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CRPF out of ration cash
Published 29.09.19,
The allowance frees personnel from having to constantly watch their pockets while buying food
By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui in New Delhi


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Most personnel in the 3-lakh-strong CRPF — the country’s largest paramilitary force and its counter-insurgency spearhead — are paid a Rs 3,000 “ration allowance” along with their monthly salary. Officials said the troops spend the sum on their meals at their camps’ mess and canteen. Telegraph file picture



Central Reserve Police Force personnel are set to be starved of their monthly “ration allowance” by the Narendra Modi dispensation that swears by national security, apparently because of a cash crunch triggered by the economic crisis that the government denies.

Most personnel in the 3-lakh / (300,000) strong CRPF — the country’s largest paramilitary force and its counter-insurgency spearhead — are paid a Rs 3,000 “ration allowance” along with their monthly salary. Officials said the troops spend the sum on their meals at their camps’ mess and canteen.
An internal communication the CRPF has sent to its formations across the country says the allowance will not be paid with September’s salaries because the home ministry is yet to release a tranche of Rs 800 crore despite reminders in July, August and this month. The Telegraph has a copy of the communication, dated September 13.

“This is the first time the ration allowance has been stopped. We spoke to ministry officials last week about the pending money and they mentioned the faltering economy,” a senior CRPF officer at the Delhi headquarters said, adding that the ministry had not cited any official reason.

He said the allowance frees personnel from having to constantly watch their pockets while buying food. “It helps personnel to keep themselves fit for fighting militants and Maoists,” he added.

The CRPF officer said: “The decision to withdraw the allowance goes against the Prime Minister’s claims of strengthening the forces to keep them in fighting shape.”

The CRPF battles insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and the Maoist belt.

The internal communication said the force had nudged the home ministry on July 22, August 8 and September 9 “for allotment of additional fund amounting Rs 800 crore so that continuous ration money allowance could be drawn with regular pay but allotment of additional budget is still expected from MHA”.
“As no reserve fund under COR (cash on reserve) is presently available, therefore it is not feasible to draw ration money allowance from the pay of September 2019. Hence, stop drawal of ration money allowance from the pay of Sept ’19 till further orders. Please inform all concerned personnel accordingly.”

Contacted, CRPF deputy inspector-general (intelligence) Moses Dhinakaran played the issue down, saying the ration allowance had been increased slightly this year and the fund got exhausted in July after arrears of Rs 22,194 were paid to personnel.

“It will be resumed once we get the additional funds from the home ministry,” he said.

He declined comment on the ministry’s failure to release the money despite repeated reminders.

All non-gazetted CRPF personnel — constables, head constables, assistant sub-inspectors, sub-inspectors and inspectors — receive the ration allowance.

Sources said the force headquarters was receiving frantic calls from personnel across the country, asking about the imminent stoppage of the allowance.

“Most personnel got panicky after learning about the stoppage. It’s very difficult to keep up the morale of troops posted in hostile conditions under these circumstances,” a senior CRPF officer said. “Like the army, a paramilitary force marches on its stomach.”

Armed forces personnel, unlike their paramilitary counterparts, receive free rations. So do the two paramilitary forces under the army’s operational control: Assam Rifles and the National Security Guard.

It could not be confirmed whether the ration allowance was being stopped also in the remaining central forces: the Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Sashastra Seema Bal.
 

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IAF Mi-17 Suffers Technical Snag, Makes Emergency Landing
October 02, 2019

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A Mi-17 helicopter belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAF) made an emergency landing in Mandya, Karnataka state due to a technical snag on Wednesday afternoon.

“The crew of a Mi-17 helicopter deputed for the Mysuru Dasara (Indian festival) noticed a technical snag. As per standard operating procedures, they have done a precautionary landing. Rectification party will come and rectify the snag," a defense spokesperson was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

According to the local police, no casualties were reported due to the emergency landing. “The emergency landing was made in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district today around 12.30 pm,” the police said.

