Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tejas in Sqn colours to fly during next IAF Day sky party: DRDO

By Dr Anantha Krishnan M
OneIndia News 
Bengaluru, Oct 08: A top official in Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said on Wednesday that ‘only time will prove the worth’ of the home-grown fighter – the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. 
Speaking to OneIndia on a day when the Indian Air Force (IAF) is celebrating its 83rd anniversary, the official said that the Tejas Squadron would corner all the glory at the AF Day Parade at Hindon, next year. 
“Tejas will be participating in Iron Fist in 2016 and will demonstrate the BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missile launching and stick bombing capabilities with tandem bomb carrier in swing role. We can certainly envisage Tejas to don the IAF colours during the IAF Day celebrations in 2016 with at least five aircraft. Only inducted platforms perform at AF Day celebrations,” the official said. 
He dismissed all anti-Tejas rant saying the worth of the fighter will be known only after it is produced in large numbers. “Let the machine do all the talking,” he said. 
More weapon trials in the next six months: To a query on the weapon trials, the official said that Tejas had completed hot weather trials on the trainer version during July this year. 
“All the system of LCA-AF trainer performed satisfactory during the trials at ambient of 48 degrees Celsius. Significant preparatory work for the balance weapon work has been carried out in this quarter and actual weapon deployment is planned over the next six months,” he added. 
When asked about the challenges being faced by the team now, the official cited the integrations of air-to-air refueling probe, supersonic drop tank and BVR missile integration with radar as examples. 
“The relevant flight tests for completion of the Final Operational Clearance (FOC), tops our agenda now. Towards this the design and development work has already been completed. The aircraft integration and flight testing is on schedule. The BVR is likely to get released with MMR (Multi-Mode Radar) integrated with quartz radome by March 2016,” he said. 
Squadron formation preparations in full swing: Around 60 per cent work towards the formation of the Tejas Squadron is completed at Bengaluru. 
“The O-Level training to IAF technicians has been completed. The air crew training on mission simulator is likely to be completed by November this year. About 70 per cent of GSE/GHE (Ground Support Equipment/Ground Handling Equipment) procurement is also completed,” he added. 
The technical publications and flight manuals have already been delivered to the IAF. Initially, the IAF has planned to operate the aircraft from Bangalore and then shift to the permanent Tejas Squadron base in Sulur (Tamil Nadu). 
The IAF too has taken up a series of modernization work at Sulur to welcome the new entrant into its fold. 
As reported by OneIndia during Aero India 2015, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will have to deliver a total of 20 Tejas series production aircraft in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) format and another 20 in the FOC mode. 
The Tejas Mk-2s would be powered by the GE 414 engine. In addition to a higher thrust engine, the Mk-2 would have the benefits of better performance, improved flight and mission systems and greater maintainability. 
Upgraded Tejas Mk1A will be more user-friendly: The official confirmed that the LCA MK1A would be an improved product with better maintainability to make it more user-friendly. 
“We are planning MK1As with enhanced survivability embedded with an integrated EW suite, which would give an improved sensor performance over Mk1s. This is planned for the larger number of aircraft intended by IAF,” the official, who chose not to be named, said. 
The official claimed that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has given ‘a new direction’ to the project through an accelerated approach during his frequent interactions. He said 
HAL is geared up to roll out at least four series production aircraft by March 2016. 
The first of Series Production (SP-1) aircraft has already been handed over to IAF and another 19 more are expected from HAL to complete the MK1 production schedules in the IOC format. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IAF’s Aviation Toxicology Lab adds teeth to air crash investigations

IAM Commandant Air Commodore Deepak Gaur
By Anantha Krishnan M
OneIndia News
Bengaluru, Oct 07: India’s only Aviation Toxicology Laboratory (ATL) has gone live and kicking with state-of-the-art-facilities in Bengaluru.
Situated inside the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), a premier Indian Air Force (IAF) unit next to HAL Airport, the ATL has already developed protocols for evaluating 20 different drugs (molecules) which are required in aviation accident investigation.
The need for an ATL was felt soon after the Air India Express Boeing 737 crash in Mangalore, in May 2010, which killed 158 people onboard. A Court of Inquiry had blamed the pilot for the crash.
In an exclusive interview, IAM Commandant Air Commodore Deepak Gaur says that the ATL has the latest technology and expertise for the analysis of samples from air crashes in a highly refined manner.
“This laboratory was established with an objective to augment aircraft accident investigations. The lab also aims at improving flight safety by conducting exclusive scientific research in the field of aviation toxicology,” says Air Commodore Deepak, an MD in Aerospace Medicine.
The ATL is now refining the sample preparation techniques which will enable analysis of postmortem specimens from air crashes including blood, urine, muscle and other tissues.
Full report, here: http://bit.ly/1WN4juY

