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Global Defence Majors In Fray To Supply Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) To IAF

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Global Defence Majors In Fray To Supply Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) To IAF


The Indian Air Force (IAF), which is looking to procure medium transport aircraft (MTA), is carrying out a comprehensive study to identify the current and future payload-carrying requirements of the force.

It has already issued a Request For Information (RFI) to global manufacturers for an aircraft with load-carrying capacity between 18 tons and 30 tons.

Significance of The Procurement

The 2020 stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh has changed the nature of airlift and support for the Army required in high-altitude areas.

There is a need to identify the current payload-carrying capacity. IAF is also in discussions with vendors. The study is ongoing and should take about six months to be completed.

This comes as several of the legacy transport fleets are in need of replacement.

The exact requirements of the MTA would be finalised based on the outcome of the study, the source stated.

The RFI for a MTA was issued in December 2022 and the deadline to respond was extended till March 31, 2023.

There are three responses to the RFI, officials confirmed:

Airbus A-400M

Lockheed Martin C-130, and

Embraer C-390

Among them, the A-400M has a maximum carrying capacity of 37 tons, the C-130 close to 20 tons, and the C-390 up to 26 tons.

The MTA could become a potential replacement for a part of the much-smaller AN-32s in service and could also replace the larger IL-76, which is also being looked into.

For instance, from the experiences of the stand-off, the Army is looking to procure a light tank weighing up to 25 tons for deployment in the mountains especially in eastern Ladakh.

So, the IAF needs a sizable number of aircraft to airlift them and the MTA with the requisite load capacity can cater to that, several officials noted.

There is a huge gap in carrying capacities at the moment with the current aircraft which needs to be adjusted, one of the officials said.

An earlier project to jointly co-develop and produce an MTA of 20 tons with Russia to replace the An-32s was scrapped a few years ago after initial design discussions.

The transport fleet of the IAF currently consists of over 100 AN-32s, Avros, IL-76 heavy transporters, IL-78 mid-air refuelling tankers from Russia, as well as 12 C-130J Super Hercules and 11 C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft from the U.S.

Of these, the IL-76 has a capacity to lift 45-50 tons and the C-17 up to 70 tons.

In September 2021, the Defence Ministry signed a ₹21,935-crore contract with Airbus and Space S.A., Spain, for procurement of 56 C-295 MW transport aircraft to replace the Avro aircraft in service which is being executed in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. and a Final Assembly Line is being set up in Vadodara, Gujarat, as part of the deal.

The first C-295 aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the IAF in September.

The C-295 has a capacity of nine tons and can carry up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers. Part of the AN-32 fleet could be replaced with C-295s which are of a similar category, officials stated.

While the RFI did not specify the number of MTA required, vendors have been asked to provide “Rough Order of Magnitude [ROM] cost of aircraft and associated equipment” for a batch of 40, 60, and 80 aircraft.

Officials said the number required is being assessed and the study will specify it.





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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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