Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MAG REPORT: AMCA Moves Forward, Navy Interested, Tech Partnership Talks On With Saab

Copyright Aviation Week (via BR Forums)

Tejas LSP-4 Fires R-73 Missile Again

DRDO Statement: As a run up to the impending achieving of IOC and release to service, a Tejas detachment has been operating from INS Hansa in Goa, conducting the last phase of flight trials. One of the main objectives of the current phase of flight trials was clearing the firing envelope of air to air close combat missile from the Tejas. The R-73 missile, which is the chosen air to air close combat missile for the Tejas. The missile is integrated with the on-board Digital Stores Management System (SMS) and Open Architecture Mission and Display Computer. The missile selection is performed from the high resolution Multi Function Display (MFD) pages integrated with the state of the art on-board avionics. All of this equipment form the IOC standard of Avionics.

The test firing was done from the Tejas LSP-4 aircraft, piloted by Gp Capt. George Thomas, Group Director (Flight Test Operations) of the National Flight Test Centre, ADA. The test aircraft was accompanied by a chase Tejas piloted by Gp Capt Suneet Krishna. This critical test was closely monitored and controlled by the Test Director Wg Cdr Toffeen, supported by the safety pilot, Gp Capt (Retd) RR Tyagi, from the mobile telemetry positioned at the test location. The data and video from the test aircraft were also available at the base station in Bangalore through a dedicated fibre optic link set up for this purpose.

This flight test demonstrated the following important requirements of the user:
a) Safe separation of the missile from the test aircraft.
b) No Missile plume effect on the engine operation
c) Avionics and Weapon system functionality and safety interlocks
d) Aircraft Handling quality assessment during missile release
e) Effect of missile plume on the composite structure.

More firings of the missile are planned during the current week leading to CCM firing envelope clearance for the Tejas. The composite team of ADA, HAL, NAL and ADE designers is involved in the planning of the subsequent firing tests. The aircraft are being supported outstation by a composite HAL and IAF team with DGAQA and CEMILAC personnel. The result of this critical test has added yet another feather on the cap of ‘Team Tejas’ and the entire team is looking forward to the successful completion of the balance tasks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Four Years After Programme Died, Indian Navy Floats Bid For Trishul-type SAM

The Indian Navy has called for information from global vendors to support a potential purchase of >10-km range surface to air point defence missile system for warships upto 7,000-tons (the Kolkata-class destroyers will be ~6,900-tons). The Navy has stipulated that it wants a system with a range in excess of 10-km, capable of engaging multiple & sea-skimming targets, capable of engaging both supersonic and subsonic targets.

DRDO Officially Names AURA For The First Time

Here's the first time that the DRDO has referred to India's top secret stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) programme by its official name, AURA, a name that remained unknown until it was revealed for the first time on Livefist earlier this year. This appears in the latest edition of TECH FOCUS, the DRDO's technology journal, this one focusing on the Indian UAV programme. Read the rest of it here.

See also:
First artist's impressions of the AURA
IAF fully supports AURA programme

Copyright DRDO Tech Focus

Extended Range Sudarshan LGB Kit On

The development of the kit has matured to the level of guiding the bomb within 10 m CEP from its otherwise 400 m to 1000 m fall-off the target. The extension of kit’s capability to further increase its range using global positioning system (GPS) INS is on.

PHOTOS: Phalanx 20mm Close-in Weapon System On INS Jalashwa

Photos by Shiv Aroor

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Photo Of Indian Navy Heron UAV In Flight?

Found this picture in the officer's gymnasium on INS Jalashwa. Don't remember seeing any pictures so far of an Indian Navy Heron UAV in flight. Could be the first. The only other picture of a Heron in Indian service in flight is this IAF one from 2003.

Friday, November 26, 2010

[UPDATED WITH VIDEOS] Tonight on Headlines Today

Watch Headlines Today at 7.30PM today for my special report on a day at sea with the Indian Navy, two years after 26/11. Will post Youtube versions tomorrow for those who can't watch.

[UPDATE] Watch the show here.

PHOTOS: On An Amphibious Landing Drill From INS Jalashwa

Travelled in one of Jalashwa's four Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM) to Hope Island, a sandbar in the Krishna-Godavari basin for an amphibious landing drill with Army troops from the 91 Infantry Brigade. Landing craft from INS Airavat also participated in the exercise.

