Indian Air Force decided to Turn Kargil Airfield Into an Air Force Base

In a move that may upset India’s neighbours, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to convert the airport at Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into a full-fledged air force base. The J&K government has announced that the IAF will be making an air force base in Kargil and the issue of land allocation is being sorted currently. IAF will operate medium, heavy-lift as well as combat aircraft from Kargil in the near future.
According to the J&K government, the Kargil airport is to be extended by 1,500 feet to create an IAF base and the Indian Defence Ministry will be assigned with this work.  Once the land issue is settled, the development work of the Kargil Air Force base will commence. India has decided that the Kargil airfield must transform into a full-fledged transport base by 2016 and the IAF aims to operate both medium and heavy-lift planes from there as well. 
As of now, government teams are planning to visit Kargil in J&K to assess the land situation and chalk-out a roadmap for the air force base project. While the plan to create an air force base in Kargil was mooted last year, the J&K government as well as the Defence Ministry and IAF are finally materializing the project now. The idea to create an IAF base in Kargil is a logical outcome, especially after the 1999 military clash with Pakistan around Kargil. 
Currently, IAF is already operating the medium-lift AN-32 transport planes from the Kargil airfield. The plan is to expand the 6,000-foot runway in Kargil to enable operations of all major transport aircraft such as IL-76 heavy-lift planes as well as the newly-ordered C-17 heavy-lift aircraft and C-130J Super Hercules from the US.

The development of the Kargil airfield is part of the IAF's plan to develop greater infrastructure in the north and north-east sector. IAF is also planning to develop the Nyoma air base close to the border with China in the Ladakh region of J&K. The Nyoma air base will also be converted into a fighter base and the Defence Ministry has been notified. The CCS is expected to grant the final approval soon.

source :  http: // www. defencenow. com/news/575/iaf-to-turn-kargil-airfield-in-kashmir-into-an-air-force-base.html

Indian defence budget shows absence of strategic vision

The Indian defence expenditure for the financial year 2012-13 has been budgeted at a fairly high figure of Rs 193,407 crore (budgeted expenditure, or BE) which converts to $38.5 billion and is not unreasonable -- but is well below China's corresponding figure of $100 billion.

However, to get a true sense of how this translates into tangible Indian military capacity, this allocation is to be seen in relation to the revised expenditure (RE) for the last fiscal that was announced as Rs 170,937 crore ($34 billion). The increase thus is of the order of 13 percent from the actual amount spent in 2011-12.

Defence Budget at ET: Defence Budget 2012 | Indian Union Budget | Defence Budget News |Indian Defence News

However, this is only one perspective, for the BE for 2011-12 was Rs 164,415 crore ($32.7 billion) and this was revised by over Rs 6,000 crore to reach almost Rs 171,000 crore. The Indian defence expenditure is broadly divided into two heads - the revenue and capital components - with the latter accounting for acquisition of new equipment and inventory items, as also modernisation of existing platforms. Ideally, a 50:50 ratio, or even a marginally greater amount for the capital head, would be the most desirable norm - but in the Indian case, since the military machine is largely manpower intensive, the opposite pattern prevails - meaning that the revenue component is higher.

Thus for the current fiscal - 2012-13 -- the total revenue expenditure is budgeted to be Rs 113,829 crore, while the total capital outlay is pegged at Rs 79,578 crore. Paradoxically, in the last fiscal, 2011-12, the capital expenditure was planned for a total of Rs 69,199 crore - but the actual expenditure as announced in the budget documents presented on March 16 was of the order of Rs 66,143 crore. In other words, the defence ministry surrendered Rs 3,056 crore as unspent from its capital head - and this is reflective of the inability to arrive at swift and objective decisions that will contribute to laying a strong foundation for capacity-building of the Indian military profile.

But then the question that arises is where did the increased expenditure occur over the last year? The increase from BE to RE for the last fiscal, 2011-12, is of the order of Rs 6,522 crore and this was expended in the revenue component, which along with the unspent capital amount of Rs 3,056 crore offers an insight into the trends that characterise India's defence expenditure.

The lack of a clear strategic focus is evident when the spending pattern of the last decade is examined in some detail. On the one hand, the revenue expenditure is closer to 60 percent against the capital head, even when allocated amounts remain unspent - except in the last fiscal - which was an exception to the general trend. The lack of a strategic underpinning is evident when a very anomalous situation obtains, in that capital funds are returned as unspent when the Indian military across the board is in dire need of modernisation of critical equipment and platforms.

