Saturday, December 31, 2011

$920 million Russian 'hunk' handed over to Indian Navy

Russia has handed over the much-awaited nuclear-powered attack submarine Nerpa to India on a 10-year lease, boosting the Indian Navy's fire-power.

The Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear submarine had recently finished sea trials.

"The signing ceremony happened on Thursday at the Bolshoi Kamen ship building facility in the (Far East) Primorye region where the Nerpa is now based," ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a senior Russian Navy official as saying.

The deal for the submarine, which is being transferred on a 10-year lease, is worth $920 million.

The report said an Indian crew would sail the Akula II class craft to its home base at the end of January.

"All of the naval tests and performance checks have been completed," the Russian Navy official said.

The submarine, capable of remaining underwater for months, will be rechristened as INS Chakra. This is the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine.

When Russia makes the delivery, it will make India the sixth operator of nuclear submarines in the world.

The submarine deal had figured during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Russia earlier in December.

The Nerpa, an Akula II-class attack submarine, had originally been scheduled for delivery in 2008 but an accident during sea trials on November 8 that year had forced the Russian authorities to put it on hold.

Twenty people, mostly civilians, had been killed when a fire-suppressant gas was released on the Nerpa during shakedown trials, in one of Russia's worst naval accidents.

The Akula-II class submarines are equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 km. The Indian version is reportedly expected to be armed with the 300-km Club nuclear-capable missiles.

India had funded the completion of the Nerpa nuclear submarine at Amur Shipyard before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

India takes delivery of Russian N-submarine

NEW DELHI: India will operate a nuclear-powered submarine in the new year, having taken delivery of INS Chakra or the rechristened Akula-II class nuclear-powered submarine 'K-152 Nerpa' from Russia on a 10-year lease.

Over 50 Indian officers as well as scores of sailors have undergone extensive training on INS Chakra, followed by testing and acceptance trials of the submarine spread over several weeks, as was earlier reported by TOI.

The handing over of the submarine to India comes soon after PM Manmohan Singh visited Moscow from December 15 to 17. INS Chakra is likely to set sail for Indian shores towards January-end, making India the sixth operator of nuclear submarines in the world.

INS Chakra, contrary to some reports, will not complete India's "nuclear triad'' since it will not be armed with long-range nuclear-tipped missiles due to international treaties like the Missile Technology Control Regime.

But it will help train sailors in the art of operating nuclear submarines, which will be useful when India's own N-sub, the INS Arihant, becomes operational. Armed with torpedoes and 300-km Klub-S cruise missiles, INS Chakra will also be a lethal hunter of enemy submarines and warships.

Nuclear submarine damaged, but reactors safe: Russia

RADIATING FEARS: In this video image from Ru-RTR Russian state television channel, firefighters spray water on the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine in a dock at the Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region, Russia. Photo: AP

A Russian nuclear submarine got badly damaged in a shipyard fire, but its two reactors are safe and there has been no radiation leak, said the military.

The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon during welding repairs on the Yekaterinburg submarine in a dry dock at the Roslyakovo shipyard of the Russian Northern Fleet in Murmansk Region. From burning wooden scaffolding the blaze spread to the rubberised coating in the nose section.

A video taken by an eye witness showed huge flames and black smoke billowing into the night sky. Eleven fire brigades, two navy fire ships and several helicopters fought the blaze for more than 20 hours and the submarine had to be submerged to prevent the fire that slipped beneath the outer hull from breaking out again.

Seven seamen and two firemen were hospitalised with smoke poisoning, said law enforcement officials.

The submarine had its two reactors switched off and all its nuclear missiles and conventional ammunition removed before entering the dock, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told state television, adding that there was “no threat of nuclear radiation leak”.

Experts said it may take at least six months to repair the damaged submarine.

“I am afraid the consequences will be very bad,” said military analyst Igor Korotchenko. “The fire and high temperatures may have damaged metal structures between the outer and inner hulls of the submarine.”

Yekaterinburg is a Delta IV class submarine which can carry 16 ballistic missiles, each with four nuclear warheads. To allay international concerns, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a special statement on Friday saying radiation levels around the shipyard were normal and continued to be closely monitored.


The Charlie I class submarine (Project 670 Skat) SSGN was first launched at the Krasnoye Sormovo inland shipyard at Gorkiy in 1967 with another 10 following over a period of five years. The Charlie Is had two banks of four missile tubes angled upwards on each side of the bow outside the pressure hull. The tubes were covered by large outer doors and the design was to incorporate the P-120 Malakhit (SS-N-9 Siren) medium range anti ship missile. Due to delays in the missile development, the missile was substituted with the short range P-70 Ametist (SS-N-7 Starbright) submerged launch missile which itself was a development of the P-15 Termit (SS-N-2 Styx) surface launched missile.[citation needed] The purpose of the missiles was to be used for pop up surprise attacks on high value surface targets such as aircraft carriers.