Last Friday, two pilots onboard Indian Army's Cheetah helicopter were killed after the chopper crashed in Bhutan. On September 25, an IAF MiG-21 fighter also crashed. Pilots of the jet ejected safely
 

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As China flexes muscles, India quietly kicks off a major combat exercise to test its new integrated battle groups
02 Oct 2019
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India has quietly kicked off a major combat exercise to test its new integrated battle groups (IBGs) for mountain warfare in Arunachal Pradesh, even as China showcased its military might with strategic bombers, fighters, supersonic drones and the world’s longest range inter-continental ballistic missile Dongfeng-41 at its 70th anniversary parade at Beijing on Tuesday.

Sources said the month-long “Him Vijay” exercise, which is being held away from the line of actual control with China, is geared towards converting the new 17 “Brahmastra” Corps into “a lean and mean force” for “swift attacks” in a dynamic operational scenario as well as “creating vulnerable contingencies for the enemy in multiple valleys” in the mountainous region.

The three IBGs, carved out of the 17 Corps with around 5,000 soldiers each and a mix of tanks, light artillery, air defence units, signals and other elements, will be exercising in conjunction with IAF’s C-17 Globemaster-III, C-130J Super Hercules and AN-32 aircraft as well as helicopters for airlift of soldiers and equipment as well as rapid inter-valley transfers.

The Him Vijay exercise will be in full throttle when Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit India later this month for the second informal summit with PM Narendra Modi at the seaside resort of Mamallapuram, near Chennai, as was reported by TOI in September.

While the IBGs of the 17 Corps, headquartered at Panagarh under the Kolkata-based Eastern Command, are being test-bedded in the ongoing exercise, the IBGs meant for Pakistan were similarly “test-bedded” under the Chandimandir-based Western Command in April-May.

“Each IBG will be configured on three things. One, the nature of threat envisaged in an area. Two, the type of terrain involved. Three, the task that will be given,” said a source. In effect, the IBGs for Pakistan will be focused more on tanks and heavy artillery, while the ones for China will revolve more around infantry and light artillery due to the differing terrains.

The ones under the 17 Corps, for instance, will have Chinook heavy-lift helicopters swiftly transporting M-777 ultra-light howitzers to forward and high-altitude areas with China. IAF has started inducting 15 CH-47F Chinooks in a Rs 8,048 crore deal inked in September 2015, while Army is getting 145 M-777 howitzers under a Rs 5,000 crore deal inked with the US in November 2016.

“The entire concept of IBGs is based on the need to have leaner and meaner forces that can operate and execute tasks faster. There is the `Cold Start’ doctrine but the existing formations are somewhat heavy. If you want to achieve surprise, you must go faster,” said another source.

This has led to “a mid-course correction” in raising of the 17 Corps, which began in January 2014 to acquire “quick-reaction ground offensive capabilities” for the first time against China because the Army’s existing three “strike corps” were largely geared towards Pakistan.

With two high-altitude infantry divisions as well as armoured, artillery, air defence, engineer brigades spread from Ladakh to Arunachal, the 17 Corps was to be fully formed with 90,274 soldiers at a cost Rs 64,678 crore by 2021. “But the raising has been slowed down because of the new concept of IBGs as well as a fund crunch,” said another source.
 

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India admits friendly fire downed helicopter in Kashmir clash
04 Oct 2019
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An Indian Air Force helicopter crashed on February 27 as Indian and Pakistani aircraft engaged in dogfights over Kashmir AFP/Tauseef MUSTAFA

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force confirmed for the first time on Friday (Oct 4) that it shot down one of its own helicopters during clashes with Pakistan in February over Kashmir, killing all six on board.

"A court of inquiry was completed and it was our mistake that our missile hit our chopper," said the head of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria.

"We will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future," he told reporters.

The military helicopter crashed on Feb 27 as Indian and Pakistani aircraft engaged in dogfights over Kashmir in their most serious military skirmish in years.
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The Indian Air Force has confirmed that it shot down one of its own helicopters during clashes with Pakistan in February AFP/Tauseef MUSTAFA

A day earlier Indian aircraft had bombed what New Delhi called a "terror camp" used by the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group in the Balakot area of Pakistan.