For instance, the Indian Army has been seeking to replace the old Bofors gun - the mainstay of the artillery for well over a decade -- but to little avail. Given the kickback allegations and related political scandal going back to the Rajiv Gandhi years (mid-1980s), the Indian higher decision-making system remains inert or is in eternal slow motion. Thus 25 years after the Bofors scandal broke and a decade after the Kargil War, the Indian Army is yet to get a replacement for its artillery gun!

Decision-making remains paralysed since the major political parties have chosen to attack one another over corruption and transgression issues - from Bofors to coffin scams - and as a result, India's military capacity has glaring gaps. Defence expenditure and budget allocation is held accountable to strict compliance with audit regulations and fear of politically-motivated investigations and hence no senior official in the Ministry of Defence wants to take long-term decisions that will benefit national military capability-building.

India's total defence allocation can also be viewed in the regional context -- while the current allocation for this year is closer to $40 billion, the Chinese defence budget announced recently is closer to $100 billion. While India does not seek equivalence with China, the pattern of defence allocation and the priorities set by the political leadership is a contrast.

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, Beijing has set itself the task of acquiring credible indigenous design and production capabilities in the defence and military domain - and also utilised its domestic industrial base to advantage. India, on the other hand, has the dubious distinction of becoming the world's leading arms importer over the last decade. Much of the funding from the capital head goes to foreign suppliers and over the last 20 years, Indian funding has proved crucial to the very survival of certain defence industries -- first in Russia and now in France.

It is regrettable that the defence expenditure is rarely discussed in parliament despite being a reasonably large amount - and where debates do occur, they are zero sums games between bitter political opponents.

It merits recall that over the last decade, two high-powered committees have rendered their reports - the Kelkar and the Rama Rao panels - about the challenges to India's acquisition procedures and the need for a rigorous defence public sector/DRDO review. However, both reports remain shrouded in secrecy - and have not come up for detailed discussion in parliament or in the national trade and commerce chambeRs

If examined in an objective manner, where everyone is a stakeholder in contributing to national security, some embarrassing truths will be revealed. More than 60 years after becoming a republic and 50 years after the debacle with China, the opaque Indian defence production establishment does not produce high-quality clothing and personal inventory items like boots - let alone a suitable rifle for a one million army, or tanks and aircraft. The question that Defence Minister A.K. Antony may like to ask is why the stoic Indian jawan still buys his uniform from the market and shuns what the government provides?

Fiscal allocations by themselves tell a partial story. Creating appropriate military capacity requires a certain degree of political commitment and institutional integrity that appear elusive in the Indian context.

(Commodore (Retd) C. Uday Bhaskar is one of India's leading strategic analysts.)

source : http: //economictimes.indiatimes. com/news/politics/nation/indias-defence-budget-shows-absence-of-strategic-vision-says-commodore-retd-c-uday-bhaskar/articleshow/12339096.cms?curpg=2

Indian Naval LCA TEJAS NP 1 Undergoes Engine Trials Successfully

India has achieved yet another major achievement as it carried out a successful debut Engine Ground Run of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) prototype NP1 for the Indian Navy. The naval LCA prototype NP1 is India’s first homemade naval fighter aircraft which will incorporate considerable technology and will be used from an aircraft carrier.

The debut Engine Ground Run (EGR) of LCA NP1 aircraft was successfully carried out with the main aim of checking aircraft to engine integration and activation of the various systems like flight control, hydraulics, fuel, electrical and avionics. The LCA NP 1 aircraft will now go through a phase of refinements based on feedback identified during the course of the buildup and also observed during the Engine Ground Run. After the changes, a series of final integration checks and taxi trials will occur before its maiden flight shortly.

The LCA NP1 project consists of members of the Indian Armed Forces, state-run HAL, DRDO, and Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) as well other institutions and public and private sector partners. Following this Engine Ground Run, there will be a taxi run of the aircraft after which the naval LCA will be ready for flight trials by the end of this year or early 2012.

In July 2010, the state-owned Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had launched the naval variant of the indigenous LCA NP1 in Bangalore. The authorities had also said that LCA NP 2 will be rolled out in 2011 which will be single seat naval fighter. The main aim of LCA NP1 and its Fighter counterpart LCA NP 2 was to become a suitable replacement to the ageing fleet of Sea Harriers with a higher thrust engine and optimized mass. The naval version of the LCA will be deployed on board the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) by 2015. It is the only carrier borne aircraft in the light category.