In 1972 to 1979, six improved units called the Project 670M SKAT-M (Charlie II class) were built. The improved Charlie IIs were built at Gorkiy with an 8m (26 ft 3in) insertion in the hull forward of the fin to incorporate electronics and launch systems for targeting and firing of the long range P-120 Malakhit anti-ship missile.

The Charlie Is and IIs had to return to port for reload once they had expended their payloads, although the secondary armament of torpedoes and sensor suite of sonar systems meant that they provided useful anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The last Charlie was retired in 1994. While still operational, one unit of the class was leased to the Indian Navy between 1988 and 1991, mainly for India to gain experience in the operations of a nuclear submarine. India's Arihant class submarine is believed to resemble a Charlie II boat.

India to get Russian nuclear attack sub in days: Report

MOSCOW: Indian Navy is set to receive a major boost when the much-awaited Russian 'Nerpa' nuclear attack submarine would join its fleet "in the next few days" on a 10-year lease worth USD 920 million.

The Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear submarine has finished sea trials and is now ready to be leased to the Indian navy in the next few days, a Russian engineer said today.

"The submarine is now fully ready to carry out its tasks," a senior executive at the Amur Shipyard, where the submarine was built, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

"It will be handed over before the end of the year," the unnamed official said.

The submarine, capable of remaining underwater for months will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra' and it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine.

When Russia makes the delivery, it will make India only the sixth operator of nuclear submarines in the world, the report said.

The ten-year lease is worth USD 920 million, it said. The submarine deal had figured during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Russia earlier this month.

The Nerpa, an Akula II-class attack submarine, had originally been scheduled for delivery in 2008 but an accident during sea trials on November 8 that year forced the Russian authorities to put it on hold.

Twenty people, mostly civilians, were killed when a fire -suppressant gas was released on the Nerpa during shakedown trials, in one of Russia's worst naval accidents.

The Akula-II class submarines are equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 km. The Indian version is reportedly expected to be armed with the 300-km Club nuclear-capable missiles.

India had funded the completion of the Nerpa nuclear submarine at Amur Shipyard before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Navy floats out first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

Once back at building bay, ship will be launched at a 20,000-tonne displacement: naval source

The first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) of the Navy was floated out at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), at a low-key event attended by senior shipping and naval officers on Thursday.

Among those present were Union Shipping Secretary K. Mohandas; Rear Admiral K.N. Vaidyanathan, Director General, Naval Design; and Commodore K. Subramaniam, Chairman and Managing Director of CSL.

The floating ceremony was followed by a meeting to review the progress in the work being done on the aircraft carrier, a 40,000-tonne fleet air defence platform of the Navy, which will be named after the legendary INS Vikrant. The Union Shipping Secretary told The Hindu that the work on the carrier was progressing, albeit not as per schedule, as so many variables were being factored into the extremely complex construction process.

The official added that the commissioning of the carrier, the keel of which was laid in February 2009, was likely to overshoot its original timeline.

According to a senior naval functionary, the carrier was ‘technically floated out' as the shipyard needed the dry-dock for ‘some other commercial work.' “The carrier has taken on about 14,000 tonnes. She would now undergo interior outfitting, including the laying of pipes before being dry-docked again in the latter half of next year for integration of the propulsion gear-box, generators and the like,” he told The Hindu.

As earlier reported by The Hindu, a delay in the delivery of gear boxes and associated systems had considerably slowed down the construction of the prestigious carrier. Naval officers, however, put on a brave face saying that the phase in which teething trouble was encountered was over. “The gear box is ready and undergoing trials, at last. The underwater package is all lined up but the rest of the equipment has to be identified and tested,” said a naval source.

After facing initial hiccups due to paucity of supply of steel, the carrier project got the much-required thrust with the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) and the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) fashioning carrier-grade steel indigenously.

After the steel supply stabilised, problems pertaining to quality gearbox put the brakes on the project. Elecon Engineering Company Limited, a Gujarat-based firm which had earlier manufactured CODOG marine gear boxes for the Navy's Shivalik-class stealth frigates, found itself in the red attempting to make the carrier's huge main gearboxes. “They have been able to overcome the difficulties with support from a German firm,” said a Navy officer.

