“The challenge for democracies, including India, is in getting politicians now focused on short-term electoral gains to invest in long-term goals like the development of basic science”. Nobel laureate in Physics (2012), Serge Haroche.
“New inventions, technologies, products that can compete on the world stage are in the end based on new discoveries, new understanding of the workings of nature — what we call basic science, which eventually translate into applied science and technologies”. Nobel laureate in Physics (2004), David Gross.
Over 19,325 defective anti-tank mines had exploded primarily due to leakage of explosives from some of the mines stored at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon. The sources said the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune in 2012 had clearly called the quality of TNT in the anti-tank mines as safety hazard but the OFB stated it to be a world-wide phenomenon.
The biggest problem I faced was Defence PSUs considered after sales service as an expense and not an investment. Manohar Parrikar
The framing of SQRs has been criticised by many – but most trenchantly by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in a 2007 report that audited 37 separate defence acquisitions between 2003 and 2006.
After scrutinising 11 SQRs, the CAG found that four had spelt out requirements that were unavailable anywhere in the world. In four more cases, the requirements did not meet the military’s stated operational needs. And in seven cases, there was no way of testing whether or not the equipment even met the SQRs.
Many suggest that a key reason behind unrealistic SQRs is the military’s desire to get the “best of the best”.
Officers framing SQRs combine the best qualities of several different equipment types into one, disregarding the well-known fact that weapons design involves trade-offs between different parameters.
For example, a tank designer has to balance mobility, firepower and protection. The more armour is slapped on for additional protection, the less mobile that tank will be. For that reason, a tank cannot simultaneously be the world’s best protected, most heavily armed, and also the most mobile.
Similarly, in framing SQRs for a fighter, the more weaponry one wants the aircraft to carry, the less space there will be for fuel, reducing its range. An SQR cannot demand high weapons load as well as long range. Yet, by combining top-of-the-range parameters, officers have often arrived at SQRs that simply cannot be met.
The government has got just 6 FDI proposals worth a paltry Rs 96 crore ($15.3 million) in the defence production sector, with only 2 of them being for 49%. In an op-ed article, Ashok Atluri, who heads simulator design company, Zen Technologies, argues that FDI limits need not be raised since the Indian defence market is anyway too large for foreign vendors to ignore. He fears foreign OEMs will use higher FDI limits to enter the market and then “kill” Indian competitors by underpricing products until they establish a monopoly.
The Guidelines of the Ministry of Defence for Penalties in Business Dealings with Entities specify 6 offences that could lead to suspension or banning of a vendor. The first 4 causes, which involve corruption, would invoke bans of at least five years. These are (a) violations of contractual integrity pacts; (b) adopting corrupt/unfair means to win contracts; (c) misuse of agents or agency commissions, and (d) national security considerations.
Documents show that there are serious quality concerns at ordnance factories — from the case of missing safety sleeves in artillery ammunition at the Central Ammunition Depot, Pulgaon, to 500 defective rifles being supplied from Rifle Factory, Ishapore. In three years, 429 types of defence equipment worth Rs 449.40 crore, including 52 types of ammunition and 162 kinds of weapons, were sent back over quality concerns.
Sources in the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), under the Department of Defence Production (DDP) of the ministry of defence (MoD), point out DDP doesn’t want to lose control over quality assurance as there are a lot of projects it is responsible for that may be affected. DGQA has been headless as the post has been lying vacant for 20+ months.
To bring in private players to the defence sector, the Indian Government has equipped the Ministry of Commerce's Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) with the power to grant licences to companies for manufacturing defence equipment. According to the policy, the promoters, owners and directors of a company are mandated to give self declarations regarding any criminal history on their part, which reduced the period required to give security clearance from 4.5 months earlier to 4-6 weeks now.
MoD also prohibits its strategic partners from working in more than one segment.
The licence to manufacture drones in India has so far been granted to 17 Indian companies including BHEL, Ashok Layland, and Dynamic Technology.
Ideally, the reserve should last for 40 days of intense war giving enough time to the ordnance factories for ramping up production of required ammunition and supply the same to the military. Make In India push is also blamed for poor defence procurement. Though, the programme is well intended but it further delayed bureaucratic clearances.
The 4 units identified for the PPP model are Small Arms Factory (SAF) in Kanpur, Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT), Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) in Bengal and Ordnance Factory Korwa in UP. The 4 factories manufacture 9mm carbines, 7.62mm and 5.56mm rifles, 5.56mm light-machine guns, artillery guns and other infantry weapons alongside other items. With this (PPP model), even weapons will be in private hands.
- India Navy requires 44 10-tonne NMRH & 24 12-tonne NMRH
The IL-214 will feature a high wing monoplane design, glazed in nose, T-shaped tail empennage, semi-monocoque fuselage, two telphers, a cargo winch and rollers comprising cargo handling equipment.
The cabin size would be similar to the multi-purpose four-engined strategic air-lifter Ilyushin Il-76, but will be half the length. The MTA’s size of the airtight cargo compartment’s cross section is identical to this of the heavy Il-76MD military transport aircraft. This allows employing all existing loading and unloading equipment, transportation and air dropping equipment and tools.
The high thrust-to-weight ratio ensures the MTA’s operability from airfields in high mountains (on the altitude of up to 3,300 m above the sea-level) both from paved and unpaved runways (capable to sustain pressure up to 8 kg/cm2, that allows its operations on more than 90% of the Russian airfields).