Saturday, August 15, 2015

I-Day Special: Gallantry awards & other decorations

See the full list here: http://bit.ly/1LcTHmx

Post 26/11, we are better prepared to take on the challenges: Vice-Admiral Lanba

INS Venduruthy (Kochi), Aug 14: India’s mission to build a Blue Water Navy is slowly and steadily receiving the impetus, thanks to a series of modernisation plans that have taken off in the last couple of years.
With the Indian Navy being in the forefront of backing indigenous efforts, compared to other wings of the Services, the last one year alone saw the addition of many assets comprising of war ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, patrol vessel, naval bases, marine stations and coastal radar chains to name a few.
In an exclusive interview to OneIndia on the eve of India’s 69th Independence Day, Vice-Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command (SNC), Kochi, said that post 26/11, the very dynamics of coastal security has changed in the country. Here are the highlights of the interview.
* SNC’s role in taking on the challenges of future
* More teeth to coastal security measures
* IUHDSS is a game-changer
* New safety SOPs come to play
* China’s increasingly bold posturing in the IOR monitored
Read the full interview, here: http://bit.ly/1hbIKVQ

Monday, August 10, 2015

BrahMos to be fired from Sukhoi by year end

Bengaluru, Aug 10: The air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile will be test-fired from a modified Sukhoi (Su-30 MKI) fighter during the end of this year. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) officials had earlier told OneIndia that the test will be held during March 2015. http://bit.ly/1uAXmhg
Speaking to OneIndia, BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sudhir Kumar Mishra said that post electrical and mechanical integration of the launcher, it is now being put through a series of quality tests.
“We have received the first modified Sukhoi from HAL in February and the aircraft undertook some flights fitted with the launcher. It has to carry the missile weighing around 2.5 tonnes. Currently, the launcher is undergoing stringent QTs (quality tests),” Sudhir Kumar said.
Read full report, here: http://bit.ly/1f3dpTe

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hypersonic BrahMos missile named after Guru Kalam

India will name its next-generation hypersonic version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile after former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. 
BrahMos CEO Sudhir Kumar Mishra told OneIndia that the decision has been already taken to name the hypersonic version of the missile after Guru Kalam, whenever it is ready for induction.
“As you know the hypersonic version is a futuristic missile and we have already started the work on it. It is still on the drawing board stage. We thought it will be a fitting tribute to Guru Kalam by naming the missile after him. It was his dream that India develop hypersonic missiles,” Mishra said.
“The DNA for BrahMos was created by Guru Kalam. It was his idea. The soul of BrahMos is definitely Guru Kalam. We owe him a lot for the success of the missile. He convinced us that BrahMos was a possibility and we followed his vision,” Mishra said.
Full report, here: http://bit.ly/1IOsGPs
Also read my recent
reports on Guru Kalam

* The loyal aide: http://bit.ly/1JtZt1d
* Assets, royalties to go to elder brother: http://bit.ly/1eLfa7f
* Aides fight it out over social media accounts: http://goo.gl/jmHeQJ
* Wish we all worked together: http://bit.ly/1IPcj9K
* Family wants no controversies in his name: http://bit.ly/1Usnl8R
* Tribute to Guru Kalam: http://bit.ly/1DwNLCk

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tribute to my Guru; let the Kalam in us live on

This photo sent by Indian Army sepoy Renjith C, offers pranams to Guru Kalam. During his last visit to Bangalore, Renjith, a gifted artist, wowed the Missile Man with a life-like painting of him playing the veena. He was so impressed with the painting that he later tweeted Renjith’s story.
By Dr Anantha Krishnan M