With eye on China & Pak, India to revamp sub fleet

NEW DELHI: Faced with a fast-depleting underwater combat arm even as both China and Pakistan bolster their fleets, India is looking at major rejig of its submarine production plans to ensure its operational readiness does not get further eroded in the coming years.

For starters, the case for equipping the last two of the six French Scorpene submarines being built at Mazagon Docks with the crucial air-independent propulsion systems is being "progressed'', say defence ministry sources.

The six diesel-electric Scorpenes are slated for delivery in the 2015-20 timeframe under the ongoing Rs 23,562-crore 'Project-75', three years behind schedule. AIP in the fifth and sixth vessels, at a cost of an additional Rs 1,000 crore each, will give them a deadlier punch and stealth because they will be able to stay submerged much longer before surfacing to get oxygen to recharge their batteries.

India is likely to go in for three additional Scorpenes after the first six. "While no decision has yet been taken, it makes economic sense since six of them are being built at MDL. The second submarine workshop at MDL will get operational soon,'' said a source.

It will also be operationally expedient since, as was first reported by TOI earlier, the long-delayed follow-on 'Project-75India' to acquire six new-generation stealth submarines will take at least another two to three years to be finalized. It will take another seven years, if not more, after that for the first new submarine to roll out.

'Going in for three more Scorpenes is one way out of the logjam over P-75I, with Navy and MoD yet to agree on the shipyards to execute the project. The French companies will charge hefty amounts for the ToT (transfer of technology) packages for the three more Scorpenes,'' he said.

The P-75I programme may also be expanded to include nine submarines, all equipped with both tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities as well as AIP, instead of the six planned for well over Rs 50,000 crore.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bids Submitted for Aegis Follow-On System

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing have submitted proposals to take over support and development of the Aegis combat system, the companies said Dec. 14.

The Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) competition also is intended to provide a follow-on system to Aegis, the U.S. Navy's most capable weapon system and the foundation for its fleet air defense, surface warfare and ballistic missile defense (BMD) missions.

Lockheed has held the Aegis development and support contract since 1995, when it acquired Martin Marietta. The system was first developed by RCA starting in the late 1960s. General Electric then bought the company, which in turn was sold to Martin Marietta and subsequently merged with Lockheed.

Aegis, perhaps the world's most effective naval combat system, has been worth many billions of dollars to Lockheed over the years. All 27 Ticonderoga-class cruisers and at least 70 DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers have been built with the system. Spain, Norway, Japan and the Republic of Korea operate Aegis warships, and Australia is building a new class of Aegis destroyers.

A combination of radars, computers and weapons, Aegis was first developed to counter massed attacks by Soviet anti-ship missiles, and has evolved into an effective surface warfare system. Although not designed to target ballistic missiles, the system has been modified with more powerful processors as the basis for the Navy's BMD systems, and is the foundation for the Phased Adaptive Approach effort for the land-based missile defense of Europe.

According to the Missile Defense Agency, 24 Aegis ships - five cruisers and 19 destroyers - have BMD capability. That number is to increase to 32 ships by the end of 2013 as more units are upgraded.

The CSEA effort is intended to provide for the design, development and integration of Aegis weapon system and Aegis combat system future capabilities for existing cruisers and destroyers, and potentially create a new system for DDG 51 Flight III ships beginning in 2016.

Dependent on development, Flight III ships may be fitted with a new combat system or continue with Aegis.

The Navy is expected to award the CSEA contract in the fall of 2012.

A separate competition is underway to develop a new phased-array radar for Aegis. The Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) is to provide new radars to replace existing SPY-1 radars beginning with the U.S. Navy's 2016 Flight III destroyers.

Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrop are working to develop the AMDR, which will be a dual-band system. All three companies are working under Navy contracts to develop an S-band (AMDR-S) radar, with development contracts yet to be issued for the AMDR-X X-band system. The AMDR systems will also include a radar suite controller to integrate the radars.

Chinese Carrier Photographed During Sea Trials

WASHINGTON - A satellite image of China's first aircraft carrier has been captured while the vessel was undergoing sea trials in the Yellow Sea, a U.S. company said on its website Dec. 15.

This satellite image from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center shows the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag during its second sea trial in the Yellow Sea, approximately 100 kilometers south-southeast of the port of Dalian.

The 300-meter (990-foot) ship, a refitted former Soviet carrier, was photographed on December 8, said Colorado-based DigitalGlobe Inc., and an analyst from the company spotted it when reviewing images five days later.

The Beijing government said earlier this month that the carrier had started its second sea trial after undergoing refurbishment and testing.

The ship underwent five days of trials in August that sparked international concern about China's widening naval reach amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a U.S. campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

The South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas and is claimed by several countries, has dominated such disputes involving China, leading to run-ins with rival claimants including Vietnam and the Philippines.

