Friday, December 2, 2016

Light at end of India’s long M777 tunnel

Land Warfare

28th November 2016 - 16:31 by Neelam Mathews in Delhi 

Light at end of India’s long M777 tunnel
The governments of India and the US have finally agreed on a Foreign Military Sale of 145 M777 ultra-lightweight howitzers ........more  on Shephardmedia

India’s Light Combat Aircraft Advances with New Order

Neelam Mathews
Nov 30, 2016

One of the original batch of LCAs on display at the Aero India show in 2015. (Photo: Neelam Mathews)
India’s Ministry of Defense has cleared an order for 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), designated Mk1A, from government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). HAL currently has in hand an order for 40 GE F404-engined LCAs for the IAF. Of the 20 to be produced with an initial operational clearance, three have been delivered and the fourth is scheduled to be handed over by early next year. Twenty more will be supplied once they receive the final operational clearance (FOC) by end of 2017.
HAL says it will increase production from eight to 16 a year “once a formal order is received for the 83 Mk1As.” IAF Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha said last year: “We want the LCA Mk1A with an improved radar [Elta's ELM-2052 AESA or active electronically scanned array], electronic warfare, in-flight refueling and better missiles.” But a privately owned OEM said: “While there is to be joint work between HAL and Elta, we don’t know how much of the Elta AESA will be indigenous.” Other OEMs are interested. For instance, Saab confirmed recently to AIN that it is offering its Gallium Nitride technology, developed in Gothenberg, Sweden, for the LCA, rather than part of its Gripen proposal to India.  
The LCA Mk2 version, expected to be re-engined from the GE F404 to the F414, is planned for production by 2025. The Indian Navy has expressed its firm requirement for 46 LCA Mk2s that will require a weight reduction of one ton over the Mk1A. Delays to the naval LCA have been attributed in the past to technical complexities; non-availability of infrastructure and critical components and technology denial regimes; extended user trials; and the failure of some of the components during testing.
Meanwhile, an indigenous AESA Fire Control Radar is being developed for the Mk2 by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), for which Bangalore-based Centum Electronics has designed and developed the Vibration Hardened OCXO (oven controlled crystal oscillators). “The function of OCXO is to generate the clock frequency of 120 MHz, which is in turn fed to a synthesizer that generates the required X-Band frequency for AESA,” said Vinod S. Chippalkatti, vice-president, Centum Electronics, to AIN. “The company was initially challenged three years ago to develop this product, since international companies were not able to meet the specifications and part with the technology. Centum is able to develop and deliver the product, which is lightweight, low-g-sensitive and its phase noise performance is excellent under vibration,” added Chippalkatti.
Meanwhile, under the offset contract not yet signed for India’s buy of 36 Rafales, Dassault Aviation is believed to have agreed to transfer special spray paint and coating technology of benefit to programs such as the LCA

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Opinion-Safe Skies: Public Opinion of Airport Security and What We Need to Do To Improve Travel

Brian Holland 
Dec 1, 2016

Airport security screening. If you ask most people what their point of view is on airport security screening, you will find that the majority of individuals consider it a necessary evil. A recent Gallup poll actually found that most Americans are okay sacrificing privacy for security, while another Gallup poll on airport security found that Americans’ views of the TSA are more positive than negative.

In the cat-and-mouse game between security professionals and terrorists, the stakes could not be higher. The rise of discontented extremist groups around the world has increased since September 11th and so has the frequency of attack. “As threat levels increase, components get smaller and capabilities of our attackers improve.  The need for advanced technologies and training in the security industry is a never ending cycle.,” says Brian Holland, president of Point Security Inc., a vendor of security screening equipment.

Individuals try to sneak products or destructive components onto planes and security personnel try to catch them in the act. However, security personnel like the TSA and other regulating bodies around the world do not have the adequate resources to fully scan every passenger and every piece of luggage coming through an airport.

Holland goes on to say that the “Quality of the detection process and the time needed to process, have always been opposing forces. The difference between three minutes and ten seconds of scan time per process, can equate to hours of lost time when multiplied by the millions that travel each year.” Security professionals are tasked with a difficult choice of where to cut costs. Should one invest in a new, cutting-edge screening equipment or bring in more staff? Will the busy holiday travel season (typically between late November and early January) require more baggage scanners or body scanners? Furthermore, how long can we keep the average passenger in the security checkpoints?

In December 2015, Americans saw terrorism as the number one problem facing the nation. Terrorism was seen as more important than guns, government, and the economy. With tensions high, security manufacturing personnel need to have a global approach to solving the problem. Countries - and airports within countries - have different budgets, and accordingly, different needs. While it may make sense for JFK to invest in the newest baggage screening tool that decreases wait times, it may make more economic sense for an airport in Burkina Faso to train temporary staff members to meet the holiday rush.

