Indian Navy to buy Fighter Aircrafts with Indian Airforce
Indian Airforce and Indian Navy are in a need of new fighter aircraft. Therefore, there is an opportunity for both arms of Indian Defence in order to cut down the numbers and the cost as a proposal for the indigenous development has been proposed by the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO).
According to the Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, “We have the MiG29K operating from the Vikramaditya and will operate from the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1). To replace them, we have taken up a case for Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) which we are trying to do so along with the Indian Airforce.”
The Navy Chief also cleared that the DRDO and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) have offered the new development on Twin Engine Carrier Based Deck Fighter. If all things go as planned Navy will have their own Indigenous Deck Based Fighter.
Indian Navy chief also emphasizes that the Navy is hoping that DRDO & ADA developed TBDRF aircraft will be inducted in the early 2030s.
Lessons from previous Programme-
Indian Navy has rejected the Tejas Aircraft (LCA-MK1) which was upgraded to be operated from the aircraft carrier. Nevertheless, the lessons learned during the upgradation to make it the carrier borne aircraft will be capitalised by the DRDO & ADA. Arrestor Hook, Under Carriage, Short-Based Test Facility (SBTF), etc. are some important changes that were made in the aircraft.
How many fighters does the Navy require?
The Russian origin MiG29K comprises fleet of 45 jets which will not be enough for two carriers. To operate two Aircraft Carriers the Navy will be in need to have 90-100 deck based fighters. Indian Navy has released the Request For Information (RFI) in the year 2017. The responses of various global fighter jet manufacturers were evaluated but the RFI expired without any result. According to some sources, due to budgetary constraints, the Navy is planning to cut down the number of fighters to be produced to 36 from 57.
What can be done to optimize the process?
Before answer to this question let us first analyze the requirements. Indian Airforce has noted the requirement of both single engine and twin engine fighters whereas the Navy wants twin engine deck based aircraft for its carriers. Both the forces can go for the same twin engine option (considering operational requirements of each other) which will be helpful at the time of cost negotiations and while asking for more services. At present, Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet & Dassault Aviation’s Rafale is considered by the forces. Due to the pandemic further decision making process has been deferred.
Indigenous Howitzers are ready to be inducted
Indian Army’s artillery arm is in need of howitzer guns to enhance their capabilities. Indigenously developed ATAGS howitzer has emerged as the first ready option available, though it is still in its developmental stage.
At present, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) developed guns are in the trial phase and the trials are undergoing in Maharashtra. According to several officers working on the project, the gun would be available to induct within 18 months.
India was looking for the Israeli made gun. As it is expected that the gun will take more time to be produced that too after a long process of contract negotiations. Also, the production facilities of the Israeli made guns are not established yet.
Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat urges the services to provide support to the developmental process by preparing acceptable and desirable requirements for further enhancement of quality. He further added that the Navy has set the standards now it is Army & IAF’s turn to enter the fray.
Ministry of Defence has released the negative list, a list which comprises military equipment and platforms that are banned from being imported. The Howitzer guns are included in the list which means developing and manufacturing is the only war forward to induct the guns. There have been several private players like TATA, Bharat Forge, Bharat Dynamics Limited, etc and Govt backed organizations like Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), DRDO, etc. provided robust solutions.
Ministry of Defence (MoD) headed by Defence minister Rajnath Singh has given priority to indigenous efforts over imports to promote Make in India & Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat.
Akash UPG is effective for high Altitude Terrain
During the Combat Guided Weapons Firing 2020 exercise at Suryalanka test firing range in Andhra Pradesh, the Indian Airforce successfully test-fired the Akash Missiles.
What has been tested?
Akash missiles have been upgraded with a seeker. Seeker is a device that neutralizes the targets with less effort which eventually helps to enhance its performance. In recent trials, the upgraded version capable of engaging with targets at very high altitude locations has been tested.
Overview of Akash Missile
Akash is Surface to Air Missile. This is the most successful, indigenously designed & developed missile inducted in the Indian Army & Airforce. The maximum range of the missile to engage the aerial threats is 25 km. It can aslo hit the targets flying at an altitude of 18 KM. The operating speed of the missile is 1.8 to 2.5 Mach.
The missing pilot of Indian Navy found dead
On Thursday, 26th November 2020, the MiG29K Fighter jet of the Indian Navy has crashed in the Arabian Sea 70 km away from the Goa Coast. On Monday, the body of the missing pilot Commander Nishant Singh has been recovered 70 meters seabed.
Prima facia, out of the two pilots onboard the trainee pilot of the aircraft was ejected successfully later, the debris of the crashed aircraft including black box, landing gear, fuel tank, wing engine cowling were found 200 meters below the seabed. After primary investigation of the crashed aircraft, it was clear that the instructor pilot on board had also ejected successfully. 9 Warships along with 14 aircraft were engaged in the search operation for the second pilot.
The trainer aircraft had taken off from the INS Vikramaditya was returing to the INS Hansa.
According to some sources the trainee pilot has suffered several injuries and admitted in the hospital. The health of the pilot is critical.