Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#TSR to chart HAL's new flight-path

Suvarna Raju is HAL’s Chairman-elect | I want to make HAL an aerospace technology leader

T Suvarna Raju
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: T Suvarna Raju, has been named as the next chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Currently, the Director (Design & Development) of the Company, Raju was named by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) after conducting the selection interviews in New Delhi on Monday. Raju will succeed R K Tyagi, who will superannuate by the end of January 2015.
Raju will be the 17th chairman of HAL, subject to a series of departmental clearances. Sources told Express that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) will take charge now with the Cabinet Secretariat, Home Ministry and finally the Prime Minister's Office expected to give the go-ahead. “After we shortlist a name, it normally takes four months to complete all formalities. We don’t see any delay this time,” a PESB official said.
Raju joined HAL in 1980 as a Management Trainee after completing his Mechanical Engineering from Andhra University. He holds an M.Phil in Defence Strategic Studies from Madras University and also PG Diploma in Intellectual Property Rights from NLSIU. Hailing from Tanuku in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Raju will have a tenure of over three-and-a-half-years as HAL Chairman, from February 2015 to August 2018.
Currently Raju has under his command four major Divisions of HAL, including the Aircraft Research and Development Centre (ARDC), the Mission & Combat System R&D Centre (MSRDC) and the Engine Test Bed R&D Centre (ETBRDC). He also holds the additional charge as the Managing Director of the company’s Helicopter Complex. Programmes like Sitara – the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Tejas – the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Rudra – the weaponised version of Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv and the Light Combat Helicopter currently come under his preview.
Raju has been selected by the PESB after interviewing four other candidates including S Subrahmanyam, Managing Director (MiG Compelx, HAL), V M Chamola, Director (HR, HAL), Umesh Chandra, Executive Director (BEML) and Air Marshal R K Dhir (MoD).
Speaking to Express on his arrival from Delhi past mid-night, Raju said that his focus will be to turn HAL into an aerospace technology leader. “Currently we are known as a manufacturing company and we need to quickly sink in with the changing times. Technology advancement is the key and I am confident of piloting the company towards achieving excellence in the field,” Raju said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ADE scientists to demonstrate ATOL role of Rustom-1 UAV

With ATOL feature, Rustom-1 to have enhanced endurance & payload-carrying capability.
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Defence scientists at the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) are closing in on enabling India's Rustom-1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) capability. The ATOL configuration, to be demonstrated by end of this year, will increase the endurance and payload carrying capacity of the UAV.
Insiders linked to the project told Express that ATOL feature will add more teeth to the Rustom-1 while undertaking prolonged missions. "We will be able to carry more fuel for missions which require the UAV to be airborne for longer durations. Instead of more fuel, different type of payloads can be integrated on the UAV, which will give it an additional operational advantage. At present, we are in the process of evaluating some of the sensors required for the ATOL implementation. Extensive real time simulation has been initiated on the UAV flight simulator to develop and fine-tune the guidance and control algorithms," an official said.
ADE took up the Rustom-1 project in 2006 with the primary objective of converting a proven manned aircraft configuration into a UAV. The first flight of Rustom-1 was in 2010 and since then the lab has conducted over 30 flights with around Rs 40 crore already spent on the project.
"So far our work on Rustom-1 has resulted in the availability of a baseline system which can be considered for operational roles by the users. This system can also be developed into an efficient FTB (Flying Test Bed) which can be used as a platform for development and demonstration of some of the emerging technologies in UAV systems," he said.
While enhancing the performance envelope of the UAV, the total weight (also called as AUW or all-up weight) goes up due to the increased weight of fuel or payload. This results in increase in take-off/landing distances and speeds. "Beyond a point it becomes difficult for the external pilot to confidently handle the UAV during the take-off and landing phases. Thus the capability for ATOL is essential," the official added.
The Indian Army has evinced keen interest in considering Rustom-1 for operational roles. However, in addition to ATOL capability, the Army wants ADE to demonstrate features like range of operation, colour video datalink and payload combinations. "We have so far demonstrated conventional take-off and landing of the aircraft by an external pilot, who coordinates the events with the internal pilot who controls the UAV during its mission phase. We have already demonstrated endurance for extended hours and at medium altitudes. We are confident of matching the performance demonstrated by some of the other users," the official said.
ADE has also integrated the surveillance payload of proven Nishant UAV on Rustom-1 to demonstrate its utility as a short-range surveillance platform. They are hopeful of optimising the performance by utilising the space available in the aircraft to increase the endurance further. The scientists are also exploring the possibility of using Rustom-1 version for ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) missions as well.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Student Tech: UAV files out of college lab; gets rave reviews in US

(Above) Dawon, the custom-made UAV built by MSRIT students. (Below) The team with US naval escort James Kerry (4th from left) during the UAV contest held at the Patuxent River Naval Airbase, Maryland in US.

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service

Bangalore: Dawon, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) named after mythological tiger of goddess Durga, designed by city-based M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT) students, has won rave reviews at an international event held in the United States recently. The seven-member team from MSRIT, Edhitha, competed with 50 universities from 20 countries during the event jointly organised by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the US Navy at the Patuxent River Naval Airbase, Maryland in US. 

In an interaction with Express on Monday, M Akash, a 7th semester Mechanical Engineering student of the college said that the competition was backed by aerospace giants. "It was an eye-opener for the Bangalore team as representatives from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were supporting the event. We secured 10th place in journal presentation, seventh in oral flight readiness review and 25th position in executing the mission. The jury appreciated the UAV's unique design and in-house fabrication," Akash said.

