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March 12, 2021

Second Squadron of Rafale to be raised at Hasimara in April

The Indian airforce is all set to get another squadron raised in Hasimara in April. This squadron will be equipped with state-of-the-art Dassault Rafale.

The first squadron of Rafale fighter jet is based at Ambala. The squadron is called golden arrow and currently operates 11 units of Rafale fighter jets acquired from France.

Ten more jets are expected to arrive in India from France by April-end. With this, the first squadron will be fully formed and the raising of the second squadron will begin.

Officials (requested anonymity)

India ordered 36 warplanes from France (the equivalent of two squadrons) in September 2016 for ₹59,000 crores under a government-to-government deal. IAF’s Ambala-based Golden Arrows Squadron has already inducted 11 Rafale jets so far. Both Rafale squadrons will have 18 jets each.

Located in the crucial Siliguri corridor, the Hasimara airbase will cover both central and eastern Tibet. The Rafale will augment and add a bigger punch along with the IAF’s Su-30 MKIs which are already based in the Brahmaputra valley

 Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies

Feb 23, 2021

Turkish ToT to HSL for naval vessels

Estimated to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, this will involve transfer of technology from Anadolu Shipyard, part of the TAIS consortium of Turkey to HSL, with whom th collaboration was signed last year.

The agreement with the Turkish consortium will kick in after HSL gets an order from the Indian Navy. If all goes well, that could happen by October 2021. Several Indian vendors will also be involved in the project.

Turkey’s shipyards are fully booked for a long time and there is nothing to lose by transferring technology and having all the vessels built in India. Turkish engineers will come to India to assist with the project.

Officials (requested anonymity)

HSL is expecting an order from the Indian Navy by the year-end for building five mammoth naval support vessels. They are expected to deliver the first fleet support vessel (FSV) to the navy within four years of the go-ahead, with the other ships to be delivered at the rate of one every 10 months to 12 months. The vessels will be 230 metres long and have a displacement of 45,000 tonnes. FSVs carry fuel and other supplies for warships.

There is a need for the navy to have fleet support ships. While HSL may have a sort of a collaborative arrangement for transfer of technology and building these in Visakhapatnam, one is not aware if a contract may be in the offing or whether discussions are continuing.

Maritime affairs expert Rear Admiral (retired) Sudarshan Shrikhande

Turkey under President Erdogan has focused on building commercial relations with all countries. This pragmatism is being seen in this effort to collaborate with India despite the proximity with Pakistan. India wants to build its naval capabilities and Turkey has a defence industry that is very advanced.

Sameer Patil, fellow for international security studies at Gateway House

TAIS, which is a member of Turkey’s largest industrial group, and HSL concluded an agreement for cooperation in the first quarter of last year, after the issue had been under a cloud for some time because of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism of the Indian government’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019. Questions were raised in some quarters because of the strong defence ties between Turkey and Pakistan.

Feb 22, 2021

DRDO conducts first launch of the VL-SRSAM

DRDO conducted its maiden launch of the Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) on Monday from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast.

Based on the Astra missile, the VL-SRSAM was successfully launched from a static vertical launcher. Like the AAM, it is intended to neutralise aerial threats at close range including sea-skimming targets that could be a threat to Naval assets. The VL-SRSAM could replace the Barak-1 missiles, with a 2019 RFP from the Navy stating it was seeking to procure a replacement for the Israeli missile.

The current launches were carried out for demonstration of vertical launch capability as part of its maiden launch campaign, DRDO said. On both occasions, the missiles intercepted the simulated targets with pinpoint accuracy. The missiles were tested for minimum and maximum range. VL-SRSAM with Weapon Control System (WCS) were deployed during the trials.

The launches were monitored by senior scientists from various DRDO labs involved in the design and development of the system such as DRDL, RCI, Hyderabad and R&D Engineers, Pune.

During the test launches, flight path and vehicle performance parameters were monitored using flight data, captured by various Range instruments such as Radar, EOTS and Telemetry systems deployed by ITR, Chandipur.

The present trials have proved the effectiveness of the weapon system and few more trials will be conducted shortly before deployment on Indian Naval ships. Once deployed, the VL-SRSAM system will prove to be a force multiplier for the Indian Navy.

Several countries have converted their air-to-air missiles to other formats: The US converted the AIM-7 Sparrow into the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, the French MICA missile has a land-launched variant called VL-MICA.

The Astra missile has various operational ranges, from 110km with the MK 1 (expected to be integrated onto the indigenously developed HAL Tejas) to the 350km Mk 3 under development.  

