Thursday, June 9, 2011

Latest version of Arjun Mark II tank to be tested for the first time

Developed by the country's leading defence research and development organisation, the DRDO, the machine and its performance will be closely watched by the Army.
"We have made some recommendations on the MBT and it will be tested. The turret related tests will start from June 11 and that of chassis automotive system (lower part of the tank) will start from June 25 extending for a month. This is a DRDO exercise and the user (Army) will be observers. This is the first time Arjun Mark II is going for testing," the official told PTI.
The Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) has designed Arjun Mark II with the 93 recommendations put forward by the various stakeholders including the Army.
Arjun Mark II can fire missiles, have an enhanced Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with a capacity of 8.5 KW (against Mark I's 4.5 KW), Explosive Reactive Armour panels (ERA), mine plough, Automatic Target Tracking (ATT), Advanced Land Navigation System (ALNS), digital control harness, advanced commander panoramic sight among other features, the official said. 
Arjun will have a better gun barrel with an Equivalent Firing Charge (strength of the barrel to sustain firing) of 500 rounds against T 72's 250 rounds.
"Mark II will be able to travel at a speed of 60 km per hour in normal terrain and 40 km per hour in harsh terrain. On completion, the MBT will weigh around 66 tonnes," the official said.
The CVRDE is co-ordinating with Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune, Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun, Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, Delhi and Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad for designing Mark II.
"After the testing, the MBT will go for a first user trial in October 2011 and production is expected to start from July 2012 after the second user trial," the official said.
"If everything goes on track, Heavy Vehicles Factory here will roll out its first batch of Mark II by the end of 2014 and a unit will cost Rs 35 crore. Mark II will have 90 per cent Indian components in its making," the official added.
At present, there are 2456 T 72s, over 300 T 90s and 110 Arjun Mark I deployed across the country.

India developing indigenous artillery guns

Armament Research and Development Establishment, the DRDO's lab in Pune, has already started working on developing indigenous artillery guns for the armed forces, senior DRDO officials said.
Other DRDO laboratories will also be involved in the programme but ARDE will be the lead agency for it, they said.
The officials said the research agency had started working on the development of the Bhim self-propelled howitzer about a decade back but the project was virtually scrapped after South African firm Denel was blacklisted by the ministry.
Despite several attempts, cancellation of tenders due to various reasons has not allowed the army to induct any new artillery gun in the last 25 years after the controversy surrounding the Bofors guns snow-balled into a big political issue since the late 80s.
Even the recently issued global tender for procuring 400 guns has run into rough weather, with one of the main contenders Bofors deciding to pull out of the deal.
As part of its over Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation plan, the Army is looking at inducting several types of howitzers through inter-governmental pacts and global tenders.
The army presently uses a mix of 105mm field guns and 130mm and 155mm howitzers.

France zeroes in on lightweight weapon for Rafale

Discussions involving the air force and France's DGA defence procurement agency have advanced over the recent weeks, with several options understood to be under consideration.
Recent attention has focused on the MBDA dual-mode seeker-equipped Brimstone missile, which has been used by UK Royal Air Force  Panavia Tornado GR4 strike aircraft during NATO's Unified Protector campaign to safeguard Libyan civilians from attack by forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.

"Brimstone is a solution, but it's not the only option," said St├ęphane Reb, the DGA's Rafale programme manager. Other candidates could include guided rockets or a weapon in the class of Lockheed Martin's small contained-area precision energetic load bomb, or Scalpel, said industry sources. Meetings about a possible acquisition were held in late May, and a selection decision could come soon.
Acquiring a precision-guided, lightweight weapon for the Rafale has interested the French military for some time, with a TDA 68mm rocket pod having been exhibited alongside a Rafale at 2009's Paris Air Show.
A new system would provide a strike capability between the aircraft's internal 30mm cannon, and 250kg (550lb) bombs equipped with Sagem's AASM "Hammer" precision guidance and range extension kit.
"If you want to integrate something very quick and with a very limited firing envelope then it can be done, but if you want to do a complete system integration with a large firing envelope then we would need more time," said Reb.
The French air force is sustaining a detachment of seven Rafale B/Cs at Solenzara air base on Corsica in support of its operation Harmattan commitment to the NATO campaign in Libya. It will also send other Rafales to Afghanistan for a repeat tour of duty, to start on 1 August.

NATO rejects Russia’s missile defence proposals

“We have not received any positive and intelligible response. Our concerns have not been dispelled,” Russia’s Defence Minister Antoly Serdyukov told reporters after a ministerial-level meeting of the Russia-NATO council in Brussels on Wednesday. “NATO is not heeding for the moment Russian proposals on missile defences.”
At its summit in November, NATO had agreed to explore the possibility of cooperating with Russia in building a missile shield over Europe, but Mr. Serdyukov said that a joint working group set up for the purpose has achieved hardly any results.
“We have failed to agree either on an ultimate goal of cooperation or on the shape and structure of missile defences,” the Russian defence chief said.
Russia has proposed either building a single jointly-operated ant imissile system or dividing the European continent into two sectors of military responsibility that would overlap. NATO has rejected both proposals.
“The reason is simple — NATO cannot outsource to non-members collective defense obligations which bind its members,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
He also dismissed Russian demands for a legal guarantee that the European missile shield was not to target Russia’s nuclear missiles.
“NATO’s position is unacceptable to Russia,” the Russian Defence Minister said. “By 2020, Europe may have a missile shield that could neutralise Russia’s strategic potential.”
In such a turn of events, Russia “will be forced to look for ways of overcoming this shield, which would trigger off a new arms race,” he warned.
Mr. Serdyukov and Mr. Rasmussen both pledged to continue talks to narrow down differences.

India successfully test-fires Prithvi-II

"The indigenously developed missile mounted on a mobile launcher was test-fired from the launch complex-3 in the ITR at around 9.05 am and the trial was fully successful", defence sources said.
"Earlier also, Prithvi-II missile had proved its robustness and accuracy repeatedly during many trials," a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official said.
"Taken from routine production lot during earlier user’s trials by Indian Army, the missile had achieved single digit accuracy reaching close to zero circular error probability (CEP)," the sources said.
Prithvi-II with features to deceive any anti ballistic missiles, had demonstrated flight duration of 483 seconds reaching a peak altitude of 43.5 km in the 2008 user’s trial.
Similarly, as a part of the operational exercises by Armed forces, two Prithvi-II missiles, aimed at two different targets at 350 km from launch point of ITR, at Chandipur were successfully launched within minutes of each other on October 12, 2009 and all the mission objectives were met.
The sleek missile once again proved its accuracy when the user tried it in a ‘salvo mode’ on March 27 and June 18, 2010 from ITR, Chandipur. It was the fourth successful Prithvi-II flight within a period of eight months.
With a striking range of 250 to 350 km, Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying a pay-load of 500-1000 kg warhead.
The test firing of the surface-to-surface missile, which has already been inducted into Indian armed forces, was a routine trial conducted by the personnel of "strategic force command" (SFC), the sources said.
"The trial was conducted in the presence of senior officials as part of routine training exercises," they said.
'Prithvi', the first ballistic missile developed under the country's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), is propelled by liquid propulsion twin engine.
With a length of nine metre and one metre diametre, Prithvi-II uses an advanced inertial navigation system with manoeuvring trajectory.
"The entire trajectory of today's trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, electro-optic telemetry stations and ships launched in the down range impact point area in the Bay of Bengal for the post-launch analysis", the sources said.