Bangalore, July 31: Today is Guru Poornima – a special day for Indians, when one remembers, celebrates and honours teachers. It is only serendipity that I am writing a tribute to my Guru and the beloved teacher for millions of Indians - Dr A P J Abdul Kalam - on this auspicious day. For a shishya who has surrendered to his Gurus, this is perhaps the ultimate tribute that I can pay.
For many of my friends in the media, I have been the go-to man on Dr Kalam for years now. On the night of July 27, I was on a bus headed for Kerala, when I was flooded with calls inquiring about Dr Kalam’s well-being. 
Since there have been rumours about his health and I often clarified to the world that all was well with him, I wasn’t very perturbed. Yet, this time, I was beginning to become concerned as the number of calls and messages wouldn’t stop. 
By 7.30 pm, battling poor signal inside the bus, I was told by one of his close aides that Guru Kalam had left us. Like most of you, I too felt lost. Orphaned. I retreated into a shell, mourning and grieving the loss of my biggest wealth, who had taken the flight to eternity. I felt like my Mother had died again. 
The last few days have gone in a haze, me trying to hold on to my many memories; my interactions, my innumerable learnings, my disappointments when I couldn’t reach him at times and my excitement every time he said: “You fellow write well.”
As I sit to write a tribute on this Guru Poornima Day, it is serendipity again to recollect that my first face-to-face interview with Guru Kalam was again about a ‘guru’. He was in Bangalore following the demise of Prof Sathish Dhawan, who was the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation from in 1972 to 1984.
“I am going to talk about my guru. Only about him... Don't ask me about anything,'' this was how our first conversation started on January 5, 2002. The interview was arranged by Dr Kota Harinarayana, who was then heading the Tejas programme. 
Prior to this meeting, I would often bother Guru Kalam, calling his landline in New Delhi. And, honestly out of the hundreds of calls I made, I was lucky to get him on the line only a few times, most often with him politely disconnecting after learning that it was me, again. 
"I have lost my guru Prof Satish Dhawan. He taught me how to design a propeller for hovercraft in 1959. I am touched by his concern for others. His urged us to take the benefit of design and development to the common man who has contributed to the country. I will miss my guru,” Dr Kalam told me.
The interview appeared next day in The Times of India with the headline: “Kalam the student misses Dhawan the guru.” A week later, I got to know from Dr Kota that Guru Kalam loved the article and I had apparently made no mistakes, to his surprise! 
This was probably my first baby step into his heart. A scientist-journalist bond has just been born.
His first interview as the President: From 2002 to 2003, his confidence in me grew and he started accepting me as a ‘better writer.’ When his name was announced as the presidential candidate, I sent him a hand-written letter to Chennai. “Sir, when you become the President of India, I hope you will grant me the first interview,” I remember having written among other things.
In July 2002, when the paper boy from Rameshwaram logged into Rashtrapati Bhawan (RB), he launched a series of technology initiatives that opened up two-way communication with the common man. The efforts of V Ponraj, who was the Director (Technology Interface) of RB, was commendable.
Two months later, during his first visit to Bangalore, Guru Kalam kept his word and granted me his first ever interview as the President of India. After all the formalities and exchange of pleasantries, I had just five minutes to ask questions. Time: 8 am. Place: Raj Bhawan, Bangalore. “You email me the rest of the questions, I say. Okay?” he said. I still remember the then Governor T N Chaturvedi giving me an incredulous look. 
Five minutes, three queries with the Prez, read the next day’s headline. For the media world, the interview wasn’t just a scoop. It was a coup! 
The unofficial cake boy: On many of his birthdays, I have had the good fortune to carry the cake - often travelling from Bangalore to wherever he was. At the stroke of midnight, we would cut the cake in a simple function at some nondescript government guest house. Seeing me, he would say: “You have again come!!” There were instances when two cakes landed, one arranged by his aides and another from this self-appointed blue-eyed boy.
He always cut both the cakes, blew out both candles and ensured that his security guards also got their share. “I have begun another orbit around the Sun,” he would say in his inimitable way, the twinkle in his eyes unmistakable. 
Once, when I ordered for a cake in Kerala, the stunned cake shop owner refused to take money when I asked him to inscribe: “Happy B’day Dr Kalam.” When I told him that Dr Kalam doesn’t appreciate anything free, he halfheartedly accepted. 
During another birthday in 2011, in Coimbatore, I was again present with the cake. Next day, it was I who got a gift from the birthday boy, when he introduced me to everyone as: “Meet my friend from Bangalore. He is a periya writer,” bringing tears in my eyes.
When I lost my mother, Guru Kalam reminded me that I should make her proud by continuing with my writing mission. When I had a difference of opinion with my editor and wanted to quit a newspaper, he said: “Change will always make you stronger.” Those words have stayed on with me. When I earned a Doctorate in Journalism, he blessed me and said: “Your mother will be happy up there.”
In 2007, on the eve of Children’s Day (November 14), Guru Kalam and I sat well past mid-night at the Satyam Guest House in Hyderabad, giving last-minute touches to his dream e-paper, Billion Beats. 
During its televised launch in front of over lakh schoolchildren in Karminagar, Guru Kalam was excited to don another hat, this time as the Editor of Billion Beats. “Capture all the positive stories of Indians. I am tired of the negative news you fellows (media) give,” he would often say.
My last meeting with Guru Kalm was on June 25, 2015, at Raj Bhawan in Bangalore. He was happy to meet my adopted sister Dhanya Ravi, a 24-year-old, battling with Brittle Bones disease. He was delighted to meet Dhanya, who is always seated in a pram, and they chatted away like long-lost friends. 
When I touched his feet while leaving, he said: “I am proud of you. Serving special children is like serving God. God bless you.”
I am grateful to his long-serving Private Secretary R K Prasad, who always acted as a bridge between Guru Kalam and me. Prasad ensured that there’s always something refreshing that came out of the scientist-journalist bonding. 
There is a Abdul Kalam in all of us: As a journalist, I feel that we are a nation that applauds blindly. A nation that forgets easily. A nation that talks too much, but does too little. For Guru Kalam, can we not change? 
Remember, we are all blessed that we lived in an era that saw a simple man who walked the talk. He touched a chord in every one of us. We carried him in our hearts from the day we got to know him. 
There is a Dr A P J Abdul Kalam in all of us. If you think he died a happy man, I might disagree with you. He died a hopeful man. And, that hope is Me. You. Us. 
He will be a happy man only when we complete his assignment -- to make India a developed nation.
If Guru Kalam was with us today, he would have asked: “Now everyone, will you repeat with me? My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my Nation.” This is all that a karmayogi like Guru Kalam would ask of his beloved countrymen. 
Our time starts now!
I will miss you, Sir!

