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KALAIKUNDA AIR STATION, India (AFPN) -- For the first time, U.S. pilots faced the Indian Air Force’s most advanced, and newest, fighter -- the Su-30 MKI -- during an exercise Cope India 06 mission here.
F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots Capt. Martin “Gabby” Mentch and 1st Lt. Robert “Pipes” Stimpson were the first to mix it up with the Su-30s Nov. 9.
The Airmen, deployed here with the 13th Fighter Squadron from Misawa Air Base, Japan, flew against the new jets, which have a thrust-vector capability and updated avionics.
The MKI “is an amazing jet that has a lot of maneuverability,” an essential trait when fighters fly within visual range of their enemy during combat missions, Captain Mentch said.
The American fighters are also squaring off against an older version of the Su-30 Flanker during the exercise, which runs through Nov. 19. The Indians are also flying the MiG-21 Fishbed, MiG-27 Flogger, MiG-29 Fulcrum and Mirage 2000 against U.S. Airmen participating in the exercise.
With all these different types of aircraft, the training the pilots are getting here is invaluable, said Lt. Col. Hugh “Hef” Hanlon, the Misawa squadron commander.
“Flying against dissimilar aircraft gives us a different level of training than if we were back home just flying against ourselves,” he said.
Colonel Hanlon also said flying against the Indian aircraft is a thrill.
“In all my 18 years in the Air Force, I’ve dreamed of going up against these aircraft,” he said.
In addition to the initial MKI-F-16 encounter, the exercise has another piece of history to it.
About 250 U.S. Airmen from throughout the Pacific region are participating in the exercise, which Colonel Hanlon said is “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
"We’re proud to represent the Air Force and the United States of America,” he said.
IAF show leaves US forces spellbound
Exercise: ‘It wasn’t US against India, but an exercise on how to work together’
KALAIKUNDA, : As the Cope India 2005 Indo-US air force exercises wound down today after two weeks of feverish action in the eastern skies, the US Air Force were left with a stark, double-edged realization.
One — that it is no longer the unchallenged leader in the skies, and two—for all future joint operations in South Asia, the IAF would, without doubt, be its natural partner.
Vice Commander of the US Pacific Air Forces Lt Gen Dave Deptula said: ‘‘I have never seen a better executed exercise in my 29 years with the USAF. This will go a long way towards establishing peace and stability in the region. Every single objective of this exercise has been met. It was not the US against India. It was an exercise on how to operate together.’’
The two sides flew a rare high value airborne asset (HVAA) attack simulation over Kalaikunda, which principally illustrated the cohesive nature of this round of war games. In the mission, the USAF’s E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft was escorted by American F-16s and Indian Su-30s in a scenario where the AWACS was attacked by a hybrid mix of American F-16s, Indian Mirage-2000s and Su-30s. In the words of one of Mirage pilots, this, more than any of the other maneuvers in the last weeks, epitomized what Cope India was about. Air Marshal Fali Major, Eastern Commander, said: ‘‘This exercise simulated a hot war scenario in a conventional setting. It was not about terror.’’
During the last Cope India exercise in February 2004, American F-15 pilots had admitted finding it bizarre that their Indian counterparts had routed them in many maneuvers. This time round, the buzzword was a studied ‘jointness’, though pilots told this newspaper off the record that the IAF had maintained its ‘‘one-up’’.
The USAF is especially under pressure from the Pentagon not to show the F-16 Falcon in bad light, since Washington wants this exercise to work also as a subtle tool for sales to New Delhi. Last year, Senate hearings in the US following the Gwalior exercises indicated that Washington had recognised that its air dominance was severely eroded following the F-15 Eagles' poor performance against Indian Sukhoi-30s.
During the current exercise, while trying to play down what had become virtually a diplomatic embarrassment last year, exercise director Gp Capt Hari Kumar has been told not to comment on which side performs better. But the IAF has also told its men to keep up the good work.
NEW DELHI, NOV 24: In a new twist to the Indian quest for the 126 medium range combat aircraft (MRCA), a fifth bidder has appeared on the scene nearly a year after the request for information were invited.
Officials attribute the sudden emergence of EADS offering its Eurofighter Typhoon for the prestigious Indian order as a strong bid to keep the American Lockheed Martin and Boeing out of contention.
The four contenders so far were: two American companies including Lockheed Martin(offerign the latest block 70 F-16), Boeing(offerign the block 2 F/A-18 super hornet), French company Dassault(offerign the block 2 F/A-18 super hornet) and Russian MiG(offerign the new Mig-35).
However, talking to FE, Mahmut Turker, sales director, military aircraft EADS Defence and Security, said, “We are in New Delhi on a fact-finding mission and have had talks with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as well other top government officials.”
The EADS team will be visiting Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and explore opportunities for possible expansion of existing ventures.
