SP’s Ex­clu­sives

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ARMY FOR NEW 30MM AM­MU­NI­TION FOR IN­FANTRY VE­HI­CLES

In what could be one of the largest re­cent stock pro­cure­ments of new gen­er­a­tion am­mu­ni­tion, the Army has pub­lished fresh in­ter­est. As part of a drive to beef up its mech­a­nised forces and in­fantry, the In­dian Army is plan­ning to un­der­take pro­cure­ment of new gen­er­a­tion am­mu­ni­tion to re­place the ex­ist­ing am­mu­ni­tion be­ing fired by 30mm can­non gun fit­ted on BMP-2/2K. The am­mu­ni­tion is re­quired for all the BMP-2/2Ks held with In­dian Army (ap­prox­i­mately 2,900 ve­hi­cles). With a view to iden­tify prob­a­ble ven­dors who can man­u­fac­ture the said am­mu­ni­tion in In­dia, the OEMs/ven­dors have been re­quested to rapidly for­ward in­for­ma­tion on the prod­uct which they can of­fer. The am­mu­ni­tion is in­tended to be fired from the ex­ist­ing 30mm can­non gun (2A42) mounted on BMP-2/2K be­ing em­ployed in var­ied cli­matic and ter­rain con­di­tions vary­ing from ex­treme hot and dusty desert con­di­tions to ex­tremely cold high al­ti­tude re­gions. The Army specif­i­cally is con­cerned over whether new am­mu­ni­tion types will in­volve any in­crease in the over­all weight of BMP-2/2K due to the am­mu­ni­tion be­ing of­fered re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing am­mu­ni­tion, types of am­mu­ni­tion be­ing of­fered, i.e. AP, APFSDS, HE, In­cen­di­ary, Prox­im­ity, Plas­tic or Prac­tice, etc. Un­less ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, the Army would like to to­tally avoid any changes in the ex­ist­ing sighting sys­tem on its BMPs.

STEALTHY PUSH FOR NON-STEALTH DRONES AT DRDO

Jan­uary 11, 2016: With DRDO’s Rus­tom-II MALE UAV still to take to the air, work is cur­rently gath­er­ing pace to pro­vide the plat­form with greater low-ob­serv­abil­ity fea­tures. “The main func­tion of the land­ing gear is safe take-off and land­ing of UAV un­der var­i­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal and op­er­a­tional sce­nar­ios with the sup­port of ex­ter­nal pi­lot. A tri­cy­cle type re­tractable land­ing gear sys­tem with a steer­able nose wheel con­sists of ma­jor sub­sys­tems, viz., Hy­dro­gas Shock Ab­sorber Strut, Hy­draulic Ac­tu­a­tion Sys­tem with Sen­sors, Wheel & Brake and Nose Wheel Steer­ing Sys­tem and Me­chan­i­cal Link­ages. In­ter­ested devel­op­ment part­ners need to have ex­per­tise and wide ex­pe­ri­ence in the area of high pre­ci­sion man­u­fac­tur­ing of sys­tems and com­po­nents for aerospace ap­pli­ca­tion and op­er­ate full-fledged man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties from medium pre­ci­sion to high pre­ci­sion to cater for man­u­fac­ture of land­ing gear sys­tems and com­po­nents. In ad­di­tion to this, firm must have ex­pe­ri­ence to carry out assem­bly and lim­ited test­ing. The DRDO has faced sev­eral de­lays in putting the more ca­pa­ble Rus­tom-II into the air de­spite as­sur­ances to the IAF and Army that demon­stra­tions would take place in 2015. In all like­li­hood, the first flight of the Rus­tom-II will take place in mid-2016 from an airstrip near Ben­galuru.

TER­ROR SPURT RE­VIVES IN­FANTRY MOD­ERNI­SA­TION PUSH

The at­mos­phere of ter­ror threats in the shadow of the Pathankot at­tack and con­tin­ued threats along the LoC — in­clud­ing in­ter­mit­tent cease­fire vi­o­la­tions — has height­ened aware­ness of slow progress in in­fantry mod­erni­sa­tion in the coun­try. The Army’s In­fantry Direc­torate has called for a meet­ing to speed up the erst­while F-IN­SAS pro­gramme to pro­vide in­fantry units with more in­te­grated bat­tle­field equip­ment. Ten­sions on the LoC have seen the use of hand-held ther­mal im­agers and other equip­ment, but the In­fantry Direc­torate of the view that far greater pace of mod­erni­sa­tion is de­sir­able to­wards a much more pre­pared sol­dier de­ployed in the for­ward ar­eas. Ac­cord­ing to sources, apart from pri­mary weapon and sur­viv­abil­ity mod­erni­sa­tion, the In­fantry Direc­torate is keen to shore up sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and night-fight­ing equip­ment aug­men­ta­tion for sol­diers, start­ing with those in Rashtriya Ri­fles and Spe­cial Forces units, and then to other reg­u­lar in­fantry units. The com­ing weeks are likely to see a slew of fresh ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est per­tain­ing to the F-IN­SAS pro­gramme. The Pathankot at­tack has also drawn re­newed fo­cus on air­borne ther­mal/night vision sen­sors, pe­riph­eral wall sen­sors and other elec­tro-op­ti­cal equip­ment of a newer gen­er­a­tion to shorten the sen­sor-shooter loop at sen­si­tive es­tab­lish­ments on the ter­ror radar.

NO MOVE­MENT ON ARMY’S HAND-LAUNCHED UAS PUSH

A rou­tine pro­cure­ment is now an emer­gent situation for the In­dian Army’s North­ern Com­mand, with zero move­ment over three years in the ef­fort to pro­cure up to 50 hand-launched tac­ti­cal sur­veil­lance drones. The In­dian Army has been look­ing for 49 man-por­ta­ble hand launched un­manned air sys­tems specif­i­cally de­signed for tac­ti­cal sur­veil­lance in the bor­der ar­eas of Jammu & Kash­mir. The Army’s Ud­ham­pur-based North­ern Com­mand had floated a ten­der spec­i­fy­ing the need for a sys­tem that is ca­pa­ble of over-the-hill re­con­nais­sance and im­agery sur­veil­lance aimed at track­ing move­ment of ter­ror­ists or in­fil­tra­tors, in­cur­sions, hu­man move­ments and to bat­tle­field in­tel­li­gence. The In­dian Army cur­rently op­er­ates a small fleet of Searcher Mk.2 drones of Is­raeli ori­gin, but re­quires un­manned sys­tems de­ploy­able at the pla­toon and com­pany level for tac­ti­cal unit-level op­er­a­tions. In 2009, the In­dian Army got a taste of such sys­tems at Babina dur­ing Ex­er­cise Yudh Ab­hyas with the US Army, when the Raven UAS was de­ployed. The In­dian Army has also got a chance to see in­dige­nous hand-launched plat­forms like the NAL SlyBird and ADE Im­pe­rial Ea­gle, both of which are still cur­rently in devel­op­ment. With the halt­ing of the Nis­hant drone pro­gramme, the Army is es­pe­cially keen to test fresh tac­ti­cal plat­forms of In­dian ori­gin and build.

SP

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