(Different formats of the above tribute have appeared on the
online editions of OneIndia and Mathrubhumi, English.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

LRSAM to be test-fired in India in Oct: BDL Chief

Bengaluru, July 24: The Long Range Surface Air Missile (LR-SAM) will be tested-fired in India, coming October. 
LRSAM, also known as Barak-8, being co-developed by India and Israel had already been successfully flight-tested against a flying target in Israel in November 2014.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have joined hands for developing LRSAM, which has a range of 70 km.
Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) V Udaya Bhaskar told defence journalists on the sidelines of the two-day Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Summit (ADMS 2015) that the LRSAM project is moving in the ‘right direction.’
“The programme has been going on for the last five to six years. The missile will have its Indian leg of trial in October. The current trials are for Navy and we will conduct parallel ground trials for the Air Force and Army variants as well,” Udaya Bhaskar said.
Full report, here: http://bit.ly/1emea9F
Support a cause: http://amzn.to/1TXbKhJ

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cmde Balaji (Retd) takes over the reins of ADA at critical phase

Bengaluru, July 3: The Department of Defence Research and Development on Friday handed over the reins of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to Cmde Cadaba Devnath Balaji (Retd).
An Outstanding Scientist and currently the Project Director of LCA (Navy), Cmde Balaji (Retd) has been appointed as the Director of ADA and Programme Director (Combat Aircraft).
He replaces P S Subramanyam, who superannuated on June 30. Balaji will have around 2 years of service left, before attaining 60, in 2017.
As reported by OneIndia earlier, a search committee headed by former DRDO Chief Dr V K Aatre decided to hand over the baton to Cmde Balaji (Retd), who is part of ADA since 2002. (http://www.oneindia.com/india/hunt-on-pick-top-brain-head-india-s-tejas-programme-1790398.html)
Crucial juncture for LCA project: He takes over as the ADA chief at a crucial juncture when the LCA Tejas project is expected to get the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by March 2016, a deadline that has seen many extensions.
As the captain of the ADA, Balaji will also have to get the Naval LCA moving forward with the crucial arrestor hook landing trials expected later this year.
Interestingly, Balaji is the man responsible for writing the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) paper on NLCA in 2002. The CCS gave the project its approval in 2003 and many credit him for having taking the project from ‘paper to flight.’
Though the NLCA was dogged in a series of delays, it has gained momentum in the last one year with the Indian Navy backing the programme to the hilt. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and other partners too have been extending outstanding support to the programme.
Saw Tejas trainers from close quarters: Balaji also oversaw the Indian Air Force (IAF) Tejas programme from close quarters, especially the build of the trainer version PV5 leading to its maiden flight in 2009.
Around 36 sorties of PV5 were personally monitored by him, after which it was handed over to the IAF programme. Incidentally, the Tejas trainers have the front fuselage of the naval variants.
As the Project Director NLCA, he was responsible for the first flight of NP-1 (Naval Prototype) on Apr 27, 2012. This feat was followed by the maiden ski jump launch on December 20, 2014 at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) in Goa.
The design and build of this facility to replicate the aircraft carrier was in itself a challenge for Balaji and his team. (http://www.oneindia.com/india/oneindia-special-nlca-np-1-outperformed-our-expectations-says-ada-1647622.html)
Says he has already set immediate goals: He also oversaw the maiden flight of the NP-2 on February 7, 2015, just days ahead of 10th edition of Aero India. Executed efficiently by HAL, he has also steered the build of a ground-based naval variant purely for structural testing in a specially-created test rig.
Married to Rama Balaji, a teacher, his elder son Karthik is with the Indian Navy and younger son Anuj is employed in the US.
Speaking to OneIndia, soon after taking over the charge, Balaji said that he has already set his short-term goals.
“I must say I am stepping in with two key priorities. The FOC for IAF programme has to be met by early next year. Then comes the carrier capability trails of naval variant towards the end of 2016,” says Balaji who lost his father at the age of nine, in a road accident. He was later brought up by his mother Amrita Devnath, as her only son.
* Cmde Balaji (Retd) is born on 13 March 1957
* Holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering
* Commissioned into the Indian Navy in September 1978
* Served as the Air Engineer Officer of INAS 310 (Alize bomber) for 3 years embarking Aircraft Carrier Vikrant in 1981
* Worked with Sea Harriers in 1985
* Took Masters in Aerospace Engineering from IISc 1986-88
* Senior Instructor at Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology (NIAT), Kochi, 1988-89
* Served as Lt. Cdr Chief Engineer officer onboard INS Beas 1989-91
* Station Air Engineer Officer at INS Hansa, Goa 1991-95
* As a Commander served INS Magar 1995-97
* Was attached to ALH project office in HAL 1998-2002
* Coordinated the naval team for landing of ALH on INS Ganga
* Deputed to ADA in 2002
* Wrote CCS paper on NLCA in 2002
* Appointed as Project Director Navy in 2005
* Left Navy in 2006 and joined ADA as a Naval Project Chief

Cmde C D Balaji (Retd) is new ADA Chief

Detailed report soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

INTERVIEW: We want to standardize our weapon programmes: DRDO Chief Dr Christopher

