Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Parrikar effect? Tejas in an IAF advt, finally!

LCA Navy creates history in Goa; India joins an elite club

By Anantha Krishnan M
Bengaluru, Dec 20: India on Saturday created a slice of naval history when the first home-grown naval jet Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Naval Protytype-1 (NP-1), a trainer, took off from the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at INS Hans in Goa for the first time. As reported by OneIndia recently, the NP-1 was piloted by Cmde Jaideep Maolankar, Chief Test Pilot of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) situated in Bengaluru. 
The SBTF replicates a static model of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) being built at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala. The aircraft undertook the ski-jump (take-off) 300 meters away from the ramp – having a curved upward shape at one end. The telemetry feed of the crucial trial was also available at NFTC, which was closely monitored by an expert team.
Sources who witnessed the NP-1 event at SBTF told OneIndia that the aircraft accelerated more than expected. “We were hoping for a 150 knot safe fly away at a climb rate of 6.4 degrees. But, the aircraft had a higher acceleration with a climb rate of around 11 degrees, which showcased the confidence of the pilot on the platform,” an official said.
Naval history created, says DRDO D-G: Dr K Tamilmani, one of the visible faces of DRDO and its Director-General (Aero) told OneIndia that NP1 smooth take-off during the first attempt itself will give a huge boost to the programme. “There have been delays which are justifiable if you have tracked the programme from close quarters. We were dating complex technologies and NP-1 scripted naval history at INS Hansa,” Dr Tamilmani said.
He said as part of the current campaign, NP-1 will have five more tests at SBTF (only ski-jumps) to meet all mission parameters. “Based on the test points achieved, we will schedule the next leg of trials. The aircraft will undertake ski-jumps 90 meters from the ramp, with all weapon stores in place,” Dr Tamilmani added.
To a specific query, the top scientist said that the arrester-hook landing trials of NP-1 will be conducted within 6-8 months. He confirmed that the second prototype of naval LCA (NP-2) will undertake its first flight in Bengaluru soon. The NP-1 had its maiden flight on April 27, 2012.
The DRDO quoted its Chief Dr Avinash Chander in an official release saying that it hopes to see home-grown combat aircraft soon flying from the decks of Indian aircraft carriers. 
Validation of the efforts by design teams, says Navy: The Indian Navy is yet to officially name the aircraft and the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan had recently expressed concerns over the delay in the programme. The Admiral had also reviewed the project ahead of the SBTF trails. 
Reacting to the NP-1’s achievement on Saturday, Rear Admiral D M Sudan, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) told OneIndia from New Delhi that the NP-1 ski-jump is a validation of the effort of the design team.
“The launch of NP-1 from the SBTF is a historic event. It also shows the faith the Navy has reposed in this indigenous development programme. This event would provide an impetus towards timely achievement of future milestones,” Rear Admiral Sudan said.
We predicted the behavior of the aircraft, says ADA Chief: P S Subramanyam, Director, Aeronautical Development Agency, told OneIndia from Goa that it was a ‘text-book style’ launch of NP-1 at SBTF.
“India has become only the third country in the world (after US and Ukraine) to have carried out such a launch. This technology is only available to a few nations. We were able to predict the behaviour of the aircraft during the entry on the ramp, while on the ramp and after its exit,” he said.
He said Saturday’s mission was a well-orchestrated one with many agencies involved. He said the NP-1 did not have an arrester hook fitted on it. “The arrester-hook landing is not a critical test as ski-jump. Today what we have achieved will be remembered for a long time to come,” Subramanyam said.
Our Take | OneIndia
* All the stake-holders need to be patted on their back for this stupendous achievement. 
* The successful completion of the critical nature of the mission at first attempt itself should further boost the confidence of the user on the programme.
* The Navy has been backing this programme to the hilt, which gave the ADA-HAL-NFTC combine to undertake ski-jump more confidently. User support sans any conditions important for desi programmes to flourish.
* The NP-2 should join the flight-line at the earliest which should help catch-up with some of the lost time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

More photos from SBTF @INS Hansa | NP-1 ski-jump


Official DRDO video of NP1 ski-jump from SBTF


NLCA NP1 completes first successful take-off from SBTF


Stand-by for a detailed story.

