Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Russia successfully test-launches ballistic missile

MOSCOW: Russia on Saturday successfully test launched its Bulava inter-continental ballistic missile to its maximum range of 8,000 km, in a boost to the country's defence capabilities.

The missile was fired successfully by the White sea-based Russian nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky, the Defence Ministry said today.

The successful launch of the Bulava came after a string of setbacks suffered by this programme. Only eight of its previous 15 launches were officially declared successful.

"The regular launch of the missile was conducted at 7:20 am Moscow time from a submerged position from the regular carrier in line with the state flight development tests at a maximum flight range of the missile," a defence ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

The missile successfully reached its target in the Pacific Ocean in accordance with the necessary shipping security measures, the spokesman said.

The successful test of the missile was reported to President Dmitry Medvedev by the defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

The Bulava, expected to become Russia's main naval strategic missile, is capable of carrying 10 warheads with a range of 8,000 km.

The first test launch from the Yuri Dolgoruky was conducted on June 28, 2011. Before that the missiles were fired from the typhoon-class Dmitry Donskoy submarine.

The three-stage missile is specifically designed for deployment on Borey class nuclear submarines.

Building a submarine fleet

The Indian Navy makes do with 14 old-style, diesel-electric submarines, of which just seven or eight are operational at any time

The Indian Navy has acted decisively over the years to create the capability and infrastructure needed for building surface battleships, but it has dithered in setting up an industry that could build submarines. Consequently, even as India’s 140-ship surface fleet is an imposing presence across a swathe of the northern Indian Ocean Region (IOR) from the Gulf of Hormuz to the Strait of Malacca, its 14 diesel-electric submarines hardly provide a matching underwater capability. Meanwhile, China, with at least 53 conventional and seven nuclear attack submarines (SSNs), poses a viable threat to our waters. Even Pakistan is boosting its submarine fleet to 11 vessels, of which nine will have air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that are superior to anything in the Indian Navy.

What makes submarines so important? Naval warfare is about gaining “sea control”, or dominating an operationally important tract of water. In a war with China or Pakistan “sea control” would enable the Indian Navy to bottle up enemy warships in their harbours; prevent seaborne operations by the enemy; and block commercial vessels from resupplying those countries. Sea control is a rich man’s game, requiring the deployment of naval assets in multiple dimensions: underwater, surface, aerial and space. India can hope to gain sea control only in its vicinity, ie the northern IOR.

Then there is “sea denial”, a less force-intensive, spoiler’s option in which a navy deploys submarines and lays mines to deny the enemy sea control. For example, three or four Pakistani submarines lurking off India’s west coast would tie up Indian naval assets in locating and neutralising them, diverting those Indian vessels from the task of sea control. The longer a submarine can lurk underwater, ie “remain on patrol”, the longer it ties down enemy assets. Diesel-electric submarines like the Indian Navy’s must resurface periodically to charge their batteries, giving away surprise. In contrast, submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP), and SSNs, can remain submerged far longer.

The Indian Navy, which aspires to “blue water” capability, must be capable of sea control in certain sectors, as well as sea denial further away, for example, at the choke points leading into the Indian Ocean from the South China Sea. That requires at least 24 conventional submarines for our coastal waters; and at least five to seven SSNs that can carry out sea denial for extended durations at very long ranges.

Unfortunately, the building of such a submarine force has been beset with blunders. The Indian Navy makes do with 14 old-style, diesel-electric submarines, of which just seven or eight are operational at any time. Six Scorpene submarines are currently being built under Project 75, but when they come on stream by late 2018 an almost equivalent number will have retired from the current fleet.

The ministry of defence (MoD) and the navy are aware of this crisis. In 1999, the Cabinet approved a 30-Year Submarine Construction Plan, for constructing 24 conventional submarines in India. Two simultaneous construction lines were to build six submarines each. One line was to use western technology; and the other Russian know-how. Based on this experience, Indian designers would build the next 12 submarines.

Twenty years after the plan was finalised, in 2019, India will have built just six Scorpene submarines. The reason is as simple as it is astonishing: with Indian shipyards competing to build tens of thousands of crore rupees worth of submarines, the MoD has failed spectacularly to bring any order to this melee. Instead of adjudicating decisively, setting up design and construction partnerships, and placing orders in good time, the MoD has – in typical Antony style – avoided a decision. Instead, it has set up committee after committee to identify which shipyard should get the orders. The latest, the Krishnamurthi Committee, has submitted split findings, setting the stage for Mr Antony to launch a fresh round of doing nothing.

It is time to thin out the crowded field of aspirants. Within the public sector, only Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) has built submarines. Its ongoing Project 75 to build six Scorpene submarines should be extended by another three vessels. Of these nine vessels, the last six must have AIP and the ability to fire missiles, changes that can be made easily. This should be India’s west coast production line.

On the east coast, L&T (which has gained experience building India’s nuclear submarine, the Arihant) should be permitted to join hands with Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), the MoD’s new shipyard in Vishakhapatnam, for building a second line of submarines with Russian technology. The L&T-HSL JV should also be designated the node for developing and building a line of SSNs, which remains a glaring hole in India’s defence capabilities. Every other country with nuclear submarine capability first built SSNs before developing the technology for SSBNs, as nuclear ballistic missile submarines are called. India alone has begun with a complex SSBN (the INS Arihant) and is continuing building more SSBNs without taking on the simpler design challenge of SSNs. Now, having leased the INS Chakra, an Akula class SSN, from Russia for the next ten years, India must integrate these experiences into an indigenous SSN line.

Meanwhile, the MoD must ensure that the expensive (Rs 6,000 crore) technology that it bought for the Scorpene, and will buy for the Russian submarine line, fructifies into a world-class indigenous design. This will require close involvement from the navy’s integral design establishment. A concurrent role must be allocated to NIRDESH, the newly set up National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding.

Mazagon sees opening in submersible drift

Offers to make more Scorpene submarines.

With India's submarine acquisition programme tangled in a decade-old logjam, defence shipyard Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) has staked claim for Project 75I, a line of six advanced submarines for the Indian Navy.

MDL is already building Project 75, for six Scorpene submarines, using technology from Armaris, the Franco-Spanish shipbuilder. It believes the decision-making paralysis that has stymied Project 75I will allow MDL to build at least three, and possibly six, more Scorpenes after completing Project 75.

Project 75I is in the doldrums, after three Ministry of Defence (MoD) committees failed to zero on the Indian shipyards capable of participating in such a project. Besides MDL, already engaged in Project 75, Larsen & Toubro is competing fiercely for Project 75I, flaunting its role in building INS Arihant, the country’s first nuclear submarine. As time has passed without a decision, new contenders, particularly Pipavav Shipyard and the MoD's newly-acquired Hindustan Shipyard Ltd have also emerged as contenders.