Bengaluru, July 01: Barely a month after taking over the reins of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr Sargunaraj Christopher says that he is keen to cruise on a flightpath that’s less complicated.
In his first interview to media after taking over as the Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Director-General, DRDO, Dr Christopher said he has set his focus on touching base with labs that were crying for attention.
“I am definitely in the process of hearing from small labs that a DRDO chief never visited in the last many, many years. I am devoting my Sundays now to spend time for such labs, which contributed to DRDO silently but never got any attention,” says Dr Christopher.
Size doesn’t matter, delivery is the key: He said there are many small labs that are constantly innovating and receiving laurels from the users. “Performance is the key for DRDO now, whether it is a small lab with 50 people or a massive complex with 5000 people,” he says.
To a specific query from this Correspondent, whether the DRDO has put its hands on too many projects, Dr Christopher said: “I have already assessed the ground situation and you will see some initiatives very soon. Two-three labs working together on major programmes will become order of the day.”
To another query of DRDO often making tall claims before achieving the final goal, Dr Christopher refused to give a direct response. “Delivery is the key. I don’t want to stand on the top of the roof and make tall claims. I am prioritizing my goals,” the DRDO chief said.
Missile programmes slow on production front: Admitting that the some of the missile programmes are extremely slow on the production front, Dr Christopher said he had already taken stock of the projects during his recent visit to the Missile Complex in Hyderabad.
“Too many varieties and even the RM (Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar) have opined his views. We want several types of weapons. We are looking for standardizing our weapon programmes by clubbing them together. The idea is to make our weapons more efficient and make them in more numbers,” says Dr Christopher, a native of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu.
He said he has set his vision to make standard production lines for faster delivery of DRDO-developed weapon systems.
To another query whether the Missile Complex enjoyed additional powers owing to the size and success of its programmes, the DRDO Chief said: “The IDGMP (Integrated Development of Guided Missile Programme) as envisioned by Dr Kalam was good. Now we need to put more impetus. Out of the total Rs 1,70,000 crore order value of DRDO systems now, almost 60 per cent comes from Missile Complex. No preferential treatment is given to any clusters.”
Tejas MK-2 is the future: On the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, the DRDO Chief said that the programme has reached the final lap.
“Tejas Mk-1 is almost there and by March 2016 the FOC will be in. We have already begun the work on the next version. Tejas Mk-2 is the future,” says the 60-year-old top radar scientist, who was appointed as the DRDO Chief recently.
He said he has already started the exercise of communicating to the youngsters in DRDO.
“I have started the exercise of meeting my people. I am spreading the message that we are second to none. I have told my team members that DRDO should achieve a milestone every three months,” Dr Christopher concluded.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TALKATHON: Projects are bigger than people; Tejas story will inspire many generations: Subramanyam

Bengaluru, June 30: P S Subramanyam, one of the top-notch military brains in the country says that the lessons learned from developing Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will act as a guiding force for all future fighter programmes.

In an exclusive interview to Mathrubhumi English, Subramanyam, the outgoing Director of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Programme Director (Combat Aircraft), said that he and his team saw through the Tejas project through some of the most challenging times.
The Distinguished Scientist retired June 30 after being at the helm of affairs of ADA from 2005. Excerpts.
MB: Your tenure will probably go down in the history of Indian military aviation as the most challenging one. Isn’t it an irony that you had to leave the project just months ahead of its Final Operational Clearance (FOC)?
PSS: The Mk-1 configuration aircraft started coming after I took over in 2005. The challenge started with PV-2, which is the present Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration aircraft. In the last 10 years there were major transformation in the aircraft and systems. I would say 80 per cent changes took place in the last 10 years in terms of design and systems. 
Now, FOC is on track and I am happy that it will be achieved in the next six to nine months. Remember that projects are bigger than people. There are capable hands to take the programme forward. I am not running away and will be always available to offer any help.
MB: So what are the major changes to Tejas in the last 10 years?
PSS: Well, there are many. There were changes to the front fuselage, cockpit layout, radome, windshield and canopy. Almost 80 per cent avionics changed and even the wings underwent modifications due to R-73 missile. The rear fuselage too had to be changed to accommodate GE404-IN20 engine. Even the MMR (Multi-Mode Radar) underwent changes after the indigenous effort to make one did not succeed. So we had to go for Israeli Elta Radar. Even the fuel system got changes for better CG (Centre of Gravity) management. New Communication systems too came in. Fourteen aircraft were built during my regime and around 2500 flights achieved in 10 years. Tejas story will inspire generations to come.
MB: What was the most satisfying moment during your command?
PSS: I would say the handing over of SP-1 to the Indian Air Force, the first Series Production aircraft, is the most memorable moment. I can proudly say I saw through the programme end to end.
MB: During your tenure, there were many attempts to close the project. How did you manage to overcome those pressures?
PSS: Okay. We had faced many unexpected encounters while taking Tejas project forward. In 2007, we came to a situation which almost was like to be or not to be. There were several meetings held to close the programme. From our end, we gave confidence to the government and convinced them that it is a doable project. There were occasions in the past that many wanted to merge ADA with some other organisations. We faced all the rough weather bravely.
MB: Who are the people who were behind these ‘undercover operations?’
PSS: They were not undercover operations, but open attempts. Names don’t matter as we have come a great distance ahead successfully.
MB: We understand that the FOC is likely to spill over to next year?
PSS: The programme has come this far and we are confident of achieving the FOC by March 2016. The current delays are just passing clouds and we will have access to all hardware within a month. Nothing can stop achieving FOC now.
MB: What was it like handling multiple agencies, which had different command and structure?
PSS: Interesting one (Laughs). I am not sure whether we have any other national programme running with so many stakeholders associated with it. It made me a better leader. Barring ADA, I had no control over any of the stakeholders in the programme. Still, I got the support of everyone, which I am proud of.
MB: Media has been mostly very critical of the programme, but you never came out countering them.
PSS: (Laughs) If I had to that, who would have run the programme? I believe that everyone has a job to do and I did mine. The media never had the right appreciation of the time and cost of the programme. Every time a new figure came out along with a new set of timelines.
With Rs 7500 crore, we made 14 aircraft and also set up a production line. Isn’t it far superior than the expenditure twice incurred in any other programme in the world? Honestly, we were ever affected by any media reports.
MB: What are your immediate plans?
PSS: I want to get connected with the youngsters. I will visit universities and talk to engineering students. I want to share with them the Tejas story. In the next 10 years, India should be second to none in military aviation. If aviation needs to grow, we need to introspect our position in science and technology today. I have already set a blueprint in my mind to target youngsters.
In the last 10 years, I have not gone for any vacation. Even Sundays were working days. Probably, now I will get some time to listen to some old Hindi and English songs. 
MB: Songs like…
PSS: My all-time favourite number is Mary Hopkin’s -- Those were the days my friend…
Mathrubhuimi English

