Saturday, March 24, 2012

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: India’s Military Inferiority Complex

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: India’s Military Inferiority Complex
*Indian officials are preoccupied by China’s growing military power. They would do better to fix their own incoherent defense establishment.

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - March 24, 2012: Modern India is economically and strategically buoyant, and has every reason to feel confident as the 21st century progresses. So it’s strange to think that this same confident place is developing an inferiority complex over China’s military power.
Never mind that New Delhi just announced a hefty 13 percent defense budget increase for 2012-13, or that the country is now the world’s biggest importer of military systems. Most Indian commentators seem to have digested these two pieces of news by focusing on the downside: that the country’s $39 billion defense budget remains quite modest compared with the $106 billion military budget at China’s disposal.
The critics should bear two things in mind before giving into defense budget envy. First, a 13 percent increase is actually very generous in the context of an Indian economy that’s only expected to grow by7.6 percent in the coming year. Larger increases aren’t only unaffordable but also strategically untenable, as they would alarm neighboring countries.
Second, the Indian military has long since accepted two facts of strategic life: that the Chinese military will always be bigger; and that it will always be richer.
That doesn’t mean the Chinese military will necessarily be better, and overcoming the comparative disadvantages of wealth and scale is what Indian military strategy, at least vis-à-vis China, is all about. The solution comes in two parts. First, the Indian military knows it has to focus on quality rather than quantity, investing in weapon systems that China, hindered by international arms embargoes, cannot match. It then also means capitalizing on regional unease about China’s rise and on forging smart alliances. China might be more powerful, but India knows it can be more popular.
The Indian media is therefore over hasty in viewing defense matters through the China inferiority lens. The Times of India, for example, headlined last week’s defense budget announcement by bemoaning the fact that the “Military plays catch-up but China [is] a long march ahead.
That’s a self-defeating way to look at things. The important questions Indians should be asking are whether their government is giving defense the resources it needs – and based on successive double-digit spending increases, you’d have to say that it is; and whether that money is being used wisely to bankroll a coherent military modernization strategy. It’s when you look more closely at this second point that you begin to appreciate that India – not China – is its own worst enemy.
Writing in the Business Standard, Ajai Shukla observed this week that the Indian Army is being starved of funds, while the Navy and Air Force soak up all the investment. Indeed, the numbers don’t look good from the Army’s perspective. The Air Force has a capital expenditure to operational cost ratio of two to one; the ratio for the Navy is about three to two. By contrast, the Army spends six times as much on day-to-day running costs as it does on new equipment.
However, such ratios are a fact of life when you have an army of over a million active personnel whose poor pay and conditions you are attempting to upraise over time. China, with its 2 million increasingly well-paid troops, has exactly the same headache of rising everyday bills eating away at budget increases. And there’s also no getting away from the fact that India, despite its expanding resources, can’t buy everything at once. With several costly Air Force and Navy programs currently underway, such as the procurement of the Dassault Rafale fighter and new naval frigates, the Army has been obliged to wait in line. Now, it can rightfully claim to have moved to the front of the queue.
Of greater concern is the tenacious ineptitude of India’s defense bureaucracy. In the last financial year, as in most others, the Defense Ministry failed to spend all of the cash at its disposal thanks purely to red tape. That’s the first thing that needs to be fixed.
The government then needs to redouble its efforts to introduce a functioning procurement system. More often than not, India’s attempts to buy equipment become tortuous and wasteful. In January, Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh, himself a recent victim of his country’s eccentric bureaucracy, suggested wearily that, “the procurement game is a version of snakes and ladders where there is no ladder but only snakes, and if the snakes bite you somewhere, the whole thing comes back to zero.” His exasperation centered on the army’s efforts, initiated 10 years ago, to buy new artillery; the process has just resulted in the blacklistingof six foreign defense contractors but, as yet, no new guns.
Another example is the acquisition of 75 much-needed Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainer aircraft, announced last year, which now faces delays – like so many procurements before it – over allegations of irregularities in the bidding process. Worryingly, though perhaps predictably, questions are now also being asked about the flagship Rafale procurement.
Third, the government should re-evaluate the role of the domestic defense industry, which currently does a lot of things badly. It should be made to start doing a few things well. India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) recently complained that it doesn’t have enough money – but that has never been its problem. The agency has a track record of initiating overambitious programs and then executing them poorly, as the travails of the Tejas light combat aircraft, to name but one example, continue to demonstrate. For the sake of both the taxpayer and the military, the Defense Ministry should focus the DRDO and the defense industry on developing a realistic core of indigenous capabilities, and then just import everything else.
So India is wrong to feel inferior just because China has more soldiers and more money. The problem is the incoherence of India’s defense establishment, from industry through to government – therein lies the inferiority. It’s a danger to Indian security that has nothing to do with China, and that’s within India’s own power to put right.