That followed a suicide bombing on Feb 14 claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed that killed 40 Indian troops.

The Indian military at the time gave no reason for the helicopter crash although media reports cited unnamed sources as saying it was friendly fire.

Confusion still surrounds how many other aircraft were shot down, with Pakistan saying it downed two Indian fighter jets but India saying it lost only one.

India meanwhile said it shot down an Pakistani F-16 - an assertion repeated by Bhadauria on Friday - but Pakistan denied this at the time.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since 1947 and has been the spark of two wars and several clashes. China also claims a part of the Himalayan region.

Tensions have spiked again since India revoked the autonomy of the part of Kashmir that it controls on Aug 5.

Source: AFP/hm
 

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Two pilots dead after trainer aircraft crashes in Telangana's Vikarabad
The aircraft had lost contact with the Begumpet Station in Hyderabad after 11.55 am.
Updated:
Oct 06, 2019, 16:44 PM IST

Written By:
Zee Media Bureau

Edited By:
Ankita Bhandari
@ankita_katty

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New Delhi: In a tragic incident, at least two pilots were killed after an aircraft crashed in Vikarabad district in Telangana. The incident took place on Sunday in Sultanpur village of the district.

The pictures showed the mangled remains of the aircraft lying in a field. Take a look:
Telangana: Pilot killed in trainer aircraft crash at Sultanpur village in Vikarabad district. pic.twitter.com/b7bNfDmIss
— ANI (@ANI) October 6, 2019
The aircraft had lost contact with the Begumpet Station in Hyderabad after 11.55 am.

Both trainee pilots, including a woman, died in the crash. One of them was identified as Prakash Vishal. Both the pilots were students of Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy. The aircraft had taken off from Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad and was on a training sortie.

The pilot apparently lost control of the aircraft as it toppled in the air several times before crashing into the fields.

Police rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area. Officials of the Aviation Academy also rushed to the accident site.
 

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IAF demand for 200 more planes rendered redundant by fall in conventional war, rise of cyberspace conflict

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  • It is as useless to arm yourself with tanks and fighters today as was buying more horses in 1920
  • Russia did not want Hillary Clinton to be elected and thought it was better if Trump won and launched a cyberwar to achieve its objectives
  • A few years ago we spent Rs 59,000 crore on acquiring 36 Rafales and we do not know if we will ever use them

A story in the morning papers caught my eye. It was about the Indian Air Force wanting another 200 fighter planes and debating which one it should get. We already have or have paid for various squadrons of Russian made Sukhois and MiGs, French made Mirages and Rafales. These aircraft have not seen much combat. They were last used 50 years ago in a war that we launched in the east. After that they have been mostly on the ground except for a couple of minor occasions.

The fighter plane is a 100-year-old technology, having been first used in World War I in 1914. Defences against fighter planes are also 100 years old, and it is why these machines have not been used in combat much and by themselves have not won a war. The United States has fought its recent wars with guided missiles because manned aircraft are dangerous (to the pilot) and ineffective.

However, it is difficult to get old men (and generals and admirals and such people are all old men) to change their way of thinking and so governments and nations throw a lot of money behind thinking that is old-fashioned and quite useless.

This is not new and it has always been the way of warriors. The man who developed many of the successful German tactics in World War II was a soldier named Heinz Guderian.
He wrote that he tried hard to introduce tanks into the army, but his generals were not convinced.
They wanted to stay with their formations which had horses and did not understand or trust this new technology that Guderian was trying to promote. Ultimately, the senior soldiers lost out and Germany developed very powerful mechanised armour divisions that helped it rout France and almost conquer Russia.

But even tanks became useless over time. I was a guest at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), in Brussels a couple of decades ago. This organisation was formed in 1949 to unite western Europe against the threat coming from the Soviet Union. The USSR had gone by then, but NATO still existed as a military alliance where each nation participating must contribute its own soldiers and money.