Photos by Shiv Aroor / Bay of Bengal

PHOTOS: On An Assault Drill With Marine Commandos

Photos by Shiv Aroor / Bay of Bengal

PHOTOS: The UH-3H Sea Kings Of INAS 350

The first time I flew in a Sea King was on 6 May 2006 when I flew from the deck of Indian frigate INS Brahmaputra onto aircraft carrier INS Viraat in an Mk.42C variant of chopper. This week, I got to fly in the American version, the Sikorsky UH-3H, pictured above, operated off the INS Jalashwa's deck by the INAS 350 squadron. These are the copters that got the government a lambasting in a recent audit report [PDF], which said the platforms were bought even though they were on extended time. Beauties, nevertheless -- here's to safe flight by the men who have to fly them.

Photos by Shiv Aroor / On Board INS Jalashwa (L41)

Roping It Between Two Destroyers!

Yep, that's me in that harness. And this was seriously awesome. The Indian Navy gave me a chance to be transferred across by rope harness from Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvir to its sibling INS Rana out in the Bay of Bengal on November 24 -- a common mode of transfer of men and material between warships at sea. Was tranferred by a Chetak chopper from the Jalashwa deck onto the Ranvir (where, among a lot else, I saw for the first time in real life the 8-cell vertical launch BrahMos unit on the aft deck -- photos soon). The inter-ship transfer was amazing and very quick, about 15 seconds in all. Both destroyers cruised alongside each other as I was transferred across. My deep thanks to Cdr Manish Bhandari (XO on Ranvir), Lt Cdr Deepak Nair (weapons officer on Rana) and sailors on both ships for their time and help.

Two Years

Photo by Shiv Aroor, November 26, 2008, Outside The Oberoi, Mumbai

VIDEO: On Board An Indian Navy UH-3H Sea King

Cellphone cam vid I took while on one of the Navy's UH-3H Sea King choppers. Lifted off from the INS Jalashwa deck and flew to a Reliance moving rig some distance away for an op demo with marine commandos. This helicopter is from the INAS 350 squadron, raised in Visakhapatnam for the six Sea Kings that came with the Jalashwa.

VIDEO: Back To INS Jalashwa After A Landing Op

Was on this Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM) for a naval amphibious assault demo with Army troops. Took this vid with my cellphone -- the final seconds before our LCM enters the cavernous well-deck of the Indian Navy's INS Jalashwa (L41). Without question one of the coolest things I've ever been part of. More videos and photos coming up.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

PHOTOS: Marcos On Hostage Drill At Reliance Rig

Photos by Maj VK Singh / DPR Defence

F-16 Now An "Enemy" On ex-USN Warship

Spotted this poster near the operations room on board INS Jalashwa (formerly the American USS Trenton). Somehow, dont think the folks at Lockheed-Martin are going to find this funny.

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

VIDEO: Agni-I Test-fired Today

India's medium range missile AGNI-1(A1) was successfully launched from Launch Complex – IV (LC-IV), Wheelers Island off the coast of Bay of Bengal today. The launch took place at 10:20 this morning. According to DRDO, the missile followed the trajectory perfectly and hit its designated target in the Bay of Bengal. Ships located near the target area witnessed the terminal event and recorded it successfully. Today's launch of the A1 missile was carried out by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) as part of ongoing user exercises.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On Board The Indian Navy's Hippopotamus OF War

Just casted off on the INS Jalashwa from Visakhapatnam. Photos from the bridgetop.

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

In Visakhapatnam

Will be on board INS Jalashwa (ex-USS Trenton), the Indian Navy's largest landing ship, in the Bay of Bengal over the next two days for a live amphibious assault demo. Photos and posts when I am back ashore.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fifth Tejas Limited Series Fighter Flies

The fifth limited series production Tejas fighter (LSP-5) flew for the first time today, piloted by Lt Cdr Ankur Jain of the Indian Navy. The aircraft is fully representative of the configuration that will achieve initial operational clearance next month. The platform joins four previous LSP series jets and two prototype vechicles currently logging hours on the programme (the PV-1 hasn't flown since January this year, and the two tech demonstrators haven't flown for some time now).

The successful flight came on an otherwise terrible day for the Indian Air Force, which lost 10 personnel (three crew + seven enlisted personnel) in a Mi-17 helicopter crash in Bomdir, Arunachal Pradesh earlier today. One Army officer also lost his life. RIP.

Photo DRDO via M Anantha Krishnan

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reports On Another Tejas Delay (Meanwhile, here's more about the platform's composites)

There was a report in a newspaper today that deliveries of the Tejas to the Indian Air Force could be delayed till the end of 2011. Trying to gather more info. Will post.