Tuesday, January 9, 2018
The Annual Army Tech Seminar (ARTECH-2018), conducted at the Manekshaw Convention Centre, Delhi Cantonment, on January 8, 2018 also played host to displays of selected innovations of the Indian Army that originated from both within the Indian Army, as well as from Indian industries.
Shown above is a Royal Enfield 350 motorbike that was modified last year into a three-wheeler for towing the in-service 120mm Thomson-Brandt AM-50 mortars along mule-tracks in high-altitude terrain. When such 120mm mortars were ordered for deployment in Sikkim during the Doklam standoff, it as discovered that an eight-man crew would be required for dfisassembling each mortar, then strapping them up on a mule-train, and then trudging along for nine hours in order to reach the final destination. The Corps of Electrical & Mechanical Engineers then decided to modify the Royal Enfield 350 motorbike into a towing vehicle, and attach an Eicher-made small engine at the bike’s rear as a booster—all designed to tow the 120mm mortar. The end-result: such a contraption successfully deployed the mortars within a timeframe of one hour while cruising at a speed of 30kph! This modification kit has since been specified for all formations deployed throughout the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
HIMSHAKTI & HIMRAAJ CIEWS
The Himshakti/Himraaj CIEWS is a lightweight version of the Corps-sized SAMYUKTA Mk.2 EWS that has been in service since the beginning of this decade.
It was on August 27, 2015 that the the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) D-6, outfitted with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), successfully placed in orbit the GSAT-6/INSAT-4E communications satellite, which is ISRO’s first satellite to make use of an S-band unfurlable antenna having a diameter of six metres. This antenna is now being used for five spot beams over the Indian mainland, which will ensure connectivity with ahandheld devices for data, video or voice transfer. The spot beams exploit the frequency re-use scheme to increase frequency spectrum utilisation efficiency. GSAT-6 is the second satellite launched by ISRO for strategic military requirements. In 2013, it had launched GSAT-7, a dedicated communications satellite for the Indian Navy. The GSAT-6 is a 2,117kg satellite that now provides quality and secure communications for India’s armed forces. This also frees the IA’s soldiers from carrying bulky backpack communications equipment, since very small handheld devices can now be put to use (see photo below).
Monday, January 1, 2018
India’s Ministry of Defence-owned Defence Research & Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Hyderabad-based Research Centre Imarat (RCI( and its associated Sensors Research Society (SRS) has since 2012 accelerated efforts to develop a theatre missile defence (TMD) system using the AAD endo-atmospheric interceptor, which is specifically designed for neutralising the Pakistan Army’s China-supplied solid-fuelled single-stage DF-11 (Hatf-3/Ghaznavi) 280km-range tactical ballistic missiles and the North Korea-supplied liquid-fuelled single-stage Hatf-5/Ghauri-1/Nodong-1 IRBMs, both of which are conventionally armed. Presently, the Pakistan Army deploys two Missile Groups each of the Ghauri-1 and Ghaznavi (grouped under two separate Artillery Brigades, these being the Hyderabad-based Missile Brigade South comprising Missile Groups 25, 35 and 40; and the Sargodha-based Missile Brigade North comprising the 14, 28 and 47 Missile Groups).
Though the IAF had decided to acquire TMD assets way back in 1996, it was the DRDO that first got into the act of proposing a homegrown solution, for which it initiated the development of the PAD/PDV family of solid-fuelled exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles and AAD/AD-1/-2 family of endo-atmospheric interceptor missiles—with the AAD using an active radar seeker sourced from Russia for terminal guidance (and the THALESRaytheon-supplied S-band Master-A MFCR for mid-course guidance) and the AD-1/AD-2 rounds using medium-wave infra-red (MWIR) sensors for terminal homing.
Of the 15 test-firings of such missiles that have been carried out since November 2006, the PAD was test-fired only once, while the two-stage PDV was test-fired on April 20, 2014 and February 11, 2017. The PDV, which will take at least a decade to mature, is designed to intercept MRBMs (with atmospheric re-entry speeds of 5km/second more than 500km away) at an altitude of 150km. Though the PDV will be cruising at Mach 5, it will be required to attain a peak terminal speed of Mach 11—made possible by the divert thruster placed on top of the second-stage. The divert thruster will generate high lateral acceleration for the ‘end-game’. Both the warhead and divert thruster will be fired simultaneously towards the target once they are within the acquisition range of the PDV’s combined ARSEEK Ku-band RF seeker and the MWIR seeker.
