Monday, 6 August 2012

Lohegaon airfield upgrade from November

The much-anticipated works on the modernization of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) defence airfield at Lohegaon will begin from November, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said on Saturday.
The works form a part of the IAF’s ambitious Rs 1,220 crore ‘Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure – Phase I’ (MAFI-I) project for making 30 airfields capable of handling modern transport and fighter aircraft.
The IAF is in the process of acquiring 126 modern combat aircraft like the French Rafale jet and has recently inducted six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, which involve use of modern equipment.
However, the long-pending runway extension project remains delayed and is unlikely to commence in the near future. “There are legal issues which are still needed to be sorted out before we can take up the runway extension work,” Browne said.
The runway at Lohegaon airbase is proposed to be extended from the existing 8,300 ft to 10,200 ft. This would also facilitate landing of wide-bodied aircraft, which have bigger passenger capacity than those currently operating from the Pune airport, which is part of the Lohegaon airbase. The runway and the air traffic control (ATC) is handled by the IAF while the civilian flight operations and the civil enclave are managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Barring the runway, MAFI-I augurs well for civilian flight operations as the project will see the Lohegaon airfield getting a new state-of-the-art instrument landing system (ILS), distance measure equipment, tactical air navigation system, automated air traffic management system, which is to be provided by US defence major Raytheon, and new runway lights, among others. The entire phase-I contract has been bagged by the Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division.
The ILS, a key navigational aid, enables smooth landing of aircraft in poor visibility conditions caused by inclement weather. For long, the AAI as well as the airlines operating from Pune have been demanding installation of ILS to prevent instances like diversion or cancellation of flights due to poor weather conditions.
Browne, who has headed the Lohegaon airbase, said, “All MAFI-I works will be carried out during night hours in view of the civilian flight operations, which occur during daytime. We have set up an independent training establishment at the 7 Tetra School near the airbase for training our personnel in the handling of MAFI equipment,” he said.
On the growing concern about civilian construction activity within the periphery of the notified area of the airbase, Browne said there should not be any such construction activity. “There are gazette notifications, issued for all airbases across the country, specifying the no-construction zones that vary from 30 m to 100 m, 300 m and 900 m radius area from the airbase, depending upon the requirement. The problem occurs when these notifications, which are for two- to three- year period, lapse and are not renewed immediately. Builders exploit the time gap taken for renewal of the notification and start with constructions, which then get into legal tangles,” he said.
On the Indo-French Rafale deal, Browne said that the bilateral negotiation process is now half-way through and is expected to pick up later this month. “I have flown the aircraft and we all are satisfied and happy with the aircraft. We hope the deal will be completed by the end of the financial year.”