Currently, French Dassault Aviation’s Mirage 2000-V is said to be the frontrunner in the race. But the German EADS team is understood to be making the point that the Eurofighter Typhoon will have a “generational difference” with the Mirage.
Unwilling to reveal their strategy, Mr Turker explained that, “EADS is aware of India’s requirement. The company is ready to work with specifications and issues relating to outsourcing and weapon systems to be on board will be addressed during various discussions.”
Speaking at a joint press conference, Mukherjee said India will take part in the development and financing of a fifth generation super fighter aircraft project with Russia.
"We exchanged views. Active contacts are going on with Russian side. Our air force is in contact with their Russian counterpart, HAL and Sukhoi Corporation are talking on manufacturing aspects.
"We are keen on taking part in the development and financing of the fifth generation fighter," Mukherjee said.
He also announced that Russia's Defence Ministry has agreed to provide access to the Russian GLONASS global navigational satellite system for military application to India, an alternative to Pentagon-controlled US Global Positioning System (GPS).
He underscored that India is the "sole" country in the world with which Moscow has a long-term defence cooperation programme and has opened its whole military industrial complex for the Indian defence complex.
"This is because of highest level trust and shared national security interests in Eurasia and the whole world," Ivanov pointed out, mentioning India as an emerging economic and military power on the global scale, friendly to Russia and the largest democracy.
Later, the Defence Minister was welcomed in the Kremlin by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who noted "high level of trust" in bilateral defence cooperation and reiterated Moscow's readiness to further expand military ties with New Delhi.
"It is very significant that interaction between our defence departments are developing in the best way and military-technical cooperation is developing most intensively in the high level of trust," Putin said.
He underscored that political ties between the two countries have acquired "unprecedentdly" high level.
India is seeking to lease two Lockheed Martin P-3 Orions from the US Navy as an interim solution to its maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) requirement.
The US government last year offered India up to 10 refurbished P-3s, but New Delhi wants to test two aircraft for three years before selecting a new MPA platform. Industry sources say the US Navy is now trying to locate an aircraft it can spare and the US government is trying to determine which mission equipment may have to be removed because of export restrictions. If finalised, the lease will be government-to-government with Lockheed and local aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) providing support.
By leasing two P-3s, the Indian navy will be able to augment its MPA capability, now limited to Dornier 228s, almost immediately instead of waiting two to three years for the delivery of new or refurbished aircraft.
New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will acquire six more midair refuelling planes to strengthen its ability to act as an "expeditionary force" while responding to natural disasters and emergencies in the region, a senior official said Monday.
Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani, vice chief of the IAF, said plans had been firmed up to buy six more Il-78 flight refuelling jets to give the force "greater strategic reach". The IAF currently has six Il-78s.
The IAF's vision for 2015 included various measures to bolster the force's capability to respond to natural disasters and contingencies both within India and outside the country, Bhavnani told a select group of journalists.
Bhavnani insisted that the IAF's proposal to enhance its strategic airlift capabilities was meant only for humanitarian purposes and was not aimed against other countries.
The IAF's ageing Russian-made An-32 medium transport aircraft would soon be upgraded. The force was also considering the possibility of acquiring other transport aircraft, including a plane currently being developed indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the C-130 Hercules from the US, he said.
BANGALORE: The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the aircraft design house of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bangalore has formed a core team to design a medium combat aircraft (MCA), an advanced multi-role fighter with stealth capabilities.
Besides incorporating many features of the indigenous single-engine Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that is undergoing flight trials, the MCA will use radar-absorbent materials to reduce detection by radars, making it a stealth fighter.
The new generation fighter is expected to replace the Jaguar and the Mirage-2000 fleet of the Indian Air Force in the coming decades. “The design work is getting ready. It should be completed in a year,” DRDO sources told DNA.
The advanced aircraft will be build with extensive use of composites and have smart sensors like micro electronic mechanical systems (Mems), that can automatically detect strains or weaknesses in the airframe or wings. “The IAF is giving a lot of inputs for the design,” sources said.
Once the design is frozen, the DRDO would present the project to the government for sanction of the MCA project estimated to cost about Rs 6000 to Rs 8000 crore. The MCA will be a 12 tonne weight class fighter with a maximum take-off weight of about 18 tonnes.
It is to be powered by two “thrust vector’’ engines that facilitate controlling the flight by controlling its thrust, giving the pilot greater manoeuvrability.
But there are snags in developing Kaveri, the indigenous engine that will be used for the LCA and upgraded for the MCA. The DRDO has invited bids from global engine makers to participate in building the engine.
“The stealth features and engine are two areas that we are weak. We will bridge this gap,” sources said.
Many systems and technologies developed in India for the LCA, Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) like the flight control systems and composite wings will be used in the MCA.
“It will take about six to eight years for the first aircraft to be developed,” sources said.