Development of the AAD endo-atmospheric interceptor missiles has witnessed greater urgency, with the AAD being test-fired on December 6, 2007; March 6, 2009; March 15, 2010; July 26, 2010; March 6, 2011; February 10, 2012; and November 23, 2012. Following a three-year interval, the AAD’s missile’s test-firings commenced on April 6, 2015 and were followed by test-firings on November 23, 2015; May 15, 2016, March 1, 2017 and December 28, 2017. The Mach 8 AD-1 is yet to be test-fired and it features all-composite rocket motor casing, MEMS-based redundant micro-navigation system (RMNS), as well as a new-generation MWIR sensor that employs semiconductors using indium gallium nitride and aluminum gallium nitride alloys for the RCI-developed 1,024-element staring focal plane arrays. The AD-2 missile’s terminal-guidance sensor will operate in the ultra-violet bandwidth to give better solar radiation rejection. The AAD’s flight trajectory is shaped through aerodynamic control out to an altitude of 35km and a distance of 200km when used for intercepting re-entry vehicles flying at 9km/second. It is able to sustain up to 30 G, thereby making it unstable. at an altitude of 35km. It stands 7.5 metres tall, weighs around 1.3 tonnes and has a diameter of less than 0.5 metres.
India’s ‘desi’ TMD system using the AAD missiles is still another five years away from maturing, pending the availability by 2020 of a full instrumented TMD test range costing Rs.1,000 crores that will be located at Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh (from where the AAD interceptors will be launched from underground vertical-launch cells) and at Rutland Island in the Andaman & Nicobar chain of islands, from where the to-be-targetted ballistic missiles will be launched.
The Machilipatnam-based facility will also house one L-band long-range tracking radar (a licence-built clone of the EL/M-2080 Green Pine early warning radar) along with a launch-control centre, plus a five-array S-band EL/M-2248 MF-STAR target illumination/engagement active phased-array radar that will be mounted in a shore-based structure (which will also house two-way SATCOM data-link antennae) that will bear more than a close resemblance to the island of the Indian Navy’s Project 71/IAC-1 aircraft carrier that is now undergoing fitting-out at the Kochi-based Cochin Shipyards Ltd.
In other words, the Machilipatnam-based facility will be similar in design and deployment layout to Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS ASHORE system, which can be reviewed here:
Friday, December 15, 2017
A unique feature of each of the Indian Navy’s six Scorpene SSKs is an on-board tactical situational awareness display console (above) of the kind normally found on SSNs, SSGNs and SSBNs. On this single console, the SSK’s Commanding Officer can view overlaid electronic navigation charts, the tactical situation picture, as well as a THALES-provided track table interface to the US Naval Research Laboratory-developed display and analysis tool set, called SIMDIS. The SIMDIS is a set of GOTS software tools in use to support 2-D and 3-D analysis and visualization of the undersea battlefield. SIMDIS allows an integrated real-time view of both time-space position information (TSPI) and telemetry data, and it also provides an intuitive view of complex system interactions before, during and after an event.
The sails of the Indian Navy's CM-2000 Scorpene SSKs (above) differ from those of the CM-2000 Scorpene SSKs of the Royal Malaysian Navy (below) in both looks and content, since the former play host to the VLF buoyant cable antenna suite.
France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) has mandated that the F-21 HWT will equip all French Navy nuclear submarines. The F-21 has also been ordered by the Brazilian Navy. Naval Group has developed an important component for safe deployment: an energy pack based on an aluminium/silver oxide electric battery that needs seawater for activation—an element unlikely to be found in the submarine. To meet submarine safety requirements, the F-21 will be launched by a technique in which it is pushed out of the boat by a piston (rammer), after which a valve in the torpedo opens and lets seawater into the battery to activate it. The battery provides high energy density, and is sufficiently compact that the overall length of the F-21 HWT—6 metres (19.6 feet) long with a 21-inch (533mm) diameter—is compatible with legacy launchers. One problem with competitive torpedoes that are equipped with older-generation batteries is that to achieve the energy for their missions and countermeasures, they need long batteries, which add so much to their length that they no longer fit into launchers. The torpedo must also have enough energy left once it has reached its target to attack and sink high-value targets such as aircraft carriers and frigates. This explains the importance of the primary battery as the energy source. The UK, Russia, US and Sweden have chosen thermal systems as their energy source. France specified the electric system because it is safe and silent. In underwater missions, silence is of the utmost importance to avoid detection by the enemy. This system enables a totally silent attack.
The F-21 is digital and operates in depths of 15-500 metres, which means it can be used in littoral and blue-water operations. In shallow waters there are “parasite” sounds that confuse torpedoes, which home in on targets acoustically. The F-21 treats the sound signals digitally with the same up-to-date processing as in modern warship sonars, which enables the F-21 to largely overcome this difficulty. The F-21 weighs 1.2 tons, has a range of 50km, speed of 50 Knots., and 1-hour endurance. It can attack multiple targets and has extended fibre-optic wire guidance that is resistant to most countermeasures. The warhead contains PBX B2211, a high-impulse, high-bubble-energy, insensitive explosive that conforms to NATO’s STANAG-4439 and France’s MURAT (Munitions a Risques Attenues) standards. The torpedo uses an all-electric “fuse-and-slapper” detonation technology. Primarily used in guided-missiles, the plasma-based slapper system is more stable and safer than the conventional electro-mechanical detonation systems in most torpedoes. The torpedo configuration can be changed from a weapon to a training device by just puting an exercise section on it instead of an explosive one. One can also change the primary battery, providing it with a secondary battery based on lithium-ion technology, which is reusable a great number of times.
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