Navy's submarine rescue plan leaks: CAG
Saturday, August 21, 2010
By Saurabh Joshi
he Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has criticized the implementation of the Indian Navy's plan for enabling its submarines with facilities to couple with Deep Submergence Rescue Vessels (DSRV) and Submarine Rescue Chamber (SRC) of the United States Navy (USN), which has resulted in an expenditure of USD 744,343.
The CAG said in its report that not only were many of the 16 Indian submarines at the end of three-fourths of their life, but that only seven of them were actually operational, with nine undergoing repairs and refit. Two of the submarines, INS (Indian Naval Ship) Vela and INS Vagli, both Foxtrot-class, are due to be decommissioned this year and next year.
The report reads, "75 per cent submarines in the IN fleet have already completed three fourths of their estimated operational life. In fact the IN envisaged the project without clearly identifying deadlines for completing the project. It is pertinent to mention that only 7 out of 16 submarines in IN are operational and 9 submarines are under refit/repair as of October 2009. As of November 2009, Padeyes fitment has been completed in 11 out of 16 submarines out of which only 4 SSK (Diesel Electric Attack) submarines have been certified by USN for mating with US DSRV for a period of three years effective from 20 December 2007 and of whichat least 2 are presently under refit. Two of the serving Foxtrot submarines, on which Padeyes were fitted, INS Vela and INS Vagli, would be de-commissioned in 2010 and 2011 respectively"
The CAG report has also pointed out that any actual submarine rescue would depend on the presence of a USN DSRV, which would take at least 72 hours to get to station from its nearest base, and for the services of which, an agreement was not even in place. "The DSRV is to perform rescue operations on submerged or disabled submarines. It will remain stationed with the US Navy and in the event of an accident will be transported to the nearest seaport or airport, then to a mother ship to reach the rescue site. The nominal response time is 72 hours from the time the DSRV is lifted from its location to reach the rescue site and with the capability of rescuing up to a depth of 610 meters. Such time and depth restrictions further dilutes the effectiveness of a rescue facility which in any case is nowhere close to completion," says the report.
The Ministry of Defense attributed the delays to 'imposition of sanctions, amendment of LOA (Letter of Offer and Acceptance) in view of change in the scope of work, interpretation of contract differently by USN and other aspects concerning technology and operational incompatibility issues between IN and USN'.
The project is yet to be fully operationalized in spite of having been envisaged in 1997. "While the initial work of fitting of Padeyes and certification of IN submarines for mating with USN, DSRV was no where close to completion, a separate agreement with USN to enable DSRV to undertake rescue operations and further recertification of submarines is yet to be concluded," says the report.
India's effort to build French Scorpene submarines, under license, has been further delayed, and the price has now gone up to $5 billion ($834 million each). While this effort will leave India with thousands of workers and specialists experienced in building modern submarines, that will be wasted because the defense procurement bureaucrats seem to have learned nothing. These officials already caused numerous delays, and cost overruns, during negotiations to build the six Scorpene diesel-electric submarines. The bureaucrats have mismanaged this deal to the extent that it is nearly three years behind schedule. But it is even more behind schedule if you count the several years the Indian bureaucrats delayed it even getting started. The delays and mismanagement have so far increased the cost of the $4 billion project by 25 percent. The first Scorpene is supposed to enter service in two years, with one a year after that until all six are delivered.
There's some urgency to all this, because by 2012, five of India's 16 subs (10 Kilo and two Foxtrot class Russian built boats and four German Type 209s) will be retired (some are already semi-retired because of age and infirmity). Two years after that, India will only have five working subs.
But the bureaucrats and politicians dithered for nearly a decade, and it wasn't until 2005 that India signed a deal to buy six French Scorpene class boat. The delays led to the French increasing prices on some key components, and India has had some problems in getting production going on their end. The first Scorpene was to be built in France, with the other five built in India. While some problems were expected (India has been doing license manufacturing of complex weapons for decades), the defense ministry procurement bureaucrats never ceased to amaze when it came to delaying work, or just getting in the way.