Read about the Astra missiles at https://alphadefense.in/astra-mk2-a-better-choice-over-meteor/ and its integration on Tejas at https://alphadefense.in/tejas-to-get-astra/

Russian Shipyards intends to sell 6th Project 11356 Frigate to India

The Yantar Shipyard (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) submitted proposals to Russia’s Defense Ministry on the options of completing the construction of the Project 11356 frigate Admiral Kornilov, Shipyard CEO Ilya Samarin told TASS on Friday.

Project 11356

..The corresponding proposals were presented to Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko during his visit to the Yantar Shipyard in October. Some ideas were put forward to complete the construction of the ship [the Project 11356 frigate Admiral Kornilov]..

…we are extremely interested in that ship to have its owner: either this will be a foreign customer or this will be our Navy, which we would very much want.

The ship’s hull has been formed. Given that the problem of the main propulsion unit is resolved, it will be possible to build it further. We are waiting for the Defense Ministry’s decision.

– Yantar Chief Executive

The Russian shipbuilders planned to build six Project 11356 frigates for the Black Sea Fleet. The Yantar Shipyard has built and delivered three frigates to the Russian Navy. Three hulls were put afloat but were left without Ukrainian-made engines. Later, a contract was signed on completing the construction of the 4th and 5th hulls for India, which purchased the required engines in Ukraine. The fate of the sixth ship remains unresolved.

Russian Project 11356 frigates are the carriers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles.

France Launches Third Generation SSBN Program – SNLE 3G

On Friday 19 February, 2021 French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, announced the launch of the full-scale development phase of the SNLE 3G program which calls for the construction of France’s third-generation nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs).

Naval Group Image

I am therefore very pleased to announce today the launch of the 3rd generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine program. These four submarines, whose remarkable performance will guarantee the operational credibility of the oceanic component of our deterrent over the long term. They will replace the current SSBNs in their mission, without interruption. Today, what we are launching in concrete terms are design studies and general industrialization, procurement and manufacturing of the most critical parts, as well as the consistent sizing of our industrial facilities.

The SNLE 3G program represents the work of many lives. After the Le Redoutable of the years 1965 to 1980, after the Le Triomphant of the years 1995, which will still sail until 2050, it is a program that fully embodies the “long time” of our defense: the first third-generation SSBN will be delivered in 2035, followed by one submarine every 5 years. And these will sail until 2090. In other words, the last sailors who will patrol on board the third generation SSBNs are not born yet.

Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, Republic of France

The event took place at the French General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) hydrodynamics test center located in Val-de-Reuil, Normandy.

For more details visit our upcoming post.

Feb 20, 2021

INS Pralaya to UAE for military exhibitions

As a reflection of its increasing military co-operation with UAE, the indigenously built INS Pralaya, a Prabal class missile vessel arrived in Abu Dhabi yesterday to participate in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21.

Participation of an Indian Navy ship in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 also highlights close relations between India and UAE.

A senior Indian Navy official

Chief of Army staff Gen. M M Naravane had visited UAE last year in December. It was the first ever visit by the head of a 1.3 million strong army to the strategically important Gulf nation. He held extensive talks with senior military officials of UAE on enhancing bilateral defence co-operation.

INS Pralaya has an impressive array of weapons and sensors including chaff launchers and long range surface to surface missiles.

IAF Apaches to Sikkim

The IAF deployed its Apaches at Sikkim, whose 2 districts North and East Sikkim share boundaries with China along with the eatern sector of LAC along with Arunachal Pradesh.

Yesterday, the Apache helicopter was first flown during the visit of Air Marshal Ami Dev, Air Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Air Command at their forward base in North Sikkim district, a few kilometres from LAC.

L&T mulls conversion of K-9 Vajra into a tank

Post successful delivery of their final K-9 Vajra to the Indian Army, L&T is now in talks with DRDO to convert this into a tank. They are looking at conversion into a light or medium weight tank that could be use din the mountainous terrains of Ladakh. 3 Vajras have already reached Leh for high altitude trials.

The idea is to retain the chassis and just replace the 155 mm gun with a 120 mm or a 105 mm gun. Also the turret design would change.

