Saturday, March 24, 2012

India to induct nuclear submarine in April first week

New Delhi, In a major boost to its underwater strike capabilities, India will induct its Russian-origin nuclear-powered submarine 'Nerpa' in the first week of April. 'Nerpa', which will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra', is scheduled to arrive at its home base of Visakhapatnam in the first week of April and is expected to be commissioned formally into the Indian Navy by Defence Minister A K Antony on April 5, Defence Ministry officials told PTI here today. The submarine will be on a ten-year lease under a deal expected to be worth over USD 920 million, they said. An Indian crew had set sail with the Akula II class vessel to India in the end of January. After the 'INS Chakra' joins the naval fleet, it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine. This will also propel India in the elite league of six nations operating nuclear submarines. India is also working on development of indigenous nuclear submarines of the 'Arihant' class. The first submarine 'INS Arihant' was launched for sea trials recently and is expected to start operational patrols by the end of this year. The Navy will have three submarines of this class by the end of this decade. India already possesses or is in the process of developing a family of nuclear-capable missiles including the Agni series, Prithvi variants, naval missile Dhanush, and submarine-launched Sagarika. Meanwhile, the Navy will commission 'Admiral Gorshkov' aircraft carrier on the Navy Day on December 4 this year in Russia. The aircraft carrier has been under retrofit for the last over five years at Russian facilities and is expected to reach Indian waters only in mid-2013.

Indian Navy planning new air base in Karwar

Strengthening its capabilities along the western seaboard, the Indian Navy is planning to establish a new naval air base in Karwar in Karnataka for operating both fighter and surveillance aircraft.

“We have plans of establishing a naval air station at Karwar for basing and operation of fixed and rotary-wing military aircraft,” Navy officials said on Tuesday.

The naval air base is part of the Navy’s Rs10,000 crore plans under the phase II of the Project Sea Bird.

Aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which India is getting from Russia, six Scorpene submarines and several other warships will be based there in the future.

The Navy already has an air base in Goa and has deployed its MiG 29K and Sea Harrier fighter aircraft there.

It has also placed orders for 29 more MiG 29K carrier-borne fighter planes from Russia along with the indigenous versions of the naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.

Under the Phase-II of the project, Karwar will get an armament depot, dockyard complex and missile silos, apart from additional jetties, berthing and anchorage facilities.


Navy is planning to expand the base to the extent where it can provide requisite berthing and operational fleet base facilities for the operation, administration and command and control of over 30 warships and submarines.

The Karwar base would be the third such major base of the Indian Navy and is being strengthened at a time when Pakistan is developing ports with the help of the Chinese and would also be providing strategic depth to its maritime force. It would also help the Navy in decongesting its base in Mumbai which has seen a significant increase in merchant shipping.

Scorpene submarine sea trials in 2013

NEW DELHI: The first of the six Scorpene submarines ordered by the Indian Navy will be launched for sea trials in 2013, a top official of the firm constructing the submarines has said.

India had placed orders for six Scorpene submarines with French firm DCNS in 2005, of which the first is expected to be commissioned into the Navy by mid-2015 after a delay of around three years.

"As per the schedule, the first Scorpene submarine would be 95 per cent ready towards end of 2013 after which it will be launched for sea trials," DCNS' India head Bernard G Buisson told PTI here.

Sea trials of a submarine are carried out when almost all the weapon systems and sensors to be deployed on board it are integrated.

He said most of the issues causing delays in the submarine programme have been sorted out and expressed confidence that there would be no further delays in the programme.

The six Scorpenes are being constructed at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL) under Project-75 under technology transfer from French firm DCNS.

The government approval for construction of the six submarines was accorded in September 2005 at a total cost of Rs 18,798 crore and the contract was signed in October that year.

The project cost was revised to Rs 23,562 crore in February 2010, along with revision in delivery schedule.

Commenting on the delays experienced in the project, Defence Minister A K Antony had recently told Parliament that "Most of the teething problems have been resolved and various plans have been put in place to minimise delays."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

K-15 test fired

BALASORE: After many postponements, the DRDO finally test-fired the most sophisticated submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), code named K-15. The weapon system was reportedly tested from an underwater launching platform off Visakhapatnam coast on Sunday.

