New assault rifles to replace INSAS
The DAC headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved proposals valued at approximately Rs 15,935 crore for 740,000 assault rifles for the three services. These rifles will replace the present indigenous INSAS and also be produced in India by the Ordnance Factory Board as also the private industry at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore. The DAC has fast tracked procurement of the three main personal weapons, including rifles, carbines and light machine guns.
BSF to acquire UAVs
The Border Security Force (BSF) will acquire eight tethered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and a number of ground surveillance radars (GSRs) to enhance its capability “for maintaining constant vigil.” Tethered UAVs, unlike their conventional rotor wing multi-copter counterparts, are connected to a ground control station with a cable for continued power supply as well as exchange of command and data. Though their mobility and the area of surveillance is restricted, such machines have greater flight endurance and can stay aloft for many hours.
GE and Tata’s
ACentre of Excellence
t a ceremony on 12 February 2018, GE and the Tata group initiated establishment of a Structural Centre of Excellence (COE) focused on aero-engine components. The manufacturing facility will be located in Adibatla, Hyderabad and will incorporate “latest technologies from GE and best manufacturing practices to deliver complex high precision aero-engine components to the world’s fastest-selling jet engine, the CFM LEAP engine.” This is part of the strategic partnership signed in November 2017 between GE Aviation and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to join forces for manufacturing, assembling, integration and testing of aircraft components.
The agreement for manufacturing LEAP components and establishment of TASL as a COE provides the opportunity for TASL to expand into other GE product lines in both commercial and military engines in the future. GE currently provides power plants and marine gas turbines for the Tejas LCA Mk.1, Boeing P-8I and P-17 Shivalik- class frigates. In the near future, several other applications for GE engines in India include the LCA Mk.2, the P-17A and P-71 warships and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
QuEST Global in “unprecedented growth”
Global’s Vice President - Aero Defence Offsets, Ashok Baweja, formerly Chairman of HAL has stated that the Company “is uniquely positioned to capture a significant share of the international Aero Engine engineering services market this year with multiple contract wins in the pipeline from leading Aero Engine OEMs in North America, Europe and Asia. Leveraging their industry expertise and strong talent pool, which are among the most competent and the largest in the industry, QuEST has been partnering with most of the leading Aero Engine OEMs across the globe like General Electric, Rolls Royce, Safran Aircraft Engines, empowering them with pivotal support services ranging from design, development, and manufacturing engineering to aftermarket services of Aero Engines, thus contributing to their high standards of reliability and safety.” According to Baweja, “The Make in India initiative is currently prompting Aero Engine OEMs to increasingly partner with Aerospace service providers based in India, as it envisages the production of a certain percentage of the aircraft in the country. With the robust experience of having worked with global OEMs for the past two decades through our unique local global delivery model, these upcoming wins will be a significant opportunity for QuEST to showcase our expertise.”
Thales and IIT Madras sign MoU
Thales and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a jointly supervised PhD fellowship programme in coordination with CNRS, the ceremony held in the presence of Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Human Resource Development, and M Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Government of France, at The Knowledge Summit. “Thales and IIT Madras look forward to strengthening Indo-French scientific collaboration while contributing towards the development of highly specialised technical skills in India.”
“IN watch on the IOR”
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is becoming a new arena of rivalry between India and China even as there were reports of 11 Chinese warships entering the Indian Ocean “amid a constitutional crisis in the tiny tropical island chain of Maldives, now under a state of emergency”. Although Indian Navy sources stated that the Chinese convoy had thereafter turned back to the South China Sea, the IN has kept close watch on all the ‘choke’ and entry points of the IOR. An Indian Navy spokesperson said, “The Indian Navy has robust maritime domain awareness and has a clear picture of what happens in the IOR”.