One year after IOC-2, Parrikar says IAF will finally get Tejas by March 2015

By Anantha Krishnan M
Bengaluru, Dec 19: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will ‘officially’ get to fly the first series production (SP-1) variant of India’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas by March 2015. Having skipped many deadlines in the past, the fresh dates announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Lok Sabha today, will again put the spotlight on Tejas, which is currently meeting the mandatory Final Operational Clearance (FOC) test-points.
Interestingly, Parrikar’s statement comes on the eve of Tejas completing one year after being given the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) on December 20, 2013. “The first of the IOC standard Tejas (SP-1) has been built and successfully completed its maiden flight on September 30, 2014. This aircraft will be handed over to IAF by March 2015 after some upgrades,” Parrikar informed Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The SP-1 was rolled out from the brand new Tejas facility of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in Bengaluru. The minister said that the second aircraft (SP-2) will also be ready by March 2015 for its maiden flight and the first 20 aircraft will be built by 2017-18. The first 20 Tejas will be in the IOC configuration and the remaining 20 in the FOC configuration.
FOC dates further pushed to Dec 2015: The minister also announced that the crucial FOC (meeting all parameters set by the IAF, which is called Air Staff Requirement) is “likely to be only achieved by end of 2015.” This programme was expected to get FOC by mid-2015 and sources tell OneIndia that the minister might have announced the fresh likely dates after getting a briefing from the IAF. 
DRDO Chief Dr Avinash Chander told OneIndia on Friday that all planned events of Tejas FOC are on track. “The programme is heading in the right direction and the trials mandated under FOC are being done,” Dr Avninash said.
On another query, the DRDO chief said that the third trial of Agni-5 missile will not happen this month. “The fresh dates are being worked out. It will be only sometime in January next year,” Dr Avinash said.
He also complemented the DRDO for successfully testing a 1000 kg glide bomb today (in Bay of Bengal off the Odisha coast). “India has now the capability to design, develop and launch heavy bombs for delivery up to 100 km away with high precision,” Dr Avinash was quoted by DRDO in a release.
DRDO says all major critical challenges achieved: DRDO Director-General (Aero) Dr K Tamilmani told OneIndia that the project has achieved all major challenges so far. “So far there are no critical challenges to overcome. A number of Tejas variants are undertaking trials and that’s a positive sign for the project,” Dr Tamilmani said.
When specifically asked about the FOC dates getting postponed, the top DRDO brain said: “We are awaiting for some more components (nose cone quartz radome and the air-to-air refueling probe) to arrive. There is a delay from the part of getting them.”
He said Tejas has proven multiple test-points related to its weapon release. “Functional aspects of the radar have been proved. Issues related to range will be fixed with the new radome,” he added.
We will ramp up production, says HAL: HAL Chairman Dr R K Tyagi said that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will ramp up the Tejas series production soon. “We are confident of increasing it from eight to 16 aircraft and we are in talks with the government. We hope the IAF order for Tejas goes up significantly from the current numbers,” Dr Tyagi said.
He also demanded a level playing field for HAL when the Ministry of Defence invites competitive bids. “Everyone should be given an equal chance. The HTT-40 programme is a challenge to our prestige and pride,” Dr Tyagi said, while releasing a new book on Tejas, IJT and Jaguar upgrade written by former LCA (Director) in HAL Yogesh Kumar. The book is titled: “Lead and Execute: The Art of Managing Large Scale Projects.”
Our Take | OneIndia
  • It is a matter of concern that Tejas deadlines are getting shifted again.
  • MoD must bring in more synergy between HAL-ADA.
  • Lessons learnt from Tejas Mk-1 must act as pointers for future projects like Tejas Mk-II (if IAF needs it), AMCA, UCAV etc.
  • Emotions have no place when your fighter plane needs to gain combat-readiness as desired by the user.

Dhruv, a savior for thousands of families in Sunabeda

By Anantha Krishnan M
Sonabeda, Dec 16: The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) top management has touched the hearts of thousands of employees and their families of its Engine Division in Koraput by dedicating a civil helicopter to meet any medical emergencies.
The civil variant of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv (VT-HAQ) has become a huge relief for the Division’s 3700+plus workforce and their families.
The HAL Engine Division is situated at Sunabeda in Koraput district of Odhisa, which is a remote area with fluctuating climate, at times. During a recent visit to the facilities, OneIndia was taken around the helipad, which is on an upgradation mode in the last couple of years.
The employees credit HAL Chairman R K Tyagi for instantly agreeing for their request for a helicopter service so as to reach Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Visakhapatnam during emergencies. “The need for a helicopter was projected in May 2012 and our Chairman ensured that in September 2012 Dhruv started its operations. The availability of Dhruv is a huge morale-booster for the workforce here,” Maloy De, General Manager (Koraput), tells OneIndia.
Pawan Hans, HAL teams available 24x7: Today the Dhruv is operated by a team of pilots and ground engineering team from Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL). They are supported by HAL team headed by S Pandit, Additional General Manager (Helicopters and Services). HAL’s Helicopter Division in Bengaluru is in constant coordination with Sonabeda. In addition to medical evacuation, the Dhruv is also being used for VIP movement and aerial survey.
“The Dhruv has the capability to carry patients and other passengers in different approved configurations. The copter has come to the rescue of many families since 2012. Dhruv is a savior for all the employees of HAL Sonabeda. It’s a relief for the employees to have a chopper to fall back on,” says A B Pradhan, Additional General Manager, HR.
HAL upgrades helipad and infrastructure: The helicopter operations in the region began in 2005 with the Odhisa government setting up two temporary helipads at the HAL facility. “Presently, the helipad has been upgraded and it constitutes of four concrete helipads and a non-concrete one. We can operate five helicopters at a time from this facility,” says HAL Chairman Dr R K Tyagi.
Mandatory facilities like fire tender, ambulance, refueling, ground handling and ground-support equipment are available here. “In addition to Dhruv, bigger helicopters like MI-17, MI-8 and VIP helicopters like Dophin, Bell have operated in the last two years,” says Dr Tyagi.
Commercialisation of ALH helicopter operation: HAL is keen to convert the Dhruv’s operations into a profitable venture and have taken up the matter with the Odhisa government. “Koraput district has many tourist destinations and it’s also the land of NALCO, COBRA battalion of the CRPF, naval ammunition depot, Central University, paper mills among others. There is no helicopter or aviation service that connects this remote town to other communication centers. The scope is huge and we are hopeful of positive responses from various agencies,” says an HAL official, who wanted not to be named.
Tourism potential high if Jeypore airstrip is extended: HAL officials say that the runway at the nearby Jeypore airstrip (40 km from Koraput) needs to be extended for tourism and other commercial purposes. “It is currently of 998 m in length and if extended larger aircraft can land here. If the IL-76s can land, then it would help us ship engines directly to various Indian Air Force (IAF) bases,” says the official.
Currently the engines are being transported by road to various IAF bases, which is a risky and cumbersome process. “If the runway at Jeypore is extended to 3000 m, even the Boeings could land here. The Centre and state government should join hands for the benefit of this region. The Centre should include Jeypore too into the network of airports to be developed. Currently the airstrip is being used only during elections. The Vaydoots had operated from Jeypore in the 1990s,” adds the official.

