A320 based Netra Mk2 to be more powerful
6 Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) based on the A320 platform will be equipped with a scaled-up variant of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA). The Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) involved in development said that the Radar for Netra Mk2 would have double the range of scan and tracking capabilities than Netra Mk1 AEW&C based on the ERJ145 platform. As A320 is a bigger platform than ERJ145, Radar can be packed with more transmit and receive (TR) module, with more power being derived from bigger engines to meet the additional power requirement of scaled up Radar. CABS stated that all 6 Netra Mk2 would be handed over to Indian Air Force (IAF) in 6-7 years. Air India will transfer 6 A320/321 aircraft to IAF soon, and it will be sent to Europe OEM for refitment.
Chennai based start-up developing UGV for Indian Army
A Chennai bases start-up by three engineering graduates has tied up with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) for joint development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based indigenous Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). Army Design Bureau (ADB) helped these engineers in the initial stages. The product is 750 kg UGV, which is autonomous and can be used for logistics and surveillance in extreme weather and terrain conditions. The UGV can carry a heavy load usually carried by about ten soldiers at high altitudes, thus lowering their carrying equipment burden. The product is expected to be launched by the end of this year, and production may begin in 2023. This is one more step by the Indian Army to keep up with AI technology.
BEML is the biggest Defence, Mining and Construction, and Rail Coach Manufacturer in India.
Preparations for futuristic warfare
Private Indian Companies and Public Sector Units (PSUs) are working on unmanned programs based on high-end technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to prepare the country for future wars. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is working on an ambitious project modeled on US project Skylon to team up unmanned aircraft with manned jet vehicles. Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) will have a mother vehicle – a fighter jet operating 700 km away and strike enemy targets through unmanned warriors. These drones are expected to be integrated on Tejas and Jaguar fighter jets. Moreover, these drones are capable of evading Radar detection, thereby increasing their Stealth capability. The first prototype is expected to fly in 3 to 4 years.
The fighter aircraft will be integrated with armed drones – CATS Hunter and CATS Alpha. CATS Alpha is a glider capable of carrying 4, 8, 16, or 24 swarm drones. It can glide 50 to 100 km into the enemy territory and carry out a swarm drone attack. As Radars or Air Defence Systems are often unable to pick up multiple UAVs, swarm drones can create havoc. Drones attacking in a group is termed as a Swarm Drone Attack.
The Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or RUAV 200 is a helicopter drone for hostile zones over 15,000 feet. These drones can carry out surveillance, reconnaissance and provide essentials to troops in harsh conditions. These drones will replace mules to carry ration and materials for troops at forwarding locations. Weighing 200 kg, it can carry payloads of up to 30 kg to a range of 100 km. It can be an airdrop to base camps in tough mountainous terrains, that too 3 to 4 times in a day.
Indian Army has itself developed its anti-drone capabilities like Jammers to detect and bring down quadcopters. This jamming system has a 3.5 km range and has been deployed on the Line of Control (LoC). Preparations are afoot in the Army for warfare based on artificial intelligence.
Rosoboronexport to bid in P75i program
Russia’s Rosoboronexport state arms seller is ready to bid in India’s tender to deliver submarines under the P75i program. The program for six conventional submarines with an air-independent propulsion unit and a strike missile system was initiated in 2007. The project is worth about $ 6.9 Billion. The supply of P75i submarines to the Indian Navy was to begin in 2030 but will get delayed due to coronavirus pandemic. The P76i scorpene class submarines will be armed with six torpedo launching tubes, 18 heavy weapons, tube launch MBDA SM-39 Exocet Anti-ship missiles, and precision-guided weapons. Weapons carried in weapon launching tubes can be easily reloaded at sea.
The P75i submarine is a follow on of the P-75 Kalvari class submarine. Indian Navy has different types of Russian Submarine like Akula II INS Chakra nuclear power attack Submarine. Sindhughosh class submarines are kilo class diesel-electric submarines in active service with the Indian Navy.
SU-30s to be upgraded
Indian Air Force (IAF) is in advanced talks with Russia and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to upgrade Su-30 MkI aircraft. The Russian Su-30 aircraft comprise the largest fleet of the IAF, with 268 aircraft inducted out of the contract of 272 aircraft. Of these, 220 have been produced in the Nashik Unit of the HAL. IAF has lost nine planes to crashes over the years. Upgradation of Su-30s is going on as 42 of these are planned to be modified to carry Supersonic BrahMos Missiles. Besides, Su-30s are also being equipped with Astra missiles. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared procurement of 12 more aircraft for up-gradation and is waiting for the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) before placing the final order.
HAL has the contract of producing 222 Su-30s and has produced 221 out of these in Nashik. Acceptance Tests are going on for the last aircraft. Some upgrades are to be done jointly with Russia, followed by indigenous upgrades. HAL is enhancing its repair and overhaul capabilities along with bringing new production lines. The final updates on up-gradation will be known in 6 to 9 months.