Chinese President Hu Jintao on December 7 urged the navy to "accelerate its transformation and modernization" and "make extended preparations for military combat" to safeguard national security.

Beijing only confirmed this year that it was revamping the Soviet ship, the Varyag, and has repeatedly insisted that the carrier poses no threat to its neighbors and will be used mainly for training and research purposes.

But the August sea trials were met with concern from regional powers including Japan and the United States, which called on Beijing to explain why it needs an aircraft carrier.

China only provided the first official acknowledgment of the carrier in June when Chen Bingde, the nation's top military official, gave an interview to a Hong Kong newspaper.

The Chinese have yet to announce a name for the ship, which is commonly referred to by its old Soviet name. Although some media have used the name Shi Lang - a 17th century admiral who led a Chinese conquest of Taiwan - Chinese media often omit a name reference.

Coincidentally, the Varyag's sistership, the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, is also at sea - the first time both ships have been under way on their own power at the same time.

The Kuznetsov left its Northern Fleet base in Murmansk earlier this month for a three-month cruise to the eastern Mediterranean, where it may call at the Syrian port of Tartus. The carrier was reported off Scotland earlier this week.

India to get Russian nuclear submarine by month-end

MOSCOW: Indian Navy is all set to receive a major boost when the much-awaited Akula-II class 'Nerpa' nuclear attack submarine would be handed over by Russia this month end on a 10-year lease.

"We had the plan to deliver it by the end of this year and we will make efforts to meet it," Mikhail Dmitriyev, Chief of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) with the foreign countries told reporters here after today's plenary level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The submarine capable of remaining underwater for months will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra' and it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine.

The Akula-II class submarines are equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 km. The Indian version is reportedly expected to be armed with the 300-km Club nuclear-capable missiles.

According to Russian sources, India is getting 'Nerpa' in a deal worth USD 900 million.

India had funded the completion of the Nerpa nuclear submarine at Amur Shipyard before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

While K-152 Nerpa was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan on November 8, 2008, an accident caused the deaths of some 20 sailors and injury to 21 others. A fire suppression system discharged gas in the bow of the sub, suffocating civilian specialists and navy crew members.

The Nerpa was laid down at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in 1993, but its completion was delayed by nearly a decade due to a lack of funds caused by the economic crisis of the early 1990s.

The submarine is expected to be based at Vishakhapattanam, where it will be taken by one of several Indian naval crews trained at Russian facilities.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

India's first Naval fighter LCA Tejas to take to skies this month

BANGALORE: India's first carrier-borne naval fighter aircraft "LCA Tejas (Navy)" will take to the skies for its maiden flight this month, a top defence official said today, adding that it will form the air element of the Indian Navy.

"LCA (Navy) will be flown in the month of December.I think by the end of this month, it should fly", V K Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.

DRDO officials said the aircraft is currently going through a phase of refinements based on feedback and observations during the September EGR (Engine Ground Run) of LCA Tejas (Navy) prototype NP1, followed by a series of final integration checks and taxi trials before the first flight.

They said the aircraft will be operating with a wide variety of operational weapons and equipments like the beyond visual range missiles, anti-ship missiles, conventional bombs, air defence guns and drop tanks.

Equipped with state-of-the art technologies and punch, the aircraft is designed to operate from the future Indigenous aircraft carriers the Navy plans to acquire, they said.

The team steering the project comprises members of Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, HAL, DRDO, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), CSIR Labs, educational institutions, and other public and private sector partners.

Aeronautical Development Agency, a Bangalore-based DRDO lab, is responsible for the design, development, build, ground test and flight test of both the Naval and Air Force versions of the aircraft.

Indian Navy to induct 24 long-range reconnaissance aircraft

The Indian Navy will acquire 12 more long range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft in addition to the 12 Boeing P-8I aircraft already ordered or being ordered to boost its eye in the sky over the country's territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, a top commander has said.

Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told India Strategic defence magazine ( in an interview that the force was satisfied with the progress of the first eight Indian P-8Is being built by Boeing under a 2009 order and that a second order for four more aircraft was being processed to be placed within the current fiscal ending March 2012.

At a later date, it was being planned to acquire 12 more LRMR aircraft for offshore surveillance and protection of the Indian waters and interests, bringing the total to 24.

The exact type of the 12 additional aircraft would be worked out later.

India's coastline exceeds 7,500 km, besides which there are several island territories and economic interests off the east and west coasts.

Hitherto, the Indian Navy has been using old, Soviet-vintage maritime reconnaissance aircraft. But, after the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, the government cleared the first eight P-8Is within three months of the horror. Four more were cleared earlier this year.

