Prime minister Modi is expected to sign on many crucial deals for the Indian millitary worth billions of dollars on his trip to Russia, attracted by promises to transfer technology that West has been slow to make.Let’s take a closer look at 2 of the most crucial deals that Prime minister Modi is going to sign the deal for S-400 SAM (Surface to Air Missile) & the Ka-226T (Light Utility Helicopter).
The Almaz S-400 Triumf or SA-21 system is the most recent evolution of the S-300P family of SAM systems, initially trialled in 1999. The label S-400 SAM is essentially marketing, since the system was previously reported under the speculative label of S-300PMU3. At least one report claims that funding for the development of the Triumf was provided in part by the Chinese Army(PLA). The principal distinctions between the S-400 SAM and its predecessor lie in further refinements to the radars and software, and the addition of four new missile types in addition to the legacy 48N6E/48N6E2 used in the S-300PMU2 Favorit. Compared to its predecessor, the S-300, the new S-400 has a 2.5 times faster firing rate and is the most modern air defence system in the Russian arsenal.
The S-400 was designed keeping the various threat perceptions in mind, with special focus on-
• Defeating threats at low and very low flight altitudes;
• Dealing with the overall reduction of target signatures resulting from the pervasive use of stealth technology;
• Dealing with the increase in target quantities resulting from the widespread use of UAVs(Unmanned aerial vehicles) ;
• Applying all means to defeat advanced jammers employed by opponents;
• Surviving in an environment where PGMs(Precision guided munitions) are used widely;
• Accommodating an environment where an increasing number of nations are deploying TBMs (Tactical Ballistic Missiles) and IRBMs (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles).
The S-400 SAM can seek & destroy Targets such as
• Strategic bombers such as the B-1 and B-52
• Electronic warfare airplanes such as the EF-111A and EA-6
• Reconnaissance airplanes such as the TR-1
• Early-warning radar airplanes such as the E-3A and E-2C
• Fighter airplanes such as the F-15, F-16, F-35 and F-22
• Stealth airplanes such as the B-2 and F-117A
• Strategic cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk
• Ballistic missiles (range up to 3,500 km
The entire Complex compromises of 4 key Components
• The 30K6E battle management system, comprising the 55K6E Command Post and 91N6E Big Bird acquisition radar;
• Up to six 98Zh6E Fire Units, each comprising a 92N6E Grave Stone “multimode” engagement radar, up to twelve 5P85SE2 / 5P85TE2 TELs, each TEL armed with up to four 48N6E2/E3 missiles
• A complement of SAM rounds, comprising arbitrary mixes of the 48N6E, 48N6E2 and 48N6E3 missiles;
• The 30Ts6E logistical support system, comprising missile storage, test and maintenance equipment’s.
All system components are carried by self-propelled wheeled all-terrain chassis, and have autonomous power supplies, navigation and geo-location systems, communications and life support equipment. Mains power grid converters are installed for fixed site operations. The design permits all equipment vans to be separated from the vehicle chassis for installation and operation in hardened shelters. Giving the system it’s widely proclaimed all weather mobility. This complex can move on roads (60 km/h) and off road (ground) at speeds up to 25 km/h.
According to the manufacturer Almaz-Antey , the S-400 “baseline” system can engage targets at ranges of more than 155 miles at altitudes up to 90,000ft. Also of note, the S-400 can support at least three types of missiles with differing capabilities. According to Western sources, some versions of those missiles are capable of engaging targets as far away as 250 miles. The S-400 can track 300 targets simultaneously and engage thirty-six of those at any one time.
The Russian doctrine for such SAM’s clearly states that such complex’s should be accompanied by short range quick reaction SAM batteries to deal with PGMs, drones that try to saturate the S-400, clearly a strategy which can be employed by our western adversary. In the Indian context homemade Askash and the Israeli SPYDER will fulfil the role of Short range SAM.