Our Take | OneIndia
  • With the IAF having no operational base in Odhisa, it could be a wise move to develop the Jeypore airstrip,
  • The Ministry of Defence should also look into from a strategic point of view so that the facility can be made into a chopper training centre.
  • In addition, the IAF can also use the HAL helipad for extending their training.
  • From quality assurance point of view, it is better to develop the Jeypore airstrip, so that the engines manufactured and overhauled at HAL Sonabeda will have a snag-free journey to various bases.
  • It will be a shot in the arm for all agencies involved in the anti-Naxal operations in the region.

Friday, December 12, 2014

HAL propels fortunes of Koraput Engine Division with gen-next projects

By Anantha Krishnan M 

Sonabeda, Dec 12: The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has put the Engine Division in Koraput on spotlight with funds and new ideas being made available on priority basis. During a recent visit to the division situated at Sunabeda (Koraput district in Odhisa and 180 km from Visakhapatnam), OneIndia was given access to some of the state-of-the-art facilities. 
Set up in 1964, the division completed 50 years recently with the Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha wanting it to emerge as the ‘aero engine capital of India.’ Echoing his thoughts was G C Pati, Chief Secretary, Odhisa, who wanted the division to further enhance indigenous capabilities in aeronautical sector. 
A handout given by HAL says that the division has a total workforce of 3775 employees, comprising of 2945 workmen and 830 executives. 
Massive investments projected for the next 5 years: Speaking to OneIndia, Maloy De, General Manager (Koraput) said that the renewed thrust shown by the HAL top management in the recent years has rejuvenated the workforce. 
“In the last 50 years, we have manufactured 1574 engines and overhauled 7417 engines. We have achieved a turnover of around Rs 1579 core during the financial year 2013-14,” De said. The division plans an investment to the tune of over Rs 4500 crore in the next five years and the targeted growth plan by 2010 is Rs 3341 crore. 
Since inception, the division has manufactured and overhauled R-25, R-29B, RD-33 and AL-31FP engines to power the MiG-21 series, MiG-27M, MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI aircraft. 
The division has also set up a test bed for AL-55I engines for the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT). It has already established a facility for production of single crystal blades for Sukhois, which can further support India’s missile and unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) programmes. 
Ingenious efforts on for overhauling MiG 29 engines: The division has been on the threshold of successfully launching home-grown solutions while overhauling the RD-33 (Series-3) engines of MiG 29 fighters. “There was no ToT (transfer of technology) with Russians for six uncommon aggregators (accessories) of the RD-33 (Series-3) engines. The ToT was getting delayed as the Russians were demanding additional funds. The ToT would have come only by 2016, prompting us to initiate the indigenous programme,” says Arup Chatterjee, Officiating Chief of Project (Engines), while interacting with the media. 
He said the IAF had bought over 100 engines from the Russians in 2007. “With the engines started coming for overhaul, we developed technologies for three out of the six uncommon aggregators successfully. The remaining three are targeted to be developed within HAL by June 2015. This has given us self-confidence for meeting our indigenous missions,” Chatterjee added. 
Similarly, HAL also developed an overhaul technology for the KSA-2 accessory gearbox of RD-33 engines, which has been cleared by the certifying agencies now. 
Sukhoi facility on full throttle: The Sukhoi (Su-30 MKI) engine facility is a marvel by itself with some of the gen-next technologies already being used, including a robotic welding system. Speaking to OneIndia, Rajaram Mohanty, Officiating General Manager (Sukhoi Engine Divison), said that a total of 23 engines have been made from the raw material phase now. 
“The division has so far manufactured close to 280 engines (AL-31FP) for the Sukhois, while around 158 have been overhauled. The first engine from the raw material phase was rolled out during 2011-12. We are also fully equipped for the long testing (three months) of Sukhoi engines,” says Rajaram. 
The TBO (Time Between Overhaul) of a Sukhoi engine is 1000 hours, while the total lifespan of an engine is 2000 hours. HAL hopes that it will be able to generate more employment when the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project takes a firm shape. 
High Altitude Test Bed in the pipeline: The division estimated over Rs 1500 crore towards setting up a High Altitude Test Bed facility. “Once the test bed goes live, India will be the 4th country in the world who can boast of such a state-of-the-art facility to test new engines,” says Ashish Kumar Roy, Chief of Projects (IJT & Services), while interacting with the media. 
The Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) officials have already visited HAL for preliminary discussions. “Availability of many water bodies in Sunabeda is a huge plus for this project as the water consumption will be more. In addition, power supply is another factor which the state government will have to take a call,” says Roy. 
The facility will be able to simulate the actual condition of an engine when an aircraft will be in flight. HAL plans a business model to earn revenues from the facility by supporting other projects from India and abroad. 
Tyagi says the flight-path for next 50 years set: HAL Chairman R K Tyagi refused to take any credit for propelling the division ever since he took over the reins of the company in 2012. While the employees of Koraput Division credit Tyagi for reviving their fortunes, the soft-spoken man said: “It was part of my job.” 
Interestingly, till recently a posting to Koraput was not favoured by many due to its remoteness. “All I saw was an opportunity for Koraput Division to grow. While distance might be a problem for the people in general, in aerospace we can cut short the distances through innovations and inspiring decisions,” says Tyagi. 
He said the frequent visits to the division acted as a huge morale-booster to the employees of Koraput Division. “I did my job as the captain of HAL. The flight-path for the next 50 years for Koraput has been scripted and there’s no looking back,” says Tyagi. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

