Indian Navy modernization plan

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Galaxy, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Indian Navy Swears By Its Tavor Family Of Small Arms & Its Four Upgraded Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs

    Friday, December 30, 2011
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    As far as orders already placed for new-build vessels go, four 6,700-tonne Project 15B guided-missile destroyers (DDG) will be built by Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) as will seven Project 17A guided-missile frigates (FFG) and all these 11 warships will be using LM-2500 marine industrial gas-turbines for propulsion, two 110-metre cadet-training ships are being built by ABG Shipyard at a cost of Rs9.7 billion (under a contract signed in June 2011), five 2,500-tonne offshore patrol vessels (OPV) to be built by Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd, eight Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to be built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers under a Rs23 billion contract inked in September 2011, 80 fast interceptor craft (FICs, to be imported from Sri Lanka’s Solas Marine) and 15 FIC-1300s (being imported from Chantier Naval Couach of France).

    The FICs are small high-speed boats for harbour and offshore oil rig and counter-terror patrols, meant for use by the Sagar Prahari Bal, post-26/11, and hence have no relevance to any traditional naval blue- or green-water operations.

    A contract to import two and indigenously built six South Korea-origin minesweepers (derived from Intermarine of Italy’s Lerici-class GRP-hulled minehunter, but re-engineered by Kangnam Corp) is also to be signed soon.

    RFPs for the indigenous construction of four 20,000-tonne LPHs under a Rs170 billion contract have been issued and all the responses have been received, with the frontrunner being DCNS of France’s Mistral BPC design. The MoD-owned shipyard expected to win the contract for licence-building the latter two of the four LPHs is Vizag-based Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, which is likely to enlist the services of Larsen & Toubro as its strategic shipbuilding partner. Construction of the first locally built LPH is expected to commence by 2015. Also awaiting approval from the MoD is a proposal for a dozen ocean-going AOPVs.

    Meanwhile, the first 37,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)—INS Vikrant—has just adhered to its ‘float-out’ schedule. Its keel had been laid in February 2009 after hull-fabrication work began in November 2006. It was then estimated then that the vessel would be ready to float in two years. The formal launch now is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2012. The MoD has committed Rs32.61 billion for the first phase of the IAC. The delays were caused last year when a heavy-duty vehicle motorised vehicle transporting the marine reduction gearboxes and propellers from Wärtsilä’s factory at Khopoli suffered a fatal road accident.

    In another development, GRSE has successfully re-engined the first of three 57-metre long 589-tonne Project 1241.2 Molniya-2 ASW corvettes (INS Abhay, INS Ajay and INS Akshay) of the IN. Sea trials of the re-engined INS Abhay have been successfully completed, with work involving the replacement of Russia-made M504 radial engines with high-power-to-weight MTU-1163 engines. Work is now underway to procure through competitive tendering three sets of ultra-low-frequency towed-array sonars (from either ATLAS Elektronik of Germany or US-based L-3 Communications/Ocean Systems) for installation on board these three ASW corvettes.

    Depleting Undersea Warfare Capabilities

    The IN’s 30-year Submarine Construction Plan, which the apex Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) had approved in July 1999, was crafted purely by the MoD’s bureaucrats and the DRDO’s technocrats, and both of them never even bothered to consult the IN or seek the Navy’s vital inputs on operational requirements.

    The 30-year plan for constructing three SSBNs, and 24 conventional submarines (SSK) to be built in two simultaneous construction ventures: one building six SSKs (these being the six Scorpenes now being fabricated by MDL) and another building six new-generation Russia-designed SSKs (as the thinking in 1999 was that since the Larsen & Toubro-led Indian industrial consortium was engaged in building the three projected SSBNs in cooperation with their Russian counterparts, this same model of bilateral industrial cooperation could also be extended to encompass the licence-building of six Amur 1650-class SSKs).

    Consequently, based on the experience gathered in fabricating SSKs of both Western and Russian origin, India could acquire the expertise required for building another 12 SSKs of an indigenous design. This plan, to say the least, was outrageously flawed on several counts, as was the decision in the early 1980s to procure a mixed fleet of SSKs, with six single-hulled SSKs being of German origin and eight double-hull SSKs of Soviet origin. When the IN was forced to go for two types of SSKs, it rightly requested the MoD to not only acquire the first two single-hulled SSKs off-the-shelf, but also insisted that the MoD licence-build at least another four of them at a custom-build facility to be set up by MDL and—most importantly, the selected SSK’s entire design package be bought over by the MoD, meaning only MDL would be able to build this SSK design and the IN would be the sole operator of such SSKs. The MoD agreed and consequently, four 1,810-tonne Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs (two built by Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, or HDW) were commissioned between 1986 and 1994, while at the same time eight double-hulled 3,076-tonne Type 877EKM Kilo-class SSKs were procured off-the-shelf from the USSR between April 30, 1986 and July 19, 2000.

    The contract for procuring four Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs was inked on December 11, 1981 and the first two SSKs (S-44 Shishumar and S-45 Shankush)--built by HDW--were inducted into service on September 22 and November 20, 1986, respectively. The remaining two (S-46 Shalki and S-47 Shankul) were licence-built by MDL and entered service on February 7, 1992 and May 28, 1994. Earlier, plans for building another two such SSKs were put on hold in 1987 an innocuous telegram from India’s Ambassador in Germany, inquiring if the 7.5% (of the per-unit contracted value) sales commission was to be paid for the 5th and 6th SSKs as for the first four, set in motion a CBI witch-hunt and subsequent political cover-ups, all of which finally died a natural death only in 2006.