The competition demanded students to develop a UAV capable of autonomous GPS navigation, real time imagery system relaying information of strategic importance in intelligence and reconnaissance mission. In addition to the above requirement the UAV must also be equipped with a package drop mechanism for aerial drop task and Infrared imagery system for night vision. The Edhitha team was led by Vishnu B N.
"The UAV Dawon flew for 30 minutes and even undertook digital image processing mission. It also dropped an egg-shaped canister on an assigned target. The entire airframe, fabrication and electronics of the UAV costed us Rs 6 lakh," Akash said. 
Dawon with a wingspan of 3 meter, 2.5 meter length, 90-minute endurance and one liter fuel-carrying capacity is currently kept at the college lab. The students are also exploring the opportunities whether the UAV can be put to military or civil use. "We are looking at the regulations controlling the UAVs in India. Having exhibited the capabilities of the UAV, we are keen to see it put to good use," Akash said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Prying plane undergoes flight trials at forward IAF bases | CABS selects BEL as ELSA | Project on track

A rare air-to-air photo of the prying plane undergoing flight trials. 
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to receive the first Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) system by the end of this year. Two AEW&C systems, built on modified Embraer EMB-145I aircraft, are undergoing flight trials with one more expected to arrive from Brazil later this year. A senior scientist at the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) told Express that after handing over the first aircraft, parallel flight tests and fine-tuning of the mission systems on the second aircraft will continue, based on the IAF feed back. The official confirmed that in addition to the air bases in and around Bangalore, the prying plane has already had flight test campaigns in Jamnagar and Agra. 
"Being a complex system we need to approach the integration in a systematic manner. Safety is our top priority and we are proceeding cautiously at every step. During the integration process, the performance of all mission systems matched our expectations. We are now testing each of these mission systems in an independent mode, followed by operating them together in an integrated manner," the official said. So far both aircraft have clocked more than 200 sorties, logging over 350 flying hours.
The first public display of the AEW&C system, widely known as the prying plane, was during the IAF Day celebrations in 2012 and early this year, it was taken to Bahrain for an air show. As reported by Express earlier, the Defence Research and Development Organisation is exploring the potential of exporting the system for South American countries. 
The official said that Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has been selected as the ELSA (Engineering and Life Support Agency) for the project. "Since the AEW&C is a highly complex system, its requirement too is in limited numbers. Hence establishing of a dedicated production facility is not viable. The support requirement for the aircraft will be provided by Embraer, while BEL will take care of the mission systems," the official said. He said BEL was selected as the ELSA after undergoing an elaborate process mandated for technology absorption.
With the prying plane programme, India has emerged as one of the few nations after the US, Israel and Sweden to have developed such complex systems. "In addition to owing AEW&C, India can today boast of having developed world class systems on active phased array radar. In the process CABS has also emerged as a premier agency capable of developing airborne surveillance systems," the official said. 
CABS has also established cutting edge technologies in areas such as airborne active array antenna, identification of friend or foe systems, mission computers, data handling and display systems, mechanical racks and tactical software to name a few. The IAF has a huge presence at the CABS aiding the prying plane project especially in complex areas of flight testing and evaluation of systems optimally.
Copyright@The New Indian Express
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Team CABS with the two AEW&C systems in the background. The team is lead by Dr S Christopher.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nirbhay launch likely by Sept; missile undergoes design changes

It's official! India is gearing up for the second launch of its subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay in the next three months. After the aborted maiden launch in March 2013, the first made-in-Bangalore missile is likely to be test-fired in September, post the monsoon season. 
"We were disappointed that we could not complete the mission, but proud of what we could achieve with the first copybook launch. We have made a few corrections in the design and a couple of prototypes are getting ready for the next launch. The next few prototypes will be used to confirm the design parameters and demonstrate the overall mission capabilities of the system. Any flight vehicle undergoes fine tuning of its design during the development flight trials," ADE director Srikumar told Express.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Scientists developing futuristic tech for swarm UAV missions

ADE Director P Srikumar
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The next generation of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems will be equipped with high performance, specialised payloads to carry out 'dull, dirty and dangerous' missions. In addition to gathering intelligence over sustained periods of time (days to months), these UAVs will be providing situational awareness, acquisition and identification of targets, Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD) and will be operating in a network-centric environment.
In an interview to Express, Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) Director P Srikumar said issues relating to sharing of civilian air space will have to be addressed while developing new UAV systems. "The technical challenge will be to develop technologies required for co-operative flying among UAVs and design of swarm missions. (During swarm missions, a group of UAVs communicate to each other and undertake varied tasks). Many of the technologies required and missions like SEAD and DEAD are niche in nature. Some of the futuristic technologies are denied to India and we have to develop them from scratch. This is a challenge and scientists working on UAV systems are working on areas to bridge the gap," Srikumar said. 
He said in the present global scenario where proxy wars and asymmetric warfare take precedence over conventional full-fledged battles, it is only apt for nations to be fully prepared in handling these dangerous encounters. "Missions related to handling ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) are key factors and unmanned platforms play a major role in countering these skirmishes. ADE has drawn a road map addressing the requirements of various classes of UAVs and is now working towards meeting the developmental challenges keeping the user requirements in mind," Srikumar said.
The tactical UAV Nishant, developed by ADE, is already being used by Indian armed forces, while other unmanned platforms like Rustom-1 and Rustom-2 are undergoing various developmental trials. 
ADE also supports educational institutions to undertake cutting edge research in UAVs and micro air vehicles (MAVs). "At present there are around 300 engineering students doing their project work in the related areas at ADE. Under the National Programme on Micro Air Vehicle mission, several projects in the field of MAVs have been given to academic institutions. "We also give research projects directly to professors in leading academic institutes to develop core technologies required for our current and future applications," Srikumar said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Sunday, July 20, 2014