Watch about the DRDO’s new 2 crew tank here:

Alpha Defense Originals

Feb 19, 2021

Successful user trials of DRDO developed ATGM ‘Helina’

HELINA missile strikes 5 out 5, ready for induction

Joint user trials for Helina (Army) and Dhruvastra (Air Force) designed and developed by DRDO were carried out from the ALH in the desert ranges. In a boost to the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the helicopter launched Nag anti-tank guided missile or HELINA is ready for induction into the armed forces with the infra-red missile striking 100 per cent success at test-firing trials at Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan.

According to South Block sources, the solid propelled anti-tank weapon with a range of over seven kilometres was tested for the past five days. It hit the target five out of five times at the range and now is ready for induction on HAL Rudra and light combat helicopters. The final test was conducted on Friday morning.

The HELINA missile is a third-generation anti-tank weapon with infra-red seeker, fire-and-forget features. It is comparable with the wire-guided HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 system with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and BARQ laser-guided missile developed by Pakistan.

While the Indian Apache Longbow helicopters are fitted with Hellfire missiles with over 10 kilometres range, the Helina is the Indian answer to a helicopter launched anti-armour missile. The significance of helicopter launched missile has assumed significance after the stand-off with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in east Ladakh with the China deploying a large number of armour and rocket regiments in the battle theatre. HELINA provides an option of taking down enemy tank beyond its range by using the fire and forget mode.

Interested about ATGMs like Helina? Check this out https://alphadefense.in/sant-missile-supporting-ground-forces-from-the-sky/

K-9 Vajra deployed at Ladakh for high altitude operations

Post induction of the last 100 K-9 Vajra self-propelled guns by Indian Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, 3 of them have been deployed for trials in the high altitude mountainous terrain of Ladakh.

Three guns arrived at Leh yesterday and are being transported to a high altitude base to be tested if they can be used in high altitude areas against the enemy.

As reported to ANI by top government sources

The Indian Army for mountain operations, would consider placing orders for two to three additional regiments of the self-propelled howitzers based on their performance.

Want to know more about howitzers read at
https://alphadefense.in/a-closer-look-at-desi-howitzers/
and
https://alphadefense.in/part-2-a-closer-look-at-desi-howitzers/

Work on naval simulator started by GSL at Port Blair

Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) commenced the construction of a damage control simulator for the Andaman and Nicobar command at Port Blair. This will boost Indian Navy’s capabilities in training personnel to mitigate emergencies at seas.

The contract for the simulator was formally signed between GSL adn the Indian Navy in August 2020. This will be the seventh simulator that GSL will make for the Indian Armed Forces.

Interested to know tabout the Eastern naval command? Read here at
https://alphadefense.in/eastern-naval-command-of-indian-navy/

Feb 18, 2021

Singapore navy neutralizes underwater threat using unmanned surface vessel & EMDS

“It was exciting and satisfying to execute the deployment of a K-STER expendable mine disposal system (EMDS) against an underwater threat. After more than three years of development, and numerous rounds of planning and checks, we finally managed to achieve the successful launch and firing of an EMDS from an USV – a breakthrough in the deployment of USVs!”

– MAJ Lim Yoong Seet, Head of Readiness and Resource Section, 6 Flotilla, Republic of Singapore Navy

The K-STER EMDS is designed by the French company ECA Group. These were previously used and deployed from the Bedok-class mine countermeasure (MCM) vessels. 

“But today, in a first-of-its-kind firing, a remotely controlled USV navigated to the identified location, launched an EMDS which closed in on the underwater threat and neutralized it” 

– Republic of Singapore Navy

The mine warfare USVs of the RSN are known as the Venus 16 which were designed by the Taiwanese company Lung Teh with Singapore’s ST Engineering acting as the systems integrator. The Venus 16 was introduced in 2017. The RSN has been experimenting with unmanned systems for maritime security and mine countermeasure operations over the years.

 “This is a prudent and necessary step for the RSN to optimise our limited manpower, at lower costs, to enhance our capabilities to safeguard Singapore and protect our vital sea lines of communication.”

– Republic of Singapore Navy

The RSN plans to deploy these USVs from the Multi-Role Combat Vessel (MRCV) in the future as a replacement to the ageing Victory-class Missile Corvettes, which have served with distinction since 1989. Delivery is expected to begin from 2025, with full delivery expected around 2030.

These MRCVs will be custom-built for lean manning. It will incorporate technologies to automate certain functions. Because of this, significant operational savings can be obtained.

Click here for more information on USVs.

Northern Army Commander Lt Gen. YK Joshi sheds light on Galwan Clash

‘Tanks at Rechin La, Rezang La turned tables on PLA, brought them to talks

“We were on the edge, absolutely on the brink… war was actually averted”

“Those were very tense and challenging moments for us.”