The Scorpenes are similar to the Agosta 90B subs (also French) that Pakistan recently bought. The first of the Agostas was built in France, but the other two were built in Pakistan. The Scorpene purchase was seen as a response to the Pakistani Agostas. The Scorpene are a more recent design, the result of cooperation between a French and a Spanish firm. The Agosta is a 1,500 ton (surface displacement) diesel-electric sub with a 36 man crew and four 21 inch torpedo tubes (with 20 torpedoes and/or anti-ship missiles carried.) The Scorpene is a little heavier (1700 tons), has a smaller crew (32) and is a little faster. It has six 21 inch torpedo tubes, and carries 18 torpedoes and/or missiles. Both models can be equipped with an AIP (air independent propulsion) system. This enables the sub to stay under longer, thus making the sub harder to find. AIP allows the sub to travel under water for more than a week, at low speed (5-10 kilometers an hour). The Pakistanis have an option to retrofit AIP in their current two Agostas.
Both of these modern subs are very lethal weapons against surface warships. With well trained crews, Agostas and Scorpenes can get close to just about any surface ship, no matter how good the defenders' anti-submarine defenses are. But it's the AIP boats that are the real killers. Without AIP, subs spend most of their time just below surface, using their noisy diesel engines (via a snorkel device that breaks the surface to take in air, and get rid of the engine exhaust.) Snorkels can be spotted by modern maritime patrol aircraft, and both nations are getting more of these. The noise of the diesel engines can easily be picked up by other subs. The introduction of the Agostas and Scorpenes was seen as an escalation in the naval arms race between Pakistan and India.
While India was largely concerned with the Pakistani navy when the Scorpene contract was negotiated and signed, China is now seen as the primary adversary. The Chinese subs are not as effective as the Pakistani boats, both because of less advanced technology, and less well trained crews. India could use their Scorpenes to confront any Chinese attempt to expand their naval presence into the Indian ocean. Thus the delays and cost overruns with the Scorpenes are causing quite a lot of commotion in India. But at the rate India is going, it will be nearly a decade before all six of the Scorpenes are in service. At that point, India would have about a dozen subs (including nuclear powered models' under construction). China will have over 60 boats, about 20 percent of them nuclear.
PANAJI: The defence ministry has begun the process of getting Indian fighter pilots ready to operate from aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is expected to be inducted into the Indian Navy in the next two years, an official said Monday.
The chairman of the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Vineet Bakshi, said the defence ministry-certified shipyard was in the process of setting up a shore-based testing facility (SBTF) for future pilots in Goa, in partnership with the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
"This unique test facility is being set up with technology and specialised equipment from Russia. This facility will enable future pilots to be trained ashore before they fly the war planes from aircraft carrier Vikramaditya," Bakshi, a former rear admiral said.
He said pilots flying the MIG-29 fighters would also be trained at the facility being built at the naval base INS Hansa in Goa.
The navy veteran further said that the SBTF would also enable Indian Navy's indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) "to reach its logical operational capabilities".
INS Vikramaditya is the re-christened former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which has been procured by India recently and is a modified Type 1143 Kiev class aircraft carrier built in 1978-1982 in Ukraine.
It is projected to replace India's only currently serving aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
Indian Navy's LCA will replace the ageing fleet of Sea Harriers which are being currently operated by the maritime force.
US helicopter firm makes commercial offer to Indian Navy
New Delhi: In a bid to counter bad press that they are receiving, the US helicopter company Sikorsky has made a commercial offer to the Indian Navy. The offer includes servicing and spares for six obsolete Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King helicopters that came onboard the USS Trenton renamed as INS Jalashva which have received a lot of flak for their sub standard quality.
The comptroller and auditor general has strongly criticised the quality of the machines on the aircraft carrier that came through US government foreign military sales.
According to the CAG the ($39 million) machines did not come equipped with any type of weather or surface surveillance radar and the defence ministry failed to secure any "guarantee for the replacement of defective rotables due to obsolescence".
Talking to FE, AVM (retd) AJS Walia, managing director for India and South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft said that, "We have sent an unsolicited letter to the Indian Navy offering to provide whatever support they want. We have also offered to supply spares which will finish by 2010."
"These helicopters came through the government to government route. It was not a commercial deal. And that we are offering now will be a commercial deal between us and the Indian Navy," Walia added.