    However, till this day, no satisfactory explanation has been given by the MoD about the reasons for not resuming the construction of additional Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs post-1994, especially since the MoD, through MDL, remains the legal owner of all IPRs relating to the Class 209/Type 1500 SSK. If it was possible for all four Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs to undergo mid-life refits and upgrades from 1999 to 2005 (which have extended their operational lives to between 2016 and 2024) and be retrofitted with ATLAS Elektronik-supplied ISUS-90 suites (comprising new-generation combat management systems and new sonar suites), then why was the option to series-produce at least six more such SSKs not exercised? Had these six SSKs been built, then they could even have been fitted with customised fuel cell-based AIP plug-ins that were developed by the German Submarine Consortium as far back as 2000 specifically for the Indian Navy and have been on offer for the past decade. However, since the decision was made in 2005 to go for six single-hulled Scorpene SSKs—under Project 75—for replacing the eight remaining Type 877EKM Kilo-class SSKs between 2015 and 2018 (the Kilos have been due for decommissioning since 2010), it now makes perfect sense to order at least another three Scorpenes, which, along with the fifth and sixth Scorpenes now being fabricated by MDL, will in all probability be equipped with the DCNS-developed Module d'Energie SousMarine Autonome (MESMA/Autonomous Submarine Energy Module), which along with its shore-based support infrastructure, should cost $80 million per unit. Boats of this type will be known as ‘Super Scorpenes’.

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    The programme to acquire six new-generation single-hulled SSKs under Project 75I, expected to reach the contract negotiations stage only by 2014, now calls for the procurement of boats fitted with a ‘proven’ air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. Initially (between 2006 and 2011), the IN evaluated offers from Sweden, Germany, Russia, Spain and France. Kockums’ A26 SSK, an improved version of the Gotland-class SSKs; will displace 1,930 tonnes, and use a Stirling engine-based AIP system (which is already operational with the SSKs of Japan, Singapore and Sweden) that uses diesel and liquid oxygen and is coupled to a 75kW generator to recharge the SSK’s batteries. Another notable feature of this SSK is its relatively light manpower requirement of up to 26 personnel, which helps to keep running costs down.

    The A26 has also been engineered to have a high degree of resistance to shock and underwater explosions, along with a highly stealthy design in terms of radar and acoustic signatures. Germany's Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, which has developed two types of AIP systems developed by Siemens (the proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel-cell powering the Type 212 SSK and the polymer electrolyte membrane hydrogen fuel-cell for the 1,680-tonne Type 214 SSK), is offering the latter, which can dive down to more than 400 metres and has a range of 22,224km. Navantia of Spain’s 2,426-tonne S-80 SSK makes use of an ethanol-based AIP system, while the 2,700-tonne Amur 1650 SSK (with a maximum diving depth of 300 metres and a crew complement of 35) is being proposed with the Kristall-27E AIP system using oxygen-hydrogen fuel-cells. It has since emerged that the IN has now shortlisted only three prospective candidates for Project 75I: the ‘Super Scorpene’ equipped with MESMA, the A26 with Stirling engine, and the Type 214 SSK, which is already operational with the navies of Greece, Portugal and South Korea and in future with Turkey.

    From a technology maturity standpoint (which the IN insists upon), it would therefore appear that while the MESMA and Stirling AIP systems along with Siemens’ AIP system (based on two polymer electrolyte membrane 120kW fuel-cell modules driving a Siemens Permasyn Type FR6439-3900KW low-speed permanently excited electric motor) meet the IN’s qualitative requirements (QR), the Kristall-27E and the indigenous AIP system being developed (since 2002 and due for sea trials by only 2013!) by the DRDO’s Ambarnath-based Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), along with the Kochi-based Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), don’t qualify. In the end, therefore, the Project 75I contest is likely to be between the ‘Super Scorpene’ and the Type 214 SSK.

    The IN’s first of three projected SSBNs—Arihant—continues to remain berthed under a shed at the Ship Building Centre (SBC) near the Naval Dockyard in Vishakhapatnam. Once its PWR goes critical by next February, and will undergo all the standard harbour and sea trials common to all nuclear-powered submarines. The vessel has already completed several trim dives alongside, an operation that requires very detailed trim calculations for the first of the class. This is a very critical operation for flooding and de-flooding the ballast tanks by the on-board pumps. SBC has all the facilities to produce external steam and power for the Arihant. With external steam and power, the SSBN’s propulsion, steering gear and associated systems, electronics and generators can be set to work and tested during harbour trials. When all the systems are expected to be cleared by the Submarine Overseering Teams over the next 65 days, the full ship’s complement will join the boat for very detailed safety and emergency training.

