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India in advanced talks with Russia to acquire Sprut light tanks for use in high altitude areas
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India is in advanced talks with Russia to acquire a newly developed light tank that could be useful in high altitude areas like the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Talks to buy the Sprut SDM1 light tanks were initiated late in July under a fast-track, government-to-government process, sources told ET.

The need for such tanks was felt after increased Indian deployments at the LAC following border hostilities with China, which has also fielded a range of equipment, including its Type 15 light tanks.
The new tanks are under trial in Russia, but sources said they could be inducted in India as well for a series of rigorous field tests before the deal is finalised. India could acquire almost two dozen such tanks in the first tranche.

The procurement is likely to cost less than ?500 crore, which falls within the emergency financial powers given to service chiefs after the Galwan clash.

The expenditure is expected to be within the emergency financial powers given to the Army following the clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan valley in June. ET was the first to report in July that the government had given approvals for emergency procurement of lightweight tanks for deployment in high-altitude conditions, amid the ongoing border standoff with China. Final discussions on the contract are expected to conclude this year.

The Sprut SDM1 light tank, transportable by air, has commonalities with the T72 and T90s operated by India and would require minimal crew training to become operational. It is armed with a 125 mm gun, similar to the one on the T90, and fires all types of ammunition with the T72/90 fleet available with the Army.

India has a robust tank force, but all of them are heavy main battle tanks — T72s, T90s and the indigenously developed Arjun — considered more suitable for operations in the plains.

While these tanks have been sent to the Himalayan border as well, navigating them on difficult border terrain has been an issue.

The Sprut SDM1 is designed to be airdropped from an aircraft with its crew of three sitting inside the tank. India has operated light tanks in the past and it has come in handy during the 1947-48 Kashmir operations as well as the 1962 war with China, but these have been slowly phased out.

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Upgrading Pechora Surface To Air Missile System: Indian Private Firm Alpha Design Wins Rs 591 Crore Contract



In a major fillip for Government's push for indigenous defence manufacturing, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has roped in private sector players Alpha Design Technologies Limited (ADTL) to upgrade the soviet era Pechora surface to air systems, reports Economic Times.

ADTL will be upgrading and digitising 16 of the Pechora missile and radar systems which are presently in operation under a contract worth Rs 591 crore. Also, the contract has an options clause, under which the number of systems to be upgraded and digitised could be taken up to a total of 24 in the coming years.

It should also be noted that the project would lead to the adoption of a host of indigenously developed technologies in the Pechora missile systems, like radar transmitter, thermal imager based electro-optical system and communication equipment.

The entire contract is to be executed within four years and the contract was signed last week. For the contract, ADTL has partnered with Russian entities to upgrade the missile systems which have been in service for over 30 years. It should be noted that as per ADTL's chairman and managing director Col HS Shankar (retd), the upgradation of the existing systems will cost less than the procurement of fresh new systems.
The contract also gains significance, as ADTL beat public sector majors like Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to win it.


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In a first for private sector, Indian Defence Ministry places order for 1million hand grenades

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These grenades replace the obsolete World War-II design in service with the forces. The new grenades have a distinctive make and are extremely effective in both offensive and defensive modes.

In a fillip to the “Make in India” initiative, the defence ministry on Thursday signed a deal worth Rs 409 crore with a Nagpur-based company for the supply of 1000,000 multi-mode hand grenades to the Indian Army. Earlier similar products were mostly imported to meet the demands.

These grenades replace the obsolete World War-II design in service with the forces. The new grenades have a distinctive make and are extremely effective in both offensive and defensive modes.

A statement released by the ministry said, "Providing a further boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of Government of India in the Defence Sector, Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence (MoD) today signed a contract with M/s Economic Explosive Ltd (EEL), (Solar Group) Nagpur for the supply of 1000,000 Multi-Mode Hand Grenades to the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs 409 Crores. These grenades will be replacing the hand grenade design of World War-II vintage, in use with the Indian Army."

"The multi-mode hand grenade has been designed by DRDO/Terminal Ballistic Research Laboratories (TBRL) and is being produced by M/s EEL, Nagpur. The grenades have a distinctive design, in that, they can be used in both Offensive and Defensive Modes," the statement added.