3rd time lucky for Kalam's 97-yr-old die-hard fan from Coimbatore

97-year-old C Visalakshi meets Dr Kalam at the Circuit House in Coimbatore on July 12.
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: All her life, C Visalakshi was able to fulfil most of her whishes, except one. And at 97, when it seemed as though her long-cherished wish to meet India's Missile Man and former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, would set like the sun, hope dawned on July 12.
The wish of the die hard fan from North Coimbatore, who is Tamil Nadu's first lady Chief Educational Officer, came true when she sent an email to Dr Kalam's office on July 3 with the help of her great-granddaughter Architha Srinivasan. "It gives me great pride to know that in my lifetime, I was a citizen of a country who's President was as great a personality as you, especially since you reached great heights from humble beginnings," she wrote in the email.
She further went on to add her contributions in the field of education and her efforts to make education available to the poorest in Tamil Nadu. "I was privileged to have worked with some of the greatest minds including Kamaraj and Periyar. During your Presidency, I observed a period of revolution. You have taken the time to reach out to young minds and provide the spark that lit the fire that we see in the youth today. To me, it would be a great privilege if I could meet you during your visit to Coimbatore this month," Visalakshi wrote.
Dr Anuvalentina, granddaughter of Visalakshi, said that her grandmother was third time lucky. "In 2008, we took her to an event attended by Dr Kalam, but the security cordon prevented us from reaching anywhere near him. Then in 2011, he came to attend a convocation in Coimbatore but again we were not permitted to meet him. But she never gave up hope," said Dr Anuvalentina, a professor with A J K Institute of Management.
On July 12, Visalakshi was accompanied by Dr Anuvalentina to the Circuit House in Coimbatore and this time Dr Kalam's aides ensured that the security was thoroughly briefed. "But paati was tired and was fighting for her breath as she had a wheezing problem on the day. It was a great gesture from Dr Kalam to come out of his room and meet her near the lift. She couldn't walk any further even with the walker. She was struggling to breath when Dr Kalam shook hands with her," said Dr Anuvalentina.
Architha too is happy for having played the link between Visalakshi and Dr Kalam. "She was so delighted to have had the opportunity. Now, even I want to meet him once," said Architha, pursing her final year medical course at the University of Cambridge.
When this correspondent spoke to Visalakshi over phone, she was unable to engage in a long conversation. She just said: "I feel honoured to have met such a great man. I blessed him."
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Saturday, July 19, 2014

NAL scientists on mission mode to make planes smarter, safer

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Scientists at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) are working on gen-next components that will make planes smarter and healthier. Through Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of composites, scientists are confident that the performance of the flying machines too will increase. The research is being carried out at the Advanced Composites Division (ACD) of NAL with the sole aim of carrying out SHM of planes while they are in flight. NAL is a premier wing of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Sharing some finer points of the close-guarded research with Express, Dr Ramesh Sundaram, Senior Principal Scientist & Deputy Head, ACD, said that any defects on the aircraft could be detected in future using on-board SHM systems. "The defects could be due to debris on the runway, hailstorm pieces impacting the aircraft, the most common incidents of tool-dropping during maintenance, impact of hard-landing on landing gear and even due to the impact of ground-handling equipment on the aircraft. The SHM systems will be able to give a real-time feed to the pilots," Dr Ramesh said.
Tested on UAV, Hansa: "The current systems being used in aircraft are safe, but our SHM system will help reduce time required for inspections. We have progressed well in the area and have demonstrated the technology on the two-seater Hansa aircraft. In collaboration with Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), we have demonstrated the SHM system using fiber optic sensors on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Nishant," Dr Ramesh said. During the technology demonstration of the SHM systems on the boom of UAV, scientists were able to capture the strain pattern on the tail boom -- right from take-off to parachute-deployment, while landing. Using these strain parameters, scientists have developed an algorithm to estimate the loads on the structure. 
"Now, we are looking experiments at lab level to understand the extent of damage using the SHM system. We also want to predict the residual life of aircraft structures due to the damages caused over a period of time. Currently we are focusing on developing simulation models to validate the experimental results," the scientist said.
Lesser inspection time: NAL Director Shyam Chetty said that it will take some more time before India could claim its supremacy in developing SHM systems. "What it will eventually do is bring down the inspection time to a few hours. Operators will get huge maintenance advantage as overall health of the aircraft will be readily available. Health of the various onboard electronic systems of the avionics suite is already being checked continuously in flight by what is called C-BIT (Continuous built-in-test)," Shyam said.
On Tejas in future: According to Dr Kota Harinarayana, aerospace legend and mentor, it is essential to have a technology to map the health of the aircraft constantly. "If there is an incipient failure, these systems should be able to detect the same. We hope even the future variants of Tejas too will have SHM systems; that will help us to look at the health of aircraft in totality," Dr Kota said.
A paradigm shift: NAL has been undertaking projects with funding from the Aircraft Research and Development Board (AR&DB), a movement spearheaded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Many academic institutions including IITs, Indian Institute of Science are working along with NAL in the area of SHM system research. "World over, similar studies have been undertaken by major aircraft companies on an experimental basis. The day is not too far when SHM-based design will become the mandate for aircraft manufacturing firms. This paradigm shift will probably turn around the current concept of plane-making. Scientists with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) too have made some inroads on this front," Dr Ramesh added.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Embraer, DRDO explore export potential of prying plane | Detail note for govt's consideration ready