We survived strong moves to close Tejas project in 2007: Subramanyam

Bengaluru, June 30: Outgoing Director of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Programme Director (Combat Aircraft) P S Subramanyam says that there were massive efforts by a section to close the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas project in 2007.
The Distinguished Scientist and the man who spearheaded the project for the last 10 years, was speaking to this Correspondent, probably his last interview to the media as the Tejas boss.
Subramanyam, retired from the services today after attending an official farewell organized by Team ADA at its Bengaluru facility near Old Airport Road.
The soft-spoken man hailing from Vijayawada, spearheaded the programme from 2005, after taking over the reins of ADA from M B Verma.
Subramanyam is the second largest serving chief of ADA (10 years), after Dr Kota Harinarayana, who had served the project for 16 years till 2002.
We bravely retrieved the project: “Yes, I can tell you that we had to wade through several pressures while taking this project forward. In 2007, the programme saw one of its worst periods. It was almost like to be or not to be. I can proudly say that we bravely retrieved the project and gave the shape it is in now,” Subramanyam said.
He said there were several meetings held virtually to close the programme. “I stood ground and gave the confidence to the government that it is a doable project and we will deliver it on time. The rest is history and we never looked back,” he added.
Admitting that the ‘2007 project closer move’ came as a jerk to the team, Subramanyam said neither he nor his team ran away scared.
“Yes, we were shaken, but we knew we had a challenging task on hand. In the next two years (2007 to 2009) we demonstrated the capabilities of stores, sensors and weapon integration.
He also revealed that there were several occasions in the past that many wanted to merge ADA with some other organisations.
“So, while taking on the technology challenges of LCA, I has the head of ADA had to deal with other issues as well,” he added.
FOC will be in by March 2016: He refused to name the people who were acting against Tejas project and ADA during 2007. “Names don’t matter now as we have moved on. Let’s focus on the current status of the project. Nothing can stop the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) completion now. By 2016 March, the FOC will be done,” he said.
When asked about the most challenging task he had to undertake as the Tejas project chief, the NIT Warangal top brain said: “I had no command on any of the stakeholders in the programme, barring ADA. Yet, I managed to get the support of everyone, which is what I am proud of.”
He said the media never had the correct appreciation of the time and cost of the programme.
“With Rs 7500 crore making 14 aircraft and establishing a production line, is far superior than the expenditure twice incurred in any other programme of the world,” Subramanyam added.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Catch Tejas boss live today at 7 pm

Don't miss the exclusive web chat being arranged for Tarmak007 followers with Tejas boss and ADA programme Director P S Subramanyam today. Time 7 pm (IST). More details on https://www.facebook.com/Tarmak007

Weapon trials: Tejas to demonstrate fire power ahead of FOC

Bengaluru, June 29: The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is all set undertake critical test flights carrying an array of missiles and bombs to complete its scheduled weapon trials.
Top sources with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to this Correspondent that the integration of Russian–made Close Combat Missile (CCM) R-73 has been completed.
The ground integration of the Israeli-made CMM Python-5 too has been completed ahead of the flight trials. The Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile Derby has also been integrated on to the aircraft.
Tejas can carry two CCMs with a range of 15 km at the extreme end pods. These missiles can home on to the enemy aircraft based on their heat signature.
The Derby (two missiles) is being integrated on the mid-board-pods of Tejas and they have a range varying between 80 and 100 km. 
The home-grown fighter carries the laser-guided bomb (LGB) Griffin, which has a range of 5-6 km. Tejas will also carry LGB Paveway, which according to sources, has already demonstrated its capabilities with an accuracy of 1 meter. 
“These missiles have demonstrated their capabilities to strike with precision during day and night,” says an official.
BVR missiles to be tested in July: The laser-designator pod also has been integrated on to the aircraft. “Tejas can carry drop tanks with 1200-litre and 800-725-litre capacity. The R-73 has completed flight trials in Goa, Jaisalmer and Jamnagar over 10 times. The LGB has been tested for six times now,” the official said.
The BVR testes scheduled to be held in May has now been fixed for July at forward bases. “The CCMs and BVRs used on Tejas are capable of SSKP (Single Shot Kill Probability). In a war scenario, the pilot can increase the kill probability by opting for firing both CCMs, or both BVRs together,” the official added.
The integration of Russian-made gun for Tejas Gsh-23 has been completed. The gun has been already ground tested at a facility in Nasik. 
FOC may spill over to March 2016? When asked whether Tejas would skip the December 2015 deadline for Final Operational Clearance (FOC), the top MoD official said: “There are still some passing clouds hanging around. But the teams from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) are confident of beating the deadline.”
However, another official told this Correspondent that the programme might skip the December deadline by maximum three months.
“May be it will spill over to the last quarter of this FY. The FOC will be in by March 2016,” he said.
Refuelling probe, nose cone radome awaited: To complete the FOC points, the air-to-air refueling probe from Cobham hasn’t arrived yet. The nose cone quartz radome too is being awaited.
There are already some rumours floating around in the corridors of HAL and ADA over the delay in accessing these pending foreign systems.
A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official says that they are hopeful of thrashing the issue.
“Definitely there are concerns. But, we are hoping to get clarity by July. Hopefully, we should have access to all hardware within a month. We don’t see any more technology challenges after the integration of these pending items,” says the senior DRDO official.
ADA says that almost 75 per cent of work related to FOC has been completed. The siblings of Tejas have completed 2971 flights so far logging around 1909 hours, at the time this piece went live on the web.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hunt on to pick top brain to head Tejas programme

