Forget the F-22 or F-35: Why Sixth-Generation Jet Fighters Could Be Revolutionary


The American development and deployment of Fifth-Generation stealth aircraft like the F-35 Lightning is one of the central stories of today’s security zeitgeist. But behind the scenes, several countries are already looking ahead to the design of a Sixth-Generation jet.

The relentless pace of research is arguably driven less by combat experience—of which there is little—and more by a sober assessment that development of a successor will take multiple decades and is better started sooner rather than later.

The Sixth-Generation fighter developers can be divided into two categories: the United States, which has developed and deployed two stealth fighter types, and countries that have skipped or given up on their attempt to build Fifth Generations jets. These latter countries have concluded that doing so is so time-consuming and expensive that it makes more sense to focus on tomorrow’s technology than try to catch up with today’s.

The latter include France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which are in the preliminary stages of developing sixth-generation FCAS and Tempest fighters; Russia, which has given up on developing its Su-57 stealth fighter for at least a decade , but is talking up a conceptual sixth-generation MiG-41 interceptor; and Japan, which is contemplating a domestic sixth-generation F-3 stealth jet, but may settle for a foreign-inspired fifth generation design.

Currently, the United States has two projects: the Air Force’s ‘Penetrating Counter-Air’—a long long-range stealth fighter to escort stealth bombers—and the Navy’s FA-XX. So far, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrop-Grumman have unveiled sixth-generation concepts.

Furthermore, a third set of countries, notably including India and China, are still refining the technology for the manufacture of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft.

Stealth and Beyond-Visual Range Missiles Are Here to Stay

The various Sixth-Generation concepts mostly feature many of the same technologies. Two critical characteristics of Fifth-Generation fighters will remain centrally important to the Sixth: stealthy airframes and long-range missiles. As cost-effective ground-based air defense systems like the S-400 can now threaten vast swathes of airspace, stealth aircraft need to be capable of penetrating ‘anti-access/area-denial’ bubbles and eliminate air defense from a safe distance. Additionally, stealth jets also steeply out-perform non-stealth aircraft in aerial war games.

Thus, low radar cross-sections and radar-absorbent materials will be a necessary, but not sufficient, feature of sixth-generation fighters. Some theorists argue that stealthy airframes may eventually be rendered obsolete by advanced sensor technology—and stealthy airframes can’t be upgraded as easily as avionics and weapons. Therefore, jamming, electronic warfare, and infrared obscuring defenses will also rise in importance.

Beyond-visual-range missiles will remain a key technology. Extent missiles like the AIM-120D can already hit targets over one hundred miles away, but realistically must be fired much closer to have a good chance of a kill against an agile, fighter-sized target. However, new ramjet-powered high-speed air-to-air missiles like the British Meteor and Chinese PL-15 point to why future air warriors may mostly fight at great distances from their adversaries.

Awesome ‘X-Ray-Vision’ Pilot Helmets

The F-35 has pioneered sophisticated Helmet Mounted Displays that can see ‘through’ the airframe for superior situational awareness, display key instrument data, and target missiles via a Helmet Mounted Sight (although that last technology is decades old ). Though these helmets currently have significant teething issues , they will likely become a standard feature in future fighters, possibly supplanting cockpit instrument panels. Voice-activated command interfaces may also ease the hefty task-load expected of fighter pilots.

Larger Airframes, More Efficient Engines

As airbases and carriers become more vulnerable to missile attacks, warplanes will need to be able to fly longer distances, and carry more weapons while doing so—which is difficult when a stealth jet must rely solely on internal fuel tanks and weapons loads. The natural solution is a larger plane. As air forces expect Within-Visual-Range aerial dogfights to be rare and possibly mutually suicidal, they are showing a greater willingness to tradeoff maneuverability to emphasize high sustainable speeds and a greater payload.

These design imperatives may gel well with the development of advanced adaptive g variable-cycle engines that can alter their configurations mid-flight to perform better at high speeds (like a turbojet) or more fuel-efficiently at low speeds (like a high-bypass turbofan).

Optionally-Manned

For several decades air power theorists have forecast a transition to crewless combat jets which won’t have to bear the added weight and risk to life and limb necessitated by a human pilot. However, while drone technology has proliferated by leaps and bounds in that time, navies and air forces have been slow to explore pilotless fighters, both because of the expenses and risks, but also likely for cultural reasons. For example, U.S. Navy pilots successfully lobbied to re-purpose a planned carrier-based stealth attack drone into a tanker to refuel manned aircraft.

Sixth Generation concepts are therefore advancing the idea of an optionally-manned aircraft that can fly with or without a pilot onboard. This has the shortcoming of requiring additional design effort to produce an airplane that will still have the downsides and expensive training requirements of a manned airplane. However, optional-manning may help ease the transition to an unmanned fighter force, and on the short term give military leaders the possibility of deploying aircraft on high-risk missions without risking pilots’ lives.