    This will be a very critical part of the commissioning, and will be overseen by a specialist submarine-qualified Vice Admiral responsible for nuclear propulsion safety from Naval Headquarters (NHQ). After all the harbour trials are completed, the Arihant’s on-board PWR will go critical at low power and be gradually worked up to higher power to enable the hull to go to sea. When this happens, INS Arihant will report ‘Underway on Nuclear Power’. The next phase of trials and evaluations will include sea trials on surface at various speeds, and when the confidence of the crew complement rises, the SSBN will carry out its first shallow dive by the latter half of next year, going deeper progressively at various speeds. On return from every diving trial, several mandatory structural checks on the hull and PWR performance will be carried out by specialists, and the final deep dive to maximum operating depth will culminate in the SSBN embarking upon Phase 3 of its sea trials schedule, this involving weapons-firing trials.

    Only after all three phases of trials are completed will the Arihant be commissioned sometime before 2014. However, should something go wrong, the IN will require the services of a Deep Rescue Submarine Vessel (DSRV), which remains elusive despite efforts to acquire a few from either the US or Canada. Instead, it is relying on a diving support vessel with a decompression chamber, and has also contracted the US Navy to fly in a DSRV and deploy it to the site of the accident.

    The DSRV’s absence will also be felt by the crew complement of the K-152 Nerpa (the Seal), a Project 971A Shchuka-B (Akula-3) SSGN, which was commissioned as the INS Chakra on December 29 at Bolshoi Kamen in Russia’s Primorye region. Obtained on dry-lease for a period of 10 years (with an option to increase it by another five years) the K-152 Nerpa (the Seal), a Project 971A Shchuka-B (Akula-3) SSGN whose keel was laid down in 1986. The Letter of Intent for leasing the SSGN under ‘Project India’ was inked on February 8, 2002 in New Delhi during the 2nd session of the IRIGC-MTC between the then Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov and the then Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes. On November 24, 2002 final price negotiations for the lease began took place during Klebanov’s visit to New Delhi. Rosoboronexport officials then stated that fabrication of the two SSGNs will resume after India pays the first tranche of $100 million as per the contract. The final lease contract for only the Nerpa for the time-being, valued at US$920 million, was inked in New Delhi on January 20, 2004.

    The Nerpa is the 15th SSGN and the second Akula-3 built under project 971 (codenamed Shchuka) and was designed by the St Petersburg-based Malachite Marine Engineering Bureau under Chief Designer Georgy Chernyshev who, after his death in 1997, was succeeded by Yuri Farafontov. While the Severnoye Machine-Building Enterprise has to date built seven Akulas, the Amursky Shipbuilding Plant has built eight. The Akulas built by the former have been named after land-based beasts of prey, while those built by the latter bear the names of fish and other marine animals. The latest version of the Akula SSGN is the Akula-3 and its dived displacement is 13,800 tonnes, full dived speed is 33 Knots, operational diving depth is 520 metres and maximum diving depth is 600 metres. The SSGN can carry up to 40 weapons ranging from supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles to torpedoes to sea mines. The Akula-3 comes with a two-stage noise supression system and all compartments are shockproof, which results in a five-fold reduction in the level of acoustic fields when compared to the Akula-1.

    Both the Nerpa and its sister vessel, the K-335 Gepard, are the first‘3+ generation’ nuclear-powered submarines of Russian origin that have a centralised integrated platform management system (IPMS) and a combat management system (CMS), all of which have resulted in the crew complement being reduced to only 73. The IPMS is called ‘Molibden-1’ and has been developed by the Krylov Central Research Institute, while the CMS was developed by the St Petersburg-based Aurora Research & Production Association FSUE, which has also supplied the 15-module submarine monitoring-cum-data recording system. The integrated sonar suite has been developed by Morphyspribor Central Research Institute and Akvamarin JSC, and built by FSUE Taganrog Priboy Plant. The Nerpa’s most visible distinguishing features are the more elongated and slightly pugged barriers (to its port and starboard) for retractable gear and a more aft-mounted compact gondola mounted on the aft vertical fin, which houses a low-frequency thin-line towed-array sonar suite.

