India’s LCA Tejas Fighter Fully Operational in 2014

By on Friday, May 31st, 2013

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The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today expressed optimism that the country’s indigenously developed fighter aircraft – LCA Tejas – will get Final Operational Clearance of the Indian Air Force by the end of next year. Speaking at the Annual Awards Functions of DRDO here, he said, all stakeholders including the DRDO, IAF and HAL must put their energy together in a focused manner to achieve this objective. One must keep in mind the fact that Pakistan’s JF-17 had been operational for about 6 years now, and offers the nearly same capabilities as the LCA Tejas at much lower cost.

Shri Antony said countries that depend on imported arsenals cannot become great nation. Shri Antony said we continue to be the largest importer of Defence equipment. The share of indigenous content in Defence procurement is low. “Our experience has been that foreign vendors are reluctant to part with critical technologies. There are delays in the supply of essential spares. There are exorbitant price increases. The Services, too, realize that we cannot be eternally dependent on foreign equipment and platforms”, he said.

Referring to the expansions of domestic defence industry, Shri Antony said this has to be achieved through public and private sector initiatives. He said there is ample scope for joint ventures also. “All the stakeholders in the defence sector- DRDO, Armed Forces and the industry must work in tandem and develop trust and confidence in each other’s capabilities.” Cautioning against time and cost over runs in projects Shri Antony said Indian Companies must compete with global players in developing state- of- the art technologies of acceptable commercial parameters and must meet customer satisfaction.

The Minister complimented DRDO for their magnificent achievements in 2012. He referred to the first flight of Agni-V, two successful tests of our Ballistic Missile Defence programme in February and November 2012, first flight of LCA Navy, establishment of a cyber-forensics laboratory, initiation of production of NBC systems, ToT for composite armour for helicopters and investment casting of aero engine components and said these are just some of the many accomplishments.

He, however, asked the scientists not to be complacent. “The DRDO must keep its focus trained on the areas of core competence and not fritter away its energy and resources. In today’s world of cut-throat competition, the choice is very clear-‘perform, or perish’. From designing stage to the stage of final production, timelines must be strictly adhered to and satisfaction of the end user is the litmus test of achievement”, he said.

He said, the security environment in our neighbourhood; civil strife and turmoil in the Middle East; terrorism and threats to cyber security; piracy; illegal seabed mining in Indian Ocean and space-based threats present complex challenges to our defence capabilities. These require both conventional, as well as latest technological responses.

Expressing happiness the Minister said, it is heartening to note that a large number of major systems are under production and the cumulative production value of all the DRDO developed systems has crossed Rs. 1,55,000 crore. ‘I am sure in the coming years, this figure will go even higher. DRDO must make relentless efforts to accelerate the pace of self- reliance’, he further said.

The function was attended among others by the Minister of State for Defence, Shri Jitendra Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi and Director General DRDO Dr. VK Saraswat.

On the occasion, Shri Antony gave away DRDO Awards to several scientists, technologists and DRDO laboratories in fourteen categories for their outstanding contributions in different areas.

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India, Russia Agree On Technical Specs of New PAK FA Fighter

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The contract to develop a sketch and technical project of the Russian-Indian perspective multi-functional 5th-generation fighter (PMI/FGFA) was completed. The fighter design was fully developed.

Both parties have agreed upon on the amount and division of work during the research and development (R&D) stage. A contract for the R&D is being prepared. It is to be signed this year.

The agreement on the joint development and production of the 5th-generation fighter aircraft was signed on October 18, 2007 in Moscow at the 7th Session of the joint Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation. It is the largest joint project of the Russian-Indian military and technical cooperation.

In December 2010, Rosoboronexport, Sukhoi Company and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited signed a contract to develop a sketch and technical project of the fighter. In the course of the first stage of the project the Russian side has trained Indian professionals, provided them with the original data and the software to create a single working environment.

The Indian working group of experts has been working in Russia since January 2012 and a group of Russian specialists in India. Both parties exchange the necessary information.