NATO spent a lot of money on tanks because the strategic threat to Europe apparently was a Russian armour thrust through Poland. In the last part of World War II, Russia defeated Hitler’s armies in gigantic armoured battles in which thousands of tanks participated. And so western Europe spent billions on developing defences against tanks.

However, warfare had rapidly progressed and the Soviet offensive and defensive strategies turned to nuclear missiles and submarines while also focussing on capturing governments through spreading socialism. NATO’s tanks are today useless and America rightly accuses Europe’s nations of not contributing enough to pay for NATO because nobody really sees the Russian threat in the same light any longer.

We are months away from the year 2020. It is as useless to arm yourself with tanks and fighters today as was buying more horses in 1920. The election of Donald Trump in America shows this. Russia did not want Hillary Clinton to be elected and thought it was better if Trump won. This is according to CIA and FBI investigations.

Russia launched a war to achieve its objectives. This war was launched through social media, where it used fake news and spread propaganda to influence American voters.
Vladimir Putin achieved his objective and was able to impose his will on America.
How much did Russia spend? Rs 1.13 crore. Today, a nation today bring another to its knees by cutting off its internet. A nation can use social media today to create a war inside another nation by encouraging it to fight itself. Turning one part of the population against another by spreading hatred. No tanks or planes or missiles are needed: nations can be defeated and made much weaker quite easily.

A few years ago we spent Rs 59,000 crore on acquiring 36 Rafales and we do not know if we will ever use them. The chances are that we never will. Wars are not being fought at the border between large, organised formations of soldiers. They are being fought inside the population and the forces are marshalled not by generals, but hackers and bloggers who can do their work anonymously from any part of the world.

We think that national security is a very serious business and we should trust the generals to do the right thing for all of us, but as Guderian knew, this is not always wise.


Updated Date: Oct 06, 2019 16:24:46 IST
 

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India Receives First Rafale Fighter
October 8, 2019

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India received its first Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter on October 8, which is the 87th Indian Air Force Day.

Rajnath Singh, Defense Minister of India, formally received the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) first fighter from France at a ceremony held at
Merignac airport, Bordeaux city, France. The fighters will begin arriving in India in May 2020.

The minister took a tour of Dassault Aviation's plant before the symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first Rafale combat jet.

After a traditional Indian Shastra Puja (weapons' worship) forming a part of Dussehra celebrations, Singh is scheduled to fly a sortie in the Rafale.
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In September 2016, India signed a €7.87 billion (INR 59,000 crore) deal with the French government for purchase of 36 Rafale combat aircraft. Heavily customised for India, it will get 14 India-specific enhancements.

According to France-based La Tribune newspaper, New Delhi and Paris are holding initial level negotiations on India's buy of 36 more Rafale aircraft.
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The fighters are reportedly equipped with SCALP missiles having a range of over 300km. Rafales will be fitted with the 150-km range Meteor Beyond Visual Range missile providing a no-escape zone three times greater than the AMRAAM missile.

France has guaranteed performance-based logistics support- 75 per cent of the fleet will be airworthy at any given time. This is a first ever for India where the air-worthiness is part of the purchase agreement, according to Indian media
 

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Indian Sukhois to get Advanced Avionics, Radars & Weapons
October 8, 2019


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The Indian Air Force's (IAF's) fleet of Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets could soon be upgraded with advanced avionics, radar and weapons with negotiations on the project with Russia currently underway.

"India has plans to upgrade the Sukhoi-30MKI with modern radar and weapons capabilities, and also enhance features that tackle obsolescence management and electronic warfare aspects," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria was quoted as saying by Sputnik.

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"The jets will be upgraded in near future to enhance their operational capabilities," Bhadauria said, reports TOI.

A source told TOI that the Sukhoi upgrade project will include new computer systems for greater weapon control and integration of new missiles and PGMs (precision-guided munitions).