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Overpricing Delays Purchase of 10 Boeing C-17s by Indian Air Force

The deal was earlier scheduled to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security

(CCS) in its meeting in March-end but now will be put up for clearance only after the US answers queries on whether India was being charged more price for the aircraft than other countries, Defence Ministry sources said here.

The per unit cost being charged from India by the US for the C-17 is USD 410 million whereas it is sold to Australia at a price of USD 300 million per aircraft.

After certain representations were made to the Ministry that the aircraft were being sold to India at comparatively higher price, the deal was put on hold and it would be come up before the CCS only after the US government answers Indian government's queries, the sources said.

The aircraft is being purchased through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route by India under which the sale agreement is signed between the two governments.

The defence ministry had already approved funds for procuring the aircraft in the last fiscal, they said.The US Congress had notified the sale of the C-17s to India at USD 5.8 billion representing the highest possible estimate for the deal which includes all potential services offered.

India is planning to procure the aircraft for augmenting its fleet of Ilyushin-76 aircraft and Antonov-32 transport aircraft from the US.

The negotiations between India and the US for the deal were completed in February this year.

After finalising the initial deal for ten aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is also planning to place orders for additional six aircraft.

Till date, the biggest defence deal between the two sides is for the procurement of eight P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft for the Indian Navy at USD 2.1 billion.

Since 2005, the US companies have bagged defence deals worth around USD four billion and are participating in all the major tenders issued by Indian armed forces for defence purchases.

Source : htt p://www.india-

Indian army officer killed in Kashmir clash

Hundreds of thousands of troops are based in Kashmir
A senior Indian army officer has been killed in an ongoing gun battle with militants in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Major AK Thinge died after he and his men came "under heavy fire" in Poonch, an army spokesman said.
Seven other soldiers, including a colonel, were injured.
Despite a decline in violence in Kashmir in recent years, there are fears that militants are trying to regroup in the region.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are based in Kashmir to fight a two decade-old insurgency against Indian rule.
An army spokesman said it was not clear whether the militants had crossed the Line of Control which divides Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir, and is close to the Beri Rakh region where the gunbattle is going on.
"The operation will continue. We have tightened the security cordon in the area."
He said the troops had come under heavy fire from the militants as they were preparing to launch an operation to flush them out.

Source : htt p://

Israel's Defense seeks to buy U.S. Military equipment in Iraq

Israel's Defense Ministry is negotiating with the Pentagon to buy U.S. military equipment in Iraq that's due to be shelved as surplus or sold as the last contingent of U.S. forces prepared to withdraw.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli military "is looking to renew its aging fleet of Humvee combat vehicles with ones that the United States will be phasing out as it reduces its troops numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Israel is also interested in acquiring surplus weapons and ammunition the U.S. will no longer require following the withdrawal."
But it's likely that other regional states, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both major buyers of U.S. weapons and equipment, could seek to get their hands on U.S. equipment.
With the U.S. Defense Department facing hefty funding reductions under U.S. President Barack Obama's budgetary cutbacks, the Pentagon may decide it makes more sense to auction off some equipment than go the expense of shipping it stateside.
The Israeli plan seems to be that if the U.S. military does sell or auction off Humvees and other equipment at bargain prices the surplus gear can be trucked west across the desert through Jordan, the Jewish state's eastern neighbor with which it has a peace treaty, to Israel.
It's not clear whether the Israelis expect to pay cash for whatever U.S. gear they can acquire in Iraq, or whether this would fall under the $3 billion a year in military aid the Jewish state receives from the United States.
Iraq's emergent armed forces and security services are likely to be given some of the U.S. equipment or allowed to buy it at discount prices.
The United States began withdrawing its forces from Iraq after signing a Status of Forces Agreement with the Baghdad government in December 2008.
The pullout began in June 2009 and is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.
It involves the U.S. military's largest logistics operation since quitting Vietnam 40 years ago -- 1 million tons of arms and equipment that includes 43,000 vehicles, 600-plus helicopters, 120,000 containers and 34,000 tons of ammunition and ordnance.
The Americans are abandoning some 300 bases and other infrastructure, which the Iraqis are in the process of taking over.
These range from forward operating bases to sprawling 6,000-acre air bases like Balad, north of Baghdad, which resembles a small American city with movie theaters, fast-food outlets, massage parlors, an ice-making plant and a sewage treatment center.
Some equipment has been shipped east to Afghanistan or pre-positioned in bases in the Persian Gulf for future operations in the region. One of the biggest such bases is in Kuwait, Iraq's southern neighbor.
Other materiel will be returned to the United States to be refurbished and put back in service.
On Aug. 5, the U.S. military said nearly 60 percent of the equipment has been moved out of Iraq under the colossal withdrawal operation, with the remainder on track for disposal.
To date, 1.7 million pieces of military gear, from 67-ton M1A2 Abrams tanks to coffee makers, have been shipped out, says Air Force Maj. John Rozsnyai, who heads the U.S. Transport Command's joint planning team for the withdrawal.
That leaves 1 million items to go but Rozsnyai said it's not yet been determined whether all these will be shipped out, given to the Iraqis or sold off.
The equipment left in Iraq is worth billions of dollars. The Iraqis were hoping that their U.S.-trained and armed military would inherit much of the U.S. equipment.
The U.S. Congress, many of whose members want the Iraqi government to pay for much of the U.S. military operation since 2003, has limited the total value of equipment, such as computers and furniture, that can be left to around $15 million per base.
But commanders have argued that it's more economical to simply turn over equipment to Iraq because of the cost of shipping it back to the United States is prohibitive.