Revised Indian Defence Offset Guidelines

The revised Defence Offset Guidelines (DOG) were approved by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) at its meeting held on 23rd July, 2012 and shall be applicable w.e.f. 1st August, 2012. The following are the salient features of the new DOG:-
The objective of Defence Offsets has been spelt out clearly in the revised policy. The key objective of the Defence Offset Policy is to leverage capital acquisitions to develop Indian defence industry by:
  • Fostering development of internationally competitive enterprises,
  • Augmenting capacity for Research, Design and Development related to defence products and services and
  • Encouraging development of synergistic sectors like civil aerospace and internal security.
Co-production / Co-development
Distinction has been made between equity and non-equity route. Investment in ‘kind’ by OEMs through the non-equity route (i.e.) co- production, co- development, etc. will be recognized for offset credits, subject to certain conditions.
Transfer of Technology
The revised policy recognizes TOT as eligible for discharge of offset obligations. Investment in ‘kind’ in terms of TOT must cover all documentation, training and consultancy required for full TOT (civil infrastructure and equipment are excluded). The TOT should be provided without licence fee and there should be no restriction on domestic production, sale or export. The offset credit for TOT shall be 10% of the value of buyback by the OEM during the period of the offset contract, to the extent of value addition in India.
Government Institutions
The revised policy allows provision of equipment and/or TOT to Government institutions and establishments engaged in the manufacture and/ or maintenance of eligible products and provision of eligible services. This will facilitate capacity building for Research, Design & Development, Training and Education in DRDO laboratories, Army Base workshops, Air Force Base repair depots, and Naval aircraft yards, etc.
Technology Acquisition
Technology Acquisition by DRDO for a list of specified technologies will be treated as an eligible Offset with a multiplier up to 3.
Tier-l sub-vendors
It has been decided to allow Tier-l sub-vendors under the main procurement contract to discharge part of the offset obligations on behalf of the main vendor. However, overall responsibility for discharge of offset obligations shall rest solely on the main vendor.
Legal jurisdiction
Under the revised guidelines, the agreement between the OEM/vendor /Tier-l sub-vendor and the Indian Offset Partner (IOP) shall be subject to the laws of India.
Extended period
In the earlier policy, offset obligations had to be discharged during the period co-terminus with the main procurement contract. The revised guidelines allow offset obligations to be discharged within a timeframe that can extend beyond the period of the main procurement contract by a maximum period of two years.
Offset banking
Under the existing guidelines, banked offset credits were valid for a period of two years. The period of validity has been increased to seven years under the revised guidelines.
Multiplier for MSMEs
In the discharge of offset obligations relating to direct export, FDI, TOT or investment in ‘kind’ in Indian enterprises through non-equity “route, a multiplier of 1.50 will be permitted where Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are lOPs. The monetary limits specified by the Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India shall be applicable for identification of MSMEs.
R&D collaboration
R&D services (from Government-recognized R&D facilities) have been included in the list of eligible services for Offset Credits. This will facilitate R&D collaboration as well as direct purchase and export of R&D services related to eligible defence products from both public sector and private sector enterprises.
In exceptional cases, the competent authority may permit change in offset partners or offset components provided the value of offset obligations remains unchanged. This will provide greater flexibility in implementation.
The overall cap on penalty will be 20% of the total• offset obligations during the period of the main procurement contract. There will be no cap on penalty for failure to implement offset obligations during the period beyond the main procurement contract, which can extend to a maximum period of two years.

DRDO to be build next Generation Phalcons AEW&C for IAF

As per sources rising price in procurement of Ilyushin Il-76 platform and steep price rise demanded by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for IAI EL/W-2090 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) radar system and integration of it in Ilyushin Il-76 platform might lead to no further follow up orders of three A-50EI which Indian air force currently operates .

Follow up order was suppose to be of three more aircraft’s with similar radar integrated on Ilyushin Il-76 platform , bringing total to 6 A-50EI based AEW&C aircraft’s , negotiations are still going on but Government is planning to Start Phase II project to India’s own AEW&C Project and DRDO will get the clearance soon on this matter.

Israel has been asking India to consider Gulfstream G550 Eitam aircraft based AEW&C for some time now to reduce cost in platform purchase and integration cost of radar ,Gulfstream G550 based AEW&C are also operated by Israeli air force but IAF is not keen on it. IAF is also happy with the progress made by DRDO in its own AEW&C program and is considering further development if the deal for three more A-50EI based AEW&C fails to materialize .

Under Phase-1 , DRDO will be integrating Locally developed Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) radar system in to Brazilian Embraer aircraft’s and first aircraft which has already taken its first flight in Brazil should be arriving in India soon for system integration in India . next two aircraft’s will be in India next year and whole project will be completed and aircrafts will be handed over to IAF by 2015 as per DRDO plans .

Under Phase-II , DRDO with inputs from Indian air force , will select a new platform with higher operational range and capabilities , and will also be developing a new complete 360 degree surveillance system and radar in par or exceeding in performance of A-50EI.

Sources suggests IAF may suggest Boeing or Airbus based platform , since procuring Ilyushin Il-76 is difficult since Russia has stopped production and current lot are based on Unfinished air frames of soviet era . IAF also operates six Il-78MKI based aerial tankers but has pushing for new Airbus platform for next tanker orders .

