India, US sign $3 bn deal for military helicopters

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 26, 2020

New Delhi: India and the US on Tuesday signed a $3 billion military helicopter deal during President Donald Trump’s visit. The clearances for the pact were rushed through in anticipation of the high-profile visit.

The US President described the deal for 24 MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopters and six Apache attack choppers as a highlight of the visit and said it would contribute to interoperability.

“Earlier today, we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters. These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side by side,” Trump said. Read the rest of this entry »

BHEL signs pact with Russian firm to undertake joint defence projects

Source: Business Standard, Feb 12, 2019

New Delhi: State-run engineering firm BHEL on Wednesday said it has signed a pact with Rosoboronexport, Russia, for cooperation and undertaking projects for defence systems.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed during the 5th India Russia Military Industrial conference held in Lucknow, BHEL said in a statement.

The aim of the MoU is to cooperate and undertake joint projects and operations for defence systems. This will help in leveraging BHEL’s capabilities in the defence sector in association with Russian OEMs under the Make in India’ initiative and offer indigenous support and solutions to the Indian defence forces, it added.

India now exports defence products to 42 countries

Source: LiveMint.com, Feb 10, 2019

New Delhi: India may be a big importer of defence equipment but has been making steady progress in exports of such products to a number of countries including those who are big names in the export market like the US, Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, South Africa and Sweden.

These countries are in the list of 42 nations that also included Azerbaijan, Seychelles, Estonia, Indonesia, Guinea and the Philippines.

Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Naik, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Monday said the “cost of the items and quantum of foreign exchange earned varies from company to company” and the ministry did not keep a record of the quantum of foreign exchange earned. Read the rest of this entry »

Army invites high-tech start-ups to meet defence equipment challenges

Source: Business Standard, Dec 23, 2019

New Delhi: At the fifth annual Army Technology Seminar (ARTECH 2019) in Delhi on Monday, the army invited ten start-up innovators to describe game-changing, high-technology products that the military could use.

One by one, they described their products: a humanoid robot that mimicked the actions of a human controller in a holographic suit; a spray-on, titanium nano-coating that renders an area bacteria-free and fungal-free; a thermal jacket made of fabric infused with graphene ink that generates heat on application of electric power, creating a warm micro-environment for the wearer to cope with extreme cold; and an encrypted Block Chain communications technology with multiple applications, such as Block Vote – an application that lets soldiers on the border exercise their ballot in secret.

Urging young innovators to develop products for the military, army chief General Bipin Rawat released a “Compendium of Problem Definition Statements”, in which the army listed out its specific technology challenges for which it sought innovative indigenous solutions from the industry and academia.

The army’s deputy chief, Lieutenant General SS Hasabnis, underscored the success of four problem compendia released in previous ARTECHs, stating that “136 of our over 150 problem statements issued over the last three years have been responded to by academia and industry.”

Alongside this, the 15 challenges the army has put out under the “Innovations for Defence Excellence” (iDEX) scheme have received “an overwhelming 164 responses”, said Hasabnis.

Forty-four winners of these challenges are presently being provided with funding for developing the innovative technologies they have proposed.

Currently, multiple channels exist for industry and academia to offer innovative solutions to meet the army’s requirements: The “Make-2” procurement category in which industry or individuals can make suo moto proposals to the army; in response to “Innovations for Defence Excellence” (iDEX) challenges; proposals under the “Technology Development” head’ or as “Army Technology Board” projects.

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Rs 26k-crore order for building Tejas Mark 1A to open door for Mark 2

New Delhi: After months of negotiations, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) have fixed the price of the Tejas Mark 1A light combat aircraft (LCA) at about Rs 310 crore per fighter, say Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources involved in the negotiations.

Now HAL is awaiting a formal contract, worth some Rs 26,000 crore for building 83 Tejas Mark 1A fighters that the MoD has already green-lighted for purchase. According to the agreed schedule, delivery of the Mark 1A will begin 36 months after the contract date. If the order is placed at the start of 2020, Tejas Mark IA deliveries will start in 2023.

With 16 fighters to be delivered each year it would take another five years to deliver all 83 fighters – that is by 2028.

“We should be signing the contract very soon”, IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, had said on October 4. That is now imminent.

Girish Deodhare, chief of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) – the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) agency responsible for the Tejas programme – spoke exclusively to Business Standard about the Tejas Mark 1A fighter. He described it as a bridge between the current Tejas Mark 1 and the Mark 2 fighter that ADA is developing. He says the latter will be, from the standpoint of size, sophistication and capability, far superior to the Mark 1 fighter.

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Modi govt asks global warship makers to build new submarines for $6.6 bn

Source: Business Standard, Jul 11, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has asked global warship makers to submit proposals to build six conventional submarines in India to boost local shipyard capability and plug gaps in the navy’s underwater warfare fleet.

France’s Naval Group SA, German Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems GmBH, Swedish Saab Kockums, Spanish Navantia SA and Russian Rosoboronexport OJSC were asked to show if they can transfer technology to build the diesel-electric powered submarines in India, people familiar with the matter said in New Delhi, asking not to be identified as the discussions were private.

The request for expression of interest to the foreign companies were issued earlier this month, they said, but the award of contract could take at least three years. Read the rest of this entry »

India seeks to buy $2 bn worth warships to meet security challenges

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jul 02, 2019

New Delhi: India sought bids for purchase of warships and support vessels for its navy and coast guard as it ramps up security of its maritime border in the Indian Ocean region.

The government on Monday asked seven shipyards to submit proposals for the construction of six missile warships and other smaller vessels worth ₹15,000 crore ($2.2 billion), the Defence Ministry said in a statement. The tender includes eight fast patrol vessels, 12 hovercrafts and eight missile-cum-ammunition barges.

The shipbuilders invited include private shipyards Larsen & Toubro Ltd. and Reliance Naval & Engineering Ltd., apart from the state-run Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd., Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd., Goa Shipyard Ltd., Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. and Cochin Shipyard Ltd., people with knowledge of the matter said. They asked not to be identified citing rules. Read the rest of this entry »