Sensor Fusion with Friendlies on the Ground, Sea, Air and Space

One of the F-35’s key innovations is its ability to soak up sensor data and share it via datalinks to friendly forces, creating a composite ‘picture.’ This could allow a stealth aircraft to ride point and ferret out adversaries, while friendly forces maneuver into advantageous positions and sling missiles from further back without even turning on their radars.

Because this tactic promises to be such a force multiplier, fused sensors and cooperative engagement will become a standard feature of sixth-generation jets—and the fusion will likely be deepened by integrating satellite and even drones deployed alongside jet fighters.

Cyber Warfare and Cyber Security

Sensor fusion and optional-manning, however, imply that sixth generation jets will rely heavily on datalinks and networks which could be disrupted by jamming or even invaded through hacking. Ground-based logistics networks, such as the F-35’s ALIS, promise significant improvements in efficiency, but also expose even landed aircraft to potential cyberattack.

Thus, sixth-generation avionic systems not only must be designed for resilience versus electronic and cyber warfare—but may be capable of launching such attacks on adversaries. For example, the Air Force has successfully tested the ability to invade networks and insert data packets (such as viruses), a capability of the Navy’s fighter-borne Next Generation Jammer.

Artificial Intelligence

One problem is that all of these sensor, communication and weapons systems have become so complex that they threaten to exceed the task-processing ability of the human brain—remember, the pilot also has to fly the plane! While some Fourth-generation jets incorporated a back-seat Weapon Systems Officer to help out, Fifth-Generation stealth fighters have all been single-seaters.

Thus, air forces are turning to AI to handle more mundane tasks of fighter management and determine which data should be presented to the pilot. Furthermore, AI and machine learning may be used to coordinate drones.

Drones—and Drone Swarms

In October 2016, two FA-18 Super Hornet deployed 103 Perdix drones in a test over China Lake (you can watch the video here ). Animated by an AI hivemind, the drones swarmed down like a cloud of locusts over a designated target point. Kamikaze drones have already been used in action, and it is easy to see how relatively small and cheap drones could become a particularly terrifying weapon.

Theorists of future warfare posit that inexpensive and expendable networked drones may prove far more difficult to defend against than a small number of costly and well-protected weapons platforms and missiles. However, sixth-generation fighters will likely also work with larger, faster and fancier drones to serve as sensor-bearing scouts, weapons platforms, and decoys.

Directed Energy Weapons

Swarms of drones, missiles, and even obsolete jet fighters can threaten to over-saturate an advanced stealth jet’s offensive and defensive capabilities. One commonly cited countermeasure may be Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) such as lasers or microwaves, which can be fired quickly, precisely and with a nigh-limitless magazine capacity given sufficient electricity.

The U.S. Air Force envisions three categories of airborne DEWs: lower-powered lasers for disrupting or damaging enemy sensors and seekers, a mid-level tier capable of burning incoming air-to-air missiles out of the skies, and high-power class capable of destroying aircraft and ground targets. The air warfare branch plans to test an anti-missile laser turret in the early 2020s which may eventually be installed on bombers and F-35s.

Sixth-generation fighter programs remain strictly conceptual today, especially given the enormous expenses and effort devoted to working out the kinks in the Fifth-Generation. Many of the component technologies such as lasers, cooperative engagement, and unmanned piloting, are already in well under development, but integrating them into a single airframe will still prove a significant challenge.

At the earliest, sixth-generation fighters may crop up in the 2030s or 2040s—by which time concepts in air warfare will likely have evolved yet again.

 

 

 

 

Source:- National Interest

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Situation in Kashmir valley stable but fragile, says GoC of 15 Corps

SRINAGAR: The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is stable but fragile, according to Lt Gen Anil Kumar Bhatt, General Officer Commanding of the Indian Army’s 15 Corps.

“The situation in the valley is stable in most areas but fragile in certain parts,” Bhatt told ET in an exclusive interview, even as sources said the army has upgraded its counter-infiltration system and has been changing its deployment patterns in relation to the concentration of terrorists.

In the years-old conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir, India has foiled several infiltration attempts along the line of control (LoC).

The ceasefire agreement signed between the nuclear-armed neighbours in 2003 has been violated several times, with hundreds of terrorists and civilians being killed in the ensuing skirmishes.

Now, the army faces a new challenge— that of halting local recruitment of terrorists. To curb this, authorities have prohibited large gatherings at funerals—often cited as strong motivators for such recruitment—started counselling services for the youth, and taken initiatives to bring fresh recruits back into the mainstream after approaching their parents.

The Srinagar-based 15 Corps, which Bhatt heads, is tasked with overseeing counter-terrorist operations in Kashmir.

This year alone, Indian forces have neutralised over 100 terrorists, according to Bhatt.

“From January. we’ve foiled more than 10 attempts, which resulted in killing of 36 terrorists. In addition, 12 attempts of infiltration have also been prevented,” he said.

According to sources, in the last five to seven years, the army has not only increased its strength in its counter-infiltration grid along the LoC, but also strengthened its anti-infiltration obstacle system.