45 More MiG 29K for Indian Navy.

Navies Worldwide Invest In Sea-Based Airpower
By Andy Nativi, Jay Menon, Bill Sweetman
Source: Defense Technology International
April 01, 2012
Andy Nativi•Genoa, jay Menon•New Delhi and Bill Sweetman•Washington

Not that long ago, the number of nations wielding sea-based airpower seemed to be headed inexorably downward. Today, the reverse is true. China is a brand-new member of the club. Brazil is sustaining its membership, a decade after retiring a carrier that the U.K. completed in 1945. India is expanding its aircraft carrier fleet, and the nations that acquired or maintained sea-based airpower with the short-take-off-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) Harrier may renew that capability with the Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

However, a common factor for almost all these nations is that they are just starting, or have yet to start, down a long and expensive road. It is not just that carrier-based aircraft are expensive, but that buying fighters and ships is only half the story.

Although public attention is always focused on the construction cost of carriers, its aircraft are a bigger investment. In 2013, the U.S. Navy wants $967 million for its aircraft carrier program and about $6 billion for procurement of carrier-based aircraft (not including Marine Corps F-35Bs). The operating costs involved in training and supporting the carrier's personnel, fuel and aircraft spares and refits are higher still. And the basic math says that you need three carrier groups for every full-time station.

Nations see the cost as justified, as sea trade and offshore resources gain importance and as as the use of insurgency-type attacks for national ends turns land-based deployed forces into targets. The question is whether all would-be carrier club members recognize that building the ship is the initiation fee and that the annual dues are a killer.

Money has already sparked a conflict within the British defense establishment over the aircraft type for the Royal Navy's new carriers (see p. 27). It may not be the last such discussion. With Britain still officially committed to the catapult-arrest F-35C—at least as of late March—Italy is leading the way among sea-based Harrier operators. The carrier Cavour has been designed around the Stovl F-35B.

Italy, Spain and India remain the sole operators of first or second-generation Harrier Stovl fighter-bombers, with Thailand having no longer a real operational capability.

Italy's Cavour is a hybrid vessel. It does not have a well deck but is designed to support amphibious operations. It has a full load displacement of 27,000 tons and is 244 meters (800 ft.) long. Its hangar can accommodate up to 10 F-35Bs, with flight-deck parking for another six F-35Bs and two helicopters.

Cavour illustrates the fact that small carriers must be bigger than they used to be, to sustain real air operations. Compared with Italy's “Harrier carrier,” the Garibaldi, Cavour is 64 meters longer and the flight deck has a total surface of 6,800 square meters (73,200 sq. ft.), with 4,450 square meters devoted to flight operations, versus 1,870 square meters on the Garibaldi.

The Italian navy plans to buy 22 F-35Bs to replace 16 remaining Harriers. Its long-term planning includes acquisition of two large JSF-capable LHDs and an LHA (similar but with no well deck) to replace the Garibaldi and three smaller LHDs. This will allow Italy to have at least one carrier operational at any time.

The Spanish navy is moving from its carrier Principe de Asturias to the large LHD Juan Carlos. It is currently operating 16 EAV-8B Plus aircraft, but would like to buy as many as 20 F-35Bs, budget permitting. The Juan Carlos is estimated to be able to operate no more than a dozen F-35Bs, because of its size and the fact that it has a well deck.

Multiple nations are acquiring large LHDs that could carry F-35Bs. Australia is to commission the LHDs Canberra and Adelaide in 2014 and 2015 respectively, which are based on the Juan Carlos design, even including the ski-jump bow—which is valuable for Stovl operations, but a penalty the rest of the time, since the sloping deck space is unavailable for anything else.

Japan has in service the Hyuga-class destroyer—a 200- meter-long, 20,000-ton vessel that can host 11 rotorcraft, and could lead to an F-35B-capable design. Japan, like Australia, is to acquire the F-35A for the air force. South Korea has yet another Asian navy that is considering building a large LHD, beyond the 18,000-ton Dokdo LPH.

China and India could start a “carrier race” in the Pacific Rim. A dual-role ship class—a large LHA/LHD capable of operating jets—is a cheaper, less politically and strategically sensitive naval vessel that can provide substantial capabilities if fitted with a supersonic, stealth fighter bomber.

The question is how many countries will buy F-35Bs to operate from LHDs. The LHD is a multimission ship that has to carry landing craft, helicopters, troops and vehicles and a command center and staff. Even in a ship of close to 30,000 tons, space is at a premium.