According to the comptroller and auditor general, the 1960s vintage aircraft - decommissioned by the US Navy in 2005 - were "life-expired and had defects that could compromise their operational effectiveness".
The INS Jalashva, is the second largest ship with the Indian Navy, after the aircraft carrier Viraat and is believed to 'add punch to India's maritime forces' with its capacity to participate in naval operations, peacekeeping operations, tri-service operations and humanitarian relief.
The US Congress had cleared the transfer of the vessel under the Foreign Military Sales Program in August 2005 and the government signed the 'Letter of Acceptance' on July 31, 2006.
Submariner dies while rescuing crew member off Mumbai coast
Joint exercises involving the French Nationale Navy (FNN) and the Indian Navy off the Mumbai coast turned tragic on Monday when two navy personnel fell off a submarine into the choppy waters. The body of submariner commander Firdaus Mogal, an executive officer, was fished out later.
Mogal was atop INS Shankhush helping other crew members change the flag of the vessel when the incident took place. The submarine, which was at a distance of around 60 nautical miles from the coast, was being brought to the surface for maintenance.
Officials said the weather was rough; there were high waves in the sea in the morning. One of the crew members — there were four — fell into the water while carrying out maintenance work and got pulled into the sea by a powerful wave.
It is suspected that Mogal hit the body of the submarine while diving in to help, and was injured.
Coast Guard and Navy helicopters moved into action and both crew members were fished out soon. They were taken to the naval hospital where Mogal succumbed to his injuries. The other crew member is said to be safe.
Vasco, September 7- The public in Vasco and surrounding areas are advised by Indian Navy not to be alarmed should an occasional boom be heard. The Indian Navy , through a press release has stated that sonic booms could be heard by the local population and the fishing communities from time to time. These are absolutely harmless to life, health and property.
The MiG-29K is an advanced multirole 4th generation Air Superiority Fighter at present being operated from the Indian Navy's premier naval air station INS Hansa at Dabolim. This aircraft has the capability to go supersonic at almost twice the speed of sound, in order to overtake enemy fighters and shoot them down.
Supersonic flights are associated with 'sonic booms'. A sonic boom is a sound which is similar to a loud explosion generated by the shock waves formed on the airplane in supersonic flight. In certain atmospheric conditions, sonic booms from a supersonic aircraft may reach distances as far as 20 to 40 kilometers. The ability to fly at supersonic speed is of great advantage to a fighter pilot in a combat situation and it is therefore important that supersonic flying is practiced to maintain a high level of operational readiness.
Supersonic flights have been undertaken by the IAF all over the country since the 1970s and are an absolutely normal part of fighter training.
The public is advised not to be alarmed should an occasional boom be heard. They may only take it as an assurance that the Indian Navy pilots are practicing hard for safeguarding the nation whilst the citizens go about their daily work concludes the release.
A serious test passed "Altair" when working on ships built for India with "Kashmir" AA system. Already in Soviet times, under a contract with India, our country started to supply anti-aircraft missile systems of medium-range "Shtil" to the ships of Indian Navy. The complexes were developed by "Altair". Delivery policy documents was carried out separately for different plants, but a prime contractor, responsible for the complex as a whole, was not pointed. In the early 90-ies our equipment was supplied and installed at the Indian ships. Testing began with failures. Missiles did not hit the targets. Who's to blame? Each vendor has starting to prove his innocence.
Then Rosvooruzheniye "addressed to Altair and required sending a team of specialists headed by chief designer Alexander Sergeyevich Yevstigneyev to deal on the spot. And here revealed the failures of Indian designers on placement of equipment, the choice of general ship radar and other interfaced with SAM "Kashmir" systems. Our shipbuilders were not up to par too. It was spoken about inability of our complex to provide the required characteristics.
Evstigneev displayed enviable persistence, presented a compelling argument, proving the opportunity to correct the situation by software change. It was proved the need for an additional contract directly with the institute (Altair) for development a new memory block with installed new BIOS program and technical documentation on the complex as a whole. The contract was signed. All questions on the Indian ships have been resolved, complex works as expected. "Altair" and the company Rosvooruzheniye "got serious lesson: the responsible part of such complex contract, like anti-aircraft missile system supply, must include its main developer. Further contracts "Altair" was used to conclude on such conditions.
