Tuesday, August 04, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: BrahMos Wants To Shake Russia Off

The CEO of Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile firm BrahMos Aerospace has recommended to the government that he be appointed the head of a new cell under the Secretary-Defence Production, that will focus, among other things, on making the BrahMos a fully Indian missile. LiveFist has learnt that Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, the highly respected CEO of BrahMos has officially proposed to the government that he be appointed the head of a "ManTech (Manufacturing Technology) Cell", and report exclusively to the Secretary-Defence Production. Sources indicate that the proposal is a much-needed first step towards Pillai's real dream of making the BrahMos fully indigenous. India only makes the inertial navigation guidance system and fire control system of the BrahMos, while Russia continues to contribute the all-important engine, booster and seeker.

In February last year, Pillai had told me, "As long as we do not control the critical technologies, i.e. engine and seeker, Russia will call all the shots in BrahMos, including cost which is critical to export competence." It was a moment of uncanny candour for a man who has hailed the Indo-Russian model as the last word in efficiency and prudence. But Pillai's vision of a full-Indian BrahMos is not some nebulous, idealistic vision he's forcing down the government's throat. The fact is, the way things stand with Russia, Pillai seriously believes the BrahMos cannot be brought up to its full potential. For the BrahMos to be a real success, in every possible way, Pillai believes it has no choice but to be a fully Indian missile, and slowly chip away at Russia's involvement and contribution.

In the proposal sent to the Defence Ministry, Pillai writes, "India has produced the world class supersonic cruise missile by entering into a Joint Venture with Russia. The real technologies that are available to India for production of missiles are not available anywhere in the world. It is time that we indigenised these technologies and be capable of bulk production. Formulation of policy statement on ManTech along with creation of Project Management as part of BrahMos Joint Venture under Secretary of Defence Production will enable India to be self-reliant in the field of supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles of various ranges. This will also ensure availability of assured production agency with alternatives in every field."

He goes on to add, "To fulfill the demand of own defence forces as also to ensure complete indigenization, there is a requirement of manufacturing technologies that need to be bulk produced and will provide required funding to capable and willing Indian industries for establishment of infrastructure."

Pillai says that as the ManTech chief, he will prepare an annual five-year plan for indigenization resulting in bulk production, and ensure coordination between the ManTech programme and industrial preparedness and similar manufacturing programmes of the Department of Defence, other departments and agencies and the private sector.

For starters, Pillai proposes to have his company prepare a technical report describing precisely what can be indigenized and in how much time.

PS. Dr Pillai is also, of course, in the running to be the next Chief of the DRDO. Let's see how it turns out.

Photo by Shiv Aroor

43 comments :

Anonymous said...

this is what i am talking about. please write more like this shiv.

Anonymous said...

Defence minister should choose the next SA carefully. Though Pillai sahab has done great service to the nation with the brahmos, we should not get carried away with this so called indigenisation of engine,RF seeker etc... GTRE is trying to make an engine for LCA since ages! Till today there is no sign of it! different statements keep appearing everyday in the media about kaveri! Haan! na! Haan! na! Can we indi them (brahmos vitals) in time so that it will be available to the armed forces in time?May be pillai sahab deserves to be the SA, provided he understands the urgent needs of the armed forces,provided
he can eliminate the confusion and pandemonium in the selection of helo,an artillery gun or a tank or a coffin and lastly corruption in defence deals!

Anonymous said...

If we had the ability to make a this missile ourselves, we wouldn't have paid Russia for their design and import most of the missile components from them. Mr. Pillai has been at his post for too long, there is stagnation in the brahmos project.

I can see Brahmos ending up as another aborted failure.

Anonymous said...

As long as we do not control the critical technologies, i.e. engine and seeker, Russia will call all the shots in BrahMos

GTRE is already struggling even with a very basic design like Kaveri, now DRDO is somehow expected to make a turbojet for a supersonic cruise missile?

I mean, it is nice to dream and all but a person in his position should be rooted in reality and not mentally unhinged. After reading that sentence I was half expecting Pillai Ji to declare that he would also like to marry Priyanka Chopra. I mean, as long as we are living in fantasy land anything is possible.

P Mukherjee said...

I think it is time to say thank you and good bye to Mr Reddy.

Anonymous said...

can someone tell me that how many brahmos have been built?

also without russian assistance brahmos can't go hypersonic and this is truth.

Anonymous said...

Pillai is a pioneer and leader. When you find someone like this you have to put more critical work in his hands and trust that he will get the job done. I wish Mr. Pillai the best! May he get more work done for us!

Anonymous said...

What we need is an indigenous long range cruise missile project! Ballistic missiles aren't going to be good enough, even with MIRV. Give it to PiIlai!

Anonymous said...

What we need is an indigenous long range cruise missile project! Ballistic missiles aren't going to be good enough, even with MIRV. Give it to PiIlai!

