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Saurav Jha
Friday , October 24, 2014

The Indian Navy's quest for amphibious assault ships


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The Indian Navy's (IN) role in relief and rescue operations during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami won it plaudits from the international community while underlining its strategic potency to Indian policy planners. For the IN however, that event brought to the fore the crucial need to augment amphibious capabilities above and beyond what is provided by its existing fleet of medium sized landing ship tanks (LSTs). The first step was of course to induct the former USS Trenton, an Austin-Class Landing Platform Dock (LPD) as the INS Jalashwa. This ship has not only given the IN exposure to operating a vessel of this size and capability but has also helped it get a fair idea of what it wants for the future. And now the IN has begun the procedure for bringing in four new large amphibious warfare ships which will be built in India under international collaboration. Interestingly....


Thursday , October 09, 2014

Can Videshi be used to benefit Swadeshi? Examining FDI in defence


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As military modernization gathers pace under the new Modi-led dispensation in Delhi, liberalized foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for the defence sector in its first budget seem to have taken cognizance of the the broad consensus among various domestic stakeholders that the previous 26 per cent cap on FDI in defence may have been too restrictive. Though no military industrial complex (MIC) in the 20th century was really built through foreign investment, India could nevertheless in this era of globalization leverage 'FDI in defence' as a force multiplier with adequate safeguards. However to make the most of 'FDI in defence' it is important to leave aside the rhetoric and closely examine what it can and cannot do. Moreover domestic aims vis a vis FDI will also have to be clear in terms of its role in boosting the defence industrial base(DIB) as well as generating employment. One overall political direction....


Sunday , September 21, 2014

GSAT-7 bolsters Indian Navy's Network Centric Warfare (NCW) capability


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Effective maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is a strategic imperative for the Indian Navy (IN). Achieving this goal dovetails with IN's continuing evolution as a network-centric force with consistent investment being made in various command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance (C4ISTAR) programs. IN's emerging network centric warfare (NCW) ethos ultimately paves the way towards true MDA by providing a core around which broader inter-agency networks can be built. The need to manage dispersed forces operating across wide expanses of ocean while keeping them informed is driving IN more than ever before to pursue space based initiatives as reflected by the operationalization of the GSAT-7 satellite whose efficacy was validated in the TROPEX series of exercises conducted earlier this year. IN's desire to operate a large fleet of nuclear submarines in the years ahead will only heighten its need to exploit space....


Thursday , September 18, 2014

Trends in India's military simulation market


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The use of simulators as a training and operational readiness tool in the Indian military has risen considerably since the 2000s. Today, simulator use in the Indian armed forces has expanded far beyond traditional aggregate/constructive simulation for war-gaming purposes to virtual solutions tailored to providing individual and collective driving, flight, gunnery and sensor training. With hydrocarbon based fuels becoming more expensive, the cost calculus in favour of simulator training for platforms has become more attractive. And given the lack of firing and instrumentation ranges in the country, simulator-based training is obviously one part of the answer to maintaining unit-readiness levels. However, while cost and range availability will remain key drivers for simulator use growth, technological advances that allow the replication of a wide range of combat scenarios, some of which cannot actually be done in live-training are highlighting the role that simulators increasingly play even in refining concept of....


Friday , September 12, 2014

Seeking the future: An interview with Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Director Research Centre Imarat


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The brainchild of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Research Centre Imarat is India's premier missile sub-systems laboratory. With a vast forested campus RCI is the jewel in DRDO's missile crown and is today an institution doing cutting edge research and development in missile guidance systems, control and actuation, onboard computing and even batteries. Moreover under the leadership of its current director Dr G Satheesh Reddy, RCI is graduating to full systems development for precision guided munitions (PGMs). Dr Reddy, a DRDO 'outstanding scientist', has numerous awards to his credit and is a leadinglight in the field of military navigation and sensing technology today. Geek at Large caught up with him in his RCI office... SauravJha: Dr Reddy, do you feel that India's delivery capability is potent enough over ranges of 5000 kms or more, given that we presently lack a global navigation satellite system of our own and must....


