and naval forces operate. In fact, the dependence of surface forces on aerospace power has been seen in all wars in the past century. Natural conclusions flow from this. First, while the land and naval forces were historically the prime expression of a country’s military power, the growth of aerospace power has altered that. Second, the exploitation of space capabilities has become as important and critical for national security and defence as air power in all aspects. Just as a country without air power is extremely vulnerable to one which has it, so too is the case with space capabilities. In fact, the dynamics that govern the employment of air power are equally applicable to space are defensive capabilities, offensive capabilities, deterrence, etc. As is the case with air forces operating at low levels which need to alter their capabilities and tactics if required to operate at high altitudes, the same is the case with operations in space. Once countries began to exploit space for military purposes after 1957 Soviet Sputnik launch, the US and the USSR started to build capabilities and assets on the same principles as air power. The organising principles of operational employment to manage space capabilities have to be similar to that of air power because of the overwhelming commonalities of functions except for the lesser differences for the peculiarities of the two. The US experience in evolving the space management institutions perhaps stands out for two reasons. First, the early process saw many experiments in organisational and operational terms till it settled down to utilising space to enhance the performance of strategic forces. But progressively the US settled down to the three arms of the military possessing a space command. The essential point is that the Army and Navy require space capabilities to a far lesser extent than the US Air Force. The US also retained an overarching US Space Command under the Pentagon. The essential logic of four commands in the United States is really seen in the table above which indicates the relative strength of manpower and budget of www.geopolitics.in

FY 03 Budget `480 crore `45650 crore `5577 crore ` 324.5 crore

each space command: Incidentally, this pattern was established as early as late 1970s and has passed into the 21st century. This indicates that if 94.5 per cent of the manpower (and almost the same percentage of budget) of the space commands is allocated to the US Air Force Space Command, it is no doubt because the US Air Force is the greatest user of space capabilities. Therefore, looking at the nature of space operations and air operations in the atmosphere, logically, the Aerospace Command should be established within the IAF. There is no doubt that the Indian Army and Navy require space capabilities for their own tasks but they are much less than the utility of space in aerospace missions and functions. However, when the IAF proposed setting up one such command, there was an immediate rush of turf interests and an inadequate understanding of ‘jointness’ derailed the whole process even before it started. It took almost the whole decade to sort out a viable solution to accommodate turf interests. On the other side, there has been a deeply rooted reluctance in the ISRO to cooperate with the defence establishment to help it start forming necessary capabilities. Fortunately, now all this seems to be in the past, though we have fallen even more behind our potential adversaries As noted earlier, in spite of the bipartisan political leadership pressing for it, our Ministry of Defence was not particularly enthusiastic about creating space capabilities, possibly because of a misunderstanding that we should not do so as India is opposed to weaponisation of space. In fact, there has been a continuing debate in the international community about militarisation and weaponisation of space. But there has been no real understanding of what each of these terms would imply. Space started to be militarised almost immediately after the Sputnik launch in 1957, and that too at a fast pace. The Western powers are now moving completely away from any definition of weaponisation and militarisation and are focussing on a ‘code of conduct’ for space security which will (like the Nuclear

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Lost Era: Sputnik 1, the first man made satellite launched on 4 October 1957 by Soviet Union, began the Space Age and triggered the Space Race, an era defined as Cold War

Suppliers Group (NSG), Australia Group, Waasenaar Arrangement, etc.) tie down the hands of developing countries with a restrictive regime like the non-proliferation regime that has slowed India’s industrialisation by years if not decades. This process itself requires that we move faster in establishing an Aerospace Command in the IAF and make it functional as early as possible. If we look ahead, the major powers like the United States and Russia (with China following) are well on the way to acquire hypersonic missiles/ vehicles to alter the very nature of aerospace warfare. The United States Air Force is well set on its goal of Prompt Global Strike which could hit a target anywhere on the globe in less than 72 hours. China, on the other hand, has also pursued asymmetric approach to deal with the more powerful and advanced US military. For example, its deployed ballistic missiles are equipped with manoeuvring re-entry warheads which make it possible to accurately hit a target at long ranges with great precision. In addition, it is clear that such missiles will beat any missile defence system. This is one reason why the United States has begun its reorientation and rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region and adopted an Air-Sea Battle military strategy. In our case, it is indeed inexplicable that in spite of the ISRO having reached at par with the other leading space powers, we are unable to even start moving purposefully towards an Aerospace Command to move ahead beyond importing satellite images from abroad or simply hoping to get some from Google Earth. (Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, AVSM VrC VM, IAF (retd) has been awarded the Padma Bhushan for a life-time’s contribution to national defence and security. He is Director General of Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.)

February 2013

Gregory R Todd wikipedia

Command US Space Command Air Force Space Command Naval Space Command Army Space Command


photographs: hemant rawat

“Our operational capabilities must provide us multi-spectrum response options to handle any contingencies within the region where most of India’s strategic interests lie.” On the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) focus areas

The need of the hour is to be ever vigilant and prepared and embrace the emerging technologies with the contemporary systems and quickly adopt to produce a range of sovereign options The Indian Air Force stands firmly in its belief that the integrated jointness is indeed the way forward. In this regard, I wish to assure the army, navy and other security agencies of our commitment towards delivering joint capability responses for www.geopolitics.in

our future contingencies. The IAF is well poised on the path of transforming itself into a potent strategic force. While induction of the state of the art equipment and systems would lead to a major upgradation of our combat potential, our biggest strength, ‘Our People’ must receive our highest attention. In whatever capacity you serve in the Indian Air Force, you remain our most valuable asset. While change is the hallmark of growth and progress, the biggest challenge

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facing us in the coming years, is to manage this fast-paced change effectively, without compromising on high operational standards. Operating across a broad spectrum of vintage equipment would test our innovativeness and capabilities. The nation has reposed a high degree of trust and confidence in our capabilities. It is indeed an onerous asking and I am confident that as capable men and women we will work shoulder to shoulder in discharging our responsibilities befittingly. February 2013

based on his recent interactions with the media

Indian Air Force Chief N A K Browne strongly believes that his officers are second to none in displaying their capabilities and innovativeness to improve the country’s combat potential.


On the IAF’s strategic reach

The IAF is going through a very busy and a challenging period and our focus now, at all times must be on three priority areas— operational capability, infrastructure and security, especially in view of new inductions in the force’s inventory. In light of the expanding ‘strategic footprint’ of resurgent India, the IAF must possess complimentary capabilities to operate effectively and decisively.

On past wars

In hindsight, one can learn lessons from the history and these are open and glaring lessons we should have imbibed. The IAF will play a leading role in not just against that or any other sector but anywhere. If www.geopolitics.in

the IAF had not offensively got into the war at the right point of time, the Kargil conflict would have continued for another three months at those impossible heights for our young jawans and officers to be climbing up and losing lives. If we had used the air force offensively during the 1962 conflict (with China), the outcome would have been different. It would have changed the course of the war.

New Year - challenges that will stretch our physical and mental capabilities. We must capitalise on this opportunity (provided by the air exercises Iron Fist and Live Wire) for revalidating and fine-tuning our operational employment philosophies in a near real-time operational scenario. The year gone by has been busy as also challenging; we faced many new challenges and we also achieved significant milestones. While these challenges tested our collective competence and resolve on one hand, they also served to reinforce our commitment and sense of pride in the values which the IAF represents. Despite facing various operational and maintenance challenges associated with the transformation phase, we continued to maintain a high combat potential.

On the challenges facing the IAF

On plans to increase aircraft squadrons

Timely integration of the new inductions within the existing legacy systems, while ensuring a high-combat potential and addressing all aerospace safety concerns, will be our key operational challenges. Bigger challenges await us as we step into the

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We are more than Pakistan at this time but what we are saying is that we need to maintain this force level at least in the 12th plan period. We will not allow it to go less than 34 and it is only in the 13th plan that we will start going up to 42. February 2013


Partnerships‌ Capabilities‌ Capacities... Geopolitics spoke to top industry leaders about their offerings for the Indian market even as our defence establishment continues with the process of big-time acquisitions


It’s showtime for flying machines! I n real terms if one wants to know the difference between Aero India 2011 and the 2013 edition, it is in these five letters: MMRCA. If the edition two years back was high on expectation and pregnant with hope for each one of the participating fighters shortlisted for the multi-billion dollar deal, this year’s show is really a ‘what next’ edition. Most of the losing bidders have put the disappointment behind them and are now focussing on the other options. As Secretary Defence Production Devesh Mathur has said, the show is ‘not MMRCA-centric’. That the number of participating companies or the aircraft taking part in the show has not dramatically gone down, is a reflection of the country’s long shopping list and the huge opportunities that still exist. The biennial event organised by Department of Defence Production, which will be held at the Air Force Station Yelahanka, will see the participation of 600 companies and 78 overseas delegations from countries such as Israel, www.geopolitics.in

Russia, USA, France, UK, Germany and Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Ukraine, Australia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, UAE and Singapore.

Here are some highlights •

Of the six Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMCA) aircraft, which have been main attractions of the aero show in 2011 only the French Rafale and American F-16 have confirmed their participation. The six aircraft including American F/A-18 and F-16, Russian MiG 35, Swede Saab Gripen, French Rafale and the European Eurofighter were regular at the last three editions of the show in view of the then multi-billion dollar tender for 126 aircraft by the IAF will not be there in the show. One of the main attractions of the show will be events by participating aerobatic teams -- Flying Bulls from Czech Republic, Russian Knights-

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• •

Russian Air Force Aerobatic Team and IAF’s Sarang Aerobatic Team. India has invited China to the 2013 Aero India air show. Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne sent an invitation to his Chinese counterpart in early January. A low-cost, long-endurance UAV ‘ScanEagle’ of Boeing would make its first appearance at the show. Among the flying machines set to debut at the five-day show are the Pilatus PB-7 Mk-II basic trainer of Switzerland and weaponised version of the Made in India ‘Rudra’ helicopter. Sources in IAF said the Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II basic trainer would fly for the first time over Indian skies at the air show. The largest contingent at the show would be from the US with 67 of its companies participating, followed by France, Russia and Israel. A total of 78 countries would be sending their representatives at the aero show of which 27 would be showcasing their products at the mega event. February 2013


Weapons must reflect new technologies LARS-OLOF LINDGREN, Head, Saab India, on the future of fighter aircraft, UAVs and stealth techonologies.

On technology and capability

Capabilities of fighter aircraft are linked to advances in technology development and application of new technology in both threat systems and your own assets. An operational need may drive technology development, or technology advances in other areas may be applied to military systems. Technologies and capabilities usually evolve steadily in incremental steps but sometimes there are revolutionary advances that offer new possibilities or greatly enhanced capabilities such as the transistor of the 50s or advances in stealth and low observability starting in the 70s. Other major advances are compact fighter engines enabling lightweight fighters or AESA radars that provide several, simultaneous functions.

On stealth

Revolutionary advances provide a gamechange and frequently too much emphasis is put on exploring this new capability with adverse consequence on remaining capabilities. Sooner or later other advances will even out the advantage of this revolutionary technology. This is well illustrated by stealth technology. Through analytical methods, computing power and new materials it became possible to design low observable fighters that avoided detection. But to explore this advantage, the fighters had to sacrifice flight performance, weapons capacity, sensor information and availability. With recent advances in sensor development, stealth aircraft may be detected and thus become more vulnerable. Stealth will still delay detection, but there has to be a balance between stealth and other capabilities www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


that make up a fighting system. Rather than putting all eggs in one ‘stealth’ basket it is necessary to derive and optimise a long-lasting solution while forecasting future threats and technologies and incorporating these into the design. Future fighters will still apply stealth but will probably also retain or improve upon fourth generation fighter class flight performance, sensing capability, countermeasures and weapons capability. Furthermore, radar absorbing materials have matured and thus maintaining stealth properties of future fighters will have less adverse impact upon availability compared to current stealth designs such as F-22, F-35 or PAF-FA. Conventional non-stealthy fighters of the fourth generation and beyond may prove to have less of a disadvantage in the future battlefield than previously assumed. Except for the stealth they will be on equal terms with Low Observable fighters. Improved stand-off weapons, enhanced sensors and data processing as well as additional support of unmanned surveillance systems will aid future survivability of conventional fighters.

On super-manoeuvrability

Some years ago ‘super-manouvrability’ became an issue almost as hot as stealth. By vectoring the thrust, new fighters were supposed to outmanouvre the opponents. Experimental aircraft such as X-31 demonstrated the feasibility and performed impressive displays. In reality thrust vectoring is just another ‘control surface’. At high speed, the structural loads and the human occupant will limit super-manouvrability anyway which leaves low speed and post-stall combat as likely applications. But the vectoring adds weight and complexity and close-in combat is to be avoided anyway. But most modern missiles do not have the constraints of the aircraft and are well suited for thrust vectoring and super-manouvrability. Furthermore, new sensors don’t require the aircraft to point at the adversary to acquire lock-on. In other words; modern missiles will outmanoeuvr any fighter. But there are some larger US and Russian fighters that have adopted thrust vectoring. In these the weight penalty is relatively small and the vectoring may also be used to reduce supersonic trim drag associated with their tail configuration. Thrust vectoring may be applied to a Very Low Observable stealth aircraft such www.geopolitics.in

India is important for Saab India is a very big, interesting and important market with great business opportunities. It is one of Saab’s home markets and, therefore, the company’s focus is not simply on winning bids but on building business in partnership with reliable Indian partners across the entire hierarchy of manufacturers, all the way from strategic partners to sub-component suppliers to communities. Saab recently established a joint venture with QuEST Global to manufacture and supply assemblies for the commercial aerostructures market. The joint venture, in which Saab holds 26 per cent ownership, will further strengthen Saab’s position in the commercial aerostructures market as well as increase Saab’s presence in India. Saab has also signed a MoU for strategic investment in Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering and a Technical Partnership Agreement (TPA). These agreements underline Saab’s strategy to increase its presence in an important and large market and offer business possibilities for several parts of the organisation. Further, Saab in collaboration with Elcome Marine Services implemented National Automatic Identification System (NAIS) on the Indian coast line for India’s Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), which will also be used by Indian Navy, Coast Guard and DG Shipping. Saab is currently pursuing many individual opportunities in the requirements of the Indian defence forces. All of Saab’s Business Areas are active in India offering high-tech solutions and products such as the C4I, EW (Self Protection Systems), Signature Management, Missile and Weapon Systems, Aeronautical Platforms, Sensors (Radars), Maritime Security and Civil Security, LPI Radars and Sea Giraffe. Saab is moving aggressively to realise this ambition by building partnerships with Indian companies to serve the Indian market, the Indian defence establishment and the global market. Saab’s commitment to India manifests itself through R&D investments, customised solutions and tailor-made offset projects. The company is intensifying its operations in India with a long term perspective, contributing technological know-how to the Indian Defence Industry. For all major future programmes, Saab will partner an Indian company either through a teaming agreement or through a joint venture.

as an UCAV to reduce control surface deflections and reduce signature further. As with most designs there are pros and cons, but Saab’s view is that the adverse effects and moderate gains along with modern missiles makes super-manouvrability a less likely candidate for a future fighter aircraft.

On Flying Wing configuration

The ‘Flying Wing’ or ‘Blended Wing Body’ has been applied to the Very Low Observable class of UCAVs. The wing-body fusion and the plan form reduces the angles that reflect radiation to a mere

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minimum. To avoid detection at lower radar frequencies typical for surveillance radars in which wavelengths of metres are comparable to the object size, not only angles but also length of objects become essential to be stealthy. To get a perimeter of discrete angles and long edges the obvious design is a flying wing like B-2, X-45, X-47 or Neuron. But these aircraft will be transonic or high subsonic and sacrifice manoeuvrability and agility to focus entirely on avoiding detection, and such configurations are not compatible with a ‘balanced design’ approach for fighters. Blending of wing and fuselage to some February 2013


saab

degree is applied in most current fighters as this has both aerodynamic and structural advantages. The flying wing is also seen as a candidate for novel, future passenger aircraft. There are practical problems to be solved such as passenger evacuation and commercial aviation tends to be rather conservative, but who knows; eventually we may travel in flying wings.

On weapons

When designing supersonic stealth aircraft one dilemma or contradiction is slenderness. Fitting weapons inside in internal weapon bays is essential to maintain stealth but the added volume has adverse impact on slenderness and supersonic drag. Weight and drag increases and you need to add more fuel by which cross-section, drag and weight increases even further. The general trend is for smaller weapwww.geopolitics.in

Built to Kill: Saab RBS 70, man-portable airdefence laser guided system (MANPADS) designed for anti-aircraft warfare in all climate zones

ons of equal range and impact, both airto-ground and air-to-air, which either translates into more slender and efficient stealth airframes with similar weapon capacity or an enhanced internal capacity. New medium range air-to-air missiles such as the Meteor have considerably longer range due to more efficient propulsion compared to rocket powered missiles. Larger stand-off strike weapons are too large to fit internally on a fighter and will have to be carried externally with adverse impact on the stealth properties. These may be long range air-to-air missiles for high value assets or air-to-surface and air-to-ground missiles with large warhead. Such weapons will constitute a large part of the inventory even in the future

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and all stealth fighters are prepared to carry several external pylons. With improved stand-off weapons the survivability of a conventional fighter improves considerably.

On future trends

Future combat aircraft will include unmanned aircraft or UCAVs of extended range and endurance/persistence, primarily for deep strike and surveillance. For survivability in future high-threat battlefields they will probably be stealthy and sacrifice agility. Manned fighters will be major assets even in the future. They offer a flexibility and capability that unmanned aircraft cannot provide. New manned fighters will apply stealth but balance this against other vital characteristics. Sensor capability, decision support and sharing of information in a network will provide new ways of utilizing the air assets more efficiently and coordinated. February 2013


HEMANT RAWAT

“This is a

www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


time of huge opportunities” R K Tyagi is the quintessential outsider who is now at the helm at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). He spent years at ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) and then Pawan Hans before moving to HAL. He has been around for less than a year as the Chairman but in this short time, he has attempted to reorient operations, make it more consumer friendly, develop a more cooperative and embracing relationship with the forces and erase the impression that the HAL is a monolith that slumbers along as a gigantic defence Public Sector Unit (PSU) that gobbles a majority of the offsets and orders that are made each year. Here are excerpts from an exclusive interview. How has been your experience as HAL chairman during one of its fastest growing phases?

The defence aerospace industry in India has been on the growth path owing to the modernisation and expansion plans of the Indian Armed Forces fructifying in terms of big budget defence deals in recent times. This has also offered the Indian defence sector with enormous opportunities by way of offsets and new possibilities for engagement and participation by the private sector. Major projects like Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), Medium Multi -Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) and Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) have been initialised or are picking up pace. My priority has been to put in place the right mix of people and resources to ensure the smooth progress of new projects as well as the current programmes. Considering the growth prospects, we have identified Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), civil aviation sector and offsets as big business opportunities with immense business potential and areas of strategic

interest. Separate business groups are being established to explore the opportunities and formulate strategies for each of the above segments. HAL, with its skilled and dedicated work force, is presently a Navratna company and it is my dream to place it in the elite company of Maharatna companies in the near future.

Do you agree that the HAL has not been able to keep up with the orders in hand? How are HAL expansion plans coming realong?

HAL, in fact, had carried out an exercise Military Aircraft cently wherein the top 50 exIndustry, the world over, ecutives in the Company were comes across deputed to the customer bases unique challenges which to get a first-hand insight into have direct implications the customers’ requirements on the schedules. Maximising and get a direct feedback indigenous conon HAL’s products and tent, technology absorption, export services. regulations and coun-

www.geopolitics.in

try specific documentations, product obsolescence, rights and licence issues and supply chain management are some of the factors that HAL, like any other company in the aircraft industry across the world, encounters during productionisation of aircraft and systems. Dedicated project teams are already in place for each major project. These groups would be further strengthened with the required numbers, empowered with more authority and be

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made accountable. Conformance to the time lines and cost lines would be the key performance indicators and the basis for rewards and appreciation. The current production processes are being critically reviewed to weed out bottlenecks and enhance productivity levels. HAL is exploring the possibility of enhancing the production rate by addition of suitable machinery/equipment at virtually all its divisions. HAL has drawn up plans to outsource up to 30 per cent of the manufacturing task. This would enable HAL to use the capacity more optimally and focus on core competencies. Plans are also being drawn up to create new divisions/ facilities as Strategic Business Units (SBUs) for implementation of new programmes such as Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) and Light Utility Helicopter/ Medium Lift Helicopters (MLH) at the appropriate time.

LCA Tejas has got further delayed. What is your new timeline for this aircraft? What is its certification status? HAL is the major partner of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for the design and development of the LCA. The ADA is the designated lead designer/ project manager for the development of the LCA. The ADA has indicated that the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for the LCA will happen soon after completion of the final software release, validation and evaluation in respect of flight control, avionics and weapon systems.

Could you please brief us about the production line of the LCA?

HAL is geared up to commence delivery

February 2013


HEMANT RAWAT SUKHOI.COM

Still waiting: The HAL HJT-36 Sitara, a subsonic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy to replace the HAL HJT-16 Kiran.

against the current order for LCA within six months of the aircraft certification IOC. All the initial stage issues pertaining to tooling, jigs, fixtures, etc. have been overcome during the production of the Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft and the production process has fairly stabilised. HAL is further planning to augment the capacity from eight to 16 aircraft per year in view of the anticipated orders.

IJT (Intermediate Jet Trainer) Sitara is another project which is facing delays and the designated users are very concerned. What is its current status and when should one expect it to don IAF colors? The design and development of the IJT was undertaken to replace the ageing Kiran trainer aircraft in the defence Services. This aircraft will be used for Stage II training of pilots. The IJT is at an advanced stage of development. Two prototype aircraft (PT-1 and PT-2) and two Limited Series Production aircraft (LSP-1 & LSP-2) have been manufactured. The flight testing has re-commenced from February 2012. Considering the number of test flights to be completed, the IOC is expected by the end of the fiscal year 2012-13.

Recently there was news about the Indian Air Force (IAF) looking at the private sector for Avro replacement programme. Have the repeated delays in different production lines pushed the users to look towards novice private players? HAL has a separate division for the manufacture and maintenance of transport aircraft at Kanpur. HAL had manufactured

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into the customers’ requirements and get a direct feedback on HAL’s products and services. The feedback of the exercise to ‘reach out to the customer’ was analysed and necessary action was taken to bridge the gaps, if any.

and is currently maintaining the HS-748 aircraft (Avro) in Kanpur. HAL has also entered into collaboration with United Aircraft Corporation-Transport Aircraft (UAC-TA) of Russia for the design and development of the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) in the 20-tonne payload category. This aircraft is expected to commence series production in the Kanpur division after six years of development cycle. I would like to reiterate that HAL has the expertise and capability to take up the project for replacing the Avro. HAL is prepared to bid for the programme on competitive basis.