Meanwhile, the MoD is more fuddled than ever after its third and latest high-power committee, headed by

V Krishnamurthy, chairman of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, failed to agree on which shipyard(s) should be awarded Project 75I. The MoD is currently pondering the Krishnamurthy committee's divided recommendations. An earlier MoD decision to build three Project 75I submarines at MDL, one at HSL and two in the private sector or abroad now stands scrapped.

With tendering nowhere in sight, the chief of MDL, Vice Admiral (retd) H S Malhi, says their Project 75 Scorpene production line provides a handy springboard for Project 75I. MDL, as Malhi notes, has the facilities, the experience, the workmen and an ongoing workflow that make it easy to extend the six-Scorpene order of Project 75, improving the specifications if the navy so requires.

Malhi mobilises a powerful financial argument: India has already paid Rs 6,000 crore for Scorpene technology. Building additional Scorpenes would only require the payment of licence fees. Choosing another design would require paying for technology afresh.

“If the tender for Project 75I is going to be delayed by another two-three years, we can easily extend the current Scorpene order by another three submarines. Else, Project 75I could be a Scorpene-plus, a more potent submarine, with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) and the ability to launch missiles. The technology we have already paid for would be amortised over a larger number of submarines, making these cheaper,” he argues.

Sections of the Indian Navy would welcome more Scorpenes quickly, in the face of a worrisome submarine build-up by China and Pakistan. However, a powerful lobby within the navy, which favours Russian submarines, opposes extending the Scorpene order. They have a potent political argument against ordering more Scorpenes, that Project 75 was not competitively bid but was a controversial, single-vendor purchase. Enlarging the order would be fraught with political risk.

Further, going by the navy's 30-year Submarine Construction Plan, which the apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) okayed in 1999, Project 75I must build Russian submarines. The 30-year plan for constructing 24 conventional submarines in India envisages two simultaneous construction lines: one building six submarines from western technology and another building six submarines from eastern bloc (i.e. Russian) know-how. Based on the experience gathered, India would build another 12 submarines to an indigenous design.

Project 75, for six Scorpenes, is the western technology line. The next six must incorporate Russian technology, according to the 30-year plan. Indian Navy submarine folklore believes Russian designs feature greater endurance and firepower; while western designs are stealthier and harder to detect. Indian designers are to incorporate the best of both traditions into the 12 indigenous submarines.

MDL faces flak for a three-year delay in Project 75, but Malhi has strongly defended his shipyard's record. Admitting the first Scorpene would indeed be delivered three years late (in mid-2015, instead of 2012), Malhi says he will deliver the remaining five submarines at eight-month intervals instead of the 12-month interval originally planned. That means all six Scorpenes will be delivered by September 2018, just nine months later than the scheduled completion of Project 75.

MDL plans to achieve this by setting up a second Scorpene line at a recently acquired shipyard, the Alcock Yard, within its premises in Mumbai. After mid-2013, all six submarines will be outfitted simultaneously, the first three in the current workshop, and the next three in Alcock Yard.

Mazagon Docks launches 2nd Shivalik Class frigate with 60% Indigenisation

Indigenously-built stealth warship, INS Satpura, the second of the three-ship Project-17 Shivalik Class frigates built by the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks (MDL) was commissioned by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma. Conceived and designed by the Indian Naval design team, Satpura will be among the mainstay frigates of the force for the next few decades.

The next warship of the class INS Sahyadri is also expected to be inducted into the Navy in next six to eight months. Along with the three stealth frigates under Project-17, three Kolkata class destroyers under Project 15 A and six Scorpene class submarines are under construction at MDL.

According to reports the total cost of the three Shivalik-class frigates (Project 17A) will be Rs 7,883 crore. Imported components, like the on-board weapons, sensors and radars, engines, transmission etc, account for approximately Rs 2,710 crore - approximately 40 percent.

An agreement with Essar Steel for manufacturing warship-grade steel helped in lowering the cost of imported equipment. Crucial dimensions of design and integration have also been indigenised. Indigenisation levels are expected to rise dramatically in the next two lines of warships that are coming on stream next year, i.e. in Project 15B (four destroyers) and Project 1A (seven frigates).

The ship is powered by 2 US-origin General Electric LM-2500 gas turbine engine and 2 French SEMT Pielstick diesel engine, one on each shaft driving a large diameter controllable pitch propeller.

The LM 2500 Gas Turbine engines enable the ship to generate speeds in excess of 30 knots (or over 55 kmph) and the SEMT Pielstic Diesel Engines are for normal cruising speeds. This is known as CODOG (combined diesel or gas) configuration.

The 142.5-metre-long warship, with 6,200-tonne displacement, has versatile control systems with signature management and radar cross-section reduction features. It has been provided with structural, thermal and acoustic stealth features to augment its potent capability. The Satpura is equipped with a mix of imported and indigenous weapon systems and sensors, including Barak surface-to-air missiles, 'SHTIL' air defence system, rapid fire guns and basic anti-submarine warfare weapons.

The ship’s electric power is provided by four Diesel Alternators, which together produce 4 Mega-Watts of power-enough to light up a small town.The power generation and distribution on board is controlled through an ‘Automated Power Management System’ (APMS).

A stealth warship is designed to have low signatures so that they remain undetected to enemy sensors. Its shape is designed to evade detection by radar; it is engineered to give off minimal infra-red (IR) emissions; and every piece of equipment on board, is designed to work silently to escape the enemy’s sonar and acoustic sensors.

From a small dry dock built to service ships of the British East India Company, Mazagon Dock Limited is today the Country’s premier warship building yard. By next year, MDL would have delivered all three in the series. The Shivalik Class frigates are part of the Project 17 of the Indian Navy under which multi-role frigates with stealth features are being built for the Indian Navy at Mazagon Dock Limited. The first ship of the Class INS Shivalik was commissioned on April 29 last year and launched India into the league of countries with the capability of building stealth frigates.

Govt sets fresh deadline for delivery of Scorpene subs

Faced with a reality of an ageing fleet of submarines, India has set a tight schedule for the state-owned shipyard Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) for the delivery of six diesel-electric Scorpene submarines to the Indian Navy. MDL has been asked to deliver one submarine every six months starting August 2015. All the six have to be commissioned by September 2018.

All the six submersible machines are in various stages of construction and each one is hidden behind a covered building yard in Mumbai that is heavily guarded from snooping eyes. This is the first time in decades that India is building the potent submarines on its soil. French Naval engineering company DCNS is the foreign partner.