The main reason why S-400 SAM is being purchased by the Indian planners is to counter the ever growing threat of Pakistani and particularly Chinese BM’s (Ballistic Missiles) both in conventional and strategic role, until the home-grown BMD (Ballistic Missile Defence system) matures. The Chinese BM’s & other cruise missiles threaten IAF airbases in North eastern India. The Pakistani BM’s are more focused on strategic role. For Cruise missiles like the Pakistani ‘Babur’, the Indo-Israeli Barak 8 is the best counter. The S-400 SAM will also allow IAF to leave certain sectors without heavy fighter strength, and cover it with land based SAMs instead thus allowing easier use of limited numbers of squadrons which has been a problem for some time now.
In short the Defence ministry and the IAF have made a clever choice by buying a system which helps India fulfil a critical gap’s in its air defence, use the depleting squadron strength more efficiently, neutralizes the threat from Chinese & Pakistani Ballistic Missiles and ensures that much of Pakistani territory is covered by Indian SAM’s.
The second significant deal which will be carried out is the purchase of Ka-226T. Approval of the acquisition of Ka-226T was given by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in May 2015 to replace the ageing Chetak (Aerospatiale Alouette III) and Cheetah (Aerospatiale SA-315B) helicopters of the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) and the Indian Air Force (IAF), respectively. A joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russian Helicopters is expected to licence-build 200 Ka-226T helicopters for the IAF and the AAC.
Let’s make one little thing clear, the Ka-226T was not designed to be a beautiful or even a good looking aircraft. It is built to be a rugged helicopter which can do face extreme conditions. This amazing helicopter is the ultimate example for ‘thinking outside the box’. The designers at Kamov made sure that they built a helicopter which looked weird and clumsy but performed exactly the opposite.
The Ka-226T is a light, twin-engine multi-role helicopter offered by Russian Helicopters, for military and civilian missions. The military version of Ka-226T is designed for operation in hard-to-reach upland conditions as well as hot and cold climates. A total of 1,200kg of cargo can be transported by the helicopter inside the cabin and it can carry 1,500kg load on external sling. The maximum take-off weight with under-slung load is 3,800kg. Power for the Ka-226T comes from two Rolls Royce Alisson 250 GTE engines or the more powerful Turbomeca Arrius 2G1. The helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 220km/h and cruise speed of 200km/h. It has a maximum flight range of 600km with main fuel tanks
The helicopter comes with the option of interchangeable cabins, which can be used to modify the helicopter from an Air ambulance to a troop carrier.
The Russian Kamov design bureau is known for their trademark co-axial rotor helicopters and most of the helicopters they make follows the same layout of rotors. This arrangement consists of 2 main rotors rotating in opposite directions, driven by a single shaft. The tail rotor is eliminated and hence complex mechanisms and wiring for it are eliminated. This particular design of the rotor grants the helicopter many advantages like a shortened tail, energy savings due to lack of a tail rotor, greater lift capability due presence of 2 rotors, decreased size (Due to lack of a tail rotor) which leads to easier transportation of such helicopters abroad Ships or even specialized trucks, Increased stability during hovering which is very vital during rescue operations, cargo delivery & troop insertions.
The need for such a helicopter arises due 2 reasons. 1st the delays in the development of HAL’s home-grown LUH(light utility helicopter), 2nd Large demand of such class of choppers by the Indian army and the Indian air force. Armed forces cannot wait for HAL to deliver a product while our young men continue to fly in for operating 40+ year old ancient Cheetah and Cheetaks.Ka-226T is a proven product can which start replacing the vintage helos by 2017 whilst the HAL LUH is still under flight testing.
The deal is also a good deal for Russia and India because it is “a good way for the manufacturer to recoup some of the developmental capital spent on the aircraft.” For India it is a good deal because Russia is providing India with “full rights for domestic licensed production and for future market share. Both these deals can significantly boost the ambitious initiative of ‘Make in India’ as there will be a heavy focus on localization of many systems used in these products. For the Indian Industry everything from complex Aero engines to Radar systems to TELs (Specialised vehicles used to carry and launch missiles) is up for grabs, it is up to them to take advantage of such an opportunity.