"The upgraded radar would likely be the NIIP N035 Irbis E (Snow Leopard), a 20 KW class steerable hybrid ESA radar fitted on the Su-35," an air force veteran and a senior defense analyst told Sputnik.

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Designed by the Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute (NIIP) in Moscow's Zhukovsky city, the Irbis-E is a direct evolution of the BARS all-weather multimode airborne radars. The radar is cited at an average power rating of 5 kilowatts, with 2 kilowatts CW rating for illumination. The NIIP claim twice the bandwidth and improved frequency agility over the BARS, and better electronic counter-countermeasures capability.

Additionally, the IAF is finalising procurement of 12 Su-30s and 21 MiG-29s (MiG jets costing INR 230 Crore or US$32.4 million apiece) in order to
replace fighters lost in crashes. The new Sukhois will be built by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL).

The IAF has so far inducted over 250 of the 272 Sukhois originally contracted in batches from Russia for well over $12 billion, with the bulk of them being licensed-produced by HAL.

Forty-two of the twin-seat Sukhois, which have a cruising of 3,200 km or a combat radius of about 1,500 km without mid-air refuelling, are also to be armed with the supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles to constitute a deadly package of precision-strike capability from long or "stand-off distances."
 

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India To Buy 36 Additional French Rafale Jets: Report
October 8, 2019



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The first of the 36 ordered Rafale fighters will be handed over to India in France on Indian Air Force (IAF) Day on October 8, and the two parties concerned are already said to be holding talks on the former's acquisition of 36 additional jets.

In September 2016, India signed a Euro 7.87 billion (INR 59,000 crore) agreement with the French government for purchase of Rafale aircraft. Heavily customised for India, it will reportedly get 14 India-specific enhancements.

The new contract is still in nascent stages and could be signed in late 2020 or early 2021. These fighters will be built in India under the "Make In India" initiative launched in 2014, La Tribune reported citing concordant sources as saying, on Tuesday.​

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Pilots from India few sorties on Rafale jet during Guruda-2019 Indo-French joint exercise held in July this year.

"My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries" Rajnath Singh, Defense Minister of India tweeted on Monday. He is in the country to receive the IAF's first Rafale fighter.

La Tribune speculates that the new agreement could be officially announced in January 2020 on the occasion of India's Republic Day (26 January). Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to join India in its celebrations.​

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The IAF floated Request For Information (RFI) earlier this year to acquire 114 combat aircraft to supplement its depleting fleet of fighters.
 

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HAL Employees to go on Strike from October 14
October 8, 2019

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HAL manufacturing facility: File photo


India’s premier defence manufacturing firm, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has declared an indefinite strike call by its employees as “illegal” and threatened to withdraw company benefits.

The All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC) has issued an indefinite strike notice effective from October 14, 2019 at all the nine locations of HAL with regard to settlement of wage revision effective from January 1, 2017.

Earlier on June 26, 2019, the anomalies in the demands of AIHALTUCC were brought to the public through a media release and sought the co-operation of the Unions based on realistic and affordable expectations.

The AIHALTUCC without realizing the various limitations such as guidelines issued by DPE has decided to resort to an indefinite strike to fulfil their untenable demands and the unreasonability of their demands has been brought out in a number of meetings, a HAL statement on its website said today.

The Management is open for discussions and conclusion of wage revision effective from January 1, 2017 can be achieved only with the co-operation of the Unions based on realistic expectations.

The proposed indefinite strike by the Unions would neither be in the interest of the organization nor the employees. Management has brought out that acceding to unrealistic and unsustainable demands would, while on the one hand contravene Government’s guidelines and also impact the competitiveness of the Company.

The Management also expects higher efficiency of workmen considering the present competitive scenario. In line with the extant statutory provisions, the proposed indefinite strike will be tantamount to illegal strike and workmen bound to loose various Company benefits.

The proposed indefinite strike will have adverse repercussions on the performance of the organization in general and workmen in particular. Further, in the interest of national security and the need to maintain the fleet serviceability of Armed Force, it is imperative that the workmen do not resort to such illegal strike and should settle for a fair and reasonable wage revision offered by the Management.