LCA NP1 all set for ski-jump trials at SBTF Goa | NP-2 likely to have first flight soon

By Anantha Krishnan M
Bengaluru, Dec 8: Scripting a new chapter in India’s naval aviation history, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Naval Prototype-1 (NP-1) is all set to undertake critical trials at INS Hansa in Goa for the first time. Sources confirm to OneIndia that the NP-1 undertook ‘extensive pre-requisite flying’ at HAL Airport in Bengaluru ahead of its expected ferry to Goa soon. 
“The aircraft is in a good shape now. In the last two weeks alone, we did five flights. Specified speed, Mach No, altitude, Angle of Attack, undercarriage operations and ground accelerations all have been tested and found satisfactory,” an official said. 
The NP-1 (trainer variant) was rolled out with great fanfare on July 6, 2010 and the aircraft had its maiden flight on April 27, 2012. As on December 6, 2014, the platform could only achieve 29 flights. 
NP-1 to perform a challenging task at SBTF: An advance team of experts have already landed at Goa ahead of the NP-1 campaign at INS Hansa. “Modifications on the NP-1 have already done for the ski-jump activities. Ski-jump is a technologically-challenging task achieved by India. Only very few countries (US and Ukraine among known nations) can boast of a facility like SBTF,” the official said. 
The SBTF is currently regularly used by the MiG 29Ks, before their operations onboard INS Vikramaditya. “The MiG 29Ks have been undertaking ski-jump and arrester hook landing for some time now. The LCA Navy will be doing only ski-jumps now. We will have two-week preparation time ahead of the first mission,” the official added. 
The NP-1 will be ferried (flown from point to point) from HAL Airport and it would cover the distance to Goa within an hour. It will be first a home-grown naval aviation platform will to land at INS Hansa. Commodore T A Maolankar from the National Flight Test Centre is expected to pilot NP-1 during Goa mission. 
he Navy is expected to give an official name for the LCA Navy soon as they were not keen to go with Tejas. It was former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee who named the IAF variant as Tejas. The ADA-HAL-Navy teams plans to invite PM Narendra Modi for the naming ceremony in future. 
The trials at the SBTF are crucial as it would give the team confidence to undertake further trials on NP-1. A second prototype (NP-2, fighter variant) is also getting ready at the HAL hangars, which is expected to have its maiden flight before the end of this year. 
Largest R&D programme in India: The LCA programme has become the largest R&D programme India has undertaken in the military aviation/ aerospace arena. Each LCA costs around Rs 250 crore, while the GSLV is pegged at Rs 220 crore, PSLV Rs 80-100 crore and Agni Rs 50 crore. 
“Though the aircraft is dogged with some problems right now, few local sorties have set the stage for the ferry. Joining NP-1 will be PV6 trainer and probably LSP7 from the Tejas flightline. The latter two may further proceed to Leh. In parallel, the HJT-36 (Intermediate Jet Trainer) is also scheduling sea level trials and asymmetric stores jettison exercises at Goa,” an official said. 
SBTF is a tech marvel: The SBTF replicates a static model of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) being built at the Cochin Shipyard. The SBTF has 14 deg parabolic profile ski-jump for take-off and an arresting gear for landing. The main objective of SBTF is for the certification of naval LCA for ship-borne operations, which is a mandatory requirement ahead of the aircraft’s operations onboard IAC for the carrier compatibility test (CCT). 
The SBTF is equipped with restraining gear system with ski-jump for take-off and an arresting gear system for landing. It also uses an optical landing system, TV landing control system, light signaling system and a series of auxiliary units, akin to the IAC. 
The story so far dogged in delays: Similar to its elder sibling Tejas, the Indian Air Force (IAF) variant of LCA, the NP-1 too got embroiled in serious developmental issues, delaying the project. In the past, its designers at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and makers at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) had to deal with nagging issues linked to the arrestor hook, landing gear and LEVCONs (control surfaces which allow for better low-speed handling). 
In an interview to OneIndia recently, Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan had expressed concern over the delay in LCA naval programme. “It’s an important programme for us and we have the IAC (Indigenous Aircraft Carrier) in Kochi getting ready and the SBTF waiting for LCA Navy. It’s important that the programme is speeded up,” the navy chief had said. 
Naval sources say that the Navy Chief is expected to review the progress of the project in Delhi on December 8. “The Chief will also be briefed about the scheduled events that are expected to be undertaken at SBTF,” a naval official said. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Navy Day Exclusive: Fearless Foursome all set to conquer the seas

