New Delhi — The US pavilion at Def Expo 2012 stood out primarily for two reasons.
One, for its largest industry delegation comprising America’s premier aerospace and defence companies; and two, the expansive displays showcasing their cutting-edge technology in support of land, sea and internal security operations.
Inaugurating the US pavilion at the exhibition, US Charge d’ Affaires Ambassador Peter Burleigh said, “The market here is definitely going to be big.
Certainly, in the long term, probably in the mid-term and for the short-term it is important to be here on the ground to make the connection, networks and know the procedures.”
‘Guaranteed market’, was the response from more than 20 US firms that participated in the event. Few days before the Show, the US India Business Council (USIBC) launched its 11th Executive Business Mission to the DefExpo 2012 to deepen the US-India defence and security partnership. The executive mission led by General Paul J Kern (retd), senior counselor, The Cohen Group and Vice Admiral Kevin J.
Cosgriff, senior vice president, international business and government, Textron Systems, expressed their optimism for strengthening the relation between the two countries.
While most of the US firms look at the current restrictions in the defence sector as a big impediment to transfer of technology, the USIBC was hopeful that they will work out a solution that will give satisfactory outcomes to both countries. Speaking to FORCE a month ago, USIBC co-chairman Kevin J. Cosgriff had said, “One of the things that we have been in discussions with the Indian government is about expanding the ways with which US companies can team with Indian companies either the DPSUs or other non-government companies in India.” He added for good measure, “The more the Indian government is able to open the access channels, the better it is going to be for their goals of importing cutting-edge technology, in this case from the US.”
On display in Hall 14 of Pragati Maidan were the best of the US technology such as network munitions systems, integrated weapons systems, armoured security and light combat vehicles, various communication equipments such as software defined radios (SDR) and thermal imaging technology. Various announcements and the plans for partnerships with the Indian companies were played over during the four-day exhibition.
For the first time, the DefExpo extended its profile and included internal security as a part of the exhibition.
Many of the US companies, especially the radio and other communication equipment manufacturers, focussed a great deal on equipment that supported internal security. Ironically, Lockheed Martin, despite its wide-ranging interests in land, naval and homeland security systems, had a very small stand inside the US pavilion, which rendered it almost invisible.
Homeland security seemed to be the running theme not only at DefExpo, but also in the events running concurrent to it. The ministry of home affairs (MHA) in partnership with the United States department of state on March 30 concluded a three-week seminar titled ‘Tactical Commander’s Course.’ The session was conducted by instructors from the department of state’s antiterrorism assistance (ATA) programme and hosted by the Border Security Force in Indore.
Coming back to the Show, the US behemoths not only put their best foot forward in terms of displays, they had flown in senior executives to talk with the media, thereby ensuring that their efforts did not go unnoticed in the next day’s show dailies.
Raytheon unveiled its plans to develop Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) systems that would support the Indian platforms. “We are open to integrate with the different platforms that the Indian forces are currently using”, said director, business development, Integrated Air and Missile Defence, Raytheon, David Hartman. “The objective is to start with what we have, improve its capability maintaining protection of the critical assets as we add new capabilities and maximise the synergy from multiple systems”, he added.
Raytheon also talked about its combat- proven systems such as Patriot, NASAMA (National Advanced Surface Air-To-Air Missile) and Hawk XXI with the upgrades in its supporting equipment like Sentinel Radar, Battery Mobile Command Post (BMCP). Highlighting its simulation capabilities, Raytheon presented JFires, a simulation platform.
Hartman said, “JFires simulates a test environment to cost-effectively prototype, analyse and demonstrate integral air and missile defence scenario to improve the system capabilities”.
Touching upon the interest in the homeland security market, Raytheon introduced, for the first time in DefExpo, Clear View TM security solutions for critical infrastructure protection of ports, airports, borders, military assets and forces; also on display was an interactive demo of the Athena system for maritime/ coastal surveillance, intelligence and security analysis. Raytheon’s Athena is a network centric, multi-domain command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system for high performance situational awareness, fusion, analysis and knowledge management. By exploiting information from global sources, including sensors, databases and intelligence, Athena delivers persistent surveillance, situational awareness and anomaly detection aids to reduce operator workload.
The display also constituted a full suite of thermal imaging and fire control systems that support ground combat vehicles such as the T-72 tank, the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle, the Serpent demonstrator (which was shown for the first time in India) and a full-scale model of the lightweight MK-54 torpedo which was recently launched from a P-8A Poseidon aircraft by the US Navy.