The army is trying to make the latter “smarter” by installing day and night cameras and thermal sights, they said. But this has not been without the challenges of terrain and weather.

While these measures have helped, the army says there has been a decline in the number of foreign terrorists in J&K over the years. Local radicalisation has been growing to pose a new challenge, army said.

As part of CPEC,

NEW DELHI: China is building a city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals at a cost of $150 million in Gwadar as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This will be the first such Chinese city in South Asia.

Half-a-million Chinese citizens, who will be housed in this proposed city by 2022, will be workforce for the financial district that Beijing is planning to set up in the Pakistani port city of Gwadar. Only Chinese citizens will live in this gated zone, which basically means that Pakistan will be used as a colony of China.

ET has learnt that the China-Pak Investment Corporation bought the 3.6-million square foot International Port City and will build a $150-million gated community for the anticipated 5,00,000 Chinese professionals who will be located by 2022 and work in its proposed new financial district in Gwadar.

China has such complexes or subcity for its nationals who are part of the workforce for projects in Africa and Central Asia. There are allegations that Chinese have also moved to acquire territory in eastern Russia and northern part of Myanmar, and such exclusive zones for Chinese citizens are also giving rise to considerable local resentment.

Beijing has invested in Pakistan’s pipelines, railways, highways, power plants, industrial areas and mobile networks to advance the geographical mid-way link for BRI.

In return, Chinese inland manufacturing cities have secured better links to shipping lanes and newly made free trade zones through railways, port renovation and blockchain technology.

Of the 39 proposed CPEC projects, 19 are either already completed or underway, with China spending over $18.5 billion since 2015.

David Headley’s Half-Brother In Pak Team Sent For Vajpayee’s Funeral


Government sources said Danyal Gilani, a career bureaucrat in Pakistan, has publicly dissociated himself from David Headley

Terrorist David Coleman Headley is one of the minds behind 26/11 attack. His brother Danyal Gilani is a career bureaucrat in Pakistan. Sources said he has publicly dissociated himself from David Headley

Pakistan’s choice of delegates for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s funeral in Delhi last week has raised eyebrows in India. Among the five delegates was Danyal Gilani, the half-brother of David Coleman Headley – the Pakistani-American terrorist jailed in the US over his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike.

David Headley – who recced various Indian cities before the 26/11 attacks – was arrested in 2009. He had testified before a court in Mumbai through video conferencing from his prison in the US during the trial of Mumbai attacks mastermind Abu Jundal. Policy observers are surprised at the choice of Danyal Gilani, who is posted as the Chairman of Central Film Censor Board. “The delegation attended the funeral and was to meet the external affairs minister also. It would have been very embarrassing for the government to explain,” a senior official said. Others argue that if he has not been declared persona non grata by India, he cannot be stopped from visiting if he is part of a Pakistani delegation.

Government sources said Danyal Gilani, a career bureaucrat in Pakistan, has publicly dissociated himself from David Headley. Sources said he has so far not been found to have any terror links and is not on any Indian blacklist.

“Danyal Gilani was issued visa after checking the blacklist. He does not figure in our blacklist. There are no reports of his links to terrorism,” a senior government official told NDTV.

Danyal Gilani, however, did go to funeral venue but did not attend the courtesy meeting of Pakistan’s caretaker law minister Syed Ali Zaffar with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mehmood, law minister Syed Ali Zaffar, foreign ministry spokesperson and Director General of South Asia Mehmood Faizal had met Ms Swaraj, the officials said.

Danyal Gilani had tweeted about delegation meeting with EAM.

A controversy had shadowed the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February when a convicted pro-Khalistan terrorist, Jaspal Atwal, was found present at an official event hosted for the Canadian Prime Minister. The government had to inquire into how a separatist leader was allowed back into the country without any red-flags being raised.

India has repeatedly called out Pakistan over its military establishment’s support to terrorists acting from its soil. Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, has however, said that wanted peace with India and was ready “take two steps if India took one”.

In the recently held elections, Mr Khan’s party has won with a wafer thin majority. His rivals have maintained the election was rigged and he won only with the backing of the military establishment.

But most of the 450-odd candidates known for links with Islamic radical or terror groups, including Lashkar-e Taiba chief Hafiz Sayeed’s son-in-law have bitten the dust.

Pakistan Foreign Minister’s Ties With India: A Complicated Past


Qureshi has a complicated relationship with India and it may be recalled that his visit to India in similar capacity in November 2008 coincided with 26/11

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s newly appointed foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has a complicated relationship with India and it may be recalled that his visit to India in similar capacity in November 2008 coincided with 26/11, the terror attack masterminded from Pakistani soil that derailed Indo-Pak Comprehensive Dialogue ever since.

Qureshi, a hawk on Kashmir, was foreign minister in PPP regime between 2008 and 2011 and was present in Delhi on the very day Mumbai attacks were launched on November 11, 2008. Hours before the attack, Qureshi and his then Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee, met at Hyderabad House and addressed a press meet where even cricketing ties were among the talking points. Mukherjee had just returned from a three-day visit to Nepal.