How good is your relationship with the Air Force? Our relations with our prime customer, the IAF, are extremely good and cordial. The Company organizes regular structured meetings with the principal customers wherein information on the issues and concerns of the customers are obtained. The feedback is thoroughly analysed and remedial action is put in place to address these issues while keeping the customer informed. These meetings are also used to gain insight into the operational and future requirements of the customers, which is used to evolve plans to develop/provide new products/services. HAL, in fact, had carried out an exercise recently wherein the top 50 executives in the Company were deputed to the customer bases to get a first-hand insight

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Tell us about your expansion plans and establishment being set up?

The Company has drawn a long-term Perspective Plan to realize its vision ‘To become a significant global player in the aerospace industry’ by covering the period 2010-2022 (i.e. up to the end of the 13th Plan). This document outlines the roadmap for HAL’s march towards the vision through the analysis of our current position and strategies to be adopted to overcome challenges and sustain growth. Detailed plans for technology induction, modernisation, manpower, collaborations, etc., are being prepared in line with the overall strategy brought out in the Perspective Plan. A modernisation plan is being evolved outlining the equipment/machines and infrastructure that need to be upgraded or added to cater to the capacity requirement of all the current and the new projects that have been considered in the Perspective Plan. In general, whenever upgrades/augmentation is planned the likely offset opportunities are also factored in. HAL is pursuing strategic business alliances through partnerships and joint ventures (JV) with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to gain access to technology and the global market. The Company aims to leverage the Indian market to gain access to the global market. HAL has initiated activities towards enhancing the production rates and productivity at virtually all its divisions by

February 2013


HEMANT RAWAT

Indigenous effort: Light combat helicopter developed on the Dhruv platform to be the main attack chopper of the Armed forces.

addition of suitable machinery/equipment, processes and technology with an objective to set up world class infrastructure in each facility.

What is the status of the development of the utility helicopters and attack helicopters? The Light Utility Helicopter being developed in the three-tonne weight class with glass cockpit and Multi-Function Displays (MFD) will be deployed for surveillance, reconnaissance and utility roles. Sanction for the development of Light Utility Helicopter was accorded by the Government of India in February 2009. Considerable progress has been made on the design front. The timeframe for development is six years. LUH, an ab-initio design project, is slated to have the highest level of indigenous content in any helicopter made by HAL. The Light Combat Helicopter, a derivative of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) in the five to six tonne category is undergoing development and flight trials. The maiden flight of the second Technology Demonstrator (TD-2) of the LCH was accomplished in June 2011. Flight evaluations trials are in progress on the two prototypes and areas of improvement have been identified and these are planned to be addressed in the third prototype being built by HAL.

The Multirole Transport Aircraft Programme has been signed and its execution has started. Could you please brief us about the programme? What will be HAL’s contribution in the development programme? The MTA programme involves design and

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development of a 15-20 tonne payload class Medium Transport Aircraft jointly by Indian and Russian agencies. The MTA programme commenced with the incorporation of the joint venture Company MTAL (Multi-role Transport Aircraft Limited) in December 2010. The partners are HAL from the Indian side and Rosoboronexport and United Aircraft Corporation-Transport Aircraft (UAC-TA) from the Russian side with equal stake holding between both the sides. The General Contract which outlines the scope of work between the partners during the design phase had been signed in May 2012. The development of the MTA is expected to be completed in six years. HAL will be manufacturing MMRCA once the deal is signed. What preparations have you made for the assembly line for this aircraft? HAL will also be executing huge amount of offsets for this, tell us something about that. HAL has initiated the project planning activities for the establishment of manufacturing facility of Medium MultiRole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at Bengaluru. Discussions are in progress with Dassault Aviation of France regarding programme management issues for production of the aircraft under Transfer of Technology (ToT) at HAL. HAL has also entered into Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Dassault Aviation and other associated OEMs like Snecma Moteurs of France, etc., in the MMRCA project to provide services like design packages, work packages, forgings and castings, etc., to exploit the offset opportunities.

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What has been HAL’s investment in human resource development? We have around 33,000 employees and the plans are in place for inducting many more for our future projects. Dedicated project teams are already in place for each of HAL’s major projects. These groups would be further strengthened with the required numbers, empowered with more authority and made accountable. The Delegation of Powers (DoP) within the organization has been reviewed to further empower the senior and middlelevel management with more authority and accountability in an attempt to hasten the decision-making processes.

Finally, what is the status of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA)? These are highly advanced aircraft and they need a very high level of skill. The FGFA programme has commenced with the signing of the Preliminary Design (PD) Contract between Rosoboronexport of Russia and HAL with JSC Sukhoi of Russia designated as the Lead Designer in December 2010. The work on the Preliminary Design Phase (PDP) had commenced in February 2011. The definition of the scope of activities in the total programme and firming up of costs and time schedules are expected to take place during the PDP. This phase is followed by the Research and Development (R & D) Phase. Discussions between both the sides are in progress to ensure seamless transition from the PDP to the R&D Phase to maintain the planned project timelines.

February 2013


Supporting aerospace OEMs T C Chan, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Rockwell Collins, is upbeat about the Hyderbad Design Center and sees many opportunities to partner with Indian companies. Excerpts from an interview. How do you rate and view the performance of the Design Centre that Rockwell Collins established in Hyderabad in the nearly five years of its existence?

The ongoing excellent performance of the India Design Centre is enabling Rockwell Collins to continue to grow the centre and our investment in India. Opened in 2008, the India Design Centre represents one example of Rockwell Collins’ commitment to expanding our local presence in India. It employs about 500 people, including top recruits from India’s outstanding pool of engineering talent with plans to grow to 600 in 2013. The India Design Centre supports many programmes of interest for Rockwell Collins. Recent examples include the Airbus A350 on-board Information Management System; cockpit displays for military helicopters; and next-generation Flight Management System platforms. Our vision for Rockwell Collins’ India Design Centre is to support local and international governments, aerospace OEMs, and contractors with engineering design services and systems that can help customers achieve a shorter time to market, at a lower programme or project life cycle cost, with the highest quality innovative solutions.

Please throw some light on the plans for such a facility in the Indian national capital and what you intend to do there in the next five years? Rockwell Collins has a business office in Gurgaon with some system engineering and programme management capabiliwww.geopolitics.in

ties. This office — working with our India Design Centre in Hyderabad — serves as a key support element of Rockwell Collins’ global business strategy to bring multi-function expertise to each customer engagement.

Are you happy with your products portfolio to cater to the Indian market needs? Would you like to change or expand this portfolio for the future and how would you go about this? Yes, we are happy with the product portfolio we are offering India’s aerospace and defence organisations. We offer a broad range of avionics, communications and electronics systems that have been proven time again during the past 75 years and throughout the world. In addition, because Rockwell Collins’ business is nearly 50 per cent commercial and 50 per cent government systems, we have the advantage of bringing the bestof-breed capabilities from our commercial portfolio to defence customers and vice versa. For example, we are bringing our Pro Line Fusion advanced integrated flight deck system developed for the commercial market to the Brazilian Air Force for their KC 390 aircraft. In addition, we see many opportunities to partner with Indian companies to co-develop and customize solutions for the India market and we are actively working with several companies in India. technologies to all its global initiatives.

Have you joined the fray in the contests in the communication, management and con-

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trols, networks, flight information solutions, data links and surveillance?

We are keenly interested in a number of communications and avionics opportunities in India and are actively involved in pursuing these with our proven products and systems and in partnership with Indian companies.

How is your arrangement with Air Works performing?

Air Works is Rockwell Collins’ first Indian authorised reseller and maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider for Rockwell Collins products. As a provider to commercial and business aircraft OEMs and airlines in India, this relationship is a part of our strategy to bring quality products and services to our customers in India.

What are the capabilities that you will be showcasing during Aero India 2013?

At Aero India 2013, Rockwell Collins will showcase its advanced avionics solutions for India and discuss its continued investment in the region through steady growth, strategic alliances and commitment to build on existing customer relationships. The Rockwell Collins exhibit (Hall E, Stand E1.9.1) features our expansive offerings for customers in India and around the globe. Some of these products include Pro Line Fusion flight deck for commercial and military aircraft, synthetic vision for helicopter displays, radio communications, Engine Instrument Display System (EIDS), and the Virtual Avionics Procedure Trainer (VAPT). February 2013


cae

“India needs to increase use of simulation” Ananth Ramaswami, Managing Director, CAE India, sees significant opportunities in the country and wants to strengthen and build on the long relationship it has with India, as he says in this interview. If there is any one institution that has literally a finger in every segment of the aviation pie, it is CAE. You are in defence, in civil aviation, in design, in training and in offsets. Sum up the CAE-India relationship and the medium and long term perspective of the company towards the sub-continent. CAE is a global leader in providing simulation and training solutions for the dewww.geopolitics.in

fence and civil aviation markets. The company has a well-earned reputation in the aviation segment — both in providing simulation products as well as delivering training services. CAE does, though, have much broader capabilities, particularly in serving the government, defence and homeland security segments. Our aim is to provide a holistic solu-

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tion to our customers so that they can focus on their core tasks and don’t have to worry about the availability of training support. The fact is that CAE is a company focused on modelling, simulation and training — it’s all we do. So, we have to continually invest in research and development related to simulation and be capable of delivering quality products and February 2013


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CAE also owns jointly with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (HATSOFF), India’s first advanced helicopter training centre, located in Bengaluru. But one centre to train chopper pilots seems far too little in the Indian context. Would you be looking at more opportunities for training centres for helicopter pilots in India?

significant experience on many of the helicopter platforms India is considering, including the AW101, CH-47, S-70B, MH-60R, NH90 and others. CAE is very open to expanding HATSOFF as well as establishing additional helicopter training facilities in India.

You work across the board with the Air

The Helicopter Academy to Training by Force, the Army and the Navy. Obviously it Simulation of Flying, or HATSOFF, is the is a relationship that has been built over the first and only facility of its kind in India years. What next? Many look at the training resources for aircraft as offsets that are for rotary wing training. It is a state-ofthe-art training centre developed in colconvenient to fulfill. Would you agree with laboration with HAL. Right now, HATthat argument and are you happy with it? SOFF provides comprehensive training Our relationship with the three services for three helicopters: the Bell 412/212, has evolved after long and tiring efforts. civil/conventional Dhruv and Eurocopter The relationship and trust comes over AS365 Dauphin. Next year, HATSOFF will time and after making tremendous efforts add training for the military variant of the to ensure the customers are aware of our Dhruv. Utilisation of the facility is picking expertise and technologies related to simulation and training. We make all possible up and we are continuing to promote the efforts to provide world-class simulators many advantages of helicopter simulator to the Indian defence forces, such as the training. C-130J simulator that is now in-service. The fact is that until HATSOFF, India In addition, CAE India also provides anlacked adequate helicopter simulation nual maintenance contract support so we training. So, most operators have had to can guarantee the availability of the trainrely on training in the actual aircraft and ing devices for required training. This sort the authorities had not enforced the regulation that every commercial pilot — fixed of guaranteed availability was unheard of or rotary-wing — must fly a minimum of in India before CAE came into the market. 10 hours annuToday, CAE India ally on a simuprovides maintenance lator. CAE is a and support services strong propofor more than 20 simunent of global lators for the three services, including flight efforts by the simulators, wargaming International training systems and Helicopter flight training devices of Safety Team different classes. For ex(IHST) to reduce helicopter ample, within the past accident rates year, we were awarded by 80 per cent a contract from BAE by 2016 and the Systems to provide the IHST says that maintenance and support services for the one of the most Future Trainer: Dauphin FFS Hatsoff Simulator to train Indian armed force pilots, based on HAL Hawk training devices effective ways Dhruv cockpit module located at Indian Air of doing so is Force Base, Bidar. The the increased very fact that we are being trusted to take adoption of simulation-based training. care of so many assets of the defence forcConsidering the planned acquisitions es indicates their confidence in CAE. and the growing demand for helicopters Provision of training as part of offsets in the military and civil domains in India, is certainly a way forward for the Army, there will certainly be a need to augment Navy and Air Force. There are numerthe existing capacity of helicopter simulators in the country. Fortunately, CAE is ous advantages of making it come under a very experienced provider of helicopter offsets, primarily the funding is part of simulation and training solutions. In fact, the procurement and thus it is easier to no company has simulated a greater variimplement as a part of delivery by the airety of helicopters than CAE, and we have craft manufacturer. cae

services on-time and on-budget. Presently, we have established ourselves as a leader in India in providing simulation-based training solutions to the civil airlines and all branches of the Indian defence forces. We believe our name is synonymous with simulation in the country, and we are proud of our brand and reputation in the field of simulation and training. CAE has a good depth in providing total training solutions, meaning we can provide a comprehensive training package to end-users. You can see evidence of this at the CAE Bengaluru pilot training centre we own and operate at our new complex in Bengaluru. We also have the capability to train ab-initio pilot cadets who aspire for a career in aviation and we can educate them about the technical as well as operational systems of the aircraft, followed by the provision of simulation training until such time the student is found proficient enough to undertake actual operations. This turnkey training approach used by the civil market is a relatively new concept for our armed forces that have traditionally provided all their training using their own manpower and resources. However, there is a growing trend among militaries globally to consider outsourced training to ensure consistency, depth of training, improved quality of training as well as cost-effectiveness and efficiency. A company such as CAE that is focussed on training and has a depth of experience — we own and operate more than 40 training centres worldwide and train more than 100,000 crewmembers — can offer the Indian defence forces the required technologies, services and processes to ensure high-quality training at good value. In the mid-to-long term, we see significant opportunities in India. CAE firmly believes that India needs to increase their use of simulation as part of the solution to lowering costs without sacrificing readiness or capability. Simulation offers a number of benefits which simply cannot be ignored in today’s defence environment. The increased cost of fuel, environmental impacts, and significant wear and tear on weapon systems, all point to the greater use of simulation. More importantly, simulation is the ideal tool for mission preparation and rehearsal, which is critical for ensuring readiness and doing so both safely and cost-effectively.

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February 2013


cae

Customised Database: Capable of being a standalone training unit, the MH-60R OFT system based on CP-140 Aurora (Maritime patrol aircraft) module serve as a network aircrew mission training device

Last year, CAE and Rossell India Limited established a special purpose company called CAE Rossell India Limited to address the needs of the market generated by offsets. This company is owned 74 per cent by Rossell and 26 per cent by CAE. We want to maximise business opportunities as well as technology transfer to India by leveraging CAE’s breadth of simulation technologies in line with the offset policy. We are in discussions with major OEMs from the US, Europe, and Russia to discuss ways to partner with them and help them meet offset obligations.

Unmanned vehicles are evolving and developing both in terms of their hardware and their potential beyond the warzone. Recently, CAE announced the CAE UAS Mission Trainer that combines an open architecture with commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and simulation software to provide a comprehensive, platform-agnostic training system for UAS pilots, sensor operators, and mission commanders. Is this the way forward in this sphere of www.geopolitics.in

unmanned vehicles?

For UAS training, customer requirements range from basic procedure trainers to full mission training. There is also an increasing requirement for high-fidelity emergency procedures, malfunctions as well as high-fidelity systems to enhance safety, increase mission effectiveness and optimise efficiency at minimum cost in a virtual environment. There is definitely a trend for military forces looking to leverage virtual simulation for more mission training because of the inherent economic benefits, but also because virtual training provides the ability to train and rehearse just like you will operate on the battlefield. CAE’s recently launched its UAS Mission Trainer that features an open architecture and Commercial Off-theShelf (COTS) hardware and simulation software to make the product platformagnostic. Based on modular technology, it can be adapted to train operators of simple, tactical UASs as well as highly complex, Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) platforms such as the Heron

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or Predator or High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) platforms such as the Global Hawk. The CAE UAS Mission Trainer can be configured to replicate the flight characteristics of specific UASs or sensor packages, including Infra-Red (IR), low-light TV, Laser Range Finder (LRF), Laser Target Designator (LTD) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The CAE UAS Mission Trainer includes the ground control station; highfidelity simulation software for sensors; simulated communication systems; the simulation software for generating training scenarios; a CAE Medallion-6000 image generator; computer-generated forces representing maritime, ground and air forces; an instructor operator station; and weather simulation. We focuSsed on making our UAS mission trainer open and interoperable because UASs typically operate in support of joint and coalition forces, so the mission training environment should be integrated and interoperable with other training assets. February 2013


SKY IS THE LIMIT What is your assessment of the Indian defence procurement process?

Airbus Military is thoroughly committed to working with the Indian government and Indian industry to develop offset arrangements in line with India’s technological aspirations in aerospace. At the same time, there has to be a realistic assessment of the capabilities of the private sector in Indian aerospace. In terms of aerostructures, India has important capabilities but private sector companies still have some way to go before being ready to undertake full assembly and systems integration of aircraft. Airbus Military can work with Indian Small Medium Enterprises (SME) to advance the aerostructures capability even further, but there are major challenges in the short-medium term in taking on, for example, engine and avionics manufacturing, integration or assembly outside the public sector.

Where can the process be streamlined? Do you think the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has fixed the inadequacies of the process?

Under the ‘buy and make’ concept, for example, we can see that the Avro replacement programme provides good potential and we are already analysing, discussing and defining work packages with potential Indian partners. Ultimately such partners could play important roles in the Airbus Military global supply chain, as has happened in other countries, and help India to fully realise its longer term www.geopolitics.in

Federico Lacalle, Sales Director, Asia-Pacific Region for Airbus Military, is a familiar figure in Delhi. He would probably know many parts of Delhi as well as he knows parts of Madrid and Seville considering the number of sorties he has made to the Indian capital to establish his company’s beachhead in this part of the world. The government’s decision to go with the A330 MRTT refueller for the Indian Air Force is without doubt a crowning moment for Lacalle. He discusses this and other issues with Geopolitics. potential in aerospace. All that said, we do need to reach a full understanding of the offset requirements in the context of a ‘buy and make’ project. There needs to be further clarification of the offset credits for particular activities.

The fact that the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has parts in common with the civilian model has been touted in its favour. How exactly does the cost benefit accrue to the end-user in terms of lifecycle costs?

It has been noted that for an aircraft that was not originally designed as a tanker, the A330 makes an excellent tanker. And it is partly this point that explains why the commercial origin of the A330 MRTT is so important in terms of costs. It is a fact

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that many of the advantages that made the A330 so popular with airlines are retained by the A330 MRTT and generate benefits for military users. For example, because the twin-engine A330 has essentially the same wing as the four-engined A340, it retains the hardpoints used to mount the A340’s outboard engines, and those hardpoints were used instead to mount the refuelling pods without additional engineering. The A330 also has a sufficient fuel capacity of 111 tonnes, eliminating the requirements for additional tanks for refuelling. This would leave the main deck free for passengers or freight, leading to significant savings on engineering costs and requirement for fewer dedicated transport aircraft. In terms of continuing costs, the early operators of the A330 MRTT are already February 2013


mary hoist system was tested. This backup system was fitted as a customer option and has not been selected by any other existing customer for the A330 MRTT. The failure happened in an artificially induced test condition which could not occur in normal operation and the detachment occurred as a reaction to a contradiction between the main system and this specific back-up system during the test. Following the event, as a precautionary measure, the certification agency (INTA of Spain) had issued a recommendation letter for a temporary restriction on boom operations by the operators. This restriction has now been removed completely following the full understanding of the root cause and a proposed solution, which was to modify the back-up system control panel to prevent recurrence of this event. The aircraft to be operated by the AirTanker consortium for the UK RAF (Royal Air Force), which have a centreline fuselage refuelling unit (FRU) instead of a boom, will also shortly be cleared for full refuelling following a move by the RAF to switch to a different refuelling basket which we are supporting technically as a customer decision.

Which are the other countries that are considering the aircraft?

The countries that have currently made their interest public are: Singapore, which is running an active procurement; France, which has stated its intention to place an order for A330 MRTTs sometime this year; and Brazil which has been contemplating tanker procurement for some time. Additionally, a few European nations have jointly initiated the process to procure a refuelling capability. seeing how they can capitalise on the widespread use of the A330 by airlines. All four existing operators - the air forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK - have commercial A330 operators flying in their countries and have formed various relationships with them. Typically, military pilots can be trained to gain their A330 type certificates with airlines, subsequently requiring only military differences and refuelling training as additional costs. Expensive full-flight simulators are not required as there are already numerous A330 simulators in existence. Heavy maintenance can be performed incountry at the MRO facilities of large A330 operators like Qantas and Etihad Airways and the spares supply for the A330 is wellestablished, leaving open the possibility of sharing or pooling spares with comwww.geopolitics.in

mercial operators. In case of Australia, even the conversions themselves were performed by Qantas Defence Services although equivalent options may not be practicable in all nations.

Have the sniggles with the aircraft, like the malfunction with the in-flight refuelling boom detachment that occurred in September 2012 been ironed out?

While development work will continue for some time to further enhance the performance of the A330 MRTT in the light of early operational experience, there are no significant issues remaining. In the case of the September 2012 boom separation, the incident occurred during a pre-acceptance flight in which a back-up boom hoist system designed to raise the boom in the event of a failure of the pri-

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How will you deal with the offsets requirements of the contract?

As a major business unit of EADS, we are able to draw on a wide range of industrial activities and technologies to provide opportunities to Indian companies. Already we are talking to a number of Indian companies to get a good understanding of their capabilities and ensure that we form the right business relationships.

Have you identified any Indian JV partners?

No, we have worked hard to familiarise ourselves with the capabilities of all the Indian private sector companies with aerospace interests or aspirations and continue to do that. We will make our decisions in due course as the Avro replacement programme, in particular, is firmed up. February 2013


Textron India supports industrial cooperation Ellen Lord, CEO and President, Textron Systems, is keen to strengthen the relationship with India and work with the government, armed forces and security agencies and offer solutions for emerging requirements. How important is India in Textron Systems’ scheme of things?

The entire Textron enterprise is investing heavily in India. Textron India Private Limited in Bangalore continues to grow and flourish, with highly skilled technical workers creating leading-edge technologies for our businesses. We at Textron Systems continue to build strong relationships in India among the customer and industrial bases, learning about requirements and sharing our capabilities. It is a dynamic and exciting time.

And where do you think Textron Systems will focus on India in the next few years? We believe that Textron Systems’ presence will only continue to grow in the next few years. We will continue our work with the government, armed forces and security www.geopolitics.in

agencies, as well as with in-country technology partners, to hone our offerings in support of current and emerging requirements.