Boeing showcased a comprehensive portfolio of products and services at DefExpo 2012, including the C-17 Globemaster III, P-8I, AH-64D Apache, CH- 47F Chinook, V-22 Osprey, ScanEagle and 737 Airborne Early Warning & Control.
Boeing has announced that its delivery schedule for 10 C-17 Globemaster III heavy lifters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) remains on track as per the contract.
At a media briefing held at the show, Patrick Druez, business development (mobility) at Boeing Defence, Space & Security confirmed that the delivery of the first aircraft was scheduled for June 2013.
The remaining nine aircraft will be delivered by 2014 and Boeing is currently focussing on aircraft build, sustainment, ground activities and training for the IAF. According to Druez, “The Letter of Agreement (LoA) that India has signed requires that Boeing build infrastructure for support and maintenance of the aircraft in India”. Druez also confirmed that training of pilots and ground crew is expected to begin from June this year. This will ensure that the required trained manpower would be available on the ground when the aircraft arrives in India.
According to Druez, “The C-17 met all the IAF requirements during the rigorous Field Evaluation Trials (FET) and showcased its landing capabilities on short and narrow airfields.” In fact, while landing at a certain high altitude airfield during the trials, the C-17 demonstrated its load carrying capability in hot and high conditions, carrying a payload of 20 tons against the IAF requirement of 15 tons. The C-17 also showcased its impressive short field landing performance at a number of airfields at varying altitudes during trials.
Boeing also provided a status update on the P-8I programme for the Indian Navy, with Bob Schoeffling, P-8 India business development, confirming that, “The Indian naval air arm will take delivery of its first P-8I in December 2013, after which it will be used to train pilots.”
Schoeffling added that the majority of Indian equipment to be fitted as per the contract has already been installed on P-8I. He also said, “The first missionised flight of the P-8I with mission systems in place is expected to take place in a month’s time.” He added that a number of Indian systems would be fitted on the entire P-8 fleet worldwide.
Eugene. L. Beckles, director, International Experimentation and Shane Rogers, director, Analysis and Experimentation Centre, Bangalore provided an overview of the Analysis & Experimentation Centre’s capabilities for the Indian defence mechanism. Highlighting the modelling, simulation and defence experimentation at the DefExpo, Boeing emphasised on how such capabilities can help the forces plan for future defence and security requirements.
Despite a vast portfolio transcending domains, at DefExpo, Honeywell’s focus was purely land systems, even though its core competency, aerospace, and more specifically, helicopters, frequently made guest appearances in the conversation. “We bring our formidable reputation to the show,” said president, aerospace India, Honeywell Aerospace, Pritam Bhavnani sitting in his modest stand as part of the US pavilion. “Coupled with our growing presence in the Indian market, we want our reputation to move engagement forward, closer to the end goal,” he said.
And what would the end goal be? “In the context of this exhibition, it would be our Tactical Advanced Land Inertial Navigation system,” he said. This quite a mouthful system is popularly known as TALIN system and creates situation awareness in the battlefield for the soldiers.
At this point, Honeywell’s country head for defence and space, Arijit Ghosh joined in the conversation. According to him, TALIN as a force multiplier is in a league of its own. “It comes with in-built gyro and accelerometer, which makes is completely independent of its environment,” said Ghosh. Basically, what it implies is that in an event when GPS is not available or is restricted, TALIN would enable the soldiers to determine their position in relation to where they started from and the target.
Adapted from high-volume airborne inertial system components, TALIN can be fitted on armoured tanks as well as artillery guns. “In artillery, it becomes part of the fire control system in the sense that it can determine the angle of fire,” said Ghosh. Designed as a modular system, TALIN is easily integrated on any platform depending upon the needs of the user. “This is one system which is being used all over the world,” said Bhavnani.
Has the user in India seen the system perform? “The Indian user is aware of TALIN and its capabilities, but I have to admit that the awareness at the moment is low,” admitted Bhavnani. Honeywell is in talks with Indian private sector companies like Tata, L&T and Mahindra, but their biggest limitation is that unless the Indian artillery or combat vehicle programme moves forward, TALIN cannot enter the discourse.
The other product which Honeywell would like to market in India is bulletproof fibre called Spectra Shield which is used for safeguarding both personnel and transport. Apart from bullet proof vests, jackets and helmets, Spectra Shield is being used for armouring vehicles. “This fibre is already in use in India,” said Bhavnani.
