Sunday, September 2, 2012

MoD English presents the latest design of the new generation of warships of the British Navy: T26 GCS

The UK Ministry of Defence released footage showing the basic specification of Battleship Global Type 26 (T26 GCS), a milestone in the development of this program that will support thousands of jobs in the construction industry vessels.

Scheduled to enter service after 2020, the new ship will be used with multiple jobs worldwide by the Royal Navy in combat operations and anti-piracy as well as humanitarian aid missions.

Since 2010, the MoD is working with BAE Systems, to determine the ship's basic functions and design of your baseline. Now, with the endorsed program, you can move on to a new stage of the evaluation phase, when will study the detailed specifications of the ship.

Displacing about 5,400 tonnes, the T26 GCS will have around 148 m in length (the equivalent of approximately 15 buses), will be one of the most advanced of the British fleet and should include:

    Vertical silos missiles, capable of accommodating various different types of weapons;
    A medium-caliber cannon;
    A hangar to accommodate a Merlin helicopter or Wildcat, plus a flexible space for aircraft, submarines and surface unmanned, or to other vessels;
    The most advanced sensors available in the fleet.

The T26 GCS is one of several projects - including the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth Class - which will see the construction industry of UK vessels provide world class facilities to the Navy.

According to the Minister of Equipment, Support and Defence Technology, Peter Luff: "For decades, the Battleship Global Type 26 will form the backbone of the Navy. According to their design, present an adaptability and easy upgrading to react to threats as they evolve. "

"I am pleased to know that the program has received the endorsement of the committee approve investments. The construction of these vessels will generate thousands of skilled jobs throughout the UK, helping to sustain an industry of surface warships, "he added.

According to Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope: "The warship T26 GCS will have multiple jobs and can be used worldwide in joint and multinational operations across a range of warlike activities, including complex combat operations, maritime security operations, and combat piracy, and humanitarian aid operations. The T26 will be able to operate independently for extended periods or as part of a task group and will play a leading role in the defense of this country for many years. "

Sunday, June 10, 2012

INS सतपुड़ा : भारत की समुद्र में ताकत

India to buy 8 warships from South Korea for Rs 6,000 crore

In tune with a growing 'strategic partnership' with South Korea, India is now getting all set to ink a major defence contract with the north-east Asian country for acquisition of eight advanced minesweeping and hunting warships.

Under the programme, which will be worth well over Rs 6,000 crore, India will get two of the mine counter-measures vessels (MCMVs) directly from South Korean firm Kangnam Corporation, while the other six will be manufactured by Goa Shipyard after transfer of technology. "The contract is now being finalized after the conclusion of the commercial negotiations," said a source.

India's need for advanced MCMVs that combine the role of traditional minesweepers and active mine-hunters to detect and destroy underwater mines is critical. Despite intelligence inputs holding that Indian harbours face the clear and present danger of underwater mines being planted by both state as well as non-state actors, the Navy's MCMV project has been hanging fire for several years now.

"Underwater mines are cheap weapons that can be used for high-impact incidents. It's relatively easy for someone to lay mines at the harbour approach or departure routes. There is need to step-up the protection of our harbours and offshore installations," said an official.

Made of composite material and high-grade steel to ensure 'minimal magnetivity', the new MCMVs will have high-definition sonars and acoustic and magnetic sweeps to first detect all kinds of marooned and drifting mines and then use remote-controlled systems like small underwater vehicles to then detonate them at safe distances.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Indian Navy INS Vikramaditya Sea Trial

INS 'Vikramaditya' sea finally

The Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral  Goshkov ) set sail this morning on the White Sea, sea trials for 120 days. The ship was retired in the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia.

Aboard the ship, a joint Russian-Indian crew was formed to pass the knowledge of operation of the ship the sailors Indians. After initial sea trials in the White Sea, the ship will sail in the Barents Sea for exercises with military aircraft.

India and Russia signed a 947 million U.S. dollars in 2005 to purchase the ship, but delivery has been postponed twice, raising the cost of renovation to $ 2.3 billion. The director of the Sevmash shipyard, Vladimir Pastukhov, was fired in 2007 for his mismanagement of the project.

The Vikramaditya was originally built as the Soviet Project 1143.4 class "Admiral Gorshkov". The ship had hit the keel in 1978 the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine was launched in 1982 and commissioned in the Soviet Navy in 1987.