    INS Chakra is due to arrive in late January next year at Vizag, HQ of the IN’s eastern Naval Command, after undertaking a ferry voyage through the Western Pacific and entering the Bay of Bengal after transiting through the Malacca Straits. In January 2007, work began on modifying (at a cost of $135 million or Rs5.4 billion) the SSGN to accept on board up to 18 Novator 3M53E/3M14E multi-role cruise missiles as well as TEST-71ME and TEST-71ME-NK torpedoes (built by Russia’s DVIGATEL FSUE and Region State Research & Production Enterprise) that will be fired from the SSGN’s six 533.4mm and four 650mm tubes. The hull will feature twin flank-array sonars for being used as a torpedo approach warning system, and a stern-mounted distinctive ‘bulb’ on top of the rudder housing a low frequency thin-line towed active/passive sonar array. INS Chakra’s crew complement will be all-Indian. Some 300 IN personnel, comprising three sets of crews, have for the past five years been extensively trained and type-rated to man the SSGN at a specially built secure facility in the town of Sovnovy Bor near St Petersburg. The IN will be using this SSGN for the following:
    • Undertaking anti-submarine patrols along the southeastern and southwestern parts of the Indian Ocean.
    • Establishing a series of restricted submarine patrol sectors in far-flung areas of the Indian Ocean to allow persistent undersea warfare operations unimpeded by the operation of, or possible attack from, friendly or hostile forces in wartime; and without submerged mutual interference in peacetime.
    • Perfecting the art of communicating with submerged SSGNs using VLF, UHF SATCOMS, SHF and EHF frequencies, and using maritime surveillance/ASW aircraft as mission controllers for the SSGNs.
    • Exploring ways of evolving a robust and nuclear first strike-survivable two-way communications system comprising shore-based, airborne and submerged elements to ensure that the SSGN’s commander receives explicit rules of engagement and strategic targeting data.
    • Analysing the pros and cons of having either a decentralised C³ network for certain types of missions, or a tightly centralised network by developing command automation via network-centric warfare strategies.
    • Trying to achieve submarine internet protocol connectivity and working on solutions that will deliver a reduction in time latency, increased throughput and the ability to maintain communications at speed and depth. One technology demonstrator already developed by the DRDO by still classified comprises a submarine- or air-launched recoverable tethered optical fibre (RTOF) buoyant 450mm diameter buoy which, upon reaching the surface, deploys a low-frequency acoustic projector to a preset depth, enabling reach-forward from the Fleet Command’s SSGN operating authority via a built-in SATCOM antenna. A pager is then activated via SATCOM and paging and target cueing messages are sent to the submarine at a data rate of 2.4 kb/second. Consideration is also being given to the use of a swimming communications device, such as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which would surface to exchange data via SATCOM via a repeatable 32kb/second communications window, and then return to the host SSGN for download. A prototype AUV for undertaking such operations has already been developed by the DRDO.
    • Use of RTOF buoys, which provide data rates of around 32kb/second while the SSGN is cruising at 8 Knots and is more than 244 metres underwater. The IN’s longer-term network-centric vision includes the use of distributed undersea networks, offering the submarine a network of known underwater nodes to be used to download large amounts of information, while remaining at depth. The concept calls for a field of acoustic sensors, UHF local area network-linked platforms and SATCOM buoys.
    • Establishing a protocol for undertaking deep-sea crew rescue and salvage operations using the IN’s yet-to-be-acquired remotely operated rescue vehicles (RORV) and related launch-and-recovery system (LARS) and a fully integrated self-contained emergency life support system (ELSS) package.
    However, it must be noted that the acquisition of INS Chakra will by no means give India the long-awaited third leg of the nuclear triad. Neither will the SSGN come under the tri-service Strategic Forces Command. Simply put, the Akula-3 SSGN will be armed with Club-S anti-ship/land attack cruise missiles which, along with the on-board torpedoes, will give the SSGN a formidable sea-denial capability along a 200nm arc contiguous to India’s coastline as well as in the Indian Ocean Region. Russia, which adheres to the Missile Technology Control Regime along with the NPT and START-2 treaties, is obligated to ensure that INS Chakra does not carry any nuclear weapon whatsoever. Furthermore, the SSGN’s employment in wartime too will be highly restricted and its rules of engagement will have to be cleared with Moscow, thus limiting India’s operational sovereignty over the SSGN. In fact, it is due to this very reason that Navy HQ has been insisting since the early 1990s that the DRDO accord greater priority to developing indigenous SSGN solutions (for protecting the projected fleet of three deployed SSBNs) to ensure that India’s nuclear deterrent, in the long run, remains effective, enduring, diverse, flexible, and responsive to the requirements of credible minimum deterrence.

    Naval Aviation Fleet Accretion Plans

    Given the sheer size of the IN’s maritime awareness domain footprint—stretching from the Strait of Hormuz and Horn of Africa in the west, the Indian Ocean Region, and the Malacca Straits and southern South China Sea to the east—the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm ought to ideally possess no less than 24 long-range maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare (LRMR/ASW) aircraft, which should be backed up an equal number of medium-range maritime reconnaissance/ASW (MRMR/ASW) platforms. To realise this long-term objective, the IN seven years ago invited requests for information (RFI) for both types of platforms. For the LRMR/ASW aircraft requirement, the selected platform had to undertake the following primary naval missions:

    * Monitoring of littoral approaches
    * Support to the IN’s fleets in the high seas
    * Anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
    * Anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW)
    * Over-the-horizon target acquisition and reconnaissance (OTHTAR)
    * Intelligence gathering

    In light of the above, prudence demanded that the selected LRMR/ASW platform be based on a new-generation turbofan-powered airframe that could accommodate comprehensive maritime recce and attack capabilities, thereby allowing a smaller inventory of aircraft to provide high responsiveness for its three main roles (ASW, anti-surface warfare or ASuW, maritime recce, and search-and-rescue, or SAR), adaptable capabilities in maritime reconnaissance and attack operations, and high endurance (with provision for two sets of mission crew on-board) with a smaller support infrastructure.

    Though turbofan-powered MR/ASW platforms are most economical at high/medium altitudes and less economical at low altitudes, the transit to the operational area can be made at high-altitude and in a turbofan-powered aircraft this is not only economical on fuel but fast as well, compared to turboprop-powered aircraft. After transit, such platforms rapidly descend to the patrol area while using both turbofans for cruise flight, but as fuel is used up and the platform’s weight gets reduced, one engine is closed down. This allows the remaining turbofan to be run at an efficient RPM rate, rather than running both turbofans at less efficient RPMs. A special ‘rapid start’ system should be fitted should the closed-down turbofan has to be started quickly again. Instead of relying only on airspeed for re-starting the turbofan, compressor air from a live turbofan could be used in a starter turbine, which rapidly accelerates the engine being started. For transit back to base, the closed-down engine can be re-started and the aircraft regain its high-altitude flight profile.