Originally, the first Scorpene was to be delivered in December 2012 and the other five submarines were to follow at one-year intervals till December 2017. The submarines are being built at $4 billion (approx Rs 18,000 crore).

Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the MDL Vice-Admiral HS Malhi (retd), informing a team of reporters from Delhi on the progress of the important programme, said “The fabrication of the pressure hull is moving before schedule and in line with the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security. The first submarine will be delivered in August 2015.”

By next year, the fabrication of all six submarines will be done and the MDL will get ready to build the next lot of submarines, under the project codenamed ‘75-India’ at a projected cost of $11 billion (approx Rs 49,500 crore).

Global majors have responded to India’s bid in partnering the project. These include Russia’s Rosoboronexport, French DCNS, German HDW and Spanish Navantia.

The development of the Scorpene is critical for the Navy. At present, the Navy operates 14 diesel-electric submarines after it decommissioned two Foxtrot-class submarines last year. Of the 14 submarines, 10 are Kilo class Soviet-origin vessels and the rest are HDW German-origin vessels. Till the Scorpene comes up, the Navy has re-jigged its maintenance schedule for the existing lot.

India intends to have a 30-vessel submarine force for the Navy that should be in place by 2030. This will include three nuclear-powered submarines, the first of that lot, the INS Arihant, is already launched at sea and is being outfitted.

Navy revives post to fast-track submarine acquisition plans

With India grappling with a depleting underwater combat arm, coupled with both Pakistan and China fast bolstering their own fleets, the Navy has appointed a senior officer to oversee and fast-track all submarine acquisition plans.

Rear Admiral M T Moraes took over as the new assistant chief of naval staff (submarines), a post which has been revived after a long gap, at South Block here on Friday. He will be replaced by Rear Admiral Srikant as the "flag officer (submarines)" at Visakhapatnam.

Down to only 14 diesel-electric submarines, the Navy is desperate to ensure its mammoth new programme, "Project-75 India", gets rolling at the earliest. It envisages acquisition of six new stealth submarines, equipped with both tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities as well as AIP (air-independent propulsion) for enhanced underwater endurance, for over Rs 50,000 crore, as was first reported by TOI.

What has added to naval woes is that the ongoing Rs 23,562-crore project (P-75) to build six French Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks is running three years behind schedule, with the boats now slated to roll out between 2015 and 2020.

The Navy will be left with only five of its existing 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines by 2020. Consequently, even with the six Scorpenes, India will be far short of the at least 18 conventional submarines required to deter Pakistan and China.

India is also set to get the Russian Akula-II class nuclear-powered submarine, K-152 Nerpa, to be rechristened INS Chakra, on a 10-year lease by November-December.

But the real underwater punch will come when indigenous nuclear submarine, the over 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, becomes operational. Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma had earlier announced India's nuclear weapon triad will be completed, with the most effective and difficult-to-detect underwater leg, when INS Arihant goes on "deterrent patrols" next year.

As for 'P-75 India', the global tender or RFP (request for proposal) for it will be floated only towards end-2011 to vendors like Rosoboronexport ( Russia), DCNS (France), HDW (Germany) and Navantia (Spain).

As of now, the plan is to directly import two submarines from the foreign collaborator eventually selected, with the next three being built at MDL in Mumbai, and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam under transfer of technology.

Friday, August 26, 2011

F-35C Catapult Launch Testing

F-35B test aircraft BF-1 on flight 147, Aug. 22, 2011.

F-35B test aircraft BF-1 on flight 147, Aug. 22, 2011. Lt. Col. Fred Schenk pilots the aircraft in short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) mode.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

F-35C completes jet blast deflector testing

LAKEHURST, N.J. – F-35C test aircraft CF-1 with an F/A-18E prepares for two-aircraft jet blast deflector (JBD) testing Aug. 13. The Integrated Test Force collected temperature, pressure, sound level, and velocity environmental data to validate various aircraft models to optimize JBD cooling panel and flight deck configuration. F-35C carrier suitability testing is ongoing with catapult and arrestment test events through the rest of the year, leading up to initial ship trials in 2013.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Navy gets a boost with INS Satpura stealth warship

Mumbai: Navy's strike capabilities received a boost as the second indigenously-built stealth warship, INS Satpura, was inducted into operational service in Mumbai on Saturday.

The second of the three-ship Project-17 Shivalik Class frigate, INS Satpura, was commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.

Defence Minister AK Antony was scheduled to commission the ship but could not do so as he is indisposed, the Navy chief said.

Built by the state-owned Mazagon Dockyards Limited, INS Satpura is a 143-metre-long warship with 6,200-tonne displacement.

The lead ship of this category, INS Shivalik, was commissioned into the Navy in April last year.

Shivalik class warships can deal with multiple threat environment and are fitted with weapon suite comprising both area and point defence systems.

It has sensors for air, surface and sub-surface surveillance, electronic support and counter equipment and decoys for soft kill measures.

The third Shivalik class vessel, INS Sahyadri, is expected to be ready for commissioning by next year.

Being inducted six to seven months behind schedule, the warship is equipped with a mix of imported and indigenous weapon systems and sensors, including Barak surface-to-air missiles, 'Shtil' air defence system, rapid fire guns and basic anti-submarine warfare weapons.

The ship is powered by one each of US-origin LM-2500 gas turbine engine and SEMT Pielstick diesel engine.

Stealth warship INS Satpura joins navy

In a centuries-old naval ritual in Mumbai on Saturday, navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma commissioned into active service Indian Naval Ship (INS) Satpura.

“I wish the crew fair winds and following seas”, Verma intoned, in the traditional naval goodwill message, before raising the Indian flag on the Satpura’s helicopter deck and unveiling the ships plaque. The band struck up the national anthem, the tricolour was raised on the helicopter deck and INS Satpura became the 140th warship of the Indian Navy.

The INS Satpura, which follows the INS Shivalik into service, is the second of three Project 17 stealth frigates that are being built by Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai. It will be followed by INS Sahyadri early next year. These three “state-of-the-art surface combatants” as Verma called them — trace their design ancestry to three Talwar-class frigates that Russia built for the navy a decade ago. However the Shivalik-class, as INS Shivalik, Satpura and Sahyadri are classified (after the first vessel in the series), are significantly heavier than the 4,100-tonne Talwar-class frigates, giving them the capability to absorb, as well as deliver, heavier blows in battle.

Officially termed a guided-missile frigate, the Satpura weighs in at a muscular 6,200 tonnes. Frigates typically weigh 4,500-6,500 tonnes; the next-higher class of warships, called destroyers, begin at about 7,000 tonnes. The Satpura carries 24 Russian Klub missiles, which can hit ground targets more than two hundred kilometres away with pinpoint precision. The Indian Navy would have liked the Satpura to carry the more capable and lethal Brahmos missile, but that is too heavy for the frigate. Only the Indian Navy’s destroyers are currently armed with the Brahmos.