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service

Bangalore: Even as the flight-test and system integration trials of India's prying plane, the Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) system gets underway ahead of its expected induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) next year, a bold export initiative has taken wing. Sources confirm to Express that the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has approached the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab, for the joint development of AEW&C system for exporting it to South American countries.
The AEW&C system is being built on a modified Embraer EMB-145I aircraft with two planes currently undergoing flight trials in India with the third and final one expected to arrive from Brazil in December. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to induct the first eye-in-the-sky platform next year, making it a force multiplier during reconnaissance missions. Sources confirm that both Embraer and DRDO have already signed a non-disclosure agreement to initiate interactions for taking the idea of exporting the prying plane forward.
With an eye on export, DRDO had exhibited the plane during an air show in Bahrain early this year. "In Bahrain, a couple of Middle East countries had shown interest in having the AEW&C system from India. We can confirm that special interest have been shown by UAE, Oman and Russia. Embraer is keen that we join hands with them for the joint development of the system for South American countries," said an official. He said internationally, similar systems will cost between $100-$110 million and put the cost ratio between Embraer and DRDO to the order of 40:60.
He said the DRDO headquarters had prepared a detailed note, incorporating the export potential of the system. He couldn't confirm whether the prying plane's export plans figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda during his ongoing visit to Brazil for the BRCS Summit. 
Security concerns: When asked about the possible security concerns that could arise while exporting such a highly complex prying plane, the official said despite India being the highest importer of defence equipment, the country was never accused of a 'security threat' to those who sold the systems. "All measures including tailoring the system for import will be done as per the importers' requirements. This is exactly the manner in which all major defence companies operate. Hence we do not envisage any security issues," the official said.
To a related query, whether it is mandatory to take the IAF's nod before exploring the export potential of the plane, the official said the programme has been funded mainly by DRDO and the IPR is with DRDO. "However, as the IAF being the user now, the matter will be discussed with them as well," he said.
Game changer: Often accused of importing items for various projects, the DRDO sees the export potential as a game changer. "We have built the entire mission system on the aircraft of user's (IAF) choice. We do not produce such aircraft in India today. Only Sweden, Israel and US have developed such state-of-the-art AEW&C system. The benefits of the effort in terms of return on investment can be achieved only if deliver more systems to various agencies," the official said.
The export of the prying plane will help India emerge as a visible player for critical systems. "We have our successful space mission as an inspiring model. The export of AEW&C system will be a game changer for DRDO," the official said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Path Unexplored: Untold tales of BrahMos cruise missile captured in new book

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Outgoing BrahMos Aerospace CEO Dr A Sivathanu Pillai has captured some of the unknown tales of India's supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, in his latest book, The Path Unexplored. Claiming the Indo-Russian BrahMos joint venture (JV) as the most-successful defence cooperation in the world, the book says that the sharing of expertise between the two countries in various missile technologies has made the missile the most powerful one in the world, in its class. 
"The path that we have travelled was not at all smooth. Lot of blood and sweat have been shed to achieve the present-level of success. Our achievements have resulted into an integrated defence company in India, taking care of design, development, production, marketing and product support. Many of our methodologies were daring and never before attempted," says Pillai in the book. Pillai is being succeeded by senior missile scientist Sudhir K Mishra as the BrahMos CEO on August 1.
Sharing experiences of various flight trials, the book captures the story behind the out-of-the-box-thinking that resulted in the launch of BrahMos from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. "We decided to conduct a flight trial in the Andaman Islands, as it was not possible for us to locate land target in the mainland of India. Everyone said that it would not be possible to get the environmental clearance due to the presence of rare species of flora and fauna in most of the uninhabited islands and those occupied by the tribal natives. But, we convinced the authorities that the missile is so accurate and the target will be positioned in the large sandy area leaving a small portion of rock and few coconut trees. We assured them that even a single coconut tree will not be affected due to the launch," recalls Pillai in the book, which is split into 10 different sections. 
The Indian Navy's decision to fire BrahMos from INS Rajput to test various flight profiles and to validate the missile's targeting capability was a challenge to Team BrahMos. "Navy's decommissioned ship 'Ex INS Androth' was the target this time. The missile pierced the target and we sent a chopper to investigate the target's status. First the message was that the target was looking normal, post-impact. As the helicopter approached the vessel, the pilot spotted a "big hole in the target." This is called a Bull's Eye hit. The trial was a great success and the Navy celebrated a grand party at sea onboard INS Rajput," says the book. A formal presentation of the book is being held the BrahMos HQ in Delhi on July 14.
Published by Pentagon Press and priced at Rs 995, The Path Unexplored has a forward from India's missile man and former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. "BrahMos is a fine example of role model of courage and leadership. Different versions, continuous product improvement and integration of the user at every stage made the weapon system user-friendly. The missile is a live example of excellent leadership, system design, system engineering, system integration and system management. It has made a page in the history of the world," says Dr Kalam, who played a crucial role in the JV formation between India and Russia.
Copyright@The New Indian Express
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Defence FDI: Experts choose to wait 'n' watch

