Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Tejas MMR Disaster

It's with a sigh that we're all forced to accept that now, even the radar of the Light Combat Aircraft, will be a joint-venture product. So let's see now. The engine will be a foreign engine until the Kaveri lands on us (hopefully) in 2014 with Snecma's help, and the primary sensor of the Light Combat Aircraft will be co-developed by HAL's Hyderabad-based Avionics Division with Israel's ELTA. Note that the radar will be developed for both limited series and series production aircraft that should see squadron service by 2012.

ELTA's successful EL/M-2032 multimode pulse doppler airborne intercept and fire control radar will be the template for development over what HAL has already produced with a little help from DRDO's Electronics Research & Development Establishment (LRDE). The unmodified 2032 will in fact be integrated onto some of the limited series production fighters. In fact, some of the PVs may fly with 2032 radars as early as February 2008 for integration evaluations. The 2032, incidentally, is already being bought off the shelf by the Navy to replace the outdated Ferranti Blue Fox radar on its remaining fleet of Sea Harriers (this is a package deal coupled with Rafael Python BVR missiles signed in early 2005). For its part, the 2032 is a tried and tested sensor, having proven itself on the F-16, MiG-21 and F-4s. Incidentally, there was a recent report in the Israeli press that the Israeli air force is not too happy with the Northrop AN/APG-68(V)9 AESA radar and is pushing for a replacement that builds on the tried and tested 2032.

Even though frustrations over the delays in the MMR project (and therefore, delays in weaponisation of the LCA) were first expressed last year, it was decided only in May this year by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) that foreign help (read Israeli) would be sought (this piece in The Hindu says it all). Without the MMR, the Tejas has undergone hilarious weapons trials using a targeting pod, which anyone will tell you can't replace a primary airborne sensor for nuts. Therefore, critical weapons tests still languish. The problems that HAL has had with the MMR (photo on left) came to a head in 2002. But it took five years to decide that it couldn't surmount those problems. But here's the really rich part -- when HAL/DRDO bite the bullet and seek foreign help, they say it's in the interest of efficiency and timely delivery. I almost fell off my chair when I read the note that ADA had sent to the Defence Ministry last year admitting that foreign help would have to be looked at as an option in the interests of "prudent meeting of project deadlines".

To be sure, it would obviously have been infinitely more satisfying if HAL and LRDE had in fact been able to build a radar without any help from outside. Notwithstanding the cushioning that Defence Minister AK Antony gave HAL in Parliament by alluding to the painfully obvious ("The technology of airborne radars is very complex" -- duh! yes, that's why it's been entrusted to our scientific establishment!), this should come as a wake-up call to an establishment that counts radars and sensors as one of its core strengths.


Anonymous said...

>> Without the MMR, the Tejas has undergone hilarious weapons trials using a targeting pod, which anyone will tell you can't replace a primary airborne sensor for nuts.

Have weapons trials been conducted on Tejas at all ? I thought they were still exploring the envelope on a clean configuration.


Anonymous said...

>>Without the MMR, the Tejas has undergone hilarious weapons trials using a targeting pod, which anyone will tell you can't replace a primary airborne sensor for nuts.

If you dont know that a targeting pod and airborne sensor are different and used for different purposes, frankly you are not worth calling yourselves a defence journalist. both require independent testing


Anonymous said...

you remain a complete idiot aroor. the indian establishment justifiably considers a particular class of radars as a core strength since it has extensive experience in ground based air defence radars, in which it is going from strength to strength. in contrast, there have been only 3-4 funded programs for airborne radars in Indian history, out of which 3 are recent. it should also be obvious to anyone that this project is a far order of magnitude higher and more difficult, building a fire control aircraft radar has only been achieved by a few countries so far. but you call prudent JV approach a disaster. did it strike your fertile imagination that its a JV now, and not earlier since india has something to contribute from its end? and is only seeking expertise for signal processing in the air to ground mode, for which elta will provide signal processing modules. understand this, every radar is unique- elta only knows how to fix its own radar and there is no decade plus here for them to see our design in detail and figure out an alternate way, hence a jv is the best way where we adopt a ready solution from theres to our radar while retaining the basic design and configuration which is already working in the air to air modes. if you havent worked on something similar go and ask people. in the air to ground mode, a fighter radar has to paint the target against ground clutter while the aircraft is itself moving at supersonic speeds. algorithms and software for this are closely guarded and take decades to develop. in the us, the first multimode radar was developed in the 1960s and from then on, companies have invested billions in the effort to make modern fighter radar systems. in contrast, a ground based air surveillance radar doesnt have to deal with clutter or decipher signal from noise

you journalists are such an illiterate and shallow xenophobic breed that you cant even understand basic technology and regard any joint development as a disaster. cretins.