The new hand grenades, called multi-mode hand grenades (MMHG) have been designed by the DRDO and is entirely made in India. The complete supply of the hand grenades to the armed forces will take about two years.

It is for the first time that a privately owned company will supply completely built ammunition to the defence forces thus reducing its dependency on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). According to some sources, the costing of the new grenades is relatively less than the production cost of OFB.
 

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An accident a week: Faulty OFB ammunition takes a heavy toll on the Indian Army

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Poor standards of production and a lack of accountability has resulted in frequent incidents related to faulty ammunition being produced by the Ordnance Factory Board, an internal Army assessment has found, stating that an accident a week has taken place over the past six years, resulting in 27 fatalities.

In a detailed assessment of the productivity levels of the OFB, the army has suggested that corporatisation is an imperative as it would lead to a higher quality of products, more competitive pricing as well as the ability to surge production in times of dire need, like the current border crisis with China.

Data analysed by the army shows that at least 403 accidents have taken place due to faulty ammunition since 2014, most of them suffered by infantry troops. More worryingly, the data shows that casualties due to OFB manufactured Ammunition and Armament are unacceptably high, with 27 soldiers losing their life and nearly 160 injured.

In terms of monetary loss, OFB produced ammo worth over Rs 960 crore had to be disposed off as it was found to be faulty, money that could been used to procure at least 100 new medium artillery guns for the army, according to the assessment.

When contacted, the OFB said that the assessment is faulty and that it would issue a detailed statement on the matter on Wednesday.

Suggesting that corporatisation of OFB that has been announced by the government is the only way ahead, the army has recommended that this should be carried out at the earliest as the organisation has performed below its potential over the past few decades and has been a drain on the defence budget.

The corporatisation will bring OFB at par with other defence PSUs like HAL and could help achieve the government to raise its target for a Rs 30,000 crore turnover by 20105, up from the annual Rs 12,000 crore.

The army assessment is that corporatisation will result in several benefits like improved efficiency, competitive pricing, flexibility in technology acquisition, increased defence exports and the capacity to shore up production in times of emergency.

“Corporatisation of OFB is likely to wake it from its slumber and transform ordnance factories into a modernised, state of the art facility with flexible and better decision making in its functioning. This move is likely to make them more competitive and self reliant in production of arms and ammunition and convert it to a profit earning organisation within next few years,” government officials say.

As reported by ET, the government has decided to go ahead with the corporatisation and has hired an external consultant to decide on a roadmap to reform the organisation over the next year. The corporatisation plan was one of the first decisions taken by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after taking charge last year.
 

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India’s armed forces have raised yet another alert over old Cheetah, Chetak helicopters

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Cheetah

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Chetak

NEW DELHI: The armed forces have as soon as once more sounded the alarm over their ageing and nearly obsolete Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, stressing that the ‘complete technical life’ of those gentle utility choppers will start ending from 2023 onwards.

They have urged the federal government to fast-track two long-pending ‘Make in India’ tasks to construct such gentle utility helicopters in addition to guarantee defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) delivers its personal under-development choppers in requisite numbers throughout the required timeframes.

“The defence ministry has been told that a critical operational void is fast emerging due to the vintage single-engine Cheetah and Chetak fleets. The bulk of them are over 40 years old,” stated a senior officer on Sunday.

The armed forces have been demanding new gentle choppers for effectively over 15 years now. The renewed push comes amidst the continued navy confrontation with China in japanese Ladakh, which is already into its fifth month and is prone to stretch by means of the winter.

Army, IAF and Navy at present have 187 Chetak and 205 Cheetah helicopters, that are used to even service high-altitude areas just like the Siachen Glacier area. But they’re suffering from a excessive crash charge and big serviceability issues.
Overall, the three Services collectively want 483 new gentle utility helicopters. But the three-pronged method to amass them continues to be caught within the doldrums.

The first is a three way partnership between India and Russia, underneath an inter-governmental settlement inked means again in 2015, to fabricate 200 twin-engine Kamov-226T helicopters (135 for Army, 65 for IAF) for over Rs 20,000 crore.

“But five years later, it’s still in the technical evaluation stage. The final contract is far away. There are some problems with the indigenisation levels being offered by Russia. But HAL also needs to get going as the JV partner,” stated another officer.