Saturday , September 06, 2014

Guest Post #9: The Alchemy of ISIS by Ravikant Mishra


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The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a matter of great concern for India and the world. The ISIS represents not merely another group of rebels and terrorists out to overthrow a regime in the turbulent Middle East, but a particularly egregious form of fundamentalism bent upon destroying all peace and stability in the region in the name of restoring the glory of Islam. It is the culmination both of processes which have been at work in the region for no less than a century, and of the more recent political and strategic failures on the part of the local regimes as well as the West. For close to four centuries, both Iraq and Syria, and most other parts of the Middle East, were part of the Ottoman Empire. The breakup of the empire in the wake of the Ottoman defeat in the First....


Saturday , August 30, 2014

Some notes on DRDO's PDV ballistic missile defence interceptor


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In late April, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) unveiled the PDV, which has been designed to serve as an exo-atmospheric interceptor for India's emerging two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system consisting of both endo and exo atmospheric interception capability. The PDV's first test was essentially used to validate the capabilities of its on-board imaging infrared (IIR) seeker as well as the capabilities of a new target missile used for this test. As such neither an actual hit to kill (HTK) nor an explosive intercept was orchestrated by DRDO technologists in this test since the idea it seems was to glean as much data as they could from both the IIR seeker as well as the target missile. Nevertheless, this maiden outing for the PDV seems to have validated its integration with the detection, tracking and automated launch control systems associated with the two-tier BMD scheme. Future....


Thursday , August 28, 2014

Interview with the Chief of DRDO, Avinash Chander -Part II


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Saurav Jha: Talking about the future, one area that is always supposed to be 'five years away' is that of directed energy weapons (DEW). India too has programs in this sphere with weaponization being pursued in labs such as CHESS. So what is the status of India's DEW pursuits? Avinash Chander: We have been for too long on the fringe of this area. Our initial aim was to create a centre which will look at how to convert technologies into weapon systems. That centre has just come up. But definitely within the next decade we are looking for sufficient deployable capability. We must have a deployable weapon system within one decade. Saurav Jha: Which of the two technologies is likely to be weaponized earlier, high power microwave or solid state laser? Avinash Chander: lasers will have better opportunities to start with. Because for harnessing microwave power in....


Saturday , August 23, 2014

Interview with Dr Avinash Chander, DRDO Chief and Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister


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The new Narendra Modi government gave the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), a major vote of confidence in its first budget by substantially hiking both the revenue and capital resources available to India's premier weapons development agency. However it is understood that this hike is also intended to help DRDO complete existing projects and pave the way for future programs many of which will be pursued in mission mode. The idea is to create a substantial military industrial complex in India which not only caters to domestic requirements but also dovetails with India's wider geo-economic strategy with respect to manufacturing exports and job creation. DRDO today is being asked to not merely catch up with the west in the realm of military technology but actually create 'technological surprise' for the rest of the world. DRDO itself realizes that for India to achieve this objective, the path taken....


Friday , August 22, 2014

Indian Army C4ISR trends


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The Indian Army (IA) believes that state of the art intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems can serve to give it an advantage over even collaborating adversaries on either flank. As such investment by IA into contemporary ISR systems has been steadily rising with a view to making the kill chain shorter, garnering tactical intelligence and even achieving non-kinetic neutralization capability. The electronic order of battle (EOB) however requires continuous upgradation as well as the development of a doctrine dovetailed to the absorption of new technology. Since ISR systems are a closely guarded arena and may involve non-negotiable operational security (OPSEC) considerations indigenous development is an imperative. Fortunately, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been working closely with Indian industry to deliver on this front. However in a world where one sometimes has to run fast enough just to stay where they....


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More about Saurav Jha

Saurav Jha studied economics (and debated politics) at Presidency College, Calcutta, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He writes and researches on global energy and security issues and is a regular contributor to publications such as World Politics Review, The Diplomat and Le Monde Diplomatique, and has written for Deccan Herald, The Telegraph and Hindustan Times. He is the Consulting Editor of Geopolitics magazine. His first book, The Upside Down Book of Nuclear Power, was published in March 2010 to excellent reviews. He is presently working on The Heat and Dust Project, a quirky travelogue, based on an intense budget journey through India, co-authored with his wife Devapriya.

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