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Saurav Jha
Sunday , November 16, 2014

Indian Army Air Defence futures


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The Indian Army's (IA) Air Defence (AD) corps has long been considered the most neglected of its specific arms. However with the induction of the Akash medium range surface to air missile (MRSAM) system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) the long awaited modernization of this arm has now kicked off. Alongside the Akash, Army AD is also inducting a new generation Russian very short range SAM (SR-SAM). These two inductions have meant that the IA now can wait for an indigenous offering in the quick reaction SAM (QRSAM) segment which has begun development in DRDL rather than procure that from overseas. The AD corps is however having to make do with interim upgrades of its obsolescent AD guns via domestic industry and is exploring the possibility of crafting a domestic replacement. Meanwhile domestic programs have also yielded sensor spinoffs that have found favour with the AD....


Thursday , November 13, 2014

Coolest Geeks in India post #1: An Interview with 'The Third Curve' author Mansoor Khan


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The growth that the world has seen since the beginning of the industrial age has been hydrocarbon based. Today some thinkers are increasingly worried that we are on the descent phase of the bell curve for such resources thereby representing the denouement of growth as Economics has come to understand it. In this interview we speak to Mansoor Khan who is deep into this area of enquiry and released a book last year called 'The Third Curve' which lays out this thought process for the reading public. Mansoor Khan is of course famous as a film maker having made such cult classics as 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak' and 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar'. But first and foremost he is a geek who attended IIT, Cornell and MIT in succession in his youth and has been running a self-supporting organic farm called Wild Acres in Conoor, Tamil Nadu since 2003.....


Saturday , November 01, 2014

Guest Post #10: Developing a Maritime Security Coalition Architecture for the Indo-Pacific by Col Grant Newsham


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Today's guest post is written by Colonel Grant Newsham, who retired from the US Marine Corps and is based in part on a presentation he delivered at the United Service Institute, New Delhi in November 2013. The piece looks at how India, Japan and United States can form the kernel of a new maritime security framework that is committed to keeping the Indo-Pacific commons open to all. A Maritime Security Coalition Architecture (MSCA) for the Indo-Pacific region was wishful thinking five years ago. However, conditions have changed so that a three-pillared MSCA with the United States, Japan, and India operating in conjunction, though not under a formal agreement, is feasible. These nations have the size, scalable resources and bases, geographical position, and shared interests to underpin an MSCA covering the entire region. The objective is simple - and should remain so: To maintain the status quo of secure....


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....


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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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