India expects delivery of first batch of Seahawks this year
India is expecting the delivery of first batch of fourth generation MH-60R Seahawk helicopters between June and September. The British made Sea King helicopters, which were acquired in 1970s, will be replaced by the fleet of Seahawk helicopters. US Navy, Royal Danish Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces are currently using the services of MH-60R helicopter. It will soon join the naval fleet of Greece.
The Seahawk helicopters, also known as Romeo, received government approval by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2018. In February 2020, Indian signed a $2.6 billion deal with Sikorsky Lockheed Martin for 24 Seahawks. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the Seahawk deal before the visit of former president Donald Trump. The first batch of 3 helicopters will arrive in India within the deadline given by Lockheed Martin. The Indian Embassy in Washington will receive the 3 Seahawks.
The Seahawks, after being fitted with missiles and torpedoes, will help Indian Navy capabilities play a critical role in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The Naval fleet, which includes Boeing P-8I aircraft and the Sea Guardian drones will bolster its anti-submarine warfare capabilities enhance submarine hunting operations. Indian Navy will send a team of Pilots and ground staff to the US for the training purpose.
NSTL conducts maiden trials of the lightweight torpedo
The maiden flight trial of Advanced Light Torpedo (TAL) was successfully conducted from Indian Navy’s Ilyushin II-38 maritime patrol aircraft. This was India’s first trial of the lightweight torpedo from such aircraft. The torpedo is developed by the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL). The test was conducted to enhance the range of quick acquisition of the target. The indigenous lightweight torpedo was inducted into services a decade ago. The tests proved its capability of executing precise attacks at multiple target locations using processor based signal processing algorithms.
TAL is a part of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and is used to tackle underwater platforms. NSTL has also designed and developed the Torpedo Release Mechanism (TRM) and Fire Control System (FCS) of the torpedo. The TRM helps the torpedo in detaching with parachute, and enables its further operation in waters. ADRDE, Agra has designed the parachute od the TAL.
Suryadipta Projects to develop ACTCM barges for Indian Navy
Indian Navy added another milestone to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, by signing a contract with Suryadipta Projects on 5th March 2021. As per the contract, the Suryadipta Projects Private Limited, an MSME based in Thane, will construct 11 ammunition cum torpedo cum missile (ACTCM) barges for the Indian Navy.
The company will commence the delivery of barges from 22nd May 2021. The ACTCM barges will be utilized by the Navy in missions for embarking and disembarking missile, torpedo and ammunition. This contract by Indian Navy gives a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Central Government.
HAL in plans to develop seaplane variant of Dornier 228
State owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has given the greenlight to develop and produce the seaplane variant of Dornier 228. The twin turboprop utility aircraft will be developed by the Transport Aircraft Division (TAD), Kanpur. The flight trials will commence after the prototype is developed after 3-4 years. The scale model of Dornier 228 aircraft was showcased at the Aero India 2021. The aircraft will be developed for both military and civilian operations.
The aircraft will be utilized by Indian Navy in search and rescue operations and to deliver spares and tools to the warships during emergency conditions or in case of break down. It will also facilitate the inter-island travel and communication and reconnaissance of islands. The 19 seater, highly versatile multipurpose light transport aircraft has been manufactured in TAD Kanpur in collaboration with the German Dornier GmbH company. Since 1983, 125 such aircraft have been developed by HAL.
Drone and Submarine deals to be finalized by April 2021
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which is scheduled to meet in April, will look forward to finalise multibillion deals for 30 armed drones from the US and 6 advanced submarines under the Project 75I. All the formalities regarding the deals have been completed, and the deals will be finalized in the next meeting for approval.
The process of procurement of 30 drones, 10 for each service, has been delayed since last few years. Navy has already placed the request to acquire High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drones, but their importance and utilization is still questioned for the Army and Air Force. After finalizing the qualitative requirements with the 3 forces, the deal has now been put up before the DAC.
In November 2020, the navy leased 2 MQ-9B sea drones from the US for one year. After the India-US 2+2 bilateral ministerial dialogue in October 2020, US approved the sale of these armed drones to India. India is experiencing shortage of long endurance drones after the faceoff with China in the Eastern Ladakh region. These drones help in continuous surveillance operations in the border areas.
The DAC selected Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) and Larsen & Toubro (L & T) in January 2020, to develop submarines under the Project-75I, which is estimated to cost 45,000 crores. After the approval of DAC, the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued to these companies by the Indian Navy. The companies will then collaborate with a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). India is giving special attention to this project, as it is being undertaken for the first time. The Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) from South Korea, Naval Group from France, Navantia from Spain, Rosoboronexport from Russia and TKMS from Germany have been selected as OEMs for Project-75I.