The F-35B is a complex aircraft, as heavy and powerful as a Super Hornet, and will have similar demands for maintenance personnel and space, test equipment, spares and fuel. The U.S. Marines, working with 50,000-ton ships, tried trading the well deck on the LHA-6 and LHA-7 for extra fuel and aviation space, but will not repeat that with LHA-8 and beyond.

Compared with true carriers LHDs have narrower flight decks, which limit the pace of flight operations. Another important factor will be the acquisition and operating cost of the F-35B, which has yet to be defined.

India is taking a different approach to expanding its carrier operations—although it is one that tends to underline India's reputation for a scattershot approach to acquisitions.

Sea trials of the carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Russian Kiev-class Admiral Gorshkov, are scheduled to begin in the Barents Sea on May 29 and last two to three weeks. Its much-delayed handover to the Indian navy is due on Dec. 4.

Major changes to the ship include the removal of cruise missile tube and surface-to-air missile vertical launchers and the installation of a forward flight deck and ski-jump for short-takeoff-but-assisted-recovery (Stobar) operations. The ship can carry 24 MiG-29K/KUBs—developed specially for India—and six to eight Kamov Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters.

The first MiG-29K/KUB fighter jets are already operating at the naval aviation base at Goa. These are from an initial batch of 11 aircraft ordered at the same time that the carrier deal was signed. India and Russia inked an additional $1.5 billion deal for 29 more MiG-29K/KUBs in March 2010. Delivery of the second batch of MiG fighters will start this year. The contracts include pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including the delivery of flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems.

These upgrades include a new avionics kit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by Phazotron Zhuk-M radar. The aircraft will also feature enhanced beyond-visual-range combat ability and air-to-air refueling.

The MiG-29K will also operate from India's indigenous aircraft carrier. Construction of the first of these 40,000-ton, 260-meter-long ships, named Vikrant, started in April 2005.

The new carrier will cost $762 million and will operate MiG-29K, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) Naval Tejas and Sea Harrier aircraft along with the Indian-developed HAL Dhruv helicopter.

India has indicated that at least two further carriers of the same or similar designs to INS Vikrant are planned. The first of these, to be named INS Viraat started construction in 2011 and is due to be commissioned in 2017. A $2 billion deal for the purchase of 45 more MiG-29Ks for the new carriers is near signature with Russia.

The only current naval fighters in Indian service—Sea Harriers—have been upgraded with new radar and missile systems and have started operating with air force Ilyushin Il-78 tankers.

A rather different carrier program, meanwhile, is being quietly undertaken in Brazil. In 2000, Brazil acquired the 1963-vintage carrier Clemenceau from France, along with low-use ex-Kuwaiti A-4 Skyhawks. Renamed Sao Paulo, the ship underwent a major refit from 2005 to 2010. Meanwhile, in 2009, a contract was issued to Embraer for a comprehensive upgrade of 12 A-4s, nine being two-seaters and three being single-seaters. The first modified aircraft is due to fly in August, with production deliveries in 2013-14.

The upgraded aircraft have a new full-color cockpit, a head-up display, a new electrical generating system and an onboard oxygen-generating system. Sensors include Elta's EL/M-2032 radar and a radar-warning receiver. They are intended to carry the Brazilian-developed Mectron MAA-1B air-to-air missile, and will be equipped for air defense and surface attack.

Also, last October, Brazil signed a contract with Marsh Aviation to modernize and re-engine four ex-U.S. Grumman C-1A Trader aircraft—the carrier onboard delivery version of the 1950s Tracker—and to provide training and logistics services. Marsh will install new avionics, Honeywell TPE331 engines, and centerline hose and drogue units, on the aircraft, to be redesignated KC-2. Deliveries are expected in 2014. An airborne early warning platform KC-2 is in the plans.

While the Brazilian naval air arm may have a retro look to it, it is not to be discounted. The country is well on the way to developing a full capability for Catobar operations, with definite advantages over Stobar. The Skyhawk is subsonic—but so is any land-based adversary in oceanic operations, unless the pilot feels like walking home. Unlike either Stovl or Stobar ships, the Sao Paulo will have a tanker, literally a life-saver if there are jets in the pattern and the deck is fouled by a malfunctioning aircraft. So far, Brazil's investment has surely been less than the price of a very small number of F-35Bs.