What are the other products that Textron Systems has for the growing homeland security market in India? Textron Systems’ vast array of products includes unmanned aircraft systems, unmanned surface vessels and sophisticated unmanned command-and-control systems, all of which are gaining broad interest among international customers whose needs fall within the realm of protecting the homeland. Combining the surveillance and multi-source data collection capabilities of these vehicles (for information, video and imagery) with the intelligence-monitoring, analysis and

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dissemination capabilities of Overwatch solutions, our customers are provided end-to-end intelligence capabilities that will enable them broad security capabilities requiring minimal support. In addition, our COMMANDOTM four-wheeled armored vehicles are readily adaptable for police and/or paramilitary use in homeland security operations. Rigorously tested and proven in the toughest environments, the COMMANDO family of vehicles offers a wide range of capabilities for on-road and off-road homeland security operation. Drawing from three vehicle lines, we are able to deliver affordable, customized capabilities that meet the unique needs of India-based organizations. As a full-spectrum armored vehicle provider, we offer customers vehicle February 2013


fielding, training and logistics support in addition to excellence in vehicle design and manufacturing, and are actively seeking Indian business partners in this area.

With its expertise in the field of armored fighting vehicles, would Textron Systems also be interested in the Indian FICV program?

We would certainly be interested, and are positioned to offer an outstanding solution for India’s FICV program based on our COMMANDOTM line of vehicles. One option is our COMMANDO Elite four-wheeled vehicles - our most highlyprotected and capable vehicles, providing superior direct fire and MRAP level 2 mine-blast protection. These vehicles come equipped with our latest drive train enhancements, making them very fast and highly maneuverable in a wide range of environments. COMMANDO Elite vehicles, like the TAPV we are building for Canadian forces, are flexible enough to accommodate nearly any remote weapon station available - single or dual weapon mix. They also feature a digital backbone for vehicle systems monitoring and future electronics expansion. We look forward to learning more about FICV programme requirements.

Tell us more about how Overwatch creates capabilities for the different organs of national security of India.

As a leading provider of multi-source intelligence, geospatial analysis, and custom intelligence solutions and services Overwatch is poised to support India’s needs on multiple fronts, including national defense, civilian law enforcement and border security. Overwatch solutions have been used across the globe to identify, locate and deter hundreds of targets within known terrorist organizations. More than 25,000 analysts in the U.S. Department of Defense and the larger global intelligence community utilize Overwatch products and solutions. Among our broad portfolio of solutions are number of software products (IMPACTTM, Global Image Viewer, RemoteViewTM and Medina Wireless Surveillance), used by different analysis disciplines for geospatial analysis, multi-source analysis and SIGNALS analysis. All of these tools are based on a pedigree of 20 years of deployment within global security operations. Overwatch has been working with Indian government organizations since the Mumbai attacks. We understand India’s unique requirements and that a one-size- fits-all approach will not work. Overwatch is positioned to supply base analysis functionality with easy

and configurable capabilities to address the challenges in the Indian security market.

Tell us about your response to the Border Security Force’s QR’s for Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS).

Textron Defense Systems has communicated its interest in providing UGS to India for use by the Border Security Force and paramilitary forces. Our MicroObserver® UGS system has been deployed to tactical forces in the United States and foreign armies, is mature, has a long field life measured in years, is very capable at detecting and classifying different types of threats, and is simple and easy to use, requiring almost no training.

What is your view of India’s Defence Procurement Procedure? What methods are being adopted by Textron Systems to discharge its ‘Offset’ responsibilities enshrined in the DPP?

Textron Systems, and our parent company Textron Inc., actively support development and trade in India as a close and important ally of the U.S. Since 2007, Textron India Private Limited in Bangalore has led our work and growth in the region. Textron is also an active member of the U.S.-Indian Business Council and

army.mil

The Shadow: Launch of an RQ-7B UAV by the US Army for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and battle damage assessment

www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


textron

getting the enemy: A Shadow 200 system that has established a reputation as a mature, capable system during more than 600,000 flight hours, the majority of which have taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan.

regularly explores potential partnerships and teaming arrangements that would support our offset responsibilities as well as create greater industrial cooperation. We also continue to seek and plan for the direct purchase and export of defense products and components manufactured by Indian industry.

What are the obstacles faced by foreign defence companies entering the Indian defence market? What do think can be done to correct the situation? We have found the customer and industrial bases in India to be open to Textron Systems’ capabilities and welcoming of our expertise in areas such as unmanned systems, precision weapons, armored

www.geopolitics.in

vehicles and marine vessels. We look forward to advancing those relationships even further.

What are the major contracts that you are looking forward to? We continue to discuss our product offering with government, armed forces and security agency customers, and we have responded to several requests for information along those lines. The government sets the priorities for acquisition activities in key areas, and Textron Systems is responding as requirements are established and funded.

How do you view the Indian market amid current global recession and impending de-

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fence cuts?

As previously discussed, the entire Textron enterprise including Textron Systems continues to invest heavily in India, and we see it as a priority market for us.

Please also comment on the industrial cooperation opportunities and your views on Transfer of Technology.

We are working several avenues to support industrial cooperation, and the extent of transfer of technology remains an open and active discussion. We support ongoing efforts between the U.S. and Indian governments to resolve technology transfer issues and speed export license issuance in the United States.

February 2013


Dispelling

the Fog

of War COMPREHENSIVE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

Being aware of the location, strength and disposition of the enemy is critical to the success or failure of any military operation. This is why armies around the world pay a great deal of attention to situation awareness. AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, now offers the Tac-SISTM system to provide integrated aerial situational awareness. Scalable and configurable, Tac-SIS builds upon AAI’s combatproven One System® Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) with a variety of communication and encryption component options. The Tac-SIS system is available today to quickly and securely deliver a complete operational picture to manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as ground assets.

scalable, configurable platform

Designer and manufacturer of the US Army programmeof-record Shadow® Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System and One System Remote Video Terminal, AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems has created a scalable, configurable platform for integrated aerial situational awareness and manned/unmanned teaming.

ENHANCED EFFECTIVENESS

Three configuration options deliver efficient size, weight and power considerations for customer requirements, from entire fleets with fully integrated systems to portable systems that can be swapped easily between legacy aircraft. Further, the Tac-SIS system can be tailored to meet specific requirements. It is hardware agnostic, enabling various receivers and transceivers to be integrated for specific applications. A variety of encryption options also are available.

• The Tac-SIS system is based on AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ battle-proven One System Remote Video Terminal architecture.

GRAPHIC: ARTWORKS

UP-TO-DATE TECHNOLOGY

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems is currently developing and testing Level 3 (payload control) and Level 4 (platform control) capabilities for the Tac-SIS system.

www.geopolitics.in www.geopolitics.in

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December 2012 February 2013


The Tac-SIS system delivers joint battlefield sensor sharing in standardised formats among platforms including ground vehicles, fixed-wing assets, rotorcraft and unmanned aircraft.

Three Tac-SIS configurations are available: full cockpit integration, partial integration, or fully portable for movement of equipment between aircraft.

An integrated map shows an overlay of telemetry from remote platforms.

The Tac-SIS system captures full-motion video from remote manned and unmanned platforms.

www.geopolitics.in www.geopolitics.in

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December 2012 February 2013


LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE Cassidian is betting big on the Indian aircraft industry. The company has put the disappointment of the MMRCA contest behind it and is focussing big time on the diverse opportunities that the country offers both in defence and internal security. In a wide ranging interview, the company’s CEO Peter Gutsmiedl elaborates on various official issues.

Dr. Peter Gutsmiedl, Head of Asia & CEO India, Cassidian Has India’s importance changed after the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal? What are the areas where you see prospects for Cassidian?

India is much more than just an important market for Cassidian. We are cultivating a comprehensive and long-term partnership with this country for mutual benefit. We have already embarked on local development and production in India together with our industrial partners here to offer customised solutions which uniquely address the needs of our Indian customers. So, the answer to your first question is a clear ‘No’. Let me state categorically that India’s strategic significance for Cassidian goes far beyond the outcome of any single tender, even if it is the MMRCA. Coming to your second question, Cassidian has cutting-edge capabilities in the field of Airborne Solutions, Land and Joint Systems, Maritime Security www.geopolitics.in

and Dominance, Secure Networks and Public Safety, just to name a few. All are relevant for India’s security needs. Cassidian has acquired majority shareholding in the South African electronic warfare specialist company Grintek Ewation and the well-respected optronics division of Germany’s Carl Zeiss. This allows us to

Eagle’s Eye: Integrated Radar system provide bird’s eye round-the-clock survelliance against any threat

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offer India highly advanced security electronics and sensor solutions. So, as you can see, we have much to offer to India. I believe Cassidian has a promising future in this country. We are here for the longterm.

What does that signify?

It is a strong signal of the importance Cassidian attaches to its presence in India. Now that our operations here have been firmly established, we are building on this base to strengthen Cassidian’s reach in other Asian markets. Basically, we intend to use our India operations as a springboard to establish further bases across the Asian region. In my new role, I am now looking after expansion of the Indian operations into a regional hub and oversee Cassidian’s growth in Asia.

Can you throw some light on your engagement with DRDO? February 2013


Q.

How has the engineering centre you opened in Bengaluru two years ago performed? Has it met the key targets that were set for it?

A.

The Cassidian Engineering Center in Bengaluru has performed very well. The credit for this goes to the hard work of Indian engineers who have proven that India has a reservoir of world-class engineering talent in the field of defence and security. I will give you some examples: A High Stabilizing PresAccuracy Air Pressure Measurement System sure: Cassidian inhas been designed and engineered at the troduces advance Air Pressure Management Center. It is a critical on-board sensor providSystem for aircrafts ing pilots with highly accurate altitude readings thus contributing to a safe operation of the aircraft in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum fly zones. In addition, we have engineered locally, a Structurally Integrated Antenna for satellite and GPS communication in aircraft. The antenna is conformal with the structure of the aircraft thus reducing drag and enhancing its stealth. It is this talent that we want to harness to adapt products from Cassidian’s global portfolio, especially in the field of UAVs, Radar Solutions and Security Systems to specific Indian requirements and offer our customers here a local solution. Our aim is to firmly embed Bengaluru in Cassidian’s global technology network and develop the centre as a single source supplier of certain cutting-edge defence and security technologies to all its global initiatives.

As part of Cassidian’s comprehensive partnership strategy, we are sharing defence and security technologies with India which truly support its indigenisation efforts in cutting-edge defence areas. We have a number of consultancy projects with the DRDO. For example, we are consulting DRDO’s Aeronautical and Development Agency (ADA) on certain Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) related topics. We have a contract with DRDO to supply consultancy services for reviewing an indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system. In addition, Cassidian has successfully cooperated with DRDO’s Defence Avionics & Research Establishment (DARE) to develop a Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) for Indian rotary and wide-body aircraft. The

sensor has been certified ‘indigenous’ by Indian authorities and is expected to be produced locally for integration with India’s helicopter fleet.

Which capabilities will you be showcasing at Aero India 2013? We are showcasing the High Accuracy Air Pressure Management System and

Soaring Heights: A mini UAV tracker that many believe has a huge potential in a UAV infested atmosphere. www.geopolitics.in

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the Structurally Integrated Antenna. As I mentioned before, both have been designed and engineered at the Cassidian Engineering Centre in Bengaluru. Besides, we will be displaying the Missile Launch Detection System (MILDS) which we have co-developed with DRDO’s Defence Avionics and Research Establishment (DARE). The sensor has been certified ‘indigenous’ by Indian authorities and is expected to be produced locally for integration with India’s helicopter fleet. From Cassidian’s global portfolio of UAVs, we are exhibiting the man-portable, fixed-wing, mini UAV Tracker, the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV Harfang and the tactical Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAV Tanan. We will have other interesting capabilities on display too. To view those I invite you to visit us at the EADS pavilion outside Hall C, OD-6 at Aero India. February 2013


hemant rawat

MBDA is riding high on its achievement of bagging the MICA missiles deal for the IAF’s Mirage upgrade programme and is seeking to further strengthen its foothold in the Indian defence industry. Loic Piedevache, MBDA’s Country Head based in New Delhi, spoke to Geopolitics about the Company’s plans which include landing contracts for arming the Rafale MMRCA and pitching the Mistral for VSHORAD and other business prospects

MAKING AN IMPACT MBDA won the MICA missiles deal for India’s Mirage upgrade programme last year. What is the timeline for delivery of the weapons systems? Who will carry out the integration of the missile on to the aircraft in India? MICA, with its two interchangeable seekers will provide a major operational enhancement to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) fleet of Mirages. The weapon is known as the ‘silent killer’ because of its ability to travel in passive mode until the very last moments of flight, thereby remaining invisible to the target’s sensors and countermeasure equipment. Apart from the first two aircraft which will be upgraded in France, the remaining Mirages will be upgraded by HAL in India that will also be responsible for integration activities. For the delivery timeline this has been agreed in a contract with the Indian Ministry of www.geopolitics.in

Defence (MoD) and in this respect, details have to remain confidential. However, I can confirm that we are on schedule.

With Rafale winning the Indian MMRCA bids, what are the weapons from the MBDA stable that you see being part of this contract? How will these weapons provide teeth to the Indian Air Force’s combat capability? The important feature of the MMRCA aircraft lies in its multi-role capability. That, of course, reflects the requirement of today’s combat pilot as shown by recent operations. Apart from being able to defend himself from an aggressor in the air, he also needs long range air-to-air weapons to ensure air space superiority. Simultaneously, he needs to be able to deliver precision strikes against ground targets, both static and moving. All this, poten-

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tially required during a single sortie, significantly increases the demands placed on the pilot. It is important, therefore, that he has ultimate faith in the weapons carried on the aircraft. The weapons suite for the MMRCA has yet to be finalized but we are certainly able to offer air-to-air and air-toground solutions that will make the IAF a redoubtable force against any potential foe. With the unique MICA featuring two seeker variants, the battle space from short to beyond visual range is assured. Much has been said about the six-nation Meteor programme which has seen MBDA develop a ramjet-powered BVRAM weapon which is expected to outperform any current or planned weapon in its class. For ground strike, Dual Mode Brimstone (DMB) has recently been February 2013


What is the USP of the Mistral missiles you are offering to India for its Very Short www.geopolitics.in

Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) requirements? With regard to Mistral’s winning features, where do you start? Mistral is one of our most successful missiles with a hit probability in excess of 96 per cent achieved in over 4,000 firings to date. These statistics are a unique selling point (USP) in themselves. With such unmatched results, it is hardly surprising that it has been chosen

forget capability, a feature which comes in handy when more than one incoming target has to be confronted as is the weapon’s ability to be rapidly reloaded. A beam-riding system, on the other hand, has to be kept locked on by the operator. That gives you very little time in VSHORAD operations to take a second shot should you miss with the first. Nor does it allow you sufficient time to engage a Dual Strike: Rafale carrying all weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range anti-air multi-target mica missiles beneath its hull.

MBDA

re-ordered by the UK RAF which has constantly enthused about the capabilities of this weapon proven during operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. This weapon can carry out pinpoint precision attacks against static and fast-moving targets ranging from armoured cars and 4x4s to a solitary sniper operating from cover. Thanks to the millimetric wave radar component in its dual-mode seeker, DMB can operate in fire-and-forget salvo mode. When demanding ground conditions require man-in-the-loop control until impact, then the semi-active laser feature of the seeker can be brought into play. Importantly, the weapon has also been proving itself highly suitable for the anti-FIAC (Fast Inshore Attack Craft) role which is becoming an issue in coastal waters. When a customer such as the Royal Air Force (RAF) says that your product is “very popular with our air crews because of its flexibility, accuracy and reliability”, it reflects that they have real confidence that the weapon will deliver the effects required, then you know that you have a true endorsement indeed. To take out hardened targets such as control bunkers and key military or civil infrastructure targets, a deep strike capability is a must. Here we’re talking about a weapon capable of being launched from ranges beyond 250 kms and striking with unerring accuracy with minimal risk of causing collateral damage. For this purpose, MBDA has two unparalleled systems: SCALP/ Storm Shadow and Taurus KEPD 350. The former has proven its capabilities under combat conditions in Iraq and in Libya. In fact a total of around 100 of these cruise missiles have been launched under combat conditions by France, Italy and the UK with outstanding results. With regard to surface strike, an antiship capability is also something that air forces are considering more and more. Here, of course, MBDA is especially wellqualified to support India with Exocet AM39 which has combat-proven its effectiveness in dealing with various classes of naval vessels at long stand-off ranges. It has recently been validated in its new evolution which has made it especially compatible with modern digitized interfaces as are now found in the latest generation of aircraft.

by 40 customers in 27 countries to provide air defence against a wide spectrum of air targets from UAVs and helicopters to cruise missiles and combat jets. Our customers are demanding greater flexibility and in this respect Mistral again fits the bill. It is probably the most versatile missile in the MBDA’s product range with applications from tripod, vehicle, ship and helicopter-mounted launchers. Significantly, Mistral was first conceived as a firing post/launcher system missile with all the features and capabilities that this implies (unlike some shoulder-mounted systems that have attempted subsequent upgrades for tripod launch). It offers all the necessary features packed into a lightweight, man-portable system to meet the range of threats that could be confronted from the air against surface forces. Importantly, with its InfraRed (IR) seeker, the Mistral has fire-and-

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second or third incoming threat. Just a slight movement by the operator trying to keep a beam locked onto a fast-moving, manoeuvring target at a range of about six kilometres or so would be magnified many times over resulting in a miss with possibly disastrous consequences. Our Mistral Man-portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) are easy to use and can be deployed night and day. Their three kilogram warhead, proximity fuze and high supersonic speed all combine to make it a highly effective weapon.

How do you think the PARS 3 LR anti-armour weapon brings value and difference to the Dhruv ALH platform? As you know we are already working with the Dhruv’s manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in providing the Mistral ATAM air-to-air weapon for the helicopter’s self-defence needs.

February 2013


MBDA

Moving ahead: Mica missile fired successfully from an air defence system to intercept and destroy multi targets.

fore, we have been working closely with an Indian partner who has already developed a totally in-country built twin launcher for Dhruv and PARS.

Do you see the possibility of Indian Army’s requirement for loitering munitions growing in the coming years? How strong is your offering to the Indian Army in this regard? At the moment, we are not sure whether the Indian army will opt for one type of Loitering Missile or a family of missiles, delivering different ranges and capabilities. Whatever the army decides MBDA is ready to offer a solution.

MBDA also has interests in India in the form of SM39 anti-ship missiles for the Scorpenes, Milan anti-tank guided missiles and the ASRAAM for the Jaguar combat planes. Could you please give a low down on where these projects stand and what does the future hold?

The helicopter is destined for a number of roles across the board with the Indian armed forces and so an effective ground strike weapon will certainly add considerable flexibility. PARS 3 LR has already been chosen and test-fired successfully by the German army for its Tiger helicopters and we in negotiations with India for this weapon. It is a high precision weapon designed for typical modern combat scenarios, offering the pilot an easy-to-use means of attacking multiple and varied ground targets either individually or in salvo and then immediately disengaging to safety thanks to its fire-and-forget capability right up to maximum range. The PARS 3 features a very high speed giving the intended target very little time to react. As the missile seeker is permanently cooled, thanks to a compressed air cooling system, the weapon can be fired instantaneously, an important advantage should a fleeting target suddenly appear. The Dhruv calls for a twin launcher as opposed to the Tiger’s quadruple version, and, therewww.geopolitics.in

The Exocet family of missiles is known around the world. Its credentials do not need to be explained. The very name Exocet is synonymous with the best in anti-ship weaponry. Having ordered the SM39 variant for its Scorpene submarines, I’m glad to say that India is now a part of a very large, global Exocet customer community with all that this implies beyond the operational capabilities of the missile. India will now accrue and share advantages linked to servicing, product evolutions, supply chain economies and so on. Milan has linked us to India in terms of a partnership that I’m proud to say goes back to some 40 years or so. This is the eponymous anti-armour missile that has been produced under licence by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in India for use in conjunction with the home-produced Flame firing post. India placed a new order for over 4,000 missiles a couple of years ago and so this robust, easy-to-use and maintain weapon continues to feature importantly in the Indian Army’s inventory.

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Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) is indeed an ongoing project or campaign which we are discussing with the IAF with regard to its fleet of Jaguar bombers. The Jaguar ideally needs a weapon with an excellent ‘snap-up’ capability, namely the ability to shoot up at targets with height advantage which will usually be the case for a bomber facing an incoming attack by more agile fighters. With its over wing missile pylons, the Jaguar will also need a missile that is extremely fast off the rail to avoid any potential danger posed by the aircraft’s wing. ASRAAM is a weapon that fits the bill perfectly in both cases; in fact, in these aspects it is superior to any comparable weapon. Thanks to ASRAAM’s exceptional speed, the pilot will even be able to shoot while veering rapidly away from the threat with no worry of the missile ‘ripping away’ from the pylon when high g-forces are exerted during a turn at the moment of firing. The missile’s speed and agility combine in a design concept aimed at avoiding the hit and miss of a dog fight. With ASRAAM, the operational concept lies in ‘first shot, first kill’.

What are the capabilities that you will be showcasing during Aero India 2013?

Our theme for Aero India will be multiple choices for multi-role operations, a theme very much linked to the IAF’s Medium Muliti-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). In addition to showing how the MBDA range of air-launched products is capable of adding real flexibility to the IAF’s capability, we will also be able to demonstrate how MBDA has the unique ability to meet the guided weapons needs of all three services: the air force, army and navy. We will take the opportunity to showcase an anti-ship weapon system that we feel could have a wide range of applications in India from helicopter to maritime and perhaps even ship launch. This is the Marte ER benefitting from tried and tested technologies in the Marte Mk2/S helicopter-launched weapon but with an extended range of around 100 kms. Of course Maitri, the short range, surface-to-air project which sees us working closely with the DRDO, will again be a feature. We never say too much about as it more for the DRDO to discuss than for MBDA. However, we have great hopes that this project, should it materialize, will form the springboard for our much wider partnership plans with the growing Indian defence sector industry. February 2013


“BEL will showcase its capabilities” The premier defence electronics company in the country, Bharat Electronics Limited, has chalked out a comprehensive plan to become a world-class enterprise in professional electronics with a projected revenue of `25,000 crore by 2020, In this interview, Anil Kumar, BEL’s Chairman and Managing Director, talks about the immense possibilities for the company in the field of defence and aerospace. Excerpts:

Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has set itself a target to become a `25,000 crore company by 2020? Do you have a blueprint for achieving this target? Yes. BEL has prepared a comprehensive plan which encompasses the analysis of external business environment including Defence/Non-Defence business opportunities, Roadmap for Technology/Product development, Infrastructure requirements, Analysis of processes, etc. To achieve the desired vision of becoming a world-class enterprise in professional electronics with a projected revenue of `25,000 crore by 2020, BEL has drawn detailed action plans for each function area of its business.