Transparency of information is also a key component. Countries should work together to thwart recent developments in smuggling, and terrorism plots. If one airport learns of a recent development that breached security, other airports around the world should be kept up to speed.

Meet the Author

Brian Holland is the President of Point Security Inc., a certified small business with over twenty-five years of experience providing sales and service of security screening equipment throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He enjoys educating individuals in ways that can better secure their facility. For more information please contact Point Security Inc.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

India Builds Monuments to Its Political Past

Neelam Mathews
Nov 8, 2016

Sector firms have role in statue construction; when completed, they will be among the world's tallest.

Ram V. Sutar, an 89-year-old sculptor known for designing scores of large monuments in his native India, is observing construction on two statues in the western part of the country to honor a pair of historical figures. Besides making a political statement, the works are intended to “commemorate the icons and enhance tourism,” he said.
Both statues, when completed, will stand among the tallest in the world. As planned at present, there is a difference in height of around 10 meters between the two. However, an engineer hinted that this detail could likely change. “The challenge is to give each statue a lasting memory," he said. "These are two legends and there are sentiments attached to each. One cannot be taller than another.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails from the state of Gujarat, dedicated to independence and freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the Iron Man of India. His monument, the Statue of Unity, is being undertaken by a consortium of Turner Project Management India Pvt Ltd as lead member. Meinhardt India Pvt Ltd, Michael Graves & Associates Inc. is providing design, engineering, project management and construction management services while the management team of SSNNL (Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd) will implement the project
Many of the consortium members have worked on some of the world's tallest structures, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Larsen & Tourbo, Indian’s largest engineering and construction company, is responsible for project design, engineering, procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance.
The project, expected to cost around $400 million, is sited in a drained riverbed that will support the base of the 182-m-high statue, which is designed to withstand wind velocity up to 60 m per sec. Once the statue is completed, the Sardar Sarovar Dam will release water from the Narbada river to create the island, said a statement.
The Statue of Unity consists of two semi-joined, composite concrete cylindrical cores, surrounded by a structural steel space frame to support the exterior cladding, Construction started in 2014 and is scheduled is to be completed by 2018.
The second statue, not yet named, will depict the 17th century Hindu warrior king Shivaji. A fierce battlefield technician, he defeated forces of a sultanate in decline and established the basis of the Maratha Empire, a touchstone of Hindu nationalists today. The structure will be installed on a patch of rock spread over 16 hectares in the Arabian Sea, off the Mumbai coast.
Egis India Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd, proof consultants to the Unity statue, and project management consultants for the 192-m-high Shivaji statue, will finalize the design, material, cost and project delivery method. The state government plans to float civil tenders by inviting international competitive bidding by the end of the month. While the project cost is pegged at around $350 million, a project management official not associated with it, told ENR: “It is a tough project. It is likely the cost could hit around $900 million by the time it is over.”
Egis Chairman Nicolas Jachiet acknowledged the job would face difficulties. “Even without the statue, it is a challenge,” he told ENR. Constructing an artificial island close to a major city such as Mumbai will require “a host of technical skills,” he said. “Technically, the height of the statue is a challenge and our task will be to review the design made by the contractor,” he added. The base of the statue is 85 ft high. The first phase comprising 7 hectares is scheduled for completion by December 2019.
Sutar has not yet decided “whether [the warrior king’s facial expression] should be combative or benevolent,” Ashish Tandon, CEO, Egis India told ENR. Asked if the timeline would be met, he said: “the Statue of Liberty was not completed in two years.” The two statues are different from all his earlier works, Sutar told ENR. In the past, he has used a combination of 85% bronze, 5% each of zinc and lead. “Now the two statues, made of steel structures and concrete pillars, will have 88% bronze, 8% copper, and 4% each of tin, and zinc. The harder materials will sustain wind pressure.”
The Shivaji design has the man on a horse with bent hind legs brandishing a sword. “It will be welded together in five parts. The entire weight will be transferred to the ground. Two concrete cores will go from the legs to the chest.” The statue will be made in a Chinese foundry. “The skin has not been welded through, like shingles on roof with each successive course overlapping the joints below,” said Sutar.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rafale deal sealed at last


Rafale deal sealed at last

In the wake of India's deal to acquire 36 Dassault Rafale fighters, NEELAM MATHEWS analyses this key defence procurement.
A new dawn for Indian air power? (Dassault Aviation) 
Four years after Dassault Aviation’s Rafale was chosen for India’s 126 Medium Multi Role Aircraft, India and France have signed a watered down deal for 36 aircraft valued at €7.87bn. It includes 28 single seaters at €91.7m each and eight twin seaters at €94m each. India has become the third international customer to buy Rafale after Qatar and Egypt.
India will receive the first Rafale fighter within 36 months of signing the agreement while the remaining jets will be delivered in the following 30 months. “We have requested them to (deliver it) as fast as possible,” said defence minister Manohar Parrikar. Analysts view this in the backdrop of increased cross border tensions following numerous alleged Pakistan Army supported terrorist attacks on Indian military bases.