It was renamed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. In 1994, the Admiral Gorshkov  repairs remained for a year for repairs after a boiler explosion. In 1995, he returned briefly to the service, but was finally removed and put on sale in 1996.

The ship has a displacement of 45,000 tons, a maximum speed of 32 knots and range of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots.

India has already started to receive the MiG-29K naval jets for the Vikramaditya , who will operate the system STOBAR (short take-off but assisted recovery), which consists of short takeoff ramp with the aid of "ski-jump" with cables and landing retention.

Friday, May 18, 2012

India’s Carrier-Borne Fighter Inches On

The debut flight of the Indian navy's first indigenous aircraft carrier-borne fighter may have finally come and gone relatively smoothly, but the program itself seems to be facing more turbulence.

Sixteen months after it was supposed to make its first flight, the prototype of India's first fighter for carrier-deck operations, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Navy, finally took off April 27 from Bengaluru. The 22-min. flight, conducted by two senior test pilots, was officially deemed a success. But relief over the beleaguered prototype finally lifting off will be fleeting. LCA-N Mk.1, ironically, may never actually see service on a carrier deck.

In February, the defense ministry's acquisition office approved the manufacture of eight limited-series LCA-N airframes, but the navy has all-but-officially decided to fly the Mk.1 only from land. The proposed Mk.2, which is set to have the more powerful F414 engine and is still at least two years away from even prototyping, is likely to be a variant that the navy buys in larger numbers and flies off its future short-takeoff-but-arrested-recovery (Stobar) carriers.

Apart from being underpowered (it flies on a single F404 engine) and therefore unsuitable for Stobar operations, according to navy officials, the Mk.1 has also emerged heavier than the service wanted. Worse still, the fundamental structural hurdles that had delayed the program for so long have not been fully resolved. These include the modified, strengthened landing gear, certain airframe modifications and optimal sink-rate parameters, all of which are being addressed with EADS. With the first flight done, the program team intends to bolster efforts to get the aircraft to meet navy specifications, which the prototype does not.

“Flying the prototype without working out the airframe problems was something we were not comfortable with,” admits a commodore with the navy headquarters group tasked with monitoring trials of the LCA-N. “But with the flight safety board clearing it, we took it under consideration with assurances that the team would work out the problems within the year. We're hoping they do that.”

The commodore also confirmed that certain minor airframe modifications remained to be done and tested. The navy has received assurance that the aircraft will meet all basic specifications by year-end and look to initial operational clearance by early 2014.

The prototype that flew last month was a twin-seat trainer, and it did not have the arrestor-hook assembly. The naval prototype's airframe is virtually identical to the primary LCA air force trainer, except for a leading edge vortex control surface that is operated by a concealed rotary actuator for safe landing speeds and improved controllability.

Just weeks after he had chastised the team for the many delays to the program, the Indian navy chief's tone became more conciliatory. Adm. Nirmal Verma said, “We must ensure that today's accomplishment leads to the timely [generation] of the operational requirements for carrier-borne operations.” In December 2010, around the time the LCA-N was first supposed to fly, the navy's flag officer in charge of aviation, Rear Adm. Sudhir Pillai, said, “LCA Navy will remain a modest platform. With an up-rated engine, [the Mk.2] will give us adequate capability at sea.”

The refurbished Russian INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier is set to join the Indian navy in December and will host a squadron of the navy's MiG-29K fighters. But the Mk.1 will continue to be tested at a shore-based ski-jump and arrestor-hook facility in Goa, which is used specifically to train Stobar pilots before they begin ship operations. The Mk.2 could conceivably fly off the Vikramaditya and India's indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, set to enter service in 2014-15.

The navy's future fighter requirement will be shaped by the launch mechanism on its second indigenous aircraft carrier. Top navy sources suggest that the service is nearly convinced that a catapult-assisted takeoff, barrier-arrested recovery (Catobar) carrier is the way to go.

Executives with Eurofighter and Gripen, both of which have Stobar concept variants of Typhoon and Gripen fighters, respectively, said that while their fighters theoretically could be modified for catapult launch, the costs involved compared with a potential order would not justify the effort. Should the navy decide to develop its second indigenous flattop as a Catobar carrier, a three-way battle could ensue between the Lockheed Martin F-35C, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Decision on the purchase of F-35 version of the UK has yet been taken

The UK is still undecided on which version of the F-35 would be bought: the model of the conventional takeoff or short takeoff and vertical landing (STVOL its acronym in English). The decision may result in profound changes in the design of a two-class aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth under construction.