As a military transport aircraft MTA can perform the following tasks:
- Emergency humanitarian/disaster relief or evacuations around the world, especially to undeveloped areas due to its ability to operate from unpaved runways,
- Military personnel transportation (up to 140 people),
- Paratroopers deployment (up to 90 people),
- Transportation of cargo, equipment, all-purpose shipping containers and aircraft containers and pallets,
- Parachuting of cargo and equipment on the platforms,
- Low altitude free fall cargo drop,
- Specialist models have also been produced for aerial fire-fighting and zero-G training.
The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and HAL had jointly planned to set up a special purpose vehicle for a regional transport aircraft RTA-70 but this was later scrapped because of funding issues. NAL had in 2007 settled on a design and selected a turboprop engine from Pratt & Whitney for the plane that did not take off from the drawing board. G Madhavan Nair, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, had headed a committee to identify local partners for the project. India has built trainers, planes and helicopters for the military, but its commercial aircraft programme is yet to find its feet.
Hansa, a two-seat passenger plane, has been a commercial flop, while Saras, a 14-seat passenger plane that was grounded after a crash killed three people on a test flight, were designed and built by NAl. In 2000, HAL had planned a joint venture with Franco-Italian aircraft maker ATR, now owned by Airbus, to make small planes in India but later aborted it.
"A year and a half back, HAL took the initiative and proposed that it would like to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). Now we are looking at two ways -- brand India aircraft or co-develop a Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA)"
The MTA is expected to replace the Indian Air Force's ageing fleet of Antonov An-32 transport aircraft. The project has ground to a halt is because the aircraft will not meet IAF's high-altitude performance requirements. India wants the MTA to operate in higher altitudes than the current technical configuration would allow. Assuming it does get built, the MTA is expected to have a payload of between 15 and 20 tonnes and a range of some 2,500 to 2,700 km, which will put it in the same class of airlifter as the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules (22 tonnes) and the Embraer KC-390 (both 23 tonnes).
The MTA, a joint project, would have to be developed around an engine available either in India or Russia. Two schools of thought always existed – the turbofan and turboprop -- and many feasibility studies were also held. India is decades away from developing a fuel efficient high bypass turbofan that could power the MTA. Russian turbofans have lower fuel efficiency and higher life cycle costs than western engines. As such, India would want the MTA designed around a western engine, but the Russians maybe averse to powering a military transport with western engine, particularly after western sanctions were imposed upon the country consequent to the Ukrainian crises.
According to the publication, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) wants to adopt a modified version of the Aviadvigtel PS-90A-76 turbofan that already powers the Ilyushin Il-76 ‘Candid’ platform, while representatives from India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are insisting that a totally new engine that features full authority digital engine control (FADEC) be developed instead. Russia is saying that this FADEC requirement has been added too late, and that it is not needed anyhow.
Russia and India would take delivery of 100 and 45 such aircraft respectively. The new transport aircraft development is valued at $600 million and is intended to replace ageing planes such as BAe 748 and Antonov An-32 in Indian service and An-12, An-26 and An-30 in Russian service, beginning in 2017. The Russian side also wants to increase the program development budget, something that India vehemently opposes.
It may be worthwhile to try to revive this project, otherwise India may be left with the only option of buying more C-130 or the new A-400M.
Another major change that has happened is with respect to make procedures. Make procedure has four sub categories:
1. Government funded projects: Under this category 90% of the funding is done by the government and 10% is industry funded. There are two subcategories under this-
-Projects under Rs 10 crore are reserved for MSMEs
-Open category if it is more than 10cr or if MSME cannot develop it even if it is under 10 crore
2. Industry funded projects:
– Projects under Rs 3 crore are reserved for MSMEs.
– More than 3 crore it is Open category
The private sectors eligible for strategic partnerships fall into two groups.
Here’s a short list:
- Radio and Radar;
- Electrical & Electronics System;
- Mechanical System and
- Instrument System.
Overlooked was the fact that, three decades ago, HAL had developed a 25kN engine for upgrading its successful Kiran trainer into the Kiran Mark II. When that engine was nearing completion, the defence ministry decided to ground the (also indigenous) HF-24 Marut fighter. This made available the (slightly used) engines of 174 Marut fighters --- the Orpheus 703 engine, built by Bristol-Siddeley. Those 30 kN engines were de-rated to 25 kN and put into the Kiran Mark II. HAL’s indigenous engine went to the scrap heap.
High Nitrogen Steel is corrosion resistant and provides exceptional ballistic/blast protection than the existing material at a much reduced thickness along with longevity which increases the fuel and mass efficiency. High Nitrogen Steel exhibits higher energy absorption level, enhances crash-worthiness to the entire artillery system and has significantly higher impact values as compared to Rolled Homogenous Armour (RHA) which make High Nitrogen Steel a far superior material for blast protection. High Nitrogen Steel has passed multiple levels of ballistic tests in different calibers with 8-10 times higher impact/blast protection.
This major development will not only accelerate the indigenization process of Indian defence arsenal in line with government’s ‘Make in India’ drive but will also help in easy availability of best material for manufacturing lighter armour vehicles. High Nitrogen Steel has potential application in all armoured vehicles including Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV), Light Specialty Vehicle (LSV), Light Armoured Multipurpose Vehicle (LAMV), Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), Main Battle Tank (MBT), Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV), Aviation and Naval systems.