The contract

India's Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, has praised the Rafale (Neelam Mathews)
“With the Rafale deal, plans to purchase up to 500 utility helicopters, armoured infantry vehicles, artillery and warships can also expect concrete funding commitments,” said Bharat Dogra, Partner at consultancy, Khaitan & Co.

“Rafale is definitely a very good fighter. It is considered as four plus generation or four and half generation, just maybe slightly behind the fifth generation, particularly in terms of stealth. But, we have a lot of India-specific attachments or additions to it, which would ensure that it virtually matches almost any fifth generation aircraft,” said Parrikar in an interview to a TV channel.

The Rafale package includes the cost of 36 Rafales (€3,402m, associate supplies (€1,800m), India-specific enhancements (€1,700m), performance-based logistics (€353m) and the weapons package (€710m).

The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) pending since January due to a divergence on price, was inked between the Indian and French defence ministers in New Delhi on 23 September, a confirmation of the MoU signed between the two Heads of State, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President François Hollande in January. The IGA specifies details of the contract including timelines. However, the support, logistics, and 50% offsets package will be signed in a few months, a senior MoD official said.
Unlike the Foreign Ministry Sales (FMS) of the US government, under the IGA, the French government does not negotiate on behalf of the company (Dassault). In addition, the IGA does not benchmark French firms to guarantee (India) the lowest price offered to a similar contract anywhere in the world. The US government does.

“This contract will assure the global aerospace and defence industry that India is open for business,” Rahul Gangal, Partner Roland Berger told Aerospace. The procurement will increase the strength of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is currently down to 34 squadrons as against a required 44, by two and a half squadrons.

Capability boost

The weapons package includes MICA, Meteor and SCALP missiles. (Dassault Aviation)
The weapons package gives the IAF a capability that has been missing in its arsenal. For instance the beyond visual range air-to-air missile 190kg Meteor with around 150km range has a ramjet propulsion system and a solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket. The missile is equipped with both impact and proximity fuses and a fragmentation warhead that detonates on impact or at the optimum point of intercept. The package also includes the 1,300kg, 250km range SCALP EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, General Purpose Long Range Standoff Cruise Missile), the French designation for the MBDA Storm Shadow precision strike missile. The missile is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker that is activated during the final target approach phase. Fitted with the ‘BROACH’ penetrator and warhead, and with the ability to select direction ......
- See more at:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

‘Make in India’ Fighter Choice May Be Limited To Single-engine Jets

 - November 2, 2016, 12:26 PM
Lockheed Martin released this artist’s impression of an F-16 in Indian air force colors in 2011, when the type was previously evaluated for the MMRCA contract. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

After confirming the acquisition of 36 Dassault Rafale fighters off-the-shelf from France, India has invited proposals from the U.S., Sweden and Russia to transfer technology and produce a single-engine fighter in-country. The latest move seems to preclude any “Make in India” offers from Dassault for the twin-engine Rafale, as well as Eurofighter (for the Typhoon) or Boeing (for the F/A-18). India has a requirement for approximately 100 more fighters.
The invitation was in the form of letters handed to the ambassadors of the three countries. Lockheed Martin has already responded, offering an upgraded “F-16 Block 70.” It is believed that Saab will follow, with an offer for the Gripen E. It is unclear what Russia might offer, since both the MiG-29/35 and Sukhoi Su-30/35 series are twin-engine designs.
“What we have offered, we believe is unprecedented,” said Randy Howard, head of F-16 business development for Lockheed Martin. The company has committed to transfer F-16 production from Fort Worth to India in phases. The proposal would make India the world's largest supply base for F-16s. Lockheed Martin has sold 4,588 F-16s to 29 customers, and many of those aircraft have a 30-year life that requires the continuing supply of spares and support.
“Bringing the production to India will have a positive impact on affordability for India and the global fleet,” said Howard.
The Block 70 appears to be an alternative designation for the F-16V upgradethat is currently in flight test. The upgrade’s APG-83 AESA radar is a big plus, according to Howard. “It has commonality with the APG-81 on the F-35, a wide field-of-view, and picks up 20 targets,” he said. The F-16V also features a one-gigabyte Ethernet data system and a 6x8-inch center pedestal cockpit display. Lockheed Martin is currently producing one F-16 per month for Iraq at Fort Worth, but the line could close at the end of next year when that country’s order for 36 C/D models is completed. (The aircraft are being delivered slowly, because of U.S. concerns about Iraq’s stability. The company had handed over 10 to Iraq by the end of August.)  
A dampener could be India’s concern about neighboring Pakistan, which has acquired 41 upgraded Block 52 F-16s. “Given the warming of the U.S.-India strategic relationship, it is unlikely that Pakistan will be given the upgraded aircraft, nor would it like to buy from India,” said a retired air force official. Recently, Pakistan’s efforts to purchase eight more F-16s from the U.S. failed following a row over financing.
Saab is offering the soon-to-fly Gripen E, already the subject of a licensed production deal with Brazil. In a media briefing earlier this year Richard Smith, Saab’s head of Gripen marketing and sales, noted that in the previous Indian evaluation of the Swedish jet “we were ruled out before the commercial bids were opened.” But, he continued, “we are a perfect fit there.”  
Saab has offered India co-development of an airborne AESA radar that it has been designing in Sweden. This benefits from Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology that Saab has introduced on the Giraffe ground-air surveillance radar. This radar is an alternative to the ES-05 AESA radar designed by Leonardo (formerly Selex Gallileo) that will be fitted to the Gripen Es for Brazil and Sweden. The Swedish GaN radar could also be fitted to India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), and Saab has offered to assist India with the LCA Mk II. This jet is to be powered by the same GE F414 engine that is to be found on the Gripen E.
At the time of the Rafale contract signing, Dassault boss Eric Trappier seemed confident that the French jet would be considered for additional licensed production. Early last month, Trappier and Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani signed a joint venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace, for aerospace technology transfer. The venture will help the French company meet the 50-percent offset obligation in the Rafale contract. Whether it will lead to the Rafale being produced in India now seems less likely.
“I’m sure whoever gives the best deal will win. All the aircraft are very capable,” said Indian Air Force commander ACM Arup Raha.
“It will depend upon who provides the best transfer of technology; and, of course, the price tag,” he continued. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Embraer Admits Illicit Payments for Military Sales