Information Jane's realize that the British prime minister, David Cameron, asked the Treasury Department an independent study on the costs associated with the possible amendment of such a carrier to operate the F-35C, the model off the conventional .

Just over a month, it was learned that the British Government may be considering leaving the decision in 2010 to acquire the F-35C version and return to his original plan to acquire the F-35B (STVOL).

At that time, Defense News quoted the contents of a letter from a spokesman for the defense of the Labour Party in opposition, Jim Murphy, on the issue that gave rise to doubts about the impact of change model for the future British aircraft carrier.

The same agency also published their impressions of the analyst at the Institute of International Studies, Douglas Barrie, pointing to the possibility of the UK variant disregard the acquisition of conventional "be more related to the financial implications of changing the design of ships with the issues related to the aircraft itself. "

According to Jane's a decision by the Prime Minister Cameron to request an independent review of this program reflects two major concerns. The first concerns the embarrassing twist in one of the core components of defense and security strategy of the coalition government. The second is related to a possible adverse reaction to the decision could have on the government and the U.S. Navy.

The program of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth Class includes construction of two ships, although only one of them is guaranteed in the Royal Navy. The second might even be sold to an ally.

The construction of the first of these ships, HMS Queen Elizabeth, who will be the largest ship in the history of the British Navy, took an important step this week. As reported in the journal The Telegraph on Monday, two sections of the ship of 11,500 tons were united and will be welded in the coming days.

In total, the ship will have 65,000 tons, three times more than the current Invincible class.

First Flight of the First U.K. F-35

The first flight of the first F-35 for the United Kingdom on April 13, 2012. Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti flew the F-35B aircraft, known as BK-1, which is also the first international F-35 to fly. The jet will complete a series of company and government checkout flights prior to its acceptance by the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

First British F-35B Records Maiden Flight

BK-1, the United Kingdom’s first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II production aircraft, flew its inaugural flight Friday. Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti took the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet through a series of functional flight checks during a sortie that lasted 45 minutes. The jet will complete a series of company and government checkout flights prior to its acceptance by the U.K. Ministry of Defence. This BK-1 aircraft makes up one of the three F-35 fighters the MoD has already committed to buying; two F-35Bs and one F-35C.

The U.K. MOD will use this 5th Generation fighter for training and operational tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., beginning later this year. The British MOD is still undecided about the type of aircraft to be procured for the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

In the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), Prime Minister David Cameron announced the Ministry of Defence would convert the carriers and buy the longer-range F-35C variant of the strike fighter. Originally the vessel was designed to operate the STOVL F-35B, but due to the delays and rising cost of this specific type, MOD was considering to modified the new carrier to operate the Carrier-Based F-35C version developed for the U.S. Navy.

According to the Financial Times, the UK will not reconfigure its aircraft carriers, senior government officials have told their French counterparts. The decision also means the new British carriers will not be able to support French fighters, in times of need. Allowing France and the UK to share the expensive task of maintaining uninterrupted carrier capability at sea was an important reason for the switch, the SDSR noted at the time. Cameron is expected to announce his decision over the next few weeks.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Finished second period of sea trials of HMS 'Defender'

The fifth type 45 destroyer class is closer to being declared operational in the Royal Navy after completing his second period of sea trials off the coast of Scotland.

HMS Defender  is almost a month off the Scottish coast to test their combat systems and other sensors and is now in the final weeks of tests and trials in Clyde, where he prepares to join his brothers in Portsmouth.

The Defender  went to sea for their first test last fall, sailing two years after the day of its launch, to test the basics - propulsion and maneuverability.

As with periods of initial tests, the second period of sea trials had a mixed crew of employees of BAE Systems, in addition to the growing group of Royal Navy personnel.

The team on board set all weapons systems and sub-systems to the central control system - the brain of the Defender, which is the fusion of all information to give the team a complete picture of the COC of the situation.

The delivery of the Defender  for the Royal Navy and, consequently, their transfer to Porthmouth should occur in July.

The ship should be declared operational in early 2013, the same time that is expected to estréa at sea the last class ship, HMS Duncan .