Sources said the missile was launched from a Pontoon (replica of a submarine) positioned nearly 20 feet deep in the Bay of Bengal and 10 km off the AP coast. The DRDO has scheduled the second test for March 14.

Sources confirmed that the test was successful and the missile travelled nearly 700 km before zeroing in on the target. The missile test was earlier deferred on several occasions. “A rectified system was put into trial, this time, which delivered the desired results,” he said, adding that the final evaluation from the warships (makeshift control room) stationed in the sea is awaited.

Developed by DRDO, K-15 can carry a conventional payload of about 500 kg and be fitted with tactical nuclear warhead.

This missile is an advanced clone of Naval version of Prithvi and designed to be exclusively launched from a submarine. Close to the Tomahawk missile of the US, it is India’s answer to Pakistan’s Babur missile. Though the DRDO has unveiled its land variant - Shourya, it has been denying the test of K-15 or B-05 since beginning. “We tested a scientific concept which is under development. We are evaluating its parameters,” Programme director A K Chakrabarti said.

India to build two more nuclear powered submarines

As the induction of the first locally built Indian nuclear powered submarine, INS Arihant is almost complete, the Indian government has decided to build two more of its type.

INS Arihant, which is the first nuclear powered submarine of the Arihant class submarine genus, was fully developed by the Indian agency Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is expected to complete its marine trials by early next year. The Indian Navy’s capabilities are already boosted significantly, after they recently inducted the Russian built INS Chakra in to its fold. However defence sources were sceptical whether the Indian Navy was technically advanced enough to operate two additional nuclear submarines without overstretching the resources.

Nuclear powered submarines are extremely difficult to detect through normal ship based sonars and other equipment. They can remain under water for as many as 100 days continuously, and they hardly emit any sound waves which can be detected by the enemy warships.

The news from India is significant, as many of their neighbours are also trying to build nuclear powered submarines. Defence experts believe that China is trying to develop its first fully indigenous version of the nuclear powered submarine, which is expected to be completed soon. It is already operating a number of nuclear submarines like Type 091 (Han) and Type 092 (Xia), but they are not fully nuclear powered.

The development of INS Arihant took many years and required a lot of effort from the Indian defence scientists. The first concrete steps were taken during 1998, when George Fernandes, the then defence minister gave his approval for the project. The project was officially launched in July 2009, by the Indian Prime Minister, Man Mohan Singh.

Indian carrier in Barents Sea trials

MOSCOW -- An aircraft carrier the Indian navy purchased from Russia is about to undergo testing in the Barents Sea.

The Indian navy bought the Soviet-era carrier Admiral Gorshkov in 2004. The vessel has been reworked at Russia's Severodvinsk White Sea shipyard and, this month, the craft, renamed the INS Vikramaditya, will be taken for tests in the Barents Sea.

INS Vikramaditya is to be transferred to the Indian navy in December.

The refurbished INS Vikramaditya will be able to deploy 16 MiG-29K fighter aircraft modified for naval use, as well as a number of MiG-29KUB jet fighters and up to 10 helicopters in its aircraft wing.

As part of the INS Vikramaditya upgrade contract, India also ordered 29 MiG-29K/KUB fighter jets.

The 45,000 ton Kiev class Admiral Gorshkov was launched in 1982 from the Soviet Union's Chernomorsky shipyard in Nikolayev, Ukraine. It was decommissioned in 1996 and sold to India eight years later for $947 million.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DCNS Conducts First Deck Landing of New Caiman Marine Helicopter on Board FREMM Aquitaine

Lorient | A few weeks after the first helicopter landing trials on board the FREMM Aquitaine frigate, DCNS, the French Navy and the French defence procurement agency (DGA) have successfully completed a new series of deck landing trials, this time with new Caiman Marine (NH90) heavy lift helicopter which recently entered operational service with the French Navy.

Having successfully conducted deck landing in January to qualify the FREMM Aquitaine flight deck for a Lynx five-tonne class helicopter, DCNS, the French Navy and the DGA organised the first deck landings of a Caiman Marine ten-tonne class helicopter on board the same frigate. As in the previous trials with the Lynx, French Navy pilots appreciated the absence of turbulence above the flight deck in all landing positions.