The PMI/FGFA fighter developed by the parties will have some differences from the Russian prototype due to specific requirements of the Indian Air Force.

Sukhoi Company is currently involved in other Russian-Indian joint programs, such as modernization of the Indian Air Force Su-30MKI fighters and adaptation of the Russian-Indian air-to-ground BrahMos cruise missile to the Su-30MKI.

AERO INDIA: Indian air force chief slams HAL trainers

By:   Greg Waldron Bangalore
02:35 8 Feb 2013

Source:

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The Indian air force’s most senior officer has cast further doubt on the future of the Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) HTT-40 basic trainer, and also criticised the company’s HJT-36 Sitara jet trainer during a media briefing at the Aero India show.

Although bad relations between HAL and its biggest customer, the Indian air force, have been reported for years, the event at Yelahanka air base, near Bengaluru, gave a unique glimpse into the differences between the two parties.

“We have the Pilatus PC-7 MkII trainer now,” says Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne. “It is a fully proven trainer flown by many countries globally. HAL’s project to make [the HTT-40] from scratch means that costs are bound to be higher. The Indian air force would also have to pay for research and development. In our view there is no need for this. We need to stick to one trainer, and we have advised the government of this.”

This is not the first time the air force has questioned the HTT-40. In late 2012, media reports indicated the service had rejected the trainer. Moreover, New Delhi is obtaining 75 Pilatus PC-7 MkIIs off the shelf after conducting a competition for a new basic trainer.

In January 2013, widespread Indian media reports claimed a 30-aircraft follow-on purchase had also been confirmed, but a Pilatus representative at Aero India told Flightglobal the reports are false.

Browne also criticised HAL’s developmental HJT-36, referred to generally as the ‘IJT’, or intermediate jet trainer. The project has suffered years of delays, and several well-publicised accidents. Browne says the HJT-36’s powerplant, the Russian-made NPO Saturn AL-55I afterburning turbofan, is of particular concern, with a time before overhaul of only 200h.

Flightglobal’s World Air Forces directory for 2013 states that New Delhi has ordered 16 HJT-36s, which will fit mid-way between a basic trainer and the air force’s BAE Systems Hawk 132 advanced jet trainers, which HAL builds under licence.

Browne’s comments were especially notable, because he made them only 2h after a media briefing by HAL chairman RK Tyagi.

Tyagi said it would be cheaper for New Delhi to create an indigenous basic trainer with the supply chain located mainly in India. He also defended the HJT-36, noting it has conducted 647 test flights, of which 185 took place in 2012. The type also conducted 45 flights in January 2013, including night flights, he adds.

“We are confident that the [HJT-36] can achieve its IOC [initial operating capability] in December this year,” Tyagi says.

During this year’s show, the air force’s first PC-7 MkII appeared in the static park, while HAL displayed a full-sized mock-up of the HTT-40 at its stand.

Shiv Aroor, author of the Livefist defence blog, takes issue with the air force’s decision to display the Pilatus aircraft.

“Why in the world would you display a trainer aircraft that represents – if nothing else – India’s complete inability to build even a basic airplane for its armed forces,” writes Aroor in a blog post. “It occurred to me then that this is probably precisely why the Indian air force has the PC-7 on the flight line. As a mocking jibe, perhaps, at HAL which will unveil a mock-up of its all-but-dead HTT-40 basic trainer concept.”

Irrespective of the air force’s views toward HAL it is, to a large degree, stuck with the government-owned aircraft maker for decades to come. HAL is the prime contractor for the future fifth-generation fighter aircraft, based on the Sukhoi PAK-FA/T-50 and being co-developed by the companies.

HAL will also produce 108 aircraft under the medium multi-role combat aircraft contract, with Dassault in final negotiations with New Delhi for a total 126-unit order for its Rafale. These are but two of HAL’s numerous air force programmes.

“We have a functional relationship with HAL,” says Browne. “The air force relies on HAL not only for aircraft but also for upgrades and other modifications. This relationship goes back decades to the time HAL was formed.”