India will soon approve a deal withPilatusfor 75 PC-7 Mk.2 basic trainer aircraft to train it’s rookie air force pilots. The deal is expected to be approved shortly, withIndia’s apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) scrutinizing the final contract.
A Korea Aerospace company, whose KT-1 trainer was runner-up in the final toss-up, was dismissed by the MoD. The company has logged a formal protest and the ministry has dismissed all complaints by the Korean firm. The proposal for the procurement of Basic Trainer Aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) is awaiting consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The IAF currently has 114 HAL HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers which are all grounded since July 2009 due to critical technical problem and flight safety issues. In a Parliamentary Standing Committee report released this week, the MoD gave testimony saying, “The Air Force is procuring 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) for it’s Stage-I (ab-initio) flying training requirement.
PC-7 Mk-II Turbo Prop aircraft of M/sPilatus,Switzerlandhas been short-listed and contract negotiations have been completed. The case is being processed for CCS approval. The delivery of the aircraft is scheduled to commence 15 months after signing of the contract. 24 aircraft are expected to be delivered within 25 months, which will enable basic training to commence on these new aircraft. Two simulators for BTA are planned to be procured. 106 BTA are planned to be designed and developed by HAL along with 3 simulators. Induction is planned to commence from 2016.”
The government has ensured that the procurement procedures are put on fast track by addressing various hurdles encountered at various stages so as to ensure that the Air Force at any cost gets the Pilatus PC-7 Mark-II aircraft by the December next year as stated by the representative of Air Force during the course of deliberations so as to address the urgent and immediate need of Basic Trainer Aircraft for Air Force.
U.S. NAVY JOINS INDIA’S LIGHT COMBAT AIRCRAFT PROJECT
The U.S. Navy has agreed to come on boardIndia’s much delayed Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program and will audit tests and provide feedbacks to the Indian team.
TheU.S.will join the Russians and the Europeans who were earlier roped in to realize the LCA project which has been delayed by over 15 years.
The U.S Navy Carrier Suitability Test Team is the latest of three foreign consultants to join team LCA. Among the many problems the LCA program is faced with, one is the weight of the prototype which is heavier by 500 kgs over the requirement of a carrier-based fighter. The Test Team is expected to tackle this issue.
According to Indian media reports, the U.S Test Team will not be paid for its services.
In 2011, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Group (EADS) was introduced to the program in order to help developers reduce the weight of the fighter.
Meanwhile, the Gromov Institute inRussiais currently testing the Kaveri engine on an Ilyushin-76 engine test bed aircraft and has completed 55 hours of testing at the Institute.
The Naval LCA-NP1, also known as Tejas, made its maiden flight a week ago at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) inBangalore.
PRINCE ANDREW VISITS OFFICERS’ TRAINING ACADEMY IN CHENNAI
Chennai: Reinforcing the close links between the militaries ofIndiaandGreat Britain, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York visited the Officers’TrainingAcademyin Chennai on Friday.
Prince Andrew, who is on a week-long visit toIndiato commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, went around the 650-acre campus and met the next generation of young officers at the Terrain Model Room.
Dressed in his naval uniform, he paid homage at the Martyrs’ Memorial in the campus and had a view from the hill-top later.
Lt Gen SS Jog, Commandant of the Academy briefed the special guest, who later met officers of the Academy.
Describing the ties between OTA and theRoyalMilitaryAcademy, Sandhurst (RMAS) as “warm and growing,” British Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai Mike Nithavrianakis said in March 2012, an instructor and four cadets from the OTA visited RMAS in theUK.
“In April 2012, Captain Richard Leigh-Wood led a team of four cadets on a successful reciprocal visit to the OTA. In terms of wider Indo-British links in the region, each year British Army, Navy and Air Force officers attend theIndianStaffCollegeatWellingtonin the Nilgris,” he said.
Later, Prince Andrew laid a ceremonial wreath and observed a minute’s silence at the Cross of Sacrifice of theMadrasWarCemetery, with buglers playing a military guard of honour.