In 1997, India signed a contract for the construction of three frigates of Project 1135.6 at the Baltic plant with the installation of SAM "Shtil". In order to participate in this very lucrative contracts, the management of the 'Altair' took the decision to modernize "Shtil" with the introduction of a new computing hardware and new anti-aircraft missiles 9M317E. The complex was named "Shtil-1. Sergey Sokolov Headed the development . This modernized complex was decided to install on the new Indian ships.
The Work on "Shtil-1" actually became a turning point in "Altair" modern history, took as a decade. First time in its history the Institute (Altair) took to develop, manufacture, install and test the final product - anti-aircraft missile system in cooperation with others. Director-General SA Klimov has decided to change the entire structure of the company for this purpose.
Particularly difficult was to address the question of the serial manufacturing. According to the assessment of 'Altair's chief VD Ponomariov the state of 'Altair' serial production capability doesn't allowed to deliver the complex in time. This was complicated by the fact that the Serpukhov Plant RATEP, the main producer of ship serial air defense missile systems, refused to participate in the manufacture of ZRK "Shtil-1. The newly appointed head of the pilot production VI Kharitonov, together with his deputies FM Shikin and VI Verbitsky have moved aggressively to reorganize and prepare manufacturing line for the new product.
In an unprecedented short period of time - two years, whole design documentation for the export complex has been reworked, a new mathematical software was developed, hardware was made and carried out the bench tests, which confirmed the readiness for serial manufacturing for product as a whole. Despite vigorous attempts by our detractors to prevent the delivery of complex "Shtil-1" in due time, he was shipped to the shipyard between the first members , and in March 2002, has successfully completed the firing tests at a ship Program State tests program. However, the acceptance tests were not impressed.
There is a wonder why this class of complex, which works well on the domestic ships and ground forces, failed on the Indian frigate. Firstly the suspicion fell on anti-aircraft missiles. But they have checked the Army's complex in the same series as the ship. The Results were brilliant. A Miniature target was hit by the first missile struck.
Almost six months' work of a special commission allowed to understand all. It turned out that it is not in "Shtil-1", as it tried to prove our detractors, but it's the mistakes made in the whole design of the ship and errors in testing. There was a serious error - one of the ship gun systems worked on the same frequency as the radio equipment missiles. The powerful impact of this gun radar on the rocket when it was in flight, impeded the missile's work-board, which leads to negative consequences.
But Instead correction mistakes in the design and construction of the vessel, ie create the conditions for the normal functioning of the complex "Calm-1", the leadership of the Baltic plant prefered to solve the problem of electromagnetic compatibility of radio electronic equipment of the new ship via changes in the serial complex "Shtil-1". This position has led to the failure to transfer the ship to the customer in 2002, like it was planned under the terms of the contract. He was handed over to India a year later.
Together with "Amethyst", a developer of naval gun systems, it was managed to find the original technical solutions that reduce the influence of different radio-electronic devices installed on the ship. a number of measures to adapt the complex Shtil-1 to ship was developed and agreed with the Indian experts
Further shooting tests have showed excellent results and have confirmed the effectiveness of taken measures, all anti-ship missiles that were used as the target, were shot down. Sent to the customer, three ships of the project 1135.6 "Talwar", "Trishul", "Tabar successfully serving in the naval forces of India.
In the tests of "Shtil-1" SM Sokolov, AM Tomsk, AV Borzunov, EF Glagolev, AV Semigin, NV Alekseev, BS Stavitsky, VP Struchkov, VI Osipenko, VV Danilov actively participated.
Soon after the completion of pr. 1135.6 ships India has designed its analogue of this project - the frigate "project-17", between the weapons of which SAM Shtil-1 and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) equipment "Podzagolovok" were also includes. The signed contract provided supply of three sets of these products. Despite some difficulties, the deliveries of "Altair" were performed just in time with consistently high quality. The completion of project 17 ships and the final testing of weapons by Indian side was to completed in 2008-2009. In 2006, the contract to build three more frigates of Project 1135.6 was signed, it provides the organization of repair companies in India, including the SAM Shtil-1 and EMC hardware "Podzagolovok."