Being the only Defence PSU in the electronics sector, is Bharat Electronics Ltd ready to absorb a part of the `165,000 crore offset that is likely to accrue in the next decade? Have you set a target in this regard and what efforts have you put in to attract the expected offsets your way? BEL is focussing on the opportunities in the areas of offset obligations of vendors in the various RFPs of MoD. BEL has also identified contract manufacturing (both build to print and build to specs) as one of the areas to address the emerging opportunities with OEMs. We are working closely with various major foreign aerospace and defence companies to secure business under the www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


mandatory Offset Clause in the RFPs for Indian Defence Procurement. MoUs have been signed with many OEMs and efforts are being made to establish long-term supply chain relationships with the global players. BEL’s facilities have been visited by these companies and based on the feedback generated, necessary actions have been taken. Seven of our SBUs/ Units have obtained AS 9100 Certification to address aerospace business. Infrastructure modernisation and requisite additions have taken place to meet the requirements of these companies. We are targeting a total offset business of $300 million in the next 3 to 5 years.

Under the JV with Thales, what do you intend to achieve? How will this JV further your presence in the domestic and global markets? BEL and Thales, France have signed a Joint Venture Agreement in August 2012 with the clearance of their respective boards for the formation of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) in the area of Civilian and select Defence Radars subject to obtaining the necessary statutory and government approvals of both India and France. The proposal has been forwarded to Ministry of Defence for its concurrence and parallely FDI approval has been sought from FIPB. Both approvals are under progress.

How much do you spend on internal R&D annually to add value to the products you supply to the Indian armed forces?

BEL has been spending about 7-8 per cent of its revenues on Research and Development of technologies and products required by the armed forces. R&D in BEL is organised in a three-tier structure namely Central Research Laboratories, Central D&E and D&Es attached to each of the Strategic Business Units. The CRLs develop futuristic technologies, the Central D&E group develops common technology modules and the SBU D&Es develop products/systems based on user requirements using the technologies developed. Also, the R&D groups interact with DRDO labs and many joint development programmes are under way for products and systems. We also collaborate with foreign OEMs for some of the important projects by way of ToT. The R&Ds get involved in absorption of technologies and subsequent indigenization of the www.geopolitics.in

How do you intend to leverage the MMRCA deal with Dassault Aviation that is likely to be signed in the next fiscal? For the MMRCA contract, we have been interacting with Dassault Aviation and their Tier-1 suppliers like ECE, Inter Technique and Thales. BEL is interested in Airborne Radar, EW Systems and Avionics. We know that these are very specific areas for which BEL is, perhaps, the best qualified company in India. We have been visited by these companies and their major partners. In addition to these areas, BEL is targeting new areas like system integration and customization of designs. We have already started preparing four of our Strategic Business Units (SBUs) to handle this business and are creating the required facilities, training manpower and obtaining AS 9100 certification. products. More than 50 per cent of BEL’s turnover comes from in-house R&D efforts at our Centers of Excellence. Many of the current R&D projects are in-house development efforts including the SDRs and TCS programme.

What are the capabilities that you will be showcasing during Aero India 2013?

BEL is planning to showcase its capabilities to domestic customers and foreign OEMs at Aero India 2013 by displaying its latest range of products and systems, developed in-house. The main highlights of our display will be: Radar Systems like Bharani, Weapon Locating Radar, 3D Tactical Control Radar, IFF Mk.XII, Ground Penetrating Radar, etc. which have been developed in collaboration with DRDO labs. Communication products like Software Defined Radio with different form factors, 100W HF Radio, Data Link systems, etc. Key elements developed for use in various Network Centric Systems like computing elements in various forms; right from wrist wearable computers, handheld computers, Tablet PC to rugged laptop, etc. Network Centric Warfare solutions for Indian Navy which include Combat

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Management System, Coastal Surveillance System, an all-weather 24x7 surveillance system developed for safeguarding the nation’s coastline by networking various sensors such as Radars, Day and Night Electro Optical elements, Automatic Identification Systems and metrological equipment. Electronic Warfare and Avionics products like Missile Approach Warning System, LRUs for Flight Control System, Radar Finger Printing System, etc. BEL is laying increased thrust on development of new technology modules like Microwave Power Modules and TR modules for use in Radars, MEMS based products for use in Sonars, Microwave components used in Airborne EW systems, etc. These will be on show at Aero India With several major defence purchases in the final phase of decision-making we expect global OEMs and their vendors to be on the look-out for Indian offset partners. We expect this exhibition to provide a meeting ground for such business partners. Apart from this it will also provide BEL, the premier defence electronics company of the country, a platform to showcase its capabilities to the world. February 2013


iaf pilatus

HONING SKILLS: (Above)Pilatus PC-7 Mk II has been selected by the Indian Air Force as its basic trainer.Second to none: (Right) IAF fighter pilots participate in joint exercises with foreign air forces and are acclaimed to be as good as any in the world.

The landscape in the mastery of air is fast changing but the Indian fighter pilots are as good as any in the world, thanks to their continuous training and retraining, writes Vijainder K Thakur

constantly Pushing THE Boundaries

S

trange it may seem, the fact remains that for an Indian fighter pilot, the real flying training in the IAF starts after he is commissioned into the service. The training that is imparted to cadets at the Air Force Academy before their commissioning into the IAF is only basic in nature. The operational flying training starts on commissioning and never ends till an www.geopolitics.in

IAF pilot hangs up his gloves and flying helmet. The pre-commissioning training imparted to pilots comprises three stages: basic (ab-initio), intermediate and advanced. Ab-initio training is a combination training and filtering process. It is more about filtering out the slow learners and accommodating them in the ground duties branches of the Air Force than teaching a pilot how to fly.

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During this stage, not only is a pilot taught the basics of flying but his learning abilities are also assessed. As the adage goes, even a monkey can be taught to fly — perhaps, if given a lifetime. IAF pilots are no monkeys; they learn to fly an aircraft with less than 10 hours of instructional training. Within days of flying their first solo, they learn to take the aircraft to its limits. As they progress in their careers, February 2013


they learn to fly different aircraft, usually of increasing complexity. They are able to convert to the new aircraft with just 8-10 hrs of instructions. In the past, the IAF has flown fighters that had no type trainers. Many IAF veterans flew Gnats and Maruts without any dual seat instructional flying in a type trainer as these aircraft didn’t have twin seat versions! IAF pilots don’t just learn how to fly aircraft, they learn to use them for warfighting, aerial combat, ground attack, troop transport, aerial refuelling, electronic snooping, etc. Basic Flying Training is currently being conducted on HAL designed and produced Kiran Jet Trainers at Air Force Academy, Hyderabad. The training was earlier conducted on the HPT-32, which has now been phased out because of engine problems leading to several fatal crashes. www.geopolitics.in

India is in the process of purchasing Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mk II turboprop aircraft as the basic trainer for the IAF. The first batch of Pilatus aircraft was set to be inducted into the IAF in January 2013. Every successive month, two more aircraft will be added to the fleet. By the end of 2014, all elementary flying training will be done on the PC-7 Mk-II and Kiran aircraft would be used exclusively for Stage II training of cadets. Intermediate flying training focuses on imparting more flying skills as well as assessing the suitability of the rookie pilot for the different flying streams of the IAF: fighters, transports and helicopters. Intermediate Flying Training is also conducted on the Kiran jet trainer at the Air Force Academy. HAL has been at work developing Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) Sitara HJT-36 as a Kiran replacement but

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the project has been stalled following a crash in April 2011 during spin trials. In the intermediate stage, the process of filtering out slow learners continues but rejection rate is significantly reduced. Advanced Jet Training prepares fighter pilots for induction into the fighter stream of the Air Force and is currently being carried out on a mix of Hawks and Kiran AJTs. Eventually, the Hawk AJT will replace all Kiran aircraft. Once commissioned as a pilot in the IAF, an officer always remains a pilot. The wings pinned on an IAF pilot’s chest at commissioning are for a lifetime. But so is the process of learning. Their training never ends! On first reporting to a squadron, a rookie fighter pilot is trained on a type trainer (two seat version of the fighter) before being allowed to fly solo. After his first solo, the pilot flies a type conversion sylFebruary 2013


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labus to learn basic handling of the fighter that the squadron is equipped with. Having flown his conversion syllabus, the pilot starts day operational training to become qualified to take part in day combat operations. This phase of training typically spans around a hundred hours and takes about a year to complete. The training includes learning to manoeuvre the aircraft to its limits, navigating long distances at low and high altitudes, flying in multiple aircraft close and tactical formations, air-to-air combat and air-toground weapon firing on practice ranges. On completion of the phase, the pilot is declared Day-Ops. Next comes, night operational flying training during which all that a pilot mastered during the day, he learns to do by night to become Fully-Ops on the fighter type. While earning his day and night ops status, a fighter pilot also builds up experience in flying through bad weather and leading other aircraft in formation, being progressively declared a two and four aircraft leader. After a pilot becomes fully operational, the learning process doesn’t end; it accelerates. He participates in exercises with other squadrons, flying under operational conditions, coordinating attacks with aircraft from other bases, or scrambling to take on intruding ‘enemy.’ The IAF now routinely exercises with some foreign air forces and the pilots undergo a lot of pre-exercise training and preparation. And here they have come off with flying colours. As pilots become seasoned, they undergo various competitive courses to hone their skills in ground attack and air-combat flying with and against dissimilar fighters. Some of the advanced courses qualify a fighter pilot to: • Impart training to squadron pilots in

weapons firing as Pilot Attack Instructor (PAI). • Impart combat training to squadron pilots as a Fighter Combat Leader (FCL), Fighter Strike Leader (FLS). These courses are conducted at an establishment called TACDE, which also runs a Helicopter Attack Leader course for attack helicopter pilots. • Impart flying instructions as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI). • Hold higher staff appointments. During his active flying career, a fighter pilot usually flies more than a single type of fighter. After several hundred hours of flying on a type, a fighter pilot typically converts to a different type, often a more recently inducted fighter. The training process starts all over, with the pilot required to once again undergo conversion, attain Day-Ops and then Fully-Ops status. The day and night ops flying training syllabi are abridged for pilots who are already fully-Ops on a different type. A pilot’s training state is periodically evaluated by examiners deputed by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) at Air Headquarters to ensure there is no complacency or dilution of standards. During a DASI visit, the pilot flies air combat sorties against DASI examiners and performs attack missions on range under their scrutiny. Not just fighter pilots, but fighter squadrons too come under the scope of DASI inspections. The IAF needs to relentlessly keep pace with improvement in aviation and weapons technology worldwide in order to remain viable, capable of securing the country’s airspace and be able to the battle to the enemy. This is something the IAF leadership has been doing since independence but, unfortunately, not at the desired pace because of the country’s slow-paced economy.

However, since the mid-90s, GDP growth rates have perked up and defence budgets have proportionately increased, allowing better-paced modernization. IAF leadership has done well to leverage increases in budgetary allocations to the service to induct more capable aircraft, such as the Su-30MKI, and perhaps more importantly, to introduce force multipliers such as aerial refuellers, Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and more capable aircraft sensors and weapons through aircraft upgrade programme such as Bison, MiG-29 UPG and MiG-27 UPG. Future upgrade programmes include the Mirage 2000 and the Jaguar. IAF fighters now have greater operating ranges, more powerful radars, longer range air-to-air missiles and guided bombs. The fighters can monitor, and if required engage, multiple targets at the same time. The IAF has also embraced the concept of swing role fighters. The Su30 MKI and the soon to come Rafale, for example, can take-off with weapon loads that allows them to perform air defence or ground attack missions to address an emerging need. In the past, fighters were slotted into the air-defence and ground attack roles and the squadron pilots were trained for just those specific roles. Now, a fighter pilot needs to be able to take on either mission, increasing the scope of the training imparted to him. The introduction of force-multipliers has mandated seminal changes in aircrew mindset and fighter flying tactics. Consequently, aircrew training syllabi and goals have been undergoing major tweaks. There is more stress on Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat, as compared to Within Visual Range (WVR) combat, as also the need for aircrews to better absorb ECONOMICAL FLIGHT: The Hawk Mk. 132, a low-cost combat aircraft, is powered by the Rolls-Royce Adour Mk 871 engine. BAE Systems delivered the final of 24 UK-built Hawks to the IAF in November 2009


g hemant rawat

COVERSTORY

and process the data streaming in from ground and airborne radars over data links. Geopolitics spoke with Air Marshal P K Barbora (Retd), former Vice Chief of the Air Staff, who oversaw the implementation of changes in IAF operational training to better absorb new technologies, especially force multipliers. He says that the most significant impact of force multipliers has been on aircrew load with “the man, not the machine, fast becoming the limiting factor”. He adds, “Modern technology has made our fighters safer and easier to fly. The weapons they carry are more accurate and lethal. The only problem is that the information coming into the cockpit can easily overwhelm a pilot.” During the Libyan war, for example, the frontline was in continuous flux. Even though changes in the location of friendly and hostile forces were being continuously streamed to allied aircraft, on several occasions French pilots were forced to return without releasing their weapons because of their inability to process the information. “Besides their own sensors, our fighter pilots now need to process the information coming over data links from AWACS and ground based radars,” Barbora explains, adding that, “with aerial refuelling, aircraft flight endurance has gone up to an extent where a pilot’s physical endurance is the limiting factor”. But he asks, “Diapers are some help for bodily functions, but how do pilots cope with the mental loads of flying non-stop for over 8 hrs in a cramped cockpit?” The IAF’s modernization introduced daunting challenges in retraining air crew, but the IAF met them squarely. “Having made investments in more capable fighters, avionics, weapons, AWACs and refuelling tankers, the IAF is determined to leverage the investments to the hilt,” says the former Vice Chief. www.geopolitics.in

To meet the challenge of increased complexity, the IAF has acquired the British Aerospace Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer for the initial training of fighter pilots. In terms of complexity and sophistication, the Hawk matches the Jaguar. Its introduction into the initial training programme has had a very positive impact, says Barbora. Pilots coming to Jaguar aircraft after flying the Hawk now undergo a shorter syllabus, reducing costs and improving the operational status in Jaguar squadrons. The IAF is increasingly opting for twin seat aircraft to reduce pilot load and ensure effective utilization of sensors and weapons. But doesn’t that increase the number of aircrew required and make paucity of aircrew the limiting factor? ‘No,’ says Barbosa. He explains, “The IAF is absorbing pilots who didn’t make the grade during initial flying training as Weapon System Operators (WSO).” The IAF is confident of meeting its pilot and WSO requirements in the future because more and better quality youngsters are opting to join IAF’s flying stream, following the revision of pay scales by the last Pay Commission. The IAF has continuously revised the training syllabi for courses conducted by Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). BVR combat now takes precedence over WVR combat in order to leverage our investments in longer range radars, ground-based and airborne. “The precedence shift doesn’t mean the IAF is any less trained now for visual combat than before,” says, Barbora who served as staff pilot in TACDE on his way up in the IAF hierarchy. In addition, squadron pilots are continuously trained to operate with AWACS and to fly their fighters to the limits of their own and the aircraft’s endurance. Happy with the qualitative edge that the AWACS give it, the IAF is utilizing its current fleet of three to the hilt, keeping

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ALWAYS ON GUARD: Trained IAF pilots have to undergo training throughout their careers in ground and air attack

them in the air most of the time. Fighter pilots have been posted to the AWACS squadron to bridge any mindset divides and better co-ordinate operations. After operating in relative isolation up to the beginning of the 90s, the IAF has now institutionalized exercises with friendly Air Forces and is routinely exercising with the French, British, US and Singapore Air Forces. Sporadically, it has exercised with other friendly air forces. These exercises ensure inter-operability of IAF aircraft with those from friendly Air Forces, allowing the IAF to support international peace keeping operations. In addition, the exercises give our aircrew good exposure to the warfighting techniques employed by others. A less talked about spin off is that they also give the IAF an opportunity to operate against, and evaluate, aircraft types that may one day be shooting at our pilots—the F-16, for example. According to Air Marshal Barbora, “The exercises have earned the IAF great respect from other Air Forces. Air Forces from other friendly countries are keen to exercise with us, but currently our resources are stretched.” Always retraining and always ready, the IAF is now gearing up to meet future challenges, such as the introduction of the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft), which would once again entail mindset and training tweaks. One of the qualitative requirements that the IAF has stipulated for the MMRCA is that it be equipped with state-of-the-art weapons covering the gamut of aerial warfare. The IAF will need to imbibe and master the new systems introduced. The IAF also needs to work on the fusion of its aircraft, attack helicopters and UAV sensors and so there will certainly be more challenges on that account. Still further ahead is the challenge of imbibing the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and all that is stealthy. Wary of developments across its northern borders, the IAF is determined to stay ahead in the stealth game. “Technologically, the IAF is nearly at par with other western Air Forces and only a few years behind the USAF,” asserts Barbora. “There was a time when we would keenly observe how the USAF operates its AWACS. Now they keenly watch how we operate ours!” he adds, ending on a note that should leave IAF pilots proud and secure. (The author is a former fighter pilot.)

February 2013


Exploring new options US AIRFORCE

With the United States deciding to go for developing renewable biofuel for military aviation that reduces the military’s dependence on traditional petroleum-derived fuels, it is time for India to do the same, writes Monish Gulati

I

n 2007, the US Air Force released the final test report covering successful flight trials of a service B-52H bomber flown over a year using synthetic aviation kerosene produced from coal. This was the first move in a long-term US strategy directed at weaning its military off imported petroleum products with the ultimate aim being the replacement of crude oil based fuels with products made from natural gas and coal. Synthetic fuel manufacture was based on the 1920s German FischerTropsch technology. During the Second World War, Germany, which had limited access to natural crude oil, built quite a few synthetic fuel plants to power its fuel guzzling armour thrusts. Alternative fuel is the general term to describe any alternative to petroleum-based fuels, including liquid fuel produced from natural gas, liquid fuel from coal and biofuels. During mid 2012, in Hawaii the US Navy demonstrated its ‘Green Strike Group’ as part of the 2012 Rim of the www.geopolitics.in

A green milestone: The B-52 became one of the first US military aircraft to fly using a 50/50 blend of Fischer-Tropsch process (FT) synthetic fuel and conventional JP-8 jet fuel

Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise that included surface ships, submarines and aircraft from 22 different nations. RIMPAC 2012 began on June 29 and concluded on August 3, 2012. The US navy fielded its Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, guided missile cruiser, two destroyers, a fleet replenishment oiler, MH60 helicopters, F/A-18 fighter jets, and E-2 early warning aircraft. The ‘Green Strike Group’ powered by biofuel blends was a step toward the US Navy’s goal of a full deployment of such a fleet in 2016. Earlier on July 17, 2012, in preparation for the RIMPAC, US Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler, USNS Henry J. Kaiser, delivered 700,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable diesel fuel, or HRD76 to three ships of the strike group. Kaiser also delivered 200,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable aviation fuel, or HRJ5, to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Both fuels were a 50-50 blend of petroleum-based fuel and biofuel, which comprised of a mix of waste cooking oil and algae oil. These events highlight the key aspects regarding alternative fuels, particu-

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larly biofuels to the transport sector and specifically to the military. First, defence establishments influenced by national and energy security concerns have courted alternative fuels since the use of motor transport. Second, the characteristics, issues and options relating to alternative fuels vary widely as there exists a variety of feedstocks and different production technologies. Finally, biofuels are fast moving away from edible feedstock and attaining cost parity with the petroleum, including aviation fuel. Theoretically, biofuels can be produced from any renewable biological carbon material, although the most common sources are plants that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and use sunlight to grow. Globally, biofuels are most commonly used for transport. The two most common feedstock sources for making biofuels are plants rich in sugars and bio-derived oils. Crops that are rich in sugars (such as sugarcane) or starch (such as corn) can be processed to release their sugar content. This is fermented to make ethanol, which can be used directly as a petroleum substitute or additive. These fuels, known as first-generation biofuels, are typically February 2013


Classification of Biofuels Biofuels

Secondary

Primary

Firewood, wood chips, pellets, animal waste, forest and crop residues, landfill gas

1st generation

or butanol by fermention of starch (from wheat, barely, corn, potato) or sugars (from sugarcane, sugar beet, etc.) Biodiesel by transesterification of oil crops (rapeseed, soybeans, sunflower, palm, coconut, used cooking oil, animal fasts, etc.)

not suitable for use in aircraft as they do not have the necessary performance and safety attributes. The technical requirements for aviation biofuels are that they should directly substitute traditional jet fuel, withstand the peculiar aviation operational conditions of temperature, pressure, etc. and not compromise on performance and safety. (see box-1) Bio-derived oil commonly sourced from plants such as corn, soybeans, algae, jatropha, halophytes and camelina, after processing, can either be burned directly or converted by chemical processes to make high-quality jet and diesel fuels. The key advantages that accrue from the use of second-generation biofuels for aviation are as follows: • When sustainably produced, biofuels result in a reduction in CO2 emissions across their lifecycle; • They offer a viable alternative to fossil fuels;

www.geopolitics.in

Bioethanol and biodiesel produced from conventional technologies but based on novel starch, oil and sugar crops such as Jatropha, cassava or Miscanthus. Bioethanol, biobutanol, syndiesel produced from lignocellulosic meterials (e.g. straw, wood, and grass)

Biofuels result in a more diverse geographical fuel supply through non-food crop sources. Biofuels, especially those for use in aviation and maritime transports have their share of challenges. Biodiesel when stored for long periods of time is more

3rd generation

Biodiesel from microalgae Bioethanol from microalgae and seaweeds Hydrogen from green microalgae and microbes

likely to oxidise, especially at low temperatures, causing it to gel and restrict its flow. Some additives improve the cold weather tolerance of biodiesel, but only by a few degrees. Nitrile-based rubber materials expand in the presence of aromatic compounds found in petroleum.