“More than 60 actually. But whether they were fatal or non-fatal, we can’t say with authority.”

-Northern Army Commander Lt General Y K Joshi

As per the current understanding, both the sides have gone back to April 2020 scenario in which India’s last post remains at Dhan Singh Thapa Post and PLA goes back east of Finger 8. Both sides have accepted not to patrol the area between Finger 4 and 8.

According to him, India and China came close to a full-fledged conflict during the jostling between rival soldiers for Ladakh’s Kailash range heights towards 2020 end-August. He also said that the number of PLA soldiers killed during the clash on June 15 at Galwan valley could be as high as 45.

He even stated that India hasn’t lost any territory whereas it has been a ‘loss of face’ episode for China. He said that after Indian troops surprised PLA by occupying the Kailash Range heights to the south of Pangong Tso on August 29-30 and moved its tanks up there, the situation could have blown out into an armed conflict.

Having gained advantage, the Indian troops with its tanks and rocket launchers on the top could ahve easily pulled trigger after seeing them in the cross-hairs of the telescopic heights, but exercised restraint. He also stated that Indian observation posts picked up large PLA casualities taken back on stretchers.

First test of BVRAAM Astra Mk 2 likely today

India’s latest BVRAAM Astra Mk II is all set to move out of the drawing board as the DRDO is likely to conduct its first developmental trial today.

Astra Mk2
Alpha Defense Rendition of Astra Mk2

“The test window is from February 18 to 20. The missile has already been integrated with the launcher and the final check-ups are on. If everything goes as per plan, the missile will be fired on the first date,”

The indigenously developed missile will be flight tested from a ground launcher being set up at launching complex III of Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast today. The initial trials of the successor of Astra Mk I will be to test the weapon system’s ballistic performance. Once the safe release of the missile from the ground launcher and its propulsion and navigation are validated, it will be test fired from a fighter aircraft.

The go ahead for Astra Mk II came nearly seven months after the DAC approved the procurement of Astra Mk I for the IAF and the Navy.

Meanwhile, prior to the Mk II test, the DRDO has decided to evacuate people residing within two km radius of the ITR as a safety measure. As many as 8,000 people from at least seven hamlets will be shifted to temporary shelters ahead of the test. 

Balasore district administration has been asked to make arrangements and complete the evacuation of villagers before 8 am on the scheduled date. The people shifted for the mission will be compensated as per Ministry of Defence (MoD) norms.

Detailed information about Astra Mk2. Click here.

Feb 17, 2021

RTYSYS to deliver 2 SIERA Systems to the Indian Navy

RTSYS press release

SIERA
SIERA sonar measurement and calibration system aims to characterize the performance of underwater acoustic systems (hull-mounted sonars, dipping sonars, towed sonars, buoys). RTSYS image.

RTSYS has been awarded a contract from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for the delivery of 2 SIERA systems allowing the characterization and the calibration of Indian Navy’s new generation hull-mounted and variable depth sonars.

SIERA is a lightweight autonomous system towed at variable immersion from a dedicated boat, enabling to measure the performance of both active and passive sonar system (hull-mounted sonars, variable depth sonar, dipping sonars, sonobuoys, submarine sonars) in real-time or through a delayed signal processing).

Easy to deploy, SIERA is also very well-known by the most reputable sonar manufacturers and shipyards who use it for their own performance assessment during Sea Acceptance Test thanks to the various acoustic emissions and receptions from 500Hz to 32 kHz.

With this new important success RTSYS strengthen its position as key supplier of Navies worldwide in one of its main sectors of expertise that are ASW, MCM, AUVs and PAM.

Hensoldt Modernizes German Navy’s K130 Corvette TRS-3D Radar

Hensoldt press release

K130

Sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT is modernising the TRS-3D radars of two K130-class corvettes of the German Navy, as well as an associated shore facility.

An order for corresponding electronic components was placed by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The replacement deliveries will take place in the course of this year.

The TRS-3D is a three-dimensional multimode ship radar for air and sea surveillance, which can correlate the position and movement data of targets with the HENSOLDT identification system MSSR 2000 I and thus improve the automatic identification of ships and aircraft.

The TRS-3D is the global market leader in its class with more than 60 radars in service with navies and coastguards worldwide. In addition to K130 corvettes, vessels equipped with it include the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters, a number of US Navy Littoral Combat Ships, as well as ships of the Finnish Navy and the Norwegian Coast Guard.