In fact, it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself who had asked the defence ministry to ensure the navy's modernisation after the 26/11 attack, in which 10 Pakistani terrorists easily managed to infiltrate into Mumbai and killed 166 people and injured more than 300.

It may be noted that there had been a virtual paralysis in the government on defence modernisation after the V.P. Singh government instituted an inquiry in 1989 over the controversial Bofors gun deal with Sweden. The Kargil War over Pakistani occupation of strategic Himalayan heights inside India triggered the first round of modernisation and 26/11 the second.

Verma said that the P-8I is the most advanced LRMR platform with a capability to observe even small boats and destroy hostile submarines. India is the first export customer for this aircraft, and the advantage is that India will benefit from the hi-tech systems being developed for the US Navy, which has ordered 117 aircraft.

Most of the specifications of the US and Indian navies are reportedly common but details are understandably being kept secret.

There would be some Indian components though, thanks to the offsets and transfer of technology requirements. India's Bharat Electronics Ltd has already started supplying its Data Link II system to facilitate the P-8I's communications with Indian space, naval, and land based-assets.

The US aircraft, designated the P8-A poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA), has the capability of broad-area surveillance and launching Harpoon anti-ship and land attack missiles, depth charges and torpedoes against submarines and underwater unmanned assets. The aircraft can also perform electronic intelligence (ELINT) missions with its highly sophisticated Raytheon APY-10 radar and Northrop Grumman electronic warfare (EW) systems.

The first Indian P-8I, which first flew on Sep 28 in the presence of Indian Navy officers, is due to be delivered in January 2013. The first US Navy P8-A flew in April 2009 and is due to be delivered mid-2012. Indian Navy officers periodically visit the Boeing factory at Renton in Washington state to monitor the progress of the project and installation of specified systems.

India Strategic quoted Verma as saying that he expected all the P-8Is to be delivered in about six to seven years but did not give the planned schedule.

The P8 aircraft is a next-generation military version of the Boeing 737-800 fuselage with wingtips from the 737-900. The engines are also from the same CFM family used on commercial 737s but more powerful, permitting the aircraft low level cruise over the waters and launch sonobuoys to detect submarines.

There are five stations for systems and weapons operators, and the aircraft can remain in the air for several hours.

According to a Boeing statement, "All sensors contribute to a single fused tactical situation display, which is then shared over both military standard and internet protocol data links, allowing for seamless delivery of information while simultaneously providing data to everyone on the network."

Source: IANS

Navy to get first N-sub by March

With India's defence forces possessing nuclear strike capabilities from land and air, the triad will be completed by the end of this financial year when the navy acquires a nuclear submarine from Russia.

INS Chakra, the first-generation Russian Nerpa Akula II class nuclear
submarine, armed with 300-km range Klub missiles, is to be berthed in the Bay of Bengal. The leased 8,100-tonne vessel is currently in the final user acceptance trial stage in northern Russia.

Indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is also on track, with sea trials planned over the next six months. The submarine is to be commissioned next year, making the Indian Navy a formidable force in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

The underwater pontoon tests for test-firing of longer range submarine-launched nuclear missiles have already been completed.

Top government sources said the three-phase technical user acceptance trial for the Akula II submarine has already begun.

Though the submarine was to join the Indian Navy in 2009, there was a delay due to a mishap during sea trials in which 20 submariners lost their lives in a conflagration.

While Captain Ashokan will be the first commanding officer of INS Chakra, Captain Sanjay Mahendru will be the commanding officer of INS Arihant.

Both submarines will be based in eastern seaboard in Visakhapatnam, with the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea being within operational range.

The nuclear submarine project was reviewed and discussed by defence minister AK Antony during his visit to Russia from October 3-5.

After returning from the East Asia Summit in Bali and Singapore on November 20, national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon flew to Russia the next day to review the bilateral projects and prepare for the India-Russia summit on December 16.

Navy hits blue water block

In what may eventually hurt its blue water ambition, many strategic projects of the Indian Navy, ranging from expanding a major naval base on the west coast and manufacturing of many more killer submarines, are nowhere close to realisation.

The latest casualty in the long-list of delay is the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) whose sea trial has been put off by six months. The 40,000-tonne carrier being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard is now expected to go for the sea trial by the middle of 2012.

The delay happened because its gear boxes and generators had not arrived in time as a result of which the time plan was rescheduled, said Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.

The Navy ordered 45 carrier-borne fighters, MiG-29K, for the IAC and the Russian-origin “INS Vikramaditya”. The delivery of the first batch of 16 fighters would be completed by March. But in the absence of any carrier, the fighters are now cooling their heels in Goa.