(Source: an off-line Russian book via a military Russian forum)
Though the state government has declared the Pigeon Island as bio-heritage site for its rich biodiversity, the Indian Navy has yet again started its war practice at the island without any prior notice near here on Sunday.
The repeated operations the navy is all set to harm the biodiversity at the island. Fishermen, using gillnet, had to reach the shores following huge explosion sound of the bombs at the island. The fishermen told media that at fighter jet of the navy started its operation at around 8:00 am on Sunday and dropping of bombs continued till 11:00 am. The frequent military operations by the navy have also affected fishing activities in the region.
The island is also called as reef island. The island is home for thousands of wild pigeons, white chest eagle, bats, swift net birds and others. Over 150 variety fish have been found in the vicinity. The researchers have noticed two varieties of fish which are on the verge of extinction. Besides, the island has rare kinds of plants.
The island also stood for communal harmony with it having a Hindu temple, Christian and Muslim deities. The fishermen offer pooja to these deities every year. Nests of swift birds are used by hotels for preparing soup. Frequent military operations by the navy have been harming the ecological balance in the island.
Battle Rages in India over New Warship Construction
An increasingly three-way bitter battle is raging in the Indian Navy between supporters of aircraft carrier construction and those who favor submarine building. The latter group is further split between those submariners who wish to concentrate on nuclear submarine construction and those who wish to see additional production of diesel-electric submarines.
It is this three-way fight that has seriously delayed the second phase of India's Project 75 diesel-electric submarine program.
Project 75 envisioned building 24 conventional submarines in India. Six were to be built from Western technology and six with Russian collaboration; then Indian designers, having absorbed the best of both worlds, would build 12 submarines indigenously.
Project 75, to build six Scorpene submarines (the "Western" six), was contracted in 2005. The Indian MoD believes it is still four to six years away from Project 75I; i.e., beginning work on the second six submarines. In addition, the wisdom of building the second group of six boats using Russian technology has been questioned.
However, the Indian Navy carrier lobby, headed by the last two naval chiefs, has no interest in using the Navy's limited budget for building submarines. So the lobby has exploited the division of opinion among submariners over whether to concentrate on nuclear-powered versus conventional submarines to push submarine building into the future.
The lobbyists have argued that India needs SSBNs to make the long-sought-after Indian nuclear triad a reality and provide a secure second strike capability. However, SSBNs are not a part of the fighting navy; they constitute a country's nuclear deterrent, and fire their nuclear-tipped missiles on orders from the national leadership. The Navy therefore argues that the service should be funded from Indian government sources, not as part of the Indian Navy budget.
Supporters of nuclear submarine construction argue that SSNs are necessary to protect the SSBNs. They also point out that while diesel-electric submarines are quiet and hard to detect while submerged, they are easily picked up when they surface to charge their batteries. Furthermore, they move slowly underwater. These considerations allow a single nuclear submarine to do the job of multiple conventional submarines, which give their position away when they surface at regular intervals. Diesel-electric submarine supporters reply that India's coastal waters are so shallow that SSNs, which typically weigh 4,000-5,000 tonnes, run the risk of scraping the bottom. Conventional submarines, which normally weigh around 1,500 tonnes, are needed for dominating the coastal areas.
This split in the submarine lobby has left the aviation supporters dominant in current Indian Navy policy decision-making. This factor may well see construction of India's indigenous aircraft carriers accelerating at the expense of the submarine fleet.
Just got this nifty little see-through picture that provides a vague sort of glimpse into what's been done to the Chetak/Alouette-III by IAI Malat to convert it into an unmanned platform for the Indian Navy. There are two prototypes known to be flying in Israel now.
Indian warships today began a trilateral exercise with the navies of Brazil and South Africa in Durban off the African coast as part of their efforts to build inter-operability in carrying out maritime operations.
Four warships including a destroyer and two frigates from the Navy's Western Fleet are participating in the biennial India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime (IBSAMAR) exercise, which would focus on visit-board-search-seize, anti-air and anti-submarine operations, apart from naval warfare manoeuvres such as fuelling in mid sea.
