Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DTN News - INDIA NEWS: Putin Goes To India: Can He Win Over Modi?

DTN News - INDIA NEWS: Putin Goes To India: Can He Win Over Modi?
*Vladimir Putin will be seeking to keep India's Narendra Modi onside with cheap oil and diamond deals, as India diversifies its weapons purchases away from Russia.
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources The Christian Science Monitor
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 10, 2014 (MOSCOW):  Vladimir Putin will be hoping to demonstrate the irrelevance of Western sanctions as he arrives in India for a one-day summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could see up to 20 large business deals inked.

Mr. Putin will be looking for signals of political solidarity amid Russian economic woes that stem in part from those sanctions. Analysts suggest he's likely to get what he wants – though he may have to pay for it in the form of discounted Russian oil, sweet deals on diamonds, and opening up Siberian oilfields to Indian investment. Economic concessions have factored in recent gas contracts announced on Putin visits to China and Turkey, and experts say the Indians are certain to press for advantages as well.

"Of course India will provide gestures of political support to Putin, and it will be genuine. Russia's an old friend, and we sympathize with its problems," says Nandan Unikrishnan, a Russia expert at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. India accepts Russia's security interests in Ukraine, he says, and India itself briefly endured US-led sanctions in the wake of its 1998 nuclear weapon test, and rejects them as a tool of international policy.

But past allegiances and political affinities will not be enough, some Indian experts say. "The old Soviet friendship, though remembered with great fondness among Indians, needs to be replaced. India and Russia are very different countries from what they were 20 years ago. India is much more private sector and civil society than it used to be – and this sort of engagement is not Moscow's strength," says Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, foreign editor of the Hindustan Times, a leading Indian daily.

Putin's visit, the 15th Russia-India summit on his watch, comes as the old cold war alliance between Moscow and New Delhi is fraying and two-way trade has shriveled to less than $10 billion. India, under the popular Mr. Modi, is diversifying its relations away from Russia and even purchasing arms from others, including Rafale fighters from France and Apache helicopter gunships from the United States. Moscow too has broken its long-term fidelity to New Delhi and has reportedly contracted to sell Mi-35 attack helicopters to India's main foe, Pakistan.

President Barack Obama will be guest of honor at India's national Republic Day commemoration in January, and the Indian media are filled with optimistic commentary about the prospects for the long-neglected US-India relationship to take off.

"The internal discourse in India today is all about development, development, development," says Mr. Unikrishnan. "Putin needs to show that Russia can move beyond our traditional ties, and make real contributions to India's forward economic movement. With Russia so far, it's mostly same old."

But Russia – the leading supplier of arms to India – has lately moved from just delivering finished products to jointly developing new weapons such as the Brahmos cruise missile and the T-50 fifth generation fighter plane, Russia's answer to the US F-22 and F-35.

And among the business propositions on tap during Putin's visit are: a multibillion dollar contract to build up to 25 nuclear reactors in India; a long-term deal to provide liquified natural gas at low prices; sales of civilian aircraft; granting India's state petroleum corporation stakes in Russia's potential Arctic oil bonanza; and what could be a breakthrough deal to provide uncut Russian diamonds to India – a major center of gem polishing. 

Shared interests
In a lengthy interview with a leading Indian news agency Tuesday, Putin described Russo-Indian ties as a "privileged strategic partnership" and dismissed Russia's recent opening to Pakistan as a routine diplomatic move that's in everyone's interests.

He argued that India and Russia share interests, especially as the NATO mission in Afghanistan winds down, in fighting terrorism and combating drug trafficking. He pledged to step up economic cooperation and – of greatest interest to Indian ears – joint ventures that would transfer Russian space, military, and engineering technology to India.

Some Russian experts defend Putin's apparent price concessions on oil and gas to new Asian partners as smart long-term policy. "Asia is growing fast, and Putin finds it possible to nail down lasting deals with these countries," that are unlikely to be disrupted by future political disputes, says Felix Yurlov, an expert with the official Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. He says it's about locking down market share, even as prices of hydrocarbons plummet and Russia's relations sour with customers in the West.

But both Russian and Indian experts say they are dismayed by the brevity of Putin's visit, and also by his inexplicable decision not to address an Indian joint session of parliament. Instead of that, Putin and Modi will attend the opening of the World Diamond Conference in New Delhi Thursday.

"If Russia is serious about reaching out to non-Western countries, to compensate for its current bad relations with the US and Europe, it should walk extra miles to cement those relationships," says Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. 

"Putin has been doing that with China," Mr. Trenin says. "Many in Moscow seem to treat India like an afterthought, which is not wise with a country of that size and importance. Under Modi, India is re-evaluating its relationships, and seems ready to discard non-performing ones. The danger is that India may get fed up with old-style treatment from Moscow, and turn elsewhere." 