The Navy’s ambitious second phase expansion plan of Karwar naval base is also stuck. The Rs 20,000-crore project has not yet received the Finance Ministry approval after getting the defence ministry nod.

The phase-II envisages constructing more than twenty additional piers so that the base can house more than 40 ships and submarines at any point of time. Both carriers – “INS Vikramaditya” and IAC – will be based at Karwar, which would release pressure on Mumbai. A top Navy officer said the nuclear reactor on-board “INS Arihant” submarine had not yet gone critical and a certificate from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board would be required before the reactor is fired. The Navy chief, however, assured that the boomer would be on patrol duty before 2012 ended.

Another big-time project to have a second assembly line of six conventional submarines (75I) is also not anywhere close to the starting point as the Navy was trying to avoid a “single vendor” situation. In the initial phase, the project took time, because of issues in “defining the technology” and “creating more stealthy features,” which may include air-independent propulsion that allows conventional diesel-electric submarines to stay longer under water.

The first submarine assembly line under construction at Mazgaon dock is already delayed by close to three years. The first Scorpene submarine is now expected only in 2015 rather than the original target date of 2012.

The Naval satellite too is not on the radar, but the responsibility lies primarily with Isro, which encountered a series of failures with its geo-stationary satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

Sea trials soon of India's indigenous n-submarine

The sea trials of India's indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant are scheduled in a few months from now and it is likely to be inducted into the navy by the end of 2012, when it will lurk in the deep seas awaiting its prey.

Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said at the force's annual press conference Friday ahead of Navy Day on Dec 4 that the process of readying the nuclear-powered submarine was "on track".

"By and large we are on track. A firm date can be given when we go for sea trials that will hopefully happen in a few months from now," Verma said when he was asked about his last Navy Day promise that INS Arihant will go out on high seas patrols by 2012-end.

India had launched the 6,000-tonne submarine into the waters at Visakhapatnam Naval Dockyard on July 26 in 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur were present on the occassion.

INS Arihant has been built under the navy's advanced technology vessel (ATV) programme at a cost of $2.9 billion. The vessel is critical for India possessing the capability to launch nuclear weapons from an underwater platform.

With India's declared "no first use" policy on nuclear weapons, the country's weapons system must survive a first strike for retaliation. To that effect, INS Arihant's primary weapon is stealth as it will be able to lurk in ocean depths of half a kilometre or more and fire missiles from under the sea.

The submarine is powered by an 85 MW nuclear reactor and can acquire surface speeds of 22 to 28 kmph or 12 to 15 knots, apart from a submerged speed of 44 kmph or 24 knots.

With a crew of 95, it will be armed with torpedoes and missiles including 12 ballistic missiles. Four more nuclear-powered submarines of this class have already got government's nod, adding to navy's underwater combat potential in the years to come.

On the safety of the nuclear submarine, the navy chief said there was a requirement of a regulatory authority and Baba Atomic Research Centre will play a major role in this.

He said the issue was not about nuclear safety while the vessel is at port but while it is at sea and hence the modalities for that and basing of specialist on board the vessel are under consideration.

Russian Navy to receive 1st Graney class attack sub by end of 2012

The delivery of the first Graney class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine to the Russian Navy has been postponed until the end of 2012 due to additional tests of its weapons systems, the Sevmash shipyard said.

Construction of the Severodvinsk submarine began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk but has since been dogged by financial setbacks. It was floated out in June last year and has undergone two sets of sea trials.

“The delivery of the [Severodvinsk submarine] to the Defense Ministry has been postponed until next year,” Sevmash General Director Andrei Dyachkov said on Friday in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

Dyachkov said the testing of the submarine’s weaponry required at least six months of additional sea trials in 2012.

“The submarine itself showed a good performance [during previous trials],” the official said. “It will be commissioned by the end of 2012.”

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.

Meanwhile, the construction of the second Graney class submarine, the Kazan, at the Sevmash is going according to schedule.

The Kazan will feature more advanced equipment and weaponry than the Severodvinsk, and can be considered as a prototype of modernized Graney-M class submarines.

Dyachkov said on Friday that Sevmash would start building a series of five advanced Graney-M class attack submarines in 2012 under a recent contract between the Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Defense Ministry.

Russia to start construction of Borey-A class nuclear subs in 2012

Russia will start building modernized Borey-A class strategic nuclear-powered submarines in 2012, the Sevmash shipyard said.

Fourth-generation Borey class submarines are expected to constitute the core of Russia's modern strategic submarine fleet. Russia is planning to build eight Borey and Borey-A class subs by 2020.