The Satpura is also equipped with the Israeli Barak air defence system, to ward off enemy aircraft and missiles. It has torpedoes to deal with enemy submarines, as well as an RB-6,000 multi-barrelled depth charge launcher. Posted on board the Satpura is a tiny aviation unit, with hangars and facilities for two Sea King, or indigenous Dhruv helicopters.

Driving this 142 metre-long warship through the water are two French Pielstick diesel engines. In addition, there are two General Electric LM-2500 gas turbines. This provides the advantage of fuel-efficient operation in the normal course, using the Pielstick diesels, while the gas turbines take over when bursts of speed are required, especially in battle. This is known as CODOG (combined diesel or gas) configuration.

But the Satpura’s key advantage is stealth. Its design reduces the vessel’s radar, infrared, electronic, acoustic and visual signatures, making it difficult for the enemy to detect it. The design skills needed for building stealth vessels like the Satpura have been honed by Indian shipyards over time, and are reaching their finest in Project 28, a line-up for ultra-stealthy, anti-submarine corvettes that are being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata. Stealth will also form an important component of the seven Project 17A frigates that will start being built next year as the the navy’s next line of frigates.

Along with satisfaction at the Satpura’s world-class capabilities, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) remains concerned over the high level of imported components in these warships. According to the official navy figures requested by Business Standard, the total cost of Project 17A (i.e. the cost of three Shivalik-class frigates) will be Rs 7,883 crore. Of this, Rs 2,710 crore have been spent on foreign equipment, that includes the on-board weapons, sensors and radars, engines, transmission, etc.

During the commissioning, the naval chief admitted the Satpura’s indigenous component amounted to 60 per cent. Much of that amount, however, goes towards the cost of labour etc. The high-tech equipment remains mainly imported.

Notwithstanding that, the navy justifiably claims credit for indigenising the crucial dimensions of design and integration. Vice Admiral Ganesh Mahadevan, the navy’s Chief of Materials, claims that indigenisation will rise dramatically in the next two lines of warships that are coming on stream next year, i.e. in Project 15B (four destroyers) and Project 1A (seven frigates).

An important driver in lowering the cost of imported equipment is the agreement with Essar Steel for manufacturing warship-grade steel. So far, owing to SAIL’s refusal to engage in the complex manufacture of the specialised metal, which the dockyards require in relatively small and commercially unviable quantities, shipyards were left with no option but to import from Russia. Now, Essar Steel will be manufacturing the few thousands of tonnes of warship grade steel that will be needed for Projects 15B and Project 17A.

Navy gets its 2nd indigenous stealth frigate

INS Satpura, the second indigenous stealth frigate of Project 17 class of the Indian Navy, was commissioned by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on Saturday. INS Shivalik, the first of the class, has already been commissioned in April last year while the third ship INS Sahyadri is in final stages of construction at Mazgaon Docks Limited.

Speaking on the occasion Admiral Verma said, “The commissioning of INS Satpura will strengthen the fighting fleet of the Indian Navy. Its improved survivability, maneuvering and stealth ability will act significantly towards navy’s status as blue water navy.”

Earlier, Defence Minister A K Antony was scheduled to commission the ship but he could not attend the function as a result of which the ship was commissioned at the hands of Admiral Verma.

With about 60 per cent indigenization by cost, the construction of the ship started in August 2002. Armed with long range anti-ship missile, anti-aircraft missile as well as missile defence system, INS Satpura has the capacity to engage into a three dimensional warfare on surface, air as well as sub surface levels.

The commissioning of INS Satpura is significant on the backdrop of the recent operations of navy against Somalian pirates and the growing aspirations of the force to be the blue water navy.

Speaking on the backdrop of MT Pavit and MV Nafis 1, the naval chief said there has been an increased coordination between various agencies involved in coastal surveillance.

Latest photo of Project-15A Kolkata-Class Destroyer

Latest photo of Project-15A Kolkata-Class Destroyer

Kolkata-Class Destroyers will be commissioned into India Navy respectively...

Kolkata (Yard 12701) ; Laid Down - September 2003, Launch - 30 March 2006, Commissioning - planned for Aug-Dec 2011.
Kochi (Yard 12702) ; Laid Down - 25 October 2005, Launch - 18 September 2009, Commissioning - 2012.
Chennai (Yard 12703); Laid Down - 21 February 2006, Launch - 01 April 2010, Commissioning - August 2013.

India's first IAC likely to be wet by the end of the year

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) is likely to be wet by the end of the year, according to sources.

This will mark the culmination of the first phase of construction of the carrier, being built at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) for the Indian Navy. With this, India will also join the elite club of nations capable of designing and building carriers upwards of 40,000 tonnes. The ship was scheduled to be wet in 2010.

The second phase will cover all balance work till the delivery of the ship to the Navy in end-2014. The keel was laid in February 2009. After the government sanctioned design and construction in January 2003, the yard commenced steel cutting in April 2005. Construction work on the blocks of the ship commenced in November 2006. CSL is using high-strength steel developed in-house with the help of Defence Research & Development Organisation and Steel Authority of India Ltd. Italy’s Fincantieri helped in propulsion system integration, while Russia’s NDB assisted in aviation aspects.

Designed by the Navy’s Design Organisation, the 260-metre-long and 60-metre-wide ship will be able to handle a mix of MiG-29K, Ka31 and indigenous light combat aircraft. It will be propelled by two shafts, each coupled to two LM2500 gas turbines, developing a total power of 80 Mw, sufficient to attain a cruising speed of 28 knots. It has an endurance of around 8,000 nm. It will have two take-off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires. It can carry 30 aircraft, with adequate hangar capacity.

There will be a long-range surface-to-air missile system, with multi-function radars and close-in weapon systems. The ship will be equipped with the most modern C/D band early air warning radar, V/UHF tactical air navigational and direction finding systems. It will also have jamming capabilities over the expected electromagnetic environment, along with carrier control approach radars, to aid air operations.

To optimise the on build period, the defence ministry has already advanced Rs 200 crore to CSL to augment infrastructure in areas such as large cranes, workshops, heavy duty machinery, etc.

Separately, the shipping ministry through the Planning Commission sanctioned Rs 98.6 crore for the creation of a small ship division, so that commercial shipbuilding can be continued during the pendency of the IAC Project.