Copyright © 2012, Aviation Week, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

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Total MIG29K now 90

IAF Sukhoi-30 jets have a design flaw: Air chief NAK Browne

PUNE: Air chief NAK Browne today said the IAF has identified a "design flaw" with the Russian-made supersonic fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30 though nothing is wrong with its "airworthiness".

"We have identified a Fly-By-Wire problem with the aircraft. It is a design issue and we have taken it up with the designing agency," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function held to mark Golden Jubilee celebrations of Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) here.

Referring to the December 13, 2011 crash of a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft near here, the Air Chief said that more checks were being implemented to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

The aircraft had crashed at Wade Bholai village soon after it took off from Lohegaon air base. Two pilots of the fighter plane managed to bail out safely.

"There is nothing wrong with the aircraft or its airworthiness. I have myself flown the aircraft," he said.

On proposed acquisition of the French Rafale aircraft, Browne said the negotiations in this regard were progressing well and could be finalised by the end of the financial year.

In reply to a question, he said the IAF had an "elaborate plan" at hand to change over from old to new fleets.

Earlier, the Air Chief released a postal stamp brought out by the Department of Post and Telegraph to commemorate the AFMC Golden Jubilee.

India Unveils Coastal Surveillance System

India Aug. 3 launched its National Automatic Identification System (NAIS), aimed at ensuring effective coordination for coastal surveillance. Saab of Sweden and Indian defense major Elcome Marine Services built the NAIS at a cost of more than $22 million.

NAIS connects 74 sensors installed on lighthouses along the entire coastline of India that will be able to track vessels to a distance of 50 kilometers from the coast. NAIS provides real-time traffic information and the web server allows access to live data over the Internet.

“The project comprised installation of sensors and equipments along the Indian coast for regional and national control centers. Saab implemented the entire gamut of the project, which included installation, commissioning, training and support, along with their Indian partner, Elcome Marine Services,” said an executive of Elcome.

Saab and Elcome signed the NAIS deal in November 2010 and the project was finally accepted by the Indian government in May 2012.

Elcome provided the overall project management, site survey, installation of equipment, sourcing of equipment locally, such as servers, workstations, switches and routers, very small aperture terminal racks, generators and civil works , claimed the Elcome executive.

Seventy four base stations have been installed in lighthouses with six regional control and two coastal control centers, in addition to one national data center. There are monitoring stations at Navy, Coast Guard and other centers under the project.

Russia, India Prepare for INDRA-2012 Military Drills

Russia and India started on Monday the preparation for joint INDRA-2012 military exercises scheduled to be held in Russia this summer, a spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District said.

“An Indian military delegation arrived on Monday in Ulan Ude [in Russia’s Far East] to discuss the preparation for INDRA-2012 military drills to be held this summer,” Lt. Col. Alexander Gordeyev said.

Russian and Indian military officials will reconnoiter the terrain at the training range where the drills will be held, the spokesman said.

Since 2003, India and Russia have conducted five of the INDRA series joint ground and naval exercises. The last such exercise was held between Russian and Indian army units in India in October 2010.

However, Russia cancelled both INDRA-series ground and naval exercises last year despite an earlier announcement by the Russian General Staff that INDRA drills may be held every year and involve three branches of the armed forces.

Relations between India and Russia have suffered in recent years from the delayed refit of the aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, and the poor sourcing of components for Russian-made equipment operated by the Indian armed forces.

India remains, though, a key buyer of Russian weaponry....