HAL, in fact, can also be creating its personal gentle utility helicopters. The preliminary requirement was pegged at 111 for Army and 61 for IAF. With the essential IAF variant getting the preliminary operational clearance (IOC) in February this 12 months, the Army one is now additionally prepared for it, says HAL chief R Madhavan.

But given the massive numbers required and the manufacturing capability obtainable, navy officers contend each the Kamov and HAL tasks should be pushed to keep away from an enormous operational void over the subsequent few years.

The third proposed venture is the “strategic partnership” one to supply 111 armed, twin-engine naval utility choppers at a value of over Rs 21,000 crore. Under it, an Indian non-public sector firm was to tie-up with a international producer.

Four Indian corporations (Tata, Adani, Mahindra Defence and Bharat Forge) and three international ones (Airbus, Kamov and Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky) have been earlier shortlisted. But with HAL now insisting it also needs to be thought of, the venture is nowhere close to taking off.
 

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India Flight-Tests SMART Supersonic Torpedo Launcher

October 6, 2020

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The Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) has been successfully flight tested, 5th Oct 2020, at 1145 hrs from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha, India. The tracking stations (radars, electro optical systems) along the coast and the telemetry stations including down range ships monitored all the events. All the mission objectives including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, release of torpedo and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) have been met perfectly. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight anti-submarine torpedo system for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond torpedo range.

The development of the system has been crucial in capacity building of naval platforms to strike beyond the torpedo range. The system will be a significant addition to India’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities and the test is a key step towards its deployment. All the mission objectives, including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, release of torpedo and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) have been met perfectly. The tracking mechanisms for test — the radars, electro-optical systems along the coast and the telemetry stations, including down range ships — monitored all the events.


#WATCH: Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) successfully flight tested today from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. It's a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti Submarine Warfare operations far beyond Torpedo range pic.twitter.com/Ts1Ev4uYne
— ANI (@ANI) October 5, 2020
The Indian Defence Ministry claimed that all the mission objectives including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, release of torpedo, and deployment of “Velocity Reduction Mechanism have been met perfectly”. This launch and demonstration are significant in establishing Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities. A number of DRDO laboratories including DRDL, RCI Hyderabad, ADRDE Agra, NSTL Visakhapatnam have developed the technologies required for SMART. Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO Scientists for the important feat.Secretary DD R&D & Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy, said that SMART is a game changer technology demonstration in the Anti-Submarine Warfare.

The Indian Navy has already deployed the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship and land-attack cruise missile as well as the domestically-manufactured Varunastra heavyweight torpedo. For the past few years, the Indian government has expedited the development of its strategy to enhance its ability to conduct surveillance of Chinese warships and submarines entering the India Ocean Region (IOR) through the nearby Malacca Strait — one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Countries like China, Russia, and the US have SMART type weapons too. China has developed Yu-8 anti-submarine missile which works on the same hybrid principle of SMART weapons system but has a range of only 40 km.

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Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation Continues Testing Laser-Guided ATGM

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The indigenously developed SAMHO or Semi-Active Mission Homing Laser Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test fired on 1st Oct 2020 defeating a target located at longer range. The test was conducted from Main Battle Tank Arjun at KK ranges (ACC&S) Ahmednagar in continuation of successful trial done on 22nd Sep 2020. This laser guided missile has been developed by Armament R&D Establishment (ARDE), Pune in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun.

The SAMHO Anti-Tank Guided Missile covers 4 km in range that is capable to destroy explosive reactive armour protection. It employs a tandem HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles in ranges from 1.5 to 5 km. It has been developed with multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120 mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun. SAMHO uses semi-active laser homing as guidance and can destroy low flying helicopters and hardened point structures.

The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation completed the feasibility study by 2004 and started developing SAMHO in 2014 as part of Cannon Launched Missile Development Programme to replace LAHAT that can be launched from multiple-platform and mitigate the minimum engagement range of 1,200 meters. The LAHAT (Laser Homing Attack or Laser Homing Anti-Tank) is a semi-active laser homing guided low-weight anti-tank guided missile developed since 1992 and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries. The SAMHO is also one of the key upgrade feature for Arjun Mark 1A.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on the successful test firing of the ATGM. Secretary DD R&D and Chairman DRDO congratulated DRDO personnel for this achievement which paves the way for Atmanirbhar Bharat pledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) developed the ATGM in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune and Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun.

 
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