Source : htt p://www.spacewar .com/reports/Israel_seeks_to_buy_US_equipment_in_Iraq_999.html

Indian Commissions second stealth warship

India has commissioned the Satpura warship, the second of what it calls "stealth" frigates, in a ceremony in   Mumbai, the Business Standard newspaper said.
The head of the Indian navy, Adm. Nirmal Verma, commissioned the vessel into active service as India's 140th warship.
The Satpura, which follows the Shivalik into service, is the second of three Project 17 stealth frigates being built by Mazagon Dock in Mumbai.
It will be followed by the Sahyadri early next year.
The vessels are based on the three 4,100-ton Talwar-class frigates that Russia built for the Indian navy a decade ago. However, the officially termed guided-missile stealth frigates come in at 6,200 tons.
The Satpura carries 24 Russian Klub missiles with a range of around 130 miles.
The navy originally wanted the Indian-made Brahmos missile but it was too heavy for the vessel, the Business Standard report said. Only India's heavier destroyers are armed with the Brahmos.
The Satpura has an Israeli Barak air defense system and an RB-6,000 multi-barreled depth charge launcher. It also carries two Sea King, or indigenous Dhruv helicopters.
Power for the 465-foot warship is provided by two French Pielstick diesel engines. In addition, two General Electric LM-2500 gas turbines are used in tandem with the diesels for bursts of speed.
The stealth aspect comes in its design, configured to reduce its radar, infrared, electronic, acoustic and visual signatures, the report said.
Similar designs are being used in Project 28, the construction program for anti-submarine corvettes that are being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata.
Construction cost for the stealth frigates has been kept down through the use of warship-grade steel from the Indian firm Essar Steel, rather than importing similar grades.
But India remains concerned over the amount and cost of foreign high-tech equipment in its new vessels, Verma said.
Vice Adm. Ganesh Mahadevan, the navy's chief of Materials, said indigenization will rise dramatically for future vessels starting next year.
The Ministry of Defense also announced that the navy, along with the air force, is on schedule to receive additional Hawk AJT trainer jets.
The navy will get 17 of the 57 trainers to be built by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics.
Delivery of the first aircraft of the 57 will start in 2013 and be finished by 2016.
The $700 million order for the 57 two-seat aircraft was signed with HAL in July 2010, a report on the Web site said.
The air force is getting the other 40 Hawks, an advanced trainer designed by BAE Systems and which can be used as a low-cost fighter.
The order for the 57 from HAL comes after a previous contract with BAE and HAL for 66 Hawk aircraft.
In March 2004, the government signed a contract with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce Turbomeca UK for the purchase of 24 Hawk AJTs to be built in the United Kingdom.
Also agreed at the same time was for HAL in Bangalore to manufacture another 42 Hawks under a transfer of technology contract, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said in the upper house of Parliament.

 Source :  htt p://www.spacewar.  com/reports  /India_commissions_second_stealth_frigate_999.html