    The IN also wanted to induct into service a new-generation synthetic training suite that would allow the aircraft operator to transfer training from the aircraft to a ground-based training system. This, consequently, would increase aircraft availability for operational missions while optimising flight and mission crew performance and capabilities. To perform such functions, the selected platform was required to takeoff with maximum engine power and climb to a cruising altitude of 42,000 feet, have a maximum rate of descent at more than 10,000 feet/minute, engage in tactical manoeuvres at the not-uncommon maritime reconnaissance altitude of 200 feet, and accomplish a wide range of tasks within a single sortie, including submarine search-and-destroy missions, monitoring sea traffic, launching anti-ship cruise missile attacks on naval or land targets as required, and engaging in communications relays and electronic signals intercepts. Land-surveillance missions were also a distinct possibility.

    In December 2005, the IN floated an RFP for an initial eight new LRMR/ASW aircraft. Bids from a variety of contenders were submitted by April 2007. The plan was for price negotiations to be completed in 2007, with first deliveries to commence within 48 months. The competitive bidding process involved two principal contenders: Boeing Integrated Defense Systems’ P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) and Airbus Military Aircraft’s A319 MPA, with the latter being offered with the EADS/CASA-developed FITS mission management system that in turn integrated an ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar from Israel.

    Boeing on April 13, 2006 submitted its first detailed proposal to develop and deliver the P-8I LRMR/ASW aircraft for the IN. The proposal called for developing an India-specific variant of the P-8A Poseidon. Boeing pitched its eight P-8Is for $2.01 billion. The MoD in early January 2007 began negotiations with the two bidders so that the contract could be finalised before the next financial year ended in March 2009. The selected platform was required to operate for more than 15 years, fly at a speed of more than 200mph, and carry a multi-mode radar that can track 80 airborne and an equal number of surface targets, along with an IFF transponder, ESM/ELINT/SIGINT suite, EW suite for self-defence, chin-mounted optronic sensor operating in the 3-5 micron bandwidth, air-to-surface cruise missiles and torpedoes, sonobuoys, secure data links, and a tail-mounted magnetic anomaly detector.

    Between the two competing offers, the Boeing offer appeared to be more flexible and tailor-made as it accommodated the IN’s peculiar operational requirements in terms the platform’s weapon systems and network-centric mission avionics suites. But most importantly, the proposed P-8I could simultaneously engage in long-range surface search and target tracking, remain capable of periscope detection in high sea states, undertake warship-imaging and classification using the high-resolution inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) mode of operation (for imaging and classifying small, fast-moving vessels that operate close to the shore), and use the spot-synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode for overland surveillance, ground mapping (via multiple resolution strip-map), identifying moving overland targets, conducting battle damage assessment, and provide real-time over-the-horizon targeting cues for anti-ship/land-attack cruise missiles. By January 1, 2009, India had picked its aircraft: the 737-derivative P-8I under a $2.1375 billion direct commercial sale contract inked with Boeing, thus becoming Boeing’s launch export customer for this type of platform. First deliveries will take place in early 2013, followed by service entry before 2015. A follow-on batch of four P-8Is has already been committed to, with contract signature expected by next year.

    Capable of extended broad-area and littoral MR/ASW operations for ten hours at a stretch, the P-8I uses Boeing’s B.737-800 airframe, is powered by twin CFM56-7 turbofans each rated at 27,300lb of takeoff thrust, and its wings will feature commercially proven raked or backswept wingtips. The P-8I will be equipped with a mission avionics/sensor suite comprising:
    • Northrop Grumman’s electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) sensor, the directional IR countermeasures system, electronic support measures system, secure data link, and mission-planning support hardware.
    • Raytheon’s upgraded APY-10 maritime surveillance radar and signals intelligence (SIGINT) solution; a GPS anti-jam, integrated friend or foe, and towed decoy self-protection suite; a broadcast information system (BIS); and secure UHF SATCOMS capability.
    • Smiths Aerospace’s flight-management and stores-management systems.
    • Griffon Corp subsidiary of Telephonics Corp’s AN/APS-143Cv3 OceanEye aft-mounted multi-mode radar, whose maximum range is 200nm against larger targets, with the standard clutter rejection features and a default set of search, weather, beacon, and small target detect modes. Options include land-looking ISAR and strip-map SAR modes, range profiling, and an integrated Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator.
    • CAE of Canada’s AN/ASQ-508A integrated magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system that will provide the capability to detect, locate, and confirm submerged targets by identifying magnetic variations or anomalies, such as those caused by a submarine, in the Earth’s magnetic field.
    • Avantel’s mobile satellite communications system.
    • Bharat Electronics Ltd-built IFF interrogator and Data Link II system.
    • Electronic Corporation of India Ltd-built speech secrecy system.
    • Maini Global Aerospace’s fuel-cell structural components.
    Along with the P-8Is, Boeing, under a $200 million package, will also supply the IN with 21 AGM-84L Harpoon Block 2 anti-ship cruise missiles, five ATM-84L Block 2 training missiles, captive air training missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and related contractor support. In the near future, the IN will place orders for about 200 Raytheon-built 324mm air-launched Mk54 lightweight hybrid torpedoes equipped with Lockheed Martin’s high-altitude anti-submarine warfare capability (HAAWC) self-contained wing adaptor kit. The IN has also decided to exercise its options for procuring an additional four P-8Is at a cost of $1 billion.