Qureshi found it difficult to defend his government the next day while still in India as commando operations continued to flush out terrorists from Mumbai. He heard a mouthful from Mukherjee, his host, about Pak complicity in the Mumbai attacks. “We do not want to impose war, but we are fully prepared in case war is imposed on us,” Qureshi had later said.

Two years after 26/11, in 2010, Qureshi was involved in one of the worst Indo-Pak press meets with SM Krishna by his side in Islamabad. It was a press meet late in the evening that was marked by acrimony and tough words from Qureshi. Qureshi has been often described as a PM-inwaiting and it is believed that he twice missed the post. Some Pak experts still believe that Imran may have to pave way for Qureshi at some point in time.

It is understandable that Qureshi will be guided by the Pakistan army in conducting its India policy. The stamp of army is evident in the Imran cabinet with nine out of 15 ministers and three out of five advisers being senior officials under Musharraf.

Top Commander of Al-Qaeda Affiliate In Jammu & Kashmir Urges Muslims To ‘Wage War’ Against Hindutva Forces In Audio Clip


Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind Terrorist Zakir Musa

A top commander of the Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir, has asked Muslims in India to “wage a war” against Hindutva forces and made several references to instances of mob lynching over cow slaughter.

In a 15-minute audio clip released by Zakir Musa, the commander, he said, “The Muslim brothers of Kashmir and India, you should prepare for war. Start your preparations, and for believers, Allah has promised success. Jihad is our way, and paradise lies in the shade of swords.”

Musa, who had dissociated himself from the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, was announced as the head of Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind through the Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaeda-affiliated information network.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that his defeat is certain. “The defeat of Narendra Modi and his army is certain, but that is only possible through jihad. No matter how many atrocities Modi and his Hindu group commit, remember they are cowards,” he said.

Musa added, “Remember that the solution to your problems is not to stop eating cow meat, cutting your beard, or choosing the Congress or any other political party in place of the BJP. It lies in jihad only.”

The Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind commander also made references to a number of lynching cases, including those of Mohammad Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan and Inayatullah Khan.

This is not the first time that Musa has referred to cow lynching incidents in the country. In a four-minute audio clip in June 2017, he exhorted the community to ‘take revenge’ for such incidents.

Speaking on Kashmir in his latest audio clip, he urged youth to “hurl petrol bombs” at forces to help militants escape, and asked traders not to install CCTV cameras at their shops. Further, he urged people to damage CCTV cameras installed by the police and army.

Musa had hit the headlines while being a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen, when he had threatened to behead Hurriyat leaders for terming the Kashmir conflict as a “political movement”.

Following this, Hizbul spokesperson Saleem Hashmi had said that Musa’s statement “isn’t acceptable and the outfit has nothing to do with it.” Hashmi had further said, “This is the personal opinion of Zakir Musa. The resistance leadership and Kashmiri people were taking the movement ahead through united efforts. In these circumstances, any provocative statement or step could prove deadly for the movement”.

Musa later announced his decision to dissociate himself from the Hizbul Mujahideen, saying, “The Hizbul Mujahideen has disassociated itself from my statement, so I am disassociating myself from the Hizbul. The Hizbul said that they have nothing to do with Zakir’s statement. If the Hizbul doesn’t represent me, then I don’t represent them. Now onwards, I have nothing to do with the Hizbul. I am on the right path and I am not associated with anybody and we will see who stands with me.”

Indian Army Gears Up To Turn Lean, Mean, And Fast


This isn’t to say that Vajpayee’s government wasn’t reformist: It had more market-friendly ministers than any government since

by Mihir Sharma

India’s political divides increasingly look unbridgeable. Yet, when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee died last Thursday, he was mourned even by those who had been his opponents in life, whether within or outside his Bharatiya Janata Party. His successor, Manmohan Singh, compared his vision to that of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru – the highest compliment a member of the Congress Party can give. And Narendra Modi, whom Vajpayee tried to sack in 2002 as chief minister of Gujarat after thousands died in riots there, walked behind his cortege as it rolled through quiet Delhi streets.

As the first Indian prime minister not from the Congress Party to complete a full term, Vajpayee’s place in history is assured. Behind the mourning was a certain nostalgia; many remember his time in office as an enchanted moment, the high-water mark of confidence in India’s future. The country declared itself a nuclear power and survived the sanctions that followed. It was opening itself to investment and seemed to have weathered the Asian crisis of the late 1990s. It seemed reasonable, then, to put India and China in the same basket as rising powers.

Today, a decade and a half after Vajpayee was voted out, that optimism is a thing of the past. India has moved too slowly and let too many people down too often; many here now wonder if it has missed its moment entirely. You could blame Modi for this situation, or Singh. But, in fact, the foundations for this failure were laid during Vajpayee’s administration – and by his defeat in the polls.