HMS Queen Elizabeth achieves important phase of construction

Glasgow, United Kingdom - The construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of two aircraft carriers to be assembled by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom reached an important stage when the two giant sections of the Lower Block 04 (LB04) were joined for the first time in a precise execution held at Govan shipyard. Measuring nearly a football field, this structure, the largest section of the hull under construction, is so great that extended beyond the doors of the house of assembly of the ship, where you are.

With the aid of a fleet of 132 carriers controlled distance, the section weighing up to 4000 tons was carefully maneuvered over two hours at 100 meters of concrete, to join the rest of the block, forming together the rear of the hull. Next week, the engineering team have in front of the alignment of the units and closing the gap five centimeters in preparation for the welding operation of the block.

According to project director, Steven Carroll, "The operation to join the Lower Block 04 marks the beginning of an important stage in the life of the block. Once the merge is completed, and staff will engage in a new stage in the assembly of the block, which includes the installation of 12,000 barrels and 100,000 miles of cable, before his departure for Rosyth later this year, "he said.

Housing the two main engine rooms, a medical and households, LB04, when ready, will weigh more than 11,000 tons, rising to a height of 23 meters and 86 meters in length shall, by 40 meters wide. The block, which will be transported to Rosyth, at the end of the year is the last section of the hull of HMS Queen Elizabeth get there, where it will be attached to other parts of the ship in a dry dock assembly.

In Govan, the work also continues with the central section of the second ship, the HMS Prince of Wales. From the moment that the first steel was cut in May last year, more than 80 units of LB03 are already in production. Meanwhile, the team at BAE Systems in Portsmouth, is preparing for the transfer of the Lower Block 05 and Block 02 Lower HMS Queen Elizabeth to Rosyth in late April and May, respectively.

The aircraft doors HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership made especially between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence UK. BAE Systems has a comprehensive role in the management of the program of QE Class, and a central design and construction of ships.

The QE Class will form the core of the British military capability. Each aircraft carrier of 65,000 tons will give the military a military base of operations of four acres that can be positioned around the world. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used in operations ranging from supporting war efforts for humanitarian aid in disasters.

Navy to issue world's largest chopper tender

In one of the world's largest tenders for multirole helicopters, the Indian Navy is planning to procure more than 75 such choppers at an estimated cost of over USD four billion to meet the demand of its expanding area of operations.

The Navy had recently asked global helicopter vendors to provide details about naval multirole helicopters and is planning to issue a global Request for Proposal (RFP) in this regard very soon.

"The Indian Navy would require more than 75 of these Naval Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) and this would be world's largest tender for multirole helicopters," US defence major Lockheed Martin's vice president for Ship and Aviation Systems George Barton told a news agency here.

The Navy is planning to procure these new NMRH for carrying out anti-submarine warfare, Special Forces' operations and anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Barton said the US Navy operates a fleet of over 350 MH-60 variants.

The Indian Navy is already holding a competition for procuring 16 multirole helicopters in which European NH-90 and American Sikorsky S-70 Bravo are in the race.

The Navy at present relies on its fleet of Sea King helicopters which were inducted in two different phases in the 80s.

The Navy would require these multirole choppers in view of its expanding fleet size and expansion in its area of responsibility with the government stating that country's strategic interest ranges from the Gulf of Aden to the Malacca Straits.

The Indian Army and the Air Force have also issued a tender for procuring 197 light utility helicopters but the worth of the choppers in the naval tender is expected to be much more than that as they would be equipped with complex machinery and weapon systems.

Russia Delivers Nerpa Submarine to India, Plans More Deliveries for 2012

The Project 971 nuclear-powered attack submarine K-152 Nerpa was delivered to the Indian Navy on Wednesday. But it is not the only Russian naval system to be exported to India this year. Russia and India plan to complete several other naval contracts, which could make 2012 “the year of the navy” in bilateral military technical cooperation.

Nerpa aka Chakra

Construction of the Nerpa, re-commissioned as the INS Chakra II, was launched in 1991 and completed in the 2000s for lease to India.

Initially, it was to be delivered in 2007, but the adjustment of its equipment took longer than expected. In 2008, the submarine’s fire safety system accidentally activated during trials in the Sea of Japan, killing 20 people. Among the dead, 17 were civilian technical specialists.

Some blame the accident on the modifications made to the Molibden-I central command console at India’s request.