Indian Navy conducts pre-delivery trials of Russian n-sub news

Moscow: Pre-delivery trials of the Russian Schucka-B (NATO: Akula-II) class nuclear attack submarine, the K-152 "Nerpa" are expected to be complete by August-end after which it will be handed over on a ten-year lease to the Indian Navy.

Akula-II class sub. Rear view It will be commissioned into the navy as INS Chakra.

An earlier, Charlie-class nuclear submarine, similarly taken on lease by the Indian Navy in the late 1980s, was also commissioned as the 'Chakra'.

The Akula-II submarine is currently in the midst of trials in the Sea of Japan with an Indian crew operating under the supervision of Russian naval personnel and shipyard experts. The crew is expected to sail for home waters sometime in the September-November period, the state-run ITAR-TASS news agency said in its report.

"The Indian crew is giving a kind of proficiency test to the Russian experts. After the completion of trials in the end of August, the process of transfer of the nuclear submarine to the Indian Navy will commence," the agency reported quoting unnamed officials of Amur Shipyard - the manufacturer of the Nerpa.

The Indian crew has undergone a two-year-long training course, including a six month crash course in the Russian language in India, and about 18 month training in St Petersburg to sail and operate the Shchuka-B class submarine.

Navy''s second indigenous stealth frigate commissioned

Mumbai, Navy's second indigenous stealth frigate, INS Satpura, was commissioned here today. Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma commissioned the warship, which he said would boost the Navy's operational capability. INS Satpura is a 143-metre-long warship with 6,000-tonne displacement and has versatile control systems with signature management and radar cross-section reduction features. The lead ship of this category, INS Shivalik, was commissioned into the Navy in April last year.

Shivalik class warships can deal with multiple threat environment and are fitted with weapon suite comprising both area and point defence systems. It has sensors for air, surface and sub-surface surveillance, electronic support and counter equipment and decoys for soft kill measures. Another Shivalik class vessel, INS Sahyadri, is expected to be ready for commissioning by next year. Defence Minister AK Antony was scheduled to commission the ship but could not attend as he is indisposed, the Navy chief said.

Aircraft carrier: incarnation of a dream

Shipbuilders of Sevmash are well aware of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (former aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov) which is being reconditioned for Indian Navy. That is natural – they have spent much trouble on the carrier to achieve current impressive appearance.

Today, she is an enormous ship with displacement of 45 000 tons, as high as a twenty-storey building, and as long as three football grounds. About 2 600 rooms are located inside the ship on 22 levels; they are battle stations, crew quarters, cabins... Hangar size is also impressive – it is 130 meters long. Somewhat 2 000 crewmembers including pilots, technicians and other air wing personnel can serve in this floating city equipped with "airport" and workshops, "residential buildings" and mess-rooms, hospitals and recreational sites. And the time when all that comes true is near at hand. According to general modernization schedule, INS Vikramaditya is supposed to be delivered to Indian customers in December 2012. People who are in charge for this strategic Russian-Indian contract are sure it will be so.

...Speaking a "military-accented" language, floating base Severnaya is a battle staff of the ship retrofitting. All basic decisions are made here; it is the place where director general, his deputy, chief engineer, and deliverer-in-charge hold briefings with engineers, shipwrights, workers... Current and prospect objectives are assigned and summarized here. In a word, that's a real headquarters.

Few days ago I had a chance to meet with production director No. 4 (military technical cooperation) Sergei Novoselov, his deputy Georgy Zhukov, and deliverer-in-charge Igor Leonov in floating base Severnaya. The project's top managers wanted to share more than good news with Korabel; an important construction phase – electrification of INS Vikramaditya – had been finished. And take note, it happened one month ahead of time specified in the general schedule!

The ship has come alive

KORABEL: All right, everyone knows that without electricity any equipment is just a lifeless metal heap. So now, when the carrier is electrified, can we say that the ship has come alive?

Sergei NOVOSELOV: Sure. It's hard to overestimate this event. Perhaps, its significance can be compared only with a ship's launching.

Igor LEONOV: To accomplish this task, we have to do colossal number of works, including electrical safety operations. It is obvious as there are over 1 000 electric boards in the ship; almost two hundreds of them are high-voltage ones.

Georgy ZHUKOV: Now all four central switchboards are electrified, so we can begin to start mechanisms which are over 1 500. We're going to "open" the first hundred of them in the nearest days. In other words, the phase of adjustment works starts.

Everyone's at work

KORABEL: It has been a long-awaited moment, as Admiral Gorshkov has been staying at Sevmash for over ten years...

Sergei NOVOSELOV: That's right, but the main work started only in the fall of 2007. Before that we had disassembled equipment and cleaned the hull, rooms and everything. And when Nikolai Kalistratov was appointed Director General of Sevmash three years ago, the construction suddenly entered its active phase. The shipyard has gained a considerable momentum since that time. We've done so much throughout these three years... Under auspices of I. Ponomarev, department deputy director of Rosoboronexport and A. Alsufiev, Sevmash's chief engineer, our experts fruitfully participated in Russian-Indian talks on changes in repair and retrofitting costs. As for now, all "i's" have been dotted; Indian partners pay for all works without delays and this makes possible to purchase all needed equipment and materials in time. New organizational structure and general schedule have been approved. All work clusters have been determined; each one is headed by deliverer-in-charge. Number of direct workers has been significantly grown – today, they are almost four thousands including electricians from SPO Arktika.

Georgy ZHUKOV: Everyone's at work in the ship, in sheds, in engineering offices. All are involved – counterparties, manufacturer's designers and technologists, experts of Nevskoye Design Bureau, Production Quality Control Dept, military representatives…

KORABEL: Input of electric power is a significant event. Could you name any other milestones?

Igor LEONOV: They're not too many. We have enlarged flight deck sponsons; replaced forebody; extended stern part; assembled propeller rudder system and grounding gears; shaped a ski-ramp for horizontal takeoffs and arrested landings. In the falls of 2008 the carrier left the shipyard's basin; that was a unique operation – there were only few inches between the ship's boards and caisson walls. We finished loading of large-size equipment in 2009. To do that, we made 540 access holes in the hull of Vikramaditya, and then rewelded them. Works on the bulkhead were successfully completed in 2010 – arc welders and riveters of 42nd shed did show their worth. What utmost powers were given to assemble ventilation and air conditioning system meant for tropical climate (high temperature and humidity)! Fans and coolers have been already built in; air ducts are ready in 60 per cent of compartments. Totally, we have done 80 per cent of pipeworks. In January 2010 the ship was ready for electric installation works; as a consequence, 1 890 km of new cables have been laid while only 500 remained.

