This is an IDF Analysis of Navy’s contribution to the ‘Make In India Thrust’. Currently ‘off sets’ have failed, and FDI upped to 100% has not made headway.
The finalization of a complete Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2016) promised two years ago, rules for investment and exit, lack of surety of orders, clarity on JVs or PPP guidelines and dithering on strategic partner selection by are pending. MOD has moved, snail pace. Mahindras and L&T and others have opposed new entrants like Anil Ambani.
PM personally asked PM Hollande for 36 Rafales off the shelf, for IAF’s depleting strength, but after 14 months MOD has not consummated the deal. Defence Purchases are challenging in India, and even Army’s huge need of millions of rifles have not been met by OFB, or a JV contemplated. The Home Ministry moves differently for their hardware with imports sans DPP with Rs 77,000 cr budget for expanding paras !
The Armed Forces structure lacks a CDS for pollination and co-ordination OF service’s plans. Policy in MOD is handled by generalists and PMO on internal, part files serices never see. On Pay Commission bureaucrats shot down Military member proposal or a separate Pay commission. Former CNS Arun Prakash and COAS VP Malik in a TV debate depicted to a former Defence Secretary Narain, the Services have no say in policy making. Scientists control nuclear assets employment, and its “divide and rule” that Brits injected into our DNA.
The Navy has over 50 ships on order in India, runs a small Maritime Force far and wide with planned goals and self help. Navy set up a research arm called WESEE like DARPA of USA, a naval design office DGND and a DMDE under DRDO to test naval equipment which have contributed to what follows in this posting. Navy has less strength than ITPB or Delhi Police of 75,000. Wordsworth had said, “ Wisdom is often times nearer when we stoop, than when we soar”. Churchill to win the war ordered all to tell him the bad news first, and so this posting is neither a stunt by IDF or publicity to credit the Navy. It’s the truth. At inter service conferences, Navy’s progress is lauded.
On Ist July, India’s delta winged agile, supersonic Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) “Tejas” Mk1 with an Indian mission computer with 2000 hours of accident free flying, including aerobatics displayed in Bahrain was inducted into 45 Squadron of IAF’s “Flying Daggers”, with just two aircraft. That is the way Navy starts an indigenous project, hands on. IDF lauds the IAF and seems it heeded the advice by ADA headed by a Navy Air Engineer and HAL to take available series Tejas for IOC.
LCA Mk 1 inducted with GE-404 engines as over 80 GE-414 IN engines IAF wanted fitted languish. IAF looks to improved Mk 2 based on Navy’s LCA. IAF harked, Gen Malik’s , “We Will Fight With What We Have” to increase its squadron strength. The operational lessons learnt from Mk1 will see results into the future when Tejas is weaponised. The Elta 2032 radar is to be replaced by an ASEA radar, an EW system and the Derby (spare after Sea Harriers were decommissioned) and Python missiles, already in India. The squadron has its job cut out, to weaponise.
Test pilot Group Captain Madhav Rangachari, with experience on Mirage-2000s, MiG 21s, and flight testing of LCA prototypes with Chief Test Pilot Cmde Jaideep Maolankar is the Squadron Commander and some in the Squadron are Test Pilots who have flown the Tejas. The Squadron will operate from Bangalore for long, under the watchful eye of HAL and the designers, Aeronautical Development Authority now under Cmde CD Balaji ex Navy scientist G (Vice Admiral) who piloted the two Navy LCA prototypes programme. He briefed IAF about the superior qualities of the lighter Navy LCA with composites and rollos for the Air Chief ACM Raha to accept simiiar MK 2 with IAF’s specifics after the initial series delivery. Sulur near Coimbatore has been prepared for the squadron, which was a naval base for Sea Hawks in the 1960s. HAL is still to set up mass production facilities.