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources The Christian Science Monitor
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - RUSSIA DEFENSE NEWS: Russian Air Force To Acquire New Aircraft, Helos, Bolster Arctic Presence

DTN News - RUSSIA DEFENSE NEWS: Russian Air Force To Acquire New Aircraft, Helos, Bolster Arctic Presence
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Defense News
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 10, 2014:  Russia’s Ministry of Defense has unveiled plans to acquire more than 150 new aircraft and helicopters in 2015 as part of plans to bolster and modernize the country’s Air Force.

Col. Igor Klimov, the spokesman for the Russian Air Force, told local news agency ITAR-TASS that, in the forthcoming year, the Air Force will focus its efforts on strengthening its military presence in the Arctic.

Under the plan, the new aircraft will include Sukhoi Su-34 bombers, Su-30SM and Su-35S fighters, Kamov Ka-52, Ka-226, Mil Mi-8AMTSh, Mi-28N and Mi-35 helos, Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainers, as well as Ilyushin Il-76MD-90 transport aircraft.

The Russian Air Force will also acquire new Nebo-M, Gamma and Sopka radars to boost its air surveillance capacity, Klimov said.

The latest announcement follows the recent establishment of the Arctic Strategic Command by Russia’s Defense Ministry.

In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Arctic has traditionally been a sphere of “special interest” to Moscow.

“It is a concentration of practically all aspects of national security — military, political, economic, technological, environmental,” Putin said April 22 at an expanded meeting of the country’s Security Council.

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Defense News
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Tanks For Everything

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Tanks For Everything
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Asian Military Review
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 10, 2014:  Almost every country in the Asia-Pacific has embarked on military modernisation programmes which include overhauling their Main Battle Tank (MBT) fleets. This article will examine MBT procurement and upgrade programmes ongoing around the region.

by John Ross
Military analysts at IHS Jane’s note the increased defence spending of Asia-Pacific countries which has risen from 13.5 percent in 2012, to $24.5 billion in 2014, with that figure projected to rise to $40 billion by 2016. In Indonesia military spending increased by 82 percent from 2002 to 2012. Singapore, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), has become the fifth largest arms importer in the world allocating over 20 percent of its national budget to defence. Thailand’s defence expenditure is being driven by modernisation initiatives in addition to border disputes and security threats. The country aims to increase defence expenditure as a percentage of its gross domestic product from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 1.8 percent in 2016. A large amount of this increased spending throughout the Asia-Pacific will go towards enhancing MBT fleets.


The Indian Army plans to procure a total of 1657 Uralvagonzavod T-90 MBTs by 2020, which will include 1000 tanks produced indigenously under a full technology transfer agreement with Russia, with all parts made in India. A total of 59 armoured regiments are to be equipped with around 1600 tanks. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) which oversees procurement in India has cleared manufacture of 235 T-90 tanks at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) located at Avadi in south-east India. For those T-90s already in operation with the Indian Army, the force will upgrade more than 600 of these MBTs with new optronics, navigation systems and fire control for a total of $250 million. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) formally approved the army’s three-year-old proposal for the T-90 upgrade in February 2014. In keeping with the country’s overriding desire to move towards domestic defence provision self sufficiency, an Indian MoD source said that the tender for the upgrade will be sent only to domestic defence companies.

In addition to the T-90s, the Indian Army’s fleet of some 1900 Uralvagonzavod T-72M MBTs is being upgraded with new optronics and navigation equipment, the latter of which will outfit those T-72Ms configured to provide command and control. Upgraded T-72M tanks are entering service and the upgrade has afforded a life extension that will allow them to remain operational beyond 2025. As far as India’s domestic Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Arjun Mk.I MBTs are concerned, all 124 tanks have been delivered to the Indian Army. The force’s 43rd and 75th Armoured Regiments are fully operational with 45 tanks each. Trials of the Arjun Mk.I’s sibling, the Arjun Mk.II began in 2012. Series production is expected to begin in 2016. It offers improved protection, firepower and mobility over its predecessor, and it should eventually replace the Indian Army’s ageing Cold War-era T-55 and T-72M tanks in service with the Indian Army.