first get some education. the taiwanese ching kuo fighter uses an american modified APG-67 radar given the designation of GD-53. the south korean k-50 is using Selex of Europes vixen radar. the gripens ericcson ps-05 was codeveloped with GEC Ferranti of the united kingdom who developed the excellent blue vixen radar for the royal navy's sea harriers. the eurofighters captor-m radar is a joint venture between 4 COUNTRIES- Germanys EADS, Uks Gec Ferranti, Spains Indra, and Italys Galileo avionica- all 4 are now in a consortium called Selex systems.

in contrast, india is attempting to develop its own airborne radar for lca from scratch and has a preproduction version ready and already working in the air to air modes. if this is not a critical achievement one wonders what is.

Anonymous said...

and before this idiot aroor thinks he hit the scoop of the century by saying "elta elta"..let me point this out from 2002

at the time itself HAL was in talks with elta to codevelop the MMR but the IAF-ADA-HAL review decided to hold off on account of budgetary concerns plus give it one last shot in india

it was an open secret in the iaf at the time, that the elta 2032 could be selected alternatively

but our herrow journalist discovered this late last year and it became a scoop, about the MMR and what a disaster

if aroor was in the cia he'd be writing reports about the WMDs discovered in iraq

Shiv Aroor said...

anon@6.32AM and others: i said it was plainly unfortunate that after this long (as with almost everything else) we need a bail out. obviously it's the best thing that they can do now, or are forced to. and ravi, do have a look at interviews by HAL/ADA people on the targeting pod trials (do you read?), and you might learn a thing or two that us poor defence journos know nothing about! and the 2002 talks with ELTA were from ELTA's side, their offer, not HAL's you hick, so chill.

Shiv Aroor said...

and last anon: why was this a scoop? from which angle? lose the H-O, bro.

Anonymous said...

aroor u pathetic liar, the 2002 offer was not from elta it was from india which asked elta on account of the mmr delay to come up with a proposal

in 2002, there was an iaf-ada joint review which evaluated hal progress, and wtf do you know about a bail out or not, u want the lca to be developed in the time it took comparable 4th gen fighters to be developed without counting for the 3rdgen experience

but show ur xenophobia when india approaches any country which can speed up the process

the computer ur using to enter ur comments on this blog is not indian u fool
does using it make this blog a disaster
actually ur lack of any sort of basic understandig makes u a disaster but to get back to the point

and about the scoop , i was referring to your congratulatory self pat on the back for reporting something which was known way back in ur usual sensationalist and i know so much more than these fools attitude

if u had any understanding of the subject or knowledge of comparable aircraft programs u would realise how hard it is for any nation to develop a first class mmr

israel took the USs help to develop the elta 203x series for the lavi coming up with the 2035 and which finally culminated in the 2032. thats 2 decades u jackass, and it was only in the last five years when it started getting export orders- turkey and india

india has spent far less money and only taken consultancy advise from ericsson before starting the project

ericcson itself went to gec ferranti for help with ps-05
for its current nora aesa radar they are working with raytheon

so ditch the stupid xenophobic attitude and understand how the world works u twit

if u report or write, ditch ur subjective blinkers and stick to the facts instead of passing judgment

Anonymous said...

Engineering projects are incredibly complex, Mr. Aroor, and when you're doing something for the first time, it's very, very hard to "look three steps ahead" and anticipate problems. That skill only comes with experience and the maturation of any design team.

There's no point being bitchy about the DRDO's failures. It's convenient to blame them, but the "greatness" of our nation will solely lie in our ability to recover from "failures" like these. You may lose some battles along the way, but if you quit or become demoralised you can never win the war.

Didn't the ISRO, after so many years of stumbling, finally get it right and now it looks like such a superlative organisation? At this time, the DRDO needs our understanding and encouragement, frustrating as that may be.

I for one think that the progress on the LCA have been amazing. So too the Arjun, the Agni III. Amazing what we can do with perseverence and team spirit!

Abhiman said...

Mr. Aroor, following is the statement by Mr. Subramanyam, ADA director on the MMR for Tejas :-

"“It should not be presumed that the radar is not indigenous just because we are seeking Israeli co-operation. We are only incorporating small systems. The overall design is ours."