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The expected announcement by the government to hike the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit to 49 per cent from 26 per cent in defence sector has evoked a balanced response. Terming the move neither as a great boon for defence capability build up nor a calamity for indigenous design and production, Dr K G Narayanan, former Chief Advisor, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said that even higher levels of FDI can be infused in unavoidable 'Buy and Make option' cases, with advantage and no great harm being done to the Indian economy, technological capabilities and national security.
"But, the government should declare with sincerity and seriousness, that substantial self reliance will be achieved within a reasonably short period of 10 years as a national goal and also introduce effective implementation measures to achieve it. In the absence of such a proclaimed national commitment and consequent changes in attitudes of the armed forces, defence production and defence research departments, it would be naive to expect restrictions on FDI ceiling to come to the aid of domestic technology agencies, public or private," Dr Narayanan, said. He felt it is equally naive to expect high technology to flow into Indian industry simply because foreign firms can invest more and repatriate more profits.
"There is a great difference between local manufacture of weapons containing high technology and manufacture of weapons containing high technology created or assimilated locally. These vastly different options are frequently, perhaps even deliberately, confused and taken to be same while arguing in favour of higher limits for FDI," Dr Narayanan felt.
Ashok Kumar Baweja, Head of Quest Global Defence Engineering Services, welcomed the governments move and hoped that the provision to enhance the limit on a case to case basis too be in place. "To hike the FDI limit has been a long-pending demand as the previous 26 per cent was very less. Foreign companies were hesitant to invest and things would get cleared now. It's a very careful decision and once the policy is made it will be easy to make exceptions in a case to case basis. Let's wait and see what happens," said Baweja, who was the former chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
Saying that the raise in FDI limit would benefit the MSMEs, Col (Redt) H S Shankar, Chairman and Managing Director, Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, however wanted the FDI to come through the direct route and not via Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). "While the MSMEs are bound to gain from the move, the established big industries in India will be left with no choice but to compete with the global players now. With respect to investments in plants, machinery and test equipment the OEMs can be made to share 49 per cent of the cost, instead of earlier 26 per cent. This will help Indian industries," said Col Shankar, who was the former Director (R&D) of Bharat Electronic Ltd, said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Desi G3OM receiver makes BrahMos smarter | India first nation to test it on a missile

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Serivce
Bangalore: India on Tuesday embarked upon a major mission in miniaturising missile systems by successfully testing a G3OM (GPS, GLONASS, GAGAN on a Module) receiver on the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Developed by Hyderabad-based Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the G3OM receiver has been produced by a Bangalore-based private firm. 
Sources told Express that it is for the first time that a G3OM receiver has been used in any missile worldwide. "It is definitely for the first time an Indian missile is using such a complex system and to our knowledge no nations have so far tested it. This paves way for highly miniaturised missiles in future. The G3OM weighs around 17 grams and provides hit accuracy below 5 meters," an official said.
Through G3OM receiver, the missile can take target acquisition from American GPS, Russian GLONASS and India's GAGAN system at one go. Combined with inertial navigation system (INS), a G3OM receiver can provide very high accuracies even without a seeker. "During Tuesday's launch, the G3OM was used in a hybrid manner with an INS. These are next-generation technologies on missile front and we are sure that many more missile will now benefit from this. It is a major step in India's missile avionics," the official said.
Super BrahMos? With a number of new features being tested on the missile on Tuesday, including a supersonic steep dive capability against difficult/hidden land target, scientists are not ruling out the emergence of 'Super BrahMos.' While scientists term the new avatar as an advanced missile, many feel that the 'Super BrahMos' might have just taken birth. 
"Missiles world over are getting smarter and we are also working on systems that will either increase the range of the missile or the warhead. The idea is to hit the target faster and with precision. We have taken the big leap with miniaturised chips ready to call the shots in future," the official said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A mobile-grab of today's BrahMos launch


Photos of today's 'Super BrahMos' launch

BrahMos hits hidden land targets

(Trimmed release)

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully flight-tested on 8th July 2014 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) Chandipur in Balasore, Odisha. During the launch at 1038 hrs, the missile flew through the designated 290 kms distance at Mach 2.8 and achieved high precision with steep dive once again.
BrahMos Aerospace confirmed that it was a text book launch achieving 100% results, executed with high precision from the Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) prepared by the BrahMos 3rd regiment of Indian Army team.
In a historical first, the advanced guidance system integrating multiple navigation satellites powered with new software algorithm, developed indigenously by Indian scientists and industries resulted in pinpoint accuracy of the missile system against hidden land targets.
This was the 44th launch of BrahMos which was carried out with high level of reliability. About 205 Indian industries have come in a big way by significantly contributing their knowhow and expertise in realising the BrahMos weapon system.
Indigenous airframe produced by L&T and Godrej, guidance system by HAL, OBC, MIU by Ananth Technologies Ltd., Electronics industries, software development and guidance scheme by DRDO/RCI have been proved in the flight increasing the content from Indian industries.
This development flight trial of BrahMos, making world record, has proved three key aspects for the success of the mission:
1. Achieving high level of accuracy with multiple navigation satellites integrated with advanced software, without homing device, thus enabling pinpoint accuracy and further enhancing the precision capability against hidden land targets including mountainous regions.
2. Accomplishing the supersonic steep dive capability against difficult land targets.
3. Realisation of airframe, both composite & metallic, built by the Indian industries which were tested and evaluated and altogether provided substantial increase of Indian produced content in the missile.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Transparency will contribute to nation-building: Kalam

Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Photo: Jithendra M
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam has a new vision for India where a transparent system will propel the nation towards development.
In an interview with Express, Kalam said transparency will guarantee India a place among developed nations by 2020.
“I am not endorsing a particular school of thought or supporting the initiatives of any system. As a citizen of the country, I am keen to see transparency in all forms of governance. India has been excelling in various fields and we are making steady progress in many areas. In my view an open, transparent system will contribute immensely to nation-building,” said Kalam.
When asked his opinion of the new communication initiatives being launched by the Narendra Modi government, the Missile Man said, “Any new system needs some time to settle in. I have always communicated with the people and am a firm believer in their power. If our actions are linked to peace, prosperity and ethics, we will surely reach our goal of becoming a prosperous nation. It has to be the collective will of the nation.”
During his Presidential days, Kalam had opened up communication channels at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, bringing the highest office closer to the common man. His decision to take the e-route to spread his innovative ideas became an instant hit, making him popular as the People’s President.
“I am a strong believer in good communication and knowledge-enhancement. We must undertake purposeful, constructive and mission-oriented communication patterns for the benefit of the people. Everyone has the right to learn and everyone has the right to know,” he added.
Citing the example of a twitter update that went viral, Kalam said communication can help spread positivity among everybody.
“I was impressed by a two-year-old girl Manavi, who offered chips to everyone onboard a flight to Indore. It was a selfless act by a little girl who wanted to share her goodies with everyone. We need to learn from Manavi and start thinking about how we can contribute towards the welfare of others and the nation,” he said.
The former president said he was always on the lookout for new channels of communication that can bring a positive change to society.
“All our actions should finally lead to nation-development. Each one of us has a role to play in the script called Mission India. I am all for transparent systems that will make my country flourish,” he concluded.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Instant seaweed meals to help Indian Navy beat sea sickness | Products set for trials will help MARCOS too