There were other accidents on the Nerpa though none of them as serious the one in 2008. For example, the system started to fill and empty ballast tanks without operator's input and had to be switched off. Many of them were connected with the Molibden system, which is alarming because it is supplied to the Project 955 Borei class missile submarines.

At any rate, the Nerpa has been commissioned and leased to India for 10 years for nearly $1 billion. But this is only the first naval delivery this year.

Aircraft for a promising carrier

The Vikramaditya, also known as the Admiral Gorshkov, is the Soviet-made air capable cruiser Baku of Project 1143.4. It was sold to India in 2004 but is to be delivered only in 2012. Its upgrade lasted eight years and included modernization of the takeoff catapult and some onboard systems.

The carrier was to be transferred to India by 2008, but its modernization took longer, and was more complicated, than expected. India insisted that Russia must honor the deadline and keep within the approved spending limit, while Russia argued that it lacked shipbuilding professionals and some elements of modernization had not been included in the financing plan.

The contract was re-signed in 2008 for a larger sum, but the project has not been completed yet. The new deadline is the end of 2012.

An aircraft carrier is all but useless without aircraft. India has long-term plans in this sphere, but will initially buy the bulk of aircraft from Russia, in particular the MiG-29K, which has been remodeled for the Vikramaditya. It differs dramatically from the initial design of the late 1980s.

In 2004, India ordered 16 aircraft of two types, mostly the MiG-29K single-seat plane and also the MiG-29KUB two-seater of the 4++ generation. In 2009, it activated the option to buy another 30 fighter planes, with delivery by 2015.

This is an interesting situation because the MiG-35, which has recently lost the Indian tender for 126 midrange fighter planes, is based on the new-look MiG-29K designed for the Vikramaditya. This means that the Indians were aware of the advantages of the MiG-35 but refused to order it even though they had already bought its lighter model for their navy.

On the other hand, the MiG-29K has been on combat duty for a long time and is being supplied to both the Indian and the Russian navies, whereas the MiG-35 only exists in two prototypes. It is potentially very interesting and promising but will take a long time to get in shape.

A convenient platform

Aircraft carriers are large warships and so cannot be delivered by the dozen. The United States is most probably the only country capable of manufacturing several aircraft carriers with roughly the same specifications. The demand for smaller ships is much bigger.

The first three Indian frigates of the Talwar class (Project 1135.6 according to Russian classification) were laid down in 1999 and 2000 at the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St. Petersburg. The delivery was postponed for a year, but all the three warships were put on combat duty in India in 2004.

Despite the postponement, India ordered another three frigates in 2006, reducing payment by the size of the penalty for failure to fulfill the previous contract on time.

The Russian authorities decided that these three frigates will be built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad. The shipyard was in disrepair and it was naïve to expect it to deliver the warships on time.

However, the Indian military said in September 2011 that they would be happy if the ships were delivered with a delay of 11-14 months. The Russian partners recently announced that the delivery could be expected in 2012, which would be a marvelous result.

The Yantar shipyard is also building three Project 1135.7 frigates for the Russian navy and has signed a contract for another three guided-missile warships of this class. It is a modification of Project 1135.6, a warship that has proved its worth and can be built relatively quickly to replenish the Russian naval arsenal.

Navy to operate 5 N-subs by end of decade

Indian Navy is all set to operate five nuclear submarines by the end of this decade, including two leased from Russia and three built indigenously.

India is considering a proposal to induct another nuclear submarine built in Russia and has plans of indigenously building two more Arihant Class underwater vessels to guard its maritime boundaries, Defence Minister AK Antony said.

The Navy yesterday formally commissioned the Akula-II Class INS Chakra in Vishakhapatnam and is set to launch the INS Arihant for sea trials soon.

On India's plans to expand its nuclear submarine fleet, Antony said the government was considering a proposal in this regard and the country can afford to buy another such vessel.

"There is a proposal...Cost is not necessary. India can afford it... In the next few years, the Navy will get more submarines," the Defence Minister said at the commissioning of INS Chakra.

The Navy which currently operates more than 10 conventional diesel-electric submarines of the Kilo and HDW Class, has plans of inducting a dozen more in the next decade.

Already six Scorpene submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dockyards in Mumbai in collaboration with French DCNS and six more are planned to be built under the Project-75 India.