The report also said :-

Subramanyam said while major work on the radar was over, the rate of progress was not satisfying. “So we decided to speed up the process. We asked Elta to make electronic boxes for the radar. The boxes are almost done and would be supplied to us by the year-end, soon after which will begin integration on to the aircraft."

Thus, Elta is supplying only electronic boxes which as per Mr. Subramanyam are non-critical components.

Thank you.

Reference :-

In the following link, refer to post of the member named rakall. The report is from the PRINT edition of ToI Bangalore (he must have typed the entire report in his post on the forum)


Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that Defence fanboys behave more like jingostic dumb asses, with fertile imagination sitting in their Call center desktops.
They are far from reality that DRDO is nothing but a BIG SWAMP. The least we could expect from LCA project is radar, in which India has experiance unlike other subsystems like design of LCA and Kaveri. Here also we have to run for Israel a small country of 8 million for help.

Anonymous said...

illiterate turds like you are a problem

nobody sits "in" a call center desktop they sit in front of it
so from ur language its clear ur a call center boy

chalo hum sab ke liye chai la..it cud be worse

u cud be a third rate creature something like a madrassa mujahid or a sulabh keyopener or lawyer

and no india does not have experiance (sic.) in fighter radars, idiot

it never developed a single fighter radar before the mmr project

israel developed its first fighter radar around 1983 with US help

its 2007 now

since madrassa retards like u dont know math, thats 20 years for them to develop further

now go back to whichever camel u were infesting and begone

Anonymous said...

for anon@ 12:49 pm so he can learn something new even if he is an turd

this radar is what US helped with northrop in particular

from 1986

Elta EL/M-2035 Multi-Mode Pulse Doppler Radar
The Elta EL/M-2035 multi-mode pulse-Doppler radar was a development of the Elta EL/M-2021B multi-mode Doppler radar of the IAI Kfir-C2. The radar was very advanced and had a coherent transmitter and a stable multi-channel receiver for reliable look-down performance over a broad band of frequencies and for high resolution mapping. An Elta programmable signal processor, backed by a distributed, embedded computer network, would provide optimum allocation of computing power and great flexibility for growth and the updating of algorithms and systems growth.
The radar could provide speed and position of targets in the air and on the ground, and could provide the pilot with a map of the terrain the Lavi was overflying. It could track several targets at 46 km distance in at least five air-to-air modes (automatic target acquisition, boresight, look down, look up and track while scan (TWS)). The radar had at least two air-to-ground modes (beam-sharpened ground mapping/terrain avoidance ans sea search). After the cancellation of the Lavi program the radar was offered for multi-role fighter retrofits, including the Denel Cheetah E.

read this

During the course of the Lavi's development, Israel was able to take advantage of US R&D on a variety of systems such as derivative engines, composite-materials technology, avionics, and ECM for the F-15, F-16, and F-18.35

According to a 1983 General Accounting Office (GAO) study,

Israel will be significantly dependent on US technology and financing for major portions of the aircraft. Israel will also require US approval for the planned third country sales because of the US engine and the significant amount of US origin high technology used in the Lavi's airframe construction, avionics and planned weapons system.13

Examples of this technology include Pratt and Whitney PW1120 engines; graphite epoxy composite materials; electronic countermeasures (ECM) parts; radar-warning receivers and their logarithms; wide-angle, heads-up display; programmable signal-processor emulator; flight-control computer; single-crystal turbine technology; and computer and airframe system.14

Anonymous said...

Shiv Aroor's knowledge in this field can be gauged from the fact that he calls the APG-68(V)9 as an AESA radar..he really knows jackshit about things, and claims he's a defence journo..what a joker !

Anonymous said...

@ anon well its easy to blabber about HAL/DRDO and the so called failure(i would fuck anyone who calls it so) of the MMR,firstly what do u guys know about a RADAR u think its what u read on the internet well as some one pointed above most of u are call center/software idiots with no proper knowledge on any specific area of engineering i agree i am not qualified to post on any other aspect of defence as my knowledge on those areas is limited but RADAR is my life and i've been working on the MMR for 2 years now(needless to say i am from HAL,hyderabad) and if any one of you were a true engineer you would actually think what goes into making a fighter radar to give u an example the PAU(power amplifier unit which my dept makes) testing is one heck of a job and then testing the PAU designing the miniature power supplies(CMM PWM supplies smaller then ur iphones)and then integrating them with the transmitter etc it is just about one part of the whole radar system well i could go on but i would be sacked and imprisoned but it was just to vent my fury on these good for nothing,irritating,ignorant,arrogant self proclaimed defence journos