The spic-and-span verandahs of eye-catching buildings at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) in Ezhimala were filled with the gentle flow of cool breeze from the nearby Ettikulum beach. At a distance, one could see the Laser-class sail-boats of INA on their practice missions ahead of the Admiral’s Cup.
The INA was abuzz with activities in the run up to the Navy Day (December 4) celebrations. The cadets who earned their stripes during the just-concluded Passing out Parade were seen taking their proud parents on a tour to various facilities.
Seated inside one of the hi-tech briefing rooms were four women in their whites. It was evident from their faces that they were ‘briefed’ by officials in advance on the ‘possible’ mode of the interview with OneIndia. Hence, the first task was to break the ice. The interview started on a casual conversation mode.
The ‘fearless foursome’ joined the INA through the graduate entry route after clearing the Services Selection Board (SSB) requirements. At the INA, they all underwent a six-month intense course, before setting out on their dream postings.
(In conversation with: Sub-Lieutenant Anuradha Khassa, Assistant Commandant Shipla Malik, Assistant Commandant Ipshita Gupta and Assistant Commandant Devyani Saraf. Full report on OneIndia: http://bit.ly/1rUuvbV)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Arihant’s maiden sea sortie shortly; stringent safety audits to curb accidents: Admiral Dhowan

By Anantha Krishnan M
Ezhimala (Kerala), Dec 1: The Indian Navy’s future cruise will be guided by a perspective plan mapped to perfection after taking into account factors like threat perception, technological needs, likely environment in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and India’s state as a maritime nation.
In an exclusive interview to OneIndia, ahead of the Navy Day on December 4, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan said that the Indian Navy’s structured phase of transformation has received a boost with the launch of the dedicated satellite -- Rukmini -- last year.
The country’s maiden dedicated military satellite Rukmini (GSAT-7) was launched by the Arianespace from French Guiana in April 2013, giving Indian Navy more teeth for its missions in the IOR.
“Currently ships, submarines and aircraft are being inducted into the Navy at regular intervals. We have gone multi-dimensional and the Rukmini satellite has ensured that the Navy will have an operational network footprint in the IOR,” Admiral Dhowan told OneIndia during his recent visit to the Indian Naval Academy (INA) in Ezhimala (Kerala).
LCA Navy delay is a matter of concern: Admiral Dhowan said that the delay in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Navy programme has been taken up seriously. “It’s an important programme for us and we have the IAC (Indigenous Aircraft Carrier) in Kochi getting ready and the SBTF (Shore Based Test Facility) waiting for LCA Navy. It’s important that the programme is speeded up,” he said.
He said the Navy was monitoring the progress of the project closely. “We have conveyed our concerns to the agencies concerned. We hope to start the trials of LCA Navy at SBTF at the earliest. The delay has been a cause of concern. We have also conveyed our concern to the Ministry of Defence and the defence production officials,” he said.
More roles for ALHs; aviation arm on a threshold: He said for the Navy is looking for additional ALHs for enhanced maritime operations in the IOR. To a specific query whether the Navy would go for weaponised versions of ALH, the Navy Chief said: “Our requirements are different. Now we are using them for SAR (search and rescue) operations and as a utility copter. In future, we want the ALHs for shallow water ASW (anti-submarine warfare) requirements. So we hope to get the best ALHs.”
He said the naval aviation is on a threshold with the induction of new assets. “We have the MiG 29 Ks (both fighter and trainer) flying onboard INS Vikramaditya. More MiG 29Ks will be inducted soon to consolidate their operational process from an aircraft carrier. We have inducted six P8-Is at Rajali and two more will join to complete the first slot. We have a case in progress to explore the option clause for four more,” he said. 
He said the rotary UAV programme undertaken by the DRDO has been very slow. “We have taken note of the delay in the project. We have given lots of impetus to the project in the last two years. We have laid down stringent timelines and conveyed the same to DRDO for an early solution. We have seen some progress on this front now,” the Admiral said. He said the Navy’s relationship with DRDO is that of a synergy.
Arihant’s first sea sortie shortly: The Navy Chief said that all efforts have been made to ensure that the operational submarines are fully operational and combat-ready. “We are also undertaking an aspect related to the service life extension of these submarines so that we can give them longer lease of life,” he said.