Anonymous said...

What we need is an indigenous long range cruise missile project! Ballistic missiles aren't going to be good enough, even with MIRV. Give it to PiIlai!

AK said...

When it comes to throwing words nothing can match Indians. We have one of the oldest nuclear programs in Asia yet we still do not have any fully proven thermonuclear weapon capability. We have one of the oldest missiles programs also, yet we do not have any credible missile based deterrence that can reach Beijing or most of China. Our Submarine fleet is in a mess. We do not have artillery guns, tanks or even good bullet proofs jackets for our soldiers. What we have is loud mouths like Mr. Pillai who take the nation for a ride and leave it lurching defenceless.

Anonymous said...

"GTRE is already struggling even with a very basic design like Kaveri, now DRDO is somehow expected to make a turbojet for a supersonic cruise missile?"

Who said Brahmos has a turbojet, AFAIK it has liquid ramjet engine. Doesn't Akashalready fly with a solid ramjet engine. I feel this is doable if the different DRDO labs like DRDL (for engine), RCI (for seeker) etc synergise their strengths together. A supersonic liquid ramjet cannot be harder than a hypersonic highly accurate kill vehicle ABM PAD that is already operational. What is needed is the national will to do it. This Russian dependence need to be gotten rid off if we sincerely have an ambition to be an independent superpower.

Anonymous said...

And yes it is time shut down GTRE and give VRS to those leeches. Reward the performers and punish the laggards.

Rudra said...

Shiv,
What happened to our indegenous seeker development?
We are already matured our scramjet engine technology. our only road block is seeker technology. I heard DRDO is working in this technology but not enough progress is attained. Any updates on this?

Anonymous said...

A case of clever and a half Mallu??

Anonymous said...

Without Russian involvement, I cannot envision BrahMos retaining even its present cabilities, let alone achieve hypersonic performances. I wonder whether extraneous influences have any part to play here?

Anonymous said...

How do you chip away at Russia's involvement and contribution when it is core to this project. How are we going to develop tech that only Russians in the whole wide world have been able to master. Dr. Pillai is going to create another Kaveri fiasco.

Himanshu Chauhan said...

Someone mentioned that Kaveri is a very basic design. :).. can the gentleman please elaborate from what angle Kaveri is a very basic design.

AK said "We have one of the oldest missiles programs also, yet we do not have any credible missile based deterrence that can reach Beijing or most of China. Our Submarine fleet is in a mess. We do not have artillery guns, tanks or even good bullet proofs jackets for our soldiers. What we have is loud mouths like Mr. Pillai who take the nation for a ride and leave it lurching defense less."

It all depends on setting the right priorities at the right time. You jump to manufacture a missile when your country does not have even basic testing facilities, any industrial setup etc .. you are bound to face BIG hurdles to bring these up. AND btw entire protection gear for the infantry soldier is available from TATA Advanced Matetrials, from BPJ to PASGT Helmets etc.. it's the directorate of procurement who's responsible for that and not DRDO or Pillai.. so stop shouting and start relevant reading..

Anonymous said...

the amount of angst in our pakistani "friends" who promptly rush to an indian blog to run down a far sighted proposal by pillai, shows the reality.

sorry dear chaps - as the arihant shows, where theres a will, theres a way. keep posting negative anon comments, but it wont change the reality, that india possesses visionary leaders like pillai, who have taken the game away from you and are now driving it further ahead!!!

NJS said...

A real patriot move , if this things happen , Dr.Pillai will succeed what ever he says . for a long time i am expecting this type of thinking .because transfer of tech from other countries is allowed only for below 300kms. by this our cruise( supersonic & hypersonic) missiles will get longer range & possible for Nuclear tipped capable also. Govt need to take correct decision in fastrack . If we start developing cruise hypersonic in longer range , nothing can stop it .

Anonymous said...

can the gentleman please elaborate from what angle Kaveri is a very basic design.


It is a turbojet when everyone else has learnt to love low bypass turbofans in their fighters. A 0.5 to 0.7 BPR turbofan can still travel at Mach 1.7, and that is acceptable given the fuel economy benefits of a turbofan. GTRE cannot do build a turbofan, the metallurgy is so poor the extra load of a rotating N1 fan makes the core self destruct. The geniuses at HAL didn't design the aircraft keeping in mind a bigger engine inlet either.

The pressure ratio of Kaveri is pathetic. There are toy kit jet engines used in RC planes that match the pressure ratio of Kaveri. Compare the pressure ratio to GE modern GE and RR engines.

The blades are of rather crude design, copied from a textbook written in 1992.

The blades are not hollow, there are no cooling channels. In fact, the thermal management on the whole is poor.

I could go on. Kaveri is a failure because it is designed to be a failure. We do not have the brains to design a modern turbojet, let alone build one. It would be better if resources are diverted to designing and building machines which are used to build the basic parts of a jet engine. Walk before you run and all that.