Terming its relation with India as "privileged strategic partnership", Russian Ambassador Alexander M Kadakin had said, that "Russia can give everything India needs".

Russia is also helping India in building three follow-on Talwar class guided missile frigates of which two are expected to be inducted this year.

India may lease another nuclear submarine

On the day India inducted Russian nuclear submarine into its navy, Defence Minister AK Antony said a proposal for a second such underwater monster was under consideration.

Union Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday said that India was considering a proposal to lease a second Russian-built nuclear powered attack submarine. "There is a proposal, but we haven't taken a decision yet," Antony told the media at the induction of India's first nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN), the INS Chakra. Antony did not reveal who had made the proposal, but sources say it was made by Russia a few years back. Funds are clearly not a problem. "India can afford it (the second submarine). It is reasonable," Antony said.

The Russian-built INS Chakra has been leased from Russia for ten years. It was inducted into the navy at a small function organized at 'Jetty X' a secured anchorage inside the Shipbuilding Centre (SBC) near the naval dockyard Vizag.

The boat and its crew of 84 personnel arrived in India on May 31 after a submerged passage from Vladivostok lasting over 50 days. The induction of the INS Chakra has catapulted India into an elite club of five nations operating nuclear powered submarines.

Initially, India had planned to lease two Akula-class submarines, originally built for the Soviet navy. The lease, however, was signed in 2003 only for a single SSN. The prohibitive cost was one of the reasons cited for this decision. The total cost of the lease is around $1 billion (Rs.5,000 crore).

Antony said that the Chakra would play a major role in reshaping the Indian Navy's maritime security. As the 8,000-ton submarine's nuclear powered reactor hummed silently in the water below, dignitaries including Russia's envoy to New Delhi, Alexander Kadakin, hailed the induction as a landmark in Indo-Russian defence cooperation. "No other country is ready to share everything," Kadakin said, referring to joint ventures like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft.

Armed with anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles and torpedoes, the Chakra is a huge force multiplier. Navy chief admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma said the induction of the Chakra would increase the navy's operational flexibility and contribute to its presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The SBC in Vizag is a highly secured facility in Vizag guarded by electrified wire, dogs and Marine Commandos. It is the core of India's ambition for a nuclear navy under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project jointly run by the navy, DRDO and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Media persons were first let in here in July 2009 for the launch of the INS Arihant, the country's first indigenously constructed ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). "In the coming months and years, you will have to come here for many more functions," Antony told media persons. The Arihant began harbor trials this year. Antony said the Arihant would be ready for sea trials later this year.

Naval officials indicate it could be commissioned in another year. Two more SSBNs, the second of which is to be called the Aridaman, are being built here.

Friday, April 6, 2012




INS Chakra formally joins Indian Navy today

India's silent service has just got its biggest boost in over 20 years. The arrival of INS Chakra -- an 8,000 ton sea monster -- could not have come a moment sooner.

The Russian-built nuclear-powered submarine would operate with the Indian Navy for 10 years and provide the country's arsenal a thumping new capability. Not just as a weapons platform, but a laboratory to study the intricate science of nuclear submarine warfare.

Shrouded in secrecy for years, India Today scooped the first video footage of the submarine days before the silent killer formally joins Indian Navy on April 4. The clip taken from a crew boat approaching the submarine off the Vladivostok coast and from on board the submarine itself provides a distinctive sense of this immense beast.

The commissioning of the attack submarine heralds a new beginning for the Indian Navy. After over two decades, India now steps back into an elite club of countries -- the United States, Russia, France, China and the United Kingdom -- that operate nuclear submarines.

The 110 metre long Chakra is driven by a nuclear reactor giving it submerged endurance in excess of 100 days. Capable of a maximum speed of nearly 25 knots and built with a double-hull for survivability, the Chakra comes armed with ant-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes, anti-ship missiles and surface-to-air missiles while on the surface.

A decade ago, India opened talks with Russia to lease a nuclear submarine. It paid an estimated $650 million for the Russian submarine K-152 Nerpa. The Indian crew was trained in a secret facility near St Petersburg. The submarine began sea trials in 2008 and was handed over to the Indian Navy in January this year.

With a small and dwindling fleet of conventional submarines performing duties that ideally should be shared by a much larger fleet, the arrival of Chakra adds a welcome punch to the country's silent service.