The strike threat comes at a time when HAL is negotiating an additional order for Su-30MKI aircraft and has started manufacturing the HAL Tejas aircraft for the air force.
 

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India Receives First Rafale Fighter
October 8, 2019

View attachment 10576
India received its first Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter on October 8, which is the 87th Indian Air Force Day.

Rajnath Singh, Defense Minister of India, formally received the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) first fighter from France at a ceremony held at
Merignac airport, Bordeaux city, France. The fighters will begin arriving in India in May 2020.

The minister took a tour of Dassault Aviation's plant before the symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first Rafale combat jet.

After a traditional Indian Shastra Puja (weapons' worship) forming a part of Dussehra celebrations, Singh is scheduled to fly a sortie in the Rafale.
View attachment 10575
In September 2016, India signed a €7.87 billion (INR 59,000 crore) deal with the French government for purchase of 36 Rafale combat aircraft. Heavily customised for India, it will get 14 India-specific enhancements.

According to France-based La Tribune newspaper, New Delhi and Paris are holding initial level negotiations on India's buy of 36 more Rafale aircraft.
View attachment 10577
The fighters are reportedly equipped with SCALP missiles having a range of over 300km. Rafales will be fitted with the 150-km range Meteor Beyond Visual Range missile providing a no-escape zone three times greater than the AMRAAM missile.

France has guaranteed performance-based logistics support- 75 per cent of the fleet will be airworthy at any given time. This is a first ever for India where the air-worthiness is part of the purchase agreement, according to Indian media

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1570613168000.png


India buys multi-million dollar Rafales to protect itself, then buys coconuts and lemons to protect Rafales |0|

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IAF wants new Russian MiG-29s to be equipped with indigenous weapons
Published October 13, 2019

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At a time when the Indian Air Force (IAF) is batting for indigenisation, the Force is planning to acquire the new 21 MiG-29 fighters from Russia and equip them with indigenous weapon systems such as the Astra air to air missile. “The proposal for the acquisition of 21 MiG-29s would be placed before the Defence Acquisition Council soon.

The IAF wants the MiG-29s to be of the upgraded MiG-29s that are already in service,” defence sources told ANI. “The IAF also wants that the aircraft should be equipped with the Indian weapon systems including the Astra missiles,” they said. The sources said there are other indigenous equipment and weapons which would be integrated with the aircraft once the deal comes through. The MiG-29s with the Russians have a new airframe and had been lying unused in Russia.

The push for promoting indigenous weapons has come at a time when IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria has made it clear that the force will fully back indigenisation efforts such as the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the fifth Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft programme. The IAF had carried out a study to check if the airframes of the MiG-29s on offer were good enough for it to operate for a long time. MiG-29s are flown by the IAF and the pilots are familiar with it but the ones offered by the Russians are different from the ones in the Indian inventory.

The Indian Navy also operates the MiG-29 ‘K’ and is the only operator of this version of the plane. It is having a rough experience with the planes which are difficult to maintain and their settings change immediately after they land on the aircraft carrier. The IAF has three squadrons of the MiG-29s which have been undergoing upgrades for extended life and are considered to be very good planes in the air defence roles.
 

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India delivers final two Mi-24 attack helicopters to Afghanistan
16 October 2019
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One of the two refurbished Russian-built Mi-24V helicopters India handed over to the ANDSF on 15 October. (Via Indian Embassy in Kabul)


India has delivered the final two of four refurbished Russian-built Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’ attack helicopters it had promised the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in early 2018 to boost their counter-insurgency capabilities.

The two Mi-24Vs, which were purchased from Belarus, were officially handed over by Vinay Kumar, India’s ambassador to Afghanistan, during a ceremony held on 15 October at the Afghan Air Force (AAF) base in Kabul, according to the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

“These [Mi-24s] are a replacement for the four attack helicopters previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016,” said the embassy, adding that the gifted platforms are set to help ensure that the ANDSF maintains an “agile and robust counter-terrorism capability”.