“We took stock of the ongoing submarine construction ‘Project 75’ programme (Scorpene) at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited. We have given a deadline of September 2016 for the first submarine to come out, followed by five more,” he added. The Navy Chief said that India’s nuclear submarine Arihant will have its first sea sortie shortly soon after its harbour trials. 
Quality control at dockyards made stringent: When asked about the growing number of accidents being reported in the Navy during the last one year, the Navy Chief said that if the procedures are not followed with alacrity, accidents do happen.
"Navy is a highly professional service driven by technology advancements. For every action carried out onboard our assets we need to strictly follow all the procedures. When we don’t follow them, there will be room for errors leading to accidents,” he said.
Saying that 50 per cent of naval ships are almost 20 years old, he said safety procedures cannot be overlooked even once.
“The lifespan of a ship or submarine is around 30-35 years. It’s not easy to operate on a submarine or a ship while we work in a very challenging environment. When we have older ships we have to be extra careful while maintaining them. Nobody would like accidents to happen. Our sailors and officers spent sleepless nights so that our citizens can sleep in peace. All measures have been taken, including safety audits, to ensure that accidents can be minimized,” the Navy Chief said.
He said the material failure is an aspect related to maintenance. “There are many agencies involved at our dockyards. The quality control at our dockyards has been made stringent,” he said.
Manpower induction and development of infrastructure key: He said the Navy is gearing up to add more manpower with more assets being inducted on a regular basis. “Man power development and development of infrastructure are two key factors for the Indian Navy now. Since we are inducting more ships, submarines and aircraft, we are focusing more on the human resources now. The INA is the cradle for human resources development of officers and it has to cater to the enhanced rate of induction. We have set our sight on the Phase-II expansion of INA now,” Admiral Dhowan said.
He said the Phase-II will take into account the living accommodation, training facilities, classrooms, sports facilities sound education and training. “We would want INA to impart the highest quality of training available,” he said.
‘A salute to remember’ photo inspires the Chief: The Navy Chief expressed his happiness over the photograph of a special child saluting with the title ‘A salute to remember’ going viral on the social media. "I am touched by this photo. Indian Navy needs more such inspiring moments. Glad you could capture this. An inspiring image for the Indian Navy when we are heading for Navy Day celebrations," the Chief told OneIndia
The photo was captured by this writer outside the INA main gate on November 28. It was a mere coincidence that OneIndia was present while Sandeep (a special child) was saluting Rajeev (of the Naval Police). Sandeep is a student of Sneha Nilaya Special School, Kaakanaadu (Kochi) and had visited the INA along with other children as part of Indian Navy's outreach programme.
The Chief also said that the Navy would become more visible on social media platforms. “We are looking at the pros and cons on taking to the social media. We would certainly want better visibility,” Admiral Dhowan said.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#MissionINA-2 | Scripted in Jammu, executed at INA: A story of friendship, passion & achievement

This is a story of friendship, passion and commitment to serve the nation. The storyline is set against the picturesque settings of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala. It is also the story of two village boys near Jammu, who have now transformed into gentlemen officers and all set to receive their stripes from the Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan during the Autumn Term 2014 Passing out Parade (PoP) on November 29. OneIndia interviewed both officers in the presence of their parents, on the eve of their much-awaited PoP.
Meet Academy Cadet Captain Ankush Jasrotia and Academy Cadet Adjutant Rajinder Singh. Their friendship blossomed at a tuition class in a Kathua village near Jammu. "We both wanted to join the Navy. I joined the Navy in 2007 as an artificer apprentice. I was posted to INS Tarangani in Mumbai in 2009. But, I always dreamt of becoming an officer," says Ankush . He said after meeting Rajinder at their tuition centre in Kathua village, he knew there was something common among both friends.