“We will lay down the first modernized Borey-A class submarine next year,” Sevmash General Director Andrei Dyachkov said on Friday in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

Dyachkov said the contracts on the construction of two more Borey-A class submarines would be signed in the Q1 of 2012.

The official did not specify the differences between the Borey and Borey-A class submarines, but it was reported earlier by some Russian military sources that modifications could include major structural changes and the installation of four more missile launch tubes.

Three Borey class vessels, the Yury Dolgoruky, the Alexander Nevsky, and the Vladimir Monomakh, are in different stages of completion at Sevmash.

The Yury Dolgoruky has recently completed all sea trials and is expected to enter service with the Russian Navy as soon as the Bulava ballistic missile successfully passes the final tests.

A Borey class strategic submarine is 170 meters (580 feet) long, has a hull diameter of 13 meters (42 feet), a crew of 107, including 55 officers, a maximum depth of 450 meters (about 1,500 feet) and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles with multiple warheads.

Russia to build hulls for 2 Mistral-class warships

Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Baltiisky Zavod shipyard signed a 2.5 billion ruble ($80 million) contract on Friday to build hulls for the third and fourth French Mistral-class warships for the Russian Navy.

The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

French shipbuilder DCNS said on Wednesday it had received advance payment from Moscow under a $1.2-billion contract and would start the construction of the first warship for the Russian Navy.

Russian defense officials previously said Russia would account for 80% of labor inputs in building the third and fourth warships.

The two countries signed a contract in June on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships including the transfer of sensitive technology.

The first ship will be delivered in 2014 and the second in 2015.

Construction of the second ship should start in several months and will proceed simultaneously with the first, but will depend on when the full payment for the first ship is made, a DCNS source said.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

A number of Russia's neighbors have expressed concern over the deal, in particular Georgia and Lithuania.

The Russian military has said it plans to use Mistral ships in its Northern and Pacific fleets.

Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase, and some believe that Russia simply wants to gain access to advanced naval technology that could be used in the future in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.

INS 'Vikramaditya': 90% of the modernization is complete

The prototype of the MiG-29K (number 311) was loaded by crane onto the deck of the new aircraft carrier at Severodvinsk in India last month. The Sevmash shipyard said the conversion work ex- Gorshkov of the Russian navy are 90% complete.

Renamed INS Vikramaditya , the ship will begin its sea trials in May of next year and will be commissioned here a year ago (December 4, 2012), as part of celebrations of the day the Indian Navy. Meanwhile, the first 16 MiG-29K/KUB production commissioned by the Indian Navy will be delivered this month. Russia gave the Gorshkov in the condition it was for the Indian Navy in March 2004 with the promise that the government of New Delhi to carry out modernization of the ship. The ship was again thrown into the sea in November 2008 as a unit Stöber, with a ski jump type ramp at the bow 14 degrees inclination.

The conversion of the initial contract was $ 617 million (U.S.), excluding the training and after sales support. A dispute between Moscow and New Delhi on the rising costs suspended the works for several months before a final agreement was signed and the value rose to U.S. $ 1.75 billion. With the inclusion of contracts for training, ground support equipment and infrastructure, the total rose to $ 2 billion. India is building a second aircraft carrier equipped with ski jump in Cochin.

The demonstrator MiG-35D (number 154) received a hook and take part of the sea trials of Vikramaditya . It replaces the two-seat MiG-29KUB (number 951), which crashed in Akhtubinsk earlier this year. The MiG-29K nomoposto (number 941) also participate in the testing instead of the prototype that is currently on the ship. (This is one of two MiG-29K which conducted tests on the deck of Admiral Kutnetsov . Subsequently, both served as demonstrator aircraft on several projects before the MiG 'graoundeados' earlier this year.)

India has already ordered a second batch of 29 MiG-29K worth an estimated $ 1.5 billion.

Tests of the Barak 8

India and Israel are developing surface-to-air missile Barak 8 Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MR-SAM). The tests began in May 2010, but now the photos were released.

The missile was fired from an Israeli Saar 5 corvette engaging a target simulating an anti-ship missile. It was reported that the Barak 8 MR-SAM will have a range of 60 to 70 km.

The next phase of testing will take place in Israel between January and February 2012. The Barak 8 is being developed by Rafael with a booster to increase the range to the version that will be sold to India (Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM).

The missile should go into operation in 2013. India plans to install the Barak 8 in the new Kolkata class destroyers. In addition to the Indian Navy, the Air Force in that country also plans to employ missile: it plans to release a long-range land-based, capable of hitting targets at a distance of 100km.