By Anantha Krishnan M

Express News Service

Mysore: Scientists working with Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) are gearing up for the technology demonstration and induction phase trials of MRE (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) food products made out of seaweeds for the Indian Navy. The sea trials scheduled as part of the 12th Five Year Plan, will be the result of path-breaking research done by the lab on seaweeds, hitherto an unexplored field in military application. Dr H V Batra, Director, DFRL, told Express during a visit to the facilities that nutraceutical products made out of marine sources, including seaweeds, can address issues like depression, fatigue, sea-sickness and muscular stiffness often found among submariners and sailors undertaking long missions.
The nutrient and toxicological properties of seaweeds were studied with the research on performance-enhancement MREs starting in 2010. “Our task was to mitigate certain stress-related issues and we took the sea route to explore the vast coastline of India. Our main emphasis will be to extract active compounds from marine sources and we are planning to attach an advanced team to an oceanographic unit for logistical reasons. We have to provide MREs with longer shelf-life under limited cold storage environment. The naval ration supply is a challenge for us,” Dr Batra said. Initial phase of trials were held at naval bases in Kochi, Vizag and Mumbai. It is for the first time in India that food products from seaweed extracts with nutraceutical characters are being developed. DFRL plans to initially supply toffees and energy bars made out of seaweeds for Indian Navy.
With a number of mission-specific platforms being inducted by the Indian Navy, the DFRL scientists are living up to the challenge of developing fresh, semi-processed and fully-processed food products. “The food products need to be customized for various platforms such as a huge a ship or a submarine. A submariner undergoes psychological and physiological stress levels mainly due to less physical activities and limited space availability. We have to make task-specific MREs for diverse naval needs. For marine commandoes (MARCOS) the weight of MREs has to be as less as possible and we are working on it,” Dr P S Raju, Associate Director of the lab, said.
The lab is now working on reusable self-heating system for the navy and with degradable food packing systems in compliance with the international packing and food waste disposal (MARPOL) norms. “We are also working on anti-sea sickness food based on fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs. The Navy has asked us to prevent hygroscopic nature (tendency to absorb moisture) of sugar and other dry ration items by using stack encapsulation technique (providing suitable packaging support) for naval base depots,” Dr S Nadanasabapathy, senior scientist, said. 
When asked whether similar research was done elsewhere, DFRL scientists said that wounded Japanese soldiers were given seaweed juice when they ran out of blood, while the British soldiers consumed seaweed limes to address degenerative disorders. “We are confident that our MRE packaged product from seaweeds will be first in the world for military application,” Dr S Nadanasabapathy said.
Pre-flight meals: With the induction of INS Vikramaditya and increased flying activities at sea, the Navy has asked DFRL to deliver pre-flight meals for the pilots. “The idea is to reduce thirst of pilots, in turn cutting down the urine formation. The pilots should feel very light on their stomach, yet have a sustained energy release. Research on isotonic beverages which will reduce the loss of body fluids thereby maintaining electrolyte balance is also underway,” Dr Anila Kumar K R, senior scientist, said.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Made in India ASW corvette Kamorta ready for action

By Gp Capt Tarun Kumar Singha, CPRO (Def), Kolkata

Photos: GRSE, Maj D D Rokade, DD (Photo)
There is visible alacrity seen in the frenetic activities onboard India's newly-built anti submarine warfare (ASW) corvette Kamorta docked at the fitting-out jetty (FOJ) of Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. (GRSE), Kolkata, one of the four Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) shipyards in India. 
Kamorta, a super-sophisticated frontline warship with stealth features is readying to sail out from the GRSE FOJ to join the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet in its role as Indian Navy's newest submarine hunter/killer.
Known earlier by its GRSE 'Yard-3017' nomenclature where the keel was first laid and launched in 2010, the sturdy warship Kamorta is the first in its class of four ASW corvettes being built under Project-28 (P28) for the Indian Navy.
ASW corvettes Kadmatt, Kiltan and Kavaratti are to follow suit progressively. The lethal quartet will bring to easy recall names of the four islands in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshwadeep archipelago after which they are named. 
They will be feared platforms for lurking enemy submarines and possibly their nemesis too when detected lurking in our territorial waters. They would also be deployed as advance screen for the Carrier Battle Group to counter any submarine threat to the force.
Clearly, the rules of the game below sea-level are set to change drastically with no room for enemy submarines to manouevre.
Meanwhile, Kamorta's designated Captain -- Commander Manoj Jha -- and the ship's company (officers and sailors) are meticulously carrying out checks of all systems and equipment onboard including the crucial gas-leak checks as per drills as the date for the formal acceptance of the warship from GRSE draws closer. 
The formal acceptance will take place in a ceremony -- D-448 Handing/taking Over -- later this month. The warship is slated to be commissioned by Indian Navy at Vishakhapatnam in July 2014, where significantly a nuclear submarine - Arihant - is also being built indigenously.