India's first nuke sub in 20 years
With the Chakra now in Indian service, the navy would be fully seized of the risks of operating such a sensitive instrument of war. But with everything military, danger is always right around the corner.

INS Chakra is a phenomenal piece of underwater ferocity, a nuclear powered attack submarine armed to the teeth, silent, stealthy and a true menace to the enemy - everything that India's submarine service needs. But a nuclear submarine is a dangerous tool and India has precious little experience in operating such a complex machine.

Defence analyst Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar said, "There is an element of what you might call as risk, especially if there is an unforeseen accident. This is not war. This is when you are operating in peace time. The Russian Navy went through a very unfortunate accident and so have some others."

"But these incidents are few and far between and the Indian Navy is conscious that you need the highest level of professionalism, while operating any submarine, more so when you are operating a nuclear powered submarine," he added.

In November 2008, when K-152 Nerpa, as the Chakra was then called, was being put through sea trials in the Sea of Japan, 20 Russian sailors were killed and 21 injured when a fire suppression system discharged gas in the bow of the sub, suffocating civilian specialists and navy crew members. It was a devastating time.

Extended endurance, possibility of a nuclear accident and the inherent dangers of operating such a large submarine at great depths post ever-present dangers to submariners. More than two decades after it operated its first nuclear submarine, the Indian Navy is confident as it steps into its new role with new responsibilities.

Indian Navy to operate two nuclear submarines in near future

With India set to induct the Russian 'Nerpa' nuclear submarine next week, DRDO Chief V K Saraswat today said the INS Arihant-- the indigenous nuclear under-water vessel, would be launched for operations in the near future.

"INS Arihant is in advanced stages. It will be ready for operations in next few months... It (the nuclear reactor) is not critical yet," DRDO Chief V K Sarswat told a press conference here.

The Nerpa has been taken on lease from Russia for ten years and would provide Navy the opportunity to train and operate such nuclear-powered vessels.

India is also working to develop the arsenal for Arihant as it has already carried out more than 10 test launches of the K-15 missile (also known as Sagarika) in the Bay of Bengal.

"K-15 has undergone two trials recently. It is in the final phases of development and is getting ready towards induction... more than ten trials have been carried out so far," Saraswat said.

The DRDO chief said the research body has entered into collaborations with countries including the UK, Brazil, Belarus and Germany for research and development work.

First Scorpene Induction In Indian Navy By 2015

To augment its depleting conventional submarine fleet, India will induct six Scorpene submarines currently being built at Mumbai's Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) only from 2015, a full three years behind its original schedule of 2012.

The project to build the Scorpenes with technology borrowed from France's DCNS has already had a cost escalation of nearly Rs.5,000 crore or $1 billion.

All the six submarines will be inducted by 2018.

The revised cost of the submarines, called Project 75, is Rs.23,562 crore or $4.6 billion. The originally approved cost was Rs.18,798 crore or $3.6 billion.

"The original delivery schedule of the first submarine was December 2012 and remaining submarines were to be delivered with a gap of one year each," Anony told Indian Parliament.

"Consequent to the approval of the government for revision in cost and delivery schedule, the delivery schedule of the first submarine has been revised to June 2015 and that of the last (sixth) submarine to September 2018," he said.

The government approval for construction of the six submarines was accorded in September 2005. The contract was signed in October 2005.

The government approved the revised cost in February 2010, along with the changes in the delivery schedule.

"The delay in construction of Scorpene submarines is attributable to initial teething problems in absorption of new technology, delay in augmentation of industrial infrastructure at MDL and delay in procurement of items by MDL due to their high cost as compared to the earlier indicated cost.

"Most of the teething problems have been resolved and various plans have been put in place to minimise delays" Antony said.

A technical data package has been provided by the collaborator (DCNS) as part of the technology transfer for the six submarines under construction at MDL.

"This will enable attainment of significant indigenous competence in submarine construction, especially in the field of hull fabrication, outfitting, and system integration by the end of the programme," he added.

India currently operates only 14 conventional diesel-electric submarines, of which 10 are aging Russian Kilo class and the rest four German HDW class.

It has a 30-vessel plan that was to be executed before 2022, but the projects have been delayed, with the follow-on Project 75 India not even reaching the state of contract awarding.