The Cemetery in Chennai has 860 graves (659 British) of those who died in World War II. The memorial wall has 1039 names (939 British) of those soldiers who died in World War I.
Group Captain Andrew McAuley,Naval and Air Adviser,British High Commission,New Delhiread out the Remembrance Prayer.
Prince Andrew later visited CSI, St Mary’s Church in Fort St George to attend a special Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
TATRA TRUCKS TO TAKE PART IN SUMMER TRIALS BY ARMY
NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding controversy, Tatra trucks produced by the state-owned BEML are taking part in the summer trials conducted by the army for procuring heavy trucks to ferry missile and artillery systems.
The army had issued a global tender for procuring over 255 heavy eight-wheeled trucks in 2010 and a few indigenous companies along with BEML are competing, sources said here.
The summer trials are being held in desert and hot and dusty conditions at different locations across the country after winter trials of the participating companies were held late last year, army sources said.
The army has carried out trials of six-wheeled trucks and Tatra is among the six companies including Tata and Ashok Leyland taking part in it. The tender issued in 2009 for buying around 1240 trucks was open only for Indian manufacturers.
The army had been procuring such trucks from BEML but after the changes in General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) in 2008, it was decided that they would be procured through multi vendor tenders.
The decision in this regard was taken in a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council in 2008 chaired by Defence Minister AK Antony.
After the decision for procurement of trucks through multi-vendor tenders, the Army has inducted Tatra trucks in limited quantities for its urgent requirements.
The army has been procuring Tatra trucks since 1986 and more than 7,000 of them are in service with the armed forces and other defence organisations.
Tatra hit the spotlight after Army Chief Gen VK Singh alleged that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe to clear 600 “sub-standard” trucks.
NAVAL FLEET TO EMBARK ON TWO-MONTH-LONG OVERSEAS DEPLOYMENT
NEW DELHI: Four ships of the Navy’s Eastern fleet will soon proceed on its over two-month-long overseas deployment, sailing through South China Sea to reachJapan.
“As part of Long Range Overseas Deployment (LROD) of the fleet, four ships including a tanker will sail through South China Sea andMalaccaStraitto reachJapan. The ships will make port calls inMalaysia,Philippines,SingaporeandShanghaiinChina,” Indian Navy officials said today.
The ships, which are scheduled to sail in next two days forJapan, will be on a LROD for a period of more than two months, they added.
Meanwhile, Chinese naval training ship Zheng He, which is on a round-the-world voyage to mark 63rd anniversary of the founding of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), will reachKochion May 9 for a brief stopover.
“The Chinese training ship is carrying an Indian Navy’s Sea Cadet David Veeravalli who had boarded the vessel inMalaysia. He will disembark Zheng He after it anchors atKochi,” the officials said.
The Indian Navy ships which will sail for the long range deployment include one each of Ranveer, Shivalik and Kora class vessels, including the replenishment tanker.
The fleet will be commanded by Rear Admiral P Ajith Kumar who took over the Eastern Naval Command on April 30.
“LROD is an annual exercise of the Indian Navy aimed at generating goodwill among the neighbouring countries and is an integral part of the maritime diplomacy,” the officials said.
Last year in September, the Chinese Navy had objected to the presence of an Indian naval vessel inSouth China Sea.
DRDO YET TO DEVELOP FOOLPROOF CYBER DEFENCE PROGRAMME
BANGALORE: Despite the increasing threat posed by those who commit cyber crimes to national security, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is responsible for developing technology for use by the military, is yet to develop a foolproof cyber defence programme to protect and secure network systems in the country, according to DRDO director KD Nayak.
Speaking at the two-day international cyber security summit inBangalore, Nayak said DRDO is still working on a cyber defence programme primarily to protect key sectors such as defence, railways and power.
The technologies used to commit cyber crimes have grown to such a level that even an attack similar to that of 9/11 can be executed by sitting in a remote corner and hacking the air traffic control system, he said, adding that DRDO is working on a project to protect cyber network in the country from malware and hackers.