Bengaluru, June 28: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has begun the hunt for identifying a new man to head Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA). This follows the impending retirement of P S Subramanyam, one of the longest serving bosses of ADA, on June 30.
A Distinguished Scientist, Subramanyam is currently the Programme Director (Combat Aircraft) & Director ADA. He was made the head of ADA in 2005.
Sources tell OneIndia that the DRDO has already set up a Search Committee headed by eminent scientist Dr Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre.
Seventy-six year old Dr Aatre, an active member in various aerospace forums now, is the former DRDO Chief and Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister. 
The search committee also has DRDO’s senior-most Director General (Aero) Dr K Tamilmani among others.
Purely going by the seniority, work experience, project handling capabilities, and relationship with users, Cmde C D Balaji (Retd), Project Director LCA (Navy), should be the natural choice. 
R Swaminathan, (Technology Director), General System, ADA, is another top brain capable of running the show.
Full report here: http://bit.ly/1BLzOPE
#MissionParivarthan: http://bit.ly/1BLxVSW

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IAM Commandant fires 'poetic missiles’ penetrating R&D hearts!

Air Commodore Dr Deepak Gaur, Commandant, Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM).
Rare are occasions when one gets to hear a speech from a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) official packed with thought-provoking quotes and poems. During the Foundation Day celebrations of one of the defence establishments in Bengaluru recently, Air Commodore Dr Deepak Gaur, Commandant, Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), IAF, unleashed a script that had many poetic moments, all thought-provoking ones.
He first quoted from A E Housman (1859-1936), revered as one of the greatest scholars ever lived. The English poet and classical scholar attained fame for his collection of poems ‘A Shropshire Lad.’ 
Quoting from a poignant poem from Housman, Air Commodore Gaur, said: “Four lines express the anguish of young soldiers who would rather be alive to enjoy than die. I quote from Housman.
“Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land 
From which we sprung.
Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose, 
But young men think it is,
And we were young.”
Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/1Gwx84c

Monday, June 15, 2015

#YourTake | Wishlist for DRDO Chief | Win books written by Dr Kalam

Dr S Christopher
DRDO recently got a head finally after months of uncertainty. The government appointed Dr S Christopher, Distinguished Scientist as Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development and DG DRDO. He assumed charge on May 29, 2015.
He was the Programme Director for the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) programme and Director of Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Bangalore.
It's been over 2 weeks and we haven't yet heard anything from him officially. Sources tell Tarmak007 that he is taking time to settle down and has a long pile of files to be cleared, including manpower additions to various labs.
While he gets a grip of things, I am keen to hear from you all as to what needs to be done to revive the fortunes of DRDO. You may list a maximum of 10 points (number them) or a minimum of 5 points - as your wishlist to take DRDO forward.
Top five suggestions will each get a limited edition copy of guru Dr A P J Abdul Kalam's latest book 'Reignited.' The topmost suggestion out of the 5 will also get a copy of 'Inspiring Thoughts,' again penned by Dr Kalam.
A panel consisting of current, former scientists and senior journalists will pick the Top-5 winners.
Anyone making out of context comments will attract an automatic ban from the FB page. Comments that are not numbered, and lesser than the minimum 5 or maximum 10, won't be considered during evaluation process.
The best comments would be emailed to Dr Christopher in the first week of July. This exercise will conclude on June 30, 2015. You can leave your comments on Tarmak007's FB page. Link here: http://on.fb.me/1L9tEZA
I am sure DRDO will benefit from your suggestions.
All the best.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Army Sepoy spreads his love for cows through brush strokes