Indian Navy Increases Expenditure To Speed Up Key Warship Projects In The Current

In order to increase its strategic reach in the Indian Ocean region and to defend its vulnerable coastline, Indian Navy has decided to increase its spending by around 75 per cent in the current fiscal. With an overall hike in the defence budget of 17 per cent, Indian navy has been allocated $4.77 billion which is roughly $2 billion more than the allocation last year with which it will procure several frigates and destroyers.

Till last year, Indian Navy's force-levels were hovering around 135 ships with over 50 major warships and 14 ageing submarines. While most of these will be phased-out soon, there are about 50 ships on order for Navy at various domestic shipyards including Talwar-class stealth frigates being built in Russia and the refurbished Gorshkov aircraft carrier.

Other keys naval projects include ‘Project-75 India' to acquire six new-generation stealth submarines, equipped with land-attack missiles and air-independent propulsion and six Scorpene submarines that are already being constructed at state-run Mazagon Docks (MDL). Added to this, seven more stealth frigates are to be built at MDL and GRSE under Project-17A which is being followed by three 6,200-tonne stealth frigates (INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahayadri) built at MDL.

While the costs of several key naval projects like the refurbished Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and the French Scorpene submarine programme escalating, the Indian Navy remains undettered and plans to continue spending more despite the price-rise. Among other things, it has been reported that there has been a hike in costs in the import of steel from Russia which has bloated the costs of the warship-building program in India. Apart from this, the Scorpene submarine program has also witnessed a hike of about $1 billion.

Currently, the Indian Navy is building 46 warships, including destroyers, stealth destroyers and frigates. Three destroyers are being built at state-run Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) for $ 3.5 billion under the Project 15-A. In addition, another four destroyers at a cost of about $3 billion are also coming up at MDL. State-run Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) is also building four corvettes for about $2.2 billion.

While the indigenous aircraft carrier being built at Cochin Shipyard will be inducted by 2015 and the refursbished aircraft carrier Gorshkov by early next year, Indian Navy will have the much needed aircraft-carrier battle groups to give edge to its force. The navy will also acquire new carrier-borne fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft as well as multi-role helicopters and spy drones which together will cost to the tune of around $ 18.90 billion. India's own nuclear submarine, the over 6,000-tonne INS Arihant being built at Vizag is also ready to become operational by 2013.

Moscow May Help India Build Closed-Cycle Submarines

Russia has offered help India build air-independent (closed cycle) propulsion systems for installation in Amur 1650 class submarines and also to equip future possible joint Indian-Russian built vessels, Viktor Komardin, the deputy head of Rosoboronexport's delegation said at the Defexpo Indian defense show on Tuesday.

The Amur 1650 is one of several contenders, including the Scorpene (France), Type 214 (Germany) and S-80 (Spain) in a tender for the Indian Navy for six subamrines with a total value of $11.8 billion.

"Russia is currently completing tests of a new air-indepedent propulsion system, which could be installed not only on the Amur 1650 but on jointly developed boats," Komardin said. "This is a critical factor for the Indians. So our chances here are good," he added.

Rosoboronexport, Russia's defense sales holding, has already offered India its Amur 1650 boat, which started trials with the Russian navy in 2010. The Amur has an armament of multirole torpedos and Klub anti-ship missiles, and can also strike land-targets with advanced cruise missiles, which may include the India-Russian Brahmos. "These missiles which the Indians want can only be supplied by Russia," Komardin said.

The Amur 1650 has a good chance of winning the tender, Komardin claimed, thanks to its ability to remain submerged for over 25 days using its air-independent propulsion, and also its long-range weaponry. Similar foreign boats can only stay submerged for 15-20 days.

Russia is currently evaluating the Lada class air-independent submarine, a derivative of the Amur 1650. In 2010 the Lada class submarine St Petersburg entered service with the Russian Fleet.

The Russian Fleet Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky told RIA Novosti previously that the first Russian air-independent boat, based on a similar design, the Projet 677 class, could enter service in 2014. Two such hulls are currently under construction at the Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg, which could be fitted with a closed-cycle propulsion system.

An air-independent propulsion system is currently being rapidly developed by specialists from the Rubin submarine design bureau.

Air-independent submarines, usually using hydrogen-orygen fuel cells, are quieter than conventional diesel-electric boats, and do not have to surface or use snorkel tubes to breathe air, which makes them vulnerable to detection by radar and other sensors.