Full report on OneIndia: http://bit.ly/11DJZVh

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#MissionINA-1: We are on expansion mode; focus on new-age technologies: INA Commandant

Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar P, Commandant, INA. Photo: IN

The Indian Naval Academy (INA) is gearing up to build infrastructure and capabilities to meet the increase in intake in the next five years with the Phase-II expansion plans going live. The INA, a premier training establishment of Indian Navy, situated at Ezhimala in Kannur district of North Kerala's Malabar region, is on an expansion mode which will see the cadet strength eventually double in the Phase-III stage. 

In an exclusive one-to-one with OneIndia, Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar P, Commandant, INA, said that current shift in focus of training in the Indian Navy mandates an officer to be able to man, operate and maintain the gen-next assets. 
"To fight the future wars at the sea, we want our officers to be equipped mentally, physically and technologically. At INA, we have been giving a huge stress on tech learning with the best of systems available for the cadets," says Vice Admiral Suresh who is being part of the Indian Navy for over 33 years.
* Phase-II plans in full swing
* Attracting the best talent
* Huge demand from foreign navies
* Training ships likely to be part of INA in future

Read more on OneIndia, here: http://bit.ly/1ry28KO
More photos on: https://www.facebook.com/Tarmak007

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mission Aerofi set to propel ‘Make Indian’ concepts in aerospace

By Anantha Krishnan M

Mission Aerospace Foundation of India (Mission Aerofi), an organisation that promises to develop products from home-grown platforms for the world market is all set to take off in Bengaluru on November 29. The official launch of Aerofi will be held at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) situated inside the Indian Institute of Science campus. Former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major (Retd) will be the chief guest during the occasion.
The first project of Mission Aerofi could be the development of a quad-copter (a flying machine with four rotors). With over 50,000 quad-copters flying all over the world currently, the team is keen to join hands with Belgium for this project. "This Indo-Belgium product will target to incorporate new technologies such as structural batteries, which is part of the airframe structure itself, as also advances in cognitive technologies for multiple quad-copters to cooperate to execute missions. Quad-copters are popular for their short take-off capabilities and are effective for surveillance missions," says Anurakar Mishra, CEO of Genser Aerospace and Information Technologies Private Ltd and the brain behind the new organisation.
Read the full report on OneIndia, here: http://bit.ly/1rmGcm1

Friday, November 21, 2014

Will Parrikar give go-ahead for single-tender Avro replacement bid?

By Anantha Krishnan M

Manohar Parrikar
All eyes are on India’s new Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is set to chair his first Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting in New Delhi on November 22. Among the crucial decisions to be taken by Parrikar, the 13,000-crore ‘private sector only’ Avro replacement project initiated by the UPA-2 regime would be the most-awaited one. Aimed at encouraging the private sector to take major lead in India’s aerospace and defence programmes, the project envisages the delivery of 56 medium transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF), under the ‘Buy and Make’ category.
The decision to keep PSUs like aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at bay from the tendering process has already ran into trouble. The tender was issued during A K Antony’s regime in May 2013 and was strongly opposed by some of his Cabinet colleagues as well. The tender had sought foreign OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to identify an Indian partner other than HAL, to supply 16 aircraft from their original facilities and provide ToT (Transfer of Technology) for manufacturing the remaining 40 aircraft by the Indian partner.
As per the tender, foreign OEM would remain as the main contractor and the Indian partner would only remain as a vendor. The contract, when finalised, will be signed between the OEM and the IAF. The tender has so far been extended several times with the foreign OEMs failing to identify a capable Indian partner. Finally, the Tata-Airbus consortium (Airbus Defence & Space and Tata Advanced Systems) now remain as the single vendor, offering the Airbus C295 as a replacement to the Avros.
While the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) prohibits clearances of defence projects under single tender, sources tell OneIndia that DAC can overlook the rulebook taking into account the ‘existing exceptional situation.’ If Parrikar uses this ‘special route’ to bring in the Airbus C295, it might be seen as a deviation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong ‘Make in India’ pitch. However, those supporting Airbus C295 would argue that a major work share will be done in India thereby fulfilling PM’s Make in India dream.

Also read:

* Make in India campaign in focus
* Choose independent directors carefully, MoD told 
* We should be allowed to compete, says HAL
* Future bids will be different, says expert
* About Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) 

Full report on OneIndia here: http://bit.ly/11Kny1q

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chandan needs your support. Do chip in with help

I will become a real pilot one day, says terminally-ill boy Chandan

Photos: Uday Foundation

By Anantha Krishnan M | OneIndia News 

Bengaluru, Nov 19: Fourteen-year-old Chandan is on Cloud 9. Thanks to the Indian Air Force (IAF), his biggest dream of becoming a ‘fighter pilot’ has been fulfilled recently. On the eve of Children’s Day, Chandan ‘earned’ his wings after dating the fighter planes and flight simulators. 
“Till then, I had seen planes only on television. I am very happy. But, I have more dreams now… ,” Chandan told OneIndia during an exclusive interview. He even had a one-to-one session with the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha. 
Chandan’s plane passion refuses to die. He knows he is hit by the deadly cancer. His doctors and parents haven’t told him about his very slim chances of survival. “May be three months more… God-willing little more,” says Rahul Verma, Founder of Uday Foundation, who has been supporting Chandan and his family for the last couple of years. 
Shuttling between All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi and his temporary place of stay being arranged by the Uday Foundation, Chandan refuses to give up. “He is the real fighter,” says Rahul. 