Shaping a Builder's Navy - Realising a vision in self-reliance 

The ASW corvette brings to fruition a significant project in India's pursuit for self-reliance in indigenous warship building, bringing closer home Indian Navy's quest to be a 'Builder's Navy' as well as a true 'Blue-water Navy' with ships and submarines designed and built within the country.
ASW corvette project was conceived with indigenous design effort in the year 2005, which was followed by evolvement of detailed design ab-initio by GRSE in succeeding years. The equipment fit of the ship comprises of large number of state-of-the-art equipment which are being installed on a naval warship for the first time. 
Designed by ‘Directorate of Naval Design’ (DND), the successful construction of ASW corvettes with advanced stealth features also bears testimony to Indian Navy's growing capabilities in designing state-of-the-art naval combatants comparable with the best in the world. 
Stealth capabilities in the ASW corvettes have been designed by featuring the full-beam superstructure with contemporary ‘X-form’ and optimally-sloped surfaces to reduce RCS (radar cross section) signature. 
The ship’s hull form has been made highly efficient for excellent sea-keeping and manoeuverability. The ship has an overall length of 109 meters and is nearly 13 metres wide at its maximum bulge. 
The hull of the ship is built with special grade high-tensile steel (DMR249A) developed by Indian Navy and procured from SAIL (Steel Authority of India) for which GRSE trained its team of welders to achieve conditions of near zero-rejection state. 
This grade of steel is being used for the first time on any indigenously built naval ship making the ship very cost effective, fuel-efficient, powerful and well suited for the service intended. 
With an approximate displacement of 3400 tonnes, the ships can achieve a maximum speed of 25 knots. Powered by four indigenously designed 3888 KW diesel engines at 1050 rpm, the ship can cover nearly 3,500 nautical miles at 18 knots. 
Each ship would be manned by 14 officers and 150 sailors. Ergonomy and crew comfort in manning equipment onboard has remained a focus area. Further, the ship has a modern galley (kitchen) for ship’s company.
With about 90 per cent of the ship being indigenous, P28 corvettes introduce many features for the first time in any naval warship. Many of these features bear testimony to commendable indigenization efforts undertaken by Indian Navy jointly with Indian industries for furthering our self-reliance in warship building capability. 
Among the many firsts, the ASW corvette incorporates a state-of-art low-noise CODAD (combined diesel and diesel) propulsion system with hydraulic coupling between main engines and gearbox. 
Two controllable pitch propellers driven by two raft-mounted gear boxes are capable of twin output or single output as required. This mechanism reduces underwater noise making detection of the ship by hostile underwater threats extremely difficult. 
The four engines are mounted on the rafts - two on each - for driving the propellers. Indigenously developed IRSS (infrared signature suppression system) devices are fitted in engine exhaust for reducing infra-red signatures enabling it to stealthily operate. 
With reverse osmosis plant for freshwater generation, sewage treatment plant with vacuum toilet facilities totally compliant with International Maritime Organization regulations, the warship measures up to all stringent regulatory needs to operate across oceans of the world. 
The ship is also provided with an operator friendly TAC (total atmospheric control) system for high combat readiness with improved habitability and features a fully air-conditioned modular type accommodation. 
Electrical power for the ship is generated by four diesel-engine sets powering to 3 MW connected with the ship’s network ensuring 100 percent redundancy at all times. 
The ship is also fitted with sophisticated, indigenously made stabilizing systems. The propulsion as well as the power generation systems with damage control system is enveloped by an 'Integrated Platform Management System' for achieving a superior state of control and integration. 
Equipped with an 'Integrated Bridge System', operational watch-keeping needs have been given a high priority in its design with optimal space availability for other watch-related activities.
The ship is also fitted with latest communication systems and navigational aids. It is also the first naval ship fitted with bow-mounted 'sonar' (sound navigation and ranging) for enhanced underwater surveillance. Integration of indigenous surveillance radar (Revathi) for surface and air surveillance is another first on any Indian warship.
The weapon suite of the ship is formidable and will be capable of engaging ships, aircraft and shore targets besides having astounding anti-submarine capability. It will be the first warship armed with an indigenous rocket launcher for ASW warfare, while also being the first warship armed with trainable chaff launcher (Kavach).
The weapons and sensors include fire-control radar, surface-to-air missiles, close-in weapon system, medium-range gun system, surveillance radar, chaff system for counter-measures against enemy radars and missiles, torpedo launcher, anti-submarine rocket launchers, EW system, combat management system and advanced sonar system. 
These multi-performance features will also provide effective naval gunfire support during amphibious operations.
The ship is also capable of deploying a helicopter, adding considerable punch to the ship’s anti-submarine capability. With a foldable hangar door fitted for the first time with a rail-less helicopter traversing system fitted -- also a noteworthy first on any naval ship -- helicopter operations from the corvette decks will have a significant edge over existing platforms of other warships.