This isn’t to say that Vajpayee’s government wasn’t reformist: It had more market-friendly ministers than any government since. It opened up the telecommunications sector, invested in roads and highways, and defused the fiscal time bomb that India’s state pensions were becoming.

But, the one moment you can point to as emblematic of the opportunities that India missed came in early 2001. Vajpayee’s finance minister, Yashwant Sinha – now a trenchant critic of Modi – had proposed that India’s draconian labor laws be relaxed. Criticism was widespread, including from within his own party. Eventually, Vajpayee backed off and the promise to amend labour law went unkept.

Vajpayee’s decisive turn away from reform of the world’s most restrictive market for labour – not to mention land and capital – is the biggest reason India went on to lose to China the race to become the world’s manufacturing hub. In the years since 2001, world trade in goods exploded, even as India continued to de-industrialise. It was just too difficult to run a decent-sized factory in India.

Larger companies needed government permission to fire even one worker. India became an IT services superpower; trade and telecom fired up its growth rate. But the country signally failed to create the manufacturing jobs that became the foundation of the Chinese miracle. Under Vajpayee, India backed away from the only path that leads to prosperity.

At the time, this was hard to see: As I said, we all felt optimistic. Vajpayee tried to distil that energy into a single two-word slogan in his 2004 reelection campaign: “India Shining.” When he lost, many assumed it was because of a backlash to that reform-friendly rhetoric.

That was never really an accurate explanation; indeed, Vajpayee himself said after the loss that the Gujarat riots were responsible. Yet the fear that economic reforms would be electoral poison has haunted Indian politicians ever since. Even Modi, with more political capital than Vajpayee ever had, has been overly cautious. One crack from his opponents that he was running a “suit-boot” government, too close to rich businessmen, was enough for him to turn into a red-blooded economic populist.

Vajpayee’s biggest moment, perhaps, was when he took India nuclear in 1998 and tended India’s economy through the sanctions that followed. Nobody can still argue now that India shouldn’t have openly admitted to its nuclear capability; it’s shown that it can be responsible about proliferation and nuclear doctrine.

But, there’s another way of looking at it. The Chinese consciously decided to avoid rocking the geopolitical boat until they had the firepower to overturn it. Instead, they kept foreign investors and governments happy while they prioritised getting their domestic act together.

When Vajpayee was giving up on fixing labour law because it was politically difficult, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji was fighting to reform state-owned enterprises, laying off millions in the process. Two decades on, it’s easy to see what India’s priorities should have been.

India-Russia Looking To Export Kalashnikov Rifles & Brahmos Missiles To Third Countries


AK-100 Series Assault Rifles

Russia does not rule out sales of AK-100 series assault rifles, produced in India after opening joint venture, to third countries, Dmitry Shugaev said.

“We are ready to work with either state-owned or private company chosen by India. We are absolutely sure that it is practical to meet the demand for such assault rifles through joint venture. This will not allow producing this type of small arms in quantities necessary for India in the short term, but also selling these modern weapons to third countries. Such possibility is not ruled out,” Shugaev said.

Russian-Indian BrahMos Missiles

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) wants to buy BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, produced jointly by Russia and India, but the decision on supplies would be taken by Moscow and New Delhi after receiving a firm request, Dmitry Shugaev said.

“At the moment, the issue of supplying production of this company to third countries on the agenda, therefore we will make a joint decision once there is a firm request. The UAE is among potential buyers, but I cannot say that something is being implemented now as there is no firm request,” Shugaev said.

Indian Army Reforms: Cutting Administrative Flab Or Needless Downsizing?


Army chief General Bipin Rawat is set to issue orders to reduce personnel at the Army Headquarters (AHQ) in New Delhi. The move is being viewed as an indirect attack on the lobby for postings in the capital

ThePrint asks – Indian Army reforms: Cutting administrative flab or needless downsizing?

Whims of political and military leadership have driven reforms in Indian armed forces

Major General Ashok Mehta (Retd) – Founder-member, Defence Planning Staff, Ministry of Defence and columnist, security issues

The national security establishment did not carry out any systematic strategic and defence reviews. It resorted to ad-hocism instead. The driver for its reforms has largely been the whims of political and military leadership.

Reforms have taken place earlier as well. There were the K.V.K. Rao reforms in the mid-1970s. In the 1980s came the first systematic security review by the defence planning staff. Needless to say, it wasn’t fully implemented. Then, the Kargil review committee report, the Naresh Chandra task force recommendations and most recently, the Shekatkar committee report came out. These reports have some very valuable recommendations that need to be reviewed and implemented.

Currently, a similar internal review is being carried out by Army chief, Bipin Rawat. It has two objectives: to carry out reforms and cut administrative flab. It aims to improve the tooth-to-tail ratio, in other words, downsize the army. There is a precedent for this. General Ved Prakash Malik did exactly this during his tenure as Army chief from 1997 to 2000. He cut manpower by 50,000 and saved at least Rs 5,000 crore which was supposed to be diverted towards modernising the Army, but never was.