Anonymous said...

the amount of angst in our pakistani "friends"

People who criticize are not Pakis, they are in fact more patriotic than you since when they point out any weaknesses they want them to be rectified and in the process country to become stronger. The harshest critics are those who love the most.

Don't be a scoundrel, fake "patriots" like you are the very real and a much bigger danger to my beloved country and its people than any foreign enemies.

Anonymous said...

I think such things should be demonstrated to relevant authorities in secrecy before you try to replace them.
If Mr Pillai is such a leader put him in charge of the GTRE effort to get Kaveri up to speed and then enough funding for Brahmos Mark 2

Mihir said...

This idea sounds a little far-fetched, but then again, Dr. Pillai isn't your average scientist. He has worked wonders with the BraHmos and his team has come up with astounding successes. Coming from a person like him, I think this idea is well worth the risk.

Kartik said...

This is exactly the kind of forward thinking and planning that is desperately needed in India- the ability to convert projects that start and end as JVs into indigenous products that start an entire new line of Indian designed and developed products. Currently, the Brahmos, while extremely successful, has been caged by the Russians and their own commitment to this missile and its derivatives is dodgy at best. There is a lot of revenue that can be made by sales to foreign nations that are not close to China or Pakistan.

as for those numb-skulls who're saying that the Kaveri is a basic design, easy access to the internet means that even 5th std pass idiots can pass comments on blogs like these. if it were such a "basic design", half the nations in the world would have their own turbofan engines. it turns out that even China has only just made its own reverse-engineered Al-31 derivative.

India won't get first world technology with third world infrastructure and investments in R&D..after all, technology doesn't come up based on miracles and only geniuses, but hard work, money and perseverance.

Kartik said...

to the idiotic Anonymous Paki poster at 8:19 PM..the Kaveri is a "turbofan"..by stating that its a "turbojet", you automatically made it clear that you haven't even the slightest clue as to what the engine is. the rest of your comments are hence, worthless BS.

and go educate yourselves on the innumerable websites that'll explain to dimwits like you what the difference between turbojets and turbofans is, before commenting on the Kaveri's flaws.

Rudra said...

First we have to mature in both scramjet engine tech and seeker tech and only then we have to talk about making brahmos totally Indian missile. The above two areas where we are lacking behind nearly 20 years than other countries. In this situation, these kind of proposals and journals will effect our relationship with Russia. First DRDO should get mature in both the technologies.


And, Pillai gave a timeline of just 5 years to start from scratch to finish. Doesn't he know our DRDO is well known for not delivering anything within timelines.

I think he want to become the head for manTech and so he used the brahmos as a reason.

Anonymous said...

anon@10:44, your comment shows what you really are. you are not a critic but an ignorant loudmouth, who is insecure about his real country and hence attacks india.

what amuses us indians is why you cant be upfront from where you are - but then again, as arihant, PAD/AAD and many other projects show, all you can do is gawk from the sidelines and rush to indian blogs to badmouth india and indians, in an effort to salvage your disappearing pride.

while your xerox khan was stealing stuff from europe, pillai was actually making things ab initio. there lies the difference.

Anonymous said...

india has DRDO, BEL, BDL, Brahmos, ECIL and many other companies that do cutting edge work - our angst ridden "friends" from across the border can only dream of having such institutions and the work that goes on there. theres not a single series of high tech avionics items made by PAC Kamra of its own design. not a single radar made in their entire establishment. not a single aircraft or helicopter of their own design. the difference lies in the caliber of people in india, the pillais and kalams and saraswats are simply not there for these guys, nor is the infrastructure or the money.

Anonymous said...

India is behind the other major powers. Its a fact, not some delusional fiction aimmed to annoy people. The gap is not shrinking because, to much investment in foreign equipment. DRDO etc tends to lose out to foreign firms. Whats the incentive to make better products. Money does not grow on trees, if Indian defence companies suspect they will not be able to beat foreign competation, then why would they spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

The private sector is less likely to get involved because they need to make a return on every product, unless govt subsides them, but that is not gonna happen. Look at the other major military powers, they were forced to make own weapons, because no one offered them technology. They copied and stole to get there.

Anonymous said...

theres not a single series of high tech avionics items made by PAC Kamra of its own design. not a single radar made in their entire establishment.

They don't need it. They don't even need a funtional economy. USA will keep Pakistan afloat to use them against us, like they have done for 60+ years. And Indians will keep licking US feet for another 600 years, whining about Pakistan this Pakistan that when the real problem is US.