Georgy ZHUKOV: Another complex operation was alignment of four shaftlines. We have finished assembling of turbine-geared propulsion units, turbo-generators, diesels, and eight boilers (each one weights 40 tons and is as high as a 2-storey building).

All those works were done in extreme conditions, since the ship was afloat. Engineers from Scientific & Technological Dept helped us and developed special methods, equipment, and accessories.

Floating airfield

KORABEL: Ships of this kind are often called floating airfields, but aircraft system is a totally new experience for Sevmash shipbuilders, right?

Igor LEONOV: Nevertheless, we've already mounted three arresters, two aircraft elevators, takeoff retaining devices for aircraft tests (designed by Corporation MiG especially for INS Vikramaditya), and numerous ammunition holds. Assembling of aircraft fuel, nitrogen, and oxygen storage and supply system is another technically complicated problem in terms of safety; however, it was successfully done as well.

Let's go ahead. Electronic warfare systems include over 100 various antennas and 60 battle control stations. On November 30 we completed mounting of 600 electronic warfare devices, and electricians from Arktika have already started to connect them.

KORABEL: We've slipped to future prospects of Sevmash. What else has to be done in the nearest time?

Georgy ZHUKOV: We're going to finish fire tests by January 15, 2011. This will make possible to wash hull systems by conditioning oils. And then everything will be done step by step: beginning of mooring trials in February-March 2011 which is entirely in accordance with general schedule, and sea trials will start in November 2011 in the White Sea. They will continue in 2012 in the Barents Sea. Air wing will be tested there, as well as operability of 'ship-aircraft' system.

Igor LEONOV: We will conduct dock inspection of the ship's hull in winter 2011-2012 in Murmansk. INS Vikramaditya will head for India in December 2012. Nonetheless, Sevmash will provide a one-year long warranty service after delivery of the carrier and then a 19-year long post-warranty service.

Full contact

KORABEL: Shipwrights of Sevmash have been working closely with Indian military observers through the whole period of construction…

Sergei NOVOSELOV: Those guys are really top-sawyers! We've shaped not only working relations but friendly ties with them. Recently they started to take part in work planning – three times a week Indian officers meet with Director General of Sevmash and top managers of the shipyard. On Tuesdays we go around the ship with the head of the observation group and resolve technical issues by the way. So, we're in full contact.

KORABEL: When the crew of Vikramaditya arrives in Severodvinsk?

Igor LEONOV: Very soon, early in 2011. We expect up to 1 400 officers and enlisted to come at different dates. But they will observe mooring trials first.

We can build a new one

KORABEL: Let's get back to production. In 2010 the works were conducted under a new so-called weekly planning system.

Sergei NOVOSELOV: We must give credit to the president of United Shipbuilding Corporation Roman Trotsenko who recommended to apply weekly planning. That contributed much to acceleration of the production process. Look, about 1 500 operational posts headed by foremen are set every week. Money reward system is closely connected to the weekly planning – you've done the job well, you get a good bonus. Such system has a plenty of advantages. Among them are permanent monitoring over all current works and preparation for subsequent ones, labor movement, financial flow, people's motivation to complete work in time, final-result orientation. Roman Trotsenko set regular interagency meetings at the shipyard with mandatory inspection of the ship. Weekly reports we sent to United Shipbuilding Corporation also pep up. On the initiative of R. Trotsenko and N. Kalistratov, all who work overtime have free meals. Many interagency problems are resolved thanks to United Shipbuilding Corporation, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Rosoboronexport, and Russian Navy. Let's not forget that this Russian-Indian project is permanently controlled by Russian government.

KORABEL: If Sevmash is tasked to build a new aircraft carrier, would you manage to?

Sergei NOVOSELOV: Indeed, I'm sure of it! Through recent years an effective administrative structure has been shaped in Sevmash. Now the yard is capable to negotiate construction, repair, and modernization contracts for large surface ships – primarily, aircraft carriers – independently. We've established cooperation with hundreds of domestic and foreign factories, institutes, designing organizations, training centers etc. But undoubtedly, the main thing is invaluable experience acquired during the years of work on INS Vikramaditya. It is very important to keep this experience.

KORABEL: John Steinbeck, an American writer and Nobel laureate wrote that a ship was something like incarnation of a man's dream. Do your dreams come true?

Sergei NOVOSELOV: You see, shipwrights of Sevmash have been always specialized in submarines. And then came Admiral Gorshkov, a giantlike cruiser which was supposed to become an aircraft carrier. That was just what we called a dream, because we had to master new shipbuilding technologies and address large-scale production issues. And I think we do it well. Sevmash have been managing so far. Moreover, as a matter of fact we build a new carrier. So, our dreams come true.

Friday, August 12, 2011

China's aircraft carrier begins sea trials

BEIJING: China's first aircraft carrier on Wednesday set sail for sea trials, officials said, as concerns mounted about the country's rapid military buildup amid flaring regional disputes.

The refitted former Ukrainian carrier platform left its shipyard at Dalian Port in northeast China's Liaoning Province this morning to set sail for its maiden sea trial, Xinhua news agency reported.

The agency said that the sea trials were in line with the country's programme to rebuild the carrier. Beijing has spent almost 10 years retrofitting the Ukrainian carrier Varvag.

Refitting work will continue after the vessel returns to the port, Xinhua said without specifying the duration of the sea trials.

The carrier was originally built by the former Soviet Union, which failed to complete the ship's construction before collapsing in 1991.

The still-unnamed aircraft carrier was bought from Ukraine, which disarmed it and removed its engines before selling it to China.

As it set sail, the Liaoning Provincial Maritime Safety Administration publicised a notice restricting navigation in waters off the Dalian coast, saying that vessels are forbidden from travelling through an area of sea 13. 25 nautical miles wide and 22 nautical miles long in the northern Yellow Sea and Liaodong Bay from August 10 to 14.

Military enthusiasts and tourists flocked to Dalian to view the carrier before it set sail.

The carrier is being launched amid escalating disputes between China and several ASEAN countries over islands in South China Sea.

Defending the carrier Chinese officials have pointed to India, US and several other countries already having the aircraft carriers.

Currently, China is the only nation among five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council that does not have an active-service aircraft carrier, they say.

"US operates 11 carrier battle groups and has deployed six of them in the Pacific region," Real Admiral Yin Zhuo, director of the Expert Consultation Committee of People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said.

China's neighbours such as India and Russia also have carriers and continue developing their weapon systems, while Japan and South Korea have acquired large-tonnage warships which could be used as aircraft carriers, Yin told official media.

Li Jie, a researcher with the PLA Navy's Academic Research Institute said India was the first country in Asia to have a carrier acquiring first Vikrant and later Viraat, both refitted old British war ships.