US NAVY

supersonic flight: The US Navy marked “Earth Day” in April 2010 with an M1.2 supersonic demonstration of an F/A-18 Super Hornet using a 50/50 mixture of JP-8 jet fuel and biofuel

2nd generation

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February 2013


US AIRFORCE

Looking for alternatives: The process to produce a jet-range fuel involves using solid second-generation biomass sources

Pure biofuels that have not been blended with petroleum and don’t contain paraffin-based additives may cause rubber seals and hoses to shrink, leading to malfunction. Manufacturers are starting to use a synthetic rubber substitute called Viton which is not affected by biofuels for seals and hoses. Various factors—economic, environmental and even political—have contributed in making biofuels attractive for direct use and as an alternative to fossilbased fuels. However, from the point of view of the aviation sector and use by the military, two factors are relevant—national security for the military and climate change for the aviation. With the nations importing ever increasing amounts of petroleum, national security is a key driver for developing home-grown sustainable fuel supplies. The defence establishments respond by powering their aircrafts with domestically produced alternatives to petroleum fuels. Concerns about climate change, which impacts the commercial aviation sector, are driving demands for lower carbon alternatives. Aviation contributes a small but growing share of carbon dioxide emissions—estimated at two to three per cent worldwide. While aviation leaders have made significant strides in reducing fuel use and emissions per passenger mile—designing significantly www.geopolitics.in

cleaner planes and increasing efficiency of operations—industry leaders have identified lower-carbon biofuels as a key measure to meet its climate goals. To understand the utility of biofuels in aviation and, in particular, military aviation, it would be necessary to be acquainted with two definitions—ASTM standards and drop-in fuels. ASTM International, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organisation which develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services. Its standard for aviation kerosene is called ASTM D 1655. Aircrafts can use only those fuels for which they have been certified. Use of any other fuel would require re-certification of the aircraft. In practice, this means that any biofuel or biofuel blend has to be certified as being equivalent to ASTM D 1655 kerosene in order to qualify for use in the existing aircraft fleet. Such biofuels or biofuel blends are referred to as ‘drop-in fuels’. Drop-infuel implies that once the fuel meets the ASTM specification, it can be blended up to a certain volume percentage and the final blend will have identical properties to those of ASTM D 1655. Further, as dropin fuels are chemically indistinguishable

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from conventional jet fuel, besides the aircraft or engine fuel systems, no changes would be required in distribution infrastructure or storage facility resulting in significant logistical and cost advantage.

Aviation Biofuels

The current worldwide consumption by the aviation sector is about 200 million tonnes kerosene per annum. Aviation’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions is poised to grow as air travel increases and ground vehicles use more alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Currently aviation represents two per cent of global emissions but is expected to grow to three per cent by 2050. The main driver for aviation to use alternative fuels is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and allow aviation supply to meet demand growth while at the same time the sector diversifies fuel supply. Sustainability of biofuels is, therefore, a key prerequisite. Safety and performance are also essential design criteria for aviation fuels. Among the different qualities of biofuels at present, three types are favoured to be used in aviation jet engines blended with kerosene: Synthetic Fischer-Tropsch (FT) based kerosene produced through high temperature biomass gasification, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (HVO) and Hydrogenated Pyrolysis Oils (HPO) proFebruary 2013


duced from lignocellulosic biomass. From a direct cost perspective, it can be expected that all biofuels, capable of meeting aviation fuel quality standards, will be significantly more expensive than fossil kerosene for the aviation industry until 2020. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (HVO) have been commercialised by Neste Oil of Finland. The technology is feedstock flexible and can use a variable mix of different vegetable oils and animal fats as its raw material, including algae and microbial oils. The current main feedstocks for HVO production are palm oil and animal fat. In order to be able to supply aviation sector with biofuels, these feedstock shall have to be certified to meet the sustainability criteria.UOP, a Honeywell Company, has also commercialised a feedstockflexible HVO technology, both for the production of green diesel and green jet fuel. Aquatic microalgae are among the fastest growing photosynthetic organisms. They have carbon fixation rates in an order of magnitude higher than those of land grown plants and can be continually harvested, with harvesting cycles ranging between one and ten days. They produce oils that can be converted into aviation fuels via HVO while the biomass residue can be used for further energy production (in combined heat and power applications or synthetic biofuels via gasification and pyrolysis). Development of algae as a biofuel reigns supreme among drop-in fuels. Algae biodiesel jet fuel represents the best potential answer for the sustainability of the aviation industry. The United States Armed Forces, which currently fuels 77 per cent of its machinery with petroleum-based fuel, has announced the aggressive goal to be petroleum-free by 2040. The 2011 Pew Charitable Trusts report ‘From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces’ reported that Department of Defense clean energy investments increased 300 per cent between 2006 and 2009—from $400 million to $1.2 billion—and are projected at $10 billion annually by 2030, adding that that by 2015, the Pentagon will be spending $2.25 billion each year to harness clean energy technologies for air, land and sea vehicles. The military requires access to adequate fuel supplies in strategic locations and bio-refineries prowww.geopolitics.in

US NAVY

US Military—Biofuels Programme

Green Strike Group: Hydro-treated renewable aviation fuel, or HRJ5, comprising a mix of waste cooking oil and algae oil was delivered to the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) strike group

ducing advanced biofuels from multiple feedstocks represent, perhaps, the best option for meeting this military need. The US Aviation biofuels programme is being monitored by Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and seeks to develop renewable jet fuel (JP8) for military aviation that meets or exceeds JP-8 performance metrics. The bioderived JP-8 is intended to be a drop-in fuel. The biofuels programme continues to make progress, converting cellulosic and algae feed stocks to JP-8. Performers funded under the effort include teams led by General Atomics (algae) and Logos Technologies (cellulosic). Having suc-

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ceeded in its initial efforts, DARPA is now considering options to facilitate further development of algae-derived biofuels. The cellulosic effort is ongoing. Biofuels in the present state of technology might be used for the first time in aviation as it has fewer fuel alternatives compared to ground transportation sectors and electricity generation. Jet airplanes for commercial and military uses will need liquid, high energy-density fuels with the same technical characteristics as petroleum-based fuels and biofuels are expected to deliver on their promise. India cannot afford to be left behind in developing this emerging option. February 2013


in quest of aerial superiority

While it undergoes transformation to gain more potency, the Indian Air Force is keenly watching the ongoing trends in combat jet avionics and adopting them accordingly, writes Saurav Jha

I

The term avionics was coined by journalist Philip J Klass by condensing ‘aviation electronics’. Modern onboard avionics as such include all primary sensors, electronic warfare systems, cockpit instrumentation and the mission computer carried by a combat jet. The coming together of these packages turns the modern combat jet into a flying platform that senses as well as shoots. Now the

chief sensor on board any modern combat jet is the fighter radar which today has to be competent in both air-to-air as well as air-to-ground modes. Worldwide, the shift in fighter radar technology has been towards Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESAs) and this was also a major consideration in the MMRCA tender as indicated by various sources. Indeed, the winner of that tender, i.e. the Dassault Rafale, passed an important milestone last October when the first RBE2-AA AESA equipped Rafale (numbered C137) was delivered to the French Airforce. The RBE2-AA is an AESA upgrade of the staple passive array (PESA) RBE2 and affords a significant improvement over it in terms of Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) features. Typically, AESA receivers are at least 6 decibels (db) quieter when compared to PESAs. DASSAULT AVIATION

n 2007, during the run up to the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) decision, the then Air Chief, Fali Homi Major, had remarked that what matters today is not the exterior of the aircraft but what is inside it. This was of course an allusion to the centrality that combat jet avionics has in determining the efficacy of the same. Indeed it is primarily for this reason that 40-60 per cent of the cost of a modern fighter can be attributed to the onboard avionics package and associated software. As the Indian Air Force (IAF) transforms itself over this decade, it would be worthwhile to look at the transition it is making in terms of combat avionics through new inductions and upgrades.

A Big Leap: The Dassault Rafale Multi-role Combat Aircraft is equipped with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) RBE2 radar making it the first European fighter to enter operational service with the next-generation radar www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


IMPECCABLE VISION: The sensors installed in forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras use detection of infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source to create images assembled for video output

US NAVY

LOCKHEED MARTIN

Interestingly, the RBE2-AA employs a single channel approach in which each element in an AESA’s transmit/receive (t/r) module employs a stack of components perpendicular to the antenna face. This new packaging scheme seeks to overcome limits on t/r density and helps lower cooling requirements both of which otherwise put an upper bound on the power-aperture performance of AESAs. The contemporary power density benchmark for an AESA is around 5 watts per centimetre at the array face and to achieve this a single channel or element in an AESA consists of an LNA for the receive path, a power

LOCKHEED MARTIN

GIVING AN EDGE: Lockheed Martin delivered the first Target Sight System (TSS) production unit, a multi-sensor fire control system for the US AH-1Z Cobra helicopter

amplifier, a phase shifter, impedance matched low insertion loss interconnections, gain control blocks, radio frequency buffer amplifiers, digital circuits alongside the control logic required to latch downloaded gain and phase parameters into the t/r module phase shifter and gain control components. The IAF, of course, is extremely keen on equipping more of its combat jets with AESAs. Several of the IAF’s Sukhoi 30 MKIs are soon going to be due for a MidLife Upgrade (MLU) which will include www.geopolitics.in

the replacement of the very capable but now ageing Bars PESA with a new Russian origin AESA. It could be speculated that this might be the same AESA radar as the Tikhomirov NIIP design which is intended for the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) based on the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. The Tikhomirov NIIP X-band AESA design for the PAK-FA was extensively displayed by Tikhomirov NIIP at MAKS 2009. The antenna aperture is similar in size to the aperture of the N-011M Irbis E used in

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the Su-35s. This new Russian AESA design is apparently suited to fixed low signature tilted installation rather than a more regular gimballed installation. The design has some 1,526 t/r channels, with a tolerance level of perhaps several per cent. NIIP has publicly cited a detection range performance of 350 to 400 kms while assuming a 2.5m2 RCS target and peak power may be in the order of 15 kW. An indigenous AESA is also being pursued by DRDO’s Electronics Research and Development Establishment (LRDE) and February 2013


NORTHROP GRUMMAN

Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) under Project Uttam which is looking at new generation X-band AESAs which incorporate improvements in monolithic device technology by moving from the use of gallium arsenide-based monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMIC) to those built from gallium nitride and silicon germanium. Given that this project looks to provide a fighter AESA for the LCA Mk-2, the project is likely to encounter unique packaging and power requirement challenges that will be overcome through the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based phase shifters. In an age of stealth, however, radars are no longer the only kind of sensors that find pride of place in a combat jet’s tracking and scanning systems. Fighter aircraft today sport increasingly capable electro-optical tracking systems that are merging together the functions of the TV telescope, Infra-Red Search and Track (IRS&T) and Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) into a single device. The technological enabler for this synthesis is the emergence of the indium antimonide single chip focal plane array camera. This new kind of camera can be used for passive IRS&T searches, as well as to ‘stare’ at a specific target for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) identification and targetting. One sees this merger in the optronique secteur frontal (OSD) long range video system of the Dassault Rafale. The narrow field of this sensor coupled with visible waveband capability enables the identification of targets in situations in which visual contact is required by the rules of engagement. The OSD also allows target tracking, through both the IRS&T as well as visual sensors and the FLIR funcwww.geopolitics.in

Eyes on target: Sukhoi has started testing a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar on the third flying prototype for the T-50 PAKFA being developed for the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) for the Indian Air Force

tion can apparently be used to detect air targets at ranges up to 100 kms. However, it is the Russians who take these devices most seriously as evidenced by the continuing development of the Optical Laser System OLS-35 for the Sukhoi family. The OLS-35 is quite versatile and can accomplish the following tasks according to the manufacturer: • Airspace scanning in air-to-air mode • Aerial, ground and water surface target detection, locking-on and tracking • Ground surface scanning • Target image recognition • Target angular coordinates, range and angular and linear velocity determination • TV, IR and TV+IR video and message output to the cockpit multifunctional display • Interaction with the aircraft targeting and guidance complex • Operation at a full range of altitudes, ground and sky backgrounds, day and night, in different visual meteorological conditions and jamming interference • Ground target illumination by laser emission • Autonomous functioning and radio silence mode. Despite the capabilities mentioned above, the contemporary fighter’s radar or optical sensor on their own may not give the pilot a complete picture of the air situation. For that a dovetailing of inputs from all onboard sensors for greater situational awareness otherwise known as sensor fusion proves useful. AESAs in any case are software intensive with rigid realtime processing demands requiring the refinement of the computing architecture of modern fighter aircraft. Indeed, data management for fighter aircraft is inconceivable today without the availability of serious onboard processing and man-machine interface facilities in the form of a state-of-the-art mission computer and a digital glass cockpit providing the necessary inputs to the pilot in a readily available manner. The mission computer and a digital cockpit after all are responsible for not just sensor input management but also for flying the

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aircraft and deploying its weapons. This is also why the adoption of Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) that encapsulate realtime approaches to onboard data processing orchestrated by a network made of distinct computing modules capable of supporting numerous applications of differing priority levels is now being pursued. Sequenced and prioritised information in IMA environments when fed to glass cockpits consisting of large side by side Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD) multifunctional displays, wide angle colour head up displays, Hands On Throttle-And-Stick (HOTAS) controls and new generation helmet-mounted cueing systems represent no less of a generational jump than the appearance of true Very Low Observable(VLO) systems. However, the situational awareness for a fighter can never be complete without the ability to detect and neutralise threats to itself. Given that anti-aircraft technologies have never stagnated, there is an increasing move towards developing integrated Electronic Warfare (EW) suites for fighters. For example, the Rafale’s Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft (SPECTRA) suite developed by Thales combines long-range detection, identification and accurate localisation of infrared, electromagnetic and laser threats. SPECTRA incorporates radar warning, laser warning and missile warning receivers for threat detection, in addition to a phased array radar jammer and a decoy dispenser for threat countering. It also has a dedicated management unit for data fusion and reaction decision. SPECTRA is, of course, part of a larger worldwide movement towards integrated EW and even our indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project, the Tejas, has notched up a fair degree of success in the development of such systems by DRDO’s Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE). DARE has also helped indigenise a lot of the avionics in the Su-30 MKI through Project Vetrivale. In fact, the success of Project Vetrivale has actually created a situation whereby domestic Indian companies such as SAMTEL are emerging as major suppliers of not just avionics components but systems itself as symbolized by the indigenous Divya Dhristi helmet-mounted display. In the future, the avionics sector in India is likely to witness the most significant growth among all aerospace segments, not in the least due to the IAF’s continuing transformation. February 2013


ARMY.LV

Tomorrow’s Weapons: The Almaz/Beriev A-60 programme was built to demonstrate an airborne HEL DEW capability and provide baseline data for the development of an operational weapon.

DEW for a knockout PUNCH Given their capacity to neutralise the enemy precisely without causing collateral damages, the series of Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) and its development should be one of the top priorities for Indian advanced weapons development over the next 15 years, argues Sitakanta Mishra

T

he “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”, said the fourth century BC Chinese strategic thinker Sun Tzu in The Art of War. Unlike the traditional or projectile weapons, the Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) are a new genre of systems on the horizon capable of accomplishing such a strategy by dewww.geopolitics.in

livering lethal energy at the speed of light. Once massively deployed, they are likely to revolutionise warfare and render many unassailable weapons of today obsolete and alter war doctrines, tactics, and strategies in vogue. While US, Canada, Russia, France, Germany and China are nurturing such systems aggressively, and a dozen other countries are seriously planning for

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them, India is yet to formulate a national vision on the utility DEWs in a meaningful way. The idea and technique of directed energy in the military arena can be traced back to the early Greek scientist Archimedes who is said to have invented the burning mirrors, turning them on ships to set them afire and helping defend Syracuse when the Romans invaded in 214 BC. One can find mention of the directed-energy death-ray or heat-ray also in the novel ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells in 1898. Later on, the Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell and the German scientist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz considered an electromagnetic wave as a potential source of power. February 2013


The modern quest for defence applications of electromagnetic energy is known to have commenced around 1935 when the British Admiralty pleaded Sir Robert Watson-Watt to investigate the possibility of using a radar-like device to boil a pilot’s blood. Before World War II, it was assumed that electromagnetic waves could be used to destroy airplanes. Early in World War II, British radar experts came up with an idea of developing a ‘super- interferometer’ which could transmit microwaves intense enough to destroy enemy electronic networks. Subsequently, Soviet scientists were probably the first to successfully develop a high-power microwave (HPM) weapon, far ahead of other countries on this research. In the 1980s, microwave weapons became more attractive for countering intercontinental ballistic missiles. Today, one major type of DEW is the ‘e-bomb’ which uses Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) technology; mounted on a missile it can destroy or disrupt command and control functions of adversaries when it flies over installations. They produce high voltage standing waves that can melt electrical circuitry, and destroy a wide range of electronic equipment over their footprints.

Invincible technology

Directed energy weapons produce a beam of concentrated electromagnetic energy to irradiate the target. Basically it is an electromagnetic wave consisting of tiny and quantised packets of energy known as photons. They are a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. According to B M Deveci, the basic function of a directed energy weapon is to place sufficient fluence on a target (joules per square centimeter J/cm²) or irradiance (watts per square centimeter watts/cm²) to inflict lethal damage or disruption to critical components. To destroy soft targets (fabrics, plastics, etc.) approximately 1000 J/cm² are required. Extremely hard targets such as tanks might require 100,000 J/cm². Once the target has absorbed this energy, it will begin to heat up. Overall, DEWs, with their adjustable power and fluence capacity, instead of permanent hard-kill damage, are the new threat to highly sophisticated military systems. DEWs can be divided into three categories: lasers, which excite atoms to www.geopolitics.in

release photons in powerful bursts of coherent light; high-power microwave (HPM)/ radio frequency (RF) weapons, which radiate electromagnetic energy in the high RF spectrum; particle beam devices, which use large numbers of atomic or subatomic particles moving at relativistic velocities approaching that of light. However, particle-beam weapons are not considered as feasible weapons. Currently, directed energy is generally focussed on lasers and microwaves. Depending on some conditions such as distance, generated power, and targethardening level, DEWs affect their targets through either a ‘soft-kill’ or a ‘hard-kill’ technique. A soft-kill is achieved when the effects of a directed-energy weapon stops operation of the target system temporarily. For example, disrupting the electronics of a guided missile, causing it to miss its target, or suppressing or damaging visible, infrared, and microwave sensors. A soft-kill by directed-energy weapons against human targets means painful stimulation of human nerves, hearing or skin. Like conventional weapons, they can defeat their targets by causing physical damage to the targets. A hard-kill is achieved when sufficient energy is delivered into the target system, such that it is permanently damaged or destroyed. Among the two feasible DEW varieties, in terms of technology and function,

they can be further divided into four types: continuous wave lasers, pulsed lasers, continuous wave high power microwaves, and pulsed microwaves. The effects of a continuous wave laser on a target are based on the amount of energy the laser deposits onto the target. The deposited energy is a function of the output power of the laser, the length of time the laser power is incident on the target, a transmission number to account for losses between the source and the target and the spot size of the laser spot on the target. A 25kW laser with a two-second pulse length and a five-centimetre spot size could kill a person, break an aircraft canopy, or ignite fabrics and materials at distances where transmission is only 40 per cent effective. A laser is a device that produces an intense unidirectional beam of coherent light. Unlike ordinary light, as generated by the sun or a light bulb, that scatters energy in a random fashion, the laser beam is coherent and almost uniform in wavelength, and travels in a single direction. These unique characteristics of the laser beam make it important for military applications. Lasers operate in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet sub-ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. The HPMs have much longer wavelength and much lower frequency than the laser. A high-power microwave source

Sub-atomic Threat: A particle beam weapon is a DEW which directs energy in a particular direction using particles with negligible mass. They have particle the potential for practical applications such as anti-ballistic missile defence system

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February 2013


Simple Electromagnetic Pulse Blast

1

A strong magnetic field is created by the current flowing around a cylindrical coil wire. DETONATOR

explosive in metal casing

coil

2

The midline is ripped forcing the compressed field out in the form of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) blast.

antena

magnetic field

The detonation compresses the magnetic field while pushing the metal casing against the coil and causing a short circuit.

converts kinetic or potential energy in the beam to electromagnetic energy, in the form of microwaves, to be delivered to the target. An antenna directs the microwaves toward a target and acts as the mechanical interface between the atmosphere and the microwave source. Besides these three components highpower microwave weapons have tracking, aiming and control systems. While lasers generate tightly focussed beams of monochromatic (single frequency) photon energy in the visible and infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, highpower microwave devices generate much less focussed beams of energy in the radio frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Once microwave energy reaches a target, a sequence of penetration and propagation processes will take place from the target’s outer surface into its interior. Molecular heating is the result of narrowband high-power microwave weapons on the target’s outer surface. The molecules of the target rub together due to the power of the microwave energy. Microwave weapon systems have the ability to produce graduated effects in the target electronics, depending upon the amount of energy that is coupled to the target. Later, the energy that is received can be subsequently transmitted deeper into the electronics through the circuitry pathways that exist within the target itself. As conventional projectile weapons transfer energy to the target via a physical object, they are replete with www.geopolitics.in

3

electro magnetic pulse

limitations. While traversing a certain distance in certain time with certain payload they tend to be imprecise. Comparatively, the DEWs deliver lethal energy at the speed of light and virtually no time elapses between their firing and its impact on the target. As they are extremely precise, collateral damage is extremely low. They are also free from gravitational limits due to lack of mass, which also frees them from the kinematic and aerodynamic constraints that limit traditional weapons. Compared to conventional weapons, DEWs offer significant benefits, including controlled lethality (combined non-lethal and lethal capabilities in one system), long-range force application capability, cost-effectiveness, deep magazines, fast speed-of-light engagement times, ability to counter manoeuvring targets, precision engagement, low collateral damage and significantly smaller logistics footprints than non-DE weapons. As the DEWs are wide-area weapons, they can engage multiple targets within a hostile area; they can even be rapidly retargeted to provide protection in several directions. Due to their deep magazines which need only fuel and battery chargers, they have low operating costs. For example, according to one estimate, a tactical high-energy laser shot is estimated to cost about $8,000, whereas firing a Patriot (PAC-3) missile costs $3.8 million. Unaffected by weather they can penetrate deep into the earth, enabling attacks on

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buried bunkers, as well as targets in space. The HPM weapons can be effective against electronics even when those systems are turned off. As multi-platform weapons, they can be carried by UAVs, road vehicles, aircraft, tactical fighters, helicopters, missiles, ships and even by manned or unmanned combat system platforms. Microwave weapons can also be used to for defence applications against missiles. Beside the military applications, high-power microwave weapons can be used for law enforcement by using them against hostile crowds to disable or stop criminal land, sea and air vehicles without hazard to the public associated with firearms. Despite numerous advantages, directed energy weapons have a few drawbacks. First, while radiating at an enemy it will not only affect the target system but also anything else in the beam’s path. Any friendly forces within the footprint of the beam will be at significant risk. Second, they are highly susceptible to degradation by the atmosphere in the presence of obscurants, such as dust, clouds, rain and smoke. Third, due to lack of directlyobservable feedback from the target, one may not know accurately if it has been successful. Fourth, they may be relatively simple and lucrative for terrorists to acquire and use for their nefarious designs. However, their potential influence on the current battlefield strategies far outweighs their limitations.