I have received a ton of email asking me to comment on the reports that the German Eurofighters sacked numerous F-22s during recent dissimilar air combat training (DACT) and Red Flag Alaska exercises. Both the EF2000 and the F-22 are fine machines in their own right, and once again I cannot stress enough how inconsequential these reports are without knowing the exact rules of engagement for each sortie and the circumstances in which these kills took place. I have read “expert commentary” on other websites and forums regarding these and other air to air training events where the F-22 was subsequently beaten by an inferior foe and every time I walk away laughing or frustrated. Cocky remarks, HUD tape stills, or fake kill markings mean literally nothing. Just because someone says they simulated a missile or guns kill on an F-22 does not mean either type of aircraft involved is superior or inferior. Do folks honestly think that the F-22 can teleport between dimensions or something? Do they think the USAF made first contact with the Klingons and they gifted the boys in blue a cloaking device for the Raptor’s sake? The Raptor is a fighter jet, albeit a very capable fighter jet, not a magical dragon. It is not in any way totally impervious to detection as the mainstream media often alludes to. The F-22 is detectable by radar but at much shorter ranges than its non-stealthy counterparts, especially when X-band air to air type radars are concerned. And most importantly it is not invisible to the naked eye directly before, during, or after it merges with opposing fighters.

Within visual range, a place the F-22 would rather not find itself during actual combat, the aircraft has an incredible ability to point its nose at an enemy aircraft via huge flight control surfaces and two-dimensional thrust vectoring. Yet still, in a time of prolific helmet mounted sights and high off bore-sight infra-red missiles, such maneuverability is not a cure-all to an aircraft’s dog-fighting vulnerabilities. The F-22 was robbed of its planned next generation helmet mounted sight during its later development and funding stages and the JHMCS apparently cannot be reworked to suit the Raptor’s unique needs, so the state-of-the-art Raptor still packs around AIM-9M Sidewinders which are incapable of high angle off bore-sight shots. The German Eurofighters on the other hand pack the highly capable and modern IRIS-T short-range (but longer than the Sidewinder series) missile. During a “turning fight” all the Eurofighter pilot has to do to kill their enemy is to maneuver the nimble fighter into a position where he or she can simply look at the bandit, even up to almost 90 degrees off the jet’s center axis, acquire a lock and fire. This means that almost the whole 180 degree frontal hemisphere of the highly maneuverable Typhoon is deadly, whereas at this time the F-22′s forward close in missile engagement envelope is much more narrow in comparison. Additionally, the IRIS-T has a far wider viewing area with its imagine infra-red sensor bore-sighted, thus the missile is much more capable than the AIM-9M even when not aided by a helmet mounted sight. The Raptor is finally slated to get a helmet mounted sighting system in the next couple of years which will allow it to carry the latest AIM-9X high off bore-sight imagining infra-red missile and employ it to its maximum potential, including a novel lock-on after launch capability. The long-awaited addition of the AIM-9X and helmet mounted sight to the F-22 weapon system, combined with the Raptor’s exiting thrust vectoring capability, should allow it to reliably vanquish anything within the close in air to air realm in the very near future

On the long-range side of the equation, the F-22 packs the AIM-120 AMRAAM (C7 model now, and D model soon) series of beyond visual range air to air missile and the APG-77 low probability of intercept AESA radar. The German Typhoon sports the mechanically scanned array CAPTOR radar and also the AIM-120 (I believe they still carry the B model AMRAAM) series of beyond visual range air to air missiles, and to my knowledge the longer range and highly capable Meteor is not in service with German forces just yet. As far as the same “experts” discussing the value of the German Typhoon’s PIRATE infra-red search and track system’s ability to detect the Raptor passively at long ranges, this analysis is totally worthless as the German Eurofighters were not delivered with PIRATE installed. Both the Raptor and the Eurofighter have higly capable radar warning receivers and electronic warfare suites, yet the Raptor’s ALR-94 is the gold standard of such avionics and would detect the Eurofighter from far away as the Germans attempted to actively search for the almost electronically silent F-22 using their radar sets. Even if the German Eurofighters were to be equipped with the long range Meteor missile, they would still have to detect and lock up the Raptor in some fashion at a very long distance.  If such an event does come to pass, it would occur at a much closer range than the Meteor is capable engaging in the first place, thus eliminating the advantage of the Meteor when it comes to mock combat against the F-22. The reality is that the second the F-22 has been detected the pilot will know they have been seen and can return fire or run. It all comes down to choices, and the Raptor’s unique capabilities allow the F-22 pilot to have an abundance of them throughout almost any combat scenario.

