The naval prototype of India’s Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) made its first test flight on April 27. Already delayed by four years, the program still faces design concerns, including weight. Strengthening of the rear airframe for carrier operations, and the addition of an arrestor hook, has made the aircraft about 1,000 pounds overweight.
Indian Air Force
Textron Defense Systems will start production of India’s order for 512 CBU-105 sensor fuzed weapons (SFW) soon. The $257.7 million sale was contracted via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales mechanism in November 2010. Encouraged by India’s continuing move away from reliance on Russian weapons, Textron is now marketing other defense systems in the country.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will decide on a new multi-role tanker transport by year-end. Bids for six aircraft from Airbus Military for the A330MRTT and from Ilyushin for the Il-78MK are now being compared, Airbus Military market development vice president Ian Elliott told AIN in Delhi this week. The new in-flight refuelers will augment the existing fleet of six Il-78s, which has been in service for over half a decade at Agra airbase.
The French Rafale is reportedly well placed to triumph in the long-running fighter jet contest in Brazil, and also to secure the elusive order from the UAE, following the type’s success in India. Indian air force commander ACM N.A.K. Browne told AIN that his country would not accept a revised bid from the losing Eurofighter camp for the 126-aircraft MMRCA requirement.
Dassault has offered to adjust the Rafale package for Switzerland to reduce cost and prevent the confirmation of the Saab Gripen as that country’s new fighter. The move follows the leaking of the Swiss air force evaluation report on the competing fighters, which also included the Eurofighter. The Rafale was the clear winner of the SAF evaluation, with the Eurofighter second, but the Swiss government opted for the cheaper Gripen package. This was worth $3.4 billion and included 22 jets. The potential new French offer is $3 billion for 18 aircraft, according to reports in the Swiss media.
France’s Dassault Rafale fighter won India’s $10 billion-plus medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest for 126 combat jets because its direct acquisition and life-cycle costs were 22 to 25 percent lower than those of the Eurofighter Typhoon. This verdict came from “a top [Indian] defense ministry source” quoted by The Times of India newspaper in Delhi last Friday. AIN believes that the report is credible. Negotiations on the contract should be completed by October, the source added.
India’s big-ticket military acquisitions are expected to aggressively push schedules for the transfer of production to the country’s ambitious aerospace and defense industry. But the technology that India expects to be transferred through co-development work generated by offset agreements is raising concerns among vendors about possible violations of intellectual property rights (IPR).
Few coompanies can lay claim to having as many as 10 aircraft planned or under development simultaneously, but India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is doing just that. However, while the Bangalore-based group’s ambitions may be laudable, it remains to be seen how it will face the formidable challenges of its current and planned projects.
Team Rafale has won the $10 billion-plus Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition to supply 126 aircraft. The news emerged unofficially from the Indian Ministry of Defence after the Dassault representative was told that the Rafale had finally scored its first export success. The French jet beat the Eurofighter Typhoon in the final MMRCA evaluation round.
According to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) it has flown more than 5,500 strike sorties over the country’s troubled tribal regions since May 2008. In a rare glimpse into Pakistan’s attempt to counter domestic terrorism from the air, the commander of the PAF described some lessons learned to the Air Chiefs Conference here in Dubai on Saturday.