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Friday, February 22, 2013

Finally Sanity Prevails! MoD Decides Not To Blacklist Any More OEMs

This landmark decision, taken during a meeting of the Union Cabinet Committee on National Security earlier this week, follows a series of representations made by the three armed services to both the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the National Security Adviser P. Shivshankar Menon, all of which have had the desired effect. Historically speaking, such blanket blacklistings have been legally untenable and indefensible and consequently, the only nett losers have been India’s armed forces. For instance, the Indian Navy’s (IN) Dabolim-based MiG-29K tactical flight simulator, procured from Germany-based Rheinmetall, is today a virtual white elephant. Furthermore, more than 12 principal surface combatants of the IN are in dire need of Barak-1 CIWS installations, which again were postponed indefinitely on the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission. All this has served to pile up enormous pressure on the MoD’s bureaucracy as well as on the presently-serving Raksha Mantri to not jeapordise national security any further by resorting to blanket blacklistings that never seem to have a satisfactory end-state.

It is now believed that blacklistings enforced for the past decade will also be lifted, albeit without any official announcement, with just an official confidential notification being sent by the MoD directly to all the blacklisted OEMs about the discontinuance of their respective blacklistings. All this, however, should not detract the MoD from pressing for liquidated damages from those OEMs that have been proven to act in contravention of their contract obligations, especially with respect to the Integrity Clause. In cases where culpability has been legally established (as in the case of the DENEL Group), and is likely to be established (as is the case with Finmeccanica), the MoD should make all-out efforts to sue such OEMs for contract violation and corporate accounting frauds and claim liquidated damages with compound interest.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Highlights Of Aero India 2013 Expo: Part-3

The three posters below detail glass cockpit designs for fourth and fifth-generation combat aircraft designed by Canada-based CMC Electronics/Easterline, which is competing against ELBIT Systems for supplying the glass cockpit for the Tejas Mk2 and LCA (Navy) Mk2 MRCAs.
Kongsberg of Norway is proposing its HSM version (below) of the NSM for the Indian Navy’s sixteen 10-tonne shipborne helicopters, for which Sikorsky’s S-70B Seahawk is the frontrunner.
Everything you wanted to know about the MAFI project is detailed below.
Telephonics’ OceanEye multi-mode radar (below), already on board the Boeing-built P-8Is, is also being proposed on the S-70B Seahawk for the Indian Navy.
Telephonics’ RDR-1600 weather radar (below) is already flying on the IAF’s Mi-17V-5s and AW-101s as well as on all Dhruv ALH Mk1/2/3 helicopters.
Radionix Ltd of Ukraine, which had originally developed an internal jammer (below) for MiG-29s and Su-27s/Su-30s, is offering a version of this suite for the Tejas Mk2 and LCA (Navy) Mk2.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Highlights Of Aero India 2013 Expo: Part-2

The 40 IAI-built EHUD rangeless ACMI pods used by the IAF since the late 1990s required a special pylon interface unit for enabling their fitment on to combat aircraft of Russian origin like the Su-30MKI and MiG-21 Bison, since the EHUD ACMI pods are built to NATO MIL-SPECs and are not compatible with Russia-origin pylons. It is only now that Israel Aerospace Industries has come up with EHUD pods (above) configured for fitment on pylons meant for carrying R-73E WVRAAMs, meaning this new pod will easily interface with aircraft of Russian origin like the MiG-29UPG and MiG-29K, thereby doing away with the need for expensive customised pylon interface units.
 
Chemring’s chaff and flare cartridges are presently used by the Sea Harrier LUSHs, Jaguar IS/DARIN-2 interdictors and Mirage 2000H/THs, all of which have also been fitted since the early 1990s with ALE-40 countermeasures dispensers. The Su-30MKIs presently use Chemring-supplied chaff cartridges.
Elettronica Aster SPA has supplied the Tejas Mk1 MRCA’s brake system’s progressive pressure control valve, while for HAL-developed LUH it has been contracted to supply the hydraulic package, handpump unit, brake unit, main rotor actuator, and tail rotor actuator. For the Dhruv ALH this company is presently supplying the landing gear retraction manifold, sleeve and spool valve assembly, main rotor servo-actuator, tail rotor servo-actuator, and the rotor brake system.
In an era of panoramic AMLCDs that are used by almost all contemporary general aviation aircraft, HAL’s selection of conventional AMLCDs for the cockpit of the Do-228 (above) can only be described as being a retrograde step.
The IAFTS (above) is a very interesting piece if kit born out of the US military experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will prove to be very useful for those Mi-17V-5s that are used for both CSAR and utility missions in support of special operations.
Another version of the GTSU-127, presently on the drawing boards, will go on board the FGFA.
Believe it or not, till today, no India-based OEM has been contracted to supply Ni-Cad batteries for aircraft and helicopters like the Tejas Mk1, HJT-36, Mi-25 and Mi-35, and for the Heron-1 and Searcher Mk1/2 MALE-UAVs. Batteries for all these platforms continue to be imported from France’s SAFT (shown above).
SAMTEL THALES is presently bidding against HALBIT Avionics for supplying the glass cockpit avionics for the HAL-developed LUH. For the Super Su-30MKI programme, the company has been selected for supplying the panoramic AMLCDs and a CSIO-developed HUDWAC (see below). The HUDWAC, also to go on board the Jaguar/DARIN-3 aircraft, will replace the existing ELOP-supplied Type 967 HUDWACs. 
The RAFAEL-supplied Spice 2000 PGM (below) will be integrated with the Mirage 2000UPGs by a joint DRDO-IAF team once the first four Mirage 2000UPGs arrive back in India from France.
The ELT-568 AESA-based internally-mounted jammer (below), presently on board the IAF’s MiG-29UPGs, is most likely to be specified for the Tejas Mk2 MRCA as well.
ADA this time showcased an illustration of the Tejas Mk1 MRCA’s possible weapons configurations (below).
However, when it came to the Tejas Mk2, all that ADA could come up with was a pathetic two-page pamphlet (below).
Shown below are the UGS elements supplied by Textron Systems to the BSF and CRPF for demonstration purposes.
HOTAS-related hardware (below) being supplied by UK-based ULTRA Electronics for various platforms.
Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Elbit Systems Electro-optics-Elop Ltd for the joint development of Compact Multi Purpose Advance Stabilisation System (CoMPASS) for naval applications on February 7, 2013 at the 9th International Exhibition on Aerospace, Defence & Civil Aviation that was held at Air Force Station Yelahanka, Bengaluru. The MoU was signed by H N Ramakrishna, Director (Marketing), BEL, and Adi Dar, Executive VP, Managing Director of Elbit Systems Electro-optics-Elop Ltd. Amol Newaskar, Director (Other Units), BEL, Roy Zentner, Vice President, Business Development & Marketing, Elbit Systems Electro-optics-Elop, and Neri Zin, Senior Director, EO ISTAR Business Unit, Airborne EO & Laser Systems, Elbit Systems Electro-optics-Elop, were present along with other General Managers of BEL. The CoMPASS is a day-and-night surveillance system that includes a colour TV daylight camera, 3rd Generation 3-5 ┬Ám FLIR sensor, Laser Target Designator and Rangefinder (LTDRF) and automatic tracking capabilities, as well as command and control capabilities. It is distinguished by a wide variety of interfaces, enabling integration with various aircraft/helicopter systems, such as mission computer, fire-control, radar, GPS, data down-link and helmet-mounted tracking systems. Its small dimensions, low weight, high level of stabilisation and coverage angles make it an optimal choice for long-range, day-and-night surveillance, target tracking, fire-control applications and search-and-rescue.