The US has offered to sell eight P-3C Orion naval reconnaissance aircraft to India and New Delhi is examining the proposal, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash said today.
The US has offered to modernise eight old P-3C Orion planes and supply to India, he told reporters here.
"We are examining that offer," the Naval Chief said.
Admiral Prakash said India needs some maritime reconnaissance aircraft as "we lost a few and some have retired." "So, we are looking out for a replacement. This (the US offer) is one of the candidates." Russia has also offered to sell naval reconnaissance aircraft to India, said the Naval chief who earlier inaugurated the 46th annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine here.
He said about Rs 300 crore has already been invested in designing and developing naval version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft. Once it receives certification, expected in 2011 or 2012, it will fly from "both of our aircraft carriers.
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India is considering a rival bid from Russia to sell naval surveillance and anti-submarine airplanes, even as it examines a United States offer of eight P3-C Orions, the country's naval chief said Wednesday.
Admiral Arun Prakash did not disclose which Russian model aircraft is being considered, but India's current maritime surveillance fleet comprises three Ilyushin-38s and eight Tupolev-142s, both Russian-made. He said the navy has not set a timeframe to decide on buying the naval planes, but that the negotiations are advancing.
"It is going take some time before we decide, " Prakash told reporters in Bangalore, on the fringes of an aviation seminar. "We will buy the one that offers the right price and meets our needs."
The US proposal was disclosed in February by defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the Orion. It also won the necessary export license for the deal from the US government.
The C-130J military transport aircraft, F-16 fighters and F/A-18 Hornet multipurpose aircraft are among US-made warplanes being considered by India. The US has also offered to sell its Patriot Advance Capability 3 missile system and E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning system to India.
India's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programme got off the ground with the Government today approving procurement of 12 'Nishant' indigenously-made UAVs for the Army at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.
The decision to purchase the UAVs from Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO unit, was announced by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee after a 90-minute meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.
Mukherjee said while four UAVs, along with one system, will be purchased in the first phase, eight UAVs and two systems will be procured in the second phase.
Till now, India has been importing Israeli-made 'Heron' medium and high altitude series of UAVs for the three services which are using them extensively for surveillance operations in Jammu and Kashmir and certain other strategic areas.
The country's indigenous Air Early Warning and Control (AEW &C) would be ready for user trial in 78 months, according to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"The time frame for completion of development activities and commencement of user trials is 78 months", the Minister told the house in a written answer, as he disclosed that premlinary designs of various subsystems had been completed.
India, revived the programme to develop the system which had been put on hold after a crash of an experimental Avro in 1999, in October last year when the Cabinet Committee on Security gave the fresh go ahead.
The Air Early Warning and Control system is being jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force. The system would use an indigenous radar.
However a decision on the platfrom to be used to mount the system is yet to be finalised with the Brazilian aircraft Embraer and others in contention.
The Government has said that the indigenous programme would go ahead even as India would get its first AWACS by 2007. India is also collobrating with Israel and Russia to mount the Israeli Greenpine radar on an IL-76 framework.
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150 private companies are now working in tandem to develop the Kaveri engine
Over 150 private industries are working in tandem to develop the 'Kaveri' engine for the prestigious Supersonic Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) Director Dr K Ramachandra said today.
Delivering a presentation on ''Kaveri engine and the Role of Private Sector'' on the concluding day of the two-day seminar on outsourcing jointly organised by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies and Industries (SIATI) here, he said barring total system integration of the engine there is a lot of scope for private participation in the project.
Dr Ramachandra said in the Kaveri engine project being built for the prestigious LCA project 'Tejas', there is ample opportunity for the private industries to join hands to develop software and invest in building testing facilities. Outlining the modes of outsourcing available in the Kaveri engine project, he said that right from design, development and product realisation till certificate stage there is scope for private participation.
Emphasising that outsourcing was the only way to meet the requirement, he said that private sector has both capability and skill except in certain critical control system of the Kaveri engine. The private industries can become vendors in the areas of development of sensors, measuring devices, conventional sensor, slip rigs, thin film sensor, telemetry, airworthiness probe and sensors, fan, compressor blade flutter, material and mechanical technology, maintenance and operation of testing facilities and other areas.
Panaji, Nov 26. (PTI): Indian Air Force is in the process of procuring 126 light combat aircraft (LCA) by 2010, Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi said here.
"The aircraft would be procured towards the end of this decade and no specific deadline is set for it," Tyagi told reporters during a ceremonial passing-out parade at INS Mandovi, Goa.
India has designed and developed an radical new airship, mainly for surveillance activities, a top official of the country's civil R & D establishment in aeronautics said today.
The venture had been undertaken in partnership with Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment, a Defence Research and Development Organisation, Director of National Aerospace Laboratories here, A R Upadhya said.