Balaji and team on Naval LCA said, “It was a defining moment when LCA (Navy) Prototype 1 (NP1), the first indigenously designed and developed 4th plus generation combat aircraft designed to operate from the decks of air-craft carriers, took-off majestically from the 14 degree Ski-Jump facility of Shore Based Test Facility (STBL) at INS Hansa in Goa at about 12:34 PM on 20th December, 2014. Commodore Jaideep Maolankar, said the aircraft had a perfect flight with results matching the predicted ones and better. The launch was by Test Director Cdr J D Raturi, Safety Pilot Capt Shivnath Dahiya supported by Gp Capts Anoop Kabadwal, RR Tyagi and Lt Cdr Vivek Pandey and efforts of HAL, ARDC under the aegis of Mr P S Roy the Executive Director”. That is what joint man ship can achieve in India.
SAAB of Sweden which has a similar sized single engine in Gripen has offered help. Navy accepts consultancy and for Vikrant Navy used Fincanteiri, and IAF should look into this. IDF recalls IAF was made to agree to buy twin seat 40 Su-27s dubbed SU-30 from cash strapped IRKUT Russia as Government had interests. IRKUT had committed the 40 machines would be taken back when genuine SU-30MKIs would be supplied. With professional perseverance, IAF has made the SU-30MKI one of the world’s best multi role fighters with Israeli, Indian and French inputs better than SU-30s of China from Russia’s KNAPO. Some rotting SU-27s lay at Lohegaon IAF base in Pune and were scrapped. IAF will now have over 270 SU-30MKIs in its fleet , being assembled by HAL.
On the same day 1st Jul Barak-8 without booster (IDF assumes) called Long Range Surface to Air missile (LR SAM) for IAF which Navy calls MR SAM developed by Israel-DRDO DRDL at Hyderabad under Naval watch, was twice tested from a mobile launcher. It was fire controlled by Israel’s ELTA supplied M/F Star radar with AMDR (Anti Missile Radar) which Navy selected for the Type 15A Kolkata class powerful BrahMos fitted destroyers. Tata was encouraged by Israel to set up JV company, Tata Nova to make Barak parts under Air Marshal A Bhavnani but it never got a license. PSU and intelligence interests intervened.
Barak-1 acquisition was originally done by Navy when Akash failed for the B’Putra class ships. Today naval engineers and Dockyard’s WECORS can shift Barak systems from ship to ship and Viraat and Vikramaditya were so equipped. Derby selection for Navy’s Sea Harriers led to the selection of Spyder anti air system with Python missiles by Air Force, and uses Tata vehicles as platforms. There are lessons in all this for Navy Air Force cooperation.
Vice Admiral PC Bhasin DG ATV convinced Navy in the 1990s that the nuclear submarine Arihant deserved a longer ranged missile than the VLS Klubs. Dr APJ Kalam and DRDO team found the excellent Yakhont company gone broke in Russia and funded NPO Mashinostroyeniya for a JV with DRDO for the Navy. This became a successful Indo-Russian JV. BrahMos is now in use by India’s Armed Forces, as the world’s best the supersonic cruise missile ranged to 300 km which thanks to MTCR membership can be extended as Russia has done and proved, when it attacked a Rebel base in Syria 1200 km away from a warship. via MTCR.
Dr APJ Kalam got his junior ISRO colleague of GSLV fame Dr Sivathanu Pillai , to head BrahMos Aerospace, Ltd in 1998. Pillai’s book and exhibition at the office in Delhi Cant is eye opening how Indian Industry he trusted for the long haul delivered. Pillai recalls the Navy fully joined and supported the project and even took risks in rough seas and gave a Kashin INS Rajput to test angled launches from its deck with help from Naval ship designers.
Navy’s 300 km Dhanush nuclear missile experiment from the Prithvi by Adm Vishnu Bhagwat with vertical launchers made by DRDO and L&T came in handy to make vertical launchers for the Brahmos for the Navy and Army Regiments. ADM Bhasin used the technique for the Kalam-15/Bhasin-05 nuclear missiles for Arihant and Sudhir Mishra, Director General of the joint company has resently tested the Air Force’s SU-30MKI with a dummy and lighter 2,500 kg BrahMos which weapon will now move fast.
Navy in Make In India now looks to make superior missile ships, and nuclear submarines with non nuclear missiles called SSNs. CNS Adm Sunil Lanba accepted the Varunashtra heavy weight torpedo from NSTL for type 15A/B Kolkutta class destroyers and has future for submarines and exports. There are successes Navy has proved, and must be emulated for Make in India. Shan no Varuna.