In all likelihood during a 1v1 engagement between the Raptor and German Typhoon, without data linked targeting information from off-board sensors, the German Eurofighter would have blown up dozens on miles before it would have had a chance to detect and especially engage the F-22. The Raptor, sporting it’s APG-77 LPI radar could detect the Eurofighter at long-range, most likely without being detected conclusively by the Eurofighter’s radar warning receiver. Or the Raptor could just wait till the Eurofighter turns on their radar or any other energy emitting component, at which time their position would be given away and the Raptor pilot could choose to evade, investigate further or attack. In the near future the F-22 will be able to launch the much upgraded AIM-120D AMRAAM at ranges approaching that of the ramjet powered Meteor. Also I have to note that using stated ranges for air to air missiles is a bit ridiculous as it does not take into account the many factors that affect such a munition’s range like the speed, vector, and altitude of both the shooter and target. Additionally, I have been told more times than I can remember that the publicly stated ranges of air to air missiles are almost totally bogus and highly underestimated for operational security reasons.

F-22 pilots, just like Eurofighter pilots, need to train for within visual range contingencies. In doing so, various scenarios are put in place to maximize the training benefit, such as starting from an offensive, defensive or neutral position and limiting what weapons are allowed to be simulated during each unique sortie. Further, the Raptor does nobody any good flying around undetected when basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) are to be practiced. For such a flight they could have packed their radar accelerometers. By doing so they could be more easily detected by the opposing aircraft, thus making it easier to set up the training scenario and to provide positive radar locks throughout the maneuvering flight. Also, believe it or not there are novice F-22 pilots just as there are novice F-16 and F-15 pilots. I have been told many times by Raptor crews that it simply takes time to master the jet’s unique thrust vectoring capabilities in the within visual range air combat regime. As has been proven over and over again throughout history, hours in the jet matter when it comes to winning in a traditional “dogfight.” Even today an F-5 Tiger can reliably smoke a Block II Super Hornet within visual range when flown by an experienced pilot. The Typhoon is a seriously hot machine, and the aircraft is extremely deadly even in a newly minted pilots hands. Put that same weapon system in the hands of a seasoned Luftwaffe fight jock and anything in America’s fighter inventory would be seriously challenged when fighting up-close and personal. Put a young pilot in the cockpit of even a state of the art F-22 and pit him against a seasoned Eurofighter pilot in the within visual range fight, and I would bet on the experienced German jock long before these reports surfaced. It takes a lot of hours to master a jet in the realm of three dimensional jousting, the F-22 is absolutely no different, especially when it comes to multiple aircraft engagements and known vulnerabilities when operating in the “post stall” thrust vectoring environment.

So did the German Eurofighter pilots really have “Raptor salad for lunch” as they have claimed? Are those fresh Raptor kill markings painted on their jets based on fact as opposed to fiction? Sure why not?  But that “Raptor salad” was probably devoured during engagements where the Raptor was well within visual range from the time the “fights on” call was made. If I am indeed wrong I challenge the Eurofighter community, who are clawing for international sales, to prove it. Oh and if the Raptor put red stenciled “kill marks” on its nose for every viable opponent it has fake-splashed during that same exercise I think Raptor crew chiefs would have run out of paint. The Eurofighter is a fantastically maneuverable machine and can fight the Raptor within visual range to maximize the airframe’s comparative advantages regardless of how limited those advantages may be. Sometimes your opponent makes a mistake, does not see you, or they are just out-fly you and they land a great shot, that is just the game of jousting in the aerial domain. Dramatic HUD camera stills, bogus kill markings, and hyped up hyperbole are just promotional tools and ego boosters. Grow up Luftwaffe and all the fan-boys out there who try to make something out of nothing.

India successfully develops SLBM for 'INS Arihant'

New Delhi, Aug 2, IRNA -- India has successfully developed its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for the indigenous nuclear submarine 'INS Arihant', joining an elite club of nations possessing such weaponry.

The SLBM, which can be launched from Arihant, has been developed successfully, sources said here.

Senior DRDO Scientist and Director of Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) A K Chakrabarti was honoured by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a function here for his 'outstanding contributions in the successful development of the first SLBM system for the nuclear powered platform Arihant.'