India placed an order to buy the Russian decommissioned Admiral Gorshkov besides starting to building its indigenous carrier scheduled to come into service in 2014, Li said.

Military officials said that the Chinese carrier serves mainly as a platform for research, experiment and training, while plans were afoot to build more indigenous ones in future besides equipping them with modern weapons and aircraft, which China currently lack.

Military analysts say that the carrier will add a new dimension to Chinese burgeoning navy, which could provide a major challenge to India in its backyard, the Indian Ocean, where Indian navy has a dominant presence.

Some analysts believe that the new acquisition could also make China to look for US style naval bases abroad as its sphere of influence grows.

An official commentary in Xinhua said aircraft carriers will not change the Chinese navy's strategic deployment, nor the country's defensive national defence policy and thus should not be viewed as a threat.

The Chinese navy so far made up of three separate fleets, the Beihai Fleet, the Donghai Fleet and the Nanhai Fleet.

Each fleet has its own support bases, flotillas, maritime garrison commands, aviation divisions and marine brigades.

China's new aircraft carrier: a menacing name?

BOSTON — The Chinese military is putting the finishing touches on its first aircraft carrier, which could set sail later in 2011.

What will its first mission be? Officials aren't saying. But its neighbors worry that the vessel’s putative name may provide a not-so-subtle hint.

The ship is rumored to be called the Shi Lang, after a Qing Dynasty admiral who in 1681 conquered the Kingdom of Tungning — a territory better known today as Taiwan.

If it is christened as such, the political implications would be "obvious," said Tsai Der-sheng, head of the Taiwanese government’s National Security Bureau.

Shi Lang’s historic parallels run deep.

One of China’s staunchest strategic priorities is to bring Taiwan — which it regards as a rogue province — back into its fold. The island has essentially been independent since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s ragtag communist army overthrew China’s Kuomintang government. The Kuomintang's supporters fled across the China Straits (carrying an eye-popping fortune in national treasure) and have largely run the island since.

Likewise, in the 17th century, Taiwan served as a refuge for the derelict Ming Dynasty after it was vanquished by a starving, neglected peasantry. Ultimately, Adm. Shi Lang finished the job, conquering the last Ming elite and claiming Taiwan for China.

So will the aircraft carrier enable Beijing to repeat the historic admiral’s feat? Or will the real winners be the weapons merchants as Asia’s arms race heats up?

On thing is certain: China has devoted an enormous amount of energy to the project, now over two decades in the making. Beijing purchased the warship’s hull in 1998 for a mere $20 million from Ukraine, where its construction had halted when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Putin has been increasingly anti-US, and is aiding Gaddafi. Why? What does he gain from opposing the US?

Last week's winner examines Putin's increasingly contentious relationship with the US. Check the membership site in late-August for a link to completed piece.

Officials suggested it would be used as a floating casino in the gambling mecca of Macau, along China’s southern coast. Lacking engines, steering or electronics, the hull was reportedly towed by tugboats through Turkey’s treacherous Bosporus and around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope in an epic, multi-year journey to China. The ship eventually found its way to a dry dock in Dalian, north of Shanghai. There, it was painted sea gray and is now being refurbished with modern military hardware.

The question is whether it’s worth the effort, given the realities of 21st-century warfare.

True, the carrier could eventually enable China to exercise air power around the world. The U.S. operates eleven such floating airports — which currently enable it to attack Libya from the Mediterranean. The Pentagon has come under criticism domestically for ordering as many as seven new ones over the next three decades, at a cost of more than $12 billion each. Several other nations — including France, the United Kingdom and Russia— maintain the massive vessels. But some argue that smaller, more nimble (and less pricey) ships, or even long-range bombers with global reach, would be more effective.

Operating a carrier is both costly and complicated. In the near term, China will have to develop and test aircraft that can serve on a carrier. Beijing recently unveiled photos of its new J-15 Flying Shark attack jet, which has the necessary features, such as folding wings and a shortened tail cone, needed to accommodate tight quarters. The plane will soon be ready for test flights, the New York Times reports.

That’s just a first step, however. “An aircraft carrier requires not just a functioning air group — itself composed of not only fighters and strike aircraft — but anti-submarine, airborne early warning and in-flight refueling aircraft, but also a variety of escorts to provide additional air, surface and sub-surface protection,” writes Dean Cheng, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. It could take as long as a decade before China can deploy a functioning aircraft carrier group, according to Cheng.

Beijing expands naval power

China has made the maiden voyage yesterday of its first aircraft carrier. The country was building the boat since 1998 when he bought an unfinished hull of Ukraine, and still have to wait several years to be able to use it effectively.

In an interview with state television, Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo admitted that it can take four more years of training for the pilots are trained to land or take off from aircraft carriers. When it comes into operation, possibly the vessel will be positioned in the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, near the South China Sea.

The region has been subject to constant friction with the neighboring country of the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Singapore due to maritime disputes. China is said to have spent U.S. $ 91.5 billion on its military budget in 2010 - just below the volume of the United States.

Chinese aircraft carrier left port for the first time for sea trials

The Xinhua news agency said the Chinese aircraft carrier (ex- Varyag ) left the port of Dalian this morning (10 / 8) for the first time for the racing to the sea.
Chronology of the first Chinese aircraft carrier

1992: The Soviet Union stopped construction of the Varyag , an aircraft carrier Kuznetsov class that was 60 percent complete. The ship was later transferred to Ukraine.

April 1998: Ukraine puts the Varyag for auction. A Chinese Travel Agency Chong Lot acquires the ship for $ 20 million to use as a "casino" in Macau.

2001: Ukraine sells a prototype naval fighter Sukhoi Su-33 to the Shenyang Aircraft Corp.

March 2002: The ship arrives at Dalian Shipyard, China.

June 2005: the ship begins to reform.

September 2008: China announces that 50 pilots were inducted in the Dalian Naval Academy to receive flight training aircraft for shipped.

2009: a mock-up of the Varyag is built at the Naval Research Center Huangjie Lake near Wuhan, Wuhan, China.

2010: photos embarcadp fighter J-15 Flying Shark, similar to the Su-33, began circulating on the Internet.

April 2011: one site People's Daily reports the Varyag entered its final stage, the hull is painted blue-gray, standard for all Chinese naval ships.

June 7: General Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China, admitted in an interview with the Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong, China has an aircraft carrier program.

July 27: The Chinese Defense Ministry officially confirmed that the Varyag is being renovated as an "experiment in scientific research, and training ships."