It was a festive mood at the one-bedroom Bird Barrack military quarters on Dickenson Road in Bengaluru. Its occupant 30-year-old Renjith C, a Sepoy with the Indian Army, was probably on Cloud 9 as he was all set to meet his idol former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
Hailing from Thalavoor village in Pathanapuram thaluk of Kerala’s Kollam district, Renjith is currently posted as a Sepoy in Kerala and Karnataka Sub-Area Command in Bengaluru.
Son of Chandrashekharan Pillai, a farmer, Renjith is a gifted artist right from his school days. “I used to imagine a lot like any child during while I was in the school. The walls of our small house acted as the canvass and for want of space at times I didn’t even spare the ceiling. I got good encouragement from parents and teachers initially and later from my seniors in the Army,” says Renjith, during a cleared interaction with Mathrubhumi.
His early paintings were pencil sketches and later he graduated to oil paints. “Painting is a passion for me. After para jumps I love painting the most. I would want to help the society through my paintings. I give free tuitions in painting to a few children now. Once I retire from Army, I will probably start a painting school,” says Renjith, who has done around 17 para jumps so far.
In the Army for the last 12 years, Renjith was in the midst of conducting a five-day solo painting exhibition christened ‘Awakening,’ when this Correspondent met him.
The exhibition was inaugurated by six times ‘Mr India’ title winner M Kamaraj at Bengaluru’s famous Venkatappa Art Gallery on June 10. It carries the theme: ‘Say no to killing of animals, especially cows.’
“Being an animal lover and a vegetarian, I feel cows maintain the balance of the Mother Earth. Its milk is the most precious thing one can get after our own mother’s milk. Hence, through the exhibition I want to create awareness on cows and their benefits,” says the solider.
He hopes to buy a cow for a poor farmer from the proceeds of the exhibition. In addition to his paintings on cows, the exhibition also has some general works of Renjith. One of the exhibits, a painting of Dr Kalam playing the veena, has already gone viral on social media sites, with many commenting it on par with a photograph.
“It took eight months for me to complete the painting of Kalam Sir. I used to wake up early morning and even sit through the night completing it. I have named the painting as ‘Music behind the missile hands.’ I am thrilled that he has granted me some time to meet him today,” says Renjith. He roped in Kerala’s famous artist Rajendran, who has carved a frame (37 x 40 inches) out of teak wood for the painting.
Speaking to Mathrubhumi, the artist’s childhood friend Mukesh Kumar says that Renjith always was a big dreamer.
“He shifted to oil painting when he was round 10 years old. His love and respect for cows is known to all of us. He is an inspiring soul to all his friends,” says Mukesh, a sales tax practitioner in Kottarakkara. 
Married to Soumya Unnithan, Renjith is recently blessed with a baby girl, Ameya, who is around three months old.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hot Pursuit: MoD denies issuing photo of Indian Army Ops

Bengaluru, June 11: India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a clarification on Thursday early morning that it has nothing to do with the photo(s) of Special Forces doing the rounds in the media.
A tweet my MoD Spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said: “Clarification: MoD has NOT issued any photo relating to Indian Army action along Indo-Myanmar border in the North East, so far.”
With graphic details of a sensitive operation already being reported by all sections of the media, it has become a minor embarrassment for New Delhi. In addition, the office of the Myanmar President’s Office too clarified on India’s claims on cross-border operation.
"According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border. We will not accept any foreigner who attacks neighbouring countries in the back and creates problems by using our own territory,” Zaw Htay, Director of Myanmar's Presiden’t Office said in an official FB post.
Too many dated photos doing the rounds: In fact most online defence forums, were engaged in heated debates whether it was right to show the faces of Special Forces (SF) operatives exposing their identities.
With the claims and counter claims taking a political turn, it is left to be seen how New Delhi manages to douse the fire. The ill-timed comment by Rajyavardhan Rathore, Minister of State, I&B, has added fuel to the fire.
A former SF chief, too have slammed the media for showing the faces of the commandoes. It is a norm practice by the militaries and media world over to mask the faces of their SF operatives. The Indian Navy never lets its elite Marine Commandoes (MARCOS) to have their identity revealed.
The sudden appearance of a dated photo (showing 3 SF operatives and a chopper) of an Army operation, claiming to be the one from the Indo-Mynamar border mission, too added to the confusion.
Better we talk less about operations in public: Interestingly, former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal F H Major (Retd) commented on an FB post yesterday criticizing too many operational details being divulged by the media.
“The less we talk about these operations in public, the better it will be for our armed forces. These kind of operations must always remain on a 'need-to-know' basis only,” commented Major, who is known for his firm views.
The Indian news channels were caught wrong-footed after they aired minute-to-minute details of the post-26/11 commando operations in Mumbai.
Army should be spared from dirty politics: Seasoned journalist and media watcher Dr Gautham Machaiah told OneIndia that hot pursuits are a common occurrence in the border and they are normally conducted with the cooperation and tacit understanding of the country concerned.
“These operations are always kept a secret so that the country in question is not put to embarrassment. While the Indian Army never mentioned Myanmar in its statement, junior Information Minister Rajavardhan Rathore told the media about the Army's operation in the neighbouring country and followed it up with his '56inchrocks' tweet, which was in bad taste,” says Dr Gautham.
Asking the netas to spare the Indian Army from dirty politics, the Dr Gautham said: “The Presidential Office in Myanmar was forced to deny any Indian Army operations within its territory. When politicians forget the fine art of diplomacy to score a few political brownie points, the nation and its professional Army are put to acute embarrassment.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

INS Vikrant undocked

A report by S Anandan in The Hindu here: http://bit.ly/1F8owQn
Another report by PTI carried on NDTV here: http://bit.ly/1e386n5
Photos Courtesy: E George, MoD, Indian Navy (SNC)

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