The development of the underwater-launched ballistic missile will help India in completing its nuclear triad under which now it will have the option to strike from air, land and under the sea, PTI news agency reported. At present, very few countries including the US, Russia, France, China and the UK have the capability to carry out submarine-based ballistic missile strikes.

Specifications with regard to the Indian missile were not immediately known but its strike range is believed to be around 700 kms.

In the recent past, reports had suggested that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been working on developing the K-15 series of underwater missiles and that it had carried out some test-firings earlier this year.

Capability to launch underwater nuclear strikes is considered important for India's defence as the country has a 'no-first use' policy when it comes to nuclear weapons.

After the underground tests in Pokhran in 1998, India has been working on completing the nuclear triad. The Agni and Prithvi series of missiles and combat aircraft including the Mirage 2000 can be used for launching nuclear strikes from land and air but the country had been lacking the underwater capability.

At the DRDO function here, K Sekhar, Scientist and Chief Controller, Research and Development and K Tamilmani, Scientist and Chief Executive, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) were also given the excellence awards.

Life Time Achievement Award was conferred on Professor P Rama Rao for his contributions to the multi-fold array of technology and management initiatives.


This may be the deadliest 737 shot ever taken! Okay, so they are captive training rounds representing the ship sinking AGM-84D Harpoon air to surface missile, none the less, the 737 is now one bad missile chuckin’ war wagon! Remember, it’s all about long range platforms, and the P-8 may be a maritime patrol aircraft, but it will be able to do many other roles as well, including hauling standoff missiles to the edge of enemy air defenses.

Photographer and good friend Kevin Scott caught this bird up at Boeing Field while heading out on a test mission, he was kind enough to share them here exclusively. Make sure to check out more of Kevin’s fantastic work (seriously, he takes captivating images) at and on flickr at the following link:

India’s ‘K-15 Black Project’ : Pakistani perspective

If there was any arms race in the region, India has won it, at whatever the cost may be. But the claims to have good neighbourly relations, with MFN-status, no-war pact or no-first-use nuclear arsenal are just a dream seemingly never to come true.

In April this year India yanked open the door of the exclusive ICBM (International Ballistic Missile) club with the first test of Agni-V. Now, if DRDO is to be believed, India has quietly gate-crashed into an even more exclusive club of nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The most ironic part of this achievement on part of India is that New Delhi had been able to successfully keep it as a secret ‘black project’.

The annual awards function of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) the other day witnessed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh handing over the “technology leadership award” to a scientist, A K Chakrabarti, of the Hyderabad-based DRDL lab, for the “successful development” of the country’s first SLBM. This capability has been acquired only by four nations, the US, Russia, France and China. Long shrouded in secrecy as a “black project”, unlike the surface-to-surface nuclear missiles like Agni, the SLBM may now finally come out of the closet. Called different names at different developmental phases, which included “Sagarika’’ for an extended period, the SLBM in question is the ‘K-15’ missile with a 750-km strike range. Much like the over 5,000-km Agni-V that will be fully operational by 2015 after four-to-five “repeatable tests”, the K-15 is also still some distance away from being deployed. While the SLBM may be fully-ready and undergoing production now, as DRDO contends after conducting its test several times from submersible pontoons, its carrier INS Arihant will take at least a year before it’s ready for “deterrent patrols”.

India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, is still undergoing “harbor-acceptance trials” with all its pipelines being cleared and tested meticulously on shore-based steam before its miniature 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor goes “critical”. The submarine will then undergo extensive “sea-acceptance trials” and test-fire the 10-tonne K-15, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear payload, from the missile silos on its hump.

The sea-based nuclear leg in the shape of SLBMs is much more effective — as also survivable being relatively immune to pre-emptive strikes — than the air or land ones. Nuclear-powered submarines, which are capable of operating silently underwater for months at end, armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are, therefore, considered the most potent and credible leg of the triad. With even the US and Russia ensuring that two-thirds of the strategic warheads they eventually retain under arms reduction agreements will be SLBMs, India with a clear “no-first use” nuclear doctrine needs such survivable second-strike capability to achieve credible strategic deterrence.