July 29: Gen. Luo Yuan, a senior fellow of the Academy of Military Sciences, the Beijing News said that China would need a minimum of three aircraft carriers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

India given choice to pioneer naval Typhoon jet

In anticipation of winning the Indian Air Force's $10.4 billion tender for 126 combat jets, European consortium EADS has offered India a choice to pioneer a project for a naval version of the Eurofighter Typhoon that is in the fray in what is being described as the "mother of all defence deals".

Typhoon's competitor in the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender, the French firm Dassault's Rafale, already has a naval version that is operational on France's lone nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

Officials of BAE Systems, one of the four partner companies in EADS for the Typhoon programme, told reporters during a visit to their RAF Warton production facility in Britain recently that India can exercise the choice of being a partner nation and leading the programme for the carrier-borne version of the aircraft if it wins the MMRCA tender. At present, Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany are partners in the Typhoon programme.

According to the BAE Systems officials, the Typhoon, which is a shore-based combat jet, has the potential to be a carrier-borne aircraft, provided a few modifications are made to the aircraft itself, essentially in a ski-jump take-off configuration due to the thrust-vectoring 90 kN (kilo Newton) engine that powers it.

Among the changes, it identifies strengthening of the undercarriage of the aircraft to assist in hard landings on a carrier's deck, fitting a carrier hook for arrested landings, and a good paint coating to help it withstand the vagaries of nature at sea.

The choice of the Typhoon for the Indian Navy the officials said, will complement the experience of operating the British Sea Harrier vertical-landing carrier-borne aircraft on board its lone aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, for over two decades now. Of the nearly 30 Harriers India had got for INS Viraat, only about 10 are left in service, with the rest lost in air crashes.

The offer has been made keeping in mind the Indian Navy's request for information issued in 2009. But the Indian Navy itself is not very amused with the offer.

First, according to officials, the Indian Navy plans to induct the Russian-built Admiral Gorshkov or INS Vikramaditya in the next couple of years. This warship will deploy Russian MiG-29K naval fighter jets and for this, the vessel is being reconfigured into a ski-jump take-off but arrested landing (STOBAR) mode at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia.

The same aircraft will be operated from the flight deck of India's indigenous aircraft carrier, under construction at the Cochin Shipyard, when it is inducted in the middle of this decade. Hence the Indian Navy has placed a total order for 45 MiG-29Ks for the two carriers from Russia.

For the future, the navy wants the Defence Research and Development Organisation's Tejas light combat aircraft's naval variant to fructify. If it does, then it may be the future carrier-borne aircraft of the navy for its two more indigenous aircraft carriers planned for construction at the Cochin Shipyard. But that decision is a long shot as it stands today, according to senior naval aviation officers.

But here is where the EADS, and BAE Systems in particular, is hopeful and is pitching the Typhoons as a powerful STOBAR platform for the future indigenous aircraft carriers of India.

Russian Navy to commission 8 Graney class nuclear subs by 2020

The Russian Navy will receive at least eight Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarines in the next decade, Navy chief Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on Friday.

"We are expecting to receive at least eight attack submarines of this [Graney] class by 2020," Vysotsky said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

The admiral said that the first Graney class sub, the Severodvinsk, will start two-month-long sea trials in the White Sea in August, and it is expected to enter service with the Russian Navy by the end of 2011.

The second vessel, the Kazan, is being built at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk.

The construction of the third Graney class submarine will begin in 2011.

Graney class nuclear submarines are designed to launch a variety of long-range cruise missiles (up to 3,100 miles or 5,000 km), with conventional or nuclear warheads, and effectively engage submarines, surface warships and land-based targets.

The submarine's armament includes 24 cruise missiles and eight torpedo launchers, as well as mines and anti-ship missiles.

Russian Black Sea Fleet to receive 6 new diesel subs

Russia's Black Sea Fleet will be strengthened with six Kilo class diesel-electric submarines in the next few years, Navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on Friday.

"Six diesel-electric submarines of Project 636 [Kilo class] will be built for the Black Sea Fleet in the next few years," Vysotsky said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

The Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, has only one submarine, the Project 877 Alrosa, which is undergoing scheduled repairs in Kaliningrad.

Vysotsky said a year ago that the construction of three Kilo class submarines for the Black Sea Fleet had already started and one more would be laid down every year starting in 2010.

The fleet would receive a total of 15 new frigates and diesel-electric submarines by 2020, he said in July 2010.

The admiral reiterated on Friday that the operational zone of the Black Sea Fleet includes the Mediterranean, and its combat ships must be capable of carrying out anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden.

Russia's MiG starts on new batch of carrier fighters for Indian Navy

Russia's MiG aircraft corporation has launched production of a new batch of MiG29K/KUB carrier fighters for the Indian Navy, a MiG spokesman said on Wednesday.

The fighters are to be delivered under a 2010 contract, the spokesman said.

Under the $1.5-billion contract, Russia will supply 29 MiG-29K Fulcrum-D jets to New Delhi starting in 2012.

The first jet was presented to an Indian representative in the assembly workshop.

The fighters will be based at an air field in Goa on India's west coast until the Admiral Gorshkov joins the Navy under the name of INS Vikramaditya in early 2013.

The Vikramaditya is expected to carry up to 24 MiG-29K/KUB fighters.

Launched the first Italian FREMM, 'Carlo Bergamini'

Fincantieri said the launch of the first Italian FREMM frigate, the "Carlo Bergamini." The launch was held at Riva Trigoso shipyard in Genoa.

The ship's godmother was Mrs. Mary Bergamini Loedler, granddaughter of Admiral Carlo Bergamini. The name honors the decorated admiral of the fleet ( in memoriam ) with the gold medal for military valor after sinking with his battleship, the Rome on September 8, 1943.

The delivery of the ship, capable of a wide range of tasks and operations in various tactical situations, will occur in 2012. According to Fincantieri, the frigate is 139 meters long, 19.7 meters wide and a loaded displacement of approximately 5,900 tons, with accommodations for 145 crew. The maximum speed of 27 knots should be.

The Italian Navy says the ship can embark two helicopters NH-90 or NH-90 and EH-101 with a drive system assisted. The propulsion is the type CODLAG (Combined Diesel - Electric and Gas), and highlights how the weapons systems and sensors, are surface-to-air missiles Aster 15 (16 cells release) and Empar multifunction radar.

The Italian FREMM frigates will replace the classes "Lupo" and "Maestrale", built by Fincantieri in the 1970s. Also replace the fleet of patrol boats class "Soldato" according to the Italian Navy. Principal contractors are in Italy Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, Finmeccanica 49%) and in France, Armaris (DCNS + Thales). The Franco-Italian cooperation in this class was developed after the positive experience with the joint program "Orizzonte" in which two frigates were built for each country. The "Orizzonte" is the Italian air defense frigates "Andrea Doria" and "Caio Duilio".