Anonymous said...

well said..its indeed obvious that the industrial-technological and scientific base in India is decades ahead of that pathetic terrorist breeding ground that is known as Pakistan..what a slide it has been for them since the 1960s !

and that country has managed to delude itself into thinking that it can somehow manage to maintain parity with India, on the defence front. and thats good- it means that while India can develop its defence sector, generate more employment and industrial and technological growth through major programs such as Brahmos, ATV, LCA, etc. the beggars across the border either beg more vigorously from their masters- the US and China, or haemorrhage heavily by spending their last pennies on defence. and while Indian procurement and defence R&D will always be slowed down by those perennial issues of corruption and lethargy, it will still be decades ahead, industrially speaking, of the Pakis.

as more and more of Pakistan falls to tribal ideas of justice and governance, that nation will only slip further backwards. and just as they have wanted to bleed India internally through J&K and North-East terrorism, so too should India bleed them continually.

Anonymous said...

One doesnt kick out the russians, after the PM publically thanks them for their consultancy in the Arihant. No one would give such consultancy to us even for 100 bn $

gmaximus said...

BrahMos is a joint project, its existence is based on a mutual agreement.

Is everybody sure that one side, in contempt of the contract, can say "alright, this is not very successful, we're gonna make it ourselves now"?

Make ANOTHER missile and don't call it BrahMos.

Anonymous said...

lol comparing yourself to Pakistan, whatever makes you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Make ANOTHER missile and don't call it BrahMos.

Agree. Better to launch a different program, perhaps for a cruise missile with 800 km range, low level supersonic flight. Nothing like this exists with any country, so it will be a good challenge for defence engineers (particularly managing friction heat at low altitudes). Keep Brahmos where it is

But the basic problem is we cannot make the engines for such missiles yet. There is lack of qualified people, the management structure is all wrong. And funding is lacking.

Anonymous said...

SIR
i have been reading all ur articles... n blogs.... On personal front want to advice u to stop playing wid the nations security like this... being a journalist doest not give u the right to openly comment and disclose issues of national importance i suggest take a lesson from china and pakistan about whom we know very little, since there journalist are security conscious...
Requesting u to please help the nation become strong...

Anonymous said...

Sir
I have been reading all your articles and blogs….. but an advice on personal front to is to stop playing with the country’s security .Being a journalist doesn’t give you the right to openly talk about things concerning national security. Sir please realize the importance of being a journalist… take examples from china and Pakistan…. about whom we know very less… requesting you not to publishes these things on such level and work for the countries benefit.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I dont what the rubbish are you talking?? Brahmos is the best missile or defense product we have ever produced.. It's the Brahmos power that our enemy do not dare to look at India.. Dr. Pillai and Dr. Kalam serve the nation like anything..
some sadists who can do anything can only bark.. They just put figures and talk negative.. No system is perfect we have to make it perfect.. People like Dr. Pillai n Dr. Kalam have done this.. They have never fallen..
We are at the war (Economics as well as civil war).. Our neighbor are growling up on a good speed.. we are also try our level best.. We have done very good job n will keep doing.. We, people of India must give support to DRDO , Brahmos..
People like Dr. Kalam, Dr. Pillai come once in a while.. I salute them.. All the Best

Anonymous said...

It is a turbojet when everyone else has learnt to love low bypass turbofans in their fighters. A 0.5 to 0.7 BPR turbofan can still travel at Mach 1.7, and that is acceptable given the fuel economy benefits of a turbofan. GTRE cannot do build a turbofan, the metallurgy is so poor the extra load of a rotating N1 fan makes the core self destruct. The geniuses at HAL didn't design the aircraft keeping in mind a bigger engine inlet either.

Looks like you are doing everything possible to discourage Indians and make them look insecure about their intlleact. Grow up dude..we can google kaveri and know what kind of engine it is.

Anonymous said...

we can google kaveri and know what kind of engine it is.

You may be able to use google but you sure don't know how to use your brain. Thankfully, I don't need to google or wikipedia for any information on Kaveri or any other aspect of jet engines. So at least some of us Indians aren't rabid idiots who will cheer any POS manufactured by DRDO, GTRE, HAL et al.

sferrin said...

Russia owns the IP for all those components Pillai would have India take. Is India to become another China then when it comes to raiding other's IP and calling it their own?

Anonymous said...

sferrin the problem is not IP rights. The only reason we haven't copied the IP is because we can't (haven't got the brain power yet), the issue is we do not know how to make the basic components of the engine itself. We do not even build the machinery which is used to build the basic components, all machinery and equipment is imported.

This is the price of a corrupt beaureacracy and misguided policy which discourages deomstic manufacturing and makes 'Made in India' products uncompetetive. Compare this to China and we can see how encouraging all sorts of manufacturing (and crushing unions) has allowed them to develop an intellectual core which copies the finest western designs with ease. In India we even import the decorative lights used to decorate on festivals like Diwali or Christmas, so making jet engines is quite an ask.

It is a complex problem with a very easy solution, but our rulers like to keep us crippled.