The statement referred to four refurbished Mil Mi-25 assault helicopters India delivered to the ANDSF in April 2015 as part of a bilateral strategic agreement signed in 2011 between New Delhi and Kabul. India, however, has declined to elaborate on whether these Mi-25s have been lost operationally or simply become inoperative.

In March 2018 Afghanistan’s then-ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, told the Hindustan Times newspaper that the Mi-24s were being acquired under a trilateral agreement signed between Afghanistan, Belarus, and India.

At the time, a senior military official told Jane’s that India had sourced the Mi-24s from Belarus, given that Russia was under international sanctions due to its military actions in Ukraine in 2014 and as such was unable to export the rotorcraft.
 

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India's Tejas Mk2 in Final Trials
October 19, 2019

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LCA Tejas (image: Rushabh P Bafna)

Trials of India's upgraded Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Tejas Mk 2, are now reportedly in the final stages.

Tests of the Tejas are being conducted in Pokhran field firing range. The aircraft is being tested on various parameters from last two days. State-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Air Force officials were present in the range during trials, TOI reported Friday.

According to the report, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has introduced new features in the engine of LCA Tejas.

Enumerating features of the aircraft, official sources said, “LCA Tejas Mark-II has better serviceability, faster weapon loading time, enhanced survivability, better electronic warfare suit and radar which significantly enhance its capability. It has air to air and air to ground attack capabilities.”

“Tejas is the first advance fly-by-wire fighter aircraft designed, developed and manufactured in India. Conceived as a MiG-21 replacement, it has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and produced by HAL. It is to the credit of its designers, manufacturer, technicians and test crew, that LCA has flown more than 3,000 sorties / 2,000 hours till date without any mishap,” sources said.
 

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India to Develop Air-launched Swarm Drone Systems, Stealthy AI-enabled Combat Drones
October 21, 2019
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India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing a swarm drone system dubbed “Alpha-S,” designed to be launched from fighter aircraft, and a stealthy Artificial Intelligence (AI)- enabled robot wingman.

HAL has teamed up with Bengaluru-based start-up NewSpace Research and Technologies to develop air-launched swarm drone systems, glide bombs and stealthy robot wingman drones. This is a part of their Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) programme initiated in 2017. The programme is being run at HAL’s flight testing facilities in Bengaluru and in New Delhi, DH reported Sunday.

The new robot wingman is an unmanned aircraft half the size of a regular fighter and armed with stealth features. Armed with AI, the drone is designed to fly nearly a 100km ahead of a conventional fighter to engage enemy threats, the report said.

The Alpha-S swarming drones are about 1-2 meter long, capable of carrying 1.5 tonnes of explosives and designed to be air-launched from panniers carried aboard fighter jets. The pilots fly to a point where they are safe from enemy aircraft and missiles and release the drones.

When deployed, the drones fly in formation at speeds of 100 kmph, scouting for targets of opportunity, including missile sites. Once the target is identified, the swarm dives, kamikaze-style, to obliterate the target.

The drones, which then deploy their wings, are powered by a battery which propels them to speeds of over a 100 kilometres per hour. The batteries are designed to last for a couple of hours by which time the drone swarms should be approaching their targets.

“The Alpha-S system is so compact that a Sukhoi Su-30 is capable of carrying 30 to 40 drones,” said Group Captain Harsh Vardan Thakur of HAL’s Flight Operations Unit.

The first drone prototypes are likely to be deployed from Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers being built under licence at HAL.

The drones are fully networked with each other through electronic data-links. Using their infrared and electro-optical sensors, they detect targets such as surface-to-air missile units, enemy radars and aircraft on the ground. Each drone is designed to be smart enough to 'learn' about what it detects before targets are assigned to individual drones.

Although CATS has been tested for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Pokhran, Rajasthan state, Thakur clarified that “the technology still requires a lot of work.”
 

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