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*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Trefor Moss - The Diplomat
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - ISRAELI DEFENSE NEWS: The Israeli Red Flag

DTN News - ISRAELI DEFENSE NEWS: The Israeli Red Flag
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - March 24, 2012: For the third time in the last six months the Israeli Air Force has hosted foreign fighter pilots for tactical training. Israeli fighter pilots are considered the best trained in the world, and Israel maintains a special training program, complete with pilots trained and equipped to operate as likely foes would, to train their own pilots. The latest nation to send fighters and pilots for training is Poland, flying F-16s in for that purpose. Previously, Italy had sent Typhoons and Tornados and Greece F-16s.

The Israeli training center is based on the one pioneered by the U.S. Air Force Red Flag program and the U.S. Navy's Top Gun training. Using American aircraft for "aggressor (or dissimilar) training" began in the 1960s. The original "Top Gun" fighter pilot school was established in 1969, by the U.S. Navy, in response to the poor performance of its pilots against North Vietnamese pilots flying Russian fighters. What made the Top Gun operation different was that the training emphasized how the enemy aircraft and pilots operated. This was called "dissimilar training". In the past, American pilots practiced against American pilots, with everyone flying American aircraft and using American tactics. It worked in World War II because the enemy pilots were not getting a lot of practice and were using similar aircraft and tactics anyway. Most importantly, there was a lot of aerial combat going on, providing ample opportunity for on-the-job training. Not so in Vietnam, where the quite different Russian-trained North Vietnamese were giving U.S. aviators an awful time. The four week Top Gun program solved the problem. The air force followed shortly with its Red Flag school.

Over the last 40 years the two training programs have developed differently, and the entire concept of "dissimilar training" has changed. The navy kept Top Gun as a program to hone a fighter pilot's combat skills. The air force made their Red Flag program more elaborate, bringing in the many different types of aircraft involved in combat missions (especially electronic warfare). But after the Cold War ended it became increasingly obvious that none of America's potential enemies was providing their fighter pilots with much training at all.

In other words, the dissimilar training for U.S. fighter pilots was not as crucial as it had been during the Cold War. Actually, it had been noted that flying skills of Soviet pilots was declining in the 1980s, as economic problems in the USSR caused cuts in flying time. During that period American pilots were actually increasing their flying time. Moreover, U.S. flight simulators were getting better. American pilots were finding that even the game oriented combat flight simulators had some training value.

So in the late 1990s, Top Gun and Red Flag found their budgets cut. But the programs remain, as does the memory of why they were set up in the first place. If we find that, say, China is continuing to improve its combat aviation, and gives its fighter pilots more flying time and their politicians maintain a bellicose attitude towards the U.S., there will be a need to increase American Top Gun training. Because of the new Chinese "dissimilar training" effort, the U.S. Top Gun and Red Flag schools are being restored to their former prominence, and Israel has become one of the best Red Flag operations outside the United States. The Chinese move is certainly a very meaningful one, as it shows that they are serious about preparing their pilots to fight and defeat Taiwanese and American pilots. Dissimilar training is how that is done and for most nations Israel is the nearest place to get it.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Strategy Page
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - RUSSIA DEFENSE NEWS: Sukhoi Su-30SM ~ An Indian Gift To Russia’s Air Force

DTN News - RUSSIA DEFENSE NEWS: Sukhoi Su-30SM ~ An Indian Gift To Russia’s Air Force
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Ria Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - March 24, 2012: Russia’s Defense Ministry has ordered 30 heavy Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter planes. Given that the same model has been exported to India for more than 10 years, this choice seems both logical and pragmatic.

Thirty 30’s
The Defense Ministry and the Irkut Corporation, an affiliate of the United Aircraft Corporation, have signed a supply contract for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, a Defense Ministry spokesman told journalists Thursday, March 22. “Under the contract, Irkut Corporation will build for Russia’s Ministry of Defense 30 planes of this type by 2015,” he said.