"This first deck landing with the new Caiman helicopter is an important milestone in the FREMM programme: the helicopter, together with the combat system designed and developed by DCNS, will bring the FREMM frigates unprecedented capabilities for a warship," said Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM programme manager at DCNS. "Staff from DCNS, the French Navy and the DGA stepped up their efforts to ensure the success of these trials."

The deck landing trials, conducted in daylight and at night, are part of the procedures required to qualify the FREMM frigates for deployment of 10-tonne class helicopters. In addition, the campaign was an opportunity to test the onboard maintenance and stowage facilities with a Caiman helicopter.

The Caiman Marine (NH90) is one of the flagships of Europe's helicopter industry. It is designed for all types of naval and maritime missions (anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and anti-terrorism operations at sea) and will be deployed by French Navy vessels.

The FREMM Aquitaine frigate will leave port again in a few days for combat system trials. The vessel is scheduled for delivery to the French Navy in the third quarter of 2012.


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.

They are inherently versatile to provide a response to all types of threats. World-leading innovation ensures that they offer unparalleled levels of interoperability and readiness. 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: 6,000 tonnes

• Max. speed: 27 knots

• Complement: 108 (including helicopter crew)

• Accommodation: 145 men and women

• Range: 6,000 nm (at 15 knots)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Russian Navy to buy MiG-29K

Russia signed a contract to buy 20 MiG-29K naval jets and four MiG-29KUB trainers. The MiG confirmed on February 29 that the Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and chief of MiG Sergei Korotkov signed the contract. The contract value was not disclosed.

Deliveries are made between 2013 and 2015, with the aircraft being operated in the single Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, serving in the Northern Fleet in Murmansk. The ship currently operates jet Sukhoi Su-33 naval.

"This agreement is a real step to the fulfillment of our program for rearmament forces. The naval air forces will receive a modern combat aircraft - as good as any in the world, "Serdyukov said.

The contract will ensure the MiG a steady stream of work in the medium term, Korotkov said.

The MiG-29K navalizada is a variant of the MiG-29M ground-based, with folding wings, tail hook and strengthened cell, a multimode radar Zhuk-ME and multimission capability. It can be armed with a wide range of air-air weapons and air-surface, including anti-ship missiles Kh-31.

The Indian Navy is the only export customer type, which will operate from the retired aircraft carrier from Russia that will be delivered later this year.

The Russian Navy has experienced a navalizada version of the MiG-29 in 1980 aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, but opted for the Su-33.

It is unclear whether the Navy will operate the Su-33 next to the MiG-29K.

UK 'is reconsidering the purchase of the F-35C'

The UK may have to undo the plans of buying the embedded variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and reverse the purchase for the variant F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) due to lack of funds to redesign the decks aircraft carrier ships, as had been reported.

The Minister of Defense is currently conducting studies to determine the final cost of the conversion of a carrier ship HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales to operate the F-35C. The results should be released later this year.

The current planning assumptions foresee the installation of electromagnetic catapults and cables EMALS retention in convoo to operate the F-35C.

When the original design of ships airfield was approved, it was assumed that Britain would buy the F-35B STOVL version, which does not require a catapult system is able to takeoff and land vertically.

While cells of the F-35C are cheaper and more effective than the F-35B, it is estimated a cost of £ 1 billion to convert convoos ship aircraft carrier catapults and buy EMALS, which may be too expensive for the Ministry of Defence to pay, according to a report in The Guardian .

Although it has a longer range and the ability to carry a heavier load, it is said that the F-35C suffers from significant flaws from the beginning of the program, which may increase their costs of development. At the end of last year, a Pentagon report cited concerns about the positioning of the hook tail of the F-35C and its ability to sustain vibration, and other problems.

Abandon the system of catapult and cable stop will also affect the ability to interoperate with the French aircraft carrier, was established as a cooperation treaty in UK / France, signed between the French President and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The costs of the aircraft may also increase as a result of reduced orders from international partners program. Italy cut its orders from 131 to 90 earlier this year and the UK will still set the scale of your order. One ad, which may include the final figures, is expected before Easter.

The MoD spokesman said: "We are currently finalizing the 2012-13 budget plan and balancing equipment. As part of the process, we are reviewing all programs, including elements of the program of aircraft carrier attack, to validate costs and ensure that risks are properly managed. "

"The Secretary of Defense expects to announce the outcome of this process to Parliament before Easter."