Compared to the Arjun Mk.I, the hull and turret of the Arjun Mk.II has been redesigned. It has improved protection and locally-developed explosive reactive armour modules have been added. Armour modules counter APFSDS (Armour-Piercing, Fin-Stabilised, Discarding Sabot) and HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds, as well as Rocket Propelled Grenades. Ammunition is stored in the turret bustle which is equipped with blowout panels. The Arjun Mk.II is also fitted with advanced laser warning and countermeasures systems which confuse enemy sensors. Furthermore, this new MBT is armed with a fully-stabilised 120mm rifled gun which is loaded manually. A rifled gun of such calibre is only used on the British BAE Systems Challenger-2 MBT. This gun is more accurate at long range compared to smoothbore guns. India claims that during trials this new Indian tank outgunned both the T-72M and T-90 (see above). The Arjun Mk.II is also compatible with Israel Aerospace Industries’ LAHAT (Laser-Homing Anti-Tank) surface-to-surface missiles. These missiles are launched in the same manner as ordinary projectiles, and the tank can accommodate a total of 39 rounds, including the LAHAT missiles. The Arjun Mk.II is fitted with advanced optronics and has improved communication and navigation systems. Secondary armament consists of a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and a roof-mounted remote-controlled weapon station, armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun.


Pakistan’s two main tanks are the Al-Zarrar and Al-Khalid MBTs, both of which are manufactured by the Government-owned Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) organisation. Although The Al-Khalid initially entered service in 2001, around 300 are in service but this is expected to rise to 600 with an improved version which will include a more powerful diesel engine, more ammunition storage and a better Fire Control System (FCS) together with new optronics (see Alex Calvo’s ‘Deterrence and Doctrine’ article in this issue). The Al-Khalid is a license-built version of the Kharkiv Morozov T-54 MBT. An Al-Khalid Mk.II is in development which will feature a new turret, modular armour and a new power pack. Recently HIT signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Norinco for ongoing technology transfer, help with exports and profit sharing. HIT sees possible markets existing in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and possibly the Middle East.

Bangladesh and Indonesia

Bangladesh has ordered 44 Norinco MBT-2000 tanks and three recovery vehicles with deliveries having commenced in 2014. Indonesia, meanwhile, has committed to buying 93 Rheinmetall Leopard 2A4 MBTs and ten engineering and support vehicles. At least 61 of the Leopard 2A4 MBTs which Indonesia has purchased will receive elements of the Rheinmetall ‘Revolution’ modular upgrade package. These upgraded MBTs have been re-designated as the Leopard RI, to denote ‘Republic of Indonesia’. In 2012 the German government gave Rheinmetall the green light in 2012 to export 104 Leopard 2A6 tanks, 50 Marder 1A2 infantry fighting vehicles and ten other platforms, including armoured recovery vehicles, mobile bridges and military engineering vehicles to Indonesia. According to Indonesian officials, the initial agreement for 130 tanks was valued at $280 million, while Rheinmentall’s press release placed the figure at $293.7 million. The deal includes training, logistical support and an initial supply of practice and service ammunition. The deliveries are due to be concluded by 2016.

Malaysia and Singapore

Malaysia purchased 48 Polish Bumar Labedy PT91 Twardy MBTs in the early 2000s. These MBTs are in turn developed from the T-72M (see above). There appear to be no plans to replace these in the foreseeable future as Malaysia has other defence priorities. Like Indonesia (see above) Singapore purchased 66 ex-Heer (German Army) Leopard-2A4 MBTs plus 30 spare tanks, together with ten Bergepanzer-3 Buffel armoured recovery vehicles in 2007-2008. Most of the tanks were recently upgraded to the Leopard-2SG standard with advanced modular armour protection from IBD Deisenroth Engineering of Germany and Singapore’s ST Kinetics. They are fitted with IBD’s Evolution suite that boasts fourth-generation Advanced Modular Armour Protection (AMAP), which employs steel alloy, aluminium-titanium alloy, nano-metric steel, ceramic inserts and nano-ceramics. Steel slat armour is installed on the hull and turret rear and flanks while the hull bottom is reinforced against mines. The Evolution suite increases the tank’s weight from 55 tonnes to 60 tonnes.


Thailand’s government signed a $240 million contract for the purchase of 49 Malyshev Factory T-84 Oplot MBTs from Ukraine in March 2011, the T-84 being chosen ahead of the Republic of Korea’s (RoK) Hyundai K1A1. Thai-Ukraine cooperation is at an all-time high following the earlier purchase of Kharkiv Morozov BTR-3E1 eight-wheel drive armoured personnel carriers. Thailand could possibly acquire up to 200 T-84s to allow retirement of its elderly Cadillac/General Motors M41A3 light tanks. It is anticipated that Thailand will eventually purchase up to 200 tanks with the first 50 being delivered in 2015.