India and the DEWs

Given the complicated and critical regional security environment, the DEWs would be very effective offensive as well defensive systems for India’s security strategy in general and missile defence strategy in particular. The necessity of such weapons was strongly felt during the Kargil war in 1999 when two of India’s aircraft, a MiG21, MiG-27, and an attack helicopter were hit by shoulder-fired missiles. To acquire sophisticated capabilities to jam enemy hostile missiles the defence services will need all the aircraft to be equipped with advanced directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) systems while the helicopters equipped with protection against infrared-seeking air-to-air missiles. Pakistan is keenly observing such technologies and China has already designed the ZM-87 portable laser weapon to damage electro-optical sensors such as laser rangeFebruary 2013


finders, video cameras and missile seeker heads at ranges up to 10 kms. Though India has not yet officially proclaimed a national vision for directed energy utilization, Indian scientists have reportedly begun testing such systems, which are expected to be ready for induction in a few years. The Laser Science and Technology Centre of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), begun in 1950 as the Defence Science Laboratory (DSL), works in many diverse areas: development of solid-state laser systems for military applications, development of high power laser sources and related technologies, development of battlefield optoelectronics and electro optic counter measures (EOCM) systems, etc. Reportedly, a variety of new energy-beam weapons, including one that can kill incoming ballistic missiles by bombarding them with subatomic particles or electromagnetic waves are envisaged. India is also said to be looking for overseas partners to jointly develop a laser-based directed infrared countermeasure system to protect aircraft against ground-launched infrared guided missiles. Global tenders for the multimilliondollar contract reported to have been sent to defence companies in Europe, Israel, Russia, and the United States. The DIRCM self-protection suite designed by Indian scientists is a laser-based directed infrared countermeasure system for protect-

ing aircraft and helicopters against MANPADS. According to another report, Dr Anil Kumar Maini, the Director of the Laser Science and Technology Centre has said that a laser weapon of the DEW family is being developed with the capability to fire a beam with a potency of 25 kW. This type of laser weapon would intercept a ballistic missile in its terminal phase within the range of seven kilometres. The Government has also reportedly decided to equip its police and paramilitary forces with a slew of DEWs to tackle mass public protests. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have given the go-ahead for the selective use of the non-lethal laser guns to disorient a crowd or even militants in action, according to news report. While taking serious note of the global developments in DEWs, many experts

are of the view that India must delineate service-specific applications. According to Professor Premchand, India may lax somewhat on the offensive Directed Energy Weapons, but under no circumstances can it afford to leave network centric assets, national critical information and telecommunications infrastructures unprotected against the emerging Directed Energy capability of China. Calculated induction of DEWs into the three services’ capabilities would bestow them asymmetric advantages upon the enemy, along with the effective control of the battlefield. Though India is studying and seems to have achieved rudimentary capabilities in this arena, it would take at least two decades more through the indigenous piecemeal route to fully equip itself with advanced DEWs. Therefore, India runs the risk of timing itself out of the future technology race. Therefore, it is now an imperative for India to pool together resources and the know-how from within and outside to leapfrog to the Directed Energy weaponeering phase straight away. Alongside, a national framework on directed energy utilization and a strategic doctrine to integrate DEWs into the current military strategy must be undertaken forthwith. (The author is a Research Fellow at Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi)

lockheed martin

Looking Ahead: The Patriot PAC-3 missile is a part of the US Army’s High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system. DEWs are projected to be much more cost effective than the PAC-3 missiles.

www.geopolitics.in

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February February 2013 2013


War on terror Euro Hawk UAV

Developed through a partnership between Northrop Grumman and Cassidian for the German Ministry of Defence, the Euro Hawk it slated to be the continent’s first military UAV that has combined both long flight durations with high altitude. Its purpose will be gather strategic intelligence from up to 60,000 feet over a period of 30 hours.

KARI UAV

Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) claims to have built the fastest UAS in the world with the ability to cruise at 400 kmph and perform Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) using dual tilt rotors.

www.geopolitics.in

U

nmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are among the most effective tools for fighting the ‘war on terror’. They are so surgically precise that ‘targeted killing’ is now a by word for drone action. Plus, UAVs are cheaper than fighter aircraft. At least for the US, UAVs define their vision of a nimble, technologically advanced and efficient armed forces capable of a warfare with ‘light footprints’. It’s a template that seems to delight the rest of the world that is keen to emulate the US at least as far as building up a UAV arsenal goes. Future UAVs may be capable of reach-

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ing heights that are over double or triple what present top quality UAVs can reach and stay in the air for months at a time. These UAVs would resemble gliders with solar panels to maintain power and sensor arrays. Rather than rely on satellite imagery, these UAVs would give warfighters persistent situational awareness. Of course, UAVs have been trending towards other extremes as well. Tiny UAVs that can be flown through open windows are in the works. These miniscule aircraft will stay airborne in times measured in seconds or minutes while giving valuable information to soldiers on the ground without giving away their position like a Feburary 2013


Lockheed Martin Sea Ghost

Boeing Phantom Eye

is a tailless, jet-powered UAV which was conceptualised as a scaled-down version of the B-2 bomber. Its role and function will be to provide the US Navy with a carrierbased drone that can carry out reconnaissance, fire missiles, and drop bombs.

The newest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has a considerable edge over unmanned aircraft currently in use today. This hydrogen-powered UAV is a propeller-driven aircraft with the capability to fly for up to 10 days during aerial surveillance and combat missions. The aircraft uses two 2.3 litre, four-cylinder engines capable of achieving 300 horsepower.

Lockheed Martin Samarai

The Company began work on the Samarai in 2007 under a US Defence Department programme to produce an extremely small, ultra lightweight air vehicle system. Apart from the 30-cm version, Lockheed also has field-tested a 17-cm version and is working now to scale down the Samarai even further. thrown ground vehicle might.The future of UAVs is trending towards automated systems when it is expected that one person can monitor many different UAVs at once. Enhancements and upgrades in the form of more powerful jet engines, carbon composite materials and stealth ability along state-of-the-art advanced navigation and communication systems are set to boost the functionality of UAVs even further in the near future. Further miniaturisation of important components has led to the development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) of greater compactness and manoeuvrability. In the future, UAS are projected to employ a high capability autonomous system by using onboard Artificial Intelligence (AI). www.geopolitics.in

Global Hawk

Built to provide long duration surveillance, and collect information using multiple sensors, the Global Hawk is capable of much longer flight times than any manned aircraft could endure and is equipped with electro-optical, radar and infra-red sensors along with planned signa intelligence.

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February 2013


STARS OF FUTURE COMBAT

Large on-station time and no pilot-fatigue limitations have ensured a dramatic growth in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems. According to reports in 2005, only about five per cent of military aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan were UAVs, a percentage that had grown to 33 per cent by 2011. As the future of UAVs is trending towards automated systems, observers are certain that the next generation beyond the ‘Joint Strike Fighter’ will be unmanned or at best optionally piloted. Monish Gulati discusses the scenario.

I

UCAV, jointly developed with six European partners. Neuron is a 5t-class stealth technology demonstrator powered by the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine. It joined the ranks of stealthy UCAS alongside the US RQ-170 Sentinel and X-47B. Also launched in the month of December 2012 was the third flight of the Boeing’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, which is a reusable unmanned spacecraft. It is boosted into space by a rocket, then reenters Earth’s atmosphere and lands as an aircraft similar to the space shuttle. The X-37B showcases the state-of-the-art autonomous functioning by an unmanned vehicle and the capability of the US to influence functioning of space platforms, such as navigation satellites, in case of hostilities on earth. These exciting developments highlight the fact that the combat potential of the UCAS is being relentlessly redefined by the technological breakthroughs in its system components and its employability envelope is being constantly extended by innovative users. According to US market analyst, the Teal Group, the aviation sec-

tor is worth an estimated `32,000 crore ($6 billion) a year and is expected to double within the next 10 years. Unmanned systems have rapidly transformed from being primarily remote-operated, single-mission scaled down platforms into autonomous, multimission systems which maybe identical in size to the present day rotary and fixedwing aircraft. The UAV when considered along with ground control station, associated data links and support peripherals has been termed as Unmanned Aerial System or UAS. Besides eliminating the risk to a pilot’s life the UAS, vis-à-vis the manned aircraft, have the significant advantage that their aeronautical performance parameters such as endurance and ability to withstand G-force are not con-

northropgrumman.com

n December 2012, the US Navy took the first carrier compatible X47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator on board its aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman. The X-47B is a computer-controlled UCAS that flies a preprogrammed mission and takes off/ lands in response to mouse clicks from its mission operator. Trials have successfully integrated the UCAS demonstrator with Truman’s flight deck using an arm-mounted Control Display Unit (CDU) and remote control. The strike-fighter-sized UCAS also conducted fuelling operations and had its digital engine controls tested for safety against electromagnetic radiation. The US Navy, through the X-47B, plans to demonstrate first carrier-based launches and recoveries by an autonomous, unmanned aircraft in 2013. The UCAS programme further aims to demonstrate two ‘firsts’ for unmanned jet-powered aviation: autonomous carrier operations and autonomous aerial refuelling. Around the same time, the French aviation major Dassault announced the first flight of its Neuron

Pilotless Combat: The Northrop Grumman X-47B has a full-sized weapons bay. www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


Redefining Warfare: (left)The Caelus is an electrically propelled, all-weather missile with small IR and noise signatures while the (right) Gladius is a low collateral damage lightweight missile.

strained by human limitations. Advances in digital communication technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) leading to high degrees of autonomous control combined with technologies such as automatic stabilization including ‘sense and avoid’ within the UAS have transformed it into a potent combat platform.

Mission Areas: Current and Future

The combat capability of UAS has been mapped to domains such as battlespace awareness, force application, force support and logistics. Current missions include reconnaissance and surveillance, target identification and designation, counter-mine and explosive ordnance disposal etc. In the near future, UAS missions will include resupply, combat

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search and rescue, aerial refuelling and air combat. While developments in in-flight refuelling and ultra-efficient solar power cells have extended the range of UAS significantly, the availability of advanced navigation and satellite communication technologies has made remote operations of UAS more robust and reliable. Autonomous control of existing aircraft allows some of the UAS drawbacks of cost, payload, programming limitation, communication linkages, training, etc. to be mitigated. Consequently, the nextgeneration UAS will be larger, allowing them to carry greater payload with more powerful engines. A US Air Force study predicts that the UAS built on a modular and networked architecture with greater autonomous operations will eliminate the need for ground-based pilots and help overcome the vulnerability of the UAS to communication links that can be jammed. Potential future missions need performance enhancements. Besides autono-

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mous operations, other developments in the UAS domain come from powerpacked jet engines and storage batteries, carbon composite materials and stealth, miniaturization, navigation, communication and modularity, to name a few. Recently Roke Manor Research successfully integrated its miniature radar altimeter (MRA) with the landing system of Saab’s Skeldar V-200 Maritime UAV. MRA is vital to the UAV’s high autonomy during landing. The MRA’s compact size and light weight creates free space on Skeldar and optimizes its payload. Miniaturisation of key components has led to the fielding of smaller, superlight weight and agile UAS. Micro UAS (weighting less than 2 kg) and nano UAS (60 grams or less) have been developed to operate inside buildings and explore ‘confined spaces’. Improvements in UAS support systems can also considerably impact its employment. In September 2012, a shipboard system designed for both launch and recovery of the Scan Eagle UAV was successfully demonstrated in USA. The Compact Launch and Recovery System

February 2013


hemant rawat

India’s own UAV: Lakshya-II was successfully flight- tested at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in January 2012

(CLRE) uses a compressed-air launcher to shoot the Scan Eagle into the sky. To land, small hooks on the UAV’s wings catch hold of rope suspended from the system’s extendable mast and arms. The CLRE provides a small-scale solution for UAVs and is more compact than existing systems. When installed it allows UAV operation from small special operations boats and saves space on a larger ship.

Recent Trendmakers

A look into the future would be better referenced and assimilated with a glance at some of the existing designs and concepts of UAS either in the testing stage or just off the drawing board. These trend makers operationalise breakthroughs in technology leveraged by the UAS or showcase employment concepts that seek to innovatively synergise different systems to a common objective. ƒƒ Air-to-air RefueIling Under a `179 crore ($33 million) deal in 2010 with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Northrop agreed to demonstrate refuelling with a pair of Global Hawks. Two RQ-4 Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) Global Hawks flew in formation under its KQ-X programme to dewww.geopolitics.in

by North Korea and China’s accelerated military build-up. The planned UAVs will be able to fly at about 13,500 meters to patrol the skies for 22 hours continuously. They will also be able to track missiles after they are launched, something that is difficult for satellites. ƒƒ Suicide Drone South Korea is developing a kamikaze suicide drone codenamed ‘Devil Killer’ capable of dive bombing at targets at 250 mph. The drone weighs 55 pounds and has folding wings with a span of around five feet. The ‘Devil Killer’ can be pre-programmed for automatic strikes or manual control with a route and can acquire targets using its GPS-assisted video camera. If the primary target cannot be acquired, it can be redirected to another mission. It is expected to be deployed by 2015. velop the concept of air-to-air refuelling for high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAVs. One of the aircraft in the exercise was equipped with a belly-mounted refuelling system. In the reverse of normal probe-and-drogue refuelling, the tanker is fitted with a refuelling probe on the nose and the receiver is equipped with a hose-drum unit under the fuselage. The receiver trails the hose while the tanker comes up from behind and plugs into the drogue and then pushes fuel uphill to the receiving aircraft. This unusual arrangement minimizes the number of aircraft in the fleet that would need to be equipped as tankers. However, the two aircraft have yet to make dry contacts or exchange fuel. A Global Hawk with a particularly heavy payload, for example, would be able to take off with less fuel, and be subsequently refuelled in the air. Autonomous aerial refuelling at high altitudes is expected to extend the Global Hawk’s flight time from 30-35hrs to 120-125hrs. ƒƒ Missile-tracking Drones The Japanese Defence Ministry plans to develop UAVs that are capable of detecting ballistic missiles earlier than current systems using domestically developed information-gathering drones equipped with a supersensitive infrared sensor to detect and track ballistic missiles even at low altitude. The move comes out of concern for future ballistic missile launches

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ƒƒ Communication The US Navy has expressed interest in using DARPA’s in-development Vulture UAV as a means of providing communications to carrier strike groups if satellites are knocked out. Developed by Boeing in conjunction with QinetiQ, the Vulture is a solar-powered ultra-endurance UAV. It is being built as part of an Rs 485 crore ($89 million) cost-share contract which began last year. The Vulture will use solar arrays on the wing, booms and tails to collect energy during the day. Solar energy will be stored in regenerative fuel cells that will then power the distributed electric propulsion system through the night, ideally without any loss of altitude. Meanwhile, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is in the final stages of development of a Command, Communication, Surveillance and Strike (C²Strike) integrated system for tactical use. The system is based on its Panther UAS with automatic Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) and hovering characteristics and is day/ night capable.

Armament

The weaponisation of the UAS also presents an opportunity to extend the employability envelope and survivability of the UAS. One such concept is to get the UAV to operate at stand-off ranges. The MBDA missile system’s CVS301 Vigilus system, tagged as a revolutionary weapon system for the UAS, is one such arrangeFebruary 2013


Ballistic Missile Detection, tracking by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Radar’s detection range

UAV

Tracking Infrared Sensor Ground radar

g

n

ctio

Dete

g

in Track

ment. It was displayed at Farnborough International Air show 2012. Intended to equip the UAS, it comprises of Armatus, a common intelligent platform agnostic missile launcher and several types of effectors (guided weapons). The other two components of the Vigilus system include Gladius, a rocket-boosted glider and Caelus electrically powered and ducted fan propelled optionally armed expendable loitering ‘scout’. Both weapons are designed to enable direct (man in the loop) control from the ground by the UAV operator or by the supported element. Among the unique features of the system are the connectionless interface between the launcher (Armatus) and weapons and live and on-board mission planning capability. Weighing about 100 kg, the Caelus will provide close-in view of

New detection range

Aegis destroyer

targets, supporting the UAV operator by descending below clouds and loitering for up to two hours. The weapon of the CVS301 system is the 80mm Gladius miniature glider weapons with a range of 30 kms. The Armatus launcher will be able to carry eight Gladius weapons along with a single Caelus. In addition, there is the YMQ-18A Hummingbird UAV, with an operating ceiling of 30,000 feet which is around 10,000 feet higher than that of conventional helicopters. And to beat that, it can hover at 20,000 feet. The Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous SurveillanceImaging System (ARGUS-IS), named after the 100-eyed mythological Greek giant Argus Panoptes, ARGUS-IS has a video sensor that gives the operator on the ground the option of 65 dif-

ferent steerable windows with which to pick and track targets from. The Camcopter S-100 can carry infrared cameras capable of locating mines and IEDs and can also be used to place and recover sensors for remote surveillance.

Future Employment Scenarios

The major technological breakthroughs/ demonstrations in the system components or the support systems of an UCAS provide a fair idea of the possibilities of their likely future employment. Some of these are discussed further. ƒƒ Cross-dimensioning Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has built what it claims to be the fastest UAS on the planet. About 16 feet long with a 23-foot wingspan, the aircraft can cruise

US airforce

GRAPHIC: MODASSAR NEHAL

in Track

Armed Observer: Originally designed to carry out reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator has been upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions.

www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


at 400 kmph and can perform VTOL using dual tilt rotors that provide helicopter style take-offs and fixed-wing speeds once airborne. It joins the US Marines famed V-22 Osprey as the second such aircraft and is the first unmanned aircraft packing VTOL technology. Just as the DUKW, the sixwheel-drive amphibious truck of the Second World War vintage blurred the boundary between water and land, the UCAVs in the future will easily transit during operations from land to water to air. A ship at sea will be able launch a UAS to carry out aerial reconnaissance of a potential target and then dive underwater to place a magnetic charge at a critical point on the target ship’s hull. Alternatively it may dive to carry out underwater bomb damage assessment (BDA) of the target ship after an attack.

Given the diverse applications and user requirements of UAS in India, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the process of developing, in collaboration or otherwise, a portfolio of UAS ranging from micro UAVs to autonomous stealth UCAS. Besides its targettowing family of UAVs (Lakshya/ Nishant/ Lakshya II), Rustom, a MALE twin-engine system for surveillance and reconnaissance missions is under development at NAL. With a planned endurance of 14 hours and maximum altitude capability of 26,000 feet, it is slated to replace the Heron UAS. Three versions of the Rustom have been planned. The DRDO is scheduled to deliver to the Indian Army a version of the Rustom-1 MALE-UAV — equipped with a belly-mounted optronic payload by 2014. Also to be delivered by then will be a version of the Nishant tactical UAV equipped with a belly-mounted

optronic payload and a wheeled undercarriage. DRDO has also developed both Mini (up to 10-km range and 1-2 km operating ceiling) and Micro (1-2 km range and 300 metre operating ceiling) UAS. These are the Black Kite, Golden Hawk, Pushpak and two mini UAS for ISR, the Sly Bird and Imperial Eagle. These UAS are hand launched with autopilot, way point navigation and loiter capability. They are fitted with daylight cameras (micro) and night vision devices (mini) and are capable of transmitting video images in real time. DRDO has also developed a Micro-UAV named Netra, specifically for anti-terrorist (AT) and counter-insurgency (CI) operations. This 1.5 kg UAV is a collaborative development project between DRDO and alumni of IIT, Mumbai. DRDO is reported to be developing the Autonomous Unmanned Research

tamination and then land at the mission station with the samples and sensor data.

missions flown with manned aircrafts.

Modularity and Multi-mission

Single platforms are now capable of achieving the entire Find, Fix, Track, Select, Engage and Assess kill chain. However, modular design of payloads and payload bays on the UCAV will enable operators to tailor/ customize UAS mission profile within minutes of mission instructions. An UCAS mission package will have the same UAS platform carrying payloads varying in fuel, sensors and armaments according to tasking of individual platforms. Same would be the case for UCAV

ƒƒ Interoperability In a recent US exercise the MQ-1 Predator was tasked to search for Scud missile launchers and high-value human targets on the ground. The reconnaissance data was passed back to an operations centre and then pumped to an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, which directed the strike aircraft on to the target. It was the first time the United States Air Force (USAF) had used the Predator for a mission other than close-air support during the exercise whose primary purpose was to prepare

Northrop Grumman

ƒƒ Robotics and AI The future UAS will combine the mobility of an UAV with robotic components overlaid with AI, forming a high capability autonomous system. For example, the UAS used to carry out damage assessment and collect radiation data from the Fukushima nuclear reactor would, in the future, be capable of landing at a suitable location at the reactor site using video data collected by its sensors and site selection carried out by onboard AI. Thereafter, as per requirement it would collect radioactive soil or water samples using its robotic arm. On completion of the task, it would proceed to an off-site decontamination station for removal of radioactive con-

India and UAS

Eye in the sky: The RQ-4 Global Hawk has been designed to serve as a theater commander’s asset to provide a broad overview and systematic target surveillance. www.geopolitics.in

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helicopter platform, it can loiter for six hours at a distance of 120 km from the launch ship. A customised version of the hand-launched Skylark-1LE has jointly been developed by HAL and ELBIT Systems. Certified for operating at an altitude of 18,600 feet above sea level, the first deliveries of the UAV are likely to be made to both the Indian Army and the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) too are expected to place orders for both the Skylark-1LE and Hermes-90 UAVs. The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) which presently operates several Searcher Mk2 MALE UAVs has future plans for the procurement of Hermes-90 tactical UAVs.

Day and Night Surveillance: The Skylark UAV, designed by Elbit Systems, is launched by hand. The payload consists of daylight Charged Coupled Device (CCD) or optional Forward Looking Internal Cameras (FLIR) for night operations

from another airborne platform to fly to a selected point and land. In one of the trials, it placed sensors within 15 feet of the selected location. While the sensors are small in size and weight, the CICADA has the capability to emplace larger loads. The Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSSA) is a new unmanned helicopter with a payload of about 70 kg can fly for six hours on a full tank of fuel and can carry a Lapua Magnum .338 rifle or an M249 5.56-mm machine gun. In a similar vein, the future UAS for low-intensity conflicts would combine the versatility of a UAS with the sensor and the standalone operation capability of an Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS), complete with a robust communication link and active camouflage. These UAS

could be aerially emplaced in built up areas behind enemy lines to act as snipers engaging high-value targets. When not tasked to engage targets, the weapon payload would be replaced by multispectral ISR packages with capability to store large volumes of data which would be retrieved on return of the UAS to mission base.