The exercise comes in the middle of a two-month long deployment of the Indian warships off the African coast when they also sail to Mauritius and Seychelles for carrying out anti-piracy patrols and visit ports in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.
A Navy officer said here that the deployment would provide the Indian Navy "good opportunity to re-establish and further relations" with the navies of the African continent in areas of training and passage exercises.
"The exercise is to develop interoperability among the three navies so that they could carry out joint operations during times of need in the high seas," the officer said.
Indian naval destroyer INS Mysore, frigates INS Tabar and INS Ganga along with tanker INS Aditya have joined IBSAMAR exercise. Brazil is participating with its warships, while South Africa has brought their submarines.
"This is the second edition of IBSAMAR. The first edition was held in 2008. This year's exercise is a much more complex than the previous one," the officer said.
This time there would be no aerial fleet of the Indian Navy participating in the IBSAMAR exercise, though South Africa was bringing in their aircraft, he added.
IBSAMAR is being held around the South African coast and there would be visits to Durban, Cape Town, Simon's Town and Port Elizabeth as part of the exercise.
India is the lead Navy for this edition of IBSAMAR and Brazil will take upon the role in the next edition to be held in 2012.
Indian Navy Allocates Kamov-25 Helicopter for Study to Amrita University
Coimbatore: The Department of Aerospace Engineering at Amrita's Coimbatore campus recently acquired an anti-submarine, ship-board helicopter from the Indian Navy.
"We acquired this purely for educational purposes," stated Dr. V. Sivakumar, Associate Professor at the Department. With this, we will be able to demonstrate the role, function and working of various subsystems of an aircraft to students."
"Students will gain first-hand experience by working on subsystems of a real aircraft. They will do this as part of their Aircraft Design Laboratory class."
A Russian model named Kamov-25 aka KA-25, the helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 220 km/hr and at an altitude of 3.5 km. It has a range of 450 km, which means that it can complete a flight of that distance without having to refuel.
A typical crew aboard a KA-25 might consist of two pilots and two or three equipment operators. Since the cabin is large enough to accommodate twelve people, the craft has been extensively used for troop transport, as well.
The model was inducted in the Indian Navy in 1980. Since then, the KA-25 fleet has been used in a large number of war and peace time operations, before being grounded in mid-2009 on account of aging.
"The helicopter is powered by two 671 kW Glushenkov GTD-3F turboshafts, that are mounted side-by-side; these drive the two contra-rotating rotors," explained Dr. Sivakumar.
"The use of folding three-blade coaxial rotors requires no tail rotor. Along with the triple tail fins, this ensures compact stowage aboard a ship."
"The helicopter's aerodynamically symmetrical layout, coupled with autopilot, sophisticated avionics suite and good handling qualities, enables a pilot to undertake a long-endurance combat task under any weather conditions."
Dr. J. Chandrashekhar, Chairperson of the Department, explained further.
"A conspicuous design feature of this aircraft is the flat bottom, under-nose radome that houses the search radar, which is an integral part of anti-submarine operations. The Kamov is fitted with a mission avionics suite and a weapons system which allows the helicopter to navigate above the water surface devoid of any reference points and fulfill the task of locating and destroying a submarine, both in manual and automatic mode."
"We hope that the helicopter will help students learn concepts through real models," he added.
Students seem to agree. "I think that we can learn the theoretical aspects of aerodynamics in a more practical way," stated Nikhil Mohan, second-year student of aerospace engineering.
MALE, September 13 (HNS) - In a routine patrol, Indian Navy Sunday started patrolling the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along with the Maldives Coast Guard, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) said Monday.
In the operation set to be carried out from September 11-18, an Indian Navy Aircraft Carrier and Coast Guard vessels operating in the MNDF Northern area will petrol the zone for any violations of the regulations.
Maldives Coast Guard and Indian Navy carry out the operation routinely every two months, the Coast Guard added.
South African Naval Lynx landing on INS Mysore as part of India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime (IBSAMAR-2010) exercise. (Below) Exchange of VBSS best practices - South African Sailors onboard IN Ship. Photos: Navy PRO