Some internal reforms are also being attempted. These consist of a reorganisation of the Army headquarters, streamlining combat formations and removing further flab. Moreover, the chief is attempting to reduce the number of combatants being used for non-combat duties with senior serving and retired officers.

On the operational side, changes should be made after a holistic review is carried out. The two other forces, especially the Air Force, should be involved in this decision.

Counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency have now become the primary role of the Indian Army. Almost one-third of the Army is utilised for this. In addition, the Army provides up to 10,000 troops at any point in time for peacekeeping. Maybe it is time to revisit the old proposal that advocates segregating the Indian Army into an internal security force and a conventional force to deal with external threats.

Can’t afford to reduce military size, India needs boots on the ground

Air Marshal M. Matheswaran – Former deputy chief of integrated defence staff in HQ IDS, Ministry of Defence

Downsizing the military, especially the Army, seems to be the flavour of discussions in New Delhi and in academic, strategic, and financial circles. Much of it is lop-sided and without clear understanding.

The Army chief’s recent statement is more about reducing the administrative flab in the headquarters and enhancing the combat potential rather than downsizing the Army. His view on enhancing the combat potential is also about changes in ‘operational philosophy’. But, critics are likely to grab the wrong end of this statement and holler for downsizing the Army.

Organisational restructuring in militaries is an important element of revolution in Indian military affairs (RIIMA). But that cannot be the first step. RIIMA must address the changes required in the ‘operational philosophy’ – driven in part by technology, and in part by politico-strategic considerations.

It is the operational philosophy that should drive the organisational restructuring that is necessary. The Indian Army has a lot of flab, not necessarily in the HQ but due to its colonial legacies and traditions. This flab needs to be converted into a full-fledged combat force.

India cannot afford to reduce its military size, least of all its Army strength of 1.3 million. We need the effective strength of boots on the ground. The RIIMA needs to focus on this aspect of modernisation driven by operational and strategic necessities. The same logic applies to the Air Force and the Navy, wherein they need to enhance their combat potential by removing wasteful appendages and flab. They also have a case for increasing their strength, but that must come after restructuring to remove their flab.

Without proper execution, this will remain a cosmetic standalone exercise 

Lt Gen H S Panag (R) – Former GOC-in-C, Northern & Central commands

As per media reports, the Indian Army is in the process of a holistic cadre review to “restructure” and “right size” the Army to bring about a revolution in Indian military affairs (RIIMA). The study has been ordered in May 2018 and is likely to take six months to come up with concrete proposals.

Media’s focus has been on the “proposal” to do away with the division headquarters and place the restructured all-arms brigades directly under the corps headquarters. This concept was adopted by the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan post-Gulf War 2.

The proposed study must have government approval, it must be tri-service in nature and the defence minister should be the prime mover. More importantly, the government needs to first formalise a national security strategy. Only then can it formulate a force development strategy in tune with the RIIMA. The government has to finance the RIIMA, which is a very costly exercise. Thus, it has to be top-down in concept and bottom-up in execution.

Once the recommendations for RIIMA crystallise, trials would have to be carried out before the final approval. The funding and execution of such a revolution takes place over 5-10 years.

At the moment, RIIMA does not seem to be on the government’s radar. In the absence of the above prerequisites, the Indian Army’s study will remain a standalone cosmetic exercise and nothing more. It would be prudent for the three chiefs to get together and prevail upon the government to create the prerequisites for the RIIMA to begin.

In the project’s gestation period, there is ample scope for the three services to carry out an in-house organisational review to reduce the manpower flab. In view of modern weapon systems with much higher accuracy and lethality, there is no point in hanging on to the World War 2 organisations. This exercise alone can “down size” the army by 25 per cent.

Before General Bipin Rawat can downsize Army, he needs to ensure change of mindset

Sujan Dutta – Editor, Defence, ThePrint

Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s move to cut administrative flab in his headquarters, create integrated brigades and “right size” his force is in sync with global trends in modern militaries. As he sets out to push through his ideas, there are three urgent requirements.

The first is a change of culture or, as Rawat is fond of saying, a change of mindset. This would involve not just a willingness to accept a new structure in the military hierarchy that he has proposed – doing away with divisions, for example – but also mean using new signs of respect for soldiers through the ranks.

It would mean, for example, doing away with the “sahayak” system. Despite its origins – when the sahayak used to be the radio operator of the officer – the system has gotten corrupted over the years. There are occasions wherein sahayaks have been used for menial labour in officers’ family quarters.

With the rise in the standard of education and the increasing use of digital technology, soldiers today are far more informed than a decade ago. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number of soldiers who have used social media to complain about internal systems of discrimination has increased.

The second important requirement is the infusion of technology. This does not have to do only with the Army. Indeed, the Army has limited powers for acquisition of weapons although it is the biggest user.