Elbit Systems

Aircraft (AURA) now christened the Indian Unmanned Strike Air Vehicle (IUSAV) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It will be a tactical stealth aircraft-wing concept built mainly with composites, powered by a turbo-fan engine with laser-guided strike weapons carried internally. The Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is the project lead. Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), with the help of Russia’s NPO Saturn, is developing the Laghu Shakti turbofan engine for a MALE-UAV. This is to cater to the IAF requirement for a single turbofan-powered MALE-UAV capable of operating at high altitudes — a task which cannot be optimally performed by pistonengined UAVs like the Nishant, Searcher Mk1/2 and Heron-1. The Kaveri K-9 turbofan engine also developed by GTRE has been earmarked to power the IUSAV. Also on the cards is the GPS aided geo augmented navigation (GAGAN) Naval rotary-wing UAV being jointly developed by India and Israel. Built on a Chetak

pilots to fight against a near-peer competitor scenario such as anti-access/ area denial or Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) capability of an opponent due superior Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM), use of GPS jamming, etc. The future will see strategic assets such as the AWACS leverage the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the UAS along with endurance and survivability including stealth to conduct area specific multispectral monitoring. We may see the UAS operator on board the AWAC controlling more than one UAS to aid the AWAC in its mission. ƒƒ System-fusion A Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft (CICADA) can be dropped www.geopolitics.in

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ƒƒ Logistics Logistics is another mission area that will see a major influence of the UAS on its future concepts, particularly the effect of autonomous UAS. A resupply and medical evacuation compatible UAS called Air Mule is under testing. Ships at sea will carry medical evacuation UAS as part of their safety equipment. (The author is a Delhi-based strategic analyst)

February 2013


THE RIGHT CHOICE

airbus

Mid-air Refuelling: The A330 MRTT had been designed as a dual-role air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft. The aircraft has been selected by the IAF for air-to-air refuelling missions

The reason why India has preferred the Airbus 330 multirole tanker transport (A330 MRTT) to the Russian IL-78 MIDAS seems to be the former’s relative contemporariness and lower maintenance costs, writes Saurav Jha

A

nother long-drawn Indian Air Force (IAF) tender has finally drawn to a close with the selection of a new air-to-air refuelling system in the form of the Airbus 330 multirole tanker transport (MRTT). Emerging as the lowest bidder on the basis of lower life-cycle costs when compared to the Russian Ilyushin IL-78 MIDAS, the decision represents a growing preference in India for more conwww.geopolitics.in

temporary offerings over upgraded legacy systems. Of course, the final deal is still subject to negotiations but it nevertheless symbolises greater appreciation of ease of maintenance and availability rates in Indian weapons procurement practices over the previous habit of favouring systems with cheaper up-front costs which may subsequently become all too difficult to maintain given poor spares support. The IAF, after all, is realising that it

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is important to standardize on its selection given that India’s airborne refuelling need will continue to rise with increasing squadron strength as well as widening area of responsibility. The A330 MRTT given its modularity and versatility appears a logical choice for such standardisation. The IAF tanker bid for six units with an option for three more was actually floated for the first time way back in 2006 with responses from Airbus offering the February 2013


wikipedia

A330 MRTT and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) bidding with the IL-78 MIDAS. By 2009, the IAF seemed to have made up its mind in favour of the A330 MRTT based on its projected requirements and the relative contemporariness of the competing systems. The Ministry of Finance (MoF), however, balked at the higher initial cost per unit of the A330 MRTT which was three times more than that of UAC’s bid disregarding calculations of life-cycle costs. As a result, the procurement process was re-tendered and re-issued in September 2010, nine months after the older contract for around `5,715 crore ($1.06 billion) was stopped with some talk of Boeing joining the fray as well with a KC-767 bid. That did not materialize and the IAF, as of now, has stuck to its choice of the A330 MRTT in the original bid. Based on life-cycle costs, the A330 MRTT has emerged as the lowest bidder and the MoF seems to have gone ahead with this accounting procedure. The A330 MRTT’s lower operating and maintenance costs probably have nothing to do with the fact that it is a derivative of the civilian A330-200 which has competed rather successfully for the past 15 years in an extremely tight airline market

that is tailored for high-tempo operations and places a premium on affordability in terms of fuel savings, turnaround times and general serviceability. The IL-78, in contrast, was basically designed in the 1970s for Soviet military use and has the limitations of an aircraft conceived in a different era both in terms of doctrine as well as environment. Indeed, given that it already operates the IL-78, the IAF would be well aware of the type’s capabilities and pitfalls. One of the key concerns with reference to the IL78 would, perhaps, pertain to the usual problems faced by all Russian systems from the cold war era — finding the right spares from an industrial support system that is now spread across national borders with much of it still recovering from the cataclysmic demise of the Soviet military industrial complex. The IL-78 till recently could only be built at the Tashkent Aviation Production Association plant in Uzbekistan whose poor output and spares support issues for instance, among other things, severely delayed China’s plans to purchase newly built IL-76s and 78s. In contrast, over 800 A330-200s are in operation worldwide in the civilian domain with more still being bought. The

A330-200 is being produced at the fastest rate of any wide-body in the world today with production rising to a 10-monthhigh during 2013. Global spares support is, therefore, not much of an issue for the A330 MRTT which has a great degree of commonality with its civilian version. In fact, standard commercial A330-200s are delivered from the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France, to the Airbus military conversion centre in Getafe, Spain for the fitment of refuelling systems and military avionics that subsequently yields the A330 MRTT configuration. The A330 MRTT, therefore, follows a model whereby mass-produced civilian aircraft are quickly modified for military support roles bringing to the table vastly simplified logistics and civilian frugality in an era where operational costs are a major issue. More than 28 units of the A330 MRTT have already been sold to the armed forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK which have outfitted their respective units with customised refuelling configurations. The A330 MRTT displays great modularity in the choice of refuelling systems with the ability to sport both boom (receptacle) as

Knocked Down: The IAF has preferred the A330 to the IL-78 air-to-air refuelling tankers referred to as Mid Air Refuelling System (MARS)

www.geopolitics.in

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COBHAM

bridging distances: Cobham’s fifth-generation 905E Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) pod is part of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)

well as probe and drogue (basket) systems of the following types: • Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) for receptacleequipped receiver aircraft; • Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods for probe-equipped receiver aircraft; • Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) for probe-equipped receiver aircraft; and • Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle System Installation (UARRSI) for self in-flight refuelling. Given the above, it is clear that the IAF will be able to refuel all its existing combat aircraft using the A330 MRTT. Additionally, this ability of the A330 MRTT to be used for both boom as well as basket refuelling means that it can also be flown to support the P-8I Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft being acquired by the Indian Navy which uses boom refuelling. Moreover, it adds another dimension to what India brings to the table in terms of potential coalition operations in the Indo-Pacific where many potential partners operate combat aircraft of American origin that are outfitted for boom refuelling. The A330 MRTT is able to carry up to 111 tonnes of fuel in its wings, which is the same as the basic fuel capacity of the A330-200. This rather large holding of fuel in the wings itself obviates the need for www.geopolitics.in

installing any additional fuel tanks in the fuselage which is typical of older generation refuellers such as the IL-78 for most tanking missions, thereby, avoiding any reduction in the ability of the A-330 MRTT to carry passengers or cargo. This allows for a level of versatility not seen in other airborne refuelling types when it can be rapidly switched to transport troops and cargo when it is not carrying out air-to-air refuelling operations without any need for modification. In the transport role, the MRTT can be used to carry up to 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes or even accommodate up to 130 stretchers for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC). With such payloads, the A330 MRTT has a range of up to 14,800 kms while flying at a maximum speed of Mach 0.86. These figures certainly would have attracted an IAF envisioning a more intercontinental role for itself. The hot and high performance of the A330 MRTT as validated by high altitude trials in Leh also seems to have shaped the IAF’s opinion in its favour. An airwar over the Himalayas could after all be dominated by the side which is able to generate a greater sortie rate. Scenarios can be envisaged wherein the A-330 MRTT can take off with enough fuel to allow it to remain on station at about 1,600 kms from its home base for some four hours thirty minutes while transferring up to

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50 tonnes of fuel to all kinds of receivers. The possibly more relevant figure for an A-330 MRTT based in Leh itself is a mission wherein it carries a transferrable fuel payload of 60 tonnes while remaining on station for five hours at 930 kms from base and this would cover most of the northern sector. This would also enable roughly four medium-sized fighters to fly 6,700 kms when refuelled en-route. At the moment commercial negotiations for six aircraft with an option for three more (reduced from the six in the original 2006 bid) are likely to commence soon. The contract if signed includes a 30 per cent offset commitment out of a projected value of 8,000 crore ($1.55 billion). Airbus is offering the contract to be negotiated in both euros and dollars. Either way, it is important to note that there has been considerable inflation in the estimated value of the contract due to the rebidding and delays. This is a typical malaise afflicting Indian procurement plans whereby for one reason or the other (often allegations of corruption) the entire process gets delayed, with the buy being eventually processed at greatly increased prices. Now given that India probably needs more than treble the number of tankers it currently has, some clarity on the sequencing of more flight refuelling aircraft may well be in order. February 2013


hemant rawat

C130J Super Hercules Role and Function Four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It is considered the most Advanced Medium STOL Transport aircraft. The Indian Air Force purchased six C-130J-30s in early 2008 for its special operations forces in a package deal with the US government under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. In July 2012, the US accepted India’s request for sale of six more C-130Js through the same programme.

Gearing up for the Future

New acquisitions of four-engine turboprop C130J Super Hercules aircraft and C17 Globemaster III aircraft, along with the Indo-Russian Multiple Transport Aircraft Project, will give the Indian Air Force unprecedented strategic airlift capability, writes J V Singh

T

he Indian Air Force (IAF) has now entered its 80th year of existence. During its glorious history, the transport and helicopter fleets of the IAF have served the nation with distinction, both in times of peace and war. Transport aircraft are typically used to deliver troops, weapons, supplies and other military equipment to the IAF field of operations. However, on four different occasions, the transport fleet of the IAF has been employed aggressively, each time playing a crucial role in furthering national security interests. Air transport operations are crucial component of the combat support air operations which also include Air-to-Air Refuelling

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(AAR), Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Airborne Early Warning (AEW), Electronic Warfare (EW) and Search and Rescue (SAR). Historically, the transport elements of the IAF have been critical in executing all operations since its inception in October 1932 including the Burma Campaign in the 1940s during WWII, Kashmir War of 1947-48, 1962 War with China, 1965 and 1971 Wars with Pakistan, IPKF operations in Sri Lanka, Maldives in 1988 and the Kargil Operations in 1999. They have also been crucial in disaster relief operations besides large scale evacuation of our citizens in times of crises.

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Air transported operations

Air transported operations are defined as those operations that involve the movement by air of personnel and cargo through fixed wing or rotary aircraft within and between theatres of operations. Air transported operations for the IAF can be categorised into four major roles: airborne operations which include airborne assault, air landed operations and special heliborne operations, air maintenance operations and scheduled services and casualty evacuation. There are essentially


usaf

Proud record

According to ‘History of the IAF’, the official website, webmaster IAF, the first RIAF transport unit, No. 12 squadron was established in the year 1946. It received C-47 Dakotas in Panagarh by late 1946. In January 1950, India became a Republic and the IAF dropped its prefix ‘Royal’. This lone squadron was expanded with induction of more Dakotas following independence. Aircraft like the C-119 Packet, the Caribou, the Otter, the An-12, the HS-748, etc. were acquired over the years

Role and Function Used for the transport of troops, cargo and wounded. It was the first transport aircraft to be inducted by the IAF in 1946 in Panagarh for the No.12 Squadron which had first been raised on Spitfires at Kohat in December 1945. The aircraft was one of the principal components of the RIAF at the time of the Partition of India.

iaf

C-47 Dakotas

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to form the backbone of the air-lift forces. A second transport squadron, No. 11, had been formed on C-47 Dakotas in September 1951. Eighty C-119G Fairchild Packet aircraft were inducted during the period 1954 to early 1963 under US emergency military assistance. These propeller driven twin-engine piston aircraft served the IAF with distinction till Jul 1985, for more than 30 years. As an unpressurised aircraft, it was designed to fly below 18,000 feet. However, the Indian Air Force added a jet pack — Gnat’s Orpheus J-34 engine on the top of its fuselage to take it up to 24,000 feet to drop supplies to troops facing Chinese incursions. The Packets operated regularly to Leh, Thoise, Kargil and Fukche. All the airfields were beyond 11,000 feet elevation. The IAF created history by landing it at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), an airstrip located beyond 16,000 feet elevation. However, the 1960s revealed a serious security concern for India. Frequent clashes with China and finally an unprovoked attack on India’s sovereignty in October 1962 necessitated a quick and timely build-up of the air force. Transport aircraft and logistics became a hallmark for the IAF following the Indian debacle in the face of Chinese aggression. Soviet built An-12 and IL-14 were inducted during the period March 1961 to July 1963. Two new operational squadrons namely No. 44 and No. 25 were formed and based at Chandigarh. The An12 aircraft also had its limitations as it was partially pressurised besides limitation in navigational aids. Nonetheless, it played a remarkable role in Air Transport, Air maintenance and Maritime Reconnaissance roles. The aircraft was deployed on both the Western and Eastern sectors, and played a crucial role in turning the fate of the War in India’s favour. The most remarkable achievement of the An-12 fleet was its modification to a ‘Bombing Role’ just before the 1971 Bangladesh War: a true testimony to ‘innovative spirit’ of the IAF. In the mid-1970s, however, the IAF’s transport fleet had shown signs of a dwindling force. It was only during the early 1980s that a final decision was taken to completely replace the ageing Dakota and Packet fleets with An-32 aircraft. By this time the An-12 fleet was also showing signs of fatigue and inadequate maintenance support. The Soviet IL-76 MD was

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C119g Role and Function Designed to carry cargo, personnel, patients and mechanised equipment as well as drop cargo and troops by parachute. The procurement of 26 Fairchild C-119G Packets from the United States for the second transport squardron No. 11 ushered in significant upgradation of the IAF’s logistic support capacity. The aircraft reached India by the end of 1954. It became the major airlifter for the IAF and were subsequently issued to the No. 12 Squadron, which employed the aircraft along with the C-47s.

AN-32

iaf

two categories of airlift: strategic airlift for the carriage of passengers or cargo between theatres (inter-theatre) or to any place within the area of interest and tactical airlift — the carriage of passengers and cargo within a theatre (intra-theatre). The airlift task is undertaken by the transport and helicopter feets of the IAF. The transport feet maintains a capability for both strategic and tactical airlift. The fxed-wing aircraft enjoy higher transit speeds, carry heavier loads, are more reliable and are far cheaper to operate. On the other hand, helicopters have the capability to land anywhere and troops and equipment can be delivered direct into action, thereby saving the need for ground lines of communication from airfields. Because of their greater ability to utilise terrain masking, they are also more survivable in the combat zone. Thus, both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft are invariably needed in the overall air transport force mix.

Role and Function Twin-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed to withstand adverse weather conditions The An-32 is designed to withstand adverse weather conditions better than the standard An-26. The high placement of the engine nacelles above the wing allowed for a larger diameter propeller, which is driven by 5,100 hp rated AI-20 turboprop engines, almost twice the power of the An-26’s AI-24 powerplants.

found to be the most suitable aircraft. It could carry 48 tonnes of payload, or one T-72 tank weighing 42 tonnes comfortably. Its four engines gave the aircraft some multipurpose capability, including operating on an unpaved surface. It was an aircraft that could operate without any ground support system. It was suitable for quick induction of troops in battle zones or disturbed areas. A full complement of 225 troops could be landed and deployed in a matter of three minutes with no hassles. The induction of An-32 during early 1984 and IL-76 MD aircraft during 1985 added a new dimension to air power in the Indian subcontinent. IAF deployed

February 2013


Role and Function A specialised cargo aircraft with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability.

CARIBOU

www.geopolitics.in

tory to a state, tensions between China and India escalated. By early April, China had moved eight divisions to eastern Tibet, and reinforcements on the Indian side began with Operation Falcon in late 1986 and continued through early 1987. This massive air-land exercise involved ten divisions of the Indian Army and several squadrons of the IAF. The Indian Army moved three divisions to positions around Wangdung, where they were supplied solely by air. The 1987 episode was, to a large measure, logistically supported by the newly inducted Mi-17s. In Operation Cactus, in response to a request from the Government of Maldives, the Indian Air Force mounted special air-landed operations on the night of November 3, 1988 to airlift a parachute battalion group from Agra, non-stop over 2,000 kms to the Maldives. The IL-76s car(Lars Söderström wikipedia

the IL-76s effectively, taking over the control of Air maintenance role and air transport operations within three to six months of their induction. These aircraft gave a tremendous boost to the IAF and strategic reach. Here, a point may be made on the role of the helicopters of the IAF in transport operations, particularly in Kargil Operations (1999) — Operation Safed Sagar. Helicopters made a significant contribution in the Kargil war and few around 2,500 sorties, transporting large numbers of troops, casualties and hundreds of tonnes of load, besides flying attack missions. The IAF transport feet also worked round the clock in meeting the task of moving squadrons to their operational locations as well as transporting men and equipment of the Army. In this operation,

nosint.blogspot.com

Role and Function A medium-sized turboprop airliner. Twin-engine short/medium-range airliner, powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart 514 turboprop engines were also produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The 748 Series 1 and Series 2 were licence-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) as the HAL-748. HAL built 89 aircraft in India, 72 for the Indian Air Force and 17 for the Indian Airlines Corporation.

Guido Potters wikipedia

HS-748

the IAF, despite severe constraints, proved to be the decisive force in evicting the invaders. In this context, one may mention Operation Meghdoot — a story of courage in the continuous, untiring and relentless support by the IAF to the forces deployed there, which is a challenge for both man and machine. Operation Meghdoot was undertaken in support of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces in northern Ladakh to secure control of the heights dominating the Siachin Glacier, also referred to as the world’s ‘third pole’ and potentially a dangerous flashpoint on the disputed northern borders. Timely induction of our own troops by airlift prevented the Pakistan Army from occupying the ridge at Saltoro. The IAF’s IL-76s, An-12s and An-32s transported stores and troops, airdropped supplies to high-altitude airfields while Mi-17, Mi-8, Chetak and Cheetah helicopters ferried men and material to heights far above the limits set by the helicopter manufacturers. Similar is the story of Operation Pawan. Following the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord on July 29, 1987, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was inducted into the Jaffna area to assist the Sri Lankan government in their fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas. This operation lasted almost 30 months and about 70,000 sorties were ?own by the IAF’s transport and helicopter force to and within Sri Lanka without a single aircraft lost or mission aborted. The Mi-8s became the critical lifeline for the field forces as well as in providing air transportation to the Sri Lankan civil administration. Another inspiring instance is Operation Falcon. After India’s conversion of Arunachal Pradesh from a Union Terri-

IL-14 Role and Function Twin-engine commercial and military personnel and cargo transport aircraft. The increased frequency of clashes with Chinese forces on the Sino-lndian Himalayan border revealed the need for further increase in airlift capability, along with a requirement for medium helicopters suitable for high-altitude operations. Consequently, orders were placed in the Soviet Union for eight IL-14 transport aircraft.

rying elite commando forces landed at Male under the cover of darkness and the coup bid was foiled. The operation was carried out with flawless coordination and precision, leading to complete success of the mission. The most immediate reality that emerged from this brief and bloodless action was the swift and effective Indian military response, made possi-

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ble by the IAF’s strategic airlift capability. The IAF has also been utilised for strategic airlift during the Gulf War of 1991. The IAF had to protect the aircraft and ships evacuating the Indian population from the Gulf region. About 1,13,000 of the 3,00,000 Indian citizens resident in the Gulf region were flown back home on aircraft of the IAF, Indian Airlines and Air India in what remains till today the second largest airlift in world history after Berlin 1991.