    In a recent significant decision, the IN has decided to upgrade the mission management system and mission sensors of its existing eight Tu-142ME LRMR/ASW aircraft by installing on each of them the Novella (Sea Dragon) suite, developed by St Petersburg-based Leninets Holding Company and already operational on board the IN’s five existing IL-38SD MRMR/ASW aircraft. Once completed, the upgraded Tu-142MEs, each armed with torpedoes as well as up to four 3M54E supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, are expected to remain in service until 2024.

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    For fulfilling its MRMR/ASW aircraft requirements, the IN has shortlisted two platforms for evaluations: Bombardier Aerospace’s Q-400MPA (fitted with a mission management system-cum-sensor suite supplied by ELTA Systems), and Airbus Military Aircraft’s C-295MPA. The C-295MPA is being proposed with the FITS mission management system and built EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar. The Navy’s RFI, released in October 2010, specifies that the selected platform should be capable of ELINT, EW (with a jamming pod), plus maritime patrol and SAR within a 350nm (650km) operational envelope, as well as a patrol endurance of at least three-and-a-half hours. It should also be armed with at least two anti-ship cruise missiles, and be able to accommodate India-origin equipment such as IFF transponder, Link 2 two-way data-links, and speech secrecy systems.

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    In another development, the IN has firmed up plans to acquire 12 amphibians capable of undertaking tasks like SAR, maritime surveillance-cum-reconnaissance of island-based territories along India’s eastern and western seaboards, and supporting special operations directed against seaborne pirates and terrorists. Incidentally, the IN did operate a modest fleet of amphibians in the 1950s, when it ordered 10 modified Shorts Sealand Mk1Ls in 1952 (these being the naval fleet air arm’s very first post-independence aircraft acquisitions) from the UK for its Fleet Requirement Unit (which on January 17, 1959 became Indian Naval Air Squadron 550) at INS Garuda, in Cochin. All ten aircraft were delivered between January and October 1953, but were withdrawn from service 12 years later. For the IAF’s requirement, the only logical contenders at the moment are Beriev Aircraft Company of Russia’s Be-220EI twin turbofan-powered amphibian, and Shin Maywa Corp of Japan’s US-2. Between these two, the US-2, from a geo-political standpoint, is expected to be the preferred candidate.

    The IN is presently on an overdrive to procure an initial 16 ten-tonne ASW helicopters and 14 twelve-tonne multi-role helicopters to replace the existing 31-year old AgustaWestland Sea King Mk42As and 29-year old Kamov Ka-25s. Presently, less than 40% of ASW helicopters and less than 60% of the special operations/utility helicopters are operationally available to constitute Unit Establishment (UE) of the respective squadrons of the Navy. In the 10-tonne category, the competition is between the Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk and MH-60R, and Eurocopter’s NH-90 (to go on board the three Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs, four Project 28 ASW corvettes and the seven planned Project 17A FFGs), while in the 12-tonne category the main contenders are AgustaWestland’s AW-101 and Sikorsky’s CH-148 Cyclone (to go on board the three Project 15A Kolkata-class DDGs, the follow-on four Project 15B DDGs and the INS Vikrant).

    The Navy is also going ahead with plans for upgrading the mission sensor suite of 18 of its AgustaWestland-built Sea King Mk42B multi-role, medium-lift, shipborne helicopters and 28 Kamov Ka-28PL ASW helicopters. For the existing Sea King Mk42Bs and Ka-28PLs to be upgraded at a cost of Rs6 billion and Rs8.5 billion, respectively, the only ultra low-frequency dipping sonar being offered for the selected helicopter is L-3 Communications/Ocean Systems Division’s HELRAS DS-100, while low-frequency sonars being offered are THALESRaytheon’s FLASH and the DRDO-developed/BEL-built Mihir. Tactical anti-ship strike missiles being proposed include MBDA’s Marte Mk2/S and Kongsberg Marine’s 55km-range Penguin Mk3. The belly-mounted search radar is widely expected to be the ELTA Electronics-built EL/M-2022H(A)3, while an ELTA-built optronic turret is favoured as a chin-mounted installation. The mission management suite likely to be selected is Galileo Avionica’s (part of Finmeccanica) ATOS-LW, which will also function as an acoustic signals processor. The 18 Sea King Mk42Bs will each have an all-glass cockpit similar to the one on board the Dhruv ALH, and its mission sensor/weapons suite will be the same as that on board the 16 to-be-acquired shipborne helicopters.