A studious child 

Chandan’s father Girish Mandal (39) ran a small-time business in Smasthipur district of Bihar. In the last couple of years, the family has moved to New Delhi for Chandan’s treatment at AIIMS. “He is extremely good at studies. His results were really good. He never missed any of his homework and his Masterji was always happy with Chandan, who did his schooling till 7th Standard,” says Mandal. 
After planes, Chandan is fond of computers and he is even a good hand at the game of carrom. “This Diwali my father bought me a new phone. I think he paid Rs 4,000 for the phone. I love it and it gives me good company,” Chandan told OneIndia over phone from Delhi. 
The entire interview was done in Hindi and on a conference call mode, with Chandan’s father and Rahul Verma joining in. “He was excited when we told that a writer covering planes and ships will be calling him from Bangalore. He wanted to quickly complete his treatment and talk about planes,” says Rahul Verma. 

Surviving on pain killers 

A look at Chandan’s medical report can be disturbing. The family says the doctors have tried their best. Chandan is administered heavy dose of pain killers, including Morphine tablets. His entire body is hit by cancer, which is now in a very advanced stage. 
Every alternate day, Chandan visits AIIMS and undergoes chemotherapy among other treatments. “The doctors are now keeping the boy out of pain and I think they have exhausted all modes of treatment. His days might be numbered, but every moment of his life matters to us. I am thankful to IAF for taking my kid to a plane. I have never seen him so happy,” says Mandal. 

Uday Foundation’s role 

Rahul Verma of Uday Foundation says that Chandan and his family were spotted outside AIIMS couple of years back. “It is the case with many poor families in Delhi. They stay outside the hospitals. We did manage to raise some funds for Chandan. In India we do not give any dignity for the poor people. Chandan’s father couldn’t return to work in the village due to the boy’s illness,” says Rahul, who was instrumental in reaching out to the IAF. 
Today, Mandal works as a volunteer with the Uday Foundation and in return he gets some support to take care of Chandan’s medical needs. “The Foundation is a volunteer-based NGO and conducts a series of programmes for the healthcare of children. We also run activities for children in hospitals,” says Rahul. 

Air warriors are proud of the boy 

Speaking to OneIndia, Wg Cdr S S Birdi, IAF Official Spokesperson, said that air warriors take lot of pride in fulfilling the wishes of Chandan. “It was a very special day for all of us in IAF when we could do something to make Chandan’s wishes come true. The IAF Chief himself was very moved by Chandan’s fighting spirit. In many ways Chandan is the true fighter. The boy was extremely happy after being with us. We are united in our prayers that he overcomes the illness at the earliest. Chandan has touched our hearts,” Birdi said. 

I want plane models, says Chandan 

Chandan now wants to have some models so that he is always in touch with flying machines. “After watching planes fly on TV and later seeing them at very close range was a great feeling. I have lots of pilot friends now. Now, I will also become a real pilot one day. I want some plane toys (models) so that I can always see them. I want to sleep next to them and carry them to the hospital so that I don’t get bored, “says Chandan. 
The interview was wound up with an assurance to Chandan that plane models will be soon land in Delhi and delivered to him. 

Will you chip in? 

Chandan’s family needs financial assistance and you may contribute towards the cause of boy’s treatment. His bank details are below: 

Master Chandan Kumar, Account No. 600510110003936 (Savings Account), Bank of India, Hauz Khas Branch, A-21, Green Park Main, New Delhi, PIN: 110 016, IFSC Code: BKID0006005 (For online transactions). 

[The photos used in this report are copyrighted property of Uday Foundation. They are being published with permission.] 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

OneIndia Exclusive: DRDO to abandon Kaveri project; GTRE gets revival package

By Anantha Krishnan M

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has decided to wind up the Kaveri engine (GTX-35VS) programme, signaling an end to a desi dream of equipping its own fighter jet with a home-grown power plant. Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to OneIndia on Tuesday that the DRDO has already moved a file recently seeking the closure of the ambitious engine development project undertaken by Bengaluru-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE).
The proposal now needs to get the approval of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and finally the clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) – a process expected to take at least a year. The Kaveri project, which began in the mid-80s, was aimed at powering the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
GTRE has spent so far Rs 2,106 crore on the project so far and could only fly the engine for 73 hours on the IL-76 Flying Test Bed (FTB) in Russia. The delay in the project saw DRDO choosing the GE 404 engine for Tejas Mk-1 and GE 414 for Tejas Mk-II. 
* GTRE gets additional funds 
* Part of DRDO’s bold decision, confirms DG
* Years of hard work won’t go waste: GTRE Director 

Read the full report on OneIndia: http://bit.ly/1EZw22J

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