May 16, 2012

Update on eventual Russian military equipment orders to India

An Akula Class submarine similar to (or the same as Nerpa (to be INS Chakra) theoretically on its way to Vishakhapatnam by 'next month' November 2011?).
Periodically this blog updates the state of India's weapons' orders and development - a useful Russian article caught my eye. Viktor Litovkin of Russia and India Report (RIR) has written a detailed and interesting report concerning the many weapons system orders India has with Russia and Russia's intention to at last hand over some of them in the foreseeable future. His political asides are also interesting.

I suspect that India tolerates such a plethora of late and overbudget orders because India values its geopolitical relationship with Russia. Some assistance in thermonuclear development might also be an incentive for Indian tolerance - though I have no evidence for this suspicion. Certainly India is receiving more Russian assistance for Arihant indigenous submarine development than the Indian Navy is prepared to admit.  Prime Minister Singh  at the launch of Arihant in 2009 thanked "our Russian friends for their consistent and invaluable cooperation, which symbolises the close strategic partnership that we enjoy with Russia”.

India is in good company in that Australia has a similar relationship with the US - Australia tolerates constantly late and overbudget weapons (except Boeing's Super Hornet, the C-17 and the Abrams tank all on time and budget) from the US for the sake of Australia valuing the US alliance. Although Australia is very reliant on  the US while India (from a non-aligned position) would most probably not expect any active Russian assistance in a war with Pakistan or China.

I've paraphrased Viktor Litovkin's article here:

"Nerpa next month, Gorshkov by Dec 2012"

October 10, 2011

India and Russia managed to iron out some differences over delays in the supply of spares and put their defence ties on the even track during Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s visit to Russia in early October 2011. The nuclear submarine Nerpa and the much-awaited INS Vikramaditya will be heading to India "shortly" [we should wait until we see it!].
Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony...discussed with Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov a host of issues aimed at exploring fresh avenues for military cooperation and resolving some irritants, including spare part delays.

High on Antony's agenda was the creation of a joint project of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) [which means the T-50, PAK FA?], which has the potential to become the largest joint defence programme between the two countries. India may spend about $35 billion over 20 years to induct 250-300 PAK FAs starting from 2020, of which 214 will enter the service first.

The talks touched upon the forthcoming 10-year lease of the K-152 Nerpa [INS Chakra] multi-role nuclear submarine which will be transferred to the command of an Indian crew by December 2011 [but surely Russian engineers will need to oversee the reactors functions?].

The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov in Russia) should be transferred to India in 2012. The aircraft carrier is already more than [only?] 85 percent complete [actual completion may be 2014 at current rate of Russian renovation].

Antony in particular, they talked about the latest delay of transferring three Talwar class Type 1135.6 frigates (INS Teg, Tarkash and Trikand) to the Indian Navy. India is now due to receive Teg in April 2012, Tarkash in September 2012, and Trikand in June 2013. "But nobody can guarantee that these terms will not change."

The Russian, Viktor Litovkin, opined "...not once in the last twenty years has Russia managed to deliver a ship on time. This includes the first batch of Indian Talwar frigates, which was built in St Petersburg's Baltic Shipyard at the beginning of this century. However, when these ships were completed and inducted, they became the pride of the Indian Navy."

According to Russian Defence Minister Serdyukov, Russia was unable to hold training exercises with India in order that Russia not send the wrong political signals to Japan during Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis. This is in the wider context of "strained" relations between Moscow and Tokyo over the issue of the Kuril Islands.

New Delhi offered Moscow the purchase of the jointly-produced BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles that the Indian military is actively preparing for the Coast Guard [a serious weapon for a Coast Guard!], naval surface ships and submarines. It is even planning to modify the missile for use on the SU-30MKI multi-role fighter jet - [Russia is stalling, perhaps until 2014, for more money to upgrade Indian SU-30MKI for BrahMos]  A [notional?] Russian purchase of BrahMos [Russia already builds the very similar P-800 Oniks(Onyx)] would bring significant financial benefit to both countries in the world arms market.

The Indian side probably will not agree to buy Russia's GLONASS global positioning satellite system for Indian military use. India is already using the technically mature and cheaper American GPS system. India is not yet persuaded that mounting GLONASS as a backup system alongside GPS would provide value for money for Indian Army and Naval weapons systems

While Russia's weapons trade under performance is irritating the overall Indian-Russian bilateral relationship is useful.

The full two page article is at

Comments to follow on Israel's ABM assistance to India using the India Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR) developed from Israel's Green Pine radar.