The Barak 8 will have a radar produced by IAI MBT.

DCNS performs the last joint of the first Scorpene submarine to Brazil in France

Today, DCNS started in the center of Cherbourg, the last joint of the sections of the first Scorpene submarine to Brazil. The welding of sections 3 and 4, which will allow to reconstruct the front of the submarine, is a strong symbol in terms of technology transfer.

The 12 welders Franco-Brazilian team began this morning at the latest Cherbourg join operations section of the first Scorpene to Brazil. The next assembly will be held in Brazil. It will take four days to carry out this step is to build a fusion of metal rings that form the front of the submarine. A structure of about 6 meters in diameter, 24 feet long and a mass of 200 tonnes which will subsequently receive, among others, the headquarters, the torpedoes and the auxiliary platform (water, gas, electricity, etc.). . During the first half of 2012, will be added to this shell boxes and structures but also the large sail, the ballast tanks, the compartment of access and the dome of fresh air.

Welders Brazilians received in the transfer of technology, a formation of three months which allowed the acquisition of necessary skills. In fact, the contract covers the design and conduct technology transfer of four conventional submarines. The center currently receives 36 trainees Cherbourg Brazilians, which raises this number to 115 since the inception of the contract.

Planchais Bernard said: "This step is a milestone for the successful realization of this ambitious program. It demonstrates the ability of DCNS partnership in implementing a human and technological service to an international navy. "

The contract for Brazil also focuses on assistance for the design and conduct of non-nuclear part of the first Brazilian nuclear-powered submarine and support the implementation of a naval base and a shipyard. The first of four submarines to enter into active service in 2017. These four submarines have conventionally powered (diesel-electric). With a length of about 75 meters, its speed at the surface is 2. 000 tons. They are operated by a crew from 30 to 45 people.

The four conventional submarines meet the particular specifications of the Navy of Brazil. They are perfectly adapted to the needs of protection and defense of the 8,500 km of Brazilian coast. Ocean multipurpose submarines are designed for all types of missions, including the fight against surface ships, antissubmarina the war, the attacks in depth, special operations and intelligence.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DCNS successfully completes latest series of sea trials with FREMM frigate Aquitaine

Lorient | FREMM frigate Aquitaine berthed at DCNS’s Lorient shipyard on Friday 25 November after three weeks of successful sea trials, during which DCNS teams pursued integration and testing of the combat system under the supervision of the French defence procurement agency (DGA). The ship is to be delivered to the French Navy in the third quarter of 2012.

The trials were conducted in the Atlantic off Lorient and off Groix Island in the Bay of Biscay. The Aquitaine was crewed by French Navy personnel, with staff from DCNS conducting the tests under the supervision of representatives of the DGA and of OCCAR , the contracting agency for the FREMM programme. The work included further testing of the combat system, in particular to verify the performance of the sonar suite and continue integration of the communication systems.

Following the trials, the ship made its first call at its future home port of Brest to test interfaces with the port’s communication systems and mooring facilities.

“This fourth series of trials confirms that the first FREMM frigate is meeting its milestones: all the systems tested to date have met the customer’s requirements,” said Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM programme manager. “Each successive series of tests with the Aquitaine has confirmed that the programme is on track in every respect.”

The success of the Aquitaine’s latest trials comes as DCNS continues to ramp up construction of the state-of-the-art FREMM frigates. With the first steel now cut for the Languedoc, a total of five FREMM frigates (Aquitaine, Mohammed VI, Normandie, Provence and Languedoc) are now at different stages of construction at the DCNS shipyard in Lorient.

“With five FREMM frigates under construction at the same time, DCNS is successfully stepping up to another major challenge in naval shipbuilding,” added Vincent Martinot-Lagarde. "Importantly, the programme is also proceeding exactly on schedule and on budget as we move into full-scale series production."


The French FREMM programme calls for 12 ships – 11 for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

FREMM frigates are among the most technologically advanced and competitively priced on the world market. These heavily armed warships are being built under DCNS prime contractorship to carry state-of-the-art weapons and systems including the Herakles multifunction radar, MdCN cruise missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and MU90 torpedoes.

These innovative multirole frigates are designed to respond to all types of threats with unparalleled flexibility and availability. The contract to build a FREMM frigate for the Royal Moroccan Navy demonstrates that the type also meets the needs and expectations of international client navies.

FREMM technical data:
• Length overall: 142 m
• Beam: 20 m
• Displacement (approx.): 6,000 tonnes
• Max. speed: 27 knots
• Complement: 108 (including helicopter crew)
• Accommodation: 145 men and women
• Range: 6,000 nm (at 15 knots).