GRSE now a DPSU role model

Currently engaged with projects worth 10,000 Crores and credited with an 'Excellent' MoU rating for last three years, GRSE manufactures a wide range of high-tech modern warships and hovercraft including frigates, corvettes, ASW corvettes, landing ship tank, fleet replenishment tankers, landing craft utility ships, survey vessels, water-jet fast attack craft and interceptor boats. 
Much to the dismay of the mandarins at Delhi till not so long ago, GRSE was once touted as an example of how a DPSU should not be. Besotted with labour problems among other things, GRSE began to be the pariah of sorts. But remarkably, GRSE has managed to overhaul both its relevance and stature by being among the profit-making DPSUs since 2006.
Former National Security Advisor and currently West Bengal Governor, Shri MK Narayanan, while speaking at GRSE Raising Day on April 19, stated: "I am well-aware of many facets of its (GRSE) functioning. Today, it is a flourishing ‘Mini Ratna’ with Category-1 status. There was, however, a time when many of us in Delhi had written off the GRSE, treating it as a hopeless case in view of the many problems – specially labour troubles -- which plagued the unit leading to prolonged work stoppages.
The GRSE was then seen as the kind of role model that a Defence PSU should not be. Today, thanks to the approach and attitude of workers, officers and specially the dynamism of more recent Chairman/Managing Directors, the situation has been completely transformed. It is today the model or a Defence PSU that every other PSU – whether in the Defence or non-Defence sector – should emulate."
GRSE turnover has since tripled in a little over five years, thus reflecting the healthy growth of the undertaking. GRSE now boasts of a strong shipbuilding division which includes design and manufacturing sub-divisions, and is perhaps the only Defence shipyard in the country which has its own engineering division. 
The successful handing over the first P28 ASW corvette to the Indian Navy within this fortnight will surely bolster GRSE's growing stature as a major warship builder not just within India but also on the global stage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Video of today's Akash missile test-flight


For related news, see the Tarmak007@FB link here: http://on.fb.me/1lCplaf

Top aircraft resuce & firefighters to brainstorm for safer airports

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Aircraft rescue and fire fighting experts from across the globe will land in Bangalore next week to discuss the challenges lying ahead for one of the most critical units at every airports -- the firefighters. Jointly organised by the Aviation Fire Protection Association (AFPA) and Indian Aviation Fire Safety Specialist Group (IAFSSG), the two-day international conference will see over 500 experts sharing their views on making airports more safer. 
Sharing details with Express, Ajith Kumar P S, Secretary, IAFSSG, said the meet scheduled on June 26 and 27 will see Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) experts debating a range of topics, including aviation fire fighting requirements for large aircraft, fire protection systems for airport terminals, protection of airport fuel farms and military aircraft firefighting and its hazards. "This is the first time an international meet on fire safety is being held in India at such a large scale. The ARFF Vision 2020 will be announced. India has to go a long way in adopting new technologies in airport fire fighting. We feel he ARFF unis are not getting their due recognition in comparison to our counterparts abroad," Ajith said.
He said the meet aims to help ARFF teams adopt the best aviation safety standards. "Technology development is the key and we can't be hesitant in changing over to smart machines. High-caliber simulators and real scenario training tools are not available in India now. The Mangalore crash could have been handled better had we studied the difficult terrain and provided the right kind of facility and equipment," Ajith, a prominent voice of ARFF units in India, said.
The event, being supported by the Airport Authority of India, Bangalore and Mumbai airports, will also discuss the impact of the aviation boom in India. "The requirements of ARFF teams have changed with the increase in the number of people flying now. Our focus has now shifted to mass evacuation, in case of an emergency. With larger aircraft arriving to the scene, the requirements have also changed. The meet will be a learning ground for us as to how airports abroad handle the massive flying machines," Ajith said.
A Selvaraj, coordinator for the event, said the arrival of aircraft with larger frames have made the job of ARFF teams more challenging. "We need to train our personnel in rescuing passengers from upper deck of the aircraft as well. All modern aircraft carry more fuel loads and this is another area that needs expertise during emergencies," says Selvaraj.
Terming the awareness levels on ARFF in India as low, Selvaraj said that many developed nations possess the technology to simulate passenger movement during a panic situation. "India is not investing enough in aviation fire fighting technologies. Our industry should begin R&D in this segment and come out with solutions. We should manufacture our own machines rather than importing them every time," he said.
HRET OF THE MATTER: HRET (High Reach Extendable Turret) is an equipment used by modern airports abroad to throw foam or water inside the aircraft by piercing the fuselage of the aircraft in case of an emergency. The whole activity can be monitored via an inbuilt camera which is fixed at the nozzle. None of the Indian airports have HRETs.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ahead of Agni-V’s canister launch, India conducts missile ejection test

Agni-V is expected to launched
from a canister later this year.
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Scientists carried out a canister-based launch of a 50-tonne dummy missile in a simulated environment at an undisclosed facility near Hyderabad on Saturday. Sources confirmed to Express that the exercise, termed as MET-2 (Missile Ejection Test), was the second in the series conducted in the last six months.
The successful result of MET-2 has given the confidence to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists to go ahead with the critical canister launch of India’s big ticket 5,000 km-plus range nuclear-capable Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V later this year. The Agni-V has been successfully test-fired twice in the last two years from a conventional launcher. V G Sekaran, Director General (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, too confirmed the launch, but refused to give any details.
A senior scientist, part of the launch team, said that during Saturday’s mission all interfacing elements of the missile were tested. “The weight and other features (minus the warhead and propulsion system) matched that of an Agni-V and the results are really satisfactory. High-speed cameras and onboard telemetry systems captured the sequence that lead to the ejection of the missile from the canister. The dummy missile went to a height of 30 meter and fell apart 15 meter away from the launch point. With this launch, we have proved the maturity in offering a canister-based launch system for a missile weighing 50 tonnes,” the scientist, requesting anonymity, said.
Canisterised missiles are normally preferred by the users as they can be transported at ease and also are simple to handle. “The gas generator inside the canister ejects the missile up to about a height of 30 meter and then the motor can be ignited to fire the missile. Hence, we need not add a jet deflector on the launcher. The strength of the surface of the launch pad is not a critical factor either,” he said. In addition to giving the user more flexibility, a canister-based missile offers the option to launch it at a very short notice and with less manpower.
DRDO kept the launch activities under complete wraps with the officials refusing to divulge the details of the facility as well. “The launch site is near Hyderabad and it was commissioned a year back. It is now being developed as an exclusive facility for such trials. We are planning to conduct some more missile related tests from this facility in the months ahead,” the official said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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