Amongst all ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) armies, Vietnam has the largest MBT fleet and has been a long time user of Soviet-era T-54/55 series and Norinco Type 59 MBTs, with several units actually being Vietnam War veterans. Sources say that 600 to 850 T-54/55 tanks remain in Vietnamese service, with around 310 modernised using Israeli technology to take them to T-54/55M3 standards which involved the replacement of the original Soviet 100mm gun with a 105mm M68/L7 gun, along with the installation of explosive reactive armour, smoke grenade launchers, a new engine, a 60mm mortar and upgraded sensors. There were previous reports that Vietnam planned to purchase 150 T-72 main battle tanks from Poland, but the order did not materialise and the budget was instead used to purchase naval assets as the threat to its offshore interests from China are considered more strategically pressing.


China is a major producer of innovative tanks, the newest of which is the Norinco ZTZ-99. The ZTZ-99 (Type 99), 500 of which are in service with the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), features significant advances in technology and protection. It is equipped with Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), a laser warning system and a 125mm ZPT-98 main gun. The newest variant is the ZTZ-99A2 with improved ERA, a modified rear hull and turret, a new panoramic commander’s sight, a millimetre-wave radar, an upgraded FCS and a digital Battle Management System (BMS).

Another project is the Type 99KM which is equipped with a modular Active Protection System (APS), an active laser defence system and a larger-calibre gun able to fire next-generation kinetic ammunition. Norinco is developing and marketing the third-generation MBT-3000. This is an upgrade of the MBT-2000 (see above) and it could deploy with the PLA by the end of 2014. The MBT-3000 has a 125mm gun capable of firing missiles, and is powered by a turbo-diesel engine.

The mainstay of the RoK

Republic of Korea’s MBT fleet is around 1500 Hyundai K1 and K1A1 vehicles. General Dynamics has assisted Hyundai to upgrade the KIAI with the addition of a Battle Management System (BMS), global positioning system-based navigation, an identification friend or foe system and new optronics for the driver. The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has been testing this modernised K1A1.

Hyundai is also developing the 55-tonne K2 Black Panther for the RoKA. The service intends to order 397 K2s. It will feature a 120mm main gun coupled to an autoloader, a missile approach warning system, BMS and an indigenously-designed soft-kill APS. It also fires the innovative high-trajectory, fire-and-forget KSTAM (Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition) anti-tank round. The K2’s introduction was delayed until March 2014 because of mechanical problems with the locally developed Doosan DST engine and S&T Dynamics automatic transmission. As a result the first 100 production vehicles will use MTU-890 engines and RENK transmissions both imported from Germany.

The K2 Product Improvement programme (PIP) expected to commence in the future will have add features such as non-explosive reactive armour, an upgraded suspension and a hard-kill APS. An electrothermal-chemical gun may also replace the existing 120mm armament. Designers are attempting to integrate an unmanned ground vehicle into the K2’s architecture to give the MBT a remote scouting capability. The RoK intends to offer the K2 for export but this may prove difficult given the number of cheaper refurbished tanks available.


Japan is planning to downsize its fleet of MBTs, which consists mainly of Mitsubishi Type 90s to 400 examples. It is intended to replace the bulk of these, which are considered too heavy and unsuitable for Japan’s highly urbanised environment with the new Mitsubishi Type 10 MBTs. The high-tech Type 10 is lighter than its predecessor and builds on lessons learned from counter insurgency and asymmetric warfare in Iraq. It has a remote-controlled machine gun atop the turret, while the modular armour package can be adjusted to suit threat levels. In the turret is a 120mm smoothbore cannon that fires a new APFSDS round with greater penetration. Its engine is connected to an innovative continuously variable transmission that allows the vehicle to drive equally fast either forwards or backwards. Furthermore, a BMS connects tanks to each other and to higher echelons of command. Both the Japanese and the RoK MBTs discussed above feature hydropneumatic suspension, as the ability to kneel is extremely useful in rugged terrain since it gives the gun more elevation and depression. It is expected that 68 Type 10s will be in service with the Japan Ground Self Defence Force by 2015.


Taiwan has a need to replace its sizeable fleet of M41 and M48 MBTs and is negotiating with the US to purchase refurbished General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams MBTs which are becoming available as the US army downsizes its fleet. Sources within Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence recently said that Taiwan needs up to 200 new MBTs. Although no order has yet been made it is expected that Taipei will give governmental approval for the acquisition in the near future.


Many commentators forecasted the death of the MBT following the end of the Cold War and the experience of counter insurgency and asymmetric warfare in the Middle East and Central Asia since the turn of the century. However, throughout the Asia-Pacific region this is far from the case as the expansion of tank fleets continues apace fuelled by the availability of materiel as Western nations downsize their legacy Cold War tank fleets, along with continuing geopolitical rivalries in south Asia and Chinese expansion.

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Asian Military Review
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News