Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Derby For Tejas A Kosher Deal?

The Indian Tejas light combat aircraft programme's decision to arm the platform with Israeli Derby air-to-air missiles has already raised questions, both from rival missile makers (who have an interest, obviously, since the decision means lost potential business) as well as officials in government. To begin with, a question hangs over whether the selection of the Derby was based on a competitive bid process (sources say it wasn't) by the Aeronautical Development Agency. Second, the rather adverse observations that India's national audit watchdog made last year on Rafael's supply of the same missile to the Indian Navy for its Sea Harrier limited upgrade package. One person I spoke to in the IAF wondered how such a deal could go through when the operational capabilities of the weapon had been specifically called into question.

In the shadowy world of India's weapon acquisitions, defence deals with Israel are particularly secretive (and uniformly government-to-government). And despite the Israeli MoD's efforts during Aero India this time to "open up", involve and brief the press, I hear it turned out to be a thumpingly boring affair, with no questions entertained on specific deals, and just lots of Powerpoint on products. Pity.

Photo by Shiv Aroor

22 comments :

Anonymous said...

Has any IAF tejas model displayed Derby so far at AeroIndia2011?

I think all the talk of Derby for Tejas "at this point" is specific to Naval-LCA because they already use Derby on SHAR-upgrade.

Kuljeet Singh said...

Its sad that the virus of Indian Bureaucratic Paralysis has made its way into the defence establishment also.

Anonymous said...

Everybody in India other than the armed forces are the experts in what they want, weapon systems deployed by the US, Israel, China, Russia, all somehow do not meet Indian standards, but it is ok for our soldiers to carry INSAS and wear 15Kg BPJs made of steel and wear WWII vintage steel helments....

This has to stop... I know you guys need something to blog about.. but come on guys...

Shiv Aroor said...

anon@8.41am: lose the density, bro. the CAG report on the derby is not a unilateral observation, but based on feedback FROM the navy. it isn't opinion. it's based on figures and facts. second, the fact that the insas or any other equipment may not match requirements does not in any way qualify imported equipment from being suboptimal. only an idiot would equate the two.

Khukri said...

I think a couple of points need to be borne in mind:
1. The radar (MMR) has Israeli components in it, in which case an Israeli missile would probably be the most optimal choice.

2. The Derby has been selected for the SpyDer system, for the Navy and now for the Tejas. After all the bleating I've seen about using common equipment across all the forces, surely this is a sane step in that direction?

We all know that the Israelis generally produce excellent equipment. Unless there is something seriously wrong with the naval Derby that cannot be corrected, (i.e. malfunction because of exposure to sea and salt which can be corrected by marinising it), I'd say it was a good selection

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 841

talk to the people who use these..they seem to be happy with the INSAS...and the armour is said to be round 10kgs..not 15....i know thats hard when ballparking..but a 50% difference is not really that good

Shiv Aroor said...

@Khukri: Good points.

Anonymous said...

what a horrible thing!!!you ppl are seeing demons everywhere!!! As reported in the free press LCA Radar has some Israel systems..its easy to interface an israeli missile to a israeli based radar? no one will give the source code for third party missile integration..so ADA's choice and Israel response is natural...God save this country...

Kuljeet Singh said...

Shiv,

How far behind is Astra, or IAF has given up on it ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

The Derby was chosen for only one simple reason: it comes fully integrated with the navigation-and-attack system (NAS) of the Tejas Mk1, which, in order to save time in terms of systems integration R & D, makes use of the EL/M-2032 MMR instead of the earlier proposed EL/M-2052 AESA-MMR. As far back as three years ago this decision was taken in view of the MoD's desire to get the Tejas Mk1 qualified for IOC status as expeditiously as possible. Systems integration for the mission management avionics (including the navigation-and-attack system) has been the most challenging component of the Tejas Mk1's R & D process and is by no means complete (and hence ADA has not yet gone public with any briefing on this subject thus far). What has been achieved thus far are only weapons carriage/ejection trials. Weapons qualification is still in progress and COULD be completed only by mid-2012. The same goes for the R-73E/Dash Mk3 HMD integration/qualification process, as well as for the Tejas Mk1's defensive aids suite, which is still work-in-progress. But do note that HAL during the Aero India 2011 expo did showcase for the first time some of its innovative in-house R & D solutions, such as the CIT-4000A Mk12 combined IFF transponder, UHF SATCOM transceiver (as part of the operational data-link package), and the SDR-2010 SoftNET VHF/UHF/L-band software-defined radio, all of which will go on board the Tejas Mk1, Tejas Mk2, and the to-be-upgraded Su-30MKIs and Jaguar IS/IM.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Kuljeet Singh: Not too far behind, as the Astra BVRAAM uses the Vympel-built 9B-1348E active radar. The BVRAAM itself is trouble-free. All that is required to be done now is integrate it with the Tejas Mk1 LCA's mission management avionics suite (with Russian technical assistance), a task which has its own unique challenges that have yet to be overcome.

Anonymous said...

@shiv... you are absolutely right about me being dense.. explains why India can't seem to find a 155mm howitzer that meets its needs or a fighter aircraft..

yes... and the CAG is the expert on military hardware.

Shiv Aroor said...

Trust Prasun to throw the light! Thanks Sir!

Anonymous said...

Note:-

Even Barak-2=MRSAM SAM JV leverages from Derby seeker technology.

Further there is a very massive change in Astra Missile shown in present Aero Show, hence Israeli help can be speculated

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Most welcome anytime, Shiv.

Anonymous said...

Shiv.........agree.....Prasun really does manage to get things in perspective.........ala...m777 "direct" fire.......

Don't know why his Trishul is off....just wish the general Media (and Electronic) would 'use' his knowledge/skills...........(like Force magazine)..........

and, Good to see all the action on Teja's.....at least somethings are finally moving.....

cheers

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:05 PM

Fully agree with you.

Hope Prasun will be posting again in Trishul regularly.

Mr. Ra said...

Derby may be the most comprehensive choice as on today and even in the near future.

Anonymous said...

No open tender + no transparency + IAF not in the loop = BVR for LCA.........Then how could you say that Derby is a good choice???

Anonymous said...

The problem is that arms sales are based on politics and relationships rather than efficacy.

India needs a more transparent procurement system. Procurement should be open to all so that India gets only the best weapons at the best prices. Even the Chinese should be invited to bid on contracts just to push prices down and stir competition!

Penmil said...

Dear Prasun Sengupta ji and Shiv Aroor ji,
If Astra has the same Vympel-built 9B-1348E active radar as RVV-AE Missile, then was RVV -AE not more suitable, as an interim measure( to obtain FOC, certification, by Circa 2012), for Tejas Mk 1?
Ultimately it is expected that all IAF aircraft will sport Astra as the standard BVR missile and towards that, integrating Derby BVR missile on to Tejas Mk 1 might warrant rework when actually Astra comes of age and becomes fully operational.
On the other hand since Derby's guidance system is compatible with the fire control radar, EL/M-2032 MMR and Astra's is not, with its standard fit Vympel-built 9B-1348E associated guidance system, Astra may have problems in replacing Derby BVR missiles even in later versions of Tejas.
Or is it only the nav attack system on the Tejas aircraft that is not compatible with RVV AE missile?
Then the same Nav Attack system will not be compatible with Derby missile too and the amount of work required to be done may be the same in adopting either RVV-AE/Astra or Derby missiles on to Tejas Mk1/Mk2.
Is anything not yet said about relinquishing both,EL/M-2032 MMR and Derby BVR missile in the later versions, say Tejas Mk2 onwards?

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