In the homeland security domain, Honeywell’s T-Hawk, an unmanned micro aerial vehicle (MAV) which has been showcased in India before, gives users a man-portable capability for surveillance. Weighing about eight kilograms, T-Hawk can be deployed quickly by ground troops. With vertical takeoff and landing capability, T-Hawk is known as ‘hover and stare’ UAV. “It can be particularly useful for foot patrols who need to look across the next hill, said Ghosh. While an MAV like T-Hawk may have uses for the Indian Army, but it can also be deployed by the Paramilitary force like the CRPF.
One of the major US defence firms, Textron displayed a wide range of its products including some of its unattended ground sensor (UGS) systems. Apparently, Indian Army and DRDO personnel had approached Textron with in-depth questions on its networked munition system, Spider; network ground munition system, Scorpion and some of the UGS systems.
Talking to FORCE, senior vice president, international business and government, Textron systems, Kevin J.
Cosgriff said, “We are very hopeful that these products would interest the Indian Army and also the DRDO. Recently, Textron has responded to the RFI for the base security for Indian Air Force”, he said.
Scorpion, Spider and the MicroObserver unattended ground sensors can be networked together according to the requirements in the field for various operations like border security. They also offer solutions for both tactical and non-military applications covering a variety of terrains and targets. Textron also displayed its T-RAM (Tactical Remote Aerial Munition) and a model of Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV).
Making full use of the Show, Textron highlighted a range of products that provide solutions to the Indian armed forces in the areas of unmanned systems, hovercraft, weapon and platform integration along with the intelligence solutions for the homeland security.
Rockwell Collins is hoping to increase its footprint in India both in the military and the homeland security market with the high-end communication and avionics electronics solutions.
“A major thrust for us at DefExpo is to talk about our capabilities in networking and more specifically communication systems which include a wide range of products both in the ground and air frame”, said director, government systems marketing, Asia Pacific International & Services Solutions, Rockwell Collins, Clayton E. Brown. “Rockwell Collins has a complete line of communications products all the way from the soldier level to the strategic level”, he added.
With the eye on constantly evolving transmission and communication security needs of India, Rockwell Collins offered an eclectic display of its equipment that promised secure communication solutions. “We are interested in different networking and communication programmes in India, several of which are ongoing. Most of our radio products could be used by the internal security forces as well because all of them have the hyper unique encryption ability for UHF communications”, Brown said.
While there are no on-going talks with the ministry of home affairs at the moment, the company is open to offer its high end products that fit in the requirement of the Paramilitary forces.
629F-25 Receiver-Transmitter (RT), a variant of ARC-210 airborne communication system is already in operation with the Indian Coast Guard.
Some of its new Software Defined Radios (SDRs) were on display at DefExpo.
Flexnet is one such compact vehicular wideband V/UHF SDR that offers enhanced capacities to increase the connectivity, mobility, flexibility, interoperability and exchange of information on the battlefield.
Dipping into its vast expertise in the night vision technology, Exelis, formerly ITT Corporation, displayed its latest i- Aware Tactical goggle. i-Aware Tactical has the ability to transmit and receive real-time video, photos, mapping information and other important battlefield information. It also highlighted its networked communication systems to include SpearNet and High Capacity Data Radio.
The company also focused on the paramilitary and the police requirements with its range of night vision solutions.
In this regard, Exelis has formed a strategic alliance with Tata Advanced Systems Limited. Under a memorandum of understanding, Exelis will partner with Tata to supply manufacturing capabilities in India for manufacture, maintenance and life-cycle support of Gen 3 night vision products.
Northrop Grumman Corporation
NGC highlighted its range of industry leading capabilities in airborne early warning and control systems for maritime reconnaissance, and unmanned aircraft systems. “Our core competencies and proven capability in airborne early warning and control and unmanned systems for aerial surveillance are well matched to meet the region’s growing defence and security needs,” said sector vice president of business development for the company’s Aerospace Systems sector, Bill Schaefer.
An E-2D tactical work station was available at the exhibition to demonstrate the capabilities and functionality of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye for military and civil applications. India is among the first countries for which the Advanced Hawkeye capability has been released. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye couples newly-designed electronically scanned radar with a matching suite of sensors, avionics, processors, software and displays to provide one of the most technologically advanced command and control capability.
In addition, the company’s persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability were highlighted with the MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) based on a maritime derivative of the combat proven RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft.
Also on display was Northrop Grumman’s advanced aviation concept in lighter-than-air hybrid airships. It uses existing proven hull materials with type-certified engines and is flexible and reconfigurable to accommodate any combination of sensors and communications equipment, making it truly multi-mission capable. Published by HT Syndication with permission from FORCE.