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    The IN is also going in for five more 12.2-tonne Kamov Ka-31 airborne early-warning (AEW) helicopters worth Rs2.75 billion each, to add to the 11 Ka-31s already inducted between 2003 and 2007. It may be recalled that the IN ordered its first four Ka-31s in August 1999, followed by a further five in February 2001. These were procured for US$207 million. Three more Ka-31s were ordered in January 27, 2004 along with three more Ka-28PLs, all of which have been delivered and are operational with the IN’s INAS 333 and INAS 339 squadrons. While six Ka-31s have been earmarked for the three in-service Project 1135.6 Batch 1 and three Project 1135.6 Batch 2 FFGs, another eight have been earmarked for the 44,500-tonne aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is expected to be commissioned into service in 2013. There exists another requirement for eight additional AEW helicopters for going on board the 37,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant (due for commissioning by 2014), plus another four for the refurbished existing aircraft carrier, the 28,700-tonne INS Viraat, which will remain in service till 2020. For flying training purposes, delivery of 17 Hawk Mk132 lead-in fighter trainers will commence from 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016. To be inked in future are contracts for procuring 40 single-engined helicopters (for both light utility and flying training) as replacements for the existing SA.316B Alouette III/Chetaks, 10 Pilatus PC-7 Mk2 basic turboprop trainers, and up to 16 stealthy guided-missile corvettes, for which the MEKO-CSL and VISBY designs are expected to be the frontrunners.

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    Required: More Teeth For Sea Warriors

    Although once considered little more than a nuisance and a force protection issue for overseas troops, terrorism will remain the top priority of India’s national security strategy for the foreseeable future. Regardless of the form in which a terrorist threat manifests itself, be it a state-sponsored global group, decentralised extremist cells, or just rogue individuals, India can no longer ignore stateless actors who have the ability to inflict serious harm on her citizens and economy. As the lethality and effectiveness of individual terrorist attacks grows, the ability to take down individual leaders or their networks becomes an increasingly urgent mission set for the country’s armed forces. Manhunting--finding and neutralising high-value individual targets--is now an integral part of irregular warfare operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism. These types of precision terrorist targetting operations have proven effective in ongoing counter-insurgency campaigns in Colombia, The Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and in Iraq. Terrorists seek refuge in terrain that allows them to stay undercover from conventional targetting methods. These under-governed areas may include rugged mountainous, jungle, and coastal environments, or urban terrain where they can hide among the population.

    Given the nomadic nature of terrorists and the proximity of many potential targets (within India) to the sea, distributed maritime forces are a natural player in manhunting efforts. Though the IN has several warships and aircraft and several hundred special operations trigger-pullers who can put ordnance on a target to finish off a terrorist, getting those shooters to exactly the right place and time is a significantly more complex and time-consuming endeavour than capturing or killing a terrorist. Additionally, do not let the funny, politically incorrect name fool you: the emerging threats to both the IN and Indian Coast Guard Service (ICGS) are improvised mini-submarines, swimmer-delivery vehicles of the type employed for recreational scuba diving, remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles of the type already in service with the navies of Iran, Myanmar and Pakistan (all having procured them from North Korea).

    As has been amply demonstrated by the navies of North Korea and Iran, these small vessels make good platforms for ambushes even at submerged depths of 150 feet, enough room for the midget submersible to manoeuvre. Any submersible that weighs less than 150 tonnes is called a midget. They cannot travel too far on their own, and depend on support vessels to extend their range. In shallow waters, where sonar returns are cluttered, they can prove quiet and sneaky. Often this means they can lay mines or insert commandos on beaches. Attacks from midget submersibles can also include torpedoes armed with 250kg warheads. Two things heighten the risk of an ambush by midget submarines against Indian warships: the complex sonar picture of shallow water where these small submersibles can operate, and the absence of a network of seabed-mounted sonar transducers dotting the Indian coastline.

    Find, fix, finish, exploit, and analyse (F3EA) is a targetting model that facilitates the integration of operations and intelligence to counter terrorist networks and the primary framework for today’s manhunting operations. Counter-terrorism has been a ground-centric mission area of the Indian Navy’s MARCOS special operations forces for years, but there is a growing realisation post-26/11 that maritime forces are the most vital strategic enablers to manhunting, and India’s naval assets are fully capable of conducting the full-spectrum F3EA cycle alone or in conjunction with other friendly forces like the ICGS. Naval platforms combine operational and tactical mobility to deliver counter-terrorism operators like the MARCOS near a dynamic enemy, the ability to sustain persistent intelligence collection and monitoring to find and fix the terrorists, and the ability to finish them with rapid and precise fires.

    The MARCOS can thus bring an adaptive set of capabilities to move and sustain manhunting assets and staging special operations characterised by operational flexibility and strategic surprise. For example, advanced offshore patrol vessels (AOPV) used as afloat forward staging bases can support special operators, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms (manned or unmanned), and smaller tactical special warfare vessels for long periods. A long-endurance vessel like a landing platform dock (LPD) equipped with up to four medium-lift IFR-capable helicopters like the AgustaWestland Sea King Mk42C and vertical takeoff-and-landing unmanned aerial vehicles provides a robust operating base in a low-visibility manner that avoids a large footprint on the ground.

    In addition to staging tactical platforms, these afloat bases can provide extended logistical, maintenance, and medical sustainment for the MARCOS’ special operations warriors on the ground and sea. ‘Finishing’ is the piece of manhunting that the IN traditionally does best (as proven during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s). The ability to put precision-guided ordnance on a time-sensitive target is critical to counter-terrorism operations. The wealth of ‘finishing’ capabilities that the IN can today bring to the fight is impressive, ranging from precision deep-strike assets such as BrahMos multi-role supersonic cruise missiles and tactical aviation (with the MiG-29K), to more responsive but shorter-range offensive punch such as naval gunfire or MARCOS detachments conducting direct action. The ability to operate safely and quietly well offshore is also an advantage of naval fires in a counter-terrorism role.