The Road Ahead

It may be noted though that the last time we inducted transport aircraft was over 25 years ago. Both the An-32 and IL-76 MD aircraft have completed their calendar life as per the Soviet manufacturer’s specifications. Both are on their extended lives, and could go on for another 10 to 15 years. The fleet of 100 odd AN-32 aircraft with the IAF is currently undergoing mid-life upgrade after which it would be available for another ten to 15 years albeit in progressively dwindling strength. The IAF is well on way to upgrade its transport fleet and thereby enhance its operational capability. New acquisitions including six four-engine turboprop C130J Super Hercules aircraft, with a maximum payload capacity of over 21 tonnes, bridges the gap between the five-tonne payload capacity AN32 and the 43-tonne capacity IL76. The aircraft is capable of both strategic and tactical roles especially for special operations. It has provided high performance and can operate from semi-prepared and short dirt strips. In addition, the planned acquisition of the ten C17 Globemaster III aircraft worth 4.1 billion US dollars from Boeing through the FMS route, with another six aircraft likely to be inducted, will take the total to 16 by 2015. This will give the IAF unprecedented strategic airlift capability. Also, replacement for the HS-748 Avro fleet is essential to undertake miscellaneous commitments of resupply missions requiring landing and take-off from small www.geopolitics.in

airstrips, air dropping of supplies in small size dropping zones, decoy missions, air maintenance and movement of security forces within the country. Defence Ministry has cleared a proposal worth over Rs 12,000 crore to replace the IAF fleet of 56 vintage Avro HS-748 planes. The first 16 aircraft will be procured off-the-shelf from foreign vendors. The next 16 aircraft will have to comprise of 30 per cent indigenous component and the remaining 24 planes will have 60 per cent locally-procured and produced items. The Indo-Russian Multiple Transport Aircraft (MTA) Project for 50 aircraft is another step in the direction of enhancing air transport capabilities of the IAF. Once the ongoing projects including the Indo-Russian MTA joint venture are completed and the older fleet phased out, possibly by 2025, the IAF will have a modern fleet of transport aircraft consisting of the four-engine C17 Globemaster III and the C130J Super Hercules and the twin-engine MTA, all with payload capability ranging between 15 to 75 tonnes and range that would accord the fleet strategic reach. Thus, the IAF is in the process of transformation into a potent aerospace power by 2017 and operational preparedness is the key to meet the complex threat with swift response, flexibility and precision. In order to be a dominant regional player and a prominent global player, we should be capable of looking far ahead, identifying troubled spots, planning early, reaching out with the required load, and delivering the load with precision. Thereafter, we should have the ability to sustain in the hostile area, achieve goals within time-frames and de-induct efficiently. India is emerging as a regional economic and military power. On account of compulsions of energy security and broad economic interests, India will need the capability for projection of power

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Role and Function A large military transport aircraft which commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world. Other roles of the aircraft include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties. In June 2011, India confirmed its order for 10 C-17s. Deliveries are slated to begin in June 2013 and be completed in 2015. The Indian Air Force plans to base its C-17s at Hindon Air Force Station after the completion of deliveries. The aircraft will boost the strategic airlift of special forces in the event of national emergencies or terrorist attacks.

noaa.gov

boieng

C17 globe master-iii

OTTER Role and Function A STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft with a 19-passenger capacity. The aircraft’s fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL abilities and high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, regional passenger airliner and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) aircraft. and speedy response to contingencies to safeguard her interests that now extend from the Middle East and the Central Asian Republics to South East Asia. India, therefore, needs the means to transport swiftly and deploy combat power over long distances within and beyond national boundaries. IAF has done well to plan ahead for new acquisitions and replacement of transport aircraft in different load carrying capacity to meet our futuristic contingencies. (A retired Group Captain, the author is a Senior Fellow at Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi )

February 2013


need for

speed R

otorcraft development hasn’t kept pace with leaps that fighter jets or UAV’s have undergone over the past decade. But Sikorsky’s X2 and Eurcopter’s X3 may just be the `transformational fillip` to take helicopters into a completely different level. The US Defence Department has put forth a FVL (Future Vertical Lift), or JFVL (Joint Future Vertical Lift)_ initiative to build and demonstrate critical technologies that would support the development of a nextgeneration helicopter. The wish list includes choppers with vastly improved avionics, electronics, range, speed, propulsion, survivability, operating density altitudes and payload capacity. The project is looking at four classes of future aircraft, • light helicopters • Medium and heavy lift variants • An ultra-class category designed to build a new fleet of super-heavy lift aircraft The wish list for the future includes • Sensors that are integrated into the airframe • High-speed targeting capabilities • Optionally automated/autonomous flight •  A human machine interface for on-board navigation, sensing and threat detection •  Teaming of manned and unmanned aircraft, including remote control from inside the manned craft • Automatic avoidance of obstacles using sensors • Hovering and pivoting with tilt-rotor aircraft technology • Diagnostic sensors to streamline repairs And it’s all driven by the need for speed for the military although companies prefer to talk of SAR (search and rescue), medical evacuation, border patrol and coast guard duties. The catch is will the speed and the costs match? We should know in a few years as prototypes are trusted. For the record the only significantly faster rotorcraft put into production since the 1980s is the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor troop transport, which can cruise at 240 knots or better. Meanwhile Sikorsky and Boeing have signed a teaming agreement on Jan. 13, to submit a joint proposal for the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) Phase 1 program. The JMR TD supports the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift program to deliver the next generation of vertical lift aircraft with greater performance, reliability and affordability. The team will compete to build and fly one or more demonstrator aircraft in 2017 to be evaluated for next-generation vertical lift performance in a medium-lift-sized aircraft. www.geopolitics.in

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Eurocopter X3

The exercise began in January 2008 and Eurocopter wanted it to be fast, but they also wanted it to operate in a manner familiar to most pilots. The result: a helicopter based on X3 technology that will cost just 25 percent more to produce than Eurocopter’s conventional helicopters of the same size, such as the $10-million EC155. Eurocopter began X3 flight testing last September in a program that combines the excellent vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter.

February 2013


Sikorsky X2

The product of five years of research the Sikorsky X2 achieved a true air speed of 250 knots during a 1.1-hour flight. That’s 287.7 miles per hour or 463 km/h. The X2 also reached 260 knots in a shallow dive during the flight. The X2 combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. Now Sikorsky is offering an X2 configuration called the S-97 Raider for the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout.

Bell Boeing

The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, military, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. It is currently the world’s fastest helicopter.

AW609

AgustaWestland AW609 is a tiltrotor aircraft with the ability to land in areas traditional fixedwing aircraft are unable to, such as heliports or very small airports. It is capable of reaching twice the speed and the range of any helicopter currently in service. An improvement upon the V-22 Osprey, the AW609 features a pressurised cabin.

AVX Concept

AVX Aircraft Company has come up with a concept for an Armed Aerial Scout as replacement for the OH-58D in order to meet the US defense department’s parameter of larger number of less expensive platforms for manned reconnaissance. The design uses the basic Kiowa fuselage and adds a counter-rotating coaxial rotor and two ducted fans.

Piasecki Aircraft

Corp a small company near Philadelphia has modified a Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk by adding a Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller to its tail and a wing to its mid-fuselage, which provide the thrust and lift needed to exceed normal rotor speed limits. www.geopolitics.in

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February 2013


EUROCOPTER

FORMINDABLE OPPONENT: The Eurocopter Tiger is a multipurpose combat helicopter which can engage in air-to-air combat and fire support.


Lethal and Versatile

Along with new generations of Fighter Aircraft, Attack Helicopters are increasingly in demand by all the leading Air Forces because of their versatility, writes Vijainder K Thakur

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the Russian Mil Mi-17-V5, and the Anglo-Italian AgustaWestland AW 159 Lynx Wildcat are examples of modern armed helicopters that are primarily designed for cargo transport, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), air assault, troop transport, and command and control functions, but, at the same time, they can also perform ground attack in support of troops. Almost all modern transport helicopters are now equipped with armament. The humongous Boeing CH-47 Chinook, which is capable of carrying about 11 tonnes of payload and may soon be a part of the IAF inventory, is also lightly armed with medium pintle-mounted machine guns. Following the introduction of armed helicopters, a need was felt for a helicopter that is exclusively designed for ground attack. Attack Helicopters (AH) are meaner than armed helicopters with no transport role. Russian attack helicopters like the Mi-28N have retained a limited transport capability. AHs typically have a two man crew — a pilot and armament operator — and are designed primarily to take out enemy armour, with a secondary

FLYING FORTRESS: The UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft.

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capability against soft targets like trucks, jeeps, heavy calibre machine guns and troops. They fly faster than armed helicopters and are more heavily armored. The US Army first identified the need for a dedicated attack helicopter in the mid-1960s and firmed up the QRs as Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS). The Lockheed’s AH-56 Cheyenne was selected to meet the requirements. As an interim measure, the US Army developed and deployed the Bell Helicopter AH-1G Cobra. While the Cobra proved to be a resounding success, the Cheyenne programme was eventually cancelled.

Modern Attack Helicopters •

• •

The US Apache AH-64, Eurocopter EC-665 Tiger, Russian Ka-50/52, and Mi-28N are examples of dedicated modern attack helicopters. These are all fast flying, heavily armed machines with ranges that allow them to fly deep into enemy territory. The AH-64 Apache has a top speed of 296 kph and a range of 520 kms. The Tiger has a top speed of 322 kph and a range of 800 kms.

US AIRFORCE

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acking fixed wings, a helicopter is an inefficient flying machine, typically with operating costs that are 3 times those of a fixed-wing aircraft. However, the ability of a helicopter to fly low and slow, hover, and land on just about any clear area gives it a lot of versatility as cargo and troop transport. A helicopter can also haul oversized cargo, slinging it under its belly while flying at slow speeds and winch up cargo and personnel from terrain that it cannot land upon. The versatility of a helicopter makes it a very useful military transport that can operate from close to even behind enemy lines. Fixed-wing aircraft can fly close to or behind enemy lines, but they have to operate from well within friendly territory, using runways that are known to the enemy and can also be easily targetted. However, a helicopter’s slow speeds make it an easy target for enemy ground defences as even a rifle bullet can down it, or kill its crew member. The tail rotor of a helicopter, in particular, makes it vulnerable. Essential to counter the torque generated by the main rotor, the tail rotor presents an easy target, which if hit can send the helicopter spiralling into the ground. The need to ward off enemy fire while transporting troops and cargo close to enemy lines was what led to the introduction of armed helicopters during the Vietnam War. An armed helicopter is designed primarily for transport, but is equipped with guns, rockets, missiles and self-protection electronics and equipment. Typically, an armed helicopter will also have some degree of armour protection, fixed or modular, against small arms fire. The US Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk,

February 2013


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eopolitics spoke with Air Commodore (Cmde) Bhupinder Singh Subhlok (Retd), a former AH pilot who flew both Mi-25 and Mi-35 while in service and was part of the team that inducted and integrated the AHs into the IAF. Vouching for the greater versatility of the AH, the Air Cmde pointed out, “The Armed Forces will likely get involved in limited wars and counter-insurgency operations more often than all out wars. Fixed wingaircraft have a limited utility in low intensity conflicts. The AH is much more handy.” Pointing out another limitation of fixed-wing aircraft he said, “Airfields and runways required to operate fixed wing aircraft can be accurately targeted and neutralized by the enemy, particularly using surface to surface missiles, affecting aerial support operations to the troops.” Regarding the vulnerability of the AH, Singh says, “Armor protection and redundant systems give adequate protection from small arms fire. Flying techniques, Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), low infrared (IR) signature and protective flares make the AH reasonably safe from

MANPADS.” He adds, “The very high manoeuvrability of an AH, along with its ability to fly very low and launch air-to-air missiles, poses a formidable challenge, even to enemy fighters.” Dwelling on the lethality of the AHs he says, “Their kill probability against armor and soft targets is much higher than fixed-wing fighters.” He adds, “Their lethality and weapon mix allows them to effectively undertake Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) operations during a hot war.” The usefulness of AHs in SEAD could be one reason why the IAF is keen to have the AHs on its inventory. The US strike deep within Pakistan to eliminate Bin Laden has some useful lessons. “AHs can be configured to strike deep into enemy territory and need not be just restricted to TBA,” says Air Cmde Bhupinder Singh, adding, “Once thinking on these lines starts, AHs with enhanced range capabil-

HEMANT RAWAT

“Well-suited to Limited Wars”

ity will start to be fielded.” Of course, the versatility of an AH throws up pilot training challenges. “Training of AH pilots is extremely demanding since the same machine performs a very large variety of roles,” the Air Commodore explains. According to him, “Some of the special tasks are extremely demanding and the slightest error can lead to a mishap, for example, a helicopter collision like the one that occurred during the attempted rescue of hostages from Iran.” More recently, two IAF AHs collided while operating together in Jamnagar.

THE BLACK SHARK: The Ka-52 has a proven track record in mountainous terrain. Its design has incorporated many advanced features boosting its power, manoeuvrability and night attack capability.

www.geopolitics.in

AIRFORCE.RU

Attack Helicopter Sensors

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Attack helicopters are becoming increasingly deadlier, primarily because of improvements in their sensors. Here is a sampling of the sensors that equip modern attack helicopters: • Mast Mounted Radars (Apache AH-64D, Kamov KA-52 Alligator) • Helmet Mounted Displays. The AH-64 introduced the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System (IHADSS). The pilot can slave his chin mounted gun to the helmet display. • Target Acquisition and Designation Sights (TADS) on the AH-64 is a combined sensor, targeting unit comprising stabilised electro-optical sensors, a laser range finder and laser target designator. • Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PVNS) on the AH-64 comprises an infra-red camera slaved to the head movement of the pilot. • The Ground Fire Acquisition System (GFAS) on the AH64 detects ground-based weapon fire and helps target it. • Low light TV and FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) on the Ka-50. February 2013


The Ka-50/52 has a top speed of 315 kph and a range of 550 kms. The Mi-28N has a top speed of 350 kph and a range of 440 kms.

The AH also has a high cockpit that protects the pilot not just from rifle fire but also, RPGs. To boot, it has an ejection seat for the pilot to escape from an imminent crash. During the ejection sequence, the rotors are automatically jettisoned first. Modern AHs can carry anti-tank missiles, laser-guided tactical missiles, gunpods, rockets and free-fall bombs. They even carry air-to-air missiles. The Mi-28N and Ka-50/52 can carry Vympel R-73 airto-air missiles, the AH-64 can carry the air-to-air version of the Stinger manpad and the Tiger carries the Mistral air-to-air missile. Then there is the Kamov Ka-50/52, which stands out among modern attack helicopters. Developed by the Russians from the lessons they learnt during the Afghanistan war, the Ka-50/52 is an outof-the-box design with contra-rotating coaxial rotors that cancel each other’s torque and eliminate the need for a tail rotor. Without a tail rotor, the Ka-50/52 is much more difficult to shoot down using small arm fire. The Ka-50 is the single seat version, and the 52, twin seat. In fact, the Ka-50 is the only single seat attack helicopter in the world. Some believe that a single crew cannot handle the complex tasks of flying and operating weapons at the same time. However, the payoffs of a single-seater AH are great. Without the weight of a second crew and second cockpit with ejection seat, the Ka-50 can carry more weapons and manoeuvre better. It also cuts casualties by half in the event of a crash. However, it may be noted that great care needs to be exercised when deploying attack helicopters in a Tactical Battle Area (TBA) because their slow speeds makes them very vulnerable to ground defences, espcecially Man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADs). Helicopter performance deteriorates rapidly with altitude and increase in ambient temperature, both of which conditions that lead to a drop in air density. Under hot and high conditions, the attack helicopter becomes an even easier target to shoot down. Fortunately, there are techniques to mitigate an attack helicopwww.geopolitics.in

Next Generation Attack Helicopters

US AIRFORCE

MULTI-TASKER: The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is capable of reaching a top speed of 170-315 km/h. Its primary roles include troop movement, artillery emplacement and battlefield resupply.

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uture attack helicopters will be less vulnerable and more lethal. Focus areas include higher speeds to reduce vulnerability, more engine thrust for higher altitude operations and better manoeuvrability, greater stand-off weapons range, and sensor hookups with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ground attack fighter aircraft. Next generation helicopters will also feature better self-protection suites, improved sensors and air-to-air capability. They will have high bandwidth data links with UAVs that will allow them to display UAV sensor outputs in the helicopter cockpit and launch missiles from well outside the range of enemy defences. Before launching the missile, the weapon system operator will be able to mark the target on a cockpit display that

will be echoed hundreds of miles on a Forward Air Controller (FAC) display, allowing the FAC to verify that the target has been correctly identified. There will also be improved Computers for Displays. The helicopters will need high capacity data fusion computers to merge off and on-board sensor imagery into a single shared picture of the battlefield. A new and improved IHADSS helmet display is one example. The prototype GFAS developed for the Apache AH-64E is another such example. GFAS cameras and infrared sensors detect the muzzle flash from ground fire, classify the firing weapon, and move the information through an Aircraft Gateway Processor into the cockpit. Pilots immediately see the enemy icon on their display screen, integrated with Blue Force Tracking maps.

ter’s vulnerability. To protect themselves from enemy fire, AHs fly very low and remain under visual flight conditions close to the enemy. This is referred to as Nap of the Earth (NOE) flying. An aircraft flying a NOE profile cannot be detected by radar and engaged by surface-to-air missiles. Helicopters are particularly suited to NOE flying because their higher manoeuvrability and slower speeds (as low as zero) allow them to approach a battlefield while taking cover of the surrounding terrain in the form of the river bed, hill range or even tall trees. While flying NOE, an attack helicopter navigates close to its target and then

eases up just enough to sight it using sensors on its rotor mast. It lays its weapons on the target without exposing itself and then pops up to fire them. Before enemy defences can lay their sights on it, the AH once again ducks behind cover. In fact, NOE levels the playing field for attack helicopters to an extent where the sound of their rotors invokes dread amidst enemy infantry. Besides, there are slow speed attack fighters such as the US A-10 Thunderbolt 2 and the Russian Su-25 Frogfoot, which present a safer alternative to attack helicopters from the point of view of pilots. Their wings make attack fighters more efficient flying machines that accelerate

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February 2013


AGUSTA WESTLAND

hemant rawat

IAF’s Attack Helicopter of the Future: Apache AH-64

T

he IAF is getting the Block III version of the Apache AH-64D. The US Army has renamed the AH-64D Block III the ‘AH-64E’. The helicopter is a fine example of where attack helicopter technology is headed. The Apache is powered by two turboshaft engines and carries laser-guided precision missiles, 70 mm rockets and 30 mm automatic cannon. A mast mounted radome on the Apache AH-64D houses the AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar. Its millimetre-wave sensing improves www.geopolitics.in

performance under poor visibility conditions, and is less sensitive to ground clutter. The short wavelength also allows a very narrow beam-width, which is more resistant to countermeasures while guiding the helicopter’s missiles to their targets. Block III will extend the radar’s range, or give commanders the option of trading it for an Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) that is mounted in the same place on the mast.

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faster and manoeuvre harder. Following weapon release, an attack aircraft can get out of the lethal envelop of ground fire more quickly presenting MANPADs as difficult fast moving and receding target. Typically, an attack aircraft spots its target while flying outside the lethal range of small arm ground fire. It then swoops down, gathering speed and releases its weapons from close range. It then immediately pulls out of its dive and steeply climbs out of the lethal range of ground fire. During the Afghan war, the Soviet deployed both Mi-24 AHs and Su-35 attack aircraft in support of their army. Both the weapon systems were effective to begin with. However, following the introduction of the Stinger MANPAD in 1986, the Soviets lost more Mi-24s than Su-35s. Be that as it may, despite their vulnerability AHs score over attack fighters. AHs are more lethal, carry greater weapon load and can support operations for longer durations. Cockpit visibility in attack helicopters is much better as compared to aircraft, allowing for easier spotting and tracking of targets. Their ability to slow down or even hover on demand makes helicopters deadly, especially against armour. They can carry weapons that need to be manually guided to their targets. When using fireand-forget missiles, they give more time to accurately lay the weapons on the targets, though of late it has been realised that attack aircraft have to rely on fire-and-forget missiles that are more easily spoofed than human guided weapons. Attack helicopter can carry heavier weapon loads. A single attack helicopter can carry enough guided missiles to neutralize eight or more tanks. Their proximity to the target during attack makes attack helicopters deadly. There are other advantages of using helicopters over fixed-wing aircraft. They are more versatile in the sense that they don’t require runways to operate. They can be deployed in small cleared areas close to the TBA allowing them to be on target quickly. Besides, helicopters can switch roles. Armed helicopters can be quickly reconfigured to perform the role of dedicated attack helicopters, fitting modular armour and packing the crew/ cargo area with additional missiles and ammunition. Some attack helicopters, such as the Mi-28N can perform casualty evacuation because they retain some extra space. February 2013


RIGHTANgle

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INTEGRATING SPACE

n a country that civilisationally marvels at keeping things ambiguous, it is not surprising that unlike other major military powers, India does not find virtues in promulgating clear and precise security doctrines. It is only in recent years that individual services, particularly the Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF), have come out with their respective ‘strategy papers’ or ‘doctrines’. Unfortunately, these papers and doctrines have not been encouraged by the concerned authorities to come under public discussions. That is why I do not find it surprising that not many have taken note of “Basic Doctrine of the Indian Air Force, 2012”, published by the IAF. The IAF doctrine contains the characteristics of air power and its peculiarities that need to be understood within the right framework for its correct application. But what I find significant in the IAF doctrine is the repeated mentions of ‘air and space power’. The doctrine is not talking of ‘air power’ in isolation of ‘space power’. To quote it, “Air power, in a classic sense is defined as the total ability of a nation to assert its will through the medium of air. It includes both civil and military aviation, existing and potential. In the modern sense, air power which has evolved into aerospace power is defined as the product of Prakash aerospace capability and aerospace doctrine. Air power is the strength of an air force as opposed to an attendant capability… Aviation related research and development as also industrial capabilities have a force multiplier effect. Space capabilities further add to the above to enhance the aerospace power of the nation... Air power doctrine is primarily a derivative of the fundamental principles that guide the application of air and space power and offers innovative ideas for the optimum exploitation of the medium.” However, there is a big problem here. While the IAF is very clear that it has aerospace role and in this task it needs help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that is devoted to the civilian or peaceful use of space resources, the latter is not that enthusiastic to join hands, at least publicly. As India is a signatory to the international treaty that outlaws military activities (Outer Space Treaty) in space, a common property of the mankind, the ISRO seems to take a too legalistic view of abhorring the IAF. But then the fact is that the Outer Space Treaty has been the subject of diplomatic wrangles over the precise definition of space weapons, other than nuclear weapons. Besides, there has been no transparency on the part of major world powers in keeping the outer space free from military activities, with the result that one hears concepts like ‘Star Wars’ (Strategic Defence Initiative) by the US and anti satellites (ASAT) by Russia. In any case, it is a fact that the US and its allies have used space resources extensively in fighting recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the IAF doctrine rightly points out, space capabilities lie at the core of the revolutionary transformation of military capability, commonly termed as Revolution in Military Affairs

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(RMA). The Gulf War demonstrated the enormous utility and military transformation enabled by RMA, or Net Centric Warfare Capability (NCW) as it was later termed. Effects Based Operations (EBO) and Force Transformation Architecture (FTA) became the absolute essentials of US military strategy. The bottom line was the transformation in the conduct of military affairs by the combined potential of air and space assets in terms of Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR), communications, navigation etc. This ‘aerospace’ combination provided the information dominance vital for the nuanced application of force, which, in turn, enabled decisive war-winning effects. The IAF doctrine makes enormous sense when it says, “the most important driver for the IAF’s involvement in space is that it is the primary military service mandated for securing national assets and investments against threats from the skies. Threats in the new millennium range from passenger aircraft s being fl own into buildings, to high speed manoeuvring missiles to ASAT launched from ground and airborne platforms. The challenges have evolved beyond air into space and now encompass the entire vertical dimension of aerospace. The IAF would have to transform accordingly to cope and it would not Nanda be possible to do so without being involved in outer space”. In fact, contrary to the conventional wisdom, aerospace power of the IAF will protect the space tools like satellites that are used by the ISRO to augment the country’s economic and scientific power. Developing the capability to control space will ensure that our civil, commercial and other space activities will continue uninterrupted around the globe. And this will be possible when we have the capacity to destroy the adversary’s space weapons, based in space, air, land and water. Secondly, developing aerospace power does not necessarily mean that there will be war. In most of the cases, augmented power or strength will ensure that the enemy will not dare to attack you. Instead of being a frontier now, space complements air power in numerous missions as an enabler. Air and space should be complementary components of defence so that they compensate for each other’s inadequacies in maintaining surveillance of the vertical dimension and in countering threats from systems like ballistic missiles that transit and manoeuvre through both air and space. They must be integrated so that diverse and yet potent elements of air and space are networked adequately. That is why there is no reason why the ISRO should avoid displaying its capabilities in Aero India Air Shows that the IAF organises from time to time. I completely agree with the IAF doctrine that the ISRO, in coordination with the IAF, should develop platforms like the ‘Multi-Purpose Aerospace Vehicle’ which operate in both air and space.

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prakashnanda@newsline.in

February 2013


Geopolitics  

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