“We are still using IC networking technology which is vulnerable for breach. DRDO is developing an indigenous technology to ensure networking systems are safe and secure. It has completed 50 per cent of the project and the remaining part will be completed soon,” he said.
Principal secretary of department of IT, BT andS&T,MNVidyashankar saidBangalorewill have a cyber appellate tribunal to deal with cyber security issues. The state government has set up a cyber lab in Mangalore which has already attended financial cyber crimes worth Rs1.2 crore. The state will host cyber summits every year, he added.
Deputy national security advisor, Latha Reddy, said though department of telecommunications (DoT), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Nasscom are doing audit in computing, the government is working with other countries to enhance cooperation in investigating cyber crimes.
Law and parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Kumar saidBangalore, which is the country’s IT capital, should also be the information security capital.
NCTC WILL SUPPLEMENT COUNTER-TERROR CAPABILITIES OF STATES: PM
NEW DELHI: Making a strong pitch for formation of an anti-terror hub, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the establishment of NCTC is not a State versus Centre issue but will work as a vehicle of country’s combined efforts to curb terrorism.
Stressing that NCTC will supplement the counter-terrorism capabilities of the states and not supplant them, Singh asked the state governments to work with the Centre in dealing with terrorism.
“Terrorism is today one of the most potent threats to our national security. There can be no disagreement on putting an effective counter terrorism regime with efficient mechanism and response systems both at the national level and at the state level,” the Prime Minister said in his inaugural speech at a conference of Chief Ministers called to discuss NCTC.
The meeting was called specially after 12 chief ministers opposed formation of NCTC.
Singh said, “Establishment of NCTC is not a state versus Centre issue and the primary purpose behind setting up the NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout the country as the Intelligence Bureau has been doing so far.
“The NCTC should be a vehicle of our combined efforts to reach the shared goal of curbing terrorism an eradicating militancy,” he said.
Singh said the antecedents of the NCTC derived from the Group of Ministers and the Administrative Reforms Commission, commencing from the lessons learnt in Kargil.
“It is our belief that the NCTC, in its designs and its operation aspects, will supplement the counter-terrorism capabilities of the states and not supplant them,” he said.
He also drew attention of Chief Ministers towards the Standard operating Procedures circulated by Union Home Ministry and said the draft reflects the details provisions for Centre-State coordination in both the organisational set up of NCTC and in its proposed powers and functions.
“But for the NCTC to function smoothly and effectively, it is important that we have a fairly broad consensus on its powers and functions. We would like the state governments to be with us in this initiative, which we believe would strengthen our counter-terrorism efforts,” Singh said, adding the Centre was open to suggestions of Chief Ministers.
‘GOVT IN AGREEMENT ON ONE RANK ONE PENSION’
Sagar: The Centre has given in-principle approval to the ‘one rank one pension’ demand of ex-servicemen, Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh said on Friday.
“I have written twice to the central government on the issue of one rank one pension and it has agreed to it in principle,” he said while addressing a rally of ex-servicemen at Mahar Regiment Centre Ground here.
He said the Defence Minister has assured to look into the matter seriously after the Budget session of Parliament.
Implementation of one rank one pension will put a financial burden of Rs 1,300 crore on the Government, he said, adding all political parties have backed the demand.
Once implemented, it will resolve all anomalies related to the ex-servicemen’s pension and bring uniformity in the post-retirement scheme, the Army chief maintained.
General Singh blamed communication gap for delay in redressal of grievances of the ex-servicemen.
He said directives have been issued to officials concerned to ensure they are in regular touch with ex- servicemen and their widows and resolve their problems related to pension, healthcare and canteen facilities among others.
General Singh said a toll-free helpline number was being launched to receive complaints of ex-servicemen and ensure their speedy resolution. The service will be headed by a retired Brigadier level officer.
Army regiments and units have been directed to constitute special teams to look into the grievances, he said.
The Army chief said after the formation of special teams Rs 22 crore was given to retired servicemen in pending arrears in Rajasthan.
Earlier in the day, General Singh arrived atBhopalAirportand left for Sagar, around 180km from the state capital, in a helicopter.