Rumors that Irkut, a long-standing exporter, may supply several dozen fighter aircraft to the Russian Air Force began circulating late last year. Now the rumor has become a reality – a contract in black and white.
But why did the Defense Ministry choose the Su-30’s? After all, they have been mostly supplied to customers abroad rather than to the Russian Armed Forces, where just a few planes of this type are in use.
The Su-30, properly speaking, is an entire family of aircraft and the most famous Russian-made (not to be confused with Soviet-made) fighter plane outside of Russia. It was developed in the Soviet Union on the basis of the Su-27UB combat trainer aircraft as a command plane for Air Defense air regiments flying ordinary Su-27 interceptor aircraft.
In 1993, its export version, the Su-30K, was developed, sparking record demand and the sale of several hundred planes.
The family is further subdivided into two parts: the “Chinese” Su-30MKK/MK2, which were produced in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and exported to Venezuela, Indonesia, Uganda, Vietnam, and of course China; and the “Indian” Su-30MKI, manufactured in Irkutsk and purchased by India, Algeria and Malaysia. 
The model ordered by the Russian military is a “localized” version of the “Indian” Su-30MKI. Earlier, Komsomolsk-on-Amur delivered to the Air Force four “localized” Su-30MK2’s.
A flying multi-tasker
As a basic platform for the multirole heavy fighter aircraft, the Su-30MKI is remarkable primarily for its universality. It boasts a so-called “open architecture”, making it relatively easy to add new systems in the basic electronic equipment and to use advanced guided weapons (supplied by different manufacturers). 

The Su-30MKI sports a Russian radar and optic locator, French navigation and heads-up display systems, Israeli EW and weapon-guidance systems, and Indian computers.
The “Chinese” line is based on a different logic that prescribes parallel installation of new systems that fall short of full integration.
Most likely, the military is attracted by how easy it is to add different weapons and equipment to the Su-30MKI, transforming it into an attack fighter-bomber, a heavy interceptor aircraft, or something else.

Who placed the order?
It is hard to pinpoint who exactly ordered these 30 aircraft. The contract was signed by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Irkut President Alexei Fedorov. After the signing ceremony, Serdyukov commented that the planes would “increase the Air Force’s combat power.”
By contrast, Fedorov went on record as saying last summer that the Defense Ministry was going to order 40 aircraft. Later the press reported, citing the Irkutsk aircraft plant’s general director Alexander Veprev, that the deliveries were likely to be made in two installments: the first 28 aircraft were intended for the Air Force and another 12 as an option for naval aviation. Air Force C-in-C Alexander Zelin confirmed the figure of 28 in fall 2011.
As we can see, the first batch of Sukhoi-30’s has been purchased. The remaining 12, as some military sources intimated to the press, were intended for the Black Sea Fleet’s naval aviation.
Given that naval aviation has seen cuts in combat aircraft, it seems logical to reinforce it with heavy Su-30SM two-seaters that are efficient both in air-to-air combat and against ground and surface targets.
Thus far, however, there is no mention of plans to buy the Su-30 for the Navy. Possibly the option will be realized later.
Exporters’ courtesy
There is another simple explanation for choice of the Su-30MKI. Irkut has been churning out these planes for 10 years thanks to its completely streamlined production method. This means that its products are of high quality, relatively cheap (which pleases the Defense Ministry in particular) and will be supplied on time.
It is one thing if, in order to make 30 aircraft, you have to breathe life into an idling plant, to fine-tune (or develop anew) your technological method, buy additional equipment, and – still worse – hire personnel. But it’s quite another if you have been manufacturing standardized aircraft for years and years and can easily divert your workforce to produce an “improved” modification for your own country’s Air Force. The cost of this batch on the side is dramatically lower.
This approach (buying quickly and on the cheap what can be produced immediately) has been growing in popularity in the Russian military. We have mentioned the Su-30M2 combat trainer aircraft intended for the Russian Air Force. The same goes for the carrier-based MiG-29K, which in its present form was developed for the Indian Navy.
This approach is logical in its own way. The military expects certain fundamentally new models that are being tested with some degree of success. The Air Force is eying the T-50, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, and the Navy has been trying to get into shape its Lada project involving the construction of non-nuclear submarines. The Land Forces have boycotted the purchases of all currently existing armor models, urging manufacturers to invent something totally new.
In the meantime, the Armed Forces will buy cheap, mass-produced, well-equipped, if ordinary, military hardware, like the Su-30SM.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and may not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Ria Novosti
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News