Acquisition processes have been so tardy that most proposals usually outlast the governments that shape them. “Rightsizing” the 1.3 million-strong Army without the technology that will enhance firepower and agility runs the risk of weakening it.

A third important requirement is for the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to synergise not only operations but also systems. Turf wars are not unknown.

The services have to address administrative issues that may crop up with Rawat’s proposals, such as what happens to the equivalent ranks of the Brigadier in the Air Force and the Navy (Air Commodores and Commodores) if the rank were to be abolished in the Army.

India, China To Focus On ‘Trust Building’ As Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe Visits


The two countries will explore measures for building trust between their armies, which are on vigil at the 3,500-km China-India border, to avoid a repeat of military face-offs like the one at Doklam

NEW DELHI: India and China plan to bring a sharp focus to trust-building between their armies as China’s Defence Minister and State Councillor Wei Fenghe arrives in India on Tuesday for a four-day visit.

During Wei’s visit, the two countries will deliberate on implementation of decisions taken during the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in April, officials said.

The two countries will explore measures for building trust between their armies, which are on vigil at the 3,500-km China-India border, to avoid a repeat of military face-offs such as the one at Doklam, and Wei will also visit an Indian military establishment, according to officials.

“A range of issues and options will be deliberated upon at the talks, which will be in sync with what the leadership of the two countries had agreed to in the Wuhan summit,” said an official.Wei will also meet Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday to hold delegation-level talks.

India and China are likely to deliberate on a mechanism which will ensure that both sides inform each other before they carry out any patrolling in the disputed areas along the border. The other deliberations will be on setting up of a hotline between the two armies in order to resolve their differences.

Modi and Xi resolved to explore new ties during their informal summit meeting in Wuhan. This came after the military face-off between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in Doklam triggered fears of war.

India’s future astronauts’ training centre to be on Bengaluru outskirts


India’s future astronauts training facility, plans for which have been on the drawing board since 2008-09 awaiting official clearance of the Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP), will finally be realised on a land located about eight to ten kilometres from the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on the outskirts of Bengaluru city, as per current plans.

The facility, likely to be named Astronaut Training and Biomedical Engineering Centre, will be developed on the land owned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) around its guest house in Devanahalli (Bengaluru Rural) and is expected to resemble the one in Russia where cosmonauts or astronauts from around the world undergo training. The centre is likely to be spread across 40-50 acres.

However, the astronauts—Gaganauts as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his speech—selected for India’s first human space mission will be undergoing training either in Russia or the US given the tight schedule.

On the plans for the training centre in Devanahalli, Isro Chairman Sivan K told TOI: “Yes, but that will be for future missions, as it won’t be possible to train astronauts for the present mission at our facility given the tight schedule. So we will be training them at a foreign facility, and subsequently, for future missions, we will have our own here.”

To be built in collaboration with the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM), located on Old Airport Road here, the astronauts facility will help prepare personnel for future manned missions in recovery and rescue operations, study of radiation environment and the long journey across space through water simulation.

The centre will also be equipped to train astronauts on surviving in zero gravity environments, something that most challenging according to Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut who went to space on a Soviet mission in 1984.

Aside of this, the centre will host a variety of chambers meant for thermal cycling and radiation regulation and also have centrifugals to train the astronauts on acceleration aspects when their module or vehicle is in space.

“The water simulators will be like swimming pools. Astronauts will go underneath the water and learn to live in zero gravity situations,” one source had told this reporter earlier.

A senior official at the IAM told TOI that the institute has the ability to develop the astronaut training centre without any outside help, and that when the ball is set rolling, there will be enough resources dedicated for the project.

Selection for Mission 2022

The first task at hand for the IAM so far as the human space mission goes, is the selection of ‘Gaganauts’ for the 2022 mission, several tests for which has already been conceptualised and developed at the institute, which already has a centrifugal system used to train pilots to handle G-force.

“There is an elaborate process and we also have all the simulators needed to select astronauts. The process had began as early as 2009 and we have developed these systems by 2011-12, but the project was not cleared then. Now, at least two of the simulators are ready to be used straight away while a few more would need minimal enhancements which will not take more than two-three weeks once we get the word,” the official said.

Typically, the IAM would need anywhere between six months to a year to select the final few to go on India’s maiden human space mission, following which their training will start which is also likely to take a few months.

“Initially, it took both Russia and the US one year to select their astronauts, subsequently the US now has a process where it can pick them in six months. We’ll need more than six months, but not more than a year,” the official said.

 

 

 

 

Source:- TNN

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India, Japan resolve to deepen maritime cooperation

India and Japan today decided to expand their maritime cooperation and work together to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, which is witnessing growing Chinese assertiveness, officials said.

The two countries also decided hold the first-ever joint Army exercise later this year besides deepening cooperation in co-development of military hardware and weapons.

The decisions were taken during wide-ranging talks between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera.

The India-Japan defence dialogue came a day before Chinese defence Wei Fenghe arrives here on a four-day visit.