    Although‘finish’ operations most often occur in a limited time window, high-value targets require time to fix; and forces operating independently on the ocean can provide persistence for this mission. Current and future demands for intelligence collection resources in support of manhunting in areas far away from the Indian landmass--such as full-motion video surveillance/transmission and seamless over-the-horizon communications--greatly outstrips supply at the moment. Though the IN and ICGS can both provide manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms that are both persistent and clandestine to meet some of this demand, they have yet to make investments in acquiring a decent fleet of shipborne long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles and medium-range maritime surveillance aircraft. The lack of such direly-needed capabilities was graphically illustrated twice in November 2010: in the first such case of its kind in recent times, pirates took control of the Panama-flagged 24,105 tonne MV Hannibal II about 540nm away from

    India’s western coastline (east of Longitude 65° and north of Latitude 15°, putting this piracy activity placed very well to intercept traffic leaving Mumbai and heading for the Red Sea) while it was travelling from Malaysia to the Suez Canal ferrying vegetable oil. The second such incident took place in the evening of November 11 about 450nm West of Mumbai, when the merchant ship MV BBC Orinoco with a crew of 14 reported being attacked by pirates. The crew locked themselves in the ship’s engine room and the steering compartment and communicated with their Dubai-based agents, UK MTO Dubai, via e-mail. After the agents had intimated the IN for assistance, the Navy promptly launched an IL-38SD medium-range maritime surveillance/ASW aircraft to locate the distressed vessel, forward-deployed INS Veer (a Tarantul-1 guided-missile corvette) to intercept the distressed vessel, and also sailed the guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi with an embarked MARCOS team to take part in the anti-piracy operation. The ICGS too responded by adjusting all its routine aerial surveillance deployments to keep one or more Do-228-201 short-range coastal surveillance aircraft on hot standby, besides asking their IOVs on already-assigned mission to be also on stand-by. However, by daybreak, when the Navy’s warships had arrived at the scene, the pirates had already escaped and have since remained untraceable. The singular lesson learnt from both these piracy-related incidents is that integrating the find, fix, and finish capabilities onto a single platform like MALE-UAVs and medium-range maritime surveillance aircraft (of the type long sought by both the IN and ICGS, but which are still elusive) offers unprecedented speed and flexibility of action.

    When it comes to the application of on-land F3EA targetting models in support of homeland security, the IN again is uniquely poised to become the dominant counter-terrorism force—a fact which was amply demonstrated during 26/11 when the first responders to the rapidly unfolding crisis in south Mumbai were the MARCOS detachments. In response to a frantic call made at around 11.30pm by the then Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johnny Joseph to the then FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi, 45 members of the MARCOS divided into two teams were rushed from INS Abhimanyu, the Navy’s MARCOS base in Karanja just off the coast of Mumbai. It took the two MARCOS teams an hour to reach the Taj and Trident hotels in south Mumbai, as their base was 6nm away and they were lacking the kind of tactical airlift and sealift equipment (like the Sea King Mk42C helicopters and high-speed rigid-hull inflatable boats) required for rapid deployment. Despite such shortcomings, the MARCOS teams had, between 2am and 9am on November 27, 2008 held their ground and successfully isolated the 10 Pakistani terrorists. Not only were the terrorists forced to leave behind two rucksacks, one of which contained four grenades, seven AK-47 magazines, spare ammunition and plastic explosives, the MARCOS also prevented them from reaching 180 potential hostages at the Trident hotel. Meanwhile, at the Taj hotel the MARCOS had successfully evacuated 300 guests. Had a Sea King Mk42C been made available to the MARCOS, then a third MARCOS quick-response tactical squad could have taken off from INS Shikra at nighttime on November 28, 2008 and abseiled onto the roof of the five-storey Nariman House to take on the third group of terrorists that was holed up there.

    Post-26/11, the Navy has learnt some hard lessons, as a result of which a quick-response section (QRS) comprising MARCOS personnel is now permanently positioned at Lions Gate, less than 1km away from some of the luxury hotels in Colaba and Mantralaya. It goes without saying that in the event of another terrorist attack in south Mumbai in future, the MARCOS will again become the first responder, especially since the paramilitary National Security Guards counter-terrorist detachment are located in faraway Kalina, about 20km from Colaba, and the Force One counter-terrorist unit of the Maharashtra Police has its hub located even farther in Goregaon, about 35km from south Mumbai. Given the greatly expanded role of the MARCOS post-26/11, it is only logical to ask for the sanctioned strength of MARCOS to be increased from the existing figure of 1,500 personnel. Presently, there are three main MARCOS groups detached to the three naval commands; Mumbai (West), Kochi (South) and Vizag (East). INS Abhimanyu is where most of the specialised training is now done. Each of the three main MARCOS groups now has a platoon-sized QRS (specialising in counter-terrorism operations in urban terrain) embedded within them. Efforts are now underway to equip these QRS units with rapid deployment tools like high-speed rigid-hull inflatable boats of varying sizes, fast interception craft, and tactical hovercraft.
    (to be concluded)

    TRISHUL: Indian Navy Swears By Its Tavor Family Of Small Arms & Its Four Upgraded Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
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  3. Patriot

    Patriot Senior Member Senior Member

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