"The tethered version (of airship) will soon be tested at Agra," he said. The ship will be propelled by autonomous control systems. Now, it will undergo performance evaluation test and "communication with the ground" and related areas.
Airship is mainly for surveillance purposes, Upadhya told PTI. "It can be put up there (in the skies) and it can observe a large area".
"All the structure is complete and we have installed all the systems into that," he said. "Engine testing will be done separately and later integrated into the airship".
Airship will also find application in monitoring road traffic as also in disaster management.
Upadhya pointed out that in cities, instead of having movable vehicles, airship can be stationed in the skies, serving as surveillance platform for monitoring traffic.
The size of the airship as well as its range would be worked out later, said the official from NAL, a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
MOSCOW (AFX) - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to sign a deal on joint production with Russia of a new multi-purpose transport plane during a visit to Moscow next month, Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
During the December 4 to 6 visit, 'there will be the signing of an agreement on joint production of a multi-purpose transport plane,' Interfax news agency quoted Mukherjee as saying at a meeting in Moscow.
Russia and India have already agreed to jointly produce BrahMos anti-ship missiles and have discussed potential cooperation in the construction of 5th generation fighter jets.
Elbit Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) will be invited to bid in a huge international tender for setting up a command and control system for the Indian Air Force. “Defense News” reports in its latest issue that the system is an ambitious attempt to imitate NATO’s command and control network. The tender is for more than $100 million. The company chosen will have to help integrate the Indian Air Force’s current system in the new system. These existing systems include air defense, control, surveillance systems, a warplane mission management system, and an airspace management system.
Signing of the contract with the winner is scheduled within a year after the short list is published. The winning company will have to build a prototype of the system two years after the contract is signed.
Of concern to the IAF is also the security of its landline communication network. A recent Defence Ministry report termed it to be vulnerable to interception and encryption systems are being introduced to make it secure for voice and data communication.
The IAF is also introducing a host of new electronic warfare and signal intelligence equipment besides increasing the use of space-based applications for communications.
A team of Northrop Grumman Corporation, a US-based arms manufacturer, was recently in India scouting for suppliers of components and capabilities that could be used in the company’s Hawkeye 2000 aircraft.
According to sources in the ministry of defence, company officials visited Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and interacted with other companies which can provide components for the Hawkeye 2000 aircraft.
Company officials had a round of discussions with members of Indian industry. “Should the Indian Navy choose to procure these airborne early warning and battle-management aircraft, the company hopes the effort will lead to broadened relationships with Indian high-technology companies in the near future,” said company officials.
“Northrop Grumman has long recognised the ability of Indian industry to produce world-class defence equipment and services,” said Timothy Farrell, vice-president and leader of Northrop Grumman’s integrated product team on airborne early warning programs.
The US Navy and Northrop Grumman provided price and availability information for newly configured, export-compliant Hawkeye 2000s with a fully integrated logistics-support package.
Capabilities of Hawkeye were demonstrated ealier this year at AeroIndia in Bangalore.
Northrop Grumman’s Hawkeye 2000, the US airborne-surveillance and battle-management aircraft, is the only such aircraft in the world that has been in production for decades and will be in production for years to come.
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Israel will sell 50 unmanned spy drones worth 220 million dollars to India, public radio reported Tuesday.
The Heron drones can fly at an altitude of 30,000 feet (nine kilometres), are equipped with camera and surveillance technology, automatic takeoff and landing system and are suitable for all weather conditions, the radio said.The 250-kilo drones can stay airborne for more than 40 hours.
Software-intensive fourth generation Light Combat Aircraft Tejas (second prototype vehicle), indigenously designed and developed by India, joined the test phase today with its maiden flight here.
Its maiden flight launched at 1010 hours was successful and met all flight test objectives, DRDO officials said.
Capability of Tejas aircraft as a flying platform, has been demonstrated with 474 flight tests carried out utilising two technology demonstrators and one Prototype Vehicle.
"Creditable fly past of Tejas aircraft in three international Aerospace Expositions - Aero India (held at Bangalore since 2001) and twice-a-day aerobatic display during Aero India 2005 was a tribute to indigenous self-reliance efforts," DRDO said.
There is a "quantum jump" in the build standard of Tejas (PV2), which is software intensive fourth generation combat aircraft built to the production standard. Besides having high percentage of composite materials in Airframe Structure, it incorporates a state-of-the-art, integrated, modular avionics system with open architecture concepts to facilitate easy hardware and software upgrades and re-usability.
Avionics Systems of Tejas (PV2) provides excellent Pilot Vehicle Interface in glass cockpit having an all round panoramic view to reduce the pilot's workload and to increase the situational awareness.
The maiden flight of Tejas PV-2 (the production standard LCA) is an extremely significant landmark in Indian Tejas full-scale engineering development programme. Flying and testing of this prototype will lead to induction of the first batch of production standard LCAs, Aeronautical Development Agency officials said.