by Chris Pocock and Neelam Mathews
 - October 28, 2016, 7:37 AM
Embraer has agreed to pay some $205 million to settle corruption charges involving sales of military and civil airplanes to four customers. The agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Brazil’s Ministério Público Federal (MPF) and the Brazilian Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM) end a six-year graft probe that found that Embraer paid bribes and created false records to conceal illicit payments. But further action could be taken against Embraer in India, concerning the acquisition of three EMB-145 aircraft for conversion to the AWACS role, suggested the Indian defense minister.

Three EMB-145 turboprop airliners were converted in India for the AWACS mission. (Photo: Neelam Mathews)
This inquiry began in 2010, when U.S. authorities questioned Embraer about “potential nonconformities” related to certain commercial transactions abroad. The company proceeded to undertake an investigation led independently by external law firms.
The SEC’s complaint alleged that Embraer made more than $83 million in profits as a result of bribe payments from its U.S.-based subsidiary through third-party agents to foreign government officials in the Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia and Mozambique. Embraer also allegedly engaged in an accounting scheme in India.
According to the SEC, Embraer paid $3.52 million in bribes to an official in the Dominican Republic’s air force to secure a contract for eight Super Tucano light attack turboprops, and another $1.65 million in bribes to an official in Saudi Arabia to win a sale of three E170 jet airliners to Saudi Aramco. It also allegedly paid $800,000 at the behest of a Mozambican government official as a condition of obtaining a contract involving two E190s with state-owned LAM. 
Finally, some $5.76 million allegedly went to an agent in India in connection with the sale of the three EMB-145s to the Indian Air Force (IAF). Embraer falsely recorded those payments in its books and records as part of an illegitimate consulting agreement. Those aircraft received an indigenous radar system designed by the government’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The IAF is expected to receive the first one soon, but now favors longer-endurance and higher-altitude platforms for the AWACS mission.
As part of the settlement, Embraer has agreed to retain an external and independent “monitorship” for up to three years to ensure full compliance with the settlement terms. The settlement also means that none of the authorities will bring charges against the company as long as Embraer fully honors the terms of the agreement.
In a statement, Embraer said its internal investigation involved the analysis of hundreds of thousands of documents and more than 100 interviews with employees and third parties. “The company acknowledges responsibility for the conduct of its employees and agents according to the facts ascertained in the investigation,” it said. “Embraer deeply regrets this conduct. The company has learned from this experience and will be stronger as it moves forward and continues its nearly 50 years of successful existence in which it has delivered more than 8,000 aircraft in over 90 countries.”
Separately, the Brazilian Federal Prosecution Service continues to conduct its own investigations and plans to file lawsuits against certain individuals. Embraer is not a party to those lawsuits.

Indian defense minister Manohar Parrikar said this week that Embraer “cannot escape Indian laws just because it has struck a settlement with American authorities.” He said while the EMB-145s would not be grounded, a new blacklisting policy will be finalized next month. Parrikar added: “In American law, criminal processes can be compounded [settlement through payment of fines]. However, in India, criminal law is not compounded unless the acts are of a very minor nature.”