Officials said the two ministers also exchanged views on India’s long-pending proposal to procure the US-2 ShinMaywa amphibious aircraft from Japan for its Navy.

The two sides also firmed up a project in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and robotics, marking the start of first such bilateral initiative.

They said Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) and the Indian Navy are working towards firming up an arrangement for deeper cooperation between the two navies.

“The ministers shared the recognition that it is important for the two countries to further strengthen defence and security cooperation under the ‘Japan-lndia Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ that aligns Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ with India’s ‘Act East Policy’,” a a joint press statement said.

It said Sitharaman and Onodera recognised that stability of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean are crucial for ensuring the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.

The two ministers also deliberated on the situation in Korean Peninsula.

“The ministers reaffirmed that they have shared interests in expanding cooperation in the maritime security domain and welcomed the fact that Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) and the Indian Navy are working towards the signing of the Implementing Arrangement for Deeper Cooperation between the two navies,” the statement said.

On technology sharing, it said engagement between the Acquisition, Technology and Logistical Agency (ATLA) of Japan and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has resulted in a joint project in the area of development of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Robotics.

“The Ministers recognised the importance of promoting defence equipment and technology cooperation through a joint effort between the public and private sectors in order to bilaterally strengthen technological capability,” said the statement.

On India’s proposal to procure the US-2 amphibious aircraft, the statement said the ministers noted the effort made by both countries over it.

K-15 (B-05) SLBM tested Twice from INS Arihant SSBN,Now Operationalised


Making its mark as a military superpower in the Southeast Asia region, India has finally operationalised its first home-grown nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), after nearly two decades of its development. This makes India the sixth in the world to have a credible triad of nuclear-enabled missiles that can be fired from land, air and undersea.

Kept under wraps for years and inducted in the Navy a couple of months ago, the SLBM, code-named ‘B-05’, was secretly test-fired back-to-back from indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant off the Vizag coast on August 11 and 12.

An official associated with the mission on Sunday told TNIE three rounds of the world-class missile were tested during the first-phase user trial and it was a roaring success. Two tests were conducted on August 11, and one was done the next day.

All three missiles were fired from the submarine, nearly 20-m deep in the sea, about 10-km off the Vizag coast. It perfectly followed the pre-designated trajectory before zeroing in on the target with high accuracy, reaching close to zero circular error probability,” the official confirmed over the phone from New Delhi.

Fire Power

Operational range -750 km
Length – 10 metre
Width – 1 metre
Weight – 10 tonne
Warhead – 1,000 kg
Engine – Two-stage solid-fuelled
Best in this class in the world
Not easy to be tracked and destroyed by enemies.

Source:- Indian Express

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Russia Hopes to Sign S-400 Missile Contract With India in October – Official


MOSCOW – All technical and economic aspects of the contracts with India on the delivery of S-400 air defence systems and Project 11356 frigates have been coordinated, Russia is hoping to sign both contracts in October, Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev told Sputnik.

“As for the S-400, we have already prepared everything to sign this contract. All the main technical and commercial aspects have been agreed upon, and I think that we are close to making this happen. We hope to sign both contracts with our Indian partners by the end of the year,” Shugaev said adding that October would be perfect for that as the Russian-Indian summit takes place at that time.

The Russian defence cooperation chief also said that Moscow had reduced the final price of S-400 systems for New Delhi taking into consideration the strategic partnership between Russia and India.

“India is a strategic partner for us, so we took into account the wishes of our partners, and made certain concessions,” Shugaev, answering the question about whether the price for the S-400 during the negotiations was significantly reduced.

According to open sources, the contract for the supply of S-400 systems to India was initially worth about $6.5 billion.

India may start receiving its first Russian-made S-400 air defence systems in 2020, if the contract on the deliveries is signed this year, Shugaev said.

“As for India, if we sign the deal until the end of this year, I think, the deliveries will be possible in 2020,” Shugaev said.

The intergovernmental agreement on the supply the S-400 systems was reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi in October 2016.

The S-400 Triumf system is a next-generation mobile air defence system, which is capable of destroying aerial targets at an extremely long range of up to 400 kilometres (almost 250 miles).

5th Generation Fighter

The Russian-Indian project to jointly design a fifth generation fighter jet has been frozen, but there is a possibility to resume the talks on the issue in the future, Dmitry Shugaev said.

“It is frozen for now. But we hope that we will return to the dialogue on the fifth generation fighter,” Shugaev said.

The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project is part of India’s current government policy Make in India. On the Russian side, the developer is the JSC Sukhoi Company, the Indian side is represented by the Hindustan Aeronautics.

Orion-E Drones

A Middle Eastern country has requested purchase of the Russian-made long-endurance reconnaissance drones Orion-E, Shugaev told said in an interview.

“Our foreign clients are very interested in this drone, by the way, we have already received the first request from one Middle Eastern country. It proves that we are trending and taking efforts to secure new and perspective niches in the arms market,” Shugaev said.

Pakistani troops violate ceasefire along LoC in J&K